Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why eat locally grown food?

As you can probably tell by my previous post, one of my favorite topics to discuss is food. No, I am not a foodie! Naturally, I love to eat food, however, when it comes to discussing food—I like to talk about its affect on health. Interestingly, food not only affects our body’s state of health—but the way it is grown, packaged, and distributed has a wider effect—an environmental effect. Eating locally grown food reflects both aspects well, and so, I’d like to talk about why eating locally is a good thing.

Fresher produce. Produce sold in supermarkets has been picked, stored, and transported anywhere from days to weeks before you have the chance to purchase it. Produce at your local farmer’s market has typically been picked less than 24 hours before reaching the market. Fresher produce not only tastes good—it packs more nutritional value as well.

Better for the environment. Local food does not travel for thousands of miles in trucks, planes, and ships to get to the market. Less travel equals less pollution.

Supports small family farms. Eating local means you are supporting your local farmer. This not only supports the local economy, but also promotes responsible land development. More farms and pastures equals more open spaces :).

Eating local means more variety. Small farms are free to grow and offer a variety of veggies and fruits. Variety is not only good for our bodies and fun for our palates, but good for the environment as well. Mono-cropping is frequently practiced in large industrialized agricultural systems. Although economically efficient, mono-cropping is an environmentally unsound practice.

On a personal note, I have to admit that I find something extremely satisfying about walking around in a farmer’s market, touching the produce, and handing my money to the farmer himself!

If you would like to find a farmer’s market in your area, a small farm in your area, or how you can sign up for a CSA (community supported agriculture)—try this website: http://www.localharvest.org/


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, School of Health Sciences
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why eat whole foods?

The other day my sister and I were sitting around munching on some almonds. As usual, I was on my soapbox expounding the amazing health benefits of nuts. My sister kept me going by asking me a few questions about foods and health. At the end of the conversation, I turned to her and said, “actually, the easiest thing to do is to just eat whole foods….if you focus on eating whole foods with an emphasis on vegetables and fruits—then you’re eating healthfully”. She turned to me and said, “why whole foods?” Ahh, what a great question…..again I can climb on top of my soapbox! Here we go…

It’s simple: When you eat a “whole” food (a food in its natural state--unprocessed), it contains all of its original vitamins, phyto-nutrients, and fiber.

Processed foods, on the other hand, have been refined—in other words—many important elements are missing! If that weren’t bad enough—most of the time things that are not so good for us have been added! Let’s look at a couple of examples…

Grains: In their whole state, grains contain a great deal of fiber. Processed grains such as white flour have the bran and germ removed—this is where the fiber and nutrients are located. Sadly, the story gets worse. Eating refined carbohydrates such as white flour leads to fluctuations in insulin and blood glucose levels. In a nutshell: This is not good. Refined carbohydrates are known as “high glycemic index” foods. You can read more about how the body metabolizes foods with a high glycemic index here: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=32

Additives: Many processed foods contain additives such as oils and sweeteners. I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Oils and sweeteners are fattening. We have an obesity epidemic in this country—do we really need to be adding fats and sugars to our foods?? Obesity is related to a plethora of health problems. Enough said. Well, just one more thing….high fructose corn syrup (an extremely common additive) deserves a special mention. Studies at Princeton have shown it is even more fattening than other sugars: http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/

Well, I think I’m ready to get off this soapbox for a while :). Here is a website I would love to share with everyone. It is a non-profit organization titled “The World’s Healthiest Foods”. It’s a great site—filled with recipes, tips, and a wealth of information about whole foods!
http://www.whfoods.com/


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, School of Health Sciences
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wellness - Exploring Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Welcome to Kaplan University's Center for Health and Wellness Blog!



Wellness is such a vast concept.... different for each of us, different across time and across culture. Come join us, the Health and Wellness Faculty at the School of Health Sciences, for a fascinating look at Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), from the inside out. All of us - Meet our Bloggers - are CAM practitioners, experts in the fields of:

Massage Therapy


Integrative Bodywork

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Naturopathic Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Yoga and Meditation

Chiropractic Medicine

From "A day in the life of an Herbalist...", to conversations about, What really does an acupuncture needle do, to musings on being in the Health and Wellnes profession, we'll be hearing from a wide and far ranging group of fascinating folks.

Joining us over throughout the next year, will be the faculty from our other Pillars of Health and Wellness:

Exercise and Fitness


Nutrition


Stress Management


Creating Wholeness


Yoga and Meditation


Be sure to check out the Center for Health and Wellness

http://www.healthandwellness.kaplan.edu/


Stay Tuned - and please join in the conversation!

Behty Harrison, MA, DOM

Director, Kaplan University's Center for Health and Wellness

Academic Department Chair, School of Health Sciences























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