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WomenVitamins: Sleep Tight, Sweet Dreams


Do You Still Dream?
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Cold winter nights, warm winter blankets, snuggled in with your faithful partner , be they 2 or 4 legged. Sounds like the perfect framework for a good night’s sleep… and a recipe for sweet dreams and restful awakenings.

Unfortunately, the National Sleep Foundation says the average woman gets just over 6 hours of sleep during her workweek, significantly less than the recommended sleep of 7 to 9 hours for adults.

According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin County Medical Center , insomnia refers to the inability to get the amount of sleep you as an individual need to wake up feeling rested.

Symptoms of insomnia include:

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up frequently during the night
  • difficulty returning to sleep
  • waking up too early in the morning
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • daytime sleepiness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability

There are some simple solutions:

Plan a “bumper” of down time.   It is recommended that you allow at least 3 hours between exercise and sleeping.  Avoid caffeine and heavy meals before bedtimes as well.

Make your room a haven.  Dedicate the space to sleep and love.  Move the TV out, install a ceiling fan for cool breezes and masking external noises.  Darken the windows, and reduce the number of LED lights (blue or red lights from power cords, alarm clocks, ipods, chargers, computers) in your room.

Maintain a route.  Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.  You can’t make up for lost sleep by sleeping in on weekends.  If you sleep late just once or twice a week you have a harder time falling asleep during the rest of the week.

Calm your mind.  If you find yourself making mental lists of unfinished tasks, try writing them down before bedtime.  Don’t use bedtime as a time to chastise yourself for mistakes or to dream up “what-if” scenarios.   Pray, meditate, and practice deep breathing exercises to relax your body and soul.

Remember that how you perform during the day is directly related to how well and how long you slept the night before.  Insufficient sleep leads to irritability, premature aging, and is associated with a number of diseases—(such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.)  Poor sleep habits also lead to irritability, premature aging, and increased morbidity.

Allow yourself the luxury of sleep: “to sleep, perchance to dream”, and you will reap the benefits all day long.

Be safe, sweet dreams, be healthy, be blessed, Kersten   WomenVitamins

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Eating Healthy: Small Steps for Big Results


Happy Thanksgiving
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Healthy eating doesn’t sound like the right topic for a holiday-season blog, but healthy eating is a gift to yourself: it can protect you from disease and give you the gifts of better health and longevity.  Just a few simple changes can help a woman dodge some significant health threats.

Choose whole grains instead of refined ones.  Studies indicated that 3 servings of whole grains per day can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 36%.  Whole grains provide fiber and antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E.  These work to reduce inflammation, and lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.  Use brown rice instead of white.  It has twice the fiber and will make you feel fuller, longer thus helping your diet.  Grab an oatmeal raisin cookie instead of a chocolate chip, and eat wheat crackers instead of normal saltines.

Include protein with every meal.  Doubling your protein intake will help you shed those unwanted pounds, as well as lessen your risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.  Amino acids in protein send signals to the brain that reduce the appetite.  Protein also has the highest thermogenic effect…it requires more calories to digest protein than other foods.  You could lose an additional 70 calories a day (equivalent to 8 pounds a year) with no effort.  Studies indicate that if you are serious about losing and maintaining weight loss, 5-6 small meals per day focusing around quality protein intake can substantially decrease your weight, increase your energy while energizing you as well.

Drinking 3 glasses of fruit or vegetable juice in the morning can slash your risk of Alzheimer’s by 76%.  Polyphenols in fruit and vegetable skins and pulp buffer brain cells from oxidative damage.  Just be careful of juices loaded with sugar, or juices that really offer very little actual juice.

Peppers, oranges, peaches, and papaya are loaded with beta cryptoxanthin; a carotenoid that reduces the risk of lung cancer by up to 30% says the American Cancer Research Institute.  It neutralizes free radicals so they can’t damage the DNA, and it keeps the growth of any cancer cells that do develop, under control.

Stop sipping on sodas…Tufts University says that soda is the biggest source of calories in the American diet.  Drinking just one soda a day can put on 14 pounds in a year and can up your risk of having type-2 diabetes by 83%.  Jazz up your water with fresh squeezed lemons or limes, sliced apples or cucumbers.  Adequate hydration can also lessen your can of suffering a heart attack by 50%.

