Educational Fundraiser’s Goal is to Decrease Childhood Obesity and Environmental Waste

November 17th, 2008

Surf City Growers has begun offering its My First Organics seed starting kits as both a healthy, eco-friendly and profitable alternative to fundraising with more commonplace items like traditional candies, gift wrap drives and cookies.

Citing the well-known fact that childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, SCG asks a pertinent question: “Why should our kids contribute to the problem by selling candy and cookies? How much gift wrap do we need? We felt it necessary to offer a responsible, conscientious choice to help under-funded schools and youth groups raise money,” said Linda McNair, president and co-founder.

The kits are priced at $14.99. Schools and youth groups can earn up to $5 per kit sold, either through Internet fundraising or the traditional door-to-door type approach.

SGC feels that the kits will teach children the why and how of growing organic produce.

“It’s also an amazing way for more families to learn about eating healthy and caring for the environment,” adds McNair.

The kits include colorful and delicious vegetables and herbs that can be grown in either a container or garden plot. They’re also good for about a year from the date of purchase.

Safety Risks of a High Protein Diet

November 11th, 2008

High protein diets are sometimes popular with bodybuilders, and they are also sometimes used by people who are trying to lose weight. The risks that individuals take when they eat a high protein diet, though, have been much discussed.

The American Heart Association and others have talked about these kinds of diets for some time, and they have come to the conclusion that they are not a very good idea for overall health. They are usually safe for a short period of time to build muscle mass or to lose weight, but they aren’t something that people should just stay on for the long term.

If you stay on this diet too long you can get gout, which is a type of arthritis, and you can also see a higher risk of problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease because you aren’t getting the complex carbohydrates that actually help to protect you against these kinds of diseases. You can also raise your blood pressure and suffer from kidney failure, so be very careful about how long you stay on these kinds of diets.

Healthy Futures for Children: Eating Healthy and Physical Activity are Key

November 6th, 2008

Studies conducted last month suggest that one-in-six children between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight, cites the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency. Overweight children can suffer from or develop asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

Making community changes that foster an active environment, the consumption of healthy food and daily activity can all contribute to prevention or even reversal of these conditions, however.

Experts suggest that parents, schools and the community in general encourage healthy eating habits, and promote healthy choices. This includes an hour of physical activity; ensuring that children eat a healthy breakfast everyday; family mealtime; making sure that five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables are offered; all of these should be part of a daily routine. Lastly, and no less importantly, limit the amount of sports drinks, juice, soda and other sweetened drinks.

Communities can specifically create environments that promote healthy lifestyles too. These include adding sidewalks and bike routes, as well as ensuring that housing, schools and businesses are close together so that the need to drive is lessened. Public transportation and other aspects of community design should promote, encourage and reward healthy living.

What You Might Not Know About Your Cookies! (Eat At Your Own Risk)

November 3rd, 2008

Did you know, when you eat cookies, that you are, more than likely, eating palm oil? No? You probably didn’t. Most people don’t, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Unfortunately, palm oil is bad news – both for you and for orangutans all the way over in Indonesia. It harms your health, the animals, and the environment, all at the same time.

According to many reports, orangutans are ‘dying for cookies,’ and not in the way sugar-starved dieters do. They’re literally dying because the palm oil plantations that are needed to make cookies, biofuel and other products that contain the oil are destroying the Indonesia and other areas that the orangutans call home. Crackers, cereals, pastries, and microwave popcorn are all guilty, as are companies like Oreo, Pepperidge Farm, Keebler, Mrs. Fields and many others.

One of the sneaky ways that palm oil shows up in foods is by making you feel better in other ways. You see your favorite snack food there on the shelf. In big, bold letters it proclaims that it now has 0 grams of trans fat! You feel better about eating it, but have you ever looked to see what else might have changed? If the trans fat went away, what else moved in to take its place? Palm oil, which is saturated fat, which is basically just as bad for you, especially in large amounts.

About sixty percent of the palm oil in the world is produced by Malaysia. This is important, because Malaysia doesn’t like the United States telling people that palm oil is bad for them. The country doesn’t want it listed as a saturated fat anymore. They think it’s being ‘lumped in’ with other oils that are worse to eat and being unfairly treated, mostly by the soybean growers.

While palm oil may have its place in some foods and other items, the majority of it is only there because of the push to remove unhealthy trans fat from many staples of the average American diet. However, since palm oil is actually not really any healthier, there is nothing being gained by people who eat it and everything being lost by the animals and plants that formerly lived where clearing is taking place to build palm oil processing and harvesting facilities.

A lot of orangutans are feeling the pain of the way that industry is changing and the demands that are being placed on the individuals who must provide palm oil and other items for human needs. There are Websites where people can donate to the cause of these poor animals and where they can stay updated on the continued efforts to ensure that no more orangutans are harmed and there is no further destruction of the environment.

Palm oil is found in most margarine, shortening, potato chips, cooking oil, soups, sauces, crackers, baked goods, and confectionery products as well as biofuel, lubricants, detergents, soaps, and cosmetics including lipstick, makeup remover, body lotion, and sun cream. Most people don’t realize how much palm oil they use or ingest over the course of their lifetimes and how unhealthy it is for all involved. There are some places in the world where elephants are being used for slave labor on palm oil plantations. If they are not needed for that, they are simply killed because they are in the way of progress. By 2020, it is believed that the need for palm oil will double and that means that 1,160 square miles of new crops will have to be planted – and land will have to be cleared and habitats destroyed to do this.

So many rainforests are being destroyed, and the chief reason for that is economics. People want the items that palm oil is used in and for, so there is a strong market for the substance. This desire to make money is clearly going to supersede any concerns that these companies have about the environment or the people who purchase their products.