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Welfare and Low Wage Jobs Don’t Work

Welfare was created by government to assist poor families in need and create job-training programs to increase the skills of the uneducated. Single moms could get child care assistance while they either work or enroll in some form of educational institution. If recipients took advantage of these state-created programs, they should be well on their way to obtaining the skills and knowledge they need to keep a good job. Unfortunately, poor decisions by recipients, failure of the states to create necessary programs, and low wage jobs, have kept the poor in poverty.

Welfare & Low Wage Jobs

Welfare was created by government to assist poor families in need and create job-training programs to increase the skills of the uneducated.

It has been over 15 years since President Clinton signed the law that “ended welfare as we know it”, in which a 5-year time limit on federal cash assistance was opposed on poor families. This law allowed states to set shorter limits on assistance and this is why the social safety net is failing to keep pace with the needs of struggling Americans, many experts say. Millions of single mothers are falling through the cracks, scrambling to support their families with neither paychecks nor government aid (Holland 2014).

Although welfare has disincentives, I don’t believe they work because some mothers will get to comfortable with government benefits such as food stamps or cash assistance and they don’t feel they need to work. In some cases a single mother on welfare with kids could be living better than a woman working a full-time minimum wage job. This may be why some mothers become discouraged while receiving welfare. Rep Paul Ryan, R., Wis. , chairman of the House Budget Committee, says “Many of these programs end up disincentivizing work – telling people it pays not to go to work because you will lose more in benefits than you gain in earning wages.” (Stossel 2014).

When a welfare recipient meets her deadline and still don’t have the skills to find a job, then she ends up in a worse position than before. White people receive less strict programs than blacks and they face lesser punishment if they do break a rule. In a study conduct by Joe Ross, just 5 years after the passage of the Welfare Reform Act, 63% of families in the least stringent programs were white and 11% were black. Also, in the most restrictive programs – that is the ones with the toughest penalties and most stringent requirements for eligibility, 63% were black and 29% were white ( Holland 2014). This creates a big gap between the white and black economic status and well-being.

When single mothers reach there benefit time limit and can’t find employment, this makes it very difficult for them to maintain a prosperous life with their kids. Peter Edelman, a Georgetown University law professor who resigned from the Clinton administration, says “You have so many people who were pushed off welfare who didn’t find work in the beginning, and today there are people who can’t get welfare at all.” (qt. in Ross 2011) In this situation I can agree with Edelman and say that welfare is “useless” to some degree.

Welfare & Poverty

Working low paying jobs and staying on welfare will keep you in poverty.

I do agree that if an “abled-bodied” individual is on welfare, that they should be required to either be working, attending school, or actively looking for work while receiving benefits for a 5 to 7 year time limit. This should encourage single moms and poor persons to at least engage in some form of education for a career or keep a steady job to maintain. The problem with a regular low paying job is that they don’t pay enough to even live a simple lifestyle and pay bills. I believe single mothers should make smart decisions and take advantage of all state programs that will teach them the skills and give them the tools to succeed.

Although some may argue that it’s all the government’s fault that there are still millions of Americans in poverty, we can’t undermine the fact that poor people do make poor personal decisions sometimes. For example, purchasing an Xbox gaming system or paying for unnecessary cable TV when you are past due on your electric bill (Rector & Sheffield 2011). I do believe that society and individuals themselves are responsible for the persistence work. For one thing, the government has a duty to provide equal opportunity and the welfare for everyone. On the other hand, an individual must take advantage of all the resources and tools available to them for their success.

Poor decisions can be independent due to an individual lacking education or just bad judgment but it can also be connected to social issues. Many individuals try to be like to next person who live luxurious or they associate themselves with peers that influence them to purchase things they know they can’t afford.

