Health Food Stores: Is Bigger Really Better?

Finding quality health food stores is becoming more and more important as people are looking for ways to stay fit and healthy. Eating organically grown food is becoming for many the first step in achieving that goal.

Nowadays it seems there’s a health food store in every mall. Typically these are corporate chain stores like GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe that carry organic supplements. Other stores like Walmart for example, although not considered a health food store carry such a large selection of organic foods and organic supplements that they too have become another resource for those looking for healthier food alternatives.

Then there are the small mom and pops that have been around for several years at the same location and are considered a part of the neighborhood.

Which is best? Going with one of the big national chains or the local neighborhood store? Well, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Shopping at a large chain store will usually mean you’ll pay less than at a independently owned health food store.
Walmart is an excellent example when it comes to price. They are now the largest seller of organic goods in the US offering more than 400 different food items, supplements and even organic clothing. They have a reputation of getting the absolute bottom prices from suppliers. This allows them to undercut pretty much everyone else.
Allowing consumers to reap the benefits of getting otherwise expensive organically grown foods at bargain prices.

Small health stores can’t order in super large quantities so it costs them more. So in order to make a profit, they then have to charge you more for some items you may be able to get cheaper at a chain store.
Local health food store Selection

While the bigger chains will have a large selection, most of what they do offer are either their own in house brand or products from other large commercial manufacturers. Small family owned health food stores tend to carry smaller brands but also have a more diverse selection of various manufacturers both large and small.

This can be a major plus for some buyers who quite frankly may not trust the ingredients made from large corporate entities.
Personal Service

The small health store owners selling organic supplements and food products typically eat what they sell, they actually use the products and are more likely to be active in some form of organic gardening. Their level of expertise also tends to be quite diverse and can give you advice on specific supplements and organic food choices.

While larger chains have well trained employees, they aren’t necessarily living the “organic lifestyle” generally.
That’s not to say that every employee isn’t into health. It’s just that it’s more of a way of life for the small family health food store owners who literally live and breath living a certain way. They are more aware of the effects of chemicals and other unnecessary additives and are more likely to be concerned about what they’re selling to the public.
Chain stores are more concerned with making a profit.

Another point worth mentioning in terms of personal service is the one on one relationships and familiarity you get from a small food store. If knowing your name when you stop by is important to you then going the mom pop route is a definite plus!

This really depends on what you’re looking for when you shop. This is one area where “bigger” is not necessarily better. It’s really important to understand the standards can be night and day. The very popular Whole Foods and Trader Joes chains are popular health food stores for millions expecting higher quality organic foods. While both are known for quality,both have also had their share of problems. Food recalls and most recently both chains along with others have been named in a lawsuit filed by the state of California for selling candy tainted with lead.

While bigger stores are constantly under the microscope, some smaller family owned stores can also have their share of problems with quality standards that may go unchecked simply because they’re small and may operate under the radar.

When it comes to quality it’s up to the consumer to ask questions and do their own research to determine if the quality of the goods being purchased lives up to their own set of standards.

A few simple ways to do that is to check expiration dates, read the labels and ask where the produce comes from.

It’s your health and your money, you owe it to yourself to take your time and choose wisely.

Improve Your Vision Naturally With Exercise

Did you know that by regularly exercising your eye muscles you can help prevent having to wear glasses in order to see clearly?

Now you already know that our bodies require regular exercise in order to stay healthy, well so do our eyes!

By regularly exercising your eye muscles you can be relieved of having to wear glasses not to mention help cure a few other eye problems.

You can begin it at any time, from early childhood to old age.

You may be able to correct your vision in the space of a few minutes or it may require many weeks.

The length of time will depend on the seriousness of your eye condition, on your powers of visualization, and on the manner in which you perform your drills and exercises.

A Couple Basic Eye Exercises You Can Do Right Now:

– Start by first removing your glasses. The less you wear your glasses, the better it will be for you in the long run. Whenever you put your glasses back on you are restoring the original refractive error, which the lenses were designed to fix in the first place.

If you have been wearing your glasses for a long period of time then at least begin by leaving them off for as long as you possibly can without feeling much discomfort.

Eye glasses correct the refractive error; they do not do anything to cure it. In fact, the longer you wear your glasses, the weaker your eyes will become.

Taking off your glasses for an extended period of time is the easiest exercise you can do to help your eye muscles.

– If you happen to be near-sighted you are going to have to devote more attention than folks who are far-sighted to your posture, which tends to be poor in myopes.

Always remember that your posture reflects an important bearing on the quality of your vision.

– If you happen to be cross-eyed, try reading with one eye patched, then alternate which eye is patched.

