Monthly Archives: November 2010

Headaches? A Most Likely Cause

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 30, 2010

Americans are in a world of hurt.    Use of store bought painkillers increased by nearly 90% between 1997 and 2005 according to statistics provided by the Department of Drug Enforcement.   What’s worse, frequent use of over the counter painkillers can cause withdrawal headaches causing the sufferer to use an ever increasing dose to treat symptoms and a cycle of overuse.

It’s no secret that recurring and sometimes debilitating headaches are a primary reason for abuse of over the counter pain meds.   Unfortunately, most folks popping pills to rid themselves of headaches have absolutely no idea what is causing them.

What if I told you that completely eliminating a single food additive would rid you of many, if not the majority of headaches that you suffer from?

Read more…


Monday Mania – 11/29/2010

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 29, 2010

Welcome to the 18th edition of Monday Mania, a carnival where Real Food bloggers come together to link up their popular Posts.

These Awesome Posts can be Real Food recipes, Book Reviews, Natural Remedies, or Green Home Tips.    They might even be a blogger’s take on a media health report, a videoblog, podcast, or an amazing giveaway!

In short, these Awesome Posts are a complete free for all of incredible Real Foodie Wisdom!

So, roll up your sleeves, link up and show us your stuff!    Can’t wait to see what your Real Foodie brains turned out recently!

Read more…


Happy and Healthy Holidays E-Course WINNER!

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 29, 2010

We have a winner for a complimentary Happy and Healthy Holidays E-Course from Jenny at Nourished Kitchen!    Out of 128 valid entries in the giveaway, entry #106, Jenny Arzola, is the winner!

Congratulations, Jenny!   I will forward your email address to Jenny at Nourished Kitchen so that you are added to the upcoming e-course roster.    Enjoy your 5 week immersion in the festive and nourishing Holiday recipes that Jenny will show you how to prepare!

For those of you that did not win, you can use coupon code NK20 and click here to sign up at 20% off the full class price of $89.    For over 30 Real Food meal plans and 175 recipes, this is a deal, so don’t miss out!   Registration ends November 30, 2010 at midnight, so don’t delay in getting signed up.

If after perusing the class details, you have decided to take just a few classes, they are value priced at $15 each.    You can sign up for individual classes by clicking here.

* If you haven’t come across Jenny at Nourished Kitchen before, please know that she is a 100% Real Foodie.   You won’t be disappointed to find white flour, white sugar, or other refined/processed foods lurking in any of her recipes.  Quality and Taste without Compromise is something that lives and breathes in Jenny’s kitchen.    I wholeheartedly give her a Healthy Home Economist double thumbs up!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Macrobiotic Diet and Vitamin D Deficiency

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 27, 2010

A few months ago, Academy Award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow disclosed that she is suffering from osteopenia, a thinning of the bones.   This condition was brought about by vitamin D blood levels so low, that Ms. Paltrow’s doctors said the level was “… the lowest thing they had ever seen ….”

Ms. Paltrow was prescribed high dose vitamin D drops and told to spend more time in the sun (without sunscreen, of course) to reverse the condition.    This is clearly excellent advice as those of us who know that frequent, brief, nonburning doses of midday sun on the skin is a very healthy thing to do, does not cause skin cancer, and is a great way to quickly raise vitamin D blood levels!

Let’s examine for a moment how Ms. Paltrow got such alarmingly low vitamin D blood levels in the first place.

Perfect (and Easy) Brown Rice

I read a number of years ago that Ms. Paltrow was following a macrobiotic diet.    At the time, this news snippet aroused my curiosity as my own family followed such a diet for a brief period of time when I was in middle school and it was the worst way of eating I have ever experienced.     I absolutely hated it and am very glad my parents quickly decided that it wasn’t so fantastic after all and stopped making meals this way!

A macrobiotic diet is based on grains, primarily brown rice.  Here is the breakdown (source: Wikipedia):

  • Whole cereal grains, especially brown rice: 40—60%
  • Vegetables: 25—30%
  • Beans and legumes: 5—10%
  • Miso soup: 5%
  • Sea vegetables: 5%
  • Traditionally or naturally processed foods: 5—10%

In addition to these basic recommendations, food, especially the grains, must be very thoroughly chewed.   Seafood, fruit, natural sweeteners and seeds/nuts may be enjoyed 2-3 times per week, if desired (but not required).

At first glance, a macrobiotic diet may seem an excellent way to eat as it is whole, unprocessed and eschews junk food, sodas and other industrialized foods that are responsible for so many modern ills, particularly in children.

However, such a diet can only bring ill health over the long term as it is focused primarily on grains and contains little animal fats which are the only foods that contain any vitamin D and other fat soluble vitamins that are absolutely essential to health.

