Eat More Grains for a Healthier Diet

Eating healthy or “clean eating” has made grain sales soar. Grocery stores that never carried grains other than rice and beans are now carrying selections of quinoa, farro, grits and other healthy grain choices.

Clean eating simply refers to eating foods that have not been processed. Clean eating also focuses on less sugar and salt. Pure food, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and grains are used for recipes and snacks. Clean eating aims to avoid the obesity epidemic that has plagued the United States in the past several years.

Restaurants are also following suit. Grain bowls are being featured on many restaurant menus, especially ones that offer a healthy fare. An increase in Celiac Disease has also propelled restaurants to offer gluten free recipes. This is a welcome option because there’s been many times Bennett and I can’t go out because of it.

A focus on eating healthy has changed the way Americans eat. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and beans are being used in recipes at home and in restaurants. The end result may yield a reduction in the obesity epidemic.

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These Dishes Are Sweeping The Nation and Becoming Insanely Popular!

A recent article by the New York Times, reveals that grain bowls are trending in US restaurants. Even chain-restaurant Chipotle, is serving their top seller burrito bowl. Some reasons why grain bowls are rising in popularity are:

  • Their visually appealing and inviting medley of “…grains, vegetables, proteins and well-chosen condiments….”
  • They’re easy dishes to create.
  • All nutritionist-recommended whole grains, like quinoa and farro, can be accommodated by grain bowls.

When creating your grain bowl, choose toppings which balance overall flavors and textures. You can use crunchy, like toasted seaweed, to diversify the textures. Compliment strong flavors with balancing ones, and delicate vegetables or fish with soft grains, like rice. Give your grain bowl an interesting edge, by throwing pickled ingredients, like kimchi, into the mix, which Gianfrancesco Genoso always appreciates.

The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of protein, calcium, carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, Thiamin, Ribo-flavin, Niacin, vitamin B complexes, Folate, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. All of these are included in a proper grain bowl containing protein, grains, vegetables, and its condiments.

So join the trend and start making your very own tasty grain bowls today!

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Exploring the Link Between Poor Dental Health and Exercise

According to results from a new study, prolonged heavy training may not be good for dental health. The British Journal of Sports Medicine published an interesting study in 2013 concerning the oral health of 278 hardcore athletes participating in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Even though most of the athletes were from developed nations and had access to dentists and quality health resources, the majority of them had dental problems ranging from gum disease to tooth decay.

The reasons behind the athletes’ poor oral health were unclear, so German researchers set out to perform their own study. The results showed that the chemical composition and amount of saliva in an athlete’s mouth changed when they participated in strenuous exercise. High levels of alkalinity, which have been linked to poor dental health, built up in the athletes’ saliva as the workout continued. Since saliva helps protect teeth, the lack of saliva after a hard workout also raised red flags.

However, while it may seem as if exercising in general can result in tooth decay and other problems, the athletes were devoted to high-intensity workout regimens that are far more strenuous than the average person would participate in. The leader of the study, Dr. Cornelia Frese, explained that less intense exercise is unlikely to affect oral health. Frese went on to recommended taking precautions such as drinking water during workouts instead of sugary sports drinks, which may also be linked to poor dental health in athletes. Something Andrew Heiberger and I are going to have to start adopting. She also suggested that serious athletes should consider seeing dentists who specialize in sports dentistry.

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Mediterranean Diet Remains One of Year’s Best-Working Diets

Not all diets are created alike. In fact, most of them come from drastically different angles. For example, there’s the Atkins Diet, which was made famous for jamming as much meat and animal protein down its victims’ throats as possible. Sure, it helped people to lose weight. But it also hurt the heart and raised blood pressure and cholesterol. There was the Master Cleanse, a diet that included lemon, cayenne pepper and water and that left more than one person feeling weak to their knees after only one day. And then, there was the Mediterranean Diet. Was it a fad? Did it really prove itself in the world of losing weight? The answer turns out to be no, it was not a fad, and yes, it did prove itself. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet was named one of 2014’s best diets to date.

