“Ugly” Fruits And Vegetables Are Coming To A Store Near You

“Ugly” Fruits And Vegetables Are Coming To A Store Near You

     I have written in previous posts about the staggering amount of food that is wasted in this country:  upwards of 40% of all the food that is produced goes uneaten, including 56% of the produce.  In a world and nation where millions of people don’t have enough to eat or are lacking in fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables, this situation is heartbreaking.  It is also largely unnecessary.  Thousands of tons of perfectly good food is thrown out by grocers because of appearance.  Yet, nutritional value is not at all dependent on how the papaya or potato looks.

     There are many causes for this problem and many viable solutions up and down the food supply chain.  One of them is overcoming our insistence on “good looking” fruits and vegetables.  I don’t know why we became fixated on appearance when it is what is inside that counts, but it looks like progress is starting to be made in changing our attitudes.

     Walmart, which has become the nation’s largest grocer, with more than 4,000 produce-selling stores, made an important announcement last week.  It is going to start offering “ugly” apples in 300 stores across Florida. This builds on an ugly potato program that Walmart launched in England earlier this year.

     Food is big business for the retail giant, with groceries accounting for 56%  of sales in the company’s U.S. stores for the past three years.  And where Walmart goes, other retailers follow.  Hopefully, American consumers will come to see “ugly” fruits and vegetables as being just as valuable as their picture perfect cousins. 

     Adding thousands of tons of fresh produce to our food supply is good for our wallets, as increased supply can bring down prices.  It also helps the planet by giving us more to eat without any need for more land, more fertilizer, and more pesticides.  Get ready to eat “ugly” fruits and vegetables.  They taste just fine.  Read the article here.

THERE IS A RIGHT WAY TO FALL. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?

THERE IS A RIGHT WAY TO FALL.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?

     According to people who know what they’re talking about–paratroopers, stunt professionals, physical therapists and martial arts instructors—there really is a right way to fall.  Especially if one is past young adulthood, this is potentially life-saving knowledge.

     Falls are often associated with older people, but they happen at any age and are the most common cause of trips to the ER for injury.  Falling causes more than one-third of injury-related ER visits, nearly 8 million a year.

     According to the experts, the key is to not fight the fall, but just to roll with it, as paratroopers do:  “You should bend your elbows and knees and try to take the hit on the fleshiest parts of your body, like the side of your thigh, buttocks and shoulder….You’re less likely to hurt yourself if you soften up all your muscles and exhale.  Rigidity is your enemy, while pliability is your friend.”

     This is what we see with young children, who are usually the best fallers.  They haven’t yet developed fear or embarrassment, so they just tumble and roll without tensing up and trying to catch themselves.  But since most of us are no longer kids, there are ways to get in better shape and movements we can practice, so if we should happen to trip over the coffee table in the dark, we’re more prepared to fall without doing ourselves real harm.  Read the article here.

How To Stop Snoring

How To Stop Snoring

     While snoring might seem like a humorous topic to some, for those affected by it, it’s no laughing matter.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, 37 million Americans snore on a regular basis.  The annoying noises are the result of the airway narrowing or being partially blocked.  More than a nuisance, snoring can also be an indicator of health conditions that need attention.

      There are some simple lifestyle changes that can sometimes help reduce or eliminate snoring, ranging from nasal strips to sleeping on your side to avoiding alcohol for at least four hours before going to bed.  Alcohol relaxes the airway muscles, which constricts airflow.  Tobacco smoke can irritate throat membranes, so that is yet another reason to quit smoking.  Being over weight often includes excess fat around the neck.  This compresses the upper airway and restricts airflow, so losing weight can often help with snoring issues.

      Snoring occurs when the soft tissue in your throat partially blocks the airway.  Researchers have found that doing some simple mouth and tongue exercises can sometimes work to reduce snoring.  The article describes four of them.  If lifestyle and other techniques don’t help, it could be time to see a sleep specialist. 

When A Child’s Cough Just Won’t Go Away

When A Child’s Cough Just Won’t Go Away

     When children have a persistent cough, one of those stubborn conditions that seem to last forever, it’s only natural for parents to seek an immediate solution.  As a primary care doctor specializing in pediatrics, I understand that parental inclination.  No parent wants to see their child sick or suffering, and there are legitimate concerns about lack of sleep and long term damage.

     Coughing is a natural response to threats or irritation.  It helps get rid of everything from allergens to pollutants to microbes and mucus.  Most children who have coughs that hang on after colds or other viral infections don’t really need any treatment beyond a certain amount of patience.  Studies on OTC cough and cold medications for children show that they have not proven to be any more effective than placebos.  However, there have been many problems with side effects and overdoses.

     When a cough won’t go away, the challenge for a doctor is determining the nature of the condition.  For example, dry coughs are usually less of a concern that a wet cough.  Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing call for a visit to the doctor’s office.  At the same time, there are many times where the best response may be to just wait out the cough until it goes away on its own.

     Fortunately, as a naturopathic doctor, I have many more tools in my kit than conventional medicine provides.  If a child’s cough requires medical treatment, there is a wide assortment of herbs, homeopathics, and other natural formulas that are effective.  If the cough does not need medical treatment, I can give parents other natural remedies that soothe the child while waiting for nature to take its course.  Read the article here or click on the photo.

 

How Much Protein Is Too Much?

How Much Protein Is Too Much?

     People need protein because it supplies indispensable amino acids that our bodies cannot synthesize on their own.  Protein and amino acids combine to provide the essential building blocks to make and maintain muscle, bone, skin and other tissues as well as many important hormones and enzymes.   However, the body can only digest and absorb a certain amount of protein at every meal, between 20 and 40 grams.  The average adult can easily achieve the recommended protein intake in their meals — 46 grams of protein a day for women, and 56 grams for men.  American men average nearly twice that at 100 grams a day.

     Doctors have concerns about the long-term effects of excess protein.  Studies show that protein-rich diets do not preserve muscle mass over the long term and several large observational studies have linked high-protein diets with an increased incidence of cancer, heart disease and other ills.  One study of 6,381 adults found that those who ate a high protein diet between the ages of 50 and 65 were four times more likely to die of cancer than those who consumed less protein, but these affects were significantly lessened or eliminated if protein was plant based.  The bottom line:  I generally advise people to eat a good amount of plant based protein and to consult a holistic physician well versed in nutrition, as different medical conditions can have very different nutritional needs.  Find the article here.

Surprise! Walmart Beat Amazon and Costco in Transparency of Harmful Chemicals

Surprise!  Walmart Beat Amazon and Costco in Transparency of Harmful Chemicals

     A report by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, recently ranked the 11 biggest merchants on a 130-point scale that rated the companies on how well they let consumers know what’s in the products they’re buying.  The 13 metrics include ingredient disclosure, trustworthy safety screening, and efforts to find safer alternatives.  As I’ve previously posted on my Facebook page (April 27, May 27, July 13, and August 19, 2016), the research is revealing potentially serious health damage from even small exposures to some chemicals.  This article has a chart that shows the scores of all 11 companies.

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