To say the least, if the government provides you with all the job training programs, resources and tools you need to succeed, you must take advantage of them. Being on welfare for ever will not lift you out of poverty and working low paying jobs won’t either. Education and professionals skills are what secure you with a promising career or a very profitable business. Poor decisions and social issues are connected so you can’t put all the blame on just the individual and not the society he or she lives in.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Real Estate Investor & Internet Marketer

Sources:
1.Holland, Joshua “How Bill Clinton’s Welfare Reform Created a System Rife with Racial Biases”, www.huffingtonpost.com 12 May 2014. Web
2.Stossel, J. “Why welfare, minimum wage make it harder for poor Americans to succeed” www.foxnews.com 8 October 2014. Web
3.Rector, R., Sheffield, R. “Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an Xbox: What is Poverty in the United States Today? www.heritage.org 19 July 2011. Web
Ross, J. “Welfare Reform Leaving More in Poverty” www.huffingtonpost.com 23 Aug. 2011. Web

Working Long Hours Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

Working long hours can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in workers of lower socioeconomic status, according to a new study.

In 2012, over 9% of the population had diabetes and diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. These numbers is evidence that type 2 diabetes is a serious matter, especially for African Americans or blacks, as we are diagnosed with diabetes at a 13.2% rate. (National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014).

Diabetes

Working long hours can lead to risk of type 2 diabetes. Photo credit: Clipart.com

In this new study released by The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, researchers used unpublished and published data from 19 cohort studies and over 222,000 individuals from different countries. When workers of lower socioeconomic status worked more than 50 hours per week, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by nearly 30%. I do understand that often times as single parents you do have to work long hours to make ends meet but it is taking a toll on your health. It is important to find time to exercise for at least one hour a day and try to cook healthy meals for work.

When you work long hours, you barely have enough time to sleep, you are under stress a lot, you eat unhealthy and you don’t get adequate exercise like you should. This lifestyle can also lead to cardiovascular disease and other serious health issues.

The mechanisms underlying the association between long working hours and diabetes in the low socioeconomic status group are still unknown. There are 3 different ways in which long hours could be hazardous. The first one is suffering personal hardships from low pay, then sleep deprivation and the last one relates to other indirect mechanisms. This effect could be due to deleterious consequences of working long hours on personal growth and fulfillment, and happiness but the link to the risk of physical disease remains tenuous (Kivimaki et al. 2014).

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Even though being overweight increases the risk of diabetes, the good news is that 45 minutes or more of daily physical activity, will help you prevent type 2 diabetes (Dept. of Health and Human Services 2004). Today you will learn some proven ways to help you prevent diabetes and become a healthier person in the future.

The first thing you want to focus on is reducing your portion size. Try to keep your meat and fish servings to about three ounces (size of deck of cards). Fish happens to be my favorite meat but I still only eat it about once per week. White meats are always the better choice because they are lean. Make sure you eat breakfast each day and eat small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going. I believe this is the best diet plan because you don’t have to eliminate the foods you love. Just reduce your portion size and eat less often (Dept. of Health and Human Services 2004).

Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Diet and exercise will help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The next important way to prevent diabetes is adding more physical activity to your daily lifestyle. If you have kids, you can turn on some music at home and show your kids how you use to dance. When going to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator is good exercise when you are at your job. You can’t go wrong either by taking a quick walk in the park with a friend; this is good for motivation and a nice way to benefit from cardio exercise.

Making healthy food choices such as snacking on fruits and vegetables during the day and recording everything you eat will help you reduce the risk of diabetes so eat smart. I like to bring crackers and nuts to work because the protein and fiber in these foods help me stay fuller longer. When grocery shopping, pay attention to the food labels and select foods with reduced fat, saturated fat, calories, and salt. Stay away from those types of foods as they will increase your blood pressure greatly.

Many individuals may not know this but nurturing your mind, body, and soul is another great way to prevent type 2 diabetes. Activities such as yoga or reading a book, relaxes your mind and reduces stress. Focus on keeping a cool, clear mindset and think positively as much as possible. Deep breathing and meditation can reduce a lot of tension and has indirect effects of preventing diabetes at the same time (Dept. of Health and Human Services 2004).

