Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays from Agriculture Society

Wishing you the best this 2008 season with whatever tradition or holiday you celebrate. Spend time with your loved ones and take care of your health. Be sure to limit refined sugars and carbohydrates and eat plenty of whole foods. Be mindful of the environment and how much you consume. The emphasis should be on loving and spending time with those you care about, not purchasing. Challenge yourself to spend less money this season and eat better foods than you have in the past. Find ways to make your loved ones happy with good meals and homemade gifts.

Agriculture Society Tip of the Day will resume sometime during the new year. Peace and love to everyone, and happy holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Vitamin D for Heart Health

Did you know Vitamin D is critical for heart health as well as cancer prevention? According to The Journal of The American College of Cardiology, Vitamin D deficiencies are prevalent amongst 30 - 50 percent of the population. Lack of adequate Vitamin D levels can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. The most common source for Vitamin D is through daily sun exposure.

"There are a whole array of studies linking increased cardiovascular risk with Vitamin D deficiency," noted Dr. James H. O'Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City. "It is associated with major risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and stiffening of the left ventricle of the heart and blood vessels. Inflammation is really important for heart disease, and people with vitamin D deficiency have increased inflammation."

Experts estimate that up to half of adults and 30 percent of children and teenagers in the United States are vitamin D-deficient. There is a wide array of studies linking increased cardiovascular risk with vitamin D deficiency.

The results from long-running Framingham Heart Study reveal that a person with Vitamin D levels lower than 15 nanograms per millileter of blood is twice as likely to experience heart failure, stroke, or other cardiovascular disorder within two years as compared to those who have higher levels.

The most common source for Vitamin D is through daily sun exposure. Also, fish such as salmon and deep sea-sourced fish are good natural sources. Mainstream dairy (pasteurized) is not a good source for Vitamin D because the Vitamin D in dairy products is synthetically produced and added into the product. The human body has great difficulty absorbing these types of nutrients. Even though raw milk is a great food for human health, Vitamin D does not naturally occur in it.

Good quality supplements are widely available through a qualified health care practitioner or health food stores. Consulting with a professional about which type is right for you will bring maximum health benefit. Although current recommended daily intake of Vitamin D intake is only 200 international units a day up to age 50, 400 units for ages 50 to 70, and 600 units a day over the age of 70, recent studies and evidence suggest that many people need nearly three times those amounts to make up for deficiencies - to be taken over a period of time and then tested to make certain levels rise to where they should be. This is especially true for people living in colder climates during winter months when sun exposure is less.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cancer Prevention...As Easy as Vitamin D?

What are you doing to effectively prevent cancer? A new study has emerged from Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska delivering proof that a clear link exists between Vitamin D supplementation and reducing different types of cancer such as colon, breast, and skin (as well as others). Supplementing your diet with Vitamin D alone can reduce the risk of developing cancer by as much as 77 percent. With all the research and funding spent on cancer research over the last 50 years, this should be very exciting news to anyone who has been touched by cancer. The findings of this research reveal how the benefits of this essential nutrient exceed the effectiveness of cancer drugs used by modern medicine.

In their study, scientists conducted testing on 1,179 post-menopausal women aged 55 and older. The first group were administered 1400-1500 mg daily of calcium and 1100 IU of Vitamin D. The second group was given a placebo. After four years had passed, those who had consistently taken calcium and vitamin D supplements showed a 60 percent decrease in cancers. This amount is nearly three times the recommended daily allowance by the USDA.

“Vitamin D is a critical tool in fighting cancer as well as many other diseases,” stated principal investigator Joan Lappe, Ph.D., R.N., Creighton professor of medicine and holder of the Criss/Beirne Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing.

During sunlight exposure, humans manufacture Vitamin D3. You only need about 10-15 minutes of daily sun exposure (for instance, on a hot summer day) to create Vitamin D3. Because overexposure can also cause skin cancer, using caution about being in the sun too long is recommended. Sunscreens block the absorption of Vitamin D, so you should use only safe sunscreens and only after you have been in the sun longer than necessary to absorb the needed Vitamin D. Over the last 30 years, the public has been told by health experts to avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen. But in light of studies such as the one above, experts are now beginning to connect the avoidance of sun and use of sunscreen as having a negative effective on people's ability to avoid development of diseases like cancer.

Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, wrote in a medical editorial: “Research on vitamin D should be continued to clearly elucidate the specific benefits and optimal intakes and levels of Vitamin D,” Dr. Giovannucci wrote further: “Nonetheless, based on the total body of evidence of health conditions associated with vitamin D deficiency, abetted with the results from this meta-analysis, a more proactive attitude to identify, prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency should be part of standard medical care." He also asserts,“from a broader public health perspective, the roles of moderate sun exposure, food fortification, with vitamin D and higher-dose vitamin D supplements for adults need to be debated.”

Here are the current recommendations for daily intake of Vitamin D:
  • 200 IU/d, birth-age 50
  • 400 IU/d, 50-70 years
  • 600 IU/d, 70 years and older
Based on these findings, intake of Vitamin D could safely exceed these amounts and be beneficial to health in warding off the development of chronic and fatal illness.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, before deciding to take pharmaceutical drugs such as chemotherapy and radiation, consider consulting with a health care practitioner who will support your interest in treating health problems naturally. Many practitioners overlook the nutritional component of health and its effects on our health.

If you have not been diagnosed with cancer, now is the time to make lifestyle changes that will prevent such illnesses from developing such as the following:
  • eliminate all processed foods
  • increase intake of raw foods and organic produce (5 -7 servings daily)
  • proper whole-foods based, organic nutrient supplementation (consult with a knowledgeable practitioner for guidance)
  • obtain daily sun exposure
  • obtain regular, moderate exercise (3- 4 times per week for a half an hour or more)
  • obtain adequate rest and stress relief
  • eat healthy fats such as grass-fed organic meats, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut, and grapeseed oil
  • cut back on grains, which contribute to inflammation and disease
  • eliminate refined sugars and alcoholic beverages
  • drink plenty of filtered water
  • take probiotics (daily intake should be at least 10 billion or more)
  • take fiber - find a good, natural, organic brand and avoid grocery store brands such as metamucil
  • make certain your calcium supplements are from calcium malate, aspartate, gluconate, or citrate (not calcium carbonate which is derived from limestone and is not absorbed by the body adequately)
  • take essential fatty acid supplementation such as Nordic Naturals, Sonnes, or SIBU

Healthy Tips

Looking for ways to save your health, the environment, and money? Here are a few suggestions you can use during the holiday season:
  • Even in cold weather, getting outside is good for your health and should be preferred over going to a health club for exercise. Bundle up and get moving! Even though gas prices are currently down, avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Walk, ride your bike, ride your horse, carpool, ride your skateboard, or take the bus. When you do drive, try to accomplish multiple tasks that are in the same general location at once instead of making multiple trips throughout any given day or a week. Visit The Alliance to Save Energy site for more gas and energy saving tips related to your vehicle.
  • Do not allow your engine to idle. In cold seasons, people tend to sit and wait with their engines running. This pollutes the air for people passing by all around you. Be especially aware if bus or truck drivers are idling in areas where people linger or loiter - such as at bus stops, schools, or city centers. Ask drivers to turn off their engines. Visit the Clean Bus USA Campaign page on the EPA site.
  • Buy energy efficient lightbulbs and/or fixtures, or change your current to a more energy efficient variety. Look for the Energy Star label. Visit the Energy Star site for more information.
  • Load up all your used or old electronic devices such as cell phones, video game players, or computers and take them to a recycle center. Doing this will eliminate more cadmium, lead, and other hazardous substances from being placed in landfills. Visit the eCycle page on the EPA site.
  • Consider changing where your electricity is generated from standard to solar, wind, or other viable types. Visit Home Power for more information.
  • If you are building a new home or renovating, use materials and designs that are environmentally-sound. Visit the Green Building page on the EPA site.
  • Purchase less during the holidays or do your shopping online (and try to do online shopping sparingly to save on shipping for financial and environmental savings as well). Make gifts out of things you have at home - be creative.
  • Recycle bags and paper for gift-giving wrap and presentation.
  • Invite friends or family over for home gatherings instead of opting for expensive nights out. Encourage everyone attending to make something from home and bring a dish to share.
  • Trade decorations and lights with friends and family instead of making a trip to the store and wasting gas and spending more money on new items.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Maintaining Healthy Weight

Do you struggle to lose weight? Do you have trouble gaining weight? Both of these problems are actually related to one another, as they can be a sign of toxicity in the body and an inability of the digestive tract to properly absorb the food you eat. Inability to absorb nutrients from food is actually caused by poor diet. When you eat processed foods, over time your digestive tract becomes irritated and those chemicals in the foods you eat begin to penetrate the lining of your intestines, causing inflammation, weight gain (or inability to maintain proper weight), and disease.

