Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's up with nitrates and nitrites?

I have to admit that I have been pretty lazy about nitrates and nitrites.  I know they are in some of the foods that I eat and I know the general vibe is that they are bad. 

What are they?
  • Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are two closely related chemicals used for centuries to preserve meat.
What foods are they primarily in?
  • Often found in cured meats including hot dogs, sausages, bologna, ham, bacon and deli meat. It is also found in pepperoni, corned beef, salami and canned meats.  My favorite deli meats use nitrites -- Boar's Head Brand is kind enough to have their nitrite rebuttal posted online if you want to check out their stance (and the American Meat Institute). 
Are they bad? How bad?
  • When nitrite combines with compounds called secondary amines, it forms nitrosamines, potential cancer-causing chemicals. The chemical reaction occurs most readily at the high temperatures of frying. Nitrite has long been suspected as being a cause of stomach cancer. 
  • Here is a good article, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/f-w00/nitrosamine.html
Are there worthy alternatives?
In a way, I am mostly thankful for pioneering health advocates.  Without them blazing the trail household brands like Hormel may not have seen the opportunity in offering a 'natural' product line.  A battle line will likely be forever drawn between the old-school-nitrate/nitrite-safety-advocates and the vegan-or-100%-nitrate/nitrite-free-posse. 

But, for now, our purchasing dollars can be spent silently driving demand and this influence will steer the market into offering healthy alternatives.  Eat well and shop smart.

Monday, December 27, 2010

B Complex

I used to joke that the last thing I needed was to "B" more complex.  Wrong again...

B vitamins are worthy of a long post; however, my intent is to highlight one area that recently caught my attention.  Deficiencies of vitamins B6 and B12 and folate can prevent homocysteine from converting rapidly enough. 

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced in the body in the course of methionine metabolism.  Homocysteine has been the focus of increasing attention in recent years because high levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  Further, it is known that homocysteine has a toxic effect on cells lining the arteries, makes the blood more prone to clotting, and promotes the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL -- "bad cholesterol"), which makes it more likely that cholesterol will be deposited as plaque in blood vessels.

If high levels of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage cell membranes and blood vessels and potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Vitamin B6 and B12 and folate work together to facilitate the breakdown of homocysteine and thus help protect against heart disease.

Balch, Phyllis.  "Prescription for Nutritional Healing."  Amino Acids.  Homocysteine, p. 49.

A Favorite Book

I love this book.

This book makes me curious...

This book is empowering...

This book is a first step.

This books make me wants to eat better and be healthier.

I would like to buy everyone a copy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aligning Goals

Do you have a list of goals? 

People have all sorts of advice for goals.  What works for you?
  • Written goals
  • SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely)
  • Varying time horizons - 30, 60, 90, 180 days & 1, 3, 5, 10 years
  • Balanced and multi-dimensional:
    • Physical (e.g., weight loss, exercise, makeover of hair/clothes, etc.)
    • Mental/wealth/liberty (have more money, travel, job promotion, school/grades)
    • Spiritual (yoga, reading, quiet time, contributing to the community, whatever inspires)
    • Emotional (being more connected to friends, family, letting go, balance work/life, etc.)
  • Visualization - to think is to create
For me, I often step back and ask what do I want more of?  What do I want less of?  How can I align my goals so they support each other?  For example, it seems counterintuitive to want more money and a trip across the world.  It is always possible but the goals are somewhat in conflict, right? 

Personally, some of my goals were to spend time relaxing with family, be healthy, and travel.  This week we hit for the cycle.  First, we headed to the west coast.  Second, my husband competed in his first triathlon with his brother.  He trained for 2-3 months, looks great, and our daughters had an absolute blast cheering on Dad and their Uncle.  It was so cool to see my husband compete and train with his brother.  Third, all of this exercise aligns with eating well!  The homerun is an overall relaxing vacation with family. 

As we draft and re-draft our ambitions it is always good to create synergy by aligning goals over the short and long-term. 

You can be whatever you want to be...to think is to create.  How can I support you?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is Splenda splended?

My short answer: No.

Why is Splenda less than splendid?  First, chlorine.  Second, no long-term studies of the side effects of Splenda in humans.

To add confusion to the shopping list, the FDA issued a press release asserting that sucralose (Splenda) is "made from sugar."

What is Splenda?  It is not sugar...it is a synthetic compound discovered in 1976 by British scientists researching a new pesticide.  The Splenda molecule is comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms. 