Eat dark chocolate.  It hardens tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay.  In fact an extract in chocolate rights cavities better than fluoride according to Tulane University.

Be safe, be healthy, find a quality protein supplement, take your WomenVitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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Vitamins for Women: Lay Ladies Lay


Mother hen with chicks02

Image via Wikipedia

Childhood Memories

Image by garden beth via Flickr

My grandpa was a farmer down in southern Minnesota…and his farm in Paradise Valley along the Root River, is the spot of my most cherished, childhood memories.  I loved being there, tagging along with my grandpa and daddy as they did the morning and evening chores, cut hay, harvested crops, and chopped silage.

The dairy barn was an exciting place filled with the sights and smells of larger than life dairy cows and their calves, barn kittens, and hay lofts.

I was specifically warned never to be anywhere near the pig pens, and told dire stories of small children and careless adults– mauled and even eaten by swine herds.

The one place I could go alone was to the chicken coop.  I was given a small pail and told that I could collect all the eggs I could find, and my grandma would make them into breakfast for us when we returned to the house.

Finding eggs was a challenge…my grandma’s chickens were free range birds, only corralled into the coop at night to keep them safe from the occasional fox or owls on the prowl.  So not all the hens obliged and sat on their nests in the roost, many of these barnyard gypsies would casually lay eggs in random spots and walk off without a backwards glance.  It was a grand victory to discover hidden eggs and return triumphant with a pail full of beautiful, smooth, warm, brown eggs.

…Eggs have gotten a lot of bad press over the past few years.  For the longest time they were accused of causing heart problems and high cholesterol…perish the thought of egg yolk passing your lips.

But once again, the pendulum has swung and now studies show that actually, eggs are beneficial for optimal health and weight loss.

First, let’s consider the 2 most popular “villainies” of the egg:

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

New research also shows that moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. Yup, that’s right: the regular consumption of 2 eggs/day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. We know now that saturated fat raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.  Eggs contain 5 grams of fat/egg and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.

So with those 2 misconceptions out of the way, consider this:

  • Overweight adults who eat 2 eggs for breakfast feel more energetic and lose 65% more weight than those who start their mornings with an equally caloric bagel.
  • Other findings reveal that egg-eaters consume 300 fewer calories per day, adding up to a loss of three pounds per month, due to the fact that an egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.  The protein just makes you feel more satisfied and less hungry.  “Eggs help level out blood sugar, provide energy-boosting protein and are full of nutrients,” says wellness coach Jessica Smith.
  • Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day lowers the risk of developing cataracts and may prevent macular degeneration due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin that are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.
  • Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
  • One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline, an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
  • Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.
  • Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair grows faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

I love eggs: hard boiled, scrambled, tossed into egg salad. I’m glad they are being vindicated.

Today, I wax nostalgic in the egg section of the grocery store.  I fondly buy free range, brown eggs, and gladly pay the extra dollar in hopes that this small contribution allows some hen the good fortune to roam at will, being wild and wily, just like my grandma’s birds.

Be healthy, take your women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: The Low Down on High Blood Pressure


The most efficient way to pack different-sized...
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Summer time should be the perfect time…but the stress of high temperatures, the strain of kids out of school, the extra expenses of vacations and the high cost of utility bills can put our happiness, our health, and our hearts at risk.

An estimated 60 million Americans have high blood pressure (or hypertension), an increase of 10 million over the last 10 years. Most people aren’t even aware that they have high blood pressure and it goes untreated. Yet, hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (heart diseases), and is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

It is estimated that high blood pressure  has or will affect 90% of Americans at one time or another. Main causes of this condition include lifestyle factors that are controllable: eating a high-grain, high-sugar diet and not exercising and factors and some factors that are out of our control: excessive stress.

Happily, most people can normalize their blood pressure by following a healthy nutrition plan, participating in exercise, and rebalancing emotions and stress responses.

One old standby to combat high blood pressure is vitamin C.  Studies of the effect of Vitamin C in relation to hypertension go back well over a decade.  It is a powerful antioxidant that has continually proven its efficacy against hypertension.