Many people undergo fad diets and plans to lose weight, only to fail and gain the weight back. Most diets promise that you will be able to lose weight and aren't able to deliver. Why? Because most diets work from the premise that you'll have to avoid certain foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories. Whether you are overweight or not, your body needs saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories to obtain enough fuel and nutrients. If you are counting calories, you can count on still being overweight. The key is what types of foods you are eating which contain cholesterol and saturated fats. These ingredients are not the same in all foods. If you are eating whole foods, these substances are not only safe to eat but are necessary to health.

When you eat unhealthy foods, the calories are irrelevant because most, if not all of those calories, are unhealthy. A diet soda is no healthier than a regular soda because it contains less or no calories. Sodas -- diet in particular -- are full of chemicals your body doesn't recognize. You are better off to discontinue drinking sodas (and juice) altogether.

When you eat healthy foods, those calories are all healthy to consume because they come from nature and give your body everything it needs to absorb and utilize nutrients for health. When doctors tell you to avoid red meat, they are saying this because the typical red meat most people consume is from factory farms - laden with chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, and the animals whose meat you are eating have been fed the wrong types of food - corn, soy, and grain (much of it genetically modified and herbicide resistant). Cattle are meant to consume grass as they are ruminants - an animal equipped with a stomach specifically designed to digest grasses. When ruminants are fed other types of feed such as grain, soy, and corn, they become ill and farmers administer antibiotics. Farmers in factory farm environments are also concerned with profit and give their animals growth hormones and stabilizers -- all of this translates into unhealthy meat that causes many health problems - including heart disease, cancer, and Diabetes. Factory farm meat is obese meat. Grass-fed meat contains the correct ratios of healthy nutrients - low calorie, high protein, and with higher levels of Omega 3s (CLA or conjugated linoleic acid). These factors have been found to have favorable effects on health such as helping to maintain proper weight and correct cholesterol levels.

Overweight individuals usually have detoxification issues and digestive disorders. If you have eaten poorly throughout your life, chances are you will have both. Digestive issues are caused by poor eating, leading to the storing of toxins which causes weight gain. When you get control of your toxification issues, you will then be able to lose pounds and arrive at the appropriate weight for your body size and type. Any diet which encourages an individual to lose more than two or three pounds a month and recommends eating less calories and low-fat foods should raise a red flag. Overweight does not mean starvation nor elimination of important, nutrient-dense foods - but that's exactly what many diets propose for the person trying to lose weight. An alteration in the way you eat should not be a diet but a lifestyle change. Until you understand this difference, you will likely continue to have weight issues.

If you are underweight, what you eat is still of crucial importance. Some people believe that if they are thin, they can eat poorly and it won't matter because eating that way won't cause weight gain. Even if you are fortunate enough that you don't easily gain weight, you can still damage your health from maintaining such a philosophy. Don't eat junk food to gain weight; if you truly need to gain some pounds, make your diet as healthy as possible. Eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed, organic meats (both domestic and wild), safe fish, moderate amounts of sprouted, whole grains (avoid products made of flour), raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils such as grapeseed, coconut, and olive oil, raw, organic dairy products, and moderate amounts of legumes and rice.

Exercise, proper sleep, and stress reduction is also critical in the overall picture of health and maintaining proper weight. Employ a moderate exercise program that you engage in at least three times per week and is appropriate for your age and fitness level. If you are in doubt, consult with your health care practitioner or a personal trainer. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night is important, and making sure you retire by 10 p.m. is also critical toward helping maintain proper weight. Excessive, unaddressed stress, anxiety, or depression can also cause an individual to harbor excess weight or cause the inability to gain weight. If you need stress reduction, consider yoga, pilates, prayer, meditation, or counseling which focuses on varying forms of cognitive therapy (as opposed to pharmaceutical intervention which can often make problems worse or only be a band-aid).

If you are unable to lose or gain weight after eating a truly healthy diet, you may need to address toxification and digestive issues. In many cases, these problems can be easily solved naturally without drugs or surgery. Consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner about the correct type of detox and/or digestive remedy for your individual needs. Good individuals to inquire with include a naturopathic doctor, a certified nutritional therapist, a chiropractor, or a nutritional counselor who can refer you to another qualified professional.

Let's do a comparison of several different types of foods. You decide which are healthier to eat:
  • Packaged bread or grain product or real, whole, sprouted grains that have been soaked
  • Pasteurized, homogenized, 2 percent milk or whole, raw milk
  • Lean, "low-fat" ground turkey which has been fed grains, corn and soy (possibly with growth hormones and antibiotics ) or natural, organic grass-fed ground beef with no chemicals, growth hormones, or antibiotics
  • Tofu or pasture-raised, natural eggs (no antibiotics, chemicals)
  • Conventional produce or organic produce
In all cases, any foods which are processed and contain chemicals will contribute to weight issues and health disorders. Natural, healthy foods with saturated fats and cholesterol are necessary for health. Proper cholesterol cannot be maintained without these foods, and weight trouble and health issues will arise from eating processed low-fat foods such as soy, dairy, and meats which are "engineered" by technology through administration of chemicals/hormones/antibiotics and the feeding of unnatural types of feeds such as soy, grains, and corn. These foods are eaten by a majority of people, as these choices represent the bulk of what is available on the mainstream food market and are recommended by many health professionals to be consumed. This is the reason why America has such an obesity and health epidemic. When we can finally make the distinction between real, whole foods for tools of healing and health, our chronic diseases and illnesses will finally be an exception rather than a rule.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Calcium and Your Health

Are you getting enough calcium in your diet? Here are some ideas that might surprise you about this important mineral:

The best sources for calcium are as follows:
  • Leafy green vegetables like broccoli
  • Other greens such as spinach, collard, bok choy, and kale
  • Salmon
  • Almonds
  • Raw, organic, unpasteurized dairy - milk, cream, kefir, cheese, and butter
The following are not good sources for calcium:
  • Fortified drinks like orange juice, soy, rice, or nut milks
  • Pasteurized dairy products - consumption of these foods can actually lead to leeching of minerals from the bone since they have been heated up and denatured, causing malabsorbtion of minerals and vitamins. The naturally occurring fats, proteins, and enzymes present in clean, organically produced raw dairy are needed to absorb vital nutrients and for good nutrition. If you've ever experienced symptoms of lactose intolerance, this may be the reason why. Basically, pasteurized milk has been heated up which effectively kills friendly bacteria and nutrients. Then synthetic minerals and vitamins are added back in. Try raw milk and visit Organic Pastures for more information.
  • Other fortified "foods" such as many health bars, cereals, and other grain products.
If you are not receiving adequate calcium in your diet, a good supplement that is organically produced and whole-foods based should be a starting point. There are some good calcium supplements on the market which can be chosen if calcium intake is still not optimal. Cal-Mag-Fizz is a good product containing other minerals and viamins to help with absorption, baking soda, stevia for sweetness, fructose, and citric acid. Another good brand is Solaray. If you are looking for a calcium supplement, make certain yours does not contain calcium carbonate, as this type of calcium comes from limestone and the body is largely unable to absorb it. Good calciums to include in your supplement are citrate, lactate, hyrdoxide, and glycerophosphate.

According to Calcium Information (.com), here are the guidelines for calcium consumption by age:

Age / Calcium (mg/day)
0 to 6 months: 210
7 to 12 months: 270
1 to 3 years: 500
4 to 8 years: 800
9 to 13 years: 1300
14 to 18 years: 1000
19 to 50 years: 1000
51+ years: 1200
50+ women: 1500

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Effective is The Flu Vaccine?

During cold and flu season, do you normally receive a flu vaccine? If so, here is some important information to know about this vaccine:
  • No proof exists that the flu vaccine works.

When your doctor gives you a flu shot, the vaccine only protects you from contracting strains of flu viruses that are active nine months prior to the beginning of the current flu season. That's when scientists collect circulating flu viruses to create the vaccine. As viruses continue to mutate, new strains are always appearing. Getting the flu vaccine does not automatically guarantee you will stay healthy. In fact, receiving the vaccine is a good way to cause weakening in your immune system.

  • A person who has received the flu shot may also contract the flu virus from the vaccine itself.

Flu vaccines are created from real flu viruses. Scientists grow viruses in chicken eggs and then destroy them with a chemical. The idea is to make the virus inactive, but, possible side effects from the vaccine include headaches, fever, fatigue, and sore muscles. Those are flu symptoms. As reported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, these symptoms most often occur in children or in those with weakened immune systems (such as the elderly), the segment of our population who are told to receive the vaccine!

  • The flu vaccine contains thimerosal -- a preservative that is toxic to the body.

Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury (a toxic chemical). Studies have shown that mercury is toxic to the nervous system. Scientists are also finding more and more evidence that the use of thimerosal in medications and vaccines is connected to the rise of autism in children. Despite the fact that in 1999 the U.S. federal government recommended the elimination of thimerosal from vaccines, this toxic chemical is still an ingredient found in most vaccines -- including all flu shots.

