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Eggplant is a popular part of Indian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese cuisines, but in the US the average American eats less than one pound per year.1 They are, perhaps, the least popular member of the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatoes, pepper, and potatoes, as well as some poisonous plants like Deadly Nightshade.
For centuries, in fact, especially in Europe, eggplant was regarded as a bitter plant more suited for decorating the garden than eating, and many believed it was unhealthy or even poisonous. It was even blamed for causing insanity, leprosy, and cancer.2
Early on, most eggplants were yellow or white-skinned, small and resembled the shape of an egg, hence their name. Through the years, however, new varieties of eggplant emerged, including the more familiar dark-purple variety often consumed in the US today.
In the 18th century, its taste became much less bitter and this vegetable rose out of obscurity and into some of the most beloved traditional dishes around the globe ? like Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, Greek moussaka, French ratatouille, and Sicilian caponata.
If you?re new to eggplant, you might be surprised to find it can be quite sweet. Some even refer to it as a fruit, which, technically, it is (like the tomato).
Eggplants Are Packed with Antioxidants
Eggplants contain fiber, copper, B vitamins, vitamin K, and potassium, but their brightly colored skin is a sign that they?re also rich in antioxidants. Anthocyanins are one type of phytonutrient that are responsible for that dark-purple color.
One variety, nasunin, has been found to have potent antioxidant and free-radical scavenging abilities. It?s also known to protect the fats in your brain cell membranes,3 and it has iron-chelating abilities, which is beneficial if you suffer from iron overload.
The predominant antioxidant in eggplants is chlorogenic acid, which also has anti-cancer, antimicrobial, and anti-viral properties. Chlorogenic acid is also one of the most potent free-radical scavengers found in plants. One variety of eggplant in particular, known as Black Magic, has been shown to have nearly three times the antioxidants as other varieties.4
In addition, nasunin and other phytonutrients in eggplant, including terpenes, are thought to be beneficial for heart health. Animal studies show that eggplant juice has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and also relaxes blood vessels for improved blood flow.5
Eggplant Extract May Kill Cancer Cells
A cream containing eggplant extract, known as BEC and BEC5, appears to cure and eliminate most non-melanoma skin cancers in several weeks' time. There are reports that extracts of plants from the Solanaceae family of vegetables are effective for treating cancer dating back nearly 200 years to 1825, according to natural health pioneer Dr. Jonathan Wright.
However, it wasn't until much later, after the 1950s, that they were formally studied. The leading researcher in this area today is Dr. Bill E. Cham, who reported as early as 1991 in Cancer Letters that:6
"A cream formulation containing high concentrations (10%) of a standard mixture of solasodine glycosides (BEC) has been shown to be effective in the treatment of malignant and benign human skin tumors.?
One of Dr. Cham's more recent studies was published in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine.7 The paper includes two impressive case reports of 60-something men who were suffering from large basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which had plagued them for years. The results upon treatment with a cream formulation of BEC (eggplant extract) twice a day are astounding:
In the first case, treatment with the eggplant-extract cream resulted in rapid break down of the tumor. After two weeks, the lesion was reduced to about half its original size, and after 14 weeks the cancer was clinically eliminated with no scar tissue formation. Even the hairs had regrown where the tumor was originally.
In the second case, after six weeks of treatment with eggplant-extract cream, the large skin cancer lesion appeared "cleaner" and some of the cancerous tissue had been replaced with normal tissue.
In another three weeks, the lesion was much smaller and more normal tissue was apparent. After a total of 14 weeks, the lesion was completely eliminated with no scar tissue present.
Unfortunately, simply eating eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, or similar veggies, while beneficial for many reasons, will not induce this same effect because the active components are not able to effectively penetrate your cells. This requires the addition of glycosides, molecules with various simple sugars attached to them that can latch on to receptors found on skin cancer cells.
That being said, eggplant compounds have also been found to have anti-proliferative activities against human colon and liver cancer cells.8 The fact that eggplant has anti-cancer effects is one more testament to the benefits of eating a wide variety of natural foods.
How to Choose and Prepare Eggplant
For best flavor, choose eggplants that are glossy in color, firm, and heavy for their size. The stem should be bright green, and if you push on the flesh with your thumb, it should bounce back. A lasting indentation is a sign that the eggplant may be overripe. Overripe eggplants tend to be more bitter in flavor, as do those that are stored too long.
You can store an uncut eggplant in your refrigerator?s crisper drawer (in a plastic bag), but they are quite perishable. Ideally, look for eggplants that are locally grown and use them as soon as possible after harvest.
One of the allures of eggplants is their versatility. They can be baked, roasted, steamed or boiled, mashed, pureed, diced, and sliced. Although it?s not a requirement, many people ?sweat? their eggplant prior to using it in recipes to help draw out some moisture, tenderize the flesh and reduce any bitterness. To do so, the George Mateljan Foundation recommends:9
?To tenderize the flesh's texture and reduce some of its naturally occurring bitter taste, you can sweat the eggplant by salting it. After cutting the eggplant into the desired size and shape, sprinkle it with salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes.
