February 18, 2019 0
“New Lancet report demonstrates why diet and food production must radically change to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet
With more than 3 billion people malnourished and food production driving climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, a transformation of the global food system is urgently needed.
Findings from the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems provides the first scientific targets for a healthy diet from a sustainable food production system that operates within planetary boundaries for food. The report promotes diets consisting of a variety of plant-based foods, with low amounts of animal-based foods, refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars, and with unsaturated rather than saturated fats.
The work behind the report is the result of a collaboration between 37 experts from 16 countries with expertise in health, nutrition, environmental sustainability, food systems, economics and political governance. Stockholm Resilience Centre was the scientific coordinator of the report.
Getting it seriously wrong
Human diets inextricably link health and environmental sustainability, and have the potential to nurture both. However, current diets are pushing the Earth beyond its planetary boundaries, while causing ill health. This puts both people and the planet at risk. Providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems is an immediate challenge as the population continues to grow – projected to reach 10 billion people by 2050 – and get wealthier (with the expectation of higher consumption of animal-based foods).
To meet this challenge, dietary changes must be combined with improved food production and reduced food waste. The authors stress that unprecedented global collaboration and commitment will be needed, alongside immediate changes such as refocussing agriculture to produce varied nutrient-rich crops, and increased governance of land and ocean use.
The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong
Tim Lang, commission co-author, City, University of London, UK
Scientific targets for a healthy diet
Despite increased food production contributing to improved life expectancy and reductions in hunger, infant and child mortality rates, and global poverty over the past 50 years, these benefits are now being offset by global shifts towards unhealthy diets high in calories, sugar, refined starches and animal-based foods and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and fish.
The authors argue that the lack of scientific targets for a healthy diet have hindered efforts to transform the food system. Based on the best available evidence, the commission proposes a dietary pattern that meets nutritional requirements, promotes health, and allows the world to stay within planetary boundaries.
Compared with current diets, global adoption of the new recommendations by 2050 will require global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar to decrease by more than 50%, while consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes must increase more than two-fold. Global targets will need to be applied locally – for example, countries in North America eat almost 6.5 times the recommended amount of red meat, while countries in South Asia eat only half the recommended amount. All countries are eating more starchy vegetables (potatoes and cassava) than recommended with intakes ranging from between 1.5 times above the recommendation in South Asia and by 7.5 times in sub-Saharan Africa.
“To be healthy, diets must have an appropriate calorie intake and consist of a variety of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-based foods, unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and few refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars. The food group intake ranges that we suggest allow flexibility to accommodate various food types, agricultural systems, cultural traditions, and individual dietary preferences – including numerous omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan diets,” says co-lead commissioner Walter Willett from Harvard University.
The authors estimate that widespread adoption of such a diet would improve intakes of most nutrients. They also modelled the potential effects of global adoption of the diet on deaths from diet-related diseases. Three models each showed major health benefits, suggesting that adopting the new diet globally could avert between 10.9-11.6 million premature deaths per year – reducing adult deaths by between 19-23.6%.
Since the mid-1950s, the pace and scale of environmental change has grown exponentially. Food production is the largest source of environmental degradation. To be sustainable, food production must occur within food-related planetary boundaries for climate change, biodiversity loss, land and water use, as well as for nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. However, production must also be sustainably intensified to meet the global population’s growing food demands.
”The shift towards sustainable food production will require decarbonising agricultural production by eliminating the use of fossil fuels and turn land use into a net carbon sink. In addition, we need to safeguard existing biodiversity, have no net expansion of cropland, and develop drastic improvements in fertiliser and water use efficiencies,” says commission co-author Line Gordon, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
The authors estimate the minimum, unavoidable emissions of greenhouse gases if we are to provide healthy food for 10 billion people by 2050. They conclude that non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions of methane and nitrous oxide will remain between 4.7-5.4 gigatonnes in 2050, with current emissions already at an estimated 5.2 gigatonnes in 2010. This suggests that the decarbonisation of the world energy system must progress faster than anticipated, to accommodate the need to healthily feed humans without further damaging the planet.
Phosphorus use must also be reduced (from 17.9 to between 6-16 teragrams), as must biodiversity loss (from 100 to between 1-80 extinctions per million species each year).
Based on their estimates, current levels of nitrogen, land and water use may be within the projected 2050 boundary (from 131.8 teragrams in 2010 to between 65-140 in 2050, from 12.6 M km2 in 2010 vs 11-15 M km2 in 2050, and from 1.8 M km3 in 2010 vs 1-4 M km3, respectively) but will require continued efforts to sustain this level. The boundary estimates are subject to uncertainty, and will require continuous update and refinement.
Using these boundary targets, the authors modelled various scenarios to develop a sustainable food system and deliver healthy diets by 2050. To stay within planetary boundaries, a combination of major dietary change, improved food production through enhanced agriculture and technology changes, and reduced food waste during production and at the point of consumption will be needed, and no single measure is enough to stay within all of the limits.
There is no silver bullet for combatting harmful food production practices, but by defining and quantifying a safe operating space for food systems, diets can be identified that will nurture human health and support environmental sustainability
Johan Rockström, co-lead commissioner, Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Five strategies for change
The commission proposes five strategies to adjust what people eat and how it is produced:
1. Encourage people to choose healthier diets by improving availability and accessibility to healthy food. As this may increase costs to consumers, social protection for vulnerable groups may be required to avoid continued poor nutrition in low-income groups
2. Refocus agriculture from producing high volumes of crops to producing varied nutrient-rich ones. Global agriculture policies should incentivise producers to grow nutritious, plant-based foods, develop programmes that support diverse production systems, and increase research funding for ways to increase nutrition and sustainability
3. Sustainably intensify agriculture while taking into account local conditions to help apply appropriate agricultural practices and generate sustainable, high quality crops
4. Preserve natural ecosystems and ensure continued food supplies. This could be achieved through protecting intact natural areas on land (potentially through incentives), prohibiting land clearing, restoring degraded land, removing harmful fishing subsidies, and closing at least 10% of marine areas to fishing (including the high seas to create fish banks). “In fact, improved capture fisheries governance and reduced aquaculture footprints will be key in determining whether we succeed in maintaining seafood as a component of a healthy diet in the future”, says Beatrice Crona, report co-author, centre researcher and executive director of the GEDB programme at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
5. Half food waste. The majority of food waste occurs in low- and middle-income countries during food production due to poor harvest planning, lack of access to markets preventing produce from being sold, and lack of infrastructure to store and process foods. Improved investment in technology and education for farmers is needed. But food waste is also an issue in high-income countries, where it is primarily caused by consumers. This can be resolved through campaigns to improve shopping habits, help understand ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates, and improve food storage, preparation, portion sizes and use of leftovers.
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief at The Lancet, concludes:
“The transformation that the commission calls for is not superficial or simple, and requires a focus on complex systems, incentives, and regulations, with communities and governments at multiple levels having a part to play in redefining how we eat. Our connection with nature holds the answer, and if we can eat in a way that works for our planet as well as our bodies, the natural balance of the planet’s resources will be restored.””
This informative article was found at: stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2019-01-17-the-planetary-health-diet.htmlLeave a reply
February 6, 2019 0
Green catalysts with Earth-abundant metals accelerate production of bio-based plastic
How crystalline structure can affect the performance of MnO2 catalysts
Date:January 7, 2019
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Scientists have developed and analyzed a novel catalyst for the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural, which is crucial for generating new raw materials that replace the classic non-renewable ones used for making many plastics.
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed and analyzed a novel catalyst for the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural, which is crucial for generating new raw materials that replace the classic non-renewable ones used for making many plastics.
It should be no surprise to most readers that finding an alternative to non-renewable natural resources is a key topic in current research. Some of the raw materials required for manufacturing many of today’s plastics involve non-renewable fossil resources, coal, and natural gas, and a lot of effort has been devoted to finding sustainable alternatives. 2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) is an attractive raw material that can be used to create polyethylene furanoate, which is a bio-polyester with many applications.
One way of making FDCA is through the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF), a compound that can be synthesized from cellulose. However, the necessary oxidation reactions require the presence of a catalyst, which helps in the intermediate steps of the reaction so that the final product can be achieved.
Many of the catalysts studied for use in the oxidation of HMF involve precious metals; this is clearly a drawback because these metals are not widely available. Other researchers have found out that manganese oxides combined with certain metals (such as iron and copper) can be used as catalysts. Although this is a step in the right direction, an even greater finding has been reported by a team of scientists from Tokyo Tech: manganese dioxide (MnO2) can be used by itself as an effective catalyst if the crystals made with it have the appropriate structure.
The team, which includes Associate Professor Keigo Kamata and Professor Michikazu Hara, worked to determine which MnO2 crystal structure would have the best catalytic activity for making FDCA and why. They inferred through computational analyses and the available theory that the structure of the crystals was crucial because of the steps involved in the oxidation of HMF. First, MnO2 transfers a certain amount of oxygen atoms to the substrate (HMF or other by-products) and becomes MnO2-δ. Then, because the reaction is carried out under an oxygen atmosphere, MnO2-δ quickly oxidizes and becomes MnO2 again. The energy required for this process is related to the energy required for the formation of oxygen vacancies, which varies greatly with the crystal structure. In fact, the team calculated that active oxygen sites had a lower (and thus better) vacancy formation energy.
