What is a Subsistence Diet?

Eating a subsistence diet in temperate climates is neither pleasant nor the preference of anyone who enjoys a varied and plentiful diet, and it is even more difficult in circumpolar/arctic regions. However, it is often more necessary. A person who lives on such a diet eats barely enough to sustain life, and no one is likely to choose it unless there is not other choice.

When little food is available, finding something that is edible is a challenge that requires innovation and persistence. Living off the “fat of the land” is another way to understand what it means to survive on a subsistence diet. However, if there is not much fat on the land, then living is not easy.

Understanding the Need for a Subsistence Diet

Alaskans have practiced subsistence living for thousands of years, and it is a custom that involves ancient traditions. Federal and state government entities limit the option of subsistence harvesting to native Alaskans, but such activities are essential for non-natives in some cases.

Ground Truth Trekking, a non profit devoted to educating the public about natural resource issues in Alaska, states that subsistence refers to gathering food and other necessities from wild resources for personal use. Harvesting fish is a primary method of obtaining a major portion of a subsistence diet. The last statewide analysis of subsistence harvesting reveals the sources of food for an Alaskan:

• fishes comprise 60 percent

• land mammals account for 20 percent

• marine mammals produce 14 percent

• shellfish, birds and plants produce two percent each

It is unlawful to hunt marine mammals for any purpose other than subsistence, and then it is allowable only for native Alaskans. Legal harvesting of marine mammals includes these:

• walrus

• seals

• otters

• polar bears

• whales

• sea lions

While people who have access to commercially available food at supermarkets may recoil in horror at the thought of killing such animals, it is a necessity for subsistence. Part of the difficulty of living off the “fat of the land” is that it is not easy to obtain. Superior hunting skills and efficient tools are required in the capture of marine quarry, and danger is an ever present concern. About 83 percent of rural households in Alaska are involved in fishery harvests, and 95 percent rely on it for subsistence.

Adapting to Helpful Tools

Modern technology and equipment have made the search for food from natural resources easier for hunters who carry on an ancient tradition. By adopting use of motor boats, guns, snow machines and all terrain vehicles, Alaskan hunters have better chances of finding and killing a marine quarry. Some use such high tech equipment as satellite photos and depth sounders, according to the site. In accordance with state and federal regulations, subsistence harvesting is not allowed in areas that are densely populated.

Access to commercially prepared foods allows Alaskans to supplement a subsistence diet with products that have a long shelf life. White rice and soup blend well with the local diet, and cans of soda provide a rare taste of sugar. Some native foods contain high levels of vitamin A and protein that are needed, but they often have low levels of calcium and fiber. A distinct disadvantage of a subsistence diet is the deficient level of proper nutrients. A diet that is high in refined sugar and fat may satisfy an appetite, but it is not healthy.

Abiding by Rules of Subsistence Fishing

The Subsistence Management Information site, supported by the United Fishermen of Alaska, provides explanations of government regulations that affect subsistence fisheries. Congress started addressing the issue with the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. A major aspect of the law ended the rights of aboriginals to hunt and fish, and action was needed to protect the rights to subsistence harvesting. Not until 1980 did Congress adopt Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, returning the rights of rural residents to use large federal tracts for hunting and gathering.

Understanding the Importance of a Balanced Diet

A scholarly paper developed by anthropologists appeared in the Journal of Anthropological Archeology, describing some nutritional consequences of eating a subsistence diet. The paper contends that high protein and low energy diets create deficiencies in nutrition. When food stores for Alaskans in the study ran low, protein from lean meat provided as much as 90 percent of the caloric value of a diet.

The paper concluded that introducing cultivated plants could open avenues to improved nutrition for people who rely on a subsistence diet for survival. The British Broadcasting site summarizes the components of a healthy diet, consisting of these seven building blocks:

• Carbohydrates: The 60 percent of a healthy diet that is comprised of carbohydrates provides quick energy. Included in this group are potatoes, pasta and cereals.

