Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Afterglow Cosmetics - My New Obsession

Are all organic makeup lines created equal?  NO!  I was truly floored when I learned about what is lurking in some well know "organic" and "mineral based" make up lines.  I recently had an opportunity to meet with the founder of Afterglow Cosmetics, Kristen Adams, who developed her line to meet her own makeup.  The research and care that goes into each one of her products is evident.  Ever detail - from the ingredients to the packaging to the manufacturing - must meet her strict criteria before making it to market.  Not only are their products organic and free of free of synthetic preservatives, bismuth oxychloride, petro-chemicals, synthetic dyes and fillers.......but they are a make-up maven's dream!  As I type I am wearing my new obsession - Coo Lip Smoother!  Luv this stuff!

One interesting point that Kristen brought to my attention is that a lot of consumers and dermatologists go to great lengths to ensure the facial cleansers, scrubs, and lotions they use are safe and chemical free. However, they neglect to extend their "skin care" regime to cosmetics.  Facial cleansers are immediately washed off but cosmetics are worn for several hours.  Cosmetics are left on the skin for several hours and the ingredients can be absorb into the body.  Given that, shouldn't your cosmetic selection be even more critical than your cleanser selection?

If you are looking for a real organic, safe, and beautiful cosmetic line definitely check out Afterglow Cosmetics!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Corporate Sponsors and Medical Associations: Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You or Your Patients

There is a lot of finger pointing in our health care system.  Fingers are often pointed at the pharmaceutical industry, the managed care organization, medical teaching institutions, etc.  Rarely does the finger land on the doctor or their organizations such as the AMA or the AAFP.  Recently the American Academy of Family Practitioners announced a corporate partnership with The Coca-Cola Co., in which the beverage giant will provide a grant for the Academy to develop consumer education content related to beverages and sweeteners for the AAFP's award-winning consumer health and wellness Web site, FamilyDoctor.org.  Having spent over a decade in the medical industry I can assure you that Coca Cola will not casually stand by and have sweeteners (high calorie or low calorie) tarnished in any fashion.  Partnerships do not happen in any business unless there is a mutually beneficial outcome.

These partnerships are nothing new.  In March 2008 that American Diabetes Association (check out the press release) proudly declaring: American Dietetic Association Welcomes The Coca-Cola Company as an ADA Partner! Is this a conflict of interest or a case of don't bite the hand that feed you?

Several months ago I published a blog quoted research from University of Texas in regards to the metabolism and storage of aspartame in the liver.  The results of the study were not good and indicated that aspartame is metabolised into formaldehyde and then stored in the fatty tissues of the liver as an unrecognizable compound.  The long term implications of this were fatty liver disease.  I wonder if this will be part of the alleged consumer education funded by the Coca Cola grant.

Most people understand what happens when people consume too much sugar - weight gain, insulin fluctuations, etc.  Most think they are safe to consume artificial sweeteners which is absolutely false. Below is a compilation of different sweeteners and their potential sides effects as indicated by studies:

Aspartame (NutraSweet & Equal)Used in: Diet sodas, breath mints, sugar-free gums, frozen yogurt
What is it: Aspartic acid and phenylalanine
Tastes like: Chemical tasting
Strength: 150-200 times stronger than sugar
Calories: 0 calories
Possible side effects: Unless you have a rare genetic condition that does not allow your body to process phenylalanine (phenylketonuria), you should be fine. Although, some studies are trying link a multitude of illnesses such as headaches/migraines, dizziness, nausea, weight gain, muscle spasms, depression, fatigue, insomnia, heart palpitations, vision and hearing problems, anxiety attacks, vertigo, memory loss and joint pain, Emotional Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, brain tumors, brain cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Epilepsy, birth defects, and diabetes to the overuse of aspartame.
Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)Used in: Some toothpaste like Crest and Colgate, as well as diet sodas
What is it: Sulfur dioxide, chlorine, ammonia, and biochemical acids
Tastes like: Bitter with a metallic finish
Strength: 400-500 times stronger than sugar
Calories: 1/8 calorie per teaspoon
Possible side effects: In 1977, the FDA made all products containing saccharin 
add a warning label stating that it was determined to cause cancer in laboratory 
animals. In May of 2000, it was removed from the National Toxicology Report on 
Sugar Alcohols (Low Carb Products)Used in: Low carbohydrate products
What is it: sugar with an added hydrogen molecule
Tastes like: Similar to sweetness of sugar
Strength: Similar to sugar, but with less impact on blood glucose levels
Calories: 25% less calories than sugar
Possible side effects: Deleterious effects such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, vomiting

Sucralose (Splenda)Used in: Numerous low carb or sugar-free products
What is it: Sugar bonded with chlorine atoms
Tastes like: Slightly chemical tasting
Strength: 600 times sweeter than sugar
Calories: 0
Possible side effects: Although there are many accusations, no side effects have been confirmed in 113 studies over 20 years. The upper limit is considered to be 1,500 12 once diet sodas a day. It’s important to note that although splenda contains chlorine atoms, it differs in the way it is structured and therefore does not resemble household chlorine. The human body also contains its own natural chlorine in the form of KC1 and NaC1.  However, Spenda is a chemical substance, not inherent to the body, and should be treated as such.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meat vs. Plant: Arguments for a Plant Based Diet

Ask 20 vegans at a dinner party why they choose to abstain from consuming animal protein and you are likely to get 20 different answers.  Way back in June of 1989, the New York Times published an article called "How to Win An Argument with a Meat Eater" which compiled every argument from every angle available to support a plant based diet. The facts below are still relevant event though the numbers may be UNDERESTIMATED given this was written over 20 years ago!  Additionally, when you put this data into context with new research (i.e. The China Study) the arguments are even more compelling.

