Tuesday, November 24, 2009

5 Ways to Eat Healthy for Less

Everyone is looking to eat healthy for less in this economy, which is a great idea, but have you noticed how the grocery store seems to conspire against you in that area? Do you ever wonder why Twinkies and doughnuts cost far less than whole grain cereals, healthy vegetables, and lean meats?

Luckily, it is possible to eat healthy and inexpensively, despite the fact that unhealthy foods tend to be cheaper than healthy foods.

5 Ways to Eat Healthy and Not Break the Bank
If you walk down the aisles in your local grocery store and really calculate the cost per serving between the healthy foods and unhealthy foods, you'll find a definite price difference. But here are 5 places you can save money as you shop for healthful diet choices.

The difference between the price of olive oil and a less expensive oil, like corn oil, looks significant if you look at the price per bottle. Yet olive oil is so much healthier for your body than corn oil. These days you can find olive oil for about $8 per liter. If you use just 2 tablespoons per day for salad dressing or cooking, the cost is about 50 cents a day. If you just can't stomach spending that much money on cooking oil, another inexpensive and healthful option is canola oil, which has less flavor but is healthy for you.

This is one area where cost and healthfulness actually line up with each other. Experts agree that eating large amounts of red meat isn't healthy, which is fine, because red meat tends to be more expensive. Healthier options, like chicken, turkey, and some kinds of fish, are less expensive. Choose white meat over red meat whenever possible, and splurge on red meat once in a while. This plan will keep both your body and your bank book healthy.

You can also consider plant-based sources of protein. For instance, whole grain rice combined with beans makes a complete protein. Another rich source of protein is blue-green algae (AFA or aphanizomenon flos aquae), which is 60% protein and contains all eight of its essential amino acids in perfect balance for humans. Beef, on the other hand, contains only 20-25% protein.

Fruits and Vegetables

While the price of fruits and vegetables is higher than it used to be, these foods deliver much-needed nutritional value with few unwanted ingredients (like sugar). The USDA estimates that in most parts of the country you can still buy 7 servings of fruits or vegetables for about 75 cents. I'm not sure if that's true or not where you live, but here are some sample servings of fruits and vegetables so you can judge for yourself whether those costs are in line:

1/2 cup apples, carrots, broccoli, or romaine lettuce
1/8 cup raisins
1/2 cup grapefruit juice

The price difference between whole grain products and non-whole grain products is actually fairly small, since many food manufacturers are putting emphasis on producing more whole grain products. Consider the cost difference between brown rice and white rice. The per-bag cost difference may be about $1, which means the per-serving cost difference is much less. You get a whole lot of health benefit with whole grains that are definitely worth the price.

This is where I see a lot of people overspending and not getting as much value as they could for their money. Many people buy multi-vitamins and then supplement it with enzymes, probiotics, and inorganic minerals (like magnesium and calcium). I prefer to use whole food sources of vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. These daily packets that contain two forms of blue-green algae, enzymes, acidophilus, and bifidus are the ones I favor.

This complete package not only gives you a protein-rich source in a convenient capsule form, but also provides all the enzymes and probiotics so your body absorbs the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. Plus, 97% of the algae can be used by the human body, which is a far higher percentage than for inorganic minerals. The cost is about $1.25 per day.

What You Won't Buy

I'm sure you've noticed the gaping holes in this list of foods above: chips, snacks, sweets, and other junk. They cost less to buy, sure, but they contribute nothing positive to your health and can definitely detract from it. If you skip buying junk food, except for every now and then, you'll find that your food budget will expand. You'll easily be able to afford healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and even the occasional steak for special occasions. Eating healthy doesn't have to be crazy expensive, it just requires a little forethought before heading to the grocery store.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to Get the Goodness of Mother's Milk Without Mom

It is really never too late to have a happy childhood, even if you are an adult! I say this because a lot of what contributes to a happy childhood is solid nutrition, specifically the nutrition that is present in mother's milk.

Mother's milk, as researcher Karl Abrams points out, "is that precious fluid created to uniquely prepare use for the long and special human journey." In other words, it's good stuff and a lot of people miss out on it early in life.

Luckily, there's a solution to this problem which doesn't involve going back in time. Instead, it's all about discovering what's so special about mother's milk, and knowing where to find these substances.

What's So Nutritionally Special about Mother's Milk?
Along with providing a great deal of nutritional and immune support as well as nurturing, mother's milk contains two specific ingredients that are very important to a happy childhood and to healthy adulthood: gamma linolenic acid and bifidobacterium. Both of these are extremely important early in life to a healthy immune system as well as for a strong sense of self-esteem. Let's take a look at each of these individually.

Gamma Linolenic Acid
Gamma linolenic acid, also called GLA, is an essential fatty acid that is critical to healthy cell membranes as well as the release of neurochemicals necessary to feel "up" and happy. Children who are breast fed get a rich source of GLA, and as such get a great "mood boost" the whole time they are nursing. Research suggests that a lack of GLA is one contributing cause of colic, nervousness, or fretfulness in babies.

In adults, just a small increase in GLA can create profound physiological changes, including:

- better mental attitude
- reduced depression
- help in weight loss
- improved skin tone
- mental clarity and alertness
- improved mood
- decreases high cholesterol levels

Although GLA is a very rare substance, you can find it in abundance in blue green algae (aphanizomenon flos aqua, which means "invisible living flower of the water" when translated from Greek). Roughly 10% of the dry weight of AFA blue green algae is GLA, which makes it a very rich source.

GLA is also found, in lesser concentrations, in evening primose oil, borage oil, and of course, mother's milk. Back in the day, GLA was probably the substance responsible for evening primrose oil being called the "King's cure-all" in England.

This friendly bacteria, also called bifidus, is one of the biggest sources of immunity during a child's first two years of life. It's no wonder that it is present in mother's milk as well as in the birth canal during birth. This bacteria lives mostly in the large intestine (colon). In fact, in breast-fed children, 99 percent of the bacteria in the colon is bifidus.

This population of friendly bacteria decline as we age, and studies have linked this decline to a general decline in health as well. And it's no wonder. In studies, bifidus was proven to prevent the growth of certain viruses and bacteria in the body, and has even proven effective against toxic shock syndrome and nitrite toxicity. This is especially important if meat is part of your diet, since many meats contain high levels of nitrites and can eventually lead to toxicity.

On a mental-emotional level, bifidus is linked with feelings of self-esteem, as well as feeling supported and nurtured in life. Many fearful or depressed people, or people with low self-esteem, often experience a dramatic change when they add bifidus to their daily regimen. Either they did not get enough bifidus during childhood, or the stresses of living have decreased the levels of bifidus in their bodies. In either case, supplementing with bifidus can create a strong positive change, both physically and emotionally.

So now you see why mother's milk is really a special substance, and so important to a happy childhood. What's even better is that you can re-create a lot of the "good stuff" in mother's milk as an adult, by supplementing with GLA-rich foods like AFA blue green algae and evening primrose oil, as well as bifidus. What a simple solution to having a happy childhood today and every day!

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