Researchers Determine Vitamin D Level Necessary to Help Reduce Preterm Births by 50%!


By Dr. Mercola

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a wide variety of health problems and diseases, and widespread vitamin D deficiency may also play a role in the United States’ abysmal maternal health rating. It has been estimated that if vitamin D levels were raised among the general population, it could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year.

According to the 2015 Save the Children report1 on the health of mothers around the world, the U.S. ranks worst among developed countries.

Shockingly, pregnant American women face a one in 1,800 risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications — a 10 times higher risk than that of women in Poland and Austria, for example.

When all countries of the world are included, the U.S. ranks 33 out of 179, down two spots from 2014. Raising vitamin D levels among pregnant women may curb this trend, and help protect not only the life and health of the mother, but also her child.

If you’re pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or know anyone planning a family, the following information is crucial, and I encourage you to share it widely.

Vitamin D Is Crucial for Mother and Child

In the U.S., premature births have risen 36 percent over the past 25 years. Each year, more than half a million preemies are now born in the U.S., and it’s the number one killer of newborns.

Research shows that vitamin D optimization could likely prevent half of these premature births. Among African-American and Hispanic populations, as much as 70 to 75 percent of all preterm births might be prevented.

Similar findings have been documented among twin births, which tend to have a higher risk for preterm birth. A 2013 study2 found that women carrying twins who had a minimum vitamin D level of 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L) in their late second trimester had a 60 percent reduction in preterm births.

Previous research3 has also shown that women with a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml have a 25 percent reduction in infections, particularly respiratory infections such as colds and flu, as well as fewer infections of the vagina and the gums.

Comorbidities of pregnancy were also reduced by 30 percent in the women who achieved 40 ng/ml, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia – a potentially deadly increase in blood pressure and fluid accompanied by low platelets.

A mother’s vitamin D status during pregnancy can also have lifelong ramifications for her child. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to childhood allergies, asthma,4,5 colds and flu, dental cavities, diabetes, and even strokes and cardiovascular disease in later life of the child.6,7

40 ng/ml Is the ‘Magic Number’ for Reducing Risk of Preterm Birth

According to the most recent paper,8 produced by researchers from GrassrootsHealth and the Medical University of South Carolina, women with vitamin D levels of 40 to 60 ng/ml have a 46 percent lower preterm birth rate than the general population.

Women with a vitamin D level at or above 40 ng/ml by their third trimester had a 59 percent lower risk for premature birth than those with levels below 20 ng/ml. Moreover, as noted in a press release:9

“Another key finding was a steady increase of gestation time (how long the baby stayed in the womb) correlating to the rise of vitamin D up to around 40 ng/ml where it reached a plateau.10

The March of Dimes estimates that the annual cost of preterm births in the United States as $12 billion (for 455,918 children).

If approximately 50 percent of preterm births could be prevented in the general population, as this analysis suggests is possible, there could be $6 billion available for other services and, more than 225,000 children and families spared this trauma.” [Emphasis mine]

Gestation Time Chart

Researchers Call for Vitamin D Testing As Part of Standard of Care for Pregnant Women

As a result of these findings, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has updated its standard of care for prenatal patients to include vitamin D testing, and if necessary, vitamin D3 supplementation.

Pregnant women are typically given 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day to start, with the aim of getting their serum levels to at least 40 ng/ml by their third trimester. According to Dr. Roger Newman,11 Director of Women’s Health Research at MUSC:

“We have been aware of the vitamin D deficiency state in the vast majority of our Caucasian patients and almost all our Black patients for far too long. Now the evidence has accumulated of the high price we pay in terms of prematurity and other obstetrical complications from our failure to systemically address these deficiencies in maternal vitamin D levels. It is time to change, to get ahead of the curve.”

Co-author Carole Baggerly, director of GrassrootsHealth said:

“We applaud the Medical University of South Carolina for taking action to implement both the ethical and practical vitamin D methodology – they lead the way with moving research into practice through this Protect our Children NOW! project. Other medical centers are already on board to implement the new standard of care.”

I join Carole in applauding MUSC for taking the lead on this issue. They’re the first in the nation to take proactive steps to improve the health and safety of pregnant women and their babies by adding vitamin D testing and supplementation into their standard practice for ALL pregnant patients.

They’re not waiting years for the approval of various institutional bodies and oversight groups. Rather, they’ve reviewed the evidence, found it to be solid, and are moving forward in the best interest of women and children, and for that, they deserve some serious accolades.

At this point, there’s little doubt that maintaining a vitamin D level of 40 to 60 ng/ml during pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do, both for your own health and for the health of your child. The science is done. Now it just needs to be put into practice. I cannot think of any other measure that can reduce pregnancy complications, deaths, and future health problems for less money, and be as safe and risk-free.

So please, if you’re pregnant, make sure to get your 25-hydroxy D levels checked. Research indicates that 50 percent of women can achieve a level of 40 ng/ml with 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day during pregnancy, and 6,400 IUs for nursing mothers. Regular testing is important to see what your level is so you can adjust your dosage to fit your body’s requirements. The NOAEL (No observed adverse effect level) specified by the Institute of Medicine is 10,000 IU/day.12

The actual dose required to achieve the 40 ng/ml level should be below that.

How to Enroll in Protect Our Children NOW!

Physicians across the nation are encouraged to enroll their pregnant patients in the Protect Our Children NOW! project, which seeks to resolve vitamin D deficiency among pregnant women and children, and raise global awareness about the health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency. The project was initiated by Carole Baggerly of GrassrootsHealth,13 which has a panel of 42 vitamin D researchers that provide scientific advice.

The project seeks to engage women in “a value changing project of Good Health vs. Treating Illness.” In other words, optimizing your vitamin D status helps improve your health and prevent disease, which is a lot easier and less expensive than waiting for something to go wrong and then trying to treat the problem.

If you are 12 to 17 weeks pregnant, at least 18 years of age, and currently reside in the U.S., you may enroll in this fully sponsored project at no cost to you. Participation in the program includes:

  • Free vitamin D blood tests
  • Your and your newborn’s new questionnaire entries
  • Reporting of results directly to you
  • Free vitamin D supplements

Enroll in Protect Our Children NOW! Program

Vitamin D — A Simple, Inexpensive Way to Improve Your Health

The science is quite clear: To protect yourself and your child from pregnancy complications, you need to maintain a vitamin D level of 40 to 60 ng/ml. According to the featured study, the “magic number” is 40 ng/ml, after with the benefits plateau. I strongly suggest taking this information to heart, and to share it with anyone that might benefit. Optimizing your vitamin D is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to reduce your risk of complications and premature birth.

Ideally, you’d want to optimize your levels before getting pregnant, but if this is news to you, and you’re already pregnant, do make sure to get tested, and take steps to optimize your levels accordingly. The vitamin D test you’re looking for is called 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

This is the officially recognized marker of overall D status, and is most strongly associated with overall health. The other vitamin D test available, called 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D (1,25(OH)D), is not very useful for determining vitamin D sufficiency.

While sunlight is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D, winter and work prevent more than 90 percent of those reading this article from achieving ideal levels without supplementation. Just remember to also increase your vitamin K2 intake, either from food or supplements.

The Medical University of South Carolina starts their prenatal patients on 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Regular testing helps determine whether this dose is sufficient, or how much more you might need to reach a serum level of at least 40 ng/ml by your third trimester.

Last but not least, please consider making a donation to the Protect Our Children NOW! project, to help keep this critical program going.

The Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention

A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.

According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers.

How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health

Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Heaney is the research director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings.

GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.

In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)

As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you “it’s time for your next test and health survey.”

Vitamin D Kit
Order button

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Where Do We Go From Here?

GrassrootsHealth is now undertaking a new project entitled the Protect our Children NOW! (POC) project. The aim of this project is to acquire participation of at least 500 pregnant women in a community, and to increase their serum levels to the suggested level of at least 40 ng/ml based on the clinical trial by Hollis & Wagner. In addition, the project will take these results in 2 years and “march” on the various institutions in the state/government/to the March of Dimes, to demand that action be taken to protect the world’s next generation.

Among other items, the projects expected impact is likely to be a reduction in preterm births,(in some cases up to a 50% reduction). The project already has the blessing of the scientists, the physicians at the Medical University of South Carolina (which are implementing it in their practices) and even the insurance company. Any community can implement this and make a difference for themselves and others. For further information contact Jen Aliano, Project Manager,

Sources and References
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How the Slow Down Diet Can Help You Lose Weight and Heal Eating Disorders


By Dr. Mercola

Many people have a problem with their relationship with food. Some overeat, others undereat, and many struggle with their weight despite doing everything right “on paper.” Marc David, addresses these and other issues in his book.

He’s also the head of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, which offers an eight-week long virtual retreat that teaches you how to nourish yourself in a whole new way. As for how he got into this field, he says:

“Sonoma State University allowed me to do an independent study for my master’s degree in Eating Psychology. I put an ad in a newspaper that said, ‘Graduate student looking to start Eating Psychology study group.’ That was the beginnings for me of learning on the job.

I had a group of 20 plus people — a handful of anorexics; a handful of some of the most obese people I’d ever seen; a beautiful model who had an eating disorder; and a handful of women in their 50s who looked fine to me but [spent their] life chronically dieting.

That was my beginnings of starting to understand eating psychology, counseling psychology, and coaching psychology. I looked at all the different modalities, started doing clinical practice, and said, ‘OK. What works and what doesn’t?'”

Why Does Dieting Oftentimes Fail?

Gradually, over the course of about 15 years, David developed a number of strategies that effectively address weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting.

The key was to distill the science and psychology down into simple, clear, and straightforward strategies that could empower people to take action and get desired results.

For example, many people diet and exercise yet don’t lose weight. Why is that? Oftentimes there are secondary complaints that can offer clues.

“Maybe they have digestive issues. Maybe they have mood, irritability, or fatigue. Maybe they have dry skin and dry hair. Then I look at their diet and find that they’re eating extremely low-fat.

Now, why are they eating extremely low-fat? They’re [doing it] because they have what I call the ‘toxic nutritional belief’ that ‘fat in food equals fat on my body.’ That’s a piece of nutritional information that they’re practicing, using, and abiding by.”

The problem with believing and following this myth is that lack of dietary fat may actually be part of why you can’t lose weight. One of the signs of essential fatty acid deficiency is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

This seems counter intuitive to many, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and if you’re not losing weight even though you’ve cut out nearly all fat, then perhaps it’s time to reassess your belief system.

