Celebrating Independence Day!
Thinking About Freedom
Well, it's that time of the year -- picnics, fireworks, and the chance to ponder what it means to be free. Freedom comes in a lot of shapes and sizes, but one of the most personal freedoms I've really learned to be thankful for is freedom from pain! My own journey through physical pain, by using my body as the machine it was designed to be, is what contributed to my creating the movements in T-Tapp. Done correctly, T-Tapp helps you use your muscles to pull your bones into proper alignment and frequently, off a nerve. I can't tell you how many emails I get from people who have slowly and diligently done T-Tapp to the best of their ability -- sometimes just barely even being able to move when they started -- and become pain-free or at least learned how to alleviate pain in their bodies. The movements in T-Tapp were a blessing to me (as I laid there in a bed with 4 broken vertebrae) and I'm so happy when I hear how it's helped you.
Summer is finally here! Most people are pretty surprised when they meet me to find out that I'm a country girl at heart. I love to get out and work the piece of land we have, I treasure my time with my horse, Ivy, and I enjoy playing in the kitchen with all the fresh produce and products from the farms near us. On a hot day, I love a big glass of lemonade. I like to start by melting sugar in water on the stovetop (1 cup to 1 cup) to make a simple syrup for the base, and I also like to use sparkling water to give it an extra zing. You can also add ginger or use honey or agave to sweeten yours. Don't forget to find a local beekeeper to buy your honey from. In the 1950s, an allergist from Oklahoma noted that "raw honey contains all the pollen, dust, and molds that cause 90 percent of all allergies." Bees provide all kinds of great health "products," and in the news lately, we're finding out how important the humble little honeybee is to our agricultural health too. All the more reason to support your local beekeeper!
If you don't have farmers living nearby, you might look for a farmers' market near you. Small farms are an important part of our heritage and most of the produce you'll find at a farmers' market is locally grown and pretty darn close to organic--even if the farmer hasn't gone to the expense of being certified. Produce grown nearby also gets to ripen on the vine (or tree) longer. The most important enzymes in fruits and vegetables don't become active until about 3 or 4 days before they should be harvested. Given that most produce in our grocery stores travels an average of 1,200 miles to get to us, it has to be harvested early (before it's fully ripe) to be able to be fresh when it arrives. Making a visit to your local farmers' market can be really fun too. (I like getting to know who does the farming!) You can click here to find a farmers' market in your area!
My Summer Reading
Summer is the time to catch up on all my reading -- preferably in a hammock or under a tree or in the gazebo. Some people like a good romance novel on a summer afternoon, but I've always been partial to things about health. This year, I've stumbled upon a really interesting book by Evelyn Tribole, a registered dietician, called [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Omega-3-Diet-Evelyn-Tribole/dp/0071469869/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214864003&sr=8-1"]The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet[/ame]. You all know that I love salmon for its omegas (remember Dr. Perricone was talking about omegas and inflammation years ago!) but this book discusses a lot of other sources too. (This book surprised me -- who knew that basil is a great source of omega-3s!) I like books that are full of research without getting too techie. This one is thoroughly researched and distills hundreds of studies on the benefits of an omega-3 rich diet, from benefits during pregnancy to improved brain function. Each chapter ends with a summary and a quick recap of the key points, and it's filled with useful tables to arm you with bottom-line details on how to makeover your own diet. It has recipes to help you get more good fats and fewer animal-based fats, and it has great suggestions about how to adjust your current meals for better omega-3 consumption. Evelyn Tribole also makes a good point: the problem for most Americans is that we eat too much of the wrongs kinds of fats and too little of the good fats; we should be concerned about improving the ratio of fats in our diets - not just adding salmon or flax seed to our diets, but changing the proportions of fat.
Omega Fatty Acids 101
So, with omega fatty acids being so important to our health, I thought I'd give everyone a quick overview and some bonus information. First, omega-3 fatty acids help support the health of your brain (both cognitive function and mood), your heart, your kidneys, your eyes, your nerves, your skin, and your bones. There are three types of omega-3s: DHA, EPA, and ALA.
- DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid that's found throughout our bodies. DHA ensures that all the cells in the brain, retina, heart and nervous system develop properly in infants and it continues to play a role in our health throughout life.[/*]
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is also a long-chain fatty acid from oily fish. EPA plays a role in making hormones that regulate many of the body's organ systems. EPA helps to balance hormone levels and protect many of the body's tissues by mitigating overreactions from the immune system.[/*]
- ALA (alpha-linoleic acid) is found in oils and leafy green vegetables. Flax provides the highest ALA levels, with 50% to 60% of the oil extracted from the seeds containing omega-3 fatty acids. ALA also helps to promote heart health and can also be broken down to EPA and DHA. (However, fish oil is still your best bet for EPA and DHA.)[/*]
All omega-3s are highly susceptible to oxidation and heat, so it's best to store them in a dark container in the refrigerator to ensure freshness and potency.
