Health Care & Services Guide

Advice and Guidance for Health Matters

Welcome to HCASG.org

November 24th, 2013

Hello and welcome to HCASG.org,

Here at Health Care & Services Guide (HCASG) we are committed to helping you educate yourself in ways to better you and your friends and families health and well-being.

HCASG was born out of the idea that diet and exercise play a huge factor in the health of every individual, that’s mental health and physical health.

How we can Help

Our aim is simple, we want to update this website with information that we know can help you better your standard of living and feel better, both physically and mentally.

Sometimes we will discuss mental health issues, such as autism, and other times we will talk about fitness, diet and exercise. We will cover many topics which we believe are critical for your ongoing health.

What we Expect

We would like to think that you are reading this because you want to better your circumstances so we expect you to read the advice on these pages and try them out. Not all of the advice will be for you, so try whatever you like and see how it works for you and if it is going to work in your life. If it does, great. If not, not a problem either but you should consider why it doesn’t work for you and if there is something else in your life that you need to change to help you achieve more.

When to Check

We will update this site as often as we can but we are not going to commit to a daily, weekly or even monthly schedule. The best thing to do is subscribe to the feed and then you will see the new posts as they happen.

Feedback

If there is anything that you would like to make a comment on please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you no matter whether the feedback is good or bad…Just let us know how we can help you :)

Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat

December 3rd, 2014

Every person on Earth understands how to eat well and be healthy. It’s ingrained so deeply within us because we have survived for 100’s of thousands of years and managed to overcome droughts, fires and times of hardship.

With the so called high quality of life and developed, civilised world that we live in today you would have thought it only natural that we would be the healthiest and happiest that we have ever been. Unfortunately that is far from the truth and, in fact, the exact opposite is more likely to be true.

Food Quality

Today’s food manufacturers are partly to blame, along with the governments who allow the manufacturers to get away with what could aptly be described as murder.

The contents of foods has changed over the years from being taken almost always from naturally occurring sources to being comprised of many other, artificially made ingredients. This is because the cost associated with the artificial ingredients is much lower and usually the shelf life of the products is enhanced when the product is not as fresh.

Food Choices

Naturally you will know that eating fresh is best. Making sure you get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet without too much bad items such as chocolate, sugars and highly saturated fat foods, is kind of obvious and if you ask people they will usually tell you this. However, when it comes to the actual buying decisions people make they often differ significantly from what people know they should be having. And that’s because the companies that want to sell you the highest profit margin goods are great at marketing and understanding the psychology of how you shop.

How to Beat the System

You can beat the system though, and here are two tips to help you:

  1. Always shop online and only buy the ingredients that you need to make the meals you want for that week, include a small treat or two but nothing too majorly bad
  2. Shop when you are not hungry, such as in the mid morning after breakfast when you are full. This should help you avoid impulse buying when your will power is higher

Lifestyle Choices

Sticking to a healthy way of life is very difficult even for those who have strong will power and are very organised. There are many times when it’s easy to fall off the wagon and make an impulse buy which can lead to a blowout.

The way to try and deal with these issues is to have a plan and stick to it. Don’t keep bad foods in the house if you know that you are likely to eat them without any kind of self control.

Fitness First

Diet is just one part of the equation. The other is training. In all honesty it’s the diet aspect which is the hardest and the most important to get right. However, with a good diet and a good training regime you will be able to accelerate the time taken to get your required body shape and look.

The training aspect is too much to be covered in detail within this post but the one thing I will tell you is not to hit the cardio machines more than you normally do. The key is to start lifting weights. When you do cardio, make sure that you do HIIT because it will deliver the best results in the quickest time.

Hitting your Fitness Goals

If you are well versed in getting results in the gym then you can probably stick to what you know and do all of the planning and work yourself. However, most people do require some help which is why getting a personal trainer is a great idea. You can find a list of qualified and registered personal trainers on this site.

Other people like to totally immerse themselves in what they are doing, which is why going on a fitness retreat works well. Some people head away to local centres for retreats and others combine it with a holiday somewhere like Thailand.

You can come across very different kinds of retreats, such as offerings from boot camp style specialists to the more luxurious and pampered types from Champneys.

Whichever option you take will depend on you and what you prefer. Good luck with it and I hope that you get the results that you want from it.

Breaking Free From the Clutches of Unhealthy Habits

November 3rd, 2014

Unhealthy habits can move quietly into one’s life without warning. Trying to get rid of them can be daunting. Patterns of overeating, cigarette-smoking and drinking can have serious consequences to one’s well being. These inclinations can quickly develop into addictions which can cause major health issues. For most people, by the time they realize that they have a problem, they would have already developed a dependency on these activities. This is why it is vital to get rid of these toxic behaviors before they spiral out of control.

