Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Earthing: Why Reconnecting With Nature May Be All You Need

Today I want to talk about something a little different. At first glance, it may seem incredibly hokey. Okay, it WILL seem incredibly hokey. But just stick with me here for a moment... I think there's really something to it.

I'm talking about earthing... the process of grounding your body to the earth. Direct contact, no socks or shoes. Skin on earth. (Or with the assistance of a grounding system, as you'll see later.) Believe it or not, there's good science to back it up... and not just through subjective measurements either... there are real, objective, measurable changes that take place in the human body when we connect with our earth. Reconnecting with nature in this way has been shown to reduce cortisol (a stress hormone), improve blood flow, and regulate our sleep cycles, among other things. Allow me to explain a little more...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Silly Adults... Even Kids Know it's Wrong to Eat Animals! (VIDEO)

As I was browsing Facebook the other night, just about to go to bed, I came across an interesting link that fired me up and kept my up far past my bedtime... an article called "Vegetarianism Demystified by a Toddler". It links to a YouTube video, which I'll just embed here for your convenience... voila!

The video has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from YouTube users. Nearly every comment praises this child for being an irresistible, sweet little boy with a big heart...  See?? He's only 3, even a TODDLER knows it's wrong to eat animals!! What an inspiration!!!

Okay. Fine. That's your opinion. I, on the other hand, saw it differently. Here is how I interpreted his message...

Little Luiz Antonio is just sitting down to eat his octopus gnocchi, when he begins to question the ethics of eating an animal. After a little back and forth with his mother, Luiz decides we shouldn't be eating animals because they're cute, and because every living thing deserves to be a winner in life... all of them all at the same time. If there's one thing Luiz is sure of, this is it. It would just be so great if we could all live forever and ever, and we could all live with the animals and pet each other and cuddle. Everyone could be friends. Everyone in the entire world. We'll be pen pals and Skype friends and tweet each other and eat grass and we'll never have any reason to fight. For ever and ever.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Put the Phone Away and Live Your Life

Living in the moment is something most of us struggle with, and it's only becoming more difficult with modern technology. No matter where we are physically, it's becoming increasingly easy to be elsewhere mentally. Step into any crowded public place... there are people talking on the phone, listening to music, playing games on their iPads, updating their Facebook statuses. Our bodies may be present, but our minds certainly are not.

I'm just as guilty as anyone else. Any time I find myself with nothing to immediately occupy my mind, my first instinct is to take out my phone... check Facebook, check email, check Instagram, play Candy Crush. At times, I'll even do this when I'm with people. Not proud of it. If I have a long walk ahead of me and no one to talk to, I'll call a family member... god forbid I have nothing to do for 15 minutes. Thankfully, my affliction hasn't yet advanced to the point of walking around in public with headphones on. If I ever get to that point, please punch me in the genitals. I'll thank you later.

But I can't help but wonder... what are we missing out on? We all walk by hundreds, if not thousands of people each day. We sit next to them on the subway. We see them in the grocery store. Yet we don't say hello. Our minds are off in another world. Our own little world is comfortable that's for sure... we stick to the people we like, the things we know... it's easy and comforting. We're smitten by that. But, as I'm understanding more and more, closing ourselves off like this misses the bigger picture. Every time we choose to be absent, we pass up a chance to enhance our personal relationships, or to meet someone special who could have an impact on our lives. How do we know what we don't know if we don't even know what we're missing? (What???.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Snarky Rant on Sodium and Blood Pressure

Quick rant today, related to my recent obsession with all things blood pressure (see here and here).  I just found this quote on the CDC website that really steamed my clams...

"Sodium intake from processed and restaurant foods contributes to increased rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Decreasing sodium intake to within recommended limits could prevent thousands of deaths annually, because nearly 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to high blood pressure." (1)

To me this is short-sighted, oversimplified, and quite frankly ignorant. Sodium reduction can be a good thing because it often occurs simultaneously with elimination of processed junk, like said "processed and restaurant food". But being all narrow-minded and reducing sodium intake to the level they recommend can be dangerous (23).

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

Welp, I am officially done with my food service rotation... only one 2-week rotation left, with Miss Ana Zeller of Practical Nutrition, and I have a feeling this one will be the best of them all! Then, I'll be able to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam! That's right, Burn's gonna have credentials. Can't wait!

Okay, less about me, more about hypertension, aka high blood pressure (BP). As much as I have no interest in school food service, I have to admit my food service rotation gave me an immense amount of time each day to read research articles and learn shit. Over this past week, I've been absolved in hypertension... time to share.

First, some background info about hypertension... it's a pretty serious problem. Hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease (forget cholesterol), affecting approximately 1 billion individuals worldwide. More than 72 million Americans, or nearly 1 in 3 adults, are estimated to have hypertension but only 34% are able to return to a healthy blood pressure, via either drugs or lifestyle change. In 2008, 54,707 Americans died from hypertension, and another 300,000 died from related conditions. According to projections, over 90% of adults in the United States will develop hypertension by age 65. That is absurdly high. Right now, hypertension remains the most common reason for patients to visit the physician’s office (1).

I think it's safe to say that if you want to live a long, healthy life, this is something you need to avoid, no? Just say no to hypertension. Here's how.