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Posts tagged ‘diet’

by Logan

Which is more expensive – Healthy Foods or Bad Foods?

If you are like most people I know, food and you have a weird relationship in your life. On one hand, you love to eat it. On another, you hate what it does to your wallet.  But, there are some people, who see food as a necessity and are much more comfortable spending $50.00 on eating out and have trouble spending $50.00 on a pair of jeans or a shirt that is needed.

Whatever your relationship is with food, you have to admit it is expensive.  But, food also determines how healthy you are.  No matter how much you exercises or avoid the topic, a healthy person eats healthy food. This isn’t saying that we can’t indulge or even have a bad week or two. But, overall we are what we eat.

So, if this is the case, why don’t more people purchase healthy food from organic stores and such. The prevailing belief is that healthy food costs more.  This is really the basis of many things. The thing that pushes people over the top is price.

This may be the case when comparing organic tomatoes to regular tomatoes. We often see  the single extra dollar we are spending and we say to ourselves, “Healthy food is too expensive.”

But…if you were to really look at your spending; you would come to find that on average, most people spend far more on unhealthy foods than healthy foods. We purchase many foods that are high in saturated fats and added sugars.

I really think that when it comes to food, we get tunnel vision. When we are concentrating on our grocery bill, money is the primary concern. But when we are out eating, tastes, food choices, and our emotional standing plays more of an issue.

Be honest, have you ever needed a break from work or from kids and the best option was a good lunch moment with some bad food. We often exclude this little expenditure in our overall viewpoint of the cost of food.

The USDA looked into this very argument. They compared near 4,500 different types of food both healthy and less healthy.  They compared price per calorie, edible weight, and average portion size.

If the researcher is based on edible weight and price per portion – it is easy to see that healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, yogurt and other healthy foods are more affordable than roast beef, chicken, or canned tuna.

When it comes to price per calorie – healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables are slightly more expensive than chocolate, candy, ice cream, and chips.  But barely. The interesting thing is that based on the edible weight – the cost is about the same.  The discounts that are given at stores are largely due to the desire to sell more foods. Vegetables and Fruits don’t last forever on the shelves as does most candy and ice cream. That should tell you something right there.

How to overall improve your diet and save money

Money is often lost due to lack of preparation. If we don’t bring food with us to lunch – we tend to spend large amounts of money for food that is unhealthy. Fast foods are often the haven for the unprepared.

1.)      Plan meals ahead of time to cut out cost

2.)      When cooking – make leftovers and minimize waste. An entire meal could be saved and not wasted in some cases.

3.)       Since meats are so expensive – use other items as the main course and meats as a side to the meal.

4.)       Buy fruits in season – they tend to be less expensive

5.)      Build a garden.  Save money by planting a garden. This pushes you to eat the food that you’ve grown.


Food prices are increasing dramatically. Be more conscious of good food and good prices. Planning is really the key.  Good and healthy food is well within our reach, both price wise and availability.

by Logan

What is a Heart Attack? Can you prevent one?

A heart attack is a word that is often overused for a lot of things. Mostly the wording works for what is wanted happening and what someone wants to be explained. But, in some cases, it can be very far from the truth.

A heart attack is also called an Acute Myocardial Infarction.  The heart itself doesn’t normally tear, rip, break, or shatter. These are misconceptions.

And please especially remember that heart attacks can happen to both men and women. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is only a man’s disease.

Sometimes the word heart attack is used to describe a sudden cardiac event or death. But in some of these cases, an actual myocardial infarction isn’t what is happening.  Things like a heart arrhythmia or heart failure may have been the real event. Again, the word heart attack is widely used and sometimes it is used inappropriately.

Heart Attack

The key wording here is…”An interruption of the supply of blood to the heart“.

It is usually an interruption that only affects a part of the heart, not the heart entirely.   The interruption is often from a blockage in the vessels that supplies blood to the heart and not the areas of the heart that pushes the blood to the lungs and to the body.

The vessels that are most often associated with an interruption are the Coronary Arteries.

Oxygen Loss

The single key word here is…”Ischemia“.

This is a very important word to understand.  Ischemia means that because blood flow has stopped to an area of the heart, it isn’t getting the required oxygen to function.

If the heart doesn’t receive oxygen for a short amount of time, the heart tissue could be damaged.

If oxygen is absent for longer periods of time, death of the tissue can happen. If tissue death happens, the heart can no longer work and serious consequences ensue.

