Thursday, February 28, 2013

Documentary of the Week: "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead"

This documentary literally transformed my family. I had grown up with my mom regularly juicing. It was typical to see carrots and apples whirring through the Jack Lalane and wheat grass growing in the kitchen. Then we moved away from this lifestyle for several years, it had become a distant memory. That is until we watched "fat, sick and nearly dead" two years ago.

This movie documents the inspiring lifestyle change of Joe Cross who is a successful business man in his forties. Along with his business success came a lifestyle that brought him to a place where he was literally fat, sick and nearly dead. He decides that he needs to take a definite measure to "reboot" his body, mere dieting would not be enough. A total lifestyle change is what he needs, and a 60 day juice fast to save his life is his first step in that new direction. Joe does his reboot in the United Staes; the first 30 days in New York City, and the next thirty days driving cross country. Reasoning for partaking in this juice fast are shared, and other people's experiences with juice fasting, at varying degrees, are shared.

Robin, my older sisters, life was literally saved after watching this movie. She had gone from being a super star athlete in high school to being fat, sick and nearly dead at age 25. Small attempts at dieting were made, or cutting certain foods out of her diet, but any weight she lost would come back on very quickly. It wasnt about dieting and restriction, she needed to "reboot" her system; retrain her food palette and body to crave nourishing food.

On a Wednesday Robin watched "fat, sick and nearly dead" and on a Thursday she bought a juicer and was on her own 60 day juice fast. She powered through some major detox and in the end got her life back. After her fast she adapted a plant powered diet, and two years later she is thriving.

I could go on about how wonderful this movie is, how it has effected me, my mother and my friends, but I think it best if you watch it for yourself.

Here you can watch it for free:

Juice on!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Healing Power of Tea?

So this past month I have taken the plunge into using organic herbal teas to help heal ailments, specifically ones pertaining to my lady parts (ovaries).

About six months ago when someone suggested taking raspberry leaf tea to help with my severe menstrual cramps it was as if they were speaking a foreign language. It seemed like a lot of work, and I was doubtful that drinking tea could really help. BUT my mind was open to the idea (anything so that I would no longer have to take an average of 6 Advil's every month to relieve my excruciating pain). So, I started with baby steps. First I started purchasing organic red raspberry leaf teas and when I drank tea, that would be the tea I drank (maybe 3-4 times a week). This flirtation went on for months until I decided to drink at least one cup a day (which I decided at the start of 2013). I had not experienced any results yet, but I had started researching and talking with people and learning that if done consistently people have experienced positive results.

This leads me up to the present time where I have decided that if I am going to use tea to heal that I would do it right and give it a chance to actually work. After extensive research I finally decided on a tea concoction that I would drink everyday. My new lady parts tea consists of red raspberry leaf, burdock root, motherwort and chaste-berry teas, all organic. I ordered the teas in bulk, along with reusable tea bags, and measure out 1 tablespoon of each into one tea bag. I have been soaking the bags in 4 to 8 cups of hot water and drinking it each day. I am at the very beginning of this tea journey, I have only been doing this for one week now. So far I can not praise or criticize the effectiveness of these teas.

Why these four teas?

About a month ago I was researching tea "recipes" and this one came highly recommended for ovary health and seemed simple enough. Then I read into each tea individually and discovered interesting healing properties about each of them. Below is some of the information I have come across:

Raspberry Leaf Tea:
-contains vitamin C
-contains calcium
-tones the uterus (strengthens the uterine wall while relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus)
-helps with heavy periods
-relieves symptoms of PMS
-Helps prevent dehydrations
-remedy for soar throat, irritation of oral cavity and gum disease
***warning for this tea: contradicting opinions on whether or not to drink while pregnant. Some say to not drink during first trimester, but to drink later in pregnancy to help with labor

