December 23, 2014

5 Ideas for Reusing Our Product Packaging

When it comes down to slowing climate change, making the world healthier and more hospitable place for all of us, the little things really do make a difference. Of course, that’s in addition to all the big stuff we’re all hopefully already working on—reducing fossil fuel use, supporting renewable energy, organic farming and so on. But we can also take pride in doing those subtle, little things, like reducing our food waste and our trash. Keeping plastic out of landfills. And we have also found some exciting “new” ways for reusing our own foil product packaging that we think you might appreciate.

We considered lots of packaging options for the mustHave organic whey and greens, but when it came down to it, shipping a lighter-weight product (not in a heavy glass bottle) seemed to do the planet a bigger favor in reducing fossil fuels. So, we chose the foil bags you see (pictured above). 

Still, that doesn’t mean you should just trash your greens or whey bag once you’re through! These sturdy, gusseted bags can have many reusing options. Here are some of our favorite ways to reuse the bags:

  1. Turn it into a small trash bag. Yes, you’re still sending it to a landfill eventually, but you’re keeping another bag out. And because our bags aren’t as large as a kitchen or yard trash bag, perhaps it can motivate you to make a little bit less trash, even if for just one week. Or use it in your car to keep the trash from cluttering under your seat.
  2. Use it for storage. It’s a great sturdy bag for arts and craft supplies for kids, odds and ends, nails and screws, etc.
  3. Turn it into a lunch bag. Fill it with a yummy sandwich, a small container of fruit or veggies and keep the flimsy brown paper bags out of the landfill. With proper care you can use this for weeks worth of lunches, if not months.
  4. Buy and store your bulk foods. Take the bag to your favorite health food store and load up on whole grain oats, rice, beans, etc in this sealable, reusable bag. While most bags stores offer are thin and prone to tearing, this will hold up to even the heaviest bulk items.
  5. Closet freshener. We recommend doing this after you’ve already reused the bag for a while in some of these other capacities. Poke a few small holes throughout the bag. Fill it with cedar chips, flower petals or other natural scented materials and hang it in your closet to keep your clothes and linens smelling fresh and clean.

 

 

December 19, 2014

Can Meditation Alter Human DNA?

Meditation has many benefits. It’s been shown to calm the mind, reduce stress, improve mood, concentration and help with getting better, more restful sleep. Now, research has discovered that the simple act of meditation may also physically change your DNA, and this could be good news for people at risk of developing cancer.

A new study, published in the Canadian journal Cancer, found that telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, experienced physical changes--becoming longer--after mindfulness meditation, a specific type of meditation. While shorter telomeres aren't always a sign that there’s an underlying health issue, like cancer, they do have a correlation with diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, whereas longer telomeres are less often associated with these illnesses.

And the study was looking specifically at cancer—88 breast cancer survivors. The test subjects were broken up into three groups that included mindfulness meditation and yoga in group one, group therapy in the second, and a control group only receiving a 6-hour stress management course. The subjects had their telomere lengths measured (through a blood test) both before and after the experiments.

The researchers found that the survivors in the group experiencing the mindfulness meditation practice, were also associated with the increased telomere length.

Mindfulness meditation is a Buddhist-style of mediation, “in which practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way, ignoring past grudges and future concerns,” reports Scientific American.

Meditation has been connected to other impressive physical changes, too, Scientific American explains: 

study led by diet and lifestyle guru Dr. Dean Ornish from 2008 reported that the combination of a vegan diet, stress management, aerobic exercise and participation in a support group for 3 months resulted in increased telomerase activity in men with prostate cancer, telomerase being the enzyme that maintains telomeres by adding DNA to the ends of our chromosomes. More recent work looking at meditation reported similar findings. And though small and un-randomized, a 2013 follow up study by Ornish, again looking at prostate cancer patients, found that lifestyle interventions are associated with longer telomeres.

Even if the extended telomeres from the study turn out to be simply a coincidence, with so many benefits to meditation, it’s worth exploring as part of a healthy lifestyle either way.