Even in light of this disturbing evidence, medical communities and professionals continue to urge individuals over age 50, parents with infants, pregnant women, and those with lowered immune system function and chronic health issues to rush out and receive the flu vaccine. The historical past has shown us that indeed the flu is a serious illness that should be cared for properly, but it is time we began to acknowledge safer methods of dealing with this seasonal illness. For an article on tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season, visit Agriculture Society.

For information about a homeopathic treatment of the flu that works, visit Homeopathic Educational Services.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Easy Lymphatic Cleanse

Is your lymphatic system working correctly? The lymphatic system in your body, one of the seven channels of elimination, is a delicate system that can become bogged down by toxins from your environment and the things you eat such as processed foods. Like digestion, your lymphatic system can help clear out toxins that can cause disease such as cancer, so you want to make sure to keep it running as smoothly as possible.

From The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman and Barry Sears, try the following protocol:

Cranberry water mixture:

Daily intake:
8 glasses daily

Drinking cranberry water eliminates water retention, removes accumulated toxins from the lymphatic system and helps to reduce cellulite.

Use Woodstock Farms organic unsweetened cranberry juice, Mountain Sun's, Woodstock Farms, Trader Joe's, or Knudsen's. Obtain two empty 32-ounce bottles. Fill each bottle with 4 ounces of cranberry juice and 28 ounces of filtered water. Alternatively, you can purchase Knudsen's or Tree of Life cranberry concentrate and add 1 1/2 tablespoons to each 32-ounce water bottle. It is important to use only unsweetened cranberry juice as some brands add corn syrup or aspartame. Drink these mixtures throughout the day, each and every day.

During and after cleansing, be sure to continue eating a healthy diet replete with fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed organic meats, raw, organic dairy, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils such as olive, coconut, and grapeseed. Elimination of procesed foods, refined sugars, and foods with additives, chemicals, hormones, steroids, and antibiotics is a must to support any detoxification or cleansing activity and a healthy body. Also be sure to get plenty of moderate exercise, rest, and stress relief.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Are Vegetable Oils Healthy?

Do you eat vegetable oil on food? Vegetable oils include the following:
  • canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil from rapeseed)
  • soybean oil
  • cottonseed oil
  • corn oil
  • peanut
  • sunflower
  • safflower
These polyunsaturated fats, heralded by the health community at large, are found in many processed foods such as salad dressings, breads, crackers, bagels, desserts, baked goods, cakes, and are also used in a majority of cooking in restaurants, and other public and private kitchens such as a majority of people's homes. How can these oils be so unhealthy?

Beware! Many "health experts", doctors, dieticians, and other individuals in health communities will tell you these oils are healthy to consume. But actually, they are some of the main culprits of degenerative disease plaguing people in the United States. Ray Peat, Ph.D in physiology who has studied hormones and dietary fats since 1986 reports that these oils are unhealthy to consume. "Polyunsaturated fatty acids, PUFAs -- those contained in the above mentioned oils, "are the bane of human health - they actually cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, aging, thrombosis, arthritis, and immunodeficiencies. Their only appropriate uses are as ingredients in paints and varnishes. As soon as a polyunsaturated vegetable oil enters the body, it is exposed to temperatures high enough to cause its toxic decomposition -- especially when combined with a continuous supply of oxygen and catalysts such as iron."

So which oils are healthy to consume? Olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed), grapeseed oil, coconut oil (pure virgin), and flax oil only if raw. Olive oil should only be heated on low heat on the stove or oven as its composition is delicate and it has a low-smoke point. Grapeseed oil and coconut oil are wonderfully healthy and are higher-smoke point oils that can be used in higher heat for cooking without going rancid. Real butter from a reliable, organic source (raw is a plus) is also a healthy fat that can be used for cooking or used on whole-grain, sprouted breads.

For an in-depth discussion about healthy oils, visit Dr. Mercola.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Are You SAD?

Do you suffer from depression in the fall and winter months? Millions of people do, and end up at the doctor's office for pharmaceutical intervention. SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is common during parts of the year when there are less sunny days. Instead of taking pills, try the following:
  • Get outside for at least 20 minutes each day and go for a walk. Even if the sky is overcast, you are still getting important rays that penetrate the clouds and the ever-important Vitamin D - essential to health and well-being.
  • Natural Light Therapy, another option, is a treatment that uses artificial light to alter your circadian rhythms and suppresses the natural release of melatonin in the body. This affects biochemical changes in the brain which help reduce or control symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and other conditions. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.\
  • Be sure to continue eating a healthy diet, replete with organic, fresh vegetables and fruits, raw foods (including nuts and dairy from grass-fed cows), grass-fed meats, healthy oils such as grapeseed, olive, and coconut, and plenty of filtered water. Continue taking supplements or add to your regimen organic, whole-foods based products including multi-vitamins, essential fatty acids, fiber, and probiotics.
  • If you are still experiencing SAD symptoms, consider seeing a therapist who uses cognitive therapy instead of drugs. Sometimes, a change in your mental outlook is all you need. Other options include a visit to a qualified alternative health care practitioner such as an acupuncturist/Chinese herbal doctor, naturopath, or chiropractor. Massage therapy, reflexology, pilates, or yoga are also helpful.
For more information about Vitamin D and how much you should take, visit Dr. Mercola.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prevention Foods

Are you eating enough prevention foods? Here are some fruits and vegetables you may be lacking in. Consider adding the following to your daily diet:
  • Red: tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruits. These fruits contain lycopene which supports prostate health and prevents heart and lung disease.
  • Yellow/Green: spinach, yellow corn, collard greens, avocado, peas, and honeydew melon. These contain zeaxanthin and lutein which supports vision and eye function.
  • Orange/Yellow: Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, apricots, and cantaloupes. Contain betacarotene and antioxidants which help prevent cancer. Also, oranges, nectarines, peaches which contain cryptothanxin for heart function support.
  • Green: Broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Contain isothiocyanates, sulforaphanes, and indoles which are known to affect enzymes and disintegrate carcinogens.
  • Green/White: garlic, celery, onions, chives, white wine, and pears. These foods have allicin and flavonoids, which have been observed to deter tumor growth.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Truth About ADHD, ADD, and Hyperactivity

Have you or has your child been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD? If so, prescription medications may have been prescribed to reduce symptoms for this disorder. There are other options available, as well as causes for ADHD and ADD which may not have been addressed by your health care practitioner. Children who have these disorders are often labeled as "problem" or difficult children with behavior problems. Many children with these issues become left behind in school and may be singled out frequently as disrupting classroom activities.

Medications prescribed to help children with attention deficit disorders do not solve the real cause of the disorder, but holistic health care practitioners such as chiropractors and naturopaths use alternative methods to deal with children or adults who exhibit symptoms of ADHD, ADD, and related problems. We are just now beginning to understand the connection between the foods we eat and the toxins in our environment on our health. Holistic practitioners help patients look for causes and eliminate those culprits in order to set health back on track. Some simple changes can be made which show dramatic improvement in symptoms of ADHD, patience and attention issues, and hyperactivity.

Chiropractic neurologists have seen success in treating ADHD and learning disabilities with proper brain stimulation techniques. The other important change recommended includes alterations in nutrition and lifestyle that can have a noticeable affect on or prevention of biochemical imbalances responsible for ADHD or ADD symptoms. If you are a parent with a child that has ADHD or a similar syndrome, consider the following:
  • Eliminate processed foods from your child's diet as they often contain refined sugars, dyes, preservatives, and chemicals which contribute to behavior issues.
  • Purchase organic foods whenever possible and look for foods with with as few pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals as possible.
  • Determine if there is an allergy—usually starting with dairy and gluten and try elimination diets.
  • As much as possible, eliminate chemicals in your home - plastics, sprays, air fresheners, antibacteria soaps, petroleum-based cleaners and detergents such as dish soaps and laundry detergents, pesticide sprays.
  • Avoid medications -- prescription and over-the-counter, nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs in pregnancy that may harm the fetus.
  • During pregnancy, seek regular relaxation activities. Job-related and personal stress may affect the health of your unborn baby's health adversely.
  • Avoid feeding your baby formula and breastfeed. During the first months and years of a child's life development of the body and brain are at a critical point. Pay close attention to your diet if you are breastfeeding and focus on non-processed foods with whole, organic dairy products, grass-fed meats, raw nuts, organic produce, and few refined grains.
  • Make certain your child receives adequate doses of essential fatty acids in his or her diet daily. This includes Omega 3's found in foods such as fish or good quality fish oils, organic grass-fed meats and organic butter, and Omega 6's found in cococut, olive, and grapeseed oils.
Chiropractic neurologists are in process of compiling data about comparing chiropractic neurological versus pharmaceutical treatments for ADD and ADHD. "We test children before they start the treatment and then every three months," says Dr. Melillo. "Within the first three months, the children get a two-grade-level increase on average—which is pretty dramatic. With children on medications, the improvement in academic performance is short term and lasts only as long as they take the medication. Our programs change the brain function and the improvement doesn't go away."