This process will pull out some of its water content and make it less permeable to absorbing any oil used in cooking. Rinsing the eggplant after ?sweating? will remove most of the salt.?
Healthy Grilled Eggplant Recipe
Eggplant is a perfect addition to soups, stews, casseroles, and side dishes, and it?s often used as a replacement for meat in those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. But it?s also quite tasty on its own. To savor the unique flavor and texture of eggplant, all you need is a bit of healthy oil, salt and pepper. The grilled eggplant recipe below, from the Rodale Recipe Index, is one well worth keeping:
4 eggplants (1 lb each), with peel, cut lengthwise into 1" thick slices
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
4 tbsp extra virgin olive or coconut oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Layer several paper towels on baking sheet. Place half of eggplant on top in single layer. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and cover with paper towels. Arrange second layer of eggplant, sprinkle with remaining salt, and cover with paper towels.
Let eggplant stand 30 minutes, then rinse each piece and blot dry. (This helps extract excess water, reducing bitterness and preventing eggplant from absorbing excess oil during cooking.)
Brush both sides of an eggplant slice with oil to coat and transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and eggplant slices. Season with pepper.
Heat grill to medium. Grill eggplant, with cover closed, 16 to 20 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned and tender. Refrigerate leftovers in airtight container for a day or two.
Bone Broth?A Most Nourishing Food for Virtually Any Ailment
By Dr. Mercola
Bone broth has a long history of medicinal use. It's known to be warm, soothing, and nourishing for body, mind, and soul...19
Physicians harkening as far back as Hippocrates have associated bone broth with gut healing. And while the importance of gut health is just now starting to fill our medical journals, this knowledge is far from new.
In fact, you could say modern medicine is just now rediscovering how the gut influences health and disease.
Many of our modern diseases appear to be rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in your digestive system, courtesy of a diet that is too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria.
Digestive problems and joint problems, in particular, can be successfully addressed using bone broth. But as noted by Dr. Kaayla Daniel, vice president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and coauthor (with Sally Fallon Morell) of the book, Nourishing Broth, bone broth is a foundational component of a healing diet regardless of what ails you.
How Broth Has Been Used Through the Ages
While our ancestors used to have a pot of soup continuously puttering over the hearth, this changed with the advent of the industrial revolution, at which point many poor people simply couldn't afford the fuel to keep the fire going.
Bouillons and broth powders got their start at that time, as the need for more portable soups arose. A major turning event was when Napoleon put out a call for portable soup to feed his army.
The winner of Napoleon's competition was Nicolas Appert1 (1749-1841), whose canning process paved the way for the modern day canned goods. Later, John T. Dorrance came up with a process to create condensed soup, which led to the empire now known as Campbell's Soups.
In the early 1900s, Campbell Soup was a decent product, boasting the best ingredients, including lots of butter, and recipes from the most famous chefs of the era. As noted by Dr. Daniel, it was a very different product from what we find in grocery stores today.
Today, if you want truly high-quality bone broth or soup, your best bet is to make it yourself. Fortunately, it's easy. The trickiest part is usually going to be finding organic bones.
Bone broth, Dr. Daniel says, is actually a fast food. It just requires a little planning. One efficient way to create your broth is to use a slow-cooker or crockpot.
This will allow you to put a few basic ingredients into the pot in the morning, turn it on low heat, and by the time you get home in the evening it's done.
Besides being convenient and efficient, it's also safe, as you won't have to worry about leaving a pot puttering on the stove, which could pose a fire hazard if left unattended. "It's an old-fashioned remedy for the modern world," Dr. Daniel says.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Leaky gut is the root of many health problems, especially allergies, autoimmune disorders, and many neurological disorders. The collagen found in bone broth acts like a soothing balm to heal and seal your gut lining, and broth is a foundational component of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet, developed by Russian neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
The GAPS diet is often used to treat children with autism and other disorders rooted in gut dysfunction, but just about anyone with suboptimal gut health can benefit from it.
Bone broth is also a staple remedy for acute illnesses such as cold and flu. While there aren't many studies done on soup, one study did find that chicken soup opened up the airways better than hot water.
Processed, canned soups will not work as well as the homemade version made from slow-cooked bone broth. If combating a cold, make the soup hot and spicy with plenty of pepper.
The spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, which will help thin down the respiratory mucus so it's easier to expel. Bone broth contains a variety of valuable nutrients in a form your body can easily absorb and use. This includes but is not limited to:
Calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals
Components of collagen and cartilage
Silicon and other trace minerals
Components of bone and bone marrow
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
The "conditionally essential" amino acids proline, glycine, and glutamine
These nutrients account for many of the healing benefits of bone broth, which include the following:
Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage and collagen.
Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses etc.
Indeed, Dr. Daniel reports2 chicken soup ? known as "Jewish penicillin"?has been revered for its medicinal qualities at least since Moses Maimonides in the 12th century. Recent studies on cartilage, which is found abundantly in homemade broth, show it supports the immune system in a variety of ways; it's a potent normalizer, true biological response modifier, activator of macrophages, activator of Natural Killer (NK) cells, rouser of B lymphocytes and releaser of Colony Stimulating Factor.
