Far too often the word organic is misused and misunderstood. I think it’s most important to understand the reasons behind the difference staring back at you on the price tag, and then only you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the financial, physiological, and environmental costs.
Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms. Additional organic requirements are set to support the environment, including soil improvements and prevention of soil erosion.
What does this mean for you as a consumer? Potentially a greater chance of a reduction in your exposure to harmful chemicals. As an environmentally-conscious consumer? Hopefully refraining from further contributing to soil erosion, energy use, and water pollution while contributing to biodiversity.
Side tantrum: Just because it’s organic does NOT mean it’s healthy. Organic jelly beans (my favorite) are packed with organic cane sugar, tapioca syrup, and full of fruit juice and natural flavors. Can I consume them obliviously thinking I’m fulfilling my quota of that “rainbow” of fruit and veggie servings for the day? Not exactly. Anything full of sugar (even organic sugar) is not a “healthy” food. I would say the importance of selecting organics is greatest for items in the perimeter of the grocery store (think produce, meats, dairy, eggs). Easy, right?
What’s With the Seal?
The USDAs National Organics Program ensures ...
It’s officially summer and many of us—over 36 million Americans—have embraced international travel recently. For students and families in particular, this is the season for exciting adventures overseas. It may not be very glamorous, but, before heading off with passports in hand, how can we ensure the healthiest trip possible?
Your mother was right: plan ahead
- Check if your health insurance goes beyond the US border. If not, it is easy to purchase a short term travel insurance policy.
- Find out as much as you can about your destination’s health risks or dangers.
- Most diseases are preventable. Talk it over with your doctor or see a travel doctor who specializes in such advice.
- Be certain you have the needed vaccinations and medicines before heading out.
- Don’t let ....
Everyone is talking about their allergies at this time of the year, so I thought it would be a good time to write about seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies occur only at certain times of the year and are usually caused by exposure to pollens from plants, trees and grass. They affect a large number of people of all ages and are seen mostly in urban areas. They are uncommon in children less than 2 years of age. Some patients may have similar symptoms year around and this is usually due to exposure to insects (cockroach), dust mites and animal dander (dogs and cats).
Most people do not react on exposure to these substances, but people with allergies hyperreact to these substances when exposed, and they subsequently develop these symptoms.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?
Usual symptoms in children include runny nose, nasal congestion, itching of the eyes, nose and throat and occasionally cough. Sometimes these symptoms may interfere with sleep and thus cause fatigue, fussiness and tiredness during the day....
There are many things we do less of now than in the past, and sleeping is one of them. In fact, studies show that people sleep an average of 20-percent less today than they did a century ago. Then, nine hours of sleep a night was typical; today it is closer to seven and a half hours spent in bed, with considerably less spent actually sleeping. And it’s not just adults that are sleeping less. The National Sleep Foundation’s annual survey in 2004 found that children were also getting less sleep than they needed, including infants.
“A few reasons we are sleeping less include the invention of electric light, jobs becoming more urban in nature, and an increase in technology in the home,” explains Darius Zoroufy, M.D., medical director of the Lake Sammamish Sleep Center.
Technology is one of the most glaring reasons behind American’s lack of sleep. “A 2009 study reported that TV is the number one factor keeping adults awake,” says Dr. Zoroufy. Computers, iPods, and cell phones are similar culprits.
“Not only are these things taking up our time, but they are stimulating us mentally, making it difficult for us to shift gears and fall asleep.”
Swedish Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Preetam Bandla, M.D., agrees. “Light from screen media can activate the light-sensitive circadian cells in our brains that regulate when we are maximally alert and maximally sleepy,” he explains, “So our TVs and computer screens can keep us from wanting to sleep.”
Technology is not solely to blame for our lack of sleep, however. “The majority of sleep problems result from self imposed and externally imposed factors,” says Dr. Zoroufy. “There are simply too many opportunities and pressures to stay awake.”
The demands of work, school, family and social activities are causing people to become overscheduled and the first thing people give up is sleep. “The idea that we can sleep less and still function well is a misperception,” says Dr. Bandla.
So how much sleep do we need and what can we do to obtain it?
A lot of children are now enrolled in organized sports activities, and more and more children are starting at a younger age. Children are enticed by successful professional sports players and strive to be like them. Many parents enroll their children in organized sports activities with the hope that their child would get an athletic scholarship for college and go on to become a professional player. However, parents must realize that only a few children end up becoming successful professional players.
It is important for children to be physically active, and organized sports can be a part of this healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that children and adolescents who are physically active do well academically in school, have greater self-esteem, sleep well and have less behavioral/emotional problems. Children and adolescents who are active every day tend to develop less health problems like hypertension, obesity and hyperlipidemia , and grow to become healthy adults.
Here are some important ideas to keep in mind when your child is enrolled in organized sports activity: