Monthly Archives: June 2015
Italian Jumbot Recipe
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces hot sausage link
- bacon as desired
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 (4-ounce) stick margarine
- 6 cups peeled, chopped,
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 1/2 cups chopped green
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup jalapeno peppers
- 9 eggs, beaten
- 10 ounces shredded Cheddar
Serving suggestion: serve with Italian toast.
Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the sausage over medium heat. Add about
2 tablespoons of water to the skillet, cover with a lid, and cook for about 20
minutes, turning once during the process. Roughly chop the sausage links.
Preheat a large skillet or flat grill over medium-high heat and melt
margarine. Add the cooked potatoes and saute until golden brown. Add onions,
green peppers, tomatoes, browned sausage, and jalapeno peppers. Saute together
for 5 minutes. Mix in beaten eggs until the eggs are cooked.
Divide jumbot in half in the skillet or grill, and add 8 ounces of the
cheddar cheese to 1 half of jumbot. Take the other half of jumbot and lay it on
top of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Variations to jumbot: add 1 1/2 cups of chopped ham from bone, instead of
hot sausage and omit jalapeno peppers. Add 8 slices of American cheese in place
Health and Wellness Associates
What Happens When You Sit Too Long
In recent centuries, advances in industry and technology have fundamentally changed the way many humans spend their waking hours. Where it was once commonplace to spend virtually all of those hours on your feet – walking, twisting, bending, and moving – it is now the norm to spend those hours sitting.
The modern-day office is built around sitting, such that you can conduct business – make phone calls, send e-mails and faxes, and even participate in video conferences – without ever leaving your chair.
But there’s an inherent problem with this lifestyle. Your body was designed for near perpetual movement. It thrives when given opportunity to move in its fully intended range of motion and, as we’re now increasingly seeing, struggles when forced to stay in one place for long periods.
What Happens When You Sit for Too Long?
Studies looking at life in natural agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. The average American office worker can sit for 13 to 15 hours a day.
The difference between a “natural” amount of sitting and modern, inappropriate amounts of sitting is huge, and accounts for negative changes at the molecular level.
According to Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, there are at least 24 different chronic diseases and conditions associated with excessive sitting.
As he wrote in Scientific American:1
“Sitting for long periods is bad because the human body was not designed to be idle. I have worked in obesity research for several decades, and my laboratory has studied the effect of sedentary lifestyles at the molecular level all the way up to office design.
Lack of movement slows metabolism, reducing the amount of food that is converted to energy and thus promoting fat accumulation, obesity, and the litany of ills—heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and more—that come with being overweight. Sitting is bad for lean people, too.
For instance, sitting in your chair after a meal leads to high blood sugar spikes, whereas getting up after you eat can cut those spikes in half.”
Not surprisingly, sitting for extended periods of time increases your risk for premature death. This is especially concerning given the fact that you may be vulnerable to these risks even if you are a fit athlete who exercises regularly.
It takes a toll on your mental health, too. Women who sit more than seven hours per day were found to have a 47 percent higher risk of depression than women who sit four hours or less.2
There’s really no question anymore that if you want to lower your risk of chronic disease, you’ve got to get up out of your chair. This is at least as important as regular exercise… and quite possibly even more so.
Practically Speaking: 5 Tips for Better Health if You Work at a Computer
You might be thinking this sounds good in theory… but how do you translate your seated computer job into a standing one? It’s easier than you might think. For starters, check out these essential tips for computer workers:3
- Stand Up
If you’re lucky, your office may be one that has already implemented sit-stand workstations or even treadmill desks. Those who used such workstations easily replaced 25 percent of their sitting time with standing and boosted their well-being (while decreasing fatigue and appetite).4
But if you don’t have a specially designed desk, don’t let that stop you. Prop your computer up on a stack of books, a printer, or even an overturned trash can and get on your feet.
When I travel in hotels, I frequently use the mini fridge or simply turn the wastebasket upside down and put it on top of the desk, and it works just fine.
