Let Them Eat Dirt

But what if eating dirt was actually a suggestion for better health? A tip for improved digestion, reduced risk of cancer, or slowing memory loss. Would you do it?  If eating dirt could smooth wrinkles, promote heart health, or even protect you against the next outbreak of swine flu, would you take a great big bite of mud pie?  What if it was proven that actually eating dirt could boost your health and vitality, thanks to a rich mixture of special compounds found deep within the soil? How about then?
            For decades, gardeners and farmers across the country have used peat moss to boost the health of their flowerbeds and crops. But did they know that the nutrients found in that soil could also boost their own health. Fulvic acid is one of the main components of humus—the dark, nutrient-rich organic soil layer. It is considered organic because it is comprised of partially decomposed plant and animal matter. Fulvic acid contains more than 77 macro and trace minerals, most of which occur in their ionic form. This means that they are masters at conducing electricity and aiding in absorption.  Fulvic acid is often added to the soil to help hold water in the soil, thus promoting better hydration of the soil. When you apply this to the human body, this means that fulvic acid keeps you well hydrated, helps transport much-needed minerals directly to your cells, and then helps those cells properly absorb the nutrients. Of course, when these critical minerals get into the circulatory system, they are used as electrolytes. That’s when they really go to work, especially when it comes to heart and vascular health.  While fulvic acid has clear cardiovascular benefits, its strength seems to really lie in other areas, namely immune function. In one study, researchers tested the effects of both fulvic and humic acids on rats. They fed rats different concentrations of either fulvic for 26 days. The rats exhibited significant increases in immune response. In fact, these increases were seen as soon as day 14.  Whether it is due to its detox benefits, super-hydration, or more, it appears that fulvic acid benefits your body inside and out.
            Researchers collected more than 480 reports from missionaries, plantation doctors, explorers and anthropologists. These included who was eating dirt and under what circumstances. Seems that dirt doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition—but it may protect against toxins, pathogens and parasites.  Dirt is most commonly eaten by women in early stages of pregnancy and preadolescent children. Both are particularly at risk from parasites and pathogens. Also, people tend to eat dirt when they’re suffering from gastrointestinal distress. The distress probably doesn’t come from the dirt, which is usually clay found deep in the ground and that doesn’t house pathogens. Plus people often boil the clay before eating. Scientists say more research is needed to confirm the hypothesis that dirt has health benefits. But they hope this offers evidence that eating dirt isn’t, well, as bizarre as it may seem.

Much Ado About Vitamins

            To take vitamins or not to take vitamins that is the question. This week I am exploring a subject that I have been wondering about.  How necessary is it to take a pill form of vitamins and minerals verses just eating a micronutrient rich diet?  How does taking pills with high concentrations of certain vitamins and minerals affect our bodies? These are important questions because it is clearly evident vitamins and minerals are necessary for our bodies to function properly, but what is the right way to take and handle them.
Vitamins and minerals are substances your body needs for normal growth and functioning. Some facilitate crucial chemical reactions, while others act as building blocks for the body. It’s easy to get enough micronutrients from your food if you maintain a healthy diet. But most people fail; they’ll eat two or three servings of fruits and veggies per day rather than the recommended five.  Because of this doctors suggest a multivitamin as a sort of nutritional safety net for many of their patients. But, this is just a safety net.  So-called “whole foods” like veggies and whole grains contain fiber and a host of other important nutrients that can’t be adequately delivered through pills. In fact, scientists are still finding new “trace elements” in whole foods that may someday be labeled essential to health — but aren’t found in any pill.  This is why many times you need to be wary of what brand and where you are buying vitamins.
As you seek the proper multivitamin or dietary supplement, it’s best to keep your guard up. The supplement industry is relatively unregulated, and you can injure or even kill yourself with “natural” products bought at your neighborhood supplement store.  Although most health claims attached to multivitamin formulations are doubtful, but harmless.  The exception is in relation to recommendations of vitamin megadoses.  It is just important to watch what vitamins are in high concentrations. So-called fat-soluble vitamins — that is, vitamins A, D, E, and K — accumulate in the body, making overdosing a real threat. Vitamin overdoses have been associated with liver problems, weakened bones, cancers, and premature mortality.  To prevent these problems, you just need awareness.  Spread the word about vitamins that they are helpful and recommended but not essential if getting enough vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.  

