Monday, December 31, 2012

Breast Cancer vs. Mushrooms

Note from Dr. Greger
Mushrooms appear to work in the lab to suppress breast cancer cell growth, but what about in the real world? That's the subject of tomorrow's video of the day Why Do Asian Women Have Less Breast Cancer? The placenta study was profiled in my video Vegetables Versus Breast Cancer and a comparison of the effects of different types of mushrooms can be found in Breast Cancer Prevention: Which Mushroom is Best?. More on the magic of mushrooms in Making Our Arteries Less Sticky and Constructing a Cognitive Portfolio. Probably a good idea to cook them, though: Toxins in Raw Mushrooms. I have more than five dozen videos on breast cancer and hundreds of videos on a thousand other health and wellness topics.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


 Strawberries are rich in dietary fiber and manganese, and contain more vitamin C than any other berry. Among strawberries’ antioxidants are anthocynanins and ellagic acid, a phytochemical that has been shown to fight carcinogens. Antioxidant compounds found in strawberries may also prevent the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and may help fight the development of heart disease. Strawberries are also high in folic acid, dietary fiber and potassium.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (166 grams)
Calories 50
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 11.65 grams
Dietary Fiber 3.81 grams
Calcium 23.24 mg
Iron 0.63 mg
Magnesium 16.60 mg
Phosphorus 31.54 mg
Potassium 44.82 mg
Selenium 1.16 mg
Vitamin C 94.12 mg
Folate 29.38 mcg
Vitamin A 44..82 IU


  • Over 53 percent of seven to nine year olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.
  • Eight strawberries will provide 140 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids.
  • Native forms of strawberries adapt to various climates and are indigenous to every major continent except Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The fruit size of the very early strawberries was very small.
  • Seventy per cent of a strawberry's roots are located in the top three inches of soil.
  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
  • One cup of strawberries is only 55 calories.
  • There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.
  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
  • The flavor of a strawberry is influenced by weather, the variety and stage of ripeness when harvested.
  • On average, there are 200 seeds in a strawberry.
  • Ninety-four per cent of United States households consume strawberries.
  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the annual per capita consumption of fresh and frozen strawberries is 4.85 pounds.
  • Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.
  • California produces 75 percent of the nation's strawberry crops. According to the California Strawberry Advisory Board, California strawberries are available January through November, with peak quality and supply from March to May.
  • If all the strawberries produced in California in one year were laid berry to berry, they would go around the world 15 times.
  • California produces an amazing one billion pounds of strawberries each year.
  • Each acre of land in California in strawberry production produces an average of 21 tons of strawberries annually.
  • 23,000 acres of strawberries are planted in California each year.
  • Lebanon, Oregon's annual strawberry festival is home to the world's largest strawberry shortcake.
  • Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year plus another 1.8 pounds frozen per capita. Although strawberries are available in many forms—frozen, jam and jelly, and ice cream— nothing compares to the taste of a fresh vine ripened strawberry.
  • Strawberries are delicate, requiring gentle handling to prevent bruising. With today's shipping technology, strawberries are available year round, but at a cost. Commercial growers have produced resilient hybrid berries known for their shipping quality.
  • Florida is second in production. The Florida season runs from December to May and peaks during March and April. To meet the demand, winter strawberries are usually imported between November and May.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener?

The natural sweetener erythritol does not appear to carry the adverse effects associated with other low and non-caloric natural and artificial sweeteners and may actually have antioxidant potential. For a while it was only available in Japan but now it’s becoming more accessible. It’s found naturally in pears and grapes, but industrially we have yeast make it for us. It doesn’t cause cavities and hasn’t been implicated in some of the disorders tied to other sweeteners such as fibromyalgia (see my video Aspartame-Induced Fibromyalgia), preterm birth (Diet Soda and Preterm Birth), headaches, hypertension, brain disorders, and platelet disorders (see A Harmless Artificial Sweetener).

What about stevia? The jury is finally in. The reason it’s been such a long time coming is that research out of Japan in the ’90s found that steviosides, the active ingredient in stevia, appeared totally harmless, but in the guts of rats intestinal bacteria transformed steviosides into something called steviol, which is toxic, causing a big spike in mutagenic DNA damage (see the graph in Is Stevia Good For You?). So the question was do we have those same rat bacteria in our guts, and it turns out we do. So we now know that when we eat stevia, mutagenic compounds are produced in our colons and absorbed into our bloodstream. The only remaining question was how much.

In the World Health Organization’s evaluation of food additives, they consider up to 4 mg/kg of body weight safe. So that’s 1.8 mg per pound. If you multiply your ideal weight in pounds by 1.8, that’s about how many milligrams of stevia compounds you should stay under on an average daily basis. As long as one consumes less than, say,  two stevia-sweetened beverages a day, stevia can be considered harmless. Erithritol may be even better than harmless, though, as you can see by clicking on the video pick above.

There are two caloric sweeteners that are health-promoting—can you guess which ones? Check out The Healthiest Sweetener for a comparison of agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, honey, maple syrup, raw cane sugar, and turbinado sugar.
In health, Michael Greger, M.D.

