toy pig eating cake

The Effects of Processed Foods on our Mental Health

This post is written by a talented young writer, Patrick Bailey. He writes mainly about mental health and does so to overcome the stigma often associated with mental illness. 


Processed foods do a lot more to us than you think. Not only can they affect our general physical health, but they can affect our mental health, as well. The food that you eat is the fuel that you need to make it through the day and do many different things throughout that day. It is only natural that processed foods that are not wholesome are not going to be good for your mind or body.

Eating well may be associated with the feeling of well-being, which is what many want when they are trying to eat healthier, lose weight and feel better about themselves overall. The importance of having a good nutritional food intake is increasingly important when it comes to how you feel and how well you want to feel.

Eating saturated fats and processed foods have been shown to increase negative emotions, while also increasing fat and depression in some. This then leads to a poorer diet and worse-off physical and mental health in the person.

Some people believe that eating comfort foods brings the feeling of happiness with it. This, however, is untrue. It has been shown that these foods, while rewarding during the time you are eating them, they are actually providing negative effects in the body after you are done eating them. This then causes you to feel worse. Thus, making you want the feeling again. This is how many people find themselves gaining weight through comfort eating.

The Food You Eat

Affects How You Feel

The food that you put into your system is going to affect the outcome of how you feel. This is because 95% of the serotonin that is found in your body is found through the gastrointestinal tract. With thousands upon thousands of neurons found in this tract, they send impulses throughout your body to your brain. This tract works to not only digest your food, but also regulate the emotions that you feel.Unhealthy_snacks_in_cart

In line with these findings, it has also been shown that those that eat a traditional meal plan, such as a Japanese diet or a Mediterranean diet over a Western diet, have over a 30% less chance of having depression.

Depression is the second leading cause of disability, right after heart disease. This means that the diet, and what you put in your mouth, is going to affect how you feel. When the body is not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals that it needs to uplift itself, this is when the negative affects are seen in the body and emotions. The same would happen for someone who is not getting enough sunlight or fresh air on a regular basis. Their body and mind would be affected by this.

It has also been shown that depression is not the only risk that those take in getting when not eating a well-balanced diet. Those that do not have an adequate meal plan or diet are also shown to have a heightened risk of anxiety. This is something that many more physicians are paying attention to, as changing a diet and introducing new fruits and vegetables can completely change the mental illnesses that some individuals are dealing with.

Kids are Seeing the

Results of Poor Diets

Adults are not the only ones that are affected by this. More than 17  million kids throughout the US are affected by some type of mental illness. This number has risen and continues to rise throughout the years, causing further issues. The risk of depression in these kids increases to up to 80% in kids that have a poor diet, as compared to those that eat a nutritionally balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits and the right balance of vitamins and minerals.highly processed breakfast cereals

Another great study that was done showed that even mothers who ate a better diet while pregnant with the children had a better chance of providing the child with less health and emotional problems as they age. The more appropriate the nutritional value for the mother and wholesome it is, the better it will be for the unborn baby in the womb. Studies show that these children that receive adequate nutrition as early as in the womb have a much lesser chance of developing anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses as they grow.

Providing children with more junk food during the first years of life is linked to poor behavior, more emotional outbursts, and other emotional problems that the children go through.

In a study that was conducted with 120 kids, it was shown that children with poor diets were more likely to show symptoms of ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Though this is not something that has been put down on paper indefinitely, it has been shown and thought that diet can play a crucial role in the mental health of those children that are not getting adequately fed or not being fed the right combination of foods in a regular, healthy diet.

What Foods Should You

and Shouldn’t You Eat?

In order to get a well-balanced diet and the best nutrition plan to reduce the chances of having mental illnesses, depression or anxiety then you should know what to remove from the diet and what to include.

Any highly processed foods that are high in sugar or are fried should not be consumed. If they are, they should not be consumed often. Having high amounts of these foods can increase the chances of having depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses.peeling-zuccini

Those that want to reduce the chances of having any of these mental illnesses can increase their vegetable and fruit intake. It is important to stay away from some of the fruit that have high natural sugars in them, as they can cause the body to get too much sugar, such as grapes. Nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and unsaturated fats are ideal to add to the diet, as these can add additional nutrients and vitamins to the body that the fruits and vegetables are unable to provide.