To verify this, they synthesized various types of MnO2 crystals and then compared their performance through numerous analyses. Of these crystals, β-MnO2 was the most promising because of its active planar oxygen sites. Not only was its vacancy formation energy lower than that of other structures, but the material itself was proven to be very stable even after being used for oxidation reactions on HMF.
The team did not stop there, though, as they proposed a new synthesis method to yield highly pure β-MnO2 with a large surface area in order to improve the FDCA yield and accelerate the oxidation process even further. “The synthesis of high-surface-area β-MnO2 is a promising strategy for the highly efficient oxidation of HMF with MnO2 catalysts,” states Kamata.
With the methodological approach taken by the team, the future development of MnO2 catalysts has been kick-started. “Further functionalization of β-MnO2 will open up a new avenue for the development of highly efficient catalysts for the oxidation of various biomass-derived compounds,” concludes Hara. Researches such as this one ensure that renewable raw materials will be available to humankind to avoid all types of shortage crises.
Materials provided by Tokyo Institute of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Eri Hayashi, Yui Yamaguchi, Keigo Kamata, Naoki Tsunoda, Yu Kumagai, Fumiyasu Oba, Michikazu Hara. Effect of MnO2 Crystal Structure on Aerobic Oxidation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural to 2,5-Furandicarboxylic Acid. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b09917
Tokyo Institute of Technology. “Green catalysts with Earth-abundant metals accelerate production of bio-based plastic: How crystalline structure can affect the performance of MnO2 catalysts.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2019.
March 23, 2017 0
10 Ways to Go Green in Your Home This Year
The environment is an important part of our earth, and keeping it healthy for our future generations should be a priority. Unfortunately, most people aren’t sure how to get started. If you’re looking for ways to do your part without having to invest long hours, we’ve got you covered. Get inspired with these simple tips from the writers over at Lawn Doctor Denver to make your home a little greener today!
1) Give Up Junk Mail
While recycling may be good, it’s best to avoid unnecessary paper waste altogether. Be proactive when you sign up for things, and help get your current amount under control with these simple steps. If you’re enrolled in online billing, go paperless for all of your credit or banking accounts.
2) Conserve Energy
Conserving energy does not only help you save money on energy bills, but it’s also great for the
environment! A few ways to minimize the use of energy includes:
Adjust your thermostat. A few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter can make a big difference.
Use energy efficient bulbs for all lights. Using these types of bulbs are better for the environment, and more importantly, better for your wallet.
Switch up your laundry. Try washing with cold water, and air drying on a line to notice a huge change and save money on utility bills.
3) Minimize Water Use
While long showers may be nice, wasted water is bad for the environment–and bad for your water bill. Try cutting back on your water use in these 2 ways:
Take shorter showers. A little less singing, a little more cleaning of the body!
Do some shower maintenance. Installing a low-flow showerhead and a faucet aerator can help conserve water without losing pressure.
4) Use Less Gas
Whether it’s taking local trips instead of long distance or starting a carpool group for the office, being mindful of how much gas you consume is great for the environment and can quickly save you major money. Try biking or walking to more destinations for an added fitness bonus!
5) Be Mindful of Your Purchases
We’ve all been guilty of buying things we don’t really need, but when we do it in excess, it creates serious waste. The best option is to borrow, but if you decide to purchase, always try to invest in high quality, reusable items when you can. Consider borrowing for these common items:
Seldomly used appliances
Consider using reusable items for:
Packaging (think boxes)
And many more
6) Invest in a Green, Green Lawn
When it comes to landscaping, it’s not just about green grass. Get a green, green lawn by:
Eliminating damaging chemicals. Using toxic insecticides and other chemicals can damage the surrounding wildlife and environment for years to come. Consider partnering with a lawn care company like Lawn Doctor who uses eco-friendly lawn treatments instead of harsh chemicals.
Planting drought-friendly plants. This is a great way to keep your garden pretty without extra watering. These can be a little tricky to select yourself, so consider consulting a landing expert before investing in new plants.
7) Dispose of Electronics Properly
Hang on to phones, laptops, batteries, and other electronics as long as possible; and when the time comes to get rid of them, contact your local government for details on the proper disposal methods. We know it’s easier and less time-consuming to just throw them in the trash with the rest of your garbage, but going the extra mile will make you feel good about doing your part, and you’ll be contributing to a healthier, green environment!
8) Swap Household Cleaners
While they may be tough on germs, the harsh chemicals in many household cleaners can do some serious damage to the environment. Switch to green cleaners for a green and clean home!
