New Report Will Reveal Which Yogurts Are Healthy, and Which Are Best Avoided

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By Dr. Mercola

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, about their long-awaited and much-needed Yogurt Report. The interview took place at the recent Heirloom Seed Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, where we both had the honor of speaking.

The idea for the Yogurt Report was seeded about two years ago. I was out of town and a friend requested yogurt, so I went out looking for some in a local grocery store.

To my dismay, I couldn’t find a single healthy yogurt… They were all junk food disguised as “health food.” Previous to this experience, I was unaware of how truly degenerated most commercial yogurts had become.

I believe this is really a strong case of deception, so I turned to The Cornucopia Institute. It required two years of investigation, but they will be releasing their scorecard later this week by the New York Times.

If you’re eating yogurt to help optimize your gut flora, you need to review this report. Chances are you’re currently eating yogurt that has more similarities with candy than anything else…

Have You Been Deceived?

Most commercial yogurts are chockfull of artificial colors, flavors, additives, and sugar, typically as fructose (high fructose corn syrup), which actually nourishes disease-causing bacteria, yeast, and fungi in your gut. Since your gut has limited real estate, this smothers your beneficial bacteria and gets you sick.

Sugar also promotes insulin resistance, which is a driving factor of most chronic disease. Virtually all commercially available yogurts use pasteurized milk (heated high temperature) even before it is reheated to make the yogurt itself, and this has its own drawbacks.

The top-rated yogurts are generally VAT pasteurized at relatively low temperatures, and are made from raw milk rather than previously pasteurized milk. While not as advantageous as making yogurt from raw milk in your own home, it’s certainly better than most commercial yogurt.

The report also took a look at the food industry’s labeling campaign, Live and Active Cultures, which is supposed to help consumers select products with high levels of healthy probiotics.

To assess probiotic content, Cornucopia tested yogurt purchased directly from the grocery stores instead of following the industry’s practice of testing levels at the factory. As it turns out, many of the brands bearing the Live and Active Cultures label contain LOWER levels of probiotics than the top-rated organic brands in Cornucopia’s scorecard that are not part of the Live and Active campaign.

The report also includes a comparative cost analysis of commercial yogurt brands. The good news is that many organic yogurts are actually less expensive, on a price-per-ounce basis, than conventional, heavily-processed yogurts.

Cornucopia Files Complaint; Requests FDA Investigation

As noted in their press release:

“Based on its industry investigation, The Cornucopia Institute has filed a formal complaint with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking them to investigate whether or not certain yogurt on the market, manufactured by such companies as Yoplait, Dannon, and many store brands including Walmart’s Great Value, violate the legal standard of identity for products labeled as yogurt.

The Cornucopia Institute requests that the legal definition of “yogurt” be enforced for product labeling, just as it is for products labeled “cheese.”

“The reason that Kraft has to call Velveeta® ‘processed cheese-food’ is that some of the ingredients used, like vegetable oil, cannot legally be in a product marketed as ‘cheese’,” Kastel added.

Cornucopia alleges that some of the ingredients that manufactures are using in yogurt, like milk protein concentrate (MPC), typically imported from countries like India, do not meet yogurt’s current legal standard of identity.“

Why You Need Probiotics

Your body contains about 100 trillion bacteria, mostly in your gut, which is more than 10 times the number of cells you have in your entire body. It’s now quite clear that the type and quantity of micro-organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of many diseases.

A healthy microbiome is not only important for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, these bacteria also help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals, aid in the elimination of toxins, and are responsible for a good part of your immune system and mental health, including your ability to resist anxiety, stress, and depression.

One recent study2, 3 discovered that yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus can help protect children and pregnant women against heavy metal poisoning.

As shown in earlier research, certain microorganisms are particularly efficient at binding to certain toxins and/or chemicals, including pesticides. Here, they found that L. rhamnosus had a preference for binding (and eliminating) mercury and arsenic.

According to the authors: “Probiotic food produced locally represents a nutritious and affordable means for people in some developing countries to counter exposures to toxic metals.” Probiotics also have dozens of other beneficial pharmacological actions,4 including:

Anti-bacterial Anti-allergenic Anti-viral Immunomodulatory
Anti-infective Antioxidant Antiproliferative Apoptopic (cellular self-destruction)
Antidepressive Antifungal Cardioprotective Gastroprotective
Radio- and chemo protective Upregulates glutathione and certain glycoproteins that help regulate immune responses, including interleukin-4, interleukin-10, and interleukin-12 Downregulates interleukin-6 (a cytokine involved in chronic inflammation and age-related diseases) Inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha inhibitor, NF-kappaB, epidermal growth factor receptor, and more

It’s also important to realize that your gut bacteria are very vulnerable to lifestyle and environmental factors. Some of the top offenders known to decimate your microbiome include the following—all of which are best avoided:

Sugar/fructose Refined grains Processed foods Antibiotics (including antibiotics given to livestock for food production)
Chlorinated and fluoridated water Antibacterial soaps, etc. Agricultural chemicals and pesticides Pollution

Brain Health Is Strongly Tied to Gut Health

While many think of their brain as the organ in charge of their mental health, your gut may actually play a far more significant role. Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.5 For example:

One proof-of-concept study6, 7 conducted by researchers at UCLA found that yogurt containing several strains of probiotics thought to have a beneficial impact on intestinal health also had a beneficial impact on participants’ brain function; decreasing activity in brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation such as anxiety.
The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility8 reported the probiotic known as Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice with infectious colitis by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain.
Other research9 found that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had a marked effect on GABA levels—an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is significantly involved in regulating many physiological and psychological processes—in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.
Previous studies have confirmed that what you eat can quickly alter the composition of your gut flora. Specifically, eating a high-vegetable, fiber-based diet produces a profoundly different composition of microbiota than a more typical Western diet high in carbs and processed fats.

This is part and parcel of the problem with most commercially available yogurts—they’re widely promoted as healthy because they contain (added) probiotics, but then they’re so loaded with ingredients that will counteract all the good that they’re basically useless… The negative effects of the sugar far outweigh any marginal benefits of the minimal beneficial bacteria they have. Remember, the most important step in building healthy gut flora is avoiding sugar as that will cause disease-causing microbes to crowd out your beneficial flora.

Surprisingly, Mark Kastel notes that some of the organic brands of yogurt actually contained some of the highest amounts of sugar! It’s important to realize that some yogurt can contain as much sugar as candy or cookies, which most responsible parents would not feed their children for breakfast. Artificial flavors are also commonly used.

You Can Easily and Inexpensively Make Your Own Yogurt

Your absolute best bet, when it comes to yogurt, is to make your own using a starter culture and raw grass-fed milk. Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows not only contains beneficial bacteria that prime your immune system and can help reduce allergies, it’s also an outstanding source of vitamins (especially vitamin A), zinc, enzymes, and healthy fats. Raw organic milk is not associated with any of the health problems of pasteurized milk such as rheumatoid arthritis, skin rashes, diarrhea, and cramps.

To find a local source of raw grass-fed milk, see RealMilk.com.

While delicious as is, you could add a natural sweetener to it. Mark suggests whole food sweeteners such as raw organic honey or maple syrup, for example. You can also add flavor without sweetening it up by adding some vanilla extract, or a squirt of lime or lemon juice. Whole berries or fruits are another obvious alternative. Just be mindful not to overdo it, especially if you’re insulin or leptin resistant—and about 80 percent of Americans are.

Nourish Your Microbiome with Organic Yogurt for Optimal Health

Cultured foods like yogurt are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria, provided they’re traditionally fermented and unpasteurized. One of the best and least expensive ways to get healthy bacteria through your diet is to obtain raw milk and convert it to yogurt or kefir. It’s really easy to make at home. All you need is some starter granules in a quart of raw milk, which you leave at room temperature overnight.

By the time you wake up in the morning you will likely have kefir. If it hasn’t obtained the consistency of yogurt, you might want to set it out a bit longer and then store it in the fridge.

A quart of kefir has far more active bacteria than you’d obtain from a probiotic supplement, and it’s very economical as you can reuse the kefir from the original quart of milk about 10 times before you need to start a new culture pack. Just one starter package of kefir granules can convert about 50 gallons of milk to kefir! Cultured foods should be a regular part of your diet, and if you eat enough of them you will keep your digestive tract well supplied with good bacteria.

There may still be times when a probiotic supplement is necessary, but for day-to-day gut health maintenance, yogurt and other traditionally cultured or fermented foods are truly ideal choices.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Honey

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By Dr. Mercola

Honey has been valued as a natural sweetener long before sugar became widely available in the 16th century. Honey production flourished in ancient Greece and Sicily, for instance, while animals other than humans – bears, badgers, and more – have long raided honeybee hives, risking stings for the sweet reward.1

Honey is truly a remarkable substance, made even more extraordinary by the process with which it is made. This blend of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids is quite unlike any other sweetener on the planet.

And while honey is high in fructose, it has many health benefits when used in moderation (assuming you’re healthy). Before I delve into those, here’s a brief “lesson” on how honey is made…

How Honey Is Made (Fascinating!)

It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey.2

Once the nectar is gathered, the bee stores it in its extra stomach where it mixes with enzymes, and then passes it (via regurgitation) to another bee’s mouth. This process is repeated until the nectar becomes partially digested and is then deposited into a honeycomb.

Once there, the honeybees fan the liquid nectar with their wings, helping the water to evaporate and create the thick substance you know as “honey.” This honeycomb is then sealed with a liquid secretion from the bee’s abdomen, which hardens into beeswax. As Live Science reported:3

“Away from air and water, honey can be stored indefinitely, providing bees with the perfect food source for cold winter months.”

There are more than 300 kinds of honey in the US, each with a unique color and flavor that is dependent upon the nectar source. Lighter colored honeys, such as those made from orange blossoms, tend to be milder in flavor while darker-colored honeys, like those made from wildflowers, tend to have a more robust flavor.4

5 Honey Facts You Might Not Know

Honey, particularly in its raw form, offers unique health benefits that you might not be aware of. Among them…

1. Honey Makes Excellent Cough “Medicine”

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which is a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film.5

Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications, to soothe cough and related sleeping difficulties due to upper respiratory tract infections in children.6

2. Honey Can Treat Wounds

Honey was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the advent of penicillin. Now the use of honey in wound care is regaining popularity, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.

Honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidants activities that make it ideal for treating wounds. In the US, Derma Sciences uses Manuka honey for their Medihoney wound and burn dressings.

