About Me, Just a little anyway.

Blog Photo of Me

Hello World Wide Web! My name is Heidi.

I have created this site for many different reasons. Like some of you I have lived a roller coaster life. I as a child up to age 7 was just a tiny little thing who was afflicted with horrible tonsils and adenoids. At the age of 7 I had surgery to remove these buggers (first surgery caused a tear to a vein in my nose, which after about an hour of bleeding, led to a 2nd surgery). The best part of the whole event was that once I was able to tolerate foods I could eat all the Popsicles and Ice Cream I wanted (hip hip hooray).

Thus began my life long journey of being overweight.

I’m now 52 and have a laundry list of Health issues that I’m working with and attempting to change. It is becoming increasingly more understandable as I study and learn about the afflictions I’ve been diagnosed with, that not only myself but 1000’s of people around the globe are struggling with on a daily basis, the symbiotic relationship of these issues.

So let’s take this walk together, join me won’t you? If there is something I’m missing or that you can add do it! In the meantime Welcome one and All.

 

Just a quick Hello

Hey everybody I hope all is well with each of you and yours. I have been a bit lax of late with this blog, unfortunately as far too many of you know sometimes chronic disease can derail you.

That is just a fact that has to be lived with at this point. I am working to improve my reactions to the pain and find a way to battle through.

I want you to know that for the longest time it was difficult for me to even want to wake up let alone actually do something productive, (not that I was able to anyway) however over the course of the last three years I have actually found a desire within myself to try to find me again. To realize that I may actually have a purpose and that there is a way to get what needs gotten and maybe even what isn’t needed once in a while.

So today as I approach my One year Blogaversary (6/19) I just want to say thank you for your patience and for your time.

GMO or not to GMO Part II

 

Do we need GMO foods?

Since 1994 the FDA has approved GM “Canola” with modified oil composition, herbicide resistant soybeans and cotton, and the GM foods sold at your supermarket (without label requirements) potatoes, carrots, strawberries and eggplant with much much more in the works.

What is the driving force behind GM foods? Right now there a 3 primary challenges the global population faces that are driving this technology train.

  • Population Expansion – The 2015 revision of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/ Population Division World Population Prospects determined that although the worlds’ population growth rate has slowed in recent years the current global human population is approximately 7.35 Billion (2015 revision figure) with this rate projected to increase by a annual addition of 83 Million. Imagine in just 12 1/2 short years the year 2030 the anticipated population will reach 8.5 Billion and by 2050 the increase reaches 9.7 Billion human inhabitants on the planet. Expansion of the populace is one of the major contributing factors of Undernourishment around the world. As of 2016 the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) projected that globally 795 Million people are suffering from malnutrition. Right here in what everyone believes is the land of plenty for every ten people one of them is malnourished 1 in 10! It is not a what if situation it is an everyday occurrence all over the world especially within developing regions. This situation is definitely alarming and is only going to grow. Currently the crop yield rate of increase is 1.7%, yet the annual yield needs to be 2.4% to meet population growth demands, nutritional improvement demands and the decrease in arable land availability. Scientists and researchers are exploring achievable optimization of crop genetics combined with improvements in management of the Agricultural system.
  • Arable Land Decrease – Arable Land is defined as land that is able to be ploughed or tilled and regularly used to grow crops implementing a crop rotation method. With the FAO predicting a decrease in the amount of arable land for food production dropping from the current 0.242 ha (hectare) or 2.471 acres to 0.18 ha or 0.4447897 acres per person by 2050, population growth and malnutrition are a confounding issue. Our ability to cultivate additional acreage is limited as land suitable to food crop growth is dwindling at a pace that is soon to be intensified which is forcing the need to generate a larger yield per acre. This is achieved by using greater agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer, water, pest and weed control and/or genetic “improvements”. All of this however comes with several complicating factors that have to be examined; 1- Increased demand for biofuels and feedstock production; 2- Accelerated Urbanization; 3- Land degredation, decertification, and salinization; 4- Altered land use from staple food growth to pasture which is being driven by socioeconomic considerations; 5- CLIMATE CHANGE (Yes it is real folks); 6- Limitation of water resources.
  • Conventional and Modern Breeding Bottleneck – Conventional breeding relies on sexual crossing of one parental line with another in the hopes of expressing some desired property – for example disease resistance. To do this breeders select the best progeny (plant or animal) and back-cross it to one of its parents. This process is an arduos undertaking, usually requiring several years depending on the generational time frame (ie: wheat has a time frame of 10 – 15 Years) before actual expression of the desired trait can be analyzed and any further expansion by conventional breeding to what would be useful commercial numbers. Now looking at the facts that in addition to the inherently long generation times limiting the developement of conventional breeding, prior to breeding stratagies must find the existance of an available genepool manifesting the desired trait and the sexual compatability of the organisms with those traits. The exclamation point to this is that now a days the genetic variety has dwindled and as a result we operate in a restricted space for improvement. Modern methods can increase this space by using chemicals or radiation to introduce new mutational variations, however, much like fitting a square peg into a round hole these are blunt instruments leaving the results in improved traits to random chance and luck. A a matter of fact, the non-selectivity of these methods are probably the reason for the extended breeding timelines.