Chlorinated sugar...yum. 

"While some industry experts claim the molecule is similar to table salt or sugar, other independent researchers say it has more in common with pesticides. That’s because the bonds holding the carbon and chlorine atoms together are more characteristic of a chlorocarbon than a salt — and most pesticides are chlorocarbons.

Once it gets to the gut, sucralose goes largely unrecognized in the body as food — that’s why it has no calories. The majority of people don’t absorb a significant amount of Splenda in their small intestine — about 15% by some accounts," Marcelle Pick.

There have not been long-term studies on Splenda's health effects.  The good news is that we can sit on the side lines and choose out of this public health experiment.

http://www.womentowomen.com/healthyweight/splenda.aspx

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Music

It is late today so I will say a lot without many words. 

Music can heal, shift energy, inspire, define -- it brings an edge to my days. 

I feel like sharing tunes today.  The word 'Yes' has a certain power to it too, right?

Snow Patrol - Just Say Yes

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chicken and Vegetables in a White Wine Sauce

This recipe was easy to prepare and completely rewarding.  My husband said it is officially one of our "go-to" meals.  My goal next time is to make it 60% vegetables and 40% protein. 

My favorite things about it:
  • relatively lowfat
  • tastes great with many alkaline vegetables
  • high fiber
  • one skillet meal (i.e., great week night meal)
Chicken and Vegetables in a White Wine Sauce
Ingredients
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp each of dried basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (2 chicken breasts total)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
4 cups bite size vegetables (baby bella mushrooms, broccoli florets, asparagus tips, zucchini)
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Minced fresh parsley, for serving

Directions:
In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine the flour, dried herbs, salt and pepper and stir with a fork to blend. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Using tongs, coat the chicken breast halves in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate; cover and keep warm.

Add the butter to the pan and warm until melted. Add the vegetables and artichokes to the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the white wine, chicken broth, and reserved tablespoon of flour; whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet, cooking until it is warm and slightly thickened. Return the chicken to the pan to warm through and cover with sauce. Serve the chicken with sauce spooned over the top, and garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh parsley as desired.

Adapted from Annies-Eats.com

New Favorite Things

I fell HARD for these two things in the last week: cell food and cucumbers.

CELLFOOD
Cellfood is the world's #1 selling oxygen + nutrient supplement.  It contains 78 minerals, 34 enzymes, and 17 amino acids. Also, cellfood utilizes a proprietary water-splitting technology that provides a powerful stream of bio-available oxygen plus 129 nutrients directly to the cells.

Most importantly...it helps detoxify the body and balance pH. It is so easy to use -- just add a few drops to your water.



CUCUMBERS
Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day!  Just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.  They are alkaline too to support your pH balance.

My new favorite snack list has expanded: raisins, almonds, and cucumbers.

Over 20 years ago, my best friend Katie taught me how to spruce up vegetables with just a few spices and sauces.  I think of her every time I eat my cucumbers especially with organic ranch and a little cajun seasoning.  Seriously good!  Thanks Katie -

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lisa finishes radiation!

I am so proud of my sister for plowing through six weeks of radiation treatments.  She has maintained such a positive attitude throughout the entire process. 

She traveled 240 miles round trip every day to her treatments and crossed two mountain passes.  Bondurant, WY to Idaho Falls, ID. 

I wanted to be with her every day.

Tomorrow is the start of healing and relaxing...her body has been mammogrammed, poked, cut, biopsied, radiated (feels like a sun burn), scanned...

Tomorrow her gift is to heal and feel good.  You are a champ big Sis.  Heal well.

Lisa's Blog

Sunday, August 1, 2010

NutraSweet - Day 3

We could spend one whole post on "how to file a complaint against NutraSweet" -- but the most simple and empowering choice is to check the label for aspartame and to not consume it.  Your purchasing dollars have power. 

Here is the short list of NutraSweet products: Trident, Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, Crystal Lite, Extra Gum, Diet Iced Tea, Diet Snapple, Starbucks sugar-free syrups, many yogurts, nutritional bars, sugar-free cocoa, some protein powders...the list is long and growing!

On aspartame.com there is a discussion on the third byproduct of aspartame: methanol.  They assert that, "the body handles methanol the same whether it comes from juice or from aspartame sweetened food.  It is absorbed in the small intestine and immediately converted to water and carbon dioxide."  If I could prove them wrong in court I'd be a millionaire, right?