For more information, visit The American Chiropractic Association web site.

For an informative article about ADD & ADHD, visit Agriculture Society.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Much Salt Should You Consume?

Do you think about how much salt you consume? According to Harvard Medical School, if you are under age 50, your blood pressure is in a healthy range, and your health is good, you probably have little reason to worry about salt intake. A lower-sodium diet is good for people who are older, who are of African American descent, or who have high blood pressure or Diabetes. These individuals should limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300–2,400 mg a day. People with heart failure or kidney disease are advised to keep their sodium intake under 2,000 mg a day.

Keep the following in mind for healthy consumption of salt:
  • Watch processed and packaged foods. These varieties contain much more salt than what you would use if you were preparing something from scratch. That includes any type of food you purchase in a package other than raw meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, dried rice/beans/legumes, raw grains, spices, and other similar items.
  • Anything that comes in a can, jar, package, or box is subject to having salt added to it. Watch everything from canned soups and broths to boxed cereals, crackers, breads, and packaged meats (hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon), cheeses, sour cream, pickles, prepared drinks, etc. Even frozen and canned fruits and vegetables that claim on the package to be "natural" or organic have often had sodium added. You are better off eating fresh, but if you are purchasing frozen or canned fruits or vegetables, look for those that are organic and have the words "no salt added" and are as natural as possible. Above all, read labels! The type of sodium added to most processed foods is usually the cheapest, most processed variety as well, so use care and avoid these as much as you are able.
  • When you are purchasing salt to add to foods, be certain to look for a good mineral salt that has been refined as little as possible. Some crucial elements missing from modern diets are trace nutrient and minerals that come from untampered foods from nature, and salt. These trace minerals and nutrients are vital to health.
  • Always be certain to add the correct amount of salt for a recipe. If you are guessing, add a little and then taste. You can always add more salt if necessary, but once you put salt in, you cannot take it out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Embrace and Perfect Your Homekeeping Skills

People underestimate the power and importance of good home-keeping. Home-keeping is an amazing lost art that can save a great deal of time and money, and should be viewed as an excellent way to preserve the environment and health as well. Key factors in smart home-keeping include using minimal resources, healthy foods and ingredients, finding ways to shorten your time in doing various activities and tasks, and learning about how to do things in a more economically and health-friendly way. Here are some tips for smart home-keeping:
  • Unless it is a special occasion, do most of your eating from home. An occasion can also be made more special if you prepare a home-cooked meal. You will save money and over time you will develop ways to make groceries last longer than you thought you could.
  • Resist the urge to purchase packaged, processed foods. Not only are these foods more expensive, they are never as healthy as those made at home, and usually involve some type of packaging that will pollute the environment. As much as possible, buy local and organic foods.
  • Instead of purchasing packaged items for the home, think of ways to save money by creating or making them yourself. Home-made cleaners and solutions for just about any type of preparation for sanitation are right in your cupboard - vinegar, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, borax, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils can do the job economically and without toxic side effects. Visit The Family Homestead for ideas on how to make your own cleaners.
  • Discard your modernistic views of getting tasks done. Stop using a microwave and start using your stove and oven. Your food will be healthier -- microwaving effectively removes nutrients from your food and should be considered a dangerous method to cook. Microwaves have also been determined to expose us to radiation and electromagnetic waves that can cause cancer. Whenever possible, don't use your dryer - let your clothes dry naturally. And, don't ever use dryer sheets. They are full of toxic chemicals that can absorb into your skin from your clothing. Always trust your "mothers intuition" about things that seem like they may not be healthy - if you have a doubt, you are probably correct.
  • If you choose to become a stay-at-home-keeper, don't allow what others who may be working full-time are doing to otherwise influence your choice. Many people who stay at home are busier than those who work out of the home. This is one of the most important jobs you will ever undertake, so march forward and don't feel guilty about taking it seriously!
  • Learn to partner with other individuals who share your zest for home-prepared foods and other items such as homemade soaps, candles, cleaning solutions, gardening, knitting, crotcheing, canning & jarring foods, sewing, jewelry-making, wood-working, furniture-building, and raising animals for food and other necessity items (such as for clothing, etc.). You may even consider a cooking co-op where you agree with others, perhaps in your own neighborhood, on a schedule of preparing foods where each family only cooks once or twice a week.
  • Think creatively about preparing a variety of meals at home for your family. Use the Internet for recipe ideas as they are free and vast. Borrow cookbooks from friends or check-out from the library. If you find that you have a hard time sticking to recipes, experiment with your own whims and tastes. Often something really spectacular can come from a crazy idea.
  • Prepare everything you can from scratch. You may be wondering, "where will I ever find the time??" If you re-prioritize your life a bit and make time to prepare home-cooked foods, cleaners, clothing, and other home items, you will find a quiet satisfaction as well as enjoy better health from your efforts. You will start to realize that you can do more from scratch if you just allow yourself the extra moments needed, and your life will start to order itself around these important tasks instead of you ordering yourself around a great deal of other activities that may not be as critical. When you start to slow down, prepare things, and savor the very act of doing these things for your family, you should eventually notice the peace you will feel, improved health, and satisfaction of having put in an afternoon's or mornings time on such fulfilling work.
  • Work on reusing, saving, recycling, and rethinking everything you do to save money, time, and the environment. Use glass containers you get from foods purchased at the store. Eliminate plastic from your house as much as you can and replace with reusable containers made of wood, metal, glass, ceramic, and enamel. If you must use plastic, recycle. Recycle glass, paper, and other items whenever possible.
  • Make at least one meal a day a sit-down occasion at the table with others where no other interruptions prevail. This should be a focused, relaxed time to enjoy healthy food that will nourish your body and join with family or friends, be social, and catch up. Turn off the television and put on some music that will get you in the mood, but will not distract from the task at hand - eating your meal in peace and being able to connect with important people in your life.
  • Don't panic if you cannot get everything done in a day; rarely anyone can. The beauty of the home is that it will always be there tomorrow. And unlike a thankless job you have to go to five days a week, you probably won't have a nasty boss breathing down your neck telling you that you may not go home until you have cleaned the toilets. If you have family members breathing down your neck about such items, it's time to sit down and have a talk about all that is involved in maintaining a house and/or caring for children or other family members.
  • Spend time teaching home-keeping with your family members -- in particular, your children. Getting tasks accomplished for the common good allows you to spend time together and bond over something everyone in your house cares about. Teach children to help with laundry, dishes, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, dusting, baking, tidying up their own rooms and personal items, and cooking meals. Play music, laugh, and have fun while you are engaged in these tasks. As Mary Poppins always says, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!"
  • When your daily tasks are done, instead of going out enjoy a family game or movie night at home. Invite friends or other family over to share your evening. This is a great way to save gas, promote personal relationships, and avoid activities that tend to separate us as human beings such as being on the computer/playing video games/ watching television.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Health Benefits of Chocolate

Do you eat chocolate? If so, you could be doing yourself a favor. Chocolate has been reported more and more as having a positive effect on our health. According to The Heart and Vascular Institute of Cleveland Clinic, dark chocolate contains certain substances such as flavonoids which are beneficial to the cardiovascular and other body systems: "Flavonoids provide important protective benefits to plants, such as in repairing damage and shielding from environmental toxins. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this 'antioxidant' power." Chocolate also contains antioxidants. These "are believed to help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals, formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing or environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, free radical damage ensues, leading to increases in LDL-cholesterol oxidation and plaque formation on arterial walls.

Does that give us license to eat any manner and amount of chocolate we please? Unfortunately, no. But a daily dose of minimally-processed, low sugar, dark chocolate is great for your health. As with anything else, eat this food in moderation and watch what other ingredients accompany the chocolate.

Avoid milk chocolate. Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues reported, "Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate ... and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate."

Read labels and become aware of what ingredients to avoid. Avoid anything you cannot pronounce, fillers, and emulsifiers (such as soy lecithin or soy oil). Many brands who sell organic chocolate use soy lecithin and other procesed soy ingredients, which are unhealthy to consume. It is best to spend the extra money on good quality chocolate and spread its consumption out over a period of days to a week. You can find outstanding quality chocolate bars in health food stores from brands such as Art Bar from Ithaca Chocolates, Health by Chocolate from Ecco Bella, and Sweet Earth Chocolate. There are many other good brands, just be mindful of what you are putting in your body and aware of ingredients.