Put an eye patch over the good eye and read a couple pages with the bad eye; shift the patch to the bad eye and read one page with the good eye.

Then try removing the patch altogether and read a couple of pages with both eyes.

If you can follow this practice consistently, you will be on the right track to strengthen the weaker eye in addition to training them both to act as a team.

– At regular intervals, take a look at a chart or letter placed twenty feet in front of you and by concentrating your vision at the base of the letter, you will use the help of your imagination be able to see it more blacker than the other parts of the letter.

You’re doing this by closing the eyes at short intervals and by imagining that part of the letter darker.

– Go to a window and try to look at a distant object like the top of a tower, chimney or even the top of a tree.

Then look at the face of your wristwatch. Shift your eyes back and forth from the far-away object to the near one (i.e your watch).

Remember though, don`t look too hard at the distant object trying to make out every detail. Just give it quick, easy glances.

When you glance at your watch, however, focus on a single digit on the dial in order to encourage central fixation in your eye. Repeat this process ten to twelve times.

To sum it all up….

Apart from these eye exercises, it is important to develop healthy eye habits like naturally blinking.

Practice rapid shifting, particularly from near to far and seeing a small area at a time to encourage central fixation.

It is important to add that maintaining a proper diet is also important for eye health.

We are, after-all, a product of what we eat. A lack of any essential food or nutrient has its effect in the end upon weight, energy, and our ability to fight disease.

Record Sales in US Reported for ADHD Medication

Speciality pharmaceuticals group Shire just posted its first quarter earnings with an extremely strong increase in sales in their hyperactivity treatment group of medications especially in the US market. In fact, they’re making about 19% more than they were this same time last year (keep in mind that’s $972 million dollars).

Quoting one of their representatives:

“Sales of our ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) treatments INTUNIV, VYVANSE and ADDERALL XR were all up and the overall ADHD market in the US showed good growth.”

It seems like just another example of drugs being over-prescribed to me. “ohh, johnny didn’t do well on his test?

He probably has ADD, let’s talk to a doctor and get him some treatment.”

Meanwhile what little Johnny needs is less Xbox 360 and more studying. Parents are now-a-days looking for quick fixes for just about everything and sadly this has become one of them.

Let’s keep in mind what we’re prescribing our kids shall we:

Adderall is just a version of amphetamine salts.

Remember amphetamine?

If you’re old enough it was probably called Dexedrine back when you first heard about it, but that’s just the medical prescription form that they had back then.

Even if you don’t remember Dexedrine, you surely remember what the drug called “speed” is right?

Think of it as a medically toned down version of the same stuff that is sold on street corners and first became popular by the beatnik generation (who’d usually inject it).

Now, back to Adderall, if you think just because it’s not Ritalin that it can’t be that bad you’re wrong.

It’s actually (on the scale of how addicting not to mention harmful if used over time) far worse.

From growth stunting, death, heart problems and high blood pressure as starters, this one can be a real problem if taken improperly. These drugs were made to be a supplement to real treatment for their ADD/ADHD.

By that I mean behavioral treatment. It’s not just something you get prescribed and then forget about it until each month when you have to go refill the prescription, it’s something you treat with education on how to better train your brain to focus.

Whether that’s getting in the habit of taking excessive notes, using a stress ball or other one-handed object to occupy yourself as you engage in another task or any other of the hundreds of treatments that can easily be learned.

This isn’t alternative medicine I’m talking about. No new-age, hippie, take some vitamin C and you’ll be fine stuff, this is actually how to treat ADD/ADHD. Just think twice about having your child be prescribed any ADD/ADHD medicine.

You don’t want them to still be taking it 10 years from now…because I promise you not only will they have been affected negatively by the drug, they also will most likely be taking a dosage that’s 4x higher due to a growth in tolerance.

The Secret To Weight Loss? Skip The Soda And Fries

So one of the most common misconceptions when people visit fast food restaurants is that its the main food items that are the cause of their weight gain….i.e. the big macs, the whoopers, the burrito supremes, when in fact the slow killer that has remained somewhat dormant in the news is that it’s really the sugar content found in the diet coke and potato products that lead to the slow gain of weight, especially when people who try to stay “healthy” yet are under a time crunch opt for the salad or more “healthier” options when visiting these fast food restaurants.

This primarily is seen in mothers trying to satisfy their children’s craving for their happy meals while at the same time stay healthy themselves. Want to really lose weight? Go for the water or non-soda option on your salad.

While at it, skip the fries, and with that all other potato-based products, especially potato chips.