Here is some interesting information:
  • Quick math implies that every 12 ounce can of diet soda contains 10-18 mg of methanol (180 mg of aspartame with methanol contributing ~10%). 
  • Fruits and fruit juices contain ethanol, pectin, folic acid, niacin, vitamin C, and B complex vitamins which naturally detoxify the methanol.  Ethanol is the standard emergency room treatment for methanol poisoning.
  • Without ethanol and pectin, methanol metabolizes into formaldehyde and formic acid.
  • Formaldehyde and formic acid are highly toxic and known carcinogens.  Symptoms may include: headaches, dizziness, memory lapses, vision problems. 
  • An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic."
If anything, use this information to initiate your own research and draw your own conclusions. 

Woodrow C. Monte, Ph.D., R.D., "Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health," Journal of Applied Nutrition, 36 (1): 42-53.

Monday, July 19, 2010

NutraSweet - Day 2

The majority of NutraSweet is composed of phenylalanine.  Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid (i.e., our body cannot manufacture it independently and it must be obtained).  Phenylalanine is one of the most abundant amino acids and its primary food sources are meat and cheese.  Phenylalanine is involved with the central nervous system -- it can also elevate mood, decrease pain, aid in memory and learning.  

Fifty percent of aspartame is phenylalanine.  That means that one 12 ounce can of diet soda may contain 90 mg of phenylalanine. 

Phenylalanine is normally found in the brain but excessive levels can be dangerous and can lead to schizophrenia, depression, and higher risk of seizure.  In large quantities it may interfere with the production of serotonin and cause amino acid imbalances.

The best information I could find on the adult daily requirement of phenylalanine is 14 mg per kilogram (or 950 mg for 150 lb person).  Simple math implies that a 150 lb individual could have 10 cans of diet soda a day without consuming "excessive" amounts.  That being said, most individuals consume multiple sources of the amino acid (for example: meat, cheese, other sugar-free products). 
I scanned nearly six websites for the most recent stats on how much soda U.S. consumers are drinking.  The middle of the range is 4-6 cans of soda a day.  It is highly likely that many people are hitting the maximum daily intake of phenylalanine. 

Typically, amino acids are consumed in combination and not in isolation.  When phenylalanine is consumed in isolation there is a much higher likelihood that it will cross the blood brain barrier.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NutraSweet - Day 1

The most commonly used artificial sweetener is aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet).  It is the sweetener in most diet drinks, gum and sugar-free products.  Over the next few posts I will break down the main components in aspartame and their possible side effects. 

Forty percent of aspartame is aspartic acid. 

Ideally, aspartate acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, as with other excitotoxins, too much aspartate in the brain can be harmful to some brain cells when they become over stimulated or over saturated. Slow damage of neurons can lead to Parkinson's disease and memory loss as well as many other neurological problems.

The blood brain barrier, which normally protects the brain from excess aspartate as well as toxins,
1) is not fully developed during childhood,
2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain,
3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and
4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.

The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. 

Possible symptoms may include: headaches, migraines, nausea, fatigue, sleep problems, vision problems, depression, and memory loss.

Source: Mark D. Gold, Steven Wm. Fowkes and Ward Dean, M.D.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Have 6 minutes?

Here are some healthy vibes...about six minutes worth (turn your speakers on).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vR4CQq4HMg&feature=related

Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with stage III testicular cancer when he was 25.  The cancer had spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain.  Because he ignored warning signals (for three years) his chances of survival dropped as low as 40%. 

After surgery and chemo the cancer went into remission. 

We all know what he has accomplished since then...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vegetable Soup

My husband probably thinks I am crazy because I made vegetable soup on the 4th of July.  I cannot explain why this sounded so good to me, but I did not fight the urge!   I have no doubt the grill will be put to good use tomorrow...

I have made this recipe twice and it is great because it is easy to prepare and there are usually leftovers.  Leftovers double as a quick mid-week meal and a freezer store-for-later meal.  There is a link below for fabulous dinner rolls too.


The Best Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Coarse salt and pepper
3 - 14.5 oz cans of low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 -28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
8 cups of vegetables (choose your favorites: potato, green beans, peas, corn, zucchini, carrots)

Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently for five to eight minutes. 

Add broth, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Add vegetables to pot, and return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Let cool before storing.

