Monthly Archives: April 2014

Are You Up To Date On Your Vaccinations?

Depending on what age you’re at, there are constantly times for vaccinations. We’ve already gotten past the point where many celebrity voices are fooling many people. There are those who will always listen, because celebrities like Jenny McCarthy are telling them what they want to hear. However, the idea is to save lives.

When it comes to vaccinations, they have virtually wiped out certain serious diseases in certain areas of the world. Unfortunately, we have seen people who refuse vaccinations, putting everybody else at risk, and these diseases that should be gone have killed or disabled a number of children.

Experts estimate that vaccines save approximately 8 million lives every single year. For just measles, you will find that over 10,000 lives are saved every year. Prior to 1980, more than 2.6 million deaths were because of measles. Now, we hardly even think about measles. Fatalities are virtually unheard of these days because of vaccinations.

Since 2000, children at large have been vaccinated, and deaths went down by 80%. The truth is that vaccines work. Since 2000, more than a billion children have been successfully vaccinated against measles. Likewise, smallpox killed millions in the 20th century alone. However, by 1978, it was completely wiped out in many areas. Why? Because of vaccines.

There are plenty of diseases such as polio (which one of our former presidents would know about), diptheria, pertussis, and others that we generally don’t have to think about anymore. We have prevented a lot of cases, but we can of course do better. We still have cases that pop up specifically because there are people who choose not to get vaccinated.

It’s not just about preventing illness. If you get a vaccine and you get sick anyway, you will suffer a less severe form of the infection. There are those who will not respond to vaccinations, and they are protected by all of those around them who do getting vaccinated. This includes infants who may be too young for some vaccinations.

Frankly, there are always going to be people who have no idea what they are talking about who shoot off their mouths about vaccinations. There will always be those who choose to listen to them, even though they have no credentials that would make a reasonable person see them as credible. Both Jenny McCarthy and Alicia Silverstone can be counted in their ranks. Unfortunately, a recent bill that proposed to make it harder for people to not get their kids vaccinated was defeated.

It’s time to get back on board. It’s time to get back on top of things and figure out how to address this movement that has caused outbreaks of diseases that we can eliminate. It’s time to prevent deaths, because they don’t have to happen.

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Farm Raised Vs Wild Caught Fish

Just about everybody who listens to anything health related these days is focused on fish. They talk about all of the omega fatty acids and all of the benefits of fish like salmon. In fact, there is a lot of focus on the idea of wild salmon, because of all of the harmful chemicals found in farm raised fish. There are plenty of complaints about mercury supposedly, especially from celebrities such as Jeremy Piven it would seem. Yes, I heard that he claimed he got mercury poisoning from eating too much fish, just as he claimed to have grown moobs after eating too much tofu.

It’s not a bad idea to eat more fish. Certain fish contain more omega fatty acids as well as other good fats and nutrients without all of the bad fat you might find in some meats. There’s still that decision though. Do you have to have wild caught fish, or can you eat farm raised fish? It’s the growing argument of the organic market.

Many just assume that wild caught must be the way to go, but simplicity breeds stupidity as they say. There are plenty of environmental issues, oil spills, sustainability issues, and of course cost. There are quite a few more things to consider. They say the same thing about certain types of eggs, but then again, we have yet to see a major study on some of these eggs (that wasn’t produced by the company selling them) that shows any extra nutritional value. That’s with chickens who are fed special diets. We don’t know what fish are eating in the wild.

Is wild caught fish more nutritious?

In today’s market, that would be a resounding no. Farmed Atlantic salmon actually has more healthy omega 3 fatty acids than wild caught salmon. Beyond that though, there aren’t that many nutritional differences between the two. They are identical for rainbow trout in calories, protein, and in general other nutrients. There are negligible differences that you may see, such as wild trout having more calcium and iron. On the other hand, farmed trout have more vitamin A and selenium.

So are farm raised fish more poisonous and full of chemicals?

You would think supporters would have some kind of evidence to support this idea. There was a study that was published across the market in 2004 that found that farm raised fish had higher levels of PCBs, which are a potentially carcinogenic chemical. It was 10X higher in farmed fish! However, there have been other studies since that have shown that wild and farmed fish pretty much have the same levels of PCB.

Let’s not forget about mercury though. That is the big one that we are always talking about when it comes to salmon. Those fish that have the highest levels of mercury (swordfish, king mackarel, tilefish, shark, and tuna) are wild caught. On the other hand, those that are commonly farm raised such as catfish, tilapia, and salmon, have measurably low mercury levels.

