Health & Wellness Tips

Almond, hemp, oat, soy, and cow’s milk: Which one is best?

The number of people choosing nondairy, plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk appears to be growing. So, how do these different milks compare nutritionally? Research from 2018 says that eating and drinking milk that comes from cows has been falling, with interest in alternative milks rising.

One of the main medical reasons why people choose plant-based milk products is to avoid symptoms of lactose intolerance or a cow milk protein allergy. Doctors estimate the incidence of this allergy is 2 to 5% in children under 3 years old. The incidence is lower in adults. Some people may also choose plant-based milk products because they believe they are more sustainable, ethical, or healthful options compared to cow’s milk.

Almond milk is one of the most widely consumed plant-based milk variety in North America, the European Union, and Australia. Researchers have suggested that almond milk is an effective alternative for children and adults who suffer with allergies or intolerances to milk. Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fats. The healthful fats in almond milk may help people lose weight and keep it off. Almond milk is low in calories and protein, which may not be suitable for all people, especially children.

Some manufacturers add calcium to almond milk to better resemble the nutritional content in cow’s milk. People may not be able to absorb as much of this calcium as they would from dairy, so they should be sure to consume plenty of other calcium sources, such as dark green vegetables. Almond milk is available in flavored varieties. Some of these products have added sugar to extend the shelf life and improve the flavor and texture.

Unflavored hemp beverages are also low in calories and protein compared with cow’s milk. There is, however, more protein in hemp beverages than in almond milk. Hemp seeds are also high in polyunsaturated fats, similarly to almond milk. Research shows that replacing saturated fats with these more healthful fats can help lower a person’s overall cholesterol.

Hemp milk will not separate in hot drinks, so people can add it to their coffee and tea. Some people may not like homemade hemp milk because of its earthy taste and chalky texture. Store-bought varieties have additional ingredients that help to mask the taste and texture.

Oat milk has a mild, creamy flavor that makes it good for cereals, hot beverages, and drinking on its own. Oat milk is not suitable for people with gluten intolerance or with celiac disease. Unflavored oat milk has the highest amount of calories and carbohydrates of plant-based milk varieties. Although the sugar is natural, oat milk is very high in carbohydrates.

Soy milk is the most common substitute for cow’s milk and the first plant-based alternative to appear on the market in the United States. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that people with lactose intolerance consume fortified soy beverages as an alternative to cow’s milk. When people compare soy milk with almond, hemp, and oat milk, this milk alternative has the highest amount of protein per serving. As with many other plant-based milk varieties, soy milk manufacturers often add calcium and vitamin D.

Plant-based milk varieties have high levels of phytate and oxalate, which are compounds that can block the absorption of calcium. According to the 2019 review in the journal Nutrients, experiments on soy milk show that despite the presence of these compounds, calcium absorption was similar to that of cow’s milk if the manufacturers fortified it with calcium carbonate.

Although soy milk has more protein than other plant-based milk products, cow’s milk has higher amounts of the essential amino acids methionine, valine, leucine, and lysine. People also consume soy milk because it has isoflavones, which researchers suggest have anticancer effects. Doctors may also recommend that children under 3 years old with cow milk protein allergy avoid drinking soy milk, as they may also be allergic to soy. Farmers use a variety of pesticides when growing soybeans, so people who want to avoid pesticides may wish to choose organic brands.

My Take: Soy milk also contains phytoestrogens which can disrupt hormone receptor pathways. I recommend staying away from all but naturally fermented soy. Cow’s milk has all the contamination issues of soy and then some. Avoid it as well.

Bottom Line: If you want dairy in your diet, stick to yogurt and hard cheeses. For milk, I prefer almond, but hemp and oat milk are also good choices as well.

Scents vs. True Essential Oils

Most of us love the smell of our favorite season. Floral scents in the Spring, Fruits and Coconut during the Summer, Spices and maybe pumpkin pie near Thanksgiving usually brings a smile and Peppermint, Cranberry or Vanilla warms your home and senses while the chilly weather whirls outside. But do you know what is in all of those chemically scented candles and sprays or plug in diffusers? synthetic fragrances, even oils claiming to be ‘Essential’ may be essentially harming your respiratory and nervous system, causing allergic reactions, birth defects and even cancer.

The thousands chemicals that make up the mysterious “fragrances” on the ingredient labels of household products and cosmetics can contain carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, neurotoxin chemicals and be absorbed into your body regardless of age. The dangers of these synthetic scents can create symptoms such as lightheadedness, headaches ad nausea. Continue reading “Scents vs. True Essential Oils”

Spring Adventures

Spring is such a Wonderful time of year here in the Tampa Bay area. The blooming flowers, the new growth on the trees and bright blue skies all make me want to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors. Maybe you a re looking to do the same thing with your friends or family this spring. Why not make it as enjoyable as possible by incorporating these suggested tips.

  • Weekend like you MEAN IT. Change your routine so it feels like a weekend and not just another day. Eat at a new place, wear different clothes, listen to new music…
  • Put the phone on SILENT (or off) and live the moment. It is easy to get attached to technology, but maybe try a day without it. Get lost, who cares, maybe you will fin someplace new in the process.
  • When traveling with others make a game of it. Remember the I Spy game when you were a kid? Maybe make up your own version of Travel Mad Libs…. 🙂

Here is a list of just a few of the thing going on in and not to far from the city of Tampa on my list to explore during the 2019 Spring Season. Maybe you will find something interesting to add to your list too:

Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring – One of the oldest parks and highest ranking for endemic biodiversity in Florida.