“Then I have to do what I call an intellectual intervention,” says. “This is my opportunity to deliver information… and let them know that ‘here is where your belief is impacting the goal that you want.’

[I’ll tell them] ‘let’s do an experiment because you’ve been doing it this way for a dozen years. So now we’re going to include more healthy essential fats in your diet for the next several weeks. Then we’re going to see how you feel.'”

More often than not, adding healthy fats back into your diet will result in more regular bowel movements, an increased sense of well-being, improved appetite control, and, eventually, weight loss.

Reconnecting to Your Body’s Innate Intelligence

Part of the challenge, David notes, is that most people have lost their connection to body intelligence. “There’s a brilliant wisdom that’s activated once we start to clean up our diet and eat healthier food,” he says.

Most people also eat too fast, and this too cuts you off from your body’s innate intelligence, so slowing down the pace at which you eat is a very important part of reestablishing this natural connection.

If you’re a fast eater, you’re not paying attention to the food you’re eating, and you’re missing what scientists call the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR).

Cephalic phase digestive response is a fancy term for taste, pleasure, aroma, and satisfaction, including the visual stimulus of your meal. Researchers estimate about 40 to 60 percent of your digestive and assimilative power at any meal comes from this “head phase” of digestion.

“In other words, you look at a food and your mouth starts to water,” David explains. “You think of a food and your stomach starts to churn. That’s digestion beginning in the mind. When we are not paying attention to the meal, our natural appetite is deregulated. On top of that, eating very fast puts your body in a stress state.”

Stress Effectively Hinders Weight Loss

When you put your body in a stress state, you have sympathetic nervous system dominance, increased insulin, increased cortisol, and increased stress hormones.

Not only will this deregulate your appetite, you’re also going to eat more, because when your brain doesn’t have enough time to sense the taste, aroma, and pleasure from the food, it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied.

You’ve undoubtedly experienced this at some point: You quickly gorge on a huge meal, but when you’re finished, your belly is distended yet you still feel the urge to eat more. At the heart of this problem is eating too quickly, which causes stress. As David explains:

“I want to steer people towards more soulful eating,” David says. “Be present. Feel good about what you’re doing. Get pleasure from that meal. Taste it. Stress is arguably one of the most common causative or contributing factors to just about any disease, condition, or symptom we know of.

When I can start to help a person slow down with their meal and get in a relationship with their food, first and foremost, what’s happening is they’re stepping into parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

If you take five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before a meal, or five to 10 long, slow deep breaths before anything you do, you are training your system to drop into the physiologic relaxation response. When I can help somebody drop into that place, magic starts to happen. People start to go, ‘Oh my goodness, I paid attention to my meal. I was present and I slowed down. I’m not overeating anymore.'”

In David’s experience, a person’s problem with overeating or binge eating can disappear within days when they get into right relationship with food and life, which means being present to it. Being present and mindful can actually affect your physiology in a very direct and profound way.

So if you typically reserve five minutes for breakfast, make that 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re taking 10 minutes for lunch, take 30, 40, or better yet, as much as an hour or an hour and a half, which is common practice in many European countries.

Approaching Food from a Place of Inspiration Rather than Fear

Many people also suffer from what David calls a “high fact diet,” meaning they have amassed a great deal of nutritional information, but they don’t have the expertise to determine fact from fiction, and thus they get inundated with minutia and overwhelmed by contradictions. “From that place, they can easily go into breakdown. They can easily go into ‘Oh, screw it. I don’t know what to do,'” he says.

Others eat very healthy foods, but are motivated to do so not because of the health benefits they get, but because they fear they’ll end up diseased or dead if they don’t. You might think that the end result would be the same, regardless of the motivation driving their food choices, but doing anything from a place of fear can set you up for failure.

“Start to notice… ‘What are the thoughts that are serving you and what are the thoughts that aren’t serving you?’ Living in a constant state of ‘I’m no good, I’m not eating the right diet, I know I’m supposed to eat paleo but I didn’t do it perfectly so now I have to punish myself,’ [will cause] people to quit a great nutritional program because they made one little mix up!

I’ve helped so many people who were following a healthy diet out of fear. Follow a healthy diet out of inspiration. What do you want to do when you’re healthy? Who do you want to be when you’re really healthy, when you have all this energy, and when you have the perfect weight?”

The strategy David recommends here is to turn eating into a meditative act; to slow down, and become aware — of your food, and of how your body responds to the food.

“It becomes a meditation of ‘What am I thinking about when I eat? Am I present? Am I tasting the food? What does this food taste like? Am I full? Do I need to eat more?’ Then it becomes a meditation after the meal. I ask people to check in 20 or 30 minutes later. ‘How’s your body feeling now? Are you noticing anything? Are your sinuses clogged?’ They might say, ‘Yeah, I’m noticing I have a little head congestion.’ Does that connect to what I ate then in terms of how I’m feeling right now?’ It’s all about awareness. It’s all about questioning.”

Why Intermittent Fasting Might Not Work for Some People

Most people who seek to lose weight are insulin resistant, and in over 35 years of experience in clinical medicine, I’ve not discovered a more effective intervention than intermittent fasting, where you skip either breakfast or dinner, thereby restricting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. Restricting your calories to a six to eight hour window is a powerful intervention that will jumpstart your metabolic systems to start burning fat for fuel.

David agrees, but notes that many people who skip meals from a fear-based place with the intention to cut calories often still fail to lose weight.

“I’ve seen hundreds of these clients,” he says, adding that, “there is a huge subset of people who have been taught that weight loss is calories in and calories out, period. From that understanding, they are trying to limit their number of calories. Oftentimes that is done from a place of fear and anxiety, i.e. ‘stress.’

And one of the factors that creates weight loss resistance is the constant state of stress that we live under. Because if you’re not losing weight on a weight loss strategy where you’re undereating for years, that creates stress and upset. To me, that low-level and that chronically elevated insulin and cortisol impacts the body and the sympathetic nervous system.”

In essence, what’s happening in such a situation is that even though skipping meals should improve your ability to lose weight, the fear and stress overrides the process by upregulating your sympathetic nervous system. Also, from a stand point of bio-circadian nutrition, some people find it easier to lose weight when they’re eating the bulk of their calories in the first half of the day as opposed to the latter part, so maybe you’d do better eating breakfast and skipping dinner (or vice versa).

Are You on a Sumo Diet?

Dr. Lee Know’s book “Life – The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria,” really brought home the importance of meal timing for me. Most people eat their biggest meal at night, which could be a massive mistake because your mitochondria — the powerhouses inside your cells — are responsible for “burning” the fuel your body consumes and converting into usable energy.

When you add fuel close before bedtime — a time when you actually need the least amount of energy — you end up generating metabolic complications, caused by free radicals and an excess of electrons produced in the process.

In a nutshell, late-night eating tends to generate excess free radicals, which promotes DNA damage that contributes to chronic degenerative diseases and promotes accelerated aging. To avoid this, stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. David also notes that, according to the concept of bio-circadian nutrition, your ability to metabolize food is related to your body temperature.

Your body temperature is highest right around solar noon, and that’s when your body is metabolically operating at peak efficiency, burning the most calories. Moreover, he says that:

“Historically, the one place I could find that this was being put to use was in the traditional sumo wrestler community. You ask yourself, ‘How did all those Japanese guys get so big?’ As it turns out, back in the 1400s and 1500s when they didn’t have cookies and ice cream, they were eating more food than their average countrymen, and they would wake themselves up in the middle of the night and eat the bulk of their food when everybody else was sleeping.

The sumo community, the sumo wrestlers, discovered that if we want to gain massive amounts of weight, just eat it all in the middle of the night! So if you’re eating the bulk of your calories late at night, you’re on the sumo diet. This is a very simple piece of nutrition information, which is so crucial and so key.”

Exercise, but Choose Something You Love

David often recommends yoga, especially to people who have been eating right and exercising yet still fail to lose weight. Part of the problem here, he says, again goes back to stress — in this case, engaging in exercise you hate, or feeling that exercise is a form of punishment for eating or punishment for being overweight. By doing something you can’t stand, you enter into sympathetic nervous system dominance, which cancels out many of the benefits of exercise.

He noticed that simply by switching to a form of exercise they found enjoyable was enough to provoke a shift, allowing them to start losing weight.

“When you put people on exercise that they love, or movement that they love, something happens. They get happy. They get more in love with their body. They get more present. People who are weight loss-resistant will start to lose weight finally. So that’s an observation. I believe that it has to do with, once again, the person’s kind of metabolic posture, the state that their nervous system is in. If you’re doing exercise you can’t stand, you’re probably going to be locked in sympathetic nervous system dominance,” he says.

Minding Your Posture While Eating

David has also found that when it comes to addressing overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, and endless dieting, your posture can play a role. Are you sitting up straight when eating, or are you slouched over your plate? People who slouch while eating tend to eat more quickly, but it also affects how you relate to your food. David xplains:

“We have a different relationship with food when we’re upright. First of all, there’s more of a sense of dignity. There’s a sense of authority. When I’m slouched, I’m more energetically collapsed. This posture has an emotional kind of texture to it and the texture tends to be one more of subservience, defeat, or I’m making myself small. [Sitting upright makes] people feel more empowered and more dignified about their own self, their own body, and their relationship with food.

Also, when sitting upright, it will make breathing easier. It will make the breath more full. The breathing pattern of relaxation is regular, rhythmic, and deeper. The breathing pattern of distress response is arrhythmic, shallow, and infrequent. If you’re hunched over, you will breathe more as if you’re in sympathetic nervous system dominance. You’re going to be breathing shallower. When you’re upright, when your chest is expanded, you can breathe more regular, rhythmic, and deep.

Just adopting the breathing pattern of parasympathetic nervous system dominance will put you in that place in less than two minutes easily, which will then put you in the optimum state of digestion and assimilation. It will put you in the optimum state of being aware of your own appetite. So, one simple shift in the body can be very profound.

Also, when we start to become more erect, what we’re doing is we are changing our personality. We are really stepping into our own personal growth program where we’re claiming a sense of empowerment. Yes, it is good, structurally. But it’s good for who we are as human beings inside as well.”

If You’re Stuck, Go Back to the Basics

The more I study and the more I learn, the more I realize how simple it is. Health and weight loss are not nearly as complicated as we’ve been led to believe. It comes down to understanding and applying some very basic principles, because your body was actually designed to stay healthy. It wants to be healthy. It does not want to be diseased or to rely on medications. Once you give your body what it needs, it will go into self-repair mode and heal quite efficiently.