- Get Moving
Why simply stand up when you can move too? The treadmill desk, which was invented by Dr. Levine, is ideal for this, but again it’s not the only option. You can walk while you’re on the phone, walk to communicate with others in your office (instead of e-mailing), and even conduct walking meetings.
- Monitor Your Screen Height
Whether you’re sitting or standing, the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes, so you’re only looking down about 10 degrees to view the screen. If it’s lower, you’ll move your head downward, which can lead to back and neck pain. If it’s higher, it can cause dry eye syndrome.
- Imagine Your Head as a Bowling Ball
Your head must be properly aligned to avoid undue stress on your neck and spine. Avoid craning your head forward, holding it upright instead. And while you’re at it, practice chin retractions, or making a double chin, to help line up your head, neck, and spine.
- Try the “Pomodoro Technique”
You know those little tomato-shaped (pomodoro is Italian for tomato) timers? Wind one up to 25 minutes (or set an online calculator). During this time, focus on your work intensely. When it goes off, take 5 minutes to walk, do jumping jacks, or otherwise take a break from your work. This helps you to stay productive while avoiding burnout.
What’s It Really Like to Work While Standing?
If you’re curious… just try it. Reactions tend to be mixed, at least initially, but if you stick with it you will be virtually guaranteed to experience benefits. The Guardian, for instance, recently featured an article with a first-hand account of working while standing, and the author wasn’t impressed.
He said “standing up to work felt like a horrible punishment” and lead to aches and decreased productivity.5 I couldn’t disagree more, but I will say that standing all day takes some adjustment. However, many people feel better almost immediately. As one worker who uses an adjustable-height work desk told TIME:6
“I definitely feel healthier standing while working as it causes me to be more focused on my posture and ‘hold’ myself better in terms of my stomach and shoulders especially.”
Personally, standing more has worked wonders for me. I used to recommend intermittent movement, or standing up about once every 15 minutes, as a way to counteract the ill effects of sitting. Now, I’ve found an even better strategy, which is simply not sitting. I used to sit for 12 to 14 hours a day. Now, I strive to sit for less than one hour a day.
After I made this change, the back pain that I have struggled with for decades (and tried many different methods to relieve without lasting success) has disappeared. In addition to not sitting, I typically walk about 15,000 steps a day, in addition to, not in place of, my regular exercise program. I believe this combination of exercise, non-exercise activities like walking 10,000 steps a day, along with avoiding sitting whenever possible is the key to being really fit and enjoying a pain-free and joyful life.
You’re Not a Prisoner to Your Chair
If you’re still sitting down while reading this… now’s your chance – stand up! As Dr. Levine said: “We live amid a sea of killer chairs: adjustable, swivel, recliner, wing, club, chaise longue, sofa, arm, four-legged, three-legged, wood, leather, plastic, car, plane, train, dining and bar. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you do not have to use them.”
Many progressive workplaces are helping employees to stand and move more during the day. For instance, some corporations encourage “walk-and-talk” meetings and e-mail-free work zones, and offer standing workstations and treadmill desks. But if yours isn’t among them, take matters into your own hands. You may be used to sitting down when you get to work, but try, for a day, standing up instead.
One day can turn into the next and the next, but please be patient and stick with it. Research shows that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to build a new habit and have it feel automatic.7 Once you get to this point, you’ll likely already be reaping the many rewards of not sitting, things like improved blood sugar and blood pressure levels, less body fat and a lower risk of chronic disease.
Health and Wellness Associates
What happens to instant noodles in your stomach
Instant noodles are a popular go-to lunch or dinner for those who are strapped for time (or cash), like college students. While you probably don’t consider them a health food, you may think they’re not that bad, or, at least, not as bad as eating a burger and fries or a fast-food burrito.
In a first-of-its-kind experiment, however, Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital may make you reconsider your love of instant noodles (assuming you have one).
