Friday, July 30, 2010

Peer pressure is one of the tough issues parents and teenagers need to handle.

A peer is someone in one’s own age group. Peer pressure is the feeling that someone your own age is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad.

Peers influence your life, even if you don't realize it, just by spending time with you. You learn from them, and they learn from you. It's only human nature to listen to and learn from other people in your age group.

Peers can have a positive influence on each other. Sometimes peers influence each other in negative ways. The difference between negative and positive peer pressure is the outcome. Peer pressure exists for all ages. No one is immune from peer pressure.

The level of peer influence generally increases as children grow, and resistance to peer influence often declines as children gain independence from the family or caregivers, and before they fully form an adult identity. Pre-school children tend to be the least aware of peer pressure, and are the least influenced by the need to conform. However with more social interactions outside the home and more awareness of others, the influence of peers increases. Pre-teens and teenagers face many issues related to conformity and peer pressure. They are pulled between the desire to be seen as individuals of unique value and the desire to belong to a group where they feel secure and accepted. The result is that often teens reject family or general society values, while feeling pressure to conform rigidly to the values of their peer group. An example of this phenomenon is seen when young people join gangs. In joining the gang they are rejecting the community's way of dressing and behaving. Yet to belong to the gang, they must conform to the gang's own style of dress, behavior, and speech.

The personality traits that put you at higher risk for falling in to the peer pressure trap include:

• low self esteem
• lack of confidence
• uncertainty about ones place within a given peer group
• no personal interests exclusive of one's peer group
• feeling isolated from peers and/or family
• poor academic abilities or performance
• fear of one's peers
• lack of strong ties to friends
• feeling that friends could turn on you

Handling Peer Pressure

If someone is pressuring you to do anything that's not right or good for you, you have the right to resist. You have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away from a situation.

Resisting pressure can be hard for some people because they

• are afraid of being rejected by others
• want to be liked and don’t want to lose a friend
• don’t want to be made fun of
• don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings
• aren’t sure of what they really want
• don’t know how to get out of the situation

It is tough to be the only one who says "no" to peer pressure, but you can do it. Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong can help you know the right thing to do. Inner strength and self-confidence can help you stand firm, walk away, and resist doing something when you know better.

It can really help to have at least one other peer, or friend, who is willing to say "no," too. This takes a lot of the power out of peer pressure and makes it much easier to resist. It's great to have friends with values similar to yours who will back you up when you don't want to do something.

Have a parent or teacher advise you to "choose your friends wisely."

Even if you're faced with peer pressure while you're alone, there are still things you can do. You can simply stay away from peers who pressure you to do stuff you know is wrong. You can tell them "no" and walk away. Better yet, find other friends and classmates to pal around with.

If you continue to face peer pressure and you're finding it difficult to handle, talk to someone you trust. Don't feel guilty if you've made a mistake or two. Talking to a parent, teacher, or school counselor can help you feel much better and prepare you for the next time you face peer pressure.

Peer pressure is not always bad. It can help you analyze yourself and contemplate on your ways of life. Some of the practices that the masses follow may actually teach you the way of living. You may be able to change yourself for the better. Looking at what others do, can help you bring about a positive change in your way of thinking. If you can pick selectively, peer pressure can actually result in a positive change in your way of life.

Knowing what the masses follow exposes you to the world outside your home. You understand the things going on around you. You are exposed to a wide variety in human behavior. Exposure to peer pressure gives you an opportunity to think about their tastes and their outlooks towards life. It gives you a chance to choose the best from what the masses do.

If you are fortunate to get a good peer group, your peers can play a vital role in the shaping of your personality. Their way of looking at life may influence you to change for betterment. Some of your peers are your close friends, who do not pressurize you to do things but rather inspire you to change yourself. Your peer group may actually persuade you to bring about a constructive change in your personality. Peer pressure can lead you to make the right choices in life.

A strong support from family, an ability to differentiate between the positive and the negative and a skill to choose friends from the peers - this three-pronged strategy is the best way to keep away from negative peer pressure.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Menopause occurs when the ovaries naturally decreases the production of the sex hormones estrogens and progesterone. If there are no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months without any other biological or physiological cause then the woman is in menopause. Menopause is the end of the childbearing years. The 12 months without periods are important to note, otherwise there is still a chance to become pregnant.