Although diet and exercise are the most important factors of preventing type 2 diabetes, you must understand that adverse health effects of working long hours. This new study published recently in the journal of the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, proves that working 55 hours or more per week is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in low socioeconomic status groups so be aware of that. With that being said I wish you all the best on your goals and success so stay positive and God bless.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Real Estate Investor and Internet Marketer

Sources:

  1. Kivimäki et al.Long working hours, socioeconomic status, and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data from 222,120 individuals thelancet.com The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology- 25 September 2014
  2. Washington, D.C.: Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2004 www.webharvest.gov

 

Ebola Virus is Spreading In West Africa

Back in March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) was contacted for an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, West Africa. Just recently in August of this year, the WHO declared this major epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern.” (New England Journal of Medicine 2014)

Ebola Virus in West Africa

WHO was contacted about outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea

I am not familiar with the Ebola virus, but each time there is a spread of any sort of disease in Africa, it is often times very serious. Diseases that have known to derive from West Africa are most likely fatal or life-threatening. It is very important that we as travelers and tourists are safe in other countries and we are all aware of any potential dangers. I always wanted to visit South Africa and possibly do some projects there but my main concern now is my health and safety.

By the second week of September 2014, approximately 4,500 individuals had confirmed and probable cases, with 2296 deaths stemming from EVD (Zaire species) being reported from 5 countries in West Africa. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) These numbers of Ebola cases seem to be increasing pretty fast and if you are in West Africa as of right now, you have to be worried. Epidemics like this one in Guinea make me think twice about traveling out of the country because my health may be at risk. It’s a good thing we have private jets and commercial airlines because when epidemics like this occur in other countries, we can be in and out of there in no time.

The case fatality rate was estimated to be 70% and the majority of patients are 15 to 44 years old with 50% being males. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) I have never been to West Africa before but the population in Guinea must be dominated by males. The reason I say this is because over half of the patients were middle-aged males. I would like to find out other reasons why males were more likely to get the Ebola virus than females. The chances of fatality are kind of high also as patients who get the Ebola virus are not very likely to survive long after. That’s why it is very important that you report any signs or symptoms of this disease for early diagnosis and treatment.

Guinea, West Africa

Ebola virus disease started in Guinea, West Africa

How to Prevent the Spread of Ebola Virus?

This scary epidemic began in Guinea during December 2013. Ebola virus is mostly spread through contact with the body fluids of symptomatic patients. Therefore, transmission can be stopped by contact tracing, early diagnosis, patient isolation and care, safe burial, and infection control. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) This is very helpful information for any tourist or individual traveling or is already in West Africa. Taking these safety measures can avoid any possible spread of the Ebola virus and keep us safe.

Forward projects suggest that unless control measures- including adequate case isolation, contact tracing, increased capacity for clinical management (bigger hospitals/clinics), and community and international support- improve fast, these 3 countries ( Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) will soon be reporting thousands of deaths and cases each week. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) To say the least, I hope this Ebola virus epidemic gets under control and we all get to travel and explore other countries safely. Thank you and God bless.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Internet Marketer and Real Estate Investor.

Source: WHO Ebola Response Team. The New England Journal of Medicine “Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa – The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projects”, September 23, 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society 2014

High Protein Diets May Lower Your Blood Pressure

Protein is perhaps one of the most important foods when it comes to losing weight and maintaining our health. The recent Framingham Offspring Study discovered that “residents who consumed a higher protein intake had a lower risk of high blood pressure.” (American Journal of Hypertension 2014)

High Protein Diets

Foods like lean meats, eggs and low-fat dairy products are high in protein.

I always thought about protein as just being good for muscle building and slowing down your metabolism but the benefit of lowering your blood pressure is quite amazing. Since I am a skinny guy, I need a whole lot of protein in my diet plan to build muscle already so a high protein diet isn’t new to me.

“Participants used for the study were men and women between the ages of 30-54, who didn’t have any high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, and were followed for 11.3 years.” (American Journal of Hypertension 2014) Unfortunately, high blood pressure is disproportionately more common in Blacks and Hispanics because of our culture lifestyle so I always recommend a low calorie diet. Fast food and processed foods are high in sodium and saturated fats so they greatly increase your high blood pressure levels fast.