Manuka honey is made with pollen gathered from the flowers of the Manuka bush (a medicinal plant), and clinical trials have found this type of honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as:

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
MSSA (methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)
Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is so called because no one has yet been able to discover the unique substance involved that gives it its extraordinary antibacterial activity.

Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but active Manuka honey contains “something else” that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.7

That being said, research shows that any type of unprocessed honey helped wounds and ulcers heal. In one study, 58 of 59 wounds showed “remarkable improvement following topical application of honey.”8

3. Honey Improves Your Scalp

Honey diluted with a bit of warm water was shown to significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis, which is a scalp condition that causes dandruff and itching. After applying the solution every other day for four weeks, “all of the patients responded markedly.” According to the researchers:9

“Itching was relieved and scaling was disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed and disappeared completely within 2 weeks. In addition, patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss.”

4. Help Boost Your Energy

A healthy, whole-food diet and proper sleep is the best recipe for boundless energy, but if you’re looking for a quick energy boost, such as before or after a workout, honey can suffice. This is particularly true for athletes looking for a “time-released fuel” to provide energy over a longer duration.10

5. Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Locally produced honey, which will contain pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants, introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. Theoretically, this can activate your immune system and over time can build up your natural immunity against it.

The typical recommendation is to take about a teaspoon-full of locally produced honey per day, starting a few months PRIOR to the pollen season, to allow your system to build up immunity. And the key here is local.

This approach only works because it has pollen of local plants you may be allergic to. Honey from other parts of the country simply won’t work. While research on this has yielded conflicting results, one study found that, during birch pollen season, compared to the control group, the patients using birch pollen honey experienced:11

60 percent reduction in symptoms
Twice as many asymptomatic days
70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms
50 percent decrease in usage of antihistamines
Interestingly enough, there were few differences between the two honey groups (those who took regular honey, versus those who took honey that contained birch pollen.) However, the birch pollen honey group used less histamines than those who used regular honey. The authors concluded:

“Patients who pre-seasonally used birch pollen honey had significantly better control of their symptoms than did those on conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on regular honey. The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that birch pollen honey could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.”

Honey for Herpes

Good-quality honey offers several topical wound-care benefits that can explain some of its success as a remedy for herpes sores:

It draws fluid away from your wound
The high sugar content suppresses microorganism growth
Worker bees secrete an enzyme (glucose oxidase) into the nectar, which then releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wound
In one study, 16 adult subjects with a history of recurrent labial and genital herpes attacks used honey to treat one attack, and a commonly prescribed antiviral drug, Acyclovir cream, during another. (It’s important to realize that neither the drug nor the honey will actually cure genital herpes. They only treat the symptoms.)

Interestingly, honey provided significantly better treatment results. For labial herpes, the mean healing time was 43 percent better, and for genital herpes, 59 percent better than acyclovir. Pain and crusting was also significantly reduced with the honey, compared to the drug. Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the honey treatment, whereas none remitted while using acyclovir.12

3 DIY Honey Home Remedies

Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, making it an ideal addition to moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners. Along with its antimicrobial properties, honey makes a wonderful addition to homemade personal care products. The National Honey Board has a few you can try out for yourself:13

Honey Hair Conditioner: Mix ½ cup honey with ¼ cup olive oil. Work a small amount through your hair until coated. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo as normal and rinse.
Honey Body Moisturizer: Mix 5 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a medium-sized bottle. Apply as needed onto wet skin.
Honey Almond Scrub: Mix 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 6 ½ tablespoons of finely crushed almonds. Rub the exfoliating scrub onto your face gently and rinse with warm water.
The Organic Consumers Association has also published this simple honey lemon cough syrup that’s useful to keep on hand during the winter months:14

Honey Lemon Cough Syrup

Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing your body, and honey will kill most bacteria while soothing your throat. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy.

Put a pint of raw honey in a pan on the stove on VERY low heat (Do not boil honey as this changes its medicinal properties).
Take a whole lemon and boil in some water in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to both soften the lemon and kill any bacteria that may be on the lemon skin.
Let the lemon cool enough to handle then cut it in slices and add it to the pint of honey on the stove.
Let mixture cook on warm heat for about an hour.
Then strain the lemon from the honey making sure all lemon seeds are removed.
Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator. To soothe a cough, take 1/2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day, or as often as needed. Adults can take 1-tablespoon doses.

Is Honey a Healthy Natural Sweetener? How to Avoid Fake Honey

As far as natural sweeteners go, honey does have a place. The main thing to remember when it comes to honey is that not all honey is created equal. The antibacterial activity in some honeys is 100 times more potent than in others, while processed refined honey will lack many of these beneficial properties altogether. Your average domestic “Grade A” type honey found in the grocery store is likely highly processed.

It’s also been found that more than 75 percent of the honey on American supermarket shelves may be ultra-processed—to the point that all inherent medicinal properties are completely gone—and then smuggled into the country by the barrel drum. Nearly all of this “fake” honey is made in China. Some of these brokers will even create bogus country of origin papers. All 60 jars of “honey” tested by Food Safety News (FSN) came back negative for pollen, which is a clear sign of ultra-processing.15 According to FSN:

“The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies. The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others have also ruled that without pollen, there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.”

In their investigation, FSN discovered the following:

76 percent of honey samples bought at grocery stores (such as TOP Food, Safeway, QFC, Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.) were absent of pollen
77 percent of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen
100 percent of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen
The good news is all of the samples from farmers markets, co-ops, and natural stores like Trader Joe’s had the full, proper compliment of pollen, as did organic brands from common grocery stores. When choosing honey, be sure it is raw, unfiltered, and 100% pure, from a trusted source.

Honey Should Be Consumed Only in Moderation

Honey has many healthy attributes, but it is also high in fructose, averaging around 53 percent. Each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose, which means it can exacerbate pre-existing insulin resistance and wreak havoc on your body if consumed in excess. So when consuming honey, carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) that you consume each day, and stay below 25 grams of total fructose per day.

Keep in mind, though, that if you have insulin resistance (i.e. if you are taking drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight) you’d be better off avoiding all sweeteners, including honey, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity and worsen your insulin resistance. If you’re healthy, however, eating raw honey in moderation could provide many of the benefits listed above.

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New Film “Second Opinion” Exposes the Truth About a 40-Year Long Cover-Up of Laetrile Cancer Treatment

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By Dr. Mercola

Second Opinion: Laetrile At Sloan-Kettering – by Eric Merola (Watch free from Oct. 18 – Oct. 24, 2014) from Merola Films on Vimeo.

If you are old enough, you might recall a controversy in the early 1970s regarding the compound Laetrile, purported to prevent the spread of cancer. New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was ground zero in that firestorm.

In the early 1970s, America’s war on cancer was in full force, and Sloan Kettering was regarded as one of the world’s leading cancer research centers.

But Sloan Kettering’s Board of Directors swept positive findings about Laetrile under the rug when it became unprofitable and publicly unpopular for them to support it.

Their Laetrile research was done under their own roof by one of the world’s most respected cancer researchers of the day—Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura. One person—and only one—has come forward with the truth about what turned out to be one of the most reprehensible cover-ups in the history of cancer research.

In 1974, young science writer Ralph Moss had just netted his first big-time job in Sloan Kettering’s public relations department, but he soon found himself smack dab in the middle of the Laetrile fiasco.

In July 1977, Moss was no longer willing to lie on behalf of his employer, so he exposed the truth about Sloan Kettering’s conduct at a highly publicized press conference. The next business day he was fired and swiftly escorted to the door by armed guards.

This story is personally recounted in a new documentary Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan Kettering,1, 2 in which Moss reveals the full extent of the Laetrile cover-up, in its entirety, as an insider. He’s also written a book about it, called Doctored Results.

Eric Merola is an award winning documentarian whose prior work includes Burzynski: The Movie and Burzynski—Cancer is Serious Business, Part II. The experience was life changing for Ralph Moss, who has since devoted his career to independently evaluating the claims of conventional and nonconventional cancer treatments.

The fact that mainstream media has embraced this documentary with positive reviews is rather astonishing, and perhaps a sign of changing times.

“Though a documentary, it’s dramatic enough to be reminiscent of ‘The Insider,’ the whistleblowing thriller about Big Tobacco.”
—Graham Fuller, New York Daily News, August 28, 2014

What Is Laetrile?

Laetrile is the patented drug made from the natural compound amygdalin, found in the seeds of many fruits, such as apricot, plum and peach pits, apple seeds, and quince, as well as in almonds. Laetrile is also known as Amigdalina B-17 or vitamin B17, although there is very little evidence it warrants classification as a vitamin.

Amygdalin contains glucose, benzaldehyde, and cyanide. Cyanide is believed to be the active cancer-toxic ingredient in Laetrile. However, cyanide is toxic to all cells, so Laetrile’s overall toxicity is a concern.3

Some Laetrile proponents claim that it’s more toxic to cancer cells than to normal cells.4 Getting cyanide poisoning from apple seeds or almonds is extremely unlikely.5

In 1924, Laetrile was synthesized from amygdalin and promoted as a cancer treatment. By 1978, it was estimated that more than 70,000 Americans had tried it—despite its being banned in the US since 1963. Most people obtain Laetrile from Tijuana clinics, as the agent is still legal in Mexico.6

Dr. Sugiura’s Research

Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura7 spent most of his career at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, authoring more than 250 papers and receiving numerous awards, including the highest honors from the Japan Medical Association for outstanding contributions in cancer research.

While studying Laetrile, which was previously written off as “quack medicine,” Dr. Sugiura discovered Laetrile to have very positive effects in preventing the spread of malignant lung tumors in laboratory mice.

In control groups, which received only plain saline, the lung tumors spread in 80 to 90 percent of the animals. But in those given Laetrile, the tumors spread in only 10 to 20 percent.8

Then, the Cover-Up

By 1974, the findings were so positive that Sloan Kettering had signed off on clinical trials—but suddenly everything changed.9 The center began shifting their Laetrile experiments away from Dr. Sugiura to other scientists. But every time new experiments even hinted at a positive outcome, the research was scrapped, for ridiculous reasons.

Even the scientists at Sloan Kettering who had previously been supportive of Sugiura’s studies began to characterize Laetrile as a fraud—yet nothing had changed scientifically to negate Sugiura’s findings. Despite the opposition, Dr. Sugiura stood firmly by his work.

Ralph Moss had befriended Dr. Sugiura from the beginning of his employment at Sloan Kettering, and Sugiura had excitedly shared his findings about Laetrile with Moss. When things went south, Moss was suddenly caught in a dilemma.