Motherwort Tea
-helps ease menstrual disorder (mood swings, anxiety, cramps)
-helps ease menopausal discomfort
-mild sedative
-helps lower high blood pressure
-aids in Treating thyroid hyper function
-relives pain during childbirth
Possible side effects: DO NOT drink while pregnant, but good for labor
diarrhea, stomach cramps.
Blood thinner, hard to stop wounds from bleeding

Chasteberry Tea
-helps with menopausal symptoms
- helps with PMS (bloating, headache, irritability, depression and breast tenderness)
-helps with menstrual irregularity and infertility
-lowers prolactin levels, which regulates menstrual cycle and encourages normal ovulation
-anti cancer benefits. Killing tumor cells of various cancers; breast, ovarian and colon.
Possible side effects: DO NOT take while pregnant
dizziness, acne like rash, stomach upset
Interferes with oral contraception

Burdock Root Tea
-eases PMS symptoms
-diuretic, increases urine flow (allows toxins to exit the body)
-promotes perspiration, toxins exit through pores
-blood purification abilities
-contains iron
-contains vitamin C
-anti fungal and anti microbial properties
-helps get rid of gallstones and kidney stones
-lowers blood sugar
-clears congestion in respiratory, lymphatic, urinary and circulatory systems
-topically* used to treat skin disorders: acne, psoriasis and eczema
DO NOT take while pregnant, could cause miscarriage or birth defect
Over use can lead to dehydration (because of diuretic properties)

With this information in hand I am encouraged to give this tea an opportunity to see how effective it can be. I will post a update in three months to see how its going.

*** I have to note, I am not a doctor and if anyone's decides to implement healing teas into their lives they need to consult their doctor and do their own research, independent from this blog***

Friday, January 11, 2013

Who is Mayor Menino?

It has recently come to my attention that I do not know much about the man who holds a lot of power in this city that I love, Boston. In my quest to educate myself I have come across some interesting information.

Thomas Menino was elected mayor of Boston in 1993, he was the first Italian American mayor of Boston. He has also broken the record of longest serving Mayor in Boston, five terms. His appeal is that he is a "people's mayor." It is much more likely to find him in the streets of Boston then in his office. He has said that he has to talk to the people of the city in order to know what the current issues are. A survey was given in which people rated how well they like him as a mayor; one of the questions asked if they had met him personally and over 50% said that they have.

Consistently his focus has been on improving the city, one city block at a time. Some have commented that this is a foolish approach, that a mayor needs to focus on the big picture. This course of action has worked for him. Being interconnected with the people of the city and their needs has set the standard for any mayor who follows him, they will need to continue having a direct connection and focus on the people. Part of his plan is focusing on improving education and the economy.

Part of the reason why people of Boston can relate to him is because he does not come from a privileged background. Born and raised in Hyde Park he later went to UMass Boston. He has a very strong Boston accent and is often difficult to understand. It is not uncommon for him to mix up his words and say the wrong thing. This habit has earned him the nick name of "mumbles."

Though he is a generally popular Mayor, there are some controversial choices he has made that need to be noted. In 2008 Menino's administration was brought into question by the attorney general because they attempted to sell 200 acres of public parkland for development. In addition o this, his campaign strategies have also been questioned. Is is said that his allies make it near impossible for serious competitors to have work in the area, so they need to move away.

This brief introduction to this man has sparked a curiosity in me to pay attention to what he and his administration are currently doing in this city.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Amazing Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

I have recently started learning about the wonderful benefits of apple cider vinegar. Unrefined, cold pressed, organic apple cider vinegar can do some amazing things.

Topically it is great for acne. I have been applying this to my face daily and my skin is clearer than it has been in years.

It is also said to treat warts, and an apple cider vinegar bath soak is said to relieve the pain of a sun burn.

The next application I will be trying is an apple cider vinegar hair rinse. 1 tablespoon ACV mixed with one cup water rinsed through hair (after shampooing) is said to be a great conditioner that leaves hair shiny and more voluminous.

Drinking apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons each day, is said to do wonderful things for your health. It detoxes the body, balances your internal ph, assists in weight loss, helps with diabetes and with lowering blood pressure.

