Health

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM.WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Most of us know there are a number of reasons to avoid drinking soft drinks but did you know that Cadence drinking waterthe sugar from one soft drink damages the white blood cells ability to ingest and kill some bacteria for several hours? Or that the phosphorus in soft drinks pull calcium out of our bones? Avoiding soda is great for your health and good for the environment.

Quotes from James A Howenstine M.D. from A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work:

“In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill gonococcal bacteria for seven hours.”

“Soft drinks also contain large quantities of phosphorus, which when excreted pulls calcium out of the bones. Heavy users of soft drinks will have osteoporosis along with their damaged arteries.”

I think we all know that soft drinks are devoid of nutritional value and the plastic bottles and caps create havoc with the environment. But sometimes people think, if they are just indulging in only one soft drink a day, they are not exposed to many of the health risks that are often associated with these drinks. I recently read an article at Rodale.com that included some disturbing facts I didn’t know about what soda does to your body.

Here are a few examples:

INCREASES IN FAT

Danish researchers discovered that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. The study revealed that people who drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, a 117 to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11 percent increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk.

DIET-SODA BELLY

It’s not surprising that drinking all the sugar in sodas would cause weight gain, but what people don’t expect is that diet soda promotes unhealthy body fat also. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion. A separate study the same researchers conducted on mice suggested that it was the aspartame, which raised blood glucose levels, that caused the weight gain; when your liver encounters too much glucose, the excess is converted to body fat.

UNKNOWN SIDE EFFECTS OF GMOS

Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of those ingredients are derived from corn. As much as 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist toxic pesticides or engineered to create pesticides within the plant itself. Thanks to lax government safety regulations, and tight corporate control over who gets to test these proprietary seeds, there are no human studies that can prove or disprove whether these crops are safe. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs, are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility. By drinking soda, you’re taking part in the biggest science experiment on the planet.

WATER POLLUTION

The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies, nor do wastewater-treatment plants catch them before they enter waterways, researchers have found. In 2009, Swiss scientists tested water samples from wastewater-treatment plants, rivers and lakes in Switzerland and detected levels of acesulfame K, sucralose, and saccharin, all of which are, or have been, used in diet sodas. A recent test of 19 municipal water supplies in the U.S. revealed the presence of sucralose in every one. It’s not clear yet what these low levels are doing to people, but past research has found that sucralose in rivers and lakes interferes with some organisms’ feeding habits.

Source: Rodale.com

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

RodaleInstitute.org

The Rodale Institute was founded in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people. Their Mission: Through organic leadership they improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.

This site is full of great articles, recipes and home remedies for many health issues.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Take It Outside Week is October 14th to 20th, 2012. Fall is the perfect time of year to head outside and enjoy the season. It’s healthy for you, your children and helps to connect you back to nature.

Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play (HSBS) created Take it Outside Week in 2009 as encouragement for educators, families and caregivers to make time outdoors a part of a child’s daily schedule. So join HSBS the third week of every October to celebrate our natural world and go play outdoors.

Some facts you may not know:

  • Children today spend less time outdoors than any generation in history.
  • Free play and discretionary time has declined more than 9 hours a week over the last 25 years.
  • A new Nielson Company Report indicates that children ages two to five years old now average more than 32 hours a week in front of a TV screen.
  • According to the Keiser Family Foundation, the amount of screen time only increases with age, with school-aged children spending 6.5 hours a day on electronic media.
  • The percentage of preschool children who are overweight more than tripled between 1971 and 2009.

According to research children who play outdoors regularly:

  • Become fitter and leaner.
  • Develop stronger immune systems.
  • Have more active imaginations.
  • Have lower stress levels.
  • Play more creatively.
  • Have greater respect for themselves, others and our environment.

According to a government estimate, the average American spends 90% of his or her life indoors and as we get older we become more inclined to stay inside.

The benefits of being outdoors extends well beyond childhood.

The good folks over at Harvard Medical School give some great reasons for all of us to get outside:

  • Your vitamin D levels will go up.
  • You’ll get more exercise (especially if you’re a child).
  • You’ll be happier (especially if your exercise includes green spaces).
  • Your concentration will improve.
  • You may heal faster.

To read the whole story, head over to www.health.harvard.edu.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

National Wildlife Federation

Part of National Wildlife Federation‘s (NWF) mission is to connect kids to nature. Families connected to the outdoors raise healthier kids and inspire a life-long appreciation of wildlife and nature. As a result, NWF has created several programs and events designed to make experiencing the benefits of free time outdoors easy. In addition, they are advocates for public policies on the federal, state and local level that increase outdoor recreation opportunities for children.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: October is International Walk to School month and October 3rd is Walk to School Day 2012. Get involved. Walking is good for all of us and great for the environment.