Should we think about antibiotics in fish?

Again, you would think this would be a given. After all, we could give farm raised fish antibiotics to avoid outbreaks of disease versus how would that really happen with wild fish? US regulations actually prohibit the use of hormones or antibiotics in farm raised fish. They cannot use those to increase size or for that matter reproduction. Could fish farmers still get those chemicals in the water? You would think. However, according to Linda O’Dierno, an Outreach Specialist for the National Aquaculture Association, US regulations actually keep this under control in the US. This may be different in other countries.

Finally, are farm raised fish genetically modified?

We have gone down the list so far, and the things that you would think would be obvious really aren’t. There are some fish that have been rumored to be genetically modified. For example, striped bass with a zig zag in their stripes (which do exist). However, they are not actually genetically modified, unless you consider evolution to be genetic modification. They are a cross between striped bass and white bass created the old fashioned way.

In the US, there are no genetically modified fish for sale. If you want genetically modified fish in your fish tank (to glow), you can get them with genes from iridescent coral. These are not for food though.

Lastly, some think about the environmental impact of farmed fish.

Frankly, I’m more concerned about oil spills and the impact of the environment there. Apparently, I might be alone on that one, at least when it comes to people who are concerned over farmed fish. These issues come up just as much with wild fish as farmed fish. The boats and other tools used to catch wild fish do just as much (if not more) damage to the environment as fish farms. It does collateral damage across the board. On the other hand, fish farming can also be polluting and harm local flora and fauna, in part by introducing fish where they may not necessarily be natural. It depends partly on the farmer.

There are regulations in the US that require that water going out of fish farms be cleaner than it came in. It would depend on the area that you’re farming though in regards to those regulations.

Should you buy farm fish or wild fish?

It’s a toss up. For me, wild caught fish cost more, and there’s a lot of hype surrounding them. For those who believe the wild caught hype though, it may be worth it to pay more as something as a feel good function. Personally, I choose not to pay to feel like I’m getting healthier. I like proof, but again, that may just be me.

Be A Better You

It’s time to be a better, healthier you. It’s time to leave the horrors of yesterday behind. You are no longer going to constantly berate yourself, and it’s time to be better than you were yesterday. Take up challenges you were previously afraid to, because you can do it. Why not benefit yourself and those around you? If you don’t succeed the first time, you CAN try again. You can win.

  • Compliment Yourself – You don’t have to be obnoxious or get up on your high horse. But sometimes, it’s nice to compliment yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back and tell yourself that today, you did a good job. You have learned to love others and sacrifice yourself for others. Just take a little bit of that love and turn it inward. Do this every day, and you can be a better you.
  • Compliment A Random Stranger – This could be on their hair, dress, something they just did. Find a random stranger and make them feel good by giving them an appropriate compliment. Find something to appreciate about someone you don’t know right now. That kind of positivity could even lead you down a different path than you would otherwise expect.
  • Fall In Love With Yourself – You know what they say about not depending on someone else to be happy, that is 100% true. Try falling in love…with yourself! There is no one who should love you more than you, and yes, you can love others more than yourself. However, there are times when it may need to be you who bolsters you up. You can fake confidence, but you can’t fake true love for yourself. Take some time to just spend time with yourself and appreciate it.
  • Use a Journal – Write, sing, or do something else. Express how you feel in tangible form. You may even want to paint or take photographs. It’s perfectly okay to feel negative emotions, and it’s okay to express them. Use these art forms, whatever works for you, to get it out rather than allowing it to fester.
  • Take A Break From Social Media – There are plenty of things that you can do with all of that time you spend on social media. You just don’t know it yet. So try it for a day. Every time you think that you need to check a tweet or a Facebook post, step back and try going for a run, reading a book, something other than social media.
  • Let Someone Cut In Front Of You – Chances are, you’re not really in that big a hurry. I wouldn’t recommend letting that person with their whole food storage supply in the grocery cart be that person. However, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. It makes you feel good. It should make them feel good, and it’ll brighten your day and your self image.

Why You Should Drink More Tea

You’ve practically been beaten to death with all of the supposed benefits of green tea. Of course, there are all of the green tea commercials and diet pills that supposedly help with your cholesterol and weight. However, there are a number of different reasons to drink more tea in general.