A woman can feel the changes in her body if she is approaching menopause. In this period of menopause transition or perimenopause her menstrual periods start changing. The changes begin several years before the menopause. This is because of the fluctuation of the production of the sexual hormones by the aging ovaries. Irregularity in the length of the period, the time between periods and the level of flow can be seen in the irregular periods. A sudden warm feeling with blushing, the hot flashes can also accompany the irregular periods.

The changes associated with the menopause include:

• Hot flashes
• Irregular bleeding
• Night sweats
• Mood swings
• Forgetfulness
• Problems in sleeping
• Tiredness
• Irritability
• Memory problems
• Depression
• Fluctuation in sexual desire
• Vaginal dryness, itching or irritation
• Increased risk of urinary tract infection or urinary incontinence, leakage of urine
• Weight gain
• Changes in skin texture including wrinkles
• May have some hair growth on the chin, upper lip, chest or abdomen
• Can worsen adult acne

Woman’s race, height, number of children or use of oral contraceptives has no influence on the age at menopause. The age of menopause is variable. It is 40 to 60 years normally. For most of the women it is between 45 to 55 years.

Menopause is not a disease that needs to be cured and it is a natural life-stage transition. However, treatment of associated symptoms is possible if these become substantial or severe. But, the protective effect of estrogen against osteoporosis and atherosclerosis is lost. The risks of fracture and coronary heart disease increase.

The possible treatments include:

• Hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy or postmenopausal hormone therapy with estrogen and progesterone
• Oral contraceptive pills
• Vaginal hormone and non-hormone treatments

Combination of estrogen and progesterone increases the risk for heart attack, stroke and breast cancer compared with women without hormone therapy. Estrogen therapy increases the risk for stroke and endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus. You must consult with your doctor and he must consider your entire medical records as well as hereditary risk factors before deciding hormone therapy.

The alternative therapy uses food and herbs and they include:

• Phytoestrogens from soy bean, chick peas and lentils. Do not use the concentrated pills, but foods containing these must be eaten regularly
• Vitamin E also helps to reduce hot flashes
• Black Cohosh herbal preparations
• Green tea and pomegranate
• Dried roots and rhizomes of Licorice
• Roots of Dong quai
• Wild yam
• Dried fruit of Chaste tree
• Dried leaves of Damiana
• Leaves, roots and tops of Dandelion
• Dried roots and rhizomes of False unicorn root
• Leaves of Ginkgo
• Roots of Ginseng, avoid if you have high blood pressure
• Dried Liferoot plant
• Fresh or dried leaves and fruit of Raspberry
• Red clover, dried flower heads and fresh plant
• Fresh or dried leaves of Sage
• St. John’s Wort, fresh or dried flowering plant

There are not many scientific studies about the alternative therapies. Much more research is still needed.

There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis. Eat healthy food with enough calcium and vitamin D. Ask your doctor whether calcium and vitamin D must be supplemented or for other treatments. A good lifestyle and enough physical activity are very important.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Many Hollywood celebrities have used this diet to be slim and healthy. If used properly it is a very good food to loose and maintain weight.

You can change the sample meals according to the availability of food in your area. Try it and you can have success.

The five-week program reduces hunger and feelings of deprivation.

The principles of the five factor diet are:

1. Eat 5 meals daily
2. Follow 5 criteria for each meal
3. Spend 5 minutes in preparation for each meal, using only 5 ingredients
4. Physical activities 25 minutes 5 days a week for 5 weeks
5. Indulge in a weekly ‘cheat’ day

The 5 ‘Fat-loss’ keys are:

1. Metabolism – faster metabolism burns more calories
2. Exercise – stay in the fat-burning zone and build lean muscle
3. Right calories – consume foods with the right kind and amount of calories
4. Glycemic Index – low-GI foods keep blood-sugar levels steady
5. Rest and recovery – promote growth hormone for muscle condition and reduce the stress hormone, cortisol

5 Criteria for each of 5 meals per day are:

1. Low-fat, quality protein
2. Low-GI carbohydrate
3. Fiber
4. Healthy fat
5. Sugar-free beverage

Sundays are ‘cheat days’ – eat what you like, but stick to the 5-meals principle.