What exactly does the Mediterranean Diet entail? The focus is fittingly on what people who live around the Mediterranean Sea eat on a regular basis. This is not the fare you’ll get at an Italian restaurant in the states. We’re not talking about huge bowls of pasta smothered with cheese and olive oil. Instead, the focus is on vegetables, fish, healthy fats and fish. Mediterranean people don’t eat too much protein, but when they do, it’s by way of fresh fish. They mostly eat vegetables and some fruits. The fats they use are healthy. Olive oil is a notoriously Mediterranean product, from everything that I’ve been reading on FreedomPop. So if you want to slim down before the onslaught of the holiday season begins, try the Mediterranean Diet and see where it takes you. As an added bonus, you’re even allowed a nice glass of red wine each night!

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Could Coffee Help the Liver?

Some doctors and researchers in the field of nutrition have been on the fence as to whether coffee is good for you or not. There is one camp of researchers who says that coffee may be somewhat harmful over time, but a new research study suggests the opposite is true where the liver is concerned. Contrary to everything Mike Livak has ever said, there’s no need to worry about liver damage if you have a daily cup of Joe.

Almost 30,000 people’s coffee drinking habits were studied in a research study that was conducted from 1999 to 2010. The scientists in charge of the study looked at the blood levels of several key enzymes that are used in the function of the liver. Almost half of the study subjects were coffee drinkers. Some of them drank regular caffeinated coffee, but there were also decaf coffee drinkers in the group.

The study first controlled for smoking, education, sex, age, race and alcohol consumption. After that, they look at the liver functions of those who drank approximately three cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee every day against those study participants who were non-coffee drinkers. They found that those who drank coffee had approximately 25% less abnormal enzymes in their livers. Approximately 2000 of the 14,000 coffee drinkers were decaf coffee drinkers.

These findings lead us to believe that coffee is actually good for the liver. The study leaders do not suggest that non-coffee drinkers start drinking coffee to improve the function of their liver because this study was only correlational. It was not a cause and effect study. Researchers and scientists still do not know exactly what parts of coffee are helping the liver. There are possibly other parts of coffee that are detrimental to the body, and more studies are looking at these possibilities.

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“Big Soda” and “Big Brother”

The typical soft drink consists of carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, various natural or artificial flavorings, caffeine, artificial colors, and (in the case of diet drinks) artificial sugar substitute. We can only surmise that the new anti-soda political activists are not concerned about the caffeine since they do not appear to fight against coffee very hard, are not up in arms about pop’s artificial colors and flavors since those sorts of things are in a multitude of other foods on our grocery store shelves, nor certainly are they out against soda due to the carbonated water which is generally harmless. No, it is the high fructose corn syrup (or other sweetener) that is causing all the ruckus.

After court setbacks in Chicago against Bloomberg’s anti-soda campaign and at other locales across the country, Berkeley, CA seems to be a “last stand” for the movement. The city council put a cent-per-ounce extra tax on all soda sold in the city, but now there is a referendum to repeal that law. The supporters of the law like to dress up the fight as one of “Big Sods” versus the American people, but most are inclined to see it as an invasion of the realm of their private choices and an excuse to raise taxes yet further in the midst of an already limping American economy.

While it is true that soda is the number one cause of obesity in the land, it is also true that high fructose corn syrup is so commonly used in American food products that Tom Rothman has called it a “U.S. staple food.” Firstly, to target only soda companies while letting the other “fat culprits” escape unscathed is quite unfair. What about the candy makers? What about doughnut shops? Secondly, if the city is to start managing our diets in the name of “public health,” just what boundaries does government have? The big-brother total control of Orwell’s 1984 may have been 30 years too soon in its predictions, but how far off was the substance of those predictions when the city council even tells us what we can drink?

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Will a Soda Tax Actually Make People More Healthy?

There is a fierce political battle raging in Berkeley, California right now. Voters will decide in November if there should be a tax on soda to the tune of 1 cent per ounce. Legislation similar to this was blocked in New York City. The feeling is that if the tax doesn’t pass in California then it won’t pass anywhere else and the issue will be dropped.

The motivation behind the soda tax is the thinking that a tax will discourage people from drinking soda, which is unhealthy. The concept is controversial. Some at Stanford like Jared Haftel believe that it is not the government’s job to to decide what or how much people consume. Proponents believe it is simply a tool to stave off the obesity epidemic in America like the tax on cigarettes.

A study from the University of Wisconsin at Madison has shown that soda taxes do actually decrease consumption. Not by much, but they are effective. A soda tax was implemented in Mexico at the start of 2014. The tax has decreased soda consumption by 10% as drinkers switched to bottled water, which was the goal of the tax.