According to a recent report by the New England Journal of Medicine, just one extra serving of french fries resulted in an average of 3.35 extra pounds gained every four years, accompanied by the findings that even just an extra handful of potato chips each day could potentially add 1.69 pounds in the same time period.

So next time you’re thinking about a quick snack, don’t reach for the bag of chips, try opting for something more healthy, like carrot sticks, celery, etc..

The same exact advice that you’ve been given to keep your children from becoming obese before it’s even up to them to make their own dietary decisions.

In the same report, they also tracked sleeping habits of the participants.

Those who had a decent amount of regular sleep (mind you by decent I don’t mean too much) were also prone to lose weight rather than gain it. That was defined as:

People who slept between six and eight hours per night gained less weight over time than people who slept fewer than six hours or more than eight.


Now if you’re practicing a balanced diet that includes proper amounts of vegetables and other essential nutrients, that also has been shown to counter-act the occasional ‘binge’ at the fast food counter. It’s those that live hectic lives, i.e. having to take care of children and/or work, that sometimes will go without that natural balance which displaces the starch/sugar/carbohydrate levels in your body and results in the additional weight gain.

So as I said, next time you’re at the drive-through, think twice about ordering that diet coke and large fries…..the salad won’t counter-act the effects they’ll play on your body in the long run.

Important Health Facts and Oxygen

Fact : According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, about 50 million American adults (one out of four people) have high blood pressure, or hypertension. It’s more common in men, African Americans, the elderly, and those who drink, are overweight, or take oral contraceptives. Blood pressure is the measure of force created by the heart as it pumps Blood and Oxygen through the body. Normal blood pressure is less than 140 over 90. Blood pressure is high when it reaches 140 over 90 or higher.

Fact : A heart attack occurs when a part of the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen and dies. Heart disease is still the leading killer in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, about 1.1 million American men and women will have a heart attack; roughly 40 percent of them will die from it. Of those who survive, 25 percent of men and 38 percent of women will die within a year. Within six years, 18 percent of men and 35 percent of women will have another heart attack.

Fact : A heart attack can occur anytime: at work or play, while you’re resting or in the middle of a strenuous workout. Heart attacks result from atherosclerosis in the arteries that carry blood , food and Oxygen to the heart muscle.

Fact : Lack of physical activity and Oxygen is a risk factor for heart disease. That’s why it’s important to realize that not only is exercise fun, it’s good for your health

Fact : Your heart is a very strong muscle that pumps blood through miles and miles of blood vessels to every part of your body. Blood vessels are normally soft, elastic tubes that stretch or expand to make room for the blood to flow through them

Fact : In general, people become less physically active as they get older. Nearly 40 percent of people over the age of 55 report no leisure time physical activity.

Fact : The common cold is caused by one of more than 200 different viruses. Colds are one of the most common illnesses throughout the world. Here in the United States ,researchers estimate Americans get more than 60 million colds every year. Children tend to get the most colds – about six to ten a year

Fact : Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among American men and women and the third leading cause of cancer death. According to the American Cancer Society, about 98,200 cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and 48,100 people will die from it

Fact : According to the Epilepsy Foundation of America, about 2.3 million Americans have Epilepsy. Roughly 181,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.

Fact : According to the American Diabetes Association, about 15.7 million Americans have diabetes. About 798,000 will be diagnosed this year. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. It can also lead to several serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve disease, and amputations.

Fact : The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates 15 million Americans have asthma (9 million of whom are children). Each year, the condition leads to 10.4 million visits to doctors’ offices, 1.8 million visits to emergency rooms, and 468,000 hospitalizations. Roughly 5400 die from it annually.Asthma can be triggered by a number of different factors, such as respiratory infection, exercise, certain foods or medications, or anxiety.

Fact : The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center estimates that four million Americans have the disease and 360,000 new cases occur every year. With our aging population, researchers expect it will affect 14 million people in the U.S. by the middle of this century.Alzheimer’s disease is a condition causing a progressive decline in thought, memory, and language. It’s the most common cause of dementia in people 65 and older.

Fact : According to the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association, more than 22 million American adults are affected by depression. Although it can occur at any age, symptoms commonly occur between 20 and 50. Women are affected about twice as often as men. Depression is a condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness. Patients may feel tired, sluggish, or restless and have difficulty thinking, remembering, or concentrating.