The meals guidelines are:

Breakfast – Sugar-free cereal with at least 5 g of protein and 5 g of fiber per serving with fresh strawberries or blueberries or seasonal fresh fruits. For a change instead of cereal use non-fat cottage cheese or sugar-free yogurt. Use egg whites as a base for a low-fat omelet or try the apple-cinnamon oatmeal frittata. For hot, cereal, make oatmeal and blend with whey-protein powder.
Lunch – Soups and salads, with no-flour bread or tortilla for open sandwiches or wraps or a rice cake.
Dinner – Lean chicken or steak or fish for protein; moderate-GI carbs in vegetables like wild rice, squash, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach or cauliflower.

Sample 5-Factor Meal Plans

Sample 1 Food Protein Carbohydrate

Breakfast Apple-cinnamon oatmeal frittata Egg whites Dried apples
Morning Snack Nonfat cottage cheese Apple
Lunch Curried chicken salad Chicken breast, nonfat yogurt Slice of no-flour bread
Afternoon Snack Veggie salami, nonfat cheese Brown rice cake
Dinner Lemon salmon Salmon Quinoa, side salad

Day 2

Breakfast Cereal Skim milk Kashi Go! Lean cereal
Morning Snack 5-Factor protein shake Whey protein Frozen berries
Lunch H-P’s Big-City Chili Lean ground beef Mixed beans, stewed tomatoes
Afternoon Snack Smoked salmon, nonfat cream cheese Slice of no-flour toast
Dinner Grilled chicken breast Wild rice, broccoli

Day 3

Breakfast 5-Factor frittata egg-whites, nonfat cheese, chicken bell pepper
Morning Snack Cinnamon apple treat Nonfat yogurt apple
Lunch 5-Factor Reuben Turkey pastrami, nonfat cheese Sauerkraut, no-flour bread
Afternoon Snack Jerky beef, turkey or salmon 1 piece fruit
Dinner Asian wraps Ground chicken breast Shiitake mushrooms, Boston lettuce

Day 4

Breakfast 5-Factor french toast Egg whites, nonfat milk 2 slices no-flour bread
Morning Snack Nonfat yohurt Peach
Lunch Turkey stew Turkey breast Sweet potatoes, tomatoes
Afternoon Snack Thai Egg Strips Egg whites Shallot, scallion, red chili
Dinner Fillet of Tilapia Spaghetti, squash, sidesalad

Day 5

Breakfast Cereal Skim milk Kashi Go! Lean cereal
Morning Snack 5-Factor Berry Shake Whey protein Frozen berries
Lunch Chef salad Turkey breast, boiled egg whites, nonfat cheese Romaine lettuce
Afternoon Snack Nonfat French onion/sour cream dip Celery sticks
Dinner “I can’t believe it’s not Pizza” Pizza Veggie pepperoni, nonfat cheese Flourless wrap, tomatoes

Day 6

Breakfast Breakfast Burrito Egg whites, veggie bacon, nonfat cheese Flourless wrap, salsa
Morning Snack Nonfat cottage cheese Pear
Lunch Mediterranean Tuna Salad Albacore Tuna, chickpeas Tomato, lettuce
Afternoon Snack Turkey breast slices, nonfat cream cheese Lettuce, green pepper
Dinner Grilled chicken breast Sweet potato, peas

Day 7 Free day – eat as much as you want

For more information about recipes you can read Harley Pasternak’s book ‘5-Factor Diet. ‘5-Factor Fitness’ was his next book in 2004 based on the 5-Factor Diet.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Hundreds of millions of persons in our world are affected by some type of mental illness each year. The serious mental illnesses are the result of genetic, chemical, electrical, structural or traumatic problems in the brain. Moreover, the combinations of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental stressors play a vital role here. Personal weakness or character defect has nothing to do with this illness. Once when you are affected you need a good doctor, will and self-discipline to manage everything well.