Besides a healthy diet and physical activity that you enjoy, the ability to self-reflect and grow may also play a more important role than most people suspect.

“There’s a subset of people who, until they do work on their self, they don’t get the body to shift where it naturally needs to go. What I’m saying is, in my observation, there’s a connection, oftentimes, between personal growth and metabolic potential. I like to use the formula: personal power equals metabolic power. Meaning, as I become the person that I’m meant to be; as I do work on self; as I become better in my character, and as I look at what life is trying to teach me, how do I learn my lessons? How do I become a better person?

How do I fulfill my mission in the world? How do I deliver my gifts? As I do that, I’ve noticed that my body has the best chance to step into its metabolic potential. Do I need to eat all the right foods? Of course I do. But as I’m stepping into my personal potential, I naturally gravitate towards the information, the kinds of foods, or the kinds of practices that serve me. That, I think, is a missing piece in the conversation around weight, or even the conversation around health in general.”


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Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living


By Dr. Mercola

Growing your own food is an important aspect of achieving optimal health, and to really succeed in that endeavor, you need healthy soil. Composting various household waste is an excellent way to achieve this end.

In her book, Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living“, New York City native Rebecca Louie reveals how to create compost even in the smallest of spaces.

She also provides valuable tips on how to network and identify local resources to help you generate high-quality top soil, which is crucial to growing nutrient-dense food.

“I grew up in New York City, in Queens… So, I didn’t have the benefit of growing up in areas where yards, backyards, and playing in grass were a common thing,” she says.

“In my early adulthood, I was a journalist, an entertainment writer… In that world, there’s not so much of an intersection with natural living with plants. I was more into the red carpet versus the green carpet.

Then, in my late 20s, the industry started shifting. I started doing that soul searching thing that happen to a lot of people. I took some time off. The moment I took that time off, I started to hear the world around me…

I started to observe [and think] “Wow, I’m part of the community.” And with that came an awareness of the food I was eating. I started cooking more. I started trying to grow things…

As this happened, [the transition to composting] came very organically… I’m eating all these foods, I’m cooking, and growing all these plants, but where am I putting the resulting scraps? Where does that go?”

When at First You Don’t Succeed

Rebecca’s initial ventures into composting using a worm bin ended in disaster. All the worms died. But the failure spurred her on to learn how to do it right. Like many other cities around the US, New York City offers a free Master Composter certification program, so she signed up and took it at the Queens Botanical Garden.

“In that course, I really learned about soil system, the value of returning organic matter to the soil, both for the environment at large and for the plants that live in it,” she says.

“As a plus, and something that I’m really excited about now, is the potential for building community around things like composting. You have a community garden but with that can come a community composting effort.

Suddenly, people are networking, making friends, sharing activities together, and getting outside. It’s a really transformative moment that’s happening right now.”

Composting 101

Composting is a more controlled version of what happens naturally on the forest floor. Leaves fall down and decompose, providing shelter and nourishment for a network of micro and macro organisms, from fungi and bacteria to larger creatures like worms.

Many of them ingest and break apart this biomass, returning to the soil organic matter that feeds the plants growing in the soil. Composting mimics this cycle in a more controlled setting.

Two essential components to make composting work well are:

  • Green material: Nitrogen- and water-rich materials such as food scraps and grass clippings contribute nitrogen to the composting cycle. They also contribute water, which is another important element that must be tempered as you build your compost system.
  • Brown material: Carbon-rich dry materials like leaves, woodchips, and even shredded paper, (non-glossy) junk mail, newspapers, corrugated cardboard, and egg cartons.

Besides being rich in carbon, they also provide a dry material that absorbs some of the water from the nitrogen-rich greens. Just be sure to remove any plastic tape if you use cardboard boxes, as it will not compost well.

The real magic of composting and doing it right is finding the right balance of ingredients. “You want compost to feel like a wrung out sponge,” Rebecca notes. This means you’ve achieved the right moisture balance.

If your compost pile is too soggy, you need to add more dry carbon-rich materials. If it’s too dry, microbial activity will be impaired, so you’ll need to mix in some water.

“Once you achieve the balance that you want, you just maintain it. You constantly do those little adjustments to make sure that you have the kind of compost pile that you want.”

How to Set Up a Worm Farm

Composting can be done at virtually any scale. If you live in a city or suburb, there are many small systems available. The principles of composting—finding the balance between carbon, nitrogen, water and air—remain the same.

For example, you can use a 5- or 10-gallon bucket or storage tote to create worm compost. According to Rebecca, vermiculture is becoming quite popular among city dwellers who are short on space, and it’s probably one of the finest composts you can possibly get.

You’re basically creating an ecosystem from scratch, so balance is important. First, drill holes in the bucket for ventilation and drainage. Next, fill your bucket with carbon material. This will serve as the bedding source. As it breaks down, the worms will consume it. The carbon material also serves as a biofilter, eliminating unpleasant odors and pests like fruit flies.

Next, dampen—do not soak—the bedding material with water until you get that wrung-out sponge consistency. You want it to be moist but not wet. Then you add the worms, and a small amount of kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels. Be sure to avoid citrus, as both the acidity and oils can be harmful to worms.

“I’m a really big fan of portion control. You have to get to know your worms. How fast they eat. If you’re in a colder climate and temperatures are lower, they’ll be less active. These are things you have to get to know.

Maybe start with one and a half cups [of food scraps] if you have a pound [of worms]. Freeze it first because that will kill any pests on the surface of the scraps. You thaw the scraps afterwards, which will speed up the decomposition rate. But also, it will help leach out a lot of excess liquid because we don’t want it to get too wet. You can always add moisture but it’s more difficult to take it away.

Then, once you’ve drained that liquid, you dump in the scraps, and you watch. How long does it take for my pound of worms to eat this? Check in after a couple of days and see how they’re doing. Once that food is almost gone, you’re like, ‘All right, that took ‘x’ amount of days. Good to know.’ And then feed them another portion [of kitchen scraps]…

[The worms] create this beautiful, amazing, very coveted compost: black gold worm poop. The reason that what they produce is so rich is that their guts are lined with a lot of bacteria that the soil needs. As they consume organic matter and poop it out the other end, that little casting that comes out is not just decomposed organic matter; it is that plus this beautiful microcosm of exciting microorganisms that help plants be healthy.”

Compost Tumblers Produce Excellent Results with Minimal Effort

Another option is to purchase a compost tumbler. Rebecca’s book, “Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living, goes into detailed instructions on a number of different composting systems. It’s really one of the best resources I’ve seen on how to engage in this process. Reading her book also reminded me of the importance of balancing the greens and the browns. The normal tendency is to compost mostly greens, but that makes it too wet.

Dr. Mercola Uses Compost Tumblers

Now, I’m a big fan of woodchips and I’ve got a big pile in my yard,  When my compost starts to get too wet, I just add some woodchips to it. That works just magnificently. The key is to balance the carbon and the nitrogen. I use two compost tumblers—one is in active process and the other is more mature. This allows me to have a pretty continuous supply of healthy compost. With a tumbler, you can get finished compost in just a few weeks with very minimal effort.

Composting Saves Money in Several Ways

One benefit many might not consider when approaching the idea of composting is that it can also reduce the amount of trash you have to send to the landfill. All that non-glossy junk mail paper can be used in your composting, along with all those cardboard boxes, newspapers, and shredded paperwork.

“If you live in an area where you have to pay per pound for your trash pick-up or if you’re trying to build a garden and can’t necessarily afford to or don’t want to pay for soil, you can make your own,” Rebecca says. “You’re using a free resource coming out of your own waste stream and transforming it, and the cost-savings really making a difference.”

Composting will also help you conserve water, as returning organic matter to the soil significantly improves water retention. The key to that is the carbon component, the brown component. That’s what forms the humates and the glomalin, which have great water retention abilities.

A group of New York City moms proved composting can be a particularly sensible solution when you go large-scale. They created a composting program for their children’s school, which has since been adopted by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and some hundreds schools across the city. But to start, they had to prove to the school system that it would make sense from a financial standpoint.

“By crunching the numbers and setting up this small pilot program, they did something that’s now revolutionizing how the school system in New York City is dealing with waste,” Rebecca says. “It’s fabulous. If you think about your household, you’ll say, ‘OK, I saved five bucks this week on not having to bring one extra bag to the dump.’ If you multiply that times a whole city or community, suddenly, it’s mind blowing. People like thinking green but really, what talks is the green of money.”

The Importance of Ground Cover

One way to grow your own food is to start converting your ornamental landscape, including lawns, to edible landscaping. An important aspect of that process is to use waste biomass not to compost, but to cover the bare soil. I’m passionate about woodchips, so I add about a foot and a half to two feet worth of wood chips to my landscape, which lasts a few years. If you add just a few inches, you’ll have to re-apply it annually.

Covering bare soil with biomass mulch helps retain moisture, significantly reducing your need for irrigation. It can also cut down weed growth by about 90 percent, and virtually eliminates the need for fertilizing too. Eventually, this ground cover will decompose, which helps build up your topsoil. Wood chips also radically increase the earthworm concentration, and once you have enough, they essentially create the compost for you.

“All my window boxes get full sun all day. As we know, with container gardening, you’re going to lose a lot of moisture. You can water your plants in the morning and if it’s a warm day, by the end of the day, that soil will be bone dry. So something that I’ve done is taking that shredded paper, that junk mail, that secret document with my social security number, shredding it and creating a top layer that mulches over and holds the water underneath.

Basically, what happen is the sun will land on this very reflective white surface. The heat won’t go down into the soil; thus conserving the water in there from evaporation. Really, it’s about using resources at hand to protect the soil,”Rebecca notes.

Alternative Composing Resources: Urine and Manure

Alternative composting resources include urine and feces—including your own. It’s particularly easy for men to collect urine into a container, dilute it, and spread it on the plants as a form of nitrogen. You can also use human manure, although it’s a bit more difficult to work with.

“If you think about it, it’s the obvious thing to do. We are similar to a gigantic earthworm. We break down the organic matters we eat and what results are wastes, which are largely decomposed and microbially rich. And in theory, it could go right back in to the soil.

Why not? One thing that people are concerned about with omnivore or carnivore manures, where you have meat-eating animals pooping (your dogs, and let’s say people), is that there could be pathogens in that feces. So, what is recommended as best practice is to use a hot composting method.”

Hot composting involves building a large compost pile, ideally a mound around 3x3x3 feet. Those are the optimum dimensions to create a home for thermophilic, i.e. heat-making, bacteria. When you think of a steaming compost pile, the heat rising off the top is produced by these bacteria. The heat inside this compost pile will reach about 133 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended temperature to kill off pathogens in compost.

