Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Requiring Alcohol Sensors in Cars. Should We?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Okay you Libertarians, here’s a question for you. How much government help (or as some might say, interference) is too much? Where do we draw the line?

Following the tragic and senseless death of Cowboys football player Jerry Brown the driver of the car, fellow player Josh Brent is facing manslaughter charges for driving while intoxicated. Calvin Hill, a consultant for the team, searching for answers, is now pondering a mandate that Cowboys players have electronic devices designed to immobilize vehicles when a driver is impaired.

From USAToday: Calvin Hill said the team could mandate that The device, SafeKey, includes a small fob that is attached to the key ring, which sends electronic signals to a complementary device that can prevent a vehicle from starting if a driver doesn’t pass a test based on color-coded light emissions.

The NFL Players Association would have to agree to such a mandate and such a negotiation would not happen immediately. There is a current confidential program in place by the players union that provides rides for players who are impaired.

At the same time the National Transportation Safety Board is also considering using similar ignition interlock devices. They are currently proposing these be installed following any drunk driving arrest. But would eventually like to have all cars equipped with alcohol sensors. Currently 17 states require the device to be installed following a DUI conviction.

MSNBC:  To stop first-time convicted drunk drivers from re-offending, the NTSB would like every new offender to be required to have an ignition interlock device in their car. NTSB is asking for the standard even in cases where the initial violation was as low as .08 at the time of arrest.

NTSB says eventually all cars should be built with alcohol sensors.

So the question is: Should an employer be allowed to mandate use of such a sensor during off time? Should the government be allowed to mandate this use?

We allow the government to require safety devices such as seat belts and air bags. Would this be just one more tool? Does it cross the line or does the protection of others mean a limitation of the driver? Is the life of an innocent person injured or killed by a drunk driver worth less than his inconvenience?

Get Your Tricorder Here

Star Trek fans will love this. The tricorders from early episodes is closer to reality.

Scientific America: A team of students has designed a Star Trek-inspired sensing device that can beam environmental data to a smart phone.The tricorder device is the team’s response to a challenge from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Is there an effective way to integrate external sensors with smart phones and can we globalize this information?” Applications could range from data collection for research to educational hands-on activities to disaster-zone assessment.

Bones would be proud.


Topping the List of Worst Ways to Die…

Courtesy Wikimedia


Okay, let’s leave out the fact that this was an insane contest. And let’s leave out that the contestants had to be more than a little quirky. Here’s the official report from the cockroach eating contest:

A Florida man who died in October after eating dozens of live cockroaches in a contest to win a python died by choking, officials have said.

Need I say more?

Read the rest of this article at BBC News. Or don’t.

One Amazing Story

As a Twitter user I love reading and getting personal comments from the ‘celebrities’ I follow. But there aren’t any that can compare to this story. Charles Payne is a market analyst and CEO of his own company. He frequently is seen on the Fox Business Channel. You can read his financial columns Charles has a very interesting personal story growing up with a mom who worked hard so he could have a chance for a better life and then taking those opportunities and becoming successful. But this story is not about him. Instead it’s about his wife. Fortunately, I happened to catch this very personal tale  on Twitter from its beginning, through all the ups and downs. Sure I could paste the tweets but Twitter just can’t capture the emotion of Charles in his own words. This is one family who will have a very thankful Thanksgiving.

NYC=No Large Soda; LA=Meatless Monday

From coast to coast the nanny state continues to grow. Everyone is familiar with Mayor Bloomberg’s recent health promotions taking away the salt shaker and large sodas in restaurants. Now the city of Los Angeles has voted to promote ‘Meatless Mondays’.

The Los Angeles city council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution urging residents to pledge to have meatless Mondays. The resolution does not have the force of law but the city officials hope to start a trend.

From the City Council that declared war on trans-fats and fast-food restaurants comes the latest way to make residents feel, well, guilty about what they eat.

LA Daily News: “This follows the `good food’ agenda we recently adopted supporting local, sustainable food choices,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has called for a ban on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles to fight obesity.

“We can reduce saturated fats and reduce the risk of heart disease by 19 percent,” Perry said. “While this is a symbolic gesture, it is asking people to think about the food choices they make. Eating less meat can reverse some of our nation’s most common illnesses.”

Councilman Ed Reyes, who joined with Perry in proposing the resolution, said one of his sons has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“The issue is how does a local municipality engage in this and how do we create change,” Reyes said. “If we do it one plate at time, one meal, one day, we are ratcheting down the impact on our environment. We start with one day a week and then, who knows, maybe we can change our habits for a lifetime.”

In July, 2012, following the USDA’s embrace the Meatless Monday concept the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander called into question USDA’s commitment to U.S. farmers and ranchers. Following their interaction the USDA removed its support of the campaign.

Alexander was quoted as saying, “Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food, helping you get more nutrition from the calories you take in.”

Please watch the Today Show promotion of Meatless Mondays:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 An observation: One of the councilmen (Ed Reyes) who joined in proposing the resolution stated that he had a son with diabetes.

According to the American Diabetic Association’s website: Foods that contain carbohydrate (including starches) raise blood glucose. By keeping track of how many carbohydrates you eat and setting a limit for your maximum amount to eat, you can help to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range.

Foods high in starch include:

  • Starchy vegetables like peas, corn, lima beans, and potatoes
  • Dried beans, lentils, and peas such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas, and split peas
  • Grains like oats, barley, and rice. (The majority of grain products in the US are made from wheat flour. These include pasta, bread, and crackers but the variety is expanding to include other grains as well.)

While the dietician on the video promotes whole grains and beans in place of the meat she does not mention that diabetics often must limit their grain and legume intake. Meatless Monday may well influence their diabetes management.

And as a PS to that there are many meats that are low in cholesterol and necessary for good health.

But the end question really remains the same: Is it the government’s job to restrict our food choices? If this plan is adopted where will it end? Will adults who do not take government assistance be required to purchase only approved food items? How soon before banned foods like brownies, hot dogs or even chocolate milk soon become black market items?

No Pork at TX College? The Nanny State Continues.

Are you sending your son or daughter off to college? If you are, have you given your adult (or close to adult) child instructions on eating a healthy diet? Or, are you anticipating that the school will make these choices for your young adult?

At Paul Quinn College in Dallas (a small private college) the president of the school is making these decisions for you. President Michael Sorrell came to the conclusion that pork is not a nutritious food and therefore banned it from the school cafeterias. All pork. Not just bacon, not just pork rinds.

In an email to students Sorrell wrote: “We know there are many negative health consequences of consuming pork (eating pork can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, sodium retention and heart problems, not to mention weight gain and obesity)…  Therefore, as a part of our continued effort to improve the lives and health of our students, Paul Quinn College and its food service partner Perkins Management have collaborated to create a pork-free cafeteria.”

A couple of questions immediately come to mind: Can a school ban a food? And is President Sorrell a nutritionist?

The answer to the first question is yes. Colleges can determine what foods will be served in their dining areas. However, in efforts to appeal to the college students more schools are increasing their menu rather than limiting.

To the second question and the implied, is President Sorrell qualified to make a determination that all pork is bad, the answer is no.

From the school website: Sorrell received his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University. He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Government.

The National Pork Board publishes a Frequently Asked Questions page on their website about the nutritional value and whether there were health risks from eating pork. President Sorrell might be surprised at their findings which appear in contrast to his statement.

From the “Pork: Be Inspired” website: Pork tenderloin is now as lean as skinless chicken breast. The study found a 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin contains only 2.98 grams of fat, whereas a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast contains 3.03 grams of fat.

The Canadian Pork Council states: The fat in pork is tran-fat free and mostly mono-and poly-unsaturated, so trimmed pork is suitable for even cholesterol-lowering or “heart-healthy” diets.

Many will also ask, what happened to eating in moderation? How can these young adults be expected to make their own healthy menu choices if never given options? 

Is this a continuation of the nanny state mentality? If so, where will it stop?

Mayor Knows Best?

No longer is it ‘Mother Knows Best.’ Today it’s the Mayor who knows best how to raise our children.

Mayor Bloomberg, who daily works to promote a Nanny State in his city, has now become a Nanny. At least, that’s what he says. He knows better than new moms how to feed their babies.

Beginning in September hospitals in New York City will keep all baby formula under lock and key. New mothers will not be provided with baby formula unless they sign a consent form just as they would for medications. If mothers want to use formula they must first undergo a lecture on the benefits of breast feeding by hospital staff. The New York Health department will monitor formula usage and request a medical reason for its use.

Health officials are applauding the city for its latest push. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner said, “With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.”

What happened to something as personal as choosing whether to breastfeed or use formula becoming a decision made by the government?  No one argues the potential benefits of breast milk over formula, yet, why is this not a choice that is made by the mother, in consultation with her doctor?

As the Nanny State continues to grow one looks at the irony. Those who fight tooth and nail to offer the woman’s choice to abort a baby are now limiting a woman’s choice to raise a baby.

Or maybe it’s not irony, maybe it’s a trend.

Only a few years ago the idea of a nanny state in America was only promoted in science fiction. Yet today we must wonder how long it will be before the government tells mothers it knows better and takes the children to be reared by appropriate workers.

Are Feds Using Common Sense?

Ronald Reagan famously said the scariest words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” As the government focuses on childhood obesity, better diets and exercise are they losing sight of the big picture? Are they using common sense?

