Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Increase Energy with Good Mood Foods

We all do better at our jobs, relationships, and daily life when we feel good and energetic, so when looking for how to increase energy you can certainly turn to good mood foods. Eating good mood foods can affect the chemicals in your brain and affect your metabolism which boosts your mood and increases your level of energy.

Besides certain types of foods that are good mood foods, eating breakfast, eating small meals throughout the day, exercising, and staying hydrated can also boost mood and energy levels. Drinking water and eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help keep you hydrated which stabilizes your metabolism and energy level. Eating a breakfast with fiber from whole grains, one of the good fats and lean protein will give you more energy throughout the whole day. Eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of the 3 basic heavier meals helps stabilize your blood sugar levels which keeps your energy and mood levels up during the day. Staying active and exercising can also increase your energy and mood for the day. Exercise releases endorphins which are feel good chemicals, relieves stress and helps you get better quality of sleep which also improves mood.

Good Mood Foods
So what foods are good mood foods and how do they work to increase mood and energy? Here are some foods that can help give you a mood boost and why they do so.

  • PEA, phenylethylamine, is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is linked to energy, mood, and attention. It is a vital part of your brain function and is responsible for feelings of pleasure as well as mental acuity. The body does make its own PEA from the amino acid phenylalanine, but often it can't make as much as it needs. AFA blue-green algae, cheddar cheese, dark chocolate high in cocoa, soybeans, lentils, peanuts, and eggs are all good mood foods with PEA. 
  • Carbohydrates can give you an energy boost and improve mood by raising your serotonin level. Getting carbs from whole grains which the body absorbs more slowly than simple carbs helps stabilize blood sugar levels and give you a more steady long lasting energy. 
  • Magnesium is needed for the body to change sugars into energy. If you do not get enough magnesium in your diet, you may have low energy. Bananas not only have magnesium, they also are a good source of potassium which also can help boost energy. Halibut, bran cereal, black beans, kidney beans, brown rice, nuts such as cashews and almonds and lentils are all good sources of magnesium. 
  • Selenium is another mineral that boosts mood. Brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, salmon, flounder, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, lean beef, chicken, turkey and pork are all sources of good mood foods with selenium. Too much selenium can be detrimental though so stay in the recommended amounts which according to the RDA is between 15 and 55 mcg depending on your age. Lean beef, chicken, and turkey not only give you selenium but also boost dopamine and norepinephrine to increase alertness and focus. 
  • Ubiquinol is an active antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10 which is important for stress relief and improved energy. An easy way to add ubiquinol to your diet is with this algae supplement that has ubiquinol combined with reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and bluegreen algae. 
  • Turmeric is good for increasing serotonin in the brain and has been used in Chinese medicine for a very long time to treat depression. With this supplement you not only get  turmeric, but also other ingredients known to positively affect energy levels such as wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, noni, and green tea. 
  • If you prefer a liquid energy boost, this one, designed for daily renewal of mind and body, gives you organic wild microalgae(TM), Cognizin(R), Sustamine(R), green tea, vitamin D, carnosine, blueberry extract, all in a 2 ounce shot.

How to increase energy is an easy question to answer now. You just need the right good mood foods, some lifestyle and diet changes and supporting supplements and you'll be on your way to being able to increase your energy, stamina and improve your mood. It's as simple as eating your way to a happier you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Friday, August 26, 2016

5 Habits That Are Wrecking Your Immune System

Your immune system is your first line of defense in protecting your body from disease and sickness. Your immune system has a full time job taking care of you, but what have you done for your immune system lately to help keep it healthy and strong? Could be you eat plenty of foods with antioxidants that help boost your immune system, but are you doing things that can also hurt your immune system? If you engage in any of the 5 habits below, you could be wrecking your immune system, no matter what other healthy things you do for it.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #1 – Smoking
Yes, we all know that smoking is really bad for us and can lead to all kinds of diseases to the heart and lungs and cause cancer. Even if you don't smoke, just being around smokers can be detrimental to your health and to your immune system. Cigarette smoke can contain around 4000 chemical compounds of which 43 are identified as carcinogens. Non-smokers live around 7 years longer than smokers. If you are around people that smoke, the secondhand smoke can be almost as bad as if you were smoking yourself. It is estimated that around 3,000 non-smokers die of lung cancer in the U.S. each year because of secondhand smoke and 300,000 children develop respiratory tract infections from being exposed to secondhand smoke. If you are still smoking, whatever age you are, it's not too late to quit and still do your immune system and general health a world of good. If you don't smoke, good for you, but you can still do your body a favor by avoiding being around those that do. That doesn't mean you have to ostracize your smoking friends and family members, just set boundaries such as no smoking in your house or car. If you are at an event where smoking is allowed and your friend lights up, just excuse yourself and tell them you'll meet up with them in a bit. Many states these days have laws about not smoking in public places so it is easier than ever to escape from secondhand smoke.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #2 – Not Enough Sleep
When you wake up in the morning, do you still feel tired? If so, then you are probably not getting enough sleep or not enough quality sleep. This can affect the number of killer cells in your immune system that combat germs and leave you more vulnerable to getting sick. Studies have also shown that lack of sleep can lead to changes in the body that resemble those brought on by aging, reduces the number of antibodies in your immune system, increases the stress hormone cortisol and can lead to intestinal problems, heart disease and other medical conditions. Adults generally need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #3 – Stress
Chronic stress is another factor that has been shown to wreck your immune system. Studies have shown that this type of stress can weaken the immune system leading to a variety of diseases, cause increase in stress hormones that can lead to cancer growth increase, lead to cardiovascular disease, cause a reduction in killer cells, and cause reduced performance of macrophages.

