Obviously we write a lot about health on this blog - and in particular healthy eating, real nutrition, and the connections between your health and the food you eat - since that is my main passion. But we also want to know what you want to read about, so we can provide information on the topics you're seeking to learn about!
So this week, rather than another general article, I'm asking you to get specific and let us know what information you find most valuable. Are you most interested in fitness and weight loss? Healthy & delicious recipes? Ways to relieve pain naturally? Living a cleaner, greener lifestyle? Or maybe you want to know how you can relieve stress and find a spiritual connection with the universe? Whatever you're looking for, let us know, so we can write about it!

Obviously holistic living is a very broad topic, and we try to cover the various aspects of living a healthy & balanced life on this website.
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This week at the office was a tough one, as we were all rather shocked by the loss of one of our colleagues, who passed away suddenly last weekend. The final word is not in yet, but it seems likely that he succumbed to a diabetic coma, as he had quite severe Type 1 diabetes, and had frequent problems controlling his blood sugar.  I had known him for several years, and a more caring, kinder soul would be hard to find. I was deeply saddened, and have spent the week pondering mortality, the shortness of life, and the value of the people I love.

However, I was not as surprised by his untimely demise as some. You may have heard me mention him from time to time as "my vegan friend." Not even 50 years old, he had the look of someone older, and always looked rather sickly and pale to me. I am not necessarily attributing this to his veganism, although, as you may have read in previous blog posts, I don't see it as the healthiest way to eat. I remember thinking as he vehemently espoused the vegan lifestyle to anyone who would listen (or even look in his direction), that I wondered if he would live to 60.... A terrible passing thought to have, but he was one of those I would call a "rabid vegan," who sought constantly to convert others to his way of eating, though the effects it seemed to have had on his body and health didn't really appear to be all that positive.

Don't get me wrong: I feel there is room in the world for all types of eaters - vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, whatever floats your boat - it's ultimately up to you. However, I also know that
unhealthy eaters can be found in all of these genres. Affiliating yourself with a certain type of eater doesn't automatically make you healthy, although many people seem to think it does.

Last week we talked about corn, and especially about the detrimental effects of corn being fed to animals - particularly cattle. We left you with the surprising fact that each person in the US consumes about 1 ton of corn per year. How does one person possibly eat that much corn? Besides feeding meat animals, and your gas tank, here's what happens to most of the rest of that corn:

It is processed.

First, the grains of corn are usually soaked in an acid bath, then ground, the germ separated out, the kernels crushed, then further ground, filtered, spun, etc. Water is added, more acids are added, dissolving, pulverizing, separating  into different components, and the process goes on. If it sounds like quite an intensive process, it is. According to Michael Pollan's book, The Ominivore's Dilemma, for every calorie of processed food produced from corn, 10 calories of fossil fuel energy are burned.

Along with corn syrup (not surprisingly one of the largest uses), corn also becomes corn starch, citric and lactic acid, glucose, fructose, maltodextrin, ethanol, sorbitol, mannitol, xanthan gum, modified and unmodified starches, dextrins, cyclodextrins, and MSG - among hundreds of others. Most all of these will be familiar to you if you've ever looked at the label of most processed food items. It's no wonder that you eat a lot more corn than you might think you do!

Happy New Year everyone!!  I hope you had a wonderful, safe, happy and healthy holiday season! It's hard to believe it is 2014, and the new year stretches ahead full of possibility. Let's make it a wonderful year to remember! I know it will be for me, as I'm getting married this year! :-)

I know I promised to report on The Omnivore's Dilemma, and I will share more soon, but I'm not quite finished with it. I read quite a bit of it on Christmas vacation, and it's really such an amazing book! Today I wanted to share just a few tidbits that you may not know - I certainly didn't!

The first part of the book goes into the history of corn, which you would think would be a less than fascinating subject, but it is very well written, and I found myself drawn into the strange world of this exotic and unique plant, which has shaped so much of our culture and food chain, and without which our country would probably look very different right now.  Interestingly enough, it is a very co-dependent relationship, as without humans, corn would likely not have survived as a species either!

It is hard for me to adequately explain the ridiculous and convoluted system that has made corn the basis of our entire food system, or the full scope of destruction this system is wreaking on our land, our farmers, and our health. The book goes into it in depth, and for a more detailed explanation I recommend you grab a copy, but here are the highlights: