Being Thankful - Being Vegetarian

by Michael Bond

With Thanksgiving Day growing near, those who are following a vegetarian diet have much to be thankful for. You can be thankful for your overall good health, derived from your healthy diet choices. More specifically, you can be thankful for your healthy heart, clear arteries, and lower cholesterol that can be credited to a plant-based diet. You can be thankful that you have lowered your risk for heart disease, colon cancer, strokes, diabetes, and a number of other life threatening conditions.

You can be thankful that you have reduced the strain on Mother Earth by using less water and natural resources to produce your food. You can be thankful that you are not contributing to the meat industry’s environmental degradation through topsoil loss, deforestation, water pollution, etc.

You can also be thankful that you are not contributing to the needless pain and suffering experienced by billions of innocent creatures each year.

It is sad that on this wonderful day of giving thanks, what is on many peoples’ minds is the turkey dinner. We all know the original purpose of Thanksgiving was not to focus on eating a stuffed bird. Thanksgiving originated as a feast and celebration of the harvest and later grew into a day where people would offer thanks and appreciation to God for all that He has provided (such as fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, grains, fruits and vegetables to nourish us, and so on).

Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder that we should count our blessings, and be thankful for all that we have. And of all days, Thanksgiving Day should remind us to be compassionate to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. That compassion should not extend only to our friends and families, but to all of God’s creatures, and yes, even to turkeys.

Millions of turkeys are slaughtered each year, just to “celebrate” Thanksgiving. It is unfortunate that our society has adopted this cruel tradition, and many feel that to have Thanksgiving without the turkey dinner, would not be the same. If that is the case, then why not try having a healthier, cruelty-free Thanksgiving and try one of the several tasty mock-turkeys that are now available. And along with that, get back to the roots of Thanksgiving by celebrating the harvest with preparations using your favorite seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Check out this month’s recipes for some specific ideas, and from all of us at Down to Earth, have a happy, and healthy Thanksgiving.

This Christmas, Choose Peace

by Michael Bond

During this Christmas holiday I am reminded of the wise, time-honored lesson “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Christmas is meant to be a time of compassion, “peace on earth”, and good will towards others. Having sympathy for the suffering of others, and caring enough to want to help them is a quality we should all strive for. Not just at Christmas time. All the time.

Unfortunately, compassion is not the norm in our society. Recently there was a tragic (although thankfully uncommon) example of the bitter fruits of selfishness. On Black Friday (the first major day of Christmas shopping) Jdimytai Damour, an employee of Wal-Mart in Long Island, was trampled to death when hundreds of people barged into the store as it opened the doors for a sale. We can only imagine the sadness his family must be going through, but sometimes it takes tragedy to invoke our compassionate nature.

While it may not be as “newsworthy” as a Wal-Mart stampede, every day, countless innocent animals are subjected to horrifying living conditions, followed by an unimaginably cruel death, simply because eating meat is the norm in our society. When we become aware of the extreme pain and suffering caused to these billions of innocent creatures, hopefully we will have the insight to ask ourselves, “Why shouldn’t we extend our compassion to all living beings, not just humans?” We must then consider whether the tradition, habit, status quo, or that tingle on the taste buds is really enough to justify this utter lack of compassion for animals.

It’s not just the animals raised for food that suffer immensely, but eating meat also brings intense suffering to individuals and society in the form of greatly increased levels of disease and environmental devastation.

Be Good to Yourself

How can you experience peace if you don’t treat your body right? Not only is there no need to eat animals to live a strong and healthy life, a meat-based diet greatly increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases. Transitioning to a plant-based diet is the single most important step you can take to improve your health and well-being.

Be Good to the Environment

How will you find peace if you don’t treat the Earth (which sustains all of our needs) with the respect she deserves? Many leading environmental organizations, including the National Audubon Society, the WorldWatch Institute, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, have recognized that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do. Choosing a vegetarian diet is the single most important thing you can do for the environment because you will no longer be contributing to the havoc being wreaked on the Earth by raising animals for food (whether it's the overuse of resources, unchecked water or air pollution, or soil erosion, etc.).

Be Good to the Innocent Animals

Each year in the United States, approximately ten billion animals are raised and slaughtered for human consumption. Given the suffering these animals endure, and that all our nutritional needs can easily be satisfied without eating these animals, vegetarianism requires a very serious consideration. The fact is that eating animals is unnecessary because nature has provided ample vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and dairy products for human sustenance. Therefore, the slaughter of animals for food is a luxury rather than a necessity and is morally wrong.