Help Me Be Healthy!

Good health is more valuable than all the money in the world. Yet, organic products that contribute to good health are usually much more expensive than the cheap, toxic products that are so easily available. Pure, organic food, items are sometimes out of reach for the budget-conscious college student and we have to resort to using whatever we can buy at McLanahan’s.  I would like to give some suggestions/ ideas on how to adjust your life with little changes that will make a difference and are convenient for us especially with our busy schedules. 

1. Try and eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables as often as possible. 
Not everyone is able or ready to grow their own food but it is still important to consider finding a source of fresh produce that can last. For example there is a farmer’s market downtown during the fall that has an abundant amount of fresh produce and that is very convenient.  Also during the winter months, make sure that you grab a piece of fresh fruit on the way out of the dining halls.  Many people do not know that they can have a carry out piece of fruit with each meal and this is a great way to get the daily serving of fruit you need.  For other people with green thumbs, they can join a community garden (there is one on our campus!)
2.   Pack a lunch and take it with you to class
            So what if you feel like a dork? Grow up already. Prepare your own lunch and take it with you. You’ll be less tempted by cafeteria and fast food. You can also keep leftovers for a snack or another meal later.
What, you have a food card? Awesome. Save your food credit for days when you’re in a hurry (have tests or a hot lunch date). That way you can afford healthier food rather than eat the cheap stuff.
If you think you cannot spend the money for quality, organic foods, add up all your eating out expenses and the chips and dips and other processed yummy food and snack expenditures. Processed foods have unhealthy additives that make you eat more. That can add up to an expensive addiction.  
Here is a little video I would like everyone to watch to get you excited about eating fruits and vegtables.  Enjoy!

Everything You Ever Wondered about Antioxidants

Have you heard about these things but never really known what they were or what their function was? Well, here is your chance! Welcome to everything you need to know about antioxidants.  Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals, which might prevent some of the damage free radicals might otherwise cause.
Wait a minute ….how exactly do they work is what I am guessing what you will ask next.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals as the natural by-product of normal cell processes. Free radicals are molecules with incomplete electron shells, which make them more chemically reactive than those with complete electron shells.  Think balance is good and unbalanced is bad!
 Exposure to various environmental factors, including cigarette/tobacco smoke and radiation, can also lead to free radical formation. In humans, the most common form of free radicals is oxygen. When an oxygen molecule (O2) becomes electrically charged or “radicalized” it attempts to steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage to the DNA and other molecules. Over time, such damage may become irreversible and lead to disease including cancer. Antioxidants are often described as “mopping up” free radicals, meaning they neutralize the electrical charge and prevent the free radical from taking electrons from other molecules. 
Well now that I know about this what should I do?  Well it is suggested that food provides a great source of antioxidants and which is why many foods have been singled out for their antioxidant powers.
·       Beta-carotene is found in many foods that are orange in color, including sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, pumpkin, and mangos. Some green, leafy vegetables, including collard greens, spinach, and kale, are also rich in beta-carotene.
·       Lutein, best known for its association with healthy eyes, is abundant in green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale.
·       Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, blood oranges, and other foods.
·       Selenium is a component of antioxidant enzymes. Plant foods like rice and wheat are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries. The amount of selenium in soil, which varies by region, determines the amount of In the United States, meats and bread are common sources of dietary selenium.
·       Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, egg yolks, and mozzarella cheese.
·       Vitamin Cis also called ascorbic acid, and can be found in high abundance in many fruits and vegetables and is also found in cereals, beef, poultry, and fish.
·       Vitamin E is found in almonds, in many oils including wheat germ, safflower, corn, and soybeanoils, and is also found in mangos, nuts, broccoli, and other foods.
So I eat these foods and I will no longer be at risk for cancer or other conditions caused by exposure to free radicals right? WRONG! There has been a large amount of laboratory evidence that indicates antioxidants may slow or possibly prevent the development of cancer. However, information from recent clinical trials is less clear.  More studies are being done presently in order to determine their real effects.  But in the meantime it wouldn’t hurt to integrate antioxidants into your diet and lifestyle.  Many of the foods that contain these little wonders are super healthy and good for you so why not eat them. Make a little change and it could possibly prevent you from many ailments in the future.    