Ultimately the emergence of biological technologies and developement of GM foods has the potential to dramaticly reduce production timelines of new strains with the hope of being able to provide optional avenues to meet the need of sustainable global food security.

Altering what is naturally occuring within an animal or a plant genetically may have its merits, but don’t we also have to consider and address the potential harm? There are no long term studies being conducted with human participents to determine what ill effects these modifications may present in the future. Shouldn’t this be part of the required process? Tell me what you think in the comments, I would love your input.

To GMO or not to GMO this is the question.

Today I’m going to begin a series around this topic. I’ve been hearing  a lot about GMO’s for a minute now and have decided to look into this hot topic myself. I’ve been studying y’all. First things first, What is it and how did it come to be?

HISTORY

Genetic Modification; a biological technique that effects alterations in the genetic machinery of living organisms.

Genetically Modified Organisms; The altering of genetic material of microorganisms “that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.” as described by the World Health Organization (WHO). Comparatively the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Commission define a GMO as a product “not occurring naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.” Essentially the same thing.

Recombination; a.k.a genetic reshuffling, the production of offspring with combinations of traits that differ from those found in either parent.

However M.J. Oliver PhD points out that a closer definition of GMO would be “biotechnologically modified organisms“.  Using as an example the 19th century grain Triticale. This grain was created by crossing wheat with rye and is widely used in Pasta. A conventional selective breeding approach was used and the resulting hybrid is sterile. Fast forward to the 1930’s and the use of the chemical colchicine (as defined by Wikipedia) is a medication most commonly used to treat gout, and it is derived from the genus Colchicum. It is a toxic natural product and secondary metabolite, present also in what is commonly known as “meadow saffron”, autumn crocus, or naked ladies and is an autumn blooming plant. The use of colchicine generated polyploid embryo cells which are fertile. This grain Triticale can therefore fit the definition of a GMO even though the process of the genetic modification is rather primitive by current molecularly biological standards.

Scientists discovered that genetic material could be transplanted between species in 1944. Although the history of genetically engineered DNA molecules really begins with Charles Darwin’s notions of species variation and selection.

1954 Francis H Crick and James Watson explained the Double Helix structure of DNA, “Central set of Rules” that DNA transfers data to the messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid) one of the major biological macromolecules that are quintessential to the makeup of the nature of something or someone.

1963 The genetic code is deciphered by Nobel Laureate Marshall Nirenberg and others.

1973 Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer created DNA cloning.

From this point on many scientists conducted multiple works. 1977 through 2003 when the human genome sequencing was completed.

The first GM plants were produced by three independent research groups in 1983. The plants were antibiotic resistant tobacco and petunias. China was the first to commercialize genetically modified tobacco crops in the early 1990’s. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a genetically modified species of tomato with the genetic property design to delay ripening.

Over time, several transgenic crops have been approved by the FDA. I want to point out here that the FDA walks hand in hand with Big Agriculture and Big Pharmaceutical Companies, who as we know are all about the bottom line. As for the repercussions that may result they’ll find a way to weasel out of or battle through the courts with their unlimited resources to prevent any accountability on their part should the future provide adverse results from these modifications. Who knows?

Next we will explore whether or not GM foods are necessary.

Til then let me know what you think or what questions you may have in the comments.

 

Do You Know the Health Benefits of Cinnamon?

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There are two types of Cinnamon. Both come from barks of trees, and have determined health benefits such as

  • Moderates Blood Sugar levels and Reduces insulin resistance
  • Lowers Cholesterol and has Cardiovascular benefits
  • Lowers Blood Pressure due to the dilating action of Cinnamaldehyde
  • Cuts inflammation and fights inflammatory disease
  • Tackles Bacterial, Fungal and Viral Infections

What most people are familiar with regarding cinnamon is the first type or Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) coming from the Cinnamomum Cassia tree that originated in Southern China and is most commonly known as Chinese cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon has long been used in cooking and in traditional Chinese medicine, with about 95% of its essential oil being cinnamaldehyde, which gives it the readily recognizable aroma and flavor.