His only choices were to lie, in order to support his employer, or tell the truth and sacrifice his job and potentially his career. He tried leaking the documents of Sugiura’s work to the editor of the New York Times, but they never saw the light of day.

Ultimately, Moss chose to come clean at a press conference in July 1977, which ended up being the final day of his employment at Sloan Kettering. He was admonished to never set foot in the facility again. What happened to cause this sudden, drastic shift about Laetrile?

Embarrassment Over Patchwork Mice

Just prior to the Laetrile controversy, Sloan Kettering was already reeling in embarrassment from research fraud, courtesy of dermatologist William T. Summerlin. In 1974, Summerlin was supposedly studying transplantation immunology and claimed to have successfully performed the first skin transplant from a black mouse onto a white mouse—quite a scientific feat, as they were genetically unrelated animals.

Shortly thereafter, technicians noticed that the black “pigmentation” on the white mice wiped off with a cotton swab, tipping them off that Summerlin had merely colored the skin patch with a black permanent marker. Further investigation revealed that many of Summerlin’s prior studies were equally bogus.10

Sloan Kettering did not want to be in the spotlight for anything else even remotely resembling quackery, and Laetrile was considered too controversial. The problem was compounded by the fact that the pro-Laetrile movement had been commandeered by the extreme right wing John Birch Society, with whom the center did not want to be associated. And then, you must consider the individuals comprising Sloan Kettering’s Board of Directors.

Sloan Kettering’s Board Included Drug and Petrochemical Industry Big-Wigs

According to Ralph Moss, the Laetrile cover-up really only makes sense when viewed through the lens of “the politics of cancer.” According to Moss:11 “The individuals on Sloan Kettering’s Board of Directors were a ‘Who’s Who’ of investors in petrochemical and other polluting industries. In other words, the hospital was being run by people who made their wealth by investing in the worst cancer-causing things on the planet.”

The Board was dominated by CEOs from top pharmaceutical companies that produce cancer drugs, whose interest was in promoting chemotherapy and undermining natural therapies. For example, both the Chairman and Vice President of Bristol-Myers Squibb (the world’s leading manufacturer of chemotherapy drugs) occupied high positions on the Board. Of the nine members of the hospital’s powerful Institutional Policy Committee, seven had ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Even the hospital itself invested in stock of these drug companies. The Board also included directors of the biggest tobacco companies in the US—Phillip Morris and RJR Nabisco. Moss writes:

“With this background in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that Sugiura’s findings did not please his employer. What goes on inside the laboratories is generally of little interest to board members. It is assumed that, whatever it is, it will result in a new patented drug that will keep the cash flow moving in their direction. They were slow to pick up on the implications of Sugiura’s work, but when they did, all hell broke loose in the board room. If a cure for cancer were to be found in an extract from the lowly apricot seed, it would be a terrible economic blow to the cancer-drug industry.”

Related to this is one very telling quote that comes near the end of the film, attributed to William W. Vodra, the former Associate Chief Counsel for Drugs at the USFDA: “Nobody is going to pay $70,000 for a new cancer drug if they can buy Laetrile for 75 cents.” The Sloan Kettering Board likely realized that Laetrile offered no hope as a profitable cancer treatment—so it had to be squelched.

Corporate Greed Knows No Bounds

The Laetrile story is not unlike the Stanislaw Burzynski and Nicholas Gonzalez stories, where potentially powerful cancer treatments are silenced by those whose real agenda is to protect corporate bank accounts. The cancer paradigm is based on toxic drugs, dangerous surgeries, and expensive machines. There’s an enormous amount of money to be made in this system, and those who threaten to overturn it will pay a steep price.

Conventional medicine purports to be beholden to science-based medicine, yet it resists and denies solid science-based evidence again and again. Things have not changed much since the 1974 Laetrile cover-up—in fact, they may getting worse. “Science” may not be as trustworthy as we would all like to believe. We continue to see one case after another of shocking medical science fraud, particularly in the extremely profitable cancer industry.

Our current medical system has been masterfully orchestrated by the drug companies to create a system that gives the perception of science based medicine when it is really a heavily manipulated process designed to boost their profits, and more accurately labeled science biased medicine. One review of retracted biomedical and life-science research found that only 21 percent of retractions were due to errors—the rest were due to misconduct, fraud, or plagiarism.

The more respected or influential the journal was, the more likely its retractions were attributed to fraud or suspected fraud! Even the prestigious Mayo Clinic is not immune to this type of scandal, retracting 19 papers from nine research journals due to shady research a few years back. Ralph Moss was very clear in saying he’s not an advocate for Laetrile, but rather an advocate for truth in medical science. An interesting aside is that another laetrile researcher, Dr. Harold Manner, was head of the biology department at Loyola University in the late 70s. Two of his graduate students, Dr. Tom Michalson and Dr. Steve Disanti, were in my medical school class and their Laetrile stories confirmed the details in this story.

Contemporary Laetrile Studies Confirm Sugiura’s Work—But an Apology from Sloan Kettering Is Nowhere to Be Found

The research into Laetrile did not stop just because Sloan Kettering buried it 40 years ago. Many recent studies confirm Dr. Sugiura’s work, supporting his conclusion that Laetrile shows potential in reducing the spread of cancer, although it’s not a cure. Laetrile and amygdalin may also have benefits for other medical issues, such as kidney disease. Here are just a few of the more recent studies that substantiate Dr. Sugiura’s work:

August 2014: In a new German study, amygdalin dose-dependently reduced growth and proliferation of bladder cancer12
May 2013: Amygdalin inhibits renal fibrosis in chronic kidney disease; researchers conclude it is a “potent antifibrotic agent that may have therapeutic potential for patients with fibrotic kidney diseases”13
February 2013: Amygdalin induces apoptosis in human cervical cancer cells; authors conclude it may offer a new therapeutic option for cervical cancer patients14
August 2006: Amygdalin also induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells15
February 2003: Amygdalin from Prunus persica seeds (peach pits) shows anti-tumor effects comparable to epigallocatechin gallate in green tea16
Despite contemporary research findings, you will find no retraction (or apology) by Sloan Kettering, and sadly, the vast majority of cancer information sites claim that Laetrile is useless as a cancer treatment. Laetrile was a lost opportunity. This type of misinformation is rampant in the industry, and the people who really suffer are those battling cancer and denied access to treatments that could potentially save them or extend their lives. The facts show that Dr. Sugiura was both competent and honest, but instead of accolades, he received nothing but grief because he just happened to step into the middle of a political hornets’ nest.

Sign the Petition Now!

Ralph Moss’s organization Second Opinion has a petition urging Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to acknowledge its positive results about Laetrile from the 1970s. You can sign that petition here. Since being fired by Sloan Kettering in 1975, Ralph Moss has written or edited 12 books and three film documentaries about issues related to cancer research and treatment. He currently directs The Moss Reports, an up-to-date library of detailed reports on more than 200 types of cancer. You can obtain further information about Dr. Moss and his work on his website.

If you liked this documentary, you can support this project by renting or buying the entire package which also includes an additional 74 minutes of ‘extras’ exploring many other parts to this story here.

Or purchase the DVD or Blu-ray at a reduced price here.

Sources and References
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Ebola – U.S. Weapon?

by Larry Stell
Ebola News is getting very strange indeed
and U. S. government makes Vaccines mandatory?

and the CDC Owns the Ebola Patent!
http://www.google.com/patents/CA2741523A1

Strange indeed!

Here is a direct quote from Mike Adams, The Health Ranger, “Piece by piece, a case is building that shows the U.S. government may be actively encouraging the spread of Ebola in America.”
It is known that the CDC owns the patent on Ebola.
10 Pieces of information that raise all sorts of red flags:
http://www.naturalnews.com/047118_Ebola_pandemic_US_government_American_cities.html

Reporter Joe Biggs breaks down the rapid rise in possible Ebola victims who were in contact with the confirmed Ebola patient in Dallas, TX. He also breaks down how quickly this can escalate throughout the country with a possible Ebola patient now in Alaska.

Dallas hospital sent Ebola patient home despite exhibiting symptoms
Ebola Conference Dodges Hard Questions
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HOW TO OIL PULL: for naturally white teeth & a healthy body

by Larry Stell

Here is the story as told by Alexandra Bruce, publisher of ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.com.

“I never heard of “oil pulling” your teeth in my whole life, until I arrived in Rio de Janeiro yesterday morning, from my brother who has been suffering from a mysterious and completely debilitating illness which looks as if it’s finally been correctly
diagnosed the day before I arrived, as Trigeminal neuralgia.

“For the past three years, my brother has up until today been unable to eat
practically anything without triggering what seemed like a food allergy reaction,
leading to paroxysmic migraine attacks. I have never seen anybody suffer as
much physical agony as he and it’s been the worst thing I’ve ever had to watch,
including some really tough stuff my parents’ cancers have caused the past
few years.”

“I was not surprised to learn, from this new diagnosis today that, indeed,
Trigeminal neuralgia is described as producing the “most painful conditions
known to humankind” and was known as “suicide disease” before it was
medically identified, because it made life so impossible for the sufferer that
suicide was the only way to finally find relief.”

“I suspect that his condition is a sequela of a freak accident he had a decade ago,
when he fell three stories (around 60 feet), through his neighbor’s roof one afternoon,
smashed the back of his skull on a pillar’s capital in mid-fall, before landing on the
cement floor of an art studio, resulting in a “hangman’s break” of C2, the second
vertebra beneath your head, which can lead to becoming quadriplegic, when it
doesn’t just result in death – and in fact, the doctor in the emergency room in
London said that he’d “never seen this type of break in a living body.” After two
weeks of traction, the doctors gave up and fused his vertebrae together with a
titanium rod – didn’t like what they saw, went back in and did it again – but
miraculously, my brother never suffered any ill effects, let alone any other broken
bones from this mishap.”

“The recent mystery illness has left him so malnourished and he is severely
underweight and he’s been desperately trying to learn everything he could to solve
the riddle of what was happening to him, which is what brought him to Brazil, which
actually has great medicine. My stepfather chose to have his quintuple bypass here, in
Rio and at 80, he is back to playing tennis three times per week. (He worked for a
major pharmaceutical company before it was bought by Monsanto).”

“One of the many new things my brother has learned about is suddenly becoming trendy in the West but it is actually an ancient ayurvedic practice called “oil pulling”, as part of one’s daily dental care routine.”