• Fats: Only 25 percent of a diet needs to come from fats. Excessive amounts of saturated fat from animal meat can lead to coronary problems, but unsaturated fat in dairy products, oils, nuts and fish are healthy.

• Proteins: Meat is a good source of protein, but it needs to fill only 15 percent of a healthy diet.

• Vitamins: Fresh vegetables and fruit provide the vitamins that aid vision (A), energy production (B), healthy skin (C) and teeth and bones (D).

• Minerals: Found in vegetables and fruit as well as fish, calcium strengthens bones, iron guards against fatigue and iodine aids in the production of energy.

• Fiber: Indigestible fiber in wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables aids in weight control and bowel movements.

• Water: The human heart and brain contain more than 70 percent water, and it is essential for the whole body.

By comparing the elements of a healthy diet that is recommended by nutritionists to a subsistence diet, an interested observer can assess the deficiencies that exist when a balance is not available. Merely eating enough to stave off hunger is not the equivalent of a diet that is based on proper proportions of the basic building blocks.

Eating Healthy or Subsisting

People who live in circumpolar/arctic regions have limited access to foods that are available in warm climates, making it necessary to rely on alternatives that are not as healthy. A subsistence diet is one that is capable of helping people to survive, but it is inadequate for long term health–a constant concern for people forced to exist on this diet..

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What are the Most Pressing Cold Weather Health Concerns for Older Adults?

old manCold weather can be hazardous for anyone, but it is riskiest for the elderly. Often, this is because older adults have existing medical conditions that impair their ability to cope with the cold. Additionally, the elderly tend to be prone to accidents in severe weather. And, depression is frequently a cause for concern in connection with the elderly and the winter.

Understanding these cold weather health risks is an important first step to preventing an emergency.

Impaired Senses Can Lead to Hypothermia

It’s not uncommon for an older person to suffer from impaired circulation, diabetes or arthritis. Moreover, people who have had a stroke may have some paralysis. Though all of these conditions may be distinct, they all have the symptom of impairing the person’s sense of touch and, accordingly, their ability to sense cold. This is frequently a problem in the extremities, which are particularly prone to getting cold quickly. Being exposed to cold temperatures, indoors or out, for a long period of time can lead to a condition known as hypothermia. This is a state of the body being at an abnormally low temperature. Symptoms include confusion, sleepiness, paleness and excessive shivering. When these symptoms are present, it’s important to seek immediate emergency assistance. The National Institutes of Health suggests the condition can be prevented by taking a few simple steps like keeping the thermostat turned up and wearing various layers of loose fitting clothing.

Slips, Falls and Other Injuries

When the weather is cold and icy, even a simple trip to the mailbox can prove to be perilous. The risks multiply when the elderly person attempts to shovel the driveway or take the car to the grocery store. Any of these ordinary activities can become a health concern when snow and ice cover the ground. A fall that merely results in a bruise for a younger person can easily break a bone in an older one. Frequently, a broken bone leads to other medical complications like pneumonia. Excessive, unusual physical activity like shoveling can bring on a heart attack, and driving on icy roads is an invitation to an accident and physical injury. That’s why it’s so important for older adults to exercise caution. When severe weather is in the forecast, plan ahead by stocking up on supplies or arrange to have someone deliver them. Put off running errands until the weather improves, and arrange to have a neighbor drop by once or twice a day.

The Winter Blues

Bad weather can leave the elderly feeling more isolated than ever. Depression is a debilitating condition that saps the energy and leaves the individual susceptible to numerous other illnesses. Combat depression by arranging for regular visits from a home care professional, friends or family. Frequent welfare checks can be the key to avoiding serious medical complications brought about by seclusion.

Ice and snow are an inevitable part of winter, and they can mean health hazards for seniors. However, being aware of these major health concerns can help prevent them from happening. With a little advance planning, older adults can weather the winter in warmth and comfort.

