Janelle

How to Afford Organic Foods On a Budget

Many people choose to eat organic foods because they are healthier, more natural, and free of pesticides and other chemicals. Unfortunately, organic food can be more costly than other store-bought items, which leaves some people wondering if it is worth it to pay for healthier items. Thankfully, with a few strategic decisions, anyone can fit organic items into their grocery budget, with little to no sacrifice in other areas.

Coupons

Coupons are a great way to save money, and organic food coupons are available to those who know where to look. The first place to check is the manufacturer or store websites. Subscribing to their email lists, or their newsletters will also bring them right to a shopper’s inbox. Flyers will also have them on occasion, so keep checking whenever possible.

Reward Cards

Many stores have implemented a system where their customers receive a card to use at the time of purchase to collect rewards or points that can be redeemed at a later date for additional goods, or money off their grocery total. When the card is used, money will be saved, which means more is available to spend on organic foods.

BOGO

When a buy-one-get-one offer is promoted, take advantage of it whenever possible. This is especially important if it is on an item that is usually purchased anyway. Whether the second item is half off or completely free, it is still a great deal and can save more money than a person expects in the long run.

Seasonal Items

Foods are more expensive when out of season for a few reasons. The shipping costs are high to transport them in, and demand for those items allows stores to charge more than they normally would. That’s why purchasing foods in season can help to lower the cost. It is also a good idea to purchase them in bulk at this time and freeze them, to save costs later, when they are out of season.

Buy Local

Locally grown organic foods are usually cheaper than those from other areas of the country because there are no shipping charges added to the cost. They are also more convenient, as they can be found in many grocery stores, as well as local farmer’s markets.

Home-Grown Veggies

It is much cheaper to purchase a packet of seeds and grow vegetables and fruits in a home garden than to buy them in a store. This also gives a person the ability to grow the items they like, in whatever quantities that suit the size of their garden. And if the garden produces more than expected, the extras can be frozen and used throughout the winter or used to earn a bit of extra income by selling them at a stand or market.

Buy in Bulk

Many of the big box stores stock organic foods, at a much cheaper cost than smaller grocery stores. Whatever won’t be used right away can be frozen and used later when they are needed.

Other Ways to Save

If it is possible, try to save money in other ways. DIY shampoos, deodorants, and soaps can help a person save money on expensive store brands. Not only will this help to add to an organic food budget, but it will also be healthier as well since the homemade products will not contain any hidden harmful ingredients.

Cancer Warning Signs that are Often Ignored

For those that are aware of cancers that run in their family, they may be hyper-vigilant about watching out for specific signs. Even these people are not aware of the more subtle signs of cancer when they are not expecting them. This is why it is so important to know as much as possible about what the body does and why, being able to pinpoint the symptoms at their onset, thus being able to respond appropriately.

Weight Loss

When there are no lifestyle, diet, or medication changes that have taken place but all of a sudden significant weight is being lost, this may be a sign of cancer. Many cancer patients have experienced this weight loss with no explanation at some point in their diagnosis.

Skin Changes

Keep an eye out for skin that has become reddened or yellowed, or if it has even just simply become darker. And these skin changes are not only associated with skin cancers. The outer body can present a change when the inner body is under stress.

Changes in Defecation

Constipation or diarrhea that is frequent along with a suddenly different stool size or pain while defecating could be signs of a cancer present in the lower digestive tract.

Fatigue

When cancer cells are present in the body, they will leech the energy supply. Tiredness and fatigue are the result of an immune system’s response when it is fighting cancer cells. Some forms of cancer also cause blood loss, which also produce a fatigue effect.

Indigestion

A symptom that is often misdiagnosed, considering that almost every person experiences indigestion at some point. It is associated with cancers in the upper digestive tract and will also be marked by difficulty in swallowing along with stomach pain that does not go away.

Changes in Urination

More frequent trips to the bathroom along with any pain associated with urination could be linked to cancers in the prostate or bladder. If experiencing this, track the symptoms to see if they are ongoing.

Coughing

A chronic cough or throat that is scratchy may be warning signs of the development of respiratory tract cancer, including throat or lung cancer. When the cough does not go away, consult a doctor.

Bleeding

Unexpected bleeding occurs with a few different types of cancers, and the source will depend on the type of cancer. This could be anything like coughing up blood to blood in urine and stool, and bloody discharge from the skin.