The mental illnesses include:

• Anxiety disorder – different forms of abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety
• Attention deficit disorder – is a neurobehavioral and development disorder in children. 1% to 5% adults also suffer with this disorder
• Bipolarity – it is a condition in which people experience abnormally elevated and abnormally depressed states for periods of time
• Borderline personality disorder – causes a repetitive pattern of disorganization and instability in self-image, mood, behavior and close personal relationships
• Depression- is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration
• Eating disorders - are a group of conditions characterized by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake
• Generalized anxiety disorder - is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder - is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away
• Panic disorder - causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror for no reason
• Post-traumatic stress disorder - is an emotional illness that usually develops as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience
• Schizophrenia - is a severe, lifelong brain disorder. People who have it may hear voices, see things that aren't there or believe that others are reading or controlling their minds
• Social phobia - Excessive fear of embarrassment in social situations that is extremely intrusive and can have serious negative effects on personal and professional relationships
• Dementia - is the loss of a person's cognitive, or intellectual, function

The available treatments for mental illness include medication, psychotherapy, group therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy and behavior modification therapy. Alternative therapies, creative therapies, electroconvulsive therapy, vagal nerve stimulation and hypnotherapy are the other available therapies. Consult with your doctor if you need help.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Waxes are applied on fruits and vegetables to:

• Help retain moisture during transporting and marketing
• Help inhibit mold growth
• Protect from bruising
• Prevent other physical damage and disease
• Enhance appearance

The apples have a natural wax coating on their surface. Most of this natural wax coating is lost during the washing by scrubbing the surface of the fruits after harvest to remove dirt and pesticide residues. This makes a fresh wax coating necessary.

The waxes applied on apples may be from plants, animals, food-grade petroleum products, insects like wax from bees or chemicals like morpholine. You might have seen the boards which say “Coated with food-grade vegetable-, petroleum-, beeswax-, or shellac-based wax or resin, to maintain freshness.” If it is apple normally one are two drops of wax is needed to coat. Normally these waxes are not absorbed and excreted without reaching our blood.

The most common wax used on apples is a vegetable wax called canauba wax or shellac.

Morpholine is not a carcinogen or teratogen in rats and mice and the accepted daily intake is 0.48 mgIkgbw/day. But it can react with nitrites in the body to form N-nitrosomorpholine, a genotoxic carcinogen in rodents. Nitrate is present in ground water and the natural manure used in organic form enhances it concentration too much. Nitrates may be converted to nitrites in our body. Certain processed meat products can also have nitrites.

It is important to use the minimum amount of wax. Only in few countries this is controlled and there may be much more than allowed amount.

I am against animal- or petroleum- or chemicals based coatings. These have nothing to do with the healthy fruits or vegetables.

Even only plant and beeswax are used for coating pesticides and other chemicals are used. The residues are present mostly even after wax coating. Wax coating does not enhance the quality of the fruits or vegetables. Waxed apples may look glossy, shiny, firm and inviting, but they could soggy or even lacking the crispy texture.

It is bad to remove the peel of the apple because it contains important phytonutrients. The peel has six times more antioxidants than the meat. It is better to remove the wax with vinegar or fresh lemon juice with added baking powder. Use a tissue towel with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice + baking powder to wipe the fruit before washing and this is the easy method to remove the wax.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away only if it is fresh, not wax coated and with less pesticide residues. Where is it? We can ask Adam or Eva…

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We all know that refined sugar is not good for our health. We also know that artificial sweeteners are bad for our health. Refined sugar is present in many of our processed foods. Artificial sweeteners are praised extremely on their role in controlling obesity or weight loss although the opposite is the truth. The lobbyists from sugar and artificial sweetener industries have everything under control. For this group profit is more important than health.

We have an alternative for refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. It is stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as stevia, sugar leaf or sweet leaf. Stevia is a natural sweetener. The extracts of this plant is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is a native of South America, Central America and Mexico. The Native Americans of Paraguay and Brazil use this for centuries.

Research has shown the benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure. In Japan it is used as a sweetener for decades without any problems. It is restricted or banned in many countries. There are few studies on rats which try to manipulate the fact of its usefulness and based on this it is banned in some countries. In some countries it is allowed as a herb, but not as a sweetener. It is because of the lobby work of sugar and artificial sweetener industry. There is no abnormal increase of cancer in Japan or in South America.