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Breaking Into the Healthcare Job Market with a Health Science Degree

The field of healthcare provides a vast number of employment opportunities, each with its accompanying level of necessary training. A great way to begin a career in the healthcare industry is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Health Science. A Health Science degree gives students the knowledge and skills needed to establish relevance in a competitive job market. Anyone who is interested in a career based on helping others and providing state-of-the-art healthcare can benefit from pursuing a degree in Health Science.

This list is made up of the top ten Health Science degree programs offered by some of the best learning institutions currently available. Each school earned a spot on the list based on a number of factors, including level of accreditation and likelihood for successful placement of graduates. The schools are assigned a ranked number on the list according to the quality of the educational experience that they offer as well as their general reputation.

Not only are the listed schools highly respected, they are also at the forefront of the growing trend towards distance learning education programs. Each one of these institutions has made significant steps in contributing to a new educational paradigm that takes advantage of new technologies.

1. Arizona State University — Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Sciences
Cost: $3315 per semester

2. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis — Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
Cost: $3811 per semester

3. University of Missouri — Bachelor of Health Sciences
Cost: $4041 per semester

4. University of South Dakota — Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
Cost: $4335 per semester

5. Bellevue University — Bachelor of Arts in Health Science
Cost: $5550 per semester

6. Nova Southeastern University — Bachelor of Health Science
Cost: $9675 per semester

7. University of West Florida — Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
Cost: $3224 per semester

8. Keiser University — Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Cost: $3766 per semester

9. South University — Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Cost: $3977 per semester

10. Thomas Edison State College — Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Cost: $5435 per semester

Source: TOP 10 BEST ONLINE HEALTH SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMS

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10 Great Places to Get a Degree in Emergency Management

In recent years, increasing concern regarding natural disasters, acts of terrorism and fiscal uncertainty has caused a sharp rise in the number of people who choose to pursue a degree in Emergency Management. This type of degree can help people who are already working in the field of emergency management to secure an administrative position or a supervisory role. A leadership role in this field can provide a very rewarding work experience.

The top ten Emergency Management degree programs have been assembled into a list based on the quality of the institutions that offer them. These ten schools are all accredited at the regional level and have established a reputation for excellence with the educational experiences that they provide.

The programs in the list feature high quality courses that can be taken while the student maintains their current employment position. The main advantage of these distance learning programs is that they are more affordable than traditional on-campus degree programs. They are competitively priced and will save the student a great deal of money in commuting costs and other on-campus expenses.

1. University of North Carolina Online-Western Carolina University — Bachelor of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management
Cost: $2006 per semester

2. Colorado State University-Global Campus — Bachelor’s Degree with Emergency Management Specialization
Cost: $5250 per semester

3. Jacksonville State University — Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management with a Homeland Security Minor
Cost: $3975 per semester

4. Drexel University — Online Certificate in Emergency Management
Cost: $3060 per semester

5. State University of New York-Canton — Bachelor of Technology in Emergency Management
Cost: $2785 per semester

6. University of Central Missouri — Bachelor of Science in Crisis and Disaster Management
Cost: $3144 per semester

7. West Texas A&M University — Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Emergency Management Administration
Cost: $3405 per semester

8. Arkansas Tech University — Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management
Cost: $2805 per semester

9. University of Alaska-Fairbanks– Bachelor of Emergency Management
Cost: $2475 per semester

10. National Labor College — Bachelor of Science in Emergency Readiness and Response Management
Cost: $1620 per semester

Source: Top 10 Best Online Emergency Management Degree Programs

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A Career of Service with a Masters Degree in Nursing

A Masters Degree in Nursing provides a path to a great career with solid job security and the opportunity for promotion. Entry-level nursing jobs provide a great deal of rewarding work experience and advanced level positions offer an even greater amount of job satisfaction. Online degree programs with a focus in nursing have become extremely popular as more and more institutions have begun to provide this option. Some very highly regarded institutions have recently begun to participate in this trend.

The list below is made up of the top ten choices for someone who is already placed in the workforce and wants to advance their career by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Nursing. After a few years of steady employment, nurses may desire promotion in their field, but a competitive job market has made the requirements for promotion much more strict. A Masters Degree in Nursing from one of the following institutions will make such a promotion much more likely for an aspiring nurse.

