The paleo diet is defined as “a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.”
Did the Paleo Diet Work?
Many studies have shown that early humans-cavemen-were much healthier than us. Cavemen had a strict diet of lean meat and fish, free from antibiotics, growth hormones and excess fat. As a result, their cholesterol levels were significantly lower. They only hunted free-range and grass-fed game animals (not out of principle, but out of lack of options).
According to recent studies, early humans regularly ate up to 100 different varieties of plants. Approximately two-thirds of a caveman’s diet was made up of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, roots and seeds. As farming hadn’t been invented yet, their meals were 100% organic and pesticide-free.
Today, we love our carbs, and pasta, cereal and candy are just examples of our carb-heavy guilty pleasures. Without farming, cavemen couldn’t produce refined “bad” carbohydrates from corn, white grain and added sugars. Nonetheless, cavemen had a healthy intake of “good” carbs through natural plant foods like vegetables and fruits. The “good” carbs provide fiber and nutrients that would boost their energy levels, while most the food that we eat today just deplete our energy levels.
So with all this in mind, we should realize that Cavemen were undoubtedly healthier than us. This is it may be a good idea to base our diets on what they ate and stick to a natural, chemical free diet-the Paleo Diet.
- Grass-produced meats
- Fresh fruits and veggies
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Refined vegetable oils
It may be difficult at first to get a meal plan made, but here is a sample of what you could do.
Sample Meal Schedule With the Diet from Dr. Cordain
- Breakfast: Omega-3 or free ranging eggs scrambled in olive oil with chopped parsley. Grapefruit, or any fresh fruit in season, herbal tea
- Snack: Sliced lean beef, fresh apricots or seasonal fruit
- Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken (olive oil and lemon dressing), herbal tea
- Snack: Apple slices, raw walnuts
- Dinner: Tomato and avocado slices; grilled skinless turkey breast; steamed broccoli, carrots, and artichoke; bowl of fresh blueberries, raisins, and almonds; one glass white wine or mineral water. (Clearly, wine would never have been available to our ancestors, but the 85:15 rule allows you to consume three non-Paleo meals per week.)
The Paleo Diet is based on the fact that most Cavemen lived longer than we are living today. Furthermore, their better health may be attributable to the fact that the food they ate was not processed and was natural in every way. The paleo diet is arguably one of the healthiest diet options available to us today, and it has the science to back it up. Give it a try and see how it could improve your health!
For more information: http://thepaleodiet.com.
Chocolate lovers can now enjoy the sweet temptation due to recent studies of the positive affects of chocolate on the brain.
What is the Best Kind of Chocolate?
Pure cocoa is best, though this may be too bitter for anyone with a sweet tooth. A good rule of thumb is to go for chocolate that is 85% cocoa or more. Basically, the darker the chocolate, the better it is for your brain.
Chocolate’s Effect on the Brain:
- Increased brain attention
- Brings peace to the brain
- Lowers blood pressure
- Contains flavonoids and antioxidants to help resist and repair cellular damage
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory
While scientists have yet to discover what causes the relationship between chocolate and happiness, studies have shown correlations. One 2007 study surveyed 1,367 respondents — all men in their 70s with similar socioeconomic backgrounds — and asked questions about their health, satisfaction in life and emotions like happiness and loneliness. They also snuck in a question that asked what kind of candy they preferred. Those who preferred chocolate showed lower frequencies of depression and loneliness and had a more optimistic outlook on life.
Are All Chocolates Good?
One of the most unhealthiest chocolates is the white chocolate. And according to many chocolatiers, white chocolate isn’t even considered to be chocolate.
Most chocolates also contain sugar, so it is vital–especially after a brain injury–to cut out as much sugar as you can from your daily diet, which is why we recommend chocolate with at least 85% chocolate.
The Bottom Line
So, the bottom line here is that eating dark chocolate is good for your memory, blood pressure, and your mood. It helps alleviate depression and also acts as an anti-inflammatory, which means that it is good for your brain. And if it is good for your brain, then it is good for you.
Read more here.
Being out doors during summer has become one of the most popular activities for Americans. The outdoors gives people with fresh air, and a way to take a break from their work days. With the rise in camping activities, most families depend on-site cooking and camp fire food. But if the food is not handled carefully or correctly, foodborne illness can arise. In order to be free of these illnesses here are some tips to remember:
1. Just like when you’re at home, “keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold”. So when you are camping keep all cold food stored in a container with ice packs.
