As this is a health-related site, and obesity is one of the greatest health problems in our country today, you may be wondering why there isn't a "weight loss" page on our site. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which being, we are all about holistic health. That is, treating the body as a whole, and as a connected part of the environment and the world. Unlike mainstream medicine, we don't believe in treating a specific symptom, but rather nurturing and nourishing the body with the things it needs to be a healthy whole. Therefore, we try to approach health as a holistic system, and if you faithfully follow the suggestions throughout the site, weight loss will most likely naturally follow as a result.

Not to mention, there are about as many ways to lose weight as there are overweight people! The variety of techniques, strategies, and programs people use to lose weight are practically endless. And while one strategy may work well for one person, it may do nothing for another, depending on one's habits, lifestyle, and even genetics.

We are a species of instant gratification. We all want the magic pill, the little-known strategy that is going to fix all of our problems, the one simple technique that will always work - we want the secret! Whether it is flat abs, thin thighs, or a smaller behind, when it comes to weight loss, people buy the "miracle cures" hook line and sinker by the truckload. Sadly many are left disappointed. Some may lose a bit of weight, but it is a struggle and many often give up before achieving their goals. Many put back on all of the lost pounds and then some.

So what works? What is the secret?

Milk has gotten a bad rap in natural health circles over the past few years. Today I'd like to try and clear up some of the confusion.

Let me first say that I'm not a huge milk drinker, and really never have been. Even growing up on a farm, with the freshest, healthiest milk possible, it just never appealed to me that much - although I do love other milk products like yogurt, cheese, butter, and ice cream (and who doesn't?) :-)  And I do cook with milk somewhat often, but I probably don't use that much compared to most Americans.

When I think about milk in general as a food, it has always seemed kind of odd and unnatural to me that we drink the milk of another species (we are the only creature who does this), even as adults - all other species only drink milk as babies - and of course only their own! But perhaps it shouldn't seem so strange. After all, humans have been consuming milk for thousands of years. While in this country we think of milk as coming from cows or maybe goats, cultures the world over have regularly consumed sheep's milk, yak's milk, horse's milk, and even camel's milk. In some societies milk has been a major source of fat and protein, and a fairly important part of the diet for survival. The consumption of milk by humans goes back at least 9,000 years, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

But recent critics of milk point to a number of supposedly milk-related health problems. They say that milk increases acidity in the body, is difficult to digest and leads to allergies, and (as my observation above) that it is an unnatural substance for the human body to consume.  While all of these concerns may certainly have some truth to them, I take issue with the fact that these critics lump all milk together.  As with most foodstuffs, how it is processed makes quite a difference, and as is certainly the case with milk, the wrong kind of processing can not only diminish, but even completely destroy any nutritional properties the food originally contained.

If you're a Christian, or even if you're not, you've probably heard the scripture that says your body is a temple.  As 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."

If you think about what this truly means, treating your body with reverence and care, as though it is sacred or houses something sacred, it is easy to see that even the most devoted Christian falls far short of living up to this command.

In fact, many, if not most, Americans - Christian or not - treat their bodies more like a garbage can than a temple.

Stop and think about all the products you put on or in your body every day - do you really know what's in them? What are they made of? Where do these substances come from, and what might they do to your body over time? Do you smoke? Do you drink alcohol? And what about the food you eat? Do you know where it comes from? How it was raised? What ingredients are in it? And what of the way you treat your body? Do you use it to its full purpose and capacity every day? Do you devote it sexually to one chosen partner - who also treats it well?

Maybe it's hard to envision what it truly means to treat your body as a temple, so how about some context.

Thanks for visiting our new health & wellness blog!  We will be starting weekly posts soon on a variety of holistic and healthy living topics.

In the meantime, feel free to check out our topic-specific blogs:

Cooking From Scratch - Weekly cooking tips and recipes.

Sustainable Gardening - Organic and sustainable gardening articles, tips, and resources.

New Fun Ways to Exercise - Articles, tips, and workout videos that are fast and fun.

Toxic Load/Green Living - Articles and resources on living a clean, green, and naturally healthy lifestyle.