Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 4)

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Avocado fat boosts good cholesterol (HDL)
Saturday, January 22, 2011 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The types of fat found in avocados and in olive oil boost levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol without raising levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital in Ontario, Canada, and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
In fact, a special vegetarian diet with a dose of those special fats also reduced LDL levels as effectively as statin drugs.
Researchers placed 24 adults with moderately high cholesterol on a standard cholesterol-lowering diet (low in saturated fat) for one month. For the following month, participants were placed on a cholesterol-lowering vegetarian diet. Half were assigned to a vegetarian diet in which 13 percent of their carbohydrate calories were replaced by calories from monounsaturated fats.
At the end of the first month, both groups had reduced their LDL levels by roughly 20 percent, and at the end of the second month both had reduced them by 35 percent. In the monounsaturated oil group only, HDL levels had also increased by12 percent, and levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein had decreased.
"HDL cholesterol .... protects against free radical damage and has been proven to contribute to better control of the elevated blood triglyceride levels that are so common in diabetes," writes Michael T. Murray in his book Beat Diabetes Naturally.
"Some of these effects may be related to the ability of monounsaturated ... oil to improve insulin sensitivity. This effect has been seen not only in diabetics, but also in volunteers without diabetes."
Researcher David Jenkins said that the monounsaturated fat-heavy vegetarian diet "did exactly the thing you want," calling it promising for people "who want to give diet a serious try before resorting to medication."
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Blue Light May be Key to Fighting Winter Blues
Posted By Dr. Mercola
December 14, 2010
Lack of sunlight during winter can lead to the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
This can make you feel lethargic, gloomy, and irritable. However, while daylight as a whole is beneficial to fight off the syndrome, different colors of light seem to affect your body in different ways.
Blue light can affect your mind, including mood. And according to a new study, blue light might play a key role in your brain's ability to process emotions. The study results suggest that spending more time in blue-enriched light could help prevent SAD.
CNN reports:
"Studies have shown that blue light improves alertness and mental performance ... [T]he researchers discovered that blue light, more so than the green light, seemed to stimulate and strengthen connections between areas of the brain involved in processing emotion and language."
Sources:
CNN October 27, 2010
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences November 9, 2010; 107(45):19549-54
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Light has a major impact on your health, influencing your vitamin D status, mood, weight, and even your risk of cancer. But now research is showing that different colors of light impact your body in different ways.
Emerging as one of the key players in your body's ability to process emotions is blue light, which researchers suggest may help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the winter blues.
Why You Might Feel Down in the Winter Months
The short days and long nights of fall and winter can trigger feelings of depression, lethargy, fatigue and other problems. About 20 percent of Americans are affected each winter, suffering from the blues and, in some cases, more serious depression as sunlight grows scarce.
Symptoms may include:
Extreme fatigue
Getting too much sleep
Difficulty concentrating
Cravings for sugary/starchy foods
Weight gain
In the more serious SAD, you may also experience tension, inability to tolerate stress, decreased interest in sex and physical contact, and a loss of self-esteem. But what differentiates SAD from regular depression is that a full remission occurs in the spring and summer months.
The fact that SAD and the winter blues occur when the days begin to darken and sunlight is at a minimum is not a coincidence. This occurs because you simply are not getting enough exposure to natural light and as a result your mood and physical health will suffer.
More specifically, your serotonin levels (the hormone typically associated with elevating your mood) rise when you're exposed to bright light. You may have experienced this "high" feeling after spending some time on a sunny beach, for example.
Similarly, the sleep hormone melatonin also rises and falls (inversely) with light and darkness. When it's dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel naturally tired when it begins to get dark outside (even when, in the heart of winter, this may be at only 4:00 p.m.).
Light and darkness also control your biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which impacts hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism.
But the manipulation of hormone levels and your circadian rhythm are only two ways that light impacts your mood; it can also impact your emotions directly.
Blue Light May be Among the Best for Your Emotions
The latest study from researchers of the Light Research Program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia has shown that blue light strengthens and stimulates connections between areas of your brain that process emotion and language -- and it does so better than green light.
The researchers suspect that blue light may, in turn, help people to better handle emotional challenges and regulate mood over time.
Blue light may be even more effective than the bright white light currently used in light boxes to treat SAD and other forms of depression. As CNN reported, a 2006 study found that blue light also worked better than red light in treating SAD symptoms.
Blue light is prevalent in outdoor light, so your body absorbs the most during the summer and much less in the winter. Because of this, the researchers suggested that adding blue light to indoor atmospheres, as opposed to the standard yellow lights typically used, may help boost mood and productivity year-round, and especially during the winter.
How to Use Light to Relieve Winter Blues
If you feel down in the winter months, first try brightening your environment naturally -- open your blinds and take a walk in the sun at lunchtime. Spend as much time outdoors in the sun as possible.