With today's fast paced world, stress is hard to avoid and a little stress is not that bad. It is the chronic stress that you need to find a way to counteract. This type of stress causes the body to produce too much cortisol, a stress hormone, and adrenaline, both of which negatively affect your immune system. Find what works for you to be able to have some relaxation time. It doesn't matter whether it is exercise, a hobby, meditation, or yoga, it just matters that you find a way to unwind. Recent studies have found that laughter is a good medicine for stress reduction by decreasing stress hormones and increasing white blood cells your immune system uses to combat illness. Even the anticipation of an upcoming laughter filled event was shown in one study to reduce levels of stress hormones and increase levels of endorphins and growth hormones which are both beneficial to your immune system. Reducing stress can also help you sleep better which as we said before helps boost your immune system.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #4 – Being a Couch Potato
Yes, being a couch potato can be harmful to your immune system. What we mean specifically by this is being inactive, not socializing and not exercising. Many health conditions could be avoided by having a regular exercise program. This would include the 50 million people in the U.S. with high blood pressure, the 13.5 million with heart disease and 8 million with Type 2 Diabetes. Just 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week can go a long way to helping your immune system circulate your white blood cells. You don't want to overdo the exercise though as that can actually negatively affect your immune system. Just don't be one of the one in four adults in the U.S. that doesn't do any exercise at all and consult your health care provider if you have restrictions or conditions that may determine how much exercise is right for you. A daily 30 minute brisk walk for most people is the right amount and has been shown to increase leukocytes which are immune cells for fighting infections. Studies also show that people with fewer social interactions get sick more often. So getting up off that couch watching TV every night and going out to a sports event, visit with friends, a concert or other social activity that puts you in contact with other people can improve your immune system health. One study showed results that subjects between the ages of 18 and 55 that had more contact with others were 4 times less likely to get cold viruses. Another study done with college students showed that those who felt alone had less immune system response to a flu vaccine and those who had friends and social connections had a stronger immune system response.

Wrecking Your Immune System Habit #5 – Taking Antibiotics Too Often
Antibiotics can sometimes be needed to treat bacterial infections. Too often though, we are given antibiotics for other types of illnesses that are not bacterial in nature. This causes several problems for the immune system. One problem is that your immune system is weakened as shown by lower levels of cytokines, which are hormones that are part of the immune system. Another problem is that overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soap can create a resistance to them. In other words, over using them can cause them to stop being effective against bacteria. If you need to take antibiotics, just make sure what you are fighting off is a bacterial infection and not a virus or other type of infection. Also be sure to take the entire amount prescribed by your health care provider. Don't stop just because you start feeling better. That can sometimes cause the bacteria that caused the illness in the first place to not be completely gone and then you have to start over later with a whole new round of antibiotics. Do it right the first time so you don't have to introduce more antibiotics than you need to into your body. Antibiotics are also known to kill off the beneficial flora in your intestines. Part of having a healthy immune system is having a healthy gut which requires having a sufficient population of "good bacteria" to help control the "bad bacteria". If you are on antibiotics or just finishing a round of antiobiotics, taking a probiotic supplement and digestive enzymes can be helpful for restoring a healthy gut. 

Natural Solutions: Enzymes for Natural Immune System Support
The strength of your immune system depends a lot on the health of your gut. Digestion takes a lot of energy and the more energy needed to digest food, the less energy that is available for other things the body needs to be doing. Foods deficient in enzymes are especially hard on the digestion process which drains the body of vitality and feelings of well being. Our food sources today just don't have enough enzymes to help keep the digestive process working well. Cooking and processing of foods kills the enzymes in them and even raw foods we buy are not fresh and pure enough to have all the enzymes we need. A high quality digestive enzyme supplement can help the body with the digestive process so that the body gets the nutrients it needs from the food it eats. Enzymes are necessary for everything in the body to function correctly from breathing, to thinking to circulating the blood. They are responsible for every chemical reaction associated with the body's metabolism.

Natural Solutions: Support Your Stem Cells for Natural Immune System Support
Adult stem cells that occur naturally in our bodies are used to maintain and repair other cells in the body that are damaged. Their ability to divide and become other types of cells that have a specific job in the body makes them useful for immune system support. They can also remain inactive for a long time waiting until they are needed to repair cells damaged due to disease or injury. Scientists are currently working on experiments that show some types of adult stem cells are able to be genetically modified to be programmed as other cell types. For example, the cells that produce insulin that become damaged due to diabetes could be created from other pancreatic cells that are programmed to become those insulin producing cells. Regardless of what is to come from all the research with adult stem cells, we do know that the stem cells we have in our bodies serve to promote or suppress T-cell function, are able to differentiate into different tissues, produce over 30 types of growth factors and tissue chemicals and help recruit other local and systemic stem cells to focus on repairing damaged tissue. Taking a supplement that can support stem cell growth and function and is full of antioxidants will support the immune system and help fight damage from free radicals.

I hope this article has helped you to see how important it is to keep your immune system healthy and ways to support it as well as habits you can avoid that do not support it. A healthy diet with lots of antioxidants, get out and enjoy the world and people in it, stay active, stay away from cigarette smoke, get enough sleep and don't overdo antibiotics, then if you need supplemental help, know that it is available to help you in your quest for a happier, healthier you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Healthy Aging - 5 Ways to Sharpen Your Aging Brain

When we think about healthy aging we usually think about all the physical changes our bodies go through. But what about staying mentally sharp and aware? Good brain health is equally important for healthy aging. Here are 5 things you can do to help sharpen your aging brain.

1. Manage Stress
Positive thinking has an effect on brain health and can help with managing stress. Thinking positive thoughts about yourself helps build self confidence which can have an effect on your performance and outlook on life. Having a positive life attitude can help reduce stress. Meditation and muscle relaxation are other ways to help with managing stress.

2. Sleep
Getting enough sleep is not only good for physical health, but also can be good for mental health. Being rested can improve your reaction time and decision making. You should get at least 7-9 hours and possibly more if under stress.

3. Exercise
Memory decline can be a result of brain shrinkage as we get into our older years. Exercise can have a lot to do with staying mentally sharp and overall brain health. A study in the journal Neurology reports that people studied who remained physically active as they aged tended to have larger brains than those that did not participate in regular exercise. The research study showed that people who were more physically active had larger brain volumes of gray and normal white matter and less brain atrophy. It also linked regular exercise as a protection against white matter lesions forming which can be linked to thinking and memory decline.

4. Nutrition
Good brain health depends on getting special micro-nutrients that can pass through the blood brain barrier (BBB). Nutrients have to not only be small enough but also paired with the right proteins to cross the BBB. The blood-brain barrier is a protective network of blood vessels and cells that filters blood flowing to the brain, thereby shielding the central nervous system from contaminants. It protects the brain from many common bacterial infections. The nutrients the brain needs are found mostly in whole natural foods. However the blood brain barrier can act as a filter keeping out nutrients in the form of less-than-perfect foods we all consume. Being the hungriest organ in the body, the brain needs the nutrients to feed itself, but unfortunately the fillers or refined aspects of many foods prevent the good stuff from ever reaching it. One solution for getting these vital nutrients is from a form of blue-green algae that is a special stripped-down version of the algae cell allowing it to pass through the BBB. This form of blue-green algae known as Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is acknowledged as the oldest complete food on the planet and provides just about every nutrient your body needs, in the form of a living, single-cell, raw food that is highly assimilable. The amino acids found in this blue green algae are the building blocks of the healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters vital for proper brain function. It also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids necessary for cardiovascular health and helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry which means it feeds the blood that feeds the brain.

5. Supplementing for Brain Health
Another blue green algae supplement that is supportive of brain health and for high performance athletes and those who maintain an active lifestyle has the added ingredients of bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, Hawaiian noni, eleuthero, ginkgo biloba, and turmeric. Bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration. Wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking. Many people have used gingko for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been the basis of much research and found to have benefit for enhancing memory, as an anti-inflammatory, for enhancing nerve growth in areas of the brain and as an antidepressant. It is also being studied and used in relation to treating Alzheimer's. This supplement gives you a combination of all these brain boosting ingredients in a single capsule as an alternative for natural brain health support.

