By Natural Advocate | August 30, 2008 - 11:09 am - Posted in Foods

There are a few buzzword-foods that we all know are biggies in the no no department when it comes to keeping our cholesterol in check.  These foods are chock full of unhealthy saturated fats, and they can play havoc on your cholesterol levels – your bad cholesterol levels, that is, if you consume them too much. 

One of the biggest offenders, if consumed in more than moderation, is eggs.  Of course, the egg white is purely nutritious and has plenty of health benefits because it is nothing but pure, fat free protein, and extremely low in calories as well.  However, the egg yolk, which itself has some great nutrients and vitamins in it, can be bad when you consume too many of them.  This means that you should either eliminate or reduce the size of the yolk if you are consuming eggs, when you scramble or prepare them, and limit your consumption of this part of the egg if you can.

Another food that’s bad for your cholesterol regulation is bacon.  Not only is bacon high in saturated, cholesterol unfriendly fat, but it is also incredibly salty, which can add to hypertension (high blood pressure), and increase water weight gain, put more pressure on the heart.  It’s a good thing that trans fats are being reduced or banned in many foods or many locales also, because trans fats were a major offender in the battle against bad cholesterol. 

Trans fats are hydrogenated, which means they go through a chemical process that allows them to have a longer shelf life, and also makes them a little tastier, however eating trans fats really has no health benefits whatsoever, and in fact has so many detrimental effects to cholesterol levels and contributing to obesity that it has been banned in many cases by local governments in cities, and also has been banned in several foods by the makers voluntarily, like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food joints. 

By Natural Advocate | August 28, 2008 - 10:13 pm - Posted in Foods

Yeah!  Just for a brief jolt of energy, you may actually be risking damaging your heart, according to a study that was recently done which doesnt’ sound like it was a very comprehensive one, but it still leads me to believe there is some sort of concern that should be heeded when it comes to drinking these energy drinks.  I myself have experienced rapid heartbeat as well as numbing pains in my head that felt like they were directly in my brain that caused concern for me, and yet I thought they were relatively safe, so I would still drink them once in a while. 

Red Bull is a serious energy drink that contains a lot of caffeine, but also contains taurine and other energy boosters.  It has a metallic taste to it, and many are devoted drinkers because it does indeed produce a fast energy burst, however that energy burst, to me, is fairly short lived and inevitably ends with a letdown that leaves you even more tired than you were before. 

Some people for that reason actually drink more than one a day, and that may be extremely damaging if just one showed changes in the cirulatory system of test subjects that were congruent with changes in the blood flow and cardio performance that are similar to older patients. 

What they specifically found was that after subjects drank just one Red Bull energy drink, their blood became as they termed it “sticky”, which means it is easier for artery and vein clogging since the blood cannot move as easily through the organs, the veins, and the smaller pathways that blood takes to course through the body and nourish organs and the heart.  Since it causes the blood to be more sticky, who knows, it could even cause an elevated risk of stroke since stroke risk factors are often close to heart damage risk factors. 

The makers of Red Bull of course, emphatically deny that their beverage is harmful to the heart, but I wouldn’t expect anything different since this product has been a cash cow ever since it came on the scene only a few short years ago.   

By Natural Advocate | August 25, 2008 - 11:13 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Well, remember all the recent hoopla about the chemicals in plastic not being safe to drink out of or heat your food in microwaves with?  Well, it seems the good old FDA has claimed the chemicals in plastic are safe.  Well, I feel better now, don’t you?  And yes, I’m being facetious in case you missed that subtle nuance. 

There has been a lot of debate over whether plastic drinking bottles and other plastic containers, especially ones that we drink water out of, with certain numbers on them (plastics are graded with numbers on the bottom of the containers), may be able to leach harmful chemicals out in to the liquid we are carrying in them, especially if the plastic is heated, that can cause cancer and even autoimmune diseases are suspected.

This caused a lot of concern for me, since I was used to drinking my water out of plastic water bottles, which I would habitually leave in my car since I’m constantly thirsty.  They would become heated in the sun, and this was the worst thing that some said could happen, since the harmful chemicals were especially “leachable” when the plastic was heated.  Some think it may be responsible for the increased rates in breast cancers in women because it interrupts hormonal activity.  In short, there’s lots of speculation about what this leached chemical can do to the body when it is left to heat.