Source: http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Best-Vegetable-soup-Recipes

Favorite dinner rolls (and favorite recipe blog):
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-dinner-101-the-rolls.html

H2O options

Here is one great thing about improving the water flowing through 70% of our bodies...we can make a big difference without spending a ton of money.

There is part of my personality that wants "the best" solution that solves "100%" of my H2O dilemma...but I have to remind myself that stressing out about it is not exactly "healthy."

So, I make small steps and learn along the way. One thing I know for sure is that I will eventually buy my Alka-Life 3000 SL (and I will be grateful).

Bottled water
Bottled water is usually classified by its source (spring, spa, geyser, public water supply, etc.), by its mineral content, or by the type of treatment it has undergone (steam-distilled, reverse osmosis, etc.). 

Artesion: Well water

Bottled drinking water: Fit for human consumption with about 25% coming from a municipal source (i.e., the same water supply that flows through our taps).

Deionized: Removal of electrons which removes nitrates, calcium, magnesium, and heavy metals.

Mineral water: Water with at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids.  Be aware, mineral type will vary between brands.

Natural spring water: This really means that the mineral content has not been altered.  It may or may not have been treated or filtered.

Steam-distilled: Distillation vaporizes water by boiling it.  When the steam rises, it leaves behind most of the bacteria, viruses, chemicals, minerals, and pollutants.  The steam is then moved into a condensing chamber, where it is cooled and condenses to become distilled water.  As mentioned in prior posts, if you are concerned about the lack of minerals try this Liqumins ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops, Low Sodium, 8-Ounce Bottle.

On a personal note...
I have been drinking steam distilled water for over ten years.  It is delivered to my home in five gallon containers twice a month because I got tired of lugging gallons home from the grocery store.  Most big name water distributors (e.g., Sparkletts) sell distilled water.

With my recent pH awareness, I discovered that my steam distilled water was acidic (sigh...).  Therefore, I now add these drops and create wonderfully alkaline steam distilled water.  The bottle lasts awhile because one glass of water only requires a few drops.

Hydrate and hydrate well...happy 4th!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

H20 Treatment Methods

I really wish we could have an expert guest post about all aspects of H20 because I am a passionate part-timer that learns new things every day.  For now, it is likely best to get everyone on the same page with water treatment methods...

Activated Carbon
Water is filtered through a carbon trap that absorbs the contaminants.  This reduces chlorine, herbicides, lead, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds ("VOCs").  Price ranges between $20 and $1,250 for faucet-mounted or pour-through unit versus a whole-house system.

Carbon filtration
Passes water through a charcoal or solid carbon block and captures contaminants.  When carbon sites fill up, the filter cartridge is replaced.  This reduces chlorine, organic chemicals, and pesticides.  Price ranges from $25 to $300 and up for a faucet-mounted unit versus a under-counter unit.

Distillation
Raises water temperature to boiling, leaving contaminants behind.  Purified water vapor condenses to liquid.  When the steam rises it leaves behind most of the bacteria, viruses, chemicals, minerals, and pollutants.  For those concerned about the lost minerals, Concentrace mineral drops from Trace Minerals is a great option. Distillation reduces levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, orin, lead, giardia cysts, nitrates, and sulfate.  The cost ranges between $99 and $4,500 for a countertop unit versus a whole-house system.

Reverse Osmosis
Forces pressurized water through a contamination-rejecting membrane; sends improved water to holding tank.  This reduces levels of arsenic, cadmium, iron, chlorine, lead, giardia cysts, nitrate, radium, and sulfate.  The price ranges from $150-$1,500 for a countertop unit versus a under-sink unit.

Water softener
Replaces calcium and magnesium with sodium to "soften" the water.  Also reduces the amount of iron and radium.  A whole-house system can range in price from $950-$3,500.

It is great that many of the options above provide long-term solutions (investments) to home water treatment methods.  In my dream world I would install a water softener, reverse osmosis, and a whole-house distillation unit next month. 

Water is involved in nearly every bodily process from digestion and absorption to circulation.  Nobody would wash dishes in a sink of dirty water...we should not have to "live" in dirty water!

There are other quick fixes that carry many of the same benefits listed above. The next H20 post will walk through some easy to execute ideas.

Source: Phyllis A. Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York: Avery, 2000.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

I came across a couple of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's research articles tonight and thought I would share the link.  I thought he did an excellent job speaking both as a doctor and a father about pesticides and other environmental concerns.  Take a few minutes to poke around his site!
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2010/toxic.america/

Hope everyone is having a healthy, productive week.  Happy summer solstice.

