Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A very interesting article a friend posted

Thought some of you (wow, there ARE people reading my blog!) might enjoy this article. Goes right in line with what I've been talking about - and more!

The Blog | Kathy Freston: On Cancer and a Vegetarian Diet | The Huffington Post

Monday, April 16, 2007

I was just wondering if anyone was out there checking my blog!

Let me know.... (Fully anonymous...)

Randomly stumbled across something a little scary

So, I've been reading "The Food Revolution" and it's been quite interesting how important it seems to be to be buying organic.

And I'm on a photography message board, www.dgrin.com, that is having a contest and the two words this week - "artificial" and "organic".

So I Googled "organic" to get some ideas for taking photos and saw a picture of veggies that said "At what cost?" Hmmm.... Odd title

I headed here: http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2006/06/the_rotten_side.html and found a very interesting article!

Summarizing it, it essentially says that much of the organic food we are buying right now isn't really organic and may even be coming from other countries where "organic" isn't standardized or enforced. This is happening because of the HUGE demand right now for organic food.

What does this do? It lowers the standards for organic and, because of big business getting into the organic industry, they are forcing the smaller places to work even harder to keep up.

For example, did you know that Silk (as in soy milk) is owned by Dean Foods? They are "the $10 billion dairy conglomerate notorious for bottom line business practices such as injecting their cows with bovine growth hormone and paying the lowest prices possible to dairy farmers"! (See above link.)

I found this site backing it up.

Did you know that Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen are owned by General Mills? Not small companies, as I expected.

Now, if we are getting the same or better quality with sustainable practices from these large companies, while I'm bummed the small farms are going to have a hard time of it, this is bound to happen. But if these mega-corporations are providing less-than-organic products, this is just wrong!

Now to figure out the way to deal with this from a personal level. I know one way is to buy local organic foods. Tough for me during the winter, but they are talking about putting in a Saturday Farmers Market in town. How awesome would that be?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Prove me wrong: Milk

I've been reading a LOT of things that are really interesting lately and doing a lot of research that backs it up. One of the things that has been the most interesting to me is that dairy products are actually NOT good for you! There are some things IN dairy products that are good, but overall, they are really BAD for you!

Talk about shocking.... I mean, I've always worried that I was going to have osteoporosis because of my low consumption of dairy products. I was completely convinced that I was practically unAmerican!

But after reading all this stuff, I'm totally shocked.

So.... I'm going to go through what I've learned, put together a few things I've wanted to put together and show that milk ISN'T good for you.... and if you're not convinced, I would love for you to go out and prove me wrong! Don't be mean, though! LOL! Just post links to credible sources that show that I've got things wrong and we'll go from there....

Here goes:

Drinking milk does not insure that you'll have strong bones
To process animal protein, our bodies require calcium to do this. If there isn't enough calcium in our diets to process the amount of animal protein we're taking in, it will pull it from our body. This is not true with plant proteins - the do not pull calcium from our bodies.
From the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Library of Medicine (NLM)

As a matter of fact, the higher your animal protein intake, the more likely you are to have bone loss! (This study was done on elderly women. AJCN - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

The National Dairy Council actually funded this study that proved that drinking additional milk was actually not helpful! Whoops!

More milk means more weight!
A study done about a year and a half ago on adolescent children found that milk was directly correlated to gaining weight - even though these were drinking 1% milk. The Washington Post sums it up and here is the actual study.

But what about calcium?
1 cup milk = 300mg calcium, of which 32% or 96mg is bioavailable (absorbable by the body)
Other foods that have the same amount of calcium (bioavailable): 1.5 cups broccoli, 1/2 cup firm tofu, 1/3 cup sesame seeds. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has the same amount of calcium as a quart of milk! And lots of fiber and no fat and a ton of other nutrients. (Except for the quinoa, all information taken from The Food Revolution on page 101.)

Human milk vs cow milk
This section is just me thinking - precious sections were taken from other sources....

I am currently reading The Food Revolution and one thing that struck me was that we are the only animal on Earth that consumes milk from other animals. Another thing that was mentioned was the fact that cows milk is made to grow a 50lb calf into a 300+ pound cow in a year. (My numbers may be off, but they're close.) And that got me to thinking.

Why would we go from drinking a milk (human breastmilk) that grows a child from about 7lbs to 20lbs in a year to drinking cow's milk which is designed for cows and putting a LOT of weight on in a small amount of time? Just odd that this even happened. And that we push people to drink a pretty hefty amount in hopes of losing weight and staving off osteoporosis, which cow's milk doesn't do!

I finally found this link (although I'm not sure who it is!) and you can see that in some things, the nutrition in both is quite different in many aspects.

Milk causes cancer?
Actually not so much causes cancer, but allows cancer to grow. This article on the BBC talks about the link between milk and ovarian cancer. Scary. (Note the small inset box on that article - suggesting a diet high in fruits and veggies. )

This article talks about the rise in IGF-1 levels when drinking cancer - this is directly related to higher rates of breast cancer.

I've looked for information talking about how Dr Campbell, author of "The China Study", fed rats casein (milk protein) at levels very similar to the American diet and how, after being injected with a carcinogen, they developed tumors. And when their animal protein levels were dropped to 5%, the tumor growth slowed or stopped. But I haven't found much yet.... And everything I have found to refute him is shown to have a specific agenda.

