Expensive Beef

steak-grillAmericans have long had a love affair with beef. For the past century, the average American has enjoyed more than 60 pounds of burgers, steaks and roasts every year. Unfortunately, the cost has been rising steeply recently, and the average consumer is now paying nearly $4 a pound for ground beef, and over the next year, the prices of hamburgers expected to rise to the current cost of steaks. Unfortunately for many, these higher prices are not expected to drop any time soon. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, the costs are expected to increase faster than those for poultry, fish and other types of meat.

The increased costs are largely due to a lower supply and rising demand. Texas, which produces most of the cattle in the United States, has been suffering a drought that has affected the productivity of ranches and their herds. Even once the weather stabilizes, it could be a while before prices begin to level off. Unlike other animals, cows must grow for several years before the ranch can slaughter them, and because fertility rates can be affected by the current climate, the U.S. may be looking at years of steep costs.

While meat plays a major role in many people’s diets, most of us get too much protein. This can result in taking in more calories and fat than we really need, which can then contribute to an expanding waistline and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, knee osteoarthritis and heart disease. The rising costs associated with a meat-heavy diet can be just the impetus you need to make healthy changes in your life.

You can get all the protein you need from two to three servings of meat, dairy or legumes a day. Dairy is also a great source of calcium while beans offer heart-healthy fiber and antioxidants. Fill about half your plate with fresh vegetables before adding any other courses, and consider finishing off your meal with fresh fruits, which also contains fiber and antioxidants. You can save money, improve your health and even trim your waistline by trimming the meat from your plate.

After Diarrhea

Intestinal distress can really put a crimp in your day. You may find yourself rushing to the bathroom a dozen times a day, calling off work and canceling appointments. Once you start feeling better, you may want to dive back into your regular routine, but try to exercise restraint. Your body needs time to rest, rehydrate and recover.

Diarrhea is a common condition that can occur in response to bacteria or a virus. It can also be a response to certain things in your diet. Gluten, dairy and other food sensitivities or allergies can all trigger diarrhea. Once you figure out what the cause is, you will be better able to manage your symptoms and get back into the swing of things.

Take it easy for a few days until your bowel movements have returned to normal. Slowly increase your physical activity until you are back at your previous levels, and eat easy to digest foods, such as bananas, applesauce, toast, rice and crackers. Avoid spicy or greasy items since these can further irritate your inflamed intestinal tract and send you running for the bathroom once again.

A low-fiber, soft diet will reduce the stress on your intestines, but probiotics can help repopulate your intestines with healthy bacteria. You can find these in yogurt with active cultures, kefir, miso and kombucha. If you believe that your diet was responsible for your condition, you may want to be cautious as you reintroduce food groups. Your doctor may recommend an elimination diet that helps you identify the culprit.

Because you may be dehydrated, you will need to focus especially on rehydrating. Clear fluids are preferable. Teas, broths, gelatin and sports drinks can all be good choices. Avoid milk, apple juice, alcohol and caffeine throughout the duration of your illness and for several days after. Rest as needed, and avoid intense exercises.

Although most intestinal issues are mild and easily cleared up, they could be something more sever. Monitor the time and your symptoms, and call your doctor right away if there is blood in the stool, the bowel movement is black, you have a fever, you have stomach pain or you believe that you drank contaminated water or ate contaminated food. Medical attention may also be necessary if your condition worsens, does not clear up within two to three days or if you have pre-exiting medical conditions.

Obesity Surgery

Obesity or bariatric surgery is often considered an option for people who are morbidly obese or who have certain health problems directly linked to their weight. Losing weight can be difficult even for those who have much less to lose, but surgical solutions offer a higher rate of success with results that are more likely to last. Several procedures are available. In one, a gastric band is placed around the stomach to decrease its volume. In a gastric bypass, the procedure is designed to create a smaller stomach pouch. Both procedures are effective and generally considered safe.

A recent study revealed that the benefits of bariatric procedures may go far beyond losing weight. In fact, this study, which was performed by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, revealed that obese patients with type 2 diabetes were able to decrease their insulin dependence and even eliminate their need for medication by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels on their own. Many study participants were also able to reduce their need for cholesterol and blood pressure medications, and their quality of life was significantly improved.

