It IS possible!

 

 

 
After all this time…. nearly half a century, I have believed the number on the scale. It could make me or break me….well no more. Today I learned that INCHES really do matter! At the urging of a weight loss buddy, I took my measurements for the first time since my beginning measurements 6 weeks ago. Lo and behold, I was down a few inches from top to bottom.  Being skeptical, I first asked my husband. He said matter of factly, “we lose inches as we lose fat.”  Well, I wanted to know WHY I’m losing fat, but the scale doesn’t reflect ANY Kind of loss. I went on a quest to find out. After reading several articles this are the top two: http://www.livestrong.com/article/397539-why-am-i-losing-inches-not-weight/ http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/a/losinginches.htm Give the scale a rest and pull out the tape measure my friend! You may be pleasantly surprised! I was!

TMI????

I am shutting down my computer, iPad, iPod, tv, stopping all magazine/news subscriptions!!  I can’t take it anymore…I am starting to get the heebie-jeebies….

This year alone:
Spinach is recalled due to Listeria contamination….
Ground Beef recall in 3 states (not mine, but WHO really knows….) due to E.Coli
Eggs and Peanut Butter recalled due to Salmonella
Lets not even discuss our drinking water….
The last straw for me was an abcnews report yesterday that found: “The study included 148 pork chops and 50 ground pork samples from around the United States.  In the samples tested, 69 percent tested positive for yersinia and 11 percent for enterococcus, which can indicate fecal contamination that can lead to urinary-tract infections. Salmonella and listeria, the more well-known bacterium, registered at 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively”.  (quote directly from article)
Now, I am not one to take media reports at their word.  There tends to be bias somewhere in the reporting.  However, these are FACTS.  I have an 103 year old Grandmother that can still dress and feed herself (Dementia, but no other health issues). Yet as I approach 50, I have all sorts of maladies, including not being able to lose weight.  Clearly, I can’t blame it on bad “genes.”
Now, I can’t live in a bubble and I don’t have a farm.  But, I am really (SERIOUSLY, NOT JOKING) developing a real fear of foods.  I am not a nut, I promise. I know my issues…but, I’m afraid I will turn into wholistic nut.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be like my Grandma and live to be 100+ (still beating the grandkids and great-grands in chess).  I want to enjoy my meals.  Now, when I look at my plate, I wonder what am I eating? what am I feeding my family?
Sigh….

Size matters…

I’m sorry, but what looks good in a size 8 does not always look as good in a size 12, 14 or 16.  I am tired of wearing a size 16.  I want to fit into my 12’s again.  That is my goal!  And I want my clothes to fit me no matter what size I am. No more cheap, poorly designed clothing.  Workout begin today.  3x a week.  No if’s, and’s or maybe’s.  I want 10 lbs off before my California trip!

5 Mood Boosters

 

 
 
 

5 Mood-Boosting Super Foods

by Fran of HeyFranHey.com

Do you find yourself feeling down often? Even when there’s nothing actually wrong? While it’s important to take time to reflect on personal relationships and the world around you, it’s equally as important to take note of the foods you’re consuming.
 
Two key factors affecting mood, when it comes to diet, are your blood sugars and your digestive tract. If you’re constantly consuming sweets and processed foods, your body will feel like a rollercoaster throughout the day, hitting highs and lows that make your mood unpredictable. If your digestive tract isn’t clear, you will feel tired and fatigued more often than not. Well-balanced meals full of nutrients, proteins and fiber will keep your blood sugars even and your body regular. You’ll notice a shift in your energy almost immediately! Here are five mood-boosting super foods to help you feel better:
 
Asparagus
 
Serotonin is a mood-regulating hormone in our brain. Asparagus is loaded with tryptophan, an amino acid that is extremely important in the creation of Serotonin. In other words, the more you eat asparagus, the more balanced your mood will be! Tryptophan also helps regulate sleeping patterns so it’s an awesome plant-based cure for insomnia. Additionally, studies have shown that people suffering from depression have low levels of folate. Asparagus has really high levels of folate, making it the top mood-boosting super food on our list!
 
