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Cholesterol is Not All Bad!

As we learned earlier, we need Cholesterol! We actually make cholesterol.
Cholesterol forms the outer membrane of each of our cells.  Who knew!?!  It is cholesterol that gives the cell membrane flexibility.  It also helps regulate the permeability of the cell which controls which substances flow into the cells.

Cholesterol is also important for the production of bile in the liver. The bile is used by the liver to break down fats and helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines. It is used to insulate nerve fibers so the nerve signals travel properly from place to place.

Cholesterol is also used to make hormones which carry chemical signals to our bodies. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone as well are the adrenal hormone cortisol are all created from cholesterol.
Without cholesterol we would be in poor shape.  Our body would not function.

Knowing your cholesterol level isn’t, on its own, enough to tell you your personal risk of heart disease. You also need to know about lipoproteins. These are special molecules that carry or transport cholesterol around the body.
There are three main types:
* Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often known as bad cholesterol – this carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells and, if supply exceeds demand, can cause harmful build-up of cholesterol
* High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol – this takes cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it’s either broken down or excreted
* Triglycerides–the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body. They’re also present in blood plasma and, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids.

As  you can see, we need cholesterol, but not excess amounts and not out of balance.  The balance is important because of the proper functioning of our bodies.  Any system out of balance does not perform as well as it should.  So we need to be aware of the ratio of LDL to HDL so we can maintain a healthy functioning body!

Here are some things to do to take action now.  Follow these tips from the National Institutes of Health’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Program to help lower
your cholesterol:

1. Decrease your intake of saturated fat to less than 7% of total calories

Cholesterol Reduction Complex

2. Decrease your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day

3. Lose 10 pounds if overweight

4. Add 5–10 g of Soluble Fiber to your diet each day

5. Add 2,000 mg of plant Sterols and Stanols to your diet each day

Now you have some information that will help you ask those important questions when talking with your doctor about  your health.  Knowing that the National Institutes of Health recommends using Plant Sterols and Stanols to lower your cholesterol naturally is a great alternative to statin drugs that have such a long list of really bad side effects.  Take care of your body, ask the hard questions and don’t be afraid to question the need for a prescription that has negative side effects. Stay Well!

Holiday Eating Challenges

Just a quick post about the Challenges of Holiday Eating.  We all end up in January with extra pounds, well most of us anyway!  And I am never happy to see them on my hips and other places.  So this year I am going to follow a few simple rules when it comes to Holiday Eating.  Hope they will help you maintain a healthy relationship with food throughout the holidays!

Give the Gift of Health

1.  I will eat small meals throughout the day, keeping my energy level up and my craving for sweets on impulse down to a minimum.  Small meals will keep my protein and carbohydrate levels in balance, so I can resist those plates of sweet calories that float through the the day tempting me! Of course I will take my Shaklee Supplements!

2.  I will stay hydrated. Drinking half of my weight in ounces of water each day will help me stay hydrated, keeping my body healthy, brain sharp and stomach full feeling.  Often when we reach for something to eat it is because we are de-hydrated and need water.  So hop on the scale and look at your weight.  Take half of that figure and drink that in ounces each day.  So if you weight 150 pounds, you will need to sip on 75 ounces of water throughout the day.  Not tea, not coffee, not sodas, but filtered water!   Don’t try to drink it all at once.  It is to be sipped throughout the day.

3.  I will eat a treat each day, thereby avoiding the possibility of eating a whole cake or platter of cookies because I have not eaten treats for several days.  I will admit that I love, LOVE Chocolate and will be amiss if I don’t try to reign-in the desire to eat a whole platter of brownies at a party!  So eating a treat each day is the way to control the weight!

4.  I will not give up on myself if I make one error and eat too much one time.  But I will not let that be an excuse for eating too much every day.  Prevention is the way to stay healthy and I don’t plan on being ill.  I plan on staying healthy for many, many years to come.

So, what is your plan to make it through the endless food detours that are in our near future?  We have another month or more of food opportunities to sabotage our healthy weight goals and we really need to plan our way through rather than Eat our way through the next month!  Stay Well!  And Happy Holiday Eating!

A Look at Cholesterol

We have been talking about taking responsibility for our personal health in the past few posts.  Heart Disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity have been shown to be 75 % preventable.  So the burden is on us to do the preventing.  By the time we get a diagnosis of a disease, the prevention part is long past!

Cholesterol is always in the forefront of advertising and on your doctor’s mind.  One reason is that in 2007, it was estimated that between 30 to 36 million Americans were taking statin drugs to control their cholesterol.  Those prescriptions added up to about $34 BILLION per year!  No wonder it is getting so much attention.  $34Billion a year in revenue is a good take.  So the advertising is working.  We are taking those statin drugs.