“Oil pulling is supposed to be great for naturally whitening your teeth, keeping your teeth and gums healthy, stopping caries from forming, re-mineralizing your teeth and detoxifying your whole body.”

“We’re all going to do it tomorrow morning with coconut oil, because of the additional benefits associated with coconut oil and neurological conditions, including the reversal of
Alzheimer’s symptoms and “chemo-brain,” my mother having survived 18 infusions and
successfully put her cancer into remission for the second time and who is now suffering from neuropathy in her legs.”

You can learn all about oil-pulling from the pretty young woman in the video above!  Perhaps it is time to add this to your daily hygiene routine

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Important Factors Typically Ignored in Mental Health Screening Tests

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By Dr. Mercola

According to the US National Institute of Mental Health, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs and among some groups like women in their 40 and 50s it is one in four.1

In 2010, antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed type of medication in the US.2 October 9 was National Depression Screening Day in the US,3 coinciding with World Mental Health Day.

The campaign, founded in 1991 by Douglas Jacobs, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, urges Americans to get screened for depression, offered free of charge at doctor’s offices, colleges, community institutions, and hospitals across the nation.

Unfortunately, the importance of things like vitamin D and gut health for the maintenance of mental and emotional stability is still frequently ignored. Exercise is another widely overlooked remedy that would do far more good than any drug ever will.

And that’s the problem I have with campaigns like National Depression Screening Day. Rarely if ever do these mental health tests include questions about sun exposure, diet, or exercise habits…

The Problem with Mental Health Screening Tests

Mental health screening tests could serve to improve the mental health of millions, if vitamin D screening, diet, and other lifestyle factors were addressed. But all in all, mental health screenings typically do little besides promote the use of antidepressants.

For example, the free online depression screening test offered by WebMD back in 2010 turned out to be sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta, and was rigged in such a way that no matter how you responded, the answer was always the same: “You may be at risk for major depression, and it would probably do you well to discuss it with your doctor…”

The test was absolutely useless, and was purposely designed to lure in new patients for a drug pitch. When looking at the research literature, short-term trials show that antidepressants actually do NOT provide any clinically significant benefits for mild to moderate depression, compared to a placebo.

Long-term studies also indicate that of people with major depression, only about 15 percent that are treated with an antidepressant go into remission and stay well for a long period of time. The remaining 85 percent start having continuing relapses and become chronically depressed!

All drugs have benefit-to-risk ratios, so if a drug is as effective as a placebo in relieving symptoms, and comes with an array of hazardous side effects, it really doesn’t make sense to use them as a first line of defense—especially if they raise your risk of mental illness over the long term! Based on the scientific evidence there are many better options.

Vitamin D Deficiency Can Play a Role in Depression

Most countries in which depression rates are high tend to be in northern latitudes where vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, and numerous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can predispose you to depression, and that depression can respond favorably to optimizing your vitamin D stores.

For example, one previous study found that seniors with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels. More recent research was discussed in a Times Online article:4

“A study in the United States indicated that vitamin D deficiency occurred more often in certain people, including African-Americans, city dwellers, the obese, and those suffering from depression.

People with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL had an 85 percent increased risk of depression compared to those with vitamin D levels greater than 30 ng/mL” [Emphasis mine]

Vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder5 (SAD), and according to a double-blind randomized trial6 published in 2008: “It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D and symptoms of depression.

Supplementation with high doses of vitamin D seems to ameliorate these symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship.” Recent research also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. As reported by Michigan State University:7

“The study, published in the September issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found that around 60 percent of the suicidal patients were deficient in vitamin D according to clinical standards.

The suicidal patients’ levels of Vitamin D were significantly lower than those in the healthy controls… The patients who were deficient in vitamin D also had higher inflammatory markers in their blood, the study found, suggesting that low levels of vitamin D could be a cause of the inflammation.

Previous studies have shown that increased inflammation in the body might be a contributing factor to depression and suicidal tendencies. Vitamin D deficiency also previously has been linked to mental illness, including depression.” [Emphasis mine]

To suggest that depression is rooted in nutrient deficiencies and other lifestyle related factors does not detract from the fact that it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed with compassion and non-judgment. It simply shifts the conversation about what the most appropriate answers and remedies are.

During this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, KCWY13,8 a local news channel in Wyoming, wisely noted that:

“Vitamin D is important because it helps fight off depression… Dee Ann Lippincott, of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center said, ‘The higher altitude you go and the higher you go in the country the higher the rates of depression.’

While sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D and ward off depression, it isn’t the only way. For example there’s a strong connection between a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind.

Lippincott said, ‘People who eat a healthier diet are less prone to depression then people who eat the more western diet which is more based on junk food and fast food, and not a lot of fruits and vegetables.’”

The Links Between Gut and Mental Health

Your mental health is also linked to your gut health. As with vitamin D, a number of studies have confirmed that gastrointestinal inflammation can play a critical role in the development of depression. For example, a Hungarian scientific review9 published in 2011 made the following observations:

1. Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes and also cancer, in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a significant contributing factor. Thus researchers suggested “depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome.”

2. Research suggests the primary cause of inflammation may be dysfunction of the “gut-brain axis.” Your gut is literally your second brain — created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation — and contains larger levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control. It’s important to understand that your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of serotonin regulation and actually produce more serotonin than your brain. Optimizing your gut flora is a key part of the equation to optimize your levels.
If you consume loads of processed foods and sugars, your gut bacteria will be severely compromised because processed foods tend to decimate healthy microflora. This leaves a void that is filled by disease-causing bacteria and yeast and fungi that will promote inflammation and decrease the health of your second brain.

3. An increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammation with probiotics, vitamin B, vitamin D, and omega-3 fats may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life by attenuating pro-inflammatory stimuli to your brain.

Sugar Is Also a Major Factor in Depression

Nearly 40 years ago, William Duffy penned a great book on this subject, called The Sugar Blues. It delves into the sugar-depression link in great detail, and is as applicable today as it was then. The central argument Duffy makes in the book is that sugar is extremely health-harming and addictive, and that simply making one dietary change — eliminating as much sugar as possible — can have a profoundly beneficial impact on your mental health.

This really makes sense when you consider that sugar not only triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation, it also distorts the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. Both of these factors—chronic inflammation and imbalanced microflora—play integral roles in the quality of your second brain and your mental health.

Sugar feeds pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi that inhibit the beneficial and health promoting bacteria in your gut. Sugar can also lead to excessive insulin release that can lead to hypoglycemia, which, in turn, causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, and an increase in suicide risk. Cultured and fermented foods, on the other hand, help reseed your gut with a wide variety of healthy bacteria that promote mental and physical health as long as your keep your sugar and processed food intake low.

For instance, one 2011 study10 found that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus has a marked effect on GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowers the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior. So the two-prong dietary answer for treating depression is to a) severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains, and b) introduce fermented foods into your diet to rebalance your gut flora. As a standard recommendation, I suggest limiting your daily fructose consumption from all sources to 25 grams per day or less.

Exercise Proven More Helpful Than Antidepressants

Regular exercise is another “secret weapon” to overcoming depression. It primarily works by helping to normalize your insulin levels while simultaneously boosting “feel good” hormones in your brain. According to Dr. James S. Gordon, MD, a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression:

“What we’re finding in the research on physical exercise is that exercise is at least as good as antidepressants for helping people who are depressed… physical exercise changes the level of serotonin in your brain. And it increases your endorphin levels, your ‘feel good hormones.’”

Medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker also discusses the drawbacks and benefits of various treatments in the video above and in his two books: Mad in America, and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, noting the superior benefits of exercise compared to drugs. Recent animal research also suggests that exercise can benefit your mental health by allowing your body to eliminate kynurenine, a harmful protein associated with depression. According to Reuters:11

“’If you consistently exercise and your muscle is conditioned and adapted to physical exercise, then you acquire the ability to express this class of enzymes that have the ability to detoxify something that accumulates during stress and that will be harmful for you,’ senior study author Dr. Jorge Ruas of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm said…

The body metabolizes this substance, kynurenine, from tryptophan, a process that is activated by stress and by inflammatory factors… Studies have linked high levels of kynurenine – which readily crosses the blood-brain barrier – to depression, suicide and schizophrenia… Clinicians can use the findings to help their patients understand why physical activity can fight off depression, Dr. Ruas said, which may improve their compliance with exercise recommendations.”

How to Optimize Your Vitamin D Level

Based on the evaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, the optimal range for general physical and mental health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml. As for HOW to optimize your vitamin D levels, I firmly believe that sensible sun exposure is the best way. If you can’t get enough sunshine in late fall, winter, or early spring, then a tanning bed would be your next best option. Keep in mind that most tanning equipment use magnetic ballasts, which create harmful EMF fields. If you hear a loud buzzing noise while in a tanning bed, it has a magnetic ballast system. I strongly recommend you avoid these types of beds and restrict your use of tanning beds to those that use electronic ballasts.

If your circumstances don’t allow you to access the sun or a safe tanning bed, then you really only have one option left, and that is to take a vitamin D supplement. GrassrootsHealth has a helpful chart showing the average adult dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based upon your measured starting point. Many experts agree that 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight could be used as an estimate for your ideal dose.

Keep in mind that if you opt for a vitamin D supplement, you also need to take vitamin K2. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues. Vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the consequences similar to vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries.

 

vitamin d levels

Test Your Vitamin D Levels at Least Once a Year—Even if You’re Healthy

I recommend testing your vitamin D level at least once a year, in the middle of the winter when your level would be at its lowest. This will give you an idea of the extent of your insufficiency. Ideally, you’d want to get your level tested several times a year, at regular intervals, to ensure you’re continuously staying within the ideal range. Once you know your pattern and can comfortably predict that you will not fall below 60 ng/ml, then it would be fine to shift to annual testing.

It’s important to remember that optimal vitamin D levels appear to offer powerful PREVENTION of a whole host of chronic diseases, not just depression, so please, do not wait for a problem to appear before addressing your vitamin D status. The D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth is one cost effective solution. 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

Rethinking Your First Line of Defense Against Depression

There are many options besides antidepressants for addressing depression. Three of the most effective strategies have been addressed above, which include:

Optimizing your vitamin D level, ideally through appropriate sun exposure
Optimizing your gut health by limiting or eliminating sugar, fructose, grains, and processed foods from your diet, and introducing fermented foods and/or a high-quality probiotic
Getting regular exercise
Other helpful strategies include the use of energy psychology, getting adequate vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats, and getting enough sleep. Engaging in outdoor activities such as gardening can also do wonders. As a general rule, it would be wise to remember that your lifestyle can quite literally make or break your health and general sense of wellbeing and may be one of the most fundamental contributors to depression. The most appropriate answer then is to get to the root of the problem, and not ignore it by popping pills…

You’d be well advised to address the factors discussed in this article before resorting to drug treatment—which science has shown is no more effective than placebo, while being fraught with potentially dangerous side effects. For even more inspiration, please see my previous article “13 Mind-Body Techniques That Can Help Ease Depression.”

