Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Information If you are like most health conscious adults, you notice nutrition information on your favorite foods, and make good choices based on recommended nutritional guidelines. A great site to visit that has reliable nutrition information is, made available to consumers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Library. This site features discussion on all the latest nutrition news, in addition to answers to the most frequently asked questions about the latest dietary guidelines for all age groups. Nutrition information is included for everyone, including men, women, infants, children, adolescents, the elderly, and for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding. The revised Food Guide Pyramid is also discussed, and describes each food group, recommended number of daily servings, and how to get these foods into your diet. Getting proper nutrition through your diet does not have to be complicated. It is important to get nutrition information from reliable sources as discussed above, and to seek additional advice from a nutritionist or health care provider if needed. Multi-vitamins, herbs, and other supplements are not intended to take the place of eating a balanced diet; it is always better to get nutrients from the natural source rather than buy a manufactured version. When looking at food labels note how many servings are in the package, calories, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and nutrients, as well as the ingredients. Nutrition information is required by federal guidelines to be on every food label, so it is readily available to consumers to use in diet planning. Many of us are not aware of what is in some of our favorite foods; maybe we just don’t want to know! We all need to be health conscious about what we eat, and what we feed our families. There are many additives and food preparation processes that are not necessarily good for the food we are taking into our bodies therefore it isn’t good for us either. The Food Guide pyramid is full of basic nutrition information, and is a good place to start planning your diet and adjust according to your daily calorie requirements and your goal weight. If you want to lose weight then physical activity should be increased and food intake decreased, without jeopardizing nutrition of course. The key to living a long healthy life is to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Eat right, exercise regularly, reduce your stress level, and make healthy choices. It really is as easy as it sounds. Just remember, you are what you eat!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking now is probably the best thing you could ever do for yourself with respect to your health. And since your health pretty much will determine the quality of life you will have, it’s not a reach to say quitting smoking immediately is one of the best things you could do for yourself period. In other words, if you had a choice between a big promotion or a guaranteed way to quit smoking, it would be far wiser to choose quitting smoking. Unfortunately, there are of course no guarantees in quitting smoking but there are a lot of stop smoking programs to help. However, it isn’t a joke when people say that nicotine is the most addictive substance known to man; it is. With this in mind, its easy to see why even the best stop smoking programs have high failure rates. If you’re like me and you’ve ever been addicted to nicotine, you understand. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you are presently addicted and know what I’m talking about. You shouldn’t be discouraged by the statistics, however. Quitting smoking is definitely possible, and can be made a lot easier with the right stop smoking program and a positive mental attitude about it. Today the most effective commonly used stop smoking program involves the use of a prescription drug called Zyban. Zyban, which was originally intended as an anti-depressant, has been proven to lower nicotine cravings considerably, and has a significantly better success rate than traditional nicotine replacement therapies. For example, the studies I’ve seen show that people who used Zyban alone had a 30% success rate after a year, compared to 15% amongst those that just used nicotine replacement. Combining the two together in a stop smoking program improves these percentages even more. Without any kind of stop smoking program, the success rates after a year are only around 5%, so while the above percentages may seem low they are a huge improvement over the ‘cold turkey’ style. I personally didn’t use Zyban when I quit smoking, only because it wasn’t available then. I used the gum, and although I failed several times (three I think) I eventually got it right. You can expect failure if you want to quit smoking, but don’t let it get you down. You probably at least made some progress, and if you keep trying you’ll eventually get it. It isn’t a question of willpower or toughness, and there’s no reason to torture yourself with nicotine withdrawal if you are thinking about quitting; be smart and look into some stop smoking programs.