The Heart is a Muscle

Since the heart is a muscle, it requires a vast amount of energy  and oxygen to work. It really needs both, in proper amounts, to work productively.

Causes of Heart Attacks

The causes are long but most heart attacks are because of only a few reasons.

The key word here is….”Atherosclerosis”.

This means that cholesterol is building up inside an artery, again this is a coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle itself.

The lumen or circular portion of the vessel, becomes blocked because of a build up of cholesterol.  Remember, cholesterol isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But…too much cholesterol can be.

Blood clots, stress, excess physical exertion, severe infections, and more can also be causes.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Chest pain has not purchased sole symptom status for heart attacks. Chest pain can be seen in other conditions, but often heart attacks have chest pain.

Other symptoms may include:

1.)    Difficulty Breathing
2.)    Sweating
3.)    Heart racing
4.)    Anxiety
5.)    Chest pain that can be felt into the back, neck, and/or left arm
6.)    Others

The silent heart attack occurs without chest pain and may occur without any other symptom.

Risk Factors

Several other medical conditions can be a risk factor for heart attacks. As can being overweight, smoking,  alcohol, and stress.

Obesity, elevated blood pressures, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol are all conditions that can increase your risk.

The more risk factors, the more risk.

Of course, being a man alone is more of a risk factor that being female.


The key wording here is….”Diet, exercise and in some cases…medications”.

Improving your diet and watching your cholesterol is a must for most men. Especially those who pass the age of 45.

Attempting to limit or stop smoking and alcohol can dramatically improve your risks.

But, even after all the exercise and dieting, you may still be at risk. Medications can be added to lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol.

If you’ve had a previous heart attack, you may be required to take medications that can help your heart function.

Seeking Medical Treatment

The key wording here is…. “Do it.”

If you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately. But if you are at risk, also seek to talk to a medical professional. You need to better understand your risk factors and where your cholesterol and weight are.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting to see someone after-the-fact.

Remember, a heart attack can happen to the healthiest of us. So, if you are unhealthy, you are already at more of a risk.

by Logan

Are You Healthy? Part I

This is a very interesting question, one where the answers might surprise you. This discussion will be divided into two posts. Please look at both to see the Ten Factors of Being Healthy.

Imagine the five healthiest males and females you can think of. Would they be healthy for the same reasons?  What does “being healthy” actually mean?

A healthy person is expected to live a long life full of happiness. But how exactly is that accomplished? Food and exercise alone!?! There are several aspects of your health – including health, emotionally and spiritually.

Can a fit person be unhealthy because they are not emotionally healthy?

Can someone be called healthy who is completely happy but who has a severe medical condition.  For me, this changes a lot about what is healthy?

Every year, new diets come out that promise a new you.  A change in your weight and a better outlook on life are preached by almost anyone you can think of.

Therefore, I believe that healthiness is a level of understanding. There are tons of aspects that come into it.  I’ve broken these down into ten important factors.  When looked at, as a whole, our chances of being healthy and happy are greatly improved.

Let’s look at Ten Things that can factor into your health:

1.)     Control over your diet

The question here is who controls who.  As we look at our foods and beverages we often overlook our cravings and secret stashes. Is it unhealthy to sneak a bowl of ice cream every once in awhile. It certainly isn’t. But if this becomes a daily battle, then a measure of unhealthiness comes into play.  What are your fatal food sins?

2.)     Ability to perform daily activities

Daily activities include washing yourself, preparing your own foods, walking down stairs, getting your clothes on, and much more. Think about it…you’re not even close to healthy if these things are difficult. Medical issues, accidents, injuries, and a list of other things may prevent you from doing this.  Some of these reasons are surmountable and some are not. But if you work hard, maybe you can see some improvement in this area.

3.)     Emotional well being

One of the areas that is often overlooked is the emotional well being of an individual. The problem here is where do we draw the line of normal?  Because you are female or male and cry occasionally, this doesn’t say that you aren’t healthy. It doesn’t even say that you are emotional stable. But, often we protect emotional by saying that it is our personality to be emotional.  Whatever is normal for you, this is what is most important. Then try to do things that improve your emotional well being. As anyone can improve their running time in the one mile run, so can we all improve or emotional stability.

4.)     Mind Activities

You’ve heard that the mind is a muscle so use it!  This is especially true when considering your level of healthiness. If you are stagnate in improving your mental capability, you are risking that all will turn to mush.   This also pushes us to find a hobby that can allow us to improve. It doesn’t always need to be something that affects our mind like chess or word puzzles. Guitar, singing, dancing, and many other hobbies, allow our minds to shine.


