Many of the household cleaners we use every day contain toxic chemicals that may be harmful to you, your baby, and the environment. But there's little need for these harsh chemicals when effective and safe alternatives may already be sitting in your cabinets. Here are some common products that can be used for a variety of household jobs - safely and effectively.
Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Baking soda is a mild alkaline that can be used to neutralize, shine and deodorize many items. It can deodorize the refrigerator, carpets, drains, upholstery, and vinyl, as well as your underarms. Use it to clean and polish aluminum, chrome, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel, tin, counter tops, sinks, bathtubs, ovens and fiberglass and even your teeth when used as toothpaste. It is also useful as a fabric softener and stain remover, and can soften hard water and be used as a bath soak.
Borax (sodium borate)
Available at most supermarkets, Borax is an effective deodorizer, prevents mold and mildew growth, boosts the cleaning power of soap and detergent, and removes stains. Sprinkle about a half a cup of Borax in the bottom of your garbage and diaper pails to keep them clean and odorless. It can also be mixed with sugar to attract and kill cockroaches.
Cornstarch is made from the starch of corn kernels. It can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs, and starch clothes. Look for baby powders that contain cornstarch as it is now used as an alternative to talc.
Isopropyl alcohol is an excellent disinfectant and strong degreaser, but be sure to use it in well-ventilated areas, wear gloves, and keep it away from children. Poisoning can occur from ingesting, inhaling, or absorbing it through prolonged contact with the skin. Symptoms of isopropyl alcohol poisoning include flushing, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and coma.
Lemon Juice (citric acid)
The juice of the common lemon can deodorize and remove greasy or sticky stains from aluminum, clothes and porcelain. It also can be used as a glass cleaner, but don't use it in direct sunlight as it can cause streaking.
Vegetable oil can be made out of several types of seeds and is an effective and safe furniture and wood floor polish.
An all-purpose liquid soap, which can be used for washing dishes or hands, can be made by simple dissolving the old ends of bar soap (or grated slivers of bar soap) in warm water.
TSP (trisodium phosphate - soda ash and phosphoric acid)
TSP is available at most hardware stores and is a powerful cleanser and degreaser. It is commonly used to clean and treat wood before painting, but is not recommended for use on metal as it can cause corrosion. It is harmful if swallowed.
Vinegar acts as a mild acid to dissolve mineral deposits and grease, remove traces of soap, remove mildew and wax buildup, polish some metals (stainless steel), and deodorize. It is useful for cleaning brick and stone, and can be mixed with water for a powerful carpet cleaner. It can remove the metallic taste in coffeepots and shine windows without streaking. Coat your hands in vinegar before and after slicing onions to remove the smell. Floor and furniture polish can be as simple as a few drops of vinegar in water mixed equally with olive oil. Any type of white vinegar will work well for household chores.
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate decahydrate)
Washing soda, also sold as sal soda, in chemical-supply and drug stores can cut grease on grills, broiler pans, and ovens. It does not emit any harmful fumes but it is caustic, so wear gloves while using it. It can remove petroleum oil, wax, lipstick from surfaces and neutralize odors; however, don't use it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floors, because it will take the top layer off. Mix a teaspoon washing soda with a gallon of hot water to clean painted wood floors.
Lavender, tea tree, pine, myrrh, sage, peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, wormwood, thyme, and cloves are all essential oils you can add to homemade cleaning solutions. Each has antiseptic, anti-fungal or anti-bacterial properties.
Use the afore-mentioned ingredients for the following:
An all-purpose cleaner can be made with salt and vinegar or any combination of borax, baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice, and hot water. Add essential oil for fragrance.
Mix ½ cup Borax with a gallon of hot water (this solution satisfies a hospital's germicidal requirements). Isopropyl alcohol also works as a disinfectant but be sure to wear gloves and keep away from children.
To unclog a drain, try pouring ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide down the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with boiling water. You can also pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, add ½ a cup of white vinegar, and then cover the drain. Rinse with boiling water after 15 minutes to clear residue. Don't ever try this combination after using a commercial drain cleaner - the vinegar will react with the cleaner and create dangerous fumes.