Migranie Treatments

Migraine Treatments If you suffer from migraine headaches you know how debilitating they can be. You have probably tried a number of migraine treatments with little or no relief as well, which makes you feel like banging your head against the wall. Why not, it couldn’t hurt any worse, right? You dread the moment you get the first sign, or aura, of a migraine coming on. You start to see spots, feel sensitive to light, smells, or sounds, and may feel dizzy or nauseated. You just want to find a dark room and tuck yourself into bed somewhere. Migraine sufferers are unable to function at work, school, or anywhere else for that matter. According to The National Migraine Association, also known as MAGNUM (, reports that 36 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. With improved recognition of symptoms and diagnosis by health care providers, a 60% increase in migraine sufferers has been noted over the past decade. Migraines are different in each individual and not everyone experiences the same symptoms, which is why some migraine treatments are more effective than others, making the process somewhat complicated. Migraine headaches are a neurological disease with biological causes that are often hereditary. Migraine treatments have improved immensely over the years, but are not effective for everyone, not to mention the side effects that some people experience. Migraine treatments are divided into separate group. There are preventive or prophylactic medications and alternative therapies for migraine treatment, and there are those that work to ward off symptoms once a migraine has ensued. Prescribed medications used in migraine treatment are beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, anti-depressants, and Depakote (an anti-seizure drug). Alternative prophylactic migraine treatments include feverfew leaf, butterbur root, vitamin B12, and magnesium supplementation. New research is also looking to the gut, which may be the origin of migraine headaches in some sufferers. If preventive therapy is not completely effective, prescription medications such as Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, Relpax, Midrin, and Migranal can be used which lessen the severity and duration of migraines by initiating cerebral vasoconstriction. If migraine treatment is sought in a physician’s office or emergency room, a narcotic injection can be administered, such as Stadol, Phenergan, or Vistril, which are non-vasoconstricting agents used in the event other treatments are contraindicated. These are all effective migraine treatments, but remember that not all will help every migraine sufferer. Other alternative treatments such acupuncture, biofeedback, and chiropractic manipulation have also proven to be effective migraine treatments in some patients. Avoiding certain migraine triggers is an important intervention that can be used by all “migrainuers”, such as avoiding certain foods and alcoholic beverages than have caused migraines in the past, and wearing sunglasses in bright sunlight. If you suffer from migraine headaches and you are not getting relief from your current migraine treatment regimen, then schedule a consultation with your health care provider. It is possible to get better relief and have fewer episodes, which will greatly improve your emotional outlook and quality of life.

Grocery Stores Online

Grocery stores online have got to be some of the finest uses of the Internet and public service arenas combined…ever. First, the busy mom or dad who spends hours working, commuting, tending to kids, preparing for work or events, and grooming, exercising, and etc. gets a waiver of time-reduction—as he/she doesn’t have to drive to the grocery store, ward off the crazy parking lot drivers, fuss with the overabundance of similar but taunting products, or stand in any line to be assisted by any surly checker. But grocery stores online appeal, especially, to those of us who cannot stand public interaction…save those that allow for minimal interaction or contact with the human race. Of many miserable accounts, here is one single incident—minor, but unnerving enough to justify shopping grocery stores online: I lived in the city for fifteen years. Ten of those years I lived in an in-law apartment across the street from a major supermarket chain store, one which I frequented about three times a week. The checkers were never all that sociable, but they were polite and efficient, and once I learned the standards, did things like bag my own groceries, and all, I was able to get in and out without eventfulness. One afternoon, however, I stood in a line for a checker I had never connected with before. I usually shopped very early in the morning and she was, I think, from another store branch. I had about six items in one of those carry baskets. I put the basket on the belt. I stood in front of her. She stopped, put her histrionic hand on hip, started chicken-necking, and ranted, “What? You aint gonna take those things out the basket for me??!!!” I was appalled. Here was this public service person, getting paid three times as much as I was at the time, lazily grunting at her customers, and screaming about items in a basket, which from what I recall were not only no different than the zillions of other items the hundreds of other checkers had had no problem removing and dinging over a scanner (or had usually insisted I leave in the basket, just as easy, they’d said)…but were items that when purchased would pay this psycho lazy bitch’s salary. Yeah, I will gladly use grocery stores online, now. More telling is how grocery stores online help those who don’t just dislike the nasty public but are actually phobic about it. I know a number of people for whom using the grocery store online would be taking the healthiest path of least resistance. In fact, the first time I learned of the dynamic of grocery stores online, I was living with a dear friend who was agoraphobic. She hated, dreaded, even feared going out, and as a freelance artist who had clients come to her and who used the Internet for almost everything, my friend found one of the first (I think) grocery stores online, a store and driver company that took orders online then delivered them within hours to the house. So grocery stores online are great for busy people. They are super for freelancers. And they are ideal for those of us who, for the most part, prefer to deal with the “human” element as little and less often as possible.