Coconut
 
Coconut milk and unsweetened coconut shavings are not only extremely tasty but also scientifically proven to make us feel better. Each serving is loaded with fats that are known to improve brain health, as well as fuel more positive moods. I drink coconut milk in my green smoothies, at least once a week. And the shavings are awesome as a topping over Greek yogurt!
 
Greek Yogurt
 
Calcium is known to be somewhat of a remote control for the body, sending out neurotransmitters that control our natural “highs.” The more calcium in your body, the higher your levels of happiness are! Greek yogurt is loaded with calcium, more so than in milk or regular yogurt, so it’s the perfect go-to for those low moods. It’s also loaded with protein, which is known to positively affect energy levels as well as weight loss.
 
 
Cherry Tomatoes
 
The skin on tomatoes contains a nutrient called lycopene that is extremely vital to brain health. Studies have shown that lycopene is capable of completely stopping one of the common compounds found in those suffering from depression. The reason cherry tomatoes are highlighted is because you’re most likely going to eat more of them in one sitting than you would a larger tomato. And the more skin you consume, the more lycopene in your body!
 
Dark Chocolate
 
Saving the best for last, dark chocolate is a major mood-boosting food! Not only because it tastes delicious and comforts us, but also because it is scientifically proven to release endorphins also known as the “feel-good chemical” in our brain. On the plus side, it’s also great for heart health, as it has an anti-clogging effect on our blood, improves the flow and lowers blood pressure!
 

Courtesy of Transitioning Movement 

 

To Buy Organic or To Not Buy Organic, That Is The Question…

Should I buy local foods or stick to organic? 
It depends on what you value most. If keeping pesticides out of your food is your highest value, then buy organic. If you care most about freshness and quality or keeping local farms in business and circulating money in your community, buy local. But very often you can do both. Some l

ocal farmers are organic in everything but name, so before you decide to pass them up, ask them not “Are you organic” – to which the answer must be no if they haven’t been certified – but rather, how do you deal with fertility and pests? That starts a more nuanced conversation that may convince you to buy their produce.

We can’t afford to buy all our produce organic, so where should we direct our money to get the most benefit?
On produce, some items, when grown conventionally, have more pesticide residue than others, so when buying these, it pays to buy organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, the “dirty dozen” most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale/collards. The “clean 15” are onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms. So if you’ve only got a little money to devote to organic, buy the organic apples and skip the organic onions. But do keep in mind that it’s important to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables regardless of how they’re grown.

Why are vegetables and meat labeled “organic” so much more expensive than similar items without the “organic” label? 
There are several reasons organic food costs more than conventional food. First, the demand for it exceeds the supply, and presumably, as more farmers transition to organic, the price will fall, though it will never match conventional prices. For one thing, organic farmers receive virtually no subsidies from the government. (European governments significantly subsidize the transition to organic; ours doesn’t.) But even on a level playing field, farming organically would probably remain more expensive. Farming without chemicals is inherently more labor-intensive, especially when it comes to weeding. In animal agriculture, raising animals less intensively is always going to cost more.

Think about it this way: The “high” price of organic food comes a lot closer to the true price of producing that food – a price we seldom pay at the checkout. It’s important to remember that when you buy conventional food, many costs have been shifted – to the taxpayer in the form of crop subsidies, to the farmworker in the form of health problems and to the environment in the form of water and air pollution.

O.K., apart from a clearer conscience, what does the premium paid for organic food get you as a consumer? 
Organic food has little or no pesticide residues, and especially for parents of young children, this is a big deal. There is also a body of evidence that produce grown in organic soils often has higher levels of various nutrients. (But whether these are enough to justify the higher price is questionable.) Probably for the same reason, organic produce often tastes better than conventional (though a cross-country truck ride can obviate this edge).

