Read more “15 Reasons to Eat Organic Food”
1. Organic food is higher in nutrients. In study shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.
2. They’re free of neurotoxins–toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.
3. They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies. Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults. Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).
4. They are real food, not pesticide factories. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Research shows that these seeds may continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.
5. Buying organic helps reduce pollution in our drinking water. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic farming is the best solution to the problem.
6. Organic food is earth-supportive. Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future. Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.
7. Independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent farmers. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.
8. Most organic food simply tastes better than the pesticide-grown counterparts.
9. Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).
10. Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk.
11. Organic food supports wildlife habitats. Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides.
12. Eating organic may reduce your cancer risk. It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides.
13. Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you.
14. Organic food is tried and tested. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetic modification of food is still experimental. Avoid being part of this wide scale and uncontrolled experiment.
15. Organic food supports greater biodiversity. Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity.care2
Read more “15 Reasons to Eat Organic Food”
Read more “15 Medical Tests Every Woman Should Have”
Medical screening tests are a great way to stay on top of your health. To help make it simple, there is a list of the most important medical tests every woman should have — along with what age to start and how often to repeat. Here’s to routine maintenance for your health.
Cholesterol screening/lipid profile
Cholesterol is a type of fatty protein in your blood that can build up in your arteries, so knowing how much cholesterol is present is a good predictor of your risk for heart disease. There are two kinds of cholesterol: HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, and LDL, or low-density lipoproteins. And women need to pay close attention to cholesterol levels, because they tend to rise after menopause. If you were already high or borderline before or at menopause, there’s cause for concern. These test a good for you every five years. If testing reveals your levels are high, your doctor will recommend retesting every six months to one year.
Blood pressure check
It seems simple, but checking your blood pressure regularly is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health, present and future. When your blood pressure readings are higher than the cutoff of 140/90, it puts stress on your heart, leaving you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Many experts believe 120/80 is a healthier target to shoot for. Once a year if readings are normal; your doctor will recommend every six months if readings are high or if you’re taking medication to control hypertension.
Doctors check your tolerance for glucose absorption, which means how readily your body digests sugar. Diabetes puts a unique burden on women. Many women get diabetes while pregnant, and it’s dangerous for both mother and baby. It is good for you to get diabetes screening every tree years.
Bone density test
It is good for you to get bone density test every five years. Osteoporosis happens when minerals such as calcium begin to leach from bones, thinning and weakening them. In women, this often happens as a result of low estrogen levels after menopause. A specialized X-ray called a DXA (dual-energy X-ray) will screens your spine, hips, and wrists.
Vitamin D test
Recently, doctors have realized that vitamin D is a key nutrient that helps maintain strong bones and protect against cancer and infection. This is important because women are at such high risk for osteoporosis; 80 percent of those with bone loss are women. You want your reading to be between 30 and 80 nanograms per milliliter; some experts advocate 50 as the lower limit.
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
Colorectal cancer, which is cancer of the lower part of the intestines, is curable in 90 percent of all cases — as long as it’s caught early. And screening tests that look inside the colon, called colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy, are the secret to catching it early. Many people mistakenly think of colon cancer as a man’s disease, although it strikes women equally with men. Flexible sigmoidoscopies should be repeated every five years, and a colonoscopy should be repeated every ten years.
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
Although it sounds otherworldly, the word occult simply refers to the fact that this test checks for blood in the stool that’s not visible to the eye. This test is considered key to catching colon cancer early; currently more women than men are diagnosed with colon cancer that’s already at an advanced stage. An FOBT is used to check for intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Skin cancer screening
Younger women in particular need to be educated about skin cancer; many women mistakenly believe men are more likely to get skin cancer, but the rise in popularity of tanning beds and some outdoor activities has caused skin cancer rates to rise among younger women. The number of women under age 40 with basal cell carcinoma, one type of skin cancer, has more than doubled in the last 30 years and women under 39 are almost twice as likely to develop melanoma as men. Experts recommend conducting a personal “mole check” once a month in the shower to look for unusual growths or changes to existing moles.
Eye exam and vision screening
Whether you have problems seeing at a distance or close up, you need regular eye exams as you age to check the overall health of your eyes. Women are at a slightly higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common eye health problems. Every one to three years between the ages of 18 and 61, it’s good for your health; after that, as often as your doctor thinks is necessary depending on what’s happening with your vision.
Hearing test (audiogram)
Fourteen percent of adults between ages 45 and 64 have hearing loss, and by the age of 60, one in three adults is losing hearing. Yet many people go years before getting tested, primarily because hearing tests are voluntary. Although men are more likely to develop hearing loss in general, certain conditions that are more common to women, such as lupus and other autoimmune diseases raise the risk of hearing loss.
The thyroid, a small gland in your neck, regulates your body’s metabolic rate. Women are at higher risk for most types of thyroid disease, probably because of hormonal factors. If your thyroid is overactive, a condition known as hyperthyroidism, your metabolic rate is too high. Symptoms include insomnia, weight loss, and overactive pulse. If you’re hypothyroid, it means your thyroid is underactive and your metabolism will be slow and sluggish. This usually leads to fatigue, constipation, and weight gain. It’s recommends a thyroid test every three to five years after the age of 35.