Another benefit besides a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses is that when you eat healthier, you feel better, you look better and you have a better immune system. This healthy food gives your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthier and more active.

By taking note of how eating makes you feel, you can find out what foods might cause a bad reaction not only in your body but with your mind. You can also find out what foods uplift you and put you in a good mood. The new name for this phenomenon that is sweeping the nation is “nutritional psychiatry.”

Having depressing feelings is not normal. When you are depressed, you are also much more likely to use alcohol or drugs in a recreational way, causing an addiction that can be tough to get rid of. There are many things that can happen when diet is not something that you think about or put much thought into. A healthy diet is important for so many reasons, make sure that you are eating a well-balanced, healthy diet to reduce the chances of having something happen or the cause of a mental health issue that you may develop or already have.

 

Patrick Bailey info

Fohm unit

The IBS Warrior’s Guide For Using Adult Wipes

Although no one really wants to talk about disposing of adult wipes, it’s a large problem and growing larger every day. I first became aware of the implications of their use when adult wipes and those for small children were identified as a major cause of fatbergs and as killers of marine life.  A more in-depth look found they are also a waste of good trees and a source of possibly carcinogenic ingredients.

In the never-ending search for new markets, companies expanded their lines of baby wipes several years ago to make adult wipes for normal cleaning after going to the bathroom. The corporations then expanded further into disposable wipes for hemorrhoid sufferers, so-called “feminine” wipes and for folks with sensitive skin, too.

As a person with irritable bowel syndrome, I was a perfect customer for the new adult wipes consumer segment. Although I was using so many disposable wipes each day we bought them by the case, I didn’t think much about it–except I decided I would not flush them down our toilet despite label assurances it was all right. Frankly, this was to prevent a clogged toilet more than protecting sewer systems, not creating fatbergs or protecting sea creatures.

Don’t Flush Wipes Even If The Package Says You Can

If you use just one adult wipe after going to the bathroom and flush, that single wipe won’t clog your toilet or likely even the larger pipes that connect your house with the main sewer lines. The issue arises when wipes enter the main sewer system. Sewer lines, especially in older neighborhoods, will have tree roots growing into them at the joints. These roots spread into the sewer pipe to form a web. This mesh of roots will allow liquids to pass but not something as large and impermeable as a wipe. Toilet paper is made to dissolve quickly and does not usually cause an obstruction.

Even if wet wipes make it through the sewer pipes, they can still create problems when they arrive at the sewerage treatment plant. The industrial pumps there can be damaged and overheat because of fibrous wet wipes. Of course, the cost of repairing or replacing these pumps is paid by taxpayers.

Even National Public Radio weighed in on the subject.

This Green Way to Wipe Is A Winner

As a member of the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network and someone who uses adult disposable wipes, I was recruited to test and write about a new way to clean my bottom. I was attracted to the idea of using only toilet paper and still getting as clean as I was with wipes. In exchange for my honest evaluation, I received one of the units–a retail cost of $49 when ordered from the manufacturer’s website.

My first impression was positive. The unit took up less space than the package of wipes and was much more attractive. I also liked that the cleanser was pH balanced, fragrance-free and did not contain harmful parabens. Set-up was easy.

The next issue was how much of the foam cleaner to dispense at a time. The dispenser unit provides two options. The first is a 10 mL flow and the other dispenses 25 mLs. After a few attempts, I quickly learned that the 10 mL flow was perfect and that I needed more than two squares of paper if I wanted to prevent tearing and dissolving. Trial and error resulted in a “Goldilocks” combination of 10 mLs of Fohm on three squares of doubled over toilet paper. I show this combination in the video below.

 

I tried my new adult “disposable” wipe with two different brands of toilet paper–a double-ply premium and a budget-friendly two-ply brand–with similar results. Both held the Fohm long enough for one or two passes before disintegrating. Knowing I can dispose of the used Fohm wipes in the toilet makes the environmentalist in me very happy.