That said, if you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest Hospital Emergency Department.

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Juicing—One of the Best Tools for Improving Your Health

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By Dr. Mercola

Vegetable juice is an enormously helpful tool for improving your health. Dr. Andrew Saul, who’s been a guest here many times before, is a lifelong juicer.

His book, Vegetable Juicing for Everyone: How to Get Your Family Healthier and Happier, Faster!, is a fantastic resource, offering lots of practical tips for integrating juicing into your life, and having fun doing it.

“My father juiced and my children were raised on juice. By the way, that’s what the book is about. The whole sordid story of what it’s like to raise your kids with juicing when the neighbors think you’re crazy and your relatives are sure,” Dr. Saul says.

“In the 39 years that I’ve been working with folks and teaching in the natural health arena, the one thing that’s helped more people more consistently is vegetable juicing.”

Dr. Max Gerson was one of the pioneers of juicing. He suffered terrible migraine headaches, which he eventually resolved by drinking vegetable juice.

Once word spread, patients started coming in to be relieved of their migraines and ended up improving their health in other ways as well. Eventually, Dr. Gerson realized that vegetable juice is a metabolic therapy, capable of combating virtually any disease.

“The advantage of the juicer is, first of all, it reduces [large amounts of] vegetables into a few manageable glasses. That means you get a nice, easy-to-take, and quick food concentrate,” Dr. Saul says.

“It has zero cholesterol, practically zero fat, lots of fiber, lots of minerals, and lots of vitamins…

The juicer also does a good job of making the nutrients available. [W]hen you juice, you break down the cell walls and you release these nutrients and liquid solution. When you drink that, you absorb it.”

Juicing really is for everyone. Even people with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and other kinds of gastrointestinal problems can usually handle vegetable juice, whereas they may not be able to eat a lot of raw food.

The Importance of High-Quality Produce

Using organic produce is very important when juicing. The price of organic produce can be a challenge for some. One alternative is to grow your own, making sure not to use synthetic pesticides and optimizing your soil by adding mulch or wood chips, which will promote beneficial soil microbes.

“Just say no to GMOs. Make sure that you grow as much as you can. If you really want to make an impact on this world, the answer is self-reliant production of your own food,” Dr. Saul notes.

If the juice doesn’t taste good, you’re not going to want to drink it. Children are even more finicky than adults. But organic vegetables have a lot of flavor, and when picked straight from your own garden and juiced within minutes, the flavor is going to be at its peak. This is also true for the nutrient content.

Interestingly, one of the things I found in my own juicing experience is that some of the healthiest vegetables to juice are also some of the most bitter. This includes collards and mustard greens.

When using those, you’ll want to add them in smaller quantities and balance the bitterness with other ingredients. My favorite is lime, but you can also use cranberries or occasionally an apple.

“People say to me, ‘What should I juice?’ My answer is anything you can eat raw. Play around with it. Have some fun. Just try everything,” Dr. Saul suggests.

“I have a Facebook site called The Megavitamin Man. People go on there, and they talk about the different things that they’re juicing. I find it extremely entertaining because they’re so creative…

Cabbage juice is fantastic for the gastrointestinal tract, and beet juice is a good blood builder. [B]eet juice… is remarkably sweet. Now, it looks awful but it tastes great.”

Juice Fasting for General Health

Even if you don’t juice every day, Dr. Saul recommends getting into the habit of doing a juice fast about once a month, where you drink nothing but vegetable juices for three to seven days. It’s a great detox. Others have found new life by juicing every single day.

Experts typically recommend drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day. I believe the key is to drink enough fluids so that your urine is light yellow. If it’s dark, you’re not drinking enough. But when it comes to water, purity is really important. This is yet another benefit of vegetable juice.

It actually qualifies as water, and it is some of the absolute best water you can get. The reason is because it’s structured water—essentially high-quality living water. It’s actually different from regular water. It’s not H?O; it’s H3O2. And vegetables make magnificent structured water; far better than drinking filtered tap water.

Different Types of Juicers

There are three basic types of juicers:

Centrifugal type juicers that separate the juice from the fiber through a spinning process. These are the least expensive and the most common
Auger or masticating types of juicers that chew up the vegetables and push them through a strainer. They work very well and tend to give you more juice than a centrifugal juicer. Dr. Saul estimates you could get 20-25 percent more juice from a masticating juicer, which makes it a sensible choice even if you’re paying a little bit more for it. Over time, it’ll save you money as you can get by with fewer vegetables. They’re also quieter than other models, and tend to be easy to clean and assemble
Grind-and-press juicers that work like an apple cider mill. These are quite expensive and therefore generally not as popular
There are also blenders, which are different from juicers. A powerful blender will give you juice along with all the fibrous material from the vegetables. This can work well for the elderly, or people who have trouble chewing for whatever reason. But it also has drawbacks. The “juice” doesn’t taste as good and remember if it doesn’t taste good you won’t drink it. The other downside of blending is that it limits the amount of vegetables you can eat. And while fiber is certainly good, the nutrients in the juice are more important.

“There’s much to be said for that because nothing is lost, nothing is thrown away. And there is every value in having the complete food and just pulverizing it. The problem with that is not everybody likes it that way. It’s kind of a thick, baby food-like consistency,” Dr. Saul says.

Time Saving Tips, and a Warning About Storage

Provided you’re using organic veggies, a great way to save time when juicing is to clean them with a brush rather than peeling them. One exception is beets, which have a rather foul tasting skin. If you’re using non-organic vegetables, your best bet is to peel them, to avoid juicing pesticide residues. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, as this seals in pesticides.

Be aware that it can be difficult to discern if a vegetable has been waxed or not, because it can be applied in a very thin non-glossy layer. According to Dr. Saul, eggplant, turnips, cucumbers, and tomatoes are almost always waxed. Zucchini and squash are usually waxed but not always. Carrots are never waxed. Ideally, you’ll want to drink the juice right away. The longer it sits, the more nutrients are destroyed through the contact with air, which oxidizes them. You also lose taste.

“Can you do all your juicing in the morning, take it with you to work, and drink juice all day? The answer is you can. But you will lose quality and you will lose taste. That’s the number one reason I think people should have all their juice at once. But if you don’t want to do that, you can certainly juice in advance. Generally speaking, the masticating juicer will introduce less air into the juice than the centrifugal. People have told me that they get longer storage when they use a masticating or chewing juicer and not the centrifugal type.

The next trick is to fill the container all the way to the top. Don’t leave any airspace. My little trick is to add vitamin C as ascorbic acid at the top because it’s an antioxidant. You cap it up, and you’re good to go for a number of hours. You can take this with you.”

A helpful device that can prolong the life of your juice is called the FoodSaver. It vacuums out air from plastic bags that you then seal. But it also has an attachment that will suck out the air from the top of a Ball jar, essentially creating a vacuum seal to further limits the problem of oxidation, which is what destroys nutrients. You still need to keep the juice refrigerated, and you’ll want to drink it all that day. As noted by Dr. Saul:

“Whenever you have an oxygen low or oxygen-free atmosphere like that, there is a risk of botulism. We don’t want that. The way to avoid that is to simply drink the juice that day. Don’t think you can put it in your fridge all sealed up and leave it for two weeks. That’s not going to work.”

Storage of fresh juice also allows methanol to dissociate and increase over time, which is another reason to drink it as soon as possible. The human body is not adapted to detoxify methanol, which is why it can cause so many problems. For example, it can convert into formaldehyde that can then wind its way into your brain.

Methanol toxicity, which is primarily associated with the artificial sweetener aspartame, has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other health problems. Methanol is not a problem in fresh produce because the methanol is bound to pectin, which allows it to safely pass through your system, but the processing and storing of it could allow it to build up. So make sure you discard any left-over juice the next day.

More Information

As stated by Dr. Saul, in order to get and stay healthy, we need to get back to basics. It’s not very complicated when it really comes down to it, but if you listen to the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession, they all seem to make their living complicating things.

“We have been taught that the simple is not scientific. It’s not effective. It’s really not a viable alternative,” Dr. Saul says, “Yes, it is! The simple solution is usually the best one. When we’re looking at our health, it’s just amazing how many people ask me, ‘What vitamin should I take?’ They are eating a lousy diet, are overweight, don’t exercise, and they eat a lot of junk. Now, it’s good if they take the vitamins, but you still have to eat right. That means it’s got to come out of the dirt. It’s got to be good dirt, good seed, and you need a good quantity of it.

We need to get back to the land. It sounds kind of hippie-like, but the fact is, truth is truth. It’s always been a good idea to follow nature. We’re way off that. We need to turn around, look at the animal kingdom, and take the knowledge that we see in healthy animals. What can we do to improve our life? It’s very simple… ‘No junk.'”

If you’re looking for an entertaining book to get you juicing, whether you’re ready to try it out for the first time, or want to pick the habit back up, I highly recommend Dr. Saul’s book, Vegetable Juicing for Everyone, which he co-wrote with his daughter Helen Saul Case.

 

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What Is Cacao Good For?

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Crazy About Cacao

Botanical name: Theobroma cacao

One of the most wildly popular trees on the planet is the cacao, the plant species from which cocoa – and chocolate – is derived. While some might think cacao and cocoa are one in the same, they’re not, exactly. Cacao is the tree, while cocoa is the product made from it (not to be confused with coca, an evergreen shrub from which cocaine is concocted). Edible parts of cacao pods and the beans inside them can be processed to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter, or chocolate after being dried and fermented.

Because cocoa beans were prized for their medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties, they were traded just like currency among ancient South American civilizations. Rumor has it Casanova was fond of them.

The earliest known evidence that cacao was processed for ingestion goes back as far as 1,400 B.C.E., gathered from discoveries of its residue on pottery excavated in Honduras, possibly to ferment the pulp for making an adult beverage. Sweetened forms came about when the Europeans landed in the New World and tasted cacao in liquid form. Although they hated it at first, someone discovered that adding honey made it downright palatable. By the 17th century, this form of chocolate was all the rage in Europe, and subsequently, the world. It still is.