  1. It tastes good – You can use things like honey to taste, but tea tastes pretty good. Especially if you go to some of the designer tea places like Teavana for example, you get various teas that have a large range of tastes, many of which are great. Depending on the one, you could even get great fruit flavors.
  2. There are many different types – Especially when you go to different places such as Teavana again (and there are plenty of local choices as well), you can get a ton of flavors. If you don’t like one flavor, you can try others.
  3. It can lower your stress levels – It has been proven that for various reasons, tea can actually be a significant de-stressor. It can fight free radicals that may be harming your body, and sometimes you just need that great relaxation with your tea in hand.
  4. It’s as natural as it gets – Tea has been around for centuries already. It originated in China, and it has been used for both medicinal and just personal purposes. There are plenty of different teas, all with plenty of different benefits, and there’s nothing unnatural about tea in general.
  5. It has a ton of health benefits – It can reduce stress, reduce your risk of cancer, clear your arteries, reduce risk of diabetes, and even improves your bone health. There are plenty of things with claimed health benefits. Tea is just one of them.
  6. Tons of antioxidants – Tea has high levels of healthy antioxidants. They fight harmful free radicals, which can both help you to be healthier now and prevent future issues that are entirely unnecessary.
  7. Higher metabolism – In part because of the caffeine found in teas, you can get a boost in metabolism. Some have suggested that other elements of tea leaves have the same effect as well. The energy boost doesn’t hurt either way.
  8. Better skin – Tea improves the look of your skin. Remember those free radicals? They can make your skin dull, make it age faster, and all sorts of other things. Antioxidants in tea control these and help you to maintain healthy and beautiful skin.

The Worst “Natural” Food Ingredients

Natural isn’t always as natural as you would hope.

It’s a nice idea, and it’s a line that has been used to justify steroids and plenty of other things. If you saw belladonna or poison ivy on your menu, would you think oh that sounds natural and good? Would you eat it? Probably not. It’s natural, isn’t it? That’s not the only thing you should consider. When it comes to foods, chances are you’re not going to see things like belladonna or arsenic (in some wild foods) on the menu. However, what you will see is some food additives and other things that aren’t actually so natural or good for you.

  1. Carrageenan

    It sounds weird as is, and you could take this to mean it’s some kind of fruit from a far away land that is super good for you. It is derived from seaweed technically, meaning you could consider it natural. However, it has actually been connected to inflammation, which is often connected to various issues such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and more.

    This ingredient is commonly found in various dairy products for the most part.

  2. Caramel coloring

    Okay, so coloring in general is probably bad. It’s artificial in nature. When it comes to caramel coloring, which turns it brown, it’s caramelized sugar traditionally speaking. When it’s in yoru soda though, it’s not exactly the same. It actually ends up using sugar heated with amonium compounds, which uses the cancer causing by-product 4-MI. This can be found in various sodas across the country, and the best move may be to avoid soda altogether (which has been connected to various other issues anyway).

  3. Palm Oil

    Palm oil has become the go to replacement for your partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. This was after the FDA required trans-fat labeling rules on processed foods. They used this to get around the efforts to improve public health and awareness. There have been some studies that show that palm oil could be as bad for your heart as trans fats. Obviously, the heart damaging issues are a significant problem, butit is also responsible for a lot of deforestation.

    Palm oil is typically found in crackers, cookies, baked goods in general, etc. If you want to avoid this, try using safflower oil or sunflower oil, which are both healthier.

  4. Evaporated Cane Juice

    It sounds natural, sugar cane, right? It is without question refined white sugar according to naturopathic physician Andrew Weil MD. The problem is that it’s not really juice, rather dried crystals that is there after raw sugar cane has been boiled. They then go through more processing, which makes this devoid of any of the vitamins and minerals it may have originally had. The FDA has proposed not to allow them to use the word juice, because it is obviously misleading. Only time will tell on this one though.

  5. Fruit Juice Concentrate

    On this one, you would really think that it would be pretty obvious. Fruit juice concentrate has to come from fruits….or does it? No, it doesn’t. They are commonly made up of sweeteners, and they have plenty of empty calories according to the Harvard School of Public Health. This has been linked to heart problems to start.

    So try actual fruit. It’s really that simple. There are plenty of fruits with natural sugars that are extremely good for you, and they also have plenty of healthy fiber, vitamins, and healthy antioxidants.

  6. High Fructose Corn Syrup

    Despite all of the commercials, this is not a good thing. High fructose corn syrup has little to no actual nutritional value. It can be added to everything that has been processed unfortunately, and it can lead to some major issues with obesity. Mercury could even be hiding in this particular ingredient. Don’t be fooled on this one. Just avoid.