Lymph Node Abnormalities

There are lymph nodes located all over the body, and an infection can make them feel swollen. The cause for concern would come when the lymph nodes are swollen, uncomfortable, or tender for more than a week. When this occurs, a doctor should be consulted.

When there are symptoms present that may lead you to believe they are signs of cancer, it is vital to seek the attention of a medical professional immediately. The sooner that these symptoms are checked and the cause is identified, the better the chance that there will be a good recovery.

Natural Treatments and Alternative Therapies for Asthma

Many people suffer from asthma, and most of these individuals believe than a traditional inhaler is the only type of treatment available to them. However, there are many natural treatments and alternative therapies that can be successful in helping one cope with asthma. Read on to learn about some alternative, effective therapies that can help get asthma under control and allow you to breathe a little easier.

Things to Avoid

To avoid exacerbating your asthma, be sure to avoid smoke and pollutants as much as possible. Since asthma is often related to allergies, be sure to also avoid dust and any other allergenic triggers. It is also important to avoid consuming processed food as much as possible; your body (and your asthma) will benefit the most from consuming natural, fresh, organic foods. Also, be sure to avoid all nitrates or nitrites as well as sulfites; these are often found in processed meats such as deli meat and hot dogs.

Exercise Regularly

It has been shown that regular aerobic, low-intensity exercise (such as yoga or walking) can help open up the airways consistently. Be sure to avoid working out in extreme temperatures as this can activate an asthmatic reaction. Resistance training, stretching, and meditation are also good options.

Omega-3s

Supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease inflammation throughout the body, including the lungs, which can allow for easier breathing. Flaxseed oil and fish oil, along with walnuts and certain other nuts, are excellent sources of omega-3s.

Antioxidants

Not only are antioxidants good for protecting you against cancer, but they can also reduce inflammation (caused by free radicals) in the body. Some of the most potent antioxidants in reducing inflammation and opening up the airways includes vitamins A, C, and E, along with quercetin and bromelain.

Magnesium

Supplementing your diet with magnesium has been shown to help asthmatic patients breathe easier, thanks to its broncho-dilating effect.

Natural Herbs

There are also some natural herbs and remedies that can be utilized to minimize asthma. Some of these include:

Reishi mushroom: this herb has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the lungs and deal with respiratory issues, likely thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Reishi mushrooms are usually found in capsule or tincture form, but can occasionally be found whole (which can then be used for cooking).

Ma huang: also known as Ephedra, ma huang needs to be used under a physician’s care. When used appropriately, ma huang will act as a natural bronchodilator, allowing constricted airways to open up.

Coleus forskohlii: another effective and natural bronchodilator, this treatment should be used with caution and should not be utilized by those taking an anticoagulant or any medication to lower blood pressure.

There are many effective treatments available to asthma sufferers aside from the typical albuterol inhaler. By applying one, some, or many of these natural therapies to your life, you can help control your asthma symptoms and diminish its hold on you.

Testing for Cancer: Understanding Laboratory Tests

Early detection is the single most important factor that will affect the success rate in fighting cancer. It is good to know, then, that there is even more that can be done than just checking your skin regularly for moles or giving yourself an at-home breast/prostate/other exams. There are also some lab tests that can be done to identify cancer in the body.

Although they are generally not 100% conclusive in themselves, these tests can be utilized as a full-bodied look into your risks for cancer and possible diagnosis. Below are some of the most effective cancer maker laboratory tests.

Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP): This test is especially effective in identifying liver and testicular cancers because of the increased amount of AFP in the body when these cancers are present. Some gastrointestinal cancers can also be identified by this test. Be warned that these levels may also be higher due to pregnancy, so if there is any chance you may be pregnant, it is not the most effective test for you at that time.

CA 15.3: Many patients with breast cancer have elevated levels of CA 15.3. This test can be especially important for those women with a history of breast cancer in their families.

CA 19.9: If suffering from frequent stomach issues, this may be a test you want to ask for. The test, along with a CEA marker test, can help identify gastric, pancreatic, or stomach cancers.

CA125: This test is more frequently being used to detect tumors, and especially to detect cancers of female reproductive organs. Elevated levels may also suggest pancreatic, lung, breast, and colon cancer. Be aware, however, that a test showing elevated levels of CA125 may also be a result of menstruation, ovarian cysts, pericarditis, or cirrhosis of the liver. The CA125 test can also be utilized throughout cancer treatment to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.

Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA): This test is used to screen for colorectal cancer and associated digestive tract cancers. It is often utilized for patients suffering from constipation, diarrhea, or bloody stool on a regular basis.

EVP: This test is a marker for nasopharyngeal cancer.

DR-70: This simple blood test can test for 13 different cancers, including cancers of the lung, breast, colon, stomach, rectum, liver, ovary, esophagus, cervix, pancreas, and thyroid.

T/Tn Antigen Test: It is believed that this test can identify many cancers in the body well before a biopsy would detect anything. By testing the concentration of the T and Tn antigens on blood and skin cells, the test can identify a cancer type and stage, and may even be able to indicate future development of cancer. The T/Tn Antigen Test so far has appeared to be 94% accurate in diagnosing lung cancers, and 80% accurate in diagnosing breast cancers. It was established by the Chicago Medical School, and you would need to contact a physician at the school for more information.

Conclusion

Not all of these tests are well-known, so you may need to ask your physician about them specifically, and discuss your options with your insurance. Most of these tests are most effective when combined with additional tests, due to the possibility of false positives or negatives with many of them. Discuss your options with your physician, and give yourself an advantage in the prevention of cancer.

D-Mannose: A Remarkable Nutritional Supplement for UTI

Urinary tract infections affect millions of Americans every year. In fact, UTI’s are the second most common infection, although they tend to affect women more often than men. The prevalence of UTIs and the frequent use of antibiotics to treat them is an increasing concern among healthcare professionals. Antibiotics kill not only bad bacteria, but also many of the good bacteria in your system. Also, reliance on antibiotics will significantly reduce your immune system and make you more susceptible to a wide variety of infections.

It’s good to know, then, that there is a natural supplement that can significantly improve urinary tract health and reduce one’s risk of contracting an infection: D-mannose.

How it Works

D-mannose is a little-known nutrient that has remarkable urinary health powers. D-mannose is a type of sugar similar to glucose. When in the body, this nutrient prevents bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract walls by preventing the bacteria fimbria (hair-like receptors) from grabbing on to your cells, thus preventing UTI’s and other urinary tract issues.

Because of this activity, D-mannose is believed to be just as effective as antibiotics in treating UTI’s early, and without any of the negative side effects. In fact, one study has shown that those that treat UTI with D-mannose will be less likely to suffer from another urinary infection in the near future than those that treated the infection with antibiotics.

To ensure urinary tract health, many health professionals recommend drinking cranberry juice regularly. Whether or not they know it, cranberry juice is so effective for UTI treatment, and overall urinary tract health, because it contains large amounts of D-mannose. Sugar, however, can cause bacteria to reproduce in the body which could be counterproductive when treating a UTI; thus, pure D-mannose is a better option than cranberry juice.

How to Use

So now you may be wondering how you would find and take D-mannose to keep your urinary tract healthy. D-mannose can be found in capsule form in most health food stores and is generally healthy for long-term use. You may also be able to find it in powder form; in this case, dissolve 1 teaspoon in a glass of water, drink, and repeat every three hours when you start to feel the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

If you take the powder form as a preventive measure, you can lower the dose, but still, take it daily. If you don’t feel comfortable taking D-mannose on a regular basis, you should at the very least utilize the nutrient right away as soon as you experience any of the symptoms associated with urinary tract infections.

Especially for those that suffer from urinary tract infections often, it would be wise to seek remedies to prevent UTI’s naturally and reduce the reliance on or frequent use of antibiotics (which can result in a whole host of health complications), and D-mannose is an excellent natural remedy to combat these infections.

In combination with the use of D-mannose, you should also be sure to drink plenty of water on a regular basis, get enough probiotics in your diet, eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, and go easy on the alcohol. Combining healthy lifestyle choices with this nutritional supplement will substantially reduce your risk of UTI’s.

9 Common Lies About Weight Loss

There are so many different tips and tricks for weight loss that it’s sometimes overwhelming. It’s hard to tell the fact from fiction. Your friends and family all swear they know the best ways to lose weight. Hundreds of magazines offer the same, sometimes totally wrong but sometimes helpful advice. Eventually, you’ll just have to find which techniques work best for you. Here are the nine most common lies about weight loss.

1. Don’t eat more than 1200 calories

It sounds pretty sensible. You want to weigh less, so eat less. However, everyone’s body is different and how many calories your body needs will be different from someone else. For whatever reason, 1200 has become the go-to number for how many calories you should have daily but it doesn’t really apply to everyone.