I submit for your consideration that a vegetarian lifestyle awakens our spirit of compassion and guides us towards a kinder, gentler society in which we exercise a moral choice to protect animals—not exploit them.

While “peace on earth” may be a pretty tall order, we can bring peace and compassion into our own lives and the lives of those around us. This Christmas, why not be good to yourself, be good to the environment, and be good to the innocent animals? Add more compassion and peace to your life by choosing a vegetarian diet.

Having a Compassionate Christmas

by Tandis Bishop

One of the most profound ways you can celebrate Christmas this year is by moving towards a plant-based vegetarian diet. The mass consumption of animals for food causes pain and suffering all over the world, so it is up to each individual to decide to make the effort to change.

I remember the story a man once told me. He was a slaughterhouse worker, in charge of slaughtering the cows, one at a time. He was not interested in living a compassionate life. Then one day, one of the cows that he was about to slaughter fell down on her forelegs, tears dropping from her eyes as she silently pleaded for mercy. The man I met and the other slaughterhouse workers who were there could not bear to kill her. They pooled their money together and bought the cow to spare her life.

After having personally killed thousands of cows, that experience awakened in him the natural compassion that lies within each and every one of us. He became a vegetarian and has also helped many other people become vegetarian since that experience.

If we truly want to live a compassionate life – not just in words but in real life action – then we should try our best to never unnecessarily harm other living beings. Great spiritual teachers Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha have taught this virtue. One of Jesus’ primary teachings was, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” He taught compassion - the ability to feel others’ pain in a sympathetic way. Lord Buddha also underlined the importance of living a compassionate life. He said, “In compassion lies the world’s great strength.” He also said, “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death, all love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?”

Not only are animals not necessary for food, eating animals brings intense suffering to individuals and society in the form of greatly increased levels of disease, environmental devastation, etc.

Consider some of the following enlightening facts:

  • More than half the water used in the United States is used for meat production.
  • It takes less water to produce a year’s worth of food for a pure vegetarian than to produce one month’s food for a meat-eater.
  • Raising animals for food is the largest polluter of water in the United States, topping all other industries that produce toxic wastes.
  • 85 percent (more than 5 billion tons) of annual American topsoil loss is directly associated with raising livestock.

How to Avoid the Holiday Health Monster

by Angie Smith

As the holiday season arrives and people start gearing up for all of the festivities, a familiar and unwelcome friend comes along to test our immune systems. So, before you pick up that champagne and coffee for some late night partying, there are some things to remember about your health to avoid any unseen attacks.

Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, comes onto the scene this time each year, slipping in just before the holiday hustle and bustle takes off. With there being no cure for the flu, and no guarantees from a yearly flu shot, we should fall back onto the best defense that we have, equipping our own bodies for the fight.

The single best way to prepare our health is to take care of our diet. Valerie Green, from the Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy, has said that some of the best tools for our immune systems are right in the grocery store. A few good choices are in the bright colored fruits and vegetables category. Green said that cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, and spinach, to name a few, are all high in antioxidants, which protect immune cells from environmental assaults and speed up the production of white blood cells. Zinc is also very important, and can be found in cheese and legumes. For your necessary beta carotene, eat dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. And then of course there is the always important vitamin C, which we can find in peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens, citrus fruits, bananas, and berries.

Another dietary recommendation came out of a study conducted by researchers from the University of California at Davis, in which yogurt was shown to have a positive association with preventing colds and the flu. In a group of people who ate a cup of yogurt everyday for a year compared with a group that ate no yogurt, those that consumed it experienced fewer incidences of coughing, colds and wheezing. In another study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the benefits of tomatoes were highlighted when a group of subjects consuming a tomato-rich diet had 38 percent less free radical damage to their white blood cells than when they were consuming no tomatoes.

There are several reasons why we are more prone to getting the flu in the wintertime, and understanding these reasons can help us work through them. Inevitably, as the colder air comes in, we spend more and more time indoors with the heater on. Ellen Potthoff, spokesperson for the California Association of Naturopathic Physicians, said that indoor heaters produce a dry heat that dries out the mucous membranes which line the respiratory tract, nose, mouth, and lungs, thus leaving the body more open to infections. On the flip side, over consumption of dairy foods promote the overproduction of mucous in the respiratory tract, which can support the growth of bacteria and viruses as well. Most of all, it is during the holiday time that diets tend to be worse, leaving people prime targets for sickness.

Potthoff offers the following suggestions for staying healthy: at the first sign of illness, slow down immediately and rest to prevent the illness from taking hold. Be sure to get a full night sleep every night and decrease consumption of alcohol, coffee, and sugar because these weaken the immune defenses, leaving your body less able to fend off invaders. Viruses are passed by touch, so be sure to wash your hands frequently and keep your fat intake low because this will help keep your heart and immune system healthy.

Footnotes: 

Sources:

  1. Green,Valerie. “Don’t Get Sick This Flu Season: Fight Back With Food” October 29, 2001 . Retrieved November 17, 2003 from Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy web site. Pothoff, Ellen D.C., N.D.
  2. “Naturopathic Physicians Offer Tips to Avoid Becoming Cold or Flu Victim This Season” December 31, 2000. Retrieved Nobvember 17, 2003 from Mercola.com. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/22/the-common... Wein, Debra R.D.
  3. “Avoid the Immune Swoon: Supercharge Your Flu-Fighters with this Powerful Menu” Retrieved November 17, 2003 from ABC News.com.

A New Year’s Resolution: Go Vegetarian!

by Mark Fergusson, Down To Earth CEO

As we fast approach Christmas and the New Year, we are reminded that this is a time of compassion and good will and yet another opportunity for the resolve to improve our lives. Every January many customers come in to our stores looking for products that support New Year’s resolutions to achieve better health. As always, and in the spirit of compassion, we encourage them to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle and consider the idea of going vegetarian or eating less meat. Why? At Down to Earth, we passionately believe and promote the vital truth that the single most important thing an individual can do for their health, for the environment, and for the sake of the innocent animals is to adopt a vegetarian diet. There are a number of reasons why adopting or moving towards a vegetarian diet is important:

Better Health

Virtually all the major scientific and medical institutions in the world agree that the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases is linked to a meat-based diet consisting of highly processed foods laden with fats and artificial ingredients. These institutions further agree that the risk is greatly reduced by adopting a healthy low-fat, high-fiber diet. We believe this result is best achieved by adopting a healthy vegetarian diet consisting of fresh organic produce and organic and natural foods.

Better for the Environment

America’s meat addiction is poisoning and depleting our clean air, potable water, and arable land. More than half the water used in the United States goes to animal agriculture. Farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human US population, and factory farms don't have sewage treatment systems as our cities and towns do. As a result, this concentrated slop ends up polluting our water, destroying our topsoil, and contaminating our air. In its 2006 report, the United Nations stated that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Most of it comes from manure and billions of belching animals. Many leading environmental organizations, including the National Audubon Society, the WorldWatch Institute, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, have recognized that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else we do. Whether it's the overuse of resources, unchecked water pollution, global warming greenhouse gases, the widespread use of pesticides to treat crop grown for feed, or related soil erosion, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc on Mother Earth. Therefore, the most important step you can take to reduce global warming and save the planet is to go vegetarian.

Better For the Innocent Animals

Animals on today's factory farms have no legal protection from cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats. This includes neglect, mutilation, genetic manipulation, drug regimens that cause chronic pain and crippling and—at the end—the infliction of gruesome and violent slaughter. Yet farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as companions. If we truly want to live a compassionate life, it follows that we do our best to never unnecessarily harm other living beings. While we may not be able to change the world by ourselves, each individual can do what they can in their own lives to improve their health, help the environment, and cause less pain and suffering to other living beings. Therefore, we encourage everyone to adopt or move towards a plant-based vegetarian diet. On behalf of all the team members at Down to Earth, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! And as always, thanks for shopping with us!

Gearing up to Stay Cool

by Tracy Rohland

Summer is here. That means long days at the beach, hikes in the mountains, family get-togethers, outdoor parties and plenty of fun and sun. Unfortunately, summertime can also mean sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke if you are not careful. But with a little forethought and planning before you head outdoors, you can avoid some of these common mishaps and make the most of your summer.

In hot weather, our bodies work extra hard to stay cool. Sweating is the body's way of cooling the skin. However, in humid weather, as is common in Hawaii, the surrounding air is already too saturated to evaporate your sweat efficiently. The heart must compensate by pumping harder and getting blood to the skin to release heat. This explains why you can feel tired and wiped out after a day at the beach.

One big danger from being out in the heat is the body's loss of electrolytes. Electrolytes are electrically charged ions that keep your nervous system working and your muscles contracting properly, including your heart. The primary electrolytes we are concerned with are sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium. Sweat contains mostly sodium and water. Sodium holds water in the cells and stabilizes blood pressure.