Here are 10 ways to change unhealthy habits into healthy ones:

1. Identifying Bad Habits

The first step to solving any problem is to recognize that it exists. For instance, if eating when stressed has become a pattern for an individual, then this might be an indication that a person is tackling too many tasks throughout the day. Food is being used as a buffer to ease the feeling of being overwhelmed. This, then, becomes a problem for many reasons:

When food is used as a coping mechanism to handle emotional discomforts such as stress or depression, it only temporarily

masks the underlying issues. After eating, the real cause of the problem still exists.

Stress-eating can lead to overeating because food is not being used to satisfy actual hunger, but rather, to ease negative feelings. This is why most people grab comfort food when they’re sad. They attach certain sentimental feelings to them whether it’s a home-cooked meal or a big helping of chocolate ice-cream which they would only normally eat as a form of reward.

Due to the unnecessary eating, the intake of extra calories induces feelings of guilt and shame. Thus, creating a vicious cycle of emotional eating.

It’s not the easiest thing to confront one’s issues, but it’s the first step to affecting change.

2. Writing a List

Writing a list of unhealthy habits is a great place to start when preparing to get rid of some bad habits. Writing a material list is more constructive compared to making a mental list that can be tucked away at the back of the mind. Moreover, a list can act as a reminder that can be taken out in times when excuses and setbacks get in the way. It’s important to note that the actual process of writing a list of unhealthy habits can be quite painful because it is an acknowledgement of one’s wrongdoings. On a more positive note, it can also lead to catharsis which is a valuable part in the process of transformation.

3. Making a Plan of Action

Organizing a feasible plan of action is another good way to turn unhealthy habits into healthy habits. For example, if inactivity is a problem, irregular attempts at exercising will not suffice. Setting up work-out schedules and to-do-lists of physical activities beforehand will make transitioning from an inactive lifestyle to a healthier one a lot easier. A well-organized plan is much more effective at motivating somebody into action.

4. Gathering Information

There’s a wealth of information on the internet that a person dealing with unhealthy habits can read up on. Gathering information on the effects of the unhealthy habit increases the person’s chances of quitting it.

For example, excessive sugar consumption is one of the most devious habits one can unknowingly acquire because it can lead to health issues such as obesity, diabetes and even cardiovascular problems. According to a report published by USA TODAY (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/03/added-sugars-heart-disease-death/5183799/), the likelihood of dying from a heart disease rises rapidly with the greater intake of added sugar. Most people don’t even keep track of their sugar intake while consuming food with high sugar count such as sodas, artificial fruit drinks and cookies.

5. Substituting Unhealthy Activities with Healthy Ones

One way to get rid of unhealthy practices is to replace them with good ones. Depriving the body of something it has gotten used to can sometimes leave one with an empty feeling, unless there is an immediate substitute.

Here are some suggestions of healthy activities that can take the place of unhealthy ones.

Spending too much time in front of the television, computer, or playing video games promotes inactivity. One fun way to remedy this is to get a pet. For people who have always wanted a dog or a cat, this would be a perfect time to do it. Pets require taking care of. It needs to be fed regularly on a daily basis. Dogs need to be walked and have some playtime. Having a pet could be a life-changing experience. It requires love and affection which it, then, offers in return. Best of all, it can also be a work-out buddy.

Instead of habitually eating fast-food, make time to prepare home-cooked meals. This is healthier because one can have control over what ingredients go into the dishes.

6. Enlisting the Help of Friends

Managing an unhealthy habit becomes exponentially easier if there is someone to encourage the individual, and even lend a hand in times of extreme difficulties and setbacks. Letting others know about the commitment to breaking unhealthy habits holds the person to their word.

7. Being Creative in Finding Solutions

Employing creativity and resourcefulness in trying to break free from unhealthy habits increases the success rate. Solutions should be tailor-made to the individual and their circumstances. For instance, a person suffering from a sedentary lifestyle may use the trial and error method by trying different work-outs and exercises such as yoga, calisthenics, walking, aerobics and kick-boxing.

This is an effective way for the individual to ascertain which activity suits his or her body and lifestyle. For people who don’t have time to go to the gym, parking the car at a bit of a distance when grocery shopping or at work are good ways to get a bit of a work out.

8. Rewarding Small Victories

Breaking a habit is difficult business and for a lot of people, these toxic behaviors have become instinctual. Celebrating small accomplishments serves as a reminder of their strong resolve. It also gives the individual an incentive to keep going.

