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Ten Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Thanksgiving provides the perfect opportunity to make healthier choices for your family meal. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, suggests the following tips to ensure a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving meal:

1.      Start small: When it comes to Thanksgiving, the biggest concern is not just WHAT you are eating, but HOW MUCH of it you are eating. Aim to have small portions of those foods that are high in calories such as casseroles and desserts while filling up on lighter fare such as vegetables and lean turkey.

2.      Talk turkey: Turkey is a great source of lean protein and is healthiest if you skip the skin and go for the white meat. If you prefer the dark meat, mix and match in order to get a little extra flavor without adding too much fat.

3.      Be sweet on sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that can make a tasty side dish or dessert. A healthy way to cook them is to cut them in half, sprinkle with orange juice and a little brown sugar, and pop them into the oven.

4.      Kick the canned cranberry: Cranberries are packed with antioxidants that can help keep you healthy. Unfortunately, canned cranberry sauce is often also packed with sugar and calories you don’t need. Try making your own by mashing fresh cranberries with a generous splash of balsamic vinegar or apple juice concentrate.

5.      Pick a pumpkin: Pumpkin is low in fat, low in calories, and loaded with potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Make pumpkin pies with canned, evaporated fat-free milk, half the amount of sugar in the recipe, a graham cracker crust, and light or fat free whipped topping for a light and tasty dessert.

6.      Stuff with more veggies and less bread: Opt for less bread in your stuffing and add more onions, celery, vegetables, or fruits such as dried cranberries or apples to make a lower calorie version of the old stand by. Try using whole wheat bread to make it an even healthier option.

7.      Go fruity!: Baked apples or poached pears are perfect, light ways to end any autumn meal.

8.      Avoid greasy gravy: Use a fat separator or refrigerate the pan juices and skim the fat before making the gravy. This can cut out a significant amount of fat.

 9.      Sacrifice fat, not flavor:  Use low-fat buttermilk or low-sodium chicken stock in place of cream or whole milk in dishes like mashed potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes, or butternut squash. You’ll achieve a creamy consistency and loads a flavor, minus the unnecessary fat and calories.

10.     Steam and mash: Try sneaking in more low calorie vegetables by mashing or pureeing steamed or boiled cauliflower with low-fat milk. It’s a flavorful substitute for mashed potatoes and can help balance an otherwise potato-rich meal!

BONUS!  Veg out:  Fall veggies such as squash and green beans are great side dishes that can add color and variety to the meal without adding too many extra calories.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org.


For the many people who must have gluten free products for their families the FRENCH MEADOW BAKERY has solved your problem. They have a variety of wonderful bread products, which can be used for your dressing or post dinner sandwiches. For information visit: www.Frenchmeadowbakery.com


Naturally Wash Away Pesticides, Fertilizer, Dirt, Road Grit, Mold, Fungi, Wax or Worse!

 Vermont Soap, the certified organic soap manufacturer, is pleased to inform health conscious consumers that its 100% natural, certified organic fruit and veggie wash not only makes the food they consumer safer, but taste better too.  Produce Magic is an eco-friendly alternative for avoiding contaminated produce and food-borne illnesses. 

 A recent study conducted by the Chicago Tribune and the USDA found significant pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.  Perhaps one third of produce in America contains a lot of residual pesticides.  Although buying organic does reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides found in conventionally farmed produce, it does not guarantee contaminant-free fruits and vegetables due to drift from conventional farms, contaminated soil and other factors.

 "Rinsing fruits and vegetables with water will remove loose dirt and soil, but not the harmful residues often found on produce," says Larry Plesent, Vermont Soap's Founder.  "Pesticides used in growing produce are designed to be waterproof in order to remain effective after it rains. To successfully remove chemicals you need to use a surfactant to break them down.  Produce Magic uses a natural, organic soap based surfactant to effectively remove residues," adds Plesent.

 Unlike other produce washes on the market today that are made from detergent bases, Produce Magic is 100% natural and certified organic.  It is made from renewable and organic vegetable and botanical sources including saponified organic oils of coconut, olive and jojoba and a natural citrus essential oil blend with organic orange oil, organic aloe vera and rosemary extract. 

 "Detergent residues on dishes have already been linked to specific health problems, but soap products have been safely used by humans for thousands of years." says Plesent.  "Why use questionable chemicals to clean off other questionable chemicals?"

 Produce Magic is also extraordinarily mild and hypoallergenic.  This environment-friendly fruit and vegetable wash is biodegradable and free of artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives, animal products or gluten.  Vermont Soap does not test on animals.