Here are some reasons to support walking and biking to school courtesy of WalktoSchool.org:

  • To enhance the health of kids
    • Physical Activity
      • Free, convenient, enjoyable and does not require special equipment or training: Walking is a great way for adults and kids to be active. Lack of physical activity is a major cause of chronic illness and death for our country’s adults. Being overweight can cause health problems like diabetes during childhood and research shows that physically inactive kids are more likely to grow up to be physically inactive adults — and are therefore at high risk for obesity and related illnesses.
      • There are plenty of great reasons to walk to school — less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air — but one of the best is that children and parents will be healthier. With obesity rates skyrocketing and only one-quarter of American’s able to get the Surgeon General’s recommended daily dose of exercise (just 30 minutes), it’s an ideal time to encourage people to walk to school for their own health and well-being.

How much activity should kids get? Elementary school-aged children should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate physical activity from a variety of activities on all, or most, days of the week.

What about adults? To promote their general health, adults are encouraged to meet or exceed recommendations of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity “most” days of the week.

  • To improve air quality and the environment
    • Walking or biking to school protects the environment and your health. When children decide to lace-up their sneakers to walk, or strap on their bike helmets to pedal to school instead of riding in a car, they reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.
    • These air pollutants can be especially harmful to children. Children have respiratory systems that are not fully developed, they spend more time at higher activity levels, which can cause them to breath more deeply and take in more air pollution. They are also more likely to have asthma or other acute respiratory problems that can be aggravated by air pollution than other age groups. By walking or riding a bike to school, children lower the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which helps reduce toxic air pollutants.
    • Vehicles emit a variety of air pollutants. For example, ground level ozone is created by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compound gases in the presence of heat and sunlight. Visit http://epa.gov/air/ozonepollution to find more about ozone and www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/nox/hlth.html to learn about nitrogen oxides.
    • Particulate matter are particles of dust, soot, smoke, dirt, and liquid droplets that are also released into the air by cars, trucks and other vehicles. Go to www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/pm/index.html to learn more about particulate matter.
    • Hazardous or toxic air pollutants like the ones mentioned above are known or suspected to cause serious health effects such as cancer, birth defects, or respiratory, neurological, immune, or reproductive effects. To find out more, visit www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/newtoxics.html.
  • To create safer routes for walking and bicycling
    • The promotion of bicycling and walking to school provides an opportunity to address safety. Every year, about 25,000 child pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles. Reducing the risk of injury includes teaching children pedestrian and bicycle skills. It also means reminding drivers to watch for others using the road. Hazardous conditions along routes to school need to be identified and fixed.
    • Some of the best ways to increase the safety of a child’s walk or bike to school are to:
      • Provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehicles
      • Teach children to cross streets at marked crossings and to always look left-right-left
      • Slow traffic in neighborhoods and near schools through traffic calming and enforcement
      • Work with parents of children with disabilities and special education professionals to identify accessibility barriers
      • Ensure that walkways are continues and meet national accessibility standards
      • Install curb ramps at every intersection and mid-block crossing
      • Provide accessible pedestrian signals at intersections

Check out who’s walking in your area at WalktoSchool.org.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Walk to School.org

It began as an idea… In 1997, the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago, modeled after the United Kingdom’s lead. Back then, it was simply a day to bring community leaders and children together to create awareness of the need for communities to be walkable.

It evolved into a movement… By the year 2002, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in all 50 states joined nearly 3 million walkers around the world to celebrate the second annual International Walk to School Day. The reasons for walking grew just as quickly as the event itself.

Whether your concern is safer and improved streets, healthier habits, or cleaner air, Walk to School Day events are aimed at bringing forth permanent change to encourage a more walkable America — one community at a time.

Now it’s a priority… In 2005, new legislation recognized the value of Safe Routes to School programs and is providing funding for States to establish programs. Politicians and other government officials are paying attention to the importance of safe walking and biking to school. Obesity, concern for the environment and the effects of urban sprawl on communities has led to the joining of efforts among those that care about these and other related issues like school siting and traffic congestion.

Join International Walk to School activities.

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel ProgramWe also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Cut back on screen time. You’ll be setting a good example for your children and saving energy at the same time.