9. Using Positive Reinforcements

People tend to let their doubts creep in. It is natural for the subconscious to play out all of the individual’s fears and misgivings. It’s critical to not be defeated by these negative thoughts. If one experiences a setback while trying to transform an unhealthy habit, the person should take the time to shrug off the disappointment. Turning to a friend or a family member for support is a good way to boost up the person’s morale.

10. Eye on the Prize

Keeping an eye on the prize of turning unhealthy habits into healthy habits is essential in motivating the individual to stay in it for the long haul. Envisioning the transformation that will happen in the future can be empowering. Ultimately, the greatest prize of getting rid of bad habits is a better quality of life.

Turning unhealthy habits into good ones won’t happen overnight. These methods might be difficult and it might take a lot of time. However, in the end, the hard work will pay off. Investing in one’s own health is one of the most important decisions a person can make. Having a healthy body gives a person a better chance at a longer and brighter future.

How a Family Dealing with Autism Can Live a Better Life

October 1st, 2014

Caring for a family member with autism is a demanding role that presents many challenges. For parents, it begins with the diagnosis that their child has the condition. This would be shocking news for most, given that autism is a spectrum disorder. Some of the characteristics that are, in fact, associated with autism may go on undetected.

Sometimes, parents may also think that some behavioral issues that their child is manifesting have to do with personality, or that they are just a part of the phase of growing up. The symptoms of autism tend to vary and, oftentimes, are unique to the individual. Therefore, being informed by a specialist that their child, in fact, has autism can be very devastating for parents. It’s a common reaction for parents to feel at a loss after receiving the news. Feelings of anger, helplessness and frustrations might surface.

Some Ways that Parents Can Cope with the Initial Diagnosis

1. Parents should turn to each other for support and comfort. One of the challenges of finding out that a child has autism is that it puts a strain in the marriage. The pressure to keep things in balance while adjusting to their new way of life can be overwhelming for a couple.

2. It is advisable for parents who are dealing with a child who has autism to seek professional assistance. During the adjustment period, parents are prone to high levels of stress and depression.

3. Seeking the support of friends, family and relatives is important. The diagnosis of autism in a child changes the dynamics of the family. The other siblings will have to play a crucial role in supporting the person who has special needs. Friends and relatives will also, sometimes, be asked to be caretakers. It’s important early on to develop a support system, and be upfront about what the family’s needs are.

4. Parents should educate themselves regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder. One of the issues that arise in parents is the fear that they don’t know how to care for their child who has special needs. This type of self-doubt about one’s parenting skills could be very crippling.

There are many sources of information regarding autism nowadays. The internet offers a wealth of information family members can take advantage of. There are also online support groups that foster a community for families dealing with autism. Websites such as Autism Speaks, (http://www.autismspeaks.org/) provide extensive information about all aspects of this condition.

How Autism Affects the other Siblings in the Family

One of the strongest characteristic of autism is social withdrawal. Individuals with autism tend to isolate themselves. The act of partaking in social activities might be severely challenging.

For the other siblings who want to bond with their brother or sister, this can be a devastating reality. Not being able to express their affection, interests and observe some of the important moments in their lives with their sibling who has autism can be a heartbreaking experience.

The relationship of siblings is a very important connection in life, and with it, go certain expectations. Siblings require understanding and trust from each other. They consider themselves as peers and at times, become each other’s confidante. This is a part of the bonding experience with siblings, so having an autistic brother or sister who can’t quite fulfill this role can be a bit frustrating.

Feelings of guilt and confusion might also arise stemming from the fact that they get to enjoy and do things that another sibling who has special needs can’t do. Not to mention, seeing their autistic sibling grow up in a constant state of isolation.

How Siblings Can Better Cope with a Family Member that has Autism

It’s important for the siblings of a special needs child to be able to communicate all of their feelings about their situation. Parents can play a crucial role in their children’s life by providing an environment at home that is free of judgment.

Friends can also help create a support system for individuals who have a sibling with autism. Initially, it would not always be the easiest thing for the siblings of a special needs child to bring new people into their home life. It might be difficult for them to invite friends over, or even share some of the things they’re going through in fear of being misunderstood. Worse yet, they might be hesitant to share their difficulties with friends because they don’t want to put their family or autistic sibling in a bad light. All of these are valid concerns, but it also goes that good people make good friends. It’s best for people to talk to their friends and educate them regarding the particulars of their sibling’s condition.

If visitors are to come over in the house, they should discuss with their friends how things work. For instance, if there are any particular rules, such as not making too much noise in the house (some autistic individuals are noise sensitive), this should be communicated with friends prior to the visit. An individual with autism also displays repetitive behavioral patterns, and have some difficulties with verbal communication. All of these things should be explained to friends. This way, they would know how act accordingly.