9) Reduce Use of Toxic Bug Sprays and Pesticides
Many pesticides and aerosol bug sprays release dangerous chemicals, toxic to not only the environment but also to your family and pets. If you’re doing your own pest control, be sure to utilize eco-friendly sprays to keep your home bug and chemical-free. If you outsource your pest control, hire a company like Lawn Doctor that offers green alternatives to controlling bugs and mosquitoes.
10) Hire Local
Not only are local companies more likely to care about your community and environment, but they also inherently generate less waste. Shopping and hiring local means fewer emissions from delivery vehicles, and often safer practices for the environment.
Remember, even just a small change here and there is a great start. Let us know what other ways you go green in your home today!
Find this article and more from the super cool and informative blog at
December 3, 2015 0
Proof That Eating Organic Can Reduce Cancer and how to reduce pesticides in your system by 90% in one week.
Despite the massive amount of evidence, some people refuse to believe that buying organic is a healthier option. I can’t be the only one whose ever been told that buying organic is a waste of money.
For some reason, a lot of people have this idea that conventionally grown produce is not only safe but just as good as organic food. I even had one guy tell me that eating organic is a complete scam and means nothing.
Well, let’s take a look at just a few things pesticides have been linked to:
From the Department of Cancer Epidemiology at the Karolinska University Hospital,
In animal studies, many pesticides are carcinogenic, (e.g., organochlorines, creosote, and sulfallate) while others (notably, the organochlorines DDT, chlordane, and lindane) are tumor promoters. Some contaminants in commercial pesticide formulations also may pose a carcinogenic risk. In humans, arsenic compounds and insecticides used occupationally have been classified as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
and from the College of Family Physicians of Canada
There is increasing controversy over the use of pesticides in the community. Studies looking at pesticide use and cancer have shown a positive relationship between exposure to pesticides and the development of some cancers, particularly in children.
Results indicate that semen changes are multifactorial in the workers exposed to pesticides as there are numerous factors affecting sperm quality in occupational exposures. Majority of pesticides including organophosphoruses affect the male reproductive system by mechanisms such as reduction of sperm density and motility, inhibition of spermatogenesis, reduction of testis weights, reduction of sperm counts, motility, viability and density, and inducing sperm DNA damage, and increasing abnormal sperm morphology. Reduced weight of testes, epididymis, seminal vesicle, and ventral prostate, seminiferous tubule degeneration, change in plasma levels of testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH), decreased level and activity of the antioxidant enzymes in testes, and inhibited testicular steroidogenesis are other possible mechanisms. Moreover, DDT and its metabolites have estrogenic effects on males.
From the Department of Nutrition at Harvard,
Exposure to pesticides was reported by 7,864 participants (5.7%), including 1,956 farmers, ranchers, or fishermen. Individuals exposed to pesticides had a 70% higher incidence of PD than those not exposed (adjusted relative risk, 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-2.3; p = 0.002).
A growing body of epidemiological evidence demonstrates associations between parental use of pesticides, particularly insecticides, with acute lymphocytic leukemia and brain tumors. Prenatal, household, and occupational exposures (maternal and paternal) appear to be the largest risks. Prospective cohort studies link early-life exposure to organophosphates and organochlorine pesticides (primarily DDT) with adverse effects on neurodevelopment and behavior.
These are just four instances out of thousands that prove pesticides are harmful. It’s literally impossible to disagree with the research that’s out there. The good news is that you can reduce the pesticides in your system in just one week.
HOW TO REDUCE THE PESTICIDES IN YOUR SYSTEM IN ONE WEEK
Eat organic food. Seems too simple, right?
Dr. Liza Oates from the School of Health Sciences in Australia performed a study that demonstrated how an organic diet, followed for one week, reduced pesticides by 90%. Here are the highlights of the study:
Organophosphate pesticide exposure in Australian adults is mainly through the diet.
One week of eating mostly organic food reduced urine pesticide levels by nearly 90%.
The clinical relevance of reducing pesticide exposure requires further study.
Eating organic food is a precautionary approach to reduce pesticide exposure.
So the next time someone tells you buying organic isn’t worth it, that organic food isn’t any healthier or that conventionally grown food is safe, just shove this article in their face. People love that.
It’s also important to note that this study was performed in Australia, where they are much stricter about what they will and will not allow in their food supply. America has much looser regulations, and as you likely know refuses to even label GMOs. So depending on your diet, it may take longer to rid your body of pesticides. The important part is that you recognize and make a concerted effort to eat organically, and locally if possible. Supporting organic food means more will be grown, and your money won’t go toward support farms that use pesticides.
article found at http://www.ancestral-nutrition.com/proof-eating-organic-can-reduce-cancer-reduce-pesticides-system-90-one-week/Leave a reply
September 4, 2015 0
When it comes to beauty products, the effects of the ingredients they contain can be more than just skin deep. The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream.