Screen time includes more than just TV, it’s also watching DVDs, playing video games, texting on your cell or spending time in front of a computer. Experts say that children should get at least 60 minutes of activity or more every day, so limiting screen time makes way for regular physical activity. All of us need to find the balance between screen time and getting enough physical activity so turn off the screens and expand your family’s energy, recharge their minds and improve their health.

Here are some great tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation:

  • Know how much screen time you and your children are getting, and then set limits for the entire family. You’ll be amazed how much extra time you “find” when you turn off the electronic devices.
  • Using screen time to reward or punish a child makes it seem more important than it is. Use praise, encouragement and recognition for physical activity, and make screen time a “non-event” in your home.
  • When watching TV at home, do jumping jacks, push ups or crunches during commercial breaks. Set up a stationary bike in the TV room, and encourage kids to move through their favorite shows.
  • Many kids list watching TV as their No. 1 after-school activity. Sometimes, they just need help coming up with other things to do. Have your kids make a “Top 10 List” of after-school activities. Just a few examples include riding bikes, shooting hoops, walking the dog, folding laundry or even helping with dinner. Post the list on the fridge so your kids can check it when they get home.
  • Turn off the TV during mealtime.
  • Take the TVs and computers out of your kids’ bedrooms. Children who have TVs in their rooms spend almost one and a half hours more each day watching them than their peers. Plus, if your kids are in their rooms watching TV, they’re removed from family time.
  • Use the TV to watch a video— whether it’s dancing, tae kwon do or yoga. Put on your sweatbands and have some family fitness time.

Screen Free Week 2013

This year participate in Screen-Free Week. It’s an annual event in which parents, children, teachers and others across the country turn off screen media (TV, video games, computers, cell phones, etc.) and celebrate the magic of being unplugged.

SAVE THE DATE: April 30 – May 6, 2012

For more information, visit http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/.

Need some more encouragement? Read 5 Reasons You Should Participate in Screen Free Week at The Body Smart Blog and turn off those screens!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation’s leading public health threats—childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference in a child’s health: homes, schools, doctor’s offices, and communities.

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program.We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Most of us know there are a myriad of reasons to avoid drinking soft drinks but did you know that the sugar from one soft drink damages the white blood cells ability to ingest and kill some bacteria for several hours? Or that the phosphorus in soft drinks pull calcium out of our bones? Avoiding soda is great for your health and good for the environment.

Quotes from James A Howenstine M.D. from A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work:

“In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill gonococcal bacteria for seven hours.”

“Soft drinks also contain large quantities of phosphorus, which when excreted pulls calcium out of the bones. Heavy users of soft drinks will have osteoporosis along with their damaged arteries.”

I think we all know that soft drinks are devoid of nutritional value and the plastic bottles and caps create havoc with the environment. But sometimes people think, if they are just indulging in only one soft drink a day, they are not exposed to many of the health risks that are often associated with these drinks. I recently read an article at Rodale.com that included some disturbing facts I didn’t know about what soda does to your body. Here are a few examples:

Weird Fat in Weird Places

In the latest bad news for the soda industry, Danish researchers discovered that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. The study revealed that people who drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, a 117 to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11 percent increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk.

Diet-Soda Belly

It’s not surprising that drinking all the sugar in sodas would cause weight gain, but what is surprising is that even diet soda will pack on the pounds: Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion! A separate study the same researchers conducted on mice suggested that it was the aspartame, which raised blood glucose levels, that caused the weight gain; when your liver encounters too much glucose, the excess is converted to body fat.

Unknown Side Effects of GMOs

Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of those ingredients are derived from corn. As much as 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist toxic pesticides or engineered to create pesticides within the plant itself. Thanks to lax government safety regulations, and tight corporate control over who gets to test these proprietary seeds, there are no human studies that can prove or disprove whether these crops are safe. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs, are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility. By drinking soda, you’re taking part in the biggest science experiment on the planet.

Water Pollution

The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies, nor do wastewater-treatment plants catch them before they enter waterways, researchers have found. In 2009, Swiss scientists tested water samples from wastewater-treatment plants, rivers and lakes in Switzerland and detected levels of acesulfame K, sucralose, and saccharin, all of which are, or have been, used in diet sodas. A recent test of 19 municipal water supplies in the U.S. revealed the presence of sucralose in every one. It’s not clear yet what these low levels are doing to people, but past research has found that sucralose in rivers and lakes interferes with some organisms’ feeding habits.