As the company says on its website, “Fohm is what you end up with when you create a user experience that’s built for adults on toilets, and not try to repurpose a product designed for babies in diapers.” 

I quickly came to prefer the new Fohm dispenser over adult disposable wipes. So much so that I ordered more cleanser within the first week. I guess I’ll have to repurpose what’s left of that case of adult wipes in my basement.
Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions.

 

chips aisle in supermarket

New Study: Processed Foods Increase Mortality

As readers of this blog can attest, I have a lot to say about the nutritionally inadequate and poisonous standard American diet and lifestyle. Today, a seven-year study published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that eating highly processed foods appears to be associated with a 14% higher mortality.

There’s an ever-increasing amount of evidence that frequently eating processed foods is associated with chronic diseases like high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, and cancer. However, this is the first study to look at processed food consumption and mortality.

Highly Processed Food Not Healthy

Highly processed foods include ready-to-eat foods like packaged snacks, sugary drinks, breads, candies, ready-made meals, and processed meats with little nutritional value. frozen food supermarket aisleThese have a high-calorie content along with being low in fiber and high in carbohydrates (including added sugar), saturated fats, unhealthy additives like artificial coloring and chemical preservatives, and large amounts of salt.

Popular because they are seen as affordable, easy to prepare and resist spoiling, these foods are also intensively marketed and prominently displayed in supermarkets.

The research was conducted in France where the EU does not allow genetically modified organisms and many of the pesticides found in most nonorganic American processed foods.

Researchers obtained mealtime data from 44,551 adults. Almost three-quarters of the study group were women having a mean age at the study’s start of 56.7 years.

According to the French study, for every 10% increase in highly processed foods in the diet, the risk of dying from any cause increased by 14%.* Participants were already in the French NutriNet-Santé Study, an ongoing, nationwide, web-based nutritional study that began in May 2009. The researchers conducted follow-up through December 15, 2017. Food intake information was recorded using 24-hour dietary recalls.

Processed Food Makes Up 30% of French Diet vs. 60% of American Diet

The diet questionnaires asked for information on what foods were typically eaten at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also what snacks were eaten. There were validated photos so participants could accurately report portion size. Based on the responses, highly processed foods accounted for about 30% of French respondents total daily intake.

highly processed breakfast cerealsThis is in stark contrast to the standard American diet. A 2016 study found highly processed food accounting for almost 60% of calories (57.9%), and almost 90% of calories (89.7%) from added sugars. The extra sugar in ultra-processed foods is eight times higher than in minimally processed food and processed ingredients used to make food (2.4 and 3.7% respectively) added together.

The data analysis adjusted for potential things that could have skewed results. These confounders included age, gender, income, educational level, marital status, urban or rural residence, physical activity level, smoking status, alcohol intake, calorie intake, first-degree family history of cancer/cardiovascular disease, number of 24-hour dietary records completed, the season in which dietary recalls were done, and the overall nutritional quality of the diet.

Food Coloring, Preservatives Plus Added Salt and Sugar Raise Chronic Disease Risk

Researchers stated that food additives (like coloring and preservatives), in addition to the high salt, high sugar, and low fiber content of highly processed foods, contribute to an increased risk for chronic diseases that ultimately leads to the increased mortality risk found in this study.

Adjusting for an overall healthy diet (as estimated by following French national recommendations) made the association between ultra-processed foods and death weaker but did not remove it. This suggests that a healthy diet plays a part in reducing the observed 14% greater risk of death.

Please look at the Resources section of this blog to find links to websites I used to increase my health despite being disabled by a complex and devastating multi-system disease that causes dysfunction of the neurological, immune, endocrine, and energy metabolism systems. Read all about this disease by clicking on the link above.

* Hazard ratio per 10% increment, 1.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.04 – 1.27;P = .008

female-koala-and-her-baby

Eucalyptus Oil Is Perfect For Colds, Flu and Other Uses

Eucalyptus essential oil (EO) smells like the rub Mom used to put on your chest when you had a cold or the flu. It still works wonders.