European Union has tested stevia thoroughly and they are going to allow this a sweetener later in this year as a sweetener. Then it is a boon to many who suffer from diabetes, obesity or overweight.

Avoid refined sugars and artificial sweeteners to live healthy. The presence of sugar is mostly concealed under many terms like fructose, corn syrup or cane extract by the food industry. It is better to minimize the intake of processed food. I hope more research will be done to know the good health effects of stevia.

A day will surely come when we don’t use refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Dr.K.Padmanaban, Ph.D.,
Muetzendorpsteed 46, 22179 Hamburg,
Ph: +49 40 642 028 36

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The author Dr. Kaniappan Padmanaban, Ph.D, had a total of 35 years hands-on experience and worked as Head-Department of Clinical Toxicology for 25 years at renowned Institute of Drs. Fenners, Hamburg, Germany from 1980 to 2005. His life was full of research on foods and environmental poisons.

A man of research and practical applications from 1971 in the welfare of people in the field of Food, Medicine and Environment. His interests are,

• Research
• Practical applications
• Individual health solutions

The author has a strong concern for the society and come forward to share his invaluable knowledge on food, environmental poisons & illness, side effects of medicines and drugs to spread the awareness of what is happening in and around.

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The sisters Tammy and Susie Trimple developed the 100 Calorie Diet. Susi Trimple has a degree from Canyon College in Health and Nutrition and is also a Certified Fitness Chef. 100 Calorie is a unit or the multiple of it can be eaten in this diet. Susi lost over 100 pounds with this diet.

It is not a low carb or low fat diet. You can eat your normal food and still lose weight. Foods are measured in 100 calorie portions. Their e-book contains the details of calories in different foods and sample diet plans to make it easy to follow this diet.

You need not sacrifice any food; but food must be eaten only in 100 calorie portions. For women a calorie intake of 1500 and men 2000 daily are recommended. You plan your meals every day in advance.

There is a free foods list and they include bell pepper, broccoli, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, snow peas, tomato, zucchini, alfalfa sprouts, balsamic vinegar, bouillon, capers, carob, cocoa, pickles, hot sauce, salsa, diet soda, soy sauce, splenda and V8 juice. You can eat these free foods at any time if you are hungry and it is also allowed to use them along with your meals.

Sample diet plan:
 1 cup corn flakes
1 cup skim milk
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
Herbal tea

Morning Snack
 1 cup baby carrots
1 Tablespoon ranch dip

 3 oz turkey
1 oz Swiss cheese
3 slices whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon mayo
Lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles

Afternoon Snack
 1 cup plain yogurt
1 banana

 3 oz baked tilapia
1 cup pasta
2 cups mixed green salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon and vinegar

Here are some of their recipes:

Quick and Easy Spinach
1 Can of Spinach, Drained Well – FREE
Garlic Powder to Taste – FREE
1 oz. of Your Favorite Cheese, Shredded - 100
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place drained spinach in a small casserole dish, sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
Makes one large 100 calorie serving
Variation: Use canned asparagus instead of spinach.

Simple Japanese Onion Soup

1 Celery Stalk, Chopped - FREE
1 Small Onion, Chopped - FREE
1 Carrot, Chopped - FREE
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger Root, Grated - FREE
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Garlic, Minced - FREE
2 Tablespoons Chicken Stock - FREE
3 Teaspoons Beef Bouillon Granules - FREE
2 Cups Fresh Mushrooms, Thinly Sliced (Shiitake or White Button) - FREE
2 Quarts Water - FREE
4 Tablespoons Fresh Chives, Chopped – FREE

In a large stockpot, place celery, onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, and one cup of the mushrooms. Next add chicken stock, beef bouillon and water. Bring to a rolling boil. Cover pot and reduce to medium low heat. Cook for 1 hour. Place the remaining mushrooms (1 cup) into a separate pot. Place a strainer over this pot. Pour your boiled mixture into this pot letting just the liquid come through. Discard the strained vegetables. Divide soup into four Asian type bowls and sprinkle the fresh chives on top. Serve immediately with Asian type soup spoons.
Makes 4 FREE servings