The list includes some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the nation. The increasing popularity of distance learning programs is reflected in the caliber of the universities that have recently decided to offer a full Masters Degree in Nursing program.

1. Johns Hopkins University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $16,584 per semester

2. Loyola University New Orleans — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $6696 per semester

3. Duke University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $12,222 per semester

4. Drexel University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $11,000 per semester

5. Clarkson College — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $2840 per semester

6. Georgetown University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $10,500 per semester

7. University of Texas-Tyler — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $4058 per semester

8. Sacred Heart University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $5400 per semester

9. University of Florida — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $5797 per semester

10. University of San Francisco — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $12,995 per semester

Source: Top 10 Best Online Masters Degree in Nursing Programs

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Securing a Future Career with a Degree in Healthcare Administration

A greatly weakened economy has driven many people to seek careers in industries that are resistant to fiscal instability. The healthcare industry is ideal for job seekers who want an extra measure of job security. Earning a degree in Healthcare Administration is a great way to take that first step into a secure career that is guaranteed to provide job satisfaction. This type of degree can expand a new graduate’s long-term employment prospects.

Each school in the following top ten list is an excellent choice for a student who is looking for a solid educational foundation for their career in healthcare. These ten schools were selected on the basis of the excellence of their academic programs and their general reputation. In addition to providing a quality education, each listed school is at the forefront of the developing trend of distance learning degree programs.

All ten of these schools are accredited at the regional level and will provide each student with a strong foundation upon which to establish their careers. They also offer Healthcare Administration degree programs in an online distance learning format. This type of educational program delivers the same quality education that can be had on campus at a lowered cost.

1. University of Minnesota-Crookston — Bachelor of Science in Health Management
Cost: $6461 per semester

2. Colorado State University-Global Campus — Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration and Management
Cost: $5250 per semester

3. Drexel University — Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration
Cost: $3881 per semester

4. Northeastern University — Bachelor of Science in Health Management
Cost: $5025 per semester

5. Bellevue University — Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
Cost: $5550 per semester

6. Liberty University — Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Healthcare Management
Cost: $4875 per semester

7. New England College — Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
Cost: $3924 per semester

8. Grand Canyon University — Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
Cost: $6975 per semester

9. Hodges University — Bachelor of Science in Health Administration
Cost: $7350 per semester

10. Strayer University — Bachelor of Business Administration-Healthcare Administration
Cost: $8500 per semester

Source: Top 10 Best Online Healthcare Administration Degree Programs

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At the Forefront of Healthcare with a Master of Science in Nursing

Nursing is one of the most popular career choices in today’s workforce. It combines competitive pay and benefits with the opportunity for promotion and more advanced levels of employment. A Master of Science in Nursing degree is an essential component to securing a highly advanced position that will offer the best salary and most rewarding work experience. Nurses can obtain senior positions or become nurse practitioners with a Master of Science in Nursing.

master of nursing

The following list represents the top ten academic institutions that offer Master of Science in Nursing degree programs. The schools in the list were selected on the basis of their history of excellence and the quality of the degree programs they offer. These schools provide a world-class educational experience in an online format that allows students to remain in the jobs they currently have. The renowned status of these schools is a reflection of the increasing mainstream acceptance of online and distance learning degree options.

All of the listed schools have a long-standing reputation for exceptional academic performance and each one carries its own unique set of benefits and advantages for students. Each school is heavily accredited at the regional, state and national levels with additional accreditations that rank among the top in the country.