The Cost and Challenges of Living with Autism

Parents, at times, still suffer from the judgment of other parents regarding the way they are handling their child’s behavioral issues. Sometimes, they find themselves in a situation of having to defend their child’s rights especially in public places where, at times, the discomfort and attitude of other people towards individuals who have autism can come across as disapproving.

There’s also the issue of financial constraints pressed upon the families who are dealing with autism. Autistic individuals, especially those who are on the more severe side of the spectrum of the disorder, will require some form of service. This may include periodical visits to specialists, pediatricians, behavioral therapy and getting specialized education. All of these can be very costly. There are organizations out there such as: Autism Speaks (http://www.autismspeaks.org/) that advocate for the welfare of individuals with autism.

In a recent post I made about how autism affects your health, I cover some other interesting topics so be sure to check that one out too.

Some of the ways that organizations for autism try to help families are by:

  • Holding fundraisers to benefit the autism community
  • They also accept donations to help support families with autism

There are also organizations that offer free online courses on autism for the purpose of enhancing people’s understanding of this disorder. This is especially useful to family and friends who are also caretakers for individuals with autism.

Having a family member with autism can be daunting, but the reality is that every family goes through difficulties. It’s how they cope as a unit during the tough times that defines the value of their experience. For families dealing with autism, the important thing to keep in mind is to focus on the love and the joy that each family member brings, and to value the time spent together in spite of the difficulties that life presents.

I wrote another article on treatment for autism, which is worth checking out while you are here.

Cures for Depression

September 8th, 2014

Depression in human beings has a long history, first being recognized in Ancient Greece, where it was given the name ‘melancholy’. The actual dictionary definition of this word is “to feel sadness, when there is no obvious cause” and in modern times, this word has given way to terms such as ‘clinical depression’ or ‘major depression’ and doctors are quite happy to prescribe pills to help the afflicted person combat this state of mind. Historically though, the treatment was not to prescribe such drugs, and instead to adjust one’s lifestyle which was thought to help.

If no clear cause of depression is present, then it can be questionable whether prescribing any medicine at all would help long term. There are many ways to combat depression nowadays, and many people are still loathe to take pills, such as 5-htp, from their doctor, indeed as a result of this attitude, there are a wealth of well-being websites on the internet, as well as thousands of books on the subject that all offer support, and ways which do not include prescription drugs, to help a person with this affliction.

Seminal Work On Depression

The seventeenth century scholar Robert Burton wrote a comprehensive book – entitled The Anatomy of Melancholy- which was seen as the first major attempt to put into a cohesive set of writings on the subject, and was based on his own experiences, as well as numerous other theories and his own thoughts. Rather than advocate drugs, the author concluded that the best course of action was a positive lifestyle change, which included:

  • A healthy diet
  • Enough sleep
  • Listening to music
  • A ‘meaningful job’ or employment that gave a sense of achievement
  • Confiding in close friends

As was fairly common in these times, other authors came up with ideas such as an imbalance in the soul, dark energy increasing etc, but to be frank, these were a little off the mark. Remember this was not long after women and men – who were thought to be ‘witches’ and ‘wizards’ respectively- were burnt at the stake for their belief in magic. Today, we can see that Robert Burton’s views were fairly accurate compared to most of the other ideas put forward, but even he could not foresee today’s Pharmaceutical Industry’s role in depression, a role which allows it to make a massive worldwide profit from encouraging people to take their pills for a condition that is essentially un-diagnosable. That is to say, no test or scan will tell a doctor that a person has depression, and he must work to a criterion to make a determination, and it is very important to keep in mind that the doctor will receive payments from the Pharmaceutical companies for prescribing their drugs to his patients.

Indeed, it is fairly common in this day and age for doctors all over the globe to simply prescribe these drugs, which can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, rather than to encourage their patients to change their sedate lifestyle to something a little more active and stimulating.