 

Image: jocelynyan1 

 

December 16, 2014

Olive Oil May Prevent Bone Loss and Reduce Osteoporosis Symptoms

Olive oil is no stranger to healthy diets. A core ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, it’s great for the brain, heart and skin, as well as in protecting against certain free radicals. And now, researchers have discovered another benefit of olive oil: protection against bone loss.

Bone loss occurs in all of us over time, even if we’re active and eat right. But according to the research, the incidence of bone loss and osteoporosis is lower throughout Europe and the Mediterranean basin where olive oil is a staple food.

A 2013 study looked at 188,795 subjects from eight European countries where the Mediterranean diet was common and found a lower risk of hip fractures occurred among the people eating a diet rich in olive oil.

Another study looked at elderly men over two years and found that among the test groups, only those who consumed at least 50 milliliters of virgin olive oil had increased their production of osteocalcin and procollagen I N-terminal propeptide procollagen. These serums have been connected with protection against bone loss.

“Furthermore, there is a positive association between intake of monounsaturated fatty acids and bone mineral density,” reports Olive Oil Times. A 2014 review paper that was published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that “virgin olive oil phenols may also play a role in the prevention of osteoporosis,” Olive Oil Times notes.

Credit goes to oleuropein, a primary phenol in olive oil, which may not only prevent bone loss, but aid in the production of osteoblasts, bone producing cells. Studies have connected oleuropein to a reduction in osteoporosis symptoms, specifically in postmenopausal women, one of the highest risk groups.

According to Olive Oil Times, “in addition to protecting against heart disease and cancer, regular intake of virgin olive oil may be a simple but effective solution to preventing osteoporosis, which the World Health Organization has designated as the ‘second most healthcare problem worldwide after cardiovascular disease’.”

 Image: horaceko

 

December 12, 2014

The Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2015 to Keep You Healthy



Fitness routines should be part of every healthy lifestyle. But with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming. Now, the American College of Sports Medicine has released its list of the top 20 fitness trends to look for in 2015.

These fitness trends are popping up at gyms and health clubs around the globe. If your workout routine is a bit on the stale side, give one of these a whirl to keep your health goals through 2015 and beyond.

Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2015

1. Body weight training. Letting your body serve as the weights in this training method became popular in 2013, and is getting another boon in 2015 as the top fitness trend. “Typical body weight training programs use minimal equipment, which makes it a very inexpensive way to exercise effectively. Most people think of body weight training as being limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but it can be much more than that,” says the ACSM.

2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT). Using short bursts of high-intensity exercise mixed with periods of rest can make for a quick workouts with impressive results. It was in the top spot on this list last year and is continuing to earn praise and fans worldwide.

3. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals. When in doubt, don’t leave your fitness routine to yourself, get a professional to help you meet your goals. Whether it’s a trainer or taking a class, fitness professionals can help you keep your goals. “As the economy continues to grow and as the market for fitness professionals becomes even more crowded and more competitive, interest in some degree of regulation either from within the industry or from external sources (i.e., government) seems to be expanding,” says the ACSM, and that may mean better teachers and trainers to help keep your goals.

4. Strength training. This can include body weight (#1 on this list), resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines to achieve fitness goals.

5. Personal training. Those certified trainers (#3) can help you personalize your fitness goals. Results speak for themselves and it’s no surprise that personal trainers are trending.

6. Exercise and weight loss. Food plays a huge role in our fitness goals. Some programs are beginning to emphasize the connection. “The combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight loss maintenance and can improve compliance to caloric restriction diets and in particular weight loss programs,” says ACSM

7. Yoga. Yoga has been a top fitness trend for well over a decade. Whichever yoga style you choose, focus on the breath and mindfulness can help meet your fitness goals.

8. Fitness programs for older adults. Baby boomers aren’t babies anymore. Many are retired or are retiring soon and fitness programs that cater to the needs of this aging population are on trend.

9. Functional fitness. “Replicating actual physical activities someone might do as a function of his or her daily routine, functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living,” says ACSM.

10. Group personal training. Smaller than a packed gym class, two to three students at once decreases the costs of personal trainers while avoiding the stress of overcrowded fitness classes.