The chemical that many say is harmful is bisphenol A, which is used to make harder plastics, such as the popular Nalgene water bottles that many use for hiking and outdoor activities and sports.  Of course, Nalgene has even been pressured to stop making their bottles out of this controversial plastic.  However, now the FDA has cleared the plastic as being “safe”.

Parent groups have even rallied to have the chemical taken out of babies bottles which are made with the plastic hardening chemical which helps to make plastic more shatterproof, hence it’s appeal to manufacturers.  Many are really ticked that the FDA has found this chemical to be “safe”, since they say the FDA has relied on very unreliable data and that some of the best scientists in the world have run experiments that show clearly the chemical is harmful.

No telling whether there is going to be any more studied on this as far as the FDA goes.  I know one thing’s for sure, I certainly will still be drinking water out of my stainless steel bottle in my car from now on, don’t trust the FDA’s assessment, as I don’t in so many other cases. 

By Natural Advocate | August 23, 2008 - 6:38 pm - Posted in Smoking Cessation

There is a drug out that is said to be very good at helping people quit smoking, in fact so good that it has given the staple quitting smoking patch, the nicotine patch, a run for it’s money when it comes to success rates at getting people to cut the addiction to smoking.  However, Chantix definitely has some side effects that are a concern to say the least. 

Any drug that works on any center of the brain, to me, is cause for concern, since it seems like most drugs that have an effect on brain chemistry almost always have side effects that range from serious to catastrophic, take the strongest antidepressants on the market for example, which have proven to not only be hard to come off of for people being treated with them, but also have reported very serious side effects ranging from dementia to suicidal tendencies.

Chantix, although it has a great success rate compared to the nicotine patch which in my opinion is the more natural way to go, or of course our favorite recommendation is a natural quit smoking patch, has some seriously concerning reports of side effects.  The most common side effect of Chantix reported so far has been nausea, which of course isn’t fun, and kind of defeats the purpose of trying to quit smoking if you feel like garbage while on this anti smoking drug. 

However, it still does produce that nicotine-like buzz, which curbs the withdrawal effects of quitting smoking.  Now for the serious stuff, and that is that some users have reported suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and this is where the real cause for concern comes in.  The drug has been recommended to have warning labels on it that it may cause psychiatric side effects like depression and suicidal behavior. 

I’m just wondering how many users may have experienced this and not reported it also.  The numbers are almost always higher than reported on things like this because some people choose not to report them.  At any rate, quitting smoking is one of the most important things I feel I’ve ever done for my health, and I feel strongly now that it’s a huge health risk as well as a habit that can be easily weened if you have the proper backing. 

I will admit to the very occasional cigarette now and then, and we’re talking months between one, and I won’t even finish it.  It’s funny, it feels like you want it, but once you taste it, it truly tastes toxic, and you feel almost “dirty” when you’re done with it.  Weird how they used to taste so good to me…


By Natural Advocate | August 21, 2008 - 1:25 pm - Posted in Foods

I can now honestly (no pun intended) say that I have tried the most true tasting, fresh bottle tea there is on the market – at least that I’ve personally tried so far, in the organic brand tea called Honest Tea. I purchased the “Just Green Tea” one that has only 100% green tea and filtered water in it, with no sweetener or any added flavorings. It’s fantastic if you are a green tea lover.

Honest tea really does taste fresh and you can tell there are no chemical additives as there seem to be in brands like Lipton and Nestea bottled teas for example. Honest tea is not only great tasting, but for those of you who like to make socially conscious purchases, it is also fair trade certified, meaning that the folks that produce the tea get a fair shake, and it’s not harvested by kids or anything like that and is is made in a socially responsible manner.

Green tea is a great drink because it has 1/4 of the caffeine of coffee, and yet it still gives you (in my opinion), a superior boost of energy because it is not all at once, and it instead gives off a mild, steady flow of energy. Not only that, it is loaded with antioxidants that are great for you and help you defend against free radical damage at the cellular level so you can ward off diseases that are related to cellular breakdown and damage such as cancer.

The small bottles of Honest tea come in 16 oz., which is just perfect for me – not too much and not too little. I add a little fresh lemon juice and some stevia to sweeten it a bit, but it also tastes great on it’s own if you don’t mind a touch of bitterness.

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