He used a pill-sized camera to see what happens inside your stomach and digestive tract after you eat ramen noodles, one common type of instant noodles. The results were astonishing…
Ramen Noodles Don’t Break Down After Hours of Digestion
In the video above, you can see ramen noodles inside a stomach. Even after two hours, they are remarkably intact, much more so than the homemade ramen noodles, which were used as a comparison. This is concerning for a number of reasons.
For starters, it could be putting a strain on your digestive system, which is forced to work for hours to break down this highly processed food (ironically, most processed food is so devoid of fiber that it gets broken down very quickly, interfering with your blood sugar levels and insulin release).
When food remains in your digestive tract for such a long time, it will also impact nutrient absorption, but, in the case of processed ramen noodles, there isn’t much nutrition to be had. Instead, there is a long list of additives, including the toxic preservative tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ).
This additive will likely remain in your stomach along with the seemingly invincible noodles, and no one knows what this extended exposure time may do to your health. Common sense suggests it’s not going to be good…
Five Grams of Noodle Preservative, TBHQ, Is Lethal
TBHQ, a byproduct of the petroleum industry, is often listed as an “antioxidant,” but it’s important to realize it is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties – not a natural antioxidant. The chemical prevents oxidation of fats and oils, thereby extending the shelf life of processed foods.
It’s a commonly used ingredient in processed foods of all kinds (including McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Kellogg’s CHEEZ-IT crackers, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Wheat Thins crackers, Teddy Grahams, Red Baron frozen pizza, Taco Bell beans, and much more).
But you can also find it in varnishes, lacquers, and pesticide products, as well as cosmetics and perfumes to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability.
At its 19th and 21st meetings, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives determined that TBHQ was safe for human consumption at levels of 0-0.5 mg/kg of body weight.1
However, the Codex commission set the maximum allowable limits up to between 100 to as much as 400 mg/kg, depending on the food it’s added to.2 (Chewing gum is permitted to contain the highest levels of TBHQ.) In the US, the Food and Drug Administration requires that TBHQ must not exceed 0.02 percent of its oil and fat content.3
So there’s quite a discrepancy in supposedly “safe” limits, but it’s probably best to have little or no exposure to this toxicant, as exposure to five grams can be lethal and, according to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, exposure to just one gram of TBHQ can cause:4
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sense of suffocation
While TBHQ is not suspected to be a persistent toxicant, meaning your body is probably able to eliminate it so that it does not bioaccumulate, if you eat instant noodles your body might be getting prolonged exposures. This is concerning, to say the least. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), based on animal studies health hazards associated with TBHQ include:5
- Liver effects at very low doses
- Positive mutation results from in vitro tests on mammalian cells
- Biochemical changes at very low doses
- Reproductive effects at high doses
Eating Instant Noodles Linked to Metabolic Syndrome
If you’re still considering ramen noodles for lunch, you should know a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who consumed more instant noodles had a significantly greater risk of metabolic syndrome than those who ate less, regardless of their overall diet or exercise habits.6
Women who ate instant noodles more than twice a week were 68 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome — a group of symptoms such as central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.
Having three or more of the symptoms increases your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Past research also analyzed overall nutrient intake between instant-noodle consumers and non-consumers, and found, as you might suspect, that eating instant noodles contributes little value to a healthy diet.
The instant-noodle consumers had a significantly lower intake of important nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A, niacin, and vitamin C compared with non-consumers.7 Those who ate instant noodles also had an excessive intake of energy, unhealthy fats and sodium (just one package may contain 2,700 milligrams of sodium).8
What Else Is in a Package of Instant Noodles?
Aside from a lot of sodium and the preservative TBHQ, what else is found in a typical serving of instant noodles? Prevent Disease reported:9
“The dried noodle block was originally created by flash frying cooked noodles, and this is still the main method used in Asian countries, though air-dried noodle blocks are favored in Western countries. The main ingredients of the dried noodle are wheat flour, palm oil, and salt. Common ingredients of the flavoring powder are salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar.
