Tomatoes and Cholesterol

Can eating tomato products lower our LDL cholesterol levels as a statin drug would? Tomatoes have lycopene and is considered good for us. In a study; 25 mg.of lycopene a day lowered LDL levels by about 10 %; which is good and about what you would expect from taking a statin drug for several weeks. This without the possible side effects that you might get from taking a statin; which can include liver damage. That is a place I do not want to go, we can’t live without a functioning liver. How much do we need to get this benefit? As little as four ounces of tomato sauce may do the job and even less if you use tomato paste. You could eat a spoonful of tomato paste every day or incorporate tomato sauce into your daily diet. The lycopene in tomatoes may limit the production of LDL and may also help break up the fatty buildup in our arteries

Lycopene also prevents the inflammation caused when. LDL oxidizes in the arteries. When the arteries become inflamed; plaque can attach to the side of the artery and form a blockage, impeding or stopping blood flow. LDL also restricts the release of nitric oxide which keeps the arteries relaxed and pliable. This same nitric oxide is what helps men achieve an erection; so hey, that might be important to some of us.

Tomatoes provide vitamins A, B,C, folate, riboflavin,chromium, potassium, beta-carotine, antioxidants and fiber. Tomatoes help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, and may help with the following cancers; prostate, breast, endometrial, colorectal, lung and pancreatic. Our eyes benefit from the vitamin A .

Although fresh tomatoes are good for us; to get the maximum amount of lycopene we have to cook them. The cooking process increases the antioxidants, up to three times for a thirty minute cooking time. The addition of olive oil to diced tomatoes during cooking greatly increases the absorption of lycopene.

I love tomatoes, grow them in my garden and sometimes eat several a day during the summer  when I have them. I don’t really care for the ones you get from the store but will buy them sometimes. Because I believe in the benefits of eating tomatoes so much; I have devised a simple way to get what I need every day. I make my own tomato juice; I take two small cans of tomato paste and empty them into a medium-sized bowl, add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, I T of soy sauce and 1 T of Worcestershire sauce, add a quart of water, mix well, pour into a half-gallon container, fill with water and shake well. I make two containers at a time and it last me about two weeks. I drink about a cup of this thirty minutes before dinner. I also add a good squirt of sriracha sauce for a little kick, it speeds up your metabolism too. For those of you who like a drink in the evening; you could use this to make a Bloody Mary or two. So why do I make my own juice? There is as much as 800+ mg of sodium in some brands of the bottled tomato juice, that is over half of our daily salt allowance in an eight ounce glass of tomato juice. Mine has less than 100 mg. I believe there may be a health benefit from the apple cider vinegar and the soy and Worcestershire sauces are just for the taste. I also put a couple of tablespoons of chia seed in my juice but that is another story.

I believe tomatoes are one of the very good things you can do for your health; so design a way for you to get them into your diet and you will be much better for it. Enjoy them; I do.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

What I Didn’t Know; Did You?

This is not what I had intended to post today but I was doing research on another subject and ran across this. The information came from a link off of a Twitter post from Dr. Mercola. Dr Mercola is not your average run of the mill doctor; he has been creating controversy for years by his divergence from the standard health industry approach of, take your vaccines, take your pills, go home and hope for the best. ( My assessment ; not his). He is regularly featured in the media; both print and on TV. He has been on The Dr. Oz Show and was voted The 2009 Ultimate Wellness Game Changer by The Huffington Post.

I have read many times about the drinking of various soft drinks and their effect on the obesity epidemic. This includes both the sugary version and the ones sweetened by artificial sweeteners The thing that caught my eye was the article titled. Coca-Cola Rolling Out New Misinformation Campaign to “Combat Obesity“. At one time I was a regular soft drink consumer and at one time I was also sixty pounds heavier than I am now. Was that why I was sixty pounds heavier? Probably not but I am sure it was part of the problem. I never was a really large drinker of soft drinks but when I did it was the sugary version. I never liked the taste of the other and would rather do without than put up with the taste; guess I was lucky. Never being a heavy drinker; except for the big 60 – 80 ounce fountain versions sometimes, it wasn’t that hard for me to quit them. I did not find them to be a really good thirst quencher; especially when I was hot and dry and really needed it. They also frequently gave me acid-re-flux as well.

The reason I wanted to share this is that I thought it is something everyone should see, whether they believe it or not. You should have the option to decide for yourself. Also, I have family members who have health problems that are at least to some degree related to their consumption of soft drinks. I would like to encourage them to be healthier in any way I can.

I also found another eye-opening post that I would also recommend you read.  It is
What Happens to Your Body Within an Hour of Drinking a Coke . I hope these two articles are a help to you all.
Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

 

Do You Eat Organic? Should You?

