Got a Meeting? Take A Walk!

Today the average person is sitting more than nine hours a day! This amount of sitting is unprecedented and has enormous health consequences. In addition to causing poor health, too much sitting can squash the imagination and productivity. Get inspired to make use of walking meetings by watching this quick video. Think outside the box by getting outside the box!

Originally posted 2013-08-25 13:01:24.

Eat These Vegetables As Soon As Possible

greens 03Real, living food is perishable.  We’ve learned to sacrifice nutrition for convenience, but this has been a major mistake for our health.  

All vegetables should be consumed as soon as possible, as they all start to lose their nutrients and antioxidants as soon as they’re harvested, but some vegetables are more perishable than others.  The most sensitive vegetables also happen to be among the world’s healthiest vegetables. The reason for the nutrient loss is that harvested plants use their stored nutrients to fight off starvation and oxidation. Unfortunately, the nutrients they use to survive are the same nutrients that provide incredible health benefits for humans.  With this in mind, consider posting the list below on your fridge as a reminder to eat up your recent purchases.

Vegetables to Eat Right Away:

  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage (when cut)
  • Mushrooms: Crimini, shitake, white button, etc.
  • Leafy greens: spinach, lettuce, arugula, chard, beet tops
  • Herbs: parsley, basil, cilantro
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Green beans

Additional Tips to Maximize Your Vegetables’ Nutritional Value:

  • Many store-bought vegetables have already been cut off from their life-source for 2-4 days before being purchased (due to transportation and sitting on the shelf). Purchase fresher vegetables by shopping at a locals farmers market, growing your own vegetables, or asking your grocer what vegetables came in on the most recent shipment.
  • Most vegetables loose their nutrients when cooked.  Eat your vegetables as raw as possible or lightly steamed.  Microwaving is OK as long as you don’t overcook them and use a microwaving steaming method.  
  • If you’ve chopped your vegetables up, be sure to store them in a airtight container and consume as quickly as possible. Exposing cut vegetables to air for prolonged periods increased their oxidation. 
  • Chopping leafy greens immediately before consuming, however, does make more nutrients available for absorption.  Cut your lettuce, cabbage, or dark greens into small strips 10 minutes before eating to maximize nutrient release.

References: Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Fruits and Vegetables, Eating on the Wild Side NPR Interview

Originally posted 2013-08-19 09:00:46.

How I Killed a Sea Turtle.

sea turtle plastics north pacific gyre garbage patch plastic bagsLast December, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Hawaii and go snorkeling in Maui!  The water was blue and clear.  The reefs were beautiful and teeming with life. Among the many fish we saw, one of our favorites was the state fish of Hawaii, the Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apua’a.  But I’d have to say that our favorite creature overall (dolphins included) was the sea turtle!  

These guys were so chill and seemingly indestructible.  They weren’t bothered at all that we were swimming in their surf —  they just looked at us and swam by at their own pace.  I could almost hear them saying, “Wasup bro!” as we passed one another.  Inadvertently, we almost swam right into one that was surfacing for air.  We were so happily splashing about looking for sea turtles through our foggy snorkel masks that we didn’t even notice the one that was right in front of us!  While it’s not a good idea to get as close as we did to that sea turtle, it was amazing to see him up-close, catch a glimpse of his unique skin art, and slap some fin (OK, maybe not).

After that encounter, it felt like we had become friends with a turtle that day, so you can image how sad it was to discover a few months later that WE HAD KILLED SOME OF HIS FRIENDS!  Yes, I am responsible for killing sea turtles. I must give a response because I’ve participated in the thoughtless wastefulness that has resulted in the death or sickness of numerous sea turtles.

You see, I’m guilty of using plastic bags and other plastic products even when I knew that plastic is a material that never goes away.  And now there’s a MASSIVE garbage dump floating in the Pacific Ocean that’s estimated to cover 3,000,000 square miles of ocean!  This garbage dump, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is composed primarily of small plastic particles.  These particles are toxic, and birds (like Albatrosses) and sea turtles are eating the plastic and becoming sick, even dying.  Fish are also consuming plastic from the Garbage Patch, and it’s thought that the ingested plastic in the fish may pose a toxic risk for humans.  This. Is. Simply. Unacceptable.

It’s been said that if we want to see change in this world then it is has to start with us.  

Well, I want to make a change.

According to researchers, 80% of the plastic found in the ocean is from land waste such as plastic shopping bags.  If that’s the case, I’m not going to make excuses for forgetting to bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store anymore.  I will minimize my use of plastics as much as possible.  This goes for me and for CREUS, too.  All of our products are currently in recyclable packaging, but we want to do more to be better stewards of God’s creation.  Keep an eye out, because we’ll be aggressively moving towards biodegradable packaging options wherever possible.  