A study (published in the Lancet ,1999) of 45 people with hypertension, noted that blood pressure levels fell by 9.1% after taking 500 mg supplement of vitamin C daily for a month. Duffy SJ, Gokce N, Holbrook M, et al. Treatment of hypertension with ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, may lower blood pressure by protecting the body’s supply of nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels, contributing to healthy blood pressure levels. Studies have also shown that vitamin C may help protect against certain cancers and chest pain when consumed as part of a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Recently, 2 studies (Brazilian and Israeli) looked at the benefits of vitamin C on hypertension and blood sugar levels.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, led by Erika E Nishi, focused on the results of specific testing on 32 male Wistar rats, and determined that vitamin C lessened the severity of hypertension and protected blood cells against hypertension-induced genotoxicity. (Genotoxicity is a property possessed by some substances that makes them harmful to the genetic information contained in organism).   Brain, liver and heart cells were all protected by vitamin C after hypertension-induced DNA damage.    Human & Experimental Toxicology

Israeli researchers gave 70 patients from their hypertension clinic either a placebo, or a combination of antioxidants: vitamin C (1,000 mg/day), vitamin E (400 iu/day), coenzyme Q10 (120 mg/day) and selenium (200 mcg/day).

Participants were tested at 3 and 6 months.  Both testings showed those who took the supplements had improved blood sugar control, lowered blood pressure, significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol,  and healthier arteries.  Those who took the placebo showed no differences.

The bad news is high blood pressure is a silent threat to your health and the number of people suffering from high blood pressure is increasing.

The good news is that taking steps to provide yourself with a nutritious diet, simple exercises, proper supplementation, and practicing stress reduction techniques like EFT, can help guard you from something as potentially dangerous as hypertension.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM; Washington, DC) estimated that hypertension prevalence might be reduced by as much as 22% if Americans consumed less salt in their diet and ate more vegetables, fruit, and lean protein.  A recent study calculated that reducing salt intake from 3,400 milligrams to the currently advised maximum intake level of 2,300 milligrams per day could bring down the number of individuals with high blood pressure by about 11.1 million and result in approximately $17.8 billion in health care cost savings annually.  The committee also estimated that an initiative to help overweight and obese Americans each lose 10 pounds could reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure in the overall population by 7 to 8%.  An exercise program that gets physically inactive people more active could decrease prevalence by 4 to 6%.

Be safe, be healthy, take your Women Vitamins and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Water Flavored by Design & Desire


GLOBAL TAP WATER CAMPAIGN
Image by Post Scriptum via Flickr
The weather is darn hot in Texas….and humid.  Seems like every day is a “3 outfit day”, to quote Kelly, a friend of mine.   Now I was brought up on the axiom, “Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow” and I find that I’m in a perpetual state of glow.
Considering that 25% of what you “eat” normally, everyday, is liquid; I’ll bet that during the summer, that percentage pops right up there to 50%.  I was once told that if you wait until you are thirsty to drink, you are already in a state of dehydration.  The trick then is to drink constantly and consciously.

I have water jugs placed strategically around the house.  One in the library, one by my bed, one on the kitchen working block, one in the master bath, one in the living room, one by the back door, one in the car….I think I have all the bases covered.

I can drink it cold from the fridge or room temperature.  I like the feel of water on my cheeks and tongue, I swirl and swish it around in my mouth, to prolong the pleasure of it.

Drinking water is good for you; absolutely vital for you during these hottest of days.  But, sometimes our mouth just craves a bit of difference, a bit of flavor.  Bottled, flavored water is ok in a pinch, but be aware of added sugar, which doesn’t help your health or your waistline, and the fact that it is probably artificially flavored, and has been sitting around for a certain amount of time.

So, what can you do with water from home, either from the tap or from your reverse-osmosis system?  How do you jazz it up and take your ordinary, water in the fridge into that spa water realm?  You can design any flavor combination that you desire.  It’s fun, it’s easy, and you can come up with your own “signature” water.

Starting with a water container full of water: just be creative.   I have tried adding:

Cucumber/Rosemary Water:
add 10 cucumber slices and a branch of fresh rosemary

Cucumber/Lime/Mint Water:
add 8-10 cucumber slices, 1/2 a sliced lime, 2 sprigs of bruised mint

Cucumber/Mint Water:
add 10 cucumber slices and 5 sprigs of fresh mint (bruise slightly before adding)

Honey/Mint/Green Tea:
add 2 green tea bags and 5 sprigs of fresh, bruised mint, let steep in the sunshine until the water is lightly golden, then add a small amount of honey to taste.