Metal Cleaner and Polish
To clean aluminum, mix a solution of cream of tartar and water and rub with a soft cloth. Polish brass by applying a mixture of vinegar and salt, or lemon and baking soda, with a soft cloth. Polish chrome using a soft cloth dipped in baby oil or vinegar, wipe wet chrome with newspaper. To clean copper, boil items in water with salt and vinegar added. Pewter can be cleaned with a salt-vinegar-flour paste, and gold with toothpaste. Silver can be polished by boiling with a teaspoon of baking soda and salt in a pan lined with aluminum.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Pure bleach and water is the best toilet bowl cleaner but be sure to wear gloves and don't mix in any other ingredient. Baking soda with vinegar, or Borax with lemon juice, can also both be used as a toilet cleaner.
Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on rust and squeeze a lime over it until it's covered then let it sit for two or three hours. The leftover lime rind can be used as a scrubber.
If you have hard water or are cleaning synthetic fabrics, use a biodegradable detergent made without perfumes. For soft water you can use liquid soap. Regular bar soap is an effective cleaner for natural fabrics, leaving items such as diapers softer than detergent can. A cup of vinegar added to the wash can help keep colors bright (but DO NOT use vinegar if you are using bleach - the resulting fumes are hazardous). Less than a cup of baking soda will leave clothes soft and fresh. Silks and wools can be hand washed with mild soap or protein shampoo; down or feathers can be cleaned with mild soap or baking soda.
The mothering instinct is inherent in many animals, but completely absent in others. For instance, humans care for their children for 18 (or more!) years, while the giant tortoise lays her eggs on a moonlit beach and then abandons her progeny to make their own way in their watery world. Scientists have always considered the squid to be a follower of the latter style of parenting; however, deep-sea explorers were recently surprised to discover a female squid caring for a large sac of eggs.
This protective behavior was demonstrated by the female Gonatus onyx squid, a common species found in surface waters, and was caught on tape by marine biologist Brad Seibel of the University of Rhode Island and his colleagues. The video evidence of the squid puts to rest a long controversy, said squid expert Eric Hochberg of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in California. Hochberg was part of a team of researchers that proposed the existence of brooding squid five years ago based on the retrieval of a trawl bucket in 1996 that contained a relatively small number of extraordinarily large eggs along with an adult Gonatus onyx squid. "We just always had assumed that octopuses carry eggs and squids lay them on the bottom," said Hochberg. But the discovery of the Gonatus onyx changes these previous assumptions and, according to Hochberg, "there may be other deep-sea squids that are carrying their eggs."
These particular squids care for their precious cargo between 5,000 and 7,000 feet below the surface off California's central coast, just above the inky abyss of the Monterey Canyon. Because surface waters and the ocean floor are considered the two most productive depths for marine life, this middle-depth location may explain why the squid's parenting behavior was not observed until now. According to Siebel, "Researchers tend to skip this zone." The squids are probably brooding in this area to hide from predatory whales and seals, which also tend to ignore the middle depths while hunting.
Most squids lay 10,000 to 100,000 small eggs and leave them on the ocean floor where only a few survive to adulthood. But by watching over their eggs for six to nine months until they hatch, the newly discovered brooding squid enhances the survival odds of each egg, thereby allowing them to lay fewer and larger eggs.
The female Gonatus onyx carries approximately two to three thousand eggs in an open-ended sac she holds with hooks in her arms and keeps oxygen flowing to the eggs by circulating water through the sac. But after the eggs are ready to hatch, the mother probably dies, said Seibel. "Most squids lay eggs and die in one season," said Seibel. Because the egg sac blocks the squid's mouth, it's very difficult to eat with it and there's no evidence she can release it to feed and then pick it up again. Scientists have compared squids that are carrying freshly laid eggs to those holding older eggs that are ready to hatch. The squids with mature eggs are physically wasted and ready to die, whereas those with younger eggs look much healthier. The female squids accumulate fat stores while they grow and then expend it during the brooding period, which may last up to nine months. Scientists theorize that the squids' metabolism slows considerably during brooding to conserve energy and that prolonged muscle degeneration gradually provides increased buoyancy to support the eggs. They also believe the high lipid content of the females' digestive gland provides the fuel necessary to survive the brooding period.