As a college student temptations and unhealthy meal options are all around us in the dining halls, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants.  We choose these options because of their easy access, quickness, and affordability.  But the question I am posing is at what cost?
I know what cost all to well…hello freshman 15, hello sluggishness, and hello acne.  It seems like even when I work out but I feed my body unhealthy food I still feel down and not at my best.  This is why I have come up with an easy change that you can make to your diet right now!  My first idea is……….Soda Be Gone!!!
            The real question is why do we continue to drink it when we know it is bad for us! When soda is consumed between meals and sipped over a long period of time, sugar remains in the mouth for prolonged periods of time.  Picture rotting brown teeth riddled with cavities.  Yum right? More shocking is the impact soda consumption has on increasing obesity rates, hyperactivity, osteoporosis, dietary deficiencies, and caffeine dependence in children or young adults.  All of these great side effects seem like they don’t affect you but they do!  By cutting soda out of your diet you avoid these side effects and gain even more health benefits.  Also word of caution, diet soda is not a better alternative. One 12-ounce diet cola contains 200 milligrams of aspartame, or the equivalent of six blue packets of a sugar substitute. There are over 92 different health effects associated with aspartame consumption including headaches, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and seizures.  Fun fact airline pilots aren’t allowed to eat foods containing aspartame because it affects their judgment, which is documented by real incidents and situations that have occurred.   Wow I bet you are thirsty now!
            As I wrap up this post, I would like to leave you with some alternatives to soda especially if your reason as a college student is I need the caffeine.   Personally, I resort to drinking caffeinated tea, which I believe is one of the best options.  Also, if you are eating healthy foods and a well-balanced diet you will feel more energized and won’t need the caffeine as much.  A word of precaution though is many health websites do not recommend replacing soda with a fruit juice or milk even though they may seem healthier.  As I said in my earlier post the health benefits of water are amazing and cannot compete with any other substance. By drinking water you will never go wrong!  Look out for more posts like these in the future with tips that can apply to your everyday life and help make it healthier one step at a time.

What the Heck is Natural Health Anyway?

      First, off I bet your thinking why should I learn about natural health? I know everything already about being healthy.  I eat my fruits and vegetables, take my gummy bear vitamins, get at least eight hours of sleep a night, and drink lots of water.  Well, what if there was a way to achieve even better health and improve your life not just temporarily but in the long run.  Integrating natural health into your life will do this and more.
I thought it would be helpful to start with a little background information on natural health and what it is all about.  In my blogs to come, I will be delving into the subject of natural health and addressing mostly topics related to living a healthy lifestyle.   As stated by Wikipedia, natural health is an eclectic self-care system of natural therapies that builds and restores health and wellness by working with the natural recuperative powers of the human body.  Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and minimal use of surgery and drugs.  Natural health has nothing to do with magic or new age mysticism as many people would like to believe.  It also is not just practiced by hippies or crazy granola people! Traditionally, it is about the natural healing therapies of prevention and healthy lifestyles, eating natural whole foods, nutritional supplements, physical exercise, and stress management.  I think a really important aspect of natural health is if you listen to your body and treat it right, it always will reward you with good health. Natural health does not try to treat the symptoms but tries to heal the root causes of problems.
I hope to address ways that we as college students especially can enhance our lives and make sure that we are treating our bodies’ right.  I will end this post with a tip that will hopefully open your eyes to how important health can be in relation to school.  Did you know that a 4-5% reduction in your water intake might reduce your concentration and performance by as much as 30%?  Many times drinking water seems like an afterthought but this shows that staying hydrated throughout the day is an essential part of staying healthy.  If you have any questions or topics or questions you would like to know about let me know.

Also, to get you started on thinking about your health here is a link to the Dr. Oz How Healthy Are You Quiz?  It is pretty in-depth but really helps you analyze your lifestyle.  Click Here To Begin!

Passion Blog Topic

I am excited to say that I have decided on the topic for my passion blog, which will be Natural Health.  This is a passion that has developed over the past year, and I love learning about it.  This is a very broad topic that can cover a wide range of subjects from diet to excerise to lifestyles to even medicine.  I am excited to post about this and delve even deeper to my interest. Get ready to learn!

This I Believe Ideas

Some of the ideas that I have for the “This I Believe” essay are:

  • I believe in Disney Princesses
  • I believe in Carpe Diem
  • I believe in Mistakes
  • I believe in Second Chances
  • I believe in A Clean Slate
  • I believe in Karma
  • I believe in Smiles