Some of my favorite foods that are high in protein are, fish, nuts, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Protein shakes before and after my workouts are essential to my daily diet plan and they are so delicious at the same time. Fiber is important also in your high protein diet. Not consuming enough dietary fiber has been consistently showing up as a complication factor. Some studies have shown that simply increasing dietary fiber to over 30 grams helps reduce blood pressure by a few percent. (Scala 2002)

Protein has amino acids in them that may help dilate blood vessels and effectively lower your blood pressure. For instance, arginine – an amino acid found in both animal and plant protein sources, play a huge role in blood-vessel dilation. (American Journal of Hypertension 2014) One thing to keep in mind is that when you are consuming protein; make sure it contains monounsaturated fats and not saturated fat. It is important to consume the right kind of calories or you will gain excess body fat. This will lead to other health issues such as risk of cancer and stroke.

High Protein Diets - Eggs

Eggs are high in protein.

High blood pressure is a serious matter and more and more individuals are losing their lives because of conditions relating to high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30% of the population has high blood pressure and only about 50% percent of those individuals have their condition under control. (CDC 2014) With that being said, you now know how important it is to control your high blood pressure and maintain a daily healthy diet plan. This trend of high blood pressure seems to be steadily increasing and now the kids are suffering from this inadequate lifestyle. I now began to see even kids developing serious health issues at a young age and the life expectancy age is getting lower as well.

We have to take care of ourselves and keep our blood pressure under control. Eating diets that are high in protein has been proven to lower blood pressure in this recent study in Boston, so I will be adding even more protein in my diet for best results. My body takes a lot of protein to gain muscle in the first place so this high protein diet plan is not necessarily new to me. I do recommend each and every one of you to add a little more protein to your current diet plan and see how it helps lower your blood pressure. Thanks and God bless.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University.
Internet Marketer and Real Estate Investor.

Sources: 1. J.Buendia, M.Bradlee, M. Singer, L. Moore, “Diets Higher in Protein Predict Lower High Blood Pressure Risk in Framingham Offspring Study Adults” American Journal of Hypertension 2014
2. J. Scala “25 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure” www.ebscohost.com 2002
3. Center for Disease Control “High Blood Pressure Facts” www.cdc.gov 2014

Obama Health Care In America

With more than 8 million Americans signing up for Obama Health Care on HealthCare.gov, a shocking number of approximately 700,000 individuals have dropped out.

Most of my friends and co-workers agreed that the Obama Care Plan was fair so they signed up and their premiums were actually low because of our low salary. They mentioned that they also got to keep their regular doctors or physicians and didn’t have to travel far for monthly visits. I thought the Obama plan was pretty fair myself so I decided to sign up. I do understand that it can be difficult at times to pay for  high insurance plans so make sure you do your research to save money.

ObamaCare - Health Insurace

Obama Care is a good health care plan

According to Administrator Marilyn Tavenner from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “700,000 didn’t make 1st month’s premium or didn’t continue to make payments.” (Radnofsky 2014) This is a shocking statistic to me and this could mean that individuals either could not afford their premiums because of their low income or just was unsatisfied with the services. I personally like my current health insurance plan so I don’t plan to drop out.

Individuals who tend to be poor and live below the poverty line such as Blacks and Hispanics don’t earn enough money to make coverage payments so they tend apply for Medicare and Medicaid. Veterans and elderly individuals have to rely on government assistance for health care as well because they spend most of their money on medicine and other health care services.

Since people want to protect their privacy online, users also worry about their personal information being shared. This is why the Government Accountability Office held a hearing this September about improving HealthCare.gov (Radnofsky 2014) Building and maintaining a secure website is very important. The last thing any of us want is someone stealing our identity and using it to destroy all the hard work we put in our career.

Health Care - Health Insurance

Health care can be expensive

On the other hand, our health is very important and we all need high quality Medicare to maintain our healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise is only the beginning and we must maintain our health by visiting our doctors on a regular basis and choose the right health care plan that is best for us to stay healthy. I always do my research in my local area first and ask around for lowest rates. When I compare them to my current Obama health care plan I find out that local rates are too expensive so I base my decision off that.