Keeping your brain sharp can help you enjoy your senior years. Stay active, feed your brain the nutrition it needs, get enough sleep, exercise and manage your stress and you will improve your chances of healthy aging as you enter your golden years.  

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

How 5 Minutes of "Me Time" Can Save Your Life

Stress can definitely wreak havoc when it comes to our physical and emotional health and our happiness in general, but taking some "me time" can go a long way in dealing with stress and increasing our happiness level. Stress can cause symptoms of stomach cramps, diarrhea, heartburn, fatigue, headaches, reduced libido, memory problems, and affect brain tissue that regulates emotions and self-control. It can also be linked to skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne, and to an increase in risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, weight gain, poor sleep, reduced energy levels, decreased cognitive function, and have negative effects on the immune system. According to Ash Nadkarni, MD, an associate psychiatrist at Brigham & Women's Hospital, stress causes an increase in adrenaline when our bodies go into the "fight or flight" response resulting in an increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Dealing With Stress and Increasing Happiness
Can happiness actually be measured? Robert Holden, PhD, author of Happiness NOW!, Shift Happens!, Success Intelligence and Be Happy, developed a Be Happy Index to measure happiness as part of a program he uses that can make changes in the way you feel and in how your brain functions. You can find this measuring test HERE. In his happiness program he suggests that the more you know yourself and the types of things that you love doing or experiencing, the happier you'll be. Tips to increase your happiness score on the test include learning to accept yourself, having committed, nourishing relationships and connections with others, making a conscious choice to be happy, letting go of grievances and resentments, practicing some type of spirituality and making time for "me time" to get in touch with your own needs and get them met. Here are some other tips from experts in dealing with stress and bringing more happiness into your life.

Tips for Dealing With Stress
  • Petting your pet causes a release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin which are all hormones that make you feel good and lowers the number of stress hormones being released. This can reduce blood pressure, decrease your anxiety level and strengthen the immune system. If you don't live somewhere that you can have your own pet, visit a friend's pet or go to a dog park or pet store to get a little petting time in. It doesn't take a lot, just a few minutes of pet time can work.
  • Give yourself some extra me time by getting up 15 or 20 minutes earlier. You may think you'd rather have those extra few minutes of sleep, but giving yourself that morning time to not be rushed gets your day off to a better start. Leslie Carr, PsyD., a San Francisco-based psychologist, suggests using that time to get centered. That could mean reading from an inspirational book, thinking about your goals, meditating or doing yoga, or just sitting quietly and drinking a cup of tea.
  • Exercise can help in dealing with stress through the production of endorphins that it triggers. Join an exercise class to get the added benefit of socializing with others or just go for a walk and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Look for ways to do for and give to others. Passing on positive actions to others give you a happiness boost too and can start a chain reaction with those you do for wanting to do for others. It doesn't matter if you do something big like start volunteering regularly at a homeless shelter or something small like send a friend a thinking of you card or pay for a stranger's coffee at a coffee bar, just do something that makes you feel good to do.
  • Spend some time laughing. Laughter increases oxygen to organs and reduces stress levels. Go see a comedy show, get together with friends and swap funny stories, or even learn to laugh at your own forgetfulness or silly mistakes.
  • Pay attention to the colors you surround yourself with as they can affect your mood. Molly Roberts, MD, president of the American Holistic Medical Association, says that blues, greens and greys are all relaxing colors, but using any color you find calming can help. Look around and see what colors you have in your environment and get creative about draping materials or using paint to create a relaxing space for yourself.
  • Find a hobby that will give you some me time and focus your mind in one place. Stress tends to bring up bunches of thoughts running through the mind all at once. Having a hobby to give your mind a break with only one thing to concentrate on can help in relaxation.
  • Meditation has been reported from research studies to give you more resistance to stress by actually altering neural pathways in the brain according to Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago psychologist and health and wellness coach. Psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, also recommends deep breathing for even 5 minutes at a time as a way to reduce the racing heart stress can cause and to lower blood pressure.
Nutrition for Dealing with Stress
There are nutritional ways to also help in dealing with stress. Vitamin C can help in lowering cortisol, which is a stress hormone, as well as increase immune system functioning and stabilize blood pressure. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits and juices like orange and grapefruit, strawberries, and sweet red peppers. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and herring help maintain even levels of stress hormones too. AFA bluegreen algae is also high in omega-3 for those who don't have time to make fish or just don't like it. Taking high quality probiotic supplements such as acidophilus and bifidus can help the intestines to function properly by supporting the friendly bacteria that live there. One of these functions is producing B vitamins. B vitamins, especially B-12, help us relax, soothe our nerves and help us in dealing with stress. When we are stressed, we tend to use up our body's supply of B vitamins just when we need them most and need to replace them. Taking probiotics can give your body a boost to keep producing these vitamins and help your body cope with stress.