My sister Lisa started her radiation last Thursday.  Keep sending her healthy, positive and healing thoughts.  She is so awesome and found a gym right next to her radiologist.  I told you she was amazing! 

I can't wait for my next post when I will cover solutions to tap water.  See you then.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

H20

With nearly 70% of our body composition being water, we are truly "bodies of water."  Could we go as far as saying that we are what we drink?  If so, what can we do to ensure that our bodies are flowing with the cleanest and most pure water...

Reliable and pure water seems fundamental, right?  I think most people assume that our tap water is safe despite horrifying headlines about tainted water supplies.  Remember Erin Brockovich (the gutsy woman who uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric was poisoning a small town's ground water for 30 years with toxic Chromium 6).  Did anyone hear about the Marines at Camp Lejeune (their website is tftptf.com -- the few, the proud, the forgotten -- the water provided to the Marines and their family was highly contaminated with multiple toxic chemicals).

There are numerous types of classifications of water and the average consumer can easily be confused about what is available.  So, let's start the water discussion about common classifications:

Tap water:
Water from household taps that is generally from surface water (pond, creek, stream runoff which is collected in reservoirs) or ground water (extracted by a well).  About half of the tap water in the U.S. comes from surface water, 35% from municipal wells, and 15% from private wells.

Safety of tap water:
There are definitely a few things to be aware of with tap water.  There may be radon, fluoride, arsenic, iron, lead, copper, and other naturally occurring heavy metals.  Other concerns are pesticides, industrial chemicals, fertilizers, asbestos, cyanides, and herbicides which can leach into ground water from the soil.  Water can also contain viruses, bacteria, and parasites.  Often chlorine, carbon, lime, phosphates are added to public water supplies. 

Even if levels of individual substances are within allowable limits, the total of all may still be harmful to your health.  Private wells may not be regulated at all.

Biggest concerns with water
Chlorine: Chlorine is added to public water supplies to kill diseases-causing bacteria.  The levels of chlorine in drinking water can be quite high, and some byproducts of chlorine are known carcinogens. 

Pesticides: Pesticides pose a risk where tap water is extracted from the ground (well water).  These chemicals are suspected of causing, or contributing to, an increased incidence of breast cancer.  Some scientists believe that certain pesticides mimic estrogen in the body.

Municipal reporting
If you receive water from a municipal water source, they are required to send an assessment of the water and core contaminants. 

But...
More than one-third of community water has been cited for failure to meet the EPA's water safety standards, monitoring, or reporting requirements.  Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law issued a study in 1988 entitled Troubled Waters on Tap: Organic Chemicals in Public Drinking Water and the Failure of Regulation.  The report identified 2,100 contaminants in tap water.  According to a study released in 1995, 54 million Americans drank tap water that was contaminated by feces, radiation, lead, or dangerous parasites between '93-'94.  In 2007, Federal officials began studying the effects of pharmaceuticals (pain killers and depression medicine) in our water supply and how they are causing bizarre mutations to wildlife.

Source: Phyllis A. Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing.  New York: Avery, 2000. 
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition

Check back tomorrow for water solutions...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blood type game day 2

Hey everyone.  I promised to follow-up on the blood type game and guess food that may make you feel energized and vibrant.  Here goes...

Blood type O:
If you had teriyaki chicken, white or brown rice, and a salad you may feel energized.  If you ate steak for breakfast it might not make you feel tired at all.

Blood type B:
A bowl of oatmeal with bananas and a side of yogurt may be the perfect way to start your day off right.

Blood type A:
You could eat a bag of peanuts at a ballgame and it may not phase you.  Raw vegetables and fresh pineapple may be your favorite whole foods.

Blood type AB:
If you ate tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables you may lose weight.

Here is the link to the blood type book: 
Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal

The GenoType Diet, the sequel to Eat Right 4 Your Type, is posted above.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blood type game

The post from yesterday introduced the blood type diet and Eat Right 4 Your Type.  For those of you not familiar with the blood type diet, I thought I would try to guess some foods that might not make you feel 100%. 

Oh yeah, if you do not know your blood type you can order an at home test strip.  If you are not brave enough to prick your skin (it is harder than I imagined), ask your doctor to do it next time you are in.
Eat Right 4 Your Type Home Blood Typing Kit with Eldoncard.