One caveat is cat poop. It can carry pathogens like toxoplasmosis, which is very dangerous for pregnant women as it can be passed on to their children. It’s also hazardous for people with weak immune systems. So, as a general rule, it’s best toavoid cat poop when composting.

“In terms of animal manures, if you have a bunny or chickens, these are all great animals, prolific poopers. What people can do is harness their bedding, which is often full of urine as well, and their poop and put it in something like a worm bin.

Create a passive pile, which is what it sounds like: it is a pile of browns and greens. Let it just sit there and let time and microbes do their thing. You can turn it occasionally to mix up the microbial populations in there, to check the center of it, to see if it’s moist enough or it needs a little more of this or a little less of that. That breaks down into really amazing stuff.”

How to Compost Meats and Cooked Foods

In regular composting you cannot include cooked foods or meat scraps. It must be fruits, vegetable scraps and yard waste only. However, there is a way to compost meats and cooked foods as well. A method called Bokashi fermentation allows such food scraps to be fermented in an airtight container, inoculated with special anaerobic microbes. Once the food scraps have been pickled, you bury them in soil. Eventually, the acidity goes away, leaving the soil usable and very rich in microbial life.

You Can Have Major Impact In Your Community

People living in urban areas have a great opportunity to build networks to tap available resources of potential composting materials that will otherwise end up in a landfill. There’s plenty of waste out there. For example, you could ask your local coffee shop for their coffee grounds, or ask a juice bar for their spent pulp. You can also turn to your neighbors, who may or may not be interested in composting themselves, but have plenty of food scraps, leaves, and cardboard.

“Similarly, things like buckets. Again, I’m a huge fan of bucket compost system because they’re space-efficient and they’re free. Look around and see who might be donating them. Call a restaurant. Go to your favorite deli and say, ‘Hey, that pickle bucket, what do you do with it?’

A lot of these places just throw them out. Rather than sending them to the landfill, give them another life. You can grow things in buckets, decorate them, paint them, and plant your beautiful tomato in there and harvest it few months later.

What I love about New York City is the amazing volunteer spirit. There’s a group I’ve volunteered with called Earth Matter that has a compost project on Governors Island. It’s already kind of magical. They have animals there and they’re recipients of some of the scraps that are collected at the Greenmarkets.  

Residential food scrap collection at farmers markets started with a group called The Lower East Side Ecology Center. Decades ago, they needed some soil for their community garden and couldn’t afford to buy tons of it. So, they just started asking people, “Hey, do you want to bring us your scraps?”

Then, the Union Square Greenmarket gave them permission to collect there. Now, that program has ballooned into this huge amazing system where people in green markets across the city bring their scraps. The collected scraps are brought to places or organizations such as Earth Matter, which processes them.

The point is that the resources are there. The help is there. The knowledge is there. Most cities have amazing Master Gardener Programs and Master Composter Programs. There’s the Cooperative Extension Offices across the country that have huge amazing resources.

Once you start looking around and finding people to help you, bring it to a classroom. Let 20 kids in a class take care of a thousand worms, and they’ll treat them like their pets. They’ll love them. They’ll want them to thrive. And then, you’ll start building communities.”

Rebecca has an obvious passion for this topic, which shines through in her book, which is available online and in bookstores everywhere. For anyone with an interest in composting and reducing waste, it’s a must-read.

I think it will inspire you to action to help create a healthier life and a cleaner environment at the same time, so you won’t want to miss it. You can also read more about composting and using ground cover to optimize your soil under the related articles’ listing.



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Documentary Highlights Benefits and Principles of Permaculture


By Dr. Mercola

Modern industrial farming, deforestation, overfishing, and other unsustainable practices are exhausting Earth’s resources at an alarming rate. More than a billion people have no access to safe drinking water, while 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is going to agriculture.

One organization putting forth a valiant effort to turn this around is the Permaculture Association,1 a national charity whose mission is to promote permaculture across the globe.

Every year, the Permaculture Association holds an International Permaculture Convergence (IPC), where experts from dozens of countries unite with the common goal of preparing for and mitigating our looming ecological crisis.

Their primary goal is clear: creating sustainability through self-reliance. The film “Permaculture A Quiet Revolution” covers the eighth IPC (IPC8), spanning across rural and urban Brazil.

The film illustrates permaculture’s basic design principles, centering on the concept of zones, and the proper placement of elements in a way that ensures maximal output for minimal input.

What Is Permaculture?

Permaculture epitomizes sustainability by harnessing mutually beneficial relationships to create synergistic, self-supporting ecosystems. Its principles incorporate the best of organic, biodynamic, and regenerative agriculture.

According to the Permaculture Institute:2

“Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor.

It teaches us how to design natural homes and abundant food production systems, regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems, develop ethical economies and communities, and much more.”

Permaculture is an agricultural system in which the parts of the system are all interconnected, working with nature as opposed to against it. The word “permaculture” derives from “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.”

The focus is not on any one element of the system but on the relationships among them — animals, plants, insects, microorganisms, water, soil, and habitat — and how to use these relationships to create self-supporting ecosystems.

According to an article in Rodales’s Organic Life,3 the ultimate purpose of permaculture is to “develop a site until it meets all the needs of its inhabitants, including food, water, shelter, fuel, and entertainment.”

Every part of the system plays multiple roles. Permaculture is based on design — it’s not just organic. If the design element isn’t there, it may be green, it may be organic and environmentally sound, but it isn’t permaculture.

Designing by Zone

According to the Permaculture Association, permaculture design is defined as“a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.

It seeks to provide a sustainable and secure place for living things on this earth. The system that accomplishes this is called “zoning,” as illustrated in the following diagram.

Permaculture is much more than a garden or landscape. At its center are you and your house, but its outermost zone is untamed wilderness. Zones are organized in a way that maximizes energy efficiency — activities are sorted by frequency of use, tending, visits, etc.

Without making the colloquial value judgment here — you are “high maintenance!” Meaning, you require the most energy input and cultivation, so you’re the center of the zones, but permaculture unites you with the entire ecological system around you.

Working the Zones Maximizes Efficiency

The film illustrates examples of how permaculture can be used in each of these zones, which are organized as concentric rings progressing outward.

The activities for Zone 0 would include things such as energy efficiency for your home, biological sanitation, rainwater collection, solar panels, and heliotherapy(natural sunlight therapy). If you need moisture or temperature regulation, you could implement additional measures such as attaching a greenhouse or a “glass house” to your dwelling.

The next is Zone 1, reserved for your frequently visited, relatively high maintenance garden essentials such as vegetables,herbs, and medicinal plants. The documentary emphasizes that medicinal gardens are a key component of the Brazilian lifestyle, as they don’t rely on Western medicine — their garden IS their medicine.

Crops in Zone 2 are slightly less intensively cultivated, including foods for home consumption as well as foods going to market. The permaculture model encourages the sharing and selling of goods to your local community, which helps promote sustainability. Zones 2 and 3 include orchards, food forests, pastured poultry, and livestock.

A major focus of permaculture is composting and recycling, with the concept being “compostingwith nature rather thanimposing on nature.” Both plant and animal waste are recycled.

Pigs Gone Wild

Zones 2 and 3 are marked by a masterfully designed system that integrates food forests with livestock and poultry. As an example, pigs can be raised to sustain their own food forests. They roam through land planted with their favorite foods, such as sweet potatoes, daikon radish, and pumpkins, which they may or may not choose to share with their humans. Once they’ve cleaned off one plot, they’re moved to the next.

When piglets are born, they live in little pig huts until they’re old enough to roam freely, until eventually they’re slaughtered for meat. Pig waste is biodigested by algae and certain weeds grown specifically for this purpose, in pools that supply water for irrigation. The pigs feast on these weeds as well.

The pigs are also allowed to forage into Zone 4, a semi-wild area requiring very little input but yielding wild foods for pig foraging as well as timber for harvest, which helps preserve native forests. Zone 5 is pure wilderness. It’s a region of non-interference where highly evolved systems naturally operate and can be observed by humankind. Zone 5 teaches us what processes to replicate and how to organize the system.

Implement Permaculture in Stages, Keeping Basic Principles in Mind


While it’s rare the urban gardener can implement all of the principles of permaculture, you can implement some of them to create a new way of living based on purpose and efficiency. Beware of allowing your burst of enthusiasm to result in biting off more than you can chew — start slowly.

In the above video, permaculture expert David Holmgren4 recommends easing into permaculture in small steps, as opposed to massive projects that can end in “disaster.” He lists 12 basic principles and strategies to keep in mind when adopting a permaculture model, which are outlined in the table that follows. Two great ideas are discussed in the final sections of this article: chickens and wood chips.

1. Observe and interact 2. Catch and store energy
3. Obtain a yield 4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback
5. Use and value renewable resources and services 6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details 8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small and slow solutions 10. Use and value diversity
11. Use edges and value the marginal 12. Creatively use and respond to change

Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture

If a drove of foraging pigs is not practical for you, consider chickens! Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, an innovator in the field of regenerative agriculture, has developed an ingenious blueprint for a system that has the potential for transforming food production around the world. Reginaldo believes sustainable agriculture needs to be centered around livestock in order to be optimized, and he’s revolutionized a system with the use of chickens for “poultry-centered regenerative agriculture.”

Poultry connects nearly every community across the globe. The meat and eggs are a valuable source of animal protein and can be a solid economic platform to deal with poverty and hunger. Poultry is also very accessible to small-scale farmers, who produce the majority of the world’s food.

In Reginaldo’s system, chickens are completely cage-free and free ranging with access to grasses and sprouts as they are rotated between paddocks. This system significantly reduces the amount of labor involved, compared with other models such as mobile chicken pens. The minute you start moving a shelter for an animal, it becomes a labor-intensive process, and automating water and feeding becomes impossible. Pens are also not a natural habitat for chickens.

If you want more information about this innovative system, please refer to my prior article about poultry-centered regenerative agriculture, which includes my interview with Reginaldo.

Wood Chips Instead of Compost

Using wood chips as ground cover instead of compost, or to reduce your reliance on compost, is a cost-effective strategy for immensely improving your growing of nutrient-dense food. Building your soil with wood chips helps decrease your dependence on commercial products.

Several months after putting down a deep layer of wood chips, you’ll end up with lush fertile soil beneath the chips that will support whatever you choose to grow. Using wood chips has many benefits, from promoting soil fertility and earthworms that create vermicompost, to eliminating the need for irrigation and the use of fertilizer.