Florida Blueberry Festival, Formosa Gardens, Kissimmee March 28-31 – Art & Craft Exhibitors, Art Show, Wine Garden, Live Entertainment.

Tampa Bay History Center, Downtown Tampa – Cannot get enough of Pirates during Gasparilla, see more here. Just a fun place for Conquistadors. Arrgh!

Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, Clearwater, April 12-28 – World class Sand Artists will be crafting their sculptures using more than 1,000 tons of sand. This years theme “Sea the World, a journey around the Globe”

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Kissimmee, March 6- June 3 – This has been a tradition for me for many years, I have miss a few lately, but I just love this event and it is Amazing when the weather is just right to spend the day feasting your eyes on the garden topiaries and filling you belly on the bite sized menu they have available too. It is like a mini Food & Wine Fest.

And if you are looking for a long distance outdoor adventure then go visit my brother at The Denali Education Center in Denali Alaska this summer. His name is Dave and he will show you the real wild Alaska. I am hoping to get there for a visit myself this year.

Whatever you decide to do this Spring, Enjoy and Live for every moment. Time speeds by and life gets busy. Take some moments to see the world around you and absorb the beauty. Happy Adventuring…

Pneumonia – Holistic Approach

Pneumonia is an inflammatory disorder of the lungs caused by an infection of the airways. It is a serious condition and can be critical and may even be life-threatening in some cases. It is essential to visit a doctor for a diagnosis, as well as to monitor symptoms and avoid any complications
As always prevention is the only cure, but using a blend of medical treatments and home remedies may help many people manage their symptoms more easily. Every medical pneumonia treatment plan will involve some antiviral, antibiotic, or antifungal medication to treat the infection.

The Holistic treatments below may help clear up the annoying symptoms of pneumonia:

peppermint and eucalyptus tea have a soothing effect on the upper respiratory tract according to a study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Eucalyptus has been shown as a effective expectorant. Fenugreek tea appears to break down mucus based on a review in the Journal of Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences.

Saltwater or Collodial silver gargle may help eliminate mucus or germs in the throat (swallow the silver as it will have an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal effect throughout the digestive tract as well). Caffeine in a cup of green tea may open the airways.. Garlic, raw honey, cayenne pepper, tea tree oil and Echinacea help fight off bacteria and viruses.

Chest pain:
ginger or turmeric tea may reduce chest pain. The roots of both plants have a natural anti-inflammatory effect in the body.

again, from the earlier study, fenugreek tea encourages a person to sweat and reduce their temperature. Hydration is also vital.

often a secondary symptom caused by a fever. When the fever breaks, the chills will typically subside. However, drinking warm liquids or a bowl of soup may help warm the body.

My Take:
This is a good summary to keep around the house for supporting any upper respiratory infection. I left out the section on OTC pain relievers as I am not a fan. Either ginger or turmeric will be as effective as those drugs.
You can also use it in a Netti Pot, but dilute the colloidal silver 1:10 with distilled water. It still burns like hell, but it will clear the nasal passages and sinuses of excess mucus.

The Bottom Line:
Please seek medical advice if you think you may be suffering from pneumonia. However, continue to be you own health advocate and try some of these home remedies.

Source: Medical News Today, February, 2018

Coconut Water

Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside immature coconuts. As the coconut matures, the water is replaced by coconut meat. Coconut water is sometimes referred to as green coconut water because the immature coconuts are green in color.

Coconut water is commonly used as a beverage and as a solution for treating dehydration related to diarrhea or exercise. It is also tried for high blood pressure and to improve exercise performance. Coconut water is different than coconut milk. Coconut milk is produced from an emulsion of the grated meat of a mature coconut.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly ineffective, Likely ineffective, ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for coconut water was found for diarrhea-related dehydration, dehydration caused by exercise, exercise performance, high blood pressure, or other conditions.

Coconut water is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Because of this electrolyte composition, there is a lot of interest in using coconut water to treat and prevent dehydration. But some experts suggest that the electrolytes composition in coconut water is not adequate to be used as a rehydration solution.

Coconut water is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when consumed as a drink. It might cause fullness or stomach upset in some people. But this is uncommon. In large amounts, coconut water might cause potassium levels in the blood to become too high. This might lead to kidney problems and irregular heartbeat. Coconut water is POSSIBLY SAFE for children.

Coconut water might decrease blood pressure, but MODERATE caution is advised for the use of coconut water and medications for high blood pressure. Taking coconut water along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Using it with herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure might also lower blood pressure too much. This includes ginger, Panax  ginseng, turmeric, valerian, and others.

At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for coconut water. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important.

My Take:
This is what happens when you analyze food as a drug. There will never be enough evidence to rate most foods as being effective as there is no financial motivation to do the research. Just substitute pork chops, orange juice or asparagus for coconut water in this blog and you get the same result.

Bottom Line:
Coconut water is an excellent rehydration food. The high levels of potassium, sodium and magnesium make it an excellent choice for sports recovery or treatment for diarrhea.

Source: October, 2018 NHI

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