Lemon/Orange Water:
slice and add 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 an orange

Green Apple/Orange Water:
3-4 thin slices of green apple (sprinkle lemon juice on the slices)1/2 orange sliced

Grape and Pomegranate:
15-20 grapes halved and add half a pomegranate (just be sure to sieve the pomegranate seeds as you pour)

Adding a pinch of sea salt to your water helps with electrolyte (ionic) balance when you have been perspiring.  Never add enough to taste the salt outright, just enough to ‘season’ the water.  My favorite sea salt is Redmond’s Real Salt from Utah.

You can add several drops of green tea extract which concentrates the benefits of green tea.

Ginger adds a zing to water (probably best if you add the ginger to hot water, let it steep, then chill)

Herbs like lemon-grass and parsley should be  bruised and added to water.

Crushed blueberries and strawberries impart a delicate flavor, but need to steep for 24 hours.

Apple cider vinegar can be added as well, which provides an ‘apple-ish’ taste and acutally helps neutralize overly acidic systems.

So drink when you think about it, and drink when you don’t!

Stay hydrated, be healthy, be happy, be safe, take your women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Some -ing’s Worth Consider-ing


Women Vitamins wishes you health and happiness

We all desire health and happiness….but it’s hard to be happy if you are sometimes feeling off-centered, and not quite right.  Nothing to run to a doctor about, maybe just tired, or achy…

I have studied alternative healing methods long enough to understand that there are many simple techniques that  alleviate common ailments.  Some might be considered folk-remedies, others are re-alignments that adjust the energy levels of the body, mind, and soul.

Tapping

Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) was founded by Gary Craig…  and is continued on by hundreds of thousands of people, including such as Dr Mercola whose mercola.com is the #1 natural health newsletter online.

If you are fatigued, tap on the top of your head or on top of your hand between the thumb and forefinger.

If you are tense, tapping behind your ears or between your eyebrows can instantly relax you.

The premise of EFT is a little more complex than random tapping…and it insists that addressing underlying emotional issues assists with physical well being.

Rubbing

Upset stomach, morning sickness, post operative nausea, motion sickness?  Lightly rub the inside of your forearm about an inch and a half up from the base of your palm (Pericardium 6 accupressure point) that immediately and effectively reduces stomach queasiness.

Throat tickles can be subdued by gently rubbing your ear.  The nerves in your ear are connected to nerves in your throat, and rubbing calms the throat nerves.

Settling

To lower blood pressure, be quiet!  Being still, non-verbal and consciously breathing deeply and slowly can reduce blood pressure by 10-50% according to the University of Maryland…being quiet even reduces BP who use sign language!

Smiling

Prevent heart disease by laughing.  Cardiologist at the U of M School of Medicine in Baltimore found that laughing releases endophins (nitric oxide) that relax blood vessels by an average of 22%, resulting in a better blood flow, a sign of healthy arteries.

Live longer—smile!  Sincere smiling seems to promote a longer life-span, and encourages a more positive grateful response to the world.  Smiling also begets smiling…you get what you give.

Chilling

Toothache?  Try chilling the webbing between your thumb and forefinger on the hand on the same side as the toothache.  Rub an ice-cube on the webbed area for about 7 minutes and see a marked decrease in your tooth pain.   Nerve pathways at the base of that V area stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from your head and your hand.

Head aches?  Try the ice cube rubbed on the V portion of the hand, or on the sides of your temples. On your temples, the chill of the ice-cube being rubbed tends to lessen blood flow which may be causing the headache.

Swinging

Swinging your arms vigorously back and forth, 10 to 100 times, is an ancient Chinese headache remedy.  The number of swings depends on the severity of your headache.  Swinging diverts the blood from your head to your extremities, which then reduces the swelling of blood vessels that may cause your headache.  Swinging also encourages blood flow, keeps your hands from swelling, and works on your balance.

Focusing

Warts disappear with vivid imagery….yes, it’s true!  Canadian researchers found that focusing your thoughts on the warts gradually disappearing, actually caused warts to disappear.  Volunteers spent 5 minutes a day visualizing their warts diminishing and then disappearing….and they did!  Those with best results were those who reported vivid images on the first day they tried this technique.  SO FOCUS!

Rewarding

Chocoholics rejoice!  Chocolate calms chronic coughs.  University College London, discovered that theobromine, and ingredient in cocoa is 33% more effective at relieving chronic coughs than codeine.  Theobromine suppresses vagus nerve activity, responsible for causing coughs…..dark chocolate contains 5-10 X’s more theobromine than milk chocolate.  Chocolate also releases endorphins, those good feelings.

Chewing

Boost your memory and concentration by chewing spearmint gum.  Chewing while learning new facts, increases blood flow to the brain by 25-40% and improves your memory of those new facts.  Studies have shown that students chewing gum do better on math tests.  The spearmint flavor may have something to do with it too, as those who only sucked on their gum had increased memory as well.

Gum chewing reduces muscle tension and stress, and it heightens awareness; 2 reasons why the Army has supplied spearmint gum to soldiers since WW1.

Playing

Increase libido by playing competitive sports…tennis, flag football, soft ball…competition raises a woman’s level of testosterone by 49% .   The higher this hormone, the higher your sex drive.  Just thinking about participating in competitive sports can raise the testosterone level in a woman by as much as 24%….A man’s testosterone level rises by 15% if he participates….but if he loses, unlike women, his testosterone levels plunge…

Turning

Restless sleep?  Could be due to heartburn that you aren’t even aware of.  Try sleeping on your left side.  The esophagus is raise, making it much harder for stomach acid to leak up.  Surprisingly, the opposite is true if you are sleeping on your right side.

Supplementing

Overall health and reduced waistlines?  In spite of recent controversy, a  Chinese study released in March, 201o  found that women who took a multivitamin/ mineral supplement had significantly lower body weight, body mass index, fat mass, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, while also demonstrating higher resting energy expenditure and HDL cholesterol.  Their respiratory quotient and waist circumference also improved.

Blessing

Be healthy, be safe, take your vitamins for women, and be blessed, Kersten

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Women Vitamins: Turmeric: Golden Spice-Golden Promise


golden greetersSunny days of summer, and I have planted golden marigolds to greet any visitors at my door.  I love their warm color, their optimism, and their hardy nature.  They also remind me of India…and thoughts of India remind me of that wonderful, holy spice: turmeric.

Turmeric has been used as a holy spice in both India and China for thousands of years.  It is considered holy because of all the benefits that come from using turmeric: it heals wounds, cures infections, and has a whole host of other benefits.

Recently, research  has focused on turmeric’s main ingredient: curcumin.  It seems to have an  astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, and antiviral properties.

Turmeric has been shown to influence more than 700 genes and seems to actually
  • Strengthen and improve digestion
  • Support healthy liver function and detoxification
  • Purify the blood
  • Fight cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Contributes to well-being with anti-inflammatory properties
Evidence also suggests turmeric may play a beneficial role in fighting:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Gallstones
  • Muscle regeneration
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

In 2009 researchers discovered that curcumin acts by inserting itself into cell membranes thus making them more orderly; a move that improves cells’ resistance to infection and malignancy.

Scientists speculated that curcumin did its health-promoting work by interacting directly with membrane proteins, but the 2009 findings suggest that curcumin  regulates the action of membrane proteins indirectly, by changing the physical properties of the membrane.

Curcumin “disciplines” cells and get them back into working order. When curcumin enters a cell, the study’s lead researcher Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy (University of Michigan)  said:
“The membrane goes from being crazy and floppy to being more disciplined and ordered, so that information that flows through it can be controlled.”
This not only improves your cells’ resistance to infections, but it also may help prevent cancer.”
Turmeric is commonly used in India, and the prevalence of 4 common U.S. cancers — colon, breast, prostate and lung — is 10x’s lower.  In fact prostate cancer, so devastatingly common in America, seldom afflicts Indian men.
Curcumin has been shown to:
  • Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
  • Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
  • Help the body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Enhance liver function
  • Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
  • Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth
Research from the University of Texas: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, have found that curcumin blocks a key biological pathway needed for development of arthritis, melanoma, and other cancers including breast and pancreatic cancers.
Turmeric can be used in your cooking routinely…it adds a warm, earthy tone to pork and chicken, does wonders in curry sauces, on cauliflower, and in egg salad.  If the flavor doesn’t appeal to you, there are always supplements in capsule form.  Be wary of buying curry powder, as the amount of turmeric in curry powder is minimal.
Be healthy, be safe, take your women vitamins and be blessed, Kersten
-as always, this article is for educational and informational purposes only…any regime should be carefully thought out and planned with your health care provider…
holy spice of India

Curcumin plant of golden promises

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Vitamins for Women: Beware the Way of some Whey


Protein powdered shake mixes are found in every super market, health food store, and chain-store in America. The benefits of protein are well documented, and protein shakes offer an easy, quick, and often economical method of getting your daily requirements.