Fights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis3 (whole-body inflammation). Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better.
Promotes strong, healthy bones: Dr. Daniel reports bone broth contains surprisingly low amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals, but she says "it plays an important role in healthy bone formation because of its abundant collagen. Collagen fibrils provide the latticework for mineral deposition and are the keys to the building of strong and flexible bones."
Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth. Dr. Daniel reports that by feeding collagen fibrils, broth can even eliminate cellulite too.
How to Make the Most Nourishing Broth
The more gelatinous the broth, the more nourishing it will tend to be. Indeed, the collagen that leaches out of the bones when slow-cooked is one of the key ingredients that make broth so healing. According to Dr. Daniel, if the broth gets jiggly after being refrigerated, it's a sign that it's a well-made broth. To make it as gelatinous as possible, she recommends adding chicken feet, pig's feet, and/or joint bones.
All of these contain high amounts of collagen and cartilage. Shank or leg bones, on the other hand, will provide lots of bone marrow. Marrow also provides valuable health benefits, so ideally, you'll want to use a mixture of bones. You can make bone broth using whole organic chicken, whole fish or fish bones (including the fish head), pork, or beef bones. Vary your menu as the many types offer different flavors and nutritional benefits.
If you're using chicken, you can place the entire chicken, raw, into a pot and cover with water. Add a small amount of vinegar to help leach the minerals out of the bones. Alternatively, you can use the carcass bones from a roasted chicken after the meat has been removed. To ensure the broth is really gelatinous, Dr. Daniel suggests adding some chicken feet when you use the carcass of a roasted chicken, as some of the collagen will have been leached out already during the roasting process. You can also add vegetables of your choice into the pot.
The most important aspect of the broth-making process is to make sure you're getting as high-quality bones as you can. Ideally, you'll want to use organically raised animal bones. It's worth noting that chickens raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) tend to produce chicken stock that doesn't gel, so you'll be missing out on some of the most nourishing ingredients if you use non-organic chicken bones. If you can't find a local source for organic bones, you may need to order them. A great place to start is your local Weston A. Price chapter leader,4 who will be able to guide you to local sources.
You can also connect with farmers at local farmers markets. Keep in mind that many small farmers will raise their livestock according to organic principles even if their farm is not USDA certified organic, as the certification is quite costly. So it pays to talk to them. Most will be more than happy to give you the details of how they run their operation.
Good beef stock requires several sorts of bones: knuckle bones and feet impart large quantities of gelatin to the broth; marrow bones impart flavor and the particular nutrients of bone marrow; and meaty ribs and shanks add color and flavor. We have found that grass-fed beef bones work best--the cartilage melts more quickly, and the smell and flavor is delicious.
About 4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones
1 calf, beef, or pig foot, preferably cut into pieces
3 pounds meaty bones such as short ribs and beef shanks
1 small can or jar tomato paste (optional)
4 or more quarts cold filtered water
1/2 cup vinegar
3 onions, ends removed and coarsely chopped (skin may be left on)
3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
1 bouquet garni made with parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, tied together
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, or green or white peppercorns, crushed
Place the knuckle and marrow bones and optional calves foot in a very large pot, toss with vinegar and cover with cold water. Let stand for 1/2 to 1 hour. Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a stainless steel roasting pan. For a particularly aromatic stock, brush the bones with tomato paste. Brown at 350 degrees in the oven, about ½ hour. When well browned, add these bones to the pot. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold filtered water to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking. Bring to a simmer and carefully skim any scum that comes to the top. After you have skimmed, add the vegetables, bouquet garni, and peppercorns.
Simmer stock for at least 12 and as long as 24 hours.
Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl or several 2-quart Pyrex measuring cups. Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage.
Note: The marrow may be removed from the marrow bones a couple of hours into the cooking, and spread on whole grain sourdough bread. If left in the pan for the entire cooking period, the marrow will melt into the broth, resulting in a broth that is cloudy but highly nutritious.
Variation: Lamb Stock
Use lamb bones, especially lamb neck bones and riblets. Ideally, use all the bones left after butchering the lamb. Be sure to add the feet if you have them. This makes a delicious stock.
Variation: Venison Stock
Use venison meat and bones. Be sure to use the feet of the deer and a section of antler if possible. Add 1 cup dried wild mushrooms if desired.
Bone Broth?A Medicinal 'Soul Food'
Slow-simmering bones for a day will create one of the most nutritious and healing foods there is. You can use this broth for soups, stews, or drink it straight. The broth can also be frozen for future use. Making bone broth also allows you to make use of a wide variety of leftovers, making it very economical. Bone broth used to be a dietary staple, as were fermented foods, and the elimination of these foods from our modern diet is largely to blame for our increasingly poor health, and the need for dietary supplements.
"I would like to urge people to make as much broth as possible," Dr. Daniel says in closing. "Keep that crockpot going; eat a variety of soups, and enjoy them thoroughly."
Documentary, ?Poison on the Platter?: GE Foods Are Spreading Across India
By Dr. Mercola
The corporate and regulatory forces that are out to get genetically engineered (GE) foods onto your dinner plate by any means possible are not confined to the United States.
