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Showing posts from May, 2008

Four Likely Reasons Why Food Allergies are on The Rise

The New York Daily News recently ran an article attempting to explain why food allergies are on the rise, particularly in the U.S.

Young children are the group most likely to be affected. "As many as 8% of children under the age of three have food allergies," says Sampson.

In children, the most common food allergies are milk, eggs and peanuts. About 2.5% of children under the age of four are allergic to milk, while 1.5% are allergic to eggs and 0.8% are allergic to peanuts. Other foods that often cause allergies are wheat, soy and sesame products.

Scientists still don't know exactly what causes food allergies, but Dr. Hugh Sampson thinks:

1. It probably has something to do with our Americanized diet.

2. That we're not exposed to enough germs or pathogens, which means our immune systems aren't as developed as they'd be otherwise.

3. That chemicals such as preservatives have made our food very different.

4. That we've changed the fatty-acid content in our diet.

You…

Health Myth: Pharmaceutical Drugs Will Make Me Well

Did you know forty-six percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug daily?

At one point, my grandmother was prescribed eleven different prescriptions by her doctor. She once said she did not remember anything from that period of her life. The drugs dulled her thinking, made her listless and who knows what else. Eventually, she died in a hospital room after having surgery.

Think you know for sure the drug you are using is absolutely safe? Think again. Many drugs with dangerous side-effects are sold to the public for years, before they are taken off the market. Aggressive marketing, slanting research, unethical publishing of results, influencing physicians, intimidating researchers, pressuring medical centers, manipulating the FDA, limiting information, marketing drugs with inaccurate safety information - all of these have created an environment in which drug development has become a race for the bottom line.

Although drugs are sometimes appropriate, and at times can save a …

A Weekend of Fun

For one of the kids' Christmas presents last year, my wife, Laura, bought season passes to Wild River Country. She has lived in Conway for over twelve years and yesterday was her first time to go to the water park.

On Saturday we loaded the car, including our baby's things. Of course, we also had the digital camera and camcorder. Then we made the quick, twenty-five mile trip to Little Rock.

Rachael, Terry, and Dylan played on all the water slides, while Laura, Brady and I hung out at the toddler play area.

Our one year-old, Brady, had a blast! He had absolutely no fear. He put his face in the water and blew bubbles, walked all over the Toddler Pool, and splashed around watching the other kids play.

After playing in the toddler area, Laura, Brady and I hopped in a tube and floated around in The Lazy River. It encircles the water park, showing off all the scenery. The ride was so relaxing, we ended up going a second time.

My wife and I were impressed with the beauty of the water par…

12 Health Myths You Thought Were True

You hear a lot of nutrition advice, some good, some questionable. Here's a list of twelve common beliefs along with the facts:

Myth: Eating sugar causes diabetes.

Fact: Diabetes is the result of the body either not making enough insulin or the body's cells not responding to insulin. Since foods high in sugar are often high in calories, overeating these foods can lead to weight gain, which can increase the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Eating carbohydrates causes weight gain.

Fact: A diet too high in calories – whether from protein, carbohydrate or fat – causes weight gain.

Myth: Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.

Fact: It's not when you eat, but how much you eat that causes weight gain. Some people find that not eating after a certain time in the evening helps with weight control. It works because they are limiting their calories for the day, not because calories are metabolized differently.

Myth: Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than frozen or canned.

F…

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

This Memorial Day weekend, things should be hoppin' around the Eilers household. Because we have to make up a few snow days, school is not out yet. But let the summer fun begin anyway!

First is the annual Riverfest in Little Rock. This is Arkansas' largest and most popular music, arts and food festival. Some of the bands that will be playing are ZZ Top, One Republic, and Huey Lewis & The News. (What, no Happenstance?).

Next, we'll finally be using our membership to Wild River Country. It is Arkansas' largest water park and only twenty-five minutes from our home in Conway. They have everything from the Cyclone ride, to the Accelerator, as well as the Tad Pool for toddlers (here comes Brady!).

Finally, this Memorial Day Monday is my wife's birthday! (Happy birthday, honey!) I've already given her one birthday present, a pedicure and manicure gift certificate. Maybe I can find a cake somewhere and a few balloons too.

Most importantly, let's not forget the…

What Everybody Ought to Know About Aspirin

The drug acetaminophen, used in over-the-counter medicines such as a headache and pain relievers, is a not-so-benign drug that can be deadly when taken in continuous high doses.

For example, a coed at the University of Oklahoma died recently, after exceeding the recommended dosage of Extra Strength Tylenol for three weeks to relieve toothache pain.