Health Benefits of Cacao

There’s been a lot of discussion about free radicals and antioxidants, but some are unsure of what these terms mean in regard to our health. Exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, and toxic chemicals, such as chemical weed killers, and unhealthy foods can all release free radical activity in the body, however they also can be produced by factors like stress, damaging healthy tissue. Antioxidants in the foods you eat reverse that process, helping to combat disease by zapping harmful free radicals.

That’s where cacao comes in. Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate – more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present. The precise blend of all these elements combined serve to kick in naturally occurring phytochemicals that have incredible benefits throughout the body, such as lowered LDL cholesterol, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk.

Phenethylamine, or PEA, is one of them. Large doses of this compound are said to be released into the brain when we’re attracted to someone, but natural pain- and stress-relieving chemicals known as neurotransmitters stimulate the secretion of endorphins to help us stay alert and focused.

Studies have shown that chocolate affects your emotions and mood by raising serotonin levels, which explains why chocolate is often craved when gloominess looms. Also to the rescue is a neurotransmitter called theobromine, a mild stimulant sometimes used as a treatment for depression. It releases the compound anandamide, which produces uniquely euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment.

For those who think chocolate must be bad for you (it has to be if it tastes so good, right?), rest assured: there’s only one gram of sugar in a half-cup serving of raw cacao. It’s what’s done with it that makes the difference. Unfortunately, high heat from processing and refining to produce different types of cocoa or chocolate damages the cocoa bean’s micronutrients, along with the health benefits.

Not only that, but additions like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sugar, and partially hydrogenated oils limit the amount of actual cocoa, and dairy products actually block the absorption of antioxidants, so if it’s nutritive benefits you’re looking for, your average chocolate bar isn’t likely to supply much.

Learn more about the beneficial role of sulfur in the body.

Studies on Cacao

According to one study, black tea, green tea, red wine, and cocoa are all high in phenolic phytochemicals, such as theaflavin, epigallocatechin gallate, resveratrol, and procyanidin, respectively, which have been extensively investigated due to their possible role as chemopreventive agents based on their antioxidant capacities. Cocoa contained much higher levels of total phenolics and exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. These results suggest that cocoa is more beneficial to health than teas and red wine.1

Another study showed that while eating lots of fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, there was also a similar relationship found with cocoa, a “naturally polyphenol-rich food.” Intervention studies strongly suggested that cocoa has several beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, such as lowering of blood pressure, improving vascular function and glucose metabolism, and reducing platelet aggregation and adhesion. Proposed mechanisms through which cocoa was thought to exert its positive effects included activation of nitric oxide synthase, increased bioavailability of nitric oxide, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.2

Cacao Healthy Recipes: Raw Cacao Fruit-Nut Bonbons

Cacao Healthy Recipes
Ingredients:

1 cup dates
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey (or stevia)
½ tsp. cardamom powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup coconut
½ cup raw cacao powder
¾ cup chopped soaked nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans)
¼ cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, and cranberries)
Procedure:

Place the dates in a food processor and process on high speed for 10 seconds. Add the coconut oil, honey, cardamom, cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla and process again for 10 to 20 seconds or until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Add the coconut and cacao powder and process again for another 10 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the chopped nuts and dried fruit, and mix well.
Use an ice cream scooper with a release lever (or a spoon) to place bonbons onto a parchment paper-lined plate or tray. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Cacao Fun Facts

The Aztecs gave cacao the name “yollotl eztli,” meaning “heart blood.” They may have understood even then the heart-benefiting aspects of eating what is now known to be a boost for the cardiovascular system.

Summary

I say cocoa, you say cacao, but there is a slight difference: Cacao is the tree; what’s made from it is cocoa. This moderately addictive plant-derived substance contains such amazingly powerful nutrients. Raw cacao powder has more than 300 phytochemicals and nearly four times the antioxidant power of regular dark chocolate, and contains protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, and sulfur these properties can be destroyed by high heat, so it’s important to know just what type of processes your cocoa powder and baking chocolate have undergone. .

Cacao can improve heart health, cholesterol, stress levels, and inflammation, to list just a few physical advantages. Fringe benefits cacao releases into the brain include anandamide, endorphins, phenylethylamine, and serotonin, all sparking descriptives like “blissful” and “euphoric.” All this satisfying goodness comes from a frothy mug of hot cocoa or a creamy bar of unadulterated chocolate. It’s no wonder the Spanish called it “black gold.”

Other sources:

http://grammarist.com/usage/cacao-cocoa/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2020555/For-chocolates-true-benefits-time-ditch-foil-real.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
http://livesuperfoods.com/raw-cacao-powder.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/029156_cacao_chocolate.html#ixzz2FgZIQQfG
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/rawfooddessertrecipes/r/raw-chocolate-truffles.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/029156_cacao_chocolate.html
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/brief-history-of-chocolate.html

References:

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How to Easily and Inexpensively Ferment Your Own Vegetables

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By Dr. Mercola

Caroline Barringer is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), and an expert in the preparation of the foods prescribed in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional Program.

I first met Caroline at the November 2011 Weston Price Wise Traditions event, where I had the opportunity to enjoy some amazing fermented vegetables that her company had prepared.

I immediately started incorporating them into my own diet, and after about six weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this minor change had dramatically decreased plaque formation on my teeth, which has been a chronic problem for me.

Caroline has been involved with nutrition for about 20 years, and is now one of Dr. McBride’s chief training partners, helping people understand the food preparation process, which relies heavily on fermented and traditionally-prepared whole foods.

Caroline’s journey began when her health suffered a blow.

“First and foremost, I’m a professional singer and voice-over artist. In my younger years, when I first moved to New York (I’m originally from Florida), I had a rigorous performance schedule, and this schedule really took a toll on my health,” she says.

“I noticed severe energy issues and chronic fatigue, acne, and a lot of reflux, a lot of digestive issues. So, I was searching for food to be my medicine.

I was a vegetarian for a while, so I first started out with Ann Wigmore’s Living Foods Lifestyle. And of course, she’s mostly vegan, but she’s into the whole enzyme-rich foods, the probiotic-rich foods. And that was really pivotal for me, even though I was still a vegetarian and I did not realize the importance of animal fats and animal products in my diet. It was the beginning of the journey to health for me.”

The Phenomenal Health Benefits of Fermented Vegetables

Cultured or fermented foods have a very long history in virtually all native diets, and have always been highly prized for their health benefits.

The culturing process produces beneficial microbes that are extremely important for human health as they help balance your intestinal flora, thereby boosting overall immunity. Moreover, your gut literally serves as your second brain, and even produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin—known to have a beneficial influence on your mood—than your brain does, so maintaining a healthy gut will benefit your mind as well as your body.

Fermented foods are also some of the best chelators and detox agents available, meaning they can help rid your body of a wide variety of toxins, including heavy metals. This is part of what makes Dr. McBride’s GAPS Nutritional Protocol so effective. It effectively restores your own detoxification system, and the fermented/cultured foods are instrumental in this self-healing process. And you don’t need to consume large amounts either.

Caroline recommends eating about a quarter to half a cup (2 to 4 oz) of fermented vegetables or other cultured food, such as raw yoghurt, with one to three meals per day. Bear in mind that since cultured foods are very efficient detoxifiers, you may experience detox symptoms, or a “healing crisis,” if you introduce too many at once. Caroline recommends beginning with very small servings and working your way up to the quarter- to half cup serving size. This way your intestinal microbiota has the chance to adjust.

“If they introduce too much, too fast, they will experience some die-off symptoms that can be uncomfortable and confusing. This is where we lose people. The innate intelligence of their bodies tells them to eat more cultured foods because they’re in such a state of dysbiosis. So, they go to town and eat a whole jar of veggies. Then they go into a healing crisis and they are afraid to try cultured foods again,” Caroline warns.

“… Start slow, and that way you won’t have a headache or you won’t have that outbreak… you will start to see yourself eliminating more naturally, and the proper stool will form, the shape will change, and it will be all be beneficial to you. Let your innate intelligence guide you, and if you see something or feel something that’s not so right, don’t dismiss the cultured foods and say, “Oh, that was bad for me, it caused a reaction.” That’s not what your body’s telling you. Your body’s telling you, “Slow down.”

There are Many Varieties of Cultured Foods

Ideally, you’ll want to include a variety of cultured foods and beverages in your diet, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms. Fermented foods you can easily make at home include:

Cultured vegetables (including pureed baby foods)
Chutneys
Condiments, such as salsa and mayonnaise
Cultured dairy, such as yoghurt, kefir, and sour cream
Fish, such as mackerel and Swedish gravlax

In this interview, Caroline discusses the process of fermenting your own vegetables in some detail, so for more information, please listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript. According to her, most people are very intimidated, if not downright frightened that the culturing process might lead to some horrific pathogenic infection… While understandable, this fear is undeserved. Caroline addresses this and other concerns in her article “Taking the Mystery out of Culturing Your Own Superfoods.”1 Clearly, educating yourself about the process will help alleviate concerns about eating fermented foods, which are very much “alive.”

“If they could only grasp the important concept that it’s NOT the microbe; rather, it is the terrain (immune system) we should be worried about!” she says.

How to Culture Your Own Vegetables

While you can do wild fermentation, which is allowing whatever is on the vegetable or fruit that you’re culturing to just naturally take hold and culture the food, this method is very time consuming. Inoculating the food using a so-called starter culture speeds up the fermentation process.

Although you can use a crock pot, Caroline recommends culturing your veggies directly in the glass Mason jars, which eliminates the need for a crock pot and eliminates a transfer step in the process. This also allows you to make smaller batches, and it eliminates the presence of wild yeasts which can occur when using a crock. These yeasts tend to give the food a cheesy sort of flavor, which many find unpalatable.

