Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Danger of HFCS

Last week I commented on how high fructose corn syrup (or HFCS for all of you abbreviation afficionados) was a topic in and of itself, so I figured I would tackle it briefly this week.

So, HFCS is a sweetener.  The main component of HFCS is fructose which is a naturally occurring sugar, typically in something like corn.  However, nothing in nature comes with high fructose corn syrup.  That means that it needs to be made in a laboratory somewhere.  And, we all should know that if something needs to be made in a lab, it's generally not good for you.

The problem with the process of making HFCS is that you need to use different chemicals to extract the fructose from the corn and concentrate it to become high fructose corn syrup.  One of those chemicals that is used is (wait for it) Mercury!  Yep, the toxic metal that is liquid at room temperature and is being taken out of vaccines because it's so toxic.  There was a study recently published in the Environmental Health Journal in 2009 showing that mercury is found to be more than elevated (in some cases more than 10 times greater than a serving of some fish) in some batches of HFCS, even "organic" HFCS.

But it's not all that bad since HFCS comes from corn and corn is all natural like the commercials say.  Right?  Typically, the corn that is mass produced for uses like HFCS or corn starch or other corn products comes from a Genetically Modified version of corn.  In these cases, the corn has typically had its DNA changed to incorporate pesticides and other toxic chemicals.  That means that it doesn't matter how much you wash it, the toxic chemicals won't come off, the chemicals are in their genes.  There's a very eye-opening documentary about that the genetic modification of food, specifically corn, titled "The Future of Food", which goes into much more depth than I can (it can currently be seen for free on Hulu.com here http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food). 

Just some things to keep in mind next time you go to the grocery store.  And just so you know, HFCS is a lot more prevalent than you might think, so read your labels.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why Water?

Why not?  I know that water isn't the most exciting, flavorful, or fizzy beverage for which to quench our thirst, but it is, without a doubt, THE best. 

It's what our bodies are made up of, besides a little carbon and nitrogen here and there.  It may be hard to imagine that more than 70% of our bodies are H2O since we aren't just rippling and floating our way through life, but water is needed in more functions than you might think.  It's what our skin needs to stay pliable and taught.  It's what our cells need to stay inflated and functional.  It's what our lungs and air passages need to stay open and mucousy.  There are plenty of other functions to list, but the list would get way too long for entertainment purposes.

So, since we have so much water in us, we probably don't need to add anymore right?  Wrong.  We lose a lot of our water through everyday activities from breathing to sweating to using the restroom to evaporation.  I recently read a medical article stating that the amount of water that we "need" is far less than what we thought.  I believe that they suggested that we only need 8 ounces of water per day to survive.  But we're not just here to survive are we?  We are here to thrive.  And in order to thrive and allow your cells and skin and lungs and all other parts of your body to function at their highest capacity, you need way more water than only 8 ounces per day.  So, in order to keep pace with all of the water that we lose during the day, you should be drinking at least 64 ounces per day (that's about 8 glasses of water).  And that's just water, not any of that other stuff.

But pop and juice and beer and milk are mostly water right?  They are.  But they also have plenty of other fillers in them.  Most other drinks have sweeteners in them whether they are synthetic like high fructose corn syrup (that's a whole other topic) to the lactose found in milk.  The problem is, most of that other stuff found in "tasty" drinks, including sweeteners, can have the opposite effect of water.  Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can make you dump water.  Plus, you are still adding all of that unnecessary stuff to you body.  So, just stick to the water to get your 64 ounces.

The best way to make sure you get enough water during the day is to keep water right in front of you.  That way you will be reminded every time you see your glass or Nalgene or stainless steel bottle.  In fact, you probably got a little thirsty just reading this.  So if you haven't already, get a reusable water bottle and bring it with you to work, school, outings, wherever.  Just make sure you try to get that 64 ounces.  Your body deserves it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kids and Chiropractic

Having our most recent Kids Day at the clinic on Saturday got me thinking about why kids especially need chiropractic.

I know that as a kid, I was all over the place running around, falling, and getting bumps and bruises.  (In fact, it's been said that you fall more times in the first 4 years of your life than you do the rest of your life!)  Yeah, it may have hurt a little bit for a short time as a kid and maybe gave some outward appearance of minor bodily damage.  But that doesn't tell the whole story.  Anytime someone falls, bumps into something, gets hit, or anything like that, there's the potential for minor damage to the spine.  And over time, that minor spinal damage can add up and lead to things like chronic low back pain, headaches, weakness, asthma, indigestion, and a whole lot of other problems in the future.

The falls and bumps and bruises aren't usually even the most traumatic thing to happen to a kid.  Actually, one of the most traumatic events that anyone could go through in their entire life is the birthing process, especially if it was a non-natural process or if the doctors needed to yank and pull on you on the way out.  Think about it.  How often do you have someone pulling and twisting on your head with multiple pounds of force?  Not very often.  But most people had this done to them when they weren't even 1 minute old!  Now I don't know about you, but based on that, I think that a good deal of damage can be done to an infant's spine in the birthing process.

Those are some of the main reasons why we have a Kids Day.  It's important to get those stresses out of the spine especially during the growing periods.  That way, we can help prevent some more serious issues down the road and hopefully add some quality to those little lives. 

My wife and I just recently had our first child, and one of the first things I did was check his spine because I know how important it is for a child's development to have everything in working order.

So if you thought chiropractic was only for treatment following a car accident or to get rid of that chronic low back pain or crick in the neck, hopefully this was able to show why all people should at least get their spines checked, especially kids.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fun in the Sun

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have all learned to appreciate when the sun is out. And now that summer is fully upon, that means that we will be getting more and more sunshine. But don't let all of those sunscreen lotion commercials fool you, a little bit of unprotected sunlight for our skin is just what our bodies need.

That's right, it's OK to get some sun without putting on sunscreen. But just like everything else, in moderation. Of course you don't want to lie out in the sun for 6 hours without any protection! You may be wondering, doesn't the sunlight still hit your skin even when wearing sunscreen? It does, but sunscreen blocks the UVA and UVB rays that the sun emits, which is a good thing when you're out in the sun for multiple hours. But those UVA and UVB rays are what our bodies use to synthesize Vitamin D. And Vitamin D is essential for hundreds of different vital processes in our bodies every single second of the day from skin health to energy levels and many more. Therefore, it's not just OK to get some unblocked sun, it's crucial!

So, how much unprotected sun is enough without getting too much?

One rule of thumb is to get at least 15 minutes of unblocked sun on your completely bare legs, arms, and head. Now, I know that my skin can handle a little bit more sun than that, so I usually go at least a half an hour before putting on some sunscreen. It's your judgment call based on your history. Some people burn really fast, others don't seem to burn at all. Just remember, it's all about using common sense and don't forget, a little bit of unprotected sunshine goes a long way toward your overall health and wellness.