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to build healthy bones

How to build healthy bones at any age without prescription drugs

The key to maintaining healthy, strong bones does not necessarily involve taking high-dose calcium supplements or medicating yourself with osteoporosis drugs. Both of these approaches, in fact, can cause more harm than good if used indiscriminately, especially when other dietary and lifestyle factors that involve the root causes of bone loss remain unaddressed. Here are five nutrition and lifestyle-based approaches that will help correct and prevent bone loss at any age without the need for prescription drugs or mega-doses of calcium:

1) Balance your hormone levels. Even though their composition includes the calcium mineral, your bones do not become stronger simply by downing calcium pills every day. According to Dr. Al Sears, M.D., one of the primary causes of weak bones and age-related bone loss is actually hormone imbalance. It turns out that estrogen, testosterone, and other natural hormones are key regulators of bone health and breakdown, which means getting these hormones in proper balance is the first step towards long-term bone health.

"Bone building is hormonal," wrote Dr. Sears in a 2009 paper on bone health. "In women, estrogens are the main regulators of bone health and breakdown. Progesterone controls the rate of new bone deposition. But the most powerful bone builder in both men and women is testosterone. Testosterone is central for achieving maximal bone mass and strength." (

2) Supplement with magnesium, zinc, iodine, and trace minerals. One of the best ways to balance your hormones and boost testosterone levels naturally is to avoid estrogenic foods like soy that tend to disrupt proper hormone balance, as well as supplement with synergistic, hormone-balancing nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iodine, and trace mineral complexes. Most Americans are grossly deficient in iodine because, with the exception of iodized salt (which contains very little usable iodine anyway), most foods in the modern American diet lack this important element. And without enough iodine, your thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing thyroid hormones and regulating calcium balance, fails to function as it should. (

Many people are also deficient in both magnesium and zinc, two vitally important minerals for the appropriate production of hormones. Magnesium is absolutely vital for your body to properly metabolize food and generate usable energy, as well as facilitate proper digestion and the development of bone tissue. Likewise, zinc is essential for the proper function of the endocrine system, as well as the balanced and sustained production of necessary hormones. These two minerals taken in conjunction with iodine and essential trace minerals are a recipe for healthy hormones and healthy bones. (

3) Engage in weight-bearing exercises regularly. Physical inactivity is another major contributing factor to weak bones and bone loss. In order for your body to know that it needs to continue producing more bone tissue, you have to actually use your body. This means regularly engaging in weight-bearing activities that put pressure not only on your bones but also on your muscles. This pressure actually trains your body to fortify bone mass naturally, and it works especially well when combined with the other dietary suggestions outlined here.

Dr. Sears suggests doing weight-bearing calisthenics exercises like pushups, pullups, and lunges, as well as resistance training, two or three times a week to promote stronger bones. Studies also show that walking, cycling, and playing sports can help strengthen bones and discourage bone fractures. Physical movement, in other words, is always a good thing when it comes to bone health.

4) Get plenty of vitamin D from the sun, tanning beds, or supplements. If vitamin D got the same media attention as calcium supplements do with regards to bone health, osteoporosis and other related bone conditions would be much more rare. Vitamin D, it turns out, is the primary vehicle through which the body is able to absorb not only calcium, but also phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and the many other nutrients your body needs to build strong and healthy bones. (

Many people are deficient in vitamin D; however, which means their bodies are missing one of the key ingredients for healthy bones. Supplementing with daily doses of vitamin D3 around 10,000 international units (IU), and even as high as 20,000 IU, or making sure to regularly expose your skin to natural sunlight without sunscreen, will help ensure you maintain optimal vitamin D levels ( The Vitamin D Council has a vitamin D test kit that will help you determine whether or not your vitamin D levels are in a healthy range. (

5) Supplement with bone herbs, bone-building tea. If all this is not enough, you can also supplement with bone herbs like the "Strong Bones" formula developed by Ron Teeguarden's Dragon Herbs. This particular blend contains 10 unique seeds, roots, bark, and bone that together help fortify bone structure. You can also steep and drink bone-building teas like the one created by Mother Earth Living. (

Thursday, December 27, 2012

GMO - kidney injuries

Severe, acute kidney injuries in humans double due to GMO foods?

Severe, acute kidney injuries have doubled over the last decade and continue to rise by 10 percent a year according to a hot new study out of the University of California, San Francisco. Raymond K. Hsu, MD, a UCSF nephrologist who led the research said "That was a staggering revelation of how increasingly common and how life-threatening acute kidney injury has become over the past decade in the United States." Of course, doctors are clueless and cannot account for the rise in acute kidney injury.

Meanwhile, the latest word from the American Society of Nephrology says that the total number of deaths associated with dialysis-requiring acute kidney injuries rose from 18,000 in 2000 to nearly 39,000 in 2009 - that's more than double in a decade. When you look at all the studies that are coming out showing kidney failure and injuries in study animals after 90 days on GMO foods, it doesn't take a genius to figure out "why."

Acute kidney injury - The silent killer

Chi-yuan Hsu, MD, who is chief of the Division of Nephrology in the UCSF School of Medicine says, "Even if you were to lose 80 percent of your kidney function, you wouldn't feel it... because the organ itself is so redundant in structure and steadfast in function." The epidemic of acute kidney disease is a silent one. The kidneys are composed of more than a million identical structures called nephrons that filter blood and produce urine. One kidney can function even if a large portion of it is damaged or shut down.

Chi-yuan Hsu further states that once the damage to the kidneys becomes severe enough to require dialysis, the result is often fatal - about one-fifth of patients with acute kidney injury requiring dialysis in the study died.