Many of these substances are also used in industrial manufacturing processes to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease gears. And we can all agree that an ingredient that effectively scours a garage floor may not be the best choice for a facial cleanser.
In the U.S., major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. At the same time as untested chemicals have been steadily introduced into our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically.
Following are some of the chemicals commonly found in cosmetics and what they do to us.
Knowledge is power. Learn how to avoid the nasty chemicals in personal care products.
Tips for choosing safe cosmetics >
Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems.
Triclosan is used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Widespread use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents.
1,4-dioxane is not listed on ingredient labels. It is a petroleum-derived contaminant formed in the manufacture of shampoos, body wash, children’s bath products and other sudsing cosmetics. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has ranked it as a possible carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified it as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.
Information from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on 1,4-dioxane in bath products
Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.
Ethylene oxide is used to sterilize surgical instruments. It can also be a contaminant of personal care products such as shampoos and body washes, because it is used to buffer the harshness of some sudsing agents, and trace amounts can be left behind. It is classified as a known human carcinogen and is one of 51 chemicals that the National Toxicology Program (NTP) identifies as mammary carcinogens in animals.
Shaving creams, spray sunscreens and foundations, and anti-fungal treatments that contain the propellant isobutene may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,3-butadiene. Exposure occurs mainly through inhalation. This chemical has been found to increase mammary tumors in rodents.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil and gasoline. One of the more common PAHs is naphthalene. Some cosmetics and shampoos are made with coal tar and therefore may contain PAHs. They have been shown to increase risk for breast cancer.
Placental extract is derived from human or animal placentas and is used in hair conditioners, shampoos and other grooming aids, particularly those marketed to women of color. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified progesterone, the major hormonal contaminant in placental extracts, as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.
Lead may be a contaminant in over 650 cosmetic products, including sunscreens, foundation, nail colors, lipsticks and whitening toothpaste. Lead is a proven neurotoxin, linked to learning, language and behavioral problems. It has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in men and women, and delays in puberty onset in girls.
article found hereLeave a reply
May 8, 2015 0
Slow & Steady
Davines is making major changes this year. It has updated all nine of its Essential Haircare families—they’re produced using energy from renewable sources with Zero Impact packaging and a reduced use of plastic. MINU is a new addition to those families, and it preserves color with its shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and hair serum.
Additionally, Davines is collaborating with the non-profit Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity by joining the Presidia Project; the non-profit builds bridges between ecology, gastronomy, ethics and good food and supports 10,000 small producers that grow plants typical of specific places.
Each family of the Essential Haircare line contains a single active ingredient from a Slow Food Presidium and features the story, face and name of the farmer who grew it. The goal is to kick-start smaller economies and prevent extinction of local artisan traditions.
Article and more found at: http://www.modernsalon.com/news/davines-new-minu-line-collaboration-presidia-projectLeave a reply
April 14, 2015 0
More and more research is showing that the key to lifelong good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine” — making simple changes in diet, exercise and stress management. To help you turn that knowledge into results, we’ve put together this manageable list of health and wellness action steps.
We asked three experts — a naturopathic physician, a nutritionist, and a personal trainer — to tell us the top five simple-but-significant lifestyle-medicine changes they recommend.
Besides giving you three different takes on how to pick your health battles, this list gives you choices you can make without being whisked off to a reality-show fat farm — or buying a second freezer for those calorie-controlled, pre-portioned frozen meals.
James Rouse, N.D.
Naturopathic physician, triathlete, chef, author and host of TV’s “Optimum Wellness,” health-tip segments featured on NBC affiliates in several major cities.
1. Think positive and focus on gratitude
Research shows a healthy positive attitude helps build a healthier immune system and boosts overall health. Your body believes what you think, so focus on the positive.
2. Eat your vegetables
Shoot for five servings of vegetables a day — raw, steamed, or stir-fried. A diet high in vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix, esophagus, stomach, bladder, pancreas and ovary. And many of the most powerful phytonutrients are the ones with the boldest colors — such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, grapes and leafy greens.
3. Set a “5-meal ideal”
What, when and how much you eat can keep both your metabolism and your energy levels steadily elevated, so you’ll have more all-day energy. A “5 meal ideal” will help you manage your weight, keep your cool, maintain your focus and avoid cravings.