Eating organic food is something you hear and read about a lot these days as it becomes more popular every day. I know that it would be healthier to eat all organic; more I think, for the fact that you are not exposed as much to pesticides and other chemicals. Some people believe that organically grown foods are also more nutritious; have more vitamins and minerals than those grown in the conventional way. This may be true to some extent but I still say that the greatest benefit come from not having to deal with the chemicals used in growing conventional foods.

When we ingest these chemicals into our systems; our bodies try to filter out these substances and remove them before they can cause us harm. This is primarily done by our livers which is our filter system, our car has an oil filter, we have our liver. This process works very well but our livers can sometimes be overwhelmed and either allow these chemicals to build up in our bodies or the liver itself may be damaged and weakened.Luckily for us; there are ways we can protect our liver and also protect our bodies from absorbing these chemicals as they go through our digestive tract.

For our liver; we may eat foods and/or take supplements that support the health of the liver and that also cleanses it. I wrote a little about that a few days ago; you might want to go back and read or reread that post. Good digestive health protects us in two ways; one, the less time it takes for our food to go through our system without us having diarrhea the better, the more time it takes, the more toxins we will extract from it. Second, the more healthy our digestive tract is; the healthier the lining of our intestines will be and the less likely the toxins in our foods will be absorbed into our systems.

Do I eat organic? Yes and no. I do not buy organic but I have a large garden and grow a lot of my own food; which for the most part, is organic. I believe that a healthy body can resist the affect of a reasonable amount of toxins and flush them out of our bodies. There is also the higher cost of organic; in some cases, much higher. If we protect our liver and keep it health; I think that it will probably do it’s job and protect us.

So what can we do? Be aware and use our best judgement. Produce can be high on the list for pesticides for two reasons; either because more is used or because of the physical characteristics of the plant. You can go to www.ewg.org for a list of the ones you might want to eat organic and also for the ones that are less likely to contain excess amounts of pesticides.

There are other ways we can be adversely affected by the chemicals in our environment; I hope to write about that at a later time.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Do We Give Ourselves Enough Credit?

Who do we see ourselves as; an inferior version of someone else or do we see ourselves as someone totally unique. If you see yourself as totally unique you are right; there is no other human being on this planet that is like you. You have talents that no one else has; abilities that no one else has and a purpose in life different from anyone else. That means you are not inferior to anyone, you are unique in your own way and no one else has your exact qualities, Why then do some of us feel inferior or less than others? Do we feel less capable, less smart, less attractive?  Do we feel we have less money, less success, that they are better looking, have more friends than we do? This is wrong thinking; remember we are unique, we can not be compared to others, nor them to us.

There may be areas in our life where we need to improve, not because we don’t measure up to someone else but because we have the ability to be more and are not reaching our potential. We have special abilities; that are only our’s and if we are to fulfill our purpose here, we have to use them to our best ability. If we are over weight and unhealthy because of it; we need to address it, not because we weigh more than someone else but because we may not be able to fulfill our purpose here if we don’t. We should not compare ourselves to others because they are different from us, they have their own unique talents and abilities and we have ours.The only thing we need to compare is where we are in life to where we could be with our own special abilities. Ask ourselves, am I doing what I can do.

You may not ever be wealthy or be famous, you have your own lessons to learn and it may take a different path to learn them. Whatever happens is there for a purpose; it is up to us to see the lesson in it. We may think that what happens is so terrible that we could not possibly learn from it but we can. The more hardship we have the more compassionate we can be to others or the more cold-hearted and bitter we may become. Our choice, do we let it teach us or destroy us.

So never compare or let someone else compare you to others. You are one of a kind and you have unique abilities; you have the potential that no one else has. Why would you have been born with these unique abilities if it was not for a special purpose that only you can fulfill. When you fulfill your purpose you will be happy and it will not matter to you if someone has something you don’t; for you know that you have something that they don’t and never will have. Be happy; be the best you that you can possibly be, that is all anyone can ask for. The most important responsibility we have in this life; is to ourselves.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

Have Positive Outlook, Be Happy, Live Longer

I was just reading a post on Dr. David R. Hamilton’s website about the value of being positive and of being happy. I was already convinced that there was a health benefit but Dr. Hamilton is a PhD and maybe his opinion will carry more weight than mine with some people. Those of you that have read my writing before; probably already know that I believe in having a positive outlook where possible and in most cases it is possible if we work at it and want to. The same about being happy; we are the one that determines whether we are happy, no other person, thing or situation can do it for us. There are certainly, things, circumstances or even people that may make it easier to be happy.. Where we fail is when we get to thinking that they are the reason for our happiness.

