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Health

Organic Foods & Supplements

Our world is full of commercialized products which undergo sometimes dangerous stages of processing before finding their ways to us. Everyone knows to stay clear of plastics, Styrofoam, and other synthetic materials, but some other risks can be a bit harder to understand. Food is one of the least understood areas in which we are constantly being exposed to harmful ingredients. Chemical processing agents, as well as residual pesticides such as RoundUp are present in trace amounts in nearly all processed foods. To avoid these dangers, an important step is to make sure you are buying as much of your food in its organic form as possible.

Organic foods are regulated differently than other foods in the United States, and offer a greater level of consumer protection. Organic foods aren’t allowed to be grown with the use of harmful pesticides, and there can be no GMO ingredients in certified Organic products. While the research to fully account for the potential dangers of GMO foods isn’t widely agreed upon, most people still understand it to be a risk.

Shopping Organic

If you are new to the concept of Organic foods, you may be wondering where to begin. The best place to start is with your refrigerator. Removing unwanted items, as well as non-organic items, can be a great first step. I’ve always found that when making one change it helps to frame in within another change. That way, you fell less likely to negate on your new change. Simply put; it’s easier to start eating organic if you don’t have any other choice. By throwing out your non-organic foods, you are mentally preparing yourself to commit to buying new, organic food!

Organic food costs a bit more, and is usually available in less varieties. Where your local grocery store may have an entire pepper aisle, there may only be two or three peppers that are certified organic. While this can be a pain, it’s always vital to help remember your goal or building a more robust overall health profile. Sometimes you’ll end up having to go from store to store to get all the food items on your lists; while still accepting that some of your produce will have to have non-organic versions.

The vast majority of positive changes that are able to be seen my eating organic are seen over a long period of time. Nutritional deficiencies may begin to disappear, and you may feel like you have a more youthful approach to life.

Allergen Free Foods

Many people that buy organic foods do so after having learned of sensitivities to other non-organic foods. People suffering from food allergies and intolerances often buy organic products simply because they have a heightened awareness of how food effects their body, and have realized the difference that organic foods can make. Organic foods can help avoid the following:

  • Nut Allergies
  • Daily Allergies
  • Wheat/Gluten Allergies

Manufacturers know that those suffering from these types of issues tend to vote with their wallets pretty powerfully, therefore they truly do go to extreme lengths to ensure purity. Pesticides are a plague on the Earth, and should be avoided at all cost. Certified organic has been produced from a growing process that only uses all natural ingredients such as neem oil.

Summary

Organic produce is free of most all the normally used pesticides and GMO ingredients. Shopping for organic products offers the unique opportunity to help purify your nutritional intake, often allowing for a boost in health. These products are slightly more expensive, but well work the extra cost in the long term. You will certainly not regret making a decision to shift towards an organic lifestyle!

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THE JOYS OF FREELANCE WRITING
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The Joys of Freelance Writing

I’ve been asked many times about my choice to pursue a path of freelance writing; I still don’t know how to answer the question. I’ve always felt a love for the expression of thoughts through written words, as the complexities by which they coalesce give rise to much beauty. I’ve certainly faced the decision of resorting to a staff writer position many times, usually influenced by financial circumstances. I have, during brief periods of my life, been forced to work within this mold. I have reached a point now where I feel confident in saying I have the means to never return to the constriction that is corporate sponsorship. I now operate completely as a freelance journalist, and pursue contracts with only those publishers whom I feel share my values.

Expression as a Profession

Many people pass remarks of their undying love of “being creative,” or some other form of self-expression. It’s my experience that most of these comments are fueled by a lack of opportunity, in a somewhat self-medicating context. You might catch an accountant describing his love for creative hobbies, but a professional portrait artist will unlikely feel the need to clarify this. Maybe it’s balance, or lack thereof, but I’ve always felt that your chosen profession often becomes such a integrative part of your life, that it transcends simple descriptions such as “being creative,” or other surface-bound descriptions.

Creative writing is far removed form journalistic literature; the former being an semi-organized daydream, the latter a rigidly-organized survey of topical flow. For those of us working the grind of a journalist’s life, creative writing rarely seems to be an attractive lure after hard day’s work. Similar to a 5 star chef warming up leftovers after spending 12 hours in a kitchen, we writers also feel the need to separate ourselves from our profession to relax.

More idealistically, I find small outlets within my professional work to slip in small accents of creative accounts. These small flares are found in the connective tissue of journalistic accounts; the accent of an article if you will. Simple expressions of these types of tissue may often be seen as simple strings such as “usually,” “similar to,” or “unsurprisingly.” For example; “The conflict in the Middle East has taken a surprising turn towards peace.” This sentence conveys a topical idea, and an inner expression of specificity. the phrase “has taken a surprising turn towards,” is the area in which creative expression can take hold. Depending on my overall tone, mood, etc., this sentence may appear as “has taken a utterly jaw-dropping,” “has vehemently disregarded normal dynamics and shifted towards,” or even “has calmly glided towards.” Each support the expression of peace in the Middle East, but each do so in vastly different tones; sensational, complex, and feel-good. When reporting news, these are the differences by which political opposites can report the same facts, while still pushing their ideological agendas.