But what about other painkillers? For instance aspirin.

Many pharmacologists have been trying to get aspirin off the shelf for decades. On the other hand, acetaminophen is described by The Lancet as "probably the safest of all drugs, which like any other, must be used as directed."

Acetaminophen is generally safe when used as directed. But the same cannot be said of aspirin – a drug that's commonly recommended for daily use, and is more dangerous than most people realize.

Aspirin is the drug that got the ball rolling on the 20th Century pharmaceutical boom in 1900 when Germany's Friedrich Bayer Corporation manufactured the firs…

Is This In Your Children's Multivitamin?

Yesterday while out running errands, I ran into the owner of the local health food store. She is super nice and always goes out of her way to be helpful.

I mentioned that my wife and I were looking for a multivitamin to give to our one year-old son, Brady. She recommended a new product she now carries. In particular, she said to get a liquid multivitamin, made especially for toddlers.

I wrote it down, thanked her and went home to do a little research. I quickly found the Nature Plus® website. I then saw the Animal Parade® multivitamin she had recommended. Their website says:
"Animal Parade® Liquid is a great way to give your kids the nutrition they need and the flavor they crave!"I scrolled down to the bottom of the webpage to look at the list of ingredients. One component is sodium benzoate, which is used as a preservative. After a bit of research, I discovered the following:
"There have been some health concerns about the combination of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid o…

Doing Shakespeare at the Park

(Note: The following are comments from my wife, Laura, about going to see our son, Dylan, perform Shakespeare at the local park. I was able to see his performances later on video.)

On the way to school Wednesday morning, Dylan told me that his Drama class was going to be performing several Shakespeare skits during 5th period at Laurel Park on Friday.

I told him I would contact the Log Cabin Democrat to see if they would be interested in covering the story. When I called the paper, the receptionist transferred me to another department and since no one answered the phone I left a voicemail with all the pertinent details.

On Friday, I picked up my daughter and son, and took them to the park to watch Dylan perform (he's in the red shirt playing Macbeth).

The Log Cabin Democrat reporter, photographer, Rachael, Brady, and I were the only people in attendance other than the students and drama teacher. We had a lot of fun watching the kids perform. There were several funny scenes, but the per…

The Standard American Diet

If you were to list the factors that increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, intestinal disorders, just about any illness, the Standard American Diet has them all:
High in animal fatsHigh in unhealthy fats: saturated, hydrogenatedLow in fiberHigh in processed foodsLow in complex carbohydratesLow in plant-based foods The striking fact is that cultures that eat the reverse of the Standard American Diet – low fat, high in complex carbohydrates, plant-based, and high in fiber – have a lower incidence of cancer and coronary artery disease (CAD). What's even more sad is that countries whose populations can afford to eat the healthiest disease-preventing foods, don't.

The United States has spent more money on cancer and heart research than any country in the world. Yet the American diet contributes to the very diseases we are spending money to prevent.

Health Myth: Sickness is a Part of Getting Old

Each disease, even a cold, is hard on your body and accelerates aging. The symptoms of these diseases are then treated, rather than the cause, resulting in more aging and disease. It's an unnecessary cycle and we have to learn how to break it.

To live a long, disease-free life, you must learn how to prevent and reverse aging and disease. With just a little effort, you can learn to become healthier and younger biologically. While you cannot control your chronological age, the choices you make helps control your biological age.

Historically, people such as the Hunzas lived well into their hundreds in robust, vigorous health. So we know it's possible. For you to get similar results, you must learn how to minimize inflammation. No matter what disease you have, malfunctioning cells due to inflammation is a major part of your problem.

What causes inflammation? The Standard American Diet (SAD) is a significant contributor to free radical inflammation. By avoiding sugar, white flour, mil…

Health Myth: I'm A Little Overweight, But Healthy

The more body weight you carry around, the shorter time you'll likely have to carry it. Obesity is more than a cosmetic problem - it poses many health risks and can shorten life span significantly.

Not only is obesity a risk factor for cancer, but it's also a factor for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, depression and other chronic diseases. On average, it can take more than ten years off a person’s life, according to two national studies.

A staggering 61% of American adults currently meet the scientific definition of obesity. An estimated 1,200 people per day die from weight-related diseases. This adds up to over 400,000 people per year - more than the number killed annually by pneumonia, motor vehicle accidents and airline crashes combined. The health care cost of all this extra weight is estimated at $117 billion annually. Here are some additional facts about obesity:
Diabetes is four times more common in obese than in lean adultsMortality increases with weight gainT…

Vitamins: Does Laboratory Tested Mean Safe?