2. “Keep everything clean”–Bacteria present on raw meat and poultry products can be easily spread to other foods by juices dripping from packages, hands, or utensils. This is called cross-contamination. When transporting raw meat or poultry, double wrap or place the packages in plastic bags to prevent juices from the raw product from dripping on other foods. Always wash your hands before and after handling food, and don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Soap and water are essential to cleanliness, so if you are going somewhere that will not have running water, bring it with you. Even disposable wipes will do.
Here are some foods to bring:
- peanut butter in plastic jars;
- concentrated juice boxes;
- canned tuna, ham, chicken, and beef;
- dried noodles and soups;
- beef jerky and other dried meats;
- dehydrated foods;
- dried fruits and nuts; and
- powdered milk and fruit drinks.
Powdered mixes for biscuits or pancakes are easy to carry and prepare, as is dried pasta. There are plenty of powdered sauce mixes that can be used over pasta, but check the required ingredient list. Carry items like dried pasta, rice, and baking mixes in plastic bags and take only the amount you’ll need.
When you cook, do not forget to cook all meats thoroughly and raw parts remain. You can even bring a food thermometer to make sure the food is safe to eat.
Here are some more quick tips for preparing food:
- Pre-chill all food that will be stored in the cooler and freeze bottles of water and non-carbonated drinks (like boxed fruit juices), which will keep foods cold as they thaw.
- You can even freeze water in zip-top bags in place of cold packs or ice. However, ice is generally recommended as it will fill the cooler completely and keeps food uniformly cold.
- Pack as much of your food as possible into water-tight bags, so that items do not get soggy as ice melts.
- Pack coolers in reverse order, with food you plan to use first on top—the less you have to dig around in the cooler, the better!
- Before leaving the house, throw in a fridge thermometer and keep it centrally located within the cooler so you can monitor and ensure foods are kept at or below 41oF.
We here at Breton Village Pediatrics and Family Medicine hope these tips are helpful and handy so have a safe camping trip and don’t forget to clean up after yourselves;)
Americas favorite drug is coffee. Over 180 million people start their day off with a coffee. But coffee is a very controversial beverage. There are some that believe coffee is very beneficial, and then there are others who believe that coffee is extremely harmful.
We will discuss both perspectives and how you can use this information to improve your overall health.
The Negative Effects of Coffee:
The caffeine in coffee is a drug, and just like many other drugs it can potentially become an addiction. Steven Meredith, a researcher in behavioral pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says that while low to moderate doses are generally safe, caffeine is addictive and users can become dependent on it and find it difficult to quit or even cut back.
This new addiction has a long term effect of increased risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Other effects of too much caffeine are:
- Increase anxiety and difficulty sleeping, which may lead to more reliance for caffeine to help with daytime fatigue.
- Caffeine interacts with some medications such as: thyroid, psychiatric and depression medications, also Cipro and Tagamet.
- It increases blood sugar levels, making it harder for those with type 2 diabetes to manage their insulin, according to a number of studies; it also can slightly raise blood pressure.
- Coffee itself can also mess with your stomach. If you have problems with acid reflux or heartburn, then coffee and even tea might not be right for you.
The Benefits of Coffee:
Here is the good news!
Caffeine may not be as bad as it seems. Studies have shown that those who drink coffee (but not decaf) seem to be four to eight times less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and “that is more likely to be due to caffeine” than to any nutrients in coffee, says van Dam.
Coffee has been found to protect against a variety of diseases and help us live longer.
Some other benefits are:
- It may reduce the risk of Alzheimers and dementia. Studies have found that regular caffeine consumption may help slow the rate of cognitive decline in older adults.
- Coffee cuts suicide risk. A 2013 study by Harvard’s School of Public Health found that those who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day cut their suicide risk by 45 percent — possibly because caffeine’s stimulant effect helps boost people’s moods.
- Coffee lowers the risk of oral cancer.
- Coffee lowers the risk of stroke for older women. A 2009 U.S. study and a 2011 Swedish study both found that older women who drink more than a cup of caffeinated coffee daily have a 20 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke. A 2008 Swedish study found a similar result in older men.
So is the Joe Good or Bad?
It’s important to keep in mind that many of the studies in the article are observational studies, which can not prove that coffee caused the beneficial effects. But given that the effects are strong and similar among other studies, it is a fairly strong indicator that coffee does in fact play a role.
All in all, it may depend more on your own body. Some people can drink 6 cups of coffee and be fine for the rest of the day and others who drink 1 cup might be up all night long. Your body’s reaction to the caffeine content in coffee can vary from others.