If your blood type is A:
A rich, creamy tomato based lasagna with ground beef and a glass of red wine may make you feel less than 100% -- more like 25%. Oh yeah, milk might make you phlegmy.  Phlegm is not an easy word to spell :)

If your blood type is O:
A bowl of raisin bran with cow milk or a side of eggs with OJ and milk might make you want to climb back in bed for a nap.  You may feel just fine after steak (or that lasagna) for lunch.

If your blood type is B:
You may be able to handle all dairy products except ice cream which might make you feel sleepy or awful.  A plate of chicken parmesan (chicken and tomato sauce) could make you feel sluggish or you may have trouble digesting it.

If your blood type is AB:
I have actually only talked to one AB person about the blood type diet and she could not believe how the blood type "fit" her eating quirks.  She loved lemon water, hated ketchup, disliked corn, gained weight if she ate meat, and could not drink milk.  This blood type is called the enigma and it is the rarest and youngest blood type (only 2-5% of the population).

Check back tomorrow.  I will walk through the blood types again listing "highly beneficial" examples.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blood type and food

I had chronic ear infections until I was 21.  Sometime in the middle of my 21st year my Mom introduced me to the blood type diet (Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo) and I was a little skeptical about the connection between blood type and diet. 

The basic structure of the book is that it breaks down each blood type by food groups (e.g., breads, meats, spices) and places each food (e.g., Ezekial bread, beef, black pepper) into a category:
     1. Highly beneficial (like medicine to our body)
     2. Neutral (like food to our body)
     3. Avoid (like poison to our body)

What initially intrigued me about the blood type diet is that most of the foods I don't like were on my avoid list.  For example, I love all meat (and O's thrive on meat) but I have never liked pork (the only meat that O's are supposed to avoid).  There are more examples, but you get the point.

I decided to only eat foods in the "highly beneficial" category for three weeks.  I didn't notice anything spectacular during my trial run; however, when I reintroduced certain foods by body went on strike.  I ate graham crackers (wheat) and broke out in a rash around my mouth -- it was very cute.  I had milk and it took me three days to recover. 

The coolest and most unexpected results were noticed over the longer-term:
1. I did not feel sluggish anymore after I ate (the post-lunch sleepy coma or the post-Sunday-breakfast-must-take-nap-now-feeling)
2. My ear infections disappeared
3. I lost my last five pounds of chubbiness that I could never get rid of.  It literally felt like it melted away.

The book does a great job explaining the science behind blood type and diet.  I have been following the diet for 12 years and it works for me. 

It is one idea to explore if you are looking for more connections between nutrition and healing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Alkaline Salad Dressing

Thanks to my mother-in-law (Betty Mellon) and sister-in-law (Paula Mellon) I have gotten more creative with my salads.  I used to do the same boring salad and by week two I was over the whole veggie experience.  I honestly love my salads now & will share my favorites.  I would LOVE for you to share your favorite salads.  You can email me at seattlemelissa@gmail.com or post them in the comments below.

The one thing that bothered me about my salads was that my salad dressing was acidic.  In one recipe, I used balsamic vinegar. In another, I used seasoned rice vinegar.  I pretty much knew that any good I was doing with my alkaline veggies was completely offset by my acidic dressing.

Just tonight I discovered this recipe for alkaline salad dressing and I could not wait to share:
1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/2 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
Dash of salt and cayenne pepper

Here are my favorite salads these days:

Salad #1:
Romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced avocados, sliced green onion, and artichoke hearts (these are not alkaline but I love them too much). 

Salad #2:
Spring mix lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, red onion, sliced radishes, sliced cucumbers, sliced carrots.  Sunflower seeds are also alkaline.

As an aside, I was checking out store bought salad dressings today.  I was appalled at the rotten ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated everything, monosodium glutamate, Red #40, etc.  It blows my mind that salad dressing contains this stuff.

Small changes in our lives will make a big difference in our health.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Barlean's Nutrition

In my last post I introduced my favorite nutritional supplement: Barlean's Greens.  In general, green drinks are good detoxifiers and blood cleansers.

Over the next few days I want to go into more detail about Barlean's ingredients and discover exactly what they accomplish in our bodies.  Sound like fun?  

Just so everyone knows -- I am not a paid spokesperson for Barlean's.  I just happen to love their product, want to share it, and learn more about its awesome ingredients.