In his documentary, Poison on the Platter, Indian filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt examines from a unique non-Western perspective how multinational corporations and government regulators have conspired to spread GE foods across India.
The film provides an insightful perspective about the world impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as discussed by scientists on the other side of the globe.
If you don?t believe contamination of our food supply by GMOs holds the potential for planetary disaster, you might change your mind after seeing this film. Mahesh Bhatt warns:
?In their mad rush to capture the multi-billion dollar Indian agriculture and food industry, the biotech multinational companies are bulldozing warnings by scientists about the adverse impact of GM foods on health and environment...
[T]his is hurtling mankind toward a disaster, which will be far more destructive than anything the world has seen so far, simply because it will affect every single person living on this planet.?
GE proponents claim that GE foods are the solution to world hunger, increased crop yield and variety, lowered input costs, and reduced environmental impact.
They also claim that foods derived from GMOs are ?substantially equivalent? to foods created by conventional growing methods. The problem is that none of those claims are supported by science.
The List of Risks Posed by GE Foods Continues to Grow
Epidemiological patterns reflect a rise in more than 30 human diseases alongside the steady increase of GE ingredients in our food supply and the dramatic increase in the use of agrichemicals, such as glyphosate.
Glyphosate is not ?just? an herbicide?it was originally patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, making them unavailable for your body. Glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic that can devastate human gut bacteria.
When you mix the genes of one species with those of another, you?re courting disaster. GE food trials involving laboratory animals have uncovered higher mortality, infertility, and multi-organ damage?such as bleeding stomachs.
Even Monsanto?s own mouse studies demonstrated that GE foods have toxic effects on multiple organs, including the liver and kidneys. One of the most ominous concerns about the GE food system is its impact on our soils.
Monoculture and massive agrichemical use are decimating soils at an alarming rate?soils that took thousands of years to develop. Trillions of beneficial microbes that make up healthy soil are destroyed, depleting its nitrogen and leading to soil erosion, pollution, and wasted water from massive runoff.
Nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer runoff has created dead zones along many coastal waterways. GE crop monocultures destroy in a blink what nature has taken millennia to create.
US Recklessly Speeds Ahead with Next-Generation GE Crops
What?s going on in India is not that different from the US. Despite all of the hellish evidence, there seems to be no risk substantial enough to deter the American government from pushing ahead with new GE seeds.
Herbicide and insecticide use is skyrocketing. USDA recently deregulated Dow Chemical?s next-generation GE crops, which are not only glyphosate-resistant, but also carry resistance to toxins like the Agent Orange ingredient 2,4-D and Dicamba. EPA has also approved Enlist Duo?a new herbicide to be used on Dow?s 2,4-D and glyphosate-resistant corn and soybeans.
EPA has also doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed in your food. For example, soybean oil is allowed to contain a whopping 400 times the limit at which it can impact your health. Widespread use of GMOs has led to an enormous resistance problem.
Superweeds and resistant pests are rapidly spreading across farmland, which has necessitated the deployment of even more noxious chemicals. USDA data reveals that glyphosate use has increased 12-fold since 1996. Meanwhile, weed resistance has been documented on 60 million farm acres across the US.
The US Earns the Gold for Highest GE Food Production
The US is the world?s leading producer of GE foods, many of which are being exported to countries, like India, that will allow it. Monsanto is the largest manufacturer of GE seeds, producing 90 percent of those used across the globe. Yet three quarters of Americans are not even aware that they consume GE ingredients in almost every meal.
Many other countries believe that GE foods must be safe because Americans have been consuming them for two decades?and ?not dying from them.? However, the fallacy of this reasoning is evident when you realize that it took the US about 500 years to realize that tobacco wasn?t safe.
The incidence of chronic diseases in the US has escalated since the introduction of GE foods. Therefore, no one can claim that Americans are healthy, and no one can say with any assurance that GE foods are safe. Many scientists argue that we haven't had enough time for the effects of GMOs to fully reveal themselves across populations?and when they do, the damage may be irreparable. In the words of GMO expert and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology Jeffrey Smith:
?I can say with absolute confidence that there is irrefutable and overwhelming evidence that genetically engineered foods are harmful and that they are not being evaluated properly by the governments of India, United States, the European Union, or anywhere in the world.This is one of the most dangerous technologies ever introduced on Earth, and it?s being deployed in our food supply. It is madness! What we need is a political willingness to say no more... We don?t understand the language of DNA.?
Cheap Food Brings Expensive Healthcare
Genetically engineered foods have increased to keep pace with an exploding demand for "cheap food." Farmers are constantly pushed for higher yields. The current system is creating a glut of ecological problems, such as ravaging our bee populations. Forty years ago, Americans spent 16 percent of their income on food and eight percent on healthcare; today, those numbers are reversed. This "cheap food" system has bought us the most expensive healthcare in the world. In the same way that medical schools and universities are controlled by the drug industry, the food system is controlled by the agrichemical industry.
