Thursday, 18 December 2014

Free Laundry Service for the Homeless

Homeless people endure rough times out on the streets, and they are always in need of warm food, water, shelter, and basic necessities.

Being homeless and poor is inevitably linked. "If you are poor, you are essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets." (1)

Many people shun or turn a blind eye towards the homeless community, but there are also many kind-hearted volunteers who truly enjoy helping out the needy.

Read on to find out how volunteers around the world help the homeless in unique ways:

Homeless can wash their clothes for free inside van

Two 20-year old male volunteers from Brisbane, Australia created a charity called Orange Sky Laundry in order to help their city's increasing homeless population. They installed a washer and dryer inside their gutted out van, and this provided free laundry service for the homeless. "Orange Sky Laundry is Australia's first mobile laundry service providing homeless people with access to free washing/drying facilities, and it's run by unpaid volunteers." (2)

DuPage County residents sleep outside for one night in order to raise money for homeless families

On November 1, 2014 around 2,000 DuPage County residents from Illinois slept outside in boxes, tents, and their cars. This act was an effort to raise awareness about the living conditions of the homeless, and also to raise money for homeless families who are part of the Bridge program. This program offers needy families housing, case management, employment training, and mentoring. (3)

The 'Sandwich Man' delivers sandwiches to the homeless all night long

Allan Law is a 69-year old Minneapolis resident who is known as the "Sandwich Man," because he personally hand delivers sandwiches from his van to the homeless population. He's been doing this for 12 years, and in 2013 he handed out more than 500,000 sandwiches. He usually starts handing the food out about 8 pm, and doesn't get back home until noon the next morning. (4)

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Vegetarians and Vegans can have a healthy pregnancy and raise healthy children

Many argue that a vegetarian or vegan diet may not be the best way for a mother to carry a growing child inside of her. Contrary to beliefs, how you choose to nourish your body has more significance than the type of diet you follow. We can all agree that providing the body with what it properly needs is the key factor.

So, can a woman carrying a child follow a plant-based vegetarian and vegan diet? According to a couple of studies, the answer proves to give positive support.

A plant-based vegan diet isn't dangerous

There may be much misinformation regarding veganism in general, let alone a woman's pregnancy. Vegan or not, the most appropriate evaluation is how well a person provides their bodies the nourishment it needs.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatrics both agree that a well-planned vegetarian and vegan eating habits are healthy for infants and toddlers. They believe that time and attention during pregnancy in ensuring the proper nutrients to support normal growth and development is of utmost importance. (1)

While being pregnant or raising a new child, it is important to pay extra attention to certain nutrient such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, protein, and fiber. (1)

Studies show that vegans can have a healthy pregnancy and healthy children

According to Reed Mangels, a registered dietician, "It is reasonably simple to follow a vegan diet throughout pregnancy while eating foods that meet your needs and the needs of your baby." (2)

In fact a couple of studies have shown that a community in Lewis County, Tennessee in the 1980s that incorporates veganism as a socially responsible lifestyle and they have shown that vegans can have healthy pregnancies and children. (2,3,4)

In one study, researchers looked at preeclampsia and reproductive performances in a community of vegans. They evaluated 775 vegan mothers and only one met the clinical criteria. Researchers say that, "Since preeclampsia in our culture is frequently associated with unrestrained consumption of "fast foods" (foods having high levels of saturated fat) and rapid weight gain, it is possible that a vegan diet could alleviate most, if not all, of the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. (3)

Another study in the same community evaluated the growth of vegetarian children. A total of 404 vegetarian children between 4 months and 10 years of age were evaluated and compared in height, age, and weight with the rest of the United States growth reference. Researchers say that, "These children have adequate attained growth, even though it was modestly less than that of the reference population." (4)

So, vegetarians and vegans have been shown to have healthy pregnancies and healthy children. Like anyone, there are always factors to consider ensuring a healthy pregnancy such as weight, proper nourishment, and physical changes throughout pregnancy. (2) The good news is that it is absolutely possible to be healthy!

Sources for this article include:


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Are Your Favorite Health Apps Causing More Harm Than Good?

Are Your Favorite Health Apps Causing More Harm Than Good?

Who doesn't love finding a new health app to help them stay in shape? From dieting apps to pedometers, there's practically a new app out there that can help you reach your health goals - or so it seems anyway. New studies show, however, that apps shouldn't the only way you monitor your health. (1)

How do health apps cause harm?

The FDA is concerned that some people may be using these apps alone in place of medical help, which could lead to problems when it comes to managing high blood pressure and diabetes. The FDA says that these apps are used in conjunction with medical advice, not to replace it. (1)

How many people use health apps?