* Number of people worldwide who will die of starvation this year: 60 million

* Number of people who could be adequately fed with the grain saved if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 60 million

* Human beings in America: 243 million

‎* Number of people who could be fed with grain and soybeans now eaten by U.S. livestock: 1.3 billion

* Percentage of corn grown in the U. S. eaten by people: 20

* Percentage of corn grown in the U. S. eaten by livestock: 80

* Percentage of oats grown in the U. S. eaten by livestock: 95

* Percentage of protein waste by cycling grain through livestock: 99
* How frequently a child starves to death: every two seconds
* Pounds of potatoes that can be grow on an acre: 20,000
* Percentage of beef produced on an acre: 165
* Percentage of U. S. farmland devoted to beef production: 56
* Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce a pound of beef: 16

The Environmental Argument
* Cause of global warming: greenhouse effect
* Primary cause of Greenhouse effect: carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels
* Fossil fuels needed to produce a meat-centered diet vs. a meat-free diet: 50 times more
* Percentage of U.S. topsoil lost to date: 75
* Percentage of U.S. topsoil loss directly related to livestock raising: 85
* Number of acres of U.S. forest cleared for cropland to produce meat-centered diet: 260 million
* Amount of meat U. S. imports annually from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama: 200 million pounds
* Average per capita meat consumption in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama: less than eaten by average U. S. housecat
* Area of tropical rainforest consumed in evey quarter-pound hamburger: 55 sq. ft.
* Current rate of species extinction due to destruction of tropical rainforests for meat grazing and other uses: 1,000 per year

The Cancer Argument
* Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat 4 times a week vs. less than once a week: 4 times.
* For women who eat eggs daily vs. less than once a week: 3 times
* Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more times a week vs. less than once a week: 3 times.
* Increased risk of fatal prostate cancer for men who eat meat daily vs. sparingly or not at all: 3.6 times

The Natural Resources Argument
* Use of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S.: livestock portion
* Amount of water used in production of the average steer: sufficient to float a destroyer
* Gallons to produce a pound of wheat: 25
* Gallons to produce a pound of meat: 2,500
* Cost of common hamburger if water used by meat industry was not subsidized by the U. S. taxpayer: $35 a pound.
* Current cost of pound of protein from beefsteak, if water was no longer subsidized: $89
* Years the world's known oil reserves would last if every human ate a meat-centered diet: 13
* Years they would last if human beings no longer ate meat: 260
* Barrels of oil imported into U.S. daily: 6.8 million
* Percentage of fossil fuel returned as food energy by most efficient factory farming of meat: 34.5
* Percentage returned from least efficient plant food: 32.8
* Percentage of raw materials consumed by U. S. to produce present meat-centered diet: 33

The Cholesterol Argument
* Number of U.S. medical schools
* Number requiring a course in nutrition: 30
* Nutrition training received by average U.S. Physician during four years of medical school: 25 hours.
* Most common cause of death in U.S.: heart attack
* How frequently a heart attach kills in the US: every 45 seconds.
* Average US man's risk of death from heart attack: 50%.
* Risk for average U.S. man who avoids the meat-centered diet: 15%
* Meat industry claims you should not be concerned about your blood cholesterol of it is: normal.
* Your risk of dying of a disease caused by clogged arteries if your blood cholesterol is "normal": over 50%.

The Antibiotic Argument
* Percentage of U.S. antibiotics fed to livestock: 55
* Percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13; percentage resistant in 1997: 99
* Response of European Economic Community to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: ban
* Response of U.S. meat and pharmaceutical industries to routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock: full and complete support.

The Pesticide Argument
* Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by grains: 1
* Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by fruits: 4
* Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by dairy products: 23
* Percentage of pesticide residues in the U. S. diet supplied by meat: 55
* Pesticide contamination of breast milk from meat-eating mothers vs. non-meat eating: 35 times higher.
* What U.S.D.A. tells us: meat is inspected.
* Percentage of slaughtered animals inspected for residues of toxic chemicals including dioxin and DDT: less than 0.00004

The Ethical Argument
* Number of animal killed for meat per hour in U. S.: 500,000
* Occupation with highest turnover rate in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker.
* Occupation with highest rate of on-the-job injury in U.S.: slaughterhouse worker.
* Cost to render animal unconscious with 'captive bolt pistol" before slaughter: $0.01
* Reason given by meat industry for not using 'captive bolt pistol': too expensive.