Green Food
In just one heaping tablespoon of the Barlean's Green powder there are land greens concentrated at 1500% totaling nearly 3,500 milligrams!  The land greens include organic barley leaf, organic wheat leaf, organic oat leaf, spinach, and parsley. 

Organic barley leaf
Barley is high in calcium, iron, all of the essential amino acids (important for vegans), chlorophyll, flavonoids, vitamin B12, vitamin C, many minerals, and enzymes.  It heals the stomach, pancreatitis, and is an anti-inflammatory.

Organic wheat leaf
Excellent source of beta-carotene, calcium, chlorophyll, fiber, iron and vitamin K. It is also a very good source of protein, vitamin C, vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin B6, trace minerals and contains all essential amino acids. Lastly, it helps alkalize blood (pHabulous).

Organic oat leaf
Rich in Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and minerals.

Spinach
Spinach is one of the most beneficial vegetables. It is filled with vitamins, proteins, anti-oxidants and essential nutrients that promote overall good health and well-being.  It is an excellent source of vitamin A (good for eyes) & choline and inositol (good for blood arteries).

Parsley
Most of the nutritional value of parsley comes from Vitamin C and A.  Some herbalists also think that parsley helps reduce high blood pressure. 

What is a flavonoid A powerful antioxidant and also has anti-cancer agents like carotenoid which may help prevent the formation of tumors.

Why is chlorophyll important?  It contains protein (great for vegans), all of the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, amino acids. It is virtually a complete food.  It contains more vitamin B12 than liver.  Lastly, chlorophyll can help clean the bloodstream.

Did I mention that there are only 30 calories in one heaping tablespoon? What a serious bang for your buck.  In more ways than one, this is truly a superfood

Here are the links if you want to see the packaging or purchase:
Barlean's Organic Oils Barlean's Greens, 9.3oz Container (powder)
Barlean's Organic Oils Barlean's Greens, 240 Count, 12oz Bottle (capsules)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Introducing: Barlean's

This is by far my most favorite nutritional product: Barlean's Greens.  As often as possible, I get supplements from food or food based products and I have tried many green drinks over the years.  I have tasted some that were beyond gross and could make me gag just smelling them.  However, this product ranks number one because of its flavor, consistency, and ingredients.  Over the next few days I will cover what the ingredients accomplish nutritionally. 

Since replacing my double tall soy vanilla latte with Barlean's Green drink, my pH levels are alkaline and I am vibrant & finally running on all cylinders.  If the thought of  a green drink is intimidating, try the capsules (link is below).

Barlean's is manufactured in Ferndale, WA. The majority of the ingredients are organic. It is a winner of the Vity Awards.

I can't say it better than the manufacturer, so here you go:

"Barleans' Greens - Nature's Perfect Superfood.  Purify - Alkalinize - Cleanse.  Green superfoods are revered for supporting the purification and cleansing of vital organs, body tissues, and blood supply.  Barlean's is nutrient dense with a deep, emerald green color.  Barlean's has a sweet taste and scent of natural green leaves and cereal grasses.  It is the absolute best tasting green superfood

Masterfully formulated with nature's most vitalizing plant-based ingredients -- providing broad spectrum, nutritional support for your vibrant health and energy."

Cheers.  This stuff rocks and it has for ten years.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Be. Do. Have.

I took a class over ten years ago where they talked about the Be Do Have principle.  If we "be" the thing called centered (or calm, healthy, focused, or whatever) then we start "doing" things from this place of beingness -- soon, what you are doing brings you what you have always wanted to "have." 

It makes intuitive sense, right?  Be. Do. Have.

It is easy to fall into the Do Have Be camp.  If we do these certain things we will have these certain things and then we will be this certain way.  Sound familiar to anyone?  If I go to the gym five days a week I will have a tight body and then I will be healthy or happy.  If I work overtime I will have more money and then I will be happy. 

What about Have Do Be examples?  If I have this fancy car I will drive it all the time and I will be happy. 

Don't get me wrong there is not a good, bad, right, or wrong way to operate.  There is a time and a place for everything.  I know perfectly successful people who operate in one or many ways of being and can shift between them when necessary.  It's a beautiful thing.

Since this blog is really about a road to health, I wanted to lay a strong foundation.  For instance, if someone began to manage food rigidly but lost the pleasure of eating in the process, they don't achieve full wellness.  If someone adheres so closely to a fitness regimen that they lose the joy of movement, that would not be healthy either. 