Improving nutrition can support someone's mood and also increase confidence and self-esteem. Bifidus, also called Bifidobacterium, can play a key nutritional role in supporting the substances in our bodies that promote healthy self-esteem. It's one of the key ingredients in mother's milk and one of the biggest sources of immunity during a child's first two years of life. On a mental-emotional level, bifidus is linked with feelings of self-esteem, as well as feeling supported and nurtured in life. People lacking in bifidus either did not get enough during childhood, or the stresses of living have decreased the levels of bifidus in their bodies. Either way, supplementing with bifidus can create a strong positive change, both physically and emotionally. An easy way to get this probiotic support as well as the nutritional support from AFA bluegreen algae and some digestive enzymes for digestive support is with these convenient packets that are easy to take with you wherever you go.

Whether you use any of these suggestions or come up with your own ideas to help you in dealing with stress, make some me time for yourself even if you have to schedule it into your calendar. It will pay off in a multitude of ways including raising your happiness level, quality of life and better health.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.





Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to Slim Down: 5 Strategies You Can Use Right Now

How to slim down is a big question in the mind of Americans, especially around New Year's. Weight loss remains the top New Year's Resolution, and yet 92% of people are no longer working on how to slim down by February 1st of any given year.

If you made weight loss a resolution this year, and find that you are no longer very dedicated to that goal, fear not! There are many simple strategies that you can use to help you slim down. Most of them don't involve working up a major sweat. In fact, most of them are just plain common sense!

Tip #1: The Power of "Later..."
One of the biggest impediments to how to slim down is the impulse factor. When faced with a big plate of sugar cookies at work or a giant basket of tasty nachos at the bar, how can you avoid falling for the temptation? Avoiding temptation is especially difficult if your co-workers or friends are busy chowing down.

One trick that works well for many bad habits--everything from eating too much to smoking--is to tell yourself, "Later." In other words, you are giving yourself permission to have a cookie or some nachos, just not right now. Some people use the phrase, "In five minutes..." instead. Whatever phrase you say to yourself to delay gratification, even for a little bit, will work as long as it resonates with you. After you give yourself the delay command, immediately turn your attention to something else.

You will be surprised at how often you simply forget to go back to those cookies or nachos. In fact, many people have used this same delay tactic to successfully stop smoking. By giving yourself permission to engage in that bad habit (just not right now), you satisfy your craving for the moment. By turning your attention to something else, your attention becomes distracted and you likely will forget about the craving altogether. Try it... chances are that you will like it!

Tip #2: It's All About What You Ate Yesterday
When it comes to weight loss and slimming down, most people are focused on today's meals. But a lot of weight is related more to what you ate yesterday rather than what you will eat today. Why? Because unless you have had a lifetime of stellar digestive health, chances are that you are carrying around 10 to 15 pounds of undigested food, water, and gas in your gut. This is according to Dr. Rob Danoff, D.O. and M.S., who writes for MSN Health and Fitness (read more at:

That is a lot of weight to be carrying around your middle. Luckily, you can correct the effects of your past dietary sins, and help your body release all this unneeded and undigested goop in your gut. Dr. Danoff recommends getting some exercise, being sure you are drinking the right amount of water, and eating more fiber-rich foods. In addition, he suggests adding probiotics or probiotic rich foods to your diet, including acidophilus  and bifidus . Now is that a no-sweat way to lose weight or what?

Tip #3: Pick Your Route at the Grocery Store
One of the biggest tips on how to slim down is to never shop while hungry. Beyond that, though, one way to avoid buying junk food is to plan your route around the grocery store so you hit the healthy sections first. Start with the produce section, and work your way around to the dairy section to buy eggs and healthy dairy (not ice cream), and then the meat counter. Once you have worked your way through these sections, feel free to wander up and down other aisles. With your cart filled with healthy foods, you will be far less likely to succumb to cookies, chips, or gallons of soda.

Tip #4: Prep for Parties
One trick that slim people employ to stay slim is to prep for a foodie party by eating a little something before heading out to the party. Eating even a handful of nuts or a quarter of an avocado or a spoonful of peanut butter will help you feel full. This is important because you never know when food will actually be served at a party. If dinner gets served up at 9 o'clock and you are accustomed to having dinner at 7 o'clock, you will be starving by the time dinner appears. That leads to a ton of sinning on the snacks that usually precede dinner. So fill up with a small snack, then dress up and hit the party. You will be safer than usual from temptation!