More science-based research concludes that GMOs are organ damaging

A new study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences (IJBS), which analyzed the effects of GMO foods on mammalian health, found that Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats. The study concluded: "Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs... some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted... We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity....These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown."

Interestingly, this was a 90-day study that showed once-again, the damaging effects of GMO foods. The mammals used were rats that live about two years. These rats were fed GMO foods for 90 days and then compared to rats fed a non-GMO diet. 90 days of a rat's life equates to the human equivalent of roughly 10 years of life - putting us on the threshold of cataclysmic health disaster.

The giant responds

Big Ag's GMO food giant Monsanto immediately responded to the IBJS study, stating that the research is "based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products."

The IJBS study's author Gilles-Eric Seralini responded to Monsanto's ambiguous statement: "Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data."

The FDA (further delays ahead) is failing to protect you

The scientific evidence of organ damage done by GMO foods is overwhelming. Multiple studies prove that. If you are waiting around while the FDA makes a final determination about the devastating effects of GMO foods on your health, you are only hurting yourself. To protect yourself and your loved ones, only purchase certified GMO-free foods.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener?

The natural sweetener erythritol does not appear to carry the adverse effects associated with other low and non-caloric natural and artificial sweeteners and may actually have antioxidant potential. For a while it was only available in Japan but now it’s becoming more accessible. It’s found naturally in pears and grapes, but industrially we have yeast make it for us. It doesn’t cause cavities and hasn’t been implicated in some of the disorders tied to other sweeteners such as fibromyalgia (see my video Aspartame-Induced Fibromyalgia), preterm birth (Diet Soda and Preterm Birth), headaches, hypertension, brain disorders, and platelet disorders (see A Harmless Artificial Sweetener).

What about stevia? The jury is finally in. The reason it’s been such a long time coming is that research out of Japan in the ’90s found that steviosides, the active ingredient in stevia, appeared totally harmless, but in the guts of rats intestinal bacteria transformed steviosides into something called steviol, which is toxic, causing a big spike in mutagenic DNA damage (see the graph in Is Stevia Good For You?). So the question was do we have those same rat bacteria in our guts, and it turns out we do. So we now know that when we eat stevia, mutagenic compounds are produced in our colons and absorbed into our bloodstream. The only remaining question was how much.

In the World Health Organization’s evaluation of food additives, they consider up to 4 mg/kg of body weight safe. So that’s 1.8 mg per pound. If you multiply your ideal weight in pounds by 1.8, that’s about how many milligrams of stevia compounds you should stay under on an average daily basis. As long as one consumes less than, say,  two stevia-sweetened beverages a day, stevia can be considered harmless. Erithritol may be even better than harmless, though, as you can see by clicking on the video pick above.

There are two caloric sweeteners that are health-promoting—can you guess which ones? Check out The Healthiest Sweetener for a comparison of agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, honey, maple syrup, raw cane sugar, and turbinado sugar.

In health, Michael Greger, M.D.

Unhealthiest Ingredients

Top Tips For Understanding Ingredient Labels

When you are reading ingredient lists, always make sure you research any unfamiliar ingredient. Some ingredients like saturated and trans fats, sodium and sugar can appear on an ingredient lists as several different names.
Some experts suggest sticking to foods with only five ingredients, adding that foods with over five or 10 ingredients are often packed with preservatives, sugars and other additives that are hard to digest. Felip recommends looking at the first few ingredients — those at the top are the most used ingredients in a product. 

She also suggests not buying foods with unfamiliar ingredients, being cautious of "organic" and "natural" claims and always checking labels for sugar content.

10 of the unhealthiest ingredients found in common foods and their side effects

1. Artificial Colours

There's a reason why most sugary treats give us a rush. Hidden artificial colours in foods can cause hyperactivity and headaches.

2. Bleached White Flour

Found in most white breads, bleached white flour is usually stripped of nutrients and fibre and adds little value to our diets.

3. High-Fructose Corn Syrup

This ingredient is found in most processed foods, including lunch meats, and has no nutritional value. It has also been linked to increase risks of type 2 diabetes, and overconsumption can be damaging to our livers.

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners give food that sugary taste that is also quite addictive. Artificial sweeteners are almost always chemically derived and have been linked to migraines and even cancer.

5. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

BHT or butylated hydroxytoluene is often added to most processed foods to preserve fats. An overconsumption of this chemical can cause allergic reactions on the skin.

6. Partially Hydrogenated Oil

Partially hydrogenated oils (which are often found in cake mixes, peanut butter and baked goods) can decrease good cholesterol levels, are linked to heart disease and are hard for the body to dissolve.

7. MSG

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a food additive that is found in many foods, especially in fast food restaurants. MSGs can overexcite our nerve cells in the brain and can even (eaten in large amounts) cause brain cell death. On top of that, MSGs also can lead to exhaustion after a big meal.

8. Sodium Nitrate And Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrates and nitrites are chemical compounds commonly found in meat products like bacon and hot dogs, according to Nitrates and nitrites can affect the way your body uses sugar and may increase the risk of diabetes and colorectal cancer.

9. Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a chemical preservative that is used to prevent the growth of bacteria in foods like jams, fruit pies and soft drinks. It can also deprive our cells of oxygen and weakens the immune system.