2. Drink a ton of water

The idea behind this is that if your stomach is full of water, you won’t feel a need to eat. This doesn’t work because your body will not retain the water. You’re just more likely to go to the bathroom more often than to curb your appetite. If you really want to feel full with less eating, choose foods that are high in both water and fiber.

3. Take various supplements

While taking vitamins can definitely help with your health, weight loss supplements cannot. Despite the fact that there is no hard science backing them, supplements get recommended time and again. It seems like a really easy way to get you closer to your goals but there are no magic pills for weight loss.

4. Try a popular diet fad

With the variety of dieting trends available, it’s easy to start to believe all the ads. However, just following a restricted-calorie diet or cutting out gluten won’t get rid of the extra weight. While you might get some other health benefits, you still need to make an overall lifestyle change if you want to not only lose the weight but keep it off, too. If you’re still wanting to try a diet program, make sure to research where and how you’ll get all the nutrients your body needs.

5. You can eat anything if you exercise

This is a pretty common and outrageous lie. Some people will assure you that you can eat anything you want so long as you hit the gym and burn it off. While exercise is definitely important, what you eat is also a crucial part of your weight loss routine.

6. Your health is determined by your size

A thin person is obviously healthy, while a larger person is not. While obesity is a marker for some health conditions, simply being thin does not give you a pass against disease. Despite outward appearances, your health is really determined by the things you can’t see. There is fat inside all types of bodies, no matter the size but what tends to matter is what type of fat and where it is.

7. Just skip meals

If you want to avoid putting any bad foods in your body, just don’t eat anything. Skipping meals is an extremely bad idea. You want to find the balance between nutrition and exercise. Simply not eating is not the way to do this. Skipping meals has harmful effects like fatigue, a drop in your blood sugar, loss of nutrients and incidentally, weight gain.

8. You won’t lose weight without cardio

When it comes to exercise, cardio is a great option because it will increase your blood flow and heart rate, which leads to fat burning. However, cardio alone isn’t the only way to lose weight nor should it be done alone. Strength training is also important because it will help build muscles and create a more toned look. It will also improve your bone strength and density.

9. Eating late at night cause weight gain

While late-night snacking doesn’t help, there really isn’t a correlation between when you eat and how much weight you gain. A greasy cheeseburger at 3 in the afternoon is going to have the same harmful effects as it would at 3 in the morning. What’s really detrimental about late-night eating is not the time, but how much you eat. If you starve yourself during the day, there’s a bigger chance you’ll overeat during the night.

10 Foods You Should Never Eat

With the rising debate of GMOs, voluntary dietary restrictions and the continued pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, food choices are in the spotlight. Whether for dieting or general health, choosing what to eat can be very difficult. Despite the fact that there are several foods that are really good for you, there are some foods that really don’t help your body. There are tons of chemicals and other dangerous ingredients put into them. Below are 10 foods that you should never eat.

  1. Farmed Fish

Fish is supposed to be one of the more natural food options. However, when it comes to farmed fish, it’s better to skip it altogether. Farmed fish do not offer the same benefits as naturally sourced fish. Some of the fish, like Atlantic salmon, are treated with pesticides that have already been banned for their high toxicity levels.

  • Canned Foods

Canned foods are popular because they are convenient. But the price of that convenience is damaging to your health. One of the most dangerous aspects of canned foods is the high level of BPA (bisphenol A). This is generally what gives canned food that fresh taste. But in our bodies, it mimics estrogen and causes multiple changes. For example, BPA can cause changes in breast tissue as well as irritable mood shifts.

  • Microwave Popcorn

A staple snack for a movie night or something between meals, microwave popcorn is not the healthy food it’s sold as. The fake butter flavor is achieved through the use of the chemical diacetyl. The sticky grease (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate) that coats the bags have also been linked to causing cancer.

  • Factory-Farmed Meat

Factory-farmed meat might give you the taste of the meat but it will also put chemical pesticides, fertilizers and growth hormones into your body. Unfortunately, farmed meats also contain banned antibiotics as well as arsenic levels toxic to humans. If you can, find a local farmer or rancher to get your meat without the chemical additives.

  • Artificial Sweeteners

Natural sugars sometimes get a bad reputation because of their harmful effects on the body. Artificial sweeteners, however, tend to be far worse. These products have been connected with the following conditions: brain tumors, seizures, weight gain, allergies, headaches, hypertension and multiple forms of cancer. There is also new research indicating that these could even cause diabetes.