The industrialized food system is putting many small farmers out of business. Land grant universities, funded by corporate agribusiness, are under enormous pressure to shush any research that goes against the party line. Educational institutions are afraid to "bite the hand that feeds them." Mark Kastel, Co-Founder of The Cornucopia Institute, explains how other strategies are used to ensure that the public never finds out about the health dangers of GMOs:
"Monsanto and others actually have contracts with farmers, a technology agreement that prohibits the farmers from using any of their crop for research?other than agronomic research and yield research. So they can't partner with a physician or a medical researcher to take a look at the impact on human health. They've really impeded our ability to know whether or not GMOs are safe."
Big Bucks Buys Big Votes
Money changes everything. Monsanto, Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and other pro-GMO forces continue pouring millions into every anti-labeling campaign in an effort to prevent you from knowing what you?re eating. Their strategy consists of false claims, lies, and scare tactics, but their money is buying them smaller and smaller margins?labeling laws are coming closer to passage with each election. Every ?loss? is actually a ?win? when you look at the trends. As people gain awareness of the issues, they will refuse to stand for the status quo.
In 2012, industry spent $45 million to defeat California?s Prop 37 labeling bill, and it lost by six points.
Between 2012 and mid-2014, Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) successfully blocked GMO labeling laws in over 30 states, at a price tag of more than $100 million. According to the most recent analysis, opponents of GMO labeling spent more than $27 million on lobbying in the first six months of 2014 alone?this is about three times more than they spent during all of 2013.
In the November 2014 election, the GMO industry and supporters spent $37 million to prevent Oregon and Colorado from passing their respective labeling laws. This effort was successful in Colorado, but in Oregon the race couldn?t be any tighter!
It?s Time to Stop the Insanity
Election season may be over, but you can vote with your wallet every day. If enough of us make our voices heard, things CAN change. For example, you can boycott GMA Member Traitor Brands, which helps level the playing field. As always, continue educating yourself and sharing what you've learned. Think of yourself as being pro-evidence, as opposed to anti-GMO. Just because you question something doesn't mean you're opposed to it?you just want more evidence so that you can make a good decision for yourself and your family. This film provides one more learning tool that you can forward to your friends and family, to help them take charge of their health.
Painting your nails may seem like an innocent part of your beauty routine, but inside those colorful bottles are some not-so-pretty secrets. Toxic chemicals are common in nail polish, and there?s often no way for you to know exactly what?s lurking inside.
Some might argue that occasional application of nail polish is only going to expose you to trace amounts of chemicals in levels too low to raise concern, but nail polish is just one beauty product that many women use on a regular basis.
When you add up the toxic exposures from nail polish, however ?small? they may (or may not) be, with those from fragrances, makeup, body lotions, and more, it can no longer be brushed off as insignificant.
Many chemicals, including those known as endocrine disruptors, have shown adverse effects at even very low doses, and even more concerning are the effects of such chemicals on the most vulnerable populations, like pregnant women and young children (who may also have their nails painted on occasion).
So knowing what?s in your nail polish should not be an afterthought. Americans spend upwards of $768 million a year on nail polish, and nail products represent the strongest and fastest-growing segment of the beauty industry.1
You have the power to change the direction this industry is heading by demanding safe, truly non-toxic nail products? and supporting only those brands that follow suit.
Nail Polish Plasticizer Linked to Birth Defects in Animals
In 2000, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study showing that 37 nail polishes from 22 companies contained dibutyl phthalate (DBP). DBP is known to cause lifelong reproductive impairments in male rats, and has been shown to damage the testes, prostate gland, epididymis, penis, and seminal vesicles in animals.
It?s used in nail polish because it increases flexibility and shine, but research by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that all 289 people tested had DBP in their bodies.2
Worse still, this chemical, which remember is linked to birth defects in animals, was found at the highest levels in women of childbearing age. According to EWG:3
?Women of childbearing age appeared to receive the highest exposures to DBP. Estimates based on data published by CDC researchers in October 2000 indicate that DBP exposures for 3 million women of childbearing age may be up to 20 times greater than for the average person.
Children born to these women would receive considerable exposure while in the womb, undergoing the most sensitive period of growth and development.?
For instance, in one study, women who had higher concentrations of two types of phthalates (DEHP and DBP) also had boys who appeared more feminized in their personality while playing. EWG?s findings were the impetus for a coalition of environmental and public health organizations, including EWG, to begin a push for companies to get these toxic chemicals out of their products?
The ?Toxic Trio? in Nail Polish
DBP is the first of the toxic trio. The other two toxic ingredients commonly found in nail polish include:
Toluene, which is made from petroleum or coal tar. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus. In nail polish, toluene is used to give the polish a smooth finish.
Formaldehyde, a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant, and a known carcinogen (formaldehyde exposure has been associated with leukemia specifically). Formaldehyde is used in nail polish as a hardener and preservative.
The chemicals are not only a concern for women using the polish, but also for workers in nail salons, who are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis. The good news is that, beginning in 2006, some large cosmetic companies announced they were going ?three free.?