Most tree trimming companies will drop a truckload (or more) of wood chips right on your property, for free. You just lay down uncomposted wood chips on top of your garden using whatever is available locally — typically a combination of leaves, twigs, and branches. The chips break down gradually and are digested and redigested by a wide variety of soil organisms, which is exactly what happens in nature.

I have personally put down more than 300,000 pounds of woodchips on my residential property to create a high quality soil. For more information about wood chips, listen to my interview with Paul Gautschi.

These are just a few suggestions about what you can do to move yourself in the direction of a permaculture lifestyle. Regardless of your resources or the size and style of your living space, there are many things you can do to boost your health and happiness while at the same time preserving the viability of our planet.

When it comes to human ingenuity, the sky’s the limit, so with some boldness and tenacity, your adventure into the world of permaculture will surely bring health and abundance to your life!

Sources and References
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Strengthening Your Body Strengthens Your Mind


By Dr. Mercola

There are many reasons to exercise. Protecting your brain health and optimizing your thinking ability is one of them. In fact, there’s compelling evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains, improves memory, and helps fight dementia.

For example, a 2010 study1 on primates revealed that regular exercise helped the monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as non-exercising monkeys, and researchers believe this might hold true for people as well.

Exercise helps protect and improve your brain function by:

  • Improving and increasing blood flow to your brain
  • Increasing production of nerve-protecting compounds
  • Improving development and survival of neurons
  • Reducing damaging plaques in your brain
  • Altering the way these damaging proteins reside inside your brain, which appears to slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease

Lifting Weights Boosts Memory

Strength training in particular has been shown to have a very beneficial impact on brain function and memory. In one study2 — featured in the video above — just 20 minutes of strength training was found to enhance long-term memory by about 10 percent.

In this experiment, 46 volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups — one active, and one passive. Initially, all of the participants viewed a series of 90 images. Afterward, they were asked to recall as many images as they could.

Next, the active group was told to do 50 leg extensions at personal maximum effort using a resistance exercise machine. The passive participants were asked to let the machine move their leg, without exerting any personal effort.

Two days later the participants returned to the lab, where they were shown a series of 180 pictures — the 90 original photos, plus 90 new ones. Interestingly, even though it was two days since they performed the leg extensions, those in the active group had markedly improved image recall.

The passive control group recalled about 50 percent of the original photos, whereas the active group remembered about 60 percent of the previously shown images.

As reported by The Epoch Times:3

“Our study indicates that people don’t have to dedicate large amounts of time to give their brain a boost,’ says Lisa Weinberg… who led the project.

Although the study used weight exercises… resistance activities such as squats or knee bends would likely produce the same results. In other words, exercises that don’t require the person to be in good enough to shape to bike, run, or participate in prolonged aerobic exercises…”

The Intriguing Link Between Leg Power and Brain Function

Another recent study supports these findings, and suggests that working your leg muscles helps maintain cognitive function as you get older. According to the authors, simply walking more could help maintain brain function well into old age.

This study4,5,6,7 followed 324 female twins, aged 43 to 73, for a decade. Cognitive function such as learning and memory was tested at the outset and at the conclusion of the study. Interestingly, as reported by

“The researchers found that leg strength was a better predictor of brain health than any other lifestyle factor looked at in the study.

Generally, the twin with more leg strength at the start of the study maintained her mental abilities better and had fewer age-related brain changes than the twin with weaker legs…

‘It’s compelling to see such differences in cognition [thinking] and brain structure in identical twins, who had different leg power 10 years before,’ [lead author Claire] Steves add

‘It suggests that simple lifestyle changes to boost our physical activity may help to keep us both mentally and physically healthy.'”

Previous research has demonstrated that exercise promotes brain health by releasing hormones from the muscles, which encourage the growth of new brain cells — a process known as neurogenesis or neuroplasticity.

Your brain’s hippocampus, i.e. your memory center, is particularly adaptable and capable of growing new cells throughout your entire lifetime, even into your 90s, provided your lifestyle supports it.

For example, one year-long study found that adults who exercised regularly were actually enlarging their brain’s memory center by one to two percent per year, where typically that center shrinks with age.

The study on twins is said to be the first showing a specific link between leg power and cognition in normal, healthy people, and this is great news, as your leg muscles are among the largest in your body and can be easily worked, either through seated leg exercises, or by standing and walking.

Exercise Boosts Brain Performance Among Students and Employees

The hippocampus belongs to the ancient part of your brain known as the limbic system, and plays an important role in the consolidation of information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, as well as spatial navigation. Previous animal research9 has found that not only does exercise activate hippocampal neurons, it actually promotes their growth. In one study,10 exercising mice grew an average of 6,000 new brain cells in every cubic millimeter of tissue sampled.

The growth occurred in the hippocampus, the memory center of the brain, and the mice showed significant improvements in the ability to recall memories without any confusion.  A number of other studies have investigated the impact of exercise on brain performance and IQ. Some of the research highlights11 include:

  • Among elementary school students, 40 minutes of daily exercise increased IQ by an average of nearly four points
  • Among sixth graders, the fittest students scored 30 percent higher than average students, and the less fit students scored 20 percent lower
  • Among older students, those who play vigorous sports have a 20 percent improvement in Math, Science, English, and Social Studies
  • Students who exercised before class improved test scores 17 percent, and those who worked out for 40 minutes improved an entire letter grade
  • Employees who exercise regularly are 15 percent more efficient than those who do not, which means a fit employee only needs to work 42.5 hours in a week to do the same work as an average employee does in 50

To Optimize Your Health and Longevity, Stay in Constant Motion

The type of exercise program that will benefit your brain is identical to the one that will benefit the rest of your body. Ideally, you’d want to strive for a comprehensive routine that includes high-intensity interval exercise (HIIT), strength training, core work, and stretching. Then, in addition to a well-rounded workout routine, I also recommend standing up as much as possible to avoid the well-documented hazards associated with chronic sitting, and walking 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

Daily walking has been found to trigger an anti-aging process, and recent research suggests it may add anywhere from three to seven years to your lifespan. It’s clearly an essential movement we all require, ideally in addition to a regular exercise program. And, once you’ve eased into a daily walk routine, you can easily turn it into a high-intensity walking workout, which may be especially beneficial if you’re elderly or unable to engage in other forms of high-intensity exercises.

Best of all, you can benefit from walking no matter what age you get started. Study author Sanjay Sharma, professor of Inherited Cardiac Diseases in Sports Cardiology at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London, toldThe Independent:12

“We may never avoid becoming completely old, but we may delay the time we become old. We may look younger when we’re 70 and may live into our nineties. Exercise buys you three to seven additional years of life. It is an antidepressant, it improves cognitive function, and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia.”

Everyone Can Benefit from More Walking


Part of what makes walking so beneficial is that when you’re walking you can’t be sitting. Sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, along with increased risks of heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.13 I personally walk about two hours a day; about 60 miles per week.

I do this barefoot without a shirt on at the beach — this way I’m able to get my sun exposure at the same time, which is an added benefit. I also like to read while I walk and this allows me to read two or three books a week. Multi-tasking like this allows me to easily justify the time investment and reap the many benefits that daily walking offers. I have been doing this now for more than a year and have logged 3,000 miles, which is the distance of walking across the US.

Consider High Intensity Exercises for Maximum Health Boost

In addition to these daily walks, I also do some form of regimented exercise each day. This includes strength training four times a week. My current goal is to deadlift 400 pounds. Got up to 340 but have a ways to go. I also do a daily 30 minute stretching routine on the Power Plate.

HIIT, which is a core component of my Peak Fitness program, maximizes your human growth hormone (HGH) secretion, optimizes your metabolism, and helps regulate your insulin and blood sugar. And nothing beats it in terms of efficiency. You can complete an entire Peak Fitness workout in 20 minutes or less.

My previous article, “Peak Fitness: Reap the Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training,” details the benefits of HIIT and offers guidance, instructions, and demonstrations for how to perform HIIT with or without equipment.

Strength Training Becomes Increasingly Important with Age

Getting back to strength training and working your muscles is important not just for its brain-boosting effects. It produces a number of molecular, enzymatic, hormonal, and chemical changes that help slow down and even reverse a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease. And, contrary to popular belief, strength training isparticularly important for the elderly.

By strengthening muscles, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments, strength training helps you maintain a stable body position, and allows you to perform everyday activities like climbing stairs and getting out of a chair with greater ease. This freedom of movement adds to your quality of life, but the benefits don’t end there. One study showed that strength training in the elderly genetically turned back the biological clock about 10 years!

So where do you start?

If you’re elderly and have been sedentary for some time, I suggest you begin by taking a look at my “Basic Exercise Guide for Older Seniors and the Infirm“. It contains basic seated and standing exercises that can help improve balance and coordination. My article “Easy Strength Training Moves for Seniors” contain beginner’s level strength training exercises, which you can then move into.

For the rest of you, I suggest reviewing my “Beginners Guide to Strength Training,” which lists a number of strength training options, such as body weight exercises, kettle bells, resistance bands, medicine balls, resistance machines, and more.

How to Get the Most out of Your Strength Training Routine

Last but not least, you can also turn your strength training routine into a high-intensity exercise. This is done by slowing down your movements. Super-slow weight training is a particularly well-suited form of high-intensity exercise for older individuals, as it actively prevents you from accidentally harming your joints or suffering repetitive use injury.

In the video below I discuss and demonstrate the proper execution of a number of different super-slow weight training exercises. They can all be done using either free weights or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed to the movement.

The typical super-slow resistance workout can be completed in about 15 minutes. Just one or two of these workouts are needed each week, as you need to make sure you’ve sufficiently recovered between sessions.


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The Many Benefits of Expressing and Receiving Gratitude


By Dr. Mercola

Science tells us that people who are thankful for what they have are happier and reach their goals with greater ease, and Thanksgiving is an American holiday that reminds us to take stock of all the things we’re grateful for.

As noted in a previous article on this topic published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter:1

“Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.

In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”

Gratitude is also associated with improved health, both physical and emotional. Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of Biologic Psychology at Duke University Medical Center once stated that:2

“If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.”

Being Thankful for Your Health — Every Day

While there are as many reasons to be thankful as there are people in the world, one facet of life that many often forget to be thankful for (until it is too late) is their health. We tend to take our health for granted until we’re suddenly in the throes of pain or debilitating illness.

As noted by Mark Sisson:3

“What does it mean to be thankful for your health?… At its most basic level it can be a ‘There but by the grace of God go I’ feeling we get when someone we know dies of a heart attack or gets cancer. The news jolts us into awareness of our mortality, health being what keeps us on the other side.