Fantastic chocolate products are available from Dagoba Organic Chocolate including hot chocolate mix that contains no sugar. Simply heat some water on the stove and prepare your cup with a tablespoon of Dagoba. When the water boils, pour it into your cup and stir to blend with the chocolate. When you have thoroughly mixed your chocolate, you can add a bit of sweetner such as Stevia. Before you fill your cup all the way with water, for an absolutely, to-die-for creamy cup of hot chocolate -- add some whole, raw, organic milk or cream to your cup and stir well. Enjoy the great taste and health benefit of a homemade cup of real hot chocolate!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Enzymes for Breast Health

Do you suffer from fibrocystic breast disease? This condition affects many women during the course of their lives. Fibrocystic breast disease is marked by lumpy, fibrous tissue in the breast and can range in discomfort from mild to severe. Women who have not had children, are prone to irregular menstrual activity, and who have a family history of the condition are more likely to develop it. But there are lifestyle choices you can make to minimize this problem or even eliminate its occurrance.

Some health practitioners believe conditions such as this in the breast are caused by a basic congestion of the body's elimination systems such as the liver and lymphatic system. Your liver can become toxic when overloaded with processed foods and substances in your diet. If your liver cannot filter out toxins, they go into your digestive tract and ultimately end up in other places like the lymphatic system. It's true that a diet high in fiber with an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, moderate intake of sprouted whole grains/beans/legumes, and healthy, grass-fed meats and dairy encourages elimination of waste and lowers the levels of estrogen circulating in the body.

A remedy the mainstream medical communities are not as familiar with is digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes have shown positive effects on fibrocystic breast symptoms. These substances act as catalysts that cause chemical reactions to occur. Metabolic enzymes neutralize harmful compounds that are potentially cancer-causing agents. During digestion, enzymes break down food to a molecular level to be absorbed and used by the body. As protein digestion and the breaking down of food occurs, enzymes assist in elimination of bacteria, waste, toxins, and dead tissue. Digestive enzymes also encourage a natural healing response of inflammation in the body, which causes a pain-relieving effect to occur.

Other types of enzymes useful for repair and healing are known as systemic enzymes. These are taken between meals, unlike digestive enzymes (taken with meals). These enzymes maximize entry into the bloodstream for delivery to various parts of the body. Another type of enzyme is Proteolytic which typically comes from animal and non-animal sources such as hog pancreas (pancreatin), pineapple (bromelain), and papaya (papain). Pancreatin feeds the human pancreas and supports both its tissue and function. Another enzyme is serrapeptase, found in the saliva of silkworms who use it to dissolve silk -- one of toughest natural substances in existence.

Studies which used these enzymes had the following outcomes: in one group, 70 women with breast engorgment showed moderate to marked improvement in 86 percent of those who had taken the enzyme supplement, while an identical number of women in a placebo group only showed a 60 percent improvement. In another study, 10 coated tablets were given to 124 women twice daily. Another group received the same dosage but also added 1,000 mg of Vitamin E to their regimen. Six weeks later, researchers found that 80 percent of women taking only the enzyme were free of pain. Under the combined protocol, the percentage of women experiencing improvement increased to 85 percent. Any women experiencing a recurrence (from one to six months later) responded with improved results quickly after resuming enzymatic supplement supplementation.

Enzymedica, the leader in digestive enzymes, offers plant-based, condition-specific supplements. Digest Gold is their gold product for digestive support, while Repair Gold is their highest quality systemic support containing proteolytic enzymes which eliminate damaged tissue and increase the synthesis of protein to minimize discomfort and speeds body healing. Another formula, SerraGold (contains serrapeptase), is a good alternative to Repair Gold and provides excellent support to those processes as well. Visit Enzymedica for more information on the benefits of their products.

Some women experience relief from reducing or eliminating caffeine intake, and some find that increasing intake of real, essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, and certain herbs such as red clover tops, nettle leaf, burdock root, and violet leaf are helpful. Visit Organic Family Magazine for more information about these herbs. Ginseng, licorice root, black cohosh, and chaste tree berry are also effective herbs - for more information about these, read Dr. Christine Horner's advice.

Of course it is paramount to maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet, exercise, stress-relief and rest. This includes plenty of filtered water, elimination of processed foods such as many grain products (many breads, crackers, pasta, cookies, etc.) and refined carbohydrates, meat and dairy products from animals fed corn, grains, and soy and contain antibiotics/steroids/hormones (stick to organic, pasture-raised meats and organic, raw dairy products), real foods with good sources of essential fatty acids (safe fish, grapeseed, olive, and coconut oils), raw nuts, soaked grains/legumes/beans, and good supplementation including probiotics.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Food Dyes and Additives

There are many toxic substances lurking in foods about which consumers are unaware. Many of those foods are the kinds eaten by children because manufacturers market items to be brightly colored and are engineered to taste good in order to appeal to a child's sense of aesthetic.

Important new research has shown that commonly used food dyes, such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are linked to hyperactivity, impulsivity, learning difficulties, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in many children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of these dyes, many of which are already being phased out in Europe. For more information about this important subject on the Food Dyes and Children's Behavior web site.

There are also many additives in foods, known as excitotoxins, which are engineered to affect the taste of the food. Read more about this subject on AromaTherapy4U with supporting information from Dr. Russell L. Blaylock and Dr. Colleen Huber - both medical doctors. Another individual who has conducted research on these dangerous toxins is George E. Shambaugh, Jr. M.D. who explains how hidden taste enhancers included in foods actually over-excite neurons in the brain, overworking them and eventually killing them. Various animal tests done with these substances have repeatedly confirmed these findings. Why would you allow your child to eat them? For an informative article about excitotoxins, visit Agriculture Society. To investigate a startling book written by one of the experts on this subject, check out Dr. Russell L. Blaylock's book, Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills.

Foods you can find these substances in are wide and vast, and would include a majority of processed foods, unless otherwise labeled. Your best bet is to avoid processed foods and eat only whole, real foods. Some organic processed foods do not contain these substances, but the health benefits of any processed food, organic or not, should always be questioned before consumption. Here is a brief list of ingredients that are excitotoxins which are found in many processed foods and should be avoided:
  • Carrageenan
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt extract
  • Natural pork flavoring
  • Citric acid
  • Malt flavoring
  • Bouillon and Broth
  • Natural chicken flavoring
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Natural beef flavoring
  • Ultra-pasteurized
  • Soy sauce
  • Stock
  • Barley malt
  • Soy sauce extract
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Pectin
  • Soy protein
  • Whey protein
  • Protease
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Protease enzymes
  • Anything protein fortified
  • Flavors(s) & Flavoring(s)
  • Anything enzyme modified
  • Anything fermented
  • Natural flavor(s)
  • Enzymes anything
  • Seasonings (the word “seasonings”)
Always be aware of anything that reads "hydrolyzed" in an ingredient list. These substances are more often than not full of excitotoxins or glutamates - which is the group of substances to which Monosodium Glutamate or MSG belongs. Check your labels! Don't just assume something you buy that is packaged, boxed, or canned is good for you to eat...it may in fact be deadly!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Natural Treatment for Sore Throats

Sore throats are common during fall and winter months. Some people get the more mild variety - the scratchy, dry throat...while others experience extremely painful throats that can have a profound effect on talking, swallowing, eating, and doing daily tasks. Many sore throats are brought on by viruses and can be a warning sign of an impending cold. Most of us know that antibiotics and other medications are ineffective toward healing this type of illness. The solution for relief is actually closer than you think -- try looking in your own cupboard or refrigerator!

When you are sick, plenty of liquids and a lot of rest are recommended. There are some other things you can try which are often useful as well. Gargling with warm saline or salt water several times a day will help speed the healing process because it will promote better circulation and blood flow to the area and washes away mucous that contains toxins.

Other useful home remedies include the following:
  • Cayenne pepper - add 1/2 teaspoon to one cup boiling water, stir well and gargle while mixture is still warm. This also helps with circulation and allows infection-fighting antibodies to do their work. If desired, you can also add four parts Echinacea, one part garlic bulb, and two parts peppermint leaves to one part cayenne.
  • Aloe vera juice - try gargling with this juice two or three times daily. You can purchase this amazing, healing juice at your local health food store. If you swallow this juice, it is not a problem because Aloe Vera is not a medication and is also used by naturopath and homepath practitioners in healing the digestive tract. In fact, swallowing some of the juice will be beneficial to your throat.
  • Apple cider vinegar - mix one to two teaspoons with a glass of water. Gargle a mouthful once per hour and swallow when finished. Like aloe vera juice, apple cider is a food and it contains nutrients and trace elements the body needs. The acid content in the vinegar can sooth and minimize sore throat pain. The best type of apple cider vinegar is the natural, unpasteurized variety. When you are finished, be certain to rinse your mouth with some water to keep acid from eroding away your teeth's enamel.
  • Grapefruit seed extract - this extract is a powerful antimicrobial agent and also disinfects as well as provides antiseptic property. Add five drops to a glass of water and gargle.
  • Lemon juice - add the juice of one lemon and one teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water. Gargle three times daily for a minute each session.
  • Slippery elm - this herb which has been used in North America for centuries is an effective remedy for healing many ailments including colds and coughs, wounds and burns, and sore throats. There are several ways to obtain slippery elm, whether it be in a throat-type lozenge, supplement capsule, tea, or in bark form (usually sold in bulk) at your local health food store. This herb can also be found in some of the packaged teas created especially for throat comfort.
Here are some good herbs for use in teas to soothe a sore throat (you can also purchase these items in bulk at a health food store):
  • Chamomile blossoms
  • Echinacea
  • Ginger
  • Goldenseal
  • Hyssop
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow root bark
You can also find packaged teas that are useful for sore throats, as well as other illnesses. Good brands include Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea.