Source: Rodale.com

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Rodale.com where health meets green

Rodale has been helping people achieve healthier lives since 1930 when J. I. Rodale began his publishing business as a hobby. He was searching for better health and a happier life than his New York City Lower East Side Jewish tenement upbringing provided and began to explore the relationship between how we grow our food, what we eat, and our personal health.

This site is full of great articles, recipes and home remedies for many health issues.

 

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program.We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Use natural ways to stay healthier this winter. As always eat whole foods, avoid processed foods and sugar and get enough sleep.

Now that we’re deep in the heart of cold and flu season, I wanted to look at some ways to keep our families healthier this winter. I had some help from a local and highly recommended Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Todd Ferguson, to compile this list. As always, talk to your doctor if you are at risk from complications from flu.

  • Wash your hands. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which can introduce germs into your receptive passageways. If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough into the crook of your arm. This is probably both the easiest and the most important thing to do to keep your body healthy. Make it a habit in your young children and it will help them keep healthier immune systems throughout their lives.
  • Eat immune boosting foods and avoid sugar. Here are great examples:

Citrus: Loaded with Vitamin C, citrus fruits are a yummy, easy way to support your immune system. Grab a glass of OJ, or make some lemonade. Even better, mix lots of lemons into filtered water with raw honey and cayenne pepper. Not only is it a zingy tasty treat filled with Vitamin C, it also alkalinizes your body, which helps it fight infection.

Red chili peppers (cayenne): Cayenne pepper has long been appreciated for its medicinal properties and can help your body during states of emergency.

Garlic: Filled with immune-boosters, garlic has been used to treat everything from the common cold to the Plague.

Carrots: Bursting with beta-carotene, carrots give your body a leg up when you’re fighting infection. Drink a few carrot juices to get enough in your body. Sweet potatoes and spinach also contain lots of beta carotene, so eat up.

Shiitake mushrooms: They contains all eight essential amino acids in better proportions than soy beans, meat, milk, or eggs as well as a good blend of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, B12, C, D and Niacin. (Source: DietandHealth.net) These yummy mushrooms can be put into soups and provide immune boosting benefits.

  • Get plenty of sleep. When you’re well rested, your body fights infection more effectively. Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your immune system.
  • Make sure you’re taking your Vitamin D. More and more studies are showing that Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system. TryNordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil.
  • Give up alcohol and caffeine for a while. Staying away from these substances helps your body mount immune responses.
  • Instead of your morning coffee (or mimosa) try drinking a green juice. Juice some kale, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, lemon, spinach, ginger, garlic- whatever you’ve got around that can support your good health. Also, avoid processed foods and eat a whole foods diet.
  • Stay hydrated. Increasing your water intake will help you stay healthy and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu. When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper respiratory tract. (Source: Oscillo.com) Try Traditional Medicinals, they make excellent teas and care about the environment while doing it.
  • Supplement with probiotic bacteria, which alters the intestinal flora and helps your body resist infection.
  • Try elderberry syrup. It’s a natural anti-viral.
  • Get your exercise. While this may not be the best time to go to a crowded gym, a long hike in nature can do wonders for your immune system, your general health, and your psyche.
  • Handle stress properly. Stress weakens your immune system. Everyone has stress in their lives, the key to manage it in healthy ways. Go outside and notice the simple things, take a walk, take a deep breath – find your own healthy stress-relieving activities.

If you get the flu:

  • Seek help if you get worse. If your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The reason that flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is that it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections like pneumonia.

So, wash your hands, take a nap and, if you’re looking for a new doctor, head over to see Drs. Todd and Molly Ferguson at Prairie Naturopathic Doctors.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Environmental Blog.org

Started in 2007, The Environmental Blog began as a way to spark a discussion about environmental issues. The site provides information on every aspect of green living: green technology, climate change, green energy and so on. Their goal is to provide our readers with a source of knowledge that can be used in everyday life to help make this world a greener place.

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GREEN TIP: Use natural ways to stay healthier this winter. As always eat whole foods, avoid processed foods and sugar and get enough sleep.

Now that we’re deep in the heart of cold and flu season, I wanted to look at some ways to keep our families healthier this fall and winter. I had some help from a local and highly recommended Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Todd Ferguson, to compile this list. As always, talk to your doctor if you are at risk from complications from flu.