People may make many changes to their eating or exercise habits.  The changes should be something that are enjoyable and aligned with the ultimate goal of wellness.

Click here for this shirt:


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Alkaline foods

Is it just me or does it take effort to eat vegetables?  Until recently, it would take a month for me to meet the daily recommended number of servings. 

Vegetables had this stigma with me for years -- salads meant high fat dressing; store bought veggies meant good intentions thrown out (rotten) a week later; and peeling, chopping, and dicing meant precious time.

I convinced myself for two weeks that my pH strips were broken when they came back glowing, radioactive yellow (acidic).  pH strips broken, ha. 

I decided one day to eat a ton of vegetables to prove my theory of busted pH strips.  Guess what happened.  Yes, my pH strip came back green (alkaline).  I was overjoyed at the results, shocked, and hooked on this new veggie pHenomenon. 

Alkaline foods
Alfalfa
Beets
Cabbage
Carrots
Peas
Celery
Garlic
Lettuce
Onions
Cucumber
Radishes
Spinach
Cauliflower
Green Beans
Cayenne Pepper
Sprouted radish or chia seeds
Asparagus
Wheat grass
Zucchini...and many more!

There are so many fun ways to prepare them and I look forward to exchanging new, fresh ideas.  Veggie sandwiches, veggie omelet, sauteed veggies...this is making me hungry for a midnight snack.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to check your pH

The greatest thing is that each of us has the power to measure and improve our pH.

How do I measure my pH?
You can purchase pH test strips online and they will be shipped straight to your home. The package is small enough to fit in your vitamin or medicine cabinet, on top of your toilet, next to your toothbrush, in your purse...wherever you can easily grab them.

The package has easy to follow directions, but here is a synopsis: swab it on your tongue or pee on it (hopefully not both...especially not in the reverse order). Testing your pH is so rewarding because the little tiny test strip will immediately change colors.

The best news is that pH strips are inexpensive and you get 90 in a jar!  Do yourself a favor, make an investment in yourself and buy them now.

This picture shows example results:
Green = Alkaline (celebrate, do a little dance)
Yellow = Acid (get to work)

Here is the healthy thought, "Thank goodness that we got the news today, or tomorrow, or whenever Amazon drops off your pH test strips. Thank goodness we can start improving your pH now. We are empowered to make small changes which will make a big difference in our lives."

Check back tomorrow for alkaline ideas, inspiration, and support.

Monday, May 24, 2010

pH is about pHeeling better

Health information is out there but we must crave it.

Anyone can Google "major league baseball" or "american idol" or "senate passes wall street reform." I realize that "alkaline food" is likely not the hottest topic on Twitter. But, I would argue, that it should be. Can we make a pH food revolution?

It is so easy to eat acidic: cheese, beans, meat, coffee, soda, beer, fried food, and most juices.

It is not as easy to eat alkaline: raisins, mixed greens, veggies, pineapple, nuts.

Why should we care about our pH? Too much acid can cause: constant fatigue, lower body temperature, tendency to get infections, loss of enthusiasm, depression, nervousness, pale face, headaches, teary eyes, sensitive gums, leg cramps, dry skin, burning scalp, and hair loss.

Moreover, there are many people who believe that acidic environments permit cancer to grow.

You can check your pH through saliva or urine. Or both. As many times as you want. Invite your friends over and have a pH party. Toast yourself with some black cherry juice, alfalfa green drinks, and raisins. Yum!

Welcome to Healthy Vibe!

My sister Lisa inspired me to start this blog. How could my healthy, vibrant, beautiful, and creative 36 year old sister be diagnosed with breast cancer?

She never smokes, does drugs, nor drinks excessively. Lisa exercises and takes great care of herself. The cancer calculation was not adding up in my analytical mind.

I didn't know what to do when Lisa called me and told me her diagnosis, but I knew that I needed to get out of my office for the afternoon.

Over the next few days I discovered several things. First, I don't see my sister enough. Second, I needed to become an expert on stage II infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Third, it was time for me to bring my healthy vibe to life somehow. So, here I am.

Lisa -- my awesome sister -- has her own blog and it is filled with creativity and first hand experience that all of us will benefit from.

Please visit it here: http://takingyourlumps.blogspot.com/
Send healthy, healing thoughts to Lisa!

The purpose of Healthy Vibe is to discover -- learn -- educate -- inspire -- support -- create -- do anything I can in connection with health.