Americans Are Now Fatter and Dying Younger

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A recent report (Thursday, December 9, 2010) published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed what many of us in the preventive medicine circles have feared: Americans are now dying at a younger age.

This is the third report in the last few years that indicates life expectancy in the United States is no longer increasing and, in fact, is decreasing.

Sadly, this generation of children may be the first to die before their parents.

The reality, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Child Trends DataBank, is this: “[C]hildren in the United States have a shorter life expectancy than those in at least 20 other countries with populations of one million or more.”

And while we seem to have made inroads in some areas of longevity, chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases remain rather unscathed at the top of the list of overall killers, with a combined contribution that accounts for half of all deaths in the U.S….

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Try This Delicious Anti-Aging Tea from Supple Skin

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For most of the past decade, I’ve been a coffee lover. As a former road warrior, I frequented a lot of city coffee shops and drank my share of airport coffee. But I’ve found something new to quench my thirst and soothe my spirit: La La’s Tea from Supple Skin. It’s filled with “Anti-Aging Antioxidants” that are not only healthy, but also delicious. Fancy that: a beverage that tastes good and does good for your body at the same time….

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“I Can’t Walk Away and Leave Malnourished Children Standing There”

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My cousin, David Wasson, knows about childhood nutrition better than most. David is an award-winning chef who spent his career preparing meals for wealthy people and teaching their children to cook. He also taught cooking at a community college in the United States. As he approached retirement, David embarked on a completely new venture that would profoundly change his life. Today, as the Chef and Child Foundation Ambassador to the Philippines, David cooks for children who are as familiar with hunger as most people reading this post are familiar with a full belly.

His work is urgent. With every meal he cooks, he fights to save children’s lives and the health of their brains and bodies….

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Surf Sweets All-Natural Treats Get Thumbs Up

July 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Front Page, Nutrition, Organic, Reviews, Slideshow

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If you have young kids, you’re no doubt careful about what snacks and treats they eat at home. But everywhere else they go, their diet is pretty much out of your control. If you want to allow your kids occasional treats but still protect them from artificial dyes and sweeteners, Surf Sweets candies may be a good choice.

Gummy Worms nutrition facts. Courtesy: Surf Sweets

Too much sugar in anyone’s diet is a bad idea. And it’s a really bad idea for children with a developing weight problem. My best recommendation is to give your kids healthy foods, including lots of raw fruits and vegetables for snacks. But let’s face it, most of us want a little snack from time to time. And if your child is going to have a sweet snack, it’s way better to give them a healthier alternative than most of the candies on the market….

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Sprout Baby – Love Your Baby, Love the Planet

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Sprout Baby sells organic and natural products for babies and moms. When Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) interviewed founder Jody Sherman by phone, we learned about the process the company uses to vet products for sale on their site. We also learned that the story behind this baby products company has an unusual — and heart-tugging — twist….

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Soil Is a Finite Resource – Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone for Good

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I asked Angie Tagtow, a registered dietitian who serves as a Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy out of Minneapolis, to speak to the issue of soil quality in farmland. Tagtow previously served 10 years at the Iowa Department of Public Health. This is Part Two of a two-part interview.

TAGTOW: Having a registered dietitian talk about environmental resources and natural resources conservation is a little bit of an anomaly — I am often drawn to the work of Sir Albert Howard, Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry and Fred Kirschenmann. But the justification is there, because if you don’t have a healthy environment, you’re not going to be able to produce healthy food.