This discovery is a prime example of how an important food source for shallow-water species and birds can also require deep waters for its survival. For this reason, Siebel says, it's important for people to think twice before signing on to any disposal project or other plans that can pollute deep ocean waters.
Many cultures use garlic not only as a fragrant and flavorful ingredient in dishes, but also as a medicine. Research confirms that garlic has numerous healing properties and can be especially beneficial to expectant mothers.
Garlic has a veritable grocery-list of general health benefits, including its ability to:
Protect against cardiovascular disease.
Reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke by lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol while elevating HDL ("good") cholesterol.
Prevent LDL oxidation and reduce clot-forming platelet activity and inflammation, thereby preventing coronary plaques.
Protect against free radical and carcinogen-induced DNA damage.
Stop the growth of a wide variety of human cancer cells including breast, colon, prostate, melanoma and erythroleukemia.
Prevent neuron death, and enhance memory by stimulating growth and branching of neurons in the brain.
Protect against fungal, yeast, and viral infections.
New research shows that consuming garlic during pregnancy can reduce the risk of preeclampsia and may help boost the birth-weight of growth-retarded fetuses. The research, performed at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, demonstrated that when extracts of garlic were added to placental cells of women who were likely to suffer from these conditions, growth was stimulated. In addition, the activity of key enzymes whose activity is reduced in such abnormal pregnancies was significantly increased when garlic was administered.
For morning sickness relief, try a piece of ginger! For over two thousand years traditional Chinese medicine has used ginger to treat a variety of health problems, including abdominal bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and rheumatism. And now research has found that ginger can help reduce nausea related to motion sickness, post-operative recovery, and pregnancy.
Ginger's nausea reducing benefits are attributed to its ability to absorb and neutralize toxins and stomach acid, while increasing digestive fluids and bowel activity. Ginger also causes the blood vessels to dilate (which is why you feel warm after eating it), and blocks the serotonin receptors in the stomach that cause nausea.
Ginger has general health benefits in addition to its anti-nausea properties. The fresh root's ability to induce sweating is believed to dispel pathogens and it has been used to treat asthma, cough, colic, heart palpitation, swellings, dyspepsia, loss of appetite, and rheumatism. Researchers have also found ginger to be a more potent blood clotting agent than garlic or onion, and that it reduces the stickiness of blood platelets which may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. However, ginger is not recommended if you suffer from gall bladder disease.
Finally, some good news about a favorite sweet indulgence! Recent studies examining the health benefits of dark chocolate confirm that this delicious treat is actually beneficial for your heart.
According to research, dark chocolate contains more antioxidants and plant flavonoids (chemicals that provide antioxidant and antibiotic properties and control inflammation) than any other type of chocolate. These components prevent cholesterol from collecting in blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clots, inhibit the immune response that can lead to clogged arteries, lower blood pressure and platelet activity, and eradicate free radicals and other destructive molecules in the body that can cause heart disease.
Standard processing of chocolate destroys up to half of its beneficial flavonoids, negating virtually all of its natural nutritional benefits. However, as evidence of the benefits of raw or minimally-processed dark chocolate mounts, chocolate producers have developed a way to turn out dark chocolate that retains up to 95 percent of its natural flavonoids
In fact, according to Mary Engler, PhD, RN, of the University of California, San Francisco, eating a small, 1.6-ounce bar of dark chocolate every day is very good for you. Engler and her colleagues studied the effects of dark chocolate on a group of 21 healthy adults. One half of the group was given a Dove Dark Chocolate bar every day for two weeks, and the other half was given a dark chocolate bar that had the flavonoids removed. Like other dark chocolate bars with high-cocoa content, the Dove bar is loaded with epicatechin, which has been found to be a particularly active type of flavonoid. All of the test subjects were evaluated to determine how well their blood vessels dilated and relaxed - an indicator of healthy blood vessel function. Those who ate the full-flavonoid chocolate showed significantly better results. "This is the longest clinical trial to date to show improvement in blood vessel function from consuming flavonoid-rich dark chocolate daily over an extended period of time," Engler said. "It is likely that the elevated blood levels of epicatechin triggered the release of active substances that ... increase blood flow in the artery. Better blood flow is good for your heart. Many people don't realize that chocolate is plant-derived, as are the fruits and vegetables recommended for a healthy heart." Learn more: http://www.parentingweekly.com/pregnancy/breathingspace/vol04/dark_chocolate.asp
It turns out, whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" wasn't too far off the mark - at least where the heart is concerned. A recent study revealed that laughing has surprisingly beneficial effects on your heart.
Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore studied 20 healthy, young adults who watched 15 to 30 minute segments of either funny or sad movies. After watching humorous clips, the researchers observed increased blood flow in 19 of the participants that was comparable to performing aerobic exercise or beginning a cholesterol-lowering statin treatment. The researchers also found that watching a good tearjerker had the opposite effect, actually lowering 14 of the participants' brachial blood flow an amount equivalent to remembering periods of anger or doing mental arithmetic.
Before the study commenced, the participants were tested and were all found to have normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. They were also asked to fast overnight and refrain from aerobic exercise or consuming alcohol, vitamins or herbs the evening before the viewings, since these can all affect blood flow.
Prior to seeing a movie, the volunteers were tested for their blood vessel reactivity in order to measure what is known as flow-mediated vasodilation. During the test, blood flow in the brachial artery in the arm was restricted by a blood pressure cuff and then suddenly released. An ultrasound device was then used to measure how well the blood vessel responded to the abrupt increase in flow. The brachial artery runs from the shoulder to the elbow and is a good indicator of blood flow throughout the body. Researchers collected a total of 160 measurements of brachial artery flow from the participants a minute before and after phases of laughter or sadness.
Volunteers watched each segment of the movies while lying down in a temperature-controlled room, after which the brachial artery was tested for blood vessel reactivity. Each volunteer was shown part of two movies at the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum, randomized to first watch either a movie that would cause mental stress, such as the opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan," or a segment of a movie that would cause laughter, such as "King Pin." At least 48 hours later, they were shown a movie intended to produce the opposite emotional extreme. Overall, average blood flow increased 22 percent during laughter, and decreased 35 percent during mental stress.
"I think it would be reasonable for everybody to loosen up, and spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day laughing," said lead researcher Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland. "The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium is similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic activity, but without the aches, pains and muscle tension associated with exercise," says Dr. Miller. "We don't recommend that you laugh and not exercise, but we do recommend that you try to laugh on a regular basis." Learn more: http://www.parentingweekly.com/pregnancy/breathingspace/vol03/heart_health.asp
Blueberries are in season! These tasty low-calorie treats are bursting with flavor and nutrition, with the highest antioxidant level of any fruit or vegetable. Anthocyanidins, the phytonutrients that give blueberries their antioxidant power, have been found to improve cardiovascular health and fight cancer, as well as prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers and glaucoma, and will keep your skin glowing.
Anthocyanidins improve the integrity of support structures in the veins and entire vascular system and are the reason red wine is considered so heart healthy. But a recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that blueberries contain 38 percent more of these nutrients than red wine. In addition, researchers at the University of Maine found that test rats that were fed wild blueberry powder showed an increased level of a type of carbohydrate molecules in the blood vessel walls, called galactosaminoglycans (GalAGs), that made the blood vessels more resistant to oxidative stress (the production of free radicals) that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
A recent study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that when leukemia cells were treated with low doses of a common type of naturally-modified anthocyanidin called cyanidin-3-rutinoside (C-3-R), the cancer cells released peroxides which killed them. In addition, the C-3-R had no apparent toxic effect on healthy cells. Doctors are hoping to use this information to create new treatments for leukemia and decrease the use of invasive cancer treatments such as radiation. A study on the affect of strawberries on the elderly concluded that the ellagic acid (another type of phytonutrient) in strawberries - also found in blueberries - blocks metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer. Test subjects who ate the most strawberries were found to be three times less likely to develop cancer.