Get the Fats!
Ongoing research points to the importance of omega-3s for restructuring and enhancing the mood-regulating areas of the brain. In fact, it appears that omega-3s contribute to a healthy mood and positive outlook. (The references to these studies are at the bottom of this newsletter: Freeman 2006; Peet 2005; Parker 2006). Overall, it appears that people with higher levels of omega-3s in their blood tend to have a sunnier outlook on life. On the other hand, individuals with low blood levels of omega-3s are more likely to report low spirits and to make impulsive decisions.
Recent research by Ernst Schaefer, an M.D. at Tufts University, has shown that DHA levels are very important to cognitive function. Over the course of a 9-year study, he found that people who consumed about 180 mg daily of DHA were 50% less likely to experience cognitive decline. If you stop to consider that your brain's non-water weight is about 50% fat and that DHA is the predominant fat found in the membranes of your gray matter, DHA levels seem a lot more important!
Additional research conducted in Italy by Alberto Ferrari, M.D., has shown that omega-3s are helpful for supporting stable heart rates and promoting lower resting heart rates. In Sweden, research by Alicja Wolk, DMSc, of Karolinka Institute looked at data from 61,000 middle-aged women over an average of 15 years; women who regularly consumed omega-3 rich foods had better kidney health and a lower incidence of kidney disease than those who didn't get enough omegas in their diet.
What About the Other Omegas?
Along with omega-3 fatty acids, there are also omega-6s and omega-9s, which are essential to good health. We need a healthy balance of 3-6-9 fatty acids in our diet, especially as we age. This is Evelyn Tribole's point exactly! Our typical American diet is out of whack.
Our bodies can produce omega-9s from food, but we can only get omega-3s and omega-6s directly from what we eat. Nutritionists recommend an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio from 3:1 up to 5:1; but most studies show that we typically eat a diet that is about 10:1; even 30:1 is not uncommon. Omega-6s are typically trans fats that have their purpose in the overall palette of health -- but you must get them from the right sources and in the right balance.
So, ever wonder how you can get natural omegas in your diet? Here's a quick look at some common sources!
I couldn't believe it when I saw basil was high in omega-3s! I love basil whether it's in pesto or with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella in a Caprese Salad; I like to drizzle it with balsamic vinegar too. By the way, fresh mozzarella is great for anyone with mold allergies because it's not fermented. (Fermented cheeses sometimes trigger allergic reactions.)
I'm Nutty for Nuts!
I was pretty pleased with myself when I saw walnuts on the list too. I love raw walnuts; in fact, I usually consume at least a handful every day, and for some reason they taste extra good when combined with a couple romaine lettuce leaves. I eat 20 - 30 raw almonds each day, 2 raw Brazil nuts, and a handful of pistachios. Raw almonds taste super yummy with frozen grapes, and the last time I was at Hippocrates Institute I tried the really tasty Spicy Garlic Pistachios from Living Nutz. Brazil nuts are often overlooked, but they are super high in selenium. Selenium is an important trace mineral especially for women over 50! It's important to a healthy thyroid too. Just be careful not to eat too many Brazil nuts or you can get too much selenium -- but isn't it great to have such a delicious natural resource for such an important nutrient?!
Freedom to Choose for Your Health, Too
I have a huge amount of respect for Dr. Carolyn Dean. Dr. Dean has been a very outspoken advocate of stopping what is known as Codex alimentarius, which many see as a total seizure of our freedom to choose nutritional resources without prescriptions. Although it is already "law" in many countries, Dr. Dean and other physicians are continuing to speak out against Codex being adopted here in the U.S. You can read a short paper by Dr. Dean to understand more about this serious threat to our health freedoms and to remind you (and me!) that we need to stay aware, become involved, take a stand, and vote to keep Codex at bay in the USA.
Hope you had a fantastic 4th of July...even to our friends across the pond.
We get so involved in all the hoopla and fun that we often forget why we celebrate the 4th of July. It was a pretty spunky bunch of foot-stompers (hmmm -- they were a lot like T-Tappers come to think of it!) that were very courageous when they sent George III a parchment with some pretty radical ideas inscribed on it. (In case you've forgotten what they said, click here.) The Founding Fathers started out with, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I would have added T-Tapp in there, "And everyone has the right to do T-Tapp!" Wouldn't that have made for a unique Declaration of Independence! That's right, Hoe Downs for everyone who wants them (that's why they are on the Try Before You Buy page)!
I'm always so proud of my T-Tappers and all the good you do in your communities both in the US and abroad (we have T-Tappers all around the world!) In the spirit of Independence Day, I hope T-Tapp brings you freedom of movement, freedom of health, and freedom to enjoy your life. Remember, you also have the freedom to try all the fabulous desserts at your 4th of July celebrations...with a quick Hoe Down.
Hope you had a safe holiday!