11. Worksite health promotion. Get paid to exercise? Some employers are offering on site fitness programs. Even if you have to clock out for the session, having a fitness option at work will hopefully make you more inclined to do it.

12. Outdoor activities. Remember nature? It’s that place away from your computer and television and unlike gyms, doesn’t reek of sweaty socks. Whether it’s hiking, biking or snowboarding, taking fitness outdoors is always on trend.

13. Wellness coaching. “Wellness coaching integrates behavioral change science into health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation programs,” says ACSM. “Wellness coaching often uses a one-on-one approach similar to a personal trainer, with the coach providing support, guidance, and encouragement. The wellness coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision, and goals.”

14. Circuit training. Like HIIT (#2), circuit training often includes a group of 6 to 10 sequential exercises, but without the push-until-you-drop intensity of HIIT.

15. Core training. Think of fitness as spiraling out from your center and core training will make a lot more sense. Strengthening abdomen and back can lead to strength in the rest of the body. Common equipment includes exercise balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards, and foam rollers.

16. Sport-specific training. For the serious athletes, this training works on sports-related activities like kicking soccer balls or throwing basketballs.

17. Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity. “Childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations and is important because of its association with other medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension,” explains the ACSM. “As public school systems continue to face the challenge of cutting programs such as physical education and recess to spend more time preparing for standardized testing, programs for youth is a potential new market for commercial and community-based organizations.” And, it’s extremely important.

18. Outcome measurements. You may have your own Fitbit or another fitness measurement device. And don’t be surprised if your fitness instructors spew out similar details about your workout classes as quantifying fitness goals is becoming more popular.

19. Worker incentive programs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes. And employers are getting in on this to help reduce healthcare costs.

20. Boot camp. And if all else fails, take yourself to boot camp and get a military style training that, at the very least, will scare some fitness into you.

 

Image: E'lisa Campbell

 

December 09, 2014

Giving Back: Why We Support 1% for the Planet

The Organic Whey LLC has been an avid supporter of 1% for the Planet for years, pledging a portion of sales to support non-profit organizations focused on sustainability. What does that mean for you as a customer?

Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet includes more than 1,200 members in 48 countries that support more than 3,300 nonprofits. So far, that little 1 percent has generated more than 100 million dollars for these noble causes.

"The Organic Whey LLC is a great addition to the network. By signing on to 1%, it shows they’re really walking the walk in their sustainability efforts,” says Terry Kellogg, 1% CEO. “They're using generosity as a tool with which to build their business and enabling valuable environmental work along the way. We're excited to welcome them to the 1% family."

The Organic Whey shares the beliefs of 1% for the Planet that businesses can do better. We can do more and be more with our products and our purchases. We can create a better world for all who share it without having to sacrifice our health or our happiness. In fact, making better choices for the planet can make us even happier and healthier. What’s not to love about that?

Already, The Organic Whey has supported several organizations including:

We’re consumers too, and we chose these nonprofits because of their commitments to the environment, children’s health and the small family farm—all of which are vital to our future. We want our children and yours to inherit an earth that’s better than it is today, not worse.

This starts by all of us considering each and every purchase. How does this impact our health? How does it impact the earth? These questions are the foundation of change and creating a planet that works for all of us, for many years to come.

Image via NASA

December 05, 2014

The Future is Deskless?


Sitting has its perks, of course, but there are downsides to too much sitting. Studies have found that sitting more than several hours a day can make us more prone to certain health risks. Enter the standing desks and even those absurd treadmill desks that have garnered quite a bit of revelry. But what about no desk?

That’s right, folks, the future is apparently going to be deskless.

Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) and Barbara Visser are proposing a seatless future in a video and model they’ve built in Amsterdam called “The End of Sitting,” which they say is “an installation at the crossroads of visual art, architecture, philosophy and empirical science.”

From the RAAAF website: “In our society almost the entirety of our surroundings have been designed for sitting, while evidence from medical research suggests that too much sitting has adverse health effects,” the group notes, that it has “developed a concept wherein the chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points. Instead, the installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape. The End of Sitting marks the beginning of an experimental trial phase, exploring the possibilities of radical change for the working environment.”