  • Fat-Free and Low-Fat Milk

People try to cut calories anywhere they can and opting for fat-free or low-fat milk is one manner to do so. However, low and fat-free milk are usually packed with extra sugar, which adds its own detrimental effects. Despite the supposed benefits of a lower fat content, fat-free and low-fat milk can even lead to diabetes and heart disease.

  • Sugar Alcohols

Products that are marked sugar-free, including baked goods and gum, are just a few places where you can find sugar alcohols. You’ll usually see the word xylitol on the packaging as an indicator. They come from chemical processing of certain foods like corn. Some of the negative effects of sugar alcohol are bloating, rashes, gas, headaches and sometimes, even allergic reactions.

  • GMOs

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a controversial topic. While they do help with the amount of food available, there are major questions about the quality of it. One of the major problems with GMOs is that the foods that go into them are treated with harmful chemicals and toxic additives. GM foods can leave materials behind inside us, toxically affecting several organs and systems.

  • MSG

Most people think MSG is a flavor but that’s not what monosodium glutamate (MSG) is. MSG is a trigger that tells your taste buds to read a flavor more intense. Following the overexcitement of your mouth, the residual effects of MSG include brain damage, headaches, nausea, and wheezing. You’ll want to check the labels on your food before ingesting them to make sure there isn’t any MSG.

  1. Non-Dairy Creamers

Coffee has its own benefits without any additions. But some people add various syrups and flavors to their brew. One of the most common additives is creamer. Non-dairy creamers are packed with chemicals to mimic natural creams but carry much worse effects. Often times, there are ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, that are used despite causing liver-damage.

14 Health Issues Linked to Monsanto’s Roundup

When it comes to maintaining your lawn and keeping it free of weeds, Roundup is a very popular product. It’s marketed as an effective weed and grass killer. However, there are components to this that are extremely dangerous to humans. The company behind it, Monsanto, is more well-known for its controversies with GMO foods. But Roundup is used to treat both local residences and for-profit farms. Here are eight health issues connected with the use of Monsanto’s Roundup.

1. Autism

While the increase in autism among children can have a variety of factors, Roundup is definitely on the list. One of the main ingredients, after it enters our bodies, is broken down into ammonia. Typically, autistic children, as well as those struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, tend to have higher levels of ammonia in their blood. The reason is that using chemical killers like Roundup exposes the brain to toxic ingredients that could change it.

2. Celiac Disease

Because Roundup is used to help protect so many of the foods we eat, it’s inevitable that there will be some effects from ingesting it. Celiac disease is a condition in which the body becomes extremely sensitive to gluten. Furthermore, it causes other digestive issues as the body simply cannot break down the foods. There is generally an imbalance in your stomach’s bacteria levels as well as natural mineral deficiencies.

3. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is similar to, but far more excruciating than, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). This is caused by the body struggling to not only process the foreign chemicals but break them down so that they might be expelled. It’s believed that the internal damage causes small holes to develop in the stomach and allow for leaking. Once that extra fluid reaches the bloodstream, it triggers an automatic reaction from the immune system for repair.

4. Cancer

One of the most painful and extreme health consequences of using Roundup is the exposure to the carcinogen glyphosate. It’s an active ingredient in the product and unfortunately, does not show immediate side effects from the pesticide’s use. It’s also possible that the glyphosate lingers in both air, water and food when sprayed. This element is so dangerous that it doesn’t only affect those who use it, but even those exposed to it secondhand. Studies have shown that it can cause damage to unborn embryos and pregnant women.

4. Breathing Problems

In farming towns, there is a greater exposure to Roundup as it’s used in heavier dosages. It is spread by plane and can linger in the air or be carried by wind. The people in such communities, known as fumigated towns, reported higher instances of chronic respiratory problems.

5. Emotional Disorders

When the effects of pesticides are discussed, the topics usually focus on the body. But because the chemicals get into our bodies and gain access to our brains, Roundup can affect your mood. Our bodies produce serotonin and dopamine, which contribute to feelings of happiness. But the ingredient glyphosate can cause an imbalance in serotonin regulation, leading to poorer sleep, appetite, and mood.