They pledged to remove the toxic trio from their nail polish. The bad news is that, in 2012, California?s Department of Toxic Substances revealed that some products claiming to be non-toxic and even ?three free? still contained the toxic chemicals.4 For instance:5
10 of 12 nail polishes that claimed to be free of toluene contained the substance
5 of 7 nail polishes that claimed to be free of all three chemicals actually contained one or more at elevated levels
As noted by Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D., senior scientist with Environmental Working Group:6
?Whether cosmetics products are mislabeled or not, the truth is many personal care products are delivering a number of highly suspicious chemicals into our bodies?
The industry is largely unregulated, allowing cosmetics companies to use any mix of chemicals they choose. Professional products found in salons are not required to provide consumers with even the most basic information on their ingredients.?
The Next Generation of Nail Polishes Are ?5 Free?
Three-free nail polishes are now relatively common, although, as the California study showed, you can?t necessarily take the label at face value. The ?next generation? of polish has taken it a step further and (supposedly) removed five harmful toxins. Five-free nail polish should be free from DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde, plus:
Formaldehyde resin: Although formaldehyde resin hasn?t been linked to cancer like regular formaldehyde, it?s a skin allergen known to cause dermatitis. It can also off-gas formaldehyde and may contain residual levels of formaldehyde.
Camphor: This is a scented substance derived from the wood of the camphor tree. It can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches when inhaled, especially in large doses, making it a concern for nail technicians.
If a nail polish is five-free does that mean it?s safe? Not necessarily. A single nail polish can contain dozens of chemicals, and, as is the case with most cosmetics, it?s a largely unregulated industry.
Almost 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, and only about 10 percent have been evaluated for safety. And although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually has direct authority to regulate harmful ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, it doesn't exercise it?
What does this mean for a health-conscious person like yourself? When you use nail polish, you?re taking a chance that you?re applying harmful chemicals to your nails, even if it claims to be non-toxic. As pediatrician Dr. Maja Castillo told the Huffington Post:7
"I don't think there have been any definitive studies that show that nail polish alone is enough to cause any harm? But I think that the risks outweigh any potential 'benefits.'"
This may be especially true for children, who are likely to chew on their nails and end up ingesting much of the polish. But regardless of its intended recipient, if you?re going to paint your nails your best bet is to choose a reputable eco-friendly brand that is water-based and centered around using natural, non-toxic ingredients. If you visit a nail salon, bring your own natural polish with you, or visit a green salon that offers such products. Alternatively, try the natural option below for making your nails shine?
A Natural Way to Create Beautiful Nails
Simple buffing can create a nice, smooth sheen to your nails, without using any nail polish whatsoever. An added boon is that it may actually help your nails grow stronger and longer due to increased circulation, and you won't have to worry about chipped nail polish either. The following video demonstrates how to buff your own nails.
New Report Will Reveal Which Yogurts Are Healthy, and Which Are Best Avoided
By Dr. Mercola
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Kastel, co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, about their long-awaited and much-needed Yogurt Report. The interview took place at the recent Heirloom Seed Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, where we both had the honor of speaking.
The idea for the Yogurt Report was seeded about two years ago. I was out of town and a friend requested yogurt, so I went out looking for some in a local grocery store.
To my dismay, I couldn't find a single healthy yogurt. They were all junk food disguised as "health food." Previous to this experience, I was unaware of how truly degenerated most commercial yogurts had become.
I believe this is really a strong case of deception, so I turned to The Cornucopia Institute. It required two years of investigation.
If you're eating yogurt to help optimize your gut flora, you need to review this report. Chances are you're currently eating yogurt that has more similarities with candy than anything else...
Have You Been Deceived?
Most commercial yogurts are chockfull of artificial colors, flavors, additives, and sugar, typically as fructose (high fructose corn syrup), which actually nourishes disease-causing bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your gut. Since your gut has limited real estate, this smothers your beneficial bacteria and gets you sick.
Sugar also promotes insulin resistance, which is a driving factor of most chronic disease. Virtually all commercially available yogurts use pasteurized milk (heated at high temperature) even before it is reheated to make the yogurt itself, and this has its own drawbacks.
The top-rated yogurts are generally VAT pasteurized at relatively low temperatures, and are made from raw milk rather than previously pasteurized milk. While not as advantageous as making yogurt from raw milk in your own home, it's certainly better than most commercial yogurt.
The report also took a look at the food industry's labeling campaign, Live and Active Cultures, which is supposed to help consumers select products with high levels of healthy probiotics.
To assess probiotic content, Cornucopia tested yogurt purchased directly from grocery stores instead of following the industry's practice of testing levels at the factory.
As it turns out, many of the brands bearing the Live and Active Cultures label contain LOWER levels of probiotics than the top-rated organic brands in Cornucopia's report and scorecardthat are not part of the Live and Active campaign.
The report also includes a comparative cost analysis of commercial yogurt brands. The good news is that many organic yogurts are actually less expensive, on a price-per-ounce basis, than conventional, heavily-processed yogurts.
Cornucopia Files Complaint; Requests FDA Investigation
As noted in their press release announcing the release of the report:
"Based on its industry investigation, The Cornucopia Institute has filed a formal complaint with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking the agency to investigate whether or not certain yogurts on the market, manufactured by such companies as Yoplait, Dannon, and many store brands including Walmart's Great Value, violate the legal standard of identity for products labeled as yogurt.