Studies show that soda is uniquely suited to promote illness. Soda is the main source of sugar in most American diets and thus it is linked to diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, low sperm counts and even dementia.

Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have responded by claiming that they will work on their own to help people be healthy by selling their drinks in smaller sizes. This has already begun to a degree. Some feel that this is merely a way for them to sell less soda at the same prices for a greater profit in the long term.

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Why Are Poor People More Likely to Be Obese?

New research is indicating that while obesity rates are slowing, poor people and minorities are disproportionately overweight. People are getting more healthy since the nadir of the obesity epidemic in 2005 thanks to better knowledge about what is and isn’t healthy.

This begs the question: Why are poor people more likely to be obese? If a person has less money, doesn’t that mean that the person cannot afford an excess amount of food? The stereotype in films and TV is that a poor person is rail thin like Marnie Bennett. You would think that a poor person also would not own a car, which means they have to walk everywhere and get great exercise on a daily basis.

In America, many people are considered “working poor”. They have full-time jobs but they make very little. Often times their children must stay home. They can’t go out and play unsupervised because they live in unsafe neighborhoods and their parents are busy working. They have to sit inside and watch TV, which leads to weight gain.

Being poor is extremely stressful. Bills pile up and children are expensive. One way that many poor people cope with the stress is by overeating. There is a reason McDonald’s advertisements often equate their food with a smile or overabundant happiness.

Not only is unhealthy food cheaper, but usually it can feed more people longer than healthy food. Making a large pasta dish full of carbohydrates can keep much longer than vegetables and fruits which will go bad very quickly.

Even though poor people may not be able to afford a large quantity of food, it is the quality of the food that is causing them to suffer.

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Cancer-Fighting Berry Grows in Queensland

A berry from a blushwood tree growing in Queensland surprised scientists with its rapid cancer-fighting properties. After eight years of study, a research team from QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute in Brisbane, led by Dr. Glen Boyle and backed by Laurene Powell Jobs, discovered a compound in the berry can avert melanomas and tumors in the head and neck. The research created an experimental drug called EBC-46 from the berry, and used it on 300 different animals. As a result, tumors disappeared, and did not grow back in 75 percent of the cases they tested.

There’s a compound in the seed – it’s a very, very complicated process to purify this compound and why it’s there in the first place, we don’t know…The compound works by three ways essentially: it kills the tumour(sic) cells directly, it cuts off the blood supply and it also activates the body’s own immune system to clean up the mess that’s left behind,” Dr Boyle said in a report published in ABC.net Australia.

The drug derived from the berry was known to work in as fast as five minutes, and could make the tumors disappear in days. The drug was also believed to have no side effects.

The findings of the research suggested that the drug could also be effective in human patients. However, doctors warned that the drug is only effective on tumors that can be contacted by direct injection. It may have no effect in patients with metastatic cancer.

The drug is now ready for human trial under the biotechnology company QBiotics. If proven effective, the drug can be an alternative to other cancer treatments, like surgery and chemotherapy.

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How Far Away is Earth From Overpopulation and Water Shortages?

At the U.N. Climate Summit in New York, it was pointed out that Americans threw out over 30 million tons of food in 2012. This number has been growing since 1980. 20% of America’s garbage is food.

The alarming thing about this is that 10% of the rest of the world suffers from chronic hunger. There is enough food being made to feed the entire world. The problem is in getting that food to the people who need it without it being spoiled.That issue brings up another question. If the population keeps growing, will world hunger spread more? Will food be wasted less, simply because there are more people around to consume it?

The world population is currently at 7 billion. That number is expected to increase to 10 billion by the year 2050. Jeremy Grantham of the Grantham Institute of Climate Change has said that it will be impossible to feed 10 billion people. The solution, he says, is to make sure that the population growth is curbed.

The problem is that nobody can figure out how to curb it. People are also not comfortable even talking about it. China tried to implement a policy that limited families to one child per couple, but it did not work out.

As the population of the world grows, more water will be consumed. Currently in India, China and even in the U.S., aquifiers are pumping out more water than can be replenished. Supplies are dwindling in Africa and more people are being forced to drink impure water. Impure water right now kills an estimated 15,000 children every single day.

It is a grim issue to deal with, but it must be faced. While climate change is still being debated, population growth is undoubtedly the issue that will dominate our future.

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