Saturday, April 16, 2011

Healthier habits

The other afternoon I did a little barefoot running. I must have ran about 1/2 mi and I did it on a dry day and basically back and forth in front of my house. The first several feet, it felt a little rocky, was a little awkward, but I swear the 2nd half really wasn't bad.

I'm not going to say that I am going to make a habit of it, but since I've been reading the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, I wanted to try it. The Tarahumara Indians in the book run barefoot and the book goes on and on about how shoes are too comfortable and how pronation has become an ugly word, when in fact pronation is really the natural movement of the foot, it is supposed to pronate. If you were to quit running in these ultra comfortable shoes, your feet unlearn the habits they picked up and would then shift to a self-defense mode. Ultimately, your foot would become stronger and less prone to injuries. It mentioned that back before these crazy comfy shoes were popular, there were way less injuries. We are essentially spoiling our feet.
So I have bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and I am very much looking forward to them arriving.

I have also begun consuming chia seeds.

What makes the Chia Seed the super food that many claim it to be?
  • 30% of the chia seed’s oil is Omega 3 oil. 40% of its oil is Omega 6 oil. This provides the nice balance those who take supplemental Essential Fatty Acids are looking for. The chia seed’s substantially dense percentage in alpha-linolenic fatty acid also makes this seed a healthy dietary source of fatty acids.
  • You do not need to grind the Chia Seeds to digest it. It is a relatively easy to digest seed, whereas flax seeds are not. Often, one has to grind flax seeds to be able to process them in their digestive system. That is not the case with chia seeds.
  • The chia seeds are great for athletes because they are highly hydrophilic. Being hydrophilic means it absorbs large amounts of water. Chia Seeds can absorb over 10 times their weight in water making them a great enhancer in hydrating our bodies. They absorb the water we drink holding it in our system longer.
  • Studies show that eating chia seed slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars. This leads scientists to believe that the chia seed may have great benefits for diabetics.
  • The chia seed gels when becoming wet and this gel, when in our digestive systems, helps prevent some of the food, hence calories that we eat from getting absorbed into our system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes the chia seed a great diet helper. Eating the seeds also helps dieters by making them feel fuller faster so they will be less hungry!
  • Chia seeds provide antioxidant activity
  • Chia is a great addition to a detoxification program. Chia seeds are high in fiber and in healthy oils making them an excellent addition to many detox programs.
  • Mix Chia seeds into yogurt, sprinkle them on cereal in the morning, add to salads, or even add them to your baking. There are many ways to add chia seeds into your daily routine!  
Have you ever gone into the drug section of any store and been overwhelmed by all the supplement choices? There are so many and more and more showing  up on store shelves. They say all over them, buy me, take me, you need me! Seriously? Not so sure about that. I've heard that you really only need a good vitamin and supplements your doctor suggested, say because you had blood work done. So, I've begun analyzing my diet and supplement intake. I wonder if I really need to be taken as many as I am. I've concluded that I should continue to take my multi-vitamin and calcium with vitamin D.  I don't believe that I need to take my Glucosamine nor fish oil nor Magnesium. I had blood work done and was found to be lacking in vitamin D. When I found out that I was lacking it, I laughed out loud and thought it was ridiculous considering the amount of time I spend running outdoors.

As far as my diet goes, no more sugar packets, Fake sugar is bad for. I forgot how much I love vanilla soy milk. It is rich in Vitamin D and so yummy. I normally put milk in my coffee instead of coffee creamer, but am finding my 2nd cup makes me a little gassy, so I am trying a little creamer instead. I have gotten into the bad habit of taken not only a sleeping pill, but a Melatonin as well. Well no wonder I have been waking up so sleepy. I have been overdoing it, so the Melatonin is getting kicked out. It even says on the bottle not to take if you have a depression disorder. I haven't been diagnosed with anything, but as most of you all now I was pretty unhappy when we first moved to CA and that was about the same time that I started taking Melatonin. I would love to quit eating cow and chicken and instead just eat fish, eggs and cheese, but I don't think my husband will go for it. I think the way cows and chickens are raised and slaughtered makes them not healthy for you. I strongly encourage everyone to read or watch Food Inc. I also like the book Fast Food Nation.

Here's an article that I read from one of my Facebook friends, talks about whats in hamburger.
In case you missed it last week, The New York Times ran an excellent article on a South Dakota company called Beef Products Inc., which makes a hamburger filler product that ends up in 70 percent of burgers in the United States.