This wasn’t supposed to turn into an angry tirade or an ode to environmentalism, it’s just that it makes sense to be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given.  I know how easy it is to go along with the waste and consumption that’s accepted by our society.  The plastic bags are right there.  They’re so easy and convenient.  The disposable doesn’t require any forethought or any planning.  I know, I’ve been there too, but we can’t really live life by floating downstream with the rest of society.  Join me in living intentionally, thoughtfully, and lovingly towards all of God’s creation — every man, woman, child and….sea turtle.

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Sources: Environment California, Global Analysis of Anthropogenic Debris Ingestion by Sea Turtles

Originally posted 2013-08-08 16:49:49.

The Life-Giving Power of Generosity

Olivia Making a DonationProverbs 11:25-
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

It’s a human tendency to self-protect and hold onto things we might need in the future.  From a survival standpoint, holding on to resources just makes sense.  After all, if one has more…fill in the blank…he’ll be better able to enjoy life or take care of himself down the road. 

Fortunately, the truth of generosity is much more paradoxical and freeing than the simple logic of self-preservation.  

We read in the Bible that “he who seeks to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will gain it.”  The idea that self-sacrifice, or the giving of one’s self, is essential for life is central to Jesus’ message.  Today, many people have expounded upon this truth with messages about positive thinking, “paying it forward,” etc.  

While generosity certainly isn’t a tool for getting what one wants, it is a way of life that resonates with who we were created to be as humans.

Thankfully, what resonates with our purpose as humans is almost always good for our bodies.  And while we really didn’t need anyone to tell us that giving to others makes us “feel good,” a number of scientific studies have found that the “good feelings” that result from sacrificially giving to others translate into significant health benefits.  

One of those studies looked at 423 elderly couples over 5 years to determine what factors most highly affected their well-being.  The individuals who reported regularly giving tangible help to their family members, friends and neighbors had a 50% lower death rate than those who didn’t!  Research obtained in the making of a documentary about longevity (sponsored by National Geographic) further confirmed the importance of generosity to health, as one of the things the longest living people have in common is a sense of purpose and importance in the lives of others.  

So, while it might seem counter-intuitive that giving sacrificially to others would be good for one’s health, the truth of generosity is backed by the reality of good health. We were created to love, to give, and to be involved in the lives of others.  

References: Philanthropy Across Generations, The Creation-Based Keys to Longevity

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Originally posted 2013-08-02 09:01:01.

Make Your Own Sauerkraut

There’s nothing quite like brats or corned beef with some fresh homemade sauerkraut!  Sauerkraut has been made at home for centuries as a way to preserve and enjoy the cabbage harvest.  Cabbage is one of the healthiest vegetables known to man, and sauerkraut makes it even healthier by adding probiotics!  It’s unfortunate that not as many people are making sauerkraut at home these days, since it’s easy to make and more delicious than the store-bought stuff!

sauerkraut-ingredients
All the ingredients you’ll need: cabbage, salt, jar, and knife!
cabbage-chopped-1
Chop the cabbage according to your preference.
cabbage-salt-2
Any salt will work, but we like pink Himalayan because of its extra trace mineral content.
cabbage-wilted-3
After the salt is added and the cabbage is massaged, the cabbage will shrink down considerably.
After the cabbage is thoroughly wilted and massaged, put the cabbage and extracted water in a jar and wait patiently!
After the cabbage is thoroughly wilted and massaged, put the cabbage and extracted water in a jar and wait patiently!

Originally posted 2013-07-13 01:44:23.

Simple Switch: Choosing the Right Milk

The “Simple Switches” are a series of posts providing examples of easy ways to make dramatic improvements to the average American diet (read more about the Simple Switches at bottom of this article).

The Switch: Organic Whole Milk for Conventional Skim or Low Fat Milk


Priority: High

Reasoning:

  • Conventionally raised milk often contains hormones and antibiotics that can interfere with normal development and the immune system.  Organic milk is free from all hormones and antibiotics.
  • Low-fat or skim milk is missing the fat! The fat in milk is needed for proper absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, like vitamin D, vitamin k2, and vitamin A.  Additionally, whole-fat milk is more balanced, promoting sustained blood-sugar levels after consumption.  Milk fats (including cholesterol) are also crucial for the body’s health, as they are used as building blocks for the cell walls, nervous system, hormones, and the brain.
  • Organic milk also comes from cows that spend more time eating what they were meant to eat…grass!  Cows that eat grass produce milk that contains much higher amounts of nutrients, especially vitamin K2 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  These two nutrients help protect the cardiovascular system, promote bone strength, support proper metabolism, and have anti-carcinogenic properties.  Conventionally raised milk (milk from cows that are mostly fed grains) is almost entirely absent of both vitamin K2 and CLA.  These are vital nutrients for growing children and aging adults alike!

Taking it to the next level: To get even more health benefits from your milk, buy non-homoginized, raw or low-temperature pasteurized milk.  Homogenization, the process of dispersing the fat equally through the milk, is nice for a consistent texture, but it can actually damage the fat molecules in the milk.  When the fat particles are broken up, the surface area of the molecules increases, making them more susceptible to oxidation.  Oxidized fat molecules can eventually damage the arteries and/or cause inflammation.  Also, when milk is pasteurized (heated to kill the bacteria), the heating process destroys most of the enzymes that make milk easier to digest.  Pasteurization also destroys the enzyme (phosphatase) that helps the body more effectively absorb and utilize milk’s calcium content.  

References: Effects of Homogenization, Calcium Absorption and Phosphatase

More on Simple Switches: Every simple switch is categorized into a certain level of priority, either “low,” “medium,” or “high.”  Sometimes there will also be the option to “Take it to the next level,” which is a low level priority switch beyond the basic recommendation.  

  • “Low” — important for optimum health, but if you’re on a budget or time restraints, it’s more important to prioritize the other switches first.  Low priority switches are typically the “super” healthy options, which might not be realistic for everyone at a certain stage in life.
  • “Medium” — this switch is going to add significant health benefits, such as added nutrients, but the food the switch is replacing might not be harmful in moderation.
  • “High” — high priority switches should be made, even if it means you have to make room in your budget.  These switches replace foods that are potentially harmful to your health with foods that add significant health benefits.

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Originally posted 2013-07-12 20:02:08.

US Navy Body Fat Calculator

While the most important consideration for health is making a commitment to a holistic lifestyle, determining body fat percentage can be a useful tool for setting goals and seeing where you’re at health-wise. Fatness or skinniness aren’t always good predictors of health, but obesity (30% body fat) is usually correlated with increased risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Use the US Navy Body Fat calculator below (the most accurate body fat calculator) to get an estimate of what percentage of your body weight is fat.

 

Browse other Calculators

body fat calculator

Originally posted 2013-07-12 04:41:58.

The Creation-Based Keys to Longevity

Okinawan Elderly WomanOne of my friends recently shared a TED talk video with me that takes a look at the keys to longevity.  The TED talk was given by Dan Buettner, an explorer, educator, and cyclist.  Buettner was commissioned by the National Geographic to find out what the world’s longest lived people have in common.  His findings, as presented in the video, basically summarize and provide scientific evidence for some of the key foundations of CREUS.  I recommend watching the video first, but once you have, read the keys to longevity below and reflect on how these foundations for health and wise living relate to your own life:

The three cultures with the highest amount of 100-year-olds with an excellent quality of life (Okinawans, Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Vista, CA, and Sardinians from the mountain-region of the island) have the following things in common:

Natural Movement – While a few of the people from these cultures intentionally exercise (like the Seventh Day Adventists),  they all move and stay active naturally, in the daily course of life.  Natural movement is essential to living a Creation-Based Lifestyle, it’s part of what we call “play” (like running, golf, swimming, surfing, etc) and “creating,” or doing meaningful work with one’s hands (such as gardening, chopping wood, cooking).  Automobiles, television, and office jobs can put a major damper on natural movement, but there are ways to reverse these trends: walk or ride your bike to destinations whenever possible, turn off the television and enjoy an evening picnic instead, and as an alternative to sitting at a desk, look into using a standing desk or an exercise ball for a chair.

Right Outlook – Each of the cultures with a high rate of longevity put a daily emphasis on  purpose.  They also make time for relaxation.  The Okinawans, for example, can readily recite their “ikigai” or “reason for living.”  Genetics account for only approximately 10% of health; the majority of one’s health is based on lifestyle and outlook.  What are you living for?  Do you feel like you’re part of a larger purpose?  Do you have meaning in your life?  Creation-Based living takes in to account the truth that God created us for a purpose.  Good health is just the beginning.  

Wise Eating – The longest lived people eat diets that are plant and whole-food based.  They tend to drink wine in moderation, and when they eat, they stop eating when they feel about 80% full.  Basically, healthy people eat the foods that God created.  With all the industrially manufactured foods being marketed to us, eating whole foods is often easier said than done, but with the right mindset healthy eating can quickly become a lifestyle!

Community – One of the most important things the healthiest people have in common is community, which I think is closely related to having a purpose.  People who are part of a loving community are healthier!  We are relational beings, created for relationship.  Sadly, many people in our culture are isolated and have very few friends or have an unhealthy family environment.  The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case; healthy relationships are available to anyone willing to make the effort.  The keys to building healthy relationships are: a positive self-identity and self-sacrificing love (with healthy boundaries).  Relationship building also takes intentionality, we can’t spend our time on Facebook or at home watching TV and expect to make friends.  We have to get outside where people are (church, clubs, parks, etc) and be friendly.  From there it’s important to verbally express our commitment and the things we appreciate about our friends!  Expressing commitment reinforces community and emphasizes the value placed on the relationships.

Eat.Play.Rest.Create! 

Originally posted 2013-07-12 01:07:46.