Tip #5: Ask Yourself, "Would I eat this at home?"
Going out to eat is one big impediment to getting or staying slim. First, a lot of the courses served in restaurants are high in calories. Second, the portions are usually extra large. Finally, studies show that people in social environments tend to eat more than people dining alone or at home. If you find yourself dining with other people, look at the menu choices and ask yourself, "Would I eat this at home?" If the answer is negative, don't order that entree. A meal is a meal, even a meal that you eat in a restaurant. That's how you have to think if you want to get or stay slim!

See? None of these tips involved massive sweating or going with the "no pain, no gain" motto. These tips on how to slim down are really about planning ahead, asking yourself some common-sense questions, and plain being smart. Not rocket science, just simple stuff that really works!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reasons to Buy Sustainable Food

Life is already busy enough so is it really necessary to add one more thing to your list by buying sustainable food? It certainly is easier to just go to the grocery store and maybe you think since you buy organic at your store that you are doing your part already. This isn't necessarily true though if you consider where even the organic food is coming from and what distance it had to travel to get there. If your grocery store has its organic foods transported over long distances from centralized packaging and distribution centers then there is a lot of energy being used in getting it to you. Part of the whole sustainable food model is buying from local farm sources thus reducing the need for long distance transportation. Once food is harvested it begins to lose nutrients. Buying food locally decreases the amount of time from harvest to table making it a more nutritious choice. There are other reasons sustainable food is healthier, more nutritious, and good for the planet, its citizens and animals. Let's take a look at some of the reasons in support of going sustainable.

Sustainable Food: Saving the Planet
This may sound a little over dramatic, but when you consider the use of chemical fertilizers, large use of fossil fuels, diseases and pests that destroy crops by agriculture practices of monocropping, soil erosion, pollution to air, land and water from untreated animal waste, and other large scale farm practices that harm the environment, we really do save Mother Earth from a tremendous amount of stress through sustainable agricultural practices. Growing organically means no pesticides and no chemical fertilizers. Organic farming uses natural fertilization and pest control methods. Soil is protected by rotating crops and building up and replacing soil nutrients with organic and natural materials. Factory farms often store animal excrement in open-air lagoons to be left untreated and pollute land, air and water. The Environmental Protection Agency statistics from the 1990s cite hog, chicken and cattle waste as being responsible for significant pollution of rivers and contaminated groundwater (http://gracelinks.org/media/pdf/why_buy_sustainable_ho_20090605.pdf). Then there is the consideration of the amount of fossil fuels needed in factory farming for producing and harvesting crops to feed animals, supporting barns for animals, and transportation costs. This depletes our oil resources leaving us dependent on foreign oil and at some point our oil resources will be completely used up. Then we will have no choice but to have an alternative solution for food production. The sustainable food model whether talking about meat or produce promotes buying food locally which decreases the fossil fuel use for transportation long distance and using sustainable farm practices that reduce pollution from animal waste and use less energy in raising crops and animals for food.

Sustainable Food: Protecting Our Health
Factory farm practices grow food through the use of pesticides and chemicals that are then processed with additives and preservatives. This all serves to reduce the nutritional value of those foods. For meat production, animals are stressed by being raised in crowded conditions and fed with feed that is not the best quality. This not only reduces the nutritional value, but also is conducive to meat coming from diseased animals. You've probably heard about antibiotic resistant bacteria that has been seen in humans from overuse of antibiotics in raising cattle. In contrast, beef that comes from grass fed cattle has significantly more omega-3 fatty acid than beef that comes from factory farm raised grain fed cattle according to Jo Robinson, New York Time bestselling author (http://gracelinks.org/media/pdf/why_buy_sustainable_ho_20090605.pdf).

Sustainable Food: Supporting Local Economy
Another reason for supporting sustainable food is to support family farms. It's not just that supporting local farms means jobs for the area and money being kept and spent locally, but it also means not supporting local farmers often leads to loss of farmland. As more family farms are forced to close because they can't compete with the large agricultural producers, farm land often is sold for development. Not being able to make a living wage doesn't attract young people to continue family farms either. Do you realize that today we have around 5 million less farms than we did in the 1930s? As we lose this valuable resource of farmland, we become more dependent on industrial farms which use up our natural resources and imported foods from other countries. Buying sustainable food allows communities to ensure family farms continue to thrive, reduces the transportation problems of food coming from long distances, and provides fresher more nutritious foods to consumers.

Sustainable Food: Supporting the Global Community
While anywhere from 1/3 to ½ of food produced is wasted, there are around one billion people in the world that are malnourished. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, food production needs to see a 70% increase in production to feed the world's estimated 9 billion people by 2050. (http://metro.co.uk/2013/04/03/building-a-sustainable-food-source-how-will-we-feed-9-billion-people-on-the-planet-in-2050-3579801/). We've all seen the recent increases in food costs. Paul McMahon, author of Feeding Frenzy: The New Politics of Food and sustainable food expert, believes food prices will continue to increase. He cites extra food demands from Asia, biofuels, and volatile weather as some of the reasons behind this. In many of the poorer countries, people simply cannot afford these high food costs. For the sustainable food model to work, there will need to be world-wide support for creating local farms in developing countries as well as a reduction in food waste by providing better storage and refrigeration in those countries and economic development to increase wages for people to be able to afford food.