10. Sulphites

Sulphites are food additives used to preserve food colour and prolong shelf life in many food products including canned fruits, frozen fries and soy products. Sulphites can cause allergic reactions and flushed faces and swelling of the eyes, face, tongue among others.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

How to have a stress-free Christmas, including avoiding family arguments and sharing the workload.

Christmas is a time for merry-making and family get-togethers, but it can have its pressures too.
The family is stuck in the house, the kids are overexcited, there’s the tree to decorate, presents to buy and wrap, and food to cook.

It’s no wonder the festive feeling can fizzle out. There is evidence that Christmas puts a strain on families. Statistics show that January is the busiest month for divorce lawyers.
Make sure this Christmas doesn’t become a day to remember for all the wrong reasons. Follow these tips from Relate counselor Christine Northam:
  • If there have been any family rows during the year, resolve them. Tell the people you argued with that you're looking forward to seeing them. Ask if you can get together before Christmas to talk about whatever problem you had.
  • Plan the day and share out the jobs that need to be done. Don't slave away for hours on your own and feel like people have taken advantage of you.
  • Discuss your plans with others, including any children who will be there, so that you can listen to their ideas and wishes for the day. Then you can come up with a celebration which includes things that please everyone.
  • Have a timetable for Christmas Day so that you don’t all sit around for hours doing nothing. Try to make sure you won't be spending a lot of time with a difficult person or someone you don’t get along with. 
  • Don’t drink too much. Drinking excessively is never a good idea. Find out more on safer drinking
  • Children can get overexcited, so plan a lovely long walk for a change of scene and some fresh air. Everybody will feel better and pleasantly tired instead of irritably tired. For more ideas, read Get active at Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Alternate Sugars

Many sugar substitutes are synthetics that are no better for us than real sugar. What’s more, some of these synthetics – aspartame and acesulfame-K to name just two – have been linked to cancer. 

Global Sugar Consumption

Sugar itself has been linked with numerous health problems ranging from obesity to tooth decay. In the US, Dr Robert Lustig (presenter of Sugar: The Bitter Truth) has called for a tax on sugar similar to those placed on alcohol and tobacco because of what he calls its ‘toxic nature’. 
In the UK the love affair with the white stuff began back in the 16th century when it appeared on our shores for the first time following the first wave of European exploration. Back then sugar was a luxury item, enjoyed only by the elite. Today, it is everywhere with the average Brit consuming a shocking 1.25lbs a sugar a week. 
Across the Atlantic, sugar consumption is even higher. Americans consume, on average, 22 teaspoon of sugar a day - double the recommended daily amount.

 Most sugar comes from the sugar cane plant, a highly water intensive crop grown mainly under monoculture condition across the tropics but most notably in Brazil and India who between them, account for just under 55 per cent of global sugar production each year according to the FAO. Because of the large areas required for sugar cane production, much of which takes place in ecologically important areas, sugar cane has been accused of being responsible for a greater loss of biodiversity than any other crop. 

6 Refined Sugar Alternatives

1. Stevia 

A herb native to South American, stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has been used as a sweetener for centuries in South America, and in Japan, makes up 41 per cent of the sweetener market. So widespread is its use, before Coca Cola decided to ‘standardise’ the recipe, stevia was used in Japanese Diet Coke. 

The herb recently ran into trouble in the US with the Food and Drug Administration over the label ‘sweetener’ but has rebounded to become the second most popular sugar alternative in the US under the term ‘dietary supplement’. Stevia has no calories and no glycemic impact making it suitable for diabetics as well as weight watchers and eco warriors.  It can be grown at home, although turning it from herb into a granular product isn’t an easy DIY project.

2. Coconut Palm Sugar 

Sap from the coconut palm is heated to evaporate its water content and reduce it to usable granules. Coconut sugar is nutritious and has a low score on the glycemic index, which means you don’t get a buzz followed by a crash. It tastes similar to brown sugar but is slightly richer. You can substitute coconut sugar for traditional sugar pretty much wherever you use the latter. Once tapped for sap, the trees can go on producing for 20 years and produce more sugar per hectare than sugar cane and benefit the local soil.

3. Raw Honey

Raw honey is used by many cultures as a remedy for many health ailments including ulcers, digestion problems, and even seasonal allergies. Studies have shown raw honey to have antibiotic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Many people use honey topically on cuts and scrapes to help fight infection. 
With antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients, raw, unprocessed honey is considered a superfood by many alternative health care practitioners and a remedy for many health ailments. Choose your honey wisely. There is nothing beneficial about processed honey

4. Molasses

These are by-products of the sugar production process. Although producing sugar from sugar cane has a negative environmental impact, not using all the products only compounds it. Because of the way traditional tabletop sugar is produced (heating the top layer which forms the crystals you have in your bowl), many of the nutritional benefits are left in the molasses. Blackstrap molasses is perhaps the most beneficial and is a good source of iron and calcium. It’s quite thick and viscous and is best used in baking. It is also sweeter than sugar and so you’ll need less.

5. Artichoke Syrup 

Artichoke syrup is rich in inulin, a type of fiber that feeds the friendly flora of the intestinal tract. It has an exceptional sweet taste and a very low glycemic index, making it a great sweetener for people with candida-conscious diets and diabetic blood sugar awareness. Research indicates that the inulin found in artichoke syrup may improve gastrointestinal health and calcium absorption.

