soylent

Supplements – Soylent

Soylent is a supplement produced by Rob Rhinehart and a small team of individuals which intends to eliminate the requirement for food consumption entirely from one’s diet. The concept is to make eating less expensive and less of a chore without sacrificing nutrition in the process. Soylent comes in powdered form which is mixed with water in a blender. It is then consumed at different times during the day, eliminating the need for food preparation and allowing one to easily eat on the go.

What’s inside

Soylent is composed of a variety of components such as vitamins and minerals that are extracted from natural foods or produced through chemical processes. The complete list can be viewed here:

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The primary solids in Soylent come in the form of maltodextrin, Rice Protein, and Oat Flour. These provide much of the calories, carbohydrates, and protein in Soylent. The  vitamin content in Soylent comes such as that commonly found in many other vitamin supplements. Examples include zinc as zinc sulfate and calcium as calcium carbonate. The product has health in mind however as part of its concept includes making the product low cost, the ingredients are almost certainly lower quality than one would find in a natural food found in a pristine environment.

To Consume or Not to Consume

The concept behind Soylent is an outstanding one. Create a product that is cheap to make and buy, lasts a long time, easy to transport, and easy to make. A product like this could potentially be used to help end world famine, lower levels of obesity, and reduce the poor treatment and slaughter of animals. It is a step in a great direction with regards to supplements and could possibly shape the future of human food consumption. The question is, is Soylent the right product to consume from a standpoint of living longer? For those who live in a 3rd world country or have a very low income combined with food shortage, it very well could be. For those with access to enough money to invest in the highest quality food or those who can produce or grow high quality food themselves, it is probably not the best choice. Soylent as well as most other supplements just cant quite compare to the quality of natural and fresh foods taken directly from their natural environments in terms of pure quality. If you are really struggling with the price of quality food or food preparation time, Soylent is very likely a better option than Macdonalds. Otherwise, it is probably better to stick with quality foods found in the wild.

 

water

Water

Water, an absolutely essential part of human intake, is something that many take for granted. Considering the amount of water that we consume throughout our lives, care really should be given to the potential contaminants that can be hidden inside, away from common knowledge. This article will go over some misconceptions about water quality and hopefully provide good insight into what water we should be putting into our bodies in order to live as long as possible.

Bottled Water

In the year 2012, bottled water sales in the United States amounted to $11.8 billion. As such, it would seem a safe assumption that bottled water is superior to tap water. However, the reality is in fact quite different. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA while tap water is regulated by the EPA. The FDA is known to be less funded and less stringent in testing and regulating products than the EPA. This means that often bottled water can contain more unwanted contaminants but because of less regulations, be marketed as “pure.” In a slightly better scenario, bottle water is actually just tap water with additional purification steps. This sounds like a superior product but again that is not always the case. Water kept in plastic bottles, especially in hot environments, can contain leeched contaminants from the plastic itself. For a product that costs 200-2000 times more than tap water, it is clearly not much more than clever marketing without substance. Buying bottled water is basically like giving your money away for nothing.

Tap Water

Tap water, being regulated by the EPA in the United States, is actually quite strictly tested. As such, if you are resident of the United States or another similarly developed nation, tap water quality is fairly high. There are still serious sources of contamination to consider when drinking water directly from the tap. One example would be the pipes connecting to the residence you live in. Old pipes can contain heavy metals or other harmful contaminants that can accumulate in the body. Tap water also can sometimes contain other sources of contaminants that leech into the water or get past testing such as pesticides or various chemicals. In less developed countries, tap water can be much lower in quality and should be avoided if possible. Tap water should generally be considered on a similar level to bottled water but at an extreme fraction of cost.

Best Option

Extremely pure water should be considered a priority, especially if money is going to be invested into the water we drink. Tap water should first be tested in our home to make sure nothing is far above the acceptable threshold. Then a good water filter should be purchased and used to further filter as a safety measure against contaminants from pipes or unknowns between your house and the filtration plant. If taste is an issue, a few sliced lemons can always be added to mask the taste and add some nutrients. Extremely pure water provides all the benefits without potentially toxic substances accumulating in our bodies. From the standpoint of living as long as possible, quality is of utmost concern in both the food and water we put into our bodies.

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Aging – Damage

As we age, our bodies accumulate damage. This was already discussed in the form of damage to our cells or DNA from free radicals present in our bodies. Other types of damage also occur in our bodies throughout our lives and it is believed that these accumulate to become a major contributor to our death.

The first of these other types of damage to consider is in the form of radiation, toxins, or UV light that we accumulate while living in our natural environments. These are impossible to avoid completely but can be reduced through use of things like sunscreen, or In the case of toxins, focusing on eating the most pristine food and drinking the most pristine water one can find. Reducing the steps of processing and avoiding unwanted toxic contaminants in foods leads to lower buildup in the body. Our bodies are capable of repairing many forms of wear and tear, however it is thought that these systems become unable to keep up over time.

Another form of potentially harmful damage that the body undergoes is that of somatic mutations. When cells divide, they copy their DNA into the new cells. Each time this occurs, there is a chance that mutation to the DNA will occur. These mutations propagate to the the next cell division and potentially accumulate until the cell no longer functions as intended.

When the body requires the process of healing, inflammation is a natural and required occurrence. However, as we age, it is possible to suffer from constant low level inflammation. This can be difficult to detect and eventually lead to damage of arteries and many other parts of the body. Foods such as fruits and vegetables have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties along with many other proven health benefits.

Finally, our body can undergo damage on a larger scale such as that of broken bones or other serious injuries. These can lead to incorrect body function and in the most serious cases, an early death or painful existence later in life. Some damage is unavoidable, but with proper care for the body, many of the effects can be reduced in severity.

Photo via Flickr: ©Karen Reyniers

kimchi

Food – Kimchi

Kimchi or 김치 in Hangul is a staple of the Korean diet and an amazing food to consider eating. It is great for digestion and an excellent source of vitamins and fiber. It is also low in calories and often made with other extremely beneficial vegetables.

Kimchi comes in many varieties but the most common form consists primarily of napa cabbage. It is combined with other fresh vegetables such as garlic, green onions, Korean red pepper, radishes, and ginger. It is then sealed and placed large jars under the ground to ferment over the winter time. Traditionally, Koreans had very little food during the winter so they would consume the long lasting fermented kimchi to stay alive.

The fermenting process produces a bacteria know as lactic acid bacteria or lactobacillus. It has been shown to be beneficial for digestion similar to yogurt. Cabbage and the other vegetables in kimchi are also outstandingly healthy and have low calorie density. It is loaded with vitamins such as vitamin A and C.

There is one concern when considering kimchi for part of a nutrition plan. Extremely excessive consumption may be linked to stomach cancer, likely from its spicy nature similar to eating too many peppers. It is also could be a result of the fermentation process, especially with kimchi that is intended to ferment quickly and let sit for too long. Fresh homemade kimchi should be consumed instead of packaged kimchi or that made using a questionable process. Kimchi should be consumed in moderation like other parts of our daily nutrition, quality over quantity.