The second type of cinnamon is Ceylon Cinnamon or “True Cinnamon” it is native to Sri Lanka and the southern parts of India. This bark comes from the Cinnamomum Verum tree. Ceylon cinnamon is less common, is higher in quality and has over centuries been prized as a cooking spice for desserts because of its delicate and mildly sweet flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is quite low in its content of cinnamaldehyde essential oil at an estimated 50-63% compared to cassia, which is why it has a milder flavor and aroma.

Hold on wait a minute… don’t rush to your kitchen and start eating spoonfuls of this beautiful spice!

Coumarin is a compound found naturally in several plant species including Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon, but too much of this naturally occurring compound can be TOXIC. So what should you use when adding cinnamon to your day to day health regimine? Well the bottomline is NO research has been done to compare Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains approximately 1% coumarin vs. Ceylon which contains only about 0.004%, or 250 times less coumarin. When choosing to utilize cinnamon for its health benefits it is important to keep your consumption to no more than 0.05 mg/lb of Cassia in order not to exceed the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of coumarin, thus making it safer to utilize Ceylon cinnamon when taking as a supplement either in capsule form or straight out of the jar mixed with sugar for toast. Here is the part where the adage ‘You get what you pay for’ comes in to play, you will see a marked difference in price between the two.

As for this Cinnaholic I’ll keep using the tried but true Cassia cinnamon, cause after all I’m broke. As with all things moderation is key and until one can do better you work with what you can. So enjoy this great additive in tea, baking, cooking etc…just don’t inhale it or take by the spoonful, and you should be just fine.

Do you like cinnamon? What’s your favorite way to use it? Let me know in the comment section below.

“Your Pregnant!” Let’s talk about depression…

Symptoms of depression can be marked by strong negative emotions that affect a person’s day to day life for a prolonged period of time. Women who are pregnant are at an increased risk for depression. The cultural expectations when a women is pregnant can be intense, everyone assumes that your going to be over the moon excited, or expecting that it is one of the most Blissful times in a woman’s life. There is a lot of pressure with pregnancy, and for a woman who has battled Major Depression her developing Antepartum depression is greater still.

Postpartum depression is a subject that a lot of us are aware of due to the courage of women who have lived through it and shared their experiences. There is another form of depression that isn’t as widely known or talked about. Depression DURING pregnancy or Antepartum depression, is rarely discussed unlike Postpartum depression. A little know fact about depression and pregnancy is that approximately 14 to 23 percent of pregnant women experience Antepartum depression, while 5 to 25 percent experience Postpartum depression after delivery. Thankfully public health experts are becoming more focused on the high incidence of Antepartum depression and are incorporating screening for depression into a routine healthy pregnancy exam. Encouraged as a first step to discovering any potential problem for both pregnant women and new mothers.

What are potential risk factors with Antepartum depression? Many women have never experienced any type of real depression so pregnancy depression is their first. As with most things in life if a woman has a history of Major Depression this could be a catalyst to Antepartum depression. It is generally believed that Antepartum depression is a result of the accumulative physical, hormonal and behavioral changes one goes through during the course of pregnancy. Risk factors besides a history of depression can be

  • Maternal Anxiety
  • Everyday life stress
  • Lack of family and friends support
  • Pregnancy was not planned
  • Domestic Violence
  • Single or poor relationship

just to name a few. Please remember everyone is different, not everything you and your body go through while pregnant is going to lead to depression of any kind.

How can a woman know if she is experiencing depression or just the typical changes? Fatigue and decreased energy, trouble sleeping, changes in eating habits and appetite, are all routine aspects of pregnancy which is where and why identifying depression becomes challenging. Take time to examine yourself, ask questions like ‘How are you today?’ Persistent, intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, emptiness are not what most would feel is normal.  ‘Am I?’ Anxious, angry or frustrated. ‘Do I still enjoy?’ Activities, hobbies, spending time with family and friends. Your response to these questions if concerning to you should be brought to your healthcare provider and together you can find a solution.

Once you know what you are dealing with an answer is generally available that can enable you to make beneficial choices and enjoy this glorious time in your life.