Pterostilbene, another antioxidant found in blueberries, lowers cholesterol and may be an effective treatment of diabetes. It has been clinically proven to be more effective than statin drugs in lowering LDL cholesterol without any of the negative side effects associated with traditional medications. In at least one study, pterostilbene has also been shown to lower blood glucose levels in rats by 42 percent; however, more studies are needed to confirm this finding and determine its effect on humans. The nutrient myrtillin anthocyanoside (or myrtillus in the European blueberry) was also found to reduce hyperglycemia in normal and diabetic dogs when taken orally (human studies are needed). But homeopaths have been using blueberry leaves to treat diabetes for ages. To lower blood sugar levels and relieve inflammation of the kidneys, bladder and prostate, try steeping two or three handfuls of leaves in hot water for about a half hour.
The high fiber in blueberries can also aid digestion and elimination, relieving both diarrhea and constipation. The fiber removes excess bile that can develop into a potentially cancer-causing form, while the tannins act as an astringent to reduce inflammation in the digestive system. Blueberries also contain the same compounds found in cranberries (a close relative) to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Extracts of bilberry (the European version of the blueberry) have been found to improve nighttime vision, visual acuity and reduce eyestrain. During World War II, British Air Force pilots consumed bilberry preserves before night missions. According to a study published in study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, three servings or more of blueberries each day may lower your risk of developing macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss.
Blueberries will help keep you looking, feeling, and thinking young as they help to protect the brain from stress and have been found to improve learning capacity and motor skills in aging animals by boosting neuron signals. Consuming blueberries has also been linked to decreased incidences of Alzheimer's disease and reduced inflammation from arthritis. Blueberries not only fight free radicals, which are responsible for the loss of collagen - and thereby wrinkles - in our skin as we age, their anthocyanidin content also supports the skin's vascular structure.
Blueberries are in season from May through October. Ripe berries should be dark blue, firm and unwrinkled. Mushy or bleeding berries are overripe, while green-tinged berries are under ripe. Remove any damaged berries to prevent mold growth and store them either in the refrigerator, where they will keep for about a week, or in the freezer for up to a year. Wash the berries only right before you are going to use them as this will remove their waxy, protective coating.
Baby foods, canned foods, breads, and cereals that contain blueberries do not contain the natural anthocyanins, which are destroyed during processing. To get the full nutritional benefit of blueberries, use only fresh or frozen.
Add blueberries to a smoothie, yogurt or cereal for a tasty and nutritious breakfast, and desserts such as blueberry crisp, pie, cobbler and muffins are always family favorites.
Are you one of those women who never felt like she had the "maternal instinct"? Are you still nervous that you won't know what to do when your baby cries? Are you still waiting for it to magically kick in now that you're pregnant? Many women experience such anxiety, but researchers are now studying whether maternal instinct may in fact be something we learn and not something we're born with.
One scientist who believes that mothering behavior is learned and not instinctual is Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California at Davis and author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection. Hrdy has studied primates for more than three decades and believes that the desire of a mother to care for a child depends on her desire to be a mother and the amount of time spent bonding together. Although she concedes that maternal responses exist, she believes they are biologically conditioned, but not true instincts. In an interview with Salon.com she said, "A woman who is committed to being a mother will learn to love any baby, whether it's her own or not; a woman not committed to or prepared for being a mother may well not be prepared to love any baby, not even her own."
Hrdy argues that human babies are genetically engineered to convince their parents that they are worth raising, citing the plumpness of human babies (not seen in other primates) and their irresistible smile as examples. And given the right circumstances, even fathers can display maternal behavior, as seen in 1986 when a small boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Jersey Zoo in the United Kingdom and was - surprisingly - protected by an otherwise aggressive male silverback gorilla.