If you find yourself having a difficulty going a day without coffee, try going decaf or cutting back. If you do choose to cut back your caffeine intake, you may want to do it gradually to avoid any ill effects due to the sudden absence of coffee in your daily routine.
The one that knows your body best is you! Paying close attention to your body’s reaction (including the way you feel, your moods, weight, and sleep patterns) to foods and beverages like coffee can be an important tool to helping you achieve optimal health.
The easiest and best way to kill germs and avoid getting sick is not by taking medicine but by washing your hands.
A working adult touches 30 objects in one minute, and each of the objects may contain hundreds or even thousands of germs. There are approximately 5,000 germs on your hand at any given time. Despite the generally held belief that cold germs are spread through sneezing and coughing, the majority of transmission comes from hand-to-hand contact and transfer of germs.
How to Wash Your Hands
- Wet your hands with running water — either warm or cold.
- Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
- Lather well.
- Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. …
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
- If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.
When to Wash Your Hands
Always wash your hands before:
- Preparing food or eating
- Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
- Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash your hands after:
- Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
- Using the toilet or changing a diaper
- Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
- Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
- Shaking hands with others
In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.
What are the Benefits for Washing Hands?
Hand washing with soap prevents the spread of infections because:
- People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
- Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.
According to the CDC, hand washing education in the community:
- Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31%
- Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
- Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%
Even though hand washing may seem like a small way to prevent germs from being spread, it offers large rewards in terms of preventing illnesses. Hand washing is a simple habit that can play a huge role in protecting your body.
For more information, visit the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html
Being outdoors and getting some fresh air is very important, but what’s just as important is sleeping! Sleep is the most important thing our body needs; and there’s no other way around it.
Why do we need sleep?
Sleep not only gives our body and its organs a rest, but it lets the brain reorganize. According to The National Sleep Foundation sleep is a chance to reset brain functions back to their original state after becoming muddled up through the day. Also while we are awake there are certain chemicals which get depleted, so sleep restores these levels back to their original amounts.
In humans, insufficient sleep results in impaired memory and reduced mental abilities, moodiness, and hallucinations.
So overall sleep has a therapeutic benefit in that it offers the body and mind the opportunity to “revitalize, reenergize, and restore.”
How Much Sleep is Needed?
- Newborns (0-3 months ): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
So this summer don’t forget to take care of your body and especially brain, and don’t forget to sleep.
The beginning of the new sports seasons is approaching! In order to be prepared for the season, sports physicals are often required for athletes. But why? Cleveland Clinic posted an article on sports physicals. Here is a summary for your information.
Why are sports physicals important?
Sports physicals help determine whether or not an athlete is healthy enough to safely train and compete. A sports physical will also reveal potential injury risk as well as already present sports injuries.
A sports physical evaluates an athlete’s overall health and fitness, physical maturity, present injuries, and potential injury risk.
When are sports physicals conducted?
Sports physicals are usually done at least 6 weeks prior to the start of a season. This allows time for present injuries to heal or for an athlete to perform additional training in preparation in order to start the season off as healthy as possible.
What do sports physicals include?
Sports physicals review an athlete’s medical history and a physical exam.
The medical history portion of the exam reviews things that could affect an athlete’s ability to train and compete safely. It includes things such as:
- History of weight loss and gain (to target potential eating disorders)
- History of serious illnesses
During the physical exam, the doctor will evaluate an athlete’s lungs, height and weight, blood pressure, heart, and vision.
Keep in mind the importance of the sports physical. We wish all of our young athletes a safe and successful sports season!
If you would like to read the full article, please visit Cleveland Clinic’s website here.
Processed Foods and Food Additives
“That your health can suffer as a consequence of this chemical assault (of additives) should come as no surprise. After all, your body is not a machine designed to run on synthetic chemicals.” – Dr. Mercola
What are additives and why are they in our food?
There are more than 10,000 types of food additives, which include preservatives, colors, and flavor enhancers. During processing, foods lose their natural color and flavor. Without the additives, the food would be close to tasteless and without color.
Processed foods also lose their nutrients, so they are fortified with synthetic versions of vitamins and minerals. Additives slow spoilage and prevent fats and oils in the foods from going bad.
What harm can they cause?
Food additives can affect metabolism. Because they are artificial, the body is unsure how to process them. This difficulty, along with excess fat and sugar content in processed foods, can lead to obesity.