The Survival Argument
* Athlete to win Ironman Triathlon more than twice: Dave Scott (6 time winner).
* Food choice of Dave Scott: Vegetarian
* Largest meat eater that ever lived: Tyrannosaurus Rex
* Last sighting of Tyrannosaurus Rex: 100,000,000 B. C.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday without Eggnog? NEVER!!!!

Want the warm creaminess of eggnog but don't want to ingest the the chemical laden commercial preparation?  This raw eggless nog is awesome - sweet, warm spices, creamy, and delicious!  The addition of the Thai Coconut give great flavor and a little body to the beverage.  Serve it slightly warmed, with your morning cereal, or use it as a milk base in a your Hot - or warm - Cacao!

**Extra note - after straining the nog keep the delicious spiced nut pulp to use in holiday raw cookies and cakes!

1/2 C Almonds
1 Young Coconut (flesh from)
3 Dates
3 T Agave
1 1/2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1/2 t Cloves
1 t Rum Extract (not raw but completes the eggnog flavor)
3 C Water
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until very smooth. Strain through nut milk bag. Top with a sprinkle of extra nutmeg. You can serve this warm or cold.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Surrounded by Goodness

I don't know if it is the raw food vibes or the circles in which I find myself but I am always amazed at the cool people I cross paths with on a daily basis.  Whether I'm at a grocery store, in a restaurant, or just going into a random shop I somehow end up meeting people who enrich my life even if our encounter is only for a few minutes.  Today it seemed that these do-gooders were lurking around every corner.  Courtney, my 13-year old environmental activist, and I were participating in Paddle for Support at Wrightsville Beach.  Well, let me clarify that.  Courtney was paddling out in the 49 degree water to sit in the surfers circle and I was displaying an act of solidary from the beach. 

Obviously goodness was everywhere at the beach but before we even got there I found myself riding a wave of gratitude. Since my racks weren't on my car I decided to just borrow a board from a friend in Wrightsville instead of bringing ours.  When our friend got delay I switched my plan to "rent a board". Conveniently, Courtney and I took a random turn into Sweetwater Surf Shop.   Sweetwater Surf Shop is an awesome locally owned establishment in Wrightsville.  Granted, most surf shop owners and employees are laid back and friendly but Sweetwater was exceptionally right on! First of all, the selection of clothes, boards, and assessories was excellent (great prices and sales to boot!).  Secondly.......in a word........TONY!  Shop Manager, Tony Butler, was the best!  Knowing that we were participating in a local environmental event, he totally hooked my girl Courtney up!  Tony and Sweetwater's act of kindness speaks volumes about their dedication and support to the community and our oceans.  If you are in Wrightsville Beach definately check this shop out. 

Meanwhile, back on the beach.........participating in Paddle for Support was great.  Working in conjunction with Indo Jax Surf School and Ocean's Cure, the event was being filmed as part of a documentary inspired by a local woman, Danielle, who has spent the last 30 days saving our Mother Ocean by picking up cigarette butts and other trash on the shores of Wrightsville Beach.  Her project was selected as a winner in the Brit Filter GoodFilm contest.  To date, Danielle and her family have saved our ocean from swallowing over 11,000 cigarette butts proving that everyone can make a difference.  To follow Danielle story check out her blog at http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/

Could the night get any better?  YES! To top the night off, I stopped at Starbucks to get Courtney a Hot Chocolate (no this was not raw!) and the dude at the Wrightsville Beach Starbucks hooked us up with free scones.   It doesn't get much better than this.......................Love and Gratitude to Wrightsville Beach!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Raw Inspiration

As most of you know, The Present Moment Cafe is one of my very favorite raw restaurants in the US.  Not only is the food EXCELLENT but the total vibe in the quaint little cafe is just down right cool!

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of dining with three gorgeous ladies all fighting individual battles with cancer.  Armed with RAW, LIVING FOODs, these women are facing the disease with smiles, energy, hopefulness, and determination.  It's always so inspiring to me when I meet people who are jumping in the drivers seat and taking charge of their wellness. It strengthens my resolve and belief that the answer to America's health crisis is firmly rooted in our food choices.

Speaking of food choices........I enjoyed the Taco's of Life (one of my favs at Present Moment)  made with Pine nut-chili and walnut puree, fresh salsa, guacamole in 2 romaine shells topped with Coconut “Sour Cream” and Jalapeno vinaigrette. 

My new friends and I topped off our meals by sharing the Brownie Sundae which is good medicine for anyone!!!  This delectable dessert is made from a Cacao brownie with cashew vanilla ice cream topped with dark cherries and garnished
with vanilla cream. YUM...........................

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yummy Raw Mashed Potatoes

I've taught a couple of holiday raw classes over the last few weeks and one of the big hits is this recipe for raw mashed potatoes.  This is a holiday recipe so it is a little more decadent that normal raw mashed potatoes.  These are great by themselves or can be served with a raw mushroom gravy. Enjoy!!

Mashed Potatoes

2 Cups Cauliflower
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
1/2 Cup Pecans
1 Cup Macadamia nuts
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
3/4 Tablespoons garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Process nuts in a food processor with the "S" blade until they
become smooth and creamy. Add in remaining ingredients and
continue to process until it is smooth. Top with cream of
mushroom gravy.