So it’s possible to make a case to the consumer for the superiority of organic food – but the stronger case is to the citizen. Farming without synthetic pesticides is better for the soil, for the water and for the air – which is to say, for the commons. It is also better for the people who grow and harvest our food, who would much rather not breathe pesticides. Producing meat without antibiotics will also help stave off antibiotic- resistance. If you care about these things, then the premium paid for organic food is money well spent.

Are there real opportunities for consumers to make an impact on factory farming, unsustainable agriculture and animal cruelty? 
Absolutely. As the market for humanely raised meat grew in recent years, the industry responded. The egg industry recently committed to an effort to phase out tightly confining cages for laying hens; some pork producers are phasing out gestation crates; McDonald’s has taken steps to ensure that the meat it buys is slaughtered more humanely; Chipotle now buys only humanely raised pork. There is no question that agribusiness responds to the “votes” of consumers on these issues. The food industry is terrified of you. And PETA!

by Michael Pollan


 

HAIR GROWTH AND WHAT AFFECTS IT

 

In order of what affects hair growth from the least to the most effective are:

(1) GENETICS: determines our hair growth cycles and hair loss cycles, such as balding patterns.

(2) HORMONES: Birth control and events such as pregnancy

(3) NUTRITION: Because any of the nutrients we get from food are FIRST utilized by our bodies, our hair and nails receive any left over proteins, vitamins, water and nutrients after the body has used them. So, if our diets are already poor and our water intake is not so great, any possible vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the food eaten are distributed within our bodies and if none are left for our hair and nails, this affects how the hair and nails grow. So, this is why it is stressed to try as much as possible to feed our bodies great healthy foods and have great water intake.

(4) EXERCISE: Extremely important factor that is many times overlooked in terms of healthy hair growth. Exercise promotes oxygen flow. It also releases endorphins (neurotransmitters , which are chemicals that pass signals along one neuron to the next). They are the pain blockers and are responsible for our feelings of pleasure. Which is why when we exercise or have a great workout, we feel great, pleasurable (they are also released during sex, as it serves as a form of exercise in a sense as well). And, exercise regulates the adrenal glands which are responsible for your body’s relation to stress.

(5) STRESS: The top dog. Did you know that a stressful event can cause the hair to go into a ‘resting phase’ known as the TELOGEN PHASE (the resting phase of the hair..this is where our hair sheds and falls out). Now, normal hair shedding is between 75-100 hairs per day, however, excessive shedding can be created by a few things. Now, let me go a little deeper. On average, about 85%-95% of the hairs on our heads are in the growing phase (ANAGEN PHASE), and the others are resting (TELOGEN PHASE). The hair is normally in the Anagen or growing phase for 2-4 years then it enters the resting or Telogen phase for about 2-4 months, then it falls out and is replaced by a new growing hair. Now, when a stressful event occurs, the hair will enter what is called TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM. This is where some body change or shock pushes MORE hairs into the Telogen (resting phase). So when a person is struggling with Telogen Effluvium, they may lose 300 hairs vs 100 hairs per day. Here is a list of things that can trigger Telogen Effluvium:
(1) Sugery
(2) Major physical trauma
(3) Major psychological stress
(4) High fever, severe infection or other illness
(5) Extreme weight loss
(6) Extreme change in diet
(7) Abrubt hormonal changes, such as childbirth or menopause
(8) Iron defenciency
(9) Hyperthyroidism
(10) Some medications
(11) Poor diet (in some cases)

Now, keep in mind, because the hair rests for 2-4 months, you may not experience the excessive shedding until a few months later, so that will cause you to back track and think about what major stressful event may be the cause..For example, if in February, I begin to experience excessive shedding, I would think back to the surgery (c-section) that I had in October as the potential cause of my excessive shedding. The great news is that normally, no one can tell that your hair is experiencing this excessive shedding but you and the Telogen Effluvium usually runs its course within 6-9 months. (note: see your doc if you begin to experience bald patches or more extreme hair loss, this could be something different).