I don’t mind paying for good health care coverage but if a plan is fair and reasonable like the Obama plan I will sign up for it. I did some research and found out that nearly 700,000 Americans have already dropped out so that tells you something. These people either can’t afford the Obama Care premiums or they are just unsatisfied. I do know one thing, being uninsured is not a good idea because when you get injured or suddenly need medical assistance, you will not be able to afford it out of the pocket. It will cost your hundreds and thousands of dollars to pay for medical bills so that’s why health insurance does come in handy. Be smart and choose a plan that best fits you. God bless.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Internet Marketer and Real Estate Investor

Source: Radnofsky, Louis “Obama Administration Says 7.3 million Who Picked Health Plans on Exchanges Have Paid Premiums”. Sept. 2014 www.online.wsj.com The Wall Street Journal

Weight Loss and Low Income Individuals

 

Weight loss has always been a struggle for low income families and individuals who are assumed to be poor because we are usually too poor to afford healthy foods and hire the personal trainer that we need for support. There is no secret that eating healthy is expensive and Blacks or other low income families do make poor food choices as well when shopping. Instead of buying organic and natural foods (which are usually very costly) we settle for packaged and processed foods like microwave dinners and other foods high in fat. We also have bad habits of eating too many fried foods and too much salty seasoning which can lead to high blood pressure and other serious health conditions.

Weight Loss

Weight loss can be difficult if you are poor

Joining a local gym membership or hiring a personal trainer can be expensive so finding the money to afford that can be hard at times as well. I usually recommend walking or jogging in a local park and having your own at home equipment to save money. Friends can be good motivators just like personal trainers so bring them along with you. Just doing an evening walk around the park and light jogging every day is a good start. We need that daily physical activity along with proper dieting in our daily lives to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I just started jogging around my college campus to get my exercise activity started so that has been going good for me.

I only jog about 3 to 4 days a week for now since I haven’t been exercising in a while and I have to get use to running like that again. I can surely tell you that running up hills is no joke!

I am sure we all know that abs start in the kitchen so eating well and keeping your calorie intake low is most important in weight loss. Some poor families like Blacks or Hispanics either can’t afford to buy all the healthy foods or they make bad food choice decisions. Eating low quality meats and unhealthy junk food is cheap so we usually consume these foods to save money but it is hurting us and the kids. They have to eat these unhealthy foods every day at home and school so the parents are part to blame. I do understand that some single parents or couples may have a busy lifestyle but preparing healthy meals is essential. Over 60 percent of the American population is overweight or obese. This trend is continuing to increase and our generation and youth have developed some very unhealthy eating and exercising habits.

Weight Loss - Low Income Household

Lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget.

I understand that individuals may not be able to afford a healthy lifestyle like the one they want but making smarter choices like jogging and making changes to your diet is the best start. Individuals or families who do receive government assistance need to start to consume at least some natural or organic foods just to break the bad cycle and protect our health for the future. The less health problems the better and this is only accomplished by us taking care of ourselves.

Health insurance is pretty high if you have many significant health issues as you are more likely to be seeing the doctor a lot. You also feel good inside when you are healthy and look great physically as well. Weight loss has so many health benefits they seem endless so don’t let your income level or financial situations keep you from weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take care and God Bless.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Internet Marketer and Real Estate Investor

Whole Grains Have Many Health Benefits

Whole grains have become one of my favorite fat-burning foods for weight loss because they have outstanding benefits such as lowering your blood sugar, redistributing body fat and helping to prevent obesity naturally. I like that fact that whole grains have become readily available in the natural foods that I purchase such as bread, pasta, rice and crackers. Don’t get me wrong, as much as you or I may love whole grains, too much is still not good for you.

Whole Grains Health Benefits The USDA recommends consuming grains on a daily basis including at least half of whole grains. Enjoy the amazing health benefits of whole grains including protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals plus other phytochemicals to improve your health.

Watch out for bread that’s brown and may look healthy, this could just be coloring with brown sugar or molasses. Since I recently switched to brown rice, brown eggs and other whole grains I pay close attention to the ingredients to make sure there isn’t anything artificial or bleached.

Fiber is one of the main reasons to consume whole grains. There are two kinds of whole grains, insoluble and soluble, that contain health benefits such as reducing the risk of colon cancer and controlling your blood sugar levels.