Modern Methods Of Fighting Depression

With the rise of the internet in today’s age, more and more people are able to put out their own thoughts and views about this affliction. There are many sites that offer alternative help and practical advice as oppose to prescription drugs, most of them based on ideas including:

  • Exercising. Although the link between relieving depression and physical exercise is not very well understood, the current theory is that exercising raises one’s body temperature, encouraging the brain to release feel good chemicals, which ward off the effects of depression, but the exercise must be done daily, and for around thirty to sixty minutes each session. Indeed a 2005 study named “Archives of Internal Medicine” concluded that mild depression and its symptoms can be combated through a brisk walk every day for half an hour.
  • Magnesium. Links have been found between a lack of magnesium in one’s body and the effects of depression. The body needs magnesium to do many things, including relaxing and contracting the muscles. A study suggested that patients who suffered from major depression who were all given magnesium twice a day felt their condition improved significantly within seven days. Magnesium can be obtained by the body as part of a healthy and balanced diet under normal circumstances.
  • Vitamin B And C. Both these vitamins are important to the body’s well-being, and both can help to alleviate symptoms of depression. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, and is very often prescribed to pregnant women, this is because they are used to produce brain chemicals that regulate mood and help to transmit messages through our brains. Vitamin C cannot be directly synthesized by the body and it relies on external resources, such as fresh orange juice. This vitamin is also used in the production of a neurotransmitter within the brain that is connected to our moods.
  • Taking the time to relax. The practice of finding peaceful and serene surroundings, and closing your eyes and simply relaxing would be called meditating by some people, while others would simply say they are enjoying the peace and quiet, it all amounts to the same; reduced stress. Participants tend to have better control over their breathing, leading to a relaxed and stress free state of mind.

What Kind Of Drugs Are Prescribed For Depression?

The drugs administered are known as Anti – Depressants. There are many kinds of these types of drugs, some of which include drugs like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) and MOIs (mono-amine oxidase inhibitors). While every single medical drug comes with some kind of side effects, the ones that come from taking these antidepressants can be particularly harsh, and indeed caused many people to stop their course of treatment half-way through. Some of the more common side effects experienced are nausea, anxiety, insomnia, weigh gain, constipation and diarrhoea to name but a few.

Some doctors, who are in the minority rather than the majority, will prescribe these drugs with the advice to try a small change in lifestyle for example, to go swimming, which will not only give the body some exercise, but will allow the person to get out of the house, and these factors alongside the use of the drugs will be hoped to help enough to allow the person to reduce the levels of depression on a long term basis. Some more advice is:

  • While it is important, and often the first step, visiting your doctor should be a prelude to visiting a qualified psychiatrist, who will be an expert in mental health, and more likely to be familiar with the latest medical developments in this field.
  • Be patient, as finding the treatment of drugs that suits you the best is a trial and error process so you should be prepared to wait a little to see which are best for you personally.
  • Keep a record of the side effects, and discuss any ones which are affecting you with your psychiatrist who may want to switch to another type.
  • Visit therapy sessions, which will actually deal with the root of the cause of the depression, as the drugs will only alleviate the symptoms. Therapy will give an individual a fresh look at their behavior patterns, and look to change the negative ones with positive ones, as well as other techniques to change thinking behavior.

Follow the instructions closely regarding the taking of the medication. A good psychiatrist will emphasize this point, but it is very important to not skip taking the medicine when you begin to feel better. Also, missing out taking a dose during the day is not recommended, as your brain needs a constant, equal flow of the drug to gain any benefit, and the dose and frequency will be determined by the doctor, taking this into account.

Foods To Take To Help

Eating a healthy and balanced diet will give your body all the vitamins and nutrients needed to produce all of the substances required to operate in balance, giving the best chance of reducing levels of depression. Getting enough of things like essential omega oils, and vitamins B and C, as well as boosting your serotonin intakes through amino acids which are found in fish, eggs beans and meat, are considered critical to ensure a balanced diet. There is also good evidence to suggest a direct link between a person’s mood and their blood sugar levels.

Balancing your own blood sugar level may well help if you suffer from depression. Carbohydrate foods are broken down by the body into glucose, and the brain needs glucose to operate correctly. An unbalance of the glucose levels can affect mood. Other conditions, such as intolerance to certain food groups – such as wheat – can adversely affect mood. Studies suggested that people who had a previously undiagnosed intolerance to Coeliac were at an increased risk (of up to 80%) of suffering depression. In the UK alone, it is thought that hundreds of thousands of people suffer from this condition unknowingly.

Overall

People who suffer from depression can help to alleviate their symptoms through changing their normally sedentary lifestyle, and changing some aspects of their diets. Visiting friends and chatting about things that can affect you and your moods can help you to feel less isolated, and good friends will listen and offer bits of advice. Meeting for a meal or coffee, or to walk a pet dog together can give one a feeling of being appreciated, which can lift the mood and inspire positive thoughts. Trying to change a small part of your diet may also give palpable results. If small changes are made, and one notices these, it will help to inspire them to continue, and to try other changes and advice. As the curative process may be lengthy, a patient and positive foundation upon which to work is the best way to permanently eliminate high levels of depression.