According to Hrdy, natural selection is the primary reason that males do not typically display maternal behavior. The paternity of a child can always be questioned, and if a male were to spend his time tending to offspring that were not his own, he could be limiting his own gene pool. But because maternity is never in doubt, females are more naturally inclined to tend to babies.
Hrdy acknowledges that in order to survive, babies must become attached to a caregiver, but she contends that the individual need not be the infant's biological mother. It is simply because of birth and lactation that the baby will probably form its closest relationship with its mother and she in turn will be motivated to care for the baby.
According to Craig Kinsley, PhD, "The mammalian female brain expresses a great deal of plasticity and creativity in service to, and in support of, reproduction. In other words, mothers are made, not born."
Kinsley and his colleagues in the departments of psychology at the University of Richmond and Randolph Macon College have shown that upon becoming a mother, a female rat's learning, memory, time management and efficiency improve. The brains of these rats actually change to enhance spatial ability and reduce fear and anxiety to help the new mothers care for and protect her offspring. In addition, the new rat mothers developed better hunting skills, taking just 70 seconds to track, attack and kill a cricket, compared to the 290 seconds it took childless rats.
Scientists on the other side of the maternal instinct debate have begun monitoring brain waves of new parents and have discovered maternal brain activity that points to genetic hardwiring. Researchers at Medical University of South Carolina found that mothers had a more widespread reaction to their infant's cries than in response to an unrelated infant's cries, and a greater response than the baby's father. While fathers showed increased activity only in parts of the brain thought to be more involved in thinking, distinguishing between sensations, and motor planning (posterior neocortical and cerebellar regions), mothers showed an increase in those areas as well as the limbic and basal forebrain regions, which are important in emotional responses.
According to Jeffrey Lorberbaum, MD who led the study, "Mothers may be very attuned to their own infant as they activate widespread brain regions including ancient regions believed to be important in rodent maternal behavior. Fathering behavior may be less hardwired and a more recent evolutionary phenomenon as fathers only activate newer regions of the brain involved in sensory discrimination, cognition, and motor planning in response to cries."
However, Hrdy maintains that "maternal responses that are biologically based are surely going on in the human species." But she believes that the bonding that takes place between mother and child occurs due to the flood of chemicals and hormones that occurs during pregnancy and after birth, and deepens the longer the baby is close. But this is not the definition of an instinct and although we may be vulnerable to maternal impulses, we are not "controlled or defined by them." Learn more: http://www.parentingweekly.com/pregnancy/breathingspace/vol39/pregnancy_health_fitness.asp
The old adage, "you are what you eat," is never truer than when in reference to water. Water makes up approximately two-thirds of your body and is essential for all your digestive, absorption, circulatory and excretory functions, as well as transporting nutrients and waste products to and from your cells. You can live for several weeks without food, but less than one week without water.
We lose approximately one liter of water every day through urination, perspiration, and even breathing, an amount that can easily increase in hot weather, during physical activity, when you are ill (through vomiting and diarrhea) or if you live in a warm, arid climate. Mild dehydration can occur when you lose just 5 percent or less of your bodily fluids and severe dehydration results when you lose 10 to 15 percent of fluids. By the time you notice that you are thirsty, your body is already in a state of mild dehydration. The most common symptoms of dehydration include headaches, nausea, lethargy, aches and pains, constipation and reduced urination, irritability, and lapses in memory. It is estimated that 75 percent of Americans suffer from mild, chronic dehydration, which can result in deterioration of kidney function, muscles, and the mind.
Lean muscle tissue is approximately 75 percent water, as is the human brain and blood is 83 percent. Even our fat is 25 percent water and bone is 22 percent. Water circulates through our blood and lymphatic system, transporting oxygen and nutrients to our cells and removing wastes through urine and sweat. Water is necessary for all the chemical reactions that take place in our nervous system and is an essential ingredient in synovial fluid, the lubricating fluid between your joints.