A Journey To Balance

The dynamics of freelance journalism are immense; I have opportunity to constantly improve my own approach. Understanding the best way to accurately communicate facts, while effectively packaging them in tone is an art of self discovery. Through this expression of artistic balance, I am able to constantly find an outlet to better my self, my work, and the reach of my words. I love the profession, the art, and feel so very fortunate that I am able to participate in such an exciting period of our history!

While my blog will ultimately be composed of a vast selection of topical writing, random thoughts and quotes, as well as samples of my professional work; the underlying message I hope to convey is that I love my work. I feel the combined presence of the variation in which I express myself will work to effectively paint a larger picture; that even the most rigid of literary expression leaves room for creative improvisation. Thank you to all that have supported me over the years, I hope you find some joy in this site!

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Health

The Dangers of the Supplement Industry

I’ve been writing  great deal lately regarding the nuances, complexities, as well as the corruption of the American health care industry. Most everyone hears the stories played on the nightly news; big CEOs this, corporate greed that, and falsified clinical trials that. These stories convey a generalized sense of doubt and negativity in the minds of viewers, but often do little to help establish concrete specifics by which consumers may benefit. For example, the New York Times published an article last year detailing a study conducted by a Canadian research group—which published their results from an investigation into the purity of common supplements. The results were shocking, yet not all surprising; many major retailers are offering dietary supplements that are mislabeled, or all together containing ingredients other than those listed on the label.

Corruption & Misrepresentation

Health care products in the United States are regulated quite lightly, in that they are viewed by the FDA as food items, rather than prescription medications. Many supplements and products that are prescription in other countries such as Canada or Germany, are listed as dietary supplements—food—within the United States. This offers a tremendous advantage for those consumers treating their health conditions or illnesses through supplements and nutrition, in that they can simply pick up their “medicine” from the local vitamin store, or easily order them online. However, these consumers are usually the type that know the brands they trust, and opt to go with manufacturers they know to have a good track-record of quality. For the rest of us, the majority, we usually assume that the Wal-Mart brand of Vitamin C would typically be just that—Vitamin C.

As discovered by the Canadian research group, this assumption has been found to be completely false. Large manufacturers such as Target, GNC, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart were found to be selling many of these dietary supplements under false labels, often containing unlisted ingredients, or completely different compounds than those listed on the label! For example, Walmart’s Spring Valley brand’s Ginko Biloba was found to contain zero actual Ginko Biloba, and had rice, mustard, wheat, and radish in it instead. Such misleading of consumer trust should be punishable by some heinous degree but, per usual, little more than a flare on social media and an evening of cursing came about.

Target, GNC, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart were found to be selling many of these dietary supplements under false labels

This article firmly illustrated the importance of choosing quality supplements to me, and I thought I would do my best to warn my readers of the potential dangers. I’ve never personally used many supplements, short of some vitamin C for colds, and a multi-vitamin every now and then. I eat healthy for the most part, and view that plus some regular exercise as my most potent ally in my fight to live forever. However, this  entire subject has gotten me thinking about all the other potentially-mislabeled products that could contain dangerous contaminants, or at least products barely qualifying as  placebo. After much research, I’ve decided I would share with you what I feel is the best way to avoid this type of potential pitfall while picking out supplements or other nutrition products.

Pharmaceutical Grade Health Supplements

There is an entire class of supplement manufacturers that go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure purity of product, as well as ability to be used by your body. These are manufacturers like Biotics Research, Pure Encapsulations, Ecological Formulas, and products from Thorne Research. Thorne, in particular, does much more than sell supplements—leading the industry in establishing nutritional benchmarks, developing clinical trials (yes, just like pharmaceutical companies), and applying robust product testing practices. These companies offer supplements considered to be of pharmaceutical grade quality — which are as potent and pure as any prescription medication you would find on the market. Now, just because they are as pure, doesn’t mean they qualify as substitutes; you should ask your doctor before making any changes if you’re on medication. However, if you are taking supplements, I would recommend changing to one of these trusted supplement brands, which will insure you are getting the purest product possible, and aren’t exposing yourself to any unwanted contaminants.

The entire health care industry is a convoluted mess; the dietary supplements industry is no exception. There does exist, however, a shining few manufacturers that can help you ensure you are getting what you pay for. Research has shown that large manufacturers like Wal-Mart and GNC can’t be trusted, and that their products are inferior and little more than marketing campaigns. The companies such as Thorne Research and Biotics Research are a scientists’ supplement manufacturer—using independent research to drive their product development. You health is the most important thing you have guys, and I hope you take this article to heart and be careful out there!

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