 Produce Magic can be used a number of ways.  It can be sprayed and rinsed or applied directly to foods or a brush for a scrub and rinse.  For root crops and larger volumes, Vermont Soap suggests adding just enough Produce Magic to a container of water to work up a hint of foam.  The actual percentage will vary with temperature and hardness of the water source.  Vermont Soap Produce Magic is sold in a convenient 16 ounce spray bottle for a suggested retail price of $7.98.  

 Vermont Soap products can be purchased throughout the country (and beyond) at health food, gourmet and specialty stores and online at www.vermontsoap.com  or by calling toll-free at 1-866-SOAP4U2.  For more information on this new product and to learn more about why natural soap products are good for your skin and the environment, visit www.vermontsoap.com.

 The company also offers a complete line of certified organic bar and liquid soaps, shower gels and nontoxic cleaners and shea butter products.  The Vermont Soapworks manufacturing plant is certified as a USDA organic processing facility. 

 Larry Plesent started Vermont Soapworks in 1992 after experiencing severe skin problems from the cleaning chemicals used by his window washing company.  He began researching healthy alternatives for himself and the many people like him that are sensitive to detergents and other synthetic ingredients.  Vermont Soapworks has grown from a two-person operation in 1992 to the largest manufacturer of handmade organic bar soap in North America, selling products in thousands of stores nationwide.  Vermont Soapworks also operates a Discount Factory Outlet Store that features an Antique Soap Museum, factory tours and demonstrations. 



Healthy Gifts for the Holidays

New Findings from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study Show Women Don’t Exhibit Signs that Would Make Them Eligible for
Current Treatments to Prevent Fatal Cardiac Arrest

 A woman who suffers sudden cardiac arrest is significantly less likely than a man to exhibit the decrease in the heart’s pumping ability that is widely recognized as a precursor, says a new study in the Nov. 24 Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 

The lack of left ventricular dysfunction could mean that fewer women meet current medical guidelines for implantable cardiac defibrillators that can prevent sudden cardiac arrest, says the study’s lead researcher. 

“If 100 men have a sudden death heart attack, 40 of them will show a critical decrease in their heart’s pumping function prior to their heart attack,” said Sumeet S. Chugh, M.D., associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and holder of The Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research. “But only 20 women of 100 will have that critically reduced pumping ability. We are able to predict sudden cardiac death in men much better than women, and for a condition that has a 95 percent  chance of instantaneous  death, prediction is everything.”

The study also found that among sudden cardiac arrest victims, far fewer women than men had an established diagnosis of coronary artery disease. The reasons remain to be clarified, but coronary artery disease is the condition most commonly associated with sudden cardiac arrest, and symptoms of heart disease often prompt patients to see their doctors and initiate testing and therapy. The authors suggest, therefore, that the lower prevalence of recognized coronary artery disease may be another barrier impeding women from discovering their risk of sudden cardiac arrest and taking preventive steps.

“Men and women have been treated identically for the prevention of sudden cardiac death,” Chugh said.  “We cannot continue to do that. We need to find novel ways of predicting sudden cardiac death in women because the predictors used so far are more applicable to men.”

Unlike heart attacks (myocardial infarction), which are typically caused by clogged coronary arteries reducing blood flow to the heart muscle, sudden cardiac arrest is the result of defective electrical activity of the heart. Patients may have little or no warning, and the disorder usually causes nearly instantaneous death.

Chugh leads the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, a comprehensive, 16-hospital, multi-year assessment of cardiac deaths in the 1 million population Portland, Ore. metropolitan area.  Funded in part by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the study’s goal is to shed light on the risk factors, triggers and genetic defects associated with sudden cardiac death. 

The new findings are based on 1,568 cases of sudden cardiac arrest identified from 2002 to 2007, with 1,012 male and 556 female subjects. Medical records were available on 1,258 cases (80 percent of the men and 81 percent of the women). Among the findings:

·         Women were older at the time of the event (average age: 71) than men (average age: 65).

·         Women were slightly more likely than men (25 percent to 21 percent) to be successfully revived (return of spontaneous circulation) when resuscitation efforts could be attempted.

·         There were no significant differences related to gender for a variety of health issues, including obesity, blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and history of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and heart failure (left ventricular hypertrophy).

·         40 percent of women had previously documented coronary artery disease, compared to about 50 percent of men.

·         21 percent of women had severe left ventricular dysfunction, compared to 36 percent of men.

·         In analyses that controlled all variables to make more precise comparisons, women were half as likely as men to have severe left ventricular dysfunction and a third as likely to have previously diagnosed coronary artery disease.

For patients at known risk for sudden cardiac arrest or other heart rhythm abnormalities, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) may be placed in the chest or abdomen to detect faulty electrical impulses and provide a shock to return normal rhythm.

The left ventricle’s pumping ability is the major determinant of sudden cardiac arrest risk, and current guidelines call for patients to receive a device if left ventricular ejection fraction is measured at 35 percent or less. Previous studies have found that only 25 percent to 30 percent of sudden cardiac arrest events occur in patients with severely reduced left ventricular function.

“Under existing guidelines, we may be missing the opportunity to provide preventive intervention for 70 percent to 75 percent of people who will experience sudden cardiac arrest,” said Chugh. “Our new findings suggest this number could be even higher for women.”

The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is internationally recognized for outstanding heart care built on decades of innovation and leading-edge research.  From cardiac imaging and advanced diagnostics to surgical repair of complex heart problems to the training of the heart specialists of tomorrow and research that is deepening medical knowledge and practice, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is known around the world for excellence and innovations. 


From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine


Dear EarthTalk: Can you enlighten on the environmental impact of the fashion industry? As I understand it, the industry overall is no friend to the environment.  -- Tan Cheng Li, Malaysia


According to the non-profit Earth Pledge, today some 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the world to turn raw materials into textiles. Domestically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that one-quarter of all pesticides used nationwide go toward growing cotton, primarily for the clothing industry. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers many domestic textile manufacturing facilities to be hazardous waste generators; and lax standards and enforcement in developing countries, where the majority of textiles are produced, means that untold amounts of pollution are likely being deposited into local soils and waterways in regions that can hardly stand further environmental insult.


Luz Claudio, writing in Environmental Health Perspectives, considers the way Americans and Europeans shop for clothes as “waste couture”: Fashion is low-quality and sold at “prices that make the purchase tempting and the disposal painless.” Yet this sort of so-called “fast fashion” leaves a pollution footprint, with each step of the clothing life cycle generating potential environmental and occupational hazards.


According to Technical Textile Markets, a quarterly trade publication, demand for man-made fibers such as petroleum-derived polyester has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. “The manufacture of polyester and other synthetic fabrics is an energy-intensive process requiring large amounts of crude oil,” reports Claudio. In addition, she says, the processes emit volatile organic compounds and solvents, particulate matter, acid gases such as hydrogen chloride, and other production by-products into the air and water.


“Issues of environmental health and safety do not apply only to the production of man-made fabrics,” says Claudio, citing subsidies to the pesticide-laden cotton industry that keep prices low and production high.


In an effort to green up the industry, Earth Pledge launched its FutureFashion initiative in 2005 to promote the use of renewable, reusable and non-polluting materials and production methods. Besides putting on its own FutureFashion showcases, the group organized the January 2008 New York Fashion Week, encouraging designers to create and showcase greener clothing on their runway models. Green-leaning designers can also pick through Earth Pledge’s library of 600 sustainably produced textiles, including organic cotton as well as exotic materials such as sasawashi, pina, bamboo, milk protein, and sea leather.


Another effort underway to speed the fashion industry into a carbon-constrained future is the Ethical Fashion Forum, which provides a variety of tools and resources and runs training sessions and networking events to help facilitate moving the industry towards more sustainable practices.


One stumbling block to the greening of fashion is that only a small number of consumers—some analysts say less than one percent—will pay more for a greener shirt. But if the industry itself can improve its footprint from the inside and drive the costs of more eco-friendly materials and processes down, the benefits will trickle down to consumers, whether they are bargain-conscious or fashion-conscious.


CONTACTS: Environmental Health Perspectives, www.ehponline.org; Earth Pledge, www.earthpledge.org; Ethical Fashion Forum, www.ethicalfashionforum.com.


SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php. EarthTalk® is now a book! Details and order information at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalkbook.


Tips for Snuffing Out Indigestion the Natural Way


According to the National Institutes of Health, indigestion is a common problem. It is usually not a serious health problem but, because it usually causes a bloated and overly full feeling, most people who suffer from it seek relief. Rather than turning to prescription drugs, and the side effects they may bring, people can find relief by taking a more natural approach.


“Most people do not realize that when one has digestion issues, it is because of a lack of enzymes,” says Gina Kopera, author of the book Cure Yourself Naturally: What To Do When Your Doctor Cannot Heal You. “Those enzymes need to be replaced, rather than drugged, which does not address the enzyme issue.”