I think you will get a positive benefit from reading Dr. Hamilton’s post. I am grateful to him for sharing his idea with us. Go here to read.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

Healthy Bread

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I would like to tell you about the great bread I made recently; the same as I had with my skillet breakfast yesterday morning. I  have just started making bread; so if I can do it, anybody can. The following is my account of the second addition of my bread baking experience.

2 pkgs active dry yeast                          1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)      1/3 cup honey

2 eggs                                                     5 1/4 -5 ½ cups whole wheat  flour, divided

2 teaspoons salt                                     ¼ cup shortening

I adapted a recipe that I found on a bag of Kroger whole wheat flour. Having already used up said flour; I used from a bag of Ultragrain brand White Whole Wheat that I found at Walmart. It is real unbleached whole wheat flour and I really like it; it seems to be lighter than any other whole wheat flour that I have used. I really think that most people who do not like whole wheat would like it. This recipe makes two regular loafs or you can make one loaf and twelve nice sized rolls.

I dissolved the yeast in the warm water; let it proof or grow for about ten minutes. I then added the warm milk, honey,eggs and three cups of flour and yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. NOTE:  I substituted 1/2 cup of oat bran and 1/2 cup of ground flax seed for one cup of the flour. NOTE # 2 Be sure to warm milk to 180 degrees ( scald ) then let it cool to 110-115 degrees before adding to yeast mixture; otherwise the milk can inhibit the growth of the yeast. I mixed it in an electric mixer for three minutes; let the sponge rest for thirty minutes. Then I added the salt, adding more flouer, gradually adding the shortening at the end. My goal here was to add enough flour that the dough would cease to be sticky. If your mixer has enough power use a dough hook and knead for 12-13 minutes. I did mine partially with the mixer and partially by hand; adding only the flour I needed to be able to knead it. Oil a bowl, put in dough, turn it to coat top of dough. Cover and let rise in an 80 degree environment until doubled. Punch down, let it rise again. Punch down, separate as to what you are making , loafs or rolls. Cut in half for loafs, form into a loaf shape putting any seam to the bottom and putting into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cover and let rise again until doubled. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for ten minutes, then reduce to 375. Bake another 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack. If making rolls cut into halves, then fourths and keep dividing until you get the desired number of rolls. Form into a ball, put on a baking pan, cover and let rise, bake, check after ten minutes.

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These were good, they rose well and had a good taste and you control what goes in them. You can’t do that when you are buying bakery bread.The loaf makes excellent toast, I haven’t tried it in a sandwich yet but it should do very well. The rolls were very light, would go with anything that regular rolls would. There are no ingredients in this that you can not pronounce. As I did; you can customize as you wish. I ate a couple of the rolls with a slice of ham with some mustard and they were yummy.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Breakfast Skillet Meal

I just made a great breakfast for weekends; when you have guests, or for a potluck get-to-gather. It would also be great for a weekday but many of you might not have the time to prepare it then.

Breakfast Skillet Meal

I started by dicing a small onion and 1/2 of a large bell pepper and adding them to a ten inch cast iron skillet with some olive oil on medium heat. While those cooked; I microwaved three small russet potatoes and cut them up in small bite sized pieces. I cut a large slice of cooked ham into a large dice. When the onion and pepper had cooked about three minutes; I added the ham and cooked another minute or so. Then I scattered the cut potatoes over the top, sprinkled with sea salt and put under a preheated broiler, about seven inches  from the element.  In the meantime I broke six eggs into a bowl and added a generous portion of no-salt seasoning, pepper, maybe a quarter cup of milk and a good long squirt of Sirracha Hot Chili Sauce. I beat them with a spoon. I cooked the potatoes until they started to brown some on the top then stirred  Repeated and poured eggs over the top; cooked until eggs were set, sprinkled some Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese over the top and melted it. Remove from oven and let it rest for about five minutes before cutting it into quarters.

We ate a quarter of this with some salsa and a piece of toasted whole wheat bread  I had made previously. Very tasty, very filling, and healthy. I will tell you about the bread later. I hope you try this; I am sure you will enjoy it. Feel free to change the seasoning to your taste. I like to use seasonings that allow me to reduce the need for a lot of salt. You could add some salsa to the dish as it is cooking or you could pot some diced fresh tomatoes over the top. Use your imagination.

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Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

How About a Cleanse?