6. Herbicide Drift

Even for those who choose not to use Roundup for farming or weed killing, there are still effects from those that do. There’s virtually no way to stop the Roundup from spreading. This excess product has harmful effects on unintended targets like water supplies and wildlife. The temperature changes can also affect how this spreads. One of the ways it spreads that cannot be controlled is through bees. The tiny creatures can’t differentiate from clean or contaminated flowers. And sadly, that is not the end of the harmful chemical’s journey. Once the toxins get into the nectar, they can seep into other products, like beeswax and honey.

7. Kidney Failure

In countries where farming is a major source of income, like Sri Lanka, India and across parts of Central America, there has been a sudden rise in kidney failure. Particularly, it’s the agricultural workers who are exposed to the glyphosate found in Roundup that are suffering from this condition. This is because once inside the body, it breaks down the renal tissue, causing pain and discomfort. It is the combination of this toxin with other metals that the workers are exposed to that trigger this disease.

8. Birth Defects

Roundup is known to disrupt the pathway of Vitamin A, which is vital to the normal development of a fetus. In Paraguay, women who were within 1 kilometer of fields sprayed with Roundup were over two times as likely to have a child born with birth defects.

These birth defects can be a number of things including growth hormone deficiency, hypospadias, a heart defect, and anal perforation. The rates of congenital birth defects have quadrupled in Chaco, Argentina in just 10 years after the arrival of Roundup Ready crops.

9. ADHD

There is a strong correlation between ADHD and Roundup exposure in farming communities, and this is likely because of the glyphosate’s ability to disturb the function of thyroid hormones.

10. Alzheimer’s Disease

In lab studies, Roundup has caused the same type of oxidative stress and nervous system cell death that is seen in those who have Alzheimer’s disease. It also affects CaMKII, which is an enzyme whose dysregulation is also linked to the disease.

11. Brain Cancer

One study has shown that in comparing a child with brain cancer to a healthy child, if either parent was exposed to Roundup in the 2 years prior to the child’s birth, the chances of the child developing brain cancer were twice as likely.

12. Heart Disease

Glyphosate is known to disrupt enzymes in the body, which can eventually lead to lysosomal dysfunction, which is a major cause in cardiovascular disease and heart failure.

13. Multiple Sclerosis

The thought on the link between MS and glyphosate is that the IBS caused by glyphosate may cause gut bacteria to leak into the vasculature, which triggers an immune reaction and autoimmune disorder leading to the destruction of the myelin sheath.

14. Reproductive Problems

Research in laboratory animals has shown that male rats who are exposed to high levels of Roundup during prenatal or pubertal development do suffer from reproductive problems like delayed puberty, decreased testosterone production, and decreased sperm production.

8 Things a Fast-Food Diet Will Do to Your Body

The food that a person consumes has a direct impact on their body—it is fuel for the body and will affect how someone feels as well as their overall health. Fast food is not necessarily bad, but most of the time it is over-processed and contains high amounts of added sugars, salt, unhealthy fats, and carbohydrates. It is a convenient and affordable way to fill up when on the go. While the occasional indulgence is okay, those who regularly consume fast food are doing considerable damage to their health.

1. Increase Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease

A component of fast food called 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b)pyridine, PhlP for short, is found in many grilled chicken foods in fast-food chains. It forms on the meat when it is heated to a certain temperature and is associated with colon, prostate, and breast cancer. Additionally, fast foods are made of saturated fatty acids, which are known to raise cholesterol levels in blood, leading to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Bloat

Some foods will naturally contain more sodium, but then sometimes sodium is added to food products as flavoring and preservatives. Too much sodium will cause the body to retain water, making for a bloated and puffy feeling.

3. Increase Risk of Obesity, Nutritionally Starve

Fast food is made up of empty calories, meaning that the fat cannot be used as energy. These calories have low nutritional value, and the body starts to lack the vital nutrients that it needs in order to function properly. The body is “full” with “empty foods”—meaning that while the food contains many calories, you will not have a feeling of satisfaction for very long. Weight gain occurs when a person consumes more calories in a day than they burn, and a typical fast food meal will hit or exceed the daily recommended calorie intake for an adult.

4. Your Skin Will Suffer

Eating an abundance of fast foods can cause issues with skin like acne. What is the cause of this? It is the simple sugars, empty carbs, and white flour. Because carbs increase blood sugar levels, this can also trigger acne. Adding soda to a fast food meal will dehydrate the body, which will pass the effects on to the skin.