Fact : A survey by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association found that half of all patients experiencing side effects from antidepressants stopped taking their medications. One of the problems associated with many antidepressants is side effects. The drugs can cause blurred vision, light-headedness, drowsiness, restlessness, confusion, dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention, sweating, rapid heartbeat, or low blood pressure. Some people also experience sexual side effects

Fact : The Arthritis Foundation estimates osteoarthritis affects 20.7 million Americans (it’s the most common form of arthritis). By 65, more than half of all Americans have some degree of the disease in at least one joint. The joints most commonly affected are those in the fingers, spine, hips, knees, and feet.Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints caused by a breakdown of joint cartilage. Surfaces of the ends of the bones lack protection and rub against each other during movement, causing joint stiffness and pain.

Fact : According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, four out of every five adults in the U.S. will have back pain at some point in their lives. It’s the second most common reason for lost work days (after the common cold) and the fifth most common reason for visits to doctors’ offices.There are many different causes for low back pain. Muscle sprain or strain can occur by lifting too much (or lifting improperly) or through a sudden forceful movement on the back. Smoking and being overweight or out of shape increases the risk of back injury.

Fact : According to the Brain Tumor Society, more than 100,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a brain tumor over the next year. In children and young adults, brain tumors are the second leading cause of cancer death. The cause is unknown, but certain factors can increase its risk, such as exposure to radiation or having an impaired immune system.

Fact : Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Americans. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.2 million cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. More than 552,000 Americans will die of it. Among men, the top three cancer diagnoses are expected to be prostate cancer (180,400 cases), lung cancer (89,500 cases), and colorectal cancer (63,600). The leading types of cancer among women are breast cancer (182,800 cases), lung cancer (74,600), and colorectal cancer (66,600 cases).

Fact : Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. According to the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, it affects one out of every 330 American children (under age 19). Each year, roughly 11,000 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer. And the incidence is rising – by almost 1 percent a year.

Fact : According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association about seven to ten million Americans have Fibromyalgia . It affects people of all ages and is about seven to twenty times more common in women than in men. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by muscle pain and fatigue. Even once a diagnosis is made, doctors don’t have very effective treatments. Traditional pain medications often aren’t very helpful.

Fact : In an average flu season roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu complications.Influenza (commonly referred to as the flu) is a respiratory infection with the influenza virus. Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, cough, and fatigue. Most people recover from the flu within a week or two. However, for some, the flu can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, or make other health problems (such as lung or heart disease) worse

Fact : The American Council for Headache Education estimates 25 to 30 million Americans suffer from migraines. They affect six percent of men and about 18 percent of women. A migraine is a type of headache causing throbbing, intense pain, usually on one side of the head. The pain can vary in intensity and last up to several hours. Some patients have severe, debilitating head pain. Other symptoms can include: nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.

Fact : According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.9 million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C. Roughly 36,000 new cases occur every year. It’s most commonly acquired through contact with contaminated blood or blood products. Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus .

Fact : The American Cancer Society estimates 15,300 new cases of liver cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and 13,800 Americans will die from itInfection with hepatitis B and hepatitis C also increases the risk of liver cancer.

Fact : For the average American female, Menopause occurs naturally around age 50 or 51. Menopause is the time when a woman experiences her last menstrual period.

Fact : According to the American Cancer Society, 182,800 cases of female breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year; about 41,200 women will die from it. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women and the second leading cause of cancer death. For patients whose cancers haven’t spread beyond the breast, five-year survival rates are about 98 to 100 percent.

Fact : According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of all adults in the U.S. (roughly 97.1 million) have a body mass index of 25 or greater and are overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of several chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer.

Fact : The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates 10 million Americans have Osteoporosis. Nearly twice as many (roughly 18 million) have low bone mass and are at risk for developing osteoporosis. It’s four times more common among women than men. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass, which causes the bones to thin and become susceptible to breaks or fractures.

Fact : According to the American Cancer Society, this year, about 25,200 new cases of Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and about 14,500 women will die from the cancer. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer diagnosed in American women.

Fact : According to the National Parkinson Foundation up to 1.5 million Americans are affected by the disease. It’s most commonly diagnosed after 50. In rare cases, it can occur at younger ages. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates five to ten percent of Parkinson’s patients are diagnosed before 40.Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects a small area in the middle of the brain, called the substantia nigra.

Fact : The American Cancer Society estimates 47,700 new cases of Melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. About 7700 people will die from it. Research shows rates of melanoma are rising faster than any other type of cancer. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that forms in melanocytes, the pigmented cells that give skin its color.

Fact : According to The Thyroid Society, about 5 million Americans have the condition of Hypothyroidism . It’s more common in women than in men, and may affect up to ten percent of women over 65. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone.With lower levels of thyroid hormone, patients may experience tiredness or fatigue, sleepiness, depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, weight gain, dry and coarse skin and hair, constipation, intolerance to cold, a hoarse or husky voice, muscle cramps and increased menstrual flow