6. Lucuma Powder 

Lucuma has a uniquely sweet, fragrant and subtly maple-like taste that will bring your desserts to life without making your blood sugar levels skyrocket. Lucuma is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  It boasts of plentiful concentrations of beta-carotene, which makes lucuma a powerful immune system booster, and it is rich in iron, B2 and B1. 
Its low sugar content makes it a healthy alternative to sugar for people who have diabetes and it is a great sweetener for women who are breastfeeding.
As with all sweeteners,  use in moderation.  Any sweetening agent that gets overused can overwhelm the liver and get turned in bad fat.  Syrups like maple syrup and agave syrup have some plus sides, but they are both wrought with controversy in the health community and there are better options available.

By no means do natural sweeteners give us license to spoil a sweet tooth rotten, but they’re an improvement over sugar. So use the profiles above as guide to get you off of the nasty, toxic sugars, not as a licence to binge on somethings else.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sugar & your Brain

By David DiSalvo, Forbes
Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders, depression  – all have been linked in recent research to the over-consumption of sugar. And these linkages point to a problem that is only beginning to be better understood: what our chronic intake of added sugar is doing to our brains.

How Much Sugar Are We Consuming?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each.  If you find that hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories  – nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet.
The key word in all of the stats is “added.”  While a healthy diet would contain a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and grains, for example), the problem is that we’re chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods.  

That’s an important clarification because our brains need sugar every day to function.  Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body; roughly 10% of our total daily energy requirements.  This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar), the gasoline of our brains. Sugar is not the brain’s enemy — added sugar is.

BNDF Explained

Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in people with an impaired glucose metabolism–diabetics and pre-diabetics–and as the amount of BDNF decreases, sugar metabolism worsens.

The Side Effects

In other words, chronically eating added sugar reduces BDNF, and then the lowered levels of the brain chemical begin contributing to insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which eventually leads to a host of other health problems.  Once that happens, your brain and body are in a destructive cycle that’s difficult if not impossible to reverse.

Research has also linked low BDNF levels to depression and dementia. It’s possible that low BDNF may turn out to be the smoking gun in these and other diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that tend to appear in clusters in epidemiological studies. More research is being conducted on this subject, but what seems clear in any case is that a reduced level of BDNF is bad news for our brains, and chronic sugar consumption is one of the worst inhibitory culprits.

Other studies have focused on sugar’s role in over-eating.  We intuitively know that sugar and obesity are linked, but the exact reason why hasn’t been well understood until recently.  Research has shown that chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating.  It does so by reducing activity in the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, which is responsible for throwing up the red “full” flag that prevents you from gorging.  When oxytocin cells in the brain are blunted by over-consumption of sugar, the flag doesn’t work correctly and you start asking for seconds and thirds, and seeking out snacks at midnight.

What these and other studies strongly suggest is that most of us are seriously damaging ourselves with processed foods high in added sugar, and the damage begins with our brains.  Seen in this light, chronic added-sugar consumption  is no less a problem than smoking or alcoholism. And the hard truth is that we may have only begun to see the effects of what the endless sugar avalanche is doing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter workout

How to run and work out safely in cold weather

Exercising during cold weather months is important to keep the immune system working optimally and to stave off winter weight gain. But how do you balance the need to stay warm and covered up with the need to move unhindered? Learn how to protect yourself against the cold without overdoing it.

Layer appropriately

A quick glance outside reveals people bundled up in overcoats, scarves, gloves, and ear muffs. You think, I had better cover up, and start wrapping yourself in every warm piece of clothing you own. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as wearing too many layers for a run outdoors.

Put on just enough clothing to keep you warm but that won't cause you to overheat once your body temperature rises during your workout. You should be able to move naturally in your workout attire. Take off anything that obscures your vision or limits your mobility.

Pamper and protect your feet

Of course you want to keep your body warm, but keeping your feet dry and warm should be your primary concern when running outdoors. If your favorite running shoes have a design that lets in moisture, hang them up for the season and get something new. Buy shoes with a protective layer and take a little time to coat them with water-resistant spray.

Choose synthetic

Synthetic clothing is ideal for winter workouts. Synthetic fabrics that fit close to your body wick away sweat so that it does not cool against your skin. Do not forget about your hands and head. Gloves and a hat made from synthetic materials are non-negotiable when it is really cold.

Protect exposed skin

One thing many people forget to wear during cold, cloudy days is sunscreen. Just because the sun is not as strong as during other times of the year does not mean it cannot burn you. Slather on a natural sunscreen, sweat-resistant for any part of your skin that is visible.

The risk of covering your skin with clothing and sunscreen whenever you go out during the winter is that you may make yourself deficient in vitamin D. Your body naturally makes the vitamin from exposure to sunlight, but it cannot do so if sunscreen and clothes get in the way, especially when the winter sun is weak. While many people can get enough of the vitamin from being outdoors with unprotected skin for 10 to 15 minutes during warm weather months, winter is a different story. Without enough vitamin D, you increase your risk of bone fractures by up to 60 percent, not a great thing when you are running on potentially icy surfaces. Aim for supplementing with 25 micrograms of vitamin D daily.

Drink water

People often make the mistake of thinking that they do not need a lot of water when the weather is cold. You may think that you do not sweat much when you run or work out in the cold. You would be wrong. You need to have access to water when you work out any time of the year.