Downloadable Books

With the advances in technology you can now read books right off your computer screen. Many of these books are in the PDF file format. There are a lot of websites where you can find downloadable books. Some sites offer the books for free and some sites you can get them for a reasonable price. The great thing about downloadable books is they are generally less expensive than a printed copy and when you are finished with it they definitely take up less space. If you are looking for a classic novel by a famous author then chances are you will be able to find it on the net in a downloadable version. Many sites offer classic downloadable books. One nice option with some sites on the Internet is that sometimes you can pay a one time fee, whether it is yearly or monthly, where you have access to their database of downloadable books. This way you can download as many as you want and read them at your leisure. They are a great travel option. If you travel a lot and are on the road for your job then downloadable books are a nice thing to have. Instead of lugging around many books you can download as many as you want on a laptop and read them wherever you are. If you have an office job and want to spend a quiet lunch hour reading than these books can be an option. You can download the books from the computer at work and either save them on a key, disc, or CD and them read them at work whenever you would like. A convenient advantage to them is the fact that you can highlight, place bookmarks, and underline whatever you would like for future references. All of the marks you put on the book can be removed later which can not be said about print books. This can be good if you are using downloadable books for a research paper or work project. Considering that you download the book onto a computer if you like the book and want to give it to a friend or find a book useful for a coworker than all you have to do is send them an e-mail with an attachment of the books. This can be an inexpensive option if you love a book and want to share it with others. Along those lines you do need to remember that some sites frown upon the idea of sharing downloadable books in this fashion. After all, they way they make their money is through selling books, both the old-fashioned way and the new high tech way.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Alternative Fuel Sources

Alternative sources of fuel for cars may be too little too late, but they are certainly better than nothing. In many cities all across the nation, alternative fuel sources are becoming increasingly popular, as people begin to plan for what looks to be a bleak energy future. The importance of alternative fuel sources can not be overrated. We have reached the half way point for oil consumption, and from here on in, it will get more and more expensive to extract smaller and smaller amounts of oil, resulting in the end of fossil fuel use. The sooner we switch to alternative fuel sources, the better, but it seems that our economy is so completely dependent on gasoline that switching might not be enough to save us now. Solar is a really useful alternative fuel source which will always be available. Although solar power is not one of the alternative fuel sources for cars, it is a great source of power for houses. A few solar panels can provide all of the heating needed for the water tanks, and for the house as well. It is even possible for a house to become completely powered by alternative fuel sources, although this is still often an expensive option. Alternate fuel sources for cares are varied. Hybrid cars, although technically not using alternative fuel sources, have found ways to make gas consumption much more efficient. These vehicles can get 50 miles per gallon or more out of conventional fuel! This is, in my opinion, better than alternative fuel sources which involve the inefficient burning of vegetable oil. Biodeisel, and ethanol powered cars, while eliminating our dependence on oil through using alternative fuel sources, still pollute the environment with their smoke. Does it make sense to switch to an alternative fuel source which does every bit as much to pollute as the one which we were using before it? It sure does not make sense to me! Two of the most promising alternative fuel sources are electricity and hydrogen. These alternative fuel sources are actually closely related; hydrogen is a highly efficient way to store power which can be then converted into electricity in the car. This alleviates the need for huge, bulky, heavy batteries. The car can be lighter, which means that it can be more efficient and easier to maintain. If these alternative fuel sources are perfected, they might form the best solution to all of our fuel problems.