WomenVitamins: P3 Protein Shakes for Women

WomenVitamins offers an excellent whey protein shake for women that has been specially formulated with flax-seed for Omega 3 Oils, vitamins and minerals, and digestive enzymes for the most efficient use of the product.  Whey protein was specifically chosen, over other forms of protein, for its many health benefits.

Whey protein:
  • promotes g healthy insulin secretion
  • helps your pancreas-produced insulin work effectively
  • supports balanced blood sugar levels
  • provides an excellent source of  proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
  • supports the  immune system  (contains immuno-globulins)
  • preserves lean body tissue (especially during and after exercise)
  • provides bio-available amino acids and cysteine
  • maintains/preserves normal blood pressure levels
However, with all that said, please note that ALL whey protein powders are NOT the same!
The July 2010 issue of Consumer Report has an article focused on whey protein supplements.  CR purchased 15 whey protein powders, ran tests on them, and came up with some pretty unexpected results….  Several of the  leading brands were found to contain heavy metal contamination (arsenic, cadmium. mercury, and lead)  Of the 15 tested, the 3 most contaminated were Muscle Milk’s Chocolate and Vanilla Creme and EAS’s Original Rich Dark Chocolate.
If you consumed the recommend 3 servings/day of Muscle Milk’s Chocolate, you would ingest:
  • 5.6 micrograms of cadmium
  • 13.5 micrograms of lead
  • 12.2 micrograms of arsenic
  • 0.7 micrograms of mercury
EAS’s Chocolate contained:
  • 16.9 micrograms of arsenic
  • 5.1 micrograms of cadmium
(The United States Pharmaceutical/ USP limit for arsenic is 15 micrograms/day and 5 micrograms/day for cadmium.)
Low level exposure to arsenic can cause nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels, and a”pins and needles” sensation in hands and feet.
Long-term exposure to arsenic may cause cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver and prostate.
Cadmium is also a known human carcinogen that damages DNA and disrupts the  DNA repair system which helps prevent cancer.  It accumulates in the body, damages kidneys,and can take up to 20 years for your body to eliminate cadmium on its own.
Unfortunately, heavy metals like cadmium, are entering our systems from common foods  (leafy greens, rice, potatoes), as agricultural fertilizers can contain these heavy metals.
As I have offered before: develop your own organic food sources…plant some of your own foods and  find  local, organic farmers’ markets.
Check on your protein source’s reliability.  Look for quality protein shakes, like Women Vitamins: P3 Whey Protein Powder.
Be healthy, stay safe, take your WomenVitamins, and be blessed, Kersten
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Women Vitamins: Soap, Soil, and Soul


Making Mud Pies
Image by ‘Playingwithbrushes’ via Flickr

After a long dreary winter, the sun shines bright and hearts are light, deep in the heart of Texas….. Spring is here with the jasmine and roses in bloom, the greening of oak and lawns…. I remember spring days as a child. The joy of being outdoors unfettered by snow suits and boots, mittens and scarves….oh the freedom and pleasure of spring in Dakota.

Making mud pies was an all time favorite sport. Normally, my fastidious mother discouraged gratuitous encounters with dirt. But making that perfect mud pie was an art. Patting that mud into a workable consistency, forming it into the pie shape, using the fore-finger to finesse the edges on that crust….mmmmm.. (I wonder if that is why I love working clay into sculptures and do all my own lawn work?)

I can’t remember the last time I saw a child playing in the mud…..I don’t count my intermediate students who purposefully stride thru mud as players.

I feel sort of sad for them….we are disconnected from our Earth and have lost the cycles of preparing soil and sowing  and reaping.

We don’t put our hands in the soil, we don’t connect with the microbes that support our healthy lives. In fact, we do our best to avoid any and all bacteria, to our own ultimate detriment.

In the art room, kids will ask to go to the restroom to wash their hands. I point at the sinks in our room and say “Ok, wash!” The look at the sink and then at me and say, “But there’s no soap.” I point to the soap bars by the sink, and they look bewildered. Can you believe 12 and 13 year olds are not recognizing soap if it is not in a foam or cream formate?

The most common forms of soap are now anti-bacterial, which sounds great– in theory. But the fact is, we need bacteria. Not all bacteria are bad. Bacteria are fundamental for our immune and digestive systems. We are anti-bacterializing our everyday world, we avoid the Earth; we are cleaning ourselves into poor health and possibly death.

Not only are we targeting bacteria, we are also doing it with a questionable substance. Look at the label on your anti-bacterial soap, laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash,  some common home accessories (plastic dish mats and utensils), towels, and even clothing .  See if you can find a listed ingredient: TRICLOSAN.

Triclosan is a bacterial inhibitor  used since the 70’s. It really works great fighting staph infections. But when exposed to chlorinated water, triclosan converts to chloroform and dioxins.  Chloroform is a carcinogen and dioxins are documented endocrine disruptors. Triclosan is also impacts thyroid hormone concentrations. Triclosan is found in our water supplies.  It kills fish and disrupts hormones in the bullfrog .  It has been found in the urine of 75% of the population, and in 3 out of 5 samples of human milk.

The FDA, aware of triclosan related concerns for almost 40 years, has evaluated triclosan since 2008, and in April 2010, released a recommendation of continued investigation.

A comprehensive analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health indicated that plain soaps are just as effective as consumer-grade antibacterial soaps with triclosan in preventing illness and removing bacteria from the hands.

Alternative cleansing ingredients shown effective include herbs (thyme, oregano), silver and copper ions, and nano-particles.

I say: let’s introduce our children to the fine art of making mud pies.  Let’s put our hands back into the soil,plant our own plants,  and keep our houses clean with Grandma’s organic cleaning methods.

Be happy, be healthy, take the best women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten

Soil for the Soul

Reconnecting With Earth

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Vitamins for Women: Down for the Count: the 5 Second Rule


I dropped a piece of steak on the kitchen floor the other night. Didn’t mean to, it just sort of slipped right off the plate.

Being a pragmatist who has lived on a Dakota farm, raised commercial Polypay sheep and Arabian horses, camped in the wilderness, cooked on a wood stove, tanned my own buckskin, as well as having visited the interior of Mexico and eaten dog with indigenous peoples, I picked it up, rinsed it off, and proceeded to grill it (medium please, no pink for me).

Polypay Ewes

My 24-year-old daughter was aghast.  She paled, backed away, shook her head, and made sure her steak was on the opposite side of the grill.  “Gross, Mom, how can you?” was her response.  Notice that she did not offer me her steak…

I think we live in a world that is obsessed with diseases and germs and the avoidance of casual physical contact.   Can’t touch or hug students in school any more, never talk to strangers, please don’t kiss the baby….everywhere you look are anti-bacterial soaps and wipes that kill bacteria indiscriminately, the good along with the bad and the ugly.  Not that cleanliness isn’t good…and please do wash your hands with soap, but…

God forbid that our kids get dirty.  Can you remember the last time you saw a muddy child?  We don’t put our hands in the soil; we pay to have our petunias planted and our lawns mown.  We spurn and avoid the microbes and bacteria we need to survive…..that should live in harmonic co-existence.

Anyway, I digress, so let’s get back to the dropped steak…..

I looked online for references to spilled food, and found a great article written in 2007 about the 5 Second Rule.  A couple of students from the University of Connecticut experimented with dropped foods, and came up with a flow chart to help you decide if you should or shouldn’t eat dropped foodstuffs.  Interestingly enough they expanded the 5 Second Rule, and determined it could be more properly called the 30 Second Rule.

You can study the image of their flow chart for yourself and feel free to use if you ever find yourself faced with the choice, “Do I eat this or not?”

Flow Chart 5 Second Rule: I

Now, according to the National Center for Disease Control, food borne illnesses are not serious for most of the 76 million Americans who contract them every year. Although 300,000 of those 76M  are hospitalized and of those, 5,000 do die, the CDC points out that most of the deaths are the very young, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.

Foodstuffs dropped on dry floors are the best bets for safe eating if they are first  rinsed/washed and then thoroughly cooked.

Don’t mess around with food dropped on moist or sticky floors, or areas of public traffic.

Oh, and by the way, my steak was delicious, and no…I have not suffered any illness from it.

Be safe, take your women vitamins,  and be blessed, Kersten

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