New Perspectives on Creativity and Health

Have you heard anyone voice their surprise of the creativity happening as we stay at home?  I hear it every day.

Creativity may improve our self-confidence.  We find that we rise to the challenge.

Creativity gives us a new way to use our skills.  This is empowering. Creativity lets us step outside our box and try other new approaches.

Creativity is enjoyable and fun. This reduces stress and stress can be a killer.  We want to take every opportunity offered to reduce stress.

Every cloud has a silver lining. This may be a silver lining for us and our planet.  Let the creativity flow!

I have been enjoying creativity in the kitchen. I’m enjoying many new recipes with substituting ingredients I have in the kitchen now. I am finding new ways of surprising loved ones in the nursing home with small gift boxes of items to enjoy.  Who doesn’t love to open a box and find surprises? 

What creativity have you seen in your world?

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A New Perspective on Plastics and Our Health, and the Health of the Planet

Plastic surrounds us. We discovered how to make plastic in the 1850s, and by 1925, the word plastic entered our language. Unfortunately, every piece of plastic made, if not recycled, is still with us.

Plastics contain two especially unhealthy compounds, BPA and phthalates. These chemicals help make plastics more pliable, but they also affect our health. These chemicals interfere with how our hormones work. Hormones affected include estrogen, testosterone, growth hormone, insulin, and thyroid.

We’ve found BPA everywhere on the planet, including the air we breathe. You’ll find BPA in baby bottles, water bottles, food and beverage can liners, pacifiers and baby toys, water bottles and cash register receipts. You may see products saying “BPA free” but these are not necessarily safer. The replacement for BPA may be no safer than BPA.

Phthalates are made from naphthalene, the ingredient giving moth balls their distinctive odor. That odor kills moths, but naphthalene is also toxic to us and may cause cancer. Phthalates help carry fragrance in products. Using fragrance-free products, an easy step when shopping, reduces our exposure to the phthalates.

You’ll find phthalates in wellness, personal care and cosmetic products, such as drugs, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and nail polish. Commonly used products like lotions, soaps, cleansers, and shampoos contain phthalates as well. They reduce cracking of nail polish, stiffness of hair spray, and allow products to penetrate and moisturize skin more easily. Unfortunately, those qualities are outweighed by their health risks.

Phthalates in plastic food containers can leach out and into the food. These compounds are also linked to certain cancers.

As plastics are found everywhere, studies have found BPA and phthalates in virtually every human tested.

These compounds affect wildlife as well. Young birds may die of starvation because they inadvertently eat plastics along with the food they are given. Fish are affected since much plastic eventually winds up in the ocean. Plastic agitated in water sheds smaller and smaller plastic particles. Ocean life consume these small particles along with their normal foods, and in turn, we eat the plastics in the seafood we eat.

Convenience and utility come at a price, and that price is how our health is affected.

Please get in touch to discuss how I can help you improve your health and well-being.

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To learn more about how plastic affects our health and our planet:

National Geographic: Planet or Plastic at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/planetorplastic/

Life without Plastic
https://lifewithoutplastic.com/about-us/

My Plastic Free Life
https://myplasticfreelife.com/

Environmental Working Group
https://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors

CAFOs and Your Healthy Eating

This is how we picture beef cattle; the reality is far different, and probably unhealthy.

Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) is an industrial agricultural system for raising livestock. These operations started in the 1970s. CAFOs place thousands of animals in a confined area, with large feedlots for cattle, large houses for poultry and pork, and confined netted enclosures for fish. CAFOs pose several threats to you directly and the environment. Let’s start with beef.

In large-scale beef production, the cattle are fed corn and soy, an unnatural diet for them. Cattle should be grazing on grass in pastures. Corn is omega-6 (inflammatory) and grass is omega-3 (anti-inflammatory). Grass–fed and finished beef is healthier for you and more humane for the animal. Cows are also given bovine growth hormone to add weight quickly in order to get to market more quickly. A shorter time from birth to slaughter means more money. You probably don’t need a dose of bovine growth hormone to help you bulk up.

These same types of scenarios can be seen with pigs, chickens, and fish. We would like the animals we raise to live a natural and healthy life eating what nature intended. 

Antibiotic used in livestock accounts for 80% of antibiotic use in the U.S. An animal raised in a CAFO needs antibiotics in order to stay alive in this unhealthy environment.  Antibiotics used in this way support the emergence of superbugs. Superbugs may be antibiotic resistant. You may have heard of the growing concern in medicine over drug resistant bacterial infections. The medical community fears we may one day soon have many drug resistant infections with no antibiotic solutions. This scenario would take our world back to days before antibiotics, like penicillin.

Sweden became concerned about the increase in drug resistant pneumonia infections in the 1990s. To counter this increase, they severely restricted antibiotic use in their animal husbandry practices. By also using antibiotics only for bacterial infections in humans, the Swedes saw that antibiotics used for people drop by 43% – 74%, depending on the age of the population being studied. Would you like to live where infections were down?

The animal urine and feces generated by the animals in CAFOs is placed in liquid manure lagoons which may leak into underground water polluting drinking supplies and the natural ecosystem.

CAFOs also account for 18% of human greenhouse gas production. Greenhouse gas helps to fuel climate change that makes it harder for all the animals, plants and humans to thrive, and some even to survive. We depend on the diversity of our home, Earth, for our health and lives.

New Perspectives on Food Choices and the Environment

Wednesday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, and 2020 is the 50th anniversary. We have made some progress in saving the Earth, our home.

But there is much room for improvement. To celebrate the anniversary of Earth Day, the April 2020 issue of National Geographic highlights How We Lost the Planet and How We Saved the Planet, as seen in the covers of the magazine.

Did you know that your food choices are a powerful way to help the planet sustain us? To eliminate greenhouse gases would be a giant step forward, but what about removing CO2 from the atmosphere? There is a movement working on remove CO2 and it is called Project Drawdown. You can find out more at: https://www.drawdown.org/about.

Food touches everything in our world. Food influences our environment. Local sustainably raised food requires healthy soils. Sustainably–raised produce uses less, or better, no pesticides or herbicides. This may allow farm workers to experience less disease due to lower exposure to these harsh chemicals. Court cases are now being won by farm workers harmed by pesticide exposure.

Our bodies need the most nutritious food we can give them.

Food produced with pesticides and herbicides may negatively impact bees, insects, the microbial diversity of the soils, as well as wildlife and ourselves. Sustainably grown produce may be more nutritious because the produce has less pesticide residue. In addition, the soils are healthier fewer beneficial insects and microbes are killed by pesticides.

Locally grown, sustainably–raised produce helps your community. The nearby farms can sustain themselves financially while providing food that is fresher and not grown for shipping, but for taste. Fresher equals more nutritious food since it may be eaten closer to the time it was picked.  Locally grown means lower transportation costs in getting your food to you.

Victory Gardens planted during World War II made up 40% of our food needs. Victory Gardens were instituted not only to help feed people, but also to free up transportation and labor for the war effort. We could learn from those times and reap the benefits of fresher nutritious food grown closer to home. This may be important as we learn how supply chains can be disrupted. COVID-19 gives us the opportunity to appreciate how we can help to make ourselves more resilient going forward.

Our bodies need the most nutritious food we can give them. The building blocks of optimal nutrition need to be present to give us the best possible health. Food can indeed be our most powerful medicine.

Looking for guidance in making good food and wellness choices? Please consider setting an appointment to discuss how I can help.

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