>What’s for dinner?

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Creating great, tasty meals 7 days a week can be challenging and fatiguing. I usually plan what the meals are for the week so that I have a guideline. And sometimes I don’t  feel like eating what I planned. What to do then?

Well, the other night I planned black beans and rice with veggies. It’s a quick and easy meal on a busy night. I had cooked the dried beans over the weekend so they were prepped and ready to go. It was a warm night and I just felt like salad and veggies, but I always think about where is the protein in the meal. So above is what I created. I started with a wonderful salad, added the black beans and some grated mozzarella. I topped it off with 2 nicely fried eggs. It turned out beautifully and was excellent.

I encourage you to try something different for dinner. Get inspired this summer and enjoy the wonderful summer bounty.

>Vitamin C and Wrinkles

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Vitamin C

Using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), scientists examined associations between nutrient intakes and skin aging in 4,025 women between the ages of 40 and 74 years. Clinical examinations of the skin were conducted by dermatologists. Skin-aging appearance was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, dryness associated with aging (senile dryness), and skin atrophy (shriveling or shrinking).
Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance. Higher linoleic acid (an omega-6 essential fatty acid) intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of senile dryness and skin atrophy. 
A higher than average fat and carbohydrate intake also increased the likelihood of a wrinkled appearance and skin atrophy. These associations were independent of age, race, education, sunlight exposure, income, menopausal status, body mass index, supplement use, physical activity, and energy intake.
Elevated intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid and reduced intakes of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better skin-aging appearance. Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have added benefit for the appearance of skin (in addition to other beneficial health outcomes) in the general population.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 4, 1225-1231, October 2007
Remember, what you put on your skin can be detected in the blood within 20 minutes. Choose skin care lines that are nutritious. Take your supplements and enjoy healthy, low glycemic meals.

>The Purple Pill Myth

>Acupuncture Today
June, 2011, Vol. 12, Issue 06
By Marlene Merritt, DOM, LAc, ACN

The ads are all over TV and magazines – if you have heartburn, you should take one of the acid-reducing medications that are out there, preferably for the rest of your life. It’s true, acid reflux is dangerous and it is vital to stop it before it does permanent damage.

Most of us treat people with acid reflux, sour stomachs, gas and bloating and many other digestive symptoms. And yet, most of them are suffering not from too much stomach acid, but from not enough.
Not enough? How can that be?

The function of your stomach acid is to digest protein. When someone has their stomach acid “turned off,” they can’t digest well (more on what turns off stomach acid in a moment). When someone eats a piece of chicken, it lands in the stomach, and needs hydrochloric acid to break it down. When there isn’t enough hydrochloric acid, the protein sits in the stomach and starts to putrefy, creating acid and gases. The person might have some symptoms — a sour stomach, belching, or even acid reflux. But, this all happened because they initially didn’t have enough acid to digest properly.

If you have good amounts of stomach acid, it closes the upper sphincter of the stomach when you eat to prevent that good acid from going up into the esophagus. And, it also opens the lower sphincter to empty your stomach after the food has been digested. But if you don’t have enough acid, not only can you not digest the protein, but the upper sphincter doesn’t close tightly enough, causing acid reflux and potential damage to the esophagus. Low stomach acid also causes the lower stomach sphincter to stay closed, which leads to the Spleen qi symptom of “fullness after eating.” It’s not the normal feeling of being full after eating, it’s being overly full, because the stomach doesn’t empty properly.

So, how does the stomach acid get turned off? And what can be done about it? The main reasons that stomach acid gets turned off is from stress — stress from high carb intake (high sugar levels are enormously stressful for the body), mental stress (Wood overacting on Earth, causing qi stagnation), physical stresses like excessive exercise, or physical stresses like inflammation, infections, anemia, or food intolerances. People who have had gastric bypass surgeries will often have the acid-producing part of their stomach removed. We’d estimate that a minimum of 90 percent of the people we see in the clinic have reduced stomach acid. So what do these patients look like?