Japanese Steakhouse Salad

4 Cups Iceburg Lettuce, Chopped - FREE
1 Large Carrot, Shredded – FREE
1/2 Cup Purple Cabbage, Shredded - FREE


1/4 Medium Onion, Minced - FREE
2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil - 200
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar - FREE
2 Teaspoons Water - FREE
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger Root, Minced - FREE
2 Teaspoons Catsup - FREE
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar - FREE
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce - FREE
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice - FREE
1-2 Garlic Cloves, Minced - FREE
Salt and Pepper To Taste – FREE

Place lettuce in a medium bowl, top with carrot and cabbage. Place all salad dressing ingredients into a blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Pour dressing on top of salad. Serve immediately.

This book gives you all the necessary information about calories of various foods including fast foods and restaurant foods. It has many recipes with their calorie content.

Alcohol and soft drinks with artificial sweeteners are also allowed.

There are many good points and if you fine tune it little bit it is a good diet plan to reduce the weight in the long run. For example, avoid empty-calorie and nutrient-free foods.

Aerobic exercises, walking, swimming, dance, hiking and team sports are the recommended exercises.

For detailed information visit

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Friday, July 16, 2010

The food industry uses more than 4000 chemicals nobody knows exactly what is going on there. Another 3000 chemicals are used as pesticides and other poisons in the agricultural sector. There are chemicals which are used to keep the vegetables fresh and to make the fruits ripe quickly.

We can avoid processed foods and thus the chemicals from the food processing industry. Almost all our fresh foods contain pesticides and other chemicals used in the agriculture. There are reference values are there for around 600 pesticides and other poisons in fruits and vegetables. In developed countries samples are taken from the shops regularly and analyzed for these poisons. Two to three percent have more pesticides than the reference levels in all countries. But, these vegetables or fruits are not taken away from the market. Normally these values never reach the public.

Now and then Green Peace analyzes the levels of pesticides and other poisons from our fresh food and these values are published in the news paper with its critical comments.

Vegetables, fruits and grains from the polluted river basins can have many more chemicals and poisonous heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead. These are the most dangerous food for our health.

Ethylene is a plant hormone and has many functions in the life cycle of a plant. One of its important functions is to make the raw fruits to ripe. Right temperature and ethylene are used to make the bananas ripe quickly. It is used for ripening of several fruits and tomatoes.

Calcium carbide is used to ripe mangoes and other fruits quickly. The use of calcium carbide is not healthy. It can cause serious damage to eyes, skin and lungs. There can be irritation in mouth, throat and if inhales can cause cough and wheeze. It can cause reproductive problems in men and is one more risk factor for cancer.

Oxytocin is a hormone present in our body. It is injected to grow the vegetables quick and big and to keep them fresh. It is also used to boost milk yield. It plays an important role in women trafficking and prostitution as this is used to bring the young girls early to puberty in some countries. They are prepared for the sex-worker jobs. It is also used in illegal abortion.

Oxytocin is mainly injected in bottle gourds, bitter gourds, pumpkins, spinach etc. With it fresh and green look these attract the customer to buy. It is said that in North India, particularly around New Delhi it is practised.

Oxytocin is also a medicine to induce childbirth. All medicines can cause side effects. The side effects of oxytocin include:

• More intense or abrupt contractions of the uterus
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Severe allergic reactions like rash, hives, itching, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue
• Changes in heart rate
• Irregular heart beat
• Bleeding after childbirth
• Pooling of blood in the pelvis
• Ruptured uterus
• Fetus can be affected

There are laws to regulate the use of these chemicals in many countries. Black market and corrupted officials make it possible to get these chemicals or hormones easily available and nobody talks about this evil.

Around 90% of the food market in India is unorganized and so it is difficult to regulate. Contamination from various sources is a severe problem in India although we have very good laws. But enforcement is a big problem even now.

I think well informed consumers can only change this situation. Avoid vegetables or fruits or other foods with make-up.