When you are sick, this is a sign that your immune system is compromised. Take care of your body holistically and treat more than just your symptoms; be certain to drink plenty of filtered mineral water, eat fresh, whole foods including organic fruits and vegetables, and slow down and make certain you are receiving adequate respite from your everyday grind.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Healing Power of Shiatsu

Have you ever experienced Shiatsu? This form of health care was first mentioned in the book Shiatsu Ho (Shiatsu Method) by Tenpaku Tamai's published in 1919. The practice of Shiatsu is a massage technique that differs from traditional western massage. A Shiatsu practitioner becomes aware of and responds to the chi flow on existing energy pathways known as meridians in the body. When circulation is blocked through the chi counterparts, health can be compromised.

Acupressure points, similar to those used in acupuncture, are identified and targeted during a treatment to affect the flow of chi. Because Shiatsu is founded in the principles that disconnects existing between internal organs, imbalances in yin and yang, and blockages of chi can adversely affect well-being, the application of pressure upon these points releases energy and allows it to flow as needed for restoring and maintenance of proper bodily functions.

Shiatsu uses bodywork employed by by thumbs, fingers, palms and elbows, feet and knees. The practitioner also engages in a type of meditative state which is intended to detect responses in the body to treatment. This action affects the subsequent treatment step by step and allows the practitioner to note how the body is affected by what is being done.

When you go to a Shiatsu session, you will lie on a futon on the floor. Wear comfortable, loose clothing. Prior to your first session, you may be interviewed and requested to fill out an intake form. Some of the questions might be as follows: What is your favorite season? What is your preferred time of year? What type of sleep disturbances, if any, do you experience?

After you have completed the form and the practitioner has gained some information about how you interact with your own body and nature, the session begins. You will lie down, possibly face up, and take some deep breaths. The practitioner will do all of the work, using crawling movements, contact penetration (rather than direct pressure) and movement, and some palpation. The idea is to treat the entire body as one vessel to alleviate or eliminate problems the client may be experiencing.

Shiatsu is effective for many ailments including the following: neck, back, joint, and shoulder pain, digestive issues, headaches, blood pressure, poor circulation, anxiety, and PMS. This type of massage is also quite useful for stress, grief, shock, fear, and other emotional problems.

For more information on Zen Shiatsu, visit the Institute for Traditional Medicine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Power Breakfast When on the Go

Want a quick breakfast that is nutritious and delicious? Here is a great recipe for a fantastic smoothie that is quick and provides the nutrients and energy to start your day:
  • 1 quart of Organic Pastures Dairy raw Qephor (also spelled kefir), or similar quality product (unpastuerized)
  • 1 cup Organic Pastures raw Colostrum (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Pastures raw cream (optional)
  • Whey protein (homemade or purchased at your health food store (good brands are Biochem or Mercola's Pro Optimal Whey)
  • Raw organic, pasture-raised eggs or an organic banana are nutritious but optional ingredients
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh organic fruits - strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, blackberries,
  • For a bit of sweetner, add a small amount of Stevia (optional)
  • Other ingredients you might want to add would be coconut oil, cod liver oil, or ground flaxseeds
  1. Add Qephor (kefir), whey (optional), raw Colostrum (optional), raw cream (optional), flaxseed or oils (optional), berries or other fruits into a blender.
  2. Blend ingredients together. You may use ice if desired. You may need to stop your blender and mix your ingredients up a bit in the beginning with a spoon or butter knife.
  3. Pour smoothie into a glass and enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Energy-Dense Foods and Type 2 Diabetes

Do you eat a lot of fatty and processed foods? If so, you are increasing your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Many medical professionals tell patients that if they have a family history of Diabetes they need to be careful, but studies show that anyone who regularly consumes processed foods and foods where the fats have been altered such as fatty foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, breakfast sandwiches, fried foods, and foods with refined carbohydrates are at high risk for becoming diabetic.

Many people have a tendency to count calories, and it's true that high calorie amounts can add to health issues. But if you are eating healthy, whole foods from nature you should have no problem with your caloric intake. When health professionals tell people to count calories, they are doing their patients a disservice because they are failing to make a distinction between processed foods which are higher in calories and contain less nutrients versus whole, natural foods which contain the correct amount of calories needed for optimal health and are nutrient-dense by their very nature.

The following foods are not optimal for health and can lead to Type 2 Diabetes as well as other issues like high-blood pressure, weight gain, and heart disease:
  • crackers
  • most breads (try Ezekiel brand) including many "homemade" breads
  • pastas
  • rice cakes
  • french fries, tater tots
  • chips - soy, potato, corn (including the baked varieties)
  • boxed cereals
  • desserts, cookies, candies, cakes, pies, etc.
  • bagels
  • muffins
  • scones
  • packaged dairy products including many cheeses, yogurts, some kefir, butter, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and cream cheese
  • commercial and factory farmed meats, and even "family" raised meats which come from animals that are confined, administered antibiotics/hormones/chemcials, and are fed grains, soy, or corn instead of alfalfa or grass
  • packaged fruit and nut products such as many dried fruits, fruit rollups, yogurt covered raisins, and roasted nuts
  • many packaged beverages such as energy drinks, soda or carbonated pops or juices, juice drinks, alcohol, and coffee
Try the following for optimal health and weight:
  • fresh or frozen fresh fruits and vegetables (organic and in season is a plus)
  • grass-fed, organic meats and poultry (including pork, mutton, lamb, and game animals)
  • wild-caught, safe choice fish
  • raw, organic dairy (milk, cheese, cream, butter) from reputable sources
  • raw, organic nuts
  • healthy oils such as grapeseed, coconut, and olive oil (flax is good if consumed raw only)
  • moderate amounts of whole (grains not ground up into flour, which causes grain to go rancid quickly and raises the glycemic index), sprouted, organic grains (soaked if for cereal and other types of preparations)
  • moderate amounts of organic, soaked beans and legumes
  • organic brown and wild rices
  • purified or filtered water (with minerals is a plus)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Do you get sick a great deal in the fall and winter months? Many people believe that merely washing your hands more often should do the trick to keep illnesses at bay. But actually, there are many other factors which come into play toward keeping healthy. If you are a person who tends to catch every cold or flu that comes along, here are some tips that really work for avoiding viruses:
  • Avoid eating processed foods and refined sugars. Fall and Winter months are times when people tend to eat more sugary and processed foods due to holiday activities and gatherings. Sugar is a poison to your body and lowers immune system function. This includes foods such as crackers, chips, most breads, bagels, pastas, cookies, desserts, candy juice, soda pop, and other related items. All of these items contribute to lowered immune system and poor health. A good rule of thumb to follow - if it is not a whole food, avoid eating it regularly. Load up on real, raw, whole foods for snacks and meals alike.
  • Continue to eat plenty of fresh fruits in vegetables -- especially those in season in your local area. Vegetables and fruits are high in nutrients and antioxidants which help thwart the development of disease and illness.
  • Drink plenty of filtered water (mineral water is a plus). Keep a glass container with you throughout the day and sip frequently rather than trying to gulp down many ounces at a time spread farther apart. Avoid plastic containers, tap water, and bottled water. Tap water contains toxins and plastic contains pthalates - both of which supress immune system and health.
  • Make sure you are taking good-quality supplements to fill in the holes where your diet leaves off. Whole-food based, organically produced vitamins and nutrients are the best variety. Don't skimp on this important component of your health and purchase cheap varieties of these items. Ask a qualified health care practitioner to recommend something for your individual needs.
  • Be certain to take a good probiotic each day. Good brands include PB8, Biotics Research, Jarrow, Nature's Life liquid probiotics (great for kids), and Prescript-Assist for especially low immune function.
  • Be certain to take fiber each day. Good brands include Sonne's, Fiber Fusion by Enzymatic Therapy, and Colon Plus by Biotics Research. Digestive enzymes are a plus as well as they provide digestive enzymes to make certain your food is properly digested and absorbed. A good brand is Digest Gold by Enzymedica. Remember -- health begins and ends in the digestive tract. If you are not eating healthy foods, your health will suffer.
  • Be certain to take essential fatty acids each day. Good brands include SIBU, Nordic Naturals, and Solgar. Read this FAQ about why people need good essential fatty acid support.
  • Watch intake of alcoholic beverages, which tend to increase during holiday months. Drinking excess alcohol can have adverse affects on appetite, blood sugar, blood pressure and cardiovascular function, metabolic processes, and weight. If you are a binge drinker during special occasions, cut yourself off after two drinks and make certain you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water at the same time.
  • Make sure you are getting adequate rest and not overextending yourself. If necessary, say no to extra tasks that you know you really won't have time or energy to accomplish. Stay home on a night where you might normally go out and rest, relax, catch up, and go to bed early. Go to bed by 10 p.m.
  • Set aside time for some regular exercise, preferably outdoors. In the colder months people tend to go to health clubs more. Many more germs and toxins lurk indoors during colder months, so bundle up and go for a walk, hike, or bike ride. You'll be pleased with how exhilarated you feel afterward. If you are a winter sport enthusiast, get out on the slopes and go skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. If you are an equine enthusiast, make time to get out on your horse or a friend's mount during weather that is not icy.
  • Set aside time for contemplation, stress reduction, and relaxation. Whether that is a hot bath, a massage, tai chi, yoga, stretching, meditation or some other method you prefer, make sure you give yourself this time to recharge.
  • If you do get sick, load up on probiotics, vegetables, fruits, and other raw foods. Take time to pamper yourself, rest and put off things that aren't necessary so you can get back to a state of health quicker and easier.
  • Avoid going to a doctor who will prescribe pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics. These substances rarely help your body to get better sooner, and actually cause nutrient depletion and lowered immune system function by wiping out friendly bacteria that is vital to health. For information on nutrient depletion caused by drugs, read Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Nutrition by Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D.
  • If you cannot shake a cold, flu, or illness, consider visiting an alternative health care practitioner such as a chiropractor, naturopathic physician, or other qualified individual. These practitioners are often very successful in alleviating health issues and perform treatment based on the cause of the problem rather than just treating symptoms.
If you maintain a good schedule of eating healthy, avoiding processed foods and beverages, take proper supplementation, obtain moderate activity, exercise, rest, and relaxation, you will notice an enormous improvement in the way your health responds. You will have more energy, feel more productive, and avoid catching flus and colds.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Safe Vaccines?