1. Johns Hopkins University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $16,584 per semester

2. Loyola University New Orleans — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $6696 per semester

3. Duke University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $12,222 per semester

4. Drexel University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $11,000 per semester

5. Georgetown University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $10,500 per semester

6. Clarkson College — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $4916 per semester

7. University of Texas-Tyler — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $4058 per semester

8. University of Colorado Denver — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $4615 per semester

9. University of Florida — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $5977 per semester

10. Delta State University — Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $2862 per semester

Source: TOP 10 BEST ONLINE MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING DEGREES

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Infant Mortality Among Arctic Inhabitants

Imagine, if you will, a life devoid of many of the creature comforts that most take for granted. A life in the Arctic is equivalent to a life spent within the tight grasp of winter at all times. The daily conditions in the arctic seem almost like a cruel joke. The winters come with low temperatures and constant darkness, while the “summer”, and the term is used loosely, consists of temperatures just above freezing and near constant daylight. The irony of the bitter cold along with non-stop sunlight is certainly not lost among the area’s many indigenous and non-indigenous inhabitants of the region. The biggest worry among residents, as it should be, involves the protection of the weakest among the population. Newborns are far more susceptible to the harrowing conditions in the arctic. As such, infant mortality is a problem. Far more of a problem, however, is the discrepancy between the infant mortality rates for indigenous (native) inhabitants vs non-indigenous (relocated) inhabitants.

Why the Difference and What Can Be Done?

It’s important to explain precisely what infant mortality (IM) is. Infant mortality is when a child dies shortly after birth. Child mortality occurs when a child dies before their fifth birthday.

The “rate” in mortality rate is defined using a set scale, by arriving at the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. An IM rate of 4 means that for every 1,000 live births, 4 infants die.

When comparing indigenous vs non-indigenous IM rates, a graph or table can be helpful. The Alaska Native Epidemiology Center has produced a series of charts that document the IM rate differences in select polar regions. The graphs can be accessed on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s site.  The results are startling. The IM rates of indigenous peoples varies from region to region, though it is regularly at least double the IM rate of non-indigenous peoples living in the same region. For example, In the Northwest Arctic Region of Alaska, the IM rate among the indigenous is 10.2 per 1,000 live births, compared to the IM rate of 5.8 among the non-indigenous inhabitants.

It’s generally accepted that the availability and readiness of health services in a region can either positively or negatively effect the IM rate. Dehydration, water pollution, malnutrition, and infectious diseases all play a part in an increased IM rate. In the polar region, the main objective is to lower indigenous IM rate not just to be equivalent to the non-indigenous, but lower. Over the past few decades, the IM rate among the indigenous inhabitants has fallen. The goal of the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium, with their annual operating budget of $430 million, is to make all inhabitants of Alaska the healthiest in the world.

Whether it be the remote northern tip of Alaska, or the southern tip of antarctica, infant mortality is unavoidable. It’s just as unavoidable as it is in Kansas. Where differences can be made is in the decline of those rates. Any life lost is too high a price to pay.

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An Introduction to the Iditarod

iditarodThe Iditarod is a world-renowned sled dog race that takes place once a year in Alaska. Beginning in early March, mushers race along a 1,049-mile route from Anchorage to Nome over the course of 9-12 days. During this time, the teams must do battle with blizzards, below freezing temperatures, and powerful winds that can create a wind chill factor of –100 °F! Those who race in the Iditarod – both dogs and humans – possess an unparalleled degree of stamina and will power. It’s no wonder that the race is Alaska’s most popular sport!

HISTORY

When miners were searching for Alaskan gold from 1880 to 1920, sled dogs were the most widely used form of transportation and communication, particularly during the winter months when frozen waters rendered shipping ports useless. Once bush pilots arrived on the scene in the late 1920s, followed by the snowmobile in the 1960s, dog sledding as a viable means of transportation became obsolete. However, a long-standing tradition of competitive mushing has endured since the beginning of the twentieth century.

In 1967, Dorothy G. Page and Joe Redington Sr. sponsored the first Iditarod race, which back then was just 25 miles long. Redington and schoolteachers Gleo Huyck and Tom Johnson were later responsible for extending the length of the race to over 1,000 miles, giving us the Iditarod in its current form.

The race is named after the Iditarod Trail, which was in turn named after the Athabaskan village of the same moniker.