It looks quite Sci-fi; modular panel like pieces that you lean, stand at and yes, do a little sitting on as well. But there are no carpeted cubby cubes or bulky uncomfortable office chairs that never seem to feel right.

What do we need desks for anyway? It’s not like most office workers are writing or stapling their days away, right? A laptop and a nice place to lean might not be a bad idea. Plus, you have the freedom to move around the modules as your body sees fit, which feels not only more ergonomic but better for your mental space too. Sometimes just being “stuck” at a desk can really feel claustrophobic and bulky, which as everyone knows, is not how the future is going to look. Seems like we’re finally catching up to Sci-fi and the minimalist future long predicted. Now, all we need are the shiny metallic jumpsuits and robot maids.

 

Image via RAAAF

 

December 02, 2014

Are Illegal Drugs Hiding in Your Food?

A recent round of investigations conducted by the FDA found several shocking safety violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in animal products sold for human consumption.

In Ohio, a veal calf was found to contain sulfamethoxazole, “which has no acceptable level in calves sold for veal,” reports Food Safety News. Another Ohio seller was sent a warning letter over selling misbranded and potentially dangerous cheeses. A violation occurred In Iowa where a cattle rancher reportedly sold a steer with excessive levels of another regulated drug called florfenicol. In Connecticut, serious violations of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations were found to pose human health risks. And there have been numerous warnings sent to dairy producers for a number of safety violations including the discovery of illegal drug residue in milk products.

Now, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FDA data on the illegal drug residues found in the U.S. milk supply, with hopes of getting some answers and resolutions.

“[C]onsumers have a right to know what’s in their milk, and if there are dangerous drugs in it, they need to know what the FDA is doing about that,” CSPI senior food safety attorney David Plunkett said in a statement. “Why are those dairies that either can’t or won’t follow the rules allowed to continue to market milk?”

These findings make the case for buying products with the certified organic seal on all the more important for your health, and especially if you’re feeding these food products to children. Not to mention the health of the animals throughout the production cycle.

Not only are certified organic products free from illegal and legal drugs (like antibiotics), but they’re also guaranteed to be free from genetically modified organisms, which are common in conventional animal feed. Most certified organic farms are considerably smaller than conventional farms and are invested in the health and happiness of the animals as well.

Transparency in our food system should start with the manufacturer, but that’s not always the case. Organic foods are now widely available across the country, and in order for them to continue to be available, consumers must vote with their dollars and let manufacturers know what they value and why spending more on clean food is a worthwhile investment.

 

Image: mdalmud

 

November 27, 2014

Why We’re Not Celebrating Black Friday

In America, we live in a world of abundance. Even for those of us who have much less than others, we still have so much to be grateful for—and so much that we also often take for granted. The best example of this scenario is happening later this week: Black Friday, the day when we toss aside what we’re thankful for so we can rudely elbow past our fellow humans for the best holiday deals.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to buy gifts for your friends and family to show them how much you care. Giving is an important part of being human, and bargain prices can help us stay on budget. But our consumptive habits have become so taxing on our planet, our resources and our human decency, that here at The Organic Whey, we are choosing not to participate this year. You will not see a blow-out sale on our whey or new greens products.

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November 24, 2014

mustHave Greens Launch & Whey Product Name Change

Here at The Organic Whey, we’ve been really busy! As you may have noticed, we’ve been hard at work on a new product launch, a name change and a website redesign.

As Americans who are trying hard to stay healthy and enjoy the benefits of the latest in scientific findings, but at the same time stay away from fad foods, we struggle with what supplements or health food products we should be regularly consuming. So, for our own products we have decided to name them so that everyone knows what we think are “mustHaves” and which products are “nicetoHaves”.

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November 24, 2014

Hidden Sugars in ‘Healthy’ Food Revealed to Cause Health Issues

On average, Americans consume about 20 teaspoons of sugar daily, numbers that are up significantly over the last hundred years. Recommended daily intake of sugar is no more than six teaspoons per day for women and nine teaspoons for men. View full article →
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