The GMOs that are prevalent in processed foods can also alter your gut bacteria, killing healthy bacteria and allowing bad bacteria to flourish within the gut.
These are just two examples of the harm that processed foods cause in the body.
Additives and childhood development
Exposure to the chemicals used as additives in food early on in life (before and after birth) can affect a child’s overall development. Reproductive, neurological, and immune systems can all be affected, which can lead to diseases later in life, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
This is why a healthy diet for families with children and expecting mothers is especially important! The majority of Americans spend 90% of their food budget on processed foods. Remember that a diet of plant-based, whole foods is the best way to prevent disease and promote overall health.
Find more information at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/12/17/food-safety-chemical-disclosure.aspx
Swimming has become the the third most popular U.S. sport or excercise activity, with approximately 314 million visits to recreational water venues. And now that summer is finally in the air, more pools are reopening for this seasons heat defying, splashy fun. These recreational venues, at times, get a bit gross as people come in and out of the pool all day.
In order to keep pools clean though, pool owners have relied on the disinfecting power of chlorine. “Chlorine is a really good broad-spectrum destroyer of pathogens that could otherwise make swimmers sick,” said Mary Ostrowski, director of Chlorine Issues in the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council.
Chlorine does get rid of many germs, but it does not get rid of these germs instantly. Germs today have become extremely tolerable to chlorine, and have given birth to a new spectrum of diseases. So swallowing just a little bit of pool water can now make you sick.
Recreational water illnesses (RWI’s) are illnesses caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in and can be caused by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems.
Swimmers need to be aware of how to further protect themselves from these germs and also how to prevent the spread of these germs. Some basic facts from the CDC of how to prevent RWIs are:
- Keep the pee, poop, sweat, and dirt out of the water!
Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
Shower before you get in the water.
Don’t pee or poop in the water.
Don’t swallow the water.
- Every hour—everyone out!
Take kids on bathroom breaks.
Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area–not poolside–to keep germs away from the pool.
Drink plenty of fluids.
- Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.
Pools: Proper free chlorine level (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) maximize germ-killing power.
Hot tubs/spas: Proper disinfectant level (chlorine [2–4 parts per million or ppm] or bromine [4–6 ppm] and pH [7.2–7.8]) maximize germ-killing power.
Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.
Knowing the basic facts about recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can make the difference between an enjoyable time at the pool, beach, or water park, and getting a rash, having diarrhea, or developing other, potentially serious illnesses.
With these facts in mind, we here at Breton Village Pediatrics and Family Medicine hope you have a healthy and fun summer.
Summer is finally here and the summer time sunshine is brighter than ever. As you go out to the beach, or to the park, or pools, don’t forget to protect your body from harmful UV rays from the sun.
Some ways to naturally protect yourself from the sun are:
- Not too much sun exposure, but little sun exposure for a few minutes everyday.
- Wear protective clothing. So the next time you go to the beach, don’t forget to bring a good hat and a big umbrella.
- Wear sunglasses that filter UV light.
- Avoid sun during the middle of the day, 10 am to 3 pm. UV rays during this time are strongest.
- Get in the habit of always using sunscreen whenever you are outside.
Why use sunscreen?
Sunscreens are composed of several ingredients that help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin, age it prematurely, and increase your risk of skin cancer.
UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other light-induced effects of aging (photoaging). They also worsen the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are seen as a cause of skin cancer by themselves.
What is the best sunscreen to use?
Sunscreen is based on SPF, or “Sun Protection Factor”. The number tells you how much UVB will be blocked (UVB are the burning rays of the sun). So a sunscreen with higher SPF will be more effective in blocking the rays. Everyone should use at least a 30 SPF sunscreen, but an even higher can be used too, you can never be too safe.
If you have sensitive skin, ask a dermatologist to recommend a sunscreen.
How to Properly Use Sunscreen:
- If you will be outdoors for longer than 30 minutes, apply the sunscreen at this time. But apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before actually leaving.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while you are outdoors, even if the product is labeled “all-day.” If you get wet or perspire heavily, reapply sunscreen more frequently.
- Cover all exposed areas, including your ears, lips, face and back of your hands.
- Don’t skimp; apply a generous layer. Smooth it on rather than rub it in. A rule of thumb is that 45 ml (a shot glass) of sunscreen is needed to cover all exposed skin to attain the stated level of protection.
- Women should apply sunscreens under makeup. If you wait to apply sunscreen until you hit the beach, you may already be perspiring, and moisture makes sunscreens less effective.
If you do get burned, some real aloe is a great cure.