Charity Begins at Home

August 10th, 2014

If you like to give generously to charity this very short post might be something that you like, but only if you also have a head for heights and appreciate a little exercise.

When we think about donating to charity we usually think about money and nothing else. However, it’s also possible to donate time, effort and awareness. The point of this post is to quickly bring to light some charitable ways to give.

#1 – Giving Time

The Time Bank is a charity which will give you the opportunity to become a volunteer and donate your time. This is a really great thing to do because you will see who you are helping and make a real difference in people’s lives. Giving your time carries very high value because if the charity had to pay a full time employee to carry out this work it would be very expensive.

#2 – Practical Action

There is a charity called practical action who don’t just donate money to those who need it the most, they actually donate practical gifts, such as chickens, other animals and infrastructure such as wells. Great idea and an easy Xmas present for those who have everything.

#3 – Giving Effort

A great way to raise money and awareness of various charities is to join a fundraising event, such as climbing a mountain or running a marathon. http://www.leebaines.com has a first hand experience of how that feels and you can get some more details from here.

Hopefully that has piqued your interest in doing something a little more charitable today or tomorrow, just remember to do it!

4 Types of Dangerous Fertilizers that are used for Farming

July 31st, 2014

For plant growers who want to generate healthy and nutritious crops, fertilizers are one of the most effective tools that they can use to do that. They are soluble in water so plants can absorb them quickly and some of them are also nutrient specific. These days, there are numerous plant-growing stimulants available on the market, but unfortunately, a lot of them are also hazardous.

Not only can they make your plants grow weak, an article from [Turf Pro USA] also noted that the synthetic types can cause specific types of cancer to people who use them frequently. The entry below will give you a list of the various types of dangerous fertilizers so you can avoid them.

Nitrogen Fertilizer

A post from [Live Science] noted nitrogen is one of the most common additives that were imbued in several agricultural composts. United States is the biggest consumer of this product with an annual use of 4.7 million tons. There are thirty-four production facilities in this country that create nitrogen fertilizers. In addition, 6,000 stores sell this directly to farmers.

Plant growers commonly use nitrogen in its ammonium nitrate form. This chemical compound has the following hazards which include:

Ammonium nitrate can potentially explode when subjected to certain conditions such as heat and shock.

When it is washed away by rain or melting snow, it will be transported to other bodies of water. When it reaches rivers, lakes, ponds, it will rapidly boost the growth of algae in that area. These algae will consume oxygen in the water, causing the death of various marine lives like fishes.

Nitrate rich water is not safe for drinking, and treating it would be rather difficult.

It can have an effect on the soils alkalinity and acidity, thus, affecting crop production negatively. Plants

Superphosphate

Superphosphate is well-used because phosphoric acid is soluble in water. Thanks to this property, plants can easily absorb nutrients properly. It usually comes in three varying grades;

  • Single superphosphate – contains 16% – 20% phosphoric acid
  • Dicalcium phosphate – contains 35% – 38% phosphoric acid
  • Triple superphosphate – contains 44% – 49% phosphoric acid

Unfortunately, its effectiveness poses several consequences. According to [Dr. Lawrence Wilson], superphosphate is dangerous because:

The soil becomes less permeable. When this happens, water just flows through without being absorbed by the plants and land. This could spell danger to crops that needs more water nourishment. It could also cause soil erosion.

It rapidly increases the oxidation rate of plants and soil micro-organisms. This event could lead to a change in the mineral composition of the soil and depletion of nutrients. The lack of trace minerals could also create an abundance of toxic metals in the soil.

Urea

Urea is a type of chemical fertilizer. It discharges nitrogen into the land and then the crops will absorb it afterwards. This product is usually distributed on the market in prills or granules. Urea is composed of 46% nitrogen.

This means that you do not have to worry about the product suddenly exploding. However, [Kelzyme for Life] mentioned that using it still poses danger to our health and to our surroundings. These include:

  • It causes the plants to grow rapidly.
  • Wipes out the best and vital organisms in the soil.
  • Makes the pests more active.
  • Oftentimes, urea gets broken down into other components that retard the soil’s ability to grow crops.
  • Makes the plants lose their nutritional content.

Bone Meal

Bone meal is an organic type of fertilizer created from animal bones and slaughterhouse waste products that were finely or coarsely grounded. It is popularly used by farmers because of its high phosphorus and calcium content.

An article from [Gentle World] mentioned that bone meal has the following negative side-effects:

Since it is made from animal carcass, it is very dangerous to breathe its dust because it might be contaminated. Reports have stated that bone meal can be an agent of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease  (CJD) or the human form of the “mad cow disease.”