Did you know that homemade disinfectants, hand sanitizers and mouthwashes made from eucalyptus EO will minimize exposure to the toxic chemicals found in many over-the-counter products? But before I get into how to make these inexpensive, effective household products, let’s review some background.

The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia, where it is the preferred food for Koalas, but is now found around the world. Aboriginal Australians crushed and then soaked eucalyptus leaves to make medicine and used the bark for everything from canoes to bowls.

A eucalyptus tree was brought back from Tasmania to the British Museum in London In 1777 at which time it was given a scientific name. There are more than 500 species of eucalyptus now. However, only a few are used to make the essential oil–Eucalyptus odorata and Eucalyptus globulus. The colorless essential oil is obtained through complex extraction processes that involve either distilling or cold-pressing the eucalyptus leaves.

Six Ways Eucalyptus Oil Works

Eases upper respiratory irritation and congestion

Besides doing battle against microbes, eucalyptus can reduce redness and swelling. Researchers at Zhejiang University in China found that eucalyptus oil hinders the body’s toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) response, a reaction that produces cytokines that lead to irritation and swelling. By limiting these TLR4 reactions, eucalyptus oil may boost your immune system, allowing your body to heal more quickly and efficiently.

Effective against many common cold germs

Eucalyptus oil placed in a petri dish along with various microbes was effective against virus and bacteria species that cause cold sores, fever, acne, and sore throat.  One of the main components of eucalyptus oil, 1,8-cineole, is a natural monoterpene also found in tea tree oil and rosemary–both are potent antivirals and antibacterials. Isolated 1,8-cineole is less effective than the oil itself, which supports a common finding in natural medicines–an entourage effect in which the various components work together to be more effective.

Fights bad breath and tooth decay

Eucalyptus globulus has antibacterial effects against mouth microbes linked to tooth decay and is more effective at preventing the growth of bacterial biofilm than commercial-grade fluoride.  Eucalyptus flavored chewing gum helps with bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Fights ringworm & other skin/nail fungus infections

Brazilian researchers found that the high concentration of the compound 1,8-cineole fights harmful organisms that can infect the skin of humans, cats, and dogs. Eucalyptus oil also naturally repels nail fungus, making a great foot soak.

Soothes dry scalp and nourishes hair

According to research in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, hair products with eucalyptus help improve bounce and elasticity, starting at the roots.  The healing properties of eucalyptus also help with an itchy scalp by boosting the production of ceramides, lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and help skin retain moisture. Reduced flakiness and irritation, as well as improvements in hair gloss and hair fiber properties, were seen regardless of race, age, or gender.

Combats resistant head lice  

Some lice species are resistant to traditional treatments like permethrin-based head lice shampoos. However, recent research published in Phytomedicine found that eucalyptus essential oil is an effective treatment for head lice. There was one reported case of a preschooler who developed seizures after treatment with eucalyptus, so always test a skin patch to rule out an allergic reaction.

Six Thrifty and Effective Ways

To Use Eucalyptus Oil

Inhale for chest and sinus congestion

Add boiling water to a medium size heat-safe bowl and add 5-10 drops each of eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.

Place a towel over the top of your head and the bowl and inhale the vapors for a few minutes.

You can get a similar effect by placing a few drops of eucalyptus and rosemary oil in your hot shower. The oils will naturally rise with the heat of the water, entering your nose, throat, and lungs for an invigorating lift. If you prefer, replace rosemary with peppermint essential oil.

Make your own vapor rub

Mix 3-5 drops each of eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils with an eighth of a cup of either raw shea butter or organic coconut oil in a small bowl.

Spread on your chest to feel the warmth and breathe in the vapors.

Any leftover rub can be transferred to a clean glass container for safe storage. Use dark glass for optimal shelf life.

BONUS: This mixture also can be used on aching muscles and joints.

hand-repelling-germsHand sanitizer without chemicals or alcohol

Fill three-fourths of a small (4 oz.) spray bottle with distilled water.

Add one tablespoon aloe vera gel, 10 drops each of eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, and clove essential oils, plus 20 drops of either lemon, orange or grapefruit essential oil.