Almost 20% of all smartphone users have at least one health app downloaded to their device. It's also predicted that next year at least 500 millions smartphone users will have a health app on their device in order to manage their weight or help them achieve certain health goals. (1)

If you generally use a health app to count steps, meal logging, or counting calories, then there isn't too much to be concerned about. Medical News Today says that the problem lies when people rely on apps that are supposed to test for epileptic seizures, blood pressure changes, blood sugar changes, etc. Though some of these apps may work, it may be dangerous to rely on them for your overall health. (1)

But what about apps used to track weight loss?

The most popular health app is My Fitness Pal, which has over 40 million daily users, and that number is only growing. But does counting calories through a smartphone app really work? For some, it seems to be so and for others not so much. Apps may help a person see negative patterns in their daily habits such as skipping exercising, eating unhealthy foods, or eating the wrong portion sizes, however it's still up to the user to make the change, which ultimately leads to health benefits. (1)

Whether you use health apps or not, if you have a medical condition, it's best to use these apps alongside your doctor's advice instead of direct replacement for it. (1) Last year the FDA set a final guidance for smartphone app developers who specifically develop medical apps for this reason. (2)

Apple's new health app: does it work?

And then there's the question many of you are likely asking: What about the new app by Apple released in the latest IOS 8 software? The new app showcases an easy-to-read display that allows users to see how many steps they've taken and track their meals each day. The app also measures your blood pressure, heart rate, calories burned, cholesterol and more! You can even sync your music to help you pick up the pace. (3) The new app is definitely a benefit from the new IOS 8 software; however, you should use the new app (and any others) to enhance your health, not as your sole medical guidance.

Sources for this article include:


Friday, 24 October 2014

5 Fast Food Restaurants that Are Ripping Americans Off

Fast food is an industry that has been directly linked to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. The industry caters to the average person looking to eat cheap meals on the run, which creates a huge problem considering how busy people are and how Americans are truly hungry for nutritional foods. (1,2) New evidence shows that the fast food industry isn't just making Americans unhealthy, but it's also ripping Americans off in more ways than one. (3)

The 5 Fast Food Restaurants Ripping Americans Off

The U.K. has much stricter standards than the U.S. when it comes to fast food and nutrition. Many items that are offered here in the States aren't even allowed in the U.K. and other countries due to the dangerous ingredients these "foods" contain. (3)

McDonald's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and Krispy Kreme all offer healthier menu items in the U.K. than those here in America. In addition, those in the U.K. contain far less GMOs, if any at all. For example, in the U.K. McDonald's now serves organic milk in their Happy Meals instead of conventional, hormone-laced and pesticide-filled milk sold here in the states. McDonald's in the U.K. produces fries that only contain three ingredients and are not fried in hydrogenated oil. McDonald's in America uses over ten ingredients, many of which are chemically derived and artificial. They also still use hydrogenated oil in the frying process. (3)

In the U.K., Subway's turkey and ham subs contain 56% less sugar and Starbucks uses 58% less sugar in their specialty lattes (including the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte) than those in America. Starbucks in the U.K. also doesn't add fake caramel coloring to any of their beverages like the U.S. establishments currently do. Krispy Kreme's donuts contain 52% less sugar in the U.K. and the donut is actually bigger! Pizza Hut now offers a free salad with their meals in the U.K. and their pepperoni pizzas contain 151% less sugar. (3)

Why Are Fast Food Companies Ripping Americans off?

This madness basically boils down to GMOs and cost. GMO sugar made from sugar beets is far less inexpensive to produce by anywhere from 25-50%. This means less costs for production, which means more net profit.  It also puts dollars in the pockets of those who have strong ties to GMO food production. Monsanto is the largest example, which is the GMO crop king of the United States. (3)

Americans can fight back with their dollars more than anything else. Avoid these fast food restaurants and all others by filling your body with raw, organic, nourishing foods that need no investigation or label to determine they're healthy for you. That's what real Happy Meals are made of, friends!

Sources for this article include:


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Friday, 10 October 2014

Drinking and eating full fat dairy products to reduce risk of diabetes

There are so many selections of milk to choose from in the grocery stores today. More than likely, most of them aren't even healthy at all. Full-fat, low-fat, or non-fat pasteurized milk fills the shelves in the refrigerator section.

The dairy industry typically recommends low-fat or non-fat milk, however, if you're lactose intolerant then non-dairy milks are the options. Even with non-dairy milk, you have to be careful with the additives that are included. While the FDA is still arguing that pasteurized milk is healthier, they further argue that low-fat milk is the healthier option than full-fat. Research has shown otherwise.