Do you follow current recommendations regarding vaccinations for your child? If so, you could be putting your child in danger. Vaccinations contain dangerous chemicals and preservatives that have been suspected of causing various health issues including digestive disorders, allergies, rashes, and autism.

On June 4th at the Capital Grounds in Washington D.C., actors Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy led a march and rally with national advocacy organizations for health to eliminate toxic substances and green our vaccines. Watch the video here. Over 8,500 parents marched, picketed, and chanted the words "too many too soon". Jim Carrey reported that the amount of vaccinations required by doctors has gone from 10 to 36. He made certain to state that they are not against all vaccines, but that the amount of vaccinations required are simply too many. Requests are being made that CDC and AAP reduce the amount of required vaccinations and clean up the ingredients included in these drugs.

Vaccines contain (among others) the following ingredients: mercury, aluminum antifreeze, aborted human fetus cells, formaldehyde, monkey kidney cells, chick embryos, and fetal bovine serum. Numerous scientific studies exist which link vaccines to autism, and the subject has become one of the most controversial in medical and health circles.

Autism is becoming more and more prevalent, and is more common than childhood cancer. It is estimated that two to six children in every 1000 will be diagnosed with the disorder. Parents feel overwelmed and trapped with little options available from traditional medical treatments other than pharmaceutical intervention. TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) helps families realize the potential to help their children with combinations between biomedical, alternative, and dietary therapies. Some of the problems families have had success in treating include the following: lack of sleep or severe sleep disturbances; extreme digestive disorders (often including alternating diarrhea and constipation); rare parasites, viruses, yeast overgrowth or bacteria; extreme allergies to foods or substances in the environment; unexplained rashes; sallow complexions; dark eye circles; and behaviors that ebb and flow in patterns that may coincide with physical symptoms.

It is important to locate a health care practitioner who is willing to go the distance in an alternative type program which embraces methods not commonly used by allopathic or traditional doctors. Traditional doctors tend to treat the symptoms and prescribe medications which mask the problem and can make symptoms more acute. Be wary of any medical professional who puts symptoms aside and claims that these are just part of the syndrome. Finding a health care practitioner whom you trust and is willing to get to the heart of the issues and find out what exactly is causing your child's health care issues takes some doing, but is well worth the results for your child.

To get the answers you need, conduct research, interview practitioners, and read books on the subject. Here is some recommended reading:
  • Unraveling The Mystery of Autism, by Karyn Seroussi
  • Evidence of Harm, by David Kirby
  • Is This Your Child?: Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults, by Dr. Doris J. Rapp
  • Children with Starving Brains: A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2007 Edition, by Dr. Jacquelyn McCandless
  • Autism: Have We Done Everything We Can for this Child? Effective Biomedical Treatments, by Dr. Sidney Baker and Dr. Jon Pangborn
  • What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, by Dr. Stephanie Cave
For more information about greening vaccines and making a difference in the way we treat illnesses and disease, and making a better future for your child, visit the following web sites:

Autism Today
Adventures in Autism

Monday, November 3, 2008

Toxins in Pork

Do you eat pork? Recently, public health officials discovered a deadly bacteria that is now associated with pork called MRSA. MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This is a fatal, flesh-eating bacteria that can kill. Federal Food Safety and Public Health Officials are being instructed to check meats sold all over the nation. Researchers have confirmed the presence of this toxic bacteria in both pigs and farm workers in the United States.

Already the cause of more deaths than AIDS, what makes this drug-resistant bacteria potentially dangerous is the fact that a person can become infected just by topical exposure.
"MRSA is a very different kind of bacteria," said Goldburg. A few months ago, a virulent strain of MRSA was discovered in pigs in a University of Iowa study. Despite this alarming finding, the USDA has made no plans to mandate testing or checking of regulations about how this meat is produced and sold. "As far as I'm concerned," said Goldburg, "USDA and FDA are kind of asleep at the wheel on this one."

What is most ironic about all these bacteria and toxins found in meats that are reported on a regular basis to the mainstream news media is the fact that seldom does anyone mention how these toxins are normally not found in meats produced in healthy, organic environments - that is, farmers and food producers who use sustainable and safe farming practices in their everyday activities. Of course, not all bacteria can be avoided. However, if farmers were required to maintain healthy and humane practices of animal keeping and slaughtering, we would see a dramatic decrease in the prevalence of these types of bacteria.

MRSA can be killed if cooked thoroughly. However, unlike E. coli or salmonella, MRSA causes skin infections. Simply touching uncooked meat harboring the toxin could be a problem, according to both Dr. Mansour Samadpour, an expert bacterial microbiologist with IEH Laboratories and Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, a biologist with Keep Antibiotics Working. Ask the question -- even though cooking the meat will theoretically kill harmful bacteria such as MRSA, would you really still want to consume it?

Healthy-raised meats do not support harmful bacteria such as MRSA, E. coli, and others. If you have to cook something "thoroughly" just to kill any harmful bacteria to make it edible, something about that scenario just doesn't seem right. Healthy-raised meats are safe to consume when cooked medium-rare or medium-well, and actually deliver more nutrient value because vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins are not completely denatured in the cooking process. The same cannot be said for unhealthy, factory-farmed meats which represent the bulk of meat available to consumers.

The overuse of antibiotics has long been the known cause for many of these unstoppable diseases and bacteria. Indeed, the discovery of the usefulness of antibiotics to save human life over 60 years ago changed the face of modern medicine. But antibiotics are now used for everyday ailments and illnesses, and have become the rule rather than the exception in treating health issues. In many farm environments, they are used liberally to compensate for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

According to the Soil Association, "Farm-animal MRSA is spreading like wildfire on intensive farms in continental Europe. In the Netherlands it already affects 39% of pigs and almost 50% of pig farmers. In Dutch hospitals 25% of all MRSA cases are now caused by the farm-animal strain, and farmers are no longer permitted in general wards without prior screening. It has been found in chickens, dairy cows and calves and in 20% of pork, 21% of chicken and 3% of beef. It has also been found in farm animals and people in Germany and Denmark from which we import large quantities of pork."

Because the government does not require farmers and farm owners to be accountable and responsible with animal management practices, these super-bacteria will continue to appear and will become more and more prevalent as time goes on.

The bottom line is, if people are going to eat meat, why cannot we have the simple assurance that our meat is raised in the most humane, sanitary, sustainable conditions possible? These assurances are for the sake of health and humane regard for animals, which should be of paramount consideration to everyone. Many farmers have been and are starting to use these preferred practices, and have been made aware of the dangers of producing meat in any other manner.

For more information, visit the UK's Soil Association web site.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has an interesting article on the subject of factory-farming and what it is doing to our health.