Studies have shown that individuals who consumed a lot of whole grains are more likely to maintain their weight and less likely to gain fat over a period of time than those who had eaten refined grains. Whole grains can help you control your weight by making you feel fuller longer than refined grains and they also take longer to digest. You reduce your calories by eating less and the fiber in whole grains acts as an appetite suppressant to help you lose weight.Evidence shows that eating a diet that contains fruits and vegetables plus whole grains without meat or processed foods can also help you lower your risk of cancer.

Did you know that carbs can be actually good for you? The key is the find the right type of carb and the resistant starch found in whole grains is one. It actually acts more like a fiber because it takes long to digest. It travels through your digestive system slowly while burning fat, maintaining your insulin levels and controlling your cholesterol levels as well.

I have recently changed my diet around a bit and included more whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products to help speed up my metabolism. I eat a good source of fiber in the morning to suppress my appetite and control my hunger cravings during the afternoon so natural grains is a must for me. Usually a bowl of cereal or oatmeal along with wheat bread would be ideal for my quick breakfast.

When it comes to losing weight just eating whole grains alone will not make you lose weight. Dieting is only the first part of weight loss in controlling your calories by watching what you eat. Physical activity is the next step in losing weight and living a healthy life by improving your cardiovascular system and physique. Take advantage and include both diet and exercise for fat loss and watch how your health improves over the course of the year. Include whole grains in your diet today and receive the amazing benefits of weight loss, lowering your cholesterol and helping to prevent obesity naturally.

SourceGardner, Amanda, www.health.com, “18 Health Benefits of Whole Grains” 2014 Leeman Taylor Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University

“Natural” on Food Labels Doesn’t Mean Anything

“Natural” doesn’t mean anything when looking on the labels of packaged goods according to Consumer Report.

Natural Food - All Natural Chicken

Natural Food – All Natural Chicken

Over 66% of consumers who shop for natural foods think that the word “natural” means something. I even find myself doing this from time to time thinking that the product I am buying is really all-natural! I thought just because the label said “natural” that the food didn’t contain any artificial ingredients, pesticides and genetically-engineered organisms. When I see the word on poultry or meat I never thought about growth hormones, antibiotics or other drugs in the animals’ feed. This whole entire time of being a consumer, I was absolutely WRONG!

 

In fact, the word “natural” doesn’t mean anything when it comes to federal labeling rules. This means that companies can misguide you in a way that is perfectly legal.

Natual - Fat Free - No Preservatives

Natual – Fat Free – No Preservatives

Consumers were asked what the word natural should mean on a label and a shocking 85 percent said that it should mean no pesticides were used when growing it and that it contained no genetically modified or artificial ingredients of any sort. I can honestly say that I thought the same thing when I read the labels. I didn’t really think about how the food was grown and what chemicals were used during the process. I definitely didn’t think about the various hormones that could have possibly been used during the animals feeding process either. This is very different from the current federal rules however.

 

 

 

Natural - Cage Free Eggs

Natural – Cage Free Eggs

Urvashi Rangin, executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center in Yonkers, said “Our findings show consumers expect much more from ‘natural’ food labels and that there is a strong consumer mandate for better food production practices in general food and label standards that meet a higher bar.”  I know I expected more from products that were labeled natural because I wanted quality for the price. If I am paying my hard-earned cash on a natural product then I expect everything to be natural and not genetically modified.

Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration allow food producers to utilize the word “natural” on labels as long as nothing synthetic or artificial had been added “that would not normally be expected to be in the food” under an informal policy FDA put into place in 1993. The bad thing about this is that the word “natural” sells more than $40 billion worth of food in the United States each year. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t even have an official definition of what “natural” means but explains that it’s difficult to define natural because the food could be processed and no longer a product of the earth.

I am pretty sure there are consumers and other food safety administrations that are fighting to have the word “natural” banned from food labels and other misleading claims. It is very difficult to picture how a farm is kept and how foods are processed unless you have been there. You may think of a perfectly green and sunny farm with fresh fruit and produce but it turn, it’s infested with pesticides, animals are mistreated and the farm itself is a total dump. I believe in local and neighborhood farming because at least you get an idea of where the product comes from and how the farm looks.