To make a long story short: Beef Products buys the cheapest, least desirable beef on offer--fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, which are notoriously rife with pathogens like E. coli 0157 and antibiotic-resistant salmonella. It sends the scraps through a series of machines, grinds them into a paste, separates out the fat, and laces the substance with ammonia to kill pathogens.

The result, known by some in the industry as "pink slime," is marketed widely to hamburger makers. The product has three selling points, from what I can tell: 1) it's really, really cheap; 2) unlike conventional ground beef, which routinely carries E. coli, etc, pink slime is sterilized by the addition of ammonia; and 3) it's so full of ammonia that it will kill pathogens in the ground beef it's mixed with.

In short, Beef Products' is peddling a solution--and a cheap one at that--to the beef industry's embarrassing food-borne-illness problem (see my Meat Wagon series of posts for more on this topic). No wonder that burger purveyors from agribusiness giant Cargill to McDonald's, from Burger King to your kid's public-school cafeteria, snap up 60 pound blocks of pink slime and mix it into conventional ground beef at doses of up to 15 percent.
But as the Times story shows, the ammonia doesn't always kill the pathogens in pink slime. Indeed, far from sterilizing a batch of burger mix, pink slime can actually add to the pathogen cocktail:
School lunch officials said that in some years Beef Products testing results were worse than many of the program's two dozen other suppliers, which use traditional meat processing methods. From 2005 to 2009, Beef Products had a rate of 36 positive results for salmonella per 1,000 tests, compared to a rate of nine positive results per 1,000 tests for the other suppliers, according to statistics from the program.
Thus, of pink slime's three chief selling points, only one holds up to scrutiny: it's cheap.
Note that the information unearthed in this important Times is new only to the public; the fast-food industry, the USDA, and the school-lunch program have long known about pink slime's less than stellar food-safety performance. Indeed, pressure from buyers may have contributed to the pathogen load--as The Times reports, complaints about an overpowering ammonia aroma forced the company to ramp down the dose of the sterilizing agent, which may have upped its susceptibility to salmonella, etc.

The pink-slime episode teaches us hard lessons about a food system that hinges on a few big companies churning out loads of cheap food. In a brilliant chapter in his book 2007 book The End of Food, Paul Roberts demonstrates how the profitability of large food companies depends completely on keeping costs as low as possible.

As companies scramble to slash costs, you get the rise of vast environmental calamities, like massive, feces-concentrating hog factories. Yet get human atrocities, like slavery in Florida tomato fields and systematic worker abuse in factory slaughterhouses. And you get public-health nightmares, like soaring diabetes rates tied to the rise of cheap, highly subsidized sweeteners.
The National School Lunch Program, which forces cafeteria administrators to feed students lunch for $2.68 per student per day, is a microcosm of our cheap food system. Two-thirds of that outlay goes to overhead and labor, leaving much less than a buck to spend on ingredients. No wonder the lunch program is such a massive buyer of pink slime--3.5 million pounds last year alone, the Times reports.
School lunch officials said they ultimately agreed to use the treated meat because it shaved about 3 cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef.... In 2004, lunch officials increased the amount of Beef Products meat allowed in its hamburgers to 15 percent, from 10 percent, to increase savings.
Three cents off the cost of making a pound of ground beef. Under the severe fiscal austerity that school cafeteria administrators operate under, pinching those three pennies is a rational decision, even if it means subjecting children to ammonia-ridden slime that may contain pathogens.

For its part, the fast-food industry has reacted to the Times revelations, not by renouncing the use of pink slime but rather defending it. According to Associated Press, "Fast-food chains McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. and agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc. all use the [Beef Products] meat in their hamburgers. All said they'll keep using the meat and that their products are safe."

For them, billions of dollars in profits depend on pinching a few pennies per pound on inputs. As long as that economic structure remains in place, we can count on continued pathologies in the food system.
Tom Philpott is Grist’s senior food and agriculture writer.

You know I'm not even sure drinking a protein is even necessary. According to an individual analysis of what I personally should be consuming, I only need 6 ounces of meat a day. Well a Costco chicken fillet is 11 ounces. Why do I need to drink a shake that has 27 grams of protein in one serving? Well they are delicious. You can find out what you should be consuming by going to

So there you have it, I'm developing better habits, creating an even healthier Jeannie.

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