Today at the grocery store a big pink bottle caught my attention:

"Formulated for Pregnant or Lactating Women" in big letters at the top. "Quality Assured" and "Laboratory Premium Tested."

The "Laboratory Tested" protects you from fraud about what's in the bottle and in the pills: it means what's inside is what it says is inside. So far so good.

Now the bad news:

"Laboratory tested" on the Vitamin bottle does not protect you from ingredients that have been found to be at best useless and possibly dangerous.

Here are three things (on this Vitamin bottle label) I noticed:

1. All the vitamins listed (under Supplement Facts) are isolated synthetic vitamins. This is not a good thing.

2. The first ingredient listed in Supplement Facts for these Vitamins is synthetic Vitamin A. This is more bad news. Here's why:

a. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1995:

22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The st…

Health Myth: I Eat Healthy, So I'm Getting All The Nutrients I Need

"The well-nourished American is a myth. Despite the high level of education and the abundance of available food, many people make poor food choices and are badly nourished. The average human diet, nutritionally unfit for rats, must be equally unsatisfactory or even more so in meeting human needs."

Dr. Car Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D.
Mental and Elemental Nutrients
What is healthy eating? Fifty to a hundred years ago, it was pretty much assumed that most people consumed a healthy diet. Today, most experts say it is extremely difficult to get proper nutrition just from foods. 'Fast foods' are not the only culprit. Besides, most people do not get the recommended daily intake of nine to twelve fresh fruits and vegetables.

Those that do eat right are consuming foods that are usually picked before they are ripe and are often prepared in a way that destroys most of their nutritional value. Much of the food that you eat is grown on land that has been farmed for many years. Man-made fe…

Health Myth: I Don't Need to Worry About My Health Right Now

How sick is the American population? More than three out of four Americans have a diagnosable chronic disease, according to a study in the April 1999 Effective Clinical Practice. We are not a healthy population and our health continues to deteriorate with each passing year.

Most people feel that they are "healthy" as long as they have no symptoms of disease. Disease does not just randomly happen. It occurs for specific reasons. You're not perfectly healthy until you "get sick". And perfect health does not return once disease has run its course, although people tend to think about their health this way. Health begins with your cells. So only after a massive number of your cells malfunction or die, do you begin to notice symptoms of illness. By then, you have been sick before you "get sick."

Teenagers and people in their twenties should be at peak levels of health, right? In Los Angeles, autopsies performed on accident victims revealed that nearly 80 perc…

Cooking Food at Temperatures Over 120 Degrees

Too little of our food, virtually none for many people, is eaten raw. Cooking at temperatures over 120 degrees kills practically all of the nutrition in most foods.

So most people are trying to achieve the impossible - maintain health while eating food that does not support health.

A Too-Good-to-Be-True Nutrient?

Imagine a nutrient that could help prevent cancer, heart disease and tuberculosis, preserve bones, and thwart autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

But that's the potential now being attributed to Vitamin D, whose usefulness was once thought to be limited to prevention of rickets in children and severe bone loss in adults. Known as the sunshine vitamin because it is produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, Vitamin D has been garnering increasing attention recently, because of what it may be able to do and because many people appear to be getting too little of it.

"There's a drumbeat about Vitamin D that is being played very loudly," says Mary Frances Picciano of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health.

Just this month, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a special supplement on Vitamin D highlighting wides…

Health Myth: Since They Sell It in Stores, It Must Be Good For Me

Again and again, well-meaning consumers go to the store thinking they are feeding their families fresh, wholesome foods, only to bring home nutritionally deficient products. You can call them "make-believe" or "fake" foods. They do not meet the needs of your cells. In fact, 90 percent of the typical American food budget is spent on make-believe foods. Most people invest a lot of money and quite a bit of time shopping for and preparing meals that are killing their cells, creating disease and shortening their lives.

An experiment at the University of California, Irvine was done using healthy rats. They were fed foods that an average American would purchase in a supermarket: white bread, sugar, eggs, milk, ground beef, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, apples, bananas and coffee. The rats developed a variety of diseases. The conclusion was that if the average human diet could not support the health of rats, then it probably would not do much better for humans.

The f…

Health Myth: I Take Vitamins, So I Get Enough Nutrition

This may be the most widely believed myth in the wellness industry. Yes, absolutely, you need to supplement your diet with vitamins on a daily basis. However, there are some problems. Well over 90% of the vitamins on the market today are not fully absorbed by the body. This means that the whole reason for taking them is fruitless! What is the point of taking a vitamin if your body cannot use it?