My next blog post will look at the next 6 factors.  They aren’t things that should be overlooked when considering if we are indeed healthy.

by Christel Swasey

Health Longevity Surprising Predictors

Wow.  This remarkable book that I’ve been reading, “The Longevity Project” by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, (an 8-decade study of 1,500 people’s lives and deaths) reveals that longevity is not most likely for those who maintain a certain perfect diet, exercise regimen, or even an optimistic attitude. The surprise finding, according to Friedman and Martin, was that the “best childhood personality predictor of longevity was conscientiousness.”

Conscientiousness! Of all things.  Didn’t you think the secret would be probioic yogurt, wheat grass, broccoli, jogging, and an optimistic outlook? Nope.  It’s having a philosophy of conscientiously approaching all aspects of your life.  Conscientiousness means a person probably does not smoke, drink or jump on fat diets, is not a glutton; exercises; does not go to extremes; makes healthy friendships; plans, evaluates, ponders, and works hard.

The long-lived person, the authors explain, is a “prudent, persistent, well-organized person, like a scientist-professor —somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree.”

The long-lived people among the 1,500 subjects “were individuals with certain constellations of habits and patterns of living” whose patterns did not necessarily match the usual suggestions people make for long life. The patterns were not “relax,” “eat vegetables,” “lose weight,” or “get married,” necessarily. These suggestions, along with much standard medical advice, they explain, are”lifesaving for some” but are “neither effective nor economical for many.”

The authors write that the fortunes spent on health care and fad diets have “dissapointingly little effect on our long-term health and longevity.”

So, what does have a great effect on long-term health and longevity?  Those who lived longer were generally healthier throughout their lives. Most who lived to old age did not beat cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease; instead, these long-lived folks had, for the most part, avoided diseases.  And it wasn’t simply genetic.  Genes are only a fraction of the equation.

“Genes constitute about one-third of the factors leading to long life,” Friedman explained, while “the other two-thirds have to do with lifestyles and chance.”

One interesting finding was that there is a widespread misconception about stress.  According to Friedman, “People think everyone should take it easy,” but actually, “a hard job that is also stressful can be associated with longevity” because  challenges can make people more involved, encouraging them to work hard, to succeed, to be responsible, and to become more likely to live longer.  However, many people stay in a job they don’t like or don’t do well. That is negative stress, and people in such jobs were more likely to die young.

I was particularly interested to understand why optimism wasn’t a greater longevity indicator than conscientiousness was.  Well, it is explained that people who are overly cheerful and optimistic fail to even consider possible setbacks (they don’t back up their computer files; they don’t take long enough rest periods to recover from surgeries) and thus, often set themselves up for failure.  Conscientious people consider everything.

The study found that conscientious people are not only longer-living because of obvious healthy lifestyles like being likely to wear seat belts, for example; also,  conscientious people place themselves in healthier friendships, better marriages, and healthier work situations.

An interesting set of myths get busted by this book.  Let’s look at a few of the myth-buster gems.

  • Myth:  Worrying is very bad for your health.
  • Myth:  Take it easy and don’t work so hard and you will stay healthier.
  • Myth:  Thinking happy thoughts reduces stress and leads to long life.
  • Myth:  Religious people live longer
  • Myth:  If you have hobbies like gardening, walking, and cooking, take up more
    vigorous forms of exercise.
  • Myth:  Get married and you will live longer.
  • Myth:  Retire as soon as you can and play more golf to live longer.
  • Myth:  If your child is serious, encourage him to be more spontaneous and have more fun.

So, prudence, persistence and conscientiousness are better indicators of probable longevity than vegetable intake or an optimistic outlook.  Who would have guessed that marathon running and positive affirmations would be routed by generalized prudence?  Who would ever have guessed that in the race for health and long life, being very thin would be less important that being very wise?

Some of us thought quite the opposite.

Find low cost health insurance by using the free online form at the top of the page. Its easy to fill out and will save you that money you need for other things!

by Christel Swasey

How Much Calcium Should I Eat Today to be Healthy?

How Much Calcium Should I Eat Today?

We want to live long, healthy lives. We realize that if we follow the recommendations of doctors, nutritionists, the Institute of Medicine and the USDA, we will avoid diseases, hospitalization, and will live longer, healthier lives.