A few other things that can affect Hair Growth are:
(A) STYLING TECHNIQUES: combs, brushes, use of heat, harsh chemical use (relaxers, color, texturizers)

(B) TRIMMING

(C) SCALP ISSUES: These are created by numerous things and because our scalp is sensitive, it is imperative that we do things to make sure that it functions properly. Try not to use nails or objects such as combs to scratch the scalp. These make tiny microscopic slits on the scalp and forces the scalp to go into a ‘repair mode’ which can make it malfunction. And because our scalp produces normal sebum (oil) it’s usually not necessary to add additional oils to the scalp, which creates clogged pores in the scalp and over time will cause the scalp to malfunction.

(D) WASHING: Many harsh ingredients (sulfates in particular) strip the scalp of it’s natural sebum causing some to assume the scalp is dry, which in turn makes us want to ‘grease/oil’ the scalp, again, potentially creating scalp malfunction which leads to other scalp issues. Our hair’s pH range is between 4.5-5.5, so it’s best to try to utilize products that fall into that range. Now, cleansers are usually formulated at higher pH, however, this is where a conditioner plays a major part because they are usually formulated at lower pH levels to help close the cuticle , soften and temporarily repair the hair. ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) rinses are great for aiding in scalp issues and for protecting the hair and scalp from harmful contaminants and it helps protect the hair by closing the cuticle preventing further damage to the hair. So, yes, ingredients do matter.

 
Courtesy of: All Things O Natural

10 THINGS TO AVOID PUTTING IN YOUR HAIR

(great article)

Most of the commercially available hair care products today use harmful, potentially carcinogenic ingredients. In the interest of good napptural health, I list below, what are in my opinion, the 10 worst commonly found product ingredients thngs you can put on your hair (and body). Check the list of ingredients on your hair products. The more of a particular ingredient you have in a product, the closer it is to the top of the list of ingredients on the bottle:

1. ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL: This is a solvent and denaturant (poisonous substance that changes another substances natural qualities). Isopropyl alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. This petroleum-derived substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. Napptural hair reacts very badly to isoalcohol and this ingredient should be avoided at ALL costs. It will dry your hair out and break it off. According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and even coma in extreme cases.

2. MINERAL OIL & PETROLATUM: The best baby oil is made from almonds. But the oil which being sold as baby oil is 100% mineral oil. Mineral oil is a derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting fluid and lubricating oil. This commonly used petroleum ingredient coats the skin and hair just like plastic wrap. The skin’s natural barrier is disrupted as this plastic coating inhibits its ability to breathe and absorb the Natural Moisture Factor (moisture and nutrition). The skin’s ability to release toxins and wastes is impossible through this “plastic wrap,” which can promote acne and other disorders. It further hinders normal skin respiration/transpiration by keeping oxygen out. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age. Holding in large a mounts of moisture in the skin can “flood” the biology and may result in immature, unhealthy, sensitive skin that dries out easily. Petrolatum – A petroleum-based grease that is used industrially as a grease component. Petrolatum exhibits many of the same potentially harmful properties as mineral oil.
Honestly, this stuff belongs in your engine, not on your hair. Regardless of “Well, my Grandma used vaseline on her hair and it grew “, the bottom line is this stuff is bad. It was bad for Grandma and it is bad for you. Period.

3. PEG: This is an abbreviation for polyethylene glycol that is used in making cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as thicken products. Because of their effectiveness, PEG’s are often used in caustic spray on oven cleaners and yet are found in many personal care products. PEG’s contribute to stripping the Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic.

4. PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG): As a “surfactant” or wetting agent and solvent, this ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste. It is also used in food processing. Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact, as PG has systemic consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. Consumers are not protected nor is there a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than that in most industrial applications.

