May 2010

Get Fit the Old Fashioned Way

Most parents try to ensure that their children are as well as possible. Of course, it can be difficult, especially with the constant lure of fast food, cartoons promoting junk food, and all of the new video games kids have to play with. Whatever happened to playing with sticks, riding bicycles, and eating strawberries right off the vine, right?

I’m not one of those people pining for the “good old days;” like many progressive people, I realize that the “good” of those days wasn’t good at all for most people—not for anyone who wasn’t white, straight, and male, that is. But getting back to the basics can be very useful when it comes to shedding the pounds, getting active, or simply adopting a healthy lifestyle.

May is Family Wellness Month. Here are a few “good old days” activities you can add into your family’s busy schedule to help increase your family’s wellness.

May 19 is National Employee Health and Fitness Day

On July 19, employers have a chance to get in on helping their employees be better workers, require less sick days, and be healthier people overall—by participating in National Employee Health and Fitness Day!

There are really limitless things employers can do to help their employees stay healthy and fit. Though it’s not “their job” to do so, if they choose to, here are just a few ways to get involved.

Provide employees with healthy snack options. If you have vending machines, ask companies to provide at least a few healthy options to choose from. Make sure there is plenty of water on hand at the job—and include a purifier system if you can. When you cater events, make sure the foods offered are healthy and balanced meals.

How Healthy is Organic Food?

 

I just read a great article about organic produce and goods in which the writer takes the time to clarify a few important facts about organic groceries that most Americans may not quite be aware of yet. 
She cites a recent study whose results indicated that a majority of Americans believe that organic goods are actually more non-fattening than their non-organic counterparts. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100428173344.htm This is obviously not true- an organic fruit or vegetable ingredient will have the same amount of calories as a non-organic fruit or vegetable ingredient. Unfortunately, just because the food is "healthier", it doesn't mean that the food is any less fattening. 
Along the same lines, http://green.yahoo.com/blog/daily_green_news/296/fda-cracks-down-on-food... if something is "organic", but "processed", it still might not be as healthy as most of us would like to think. As this article points out:
"organic" means a food was produced without harsh chemical fertilizers or pesticides, but it doesn't mean it's nutritious. Processed foods are just that -- processed, whether organic or not.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/nu00255The Mayo Clinic's website has an interesting article detailing the specifications and restrictions that food must meet before it can be labeled organic. In addition to noting the USDA "Organic Sticker" that comes on the produce, it is important to note the differences in individual labels.
100% Organic: the food is entirely organic.
95% Organic: the food is 95% organic.
Made with Organic Ingredients: the food is 70% organic. 
The Mayo Clinic's article on Organic Labeling also details how the produce must be grown and how animals must be fed in order to be labeled as organic. The basic idea for organic produce is the elimination of chemicals on the produce in favor of natural methods. For meat to be labeled organic, the animals can't be fed anything with growth hormones and are required to have access to the outdoors. 
In March, the Food and Drug Administration sent notices to 17 Food Manufacturers to stop using unlawful labels on food that was not organic or made false claims. The list of companies cited is definitely worth taking a look at. http://green.yahoo.com/blog/daily_green_news/296/fda-cracks-down-on-food...

I just read a great article about organic produce and goods in which the writer takes the time to clarify a few important facts about organic groceries that most Americans may not quite be aware of yet. 

She cites a recent study that indicated that a majority of Americans believe that organic goods are actually more non-fattening than their non-organic counterparts.  This is obviously not true- an organic fruit or vegetable ingredient will have the same amount of calories as a non-organic fruit or vegetable ingredient (or an organic meat ingredient for that matter). Unfortunately, just because the food is "healthier", it doesn't mean that the food is any less fattening. 

Reconsidering Vegetable Gardening after the E Coli Outbreak

After hearing about the latest e coli outbreak which involved pre-packaged lettuce, I started to think about the importance of growing your own vegetables or getting your produce from a reliable local source. Just yesterday, I learned that the e coli virus spread to 23 states from lettuce officials originating from Arizona that was shipped throughout the country. There is something definitely wrong when a staple vegetable is making people sick. Aren't vegetables supposed to be healthy?