A great way to get an extra hydrating boost is by drinking coconut water, which is a natural source of electrolytes. Coconut water also contains antioxidants that help your immune system fight off the nasty bugs that pop up often during wintertime.

Follow these tips to exercise safely when it is cold outside and to stay healthy during a time of year that many people fall ill or feel their energy levels plummet.

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Beginnings - poem

New Beginnings

by Gertrude B. McClain

It's only the beginning now
...a pathway yet unknown
At times the sound of other steps
...sometimes we walk alone

The best beginnings of our lives
May sometimes end in sorrow
But even on our darkest days
The sun will shine tomorrow.

So we must do our very best
Whatever life may bring
And look beyond the winter chill
To smell the breath of spring.

Into each life will always come
A time to start anew
A new beginning for each heart
As fresh as morning dew.

Although the cares of life are great
And hands are bowed so low
The storms of life will leave behind
The wonder of a rainbow.

The years will never take away
Our chance to start anew
It's only the beginning now
So dreams can still come true.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let's Meditate

Let us breath together as one being on this day to herald a new awakening not conceptually or intellectually but as one spiritual entity.

21 Dec 2012 is the end of Mayan Calendar but a new beginning for all those magnificent beings who are on the path of spiritual mastery.

Here is a request for each one of you who are practising the science and art of going within...please meditate on each day... but together with 10 million people on 21 Dec 2012 between 5:30am to 6:30am CST, wherever you are in the world.

For the Global Peace & Harmony...a critical mass of only 10 million people who are conscious are enough to raise the whole consciousness of the mankind to take it to next level. We will be meditating enmass exactly on this hour at the 1st World Parliament on Spirituality on 21 Dec 2012 at Hyderabad INDIA.( for more details, please visit or ). Those who cannot come to this event, please meditate wherever you are in the world.

Please join hands
Global Peace starts with you and me

For time zones of different countries

December 21st is a day that has the potential to be something great. At the very least, it can bring a lot of people together, in community and love. Perhaps with a little luck as well, it has the potential to truly create a global shift of some sort. What it looks like is up to everyone, should we choose to take the day to love, be at peace, breathe, and meditate.

Science has now documented that through synchronized group meditations, we can actually create peace on this planet simply by intending and wil

ling it so. This has been demonstrated by following the violent crime rate in relationship to when these groups were meditating, which went down drastically when it happened.

Here is a great video regarding this, and the Earth Changes we are experiencing.

By going into a conscious state of alignment with ones-self and the planet, we can truly begin to shift ourselves in a way that seemed unimaginable until now.

I invite you to step into your heart, and into a new way of being. You can check out this video to learn more about that as well.

Last year, a man created a stir in America proclaiming that on May 21st, the rapture would happen. Of course, everyone talked about it - and quite a few believed it, and even Twitter went ablaze with tweets about the #Rapture. When may 21st came and went, people seemed to think nothing happened... but on the other side of the world, over 500 innocent men and women were killed in Syria, and a Massive Volcano blew up in Iceland.

These events corresponded to each other, for everything is connected. The intention and intuition of America focusing on terrible earth changes and lots of deaths insisted that it happen in the world, so it did.

And now we have the opportunity to create something new, by Meditating for peace, for love, and for connection between families and friends in a new way than we ever have before.

Let us join the thousands of individuals who are traveling to the Pyramids, to the Mayan Temples, to Mt. Shasta and Sedona to spend a day in Unity with the All.

Find your local Spirit Friends and Families and plan an event. Get everyone together to just rest and relax, to meditate and to talk. Create healthy food to share as well. Bring Books and Crystals to share with each other, You can bring paints and canvases to be creative and let your intuition flow, and play music that resonates to the soul.

Some Examples for Music could be +Elijah- and the Band of Light, Enya, Adiemus, Jon Hopkins, Kan'nal, Michael Jackson, Rising Appalachia, The Beatles, the list goes on and i'm sure you'll have no problem finding music you really resonate to.


Most importantly, have fun! Be Love, and Be Kind.

I am sure we will see a December 22nd, and i hope that the connections that are created on the 21st are ones that are lasting, loving, and full of potential.

I love you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's your skin telling you?

By Claudia Colombo 
The face is like a mirror of the body and mind. Issues showing up on your face can be indicative of much deeper issues. As the seasons change, you may notice dry or red patches, blotchiness, or breakouts on your skin.

Blemishes on your face don't pop up randomly, they can reveal a disharmony in the body that gives you clues to what is going on internally. 

Particular areas of the face relate to certain organs, and each organ carries carries a connection to one of the body systems. Whether it's acne, rosacea, eczema, or hypersensitivity, most skin disorders have one thing in common: inflammation. 

Usually, distress in one organ or area of the body triggers inflammation somewhere else in the body but becomes most apparent in the skin. For example, congestion in your face (such as white-spots, or hard, granular-like bumps under the skin) or blotchy areas can be an indication of too much dairy or sugar in the diet. Redness could be a sign of stomach acidity caused by not enough digestive enzymes and an inappropriate diet.

The degree of acidity significantly affects the body's own ability to prevent illness, disease, and premature aging. A delicate balancing act occurs in our bodies at all times, known as our PH balance. 