Sustainable Food: Supporting Worker and Animal Rights
You are probably familiar with how in tribal times words of appreciation and rituals were performed when taking the life of an animal for food. Compare that to today's factory farm treatment of animals and you'll find another reason to support sustainable food. Factory farms often have inhumane practices with overcrowded, unsanitary conditions for animals to live in that do not support natural behaviors of the animals. This not only is a terrible way for any animal to have to live and certainly does not honor the animals in any way, but can also lead to diseased animals being used as food sources for humans. Sustainable practices promote free range animals that have the room to spend their time engaging in natural instinctive behaviors for their species.

Not only do factory farms not support animals' rights, but very often the rights of their workers are not protected. Workers are often exposed to dangers such as breathing air contaminated with toxic gases. They are also often underpaid and have little say in anything to do with their jobs including safety precautions. Sustainable farming promotes empowering workers with decent working conditions and fair pay.

As you can see there are many reasons to start now considering the switch to buying sustainable food. Not only will you be getting more nutritious food for yourself and your family, you'll be getting in on the ground floor of agricultural practices for the future. I know change can be hard, but how long do we think the planet can survive current agricultural practices? At some point there will have to be change. You can be ahead of the game by beginning to make a few steps toward buying sustainable food a little at a time. Once you see and taste the difference, you just may be sold on it. 

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

5 Ways to Prevent Memory Loss as a Part of Aging Gracefully

When looking at aging gracefully, memory loss is another brain function to consider. As we age, we've all had those moments when we forget what we wanted to say, can't think of the right word, forget an appointment, can't remember where we put something, suddenly realize we don't know what the conversation around us is about and other such memory losses. With all the attention given these days to dementia and Alzhemeir's should these memory lapses cause us concern? Are there ways we can improve memory? We used to be told that doing brain puzzles was a way to help with aging gracefully in keeping mentally sharp, but today doctors are saying that doesn't help as much as they once thought.

Some of these memory lapses are normal. When the brain is not being required to concentrate, the parts of the brain that control mind wandering or daydreaming are active. Improving concentration can go a long way in preventing the brain from taking these wanderings. There are many conditions that can cause these episodes of wandering and distract concentration including worry, boredom, stress, being over tired and anxiety. Some of this is the brain's normal way of taking a break. It becomes a problem when it happens too much and interferes with life situations. Studies on memory lapses show that changes in the frontal lobes of the brain can make paying attention more difficult when distractions occur. As we get older these changes make it harder to focus on tasks and be distracted easier or engage in mind wandering. Once distracted, the working memory becomes overwhelmed and stops taking in new information. Ever have someone swear they told you about something that you have no recollection of? Now you know how both of you could be right.

A history of head injuries, sometimes unidentified, can also be the cause of memory failures. These injuries can cause loss of brain tissue which can lead to cognitive and behavioral problems. A past, perhaps forgotten head injury, that caused disorientation can sometimes be the cause of dementia-like symptoms. Your health care provider or a neuro specialist may be able to help you determine if this is a cause of memory problems for you.

There are things you can do to help with memory loss and aging gracefully. Here are some tips with things you can do to increase concentration and awareness and cope with the memory lapses that become more prevalent as we get older.

Keep Your Brain Engaged
The brain is a muscle and like other muscles, it needs exercise. Learning new things is a way to form new neural connections by engaging different parts of the brain. Read books you haven't read before, take a class to learn something new, or find a new hobby to learn about. These type of activities do more for keeping your mind sharp than just doing crossword and brain type puzzles.

Physical Exercise
Physical exercise and keeping an active lifestyle has been shown in studies to prevent brain shrinkage and improve cognitive functioning. Cardio exercises help support the health of blood vessels that supply the heart and brain, but resistance training also has been shown to help with mental functioning. Keeping blood pressure levels balanced has also been shown to improve mental ability. Yoga and meditation both can help in this respect. Mindfulness meditation is another way to work on attention and concentration as well as relieving stress. Practicing this type of meditating has been known to help people in bringing their minds back from wandering and control their attention.