Because our muscles are mostly water, it's no surprise that it is essential to building and maintaining healthy muscle. If you are dehydrated and the protein synthesis that builds muscle is hindered, fewer of the calories you consume are used to build muscle and more end up added to your fat stores, leading to weight gain. In addition, muscle control and strength depend on the electrolytes found in water, which is why sports drinks often add them.
Digestion requires large amounts of water to help break down the food we eat. For each gram of glucose you ingest (such as carbohydrates) your body requires 2.5 grams of water to process it and form glycogen, the short term energy your body burns as fuel. If you haven't consumed enough amount of water, your body will draw the necessary fluid from your body and muscles, which is why dehydration leads to constipation, cramps, and headache. Water also acts as a natural appetite suppressant by filling up your stomach to make you feel full.
Water helps to flush toxins out of your body, as well as prevent constipation. The kidneys remove wastes such as uric acid, urea and lactic acid, all of which must be dissolved in water. When there isn't sufficient water, those wastes are not effectively removed, which may cause kidney damage. It's believed that water also helps to flush out kidney stones before they form and helps prevent urinary tract infections by preventing the build-up of waste in the urinary tract. Water adds fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, not only encouraging bowel movement, but also softening the stools. A recent study at Chang Gung University in Taiwan showed that drinking water can lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer as well as bladder cancer.
When you are dehydrated, your cells must draw water from the bloodstream, which causes your blood to become thicker and increases your blood pressure. Your heart must work harder to pump this thick, sludgy blood which can lead to blood clots and heart attacks. A six-year study published in a 2002 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than five glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drank less than two glasses. Dehydration also decreases oxygen levels in the blood, which makes it difficult for your body to burn stored fat for energy. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but you will also have more energy.
Drinking enough water is especially important during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid, which is made mostly of water, is constantly being replenished using water from your body. Water also helps carry important nutrients to your baby and flush out waste and toxins, as well as helping you avoid bladder infections, constipation, and hemorrhoids - all of which are common during pregnancy. And once you have given birth, water is essential to good breastmilk production.
The amount of water you need every day can vary depending on many factors, but to get a safe estimate simply halve your body weight and drink that many ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking approximately 70 ounces of water each day. Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages, sodas or fruit juices to meet your water requirements as alcohol and caffeinated beverages act as diuretics which actually increase the amount of water your body excretes, compounding dehydration, and fruit juices and sodas are mostly sugar and can contain lots of extra calories.
Ever wonder how anything gets accomplished within the apparent chaos of ant colonies and bee hives or how schools of fish and flocks of birds suddenly shift direction with such precision? These animals rely on collective thought, which scientists have dubbed swarm intelligence. This type of group thinking not only brings order to millions of creatures living closely together, it may have broader applications in our own world to increase efficiency, safety, and the way we live.
Ant colonies can range in size from hundreds to even millions of occupants, yet despite such density, they maintain highly organized communities and every ant knows his duty. This phenomenal management that enables the ants to allocate tasks, defend territory and find the optimal path for food is due, ironically, to a complete lack of centralized leadership and the ants' ability to communicate information and trust individual input. There is no single leader of an ant colony - the queen is just there to lay eggs - instead, the entire colony relies on the interactions between individual ants, each of which is following simple rules of thumb, a system scientists call self-organizing.
Ants communicate mostly through touch and smell, so when they bump into each other they sniff antennae to confirm the other's identity, role in the colony, and other important information. For example, the return of patroller ants that are sent out of the colony each morning serves as a signal to the forager ants that it's time to go out. But the foragers also glean information about outside conditions, potential predators, and food availability based on how many and how frequently they run into patroller ants and other returning forager ants. According to Deborah Gordon, a biologist at Stanford University studying red harvester ants in the Arizona desert, "A forager won't come back until it finds something. The less food there is, the longer it takes the forager to find it and get back. The more food there is, the faster it comes back. So nobody's deciding whether it's a good day to forage. The collective is, but no particular ant is."