If there are any health troubles after your food consumption it is better to go to the doctor immediately.

If autopsy is made with every dead body each one may give us a story, surely a horrible story.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

More than 4000 chemicals are used by the food processing industry and it is better to avoid processed foods. If it is not possible use only a minimum of this.

What about hormones? We have natural hormones and synthetic hormones which are used to increase the growth and weight of our domestic animals. Hormones help also to increase the milk production many fold.

The hormones used to increase the meat and milk production include:

• Estradiol
• Testosterone
• Progesterone
• Melengestrol acetate
• Trenbolone acetate
• Zeranol

Estradiol, testosterone and progesterone are natural hormones and melengestrol acetate, trebolone acetate and zeranol are synthetic hormones. These hormones in food can lead to severe health problems including ovarian cyst and cancer.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic form of estrogen is no more used to fatten the cattle and chicken as it has cancer causing properties.

In 1981, the European Union prohibited the use of substances having a hormonal action for growth promotion in farm animals. This prohibition applies to Member States and imports from third countries alike.

The genetically modified bovine growth hormone is injected in the cows to increase the milk production. The side effects of this hormone is udder infection causing pus which can later get into the milk. Affected cows are treated with certain special antibiotics which brings more problems.

These hormones cause also environmental problems. The undigested hormones are excreted and in course of time they reach the ground water. Ground water is mostly our drinking water and the devils cycle starts.

Many processed foods contain milk powder and it is very difficult to find out the origin of this. The dairy products from Australia, Japan, European Union and Canada are hormone free. In many countries it is impossible to check whether hormones are used or not.

If you are not sure of the origin of the meat or milk avoid it. Eat processed foods if it is not avoidable. Vegetarian food is a wonderful food and it is worth to think about this.

The farmers are using hormones for their profits only without thinking about the health of millions of people. Only we must be careful to live healthy.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Body Mass Index is known to many for more than 20 years. Although it gives us no reliable information many made a fortune with this. Weight loss is a big business and all wanted to earn with all possible ways.

The recent research shows that Waist-to-height-ratio (WHtR) gives more information about the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is easy to calculate. Measure your waist circumference around your navel in cm and divide this with your height in cm to get the Waist-to-height-ratio. For example, your waist circumference is 85 cm and your height is 170 cm. 85/170 = 0.5

The reference ratios are:

Below 40 years – less than 0.5
Between 40 and 50 years – between 0.5 and 0.6
Above 50 years – around 0.6

The risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes-2 is high if the ratio is higher than the reference ratios.

If you have no time for this simple calculation remember, the men must have a waist circumference below 103 cm and women below 88 cm.

Healthy food and enough physical activities help you to keep up this waist level and a normal weight. Live a healthy life to enjoy.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We all know well fish is a very healthy food. Good protein, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium are present in good amounts. At the same time we recommend not to eat excess fish because of contamination. Fish is contaminated with chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals. Not only the marine fish but also the sweet water fish has these contamination problems.

Curd is healthy. We use milk and dairy products to get calcium. With this good argument we overeat this and suffer because excess calcium and protein can remove calcium from our bones.

What will happen if we eat both, fish and curd together? Can it cause stomach cramps or white patches on the skin?

Fish and curd combination does not cause leucoderma (vitiligo) which can cause white patches on the skin. The reason for this disease is the destruction of cells which produce the skin pigment melanin. This combination cannot destroy the skin cells. Even strict vegetarians get this disease. The regular, traditional fish eaters do not have it more than the average.

There is no scientific basis for this belief. In many countries fish are marinated or cooked in milk and dairy products. Many have no problems.

At the same time we should not forget the milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance. You can enjoy fish and curd moderately as long as there are no problems. I have no problem to enjoy both together. Yes, it is a myth.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

The tropical fruit pineapple with its beautiful yellow colour belongs to the family of Bromeliaceae. One oft he most important enzymes of pineapple is bromelain which is responsible for its health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and important minerals.

The health benefits of bromelain include:

• Anti-inflammatory
• Reduces swelling
• Helps in the treatment of sore throat and sinus
• Helps in the treatment of gout and acute arthritis

Fresh pineapple must be eaten to get these benefits. To get the best benefit it should be eaten between meals and other food should not be eaten with this.