Anyway, you can read an excerpt from the book that talks about this here: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/research-dr-campbells-china-study.html. If I find any studies that prove this, I'll add them to this post.

Hormone free in England?
I've read a lot lately that Europe is way ahead of the US. As a matter of fact, they refuse to even import meat from us because of all the hormones and antibiotics! But I stumbled across this short article about only purchasing hormone free milk: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6147472

Ellie is drawing letters!

Ellie has been writing her letters on her L-Max (a small electronic gadget that has different cartridges to do different things - like letters, numbers, etc) for quite a long time. At least 2 months, if I'm not mistaken!
But getting her to write letters on anything else is like pulling teeth! Or was... Recently, she started writing them on other things - like the sidewalk with chalk! (You can see her making and upside-down "A" here.)
She's also started counting to 20 - without missing any numbers! And she also is understanding the whole each number corresponds to a certain number of objects. I found her counting each rock as she threw it into the river several days ago! I was VERY proud of her!
She's also into making up words.... Like the "colorish" house. Colorish meaning colorful! LOL! It's so cute that I just don't want to correct her!
I also love how she's over the top with things. "Mom, I just LOVE my new watch!" Talking about a watch I got her several months ago! Silly goose.
She just keeps getting more and more affectionate, too. I love how she'll tell me she loves me or wants to hold my hand or snuggle with me. She wasn't interested in those things until relatively recently.
I am a very lucky mom to have such wonderful girls!

Sammie is potty training herself!

I don't know whether to be excited or freaked! LOL! I know that she's really young (23 months) to be potty training, but she's been insisting. On Saturday (it's Thursday now), she decided no more diapers.

Okay, we'll try it....

She's had 1 poop accident and 3 or 4 pee accidents - that's all! I'm floored by how well she's done! We'll see, though. I'm totally fine if this doesn't work, but I'm not going to fight it anymore. (She's been trying to do this for several months, but I wasn't sure she could "get" it - you know, the feeling of having to use the bathroom.)

Oh, the photos are faces she makes while sitting on the potty! She's hilarious.

As for other things, she's started to know her colors and some of her letters, she can count to 10 - mostly - and is learning a LOT of songs! This is such a neat age - seeing her vocabulary grow almost hourly.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Major intestinal issues...

Okay, for those of you that are averse to TMI (too much information) type posts, you may want to just skip this one....

As someone who has always been prone to minor intestinal issues, I've been pleasantly surprised by how... um... regular... and well... great things have been in that area! I used to get constipated on a fairly regular basis, but when I'd have too much dairy, things would race through my system in record time - often very painfully. (I have minor lactose intolerance.)

I've actually only had one or two bites of red meat in the last 5 or 6 weeks, very little cheese, a tiny bit of fish and that's about it.

Today I had several bites of Sammie's gyro - with lamb, cheese and tzaziki sauce on it.... It was good, but not great.

But OMG! My innards have been rebelling for about 4 hours. Several quick trips to the restroom that are barely in time. Stomach cramps. Really bad heart burn. You name it. I felt like hell! Truly. (Hopefully the last trip finished everything off.)

So, you're thinking, why in the world am I talking about all this? Mainly because I wonder how something (meat, dairy) that is supposed to be SO good for me can make me feel SOOOOO horrible! I have had NOTHING in the last several weeks that has come from plants that has made me feel even remotely bad! (Okay, so I've had some gas.... But that's IT! Truly.)

For a moment I was a little sad - this means I really probably can't eat meat for real anymore, same with dairy, as my body isn't used to it anymore. I have the feeling I could wean myself back onto them - if I really wanted to. But why? I seriously doubt cutting out plant foods and then adding them in would do this to me. Actually, if I cut them out and added them back in, I'm sure my body would LOVE me for it! LOL! (Well, after it got over the loathing because of cutting them out.)

So.... lesson learned. I'm truly vegan! It feels GOOOOOD! :)

My cholesterol update!

Well, I have been REALLY great about being vegan at home and have noticed a few odd things - I have NO desire for meat! I had Fra Diavalo (spicy Italian dish) with scallops the other day - and gave the scallops to my SIL! This is truly unheard of for me.. Weird! I've eating a little bit of cheese going out, but that's it. (As a side note, I'm not grossed out by meat/fish, but it just doesn't taste good to me anymore.)

I haven't weighed myself in a while, but I suspect I'm still around 173 - that's 8lbs in about 6.5-7 weeks. VERY slow, but it's staying off. I still feel great, too.

But the BIG news.... I got my blood tested before my surgery on monday.

Old cholesterol: 194
New cholesterol: 168!!!
I dropped almost 30 points!

But the other exciting thing is my ratios are awesome!

HDL (good) was 76 and is now 66 (should be above 50)
LDL (bad) was 100 and is now 77 (should be below 130)

And the ratio of good to bad should be less than 2.5:1 and mine was 1.32 and is now 1.166!!!! WOW!!! (Obviously was good before, but is GREAT now.)

This was actually my goal - to get my cholesterol down. I would love to have it below 150, but not sure what to do to get it any lower. And I feel really great about the numbers so I'm not going to stress it.... I have the feeling it may go down even more.