Friday, August 31, 2012

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Having been (and am still) strapped for cash, I know how difficult it is to try to figure out what to eat when money is in short supply. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables just seem way to expensive. Pasta and rice are so cheap and provide so many necessary calories it is easy to fall back on these less healthy choices. Recently, I was creating some food lists for my own personal use, divided up by nutrient family, and I noticed something important. Every group has some items that are often reasonably priced, even during winter. I thought I'd share a few of my findings.

Red cabbage is somewhat of a super food. It is high in both identified micro-nutrients such as anthocyanins and sulfur. If eaten raw, it is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Red cabbage is widely available year round and is low cost. (We can often get it in the middle of the winter for 29 cents a pound!)

Apples and yellow onions can be bought year round by the bag full. Apple skins and regular yellow cooking onions are high in the micro-nutrient quercetin and onions are a rich source of sulfur. Both can be used in many ways and are inexpensive.

Carrots and sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids and are available every season.

Frozen and canned spinach are healthy and low cost, providing your body with lutein, zeaxanthin, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate, betaine, and some omega-3 fatty acids. Stock up on the spinach, and you can add some health to every meal without much expense.

Canned tomato paste and tomato sauce are rich sources of lycopene.

Canned beets supply betalains.

If you can't find red cabbage, regular cabbage is still high in sulfur and vitamin C and provides an summery crisp fresh taste in the middle of the winter. Frozen one pound bags of broccoli and cauliflower are available for about 99 cents and provide lots of vitamins and minerals for your health. Canned mushrooms and jarred chopped garlic are some other good choices for sulfur and B vitamins.

Canola oil and canned tuna can get you some omega-3 fatty acids with no need to bankrupt yourself on fresh fish.

Iodine and calcium are in abundance in yogurt. Large quart size containers of fat free yogurt are available at most grocery stores at discount prices. Dried beans are also budget friendly and provide too many nutrients for me to list!

Hope this helps those of you who feel you can't afford healthy food.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wahls, Brindley, and Finding a Cause

Today, I was thinking about some unrelated research that I had been doing this past week, and I had a sudden flash of insight. I have been researching more about Terry Wahl's "Minding Your Mitochondria" diet simply because I had some questions about it that I was trying to get answered. During my research, I found a list of things that Dr. Wahls finds (if I understand correctly) causes MS in particular and autoimmune disease in general. Those things are genetics, infections (including infection history), toxins (taken in through food, physical contact, or breathing), micro-nutrient deficiency (not eating healthy enough), hormonal balance, food allergies or sensitization, and stress. She is quick to point out that with the exceptions of genetics, we have some control over the rest of the items.

The other area of research that I have been doing is on impotence, now more often called erectile dysfunction. I realize that this might be an odd area for a woman in a female/female relationship to be researching, but I had been hired to write an article on sildenafil (Viagra), and I needed to understand exactly how the drug worked to write a good article. On the site How Stuff Works, I found an interesting and rather amusing story:

The first real breakthrough in the treatment of erectile dysfunction came in 1983. Prior to that time, it was thought that erectile dysfunction -- the inability to achieve an erection -- was primarily mental.
That concept came crashing down at the 1983 American Urological Association meeting in Las Vegas when Dr. Giles Brindley injected his penis with the drug phentolamine. Following the injection, Brindley appeared on stage and dropped his pants to display one of the first drug-induced erections to the incredulous audience of urologists.

I filed this away as interesting and amusing in my mind, but pretty much stopped thinking about it after my article was written.

This morning, after reading about Terry Wahl's list of causes of autoimmune diseases, I found that story about the 1983 urological conference popping back into my head.  Prior to 1983, in my lifetime, impotence was thought to be primarily a psychological disturbance, all in someone's head! Whoa! MS is thought (by most people) to be a primarily genetic illness caused mostly by people's genes.  Obesity, my pet illness, it is thought to primarily be caused by people's laziness.  (I hate to say it, but it is true! Even the medical community says, well you can just eat less and exercise more.) Those in the medical community who look deeper seem to attribute obesity to a combination of genetics, psychological issues, and a sedentary lifestyle.

What if obesity is a little more like erectile dysfuntion?  What if it has a physical cause and yet we are counseling people to a place of blame and ultimately shame?  Wow! I mean as a fat positive blogger who still sees weight as a health marker (yes I am a study in contradictions), I don't blame people for being overweight, but I never real thought how the current thought patterns towards obesity held by the vast majority of members of the medical establishment could be so far off.

I feel that perhaps bariatric researchers need their equivalent of Dr. Giles Brindley. Someone who isn't afraid to take center stage and metaphorically drop their pants in the name of truth.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What to Eat?

Here is an interesting presentation on eating differently than the typical American diet.

Diana and I have been striving to severely limit sources of concentrated carbohydrates in our diets and to eat nine cups of fruits and vegetables each day for a few years now. We are not always successful, but we do know when we are because of how we feel both physically and mentally.
Ever since blogspot which I think is now called mostly blogger switched over to the new format, I have had a heavy heart about blogging. This is probably a silly thing I should just get over. I have also been obsessed with getting a new blog not at blogger. All my efforts in that direction have fallen far short from my expectations so I am going to try to take that as a sign that that is not where I should be moving.

I am not sure where I will be moving or if I will be moving at all. I was actually thinking today that "Not Your Typical Weight Loss Blog" could certainly be a title for any type of blog. I have also been thinking that maybe I shouldn't have drawn away from the whole Faerie Gardens family of blogs idea. Matter of fact, I may talk to the other members of my family about that soon!

One of the reasons that blogging has really been calling to me this past month is the upcoming U.S. elections. In presidential election years, it seems that politics is on everyone's mind, and I want a venue to share my two cents. It is scary to share one's political views, but as I get older, I am more concerned with sharing those things that I believe important to share than in other people's opinions, and when it comes to rude comments, I certainly know how to use the delete key.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Am Here

I am here.

That is what I say to Diana when I first sit at my computer. I send the message through Yahoo.  I am here.

Yes, we do live in the same house. That doesn't stop me. Yes, I am not here in the sense that I am in her physical presence, but that doesn't stop me. My mind is there ready to communicate. Ready to be seen and to see.  That is what I am stating.

I say that to everyone. I am here. Any takers?