Baby Can’t Open Mouth Since Birth

It’s a desperate and odd situation and one that a family has been battling with no end in sight. It’s a medical mystery with a 10 month old who has never been able to open his mouth. Baby Wyatt, as he has become known, has suffered from odd lockjaw since he was born. His parents have taken him to various specialists trying to resolve the problem, but they can’t figure out the problem.

The Scotts have accordingly created a website for this, WhatsWrongWithWyatt.com. They are hoping that this has happened before and somebody will recognize it, or some doctor will figure it out. Of course, I’m sure they’ve explored basic viruses and other disease that might normally cause lockjaw.

When born, doctors were of course alarmed. They were afraid that he would not be able to breath at the very least, and he ended up in the hospital for 3 months in Ottawa, Canada. They have since called emergency services 6 times when he choked and could not open his mouth. One time, they had to administer CPR while his bloody nose spilled out of his mouth another time.

The condition, officially known as congenital trismus, is rare. It’s generally caused by a fused joint or extra band of tissue. However, according to MRI’s and CT’s, Wyatt’s are normal. Doctors cannot find any logical reason for it.

Experts have said that there may be a muscle problem, but they would need to put him to sleep and do a muscle biopsy to find out. The problem is that they can’t control his airways without being able to open his mouth. He can’t control his saliva as well as a baby, and of course, not being able to open his mouth, he can’t use that if it becomes too full.

The Scott’s daughter has recently started kindergarten, and with her bringing plenty of bugs home, Wyatt also gets sick and chokes.

Doctors have already tried to use botox to relax his jaw muscles to open his mouth a little bit, but it is not truly a solution that has worked. The Scotts have received numerous emails since they launched their site, generally from well wishers and of course, ideas have popped up. Hopefully, this will be the trick to finding out what is wrong.

Why Illegal Abortions are Dangerous

While conservative politicians are looking to illegalize abortions in the US, there are other countries who are dealing with the extreme consequences of that kind of movement. Women who don’t want kids are abandoning their kids (yes, I know we already do here too), and more importantly, there are women so desperate not to have kids, they are willing to go in for illegal abortions with questionable doctors and clinics. There were times in American history where people did this, and in some cases, we forget, because it has become something of a relic of the past.

In Brazil, there are over a million estimated abortions performed every year, and almost all of them are illegal. There are some who go to questionable clinics and doctors who may not even be doctors while others do it in their own homes. They sometimes obtain illegal drugs through the black market. In Brazil’s system, the woman may be reported to the police, but the hospital will treat her if there are issues with an incomplete abortion. Most importantly though, that does not stop women from trying.

Struggles of young women who panic in various situations rum the gamut. They may simply not be prepared. Other times, they may be afraid of family reactions, and in many cases, they research at home abortions online, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. The people involved in providing services are often sketchy, and a lot of the options look, even to the untrained eye, quite dangerous.

There are some who consider telling the police they were raped. Abortion is legal when you are raped in Brazil, which is something some Republican politicians would like to outlaw. At that point, they actually have to report the rape to police and undergo examinations. Naturally, they take the risk of reporting the wrong date if they are using rape as an excuse, and the police may very well arrest them if that is reported.

For many of these women, it’s not necessarily the abortion process that’s scary, but rather the fear of being arrested, the fear of being stuck with a baby, the fear of what their families will think. Of course, in this highly Catholic country, it is also often drilled into their heads that abortion is murder, creating a certain guilt. At the same point though, in some cases, it is the right thing for them. It is simply better if they can ultimately get the right medical services and support.

As one girl who went through this process said, I don’t think it was a life. I think it was a bunch of cells that were becoming a life. It’s not as terrible as people say it is. I am sure that I chose the right decision.

In some cases, there are better options than others, and some will have supportive families, friends, and boyfriends who will help them through a process to for example find a way to get a legal abortion. Ideally, if they are going to, they should be in the right hospital, and this is a law that clearly should be overturned. The problem is those who don’t. The issue is for those girls who don’t have any support, those girls who are truly doing it on their own, and this includes those girls who may have been raped, but they are afraid that no one will believe them and the police will arrest them, even though they’re being honest.

After the abortion, one woman received a letter telling her how much her abortion had cost. That came to a total of 150 reais or $75 US. Illegal clinics, on the other hand, charge 1000 reais. As you might imagine, it’s not uncommon for women who see themselves as being saved by this to recommend that other women actually cry rape to get an abortion.