As the sodium levels drop in the body, you begin to feel thirsty. Unfortunately, most people then try to re-hydrate by drinking plain water. This actually makes the situation worse as it dilutes the sodium level even more. Proper amounts of fluid in the body are necessary to maintain a cool body temperature, adequate blood pressure, and normal kidney and brain function.

The first and most common symptom of dehydration is called heat cramps. This generally occurs in people who have been exercising in heat and humidity. Due to electrolyte depletion, the person's muscles begin to contract in slow and painful spasms. Someone experiencing heat cramps should cool down, rest, and hydrate with an electrolyte drink.

A more serious case of dehydration is heat stroke, also known as heat exhaustion or heat collapse. This occurs to people who have lost an immense amount of fluid and electrolytes through sweat. Symptoms include excessive thirst, nausea, headache, fatigue, dizziness, numbness and tingling in extremities, dry eyes, nose and mouth and confusion. Heat stroke can lead to loss of consciousness and even death. The victim should lie flat on a cool place and ingest electrolyte fluids, intravenously in some cases.

Now that you know the dangers of heat stroke, it is important to find out how to prevent it. First of all, know how to properly hydrate. Plain water will not sufficiently hydrate the body after sweating in the hot sun. Electrolyte drinks like Recharge are better for bringing mineral levels back to normal, but it is also a good idea to add more salt to them; about ½ to 1 tsp. of salt per one liter of fluid. If you have a family or personal history of high blood pressure, consult your doctor for the best hydration techniques.

  • Always have a water bottle with you and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Drink before you feel thirsty because by the time thirst kicks in, your body has already lost too much water and salt.
  • Incorporate your exercise program into the morning hours before the sun is at its peak.
  • Ease into the hot weather. Gradually increase your exercise program each day so your body can get used to the heat. It takes about two to four weeks for your body to get acclimated.
  • Persons over the age of 65, those on heart or blood medication, and overweight people are most susceptible to heat stroke. If you fit into any of these categories, be especially aware of how hard you work your body. Take it easy in the summer heat and discuss new exercise programs with your doctor before undertaking them.
  • If you find you are exhibiting symptoms of overheating and dehydration, get to a cool or air-conditioned environment immediately, take a cool bath, or dip in the ocean or lake.

Another common danger of the sun is, of course, sunburn. Sunburn causes your skin to itch and peel, increases the appearance of aging, and can lead to skin cancer. Sunburn also inhibits your skins ability to sweat, thus increasing the risk of heat stroke. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is the fastest growing form of cancer in the United States . Fortunately it is also very preventable. Remember these tips when venturing outside for the day:

  • Wear sunscreen! Make sure it has a minimum SPF of 15, preferably with a quality blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Reapply every 2 hours and every time you come out of the water.
  • Wear sun protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants. You might want to check out clothing that is specifically designed with an SPF to guard against the suns rays.
  • Wear sunglasses that give 100 percent UV protection. Anything less than 100 percent can actually damage your eyes more than wearing nothing at all.
    Be especially conscientious of protecting children from the sun! Their fair skin can be easily damaged and sunburn increases their chances of skin cancer later in life.

Hanging On to New Year's Resolutions

by Angie Smith

Every year around January 1st, millions of people vow to get healthy, lose weight, or quit some bad habit. The motivation to make a change for the better comes on strong, but usually fizzles out before you can even make it into the ballpark of your goal. So, how can you make a resolution stick? Many experts say that it can be done one step at a time.

Instead of making grand resolutions that you hope to fulfill by the first of February, start by making smaller ones which do not take exceptional willpower to maintain. Even if you have a large goal in mind, take it in steps, with easy goals along the way that won’t discourage you.

In an article for XtraMSN Health & Fitness, Phillipa Jones wrote that people don’t like change. It is easier for most to stay with what is familiar rather than set off down a new path. Jones said that the more change you try to take on, the more challenging it is. Setting high goals that you can not easily achieve leaves many people discouraged from even making the effort.

Washington University School of Medicine wrote that lasting change means being prepared to make sacrifices. Many people are resistant to change because they are afraid of the unknown. Unhealthy habits may be harmful to your health, but they are familiar, and for many that is reason enough to keep them. So, if you want to make a positive change in your life, they have offered a few suggestions:

  • Make a benefits-of-changing list and put it in a prominent place. For example, if you have wanted to become a full vegetarian or vegan, make a list of all the health benefits of giving up meat and post it somewhere you will easily see it daily.
  • Start your plan right away. If you wait too long, the “new year” motivation will fade away.
  • Have a back-up plan when temptation strikes. If you feel like smoking or eating those cookies in the cabinet, get out of the house and take a walk instead.
  • Keep it realistic. You can only accomplish so much at one time. Don’t put more on your plate than you can handle.
  • Be flexible. Things don’t always go exactly as planned, so be willing to move with the tide and continue to hang on to your goals.