Most people are taking poor quality supplements. Of all the vitamin products on the market today, few actually do much good. One reason that most brands fail is they are filled with additives, which can fill up to half of the volume of the vitamin. This interferes with the pills ability to dissolve as well as nutrient absorption. It also introduces many harmful contaminants and allergens into your body.

Most vitamins on the market today are synthetics, meaning that the vitamins contain artificial ingredients. These artificial ingredients are fundamentally different from natural vitamins, which a…

The Vitamin You Need to Prevent Prostate Cancer

I've had prostate cancer on the brain a lot lately. My father had prostate cancer, so maybe that has something to do with it. Since I have a one year-old son, Brady, I want to make sure I do every thing I can to keep from getting cancer.

More than 500,000 people, world-wide, are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and it is the direct cause of over 200,000 deaths. Prostate cancer can be considered the male equivalent of breast cancer.

Increased intake of vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 35 percent, according to the results of European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

The potential benefits of K2 were most pronounced for advanced prostate cancer. Vitamin K1 intake did not offer any prostate benefits.

The findings were based on data from more than 11,000 men taking part in the EPIC Heidelberg cohort. It adds to a small but ever-growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of vitamin K for bone, blood, skin, and no…

Toad Suck Daze and Stuck On A Truck

From the time I moved to Conway in 1999, my wife and I have attended Toad Suck Daze, which is a three-day festival held in downtown Conway the first weekend in May.

We love downtown festivals. It's fun to see all the streets blocked off and so many people milling about. This year was especially nice because we had three days of sunshine, a rarity for Toad Suck.

At Toad Suck Daze, there are a wide variety of events to participate in:
Mardi Daze ParadeToad Market (vendors sell home decor, jewelry, clothing, and much more)Food and Beverages (no alcohol-dry county)Toadal Kids Zone (lots of events for the kiddos)World Famous Toad RacesCarnivalRock WallPetting ZooLocal Entertainment (my Dad's band, Happenstance played last year and this year)National Entertainment (Blake Shelton and Shaw Blades were this year's headliners)FoodStuck on a Truck10K/5K Run (an RRCA Grand Prix event)5K Fun WalkTadpole TrotBaby CrawlTricycle RaceCrawl, Drag, and Squirt CompetitionToad Suck SuperStar Comp…

Health Myth: I Feel Healthy, It Won't Happen To Me

There is nothing wrong with feeling healthy. It sure is better than feeling bad! However, feeling healthy and actually being healthy can be two very different things.

Your body can stand up to quite a bit of stress and mistreatment. But sometimes, there's no warning before critical illness or sudden death.

Here's some of what you could be facing if you consume the Standard American Diet and don't change anything:
Men now have a 48% chance of getting cancer during their lifetime and women have a 38% risk.In 1900, 5% of the U.S. population died of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Today, 72% of us will die from any combination of these diseases.In the last 20 years, despite "the war on cancer" and billions of dollars spent on research, cancer has moved from the number eight killer of Americans to the number two killer.For the last two years, the number one cause of death in people under the age of thirty in the U.S. has been cancer.Seventy-five years ago, there were…

Can You Be Fat, But Fit?

Study Gives The Skinny On "Fit And Fat"Shows Exercise Helps, But Doesn't Eliminate An Overweight Woman's Heart Disease Risk

(WebMD) Regular exercise has long been touted as the key to a healthy heart, but a new study shows it is unlikely to fully reverse a woman's chances of heart disease if she is carrying extra weight.

Researchers report in the April 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine that although physical activity definitely helps improve cardiovascular health, such exercise does not "eliminate the negative effects of being overweight."

The findings underscore the importance of being fit and trim and cast doubt on the newer notion that it's possible to be "fit and fat." Both obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are modifiable risk factors for coronary heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States.

Which exerts more influence in one's risk of heart disease: exercise or weight? There's n…

The Best Way to Stop is To Never Start

When I was a freshman at Lees-McRae College, across the dorm hallway lived two sophomores. They were great guys, hit the weight room on a regular basis and loved the Rolling Stones.

They also liked to smoke marijuana.

So about once a week, several friends would gather in their dorm room. They would put the box fan in the open window, get out the long neck Budweisers, turn on the music and start puffing away.

They always invited me to join in on the festivities. But since I didn't do drugs, I wasn't eager to watch them get high and laugh at stupid stuff.

