Monday, May 7, 2012

5 - Preloading with water

It's funny how sometimes common sense and non-scientific hypotheses can turn out to be accurate.  I once was eating dinner with my parents and a family friend.  The gentleman was 'cursed' with being very thin.  Although a positive problem to have in the eyes of most women, it can be a stigma for men, and so, this man had incorporated practices to combat his slight physique.  He NEVER drank water before or during meals.  And, if he was out to eat, he would actually ask the waiter to take the water glass away, so he wouldn't be tempted to drink during a meal!  He didn't want to compromise any valuable real estate in his stomach, that could be filled with something high calorie.

It turns out, he was on to something.  Although most people have the opposite problem, what he knew might benefit us all.  I recently learned the term of preloading, and strategy, of drinking water before a meal, to reduce calorie intake.  The study showed greater benefit for some populations.  But, even if it doesn't work for you, most people probably don't drink enough water anyway, and, its already been shown to be an important factor in maintaining young, healthy looking skin.  Although there needs to be more studies, I think this is one dieting strategy that may be without any negative side effects.  So, why not try preloading with water if you are looking to eat a little less?

Go pour yourself a glass!

Monday, February 6, 2012

4 - The Coconut Oil Cure

My dad sent me a link to a video that discussed Coconut Oil as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.  It was impressive, I HIGHLY recommend watching it...I can't do Coconut Oil justice like they did.  It changed people's lives.  Amazing.

Being the skeptic I am, I started googling Coconut Oil, searching for sources not on coconut oil for good health .com websites.  Here is a little of what I found, all showing positive effects of Coconut Oil for various health benefits:
Coconut Oil prevents Nicotine Dependence and Relapse
Virgin Coconut Oil lowers LDL
A couple on fat reduction...Efficacy and Safety of Coconut Oil on reducing adiposity and women's waist lines.

Related to good fats was this interesting study on Olive Oil...Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) showed benefits on memory superior to Coconut Oil!
Beuhler's had this Coconut oil for just $6.99.  Kroger's also had coconut oil ranging from $7 - $12 dollars.  Be sure it is NOT hydrogenated!!

I know there is more research that needs to be done, but, there are obviously some health benefits.  I've never used Coconut Oil in cooking, but I've already added it to my shopping list.  Alzheimer's is a scary thing, and even moderate improvement...or prevention in my case...interests me!  Plus, the thought that it might reduce my waistline is certainly attractive.  I don't think I could get anyone in my family to eat it on a daily basis, but I would like to incorporate it into our diet at least once a week.  Everything in moderation, right?  This morning, I tried making my kid's eggs with EVOO to grease the pan rather than butter.  I was worried it might effect the taste, but, I added some Mozzerella Cheese, and they were delicious.  Wade, my middle son, and the pickiest of my kids, said they were the best eggs ever, and asked for another!  Hopefully I can sneak in the Coconut Oil with the same success.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

3 - Safe Suncreen

As I wrote about Vitamin D deficiencies, thoughts of going sunscreen free were popping into my head.  Should I back off on the sunscreen a little?

I used to wear only enough sunscreen to keep me from burning.  In fact, I would often use oil because Ohio's sun wasn't enough for me on most days.  But, a trip to the dermatologist at 29 changed me.  I was there for a suspicious mole (removed, no cancer), but it was the posters on their walls that scared the daylights out of me...and turned me into a sunscreen wearer.  

Since I wrote about Vitamin D deficiency, I had lost that motivation, and I felt I needed to remind myself of what I had learned.  So, I found some motivation to wear sunscreen again, on the Skin Cancer Foundation website:

  • A person's risk for melanoma--the most serious form of skin cancer--doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns.
  • One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Also, I really liked this poster.  It makes me think of the skinny, leathery, wrinkly old lady from Something About Mary:  

Finally, I read that Doctors think that 80 percent of all the sun damage to your skin is already done by age 20.  Even more reason to keep my kids slathered in sunscreen.

The Sunscreen

So, is any sunscreen OK?  Of course, more things to scare you...A recent federal government study shows retinyl palmitate (basically, Vitamin A), may speed up the growth of skin tumors.  Great, I have a sunscreen that may ACCELERATE tumor growth?!  And, oxybenzone, a common ingredient, is a hormone disruptor.  How safe is that?

I had discovered a Sunscreen Report that rated sunscreens based on their 'safety'.  I would definitely recommend looking up your sunscreen and taking a look at it's review.  Anyway, last year, I looked through the site and found some sunscreens I felt were safe (and affordable....some were pricey).  Then on vacation last year, I used my new safe mineral based sunscreens, and my kids got their first sunburn.  The Burts Bees sunscreen I was using was not the least bit water proof.  It didn't claim to be, I had just overlooked this when sunscreen shopping.  I've since bought more, but I know ONLY to use it for parks and zoo trips.  Don't use it anywhere near water.  For the rest of the trip, I ended up using the worst kinds (spray, dangerous chemicals) for the rest of the trip, just to be sure my kids were protected from burns.

So this year, I think I am going to use the Aveeno Baby stick that I found on sale last year, on their faces.  It had good reviews on safety and efficacy.  Then, I will cover their faces with a towel so they don't breathe in the carcinogens from the spray sunscreens, and use that on the rest of their bodies.  Before I knew how harmful they might be, I used them on my kids, and they NEVER got burned.  Hopefully this week of exposure to the potentially harmful hormone disruptors won't cause any long term effects.  I plan on trying another mineral based, but water resistant, sunscreen (Alba brand) that got good reviews.  But, I'll try it here in Ohio; I'm not going to risk my kids' skin all day in the Florida sun.  I'm definitely worried about the chemicals, but if it doesn't work, I think that is a bigger risk.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2 - Germaphobes beware...laundry will never be the same

Somewhere along the line, I learned to wash my laundry in cold water whenever possible, so that I would use less energy, and therefore be more environmentally friendly.  Slowly, I have switched over to doing most things in hot, and doing only my cleanest, darkest clothes in cold.  Hot simply did a better job of getting out the stains, and 3 kids and a hard working husband meant dirty, dirty clothes.

But what I didn't know, was how dirty my clean laundry was.  Ewwww.  Apparently, simply washing our underwear infects the entire load AND the machine itself, with e-coli.  The article I read, said we should wash our clothes in hot (150 degree) water, which isn't even feasible for parents, because we are supposed to have our hot water tank thermostats set to 120 degrees so that our children don't get scalded.  And if you let the wet laundry sit, the e-coli will multiply.  So, after quickly transferring our e-coli infested laundry from the washer to the dryer (there goes my 24 hour rule for how long a load can sit before having to rewash it), it is necessary to dry things at a minimum of 150 degrees.  I had always dried most things on low so that I don't shrink things and stress the fabric.  Can anyone tell me how hot 'low' is?

I hate how learning one thing only brings up more questions.  Now I have to figure out how hot low is, to make sure I am killing all the disgusting bacteria that is living on my otherwise clean laundry.  And then I need to learn how to clean with bleach, and sanitize my washer without leaving bleach in the washer to ruin the next load.  And then research the harmful effects of bleach on my family.  Seriously.  Knowledge is exhausting.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

1 - Ohioans Vitamin D Deficient?

I recently had some blood work done, and the Doctor, an endocrinologist, said that because of Ohio's typical cloudy weather, we as residents are particularly prone to Vitamin D deficiencies.  I, being the research-aholic that I am, tried to find information to back this.

Not only does a vitamin D deficiency inhibit your body from absorbing Calcium (can you say Os-te-o-por-o-sis?), but research shows that it is a contributing factor to a laundry list of Cancers.  Boycotting sunscreen obviously isn't the answer, since skin cancer isn't a healthy trade-off.  So, what to do?  What is safe?  Safe exposure varies greatly by the individual.  An article in US News Health described the necessary exposure to range from as little as a few minutes for someone with fair skin, to 20 for someone who is already tan, and 6 times that for someone with black skin.

Also, even for the outdoorsy types that scoff at sun screen, this same article states that, " the winter, it's impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun if you live north of Atlanta because the sun never gets high enough in the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere." So, Ohioans are particularly vulnerable, but it's safe to say that vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic worldwide.  Whether protecting ourselves from harmful rays, or due to our sun deficient state, we are left to acquire our vitamin D from other sources, such as fatty fish, fortified milk, or supplements...things that many Americans are guilty of having too little of in our diet.

So, ask your doctor if you are deficient, like 40% of Americans are, and take action now to protect you and your family!