A high school in Utah recently was fined $15,000 by the federal government. It seems vending machines that hold carbonated beverages or “junk food” are not to be sold during the school lunch period. While the school had locked up all vending machines in the cafeteria there were some found unlocked and available for purchase in another area of the campus.

The high fine paid by the school affects its budget causing a cut of the Arts program. Studies have shown that Arts programs increase literacy skills.

Is the government using common sense? Students who bring soft drinks or candy to school were not restricted from eating it during their lunch.  Of note by the school principal, is that while candies like Skittle’s were banned from lunchtime sales Snicker’s were allowed. Why? Because the Snicker’s candy bar contains nutritious peanuts. Where is the common sense in this argument?

This week friends in Pennsylvania noted that their children were mandated to exercise two laps each day after lunch. These laps were incorporated into the recess period which previously had been ‘free time’ for the children. No one argues the benefit of exercise but children who ate slow and didn’t complete their laps were sent to the principal’s office. Another friend stated that her children’s school similarly was incorporating an exercise program into their day. However, the children were not allowed to run on the school campus and so were required to walk their laps.  Exercise is linked to better school performance. Still, one has to wonder how much common sense is being used? Why not move the daily exercise to first thing in the morning so the student learning is improved for the whole day?

No one argues that nutritious meals and exercise will benefit students. But one might question that an agency which still counts pizza as a vegetable might better leave some of these decisions to the parents.




As Seen On TV: The “Slim Away”… A First Look

Bet you didn’t know that we did product reviews at, did you?  Well, we do, and here one is.

Have you ever seen a product advertised late night on TV and wondered if it actually did what it claimed to do?  Or if it was even worth buying?  Believe it or not, sometimes these products can deliver.  A lot of that depends on how much they cost, how well they meet their claims, and if you can find them in a store near you, as opposed to paying for “processing” and delivery.

In this case, we’ll be looking at a product that’s known as the “Slim Away”.  It’s a $10 “girdle with a zipper” that claims to help you look slim “instantly”.  It also claims to help you lose water weight.  Here’s one of their commercials below.

So… Does it work?  We’ve tested this “slimming belt”, and we’ve got to say that it surprisingly does live up to some of its claims.  The belt does definitely help you “look slimmer”, because it’s basically a girdle.  It also does make you sweat quite a bit (the inside of the belt is made of a neoprene like material), so it probably will help you lose water weight.

The question is: does this qualify as a “weight loss product”?  And the answer is probably “no”.  This belt is great, if you want help holding in your belly for a day or two, and it would probably help you lose some water weight before you went to a conference or something like that.  But as far as being a long term piece of your weight loss strategy, this device just doesn’t measure up.

Still, if you can find it at a local store for $9.99 (like we did), it can definitely be useful to have around.  Watch below for an actual un-boxing and demonstration video that we’ve filmed.

The shakedown on Salt: A Heart Healthy choice

The myth: That salt is salt, that there is no difference between table salt and sea salt.

The Salt Myth

The Salt Myth

Allow me to immediately dismiss this myth. Like most salt addicted Americans, I suffered from bouts of high blood pressure after eating. Sodium causing hypertension affects many Americans. The American Heart Association ( states that “76.4 million US adults have high blood pressure.” High Blood Pressure or Hypertension can damage or weaken your arteries and can lead to kidney disease. And what is the first advice given by your cardiologist? Put down the salt. Sure, that would be great if we didn’t love our food so much.

But there is a solution, all natural Sea Salt. Not all salt is created equal. Table salt, at its core, is sea salt, either from modern oceans or ancient sea beds. Table salt has been demineralized and chemically processed. It has been refined, which means its highly processed, been bleached and stripped of naturally occurring trace minerals.

Table Salt vs Sea Salt

Table Salt vs Sea Salt

This means that the sodium chloride in table salt is highly concentrated, making it very bad for your health. Not to mention the unnatural additives like potassium-iodide, sugar and aluminum silicate.

You may think we need this unnatural additive of Iodide, which is supposed to help avoid iodine deficiency disease of the thyroid gland. Due to the unnatural levels in table salt, this can lead to hyperthyroidism, which is become a growing concern in America. Natural sea salt contains natural iodine, no additives necessary.

Why then, did America transition from sea salt to table salt? Well, apparently the aesthetics of pure white salt (same with sugar), which to maintain this all white salt, is to add anti-caking agents to increase its shelf life in this bleached state. The issue with adding preservatives which keeps salt from absorbing moisture interferes with one of salt’s main functions, to help regulate hydration in your body.

Iodized Salt

Iodized Salt

This is one source as to why Americans are becoming dehydrated in a modern age such as this. Look at your typical IV you get in the hospital to keep you hydrated, electrolytes from salt and potassium. Which you find naturally in sea salt which leads to better hydration, lower blood pressure, better overall health.