But who reads makes sense of the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture?  The typical American worker bee, who barely has time to drive through the “drive-thru” on her way home from work, slamming sacks of fast food down on the dining table on her way to the laundry, haircuts, homework, PTA meetings, and everything else?  No way.

But today, I took the time. I’m on brand new quest to learn just how deficient the average family (mine) might be, so I manufactured some willpower and read some of the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and of the Institute of Medicine.

I chose to learn about calcium today, because I’ve actually heard of it (unlike most of the other 18 elements listed on the USDA table. What the heck’s valadium?  Or manganese? Or molybdenum?) –And I chose calcium also, I confess, because I am seeking evidence that I need more ice cream in my diet.

I learned that calcium deficiencies are common in the average American diet; in fact, there  is a direct link between the disease osteoporosis and not getting enough calcium (and vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium) as well as not getting enough exercise– which strengthens bones even
in mild amounts.

Osteoporosis actually means “porous bones.” It is a silent, stalker disease. It causes bones to become brittle without ever sending pain-warnings ahead of time like any other respectable disease.  So bones, weakened when an individual has lowered levels of calcium and other minerals over time, experience a mild stress –like a fall or a bad cough, and fracture!

Some important facts to remember about calcium and osteoporosis:

  • Half of women and a quarter of all men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin D is absolutely needed to absorb calcium.
  • A body can’t absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at a time, but needs over 1,000 mg. per day.  Translation:  you must spread out calcium intake –and supplements– throughout the day.
  • If you hate milk, that’s okay.  Calcium-fortified orange juice counts.  So do sardines, cheese, and calcium-plus-vitamin-D supplements.
    Get about 300-400 calcium mgs. per meal.  This equals a 2 inch cube of cheese, a cup of milk or a cup of calcium-fortified orange juice at each meal.  And many breakfast cereals–  even the sugary “junk food” cereals, are plentifully fortified with calcium.
  • Best news yet: if you eat four cups of ice cream, you will get about as much calcium as if you drink one cup of milk.
    This is definitely my favorite research finding of the day, despite the fact that with our calcium, we also get a ton of calories and fat.

Yep, we need calcium.  And people don’t realize that they should have been upping their calcium intake until they fracture bones in old age,
when it is very difficult to rebuild the house, so to speak.

Men, women and children over four years of age need at least 1,000 mg. of calcium per day!   Teens need at least 1,300.

So, here’s an easy math moment:  When you read that your milk has 30% of the recommended daily intake of calcium per cup, it means that there are 300 mg. of calcium in that cup of milk.  It makes the math easy– just add a zero to the percentage, and you’ve got your milligram count.

Calcium is a breakfast star, because there’s calcium in milk, fortified orange juice, and fortified cereal. Plan to get a jump on your recommended daily calcium at breakfast time every day.  It’s just harder later, unless you use supplements.

For example:

  • 1 cup of 1% milk  =30%
  • 1 cup of fortified cereal = 10%
  • 1 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice = 35%

That would put you at 75% of your RDA for calcium in a day.  But remember– if you don’t have another glass of milk, or a can of sardines, or a cup of turnip greens for lunch or dinner that day, you will stay in the deficient category, despite that good breakfast.

A cup of raw broccoli or kale has 90 mg.  A cup of turnip greens has 200 mg.  A 3-oz. can of sardines has over 300 mgs.  (But keep in mind, friends: a cup of ice cream has 80 mg!!)

Unless you’re eating tons of calcium-rich foods very regularly, the easiest way to make it to the daily calcium requirement goal is to just add in an extra glass of milk, calcium fortified O.J., calcium-fortified almond milk, or an ounce or two of cheddar to dinner, lunch, or snack time.  Each of these would have about 20-30%, (200- 300 mg., a good chunk of the 1000 mg. you need each day.  Or get bag of those chewable calcium bites
that they sell nowadays at the grocery store.
They taste only slightly worse than tootsie rolls and they’ve got 500 mg. of calcium a pop.

And how much is too much?

Getting too much calcium is very rare, and getting too little is very common, unless you are taking calcium supplements.  If you worry about overdoing it, here’s a tip:  the upper limit, for most people, is around 2,500 mg. per day!  That is a lot.

Most of us won’t be running the risk of too much calcium unless we were to in more than 2,500 mgs. per day –on a regular basis.

That’s so unusual that maybe we really should use it as an excuse to have another scoop of ice cream.

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