Being thankful for our health, however, means more than gratitude for being alive itself.

On yet another level, it means appreciating the capacities allowed by our health – the cognitive ability to practice our profession and remember our children’s names, the physical ability to walk up six flights of stairs when the elevator is being serviced…

It’s about confidence that we have the strength to move most of our own stuff when need arises and take care of our children, tend to our property, and still have energy to enjoy something of everyday life…”

It goes back to the old adage that it’s really the little things that matter most, and if you cultivate gratitude for the little things — such as being able to lift an overstuffed turkey out of the oven and remembering the names of all your friends and relatives around the table — it will foster a more deep-seated sense of happiness.

After all, a lot of misery is rooted in a perceived sense of lack. But if you have good health and all your mental faculties intact, you also have the prerequisite basics for doing something about your situation.

Science and Practice of Gratitude

Four years ago, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California,4 in collaboration with the University of California, launched a project called “Cultivating Gratitude in a Consumerist Society.” This $5.6 million project aims to:

  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal, and relational well-being, and developmental science
  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes, and communities, and in so doing…
  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

The organization has a number of resources you can peruse at your leisure, including The Science of Happiness blog and newsletter,5 and a Digital Gratitude Journal,6 where you can record and share the things you’re grateful for year-round.

Gratitude Pays Many Health Dividends


Keeping a gratitude journal is a practice recommended by many psychologists, and it can have far-reaching consequences. In one study,7,8 people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more and logged fewer doctor’s visits compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation. More specifically, gratitude has been linked to:

  • Improved sleep9
  • Reduced stress10
  • Enhanced sense of well-being11
  • Improved heart health,12 reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease

While such results may sound too good to be true, studies13 have shown that gratitude actually produces a number of beneficial and measurable effects on several systems in your body, including:

Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine) Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)
Reproductive hormones (testosterone) Stress hormones (cortisol)
Social bonding hormones (oxytocin) Blood pressure, cardiac, and EEG rhythms
Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine) Blood sugar

The Benefits of Saying Grace

Many people, even those who normally do not say grace before every meal, will join hands with their loved ones and count their blessings before digging into their Thanksgiving dinner. As previously noted in The Huffington Post,14 expressing gratitude before eating is an ancient and truly universal practice. It’s not restricted to any one group, race, or religious affiliation:

“According to theologist Laurel Schneider, historically… blessings were… an expression of gratitude to various gods and a recognition that the food ‘is not ours to begin with, but loaned to us,’ Schneider told Spirituality & Health magazine…

‘Food is a necessity for life, and centuries ago… if you were starving and got something to eat, you were mighty thankful,’ [Adrian] Butash [author of Bless Your Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Around the World] says. ‘Today, we don’t think about it that much, but when you think of food as life and death, then you can see how serious it became in the consciousness of the people.'”

Saying grace can be a great way to foster a closer and deeper connection to the food you eat, allowing for a moment to reflect on all the things that went into its creation, from the sowing of the seed, to the harvest, and the cooking. Indeed a lot of work, both by nature and man, went into creating the food before you, which will now provide you with nourishment and sustenance.

A break anywhere along the food chain can easily render food scarce, so there really is a lot to be thankful for when you have a full plate of food in front of you. And, as noted in the featured article,15 saying grace before eating is a way to flex your gratitude muscle on a daily basis:

“Often, practicing gratitude isn’t an activity that we make time for. Sometimes it can even feel like a chore. But by pairing a brief gratitude exercise with an activity that we enjoy and make time for each day (like eating) can help us to make gratitude a more regular part of our lives… [leading] us to associate giving thanks with the pleasure we derive from food.”

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude Year-Round

Your future health and happiness depends largely on the thoughts you think today. So each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn your thinking around, thereby helping or hindering your ability to think and feel more positively in the very next moment. Starting and/or ending each day by thinking of something you’re grateful for is one way to keep your mind on the right track.

Most experts agree that there are no shortcuts to happiness. Even generally happy people do not experience joy 24 hours a day. But, a happy person can have a bad day and still find pleasure in the small things in life. So be thankful for what you have.

By focusing on what’s good right now, in the present moment, you become more open to receive greater abundance in the future. Remember to say “thank you” — to yourself, the Universe, and others. And with that, I want to say THANK YOU to you, my readers, for your continued support throughout the year, and I wish you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Sources and References
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Is Thanksgiving food killing you? How to choose holiday food that’s healthy, not toxic


by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) This Thanksgiving, I want you to stay healthy while enjoying the celebration of abundance the holiday represents. That means knowing which Thanksgiving foods to enjoy vs. avoid, and that’s what this article is all about.

To eat in a healthy way on Thanksgiving, you don’t have to be a food snob and show up to a turkey dinner with a bowl full of sprouts, but there are decisions you can make to enjoy your Thanksgiving eating while avoiding toxic food ingredients like MSG, GMOs, aspartame, chemical food colorings and chemical preservatives.

Farm-fresh Thanksgiving vs. processed food “factory Thanksgiving”

In my history as a food advocate, I’ve been a meat eater, a vegetarian, a vegan and a Mediterranean Diet follower. I’ve done fasting, juicing, cleansing and low-carb. But the most important wisdom I’ve learned from all this that’s really worth mentioning for Thanksgiving is that nearly ALL food that’s organically raised on a farm and eaten fresh is GOOD for you. This includes fresh dairy, fresh eggs, fresh meats and homemade sweets made with unprocessed ingredients like honey (not sugar!) and stone-ground whole wheat flour.

At the same time, nearly every food made in a factory is BAD for you. Anything that’s overly refined, processed, modified, homogenized, pasteurized or fattened up with genetically modified feed is going to promote disease and obesity.

Turkey gravy from a gravy mix packet, in other words, is toxic because it’s almost always made with MSG and thickened with corn starch derived from genetically modified corn. But turkey gravy made from actual turkey juices and thickened with home-ground flours and organic starches is a completely different story. This is especially true if it’s from a turkey that one of your family members harvested in the wild — that’s by far the most healthful turkey meat you’ll ever eat, and it’s far less cruel to kill a turkey with one shot than to condemn a turkey to a lifetime of being imprisoned in a turkey factory cage and fattened with hormones, chemicals and GMOs.

I’m not saying you have to eat turkey to have a healthy Thanksgiving meal, of course. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available to those who choose not to eat meat. But for those who do eat turkey meat, I strongly urge you to avoid the factory-produced turkey sold at grocery stores and bought by oblivious consumers who have no clue about the cruel, inhumane, unhealthy way in which factory turkeys are raised and processed.

Pumpkin pie and apple pie

Pies can be good for you, too, if they’re made from scratch and without using toxic ingredients like vegetable shortening.

Shortening is a disease-promoting food ingredient. Made of cancer-causing partially hydrogenated oils, it’s almost always GMO in origin and loaded with toxic trans fats, too. That’s why shortening promotes cancer, heart disease and possibly even Alzheimer’s.

In my educated opinion, I believe it is far healthier to use either a natural plant-based fat (such as coconut oil) or genuine animal lard (from a pig raised on your farm, for example) instead of processed shortening. Although I’m not a big meat eater myself, I would far sooner eat a pie crust made with organic pig’s lard than with processed GMO vegetable shortening! Of course, I would personally prefer the coconut oil or some plant-based fats if available.

Nearly all pie crusts served today across America are made with toxic vegetable shortening and refined white sugar. Both of these ingredients are poisonous to human biology.

Pie fillings are also toxic because they’re usually made with refined white sugar. A far healthier and better replacement is palm sugar or coconut sugar, both of which are far more rich in terms of minerals while also having a far lower glycemic index than processed white sugar.

Remember: Any food that’s processed and white is BAD for you: white sugar, white bread, white flour, etc.

Try making a raw pumpkin pie!

For pumpkin and apple pies, I actually recommend making raw pies. That’s right: no cooking required. The raw fruit in the pie filling is far better for you than cooked fruit. Plus, you’ll receive more nutrients, more protein and more intact fibers. Here’s an awesome recipe for making raw pie that’s also vegan.

And although some of my vegan friends might tease me about this, there’s nothing wrong with eating a healthy, raw vegan pie after chowing down on some free-range turkey with gravy. Vegan foods can be individually selected as you see fit, and even if you live a mostly vegan lifestyle, you don’t have to be 100% vegan to experience the remarkablehealth benefits of eating vegan most of the time. (In fact, a lot of vegans “cheat” from time to time and enjoy raw cow’s milk, an omelet or even some fatty meats cooked into a stew from time to time.)

Mashed potatoes – grow your own and mash ’em yourself!

Do I even need to say that instant mashed potatoes are less than ideal for your health? You’re far better off to buy whole potatoes (or grow your own if you’ve got some dirt) and mash ’em yourself.

Importantly, mashed potatoes should include the potato skins. That’s the only healthypart of the potato, of course, and it’s silly that most people peel the skin off and throw it away. Even worse, most people don’t have backyard chickens to throw the skins to! They toss them into the garbage! Geesh, if you’re going to peel the potatoes, at least compost the skins into soil and use that soil to grow more potatoes.

Breads, rolls and stuffing

Please don’t eat breads and rolls made from processed white flour. Throwing some processed bread materials into an oven does not count as home cooking, either. Real home cooking means you make the dough, and you’d be smart to make the dough from wholesome, organic ingredients that are minimally processed.

Store-bought stuffing, by the way, is usually laced with MSG or similar excitotoxins likeyeast extract or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Most gravy mixes are also laced with MSG which is why so many people get headaches and migraines after eating a Thanksgiving meal.

If you eat stuffing, make sure it’s truly homemade and not from a factory food box. That rule, of course, applies to everything you eat at Thanksgiving.

Choose organic and non-GMO wherever possible

Green beans, corn and beets are all very healthy vegetables when grown organically and non-GMO. But watch out for GMO corn and even genetically modified beets. (Green beans, thankfully, aren’t yet GMO).

If you do eat greens of any kind, try to make sure your family members didn’t cook the life out of them. For some reason, “pioneer cooking” in America seems to require that you cook every vegetable into a lifeless mass. This is not the proper way to preserve the nutrition found in vegetables. Green beans, for example, should remain somewhat crispy, and it’s far healthier to stir-fry them quickly in a wok rather than boil them to death in a pot of water (and most people toss out the water, which is where a lot of the nutrients go).