Here’s a quick summary of Caroline’s recipe for how to make your own fermented veggies:

Shred and cut your chosen veggies
Juice some celery. This is used as the brine, as it contains natural sodium and keeps the vegetables anaerobic. This eliminates the need for sea salt, which prevents growth of pathogenic bacteria
Pack the veggies and celery juice along with the inoculants (starter culture, such as kefir grains, whey, or commercial starter powder like our Complete Probiotics, all of which can be used for vegetables) into a 32 ounce wide-mouthed canning jar. A kraut pounder tool can be helpful to pack the jar and eliminate any air pockets. We hope to have our new starter culture which is optimized with strains of bacteria that will make high doses of vitamin K2 sometime in early 2013 assuming our testing goes well.
Top with a cabbage leaf, tucking it down the sides. Make sure the veggies are completely covered with celery juice and that the juice is all the way to the top of the jar to eliminate trapped air
Seal the jar store in a warm, slightly moist place for 24 to 96 hours, depending on the food being cultured. Ideal temperature range is 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit; 85 degrees max. Remember, heat kills the microbes!
When done, store in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process
Here are a few of Caroline’s suggestion for how to store the jars for optimal fermentation. (Remember, they don’t require a heated environment and only need to be kept around 72 degrees):

“Simply put the jars into a [portable] cooler and place the cooler OFF the floor (the floor is usually too cold due to heat rising away from it). Wrap the jars inside the cooler in an old towel and place an additional jar of HOT water into the cooler to make the environment warm. You can replace the hot water jar when you “think” about it – no need to obsess.

You can also place the jars in a casserole dish or baking dish and wrap them in a towel and place them in your oven with the oven heat OFF of course, but switch the oven light on. The heat emitting from the appliance bulb will keep the veggies warm.

Another option is to place as many jars as possible into a dehydrator and set it to the lowest temperature setting, but most dehydrators only accommodate a couple of jars max. It’s best to prepare many jars at one time due to the given fact that making veggies is a labor intensive process. I like the cooler or oven incubation processes best. They work well every time.”

Last but not least, resist the temptation to eat out of the jar! This can introduce organisms from your mouth into the jar. Instead, always use a clean spoon to take out what you’re going to eat, then, making sure the remaining veggies are covered with the brine solution, recap the jar.

One Dozen Tips and Tricks for Making Delicious Cultured Vegetables

Due to my own interest, Caroline has shared a lot of information with me. Here are a dozen more of her tips and tricks that she didn’t share during the interview:

Cabbage should comprise at least 80 percent of your vegetable blend. Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips and other hard root veggies can also serve as a great base for your cultured veggies, but they’re not as economical.
Five to six medium-sized heads of cabbage will yield about 10-14 quart-size (32 oz) jars of fermented veggies.
You can use red or green cabbage, but make sure they’re hard and heavy, with densely packed leaves. The lighter, leafier varieties will tend to turn into mush that doesn’t ferment well.
Add in other vegetables to suit your taste, such as: red, yellow or orange bell pepper, butter nut squash, dill, parsley, kale, collards and red or golden beets. Beware: use bell peppers sparingly as they have a very strong presence. One small pepper for 12 to 14 jars is plenty.
Always use ORGANIC vegetables!
Peel your vegetables as the skins can add a bitter flavor.
When adding aromatics, such as onion, garlic and ginger, remember that fermenting increases the flavor multiple-fold, so a little goes a long way. Don’t overdo it! A few medium-size cloves is enough to infuse a dozen jars or more with a mild garlic flavor.
Onion tends to overpower, no matter how little is used, so Caroline doesn’t use it in any of her blends.
When adding herbs, only use fresh organic herbs, in small amounts. Tasty additions include: basil, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano.
Add sea vegetables or seaweed to increase the mineral, vitamin and fiber content. You can add pieces of whole dulse, or use flakes. Wakame and sea palm, which do not have any kind of fishy flavor, need to be presoaked and diced into desired size. Arame and hijaki do have a fishy flavor.
Use two packets of starter culture for a 12-14 jar batch during summer season. In the winter, you’ll need three packets.
During summer, veggies are typically done in three to four days. In the winter, they may need up to seven days. Just open up the jar and have a taste. Once you’re happy with the flavor and consistency, move the jars into the fridge.
Tools of the Trade

Having the right tools can make the process easier. You don’t need much, but canning jars, and a food processor to slice and dice large amounts of vegetables are recommended.

Canning jars can be found at your local hardware store and at some grocery stores as well. Amazon.com and other online sources also carry them. The 32 oz jars work really well, but you can find both smaller and larger, depending on your needs. Do get the wide-mouthed version, as they are much easier to work with. It allows you to get your hand down into the jar, and it’s very important to pack the jar firmly with vegetables to eliminate any air pockets.

Caroline explains:

“You want to squeeze all the oxygen out, and you want your cultured veggies or whatever you’re culturing to be anaerobic, meaning oxygen-free. Underneath water is the best way to do that, or underneath the liquid in the jar. And that wide-mouthed allows you to keep pressing down… A kraut pounder [can be helpful]. It looks like a tiny baseball bat. You can go to krautpounder.com, I believe, and you can buy a little kraut pounder, and you just use that to press down to get all the oxygen out. That way, when you seal up this jar, you have this perfect, anaerobic environment within that vessel for it to culture.”

Caroline recommends a couple of models of food processors, emphasizing quality and power for optimal performance:

Cuisinart Home Kitchen Models, Elite series: This is for general home use and usually available on Amazon.com. Very reliable, powerful and it has a large 14-cup capacity so you don’t have to keep taking it apart to dump out the processed contents.
Waring Cuisinart Commercial Food Processor with feed chute: Heavy-duty and high quality, this food processor is worth the investment ($599 and up) if you plan to make veggies often and in larger batches. This one is NOT available on Amazon.com. You will need to purchase online from a restaurant supply store.
Another tip includes using the shredding disc rather than the “S” shaped blade. Make sure the food processor model you buy comes with a shredding disc, as some don’t. In worst case, purchase it separately. According to Caroline, “the shredding blade makes a “slaw/traditional kraut-like” texture to the veggies. The “S” blade finely minces veggies into a more pulp-like, crushed consistency. This can be too soupy and during the culturing process, become more like a mushy salsa. Definitely SHRED your veggies for the best results – unless you like the crushed version.”

Additional Resources

In addition to the wealth of information shared in the interview above, I highly recommend getting the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, which provides all the necessary details for the GAPS protocol. We were finally able to convince Dr. Campbell-McBride to print it in the U.S., so I now offer it for sale in my store. It saves you a few dollars, compared to ordering it from the U.K..

www.Immunitrition.com is another helpful resource where you can learn more about cultured and fermented foods. If you’re so inclined, you can also find information about how to become a Certified Healing Foods Specialist here.

Additionally, if for whatever reason you just don’t have the time, effort, energy, ambition, motivation, or discipline to ferment your own foods, but you understand and appreciate the value of them, Caroline has a company that sells them. I used hers for a month before I started making my own. So, if you just want to put your toe in the water and see if you like them, you can order a jar or two and try them out.

You can find her products on www.CulturedVegetables.net or www.CulturedNutrition.com.

I feel very strongly that if we can catalyze a movement to get more people to implement this ancient dietary wisdom to their normal eating patterns, then we’ll start seeing a radical change in health.

ORDER GAPS Book

 

Sources and References
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How To Keep Your Brain Young

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By Dr. Mercola

Are forgetfulness and “senior moments” inevitable parts of aging? Many medical professionals (including the doctor in CNN’s news brief above) say it’s perfectly normal to start having memory lapses by the time you reach middle age.

I disagree. In fact, if you notice memory lapses, you may want to seriously consider making some immediate lifestyle changes to help reverse, or at least minimize further damage that might lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Fortunately, your brain is actually quite resilient, and has the capacity to regenerate and repair itself, which is given the medical term neuroplasticity. This is new information and not what I was taught in medical school in the late ’80s.

You’ll find that many of the lifestyle changes that will help prevent diabetes will also improve your brain function. There’s good reason for this, as sugar can have an adverse effect on your memory even if you’re otherwise healthy.

Increasing amounts of research also attest to the power of exercise to keep your mind sharp. Other factors that can have a significant impact on your brain function include lifestyle factors such as stress and poor sleeping habits.

The One Part of Your Brain That Appears to Be Protected Against Aging

Interestingly, recent research1 shows that certain cognitive systems located in the right cerebral hemisphere, such as spatial attention, mysteriously appear to be protected from the ravages of aging.

“Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention,” said lead author Dr. Joanna Brooks.

“Both younger (aged 18 to 38 years) and older (55 to 95 years) adults had the same responses for spatial attention tasks involving touch, sight or sound.”

The question is why? Understanding why certain brain regions are more protected than others may eventually lead to greater insight into brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. That said, there’s no need to wait for a medical miracle. You already have the power to improve your memory and other brain functions.

The Influence of Stress

When it comes to brain function, stress is an important factor that can have a direct effect. For example, one recent animal study found that higher levels of stress hormones can speed up short-term memory loss in older adults.2

In a nutshell, the stress hormone cortisol has a corrosive effect that, over time, wears down the synapses responsible for memory storage and processing. Previous research3 has also linked chronic stress with working memory impairment.

Other recent research suggests that stress may even speed up the onset of more serious dementia known as Alzheimer’s disease, which currently afflicts about 5.4 million Americans, including one in eight people aged 65 and over.4

While it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, there are tools you can use that will allow your body to effectively compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that takes place when you’re stressed or anxious.

My favorite tool for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It’s an energy psychology tool that can help reprogram your body’s reactions to everyday stress, thereby reducing your chances of developing adverse health effects.

In the following video, Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to tap for anxiety and overwhelm first thing in the morning, to help you start your day in a more relaxed state.

Poor Sleep Can Shrink Your Brain and Cause Neuron Degeneration

Stress and poor sleep often go hand-in-hand, and like stress, lack of restorative sleep can also wreak havoc on your brain function. Moreover, it can actually lead to loss of brain volume, and may accelerate onset of Alzheimer’s disease.5

Part of the reason for this is related to the fact that your brain removes toxic waste during sleep.6, 7, 8, 9 Sleep is also necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain10, 11, 12 —without sufficient sleep, your neurons will actually begin to degenerate.

Unfortunately, research shows that you cannot prevent this damage by trying to catch up on sleep during the weekends. So it’s critical to maintain a regular sleep schedule where you get enough sleep on a nightly basis.

Recent research published in the journal Neurology13, 14, 15 also shows that sleep problems like insomnia can have a distinct impact on your brain volume over time, causing it to shrink—and shrink more rapidly, compared to those who sleep well. This effect is particularly significant in those over 60.

The Importance of Exercise

There are compelling links between exercise and brain health. Most recently, researchers at the University of Minnesota concluded16, 17, 18 that people who have greater cardiorespiratory fitness in their teens and 20s score better on cognitive tests in their mid-40s and 50s.

Those who were fitter in their early adulthood also scored better on tests designed to assess reaction speed and the mental agility needed to answer trick questions.