The Cornucopia Institute requests that the legal definition of 'yogurt' be enforced for product labeling, just as it is for products labeled 'cheese.'
'The reason that Kraft has to call Velveeta® 'processed cheese-food' is that some of the ingredients used, like vegetable oil, cannot legally be in a product marketed as 'cheese',' Kastel added.
Cornucopia alleges that some of the ingredients that manufactures are using in yogurt, like milk protein concentrate (MPC), typically imported from countries like India, do not meet yogurt's current legal standard of identity."
Why You Need Probiotics
Your body contains about 100 trillion bacteria, mostly in your gut, which is more than 10 times the number of cells you have in your entire body. It's now quite clear that the type and quantity of micro-organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of many diseases.
A healthy microbiome is not only important for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, these bacteria also help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals, aid in the elimination of toxins, and are responsible for a good part of your immune system and mental health, including your ability to resist anxiety, stress, and depression.
One recent study1,2 discovered that yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus can help protect children and pregnant women against heavy metal poisoning.
As shown in earlier research, certain microorganisms are particularly efficient at binding to certain toxins and/or chemicals, including pesticides. Here, they found that L. rhamnosus had a preference for binding (and eliminating) mercury and arsenic.
According to the authors: "Probiotic food produced locally represents a nutritious and affordable means for people in some developing countries to counter exposures to toxic metals." Probiotics also have dozens of other beneficial pharmacological actions,3 including:
Apoptopic (cellular self-destruction)
Radio- and chemo protective
Upregulates glutathione and certain glycoproteins that help regulate immune responses, including interleukin-4, interleukin-10, and interleukin-12
Downregulates interleukin-6 (a cytokine involved in chronic inflammation and age-related diseases)
Inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha inhibitor, NF-kappaB, epidermal growth factor receptor, and more
It's also important to realize that your gut bacteria are very vulnerable to lifestyle and environmental factors. Some of the top offenders known to decimate your microbiome include the following?all of which are best avoided:
Antibiotics (including antibiotics given to livestock for food production)
Chlorinated and fluoridated water
Antibacterial soaps, etc.
Agricultural chemicals and pesticides
Brain Health Is Strongly Tied to Gut Health
While many think of their brain as the organ in charge of their mental health, your gut may actually play a far more significant role. Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.4 For example:
One proof-of-concept study5,6 conducted by researchers at UCLA found that yogurt containing several strains of probiotics thought to have a beneficial impact on intestinal health also had a beneficial impact on participants' brain function; decreasing activity in brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation such as anxiety.
The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility7 reported the probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain.
Other research8 found that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA levels?an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes?in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.
Previous studies have confirmed that what you eat can quickly alter the composition of your gut flora. Specifically, eating a high-vegetable, fiber-based diet produces a profoundly different composition of microbiota than a more typical Western diet high in carbs and processed fats.
This is part and parcel of the problem with most commercially available yogurts?they're widely promoted as healthy because they contain (added) probiotics, but then they're so loaded with ingredients that will counteract all the good that they're basically useless... The negative effects of the sugar far outweigh any marginal benefits of the minimal beneficial bacteria they have. Remember, the most important step in building healthy gut flora is avoiding sugar as that will cause disease-causing microbes to crowd out your beneficial flora.
Surprisingly, Mark Kastel notes that some of the organic brands of yogurt actually contained some of the highest amounts of sugar! It's important to realize that some yogurt can contain as much sugar as candy or cookies, which most responsible parents would not feed their children for breakfast. Artificial flavors are also commonly used.
You Can Easily and Inexpensively Make Your Own Yogurt
Your absolute best bet, when it comes to yogurt, is to make your own using a starter culture and raw grass-fed milk. Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows not only contains beneficial bacteria that prime your immune system and can help reduce allergies, it's also an outstanding source of vitamins (especially vitamin A), zinc, enzymes, and healthy fats. Raw organic milk is not associated with any of the health problems of pasteurized milk such as rheumatoid arthritis, skin rashes, diarrhea, and cramps.
While delicious as is, you could add a natural sweetener to it. Mark suggests whole food sweeteners such as raw organic honey or maple syrup, for example. You can also add flavor without sweetening it up by adding some vanilla extract, or a squirt of lime or lemon juice. Whole berries or fruits are another obvious alternative. Just be mindful not to overdo it, especially if you're insulin or leptin resistant?and about 80 percent of Americans are.
Nourish Your Microbiome with Organic Yogurt for Optimal Health
Cultured foods like yogurt are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria, provided they're traditionally fermented and unpasteurized. One of the best and least expensive ways to get healthy bacteria through your diet is to obtain raw milk and convert it to yogurt or kefir. It's really easy to make at home. All you need is some starter granules in a quart of raw milk, which you leave at room temperature overnight.
By the time you wake up in the morning you will likely have kefir. If it hasn't obtained the consistency of yogurt, you might want to set it out a bit longer and then store it in the fridge.
