Everywhere, USA, May 2014—BPA is the acronym for Bisphenol A, a chemical compound developed 60 years ago to strengthen plastics and epoxy resins. Today, it’s used in a wide range of products, and is present in many plastic food and drink containers (ex: some bottled waters), the lining of food cans, some paper products and dental sealants. Almost all of us carry traces of this synthetic in our bloodstreams—so it’s only natural that public health advocates are concerned about its effects.
When ingested, BPA mimics naturally occurring human hormones and can potentially interfere with the body’s endocrine and reproductive workings. Previous research has linked BPA exposure to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, decreased birth weight, some cancers, reproductive and sexual dysfunctions, altered immune system activity, metabolic problems and diabetes in adults, and cognitive and behavioral development in young children. These concerns have led the European Union, Canada—and more recently the U.S.—to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and other items geared toward babies and children.
Everywhere USA, May 2014—Although we’ve come a long way in recent years toward improved food supply safety and sustainability, we still have a long way to go. Toxic pesticides are still used on the vast majority of U.S.-grown crops, while other hormone-disrupting chemicals are omnipresent in our food packaging. And excessive use of antibiotics in animal agriculture threatens to render many human drugs ineffective. Environmental leaders would like to see the federal government step up and institute regulations banning such substances in our food supply. But for now, it’s still up to individual consumers to make the right choices.
Los Angeles, California, May 2014—there’s a new fruit beverage out that deserves a close look. It’s called LO Fruit Beverage, and it’s a low carb, low sugar, low glycemic, low caloric product that comes in a bunch of juicy flavors.
What’s more, it’s good just about any time.
If you’re a health-conscious consumer who recently felt the need to say goodbye to the likes of orange or apple juice, here’s a refreshing new alternative. In just one 10 ounce serving you can get about the same number of calories, carbs and sugars as one piece of fruit would give you—just as nature intended.
Glasgow, Scotland, April, 2014–Literally "the Fifth of May," Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrated to honor Mexican culture and heritage. More specifically, it commemorates Mexico’s Battle of Puebla in 1862. Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in Puebla, where the famous battle took place but it really isn't as important as most people think. September 16, Independence Day, is a much more important holiday in Mexico. For some reason, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States of America, by Mexicans and Americans alike, than in Mexico.
One theory for this: it was celebrated in all of Mexico and by Mexicans living in what is now Texas and California, but which used to be part of Mexico. It was eventually ignored in Mexico but still celebrated north of the border. Americans never got out of the habit of remembering the famous battle.
Of course, an important way to pay homage to a particular culture is through its traditional food. Read on for some tasty and healthy Cinco de Mayo-themed recipes. And here’s a bit of history you can use to impress your fellow party-goers:
Columbia, Missouri, April 2014—Here is some practical and fun advice from Lynn Maloney, a dear friend and gifted acupuncturist.
A stiff gait and poor balance make us feel less confident in our movement as we age. Falling also becomes a greater concern and bigger threat. However, this loss of agility is not a necessary part of aging. But how can we keep our gait agile and confident? It’s simple: play with your toes!
A wonderful Japanese acupuncture teacher, Kiiko Matsumoto, tells her patients to play the childhood game Rock/Scissors/Paper – but not with their hands, the way many of us did in school. Make these shapes with your feet and you will keep – or regain – more limber and stronger muscles in your feet. Healthy feet allow you to roll through your feet as you walk and keep your posture upright and confident. Massage and acupuncture help your feet in this way, too; but daily stretching and strengthening of the toes is a fun and easy way for you to take control of improving stability and ease when you walk.
Ankeny, Iowa, May, 2014—Don’t let escalating beef prices keep you from consuming one of America’s favorite foods. The National Soyfoods Council reminds us that beef-friendly Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) or Textured Soy Protein (TSP) can stretch your budget—and ground beef—without sacrificing flavor, texture, or convenience. TVP and TSP are the same product. TVP is more often found in supermarkets.
When you add TVP to ground beef, you not only extend your food dollar, you also acquire the health benefits of soy protein. Replacing a portion of the ground meat in recipes (25% to 50%) with hydrated TVP gives you all the flavor, texture and mouth feel of beef without adding fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Use it to stretch ground beef for hamburger patties and other favorite summertime recipes such as tacos and sloppy joes. In generations past, frugal cooks extended hamburger patties by mixing in breadcrumbs. Today, it’s simple to add a lean soy protein instead.
Washington, D.C., June 2014—Voxiva, Inc., a leader in digital health, announced recently that more than 1 million users have enrolled in its evidence-based behavior-change programs. Voxiva’s services leverage mobile phones to promote maternal and child health (Text4baby and Text4kids), adult health and wellness (Txt4health), smoking cessation (Text2quit), and diabetes self-management (Care4life).
One way in which Voxiva has been able to achieve such a high volume of users is through relationships with channel partners. Alere Wellbeing offers Text2quit through telephone counseling services they provide for state quit lines.
We (your editors) have written in several previous articles about the incredible efficacy of a new supplement called Zija. Formulated in this country naturally, the powder-like product comes from the leaves and bark of a small plant called the Moringa tree. When you mix the Zija mango-flavored product with water before you start your day, it goes down easy and prepares you for most anything.
Now more health and medical professionals are getting into the game—not necessarily of Zija, but of the realization (mostly coming from the study of ancient medicine) that certain plants contain highly curative values within them.
With this in mind, the folks at one of the country’s most prestigious teaching hospitals have started giving their patients formulations of certain plants. (We’re not identifying the hospital; we’ll let them make their own declarations.) They have found a high degree of cellular antioxidant activity present in these plants, which they call “edible flowers”. They’ve also found flavonoids, phenolic compounds (the safe kind) and in general a radical-scavenging activity that rids the body of potentially dangerous toxins.
Fort Worth, Texas, April 2014—The humble chopstick, used for over 5,000 years by billions of people the world over, just underwent a major overhaul. Future Sticks are a safe, high tech, newly-patented version of the chopsticks we've all come to know and love (or loathe).
They have a traditional tapered end, but with a newly patented eating end with teeth that increase the gripping power of the chopstick. This makes it possible for everyone to enjoy using chopsticks with ease and confidence, or to start that chopsticks diet everyone’s talking about. Anyone who has sheepishly asked the waiter for a fork and knife while their dining companions used chopsticks like pros will welcome this innovation. So, too, will those with arthritis, hand tremors and other dexterity challenges. Even for the most experienced chopstick user there are certain dishes that are difficult to eat, such as noodles and hard shelled seafood. Future Sticks solve that problem; but if they wish, experienced users can also flip them over and use the traditional side to eat with. But wait! There’s more!