If you follow these basic guidelines and are aware of what you are able to accomplish in a reasonable amount of time, you will be able to not only reach your goals, but maintain them as well.

Footnotes: 

References

  1. Jones, Philipa. “Making a Winning Resolution” XtraMSN Web site. February 31, 2002
  2. “Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions” January 2002. Washington University School of Medicine – Environmental Health & Safety. http://www.ehs.wustl.edu/Topic/topjan02.htm

Down to Earth's Christmas Gift Giving Guide

by Tandis Bishop

This year, you can make it a special Christmas with a gift from Down to Earth. We have something to please just about anyone. Here are some great gift ideas that will delight your loved ones... Merry Christmas!

Candles and Incense

Candles and incense are not just for meditation anymore. Their aromas bring a positive atmosphere to any room and help transform a house into a home. Candles in particular make a special gift and are something everyone can use.

Essential Oils/Aromatherapy and Massage Oils

While the healing powers of Aromatherapy have been known for centuries, their popularity has exploded in the West in the last decade. Even the grumpiest humbug’s day will be brightened by burning the right oil. Also, massage oils are a great gift, even better if it comes with a massage!

Music CDs

Delight the musically inclined person on your list with a CD from our selection of exotic world beat music. What better opportunity than Christmas to help broaden someone’s horizons.

Assortment of Teas

If it is one thing we have a lot of, it’s teas. Choose their favorite, or put together an assortment from our selection of calming, healing, refreshing, or just plain tasty teas.

Toffee Treasures

These are my personal favorite gift to receive. These locally made toffees are truly a treasure. The only problem is whoever you give them to may not want to share them with you.

Gift Baskets

Down to Earth offers a beautiful selection of baskets for Christmas or any occasion. Our gift baskets are hand made, creating each of them with all the care and attention you would give to them if you made them yourself. Pick up a brochure at any of our store locations or view it on our website.

Vegetarian/Vegan/Raw Cookbooks

Many people are interested in vegetarianism, but most just don’t know where to start. Even if they just want to dabble with veggie food or even raw food, our popular selection of cookbooks is a great place to start. A perfect gift for newlyweds, kids away at college, or anyone who loves to cook (or eat!).

Assortment of Body Care Products

Choose from several small gift sets, including our popular Alba Hawaiian line, Burt’s Bee’s kits, and the new Jason’s Holiday Gift sets. Or you can put together your own package with a selection of natural and organic soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc. Our friendly team can help suggest the right choices for that special person you have in mind.

Yoga, Fitness, Relaxation Products

Giving something that supports health and wellness will be appreciated for years to come. It may even turn someone's life around for the better. While fitness gifts are incredibly valuable, they don't have to be expensive. Check out our selection of resistance products, yoga mats and accessories, and various stress release products.

Gift Certificates

Too many options? Can’t decide what your loved ones would enjoy? Do not worry, Down to Earth offers Gift Certificates that make a perfect gift to slip in with a Christmas card. They also make great stocking stuffers!

How to Avoid Gaining Weight at Christmas

by Tracy Rohland

Winter is here and holiday treats are on their way in abundance. During this time, it is not uncommon to worry about the numbers on the bathroom scale gradually increasing. So, this season do not let your weakness for Christmas cookies and pumpkin pie get the better of you by following a few suggestions to help you stay healthy