A quart of kefir has far more active bacteria than you'd obtain from a probiotic supplement, and it's very economical as you can reuse the kefir from the original quart of milk about 10 times before you need to start a new culture pack. Just one starter package of kefir granules can convert about 50 gallons of milk to kefir! Cultured foods should be a regular part of your diet, and if you eat enough of them you will keep your digestive tract well supplied with good bacteria. There may still be times when a probiotic supplement is necessary, but for day-to-day gut health maintenance, yogurt and other traditionally cultured or fermented foods are truly ideal choices.
Our Bodies are in Chemical Overload: The Body Toxic by Nena Baker
Scientific America recently reported of a research study findings of over 200 substances that are not of biological origin in the umbilical cords of ten minority infants born in the US. The report was...
from the PureIndianFoods.com blog: What are A1 & A2 Milk Proteins? Milk is composed of proteins, sugars and fats. The cream is where the fats are stored. The proteins are found in the whey and the milk solids. Sugars are also found in the milk solids. When we talk about “A1″ or “A2″ milks or […]
Q: If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and could only take one nutritional or herbal substance with you, what would you choose? A: Without a doubt, the substance I choose is essential to immune function. Humans don’t produce this vital substance, and our adrenal glands require massive amounts of […]
instead, try the health promoting ?bullet proof? turmeric drink. Yum!
from a colleague: For my bulletproof turmeric, I have used coconut oil, butter, honey, and spices to optimize digest and the absorption of curcumin. Curcumin is notoriously difficult to absorb, but fats and spices, particularly the black pepper in the garam masala, greatly increase our absorption of curcumin into the blood stream. 1 cup water […]
Finally, I now understand the appeal of the far right platform?
from self-proclaimed “Geek Tim” For years, I listened to Limbaugh on my way to work, and to “Air America” on my way from work, specifically so I could ‘compare and contrast’. In my opinion, the popularity difference is because they relate to their audience differently. Julia Sweeney has a great line that “listening to NPR […]
A Runner's Mind: 15 Thoughts Thought to Stay Motivated
As a runner you know firsthand that not all runs are created equal. There are good runs ? where you feel like you could go on running for days. And then there are the not-so-good runs ? where each step is a challenge, a test of both physical and mental determination.
We have all been there; we all know the struggle ? the fight to finish. And I?m sure none of us are alone in using one or more of these phrases (more like excuses) to keep ourselves running.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that can sneak up on you without warning. You can literally be blindsided by this complication of diabetes?significant or complete loss of vision can result--yet a little knowledge and action can help prevent you from falling victim to the condition.
A Randomized Controlled Trial of 5 Different Diets, and The Biggest Loser is?
One of the biggest problems behind dieting - and why we fail - is that it requires self-monitoring i.e. calorie counting. A new study shows that it is possible to lose weight without calorie counting based on the results of a new randomized controlled trial of 5 different diets. Find out which one proved to be the biggest loser.
A new study published in the journal Nutrition pitted the effects of 5 different diets against one another to determine how varying degrees of
Thanksgiving can add extra stress that leads to fibromyalgia flares and pain issues. If you are battling this disorder, then you may want to consider the following tips to help you manage the holidays. Although it may be tempting to hide from the world during a fibromyalgia attack, Thanksgiving may force you to interact with others and push your boundaries.
Fibromyalgia may force you to change your Thanksgiving traditions and adjust the holidays to fit your health.
Gluten-free stuffing ideas safe for celiac disease
Stuffing is an essential part of the holiday meal, and there are gluten-free versions which are safe for people with celiac disease. Stuffing does not have to be made with dangerous gluten-containing ingredients. There are recipes to help you make it from scratch and store mixes for people who prefer another option.
Stuffing recipes vary greatly, but the basic ones can be made with gluten-free bread and a small number of ingredients.
Despite the fact that European legislation is increasingly restrictive on what we can say about food supplements and also what we can buy to keep ourselves healthy (along with the most important thing - good food), we can now legitimately show that food supplements are the safest substances to which...
Misinformation From Academic's Leaked Letter to the Health Minister
The Alliance of Natural Health decided to leak a Reading University academic's letter attempting to influence the Health Minister. Elizabeth Williamson, a professor in pharmacology, was trying to get Andrew Lansley, the UK Health Minister, to push his medicines agency to bank a wide range of food su...
ANH-Intl e-Alert: EU herb directive keeps consumers in the dark Press ReleaseFor immediate release16th February 2011 We have posted this directly from the ANH as it is so important that this gets as wide a coverage as possible as so many people are unaware of what we are about to lose after thousand...
Geopathic stress is a term used to denote adverse 'earth radiation" - ionizing or non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation emanating naturally from the planet's geophysiology. This gives rise to a network of energy patterns and lines of force that cover the surface of the aearth (Hartmann Net, Curry G...
What are Free Radicals and How do they Affect your Health?
We live in a world surrounded by free radicals. They are a natural part of life's systems. What are they? Well, they are unstable organic molecules with electrons missing. These unstable molecules are desperate to become stable, and as a result of this they steal electrons from other substances. The...