4. Exercise daily
Did you know that daily exercise can reduce all of the biomarkers of aging? This includes improving eyesight, normalizing blood pressure, improving lean muscle, lowering cholesterol and improving bone density. If you want to live well and live longer, you must exercise! Studies show that even 10 minutes of exercise makes a difference — so do something! Crank the stereo and dance in your living room. Sign up for swing dancing or ballroom-dancing lessons. Walk to the park with your kids or a neighbor you’d like to catch up with. Jump rope or play hopscotch. Spin a hula hoop. Play water volleyball. Bike to work. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a hike.
5. Get at good night’s sleep
If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Or eat a small bedtime snack of foods shown to help shift the body and mind into sleep mode: whole grain cereal with milk, oatmeal, cherries or chamomile tea. Darken your room more and turn your clock away from you. Write down worries or stressful thoughts to get them out of your head and onto the page. This will help you put them into perspective so you can quit worrying about them.
Christina Reiter, M.S., R.D.
Resident consulting dietitian at the University of Colorado–Boulder Wardenburg Health Center for Nutrition Education and Therapies and former director of the nutrition program at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
1. Check your food ’tude
What we eat and how we feel are linked in very complex ways. A healthy approach to eating is centered on savoring flavor, eating to satisfaction and increasing energy, rather than focusing on weight. Check your balance of low-calorie foods, nutrient-dense foods (providing many nutrients per calorie), and foods that are calorie dense but nutrient poor. Most Americans need to eat more fresh whole foods (in contrast to processed, highly refined foods). Try to add more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes into your meals. Pair these carbohydrate-rich foods with a healthy fat or lean protein to extend satisfaction.
2. Eat like a kid
If adding more fruits and vegetables sounds ominous, look to “finger food” versions that preschool kids love — carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grapes, berries and dried fruits. All are nutritional powerhouses packed with antioxidants.
3. Be a picky eater
Limit saturated fats and trans fats, and aim to eat more foods rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to cut your risk of cardiovascular disease and maybe even improve depressed moods. The equivalent of just 1 gram of EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid) daily is recommended. Eating cold-water oily fish (wild salmon, herring, sardines, trout) two to three times per week will provide both EPA and DHA. Adding up to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and eating meat, milk and cheese from grass-fed animals will provide you with a healthy dose of omega-3s.
4. Use foods over supplements
Supplements are not a substitute for a good diet. Although many health experts recommend taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement that provides 100 to 200 percent of your recommended daily value, each and every supplement should be carefully evaluated for purity and safety. Specific supplements have been associated with toxicity, reactions with medications, competition with other nutrients, and even increased risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
5. Get satisfaction
Both eating and physical activity are fun, sensory experiences! In both, aim for pleasure — not pain. Pay attention to the nutritional value of the foods you choose to eat, as well as your sense of satisfaction, relaxation, tension, exhilaration and fatigue when you sit down to eat. Check in with yourself as you eat, rekindling your recognition of hunger, fullness and satisfaction when considering when and how much to eat.
Rick Olderman, M.S., P.T.
A physical therapist and owner of Z-Line Training in Denver, Colo., offering rehabilitation, personal training, Pilates instruction, motivational injury-prevention seminars, employee fitness program development and custom foot orthotics casting.
1. Give yourself a break
“I spend countless hours doing cardio and never seem to lose that last 10 pounds!” is a common complaint I hear from clients. Give yourself permission to shorten your workout. Believe it or not, overtraining could be the problem. Your body can plateau if not given adequate rest to restore itself, ultimately leading to a decline in performance. Fatigue, moodiness, lack of enthusiasm, depression and increased cortisol (the “stress” hormone) are some hallmarks of overtraining syndrome. Creating a periodization program — breaking up your routine into various training modes — can help prevent overtraining by building rest phases into your regimen. For example, you might weight train on Monday and Wednesday, cycle on Tuesday and Thursday, run on Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. You can also help balance your program by simply incorporating more variety.
2. Think small
Often the biggest deterrent to improving health is feeling overwhelmed by all the available advice and research. Try to focus first on one small, seemingly inconsequential, unhealthy habit and turn it into a healthy, positive habit. If you’re in the habit of eating as soon as you get home at night, instead keep walking shoes in the garage or entryway and take a quick spin around the block before going inside. If you have a can of soda at lunchtime every day, have a glass of water two days a week instead. Starting with small, painless changes helps establish the mentality that healthy change is not necessarily painful change. It’s easy to build from here by adding more healthy substitutions.
3. Keep good company
You can do all the right things — but if you have personal relationships with people who have unhealthy habits, it is often an uphill battle. The healthiest people are those who have relationships with other healthy people. Get your family or friends involved with you when you walk or plan healthier meals. Making healthy changes with a loved one can bring you closer together as well as motivate you.