5. Mental Health and Cognitive Function Decline

Saturated fats found in lots of fast food can have a negative impact on memory and brain function. Higher intake of these fats will also impair memory speed, flexibility, and prospective memory. One study showed that depression may be linked to the consumption of commercial baked goods. Those who consume fast food are 51% more likely to develop depression than those who are eating little to no fast food. Also, the more fast food that someone consumes, the more likely they are to develop depression.

6. Bones Weaken, Teeth Decay

The sodium that comes with fast food consumption can lead to overall weakness of the bones which could lead to osteoporosis—fragile and thin bones. As for your teeth, when you consume foods that are high in sugar and carbs, the mouth begins to produce acids. Acids will destroy tooth enamel—one of the leading factors in dental cavities. When teeth lose their enamel, there is no way to replace it. On top of this, bad oral health has also been linked to various other health problems.

7. Experience Lethargy or Hyperactivity

The high doses of fat that come with fast food also bring a large dose of calories. These huge portions will often times leave you feeling very full but very tired. On the flip side, artificial colors and preservatives taken in high doses can lead to an increase in hyperactivity.

8. Blood Sugar Spikes

High-carb foods will increase blood sugar. White-flour based foods like french fries or buns on a burger also have large amounts of white sugar. When these foods are consumed, and it leads to something like obesity and diabetes.

What’s Killing Our Bees?

With the familiar coming of spring, we expect warmer weather, longer days and the steady buzzing of bees as they fly around the flowers. But in recent years, there has been a steady decline in the number of bees. While animal population shifts are normal, this one is taking a dangerous turn. Because bees are one of our most important food pollinators, their loss will have a devastating effect on human life. Scientists and researchers have been searching frantically to find out what the cause of the decline is and how to stop it. Unfortunately, the cause is not a naturally occurring event and is actually something caused by humans.

Without the bees pollinating the various foods we eat, like blueberries, apples, onions and other fruit and vegetables, human beings lose out on their food supply. It’s been reported that over a quarter of the American diet is sustained by bees. And yet, the number of bees has diminished to a third of their numbers in the last decade. This phenomenon has been dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). One of the major factors being pinpointed for this decline is the continued use of stronger and more damaging pesticides.

These highly toxic pesticides are classified as neonicotinoids. Monsanto, a company known for its controversial production of genetically modified foods, is one of the companies that use these pesticides. These products are intended to specifically aid in the growing and manufacturing of GMOs. But, in this need to grow high numbers of GMOs, the pesticides and herbicides coating the produce are killing the bees. And they are also killing the other animals that come in contact with them. There have also been recorded declines in bird and butterfly populations in areas where these pesticides are being used.

Unlike other pesticides that are applied via topical spraying of vegetables or fruit after they’ve developed above ground, neonicotinoids are used much sooner. They are applied to the seeds of the intended produce before it is planted. This means that as the vegetables or fruit grow, they are already exposed and carrying the pesticides through their system. Eventually, the pesticide is exposed to the nectar and pollen, which then make their way to the bees.

Along with the death of the bees, there is also a decrease in the production of honey and damage to beehives as the bees become disoriented. The bee population decline is also an indicator of just how harmful neonicotinoids can be for other living creatures. Because the seeds are coated in the toxin before they get put into the ground, this means that the ground soil is also being treated with the pesticide. Sadly, there are no regulations on seed-coating pesticides.

The pesticide is not contained only to the seed once planted, it can spread through the soil and into the groundwater, causing many damaging effects to other unintended plants and animals, including humans. Not only is this toxin being spread through the ground, but it is also being spread through the air. Even if the bees do not have direct contact with the neonicotinoid-grown plants, the pesticide does not stick to the plant and can be carried via wind to other plants. This means that it is almost impossible for beekeepers to protect their products and bees. Other products, like Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, also spread in such a way that makes the bees more vulnerable to the effects of the pesticides.

The Colony Collapse Disorder focuses on how the bees function as a group and how the pesticides are tearing them apart. One of the problems is that because bees operate in a single-hive mind, they accept everything from each other. Unfortunately, this includes the exposure to pesticides that kill them. The colonies are failing and the bees dying because once exposed, forager bees that get affected do not return to their nests. This leads to a decrease in food production and also a decrease in the reproduction of adult bees. And without food sources from the foragers, the worker bees also die. So the neonicotinoids are having dangerous effects at all levels of the bees’ lives.

By demanding more regulation on seed-coating pesticides, supporting local, organic farmers and farmers’ markets, we can take steps to help stop the dying of bees.

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