Kopera, a certified master herbalist and owner of Gina’s Corner Healing Herbs and Supplements (www.ginascorner.com), offers EnzymePower, a natural herbal approach to beating indigestion. EnzymePower, which is a wheat berry drink that you make and is slightly fermented, helps to restore health by replacing all of the enzymes that the body is missing.  While it contains healthy bacteria to help remove toxins, it is also loaded with important vitamins like B-complex, C and E.


She also notes that the body tends progressively to lose the ability to produce these important enzymes over the years, making indigestion more common as people age. Every 10 years or so, there is a substantial reduction in the amount of enzymes, making it imperative that they be restored to their natural state.


“Even using the EnzymePower, you still have to follow the three basic principles to having a healthy body,” adds Kopera. “You must take the time to cleanse, nourish and let the body heal itself. Until you do those things differently, you will continue to experience one problem after another. Natural healing and living is the route to wellness.”


In addition to EnzymePower, her herbal line of products includes those that help cleanse the colon, address nasal congestion, stabilize mood swings, and more. Kopera has used natural healing herbal remedies in her own life to overcome multiple sclerosis and to help her son address epilepsy.



For those with diabetes, the holidays can bring about different memories and emotions.  With large helpings of wonderful food, odd meal times, and wide assortments of dessert, it can be challenging and frustrating to managing blood glucose levels.  Having to remind family members, yet again, that “its not that you can't eat a big slice of grandma’s famous pie, it’s that you choose not to in order to keep your body healthy” can be emotionally draining.   Experiencing this year after year can turn what was once a cherished holiday into a time of dread. Certified Diabetes Educators and Diabetes Coaches at Fit4D.com, a personalized diabetes coaching service, knows this does not have to be the case.  To help those with diabetes we have provided some tips that will help empower them to take back the holiday season as a time of joy.

  • Planning ahead is key.  With all the wonderful holiday food to choose from, be sure to have your plate planned out in advance to avoid letting your taste buds take over. This includes desserts.  Find out recipes and carbohydrate content of foods ahead of time.  You might find that you can fit in a little sliver of every favorite holiday dessert into your meal, and still stay on track. 
  • Try to plan holiday meals around your normal meal times instead of snack times.
  • Keep your carbohydrates spread out throughout the day, don't save them all for one meal.  Remember that your body likes consistency with carbohydrates to process the glucose efficiently and work properly with your medications.  Pack some leftovers and enjoy the holiday meal again the next day.
  • Take a walk after your meal to re-energize and help your body digest and burn off extra calories from the variety of holiday foods.
  • Keeping your blood glucose and weight management goals in mind, try not to go to any holiday parties or events on an empty stomach.  An empty stomach increases your chances or overeating and losing track of the carbs and calories.
  • Appetizers, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and celery, are great low carb, low calorie options.  If you are able to bring an appetizer, present some fresh veggies and light dip.  This will save your carbs for the main event, the meal.  Keep in mind that sausage and cheese are meats and have a minimal effect on blood glucose levels when eaten in moderation, they are full of saturated fat and calories, so try to keep the portions small. 
  • If you choose to drink during the holidays, please be safe with regards to carbs, calories, medication, and general wellness.  The recommendation for men is 2 drinks and 1 drink for women per day.  One drink is equal to 1 beer, 4 oz wine, or 1oz spirits.  Some alcoholic beverages contain carbohydrates, especially when mixed with sweet mixers, such as margaritas or soda based drinks, so they need to be included into your meal plan.  Be sure to wear medication identification, and never drink on an empty stomach.  Alcohol also does not mix well with some medications, so please check with your healthcare provider before drinking.  Limiting your alcohol intake will save you calories and not impact blood glucose levels as much.
  • Successful holiday meal planning is all about preparation and balance, so enjoy your holiday season and contact the coaches at Fit4D.com for help with planning.

 About Fit4D.com

Picking up where the doctor leaves off, Fit4D.com is an online personalized diabetes coaching service dedicated to providing the highest levels of educational and emotional support for those living with type 1, 2, or pre-diabetes.  Equipped with a team of highly-trained dietitians, fitness coaches, registered nurses, pharmacists and physiologists, Fit4D.com boasts the largest collection of Certified Diabetes Educators anywhere in the United States and empowers people with diabetes to better manage their blood glucose levels and overall health and quality of life. In a system where the average physician console is only seven minutes, Fit4D.com’s diabetes experts are committed to working with clients on their schedule and from the comfort and privacy of home via phone, email or text and take the time to listen to the concerns of each client and coach them to take control of the diabetes on their own.  For more information, visit www.fit4D.com.



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