Natural - No Hormones - No Antibiotics

Natural – No Hormones – No Antibiotics

I do believe the FDA should still do their part and make sure all food products are safe with no false claims. If a term cannot be defined then it should not be slapped on a label to misguide consumers into spending their hard earned money on it. So the next time you visit your local produce market, watch out for the foods marked “natural” on the labels and read more about it to find out what it really contains.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major
Winter Haven, FL

Sourcehttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/24/the-word-natural-helps-sell-40-billion-worth-of-food-in-the-u-s-every-year-and-the-label-means-nothing/

Ab Workouts for 6 Pack Abs

Ab workouts for six pack abs are more effective when you add dumbbells or free weights and you work those muscles harder when you add a few pounds to your abdominal exercise routines. Of course ab workouts and daily physical activity alone won’t get you a flat stomach faster when combined with a balanced diet but it will tone up your muscles for a sexy midsection. Today I will share my favorite ab exercises and fat-burning foods I use personally to get a flat stomach and 6 pack abs.

Ab Workouts for 6 Pack Abs

Ab Workouts for 6 Pack Abs

Leg Raises with Weights

I start off hanging on my exercise bar as if to do a pull-up, then I lift my legs up toward my chest while hanging from the bar with ankle weights. You can also use elbow straps tied to the exercise bar for support then have someone tie some weights to your body for more intensity. I love leg raises because they work the main parts of my abs including my obliques. Leg raises are definitely one of the top ab workouts which it comes to targeting your abdominals.

Crunches with Weights

You wouldn’t believe those crunches you learned in middle school are still the best when it comes to ab workouts and toning up. When you hold a dumbbell to your chest while performing a crunch you target a large part of your abdominals and build muscle mass faster with the extra weight added. Although crunches are simple ab exercises they are still effective when it comes to targeting the main parts of your abs.

Planks

Not only are planks effective when it comes to toning up your abs or midsection but they are very easy to do. Start off in the push up position with your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders. Hold that position for at least 30 seconds with your abdominals contracted, legs extended and your head aligned with your spine. Challenge yourself by going deeper and try the one-arm stable switching plank

The Hundred

This is a Pilate’s move that will surely engage your obliques and front and back core. This ab exercise definitely leaves my abs burning afterwards. Sit up straight on the mat with your knees bent by your chest and your hands at your sides. Lie down with your knees bent and the palm of your hands facing down. Exhale and raise your head and shoulders from the mat. Pump your arms 6 inches up and down, reaching out with your fingers. Inhale for 5 pumps, and then exhale for 5 pumps. Make sure to curl your chin in toward your chest. You can do 10 full breathes or 100 pumps. For best results, keep your lower back pressed against the floor mat and keep your lower abdominals sucked in toward your spine.

Fat-Burning Foods and Ab Exercises

Fat-Burning Foods for Weight Loss Combining fat-burning foods like lean meat, whole grains and low dairy products will help you burn calories fast. Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal (which is my favorite) that are rich in fiber, help you break down whole foods twice as faster than processed foods. I can eat brown rice every day and strawberry oatmeal in the mornings and never get tired of it. That’s just much I like these foods! They keep me full during the evening and I receive a good dose of nutrition as well. Yogurt is one of my favorite low-fat dairy products because it’s delicious, rich in calcium and vitamin D. Other benefits include preserving and building muscle mass which is important in maintaining a powerful metabolism. Lean meats such as chicken breast and fish are high in protein which helps you burn calories fast also. If you want to gain muscle mass along with your ab workouts then don’t be afraid to include high protein meals in your diet plan.   For beginners, adding weights to your leg raises, crunches or other ab workouts may be too much so you can start without weights at first. Then when you get use your ab workout routines, add weights to challenge yourself and continue to see those 6 pack abs develop. Combing a low calorie diet will help you lose stomach fat then the ab exercises when tone up your abdominals for that flat midsection. Don’t forget about the harmful health issues having that fat that surrounds your organs (visceral fat) include like stroke, heart disease and risk of cancer. Having belly fat is dangerous so take action today with these effective ab workouts and fat-burning foods to live a healthier lifestyle!