Is eating fresh pineapple or drinking fresh pineapple juice during pregnancy safe? Could it and its juice in the later stage of pregnancy induce labour? In high quantities pineapple juice can cause uterine contraction. That is why eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice is recommended to women who experience delayed pregnancies. Therefore, excess pineapple or juice must be avoided during the early stages of pregnancy.

The enzyme bromelain is responsible for this. Miscarriage, vomiting, diarrhoea, very heavy menstrual periods are the other effects of excess consumption of fresh pineapple.

There are no scientific evidences for this effect, but excess pineapple is as effective as castor oil as a laxative. Excess means 6 to 7 fresh pineapples. Pregnant and lactating mothers must consult with their doctor if they want to eat pineapples. More research is needed in this field.

During canning bromelain is destroyed and this could be eaten by all, in moderate amounts.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Whether it is candies or chocolates or other sweets we know that much sugar is present there. It is easy to avoid. But what about the hidden sugars? Many processed foods like potato salad, bread spreads, tomato ketchup or ready-made soup mix contain much sugar. It is also mostly not declared on the label. To reduce your weight and to maintain it you must know well about this.

If it is declared sugar-free on the label mostly the industry means sucrose free. Sucrose is table sugar. But glucose, maltose, fructose, fructose, lactose and sucrose are the different names for sugar and only the origin is different, but all have the same calories. Some declare only as carbohydrates. That is why you must be in a position to interpret rightly the misleading labels. Do not forget sorbitol, xylitol and maltitol also contain calories. Sugar-free means no sugar or honey are added extra, but there can be other carbohydrates.

If we take too much of sugar our nerves lose their capacity to enjoy the natural sweetness of our food. Moreover, sweet foods increase the production of insulin which decreases the blood sugar levels. This is the reason for cravings for something sweet. Then we eat too much without any control and the weight gain is the result.

It is possible to change your habits to sweet your food with natural sweets. They include:

• Use fresh fruits to sweet yogurt or cottage cheese
• Add to muesli honey or sulphur-free dry fruits or grated coconut
• Mix your fruit juice with water and everyday increase the amount of water
• Select the raw or cooked grains or vegetables which have the natural sweet taste
• Avoid soft drinks, Ice-tea and drinks with caffeine, but coffee and tea are allowed
• Never go for shopping if you are hungry. Mostly you buy all the foods which are sweet or high fat foods.

It is easy to reduce and maintain your weight. You must know only the necessary information. Once you have understood this it is a great joy to lose weight.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

It is very easy to follow a healthy lifestyle. There are only few rules that you must keep in mind. Healthy lifestyle does not mean sacrificing everything.

The important rules include:

1. Fresh foods are the best. Avoid all the junk foods, processed foods and foods where chemicals are added. It is better to eat wholegrain bread than white bread, cooked fish than fried fish and cooked meat than fried meat. Use healthy plant oils to cook and never and olive oil is good for salads. Avoid completely cheap fats and these contains mostly the unhealthy trans-fat. If you have less time you can cook soup from fresh vegetables and can freeze it in portions. Frozen vegetables are good, but here also you have to see the label for added chemicals to increase the deepness oft he colour. With frozen vegetables it is easy to make a good and healthy meal.
2. Do not count the calories always. Fats, carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and food with hidden calories like fast food and snacks must be eaten in small quantities. Be careful with the amount of rice, noodles, potatoes and bread. You can eat any amount of fresh vegetables and fruits with only few exceptions like root vegetables or bananas.
3. You need not sacrifice your favourite chocolates, cakes, chips or anything you like. Now and then you can eat these also. If you eat more in a day next day you must be careful.
4. Fluid intake must be 3 to 4 litres. 70% of this must be drinking water. Fruit juices are very important. Two cups of tea or coffee in a day is not bad if you like. Avoid all cola and soft drinks. But now and then a glass of cola or soft drinks is allowed.
5. You must have some physical activity everyday.
6. You must reduce your stress whether it is coming from the family, friends or from your company.

You can make your own rules based on this to have a good and healthy lifestyle.

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