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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eggs, Bacon,Spinach and Cheese...

The other morning, I made breakfast for my husband and me. It consisted of: organic eggs from a New Hampshire farm, organic spinach from a Durham, Maine farm, bacon from a farm in Northern Maine and cheese from Pineland, which is a farm just down the road. Everything we ate (at that meal) was from within a 150 mile radius of home. It got me thinking about how we get so busy with our lives, that sometimes we don't bother to take the extra step (to go to the farmer's market) or spend an extra dollar on a local product. Did you know here in Maine, we have farmer's markets through the winter? Our spinach grower has a green house and he grows it all winter long.
WHY is this so important? Support your local farmers? Sounds pretty, well, kind of "duh", right? But it does take an extra effort on our part to support them.
 One of our grocery store chains here in Maine (Hannaford) is pretty good about offering local produce. The other one, well, not so much. And Walmart? forget it. I like it best when they label where everything comes from. I will choose California strawberries over ones from Mexico any day. I look for "product of USA" If I'm really on my toes, I will pick my own strawberries and freeze a bunch to get through the winter.
Whole Foods? Be careful...they are not necessarily doing their part. The frozen "California Blend" of vegetables? Look on the back. Last time I checked it said (in small letters) product of China. Same with organic spinach from WoodStock Farms; -- you guessed it, product of China! Why are we importing food from China? We have plenty of our own right here. I don't know about you, but I'd rather put food in my body that was grown down the road. I know it will be fresher, and I know that means it will have more of the nutrients still intact.
So support your local economy any time you have a chance to do that. And our farmers and economy will thank you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Truth Behind 7 Cholesterol Myths

13 days ago by in ( · Healthy Living Tips )
Everyone should understand how cholesterol factors into a healthy lifestyle, no matter what your age, body type or family history. Have you been tricked into believing a cholesterol myth?

1.    MYTH: Cholesterol is bad. Your body needs cholesterol to keep cell membranes stable and aids in the production of certain hormones. Cholesterol only becomes a problem when too much of it circulates in the blood and builds up inside arteries. If too much cholesterol builds up, an artery can become blocked, and a heart attack or stroke can occur.

2.    MYTH: Everyone should shoot for the ‘right’ number. There’s no ideal number for everyone. It depends entirely on your risk factors. Unless you have a risk factor — such as smoking, diabetes, or high blood pressure — you should try to get your levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, under 160 mg/dL.

3.    MYTH: High total cholesterol is caused by a poor diet. While the consumption of saturated fats and trans fats does drive LDL cholesterol up, over 80% of cholesterol is produced in the liver. Along with a healthy diet, the most effective way to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol is to control the liver’s internal cholesterol production.

4.   MYTH: Foods labeled “cholesterol free” are better for your heart. Don’t let the label fool you. The cholesterol portion of the nutritional label refers to dietary cholesterol, which is only one thing that can cause your cholesterol to go sky-high. Saturated fat (found in animal foods and dairy products) and trans fats (found in packaged foods) have major impact on LDL cholesterol.

5.  MYTH: High cholesterol is only a problem as you age. Most people think high cholesterol is a problem for the middle-aged. But guess what? Research has shown that atherosclerosis — the narrowing of the arteries that leads to heart attacks — can start as early as age eight!

6.  MYTH: If your cholesterol is normal, you won’t get heart disease. Cholesterol levels are just one of several risk factors for heart disease. Other risks include high triglycerides, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. Smoking and living a sedentary lifestyle are also big risk factors for heart disease.

7.  MYTH: You always need medicine to bring cholesterol down. Some people do need to take prescription medications, such as statins, to help lower cholesterol. However, a nutritional regimen, healthier diet, weight loss and exercise can go a long way to whip cholesterol levels into shape, even with a family history.