You can plan ahead of time if you know you are going to be in a situation that will require a lot of concentration, attention or memory. For example, if attending a party, review names and faces of people you believe you will encounter there. If going to your high school reunion, look over your high school yearbook to refresh your memory on names. Make yourself cheat sheets to take with you if you need to in situations where you will have to remember a lot of information. Keep notepads near places like by the phone, at your desk, in your car; anywhere that you might encounter someone setting an appointment or that you might think of something important you need to remember later. Then be sure to not just walk off and leave your notes to yourself. Pick them up and carry them with you until you can write them on your primary calendar or until you get to your computer to fill in the information you need to complete an assignment.

Memory can also be exercised. Practice at bedtime recalling as many of the day's events as you can. Spending some time evaluating how your memory works and understanding the types of memory clues that you find helpful can be time well spent. Some people are visual while others are more auditory or tactile. This information can be helpful when you have a something you know you need to remember. For example, if you are visual, translate the information into a picture in your mind. That will make it easier to retrieve the information later.

Take the time to learn your own individual memory strengths and weaknesses. If you know you tend to drift away during certain situations, prepare a list of questions or comments beforehand to refer to that will keep you engaged. If you know there is a certain time of day or a certain task that you have trouble staying focused on, plan to take a walk or do something physical just before that time or before that task. If you work at a desk and start to notice you are losing attention, get up and walk around. This will help you start training your brain that when you are at the desk it is concentration time. Having a reminder note or some other physical reminder nearby that redirects your attention can also work. Driving is another situation that it is important to have a visual reminder to refocus attention as many of us tend to drive on autopilot and drift off thinking about other things.

Keep a central calendar. Make it one that you can access from anywhere such as an online calendar that you can access from home and office computers and from your mobile phone. Or a paper calendar that is easy enough to carry with you where ever you go. Do not agree to any type of appointment without having the calendar to write it in immediately. An exception to this that I have used well is when someone asks me to do something, I put the responsibility back on them and ask them to email me the request. That way I can leave the email in my inbox until I am at my desk and able to write it in my calendar. Be sure you include enough details to know the time, place, person meeting, etc... After all if you are having memory problems you don't need to have to stop and figure out where and when and who. I also find it helpful to keep one primary calendar instead of separate work/home/community organization ones. Having everything in one place prevents over scheduling, scheduling more than one thing at the same time and means you only have to go to one place to check your schedule.

For things that need to be done within a short time period, I still find sticky notes helpful. For example, if I call a repair service and they are out to lunch, I can make a sticky note reminding myself to call in 20 minutes and stick it in a prominent place so I don't forget it. I also sometimes will set an alarm and/or email myself a reminder with the subject line ALARM. That way I know what I was supposed to remember when the alarm goes off. Whatever system you devise to organize things whether it's appointments or physical objects all having their own place, just be sure to get in the habit of never straying from the system. If you keep your keys on a hook in the kitchen then when you get home do not put the keys down until you put them there. If you get distracted by something, just hang onto the keys until you can put them in their place. Practicing this will help increase awareness and prevent you from going on autopilot which is the state in which most things are misplaced.

Nutritional Supplements
Nutritional supplements can help you get the nutrition your brain needs for optimal health. The brain needs a diet that includes high quality fats and proteins to function properly. Vitamin B1 and B12 are especially important to prevent memory loss. Acidophilus and bifidus, two of the probiotics or friendly bacteria that live in our gut, help in the production of B-vitamins. Stress, drinking chlorinated water, and taking antibiotics can all kill the probiotics naturally found in the gut. Taking acidophilus and bifidus supplements can help restore the populations of these beneficial bacteria, allowing our bodies to produce B-vitamins.

A form of blue-green algae that is a special stripped-down version of the algae cell which allows it to pass through the blood brain barrier can help with mental clarity, memory retention, and mental energy. This form of blue-green algae known as Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is acknowledged as the oldest complete food on the planet and provides just about every nutrient your body needs, in the form of a living, single-cell, raw food that is highly assimilable. The amino acids found in this blue green algae are the building blocks of the healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters vital for proper brain function. It also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry which means it feeds the blood that feeds the brain.

Another blue green algae supplement that is supportive of brain health has the added ingredients of bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, Hawaiin noni, eleuthero, Ginkgo biloba and turmeric. Bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration. Wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking. Many people have used gingko for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been the basis of much research and found to have benefit for enhancing memory, as an anti-inflammatory, for enhancing nerve growth in areas of the brain and as an antidepressant. It is also being studied and used in relation to treating Alzheimer's. This supplement gives you a combination of all these brain boosting ingredients in a single capsule as an alternative for natural brain health support.

There are ways to deal with memory loss and lapses in your goal of aging gracefully. I hope within the 5 memory boosting tips given here you find something that works for you. Just giving a little thought to how your mind works and ways to help you cope with a lagging memory can make life so much easier.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.