The study participants who were evaluated were divided into groups. One group had undergone gastric bypass, one group had undergone sleeve gastrectomy and a third group were given nutritional counseling and weight loss medications. All participants were using diabetes drugs and heart medications at the beginning of the study. While the results for the surgical groups were impressive even for those with lower BMIs, those in the medical therapy group had less success. Only 5 percent of that group were able to achieve healthy A1C blood sugar levels without medication.

Obesity is considered a primary factor in the development of type 2 diabetes and is becoming increasingly common among American adults. An operation to lose weight may also reduce the pressure on joints, decrease cardiovascular risks and improve health as well as decrease mortality rates. However, surgical options may not be right for every person. Weight loss procedures are associated with infection, blood clots and other complications, and they require a serious, long-term commitment to health and fitness. As with any weight loss program, diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices are still critical to long-term success.

Mumps

There are many childhood diseases that used to be common. But thanks to the usage of vaccines, many of these potentially serious or even fatal diseases have been reduced to the point that outbreaks are very rare. Examples include polio, smallpox, and chicken pox. Another example is the mumps – a viral infection that affects the parotid glands. These are the glands that surround the ears – in front of them and below them, in the jaw area. They are also known as salivary glands. The swelling of these glands can be quite uncomfortable.

Other symptoms of this viral process include a fever, body aches, loss of appetite, headache, and pain while chewing food. Many people also feel very tired, no matter how much sleep they get. It is a contagious infection, mostly spread through the saliva of infected people. It can spread via the air if someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. It is also spread through contaminated utensils. The symptoms can also be similar to other illnesses, including tonsillitis or the common cold. For a proper diagnosis, especially if the parotid glands are swollen, most doctors will want to do a blood culture, where they will look for certain types of antibodies. If the antibodies are present, a positive diagnosis is made.

The infection can last a week or longer. And since it is caused by a virus, people who are affected by it just have to wait it out. However, you can reduce your chances (and the chances of your children) of catching this particular illness by getting the MMR vaccine, which builds immunity against it. This vaccine also helps protect the body from the measles and rubella, two serious diseases that can be fatal in some instances. The vaccine is usually given at around a year of age and then again between the ages of 4 to 6, as children are starting school.

Although complications from this type of infections are rare, they do occur. It can lead to infections of the brain, pancreatitis, and inflammation of the ovaries or breasts. Another possible complication is hearing loss. The best protection is to get vaccinated and to avoid people who have recently been diagnosed.

Excessive Fatigue

Many of us just accept the fact that we feel tired all of the time. We blame lack of sleep or working too much as the culprits. But the truth of the matter is that excessive fatigue is not normal. Many of us also blame stress. But feeling tired on a regular basis could signify a serious health condition. The good news is that if you get the correct diagnosis and seek out a successful treatment plan you can start to feel better, often in a short amount of time.

One of the possible underlying causes of feeling run-down on a regular basis could be anemia. People who have this condition have low counts of red blood cells. In some cases supplements are needed, in others it might be treated by making sure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet. It can occur after excessive blood lost. Anemia can be short term or long term and the treatment plan also depends on what type is diagnosed.

Another possible cause is diabetes. This is a condition that is characterized by high glucose levels in the blood. Unfortunately, it can lead to a number of other health complications, including problems with the kidneys. Sometimes it can be treated through diet, other times it might require insulin. The important thing is to get the correct diagnosis so that you can get the right treatment plan for your lifestyle and needs.

Thyroid issues could also be to blame. An underactive thyroid leads the body to feel very sluggish. Cancer is another possible culprit. If you have any strange lumps or if you have certain types of cancer that run in your family, be sure to get to the doctor as soon as possible. Another possible factor could be fibromyalgia. This happens due to overactive nerves and can wreak havoc on the body. Treatment for this condition is more accessible than ever.

If you have been feeling tired and rundown, it might be time to visit your doctor. It could mean more than just being stressed out. Your doctor can help you seek a successful treatment plan and improve lifestyle habits, as well as rule out any underlying causes. It will be well worth your time to get the answers you deserve.

Ovarian Good Health, What Woman Should do Daily

Ovaries perform essential functions by producing eggs and the appropriate amounts of female hormones to maintain reproductive processes until menopause. Even after menopause, these two almond-sized organs continue to produce some hormones. Strong ovaries can translate into better reproductive and overall health. When these little glands are unhealthy, you may be more likely to suffer from symptoms and reproductive or hormonal problems. A few daily steps can help you stay on the right track and keep your reproductive system healthy throughout your life.