4. Make a list … and check it twice
Take a few minutes and write down all the reasons you can’t begin an exercise program. Then look at the basis of each reason. For instance, if you wrote, “No time” as one of your reasons, then perhaps that’s based on a belief that an exercise program takes a lot of time. Starting with even five minutes a day will have a positive effect because you will have created a healthy habit where one didn’t exist before, and that’s a powerful mental adjustment. A closer look at your list will expose those false beliefs hiding behind each excuse.
5. Sign up for an event
Let’s face it, exercising just for the sake of exercising or losing weight can get boring. Spice things up by signing up for an event like a run/walk race or a cycling ride where you can be part of a team. Doing so gives your workouts a new purpose, and it’s fun to be around others who are exercising just like you — not to mention that most events benefit nonprofit organizations, which doubles your feel-good high.
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March 24, 2015 0
Growing your own vegetable garden can do more than provide tasty produce—gardening can improve health, save money and even boost mood.
Community gardens, backyard plots, and even window boxes are gaining in popularity, and tomatoes are among the first seeds new gardeners plant. Whole generations of Americans have never eaten homegrown tomatoes—never experienced the beefy taste, the grassy aroma, the juiciness, and the silken texture of tomatoes right off the vine.
And the experience of eating your first fresh-picked tomato can be sublime. “I’ve had people tell me it was the best tomato they’ve ever eaten, and they’re probably right,” says Jeff Moyer, farm director of the Rodale Institute. It can even be life changing, sending you hunting for new healthy recipes (though we’ve got six tasty ones right here!) and boosting your veggie intake. These six women are proof that gardening can make you happier and healthier.
Gardening can save your…waistline
Michele Owens, 51, Saratoga Springs, NY
Michele Owens is in good shape chiefly because she gardens. Although she runs for exercise in the winter, she finds the sport to be mind numbing and probably would have given up on it by now if she had to do it year-round. And Owens says she’d never go to the gym to lift weights. “I’m bored to tears at the gym, but I’m never bored gardening, and I’ve been doing it for twenty years,” she says. “It’s a really complete form of exercise attached to a huge sense of accomplishment.” Every April, when Owens trades her running shoes for garden boots and starts mulching and planting, she inevitably drops 5 pounds, and the weight loss lasts all summer long. As her crops ripen, they require less work. But on April and May weekends, she’s in her 1,900-square-foot garden for up to 5 hours a day—hauling more weight and doing more squats than she’d ever do at the gym.
Gardening can save your health
Hope Anderson, 35, Grand Island, NE
Hope Anderson hated tomatoes before she planted some herself. “Now I eat them right off the vine, they’re so sweet,” she says. She started her vegetable garden last summer, in part to make sure that she and her family ate a varied, healthy diet. And it’s working. Anderson has even caught her three kids sneaking tomatoes right out of the garden (just like their mother!). This spring, they begged to pick out their own seeds and eagerly helped Mom plant seedlings. Son Bretton, 11, chose carrots, while his younger brother, Bradley, 10, went for watermelon. Their sister, Mystic-Sage, 6, will be planting her own row of corn. Anderson added kohlrabi, pumpkins, asparagus, strawberries, cucumbers, and lettuces to the mix. And, of course, Roma and cherry tomatoes—lots of them. (Toss ’em all in our spring food recipes.)
MORE: Easy Tips for Pain-Free Gardening
Gardening can save your…planet
Anita Ferry, 50, Los Angeles, CA
Anita Ferry lives in an LA apartment with her boyfriend of 13 years and her 81-year-old mother. But she makes the most of her limited space—planting containers by her front door, growing mushrooms on the dining room table, sprouting seedlings under a grow lamp on her balcony, and tending boxes on her building’s roof. She also farms a 400-square-foot community garden plot 3 miles from home. “I love knowing exactly where my food comes from—and how it affects the world in return,” she says.
Ferry finds the community garden’s composting culture very inspiring, and she estimates that at least 30% of her household waste now goes straight to her compost bin. “Composting should be made mandatory for every household, so we can cut down on all the landfills and heal our soil,” she says. “I save all my vegetable trimmings, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags and add them to my compost, which in turn goes back into the soil in my garden to help nourish the delicious food I am growing.”
