Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Brief Explanation on High-Fructose Corn Syrup

I do not always look at labels on the foods and such that I purchase.  However, when it comes to high-fructose corn syrup, I try to avoid it as much as possible, and especially since diabetes runs in mine and my husband's families.

I have issues with hypoglycemia/low blood sugar, and notice that if I consume more sugar than I should, a few hours later I have heart palpitations and feel weak and lethargic.  As such, I try to steer clear of sugar cane.  If I want something sweet to tie me over, I almost always have an organic 80% cocoa dark chocolate bar in the fridge to eat a nibble or two of, which is much better for me, my husband and daughter to consume.

The below article explains in brief a little about high-fructose corn syrup.

"This is one in an occasional series on nutrition topics.

Buzzword: High-fructose corn syrup

The Mystery: Is high-fructose corn syrup responsible for the obesity epidemic, or isn't it? Is it worse for us to eat than sugar? Should we avoid it in the grocery store or is it really just the same as sugar?

The Expert: Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Channing Lab and Brigham and Women's Hospital; and director of the Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Epidemiology and Genetics Core.

Q: What is high-fructose corn syrup?

A: High-fructose corn syrup is made of corn. The starch is converted into sugar through a process called hydrolysis. The finished product typically consists of about 55 percent fructose, 40 percent glucose and other minor sugars and other ingredients.

Q: How is that different from table sugar?

A: Table sugar, called sucrose, is made from sugar cane [or beets] and is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose.

Q: What makes high-fructose corn syrup different? Why is it used in place of sugar?

A: It's cheap, it's much cheaper than table sugar. That's one of the main reasons it has been used ubiquitously in the U.S. food supply. Metabolically they are not substantially different.

Q: Does that mean it's fine to eat?

A: We should worry about sugar in general. On a gram-for-gram basis, high-fructose corn syrup may not be worse than table sugar but there is just too much in our food supply, especially in [the form of] soft drinks. Because it's cheap, consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has gone up so much in recent decades and has become one of the main sources of calories in our diet.

The Takeaway: High-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and caloric sweeteners by any other name deliver a lot of empty (non-nutritive) calories. For better health, avoid products with added sugar, whether it comes from corn, sugar cane or beets."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Six Symptoms That Need Addressed

Please read the below article as being informed may potentially save a life.

"As we get older, even those of us in the best of health will have various unusual symptoms. Some boomers and seniors ignore these problems or dismiss them as part of aging. But these six symptoms should never be ignored; they should be diagnosed as soon as possible:

- SHARP PAIN IN A JOINT: It could be nothing. Maybe you bumped your elbow or knee without even noticing it. But sudden sharp pain in a joint, especially if it gets worse or does not go away after a day or two, could be something more serious. If the pain occurs more than once, see a doctor. In some cities, there are sports clinics that offer free preliminary examinations that will let you know if you need a more thorough look at the problem.

- SUDDEN HEADACHES: If you suddenly begin experiencing frequent headaches for the first time in your life, see your regular physician first. He or she can help decide whether the symptom is serious enough to see a neurologist. Even if aspirin or ibuprofen relieves the headaches, do not rely solely on such medication. Find out what is causing the pain.

- UNEXPLAINED BLEEDING: If you pass blood from the rectum or genitals on more than one occasion, or if you suddenly begin having nosebleeds or spitting up blood, that symptom needs an immediate examination. If the bleeding comes from a body opening below the waist, you probably will need to see a gastrointestinal specialist.

- EXTREME TENDERNESS IN ANY BODY PART: If you experience a new and somewhat constant pain in a fleshy body part, and it does not stop within a week, have a doctor examine the site. In fact, this can actually be an emergency if the pain is located between the ribs and hips. You may have swallowed a sharp object that is piercing tissues or there may be an intestinal blockage. Never dismiss lingering mid-body pain as "just a stomach ache."

- STRANGE LUMPS UNDER THE SKIN: The appearance of a lump under the skin, no matter where it appears on your body, is suspicious. Do not ever ignore it. It probably is not a malignant lump, but it is always best to make sure with a biopsy.

- STRANGE MARKS ON THE SKIN: Most people know that changes in a mole need to be diagnosed. But moles are not the only thing on skin that could be serious. An annual skin examination of your entire body is a good thing. But if a patch of skin becomes red and flaky, or turns white or darkens, do not wait for that annual exam. Have it looked at right away.

Never allow the cost of a doctor visit or co-payment stop you from seeing a doctor. If you are in a dire financial situation, and do not know of a church or charitable organization that can offer help, make a doctors appointment anyway. You can make payment arrangements when the examination is over, and the physicians staff may even know of ways to find financial help.

If the only doctor you know is your family practitioner, and you need a specialist, you can ask for a recommendation or use the Internet to search for one locally. If the specialist has a long waiting list, your practitioner may intervene to arrange an appointment sooner. Call your regular doctors office to discuss the issue so that you do not have to pay for an extra office visit."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

5 Year-Old Girl Sings A Beautiful Song

Please take a minute to click on the below link and watch the five year-old girl sing the song, "Above All."  She had to memorize almost six minutes worth of song and words.  I hope it touches your heart as much as it touched mine--especially since our daughter will be five years-old next year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How To Pray With Your Children

I read the below article on Focus on the Family's Web site, and thought that I would share it since it is one of the many important aspects of parenting.

"No matter how old your children are, it's never too late to begin praying with them.

Perhaps you've never prayed with your children. But no matter how old they are, it's never too late to start. It helps to remember that prayer is simply a conversation with God.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1) Newspaper Prayer. Try this idea at the beginning of the day as you're eating breakfast. Have each family member take a portion of the newspaper and circle items that he or she feels need to be prayed for. Then ask family members to pray for the things they circled in the paper.

2) Sentence Prayer. You can help your children pray aloud by giving them a sentence to complete, such as:
  • "Lord, I thank you for …"
  • "Lord, forgive me for …"
  • "Lord, help my friend …"
  • "Lord, help me be more …"
  • "Lord, help me to let go of …"
  • "Lord, give me the courage to …"
  • "Lord, one of the fears I need help with is …"
3) Highs and Lows. Ask your children what their "highs" were from the day, and then ask them about their "lows" from the day. Share your highs and lows as well, and then pray for them together.

4) Prayer Journal. Share your prayer requests with the other members of your family and then record them in a prayer journal. One person can pray for all the requests you've listed for the day. The next time you pray together, look over the requests you listed previously and update any changes and answers. This is a good way to see how God has been active in your prayer lives.

5) A.C.T.S. Prayer. This is a well-known form of prayer that is easy to remember:
  • A stands for “adoration.” Begin the prayer by simply adoring God for who He is.
  • C stands for “confession.” Spend some time confessing your sins.
  • T stands for “thanksgiving.” Take time to thank God for the blessings that He has given to you and your family.
  • S stands for “supplication.” Lift up specific areas of your life in which you need God to supply for your needs."