NOTABLE WINNERS

Dick Walmarth was the Iditarod’s first winner (1973), and the first woman to win the race was Libby Fields in 1985. In 1995, Montana resident Doug Swingley was the first non-Alaskan winner, and, in 2003, Robert Sørlie of Norway was the first non-U.S. resident to claim the championship.

The “Golden Harness” is an award given to the dogs of the winning team

PREPARATION

Mushers must be in prime condition in order to face the physical challenges of the Iditarod. They stay in shape all year round by biking or jogging.

During the race, all mushers are required to have a sleeping bag that weighs five pounds or more. A sleeping bag of this type should keep a person warm at temperatures of -40. Participants are also required to carry an axe (for chopping firewood and digging for water), snowshoes, dog food, and “booties” for the dogs’ feet. These dog shoes protect the animals from abrasions while running. For more information on the equipment carried by mushers, click here.

2013 IDITAROD RACE

54 mushers are signed up for the 2013 race. 4 of these participants – Lance Mackey, John Baker, Jeff King, and Martin Buser – have 14 Iditarod championships between them! It looks as if the 2013 Iditarod race will be just as exciting as those of years past.

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How to Eat Right When It Seems Like Nothing’s Left

During the winter of 1777, the Continental Army camped at Valley Forge and hunkered down in the fiercest of winter conditions. Soldiers were weak from hunger, and they resorted to eating their shoe leather to keep from starving. Needless to say, brutal winters can make for creative diets.

If you live in the Arctic, or in the wilds of Alaska, you understand this concept all too well. Vegetation is scarce at best, and most animals have gone into hibernation. What’s an omnivore to eat? An even bigger question might be, “How does one stay healthy in such rough conditions?” Here are a few tips.

Canning

Hopefully, you are reading this article while the long shadows of summer are still reaching across the fields, and you still have time to put up some healthy foods for winter. Canning is one of the best ways to preserve foods. Vegetables and meats can be stocked on your pantry shelf to be used in recipes all winter. You can even make soups and stews ahead of time and can them for quick and easy winter meals. Nothing warms you to the toes better than a bowl of hot chili on a cold, dark night. Canning ahead is akin to planning ahead. Don’t let winter take you by surprise.

Creative Gardening

If your pantry is a little bare and winter has already set in, you can always start an indoor garden. Find the sunniest windowsills in the house and place some pots or planters there for growing bean sprouts and other fast-growing crops. This will require a bit more creativity when it comes to whipping up meals, but it’s better than not having any vegetables. Try having a fresh salad with soup, or stir in some spinach leaves to beef stew. This will add color and nutrition to your diet, and the gardening will help keep your spirits up on gray, cloudy days.

Shopping Fresh May Still Be an Option

Unless you are living in an extremely remote area, you can probably find a local Farmer’s market to attend. Believe it or not, these do exist in winter. Lots of other folks are seeking healthy food choices too. What better place to bring all these people together than at a Farmer’s market? Vegetables are not the only fresh foods available in this venue. Eggs from local chickens are a farm-fresh favorite, and they are packed with nutrition. You may even be lucky enough to find a local dairy farmer selling raw milk.

Eat Local

Finally, be willing to live off the foods that are native to your own region. Alaskans eat a tremendous amount of meat and fish and very few vegetables, and yet they are typically healthy people. The reason for this relates to the theory that ties environmental acclimation to physical health. People living in cold climates should eat cold water fish, red meats and only vegetation that is indigenous to the region. Eating foods that have been shipped from across the globe are thought to be a shock to the body. Not everyone agrees with this idea, but there does seem to be some credence to it.

With some forethought, creativity, and compromise, you’ll be whipping up healthy meals in no time. One thing is certain. Shoe leather should not be on anyone’s menu, regardless of where they live.

About the Guest Author

Gillian Johnson is a healthcare educator from Fargo, North Dakota. She frequently provides articles to resources related to healthcare, and another sample of her findings can be found at The Best Online Degree Programs in Medical Informatics.

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