  • Wash your hands. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which can introduce germs into your receptive passageways. If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue or cough into the crook of your arm. This is probably both the easiest and the most important thing to do to keep your body healthy. Make it a habit in your young children and it will help them keep healthier immune systems throughout their lives.
  • Eat immune boosting foods and avoid sugar. Here are great examples:

Citrus: Loaded with Vitamin C, citrus fruits are a yummy, easy way to support your immune system. Grab a glass of OJ, or make some lemonade. Even better, mix lots of lemons into filtered water with raw honey and cayenne pepper. Not only is it a zingy tasty treat filled with Vitamin C, it also alkalinizes your body, which helps it fight infection.

Red chili peppers (cayenne): Cayenne pepper has long been appreciated for its medicinal properties and can help your body during states of emergency.

Garlic: Filled with immune-boosters, garlic has been used to treat everything from the common cold to the Plague.

Carrots: Bursting with beta-carotene, carrots give your body a leg up when you’re fighting infection. Drink a few carrot juices to get enough in your body. Sweet potatoes and spinach also contain lots of beta carotene, so eat up.

Shiitake mushrooms: They contains all eight essential amino acids in better proportions than soy beans, meat, milk, or eggs as well as a good blend of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, B12, C, D and Niacin. (Source: DietandHealth.net) These yummy mushrooms can be put into soups and provide immune boosting benefits.

  • Get plenty of sleep. When you’re well rested, your body fights infection more effectively. Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your immune system.
  • Make sure you’re taking your Vitamin D. More and more studies are showing that Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system. Try Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil.
  • Give up alcohol and caffeine for a while. Staying away from these substances helps your body mount immune responses.
  • Instead of your morning coffee (or mimosa) try drinking a green juice. Juice some kale, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, lemon, spinach, ginger, garlic- whatever you’ve got around that can support your good health. Also, avoid processed foods and eat a whole foods diet.
  • Stay hydrated. Increasing your water intake will help you stay healthy and lessen the chance of you coming down with flu. When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever, loosens mucus, and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper respiratory tract. (Source: Oscillo.com) Try Traditional Medicinals, they make excellent teas and care about the environment while doing it.
  • Supplement with probiotic bacteria, which alters the intestinal flora and helps your body resist infection.
  • Try elderberry syrup. It’s a natural anti-viral.
  • Get your exercise. While this may not be the best time to go to a crowded gym, a long hike in nature can do wonders for your immune system, your general health, and your psyche.
  • Handle stress properly. Stress weakens your immune system. Everyone has stress in their lives, the key to manage it in healthy ways. Go outside and notice the simple things, take a walk, take a deep breath – find your own healthy stress-relieving activities.

If you get the flu:

  • Seek help if you get worse. If your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, be sure to seek medical attention right away. The reason that flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is that it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections like pneumonia.

So, wash your hands, take a nap and, if you’re looking for a new doctor, head over to see Drs. Todd and Molly Ferguson at Prairie Naturopathic Doctors.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Healthy Child Healthy World
Their mission is to ignite a movement that inspires parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals. They have Quick Tips for Healthy Living, they keep you updated on all Issues related to our children’s health and their Blog is fantastic.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Growing crops in healthy organic soil results in food products that offer healthy nutrients. Organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains may offer more of some nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Source: Nutritional Considerations, Organic Trade Association

TEN GOOD REASONS TO BUY ORGANIC

1.  Organic products meet stringent standards

Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.

2.  Organic food tastes great!

It’s common sense – well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.

3.  Organic production reduces health risks

Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.

4.  Organic farms respect our water resources

The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.

5.  Organic farmers build healthy soil

Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.

6.  Organic farmers work in harmony with nature

Organic agricultural respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural areas.

7.  Organic producers are leaders in innovative research

Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

8.  Organic producers strive to preserve diversity

The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.

9.  Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy

USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.

10. Organic abundance – Foods and non-foods alike!

Now every food category has an organic alternative. And non-food agricultural products are being grown organically – even cotton, which most experts felt could not be grown this way.

Source: Organic Trade Association

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

How to Go Organic.com
A collection of resources for organic transitioning, certification, production, marketing and more.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

One of my number one concerns in my everyday life is the health of my family. I believe that healthy eating is oneEating at the MN State Fair of the best preventive steps we can take to ensure our bodies remain illness free. But how can I pack a healthy meal and send it off filled with disposable paper and plastic wrappings? This scenario isn’t good for my family or the environment. When I’m packing a healthy meal to go, I want the containers to be as good for the health of my family and the environment as possible. And, as I mentioned in a previous Green Tip, we strive to buy reusable products instead of purchasing disposable products that contribute to our waste stream.

Enter Litter Free Lunch.