Having experienced the lack of well being, lethargy, dark moods and hypoglycemia produced by a macrobiotic diet firsthand as a child, I knew that Ms. Paltrow was going to suffer serious health challenges as a result of this dangerous manner of eating.   Her first clue should have been the birth weight of her first child (a girl) who was born at a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz.    It is known that girls born this large are at higher risk for breast cancer before age 50.    A diet heavy in grains, even if whole and unprocessed, will frequently result in huge babies predisposed for childhood obesity and other associated problems.

Her second clue should have been the postpartum depression she experienced after the birth of her second child, Moses, in 2006.   Postpartum depression and low vitamin D levels have been strongly linked.

With this more recent news of severe vitamin D deficiency and osteopenia at such a young age, hopefully Ms. Paltrow will abandon the disastrous macrobiotic diet and reclaim her health by consuming animal foods on a daily basis and reduce her grain consumption to minimal as practiced by healthy, traditional societies.

Any diet that produces such severe nutritional deficiency such as what Ms. Paltrow has experienced is clearly the wrong way to go and an indefensible way of eating.


Picture Credit


Finding Your Balance

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist November 26, 2010

Guest Post by Paula Jager, CSCS

Mobility, flexibility, range of motion–no matter what you call it most of us do not even think about it.  If you are an athlete, the more mobility you have the better you will be at your chosen sport.  If you are a businessman, busy mom or senior your activities of daily living and play will be better if you have adequate mobility.

People have been known to throw their backs out with even the simplest things such as picking a child’s toy up off the ground or reaching in the back seat to get their briefcase.  Most people have lost the mobility they were born with through inactivity, sitting too much and poor ergonomics in daily situations. Regaining and then maintaining your mobility is a process but one that will improve many areas of your life.

The first step is to move.  We all sit too much which shortens up the front of the body (quads, abdominals, pectorals) leaving weak overstretched back muscles and even weaker and rarely used hamstrings and glutes. That in itself creates a huge imbalance in the body along with aches and pains.  Combine that with a big belly and it is no wonder we have lower back pain.  We were not meant to sit all day.  By incorporating movement (metabolic activity and resistance training) we begin to reverse this imbalance.  These activities are only part of the solution; they are the “doing”.  They will, if properly balanced with some type of “undoing” correct the imbalance.

Some excellent paths to improving mobility are yoga, Pilates, PNF stretching, mobility drills/exercises and foam rolling.  Let’s look at each of these a little more closely. . .

Yoga:   Most everyone is familiar with yoga; it’s been around almost since time began.  There are many different types of yoga ranging from power yoga which is a workout in itself to more “stretching” or meditative types of yoga.  Pick one to match your needs and balance out the rest of your activities.

Pilates:  Another great mode for improving the range of motion of your joints as well as building core strength.

PNF Stretching:   Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation; an excellent way of rehabilitating, improving flexibility and injury prevention.

Mobility Drills:  Basic movements/exercises which will improve the range of motion in a particular joint making sport and activities of daily living better.  Check this link for improving hip mobility:

Foam Rolling:   This is really big right now and an excellent tool to be used as a warm up before exercising or after a workout to keep muscles loose and supple as well as reducing pain and tension.

My Struggle with Balance

Flexibility has always been a weak link in my fitness chain. Some of that stems from genetics but also from spending the majority of my fitness life on building strength and power while neglecting mobility work.  I have personally tried all of the above and I have found something good in each of the methods while some have worked better for me than others.  I did not like Pilates; there is nothing wrong with it, many people have gotten excellent results it was just not for me. After getting only minimal results with yoga for years I tried CrossFit only for 9 months.  When I went back to yoga I was dramatically better at it simply because of the improved core strength and range of motion I had been obtained from performing the foundational lifts in CrossFit.  After stalling on my lifts rather than accept the fact I had reached my ceiling I added in mobility drills and foam rolling, consistently.  The changes were dramatic!!  Within a few weeks I noticed increases in my lifts, range of motion and when I again returned to yoga I was able to better perform the postures thus getting more out it and being able to better focus on the breath and finding a calm.  It has brought me full circle. 

It is a process of experimenting with the various methods and programs, finding what you like and what works for you.  It will not happen overnight, it will not be easy and you must be consistent with your efforts.  You must also have the right mix of metabolic conditioning, strength training and mobility work to avoid creating imbalances.

At age 50 with a 20 year background in health & fitness I struggled most of my life with limited flexibility holding me back from many things.  By adding this in, I was able to move past self limiting plateaus and continue improvement in areas of my life that are important to me.  Because of that I am more balanced; when one is more balanced one is more at peace and happier.  Another thing I have learned through my maturity is that it is not always how fast you are or how heavy you can lift but whatever floats your boat–you will be better at it by being more mobile–so seek your balance.

Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar.

Her exercise and nutrition programs yield life changing results


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