Shake before each use and spray your hands or hard surface two or three times. You may want to test this on an inconspicuous place before using on a table or countertop to avoid possible discoloration.

Effective mouthwash and toothpaste

Mix two drops each of eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils plus two teaspoons baking soda in a medium-sized (8-oz) airtight bottle filled with distilled water.

Shake, then gargle with a mouthful.

Rinse mouth out completely.

You can also brush your teeth with baking soda mixed with a couple of drops of eucalyptus and any other favorite essential oil, such as peppermint or spearmint.

DIY insect repellent

Add 3-5 drops each of lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus oils to 8 oz. of distilled water.

A plastic spray bottle works fine but a dark-colored glass bottle will keep the oils potent longer.

Shake before each use.

Non-toxic air freshener

Mix half a cup of baking soda (or coffee beans) in a small container with a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

Add a few more drops of eucalyptus oil to your mixture when the scent fades.

Cautions When Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and therefore you should always take precautions when using eucalyptus or any essential oil due to their potency and strength. Most essential oils can irritate if placed directly on the skin or hair, so it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil like almond, jojoba, olive or coconut oil before using. Essential oils should never be used on an open wound. Only food-grade essential oils should be taken internally. Unless your healthcare provider recommends it, avoid using eucalyptus oil with young children.

Eucalyptus oil is an effective and beneficial essential oil that has a long history of use for congestion-related ailments from bronchitis to asthma and for relieving symptoms typical of a cold or flu. It can also be used in everything from hand sanitizers and deodorants to mouthwash and conditioner, thanks to all of its antiseptic, antibacterial, and inflammation-reducing properties.

For these and many other reasons, eucalyptus essential oil should be part of your natural medicine chest.

Have you tried eucalyptus essential oil before? Any uses I haven’t covered or good/bad experiences you care to share with other readers?

F&V-small-store-display

Organic Food Slashes Cancer Risk

Organic Food Slashes Cancer Risk

A new study of almost 69,000 people finds a significant reduction in the risk of developing cancer among people who eat an organic diet. Lymphomas, the cancers commonly found in people with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome), were reduced by a whopping 76%. The risk reduction is 86% for Non-Hodgkins lymphomas. Overall cancer risk was reduced by 25% when compared to people who never consume organic foods.

The study gathered data from 68, 946 French organic food consumers between 2009 and 2016. Participants reported their consumption frequency of labeled organic foods (never, occasionally, or most of the time).

The research team hypothesized that lower exposure to pesticide residues on food is the reason for the dramatic decrease in cancer. This is supported with a body of research showing that organic crops have lower levels of pesticide residues, and that eating organic food decreases your exposure to pesticides.

This is the first study on such a large scale to find such clear support of organic foods. The well-designed study allowed the research team to follow up with the 68,946 participants over several years to see how their food choices impacted cancer risk, while controlling for confounding variables like dietary patterns and other lifestyle factors.

Research-Based Support For Organics

Research linking organic diets with a lower impact on health is becoming more common.

    • <li “”=”” class=” style=”>One study of just over

35,000 Norwegian women

    • found mothers who ate organic food during pregnancy decreased the risk of certain uro-genital birth defects. <li “”=”” class=” style=”>Other research on reproduction found that eating fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues was associated with a

lower total sperm count

    • and a lower percentage of normal-looking sperm among men presenting to a fertility clinic.  <li “”=”” class=” style=”>Eating high–pesticide residue fruits and vegetables was

associated with a lower probability of clinical pregnancy and live birth

    in a study done at a fertility clinic associated with a teaching hospital. Compared with women who ate less than one serving/day of non-organic fruits and vegetables, women eating more than two servings/day had an 18% lower probability of pregnancy and a 26% lower probability of live birth.

There is no disputing that cancer is becoming an epidemic in the US. It is diagnosed in new patients over a million times per year and is estimated to kill over 600,000 people in 2018 alone.

It just makes sense to do whatever we can to reduce our risk of cancer. Eating organically is, in my opinion, the hands-down simplest way to do this. But what about you? Is eating organic beyond the limits of your food budget?