If our PH balance gets too acidic, we are more prone to illness. The acidity prompts the immune system to respond negatively, creating more of a workload for our body to protect itself. Highly acidic food, smoking, hormonal imbalance, and a high-glycemic diet are the biggest offenders. These stressors cause a free radical cascade fueling inflammation internally and depleting our mineral reserves to neutralize the acid. 

In addition, glycation (a metabolic process where sugar molecules bond to proteins and DNA causing premature and wrinkles) becomes apparent from too much sugar or high glycemic foods. Inflammation and glycation are two related reactions that impact the body's natural state of balance and appearance of the skin. 
If you want, smooth and radiant skin, here are some tips to follow: 

1. Combine food strategically. 

Smart strategies can cool down the excessive fire and inflammation in the skin and body. For example eat fruit on its own, and avoid protein with starch. Acid present in protein, which is made up of amino acids, blocks the action of an important salivary enzyme necessary for proper starch digestion and can result in gas and bloating. 

Because vegetables contain water and fiber (important for optimal digestion), combining either animal protein or grains, if you choose to eat them, with vegetables is best.

2. Eliminate refined sugar and wheat. 

These increase inflammation and an acidic environment in the body. Cutting back on sugar and wheat will support the organs of elimination and in turn will increase your energy and skin clarity. 

If you've already cut out all refined sugar, continue to monitor your body when you eat even a minimal amount of natural sugar. Sometimes even fruit sugar will generate acne, because it feeds inflammation. 
3. Incorporate fermented foods into your diet. 

These foods are full of beneficial bacteria and probiotics that help support the body beyond digestion, reduce inflammation and keep yeast overgrowth and pathogenic microbes in check that can trigger breakouts. They are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. If you have poor digestion, it's' important to start incorporating these foods into the diet slowly to ensure the gut has proper time to heal and cleanse the body and the skin. 

I recommend eating about a quarter to a half a cup of fermented vegetables, or cultured food such as raw yoghurt, per day. Kombucha, a fermented drink, is another great addition. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you include in your diet, the better, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms.

4. Eat good fats. 

Increasing your Omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs) helps the body produce prostaglandins, hormones that reduce inflammation. EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet. 

The best places to find omega-3 fats include cold-water fish, organic coconut oil, krill oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, flaxseed and sea vegetables. 

5. Manage your stress. 

When we experience stress the body activates the “fight or flight” response, which triggers stress hormones thereby slowing the digestive process and compromising your digestion. Most of us are in a “fight or flight” mode all day, which starts the minute our alarm goes off, starting the days rushing around to get ready for work, check email, get the kids off to school, etc.. and most likely skipping breakfast in the process. This rushed behavior is stressful and shuts down our digestion increasing acidity and more inflammation in the body.

To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body's natural relaxation response and bring the nervous system back into balance. Fitting in and finding the relaxation technique that's best for you can help. 

Activities like yoga, meditation and more exercise reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood. I recommend natural therapies like Acupuncture or Kinesiology to identify and correct imbalances. Kinesiology addresses the communication and connection between all systems and enables you to clear the blocks or barriers so you can accomplish your goals, tap into your inner resources and feel your best while providing tangible results for your health.

6) Repair with antioxidants.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and quench minor inflammation by sacrificing their own life as a replacement for missing electrons around the cells. Antioxidants also stop the cascade of destructive damage, since free radicals are inescapable, we must have a constant supply of antioxidant nutrients to keep our skin cells healthy. 

In addition, antioxidants may actually encourage our cells’ “fix-it” enzymes to repair damage. Our cells have a wonderful ability to heal themselves, but this mechanism works less efficiently as we get older. They also provide histamine regulation. Consider ingesting and using the following antioxidants topically adding a volume of antioxidant support.
  • L-Ascorbic Acid – (Vitamin C). The most effective form is in pure crystals. It increases new collagen and increases the skin’s ability to heal.
  • L-Superoxide Dismutase- One of four major skin antioxidants, crucial for disarming the most dangerous free-radical and superoxide radical.
  • Coenzyme Q-10 (found naturally in our cells but decreases after age 20)
  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA; found in plant and animal sources)
  • Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE; found in fish)
  • Carotenoids (phytonutrients found in the red, yellow and orange flesh of plant leaves, flowers and fruit)
7. Supplement With Adaptogens. 

They are effective herbal tonics that can help handle stress by restoring the body’s homeostasis when undergoing stress, which means they have the ability to balance and stabilize the body’s systems (cardiovascular system, nervous system, endocrine system, musculature, lymphatic system, etc.) 

They also possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the most widely regarded adaptogens you should consider are: Ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, Cordyceps, Guduchi Holy Basil, Licorice, Reishi, Rhodiola, and Schisandra.

Healing Eczema

10 Eczema Healing Principals to Follow

Healing Eczema Naturally
1. Avocado and aloe vera can be uses topically on a break out to help moisturize and heal the skin. Mix one or both together into a paste and apply to your skin for 20 minutes and gently wash off with warm water.

2. Swap out pasteurized dairy products for dairy free kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. Pasteurized dairy can be overly acidic and the other potential hormones, chemicals can lower the immune system and aggravate skin conditions like eczema and acne.

3. Replace acid producing foods like beef, pork and chicken for dark leafy green vegetables, whole fruits and sprouted nuts or seeds.