The trick to drinking it is, well, its not so yummy. One way I have tried drinking it is mixing it with warm water, raw organic honey and sometimes a cinnamon stick. This helps it to go down a little easier.

In addition to all of this, it can also be used around the house. In the dishwasher as a detergent, mixed with water in a spray bottle to clean surfaces in the house, and as a toilet rinse.

One simple item with the ability to do so much. I'm excited to incorporate apple cider vinegar into more areas of my life!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Sickly Economy is Caused by Sickly People

A great contributing factor to a sluggish economy is sluggish people. In his book "Thrive Fitness" Brendan Brazier highlights this simple cause that has the potential for great devastation.

It is becoming more and more clear that the U.S. is less competitive in the global market. This is greatly due to the American people being in a poorer state of health. In his book Brendan outlines how the economy declines as the health of the people declines. To start, sickly people are not at productive in their day to day work. Also, as more people become sick, there is a burden on the taxpayer healthcare system. This causes taxes to increase and a decrease in spending. There are other contributing factors, such as the shady mortgages that people were being sold, but the bottom line is that sluggish people lead to a sluggish economy.

Some very successful companies understand this. One of these companies is Google. Googleplex in Santa Clara, California has incredible amenities for its employees. Recreation facilities equal to those of a high end resort: swimming pools, gym's, beach volleyball courts and more. Most importantly they have incredible culinary options.There are multiple cafeterias with a vast varies of food, including vegan plant based options, raw foods and smoothies. In addition to all of this employees can order whatever they want, even if it's not on the menu.

Google isn't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They understand the return on investment, and that the bottom line has been great since they implemented this in 2003.

Each individual, whether they realize or not, is contributing to the health of this nations economy; whether we are helping to improve it or make it more sickly. Its our responsibility to be aware of this and in our own lives do what we can to bring about improvements. One person can not do it alone, but collectively a difference can be made.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gary Johnson for President

Gary Johnson is a third party candidate for the 2012 Presidential election. He is running under the libertarian party. Many people have not heard of him because he is excluded from debates and main stream media.

During college he started a one man handy man business, which then grew into one of New Mexico's largest construction businesses. He later became governor of New Mexico. When he entered office the economic situation in New Mexico was very bad, and when he left after his second term he left the state with a large surplus budget.

The main attributer to this is his record breaking use of the veto. He said with every bill he looked at the cost-benefit ration, and if it was not beneficial he would slash it. He decreased the size of the New Mexico government and did not raise taxes.

He is running for President on the libertarian idea that a smaller government allows the people the freedom to prosper.

As a voter, I feel that if he can make drastic improvements as the governor of a state, then he could do the same as the president of our country.

Unlike the other candidates for presidency, he has demonstrated the principles he is campaigning on, and has shown that they are effective.

With that said, my vote is for Gary Johnson in 2012.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Arsenic in the Rice

Recent analysis of brown rice, grown in the United States, is showing to contain an unsafe amount of arsenic. One of the main causes of this is the bodies that have been embalmed and buried underground for years and years. The arsenic from the embalming process is seeping up into the soil and making its way into the rice that we eat.

The FDA, as well as independent Consumer Reporters, are collecting data and testing the rice to see how much inorganic arsenic is contained within the rice. Both agencies found that some of the rice has more arsenic in one serving then what the Environmental Protection Agency states is safe for an entire quart of drinking water.

The FDA declined to name specific brands while they conduct more extensive research over the next few months. On the other hand, Consumer Reports released the name of the rice agencies that contained the highest amount of arsenic. They include Martin Long Grain Brown rice, Della Basmati Brown, Caroline Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown and Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Long Gran Brown rice.

Although the FDA advises consumers to not change eating habits, every individual needs to make that decision for them-self. In addition to avoiding rice itself, there are also rice cakes, cereal, cereal bars, rice drinks and even some juices that contain high levels of this arsenic rice.

It is essential that as consumers we are aware of what we are feeding both our families and ourselves.