super food

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. Hippocrates

Today is a second in a series of posts about the health benefits of certain ingredients in natural “superfood” potions and health shakes.  Specialty stores dedicated to various natural remedies and organic meats and produce were around more than  years ago but they have become large concerns in the last fifteen years.

Research

One of the “superfood” products that contain the ingredients reviewed in this series of posts, is a protein powder marketed by BeachBody, the health and fitness business that distributes through independent “coaches” or agents.    Bilberry, Camu-camu, and Goji berry (also known as Lycium) are all ingredients in the Shakeology supplement.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus‘s,  high antioxidant content helps the liver process fats, lowers inflammation, and has cancer -fighting agents.  In studies, mostly in mammals, they indicate positive cellular results.  This is in addition to the other reported improvement in vision.  Camu-camuMyrciaria dubia, is a well-research anti-oxidant that counters systemic inflammatory diseases – such as Crohn’s disease, microbial infections, collagen-induced arthritis, and the inflammatory  component of Alzheimer’s Disease.   It (inflammation) is a factor in cardiovascular disease that Camu-camu antioxidants can reduce.   Goji or Chinese Wolfberry, has been used in traditional medicines and general consumption documented for more than two thousand years.  This berry has had positive effects on liver and kidney function as well as eye health.  While scientific research is on-going, Chinese authorities have conducted research for decades to augment the ancient studies.

 

What are other reasons “superfood” is the new go-to for health-conscious adults?   Poor diet of most in industrialized nations is one reason. The ingredients – including vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as livestock feed are less nutritious than decades ago.    Our food is less nutritious because soil was depleted of natural minerals and ingredients through more than a century of heavy use. Fertilizers and chemical additives were created to grow faster and increase yields per cultivated acre, but this has not substantially increased the nutrition value.    In an article in Scientific American magazine,  this is substantiated.

Anyone who has eaten a non-hybridized home-grown tomato in recent times can identify it over general retail produce by taste and texture.

Available in protein shakes and other retail products,  “superfood” additives are not well understood by the public.  With the pharmaceutical industry constantly advertising a drug for any particular health condition but with side-effects that often include “death” as one potential outcome, there is public interest in other remedies.  Which conditions  may be controlled by diet, exercise, and some natural remedies?

Case study: Self

After age fifty-five,  I became a regular shopper at a local organic market, first for better quality fruit and vegetables, and later for organic (additive and pesticide-free) produce, fresh fish and chemical -free chicken. Using some herbal ingredients and remedies for Men’s health-related complaints,  I would advocate readers and bloggers do research, as experience has taught me that Big Pharma and the agri-industry does not hold all the answers.   My own research began after suffering years of a periodic allergic reaction that caused angioedema in my intestine and soft tissues.  It frequently required hospitalization.  Yet the triggering cause was not found by medical professionals but was self-diagnosed.

In the year leading up to my diagnosis,  I had taken medication prescribed to mitigate the then-unknown cause by suppressing the inflammatory effects.  Daily use of this medication caused chronic acid reflux that persisted almost a year after ceasing use.    This turned me to studying food and making different choices.

Some pharmaceutical medications are based on ingredients used for very long time by rural populations around the globe.  One such remedy, glucosamine,  was generally known to farming and ranching folk in the 20th Century, to relieve early symptoms of arthritis, yet medical professionals were quick to dismiss it without seeing extensive research.   When glucosamine could be obtained in capsule form for pennies, many did not know about it.  And yet within twenty years it became a wonder ingredient on every over-the-counter  drugstore and grocer’s shelves.  At ten times the original price.

Many of these ingredients in superfood have documented research to show their health benefits.   And with the expense of medical care today, an extract of an herb, root, or berry might be an effective alternative or supplement to a Big Pharma product.

 

 

don’t smoke that mushroom

Eat it.

Compared to the years I served in the United States Navy, robust health and nutrition of sailors in the Nineteenth Century – the “iron men and wooden ships” of lore- was less a factor of the sea air than good fortune.  Logs of ships’ surgeons from that era contain reports of men lost overboard in storms at sea, accidents, cholera, dysentery,  over- consumption of alcohol leading to death, infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, run -ins with native populations )in the then- relatively isolated foreign ports), and poor diet.

In the years just after Desert Storm,  fresh dairy products, fruit, and vegetables became available fairly regularly at sea due to underway replenishment.   Even in the early 1990s,  it was not uncommon to have powdered eggs, and ultra-pasteurized milk ( the sort the US Army Veterinary Service certified as safe for consumption) in place of fresh more than a week out of port.

It leads me to wonder aloud,  whether the new health-consciousness of many activists for varied range-fed beef and compassionately-raised chicken,  organic vegetables and gluten-free choices, have filtered down to our armed forces.

Most of my peers who retired around 2009 -2010, know that the military began a renewed campaign to fight obesity – discharging members who failed to maintain a standard that – even with body-builders  – was difficult to achieve.   But we also know that society has gotten farther and farther away from healthy diets and regular exercise.

But there are choices.   Although,  I do not expect my local Pizza Port to alter the menus just yet.   And with virtually every town having small breweries popping up,  I do not believe “lite” beer is going to be on the minds of the young men and women today.   However, for those fewer of us, where the excesses of youth are around our waistlines, in our zeal to stay off medicines and out of hospitals,  may yet find ways to exercise moderately and eat tasty, and healthy, food.

When I heard about this Portobello mushroom pizza, I was skeptical.  It is remarkably tasty!

But this also has cancer-fighting properties as well as staying off my waistline.   And I surprised my doctor last Wednesday with my complete turnaround in health.   Thirty-five pounds lighter,  blood -chemistry all in the normal range,  and much happier.   He didn’t ask me how,  but when others may,  I’ll tell them, “Pizza, fish, Chinese food, fresh vegetables.  Yogurt.  And more cooking with garlic, turmeric, mushrooms, and herbal ingredients.”

That gives me the ability to enjoy a nice craft beer.   Guilt-free.    I’m still a Sailor, after-all.

Life of impact

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  -Winston Churchill

To a member of the military serving in a war zone five, six, or seven days each week, the hardships and the dangers come with the job.   The same can be said for members of law enforcement, or firefighters, or disaster response crews.   Their efforts can often mean preserving themselves or their team and others they are sworn to protect.  But service is not only in times of crisis.  There are professions such as coal miners,  auto mechanics, and shoe sales people who can reliably state they keep industry going, commuters getting to their jobs, and keep people from going shoe-less;  however, these are no less opportunities for personal excellence by helping others achieve their dreams.

Service,  or what Churchill says “making a life by what we give”,  is not exclusive to these times.  Teachers who help struggling students achieve an educational milestone, or a volunteer in a free hospital in an impoverished country aiding someone heal from a disease are other examples.  Others share spiritual understanding and model selflessness by serving others stung by Life’s challenges.   Still others see opportunity in helping our fellow Man to live healthier through education about exercise and proper diet.  Some find opportunity serving others through their talent with investment or protecting and preserving the livelihood of a family through a breadwinner’s recovery from accident or illness.

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. – Napoleon Hill

A societal shift in recent years has muddied the understanding of how to raise oneself and those around you through diligent effort.   Many governments in their zeal to protect people from personal weaknesses and to preserve the natural world,  have misunderstood legislatively what it means to achieve those idealistic goals.  They seek to champion the “common Man” yet penalize or stifle individual efforts to find and fill an economic niche.  In order for families to earn a living, someone other than a bureaucracy, through free enterprise,  must create opportunities.

Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.  – Chester W. Nimitz 

Small businesses make up the majority of the economy of many nations including our own in the United States.  In much of the literature that encourages and teaches entrepreneurs and job seekers to be successful in marketing one’s talents solving others’ problems is key.  To feed a man with free fish for a day is noble.  However, to teach that same Man how to find and catch fish whenever he has need is a much more beneficial solution in the long term.

In the course of history,  many enterprise models have been tried.  Some fail.   Some succeed.  The best of these create a better standard of living for individuals by multiplying their efforts.  No 401k pensioner or mutual fund investor can have the security through only singular investment and a single contributor.  A business owner creates better opportunity for herself  through providing opportunity for others to prosper, and then mentoring those in the team to do the same.    Just like the lessons I learned about servant-leadership as a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy.

For more information about the business model I am actively pursuing as a second income stream (domestically and internationally), contact me via email, social media, or this website:

https://mysite.coach.teambeachbody.com/?coachId=1660622&locale=en_US

 

Quotes courtesy of http://www.brainyquote.com

What has “comfort zone” to do with “success”?

In the United States Navy,  and by extension, the other military services,  an individual has fairly equal opportunity to rise up the advancement ladder, and to qualify for challenging assignments.    Leadership, as practiced by some I have had the great fortune to be mentored by, has been recognized by their being awarded positions among the highest authority and responsibility in that service.   By mentorship I mean, demonstrating integrity,  fortitude (in spite of personal hardships), a commitment to excellence and encouraging others to reach beyond “comfort” in doing.

“Every Sailor has the potential to lead. I don’t care if it’s a seaman recruit or someone higher ranking than myself. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. ” (All Hands Call, Norfolk, VA 01 May 2007)

 

“The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other in dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them respect for himself; while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”
LTG John M. Schofield, 1879

Ask people whether they have a dream visceral enough they want accomplished.  Material possessions,  security, education, or a deeply-committed and loving marital relationship.   Then ask those same people if they were willing to do whatever it took, in terms of work,  being sleep-deprived, learning difficult lessons, memorizing, practicing, enduring criticism and overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams.   Fewer might push on.  Of that reduced number,  how many would endure whatever life handed them in the pursuit of that dream, as days became weeks, and weeks became months, and months became years?   Fewer perhaps.  In an article in Forbes,  a contributor has published eight traits to predict future success.  These include delaying gratification, being seriously motivated and organized, believing that they make the choices which affect their outcomes, and having fortitude during adversity.   Predictably, past success leads to future success.

To achieve “success”,  whatever that may be in terms of the dreams one has,  requires steadfast devotion.   Integrity.  Mental and physical toughness.   And determination that there is no “giving up or giving in”.   It may be an enlisted member’s goal to become an Officer or senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO).  For others, it might be to earn membership into the ranks of the SEALs.   The few Navy warriors who complete the BUDS training to become SEALs achieve their first qualifier.  Training continues from there.  Other services have their special forces as well.

But it can also be the single mother who is raising three young children,  in school for a professional certification, who then cares for her children,  studies all night, and maintains the family chores all at the same time.  And excels.    Or it can be the aging sailor with a dream to become a Chief Petty Officer who  commits to every training session,  early morning fitness challenge, seeks, finds and puts into practice the guidance from others with decades of leadership expertise.

“Success” can be the married young engineer, father of two, one a newborn, who spends time with his children and wife at those critical “family-building” times.  Yet he is working early or into late hours, and finding innovative and productive solutions to technical challenges simultaneously.

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. – Matthew 19: 28 -29 (NIV)

And then there are the spiritually-rewarding opportunities that define “success”.  The young graduate of a university with a business degree, sought by several businesses, who voluntarily goes to aid the victims of a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina, and the Haitian earthquake), as an unpaid volunteer for a charitable organization,  finds a mission and a calling that becomes a career.

“A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better.”  –Richard Branson

Many of the most-recognized entrepreneurs today did not find instant reward and acceptance when they began.  Whether it was Ray Kroc and McDonalds,  or  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple,  or my company’s CEO, Mark Dankberg and his team,  it took determination, confidence,  a pursuit of excellence, and vision for the people they attracted, and the customers they served.  But each built multi-billion dollar, world-changing enterprise.

Do you have the integrity, the guts, and the desire to improve others with a dream you want to achieve.  Are you willing to get out of your “comfort zone” to achieve them?

the measure of a Man

in hindsight, one of the things I miss the most about military service, is the camaraderie.  In particular,  when independently- acting individuals, which all civilians are,  go successfully through the crucible that begins in boot camp or basic training, that shared experience is indelibly stamped on one’s character. Sit three individuals from three different eras and three different branches of the military, and quite soon all will be talking, laughing and swapping tales as though they knew each other for decades.

From boot camp, individuals are shaped and reshaped into a highly-effective team in their units, in field operations and exercises, in ships or aircraft,  armored vehicles or in combat squads. There is a common jargon and understanding that comes from overseas assignments, difficult environments, passable chow, and either adrenaline-pumping action or numbing boredom.

And one day, it all comes to a end.  A final enlistment concludes with retirement, and with the hanging up of the uniform,  so end also the phone calls from your peers or your “reporting senior” (the officer you report to).  Also,  the periodic transfers, carefully-written evaluations, frequent deployments, and daily Physical Training ( running along the beach at 5AM) – and periodic assessment – are left to others.

Sadly, unless the now-retired military member obtains employment in a profession closely allied to the military,  the camaraderie of the Chiefs’ Mess: the traditions, courtesies, and respect that a Chief Petty Officer has earned in the naval service are only weakly understood by a civilian employer and less so by your never-serving civilian supervisor.

 

 

Better living through Nature

After a quarter-century of military service, and now somewhere in late middle-age,  I am like many of my peers, working off “sudden” obesity.   I want to enjoy my upcoming retirement and not help fund my health practitioner’s yacht fund.   I am not the stereotypical military retiree: I want to be much more energetic in my next, hopefully several, decades of life.
23467227_10214700064361881_7515546182225330890_oThe stereotypical military member in film and television for decades were depicted as hard-drinking, hard-living, and either “bullet-proof” loners or stressed-out figures off the battlefield.  Many of our popular movies today feature technology or medical science improving people to “superhuman” capabilities.  But reality is more sobering.  In our Twenty-First Century America, the focus on exercise, outdoor activity, and a balanced diet went away in the late 1960s.   Fast-food convenience like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken,  microwave lunches and Starbucks hyper-sweet coffee drinks and delivery pizza are turning people obese in grade school.
But you do not have to be a retiree or a military member to notice the country has a serious problem.    After decades eating processed food, junk food, sugar additives, and artificial flavors, anyone can look in the mirror and to many around us and see health problems or in the making. We don’t have to live like this. We can minimize or reverse 1527438516044the effects through smarter choices and exercise. 
One of the reasons to practice eating better and  live healthier is a practical one.  Health care in the United States, or for that matter, in the industrialized world is expensive, tied up in bureaucracy, or when available, can be a long series of procedures, painful, and difficult to maintain a “normal” life while being treated.   Cancer, bad hips, bad knees, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and obesity may be more widespread because we hear about them now in daily conversation or may be a result of our eating habits and stressful lives.
I decided to become better informed and to change my eating and exercise habits.  One of these is to drink a lot of water now – half my body weight in fluid ounces daily.  And not flavored water which often have sugar or sugar-imitating chemicals.    I take long walks before the day starts,  during a lunch break and after work.  (I commute long distances to an engineering job).   With training I am receiving as a part of an online community,  I am using the skills I am learning.   
One of the foods I have been consuming in smoothies for a couple weeks now contains various plants that I realize I know little about.  So  I will share my findings in a series of posts, “Therapeutic Uses of Plants”. Much of this is corroborated by the National Institute of Health (NIH):
 
ROSE HIPS. Contain anti-oxidants. Used as a medicinal ingredient in many cultures. Being studied for its properties in fighting skin diseases, renal (kidney) issues, diarrhea, arthritis, diabetes, and obesity.
 
CHAGA MUSHROOM. Used in folk medicine for its ant-cancer properties. At the NIH, the anti-cancer properties are being studied using mice. Early research indicates the compounds in these mushrooms inhibit certain cancers.
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Results vary.  But guys like me have dropped a lot of weight, and resolved a lot of obesity-related health issues.  And with the weight-loss, improved energy, and better attitude, the result in the bedroom are pretty fantastic too.  If you would like to know more, I invite you to visit my website:
And connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.