Yellow and Cruciferous Vegetables

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is more likely to give your body the antioxidants it needs to function properly. Lycopene, beta carotene and vitamin C are some of the most important nutrients you can get in an ovarian-healthy diet. Try enjoying a few servings of winter squash and broccoli, and add in some fresh berries, citrus fruits and dark leafy greens for the best results.

Less Red and Processed Meat

Inflammation contributes to polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, and has been linked with obesity and ovarian cancer. Limit your intake of red meats and processed meats that contain large amounts of saturated fat, which can trigger inflammation, to once-a-week servings. Look instead for lean protein sources that help control your appetite and keep your blood sugars under control, such as beans, lentils, egg whites, fish and poultry.

Less Milk

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones, but too much milk may increase your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Calcium-rich non-dairy foods include broccoli and dark leafy veggies as well as beans, tofu and fortified juices and alternative milks, such as rice or almond milk. Your body can make its own vitamin D when you spend a little time outside in the sun, but you may also need to take a multivitamin or vitamin D supplement if you have darker skin or rarely spend time outside. Exercising most days of the week can round out your healthy bone regimen. Weight-bearing exercises are the best choices for keeping your bones strong.

Regular Check ups

Annual well-woman exams with your gynecologist or family practitioner can identify early signs of trouble. Some women may need more frequent exams, particularly if you have a family history of ovarian cancer or other ovarian health problems.

Most importantly, listen to your body. Any unusual symptoms should be discussed with your healthcare provider at the earliest opportunity. Watch for abdominal or pelvic pain, unexplained bloating, feelings of fullness or lack of appetite, unexplained vaginal bleeding, urinary frequency and persistent gas.

Yoga Mat Chemicals

Recently, the sandwich giant Subway announced that it would no longer be using a specific chemical compound in its breads. Multiple organizations and individuals protested and boycotted the sub chain in an attempt to force the business to remove azodicarbonamide from its products.

Also known as ADA, the now notorious ingredient is an artificial chemical commonly found in yoga mats, flip flops, tennis shoes, window sealants, and other commercial items. It is an industrial foaming agent that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in comestibles in very small quantities, but its inclusion in almost all foods is largely unnecessary. When added to items like rolls, bagels, muffins, and dinner breads, it offers a spongy texture that is considered appetizing.

Unfortunately, many brands and manufacturers that Americans trust to sell wholesome products have elected to include this potentially harmful substance. Even brands that market their products as “healthy” and “natural” have added azodicarbonamide to make their breads and rolls more appealing. While the approved concentration of 45 parts per million has not yet resulted in any known emergencies, the chemical itself has been linked with a number of hazardous side effects. When consumed to excess, it may result in potentially life-threatening conditions and allergic reactions.

People who work with ADA on a regular basis have experienced problems like respiratory issues and skin irritation. Though no one authority has, as of yet, urged Americans to remove this ingredient from their diet or change their eating habits because of it, it is worth mentioning that a substantial number of other countries do not allow its inclusion in their foods. If you suspect a possible reaction to azodicarbonamide in yourself or in any member of your family, talk to your primary health care provider. You may find that making your own baked goods at home is not only safer, but more delicious and rewarding as well.

Dr. House and Difficult Medical Cases

Oscar Wilde once said that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” A recent study that was published in the February 7th issue of the “Lancet” revealed that this may be true. A patient’s complex, confusing symptoms seemed to mirror the symptoms of a character on “House,” a popular TV show that follows a fictional doctor who tackles medical mysteries.

The man in the study had undergone a hip replacement. His initial hip implant was a ceramic-on-ceramic design, but his new hip was metal-on-plastic. After the second hip replacement procedure, the patient began to develop fever, acid reflux and a gradual loss of vision and hearing. He had symptoms of an under active thyroid, and eventually he was diagnosed with severe heart failure. He was referred to the Marburg University Clinic in Germany.

Coronary artery disease, a common cause of heart failure, was quickly ruled out, and the researchers were perplexed. His health issues continued to be a mystery until the group of doctors at the Marburg clinic noted that his symptoms mirrored the symptoms of a patient in a 2011 episode of “House.” The real-life patient was diagnosed with cobalt poisoning just as the fictional House patient had been. The metal part of the hip replacement contained cobalt-containing debris that was slowly poisoning him. His symptoms subsided after a new all-ceramic hip was placed.