4. Swap out your oils for a cold pressed, organic, extra virgin coconut oil.

5. Eat more living foods – fresh juices, fruit & green smoothies, salads, and lightly steamed vegetables.

6. Drink green vegetable juices with ingredients like celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, cilantro and ginger.

7. Take a dairy free probiotic to support and re-build healthy gut bacteria. You can also have cultured foods like sauerkraut, coconut kefir and miso.

8. Avoid caffeine as it can aggravate eczema. Drink water instead, hydration is important.

9. Remove Gluten from the diet that may be hiding in packaged foods, breads, cereals and replace it with sprouted, whole grains or fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and seaweeds. You can find wonderful seaweed blends from

10. Eat foods rich in Omega 3′s like chia, hemp seed, and walnuts, (salmon if you eat fish). You can also find an oil like Udo’s oil or hemp at your local health food store. Spirulina is another great food for skin conditions, it’s rich in fatty acids and protein.

11. Bonus Tip. Reduce your stress by doing the things you love and following your bliss. If there are areas of your life that need healing, do what it takes to clear past wounds and embark on a new chapter in your life. There are some great meditations out there like the Ho’oponopono track, and wonderful books by authors like Harville Hendrix, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Nathaniel Branden and NLP practitioners Richard Bandler. These authors have written amazing books on self-healing and self-growth.

Following these healing principles does not mean you will experience results overnight, but over time when you adopt these principles as part of your lifestyle your skin will follow suit. It took about 2 months for my hands to heal completely, so like anything – you need to give it time. Talk to your N.D or R.H.N about implementing these practices into your daily routine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Himalayan Salt

Why Himalayan Salt is the perfect storable barter item for preparedness and survival

Most people vastly underestimate the amount of salt they will need in a survival scenario. This happens because all our food is pre-salted right now by food manufacturers. So we don't think we need extra salt. But in the absence of processed, pre-salted food, an individual's need for real salt is surprisingly high.

Salt is essential for life. That's why every land animal seeks out salt and craves it. It's why ocean creatures live in waters made out of salt. It's why human blood is fundamentally made with salt. Your body cannot retain water without salt, and when a hospital drips an IV solution into your bloodstream to keep you alive, it's a salt (saline) solution!

Your body was engineered to like the taste of salt because your body absolutely needs salt's minerals in order to survive.

Hundreds of uses for salt

Full-spectrum salt has a multitude of uses, including:

• Adding trace minerals to sprouts and gardens
• Making salted meats and fish for long-term storage
• Day-to-day cooking and meal preparation
• Animal licks for raising healthy livestock
• Finalizing fermented foods such as sauerkraut
• Making butter and cheese
• Bath salts, for soaking up trace minerals in bath water

Why Himalayan Salt is the perfect preparedness and barter item

• Himalayan Salt stores forever. There is no expiration date. Pack it away today and it will still be there a thousand years later. This salt, of course, has been sitting underneath the Himalayan mountains for eons.

• Trace minerals. Himalayan Salt contains more than just sodium and chloride. It delivers 80+ other elements, including trace minerals that are needed for basic biology.

• Salt preserves foods. If you have salt, you can make salted meats, salted fish, butter and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Salt makes other foods turn into preparedness foods. In a survival scenario, you can never have enough salt. Much like gold, silver and ammo, salt retains its value year after year. It never loses value because humans will always need salt to survive.

• Salt prevents dehydration. Did you know that if your body lacks salt, it cannot hold water? Salt is the essential compound that allows your body to hold water and move water throughout your body's 100 trillion cells. Without salt, any person or animal will die of dehydration. That's why animals in the wild will travel sometimes hundreds of miles to reach salt licks.

• Processed white salt is bad for you. Stop using processed white salt. Just like white bread and white rice, it's overly processed and stripped of essential nutrients. Only full-spectrum salt such as Himalayan Salt or Celtic Sea Salt should ever be used by any health-conscious consumer.

• Completely free from modern-day pollution. This Himalayan Salt was formed by the Earth millions of years before modern humans polluted the oceans. Thus, it is completely free from pesticides, PCBs, and other synthetic chemicals of any kind.

Himalayan Salt available now from the Natural News store

We have four Himalayan Salt solutions available right now at the Natural News Store:

6.6 pounds of find-ground Himalayan Salt packed in #10 steel cans with an extra layer of non-BPA plastic protection inside, in a re-sealable storage bag.

16 oz. of Himalayan Salt packed in a stand-up pouch, with a clear front window so you can see the salt. Very beautiful crystals!

6.6 pounds coarse-ground Himalayan Salt packed in #10 steel cans, with the extra re-sealable storage bag inside.

16 oz. coarse-ground Himalayan Salt in a stand-up pouch. (This one looks particularly beautiful as we are now using clear "window" fronts for these bags. It makes a great gift.)

Why #10 steel cans?

• #10 steel cans have become incredibly popular as the perfect storage container for preparedness. The U.S. military almost exclusively uses #10 cans for all its can-based food supplies. #10 cans fit in a pantry and are easy to handle, even for people who are not especially strong.

• #10 steel cans are rodent-proof, moisture-proof and oxygen-proof. They are not bullet proof, however, so don't use 'em for target practice.

• #10 steel cans have uses even after you open them and remove the salt content. You can use them as storage containers, water buckets and more.

Find Himalayan Salt and many other preparedness items at the Natural News Store.