One day these guys announced they were not smoking weed anymore. Not only were they wanting to get stronger in the weight room, but also the idea of getting busted and kicked out of school wasn't too appealing either.

A few months later, we all took a road trip to East Carolina University for Halloween. The campus during this time is one humongous block party. While there, I wanted to visit with some local guys I had not s…

Where Those Love Handles Really Come From

I never expected to be writing about anything like this. It's not my field. But I was so surprised and then relieved with a big ah-ha, I had to tell you.

I happen to be filming a university nutrition class.

The professor, nutrition consultant Dr. Heidi Dulay, got this question:

What foods should they recommend to their clients seeking nutritional help? And how to decide these things, anyway? (The students are health practitioners in-the-making.)

This Master's Program nutrition course is about different dietary approaches.

And I mean a few that are really different - like the raw milk diet, the coconut diet, the Inuit beast and blubber diet (meat, fish and fat which Dulay is personally testing for two weeks), along with the more well-known approaches such as Paleo, Mediterranean, and Atkins, among others.)

OK, good question, says Dr. Heidi. Here's a way to look at choosing foods for yourself and your nutrition clients...

A normally functioning body uses what you eat (specifically,…

Should Vitamins Containing Artificial Food Colors Carry Warning Labels?

The other day, I was looking through the vitamin section of a local grocery store chain, to see who made the vitamins and how many synthetic ingredients were listed, along with the numerous preservatives and other weird chemical ingredients.

Here's what was also listed on almost every one of them. Some or all of these artificial colors:

yellow #6 Lake, yellow #5 Lake
blue #1 Lake #2 Lake

Artificial food and supplement colorings are made of coal tar and petrochemicals. Who would knowingly eat that? Among other things, artificial food colorings are shown to increase hyperactivity and decrease attention span in a wide range of children.

In a recent report which received huge publicity, Vitamins A, C and E are 'a waste of time and may even shorten your life' there was a big outcry from people promoting vitamins, accusing Big Pharma of being behind this sort of trashing of vitamins, since they promote drugs.

However, the vitamins in this big review of studies including over 200…

Are You Getting What You Need for Good Health?

We all know vitamins and minerals are not optional. We realize they are necessary for good health. They build up your immune system, increase your energy level, enhance your appearance, expand your intelligence and more.

Yet most Americans do not get even basic, recommended amounts.

The Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Research from several sources show:
93 percent have inadequate intakes of vitamin E56 percent are not consuming enough magnesium75 percent do not meet recommendations for calcium intake44 percent are lacking adequate intake of vitamin A31 percent do not get enough of vitamin C73 percent do not get adequate intake of vitamin KLess than 5 percent gets an adequate intake of potassium Seven out of ten people die of heart disease, cancer, or stroke. In the United States, ninety-six percent of the population dies of a disease. Do you still think we're getting proper levels of nutrition?

One Way to Beat The Odds

According to the World Health Organization, the American Heart…

One Way to Stop Smoking

Without Drugs, Patches, Hypnosis, Acupuncture or Nicotine Gum

I once read that smoking is the only socially acceptable form of suicide. After seeing what happened to my grandfather and father, who were both smokers and died of cancer, I couldn't agree more.

At the same time, I don't want to get into all the evils of smoking and why we shouldn't do it. That information is now common knowledge. My purpose here is to show you one effective way to quit, if indeed you have picked up the habit.

Allow me to share with you what Dr. Andrew Saul wrote:

When actor and heavy smoker Yul Brenner was dying of lung cancer, he was asked on television if he had any words to offer about smoking. He turned to the camera, looked straight into it, and said, "Just don't do it." Advice that can save 450,000 lives a year is good advice indeed. In the U.S. alone, tobacco kills fifty-one people an hour. That's over 1,200 dead smokers’ funerals each day.

Of course, the tobacco industry …

Tips for Healthy Eating on the Run

One of the biggest obstacles to healthy eating is a lack of time, which is what discourages many people from making the leap to eating healthier.

Because fast food and junk food appears to be much more readily available than healthy options, many people simply succumb to the temptation and eat poorly during their busy days. What many people do not realize is that it only takes a little bit of pre-planning to ensure that meals and snacks are healthy during the day. The following are some tips which will help you opt for the healthier eating choices during your busy, stressful day.

1. Make sure that you eat your fruits and vegetables for the day. The best part about fruits and vegetables is that many of them are extremely portable. Keep a couple of pieces of fruit, or some sliced vegetables in your car or on your office desk. When you are feeling hungry, opt for these healthy snacks instead of making the trek to the vending machine or stopping at a convenience store for a sugary snack.

2.…