Dr. House is known for his brilliant work on strange and abnormal cases. Today’s doctors also work on plenty of weird cases. While most of the time everyday symptoms have everyday causes, occasionally those hoof beats indicate the presence not of a horse but of a zebra. In fact, so-called rare diseases affect about 10 percent of the population, which makes them not quite so rare after all. Continuing education allows doctors to stay on top of their game, keep current with medical advances and solve even the most complex medical mysteries just like the fictional Dr. Gregory House.

GMO Labeling

Do you ever where your food comes from? Have you been hearing a lot about GMOs? This term actually means genetically modified organism and has created controversy all over the world. Big chemical companies that specialize in agriculture state that crops grown from GMOs are safe, whereas others don’t believe those claims. As a result, there are some large legal battles going on right now. In fact, there are numerous countries around the world who have banned the use of genetically modified organisms for crops – including Ireland, Egypt and Japan.

Europe and the United States don’t have current bans, but Europe has mandated that they must be labeled so that the public knows what they are buying. Europe believes that consumers should be aware of what they consume, especially because no one is quite sure of the long term effects of these items are. Proponents of this movement state that the science behind this movement is solid – and that it is necessary for feeding the worlds population, which is always growing. For example, usage of these organisms can help crops grow in places where they normal wouldn’t be able to – such as Africa. But other studies have shown that it might not be healthy to alter the genetics of what we ingest.

As the views toward this practice continue to evolve and change, what has become apparent is that there is very little middle ground. People are either for it or against it, and the big chemical companies are continually pushing the envelope. However, labeling the foods in order to give consumers a choice seems only fair. After all, we don’t know how they will affect our bodies – do they cause disease? Are they truly safe? As consumers, we have a right to know that and right to have the option of purchasing items that are free from genetically modified practices.

One large grocer, Whole Foods, has taken a stand against carrying items that have been genetically modified and will continue to test their offerings to make sure they are compliant with their practices. It is a practice that just might become the norm in other grocery chains as well – meaning that the public has spoken and genetically modified options might just be something people don’t buy – making it an obsolete concept one day.

Help Falling Asleep

Healthy sleep habits can be among the best ways to stay healthy throughout your life. Unfortunately, many of us have drifted into bad habits over the years that leave us tossing and turning or counting sheep unsuccessfully. The experts recommend that most people get about eight hours of shut-eye every day. Here is what you need to know to reach that minimum.

1. Limit your caffeine intake.

Many people enjoy coffee, tea and sodas all day long and then wonder why they are still lying wide awake with racing hearts at midnight. Caffeine is designed to wake you up rather than put you to sleep, so cutting back may be necessary if you are struggling with insomnia. Begin enjoying caffeine-free beverages instead of coffee or soda early in the afternoon: Consider herbal tea, iced water with a twist of lemon or cucumber or sugar-free flavored beverages.

2. Develop a bedtime routine.

Many people tuck into bed at their normal time only to spend the next several hours watching TV. Television is a common way for people to wind down, but the bright lights, intense scenes and involved storylines of movies or network programs may have the opposite effect. Relaxing before bed means that you may need to skip TV early in the evening: No scary movies or shows that may keep you wide-eyed and worried at every creak and bump in the night. Consider reading a book or magazine for a calm, relaxing pre-bed ritual.

3. Keep your room restful.

If possible, keep your bedroom free of distractions such as TVs and mobile devices. Instead, use it for only sleep and intimacy. Keep the temperature comfortable and not too hot. If you prefer a little bit of white noise, use a fan to keep the air moving and to create a gentle background hum.

4. Exercise early in the day.

Exercise offers many important benefits, but it can also help you get more rest. Try to avoid working out too much and too close to bedtime, however, which can stimulate your body. Consider taking a warm bath or practicing some light stretching a few hours before you hit the hay to give your body more time to recover.

5. Build your relationships.

Don’t go to bed angry. You spend your day engaging and interacting with others, and some of these interactions can be disquieting. You may not be able to work through all relationship issues before bed, but you can set them aside until you are more awake and emotionally prepared to deal with them.

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