Gardening can save your…mental well-being
Anne Costello, 44, La Grange, IL
Anne Costello advises attorneys for a busy law firm on the technological aspects of their cases—a hectic, around-the-clock job. She’s also mom to two daughters, ages 7 and 10. When she gets stressed out, Costello retreats to her backyard garden for relief. “I always feel better getting outside and digging in the dirt,” she says. “Plus, gardening is a solitary, meditative experience that I crave. I love that I can share the garden with my family when I want to, but it can also be just for me.” And she relishes seeing things grow. “My work is so abstract and long term, but the garden gives me a definite end result,” she says. Last summer, her family’s house flooded so badly that they were forced to rebuild and have been living in a rental property, without a garden. “It was the most stressful year of my life, and I gained a lot of weight,” she says.
“I cannot wait to get back to my own home and my garden.”
Gardening can save your…bank account
Gayle Bowe, 32, New Paltz, NY
Gayle Bowe and her husband, Justin, are new parents and novice gardeners. Before their baby was born earlier this year, they decided to change their lifestyle—to create a healthier environment and more solid financial footing for their growing family. They turned to their neighbor, Jean, a lifelong vegetable gardener, to help them dig a garden that would feed their family—including ready-to-puree produce for their new baby, Henry, now 5 months old. “Organic baby food is expensive: on average, $1.50 per jar,” Bowe says. She estimates that they’ll save at least $300 this year by preparing their own organic purees. “And as far as Henry goes, I want nothing but pure, untainted goodness,” she says. “Processed baby foods are cooked at high temperatures that destroy some vitamins. Making my own will ensure that he gets all the nutrients he needs, without any extra starchy fillers, sugars, or salt.” (See which fruits and veggies you should always buy organic.)
Gardening can save your…community
Asenath Andrews, 60, Detroit, MI
Twenty-five years ago, when Asenath Andrews founded Catherine Ferguson Academy—a Detroit public school for pregnant teens, as well as teen mothers and their kids—one of the first things she did was plant a garden in the school yard. “If you’re somebody’s mother, you’re supposed to be able to feed your kids,” she says. “The only way to guarantee that is to garden.”
She’s also helped develop an urban gardening program that teaches at-risk students nutrition, construction, marketing, cooking, and farming skills. The program benefits the greater community, too—students sell fresh, organic produce from their 2-acre garden at the school’s farm stand once a week and at Detroit farmers’ markets on weekends. “Gardening has clearly given these girls skills and values they can carry with them forever,” Andrews says.
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March 8, 2015 0
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March 2, 2015 0
The Nutrients Your Hair Needs
Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician
Healthy hair relies on certain essential nutrients, including protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, biotin and vitamins A, C, E and D. Eating a healthy balanced diet should provide you with all these nutrients, especially if you include these top ten foods for healthy hair.
Salmon and tuna are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, but even though they’re rich in omega-3 fats they’re not high in total fats or calories. Add salmon or tuna to a fresh green salad or enjoy them as sushi. Canned tuna and salmon can be kept on hand and used in a number of recipes. Herring, sardines and trout are also rich in omega-3s.
Spinach, Swiss chard and kale are excellent sources of vitamin A, iron, calcium and vitamin C. They’re also low in calories so they’ll also help you keep a trim waistline. Use raw green as a base for your salads or sauté them with a little olive oil and garlic and serve as a healthy side.
Almonds, pecans and walnuts are rich in plant proteins, biotin, minerals and vitamin E. Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eat raw walnuts as a snack or top your salads with toasted pecans. Sprinkle some almonds on green beans or other cooked veggies.
Sweet potatoes and yams are packed with vitamin A, plus they contain vitamin C, iron and calcium. Serve whipped sweet potatoes as a tasty side dish or bake sweet potatoes and top them with a little molasses, which adds even more calcium.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and biotin, and they contain vitamins A and E iron and calcium. Eggs produced by hens fed special diets, called ‘omega eggs’ are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Dry beans, lentils and soy are rich in protein, zinc, iron and biotin. Baked beans can be used as a topping for baked white or sweet potatoes. Or serve lentil soup with a fresh green salad.
Oysters are extremely high in zinc plus they’re a rich source of protein. Enjoy raw oysters on the half shell, prepared as Oysters Rockefeller, or make oyster stew for dinner.
Dairy products are high in protein, vitamin D and calcium. Go with low or non-fat milk and cheese to cut back on some of the calories. Serve Greek yogurt with honey, berries and nuts for a delicious breakfast or healthy dessert. Alternatively, milk made from almonds, soy or rice is also a good choice.
Red bell peppers are high in vitamins A and C, plus they’re super low in calories. Top a salad with raw red pepper slices. Roast them with an assortment of veggies or add them to a stir-fry.
Beef is an excellent source of protein and zinc. It can be high in fats and calories, so choose a leaner cut like a filet mignon. Grass-fed beef has a better fatty acid profile. Add thin slices of steak to a salad or use lean cuts of beef in a stir-fry.Leave a reply