  • A vegetarian diet is the best place to start. By sticking to a vegetarian diet, you will avoid a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol.
    • Use vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth in your gravies and soups. Instead of turkey or ham, try a main dish of grilled seasoned tofu or a hearty vegetable stew. There are also turkey alternatives such as Tofurky and Un-Turkey. Our recipe section on the website has some great holiday recipes.
  • Make a variety of vegetable side dishes. Think beyond steamed green beans and mashed potatoes and experiment with apple-beet salad, baked basil-eggplant, curried vegetables or sautéed butternut squash with shitake mushrooms.
  • Be sure to include a raw salad. It will help fill your plate as well as your stomach and will aid in digestion. Make it festive by using a variety of greens and adding walnuts, cranberries and apples.
  • Avoid white-flour rolls loaded with butter. Instead, make your own whole wheat rolls and top them with cranberry-orange relish.
  • When dessert comes around, the important thing is portion control. Take less than your eyes want and eat slowly. Resist that second piece of Pecan Pie ala mode. It is okay to indulge a little so long as you do not go overboard. For dessert, try a lighter version of the classics – see our recipe page for ideas including No-Bake Pumpkin Pie, Tofu Cheesecake, and Apple-Apricot cobbler.
  • Be sure to stay properly hydrated. Carbonated drinks, alcohol, and coffee all lead to dehydration so it is important to drink plenty of water or herbal tea to make up for the loss.
  • Finally, do not forget about exercise. When you have a little free time, grab your water bottle and take a long walk, a bike ride or do some yoga.

It is up to you to maintain your health over the Christmas season. It is natural to gain a couple of pounds over the winter because your body is trying to preserve itself for the cooler temperatures ahead. Just as things in nature are hibernating, closing and going inside, your body does the same. But do not be a victim of holiday excess – stay active and check out Down To Earth’s website for great recipe ideas.

Fun in the Sun: Summer Safety Tips

by Tracy Rohland

It’s summer time! That means long days at the beach, hikes in the mountains, family get-togethers, outdoor parties and plenty of fun and sun. However, summertime can also mean sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke if you are not careful. At Down to Earth, we want to arm you with a few simple tips to prevent these concerns so you can make the most of your summer.

Fruits & Veggies: The ultimate protectors

A healthy summertime diet should be based on an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which protect your skin from sun-damage, slow the aging process, and are even shown to protect against cancer. Fruits known to have especially high antioxidant levels include all berries, such as cranberries, blueberries and blackberries, apples, red grapes, mangoes and peaches. These are just a few; the combinations of a fruit salad are endless! Don’t forget vegetables as well. Dark green vegetables, yellow, red and green peppers, and tomatoes are all good sources of antioxidants. Beans, lentils, carrots and sweet potatoes are also great sources. A colorful salad should be a staple of your summertime meals.

Cool Tips to Keeping Hydrated

A big concern during summertime is the risk of dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion, and in more serious cases, heat stroke. In addition to drinking plenty of water, it’s important to hydrate with electrolyte drinks like Recharge. Electrolyte powered drinks are better for getting mineral levels back to normal, but it is a good idea to add a little more salt to them; about ½ to 1 teaspoon salt per one liter of fluid. If you have a family or personal history of high blood pressure, consult your doctor for the best hydration techniques.

  • Always have a water bottle with you and drink plenty of fluids (avoid alcohol, sugary and caffeinated drinks)
  • Drink before you feel thirsty because by the time thirst kicks in, your body has already lost too much salt.
  • Plan strenuous activity early in the morning or evening when it's cooler.
  • Persons over the age of 65, those on heart or blood medication, and overweight people are most susceptible to heat stroke. If you fit into any of these categories, be especially aware of how hard you work your body. Take it easy in the summer heat and discuss new exercise programs with your doctor before undertaking them.
  • If you find you are exhibiting symptoms of overheating and dehydration, get to a cool or air-conditioned environment immediately, take a cool bath, or dip in the ocean or lake.

Summer Sun Protection

Another common danger of the sun is, of course, sunburn. Sunburn causes your skin to itch and peel, increases the appearance of aging, and can lead to skin cancer. Sunburn also inhibits your skins ability to sweat, thus increasing the risk of heat stroke. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is the fastest growing form of cancer in the US. Fortunately it is also very preventable. Remember these tips when venturing outside for the day:

  • Wear sunscreen! Down to Earth has a great selection of natural sunscreen lotions for adults, kids and babies. Apply twenty minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours and every time you go in the water.
  • Wear a hat and avoid direct exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Be especially conscientious of protecting children from the sun! Their fair skin can be easily damaged and sunburn increases their chances of skin cancer later in life.

Sounds easy, right? Make fruits, vegetables, water and sun protection a regular part of your life and make this summer a healthy and fulfilling one.

Footnotes: 
  1. Sun Protection. June 11, 2002. https://www.mercy.net/healthinfo/tw9207
  2. International Food Information Council. “Functional Foods Fact Sheet: Antioxidants.” March 2006. http://www.foodinsight.org/Functional_Foods_Fact_Sheet_Antioxidants
  3. Davis, Jeanie Lerche. Antioxidant-loaded fruits. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/tc/antioxidants-topic-overview

Pages