When accidentally eaten by your pets, this fertilizer could form into little hard balls. This will stay in their digestive track and might impede their digestion processes. This could only be removed through surgery.

To Wrap Things Up

Fertilizers can be effective tools to keep your plants grow fit, rich in flavor, and beautiful. However, make sure that you choose the ones that are not hazardous to yourself and to the environment. Before using any fertilizer products, keep in mind to study its composition, ingredients, and the proper way of applying it to your products.

If you can share other useful information about the dangerous types of fertilizers, feel free to share your knowledge in the comments section.

The Guide Towards Healthy Eating

July 6th, 2014

In a recent post about Obesity I discussed various healthy eating ways. I want to take it further in this post.

People are currently living in a world where food products are enriched with preservatives rather than minerals and vitamins; where exercising has become so hard; and where eating healthily has become so ridiculous and unlikely.

Statistics show that most of the causes of morbid obesity and mortality in the world are caused by lifestyle-related diseases. This means that these diseases are preventable if there had only been some changes in the way people live their lives. Some of the most common lifestyle-related diseases are hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus. These diseases could have been avoided if people have just been eating healthily, exercising regularly and if they turn away from vices that can keep them from achieving state of wellness.

What are the foods that you can eat and what are the measures that can get you into the habit of eating healthily?

Go Low on Sodium

Sodium is one of the major causes of hypertension and is even considered to be one of the major regulators of water balance. Sodium is the major extra-cellular electrolyte in the body and is a major factor that must be considered in eating healthily.

Sodium causes hypertension by the following mechanisms: First, this electrolyte attracts water. In short, wherever sodium goes, water follows. If you take in a salty meal, then you are in for volume overload. When sodium levels are increased, the thirst mechanism is activated, causing you to drink more water. More water intake means more water in the blood. Because of the increase in blood volume, the heart is stimulated to pump harder causing hypertension.

Next, sodium causes stiffening of the blood vessels. Normally, blood vessels are elastic and responds to the varying degrees of pressure being exerted upon them by the volume of blood and by the heart. Decreasing the elasticity of these structures will lead to an increase in the workload of the heart that can eventually elevate one’s blood pressure. Eating healthily promotes sodium and water balance in the body leading to prevention of hypertension.

Eating healthily requires that you choose the types of foods that you are going to eat very well. Vegetables rich in sodium, like broccoli, should first be boiled to decrease their sodium content. If you want to eat chicken on your next meal with less sodium, choose the breast part. It is the part of the chicken with the lowest sodium content.

Cut Down on Sugar

While sugar or glucose can provide the cells with more energy to perform their functions, too much levels of it in the blood can do the opposite. High blood glucose levels can increase the viscosity of the blood leading to a decrease in the blood flow and delivery of oxygen. In eating healthily, you must take note that sweets must only be taken in the smallest amounts, about one to two grams every day.

There are many beneficial effects of eating healthily: you get to avoid certain diseases, you get to live longer and you get to stay young and active!

Say Goodbye to Obesity

May 31st, 2014

Recent statistics show that more and more people are becoming obese nowadays. The number of obese people are alarmingly increasing and this number will keep on growing until a healthy lifestyle has been adopted by those concerned.

Obesity Cause

Obesity is largely caused by not eating healthily. A diet high in cholesterol, sugar, sodium and other preservatives increases the risk of certain diseases. The state of obesity, as well as its degree, is most commonly assessed with the use of the body mass index (BMI). The normal BMI is 20 to 24.9 and a value of 30 and above is already considered Stage 1 Obesity.

There are many factors that hinder these obese people from eating healthily and getting the body weight appropriate for their height and age. One of these factors is difficulty losing weight, which, again, is influenced by many things. Lack of motivation, lack of support and lack of discipline can all prevent one from eating healthily and losing weight.

How to Start

 

One of the many ways by which you can lose weight and regain good health is eating healthily. Some people find this difficult but here are some ways to help you get those healthy foods on your plate.

  1. Make up your mind

The first step to eating healthily is to make up your mind that you want to be healthy and fit. This gives you direction, motivation and the strength to proceed with your plan.

  1. Set your target

Eating healthily does not just end in getting some servings of vegetables and fruits on your plate. To be able to assess whether you are successful in attaining a healthy lifestyle, you must set some few targets. You can choose to set a target weight by the end of a certain period of time, or you can go more specific and choose to set a target amount of calories that you are going to take every day. For example, you can plan to lose 5 lbs. by the end of the month or you can plan to take 1800 kilocalories, which is appropriately divided according to your carbohydrate, protein and fat needs, every day.