But we need Cholesterol for our bodies to function properly.  Did you know that!?!  Our bodies manufacture Cholesterol for several important functions.  Did you know that the outer membrane of each of our cells is formed from cholesterol?  Cholesterol also controls the permeability of the cell walls.  This permeability allows various substances to flow into the cells.

Cholesterol is also used to make hormones which carry chemical signals to our bodies. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone as well are the adrenal hormone cortisol are all created from cholesterol.

And, did you know that Cholesterol is also important for the production of bile in the liver?  The bile is used by the liver to break down fats and helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines.  It is used to insulate nerve fibers so the nerve signals travel properly from place to place.

So we need cholesterol! But we need to be careful that we don’t have too much or too little.  There needs to be a proper balance between the different types of cholesterol for our bodies to function at top form.  We will talk more about that balance in our next post!  Stay Well!

Still “Sick & Tired”?

My last post was about how we are so used to being “Sick & Tired” that we don’t know how to head to wellness.  We are so addicted to fast food, sweet things, carbonated beverages and high fat foods.  Our bodies don’t get the nutrition needed to be healthy and we are not doing much to help it!

Since the majority of Heart Disease, Strokes, Diabetes, Cancer and Obesity is 75% Preventable, we need to take control of our health now.  We have the tools, the information, the education to make a big difference in our own life.  And we are the only ones who can make those choices.  Our Health is Our Responsibility,  plain and simple.

Vegetables

What can we do to make ourselves healthier?  There are several simple modifications that will help to improve our health.  As we have said earlier, diet, lifestyle, wise supplementation and weight loss can help prevent the development of diseasesPrevent the Development of Diseases. I like that.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy taking medications, having stays in the hospital and I certainly don’t like spending hours in the waiting room of a Doctor’s office.  So I will do what it takes to prevent the development of diseases!  Here are some suggestions of primary prevention:

• Heart disease: weight loss, fiber, soy, exercise, smoking cessation
• Cancer: weight loss, antioxidants & micronutrients, eliminating environmental toxins, including cigarettes
• Stroke: weight loss, omega3s, micronutrients
• Alzheimer’s: vitamins C, E, omega3s, resveratrol
• Diabetes: weight loss, fiber, exercise

Look over this list and make a decision on how you can positively impact your own life by making a few changes.  Since 75 % of the above diseases are preventable,  take a careful look at your lifestyle.  Increase your odds for good health!

More to come in the next post. Stay Well

Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired?

Recently my daughter and her husband went to a Halloween costume event at their workplace.  They went as “Sick & Tired”.  Daughter dressed in comfortable pj’s and carried a stuffed animal, and son-in-law put a light green tinted make-up on his face, darkening the circles under his eyes and  such.  They were quite the pair!

But they got me to thinking about all the people who complain about being “Sick & Tired”.  Folks everywhere complain about not enough sleep, sinus problems, allergies, stomach upsets,  colon problems, asthma and more.  Then the question arises as to what they are doing to combat all these ailments?  Do they even know what is causing all these problems?  Do they know that there are good natural solutions for most of these ailments?

Recent reports from Doctors and Public Health Experts have said that up to 75% of the heart disease, diabetes, strokes and arthritis, cancer and obesity are preventable! 75% PREVENTABLE. So to prevent a disease we have to take control of and responsibility for our own health.  So we can stop be “Sick & Tired”.

Taking responsibility and control of our own health means we exercise regularly, use wise supplementation and watch our diet.  Eating organic fruits and vegetables, walking or working out regularly and using natural supplements to fill in the deficits of our diet due to the loss of nutritional value because of the way our foods are produced.

Be Healthy

The good news is that small positive changes in our weight (weight loss) can give us huge benefits.  As we loose weight, we have increased mobility which makes exercise easier.  We have lower blood pressure since there is less area for blood to move through making less work for the heart.  We tend to have lower cholesterol since we are eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food.  We have an increase in energy, our mood is better and our self esteem rises.  Our blood sugar lowers and and we reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

You deserve the best don’t you?  Why not take control of your health and do something good for your self!  Eat an organic diet, exercise regularly and use wise supplementation Health is your choice, make is a good one!

Travel and Fall

Well, Fall and Football are underway.  Lots of us are tailgating each weekend as our favorite team plays in different opponents.  The love of gathering with friends and family on a crisp Saturday on a college campus.  But going to these gatherings means travel and travel is always a challenge.

When I travel I prepare ahead of time for the trip.  Not only do I check on the car’s readiness, I make certain that I have food and snacks for me.  Just as my car needs quality oil and gas to run properly, my body needs good food to run properly too.

Fast Food is not good food.  Yes, it tastes good sometimes, but the nutritional value of that good taste is usually not worth the calories and carbohydrates.  So I carry apples, bananas, nuts, Cinch Lemon Cranberry Snack Bars, Cinch Shakes, Cinch Tea and the Get Clean Water Pitcher for filtered water.

Cinch Snack Bars

Having these foods with me, I have great food for travel since the protein to carb ratio is great!  I get the energy I need and the protein I need, but do not have empty calories to slow me down.  Staying focused, sharp and alert  is necessary for a safe trip.  So travel safe and smart!

Fall and Football

Yeah, finally getting some cooler weather here in the South.  I had been concerned that the kids would need some air conditioning for their Halloween costumes!  I could just see the pumpkins drooping in the 90degree heat we have been having in October.  But happily cooler weather seems to have come to stay for a while.

Southern Fall

Fall to me means football.  Of course, living in the South I am surrounded by football fever!  Everywhere you go there is a big college with a big football team.  Fans can be rabid when it comes to their favorite college team.  Rooms are decorated in team colors, with team pictures and fancy artwork on the walls.  Chairs are covered in team colors with pillows sporting team logos.  Children are named for favored coaches!  Really! And of course, weddings are planned around those games.

Small Southern college towns swell to 3 or 4 times their population on football weekends.  Crowds begin to gather mid-week for pregame festivities.  RV’s and tents are set up in special areas of each campus.  Small villages are created as friends and family get together for some fellowship for a few days before the game on Saturday.

Tailgating is an art!  Tents, team logos on shade canopies, very fancy grills, coolers the size of small cars, BBQ recipes passed from generation to generation are just a few of the items found on Saturdays.  Face paint, shakers and “winning” shirts, socks, pants, shoes and more come out of the drawers to be worn once again so the favored team will win.

Then there is the Team Walk in to the stadium.  Home teams often have a certain time that they enter the stadium, with part of the band playing while fans cheer each player.  It is quite emotional as grandfathers hold grandchildren on their shoulders, introducing the children to the family’s love of their team.  The players are surrounded with adoring fans wishing them well and showing appreciation for all the hard work of the team.

So, now the weather has cooled, gather the kids, some favorite foods, throw in the grill and some beverages and head to the nearest college campus.  Have a fun day gathering with friends and family, making new friends and supporting your team.  No matter which team wins, you and the kids will still have a great time!

Saturdays in the South are more than just a few hours in the stadium.  Saturdays are a total experience of food, sounds, friends, family,  Frisbees tossed on campus lawns,  t-shirts and sweatshirts purchased and worn in pride, bragging rights, cool breezes blowing and so much more.  Have fun!

Simple Changes Make a Big Difference

Life today is a risky business when it comes to drinking water and food.  As a person who believes in and takes natural supplements, I am always amused when people tell me that they will not take anything that their doctor has not prescribed.  Little do they know about all the chemicals (most untested for human toxicity) and drugs that lurk in our food, water and air.  We are “taking” things not prescribed by doctors all the time just by drinking water and eating our food and don’t even think a thing about it.

There have been dramatic changes in the our food supply as well as our eating habits that are causing equally dramatic changes in our health.  While we are using more pesticides and herbicides along with genetic manipulation of crops, the nutritional of our food has decreased since the 1950’s. Crops are picked before they are ripe, lowering the nutritional potential of the fruits and vegetables.

Our drinking water is the source a myriad of chemicals including prescription drugs, industrial pollutants, agricultural runoff  and fertilizers.   Now 20% of the lead exposure we get on a daily basis, including bottled water.   Using filtered water is sensible and a healthier way to get the much needed hydration we need daily.

Get Clean Water

Get Clean Water

So think carefully the next time you turn your nose up at the idea of taking a natural supplement, remember all the chemicals you are “taking” because of poor quality drinking water  and our food sources.  Do something good for yourself.  Make some simple changes in your food, water and supplementation to have a healthier life.

Use  filtered water such as from Get Clean Water from Shaklee since it filters 99% of the lead from water along with many agricultural and industrial pollutants.  Purchase organic foods from local growers.  Talk with the grower if possible to establish how they grow their crops, what pest control methods they choose and how they handle the food once it is picked.  Avoid processed and fast foods because of preservatives, fat content and sodium levels.

Increase your exercise each day, walk or jog in your neighborhood, use the Wii Fit program at home, go to a gym or local fitness center or take classes in dance.  Eat well and use good natural supplements.  I always recommend Shaklee supplements since they are known for being safe and contaminate free.   In my “Supplements to Avoid” post on August 22nd, I sited Dr Jamie McManus explaining why Shaklee supplements are safe.

Simple Changes Make a Big Difference every day of your life.  When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change!  Eat good healthy food, exercise daily, drink filtered drinking water, and supplement wisely! Stay Healthy!! Elise

Prevention and Preparedness

I love to travel!  Road trips are fun to me. However, I must be ready for travel.   Before I travel I have my car checked out by my trusted mechanic.  Tires are rotated and checked, oil is changes, belts are checked for wear, fluid levels are checked, windows are washed and mirrors adjusted.  I check on road conditions for repair work and possible closures.  I also check the weather to avoid driving into a snow storm or heavy rain if possible.

When I travel I take with me maps for the trip, flashlights and extra batteries, food, water, cell phones, chargers, phone numbers written on paper,  a small amount of cash just in case I want a candy bar as a treat along the way and a blanket in case I get cold.  I check the local radio stations at the top and bottom of the hours for traffic and weather updates.

As you can see there are 2 separate but equally important parts of my trip. Prevention and Preparedness.  The Prevention is having the car checked out, belts tightened, oil changed and such.  The Preparation is having a map, a plan for the drive, having food, water and supplies for the trip and such.

While Prevention and Preparedness are different, they work together to make for a safer trip and an easier life.  Knowing the weather ahead of time I can arrange my travel time to miss most of the storm.  Knowing the roads I need to take, having the map with me, I am able to find alternate routes during the trip should there be an accident blocking the highway I am traveling.

Being flexible is important.  Road conditions change, unexpected repairs pop up, weather patterns shift, accidents happen.  But by being ready for those unexpected changes make for a smoother trip.  Having taken responsibility for knowing the route, having the car in good condition for travel and leaving early in case of a surprise on the road create an atmosphere of confidence and calm.  There is no Panic should something change along the route.

Now can you say the same for the way you approach your health? Remember, your

Be Healthy

health is the most valuable possession you have.  How much Prevention do you practice concerning your health?  How Prepared  are you for the aging process that begins to happen around age 20 or so?

Doctors and public health experts agree…..Heart Disease and Stroke, Cancer, and Diabetes—are among the most prevalent, costly, and preventable of all health problems. It is estimated tbat these diseases are 75% Preventable!

Primary Prevention: Diet, lifestyle, wise supplementation and weight loss can help prevent the development of diseases.  Secondary Prevention or Preparedness:  Diet, lifestyle, wise supplementation and weight loss can help slow the progression of and/or decrease the consequences of diseases that already exist.

So check out your Prevention and Preparedness!  Don’t get caught in going the wrong way on a one-way street!  It has been said, ” In Youth we lose our Health in pursuit of Wealth, but in Age we lose our Wealth in pursuit of Health.”  We no longer need to follow that plan!

Diet, lifestyle, supplementation and weight loss can help
slow the progression of and/or decrease the consequences
of diseases that already exist

Vitamin D Facts

Why are so many people at risk for vitamin D insufficiency? Actually, there are several factors that influence the amount of vitamin D in your body each day. Vitamin D is formed in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight, or it’s consumed in vitamin D-rich foods, but there are many reasons for inadequate sun exposure and low vitamin D intakes today.

The season or calendar month is a major risk factor for vitamin D insufficiency because sunlight is reduced during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Sun exposure is critical to vitamin D health and the risk for vitamin D insufficiency rises with the increase in sunscreen use and time spent indoors. The geographical latitude of your home location is another determinant of daily sunlight exposure, and skin color is a key influencer as those with darker skin are less efficient at converting sunlight to vitamin D internally. Other critical factors that can create a greater need for vitamin D include increasing age, being overweight, lack of exercise, and low intake of fish and other vitamin D-rich foods in the diet.

Low vitamin D has been linked to suboptimal heart health, immune function, bone health, and an increased risk for certain cancers. An increasing number of scientific experts believe current vitamin D intakes and blood levels are too low to support optimal health. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 80% of Americans may have “insufficient” blood levels of vitamin D.

So if you’re concerned that your vitamin D intake may not be all that it could be, consider getting 10–20 minutes of sun exposure daily without the use of sunscreen, exercising regularly and achieving a healthy weight, and eating fish and vitamin D-fortified foods more often. And because we know that obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods is difficult, find a high-quality dietary supplement of vitamin D3, the most potent form of vitamin D found naturally in the human body.

To find out if  you may have insufficient Vitamin D levels, take the new Shaklee Vitamin D-ology online quiz developed by Shaklee scientists.  Stay Well, Elise

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