For me, the connection to soil started on our property more than 15 years ago. We live north of Elkhart, Iowa, and when we bought the property, we didn’t have the means of taking care of it. So we continued to cash-rent it to the farmer who sold it to us. Over the years, we noticed that we had a tremendous amount of erosion. We had flooding. We were witnessing a lot of destruction that we were not prepared to observe. …

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Healthy Soil -> Healthy Food -> Healthy People -> Healthy Communities

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E. coli on lettuce. Salmonella on peanuts. Corn sweetener laden with mercury. Growth hormones and antibiotics in dairy cows. Arsenic in chickens. Sub-therapeutic antibiotics in swine. … Consumers have plenty of reasons to be concerned about the safety of our food supply.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Angie Tagtow, a registered dietitian, who has spent many years working in the public health sector, to talk with us at about the role of public policy in assuring safe, nutritious food. …

TAGTOW: After leaving public health, I recognized that policy is influential with all elements of our food system. So I am connecting the dots between soil, food, and health. Food, of course, is directly related to environmental issues — soil, water, biodiversity and those types of things. I do a lot of public speaking. I work quite a bit with universities, with undergraduate and graduate classes in delivering the message that there is a very important connection between the health of our environment, the health of our food system, as well as overall public health. …

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HappyBellies Organic Brown Rice Cereal – The Perfect First Meal for Baby

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When my little one was ready to add something more than breast milk to her belly, I felt very unprepared. Food suddenly seemed like a very daunting, complicated thing. I’d seen how different foods had affected her when transferred with varied results through my breast milk, so I started my search for the perfect first food. It was a no-brainer that any food entering my baby’s body had to be organic, and most of my research turned up rice formula as the best option. Rice is the easiest to digest and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Rice it would be….

As it turned out, there were really only a few organic rice cereals on the market, and HappyBellies was the only one to offer an organic cereal made of brown rice. Brown rice isn’t a different grain than white rice, it’s really just white rice with the brown cover removed. By definition, leaving the brown cover on the grain qualifies it as a whole grain.

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Angie Tagtow, Contributing Writer

September 25, 2009 by  
Filed under BPGL Crew, Contributing Writers, Health, Hunger, Nutrition

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Angie Tagtow is a registered dietitian, environmental nutrition consultant, and international speaker who educates eaters, opinion leaders, and policymakers on sustainable food systems that promote good health, vibrant communities, and environmental stewardship. Her consulting firm, Environmental Nutrition Solutions, takes an ecological approach to food and health by leveraging policies to build resilient and sustainable food systems that advance public health. Her “Good Food Checklist” series has been distributed to audiences across the country. She works with a variety of groups, including regional food and farming coalitions, not-for-profit organizations, professional associations, government agencies, universities and industry…

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Take Action to Support Healthy Foods

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Over the weekend we saw the movie, Food, Inc. with friends. We were told to have dinner first because the movie would take away our appetite. We didn’t doubt that possibility. But, for one very simple reason, we don’t have the same kind, or the same level, of concern: We know where nearly all our food comes from, and we know the producers and growers who provide it.

Still, the movie is unsettling. None of us were vegetarians before seeing the movie, nor did we leave ready to become vegetarians. But the level of cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in the film was difficult to watch. And, witnessing the levels of bacteria, chemicals, and waste products involved in America’s industrialized food system was very disconcerting, to say the least…

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The New Deal Supper Club – A Moveable Feast

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The New Deal Supper Club on July 15th was sweeter than a song.

This time, the ladies of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato took their awesomely sophisticated show on the road to Brooklyn’s hinterlands (I mean, Williamsburg). The trip to BRIDGET Tasting Room felt like an updated Mission Impossible scene. Only this time, the instrumentals were the introductory bars to the infamous 1987 hit, Smooth Criminal…

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Zamu – A Healthy Blend of Fruits and Herbs from the Amazon Herb Company

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The Amazon rainforest is full of plants, herbs, and wildlife. Because of this, the Amazon rainforest has gained a reputation as being one of the best natural pharmacies for not only known remedies that originate in the forest, but for its massive potential healing powers as well. The Amazon Herb Company is one organization using the power of exotic fruit to bring health benefits to its consumers…

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Crofter’s Superfruit Spread Gives a Tangy Twist to Jam

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When Crofter’s sent Blue Planet Green Living samples of their new jam, I wondered how different could this product really be? Jam is jam, right? But after one bite into a piece of toast topped with the gooey spread, I knew I was in for a treat.

Manufactured in Canada, Crofter’s Superfruit Spreads are a USDA-certified organic product. The four varieties are named by the continents on which the fruits grow: North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. The spreads are produced by combining morello cherries and red grape with superfruits — fruits with exceptional nutrition and antioxidants — unique to a specific continent.

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To Meat or Not to Meat – Humane Is the Question

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My son and his girlfriend arrived today from California for Joe’s daughter’s wedding. They’re omnivores, as are the rest of the offspring from our blended family. Whenever we have a family gathering, my three look forward to an old family recipe (graciously handed down from their dad’s Italian grandmother), Italian beef. This presents me with a dilemma.

Joe and I are trying hard to swear off meat. We’re not entirely successful, because food allergies limit access to other sources of protein: dairy, soy, and some nuts. We do need protein, of course, and we were starting to feel less-than-healthy on our vegan diet. But we do not want to support the factory farms that treat animals as mere commodities…

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Make a Difference in Hunger, One Person or Village at a Time

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When most people I know talk about hunger, we are referring to a rumbling emptiness in our stomachs that makes us look forward to our next meal in a few minutes or, at worst, a few hours. We get hungry, but we are far from starving. Yet I have known plenty of kids whose only meals were the breakfasts and lunches they received at school. I’ve seen hungry people standing in line waiting for a free lunch. This is what hunger looks like in the U.S. and most other industrialized nations…

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Swallowing Your Pride to Put Food in Your Stomach

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I was at the local food bank today, having given a ride to a friend. He’s talented and capable, but temporarily out of work and low on resources in this tough economy. The experience was a painful one for him, and I write this with his reluctant permission. He wishes to be anonymous, he says. He’s embarrassed that he has to avail himself of these life-saving services. He’s not alone….

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Acai – Amazon Wonder Berry or Just Another Craze?

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If you listen to the hype, you may begin to think that the acai (pronounced a-sigh-EE) berry is the wonder food for everything that could possibly ail you. The ads are all over the Internet, in magazines, on television. They lure you in with questionable (if not outright fabricated) celebrity endorsements, “free” sample offers, and broad claims of almost mythical proportions.

Although acai is most commonly advertised as a weight-loss product, marketers also claim that it provides increased energy levels, improved sexual performance, improved digestion, detoxification, high fiber content, high antioxidant content, improved skin appearance, improved heart health, improved sleep, and reduction of cholesterol levels…

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Healthy Kids – Yours, Mine, Ours

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With the meteoric rise of childhood and young adult health diseases: diabetes, obesity, eating disorders, high cholesterol, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, ADD, ADHD, and the lists goes on and on… Diseases once thought to be brought on by age deterioration in adults are now epidemic, even plagues, among our children. Drugs are not the answer. One definite answer is natural foods. Too simplistic? Things in life don’t have to be that complicated. You really are what you eat…

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Product Review – Larabar Apple Pie Bar

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Last week, when I wrote a review of the Bora Bora Organic Almond Sunflower Bar, I mentioned that I’d purchased another bar as well. The Larabar Apple Pie bar is, according to my 29-year-old son, Aaron, “Not as bad as you would expect from an all-natural bar. Pretty cinnamony, with a little less apple taste than cinnamon.” Overall, he said, “It had more flavor than you would expect from something without artificial flavors added.”

Larabar Apple Pie Bars are packed with raw dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon.

I suppose that’s high praise from a guy who thinks Mountain Dew is the nectar of the gods…

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This Should Scare the Meat Out of You

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We’ve heard it all before. We’ve read it a million times, and now we’re sick of it. We’ve all had it up to here about why we shouldn’t eat red meat. You did hear about the recent study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine — the one in which researchers followed half million people for ten years. Oh, you missed that one?

It involved 322,263 men, and 223,390 women ages 50 to 71. That’s my demographic — and the single largest demographic in the US. Maybe it’s your demographic, too. Or your parents’ or grandparents’ (if you’re really young). Ever wonder why we Baby Boomers are experiencing such high rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer?…

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