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Wanted: Organic Gardening Stories & Tips March 2, 2011

Filed under: Environmental Wellness,Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 6:52 pm

I’ve advocated for backyard organic gardening countless times on this blog. It’s actually a pretty easy thing to get on a soapbox about when you live in an apartment. My “backyard” gardening has consisted of window sill herbs and indoor pepper plants. But now, this spring will mark the first time the hubs and I have had a garden to call our very own. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared.

I’m scared that I’ll plant things in the wrong place, too close together, or upside down (is that possible?). I’m scared that I’ll under-water and then over-water to compensate. I’m afraid some bug infestation will leave me with the question of whether to use pesticides to save my crops or let them die. I’ve had daydreams that parallel Little Shop of Horrors…

On other days I’m confident that I can create an Eden-like garden. Perhaps I’ll invent and nurture a hybrid tropical plant that survives the harsh winters in Minnesota. I’m calling this new plant a Squanana (cross between a squash and a banana).

Anyway, it’s pretty apparent that I have no idea what I’m doing. So, I would love to hear your organic gardening stories. What do you like to plant? How do you keep your plants healthy? What are some of the problems you have faced? Any tips to share?

Many thanks and happy planting!


“Next of Kin Would Like an Order of Onion Rings.” July 30, 2010

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 9:06 pm

I think Stephen Colbert should be the Surgeon General. Seriously. Tell it like it is Mr. Colbert:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought For Food – Cereal, Foot-Long Cheeseburger & Ecobot III
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

Pop-Tarts Help Solve ADHD Puzzle July 17, 2010

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 1:18 pm

Thank God for Pop-Tarts. If it wasn’t for these little sugar-laden “breakfast” cookies, researchers might still be scratching their heads to understand why practically every child is being diagnosed with ADHD.

Pop-Tarts has proven the hypothesis that feeding a child synthetic food products consisting of only sugar and food dyes can contribute to behavioral and emotional issues by introducing their new recipe, “Chocolate Cherry Whippit Sammies,” I mean “Whipped Sammies” (not that the health consequences are much different).

Check out the recipe here.

So let’s clarify– this is a sandwich that consists of Pop-Tarts, ice cream, maraschino cherries and hot fudge. God help our children. I believe in many things in moderation- but not this. There are so many synthetic ingredients, sugars… essentially just a mash-up of cheap pseudo-foods that are literally setting a child up for poor nutrition and eating practices in the future and bombarding them with a heavy dose of disgusting chemicals. We are now seeing tons of studies drawing strong correlations between poor nutrition practices and emotional, behavioral and learning problems. A Pop-Tart is the perfect example of what not to feed a child– especially one who has been diagnosed with these issues.

Here are the ingredients for the “Hot Fudge Sundae” flavor with the sugars and food dyes highlighted in red:

Enriched flour, Corn syrup, Sugar, Soybean and palm oil (with TBHQ), Corn Syrup solids, Dextrose, High fructose corn syrup, Fructose, Glycerin. Contains 2% or less of cocoa, polydextrose, modified corn starch, salt, dried cream, calcium carbonate, cornstarch, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate), distilled monoglycerides, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, sodium stearoyl lactylate, gelatin, color added, soy lecithin, datem, natural and artificial flavor, vanilla extract, carnauba wax, xanthan gum, bitamin A palmitate, yellow #5 lake, red #40 lake, caramel color, niacinamide, blue #2 lake, reduced iron, yellow #6 lake, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, citric acid, folic acid, red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #2, blue #1.

What makes Pop-Tarts even more ridiculous in this scenario is that they are bragging about their reduced sugar Tarts being used for these recipes. Really? That’s like selling low-sodium soy sauce with directions to add salt after purchase.

What are your thoughts about products like Pop-Tarts? Do they have a place in the diets of our children?


I Have a Favor to Ask… May 17, 2010

After finishing my academic *stuff* on Wednesday, I was left with a strange void and question in my mind… “What now?!” The feeling was too much for me 🙂

So, I went back to my second home (my MAC) and stumbled across a contest for the OWN Network. I was stoked to see what the contest was for– the chance to win your own show! Having a show focused on complementary health and preventative health has always been my dream. It has been the goal that has guided me through my last 10 years of education and experiences. So, amidst my finals hangover, I applied for the show and threw together an audition video.

To my surprise, I’ve actually received some votes! But, I’ll need a lot more to move onto the second round. The five people with the most votes on July 3 will go on. So, I’ll need a group of people who are willing to vote 100+ times per day until July 3. I’m hoping our WG community can help do that 🙂

It only takes about 2 minutes to vote 100 times. People have told me that they just click on the vote button and hold down the enter key! It’s like rapid fire from then on!

If you believe in spreading the message of integrative health, then I would LOVE it if you’d vote for me and help to make this happen. Let’s create something awesome together!

Click here to watch the video and vote as much as you can.

And please send this on to your contacts and post on your social media sites!

Much love and many, many thanks guys 🙂


Dr. Buzzkill & Tempting Meat Slurry March 31, 2010

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 10:07 am

Remember Dr. Lustig from the sugar lecture I posted earlier? Well, Stephen Colbert has now nicknamed him “Dr. Buzzkill.” I love it. Watch the video below for more ironies of our American food culture:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought for Food – Corn Diapers, Fatty Foods & Jamie Oliver
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Reform

Zico. Way Better Than Gatorade. March 22, 2010

Filed under: My favorite things!,Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 10:44 pm

I am so hooked on these Zico drinks. They are especially enjoyable after a heated yoga class. Or while laying on a beach somewhere…

The best part about Zico is the nutrition label; basically just some coconut water and fruit (in the flavored ones). Zico also offers electrolytes, a potassium boost and has low-acidity. Compare that to Gatorade products which contain artificial flavors and colors and cheap sweeteners or artificial sweeteners. As much as Gatorade brags about the “science” behind their beverage, they could create a much healthier and more effective product by using natural ingredients.

A Zico hit is not the cheapest though–I’ve found them for about $1.80 each. The price is worth it, but I’m frugal and also love a DIY challenge. So, my goal before summer is to make my own Zico drinks. Any suggestions or tips would be much appreciated… I’ll let ya know how it goes!


Sugar: The Bitter Truth March 17, 2010

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 5:55 pm

A friend led me to a very interesting lecture about sugar… and I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to watch– it will make you question what you’re eating. Here’s a quick summary about the video from UCSF:

Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.

And the lecture (which is actually pretty entertaining– I watched it in 2 parts):

The convincing research on the negative health consequences of excess sugar in the diet and my own personal experiences have made me a believer. About four years ago, I began experimenting with the elimination of sugar from my diet. After only a few days of eliminating sugar, I noticed positive changes in my eating patterns, mood, mental clarity and more balance in my energy levels. This was enough evidence for me to remove all white sugar and artificial sweeteners from my diet at home. We now use small amounts of maple syrup, honey, fruit juices, pureed fruits and sometimes agave to sweeten our food. Of course, I still need my local ice cream shop fix and an occasional dessert when I visit one of my favorite restaurants (Birchwood Cafe, Sen Yai Sen Lek, Spoonriver, Red Stag… I could go on). Oooh, I also have a hard time passing up a pumpkin bar… and a freshly baked cookie…  🙂

How about you? What are your beliefs about sugar? Do you have any tips to sweeten foods in a more healthy way?