Sea salt in the raw, contains trace nutrients and minerals such as ionized sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese to name a few. Natural sea salt is a source of over 21 essential and 30 accessory minerals.

Since natural sea salt contains no added chemicals or preservatives, and contains natural iodide, it is not only healthy for the heart, but the whole body. It regulates hydration in your body and your blood pressure.

You must know, that not all sea salt that you can purchase at the store are equal. At Wal-Mart, you can buy a processed version of sea salt. Not all natural, still has potassium-iodide added, but from table salt, a huge improvement.

One must understand that sea salt is NOT the bleached white, processed table salt we find in our shakers. Natural sea salt is colored, depending on where the salt comes from in the world, ranging from gray to a light rose color. Sea salt tends to be moist and coarse, but you can grind it finer, or purchase it ground fine.

I guess we should get to the important part, flavor. The flavor of sea salt far and wide exceeds that of table salt. The richness and depth of flavor adds so much more to your favorite dishes. It not only adds flavor but adds to your health.

Sodium overdose leads to hypertension and high blood pressure

Sodium overdose leads to hypertension and high blood pressure

About 8 years ago, I switched to sea salt due to hypertension experienced after meals. I was shocked at the immediate difference it made for my after meal experience. I no longer suffered from hypertension caused by concentrated sodium in my table salt. The affects were so immediate, I knew I had to look more into sea salt.

When I go to McDonald’s on occasion, I order my favorite burger with fries, I ask for “no salt fries”, and they will cook a fresh batch for you, and add no salt to your fries. I mention this as Wendy’s recently made the move to use sea salt with their fries. As you can image, I rushed out and ordered my favorite burger meal with these sea salt fries. While the sea salt wasn’t the unadulterated salt you find with all natural sea salt, it was a huge improvement, and more importantly, did not give me that after meal hypertension, I was accustomed to with table salt. Hats off to Wendy’s in their effort to be responsible for their consumers health.

Since table salt is so extremely concentrated in sodium, I could use the same amount of sea salt to replace my table salt in and on my dishes, and having no ill affects on my body. However, since sea salt is more flavorful, one can use less to maintain flavor.

There are many health benefits to sea salt besides not raising blood pressure. The trace minerals in sea salt help ease pain and heal skin. You can add it to your baths to help heal from acne, eczema, poison ivy and psoriasis. These trace minerals can also help promote cell health. Cell damage can lead to muscle spasms, brain damage and nervous disorders. Sea salt helps heal cells and helps control and balance the ions in our bodies cells.

Sea Salt for Health

Sea Salt for Health

If you experience water retention, you will see immediate improvement by using all natural sea salt.

When you are at the store looking to purchase sea salt, make sure you look at the labels. You want a sea salt that is unrefined, has no additives and contains natural trace minerals, naturally found in sea salt.

If you are using salt substitutes or low-sodium salts, you can switch to natural sea salt and maintain and improve your health. Natural sea salt does not increase blood pressure or make you retain water, when taken with moderation.

Dr. David Brownstein, author of “Salt – Your Way to Health” said “… a low-sodium diet is not only ineffective at controlling blood pressure, it is deleterious to the body. What conventional doctors and most mainstream organizations have failed to grasp is the difference between refined salt and unrefined salt. As mentioned previously, refined salt lacks minerals and causes acidosis (i.e. a lowered pH). Our bodies were meant to function optimally with adequate mineral levels and adequate salt intake. Only the use of unrefined salt can provide both of these factors.”

All natural sea salt

All natural sea salt

Dr Brownstein recommends Redmond’s “Real Salt” (as do I), which is from the ancient sea beds in Utah. You can buy natural sea salts from live oceans, but with today’s pollution, sea salts from an ancient unpolluted oceans is perhaps preferred.

Christine Avaness, author of “Living Beyond Organic” is quoted, saying “An excellent source of organic sodium, Real Salt is key to
alkalizing, detoxifying, and rejuvenating your whole body.”

Another all natural sea salt brand

Another all natural sea salt brand

I use Redmond’s “Real Salt” at home and on the farm. On the farm is a wholly separate and complex topic on its own. To summarize, it can be used to replace the mineral block for livestock, as it is all natural and more nutritious for your farm animals. It is also used to add to your garden soil to increase fertility, few ways can add so much nutrients as sea salt can.

You can purchase Redmond’s “Real Salt” or any all natural, unprocessed, unrefined, no chemical or preservative added sea salt from most health food stores, even some supermarkets and some Wal-Mart stores started carrying Real Salt by Redmond.

Your local farm/feed store carries Redmond’s sea salt in the 20, 40 or 50lb bags for livestock and soil.

Overall, sodium is an important part of building a healthy life, in balancing your bodies core systems. With natural sea salt you can have this healthier lifestyle without sacrificing flavor, nutrients or health.

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