…In June 2012, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) found Benzopyrene (a cancer-causing substance) in six brands of noodles made by Nong Shim Company Ltd. Although the KFDA said the amounts were minuscule and not harmful, Nong Shim did identify particular batches of noodles with a problem, prompting a recall by October 2012.”
The monosodium glutamate (MSG) in instant noodles is reason enough to avoid them. MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your nerve cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain dysfunction and damage to varying degrees — and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and more.
Part of the problem is that free glutamic acid (MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid) is the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas, and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body. Not to mention, MSG is also used to fatten up mice for scientific study. Yes, MSG is the perfect obesity drug. If you want to achieve your ideal body weight and health, avoid MSG at all costs.
Return to Whole, Living Foods for Optimal Health
Occasionally eating a package of instant noodles clearly won’t kill you, but when you make a habit of substituting convenience foods for real food, it’s only a matter of time before health problems will likely develop. Instant noodles are a prime example of the types of processed foods you want to avoid as much as possible, as they are virtually guaranteed to make you sick and fat if you indulge too much (and “too much” may be as little as a couple of times a week).
Processed foods encourage weight gain and chronic disease because they’re high in sugar, fructose, refined carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients, and low in nutrients and fiber. Processed foods are addictive and designed to make you overeat; they also encourage excessive food cravings, leading to weight gain. Eating processed foods also promotes insulin resistance and chronic inflammation, which are hallmarks of most chronic and/or serious diseases. On the other hand, people have thrived on vegetables, meats, eggs, fruits, and other whole foods for centuries, while processed foods were only recently invented.
Ditching processed foods requires that you plan your meals in advance, but if you take it step-by-step as described in my nutrition plan, it’s quite possible, and manageable, to painlessly remove processed foods from your diet. You can try scouting out your local farmer’s markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales. You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, making sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time (and you can use leftovers for lunches the next day, so you don’t have to resort to instant noodles).
Health and Wellness Associates
Acai berries look a lot like blueberries, which are also very beneficial for your health.
These deep purple berries have more antioxidants than any other food packing 10 times
the anti-aging actives of red wine and more fatty acids than avocado and olive oil.
Chock full of anti inflammatory compounds, youth preserving polyphenols and omega-3,
acai berries tackles redness and roughness around your face and hands,
while tightening skin and smoothing fine lines.
It also improves immunity and boost energy, so you will feel as young and radiant as you look.
Find acai juice and capsules at natural food stores,
or add a scoop of freeze dried acai powder to smoothies, cocktails, baked goods and puddings.
Health and Wellness Associates
Flour-less Pancakes Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- sea salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl
- Pour batter into a pan with melted ghee over medium heat. Cook until small bubbles form and then flip.
Health and Wellness Associates
No Time to Exercise?
Cant fit in the 30 minutes of exercise five times weekly needed to lower your risk of heart disease?
Squeeze in two brisk 10 minute walks weekly instead, and you will lower your odds of heart problems,
stroke and blood clots by more than 20%, which is the same as if you have worked out longer.
Short bouts of activity that get your heart pumping are enough to strengthen your heart muscle and arteries research shows.
Boost your benefits with the foods you eat.
Eating a Mediterranean type diet of fish, olives,
fresh produce, whole grains, beans and nuts cuts your
risk of heart disease by another 47%.
Not eating and skipping meals is the worse situation for a health heart.
For more information contact:
Health and Wellness Associates
Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep boosts your energy and makes you less susceptive to illness.
So, what if you are short on shuteye? Keep your defenses up, and illnesses away, with a 30 minute nap.
The Science behind this is a quick nap boosts levels of a protein that strengthens your immune system.
It also helps keep immunity damaging stress levels from spiking, reports the Journal of Clincal Endocrinology and Metabolism.
No Time to Nap? Sip Tea!
Drink three or more cups of caffeinated black tea daily and your immune system will respond five times more robustly to germs say experts at Bringham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Tea is rich in I-theanine, which keeps your immune system primed for actions.
If you are already diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, try this or give us a call for more information.
Health and Wellness Associates