Also, check out Ethics and Animals for information on how animals are raised on the typical farm.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Economy and Stress

During times of economic hardship, we undergo a great deal of stress. The body needs extra support during stressful times in order to maintain optimal health. Studies have consistently shown that the first things to be eliminated from the budget are health club memberships, family vacations, and healthy eating. As of late, sales for prescription drugs are on the increase such as Cymbalta - up 26%, Effexor up 8%, and Lexapro up 6%. Prescription drugs cause nutrient loss in the body.

It is ironic that as times become tougher, prescription sales climb given the financial burden we are currently under. Someone has to pay for those drugs, so insurance companies respond by increasing monthly policy premiums. As more people continue to eat poorly and don't live a healthy lifestyle, the entire system feels this weight and costs rise in every aspect of healthcare.

Without proper support, we lose many vitamins and nutrients during stressful situations. Two of the vitamins we become most commonly deficient in are Vitamin B and Vitamin D. According to last month's issue of Annals of Rhematic Diseases, Vitamin D is involved with bone and immune system health. It promotes normal bone development. There is evidence that getting enough vitamin D helps protect against MS, type 1 diabetes, and certain cancers. Vitamin B is essential in regulating metabolic function, and are a support nutrient for stress, depression, and anxiety. In today's society where we are under monumental amounts of stress daily, stress can actually be exacerbated or caused by an improper diet.

Foods that can help with Vitamin B deficiencies include :
  • oats
  • grass-fed meats and dairy
  • leafy green vegetables
  • barley
  • wheat bran
  • salmon
  • avocado
  • Brazil nuts
Foods to eat for Vitamin D deficiency include:
  • grass-fed meats and dairy
  • fish
  • whole, sprouted grains
  • obtain some natural sunlight each day or 20 minutes three times a week

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Air Fresheners

Are store-bought air fresheners safe? According to researchers, being exposed to air freshener chemicals just once a week can increase your risk of developing asthma by 71 percent. People with high blood levels of the chemical 1,4 dichlorobenzene (commonly found in air freshener products) were at higher risk of developing lung deficiencies.

Additional studies indicate a connection to cancer. When used in small rooms with poor ventilation, many air fresheners emit toxins containing significant levels of formaldehyde. This chemical has been proven to cause cancer in animals and respiratory decline in humans. In 2007, The Natural Resources Defense Council conducted studies on 14 air fresheners. Twelve were found to contain phthalates which are chemicals found to affect fertility, increase the risk of cancer, and cause developmental problems in infants.

Good alternatives to artificial air fresheners are making sure to keep your home clean by using a natural cleaner such as a diluted solution of water and vinegar and/or baking soda. Hydrogen peroxide also makes an excellent cleaner and keeps unpleasant odors away. Elimination of odors is the key to keeping your air fresh and clean - don't merely mask the source of the problem with artificial air fresheners. Open your windows periodically, dust, vacuum, and use few rugs or carpets. Replace carpet with wood or tile. Keep aromatic plants in your home such as lavender, fresh flowers, and herbs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Choosing Meat

Do you eat meat? If so, you may be interested to know that the health communities at large do not disseminate truthful information about meat to consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you should keep the following in mind regarding which meats are healthy to consume:

  • Select for low-fat meats and chicken, and avoid eating high-fat ground beef or chicken with the skin.
  • Don't forget to count the fat and calories in cooking additives. For example, if you cook chicken in shortening, add the extra calories to your count.
  • Include fish in your diet, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring.
  • Avoid organ meats such as liver, which are high in cholesterol.
  • Also avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, ham, sausage and lunch meats, which can be very high in sodium and other additives.
Even with our nation's health condition in the crisis it is, there still exists a great deal of misinformation from major news outlets, doctors, and other health sources about which meats are healthy to consume. In general, most meat you will find in grocery stores should be avoided. Why is this? Most grocery store meat is from factory farms, which neither maintains the integrity of the animal's health nor the environment. Maintaining the guidelines above can can actually cause more health problems to occur.

The following outlines correct ideologies in selecting healthy meats:

  • No matter how low-fat meat is, it will be unhealthy to consume if that meat is not naturally raised, organically produced, and fed proper types of feed.
  • Animals must live in a relatively stress-free environment with room to roam and grass and/or alfalfa to eat as their primary feed.
  • Meats must not contain antibiotics.
  • Meats must not contain steroids or growth hormones.
  • Meats from factory farms (which represents the majority of meat available) contain dangerous chemicals and additives including the above mentioned substances.
  • If the meat is from a healthy source, skin is not unhealthy to eat. The skin contains vitamins and other nutrients necessary for health. The same goes for other meat parts from the body such as the liver.
  • Meats like bacon and hot dogs are fine to eat occasionally as long as you know the source of the meat - i.e., the meat is pasture-raised, organic, not administered hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. Of course, use common sense. Avoid processed meats that are full of nitrates, chemicals, erythorbates, preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics. A good rule of thumb is, if the package does not read "organic", "hormone", "antibiotic-free", or "no hormones used", it's probably not safe to consume.
  • Do eat safe fish to include in your diet essential fatty acids such as Omega 3s.
For more information about eating healthy meats, visit Agriculture Society and read "Why Meat Gets The Heat" featured in the March 2008 issue of Healthy Beginnings.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Plant a School Garden

Does the school your child attend have a garden? School gardens are becoming more and more prevalent. Why? Because gardens placed in the school environment help to foster both environmental and nutritional literacy in children. Children learn to appreciate naturally-grown food, eat healthier, and become part of a community that works together to produce food. It is a powerful tool to both teach and raise awareness about health and nutrition. When children grow food and eat healthy, they begin to understand the connection between food and well-being, and realize the importance of creating something that can build relationships, stewardship, and health.

How can you make a difference?
  • Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Ask your child's teacher about activities, lessons, and field trips in which the children in your child's class can participate in and become educated about community agriculture.
  • Talk to your principal and other school officials about starting a garden at your child's school.
  • Get involved locally and build relationships with other parents who care about children's health. Find out if other schools in your community have already planted gardens and can lend some advise or resource information.
For more information about school gardens, visit Better School Food and School Garden Wizard.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ADHD and Essential Fatty Acids

Is your child hyperactive? Unable to focus? Having trouble in school? If so, your child may be suffering from a nutritional deficiency in essential fatty acids. Children need these important substances for brain health and development. Without them, children become irritable, frustrated, and unable to focus. Long-term effects of these deficiencies can mean a lifetime of health disorders and degenerative diseases.

Many behavioral problems such as these are typically treated with drugs. But drugs such as Ritalin only mask the symptoms and don't get to the heart of the problem. They also deplete the body of nutrients. In honor of National School Lunch-in Week, we urge you to pay attention to what your child is eating at home and go to school with your child and see what they are eating each and every day. Are the foods your child eating healthy, fresh, and free of chemicals? If not, get involved locally and start asking your legislative body and school board important questions, and make movements for change to get healthy food for your children.

Be especially aware of ingredients in your child's food - don't just assume by looking at the food that it's healthy. Read labels on packages in your child's food. You can do this by asking to tour the warehouse where your child's food is stored. Be assured that if you tour a warehouse full of food for school children, you are in for an eye-opening experience.

Children should receive good, natural fats and proteins each day, as well as a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. If they are not receiving these basic building blocks of nutrition, that can spell trouble for your child's development, growth, and success in school and life.

Every day, make sure your child eats some of the following:
  • Healthy, organic proteins from grass-fed meats and dairy products (raw is a bonus). Grass-fed meats and dairy contain high levels of protein, lower levels of carbohydrates, and Omega 3 essential fatty acids necessary for brain development and maintenance than the grain-fed varieties.
  • Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
  • Raw nuts
  • Moderate amounts of grains - make sure your grains are truly whole (not made from flour) such as Ezekiel sprouted grain products and/or soaked grains for cereals. Anything that has been ground up into flour, combined with other ingredients, and is baked (such as many breads, bagels, tortillas, crackers, cold cereals, and pastas) is going to have a higher glycemic index, contain the wrong amounts of Omega 6s and 9s, is processed, and will contribute to health issues such as ADHD, depression, and other related disorders. Many of these products also contain cheaper, unhealthy vegetable oils which also contain too many Omega 6s and 9s.
  • Healthy fats from oils such as fish oil from deep-sea sources, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and unrefined, virgin coconut oil. All of these oils are best when eaten raw (such as on salads and vegetables), but grapeseed and coconut oils are the best oils for cooking as they have a higher smoke point and can tolerate heat better without breaking down.
  • Limit processed foods, drinks, and refined sugars. All of these products contribute to degenerative health diseases such as ADHD, mood disorders, depression, fatigue, irritability, lack of ability to concentrate and study, and over time can escalate to other problems such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's Disease.
For more information on how deficiencies in essential fatty acids can contribute to ADHD and related disorders, visit Healing With Nutrition.

To become involved in changing what your child eats at school, join the revolution - Two Angry Moms. Check out what the folks in Boise, Idaho are doing - we are hosting a Two Angry Moms film event on October 15th in our fair city.