They’re people with blood sugar issues (that’s nearly everyone), with Spleen qi deficiency symptoms of gas (especially gas with smell), bloating, “fullness,” or with stomach Fire symptoms of acidity or sour stomach, or acid reflux. People with constipation or with a loss of appetite for meat – that is a classic sign of low stomach acid. Also people who don’t eat meat because it “doesn’t digest well.” Older people lose some of their ability to produce stomach acid, often when they need it most — to digest protein to keep muscle mass, and for vitamins and minerals. Consider someone’s age, as well as their symptoms when evaluating them.

Now, most people simply need supplementation of digestible HCl, known as betaine hydrochloride, for three to six months to restore proper acidity to the stomach and eliminate the symptoms they’re having. Some herbs for stomach Fire are antacid herbs. Understandable, since the practitioner would like to put the fire out. But again, the root cause is that there’s not enough stomach acid, so you will want to add in some betaine hydrochloride.

READ More

>Is 100% All Natural Skin Care Products Really Safe

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There is currently a massive scare in Europe concerning the contamination of cucumbers by a very virulent bacterium, a variant of Escherichia coli (commonly referred to more simply as E. Coli). 
There is a full report on the BBC web site, but the issue is that there have been over 1,200 confirmed of suspected cases of E. coli in Germany so far, and 18 people have actually died. Cases are also being reported in the UK, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands. The bacterium infests the gastrointestinal tract, and can lead to Haemolytic-uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS causes kidney problems and is potentially fatal. More deaths are expected, because many sufferers have already lost kidney function, and more cases are likely before this can be stopped.
The sickness is not contagious, but may be passed on by an infected person preparing food for others.
Several countries have already removed cucumbers from the shops, when they have been imported from suspect sources, amongst them, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and France. Russian officials are even talking about banning ALL vegetable products sourced from Europe!
So what is the connection between contaminated cucumbers and cosmetics?
This awful situation in Europe demonstrates the severe problems that can occur when certain bacteria get into the food chain as a result of contamination. Foods that are unpreserved are particularly susceptible, although it is not usually necessary to preserve this type of food, but there are clearly potentially fatal consequences when this happens.
More and more people are demanding that food be free of preservatives for various reasons and, by a leap of logic, also demand that cosmetics be free of preservatives. Whilst it would not be accurate to suggest that preservatives are totally without risk in either food or cosmetics, there is a massive difference in exposure between the two applications. The most common issue with cosmetic preservatives is irritation, but this only occurs in a tiny minority of the population (despite claims to the contrary), and the point of ingredient labelling of cosmetics is to enable those with identified sensitivities to avoid products containing the “rogue” ingredient(s). Sensitisation can be a much worse condition than just irritation but this, fortunately, tends to affect an even smaller minority of the population.
In the seemingly desperate rush to get away from conventional preservatives, many companies either feel forced to use materials that are much less well-characterised in terms of toxicity and human exposure, or they actively choose to use this tactic as a marketing “advantage”, and broadcast their stance (often by also casting aspersions on conventional preservatives for good measure) in order to attract consumers. There are several potential risks involved in failing to preserve a cosmetic properly. These are mostly aesthetic – discoloration, off-odour, visible growth (the black fungus, Aspergillus brasiliensis –often seen in bathrooms – is an excellent example), creams separating out, etc, but there are also health risks involved in applying microbially contaminated products to the skin, especially if the skin  is damaged or in poor condition. One bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, can cause permanent blindness if sufficient numbers enter the eye, and this is a common bacterium, although I am not aware of any proven cases of blindness due to use of contaminated cosmetics, but it remains a theoretical possibility.
So far, there have been no major issues uncovered with these new approaches to preservation but, as this tactic increases in popularity, the chances of contamination of cosmetics causing a real problem to human health increase. I would not be so foolish as to claim that there could be problems on the scale that currently exists in Europe with cucumbers, as it is highly unlikely that deaths would ever result from a contaminated cosmetic product, but an increased risk of adverse effects remains, and consumers need to be aware of the risks that some companies are taking with their health – often the very same companies who are claiming that their products MUST be safe, because they are natural!
In the use of preservatives, the benefits vastly outweigh the tiny risk. Preservation should not be optional, it is essential.
Article posted June 6, 2011  Personal Care Truth or Scare




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