  1. Plan your diet

Planning your diet encompasses many things. It includes the types of foods that you are going to eat day by day, their amount, their preparation and so on. Make a list of these things so you will not be lost during the implementation process.

  1. Implementation

Maybe the most difficult part of eating healthily is the actual implementation of your plan. Now that you have already made a list of what you need to eat and do, it is high time to make use of that list. Here are some quick tips that you can try to help you ease up into your “eating healthily” program.

  • Eat in small frequent feedings. This alleviates craving and hunger without compromising your weight.
  • Eat slowly. Chew your food twenty times before swallowing it.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does this provide your body with the fluids it needs for major metabolic processes, but water also provides you with a feeling of fullness.

Treating Autism

April 22nd, 2014

Autism has long been associated with poor quality of life and poor prognosis. People with this condition are often subject to discrimination. But whatever prejudices the people may have against it, this disorder still remains to be preventable and controllable. Parents of children with this condition can feel hopeful that there is a cure for this condition.

Health & Autism

Health and autism are two interrelated factors that must be addressed in the treatment, diagnosis and prognosis of this disorder. Most therapeutic and psychological interventions for autism fail because of the failure to recognize the relationship between health and autism. One cannot treat autism only for its symptoms. The approach for health and autism must be holistic.

Many experts claim that autism is incurable; however, there are therapies that the patient can undergo to optimize their health, maximize their functions, and to improve their quality of life. Here are some of the therapeutic modalities that address the issues on health and autism symptoms.

  1. Physical Therapy

While this modality is most widely used among stroke and trauma patients, physical therapy is also being used for the improvement of symptoms in autism. ASD, or autism spectrum disorder, is characterized by sets of signs and symptoms that include motor affectation. Most autism patients present with a stereotypical behaviour, an act that is said to be repetitive and purposeless. An example of this is clapping one’s hands for a long period of time, imitating the movement of certain objects or running around purposelessly in the room. Health and autism can both be addressed by physical therapy through the use of various mechanisms such as exercise, to promote control over these stereotypical actions.

  1. Behavioral Therapy

Another therapy that integrates health and autism is behavioural therapy. This form of therapy aims to reduce the patient’s repetitive and aggressive movements, as well as to help these people gain the social and occupational skills that they would need for survival. This therapy is largely based on the concept of behavioural rewards and punishment. Just like what Kohlberg’s theory claims, rewarding of good behaviours promotes repetition, while punishing a person for an unpleasant or a wrong act will lead to behaviour modification into an acceptable one. Applying this theory in this form of therapy, one will be able to learn how to control one’s behaviours and improve on his skills.

One of the many forms of behavioural therapy is the play therapy. This therapy does not only keep the patient’s mind and body off repetitive and aggressive tendencies, but play therapy can also improve one’s emotional intelligence. Through play therapy, learning and social skill improvement can also be facilitated. This addresses one’s need to improve emotional health and autism symptoms at the same time.

  1. Diet Therapy

Researches claim that cholesterol blood levels are increased in patients with autism, thus, a well-balanced diet can reverse the elevation in blood cholesterol. Proper nutrition can also boost one’s immune system, helping the person fight off certain diseases and infections.

The physical, mental, emotional and social health and autism symptoms should all be addressed together for a successful treatment outcome. 

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

April 1st, 2014

When people speak about diet they are usually talking about going on one. This is the common misconception with dieting; people think it’s about what you don’t eat, not what you eat. In fact, it’s all about what you eat. After all, the saying goes that you are what you eat.

Fatty Fat

Fats get a bad rap. Saturated fats are deserving of their bad reputation but the other kinds of fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are much better for you and are absolutely essential for good health. These kinds of fats are obtained from foods such as nuts, salmon and avocados.

Maintaining good brain function, healthy skin and nails, for example, requires the intake of a good level of helpful fats from the sources I just mentioned.

Top Tip: Make sure you are getting your fix by snacking on some nuts or seeds each day, but not too many as they do contain a large number of calories.

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs

There is such a thing as bad carbs in my opinion. The reason being is that you should try to avoid highly processed foods which had have levels of carbs in them because they are devoid of goodness. Try to avoid too many carbs if you are not that active as they will just be stored as fat by the body if not used for energy.

Top Tip: Switch all white carbs for their brown equivalents, such as rice, pasta and bread.

Protein – The Building Blocks

Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies so it’s critical that you get sufficient levels of them in your diet. There are certain amino acids, which are what proteins are made of, which are only available in the diet and they cannot be created by the body.

Top Tip: Use a protein shake to supplement your diet with a good and convenient source of protein. Check out this site for an independent review of some.