Litter Free LunchI haven’t done a lot of reviews at My Green Side but when Felice Farran, co-owner of Litter Free Lunch, contacted me I was more than happy to try their products. Primarily because the Litter Free Lunch mission is to provide creative, fun products that help reduce daily waste. Fantastic! 

They kindly sent me a set of their cotton lunch box napkins and a matching reusable sandwich bag. My husband, Christopher, was the guinea pig… and I was more than a little curious to get his reaction. He’s not a huge fan of change and he’s very picky about his food and the presentation of his food. I figured if he liked the Litter Free Lunch products, chances are they’re awesome. The reusable sandwich bag is big and expandable, large enough for a man-sized sandwich but able to accommodate a normal one as well. The cotton napkins are the perfect lunch size and have a tag on them with a spot specifically for writing a child’s name. Well, it was unanimous. I loved them for the ease of use and their eco-friendliness and Christopher loved them because he was getting a lunch every day. He thought they kept his sandwich fresh and enjoyed actually having a napkin while feeling his lunch was not adversely impacting the environment (or our budget). Now when our oldest starts bringing a lunch next fall, I already know where I’m getting her containers, napkins and reusable sandwich bags. Thank you Litter Free Lunch!

Little Free Lunch NapkinsDid you know: A household of four that replaces paper napkins with reusable cloth ones could save $70 per year or more on napkin costs while reducing their waste by up to 40 pounds per year. If every household made this shift, we could prevent 1.5 million tons of paper napkin waste from entering the landfill each year.

Source: ShiftYourHabit.com

Litter Free Lunch will be having a Earth Day promotion starting in April — 15% off code will be EARTH40. It will run April 1 – April 30th, 2010.

Litter Free Lunch also has some great Litter Free Lunch tips for us:

  • Replace brown paper bags with a reusable lunch box or bag.
  • Swear off plastic bags and use stainless steel food containers.
  • Switch from disposable paper napkins to reusable cloth napkins.
  • Give up the habit of disposable water bottles and replace it with a reusable stainless steel water bottle.
  • Skip disposable plastic cutlery and pack a reusable spoons or forks.
  • Save money by avoiding individually wrapped or packaged items like yogurt, cheese, cookies or crackers. Buy larger sizes and pack portions in reusable containers. It’s green and saves green!

Check out Litter Free Lunch online at litterfreelunch.com. You can also follow them on Twitter.

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by Wendy Gabriel

I just discovered an awesome new website. And, no it’s not Twilight Earth where I Mighty Nestrecently became a contributing writer… a dream come true… but I digress. It’s a site aptly named, Mighty Nest, and it promises: simple choices, mighty impact and since we’re all about the Simple Tips here at My Green Side, I was hooked at the tagline.

A little background. Mighty Nest is the creation of husband and wife team Chris and Kristen Conn who were incredibly frustrated by the amount of research they had to do to make sure their first child was safe from toxins in their home. Not only did they have to research each chemical but then they had to scour the web to find safe products. They decided they would create a better way… and MightyNest was born.

This is basically the same reason many blogs were started, including My Green Side, only they went us one better. They don’t just blog about it, they give you all the information, shopping and blogs all in one place.

MightyNest.com consists of three sections:

LEARNING: A collection of carefully selected articles from a variety of trusted sources combined with original content. This section is a resource center for parents, intended to shorten their learning curve and save them time. Articles are organized by topic (e.g. Building a Healthy Nursery, Cleaning the Healthy Way) or concern (e.g. BPA, Phthalates, Lead) making it easier for them to find what they need. Parents can also find tips on simple and effective ways to create a healthier home for their families.

SHOPPING: An online store offering products that are not only non-toxic and eco-friendly, but also unique and well designed. Parents can learn more about each product through a combination of user and expert product reviews. At launch, MightyNest features a selection of products from more than 30 companies including Plan Toys, W.S. Badger Company, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Mod Green Pod, Klean Kanteen, Snack Taxi, Mimi The Sardine, Green to Grow, Naturepedic, Chapter One Organics, Kinderville and more. And they promise to continuously add products and new companies that meet their standards.

BLOGGING: A compilation of blogs bringing together parents with various points of view to discuss the rewards and challenges of providing a healthy home for their families.

“Our dream is for MightyNest to be a place where people feel motivated and empowered to make changes, not discouraged and judged,” said Chris Conn, co-founder, MightyNest. “We truly believe that everyone can make simple choices that have a mighty impact on the people they love and as a result, on the world around them.”

I know where I’ll be headed the next time I have a questions about providing a healthy environment for my little ones. I’ll see you there.

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