Living in this modern world, eating the food we eat, drinking the water and breathing the air; we all take in chemicals and substances that were never intended to be in the human body. Since recorded history; we have been told that almost every culture had a process they used to cleanse their digestive systems. Religions and even cultures in general; down through the ages have recognized the benefits of using a cleanse or fasting to detoxify the body. From Native American vision quests to Yon Kipper, Ramadan and Lent, they are all used as a time of purification of both the body and also of the soul. Hippocrates was an advocate of temporarily suspending our normal eating habits for the benefit of healing the body. A cleanse can be a simple cleaning out of the digestive system or it can support the liver and kidneys. The liver is the body’s  filter system; it filters out any chemicals, drugs, waste products from metabolism and sends them to the kidneys for elimination through our urine. It is important while doing a cleanse to drink plenty of water to more easily flush the impurities out of your system.

The list of chemicals we could have in our bodies are to numerous to mention; but here are a few; bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, PFOA, various parabens, colors,fragrances, formaldehyde, PDBE’s, and even heavy metals. These come from the houses we live in, the cars we drive, the foods we eat, the cleaning products we use, the personal care products we use, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Processed foods all have a list of ingredients we can not pronounce and we usually have no idea why it is in there. Alcohol, medications, and stimulants add to the load. These toxins can build up over time and can cause inflammation, impede critical bodily functions and even damage our DNA.

A cleanse is designed to take a load off of your overloaded systems; to allow  them to come back with restored vigor and be more able to perform their jobs. To start a cleanse I would recommend a liver detoxifier or dandelion tea. If you are on prescription drugs you might be better to use the detoxifier; it works quicker. Now Liver Detoxifer and Regenerator has been recommended to me as being the most effective. You can also alkalize your diet by increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits that are high in the alkalizing minerals such a potassium, magnesium and calcium. Romaine, kale, skin on potatoes, bananas, dry beans and avocados are high in potassium. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, romaine and broccoli give you lots of magnesium. Calcium is supplied in abundance by kale, romaine, collard greens, broccoli and chard. You can print off a chart showing the alkalinity of most foods here.

A good brisk walk can get your lymphatic system moving, release built up toxins, restore circulation and improve immune response. Meditation can reduce stress, release pent-up emotions and release the associated toxins in your system. As I said earlier drink plenty of water, especially during a cleanse. There are many other things you can do to detoxify but this should get you to a good start.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

How Do We React To the Unexpected?

Tragedy is unexpected, right? Good things can be unexpected too. I guess you could say that it is funny the way people react to the unexpected; but it is not if that reaction itself turns into a tragedy. You could say a temporary tragedy turns into a permanent tragedy. We have all read of, heard of or known people who have had spinal cord injuries. Where one person may have a brief period of depression and grief; then move on and do what they have to do to have a meaningful life, another may sink into depression, become bitter, resentful and blame God or the world for their plight.They both had the same injury but approached it from entirely different directions. One remade his life; the other gave up his chance for life.

I just read a post written by Amanda Hemers on her blog called 5 Tips On How To Live With Passion. While her tragedy does not compare to what I wrote about above; it was bad enough, that I am sure if she had wanted to, she could have used it as an excuse to be less than what she was capable of. We can hide behind our tragedies or we can burst through to the life we deserve. A tragedy that we might easily overcome; may be devastating to another. Let’s try not to judge others but to instead encourage them to see that they can move on to a better life.

I hope you enjoy Ms. Hemers’ article as much as I did. I appreciate her for writing it.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

Is It In the Sun?

Just a few days back it had rained every day for over a week; people were getting depressed. I didn’t but there have been times like this in the past where I did. There was a time a couple of winters back where it was really cold ( for this part of the country anyway ) and cloudy, dark and dreary and it began to get to me. Luckily I realized what was happening and that I had to do something differently. I started to get outside every day,  and do something, get some exercise regardless of how the weather was and I felt much better, both physically and mentally.

Since the rain finally let up it has been sunny and bright for several days. It has also been warmer until today ( Monday ). It is still sunny and bright but a good bit cooler. Anyone’s mood should have been brightened by this beautiful weather. The reason I am writing this is to say that we can not be happy if we are to just let the weather or any other single factor determine how we feel. There were many things we could be grateful for during the days of cold and rain. I am grateful that I have a house to keep me warm and dry, food to eat, good health, a family that loves me , good friends and numerous other things that I have every day, regardless of the present circumstances. The key here is to not let the lesser days over shadow the happiness of the greater days. If we think about it we can find something to feel happy about any day, every day, all day. We all have to work at it; but if we focus on the good instead of the bad, we will find that there is usually more good than there is bad.

Well the TV weather man, or is it the weather lady has already started talking about the next rain that is on the way and the temperature in the morning will be one of the lowest of the winter. What are we to do; smile, this too shall past, it always does. If you will notice; no matter how good it is or how bad it is, it will change. Sometimes we get aces and sometimes we get deuces but there is always another hand.

I hope you have a good day, regardless of the circumstances of the particular day. I know you can.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson