Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Enzymes: Fountain of Youth

The definition of an enzyme is any of numerous proteins or conjugated proteins produced by living organisms and functioning as biochemical catalysts. Any of numerous proteins produced in living cells that accelerate or catalyze the metabolic processes of an organism; There are billions of enzymes working simultaneously in our bodies at a molecular level so that we can function effectively on a daily basis. There are enzymes that aid in every part of our bodies such as our digestive system, mouth, blood, kidney, liver, pancreas, muscles, joints, and the biggest organ; our skin. Enzymes are what make us live long and healthy lives; it aids in our aging process. That is why it's very important to take care of our bodies while we're young because when we're old, we want our bodies to take care of us. In this article, the importance of enzymes will be discussed, how it aids us in the aging process, how industries capitalize on this process, and what we should be doing to assist our selves in sustaining our own fountain of youth.
Enzymes are the catalysts that change our bodies as we grow older. They replenish themselves on a daily basis to maintain their job which is to assist our bodies’ functionalities. Their primary function is to preserve the human body. Unfortunately, during these changes which are considered life changes, we begin to deplete our bodies of certain enzymes. That is why the human body begins to show aging.
Based upon an individual's chemical makeup and social environment and adaptations, an individual can deplete certain enzymes faster than others. Due to this depletion process, as we age, our bodies begin to feel it as well. We begin to feel aches and pains that we never felt before. Certain organs begin to malfunction like our eyes, ears, joints, etc. We begin to pick up ailments and diseases more easily like diabetes’s, glaucoma, high blood pressure, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, crohns, rheumatoid arthritis etc. The stresses in our daily lives help us deplete these important enzymes at an alarming rate which prevents certain enzymes to rejuvenate. Why does this happen?
As we age, there are enzymes that tend to slow down their rate of rejuvenation and therefore can not replenish as quickly. For example the skin; our skin automatically has enzymes that assist in the replenishing or rejuvenation process for resilience, buoyancy, elasticity which keep our skin healthy and young. As we age, the enzymes that automatically assist in this process begin to slow down its ability to replenish or rejuvenate hence increasing the aging process where it begins to show. Where there were no wrinkles in the skin, now there are, like around the eyes, mouth, neck and hands. They are the most visible areas. For some individuals, this process happens slower than others hence the phrase 'growing old gracefully'. We all wish to grow old gracefully but as mentioned earlier, it all depends on our environment, adaptations and body chemistry. There are ways to manually replenish our bodies with certain enzymes through oral and topical consumption such as vitamin's that contain enzymes, topical body and facial lotions, moisturizers and creams, homeopathy processes, stress reduction exercises’; the list can go on and on. These products and services are in plentitude where we have numerous choices at our disposal and the providers of these products and services capitalize on the notion of providing the age old myth called the 'Fountain of Youth'.
There are multi-billion dollar industries that dedicate time, manpower, and money to assisting us with this process. Some of those industries to name a few are cosmetics, nutritional supplements, homeopathic medicine, and vitamin industries. These industries promote life longevity, age defiant, health and wellness products and services to assist us in doing what our bodies used to automatically do while we're young. The choices are endless. However, consumers beware; not all products and services can claim the 'Fountain of Youth' myth. Don't always believe in all the hypes that these industries promote. Old age is inevitable for the human species; it all depends on whether we want to grow old sooner than later. Yes, some products and services can assist in the aging process and make it go at a slower pace but the main job is up to us.
There is no easy process of sustaining life longevity and the appearance of looking young. It is a hard job that demands permanent life style changes and dedication to sustaining these changes. There is nothing wrong with a little assistance from these industries that specialize in the fountain of youth but be careful not to succumb to them completely. We must do our part first. How do we do that? We do it just by being smart and health conscious. We can start by Choosing products and services that do promote enzyme replenishment and rejuvenation, read all ingredients that are in products, try to steer away from products that use too many preservatives and byproducts, always find time to exercise (join an activity group), eat as much fruits and vegetables as you want, stay away from highly processed foods, drink plenty of fluids (the right fluids) such at water, juices that do not contain high fructose corn syrup( organic if possible), skim milk, keep your mind sharp by reading daily, Laugh and love a lot; it can reduce daily stress. Once the changes become a permanent life style, we won't need too many products and services to assist us in sustaining our own fountain of youth because we're doing it our selves.
Enzymes are considered the building blocks of the human body. It is what aids and sustains life longevity. There are billions of them that work simultaneously in our system at a molecular level. As we age, we begin to feel them depleting and not replenishing themselves as often as they used to when we were young. Be mindful of these facts and start taking care now. Make those permanent life style changes now while enzymes are still replenishing and rejuvenating at a steady process. It is truly up to us to sustain our own fountain of youth and only rely on assistance when necessary.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What is Organic

When you hear the word 'Organic', what comes to mind first? Does food come to mind, soil/dirt come to mind, a process, healthy? Well, all are correct if that is what comes to mind when you hear that word. But, what does organic mean? Does it mean unprocessed/unaltered food? Does it mean non chemical? Does it mean all natural or does it mean no animal byproducts? It really makes you wonder doesn't it since everyone wants to eat more healthy nowadays. This article will explore the meaning of organic in terms of human consumption. What is considered organic and how is it processed. What does it mean when a product claims to be 100% organic and how has commercialism and mass production altered the way we cultivate our food source. For starters, let's explore the meaning of organic.
The dictionary's definition of organic is 'Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones or synthetic checmical; simple healthful, and close to nature'. I happen to agree with the dictionary's definition. This is what organic means to me; It is consuming produce and products that are grown, raised and processed in the simplest form. In other words, allow mother nature to do it's job with the least possible human interference expected. The scientific definition of organic; any living organism by nature is considered organic. We as human's are considered organic because we're considered a living organism. How are animal's and produce cultivated as organic?
Our job as human's is to plant seeds in the ground,cultivate them and harvest them. As human's, we are to prepare the soil by turning/tilling it and allowing mother nature's animal's to fertilize it. We should not be spraying our produce with pesticides and chemically altering them for longer shelf life. Produce are meant to be eaten immediately and not months and months later. We are to allow our domesticated animals to roam free and allow them to feed on mother nature's soil. Cow's, bull's, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens all eat green grass, alfalfa, dandelions, and hay. That is how we as humans should allow our food source to be cultivated. They are not meant to eat antibiotics, genetically altered hormones, commercialized animal feed etc. If that is the case, then what does it mean when a product claims to be 100% organic.
We as consumers must be aware of produce and products that claim they're 100% organic. Not all items that claim to be organic is good for you. Sounds strange don't it? Remember, organic means; consuming produce and products that are grown, raised and processed in the simplest form, with the least human interference as possible. Organic is how food is processed. Just as all products, you need to read the ingredients. Just because the product claim that it's organic doesn't mean that it's acceptable. For example; I can remember reading the ingredients on a loaf of bread and in the ingredients, it stated organic whole grain unbromulated wheat, organic rolled oats, organic yeast , organic High Fructose Corn Syrup, organic cane sugar etc. I stopped reading the rest once I saw organic high fructose corn syrup. I began to ask my self a simple question. How can this be 100% organic when there is high fructose corn syrup in the general ingredient? The answer is simple, it is how the high fructose corn syrup was processed. In it's natural form which is corn, it could have been grown and cultivated organically which means using naturally fertilized soil and with out the use of any chemical,hormonal interference. So the process of how it was cultivated and extracted was organically sound. But organic or not, I still don't want high fructose corn syrup as a main or general ingredient in the products that I buy. In my opinion, high fructose corn syrup is still considered an unhealthy sweetener. To me, that one ingredient spoiled the whole loaf of bread. Therefore, be aware of products that claim they're 100% organic because not all things organic is good for you. There are some products that will claim they're 75% or 50% organic. What that means is some conventional methods have been used in the cultivating and processing stage. So, maybe the soil was not fertilized by cows but some other method or maybe pesticides were used in the spraying process. It all depends on how you as the consumer feel about that. I for one would rather go with the claim of 100% organic as opposed to partial. At least I have a piece of mind knowing that the methods used was organically sound. If we as human's are considered organic, then why pray tell would we want to damage our bodies with substances that aren't organic? That can be summed up in three words; commercialism, mass producton.
Have you ever had an apple that has been chemically sprayed to make it look nice and shiny, very appealing to the eye for consumption. Mass production and commercialism spray them for longer shelf life. Ever notice how long an apple can sustain its color, shine, and firmness when it's chemically sprayed. I don't know about you but i've bought them apples before and they've lasted almost a month. However, when I bit into one, it lost it's taste and texture inside but never lost it's appeal on the outside. Then, I started buying organic apples. The shelf life of an organic apple is less than a week. The apples that I bought started turning brown and losing it's eatable appeal after the 4th day. I knew that I had to eat them or do something with them before they all went bad and no longer eatable. This made me realize something very important. Produce cultivated and harvested the right way with out any chemical alterations are the best for human consumption because it is organic and since we're considered organic why not consume organically. Commercialism and mass production will argue that due to consumer demand produce had to be altered in order to deliver in mass quantity for mass consumption and therefore quality had to be sacrificed. I understand that concept but then why are we not consuming from our local growers who cultivate organically thus can provide better quality and sacrifice quantity. Unfortunately, that is whole other article to write.
Basically, the meaning of organic is a process of how our food is grown and cultivated. It doesn't mean that every thing organic is good for our health as I explained. Thanks to commercialism and mass production, we've altered the way we cultivate our food source by using conventional methods to satisfy consumer demands for the sake of quantity as opposed to quality. The more we produce, the more revenue increases. For sound mind and bodies, always try to buy organic but please be mindful and read all ingredients. Every thing organic is not good for our health.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup in Moderation

Recently there has been commercials airing on television about High Fructose Corn Syrup and how anything in moderation is good for you. Therefore, the commercial is ensuring the consumer that high fructose corn syrup is not bad but indeed good for you as long as you consume it moderately. That is the just of that commercial. What is very disturbing about that commercial is how disillusioned that concept is. When you think about it, every thing you do, should be done in moderation and never to the extreme. Whether it's exercising, smoking, alcohol consumption, or eating foods that aren't healthy for you, never over indulge. But in American culture, we tend to do just that; over indulge. The reason for that are the advertisements and commercials/media that bombard our lives on a daily basis; like the one I just described along with countless others that encourage the average consumer to want to over indulge. For example, it used to be that the size of an average hamburger was no bigger than the palm size of an adults hand. That is the same for a bagel. The average serving size of a soft drink was less than eight ounces than a glass of water. Today, soft drinks are bought and sold in an eight, twelve, sixteen, and twenty ounces of individual servings. Therefore, moderation is not in the American culture. American culture has been conditioned to want more, bigger, larger etc.As consumers we want the deals that provide more for our dollar such as buying two great big roast beef sandwiches for $5.00 plus a side order of curly fries, twenty ounce soft drink and a desert included (can you think of the fast food commercial that offers that). We want to ride around in the biggest vehicles like the Hummer's, Escalades, Ford F150's etc. In our culture, we are conditioned to want more, bigger and better. I can think of one state that comes to mind that over emphasizes that concept of over indulgence. That State is Texas. There is another problem or disillusion with the concept of "within moderation", and that is consumption. How can that commercial depict that high fructose corn syrup is good for you as long as you practice moderation when practically every thing you buy or consume has corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in it?
Have you ever gone grocery shopping and actually read the ingredients that are on the product packages. I've been an avid ingredient reader for over 20 years and I can tell you that over 80% of products that i've read has corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup as their main ingredient or general ingredient; from breads to cereals, pastries to snacks, crackers, sauces, pickled products to condements which includes dressings. This is where consumers are disillusioned. I've learned how to read them and what some of the chemical-techno terminology means. For example, MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, Disodium is another form of salt and when reading ingredient's, the higher the ingredient is in the listing the more of it there is in the product and the lower the ingredient is in the listing the less of it there is in the product. So, if high fructose corn syrup is the second ingredient by which is considered a 'main ingredient' in the listed ingredient's, the more of it is in the product. The further down on the list an ingredient is, it is considered a general ingredient. I can honestly say, as I was teaching myself how to read and understand ingredient listings, it took me over 3 hours to do grocery shopping. It was getting to be so bad that I dreaded going grocery shopping. But, it was very important to me that I buy healthy and I did not want high fructose corn syrup in any products that I know I will consume. Practically every product had corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in it. The products included name brand products as well as your store brand. So why is high fructose corn syrup not good for you thus a disillusion?
High fructose corn syrup comes from the corn. Corn is naturally sweet. The corn is highly processed down to liquid form call syrup thus extracting all of its natural and healthy nutrients out leaving just the syrup that is highly sweet hence the name High Fructose Corn Syrup. Consuming this form of the corn poses health issues such as diabetes's, high caloric intake which transforms into fat thus increased weight gain, I have been told that it is addictive to leaving you wanting more of the product that it's in ( I have no actual data to back that up, I am only going by my experience as well as others). In my early college years before I was into health conscious practices, I used to eat highly sweetened foods as a staple like Cap'n Crunch, Chef Boy ar dee Ravioli by the cans. I found myself consuming so much of it that I would help myself until I consumed all of it in one day. That is what I mean by addictive. It was not allowing my brain to register that i'm full because of the sweetness hence the constant indulgence. Corn in its natural state is good for you. Even when it's processed to create other products such as corn meal, corn starch, grits, kernals, pop corn etc. During those processes, the nutrients aren't extracted as much. I am totaly against that version of sugar than any other version and believe me there are plenty that are much better for you than corn syrup.
In essence, commercials that advertise moderation in a society that is conditioned to over indulge is truly dissillusioned and thus effects all consumers. To tell an American consumer to consume but with moderation is like seeing a duck swim without water. Our culture is conditioned to want more and more is what we get especially when it is offered to us in deals where we can stretch our all mighty dollar. To want more is to over indulge hence lack of moderation. High fructose corn syrup is no different that the other over indulgences that we do as Americans when it comes to our health and well being. So, stop the disillusions.