15 Dec 2011

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Locavore became a word in the Oxford American Dictionary in 2007 and is defined as a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

In an age of increased use of pesticides and other food contaminants, people are buying locally in order to make healthier choices, to support local farmers, and to help the environment.  There are several ways to buy locally, whether by a local farmer’s market, a community supported agriculture subscription (a weekly local delivery of produce), or participation in a co-op. 

Many corporate facilities now offer gardens that are maintained by employees. The food they grow is then harvested and included in their company cafeterias.  School gardens are another great way to promote eating locally as well as teaching kids at a young age that the taste and quality of home-grown local produce far beats the 1,500 mile trek their cross country produce makes, eliminating the gas guzzling of buying out of your region.   

"Local food is often safer, too," says the Center for a New American Dream (CNAD). "Even when it's not organic, small farms tend to be less aggressive than large factory farms about dousing their wares with chemicals."

The mantle of Locavore does not just apply to fruits and veggies.  Meats and poultry from local farmers tend to taste better, are fresher, and small farms tend to use fewer hormones and other additives than big meat packers do.  They also tend to grow more variety than the big farms, which creates and protects biodiversity.

According to a San Francisco-based group of Locavores intent on supporting people’s wish to better their lives and their families’ lives, the following are helpful suggestions:

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic. This is one of the most readily available alternatives in the market and making this choice protects the environment and your body from harsh chemicals and hormones.

If not ORGANIC, then Family farm. When faced with Kraft or Cabot cheeses, Cabot, a dairy co-op in Vermont, is the better choice. Supporting family farms helps to keep food processing decisions out of the hands of corporate conglomeration.

If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business. Basics like coffee and bread make buying local difficult. Try a local coffee shop or bakery to keep your food dollar close to home.

If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Terroir, which means 'taste of the Earth'. Purchase foods famous for the region they are grown in and support the agriculture that produces your favorite non-local foods such as Brie cheese from Brie, France or parmesan cheese from Parma, Italy.

For those tech-savvy locavores, www.getlocavore.comeven has an app for smart phones available on itunes where consumers can input their zipcode and see where and what they can buy locally.

Try it today!

06 Oct 2011

Breast Cancer: Fight it Like a Rockstar.

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness month.  According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for women, second only to skin cancer. One out of every eight woman in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

There is currently an abundance of science-based evidence that states there may be ways to prevent breast cancer from occurring in the first place.  Dr. Christine Horner, prominent breast cancer surgeon and author of "Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner's Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer" has been touring the country visiting both conventional medical doctors and naturopathic practitioners. Her mission is to explain that we very much have control over cancers – or any illness for that matter – in our bodies.  She blames the American lifestyle and diet; high anxiety, and fast food or “goo and glue.” In other words; stress, refined sugars, and refined carbs fuel cancer like kindling in a wildfire.

When an individual is diagnosed with breast cancer, Horner believes that natural solutions should be used in conjunction with (not in place of) traditional cancer therapy.  Combinations of green tea and turmeric, exercise, and ginger dramatically ease the ravages and fatigue of chemotherapy and radiation. Understanding that one does have the power to heal through meditation and other mindfulness practices helps a cancer patient fight like a rock star rather than feel defeated, alone, and fatalistic.  Finding quiet amidst the chaos and fear of a catastrophic disease is imperative to a “whole” recovery. Alternately; the ability to experience a peaceful, meaningful, and rich ending if survival is not in the cards is not only possible, it should be mandatory.

As in any life changing event, behavior modification, or lifestyle change, maintaining good new habits and mindsets are key. There is a tendency in any human behavior to slip, once the crisis has passed, or the goal has been met.  Horner recalled a Wortle Statistic regarding such slips; “Ninety percent of heart attack victims go back to their original diet and lifestyle within one year. Strangely, death is not a motivator for human beings on a daily basis.”

As with any disease, stress management is extremely important. Especially today, when stress levels for most Americans are at an all time high, every effort to reduce tension and anxiety is of prime concern and will be reciprocated with many benefits, including reduced illness, a more positive outlook, and a healthier way of life. Many companies wisely offer Wellness programs, including such activities as group walking, meditation, office yoga, and deep breathing to keep their employees at their best and most productive.  If there is a diagnosis of cancer or any other disease, stress reduction is yet another important element to a complete recovery. 

There is one very clear message that Horner sends: We must understand and appreciate that there is power behind the decisions and choices we make; good or bad. What decisions have you made today that impact your total health and wellness?

For more information on breast cancer prevention, please visit the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.