Eating full fat dairy products to reduce diabetes

As reported in The Telegraph, a study included about 27,000 people, ranging from 45 to 74 years of age, and was monitored for 14 years. Researchers found that those who ate eight portions of full-fat dairy cut their risk of diabetes by 25% compared to those who ate fewer portions. (1)

Dairy foods typically contain high amounts of saturated fats and the conventional thinking is that saturated fats are bad for you. However, in 2010 a scientist declared, "...there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of [coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.]" (2)

Additionally, another study found that palmitoleic acid that is naturally occurring in full-fat dairy products is what actually protects against insulin resistance and diabetes. Those who consumed full-fat dairy actually had higher levels of trans-palmitoleate in their blood. As a result, these people have about two-thirds lower risk in developing type-2 diabetes compared to others. (3)

Other research shows that full-fat dairy is good for you

Besides lowering your risk for diabetes, research is also showing that full-fat milk helps improve cancer, weight, and heart disease.

One study found that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is naturally found in cow's milk, reduces the risk of cancer by a lot. Women who ate at least four servings of high-fat dairy each day had a 41% lower risk of bowel cancer; and at each increment of two servings of dairy product reduced the risk by 13%. (4,5)

Another study showed that perimenopausal women who ate at least one servings of full-fat dairy a day gained 30% less weight over a 9-year period compared to women who ate only low-fat or non-fat dairy products. (4,6)

It also appears that full-fat dairy helps with heart disease as well. In a 16-year study, researchers found that Australian adults who ate full-fat dairy were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. (4,7)

Opt for full-fat raw dairy products

If you have been consuming dairy products, it's best to choose the full-fat version and even much better to go for the raw products! The nutritional benefits in raw milk products have been found to be far superior than pasteurized. The health promoting benefits of raw milk can include valuable enzymes, natural butterfat, good sources of unoxidized cholesterol, includes CLA, and has excellent omega-3 to omega-6 ratios! (8)

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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Natural Remedies for Dry and Itchy Skin

Itchy skin can come from chronic dryness, allergies, or from a change in climate. It can also be hereditary or a reaction to detergent, soap, or another type of cleaning agent. Whatever the case, some of the most effective ways to treat dry itchy skin are also some of the most natural ways. (1)

Natural Remedies for Dry Itchy Skin

To heal itchy skin, go with a product (or two) that naturally contains detoxifying properties, cleansing properties, and moisturizing properties. Here are some of the best:

  • Apple cider vinegar helps cleanse the area affected and combats yeast overgrowth such as dandruff or a lingering rash. To use it, pour the vinegar over a cloth and gently rub it over the skin several times a day. You can also use it after showering or bathing. Let it dry and follow with the clay patch below. (1)
  • Bentonite clay is especially helpful to relieve itching and even acne due to the detoxifying properties it contains. It's particularly helpful for healing spider bites and bee stings. To use it, mix the clay with just enough water to make a paste and spread it on a bandage cloth large enough to wrap around the infected area. Leave the wrap on for 4 hours until the clay is completely hard before removing it. Do this several days in a row until the infected area or dry skin patch is gone. (1)
  • Aloe Vera is a common ingredient used to treat mosquito bites, dry skin, and burns since the gel of the plant contains moisturizing and healing properties. To use aloe, break open a leaf and open it with a knife lengthwise from top to bottom. Using a cloth or your hand, scoop out the gel and rub it onto the skin. You may want to cover the area with a bandage cloth to prevent the gel from rubbing off. Leave it on overnight and then remove it the next morning. (1)
  • Oatmeal contains special compounds that relieve inflammation and reduces dryness, redness, and even acne. Mix uncooked oatmeal in a bowl with just enough warm water to make a thick paste, and then puree it in the food processor to make it easier to spread like a mask. Apply it to the skin and let it sit until hardened and then wash it off with a cloth. (1)
  • Coconut oil is a well-known remedy for quickly relieving dry skin and even chronic yeast overgrowth. Rub it directly onto the affected area until dissolved. Repeat daily. (2)
  • Other solutions include castor oil and olive oil.

How About Commercial Products?

When treating itchy skin, be sure not to use chemically based commercial products, which can irritate the skin and leach toxic ingredients into the pores. Most commercial products just mask the symptoms, but never really take care of the problem at hand. In addition, be sure to use a natural soap when showering instead of body gels or soaps made with toxic chemicals and/or preservatives. (3)

Do you use any of these natural remedies in relieving dry skin?

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