By Natural Advocate | February 28, 2009 - 11:08 am - Posted in Foods

I was reading the most interesting article the other day about a woman in her eighties who lived through the Great Depression that started in 1929, living in the Great Plains where farming was also failing, and farming methods were bad so not only was everyone dirt poor, but their were also huge dustbowl storms they had to deal with.  She says that the Depression made people have to be tougher and stronger, and made them become self reliant, with many people starting to grow their own foods, even slaughter their own animals for meat, and canning their veggies and growing their own fruit trees.

She said that she also doesn’t think that people today have the capability for that same kind of toughness, and I would echo that sentiment, except I think that people will surprise you when faced with extreme conditions, especially when they are forced to either grow their own food or possibly starve to death.  Not that I think this current economic situation is going to get as dire as that, but I’m just saying that already people have started to demonstrate creativity and gumption when faced with losing jobs and other aspects of dwindling assets.

It would be easier to grow your own food if, of course, you lived in a temperate climate like Florida or even on the west coast in California or Oregon, but here in Ohio, I’m afraid I’d be relegated to all greenhouse growing, my friend!  The winters are stingingly cold and punishingly long, and the sunlight is sometimes scant for months at a time.  I know that I can grow certain things though.  I can grow strawberries, mint, and tomatoes, but I’ve never tried anything else.

My next venture into growing my own food is going to be cucumbers, since they are a great addition to salads, and I like just eating them on their own too.  They’re also a very alkaline food, and help to neutralize any excess acid in the body, and they are almost zero calories, so really they’re the ideal food.  Not to mention, they are really really good when they’re home grown, there’s just nothing that compares.

By Natural Advocate | February 26, 2009 - 4:49 pm - Posted in Foods

One of my favorite healthy snacks to have is grapes.  I especially love them when they’re plump, a deep purple color, and juicy and sweet.  There are only a few select months that grapes seem to really be at their firmest and best tasting, and that so happens to be in the winter months, which is strange, and then there also seems to be a few months or even just a few week window in the summer where grapes tend to taste really good.  Right now, grapes happen to still be at their firmest and sweetest, so I’ve been getting them every trip to the grocery store since I take full advantage when they taste their best.

A lot of people who are dieting say that taking a bunch of grapes and freezing them is a great little sweet snack that’s frozen for when you’re watching your weight too.  Not only are grapes low calorie and good for dieting, but they are also juicy and flavorful, and you don’t even mind eating something so healthy because they taste so darn good when they’re really in season.  I grew up eating grapes and lots of other fruits, I’m one of the lucky kids whose parents really taught them that eating vegetables and fruits was rewarding and tasty, so I still have a taste for fruits and vegetables naturally, which helps me a lot with weight maintenance and staying healthy.

Grapes are packed with antioxidants, and they contain chemicals in them that are also known to help fight cancer, or at least thought to do so.  They are also used in a variety of wines, so people get their fill of grapes when they drink their wine too, and also get a healthy dose of antioxidants and a variety of other healthful chemicals that help to keep the digestive tract healthy.  Red wines are supposed to be the healthiest type of wine to drink because it is thought that dark grapes contain more nutrients and anitioxidants than white grapes, which are also tasty, but may not have the same disease fighting, health promoting properties as red and purple grapes.

Many times the grapes I buy say they are grown in Chile, which is a big exporter of grapes, and now is also becoming a big wine maker, but there’s also a good chance the grapes you buy may be local, especially if you live in California.  Heck, even my alma mater of Ohio is known for quite a few vineyards and wineries in certain regions that are ideal for growing grapes.  Grapes really are one of the best tasting and most convenient snack fruits you can get, so if you’re trying to increase your fruit intake, try grapes now, you won’t be disappointed.

By Natural Advocate | February 23, 2009 - 10:34 am - Posted in Medical News

Flu shots have been found to be a safe and effective means of preventing the flu from spreading among the population by the Center for Disease Control.  The recommendation for the flu shot used to be for the elderly and for children with health problems that put them at increased risk for complications from the flu.

Recently, the CDC has bumped the recommendation for the flu shot to include all children from age 5 to age 18.  In addition to that recommendation, they have expanded it to include all health care workers.

In the future, there is a possibility of making the flu shots mandatory for all health care workers and for all children.   People in favor of this cite the benefit that scientifically it is an effective way of reducing the transmission of the flu among children and in health care settings.

Opponents of the concept of mandatory flu shots cite concern over the long term safety of the flu shot since it must be given every year.  For parents with children, the worry is about the cumulative effect of the preservative, thimerosal, which contains mercury.  Although studies done independently and by the government state there is no link between thimerosal and autism, parents remain skeptical.

Another concern for opponents of mandatory flu immunizations is the fact that the flu vaccine changes every year therefore the safety may not be constant from one year to the next.  Many argue the point , also, that there is inadequate data on the effectiveness of the flu shot on very young children.

I, personally, would like to see the flu shot remain on a voluntary basis as it is now.  Each of us should have the personal freedom to weigh the benefits and risks of health care as we deem appropriate for ourselves and our children.

By Natural Advocate | February 22, 2009 - 1:14 pm - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

I’ve recently written at length about a new natural remedy for hives that uses the basis of homeopathic medicine healing to help clear up hives.  Hives can be caused by any number of factors, including but not limited to stress and anxiety, emotional distress, and allergies, among other things.  Sometimes the exact cause of hives cannot even be determined in some people, and doctors are left to diagnose and treat something blindly, hoping that different remedies will work.

The new remedy for hives uses sublingual sprays of a healing, nourishing formula to help address the internal problems that cause hives to break out on the skin, helping people with this embarrassing and sometimes even somewhat debilitating, and of course very uncomfortable problem.  Read more about this natural hive treatment if you’re curious, or if you have ever suffered from hives.  It’s always good to educate yourself.

By Natural Advocate | February 21, 2009 - 11:19 pm - Posted in Foods

Americans are becoming more health conscious and are always looking for better foods to include in their diet to improve their well being.  As a result, there are debatable food trends that have pros and cons regarding their impact on our physical health and on our environment.

Most of the time, moderation is the key and maintaining a variety in your diet is of utmost importance.  One of the foods in the limelight recently for some health benefits is actually chocolate.  Chocolate used to be thought of only as”junk food” because of it’s high fat and sugar content.

In moderation, recent studies have shown that chocolate has lots of antioxidants and also has chemicals that improve your mood. That’s good news for any chocolate lovers.  Another food group that has become controversial lately is pasta and breads.  With the popularity of the low carbohydrate diets recently, refined carbohydrates have been linked to obesity and other serious health risks.

Again, moderation is the key here.  When consuming breads or pastas, try to stay with the whole grain varieties and limit your portion size.  Bottled water is another item that we consume at a rapid rate and is the subject of some controversy based on environmental concerns.  Bottled water is not necessarily healthier water as many brands consist simply of filtered municipal water.

Environmentally, many of these empty bottles often wind up in landfills.  Drinking plenty of water is definitely a good healthy habit, but you could benefit as easily by filling a reusable bottle with filtered water from home.  Another controversial food is eggs.  Eggs were a staple of the American diet in the 50’s and 60’s and got onto the list of foods to avoid in the 70’s and 80’s due to their cholesterol content.

Eggs do have a lot of nutrients, protein and vitamins.  If you don’t overdo how often and how many you eat, eggs can be a part of a nutritious balanced diet.  Swordfish, which is highly nutritious and has a wonderful flavor, disappeared from food menus in the late 90’s.  This occurred because of concern about the sustainability ecologically of swordfish.  Now, the swordfish population has grown again and it’s back on the menu so you can consume it guilt free.

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