The best way to ensure the health properties of your veggies and fruits is to buy organic, unprocessed foods and expose them to minimal heat during cooking. Nearly all fruits should be eaten raw, by the way, as heat quickly destroys most of their valuable medicinal nutrients.

Sweets and treats

Nearly all sweets you’ll find at Thanksgiving are made with toxic hydrogenated oils (shortening) and refined white sugar. For this reason, they should all be avoided.

Healthy sweets must be made with natural oils and full-spectrum sweeteners such as honey or palm sugar. Don’t be fooled by “brown sugar” sold at grocery stores — it’s just white sugar that’s processed into a brown color with a slightly different taste profile.

Raw foodies know that the best tasting and most healthful treats are made from things like nuts and date paste. You can make delicious cookies, cakes and other treats with date paste as the base, adding in other ingredients like coconut flour to give it more bulk. Coconut flakes and shreds are also ideal for this purpose. I think Trader Joe’s still sells coconut date rolls, in fact, and they’re actually a very healthy treat.

Only YOU can decide what kind of food decisions to make for yourself

In all, remember that you have total control over what you decide to eat. Even during a holiday food extravaganza like Thanksgiving, you can still make intelligent, informed decisions to eat in a more healthful way.

There is no need whatsoever to punish yourself with toxic food ingredients like hydrogenated oils, MSG, aspartame, GMOs, artificial food coloring and factory-raised meats. If you’re going to celebrate abundance, why not celebrate with healthful food choices that enhance your long-term enjoyment of life instead of contributing to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity?

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Thanksgiving with the Health Ranger: food warnings, stuffing your ‘fat ass’ with turkey and dealing with substance-addicted relatives (satire)



by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) As America celebrates Thanksgiving this year, I’ve posted four hilarious audio recordings that somehow claim to offer useful information that might help you survive the festivities.

These totally uncensored, offensive, inappropriate and politically incorrect audio podcasts are offered as hilarious satire with my comedy improve character voicesincluding “Grandpa Joe,” “Aunt Bessie” and Dave the meth head.

Along with the comedy, I also provide what I hope you’ll find to be useful wisdom on Thanksgiving food ingredients to avoid, how to alienate deadbeat family members, and preparedness activities you should probably be pursuing instead of “stuffing your fat ass with turkey.”

Laugh, cry or be really, really offended… here’s my comedy improve take on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving with the Health Ranger, episode #1) Top 10 things you should be doing instead of stuffing your fat ass with turkey

Beyond stuffing all our fat asses with turkey, there are all sorts of preparedness activities we should be doing that get us ready for the coming chaos.

In a world where radical leftists (like Obama) are tag-teaming with ISIS to overrun, occupy and destroy western culture, we all need to be prepared for wave after wave of insanity to arrive at our doorstep.

So here are ten things you should be doing this holiday weekend instead of (or in place of) “stuffing your fat ass with turkey.” Please be offended…

Thanksgiving with the Health Ranger, episode #2) Toxic foods and ingredients you should avoid for Thanksgiving

Did you know that store-bought turkey gravy is loaded with MSG?

Did you know that “olive oil” salad dressings are mostly made with genetically modified rapeseed oil?

Were you aware that drinking alcohol and taking Tylenol can permanently destroy your liver?

In this episode, I warn about toxic Thanksgiving foods you should avoid.

Thanksgiving with the Health Ranger, episode #3) How to deal with your crazy family members

Thanksgiving is a time when many Americans get together with their family members to celebrate paid vacation days. During these get-togethers, you’ll encounter the whole spectrum of family members, from informed, aware people to totally insane, brainwashed numbskulls who think they know everything.

Some family members needs your love and compassion, while others just need your cash so they can buy more heroin.

In this episode, I discuss ideas for dealing with the full gamut of family members in a way that prevents you from wasting time on those who are already beyond help… while simultaneously showing love and compassion for those who need your presence.

Thanksgiving with the Health Ranger, episode #4) Things I’m thankful for

This episode is more on the serious side, and I discuss why I’m thankful for the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and all of America’s Founding Fathers who risked their lives to establish the freedoms that we now enjoy.

To demonstrate the power of Freedom of Speech, I make fun of Obama and Hillary Clinton… which isn’t difficult to achieve.

More news on Thanksgiving







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Why the Obesity Trend Continues to Climb Unabated in the US


By Dr. Mercola

Last year, an analysis revealed that more than half of the world’s obese people congregate in 10 countries: United States, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

Obese Americans accounted for about 13 percent of the world’s obese people, while China and India together (with more than 700 percent of the US population) only accounted for 15 percent of the total. Now, US health officials report that obesity in America has inched up even more.

Right along with it, drug prescriptions for hypertension, diabetes, and depression and other obesity-related illnesses are also rising, with 59 percent of American adults now taking at least one drug.1,2

As reported by The New York Times:3

“About 38 percent of American adults were obese in 2013 and 2014, up from 35 percent in 2011 and 2012… And compared with a decade ago, the increase was significant: In 2003 and 2004, about 32 percent of adults were obese…

A paper… published this month in Health Affairs, found that Americans’ diets had improved in quality from 1999 to 2012 — with a reduction in trans fats, small increases in fiber and less soda consumption — but that most of those advances were not happening among lower-income, less educated Americans.4

Obese Children Show Signs of Heart Disease

Childhood obesity is perhaps an even greater concern, as obese children significantly increase their risk of suffering obesity-related illnesses and complications far earlier in life.

According to recent research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015, obese children as young as eight now display signs of heart disease! The researchers took MRI scans of the hearts of 20 obese children, and compared them to 20 normal-weight children.

As reported by Medical News Today:5

“The team found that the obese youths had 27 percent more muscle mass in the left ventricle of their hearts and 12 percent thicker heart muscles, which are both signs of heart disease.

The study also considered 40 percent of the children to be ‘high-risk’ because the type of thickening seen in their heart wall is associated with a reduced ability to pump blood.

Of the 20 obese children, seven were teenagers, but the younger participants yielded the most shocking results. The researchers were particularly surprised to see signs of heart disease in children as young as 8 years old…

 [Lead author Linyuan] Jing hopes this study might spur parents on to spend a little more time and thought on their child’s diet.”

Food Advertisements Present False Nutritional Views

Clearly, the strategies to curtail obesity employed so far are not working. Part of the problem is the lack of focus on educating people about how processed foods and “diet” (artificially sweetened) foods6 promote weight gain.

Junk food ads not only confuse and completely miseducate children about nutrition; they also cleverly manipulate parents into making unhealthy choices for their kids.7

As noted by CNN:8

“It is a dual-pronged approach where food manufacturers are targeting kids to pester (their parents) for these products, and then manufacturers are marketing to parents to get them to think these products are healthy and not to feel guilty about buying them…

[P]arent-directed ads emphasized health benefits and nutritional information for the products…

However, a recent report… found that many of the products that are advertised to children, such as sugar-sweetened juice beverages and cereals, do not meet federal standards for healthy snacks. And… the ads that parents are seeing are for these same products.”

Industry-Health Partnerships Hide Dietary Culprits

Corporate sponsorships and industry-health partnerships add to the problem by misleading the public about the greatest offenders.

For example, back in 2003, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry came under fire for entering into an agreement with the Coca-Cola Foundation, in which Coke would distribute educational messages on behalf of the academy.9

It was a classic conflict of interest case, where one of the major contributors to cavities pay for the privilege to “educate” children about dental health.

According to a 2014 study,10 sugar is the only cause of tooth decay, and to curtail cavities, avoiding sugar is imperative. Yet when was the last time you saw Coke informing kids that to prevent tooth decay they should avoid soda?

Similarly, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been allied not only with Coke, but also with Pepsi and McDonalds, “to support patient education on healthy eating.”

Ditto for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), which receives millions of dollars from multinational junk food corporations each year, and offer corporate-sponsored education to teach registered dietitians about the “value” of everything from sugary beverages to chewing gum.

As noted by Dr. Michael Greger, MD,11 their official position is that “there are no good or bad foods” — a position that clearly flies in the face of nutritional science. Unfortunately, science is also being grossly manipulated by corporate interests. For example, Coca-Cola funds the Global Energy Balance Network, a front group aimed at confusing you about soda science and diverting attention away from evidence showing soda is a major contributor to obesity and diabetes.

When Confronted About Gross Conflicts, Health Organizations Cut Ties with Coke

On the upside, a number of these institutions are cutting ties with Coca-Cola after the conflicts of interest were revealed in the mainstream media. This shows just how powerful transparency can be, and why we need more of it. As reported by The New York Times12 on November 6:

“The University of Colorado School of Medicine announced… it was returning a $1 million gift from Coca-Cola after it was revealed that the money had been used to establish an advocacy group that played down the link between soft drinks and obesity.

Coca-Cola donated the money in 2014 to help establish the Global Energy Balance Network… that urged people to focus more on exercise and worry less about what they eat and drink…

Coke’s chief executive, Muhtar Kent, disclosed that the company had spent almost $120 million since 2010 to pay for academic health research and for partnerships with major medical and community groups involved in curbing the obesity epidemic.

Recipients included the American Academy of Pediatrics, which accepted $3 million from Coke to launch its website, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics… which had received $1.7 million from Coke. After the disclosure, both groups said they were ending their relationships with Coca-Cola.

In a statement… University of Colorado said it was returning the $1 million seed money that Coke had provided to set up the Global Energy Balance Network because ‘the funding source has distracted attention from its worthwhile goal.'”

Little Will Change Until US Government Changes Agricultural Subsidies

Federal food policies and agricultural subsidies13 are another major part of the problem, promoting the manufacture and consumption of addicting junk foods rather than real food. This was clearly spelled out in a 2013 paper14 published in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, which noted that:

 “Government-issued agricultural subsidies are worsening obesity trends in America. Current agricultural policy remains largely uninformed by public health discourse… Government-issued payments have skewed agricultural markets toward the overproduction of commodities that are the basic ingredients of processed, energy-dense foods.”

This includes corn, wheat, soybeans, and rice, which are the top four most heavily subsidized foods. By subsidizing these, particularly corn and soy, the US government is actively supporting a diet that consists of these grains in their processed form, namely high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), soybean oil, and grain-fed cattle – all of which are now well-known contributors to obesity and chronic diseases.

There is no relationship between agricultural subsidies and nutrition, and directly related to this issue is the fact that thegovernment’s nutritional guidelines are in large part mirrored by these same agricultural subsidies rather than being built upon sound nutritional science.