Leeman Taylor
Winter Haven, FL

Fat Loss Tips for a Flat Stomach this Summer

by Leeman Taylor

Lose weight naturally this summer with these effective fat loss tips and get sexy 6 pack abs or a flat stomach for the beach.

Let’s all face it! We all desire that sexy beach body and want to lose weight effectively but in these busy times we usually don’t have the time or motivation to achieve our weight loss goals. Today I will share some quick fat loss tips to help you improve your physique and lose belly fat this summer.

Fat Loss for 6 Pack Abs

Lose belly fat for 6 pack abs

Reduce Stress and Lose Weight

Stress activates the cortisol hormone which feeds fat in our abdomen so stress is linked to obesity. My favorite method to reduce stress is exercises including cardio workouts like boxing or running. Boxing is my favorite sport so I love this hobby with a passion. I also like reading, playing video games, riding dirt bikes, meditation and relaxing with some good sleep. A study in 2012 revealed that stressed out parents is linked to childhood obesity because parents are more likely to eat fast food and make poor meal planning. Keep your stress levels down so you don’t activate the hormones that make you fat.

Plan Your Meals

A good idea would be to make a list of groceries for the week and plan healthy meals to prepare at home. This way you will save money, time and eat healthy at the same time. I work during the morning and evenings so I eat a heart healthy breakfast before work and bring me a small meal for lunch and dinner. I save a tremendous amount of money by not eating out and burning gas. I make sure my meals are low in calories but also nutritious to keep me fueled and energized during the day. An example of a meal would be tuna with wheat bread and an apple or a chicken breast sandwich with mac and cheese. Also Dr. Oz recently had a show about weight loss myths and it is recommended that you eat three meals per day instead of five to six small meals. Eating too much creates insulin that stores sugar and you don’t give your body time to actually burn fat.

Exercise for an Hour

Don’t waste your time or money with countless hours at a gym. Instead go for a jog or run at the park and visit your local Sports Authority store for exercise equipment. I go for a run in the morning or at night and use my exercise bar at home for my favorite weight loss workouts. The standard for daily exercise use to be at least 30 minutes of physical activity but in this 21st-century, it is now recommend that we get about an hour of daily physical activity for fat loss. Cardiovascular workouts like running or biking will burn the calories and strength training will tone those muscles up. My favorite exercises are dips, pull ups and old-fashioned push-ups. Obesity expert, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, says exercise is a great way to tone your muscles and improve your lifespan, but as a weight loss strategy, it is much less effective than dieting.

Get Good Rest

Getting a good night’s sleep rejuvenates our body and let’s our muscles and joints recuperate after intense workouts. Sleep is a good stress reliever and at least eight hours of sleep prepares us to take on the next day full force. Your muscles need rest after intensive workouts to repair themselves and increase in mass.

Set Small Weight Loss Goals

One of the biggest mistakes we make when trying to lose weight is setting high goals we know we can’t achieve and end of getting discouraged when we fail. Instead, set small fitness goals like losing five pounds this month and make small changes to your diet. This way you can track your progress and see slow but sure results.

Don’t Fall for the Hype!

Every day there is a new weight loss pill or formula that promises instant weight loss without diet and exercise. If this was true then everyone would be doing it right? The truth is that there is no magic pill or weight loss formula that will make you or anyone else lose weight fast. You have heard it time and time again; “You must follow a balanced diet and exercise daily to lose weight effectively and naturally.” Save your time and money to find a weight loss plan that only works for you. There is no one fat loss program that will work for everyone as we all have different body types.

For the most part, I really want all you ladies and gentlemen to live a healthy lifestyle and get that sexy body you always dreamed of. Losing belly fat and getting a flat stomach is not easy but the hard work will pay off when it’s all said and done. Follow these simple fat loss tips and get 6 pack abs for the beach this summer!

http://www.examiner.com/article/dr-oz-debunks-common-diet-and-weight-loss-myths