Honey bees also use individual input to make hive-wide decisions, such as where to construct a new hive when the current one grows too large. The bees scatter to search for the best real estate. When they return to the queen, they do a little dance called a waggle to show their enthusiasm for the new hive site they found. Other bees investigate based on the dance and congregate and dance near the best new home. The location with the most dancing bees becomes their new abode. The bees' ability to investigate and consider multiple options and then decide on a course of action based on popular vote leads them to the best choice.
Thomas Seeley, a biologist at Cornell University, has studied bees for more than 10 years and believes that their decision making could be applied to corporate meetings where decisions could be made by bringing all possibilities to the table, discussing the ideas and then voting by secret ballot.
The collective decision making process of swarms has also inspired some in the corporate world to integrate these methods to improve the way they do business. One such company, called American Air Liquide, which produces medical and industrial gases such as hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, developed a computer program that mimics an ant found in Argentina that uses a pheromone trail to communicate to other ants in the colony the quickest path to the best food source. The scent of the trial is reinforced each time an ant travels that path, further reinforcing the behavior. American Air Liquide uses virtual "ants" to mark the shortest and most reliable routes for their delivery trucks. Their artificial colony approach also uses genetic algorithms based on factory schedules, weather, estimated customer demand and costs to find the most efficient business model each day. Dairy, heating oil, grocery and telephone companies across Europe are also finding this artificial pheromone trail system useful in their industries. Learn more: http://parentingweekly.com/pregnancy/breathingspace/vol37/pregnancy_health_fitness.asp
Sit in a comfortable position and begin breathing deeply. Relax and slow your breath. Breathe as if you are right next to a tree branch that can not be swayed by your breathing.
Close your eyes and put your hands out in front of you. Feel each hand and notice the life force that pumps through them.
Continue breathing deeply but breathe as if you are breathing into just one of your hands. You will start to feel an increase in energy in the hand on which you focus.
If you have a certain place in your body that needs healing, try focusing your breath on that area, as if you are breathing with that body part. If you are feeling depressed, try focusing your breath on positive thoughts. For example, if you are feeling down about your appearance or something you've done, try focusing on what is beautiful about your appearance or something good you've done by breathing into those thoughts.
According to wiki; "A
classic staple of science
fiction and superhero
is matter composed
subatomic particles that
have mostly exactly the
same properties (mass,
intrinsic angular mo...
Beginning in the 1950s,
American and Soviet
scientists engaged in a
dangerous race to see who
could build and detonate
the world's largest bomb.
In the Soviet Union,
Andrei Sakharov was the
architect of this
According to the movie,
According to NIRS;
"Marine life in all
forms, from endangered
manatees and sea turtles
to essential microscopic
organisms, is being
harmed and killed by
systems, used to remove
waste heat at nuclear
3/18/11: "The source term
provided to NARAC was:
(1) 25% of the total fuel
in unit 2 (SFP) released
to the atmosphere, (2)
50% of the total spent
fuel from unit 3 (SFP)
was released to the
atmosphere, and (3) 100%
of the total spent fuel
This meditation uses
words, images, and
feelings to evoke a
oneself and others. With
each recitation of the
phrases, we are
expressing an intention,
planting the seeds of
loving wishes over and
over in our heart...
To cultivate compassion,
let yourself sit in a
centered and quiet way.
In this traditional form
of practice you will
combine a repeated inner
visualization and the
evocation of the feeling
of compassion. As you
first sit, breathe
Every nuclear reactor
is a military industrial
complex stocked up with
1300 weapons of mass
destruction that if
released for ANY reason,
can wipe out all life on
the planet, from just ONE
nuclear reactor. If a
Carrington Event happens,
ect.org A nuclear
workers at Fukushima to
cover their dosimeters
with lead to lower
official levels of
radiation would be
workers to work longer
hours inside the plant.
Event Presented by
the Green Party of Sonoma
An Evening withGreen
Party Candidate for
GovernorLuis J. Rodriguez
will be collected for the
Andy Lopez family)
It took one month after
3 reactors melted down
and multiple spent fuel
pools caught on fire and
dried out to raise the
Fukushima mega disaster
rating to 7, despite the
nuclear plant operators
knowing within hours that
3 reactors had melted