5. SODIUM LAURYL SUFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES): SLS is used in testing labs as the standard ingredient to irritate skin. Used as detergents and surfactants, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Yet both SLS and SLES are used more widely as one of the major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpaste, hair conditioner and about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam. They are used in personal-care products because they are cheap. A small amount generates a large amount of foam, and when salt is added it thicken to give the illusion of being thick and concentrated. (SOME OF THE NITROSATING AGENTS ARE: SLS, SLES, DEA, TEA, MEA). Shampooing the hair with a product contaminated with these substances can lead to its absorption into the body at levels much higher than eating nitrite-contaminated foods.
Mark Fearer in an article, Dangerous Beauty, says, “…in tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion and death.” According to the American College of Toxicology states both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children’s eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. It is possibly the most dangerous of ad ingredients in personal care products. Research has shown that SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which causes the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate contaminated food.” According to the American College of Toxicity report, “SLS stays in the body for up to five days…” Other studies have indicated that SLS easily penetrates through the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain. This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpaste,”
Studies show its danger potential to be great when used in personal-care products. Toxicity – A serious problem with these chemicals is that they may be contaminated with NDELA (N-nitrosodiethanolamine), one of the nitrosamines and a potent carcinogen, according to a 1978 FDA report.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – SLES is the alcohol form (ethoxylated) of SLS. It is slightly less irritating than SLS, but may be more drying. Both SLS and SLES can enter the blood stream. They may cause potentially carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients. Large amounts of nitrates may enter the blood system from just one shampooing. Contains ether.

6. CHLORINE: According to Doris J. Rapp, M.D., author of Is This your Child’s World? exposure to chlorine in tap water, Showers, pool, laundry products, cleaning agents, food processing, sewage systems and many others, can effect health by contributing to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium diabetes, dizziness, irritation of the eye, mouth, nose throat, lung, skin and stomach, heart disease, high blood pressure and nausea. It is also a possible cause of cancer. Even though you will not see Chlorine on personal care product labels, it is important for you to be aware of the need to protect your skin when bathing and washing your hair.

7. DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethnanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine): DEA and MEA are usual listed on the ingredients label in conjunction with the compound being neutralized. Thus look for names like Cocamide DEA or MES, Lauramide DEA, etc. These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. . These are commonly found in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers. On the show, CBS This Morning, Roberta Baskin revealed that a recent government report shows DEA and MEA are readily absorbed in the skin. Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois said “repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of two cancers – liver and kidney cancers.” John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic division for the FDA said the new study is especial important since “the risk equation changes significantly for children.”

8. FD & C Color PIGMENTS: Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer’s dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Debra Lynn Dadd says in Home Safe Home: “Colors that can be used in foods, drug, and cosmetics are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.”

9. FRAGRANCE: Fragrance is present in most deodorants shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. “Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes,” (Home Safe Home).
For better health try purchasing unscented products and for fragrance, adding a natural essential oil.

10. IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DMDM HYDANTOIN: These are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde (formaldehyde-donors). According to the Mayo clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, Chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients.

 
Courtesy of: All Things O Natural

Getting fit…

Time to add in exercise.  I have successfully changed eating habits for the better.  I actually crave apples and water now.  Late night snacking has been minimum.  I have some definite tweaks, like eliminating cranberries (in nuts) and my creamer (just using sugar free) and that will help.  Baby steps…

I plan to get in on the Nov challenge of 1 minute of jump rope per day.  I can do that. Its more than what I’ve been doing. Get this heart rate up.

As for the hair…I want to remain natural, but no gray.  Its beautiful, but maybe when I’m fifty and cut it off. If this system is still here maybe….

Getting healthy is my goal…

 

 

It’s time to embrace yet another facet of my growth/maturity…my gray hair.  I have been fried, dyed and laid to the side over the years…I have been chemical free since March 2010 (19 months)…it has been extremely liberating. I love the texture and health of my hair.  Now, I think I am ready to embrace the next phase…going gray.  I have a young “face,” so I am not worried about the years added to my look.  I am simply curious to see what my hair looks and feels like au naturale…and as I said when going natural, if I don’t like it, I can always color it.  It really is that simple.