Five Components Affecting Your Weight

Mounting research suggests the following five factors contribute to obesity and poor health, and all of them need to be considered if we are to successfully address this obesity epidemic:

  • Processed food
  • Chemicals (in food, environment, and everyday household products)
  • Antibiotics (in medicine and in food production)
  • Inactivity
  • Lack of sleep

To Reverse Obesity Trend, We Must Return to a Diet of Real Food…

Researchers have firmly debunked the myth that all calories are identical, and that to lose weight all you need to do is expend more calories than you consume. It’s true that Americans eat too many calories overall, but research also shows thatwhat you eat can make a big difference in how much you eat.

In a nutshell, research shows that calories gleaned from bread, refined sugars, and processed foods promote overeating, whereas calories from whole vegetables, protein, and fiber decrease hunger. It’s also true that most Americans exercise too little, but it’s important to realize that you simply cannot exercise your way out of a poor and metabolically “toxic” diet.

Over the past 60 years or so, a confluence of dramatically altered foods combined with reduced physical exertion and increased exposure to toxic chemicals have created what amounts to a perfect storm. The extensive use of refined sugar — primarily in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to virtually all processed foods — is at the heart of it all.

Fortunately, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now recommending a daily cap on added sugars, and food manufacturers may soon have to list the amount of added sugars on the nutritional facts label.

As noted in The New York Times:15

The goal is for Americans to limit added sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories, according to the proposed guidelines. For someone older than three, that means eating no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, of it a day. That’s about the same amount of sugar found in a can of Coke…”

But one also cannot underestimate the impact of chemistry, and the creation of truly addictive foods. If you think about it, it’s quite revealing that, in contrast to third-world countries, the poorest people in the US have the highest obesity rates. This seeming contradiction is, I believe, a clear indication that the problem stems from the diet itself. Something in the cheapest and most readily available foods is creating metabolic havoc, and indeed that’s what studies are finding.

Research into the addictive nature of processed foods reveals that food companies have perfected the art of creating addictive foods through the masterful use of salt, fat, sugar, and a wide variety of proprietary flavorings — most of which are far from natural.

As a general rule, “food” equals “live nutrients.” Nutrients, in turn, feed your cells, optimize your health, and sustain life. Obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart attacks are all diseases associated with a processed food diet – a clear indication that it does not provide the appropriate nutrition for your body.

Even the First Lady Was Prevented from Telling the Truth About Processed Food

Five years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama took a strong stance against processed foods, and in a speech at a Grocery Manufacturers Association conference, she told them that:16

“This is a shared responsibility. That’s why I’ve gone to parents and I’ve asked them to do their part. They have a responsibility to watch what their kids eat and teach good habits. […] And all of you have a responsibility as well.

And we need you not just to tweak around the edges, but to entirely rethink the products that you’re offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children.That starts with revamping or ramping up your efforts to reformulate your products, particularly those aimed at kids, so that they have less fat, salt, and sugar, and more of the nutrients that our kids need…”

Less than a year later, the First Lady’s enthusiasm for healthy food had been substantially watered down, and her “Let’s Move” campaign ended up focusing on exercise rather than avoiding foods that harm your metabolic health, and this is precisely the position Coca-Cola’s front group The Global Energy Balance Network promotes. Coincidence? I think not.

Many Chemicals Promote Obesity

A number of chemicals have also been found to promote obesity by disrupting your hormones. This includes but is not limited to include bisphenol-A (BPA), PCBs, phthalates, triclosan, agricultural pesticides, and fire retardants.Certain agricultural chemicals, glyphosate in particular, may also affect your weight by obliterating healthy gut bacteria.

Recent research17 also warns that children whose mothers were exposed to perfluorooctanoic acid (chemicals used in non-stick coatings) during pregnancy tend to be more prone to rapid and excessive weight gain. Interestingly, many endocrine disrupting chemicals have been found to promote weight gain specifically at below-toxic levels. As noted in one 2003 study:18

“This article presents data showing that the current epidemic in obesity cannot be explained solely by alterations in food intake and/or decrease in exercise… Indeed, many synthetic chemicals are actually used to increase weight in animals.

This article provides fascinating examples of chemicals that have been tested for toxicity by standard tests that resulted in weight gain in the animals at lower doses than those that caused any obvious toxicity. These chemicals included heavy metals, solvents, polychlorinated biphenols, organophosphates, phthalates, and bisphenol-A. This is an aspect of the data that has generally been overlooked.”

Antibiotics in Food and Medicine Also Promote Weight Gain

There’s also compelling evidence linking antibiotic overuse and obesity, although the reasons why didn’t become clear until we discovered how your microbiome influences your weight. One of the latest studies19,20 linking antibiotics to weight gain found that children who took antibiotics seven or more times before the age of 15 weighed an average of three pounds more than those with no history of antibiotic use.

However, while overused in medicine, the primary source of antibiotic exposure is actually through your diet.  The US uses nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics each year to raise food animals.21,22 This accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the US.23

In livestock, antibiotics are used both to ward off disease and to promote weight gain, and research suggests antibiotics have the same effect in humans. According to data analyzed by journalist Maryn McKenna,24 US states with the highest levels of antibiotic overuse also have the worst health status, including the highest rates of obesity.

Other growth-enhancing drugs used to fatten up livestock may fatten you up as well. Ractopamine is one example. This beta agonist drug works as a growth promoter by increasing protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular.

In human medicine, beta agonists are found in asthma medication, and stubborn weight gain is in fact a common complaint among asthma patients using Advair (a beta-agonist drug) — so much so that the manufacturer has added weight gain to the post-marketing side effects.

How Lack of Sleep Promotes Obesity

Previous research has shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a night tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI) than people who get more sleep. The biological mechanisms linking sleep deprivation and weight gain are numerous.25Alterations to your metabolism account for some of this effect, because when you’re sleep deprived, leptin (the hormone that signals satiety) falls, while ghrelin (which signals hunger) rises.

This combination leads to an increase in appetite. Additionally, sleep deprivation tends to result in food cravings, particularly for sweet and starchy foods, due to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. If you’re chronically sleep deprived, consistently giving in to these sugar cravings will virtually guarantee that you’ll gain weight.

Sleeping less than six hours per night can also radically decrease the sensitivity of your insulin receptors, which will raise your insulin levels. This too is a surefire way to gain weight as the insulin will seriously impair your body’s ability to burn and digest fat. It also increases your risk of diabetes. In short, sleep deprivation puts your body in a pre-diabetic state, which can lead to increased weight and decreased health.

Your Weight Reflects Your Lifestyle Choices

As you can see, a number of factors can contribute to your weight problem. Simply eating fewer calories and exercising more usually doesn’t work very well, and the reason for that is because not all calories are the same.

Rather than focusing on calories, you need to address the quality of the foods you eat, and avoid chemical exposures. Many people end up throwing their hands up in disgust when trying to clean up their diet, complaining that once they start to read labels, they realize there’s “nothing safe to eat.”

If this sounds like you, you’re probably still looking at processed foods, trying to figure out which ones are “good” for you, and that’s the problem. The list of ingredients to avoid is just about endless, and keeping track of it can be really discouraging. The answer is to create a list of healthy options instead, which is far shorter and easier to remember.

And, when it comes to advertising, keep in mind that whole unadulterated “real foods” are rarely if ever advertised, so if you’re seeing an ad for a food that promises to do you a world of good, it’s probably misleading… The following short list of just three super-simple, easy-to-remember guidelines will not only improve your nutrition, it will also help you avoid countless chemical exposures that can affect your weight:

  • Eat REAL FOOD. Buy whole, ideally organic, foods and cook from scratch. First of all, this will automatically reduce your added sugar consumption, which is the root cause of insulin resistance and weight gain.

If you buy organic produce, you’ll also cut your exposure to pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients, and in ditching processed foods, you’ll automatically avoid artificial sweeteners and harmful processed fats. For more detailed dietary advice, please see my free Optimized Nutrition Plan.

  • Opt for organic grass-finished meats to avoid genetically engineered ingredients, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other growth promoting drugs.
  • Opt for glass packaging and storage containers to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Sources and References
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Murdered Holistic Doctors Had Discovered Autism/Cancer-Causing Enzyme Intentionally Being Added to All Vaccines


So apparently the holistic doctors who were all being killed in Florida had found out via their research that the nagalase enzyme protein is INTENTIONALLY being added to the population via immunizations. Nagalase STOPS vitamin D from binding to the Gc protein. This completely strips a human being’s body of it’s natural ability to kill cancer cells. Nagalase is a protein that’s also created by all cancer cells. This protein is also found in very high concentrations in autistic children. And they’re PUTTING it in our vaccines!! This prevents the body from utilizing the Vitamin D necessary to fight cancer and prevent autism. Nagalese disables the immune system. It’s also known to cause Type 2 Diabetes. So basically…they weren’t  killing these doctors because they had found the cure to cancer or were successfully treating autism… they’re killing them because these Dr’s had been researching and had the evidence that the vaccines they’re injecting our precious children with are CAUSING our current cancer and autism crisis!! And that it’s obviously being done knowingly and on purpose! The doctors they killed in Florida had been collaborating and were getting ready to go public with the information.
Depopulation 101..add poison to vaccines…make it law that all children must be injected to attend school. Slow kill methods. They think they’re being fair w/ their “survival of the fittest” method . Only the best genes survive? These ppl have no souls.
Dr Ted Broer breaks the above info (about the nagalese) in this clip. He explains it much better than I do. The clip is short (from his July 25th Hagmann & Hagmann interview) but it’s a MUST listen. Dr Ted Broer broke it on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report and it took them a whole hour just to get him on air b/c their 3 hour show was brought down and every line they tried to use kept disconnecting..and then their servers were brought down. They  asked a bunch of ppl to pray against the attack and then finally got him on a secured line..and so a full hour into the show they were finally back on the air and connected to Dr Broer and the first thing he said was “I am in no way suicidal.” He was super nervous holding onto this info…afraid he’d be taken out Hastings style before he got a chance to say it publicly. So listen to this short clip of him breaking the story. It’s a 19 min clip but the most important info is heard within the first 10 min. It is def some of the most important news I’ve ever heard. And it needs to go viral. PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS SHORT CLIP!!
And if you want to hear more of his interview this next video continues right where the last clip left off. The first video is just a clip of the most important part if you only have time to hear a little bit of it. As Dr. Ted Broer continues he explains WHY they’re doing this. Why they’re intentionally attacking our immune systems. This next clip is FASCINATING. Dr Ted Broer continued…
Here is the full interview with Dr Ted Broer on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report, July 25,2015
Dr. Ted Broer’s website is
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