Screening for metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that put you at increased risk for both diabetes and heart disease. The screening involves checking for a list of issues and, if they’re present, recommending additional tests. It’s good for you every three to five years, along with cholesterol and diabetes screening.
Pelvic exam and pap smear
Although many younger women are now being vaccinated against the HPV strain that causes cervical cancer, women who were past the age of 26 when the vaccine was introduced still need to be alert for this deadly form of cancer. Sadly, cervical cancer remains the second leading cause of death from cancer for women worldwide, and the familiar pap smear remains the preventive screening test of choice. It’s recommended to take a test every year, although some doctors will allow you to go two to three years between exams if all your results have been normal.
Physical breast exam
Checking your breasts for lumps, thickening, skin changes, and nipple discharge is the best way to be vigilant about preventing breast cancer. You can do this exam at home in the shower, but doctors also recommend having breast checks performed by an expert as well. Experts recommend home breast exams once a month; it’s usually best to do them just after your period ends, when breasts aren’t as tender or sore.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and the mammogram remains the most basic tool used to screen for tumors, aside from physical examination of the breasts. Every year, disregard recent controversy over mammogram frequency until final recommendations are issued.care2
Read more “8 Morning Activities to Keep You Present All Day”
Ever notice that our morning moods tend to set the tone for the rest of the day? If we feel well-rested and inspired, our day tends to unfold far more positively than if we were to wake up sleep-deprived, rushed and cranky. One way to make an investment for a positive, inspiring day is to start our mornings fully aware of the present moment.
Here are seven possible morning activities to create a mindset of present awareness that will give you the mental and spiritual alertness to truly appreciate the beautiful fleeting moments that you will discover on your own for the rest of the day.
1. Meditate in the morning, even if it’s only for five minutes. As soon as you get out of bed, sit in a comfortable position (away from your bed, to avoid the temptation of going back to sleep). Rather than mentally rushing through the daily to-do list or remorse over your poor quality of sleep, allow your mind to soak in the subtle noises that can only come from the start of a brand new day. Do you hear birds chirping, other family members cooking breakfast? Focus on your in breath and out breath, one lungful of air at a time. Do this every morning, and your days will feel sharper, clearer and more full of life.
2. Do a dry brushing cleanse before you hop into the shower. I started doing this several weeks ago, and I am officially hooked. All you need is a long-handle wooden brush with natural bristles (I bought one with cactus bristles from The Body Shop) and about five to ten minutes of your time. Before you shower, use the brush on your dry skin to exfoliate your skin, invigorate your circulation and help your lymphatic system do its job. Doing this in the mornings is not only invigorating, it also helps me become fully aware of my own body and appreciate everything that it does.
3. Massage lotion on your hands and feet. Just like dry-skin brushing before I shower, massaging lotion on my hands and feet is a soothing physical sensation that keeps me rooted in my body and not in my thoughts.
4. Really look at your coffee and tea (and other breakfast drinks). Yes, really. When you are pouring milk into your coffee, pay attention to the swirls the milk makes on the dark liquid surface of your drink. When you drop a tea bag into boiling water, watch the tea ingredients create a mist in the clear water. Smell your coffee. Savor your orange juice. Whatever you drink in the morning, it is just as alive and deserving of attention as everything else you do in your life.
5. Exercise in the morning. So much easier said than done! This is why I paid money to do yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:45 in the morning. If I know there is a class I have to go to on a specific day, then I will force myself out of bed to do it. Getting your heart beating and your body moving early in the day gives you the natural high to stay focused and present for the rest of your long and busy day.
6. Water your houseplants. I didn’t think much about houseplants until I moved in with a college friend who happens to own a fantastic collection of houseplants, potted herbs and other lovely, green, leafy things. Sharing your breakfast with a potted plant on your kitchen table really makes you appreciate the minor miracle that exists even in the most commonplace living things. Seeing new leaves uncurl, watching older leaves wilt, noticing the subtle changes the plant undergoes with the changing weather–it really puts things in perspective and helps you stay present.
7. Journal, draw, play an instrument, listen to music. Be creative. I’ve found that being creative in the morning is one of the best ways for me to feel present for the rest of the day. Before I begin the rest of my day, I make a point to spend at least a half hour to drawing in my sketchbook–because making art is my passion and it is the activity I can lose myself in doing. Why wait until I am tired at the end of the day to do what I love?
8. Wake up consistently early. Early is subjective for everyone, depending on the kind of schedule you have. (I tried joining the 5AM club for maybe two weeks before realizing that it is really impractical for my own personal schedule.) For me, “early” is whatever time that is not the easiest to wake up to, but well worth the effort to do all the things in the morning–be it journaling, exercising or cooking a big breakfast– that will help you feel truly alive and focused for the rest of the day. Here’s to more inspiring mornings that will make you feel present and fully aware of the precious life you are living right this moment. Yumi Sakugawa @ care2.com