Obesity is associated with cognitive decline,19 in part because it increases levels of inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines in your body, which are strongly damaging to brain function.

According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience,20 it appears your body may react to excess fat as an invader, causing levels of cytokines to stay elevated, thereby causing chronic inflammation.

Exercise is, of course, a key ingredient for weight loss. But it’s also a simple yet remarkably potent way to lower your levels of inflammatory cytokines, which will help protect your brain function.

And, while lack of sleep can lead to brain shrinkage, those who exercise the most tend to have the least amount of brain shrinkage over time. Not only that, but exercise actually causes your brain to grow in size. In one study, adults aged 60 to 80 who walked for 30 to 45 minutes, three days per week for one year, showed a two percent increase in the volume of their hippocampus21—a brain region associated with memory. This is one of the reasons it might be a good idea to get a fitness tracker and making sure you walk about 10,000 steps a day.

Sugar Damages Brain Function

It’s impossible to discuss brain health without addressing the hazards of a high-sugar, low-fat processed food diet. In fact, a growing body of research suggests there’s a powerful connection between your diet and your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, via similar pathways that cause type 2 diabetes. According to some experts, such as Dr. Ron Rosedale, Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders may in large part be caused by the constant burning of glucose for fuel by your brain.

This may sound surprising, but contrary to popular belief, your brain does not require glucose. It actually functions better burning ketones, which your body makes in response to digesting healthy fats. Research22 has also shown that type 2 diabetics lose more brain volume with age than expected—particularly gray matter. But recent research23 shows that sugar and other carbohydrates can disrupt your brain function even if you’re not diabetic or have any signs of dementia.

After evaluating more than 140 healthy, non-diabetic, non-demented seniors, the researchers concluded that higher glucose levels were associated with worse memory, a smaller hippocampus, and compromised hippocampal structure. According to study co-author Agnes Flöel, the results “provide further evidence that glucose might directly contribute to hippocampal atrophy.”

So these findings suggest that even if you’re not diabetic or insulin resistant (and about 80 percent of Americans fall into the latter category), sugar consumption can still disrupt your memory. Additionally, when your liver is busy processing fructose, it severely hampers its ability to make cholesterol, an essential building block of your brain that is crucial for optimal brain function. Indeed, mounting evidence supports the notion that significantly reducing fructose consumption is a very important step for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Eat Your Veggies to Protect Against Mental Decline

Nutritional intervention using vegetables may play an important role in preventing and/or reversing cognitive decline. The reason for this is because they are key sources of a wide variety of antioxidants—nutrients that disarm harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radical oxidative damage is believed to play a leading role in age-related changes in your health, and your brain may be particularly vulnerable to such damage.

For optimal benefits, it is prudent to eat whole, ideally organic foods. Foods containing a variety of phytochemicals and cofactors offer greater protection and health benefits than individual nutrients in high doses. Juicing is a great way to boost your vegetable intake, and incorporate veggies that you may otherwise not eat. If you want your vegetables to have the highest nutritional density, take a look at my list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables. Avoid wilted vegetables, as they’ve lost much of their nutritional value. It is wise to eat a variety of dark green leafy vegetables, plus other vividly colored veggies (purple, red, yellow, and orange) to make sure you receive a broad range of those powerful plant nutrients.

 

the food color wheel infographic

Eating foods that are in season, especially in your local area, will help ensure they are fresh and at peak nutritional value, as well as typically being less expensive. Here is a graphic for determining what veggies may be in season:

Kitchen 101 Seasonal Vegetables

Two Potent Brain Foods: Coconut Oil and Omega-3 Fat

The low-fat craze (aimed at preventing heart disease) is another contributing factor to deteriorating brain function. Not only does avoiding healthy fat promote heart disease, it also promotes brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. Your body can convert two types of fuel into energy: carbs/sugar or fat. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy, and a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found coconut oil. While your brain can run quite well on glucose, evidence suggests that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Glucose will not do this.

Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat. This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel. Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day, which translates into just over two tablespoons of coconut oil. It’s best taken with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.

You can also increase ketone production by either restricting carbohydrates and/or intermittent fasting. Personally, I believe all three of these strategies are best applied together, as you need to replace carbs with high-quality fat for optimal health, and intermittent fasting will help your body shift to burning fat as its primary fuel. I believe it’s one of the most effective ways to shed excess weight and normalize your insulin and leptin sensitivity.

Animal-based omega-3 fat is another crucial fat for brain health. One 2013 study24 found that older women with the highest levels of omega-3 fats had less brain atrophy as they aged compared to those with the lowest levels, which could translate into maintaining better brain function for an extra year or two. Previous research25 has also confirmed the beneficial effect of omega-3 fat on brain function in youngsters, concluding that DHA intake is a “robust modulator of functional cortical activity.”

The Importance of Keeping Your Mind Challenged

Besides diet, exercise, addressing stress, and making sure you’re getting sufficient restorative sleep, mental stimulation is also an important lifestyle factor for keeping your memory sharp. The process of learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language for example, is particularly beneficial. CNN Health recently listed “The 10 Best Apps to Train Your Brain,”26 some of which are aimed at reducing stress and promoting mental health, while others are focused on increasing cognitive function. These apps include:

Lumosity, which uses games to train your memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed, and flexibility of thinking Brain Trainer Special employs games involving letter, number, and sequencing memorization
CogniFit Brain Fitness also uses games designed to improve cognitive abilities such as memory and concentration Brain Fitness Pro uses a variety of memory training exercises to increase focus, memory, and problem-solving skills
Personal Zen is a game designed to reduce anxiety by learning to focus more on that which is positive, rather than dwelling on the negative Fit Brains Trainer offers more than 360 games and puzzles to help improve your mental agility
Happify is another app that helps you develop a more positive attitude, which can make you more resilient in the face of stress Eidetic employs a spaced repetition technique to help you memorize just about anything. It will also notify you when it’s time to test yourself, which helps ensure you’re retaining the information
Positive Activity Jackpot. Originally developed for returning military service members, this app uses GPS to locate fun activities for those struggling with depression. If you’re feeling indecisive, you can let the app decide which activity to do, using the “jackpot lever.” According to CNN: “PAJ is based on a form of behavioral therapy called pleasant event scheduling, which encourages a daily schedule of enjoyable activities to improve moods and overcome despondent thoughts.” ReliefLink was originally developed for suicide prevention, but can also be used to track your moods. According to CNN: “It also includes unique coping methods, such as voice-recorded mindfulness and relaxation exercises, or relaxing music. The map locator pinpoints nearby therapists, support groups and mental health treatment facilities, too, in case you ever need to talk to a professional.”

Guidelines for Maintaining Healthy Brain Function with Age

I do not believe failing memory, brain atrophy, and eventual dementia are par the course for aging. As explained by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) is the result of lifestyle choices that are well within your control. Two of the main culprits are excessive sugar and gluten consumption. But there are many other contributing factors as well. Below I will summarize what I’ve covered in this article, and mention a number of other prevention strategies that I did not yet cover.

Dietary Recommendations

Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your total sugar and fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin resistance or any related disorders. In one animal study, a junk food diet high in sugar resulted in impaired memory after just one week!27 As a general rule, you’ll want to keep your fasting insulin levels below 3, and this is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. However, other sugars (sucrose is 50 percent fructose by weight), grains, and lack of exercise are also important factors. Lowering insulin will also help lower leptin levels which is another factor for Alzheimer’s.
Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier, the barrier that keeps things out of your brain where they don’t belong, is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, also provides powerful arguments for eliminating grains from your diet, particularly if you want to protect the health of your brain.
Aim for an organic diet to avoid agricultural chemicals like glyphosate. Glyphosate, which is one of the most widely used agricultural chemicals today, causes extreme disruption of your gut microbes’ function and lifecycle; preferentially affecting beneficial bacteria while promoting the growth of pathogens in your intestines. It also inhibits enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of organic substances, which appears to be an overlooked component of glyphosate’s toxicity to mammals. By limiting the ability of these enzymes to detoxify foreign chemical compounds, glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of those chemicals and environmental toxins you may be exposed to. Glyphosate contamination is most prevalent in genetically engineered grains, which are now pervasive in most processed foods sold in the US.
Eat plenty of folate-rich vegetables. Avoid supplements like folic acid, which is the inferior synthetic version of folate. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are also excellent sources of magnesium, and preliminary research strongly suggests that increased levels of magnesium in the brain can decrease symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.
Increase consumption of all healthful fats, including animal-based omega-3. Beneficial fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organic butter from raw milk, clarified butter called ghee, organic, grass-fed raw butter, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado. Also make sure you’re getting enough animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. (I recommend avoiding most fish because, although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish are now severely contaminated with mercury.)
Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency and high-quality probiotic supplement.
Beneficial Lifestyle Strategies
Exercise regularly. You may review the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
Get regular sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, see my previous article, “33 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep.”
Address your stress. My favorite tool for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer’s patients and poor outcomes on cognitive tests have been revealed. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health. Sufficient vitamin D is also imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s.
Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
Avoid aluminum, such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.
Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.
Challenge your mind daily.

Helpful Supplements

Ginkgo biloba: A 1997 study from JAMA showed clear evidence that Ginkgo improves cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia. Another 2006 study found Ginkgo as effective as the dementia drug Aricept (donepezil) for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s type dementia. A 2010 meta-analysis also found Ginkgo biloba to be effective for a variety of types of dementia.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): ALA has been shown to help stabilize cognitive functions among Alzheimer’s patients and may slow the progression of the disease.
Vitamin B12: A small Finnish study28 found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years. For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by two percent. Sublingual methylcobalamin may be your best bet here. Large doses of B vitamins can halve the rate of brain shrinkage in elderly people with memory problems. It may slow their progression toward dementia. Another two-year clinical trial29 assessing the effect of B vitamins on mild cognitive impairment found that high doses of B vitamins successfully limited brain shrinkage.

15-Minute At-Home Alzheimer’s Test

There’s no doubt that Alzheimer’s disease is fast becoming a concern on many people’s minds. One quick and pain-free way to assess your risk is to take the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) test. It’s a 15-minute at-home test developed by Douglas Scharre, M.D., of the Division of Cognitive Neurology at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.30, 31 You can download the SAGE test from the University’s website.32 According to Dr. Scharre, this simple test correlates very well to more comprehensive cognitive tests, and is an excellent way to get an early assessment of your cognitive function. If taken at intervals over time, it can also serve as an early warning, if your scores begin to decline.

Sources and References
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