If you have the resources, taking a vacation to a tropical or subtropical environment, or even relocating there for the winter, is also an excellent option, but this is unfortunately not a viable option for most.
The next step would be to address the lighting in your home and office environments. Most people use incandescent lighting in their homes, but this is not a high-quality light, nor one that is recommended if you suffer from the winter blues.
Ideally, you'll want to use only high-quality full-spectrum light bulbs in your home and workspace. This is the type of lighting I personally use at home and in my office.
Full-spectrum lighting is one of the most cost-effective ways to treat the winter blues, and in my experience patients tend to feel a profound increase in energy and improvement in mood and sense of well-being quite quickly -- oftentimes within two to three days after exposure.
There's some confusion on this issue, but currently full-spectrum light bulbs are only available as fluorescent bulbs. There are some LED's available – and in time they will likely become the standard – but at the present time full-spectrum LED's are simply not cost effective for the majority of us.
Please recognize that incandescent neodymium lights are claimed to be full spectrum but they aren't and they don't have the important blue wavelengths you need.
A full-spectrum light box can also be used during the winter months, and while most use white light you can find them with blue light instead. While the blue light is thought to be more effective at relieving SAD symptoms, there is some research that shows blue light may have a slightly greater risk of harming your eyes, so avoid looking directly at the light source (with either a blue or white light box).
You can actually get many of the same benefits of a light box by replacing the regular light bulbs in your home and office with full-spectrum lighting. I can honestly say that these lights have provided an enormous boost in my ability to tolerate the often-gloomy days where I live near Chicago.
Full-spectrum lights and blue light are not a replacement for real sunlight, but they are the next best thing when it's grey and cloudy, or when it's too cold to spend time outdoors.
Three More Tips for Beating the Winter Blues
Light is a major factor in overcoming SAD, but you can also help boost your mood naturally during the dark, cold winter by:
Exercising: Regular physical activity works better than antidepressant drugs to improve your mood. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful strategies you can take to prevent and treat depression and boost your mood.
Going to sleep early. You were designed to go to sleep when the sun sets and wake up when the sun rises. If you stray too far from this biological pattern you will disrupt delicate hormonal cycles in your body. In the winter, this may mean that you’ll want to go to sleep a couple of hours earlier than in the summer.
Avoiding sugar and increasing high quality animal-based omega-3 fats. Your brain consists of about 60 percent fat, DHA specifically, so you need a constant input of essential omega-3 fats like krill oil for your brain to work properly.
In fact, one study showed that people with lower blood levels of omega-3s were more likely to have symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook while those with higher blood levels demonstrated the opposite emotional states.
Sugar (including high fructose corn syrup in soda) also has a seriously detrimental impact on your brain function. There's a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into this topic in great detail.
In fact, one study showed that people with lower blood levels of omega-3s were more likely to have symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook while those with higher blood levels demonstrated the opposite emotional states.
Sugar (including high fructose corn syrup in soda) also has a seriously detrimental impact on your brain function. There's a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into this topic in great detail.
Last but certainly not least, the lack of sunlight during the winter months will also take a toll on your vitamin D levels, and vitamin D deficiency is also linked to depression.
So in addition to installing full-spectrum lighting and using the tips above, I can't stress enough, especially during the dark, cold days of winter, how vitally important it is for you to keep on top of your vitamin D intake.
If you are new to my newsletter or want to learn more about vitamin D and what it means to your health, visit my Vitamin D Resource Page. Here you'll find a wealth of breaking news on the latest vitamin D studies and the best way to test and optimize your own vitamin D levels.
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BUSTED: This Popular "Independent" Health Website is Deceiving You
Posted By Dr. Mercola
December 14 2010
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In a shocking report published earlier this year, BNET exposed how WebMD's online test for depression is rigged for profit:
"Feeling depressed? Cheer yourself up by taking WebMD's comical new depression test. [see below]
It's sponsored by Eli Lilly (LLY) — maker of the antidepressant Cymbalta – so they must know what they're talking about, right?
In fact, no matter which of the 10 answers you choose on the test, the result comes out the same:
You may be at risk for major depression."
But that's just the beginning. A number of questions about just how 'independent' a source WebMD is have since surfaced, and the answers are not what you'd expect.
Sources:
BNET February 22, 2010
BNET February 26, 2010
Policy and Medicine February 24, 2010
Boston.com March 2, 2010
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This entire story reminds me of the old adage, "with friends like that, who needs enemies?"
If you didn't already know this, WebMD is the second most visited health web site on the entire web. The general belief is that it's a first-rate, trustworthy source of "independent and objective" information about health.
In fact, the only health site more popular than WebMD is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You also might not realize that earlier this year Mercola.com, moved up to the third most visited health site on the internet. Mercola.com has been the most visited natural health site in the world for the last five years.
You can see a complete listing of the top 20 most visited health and natural health sites below.
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But as far as being geared for the average person, WebMD is clearly the number one source of health information for a large number of people, which makes the following information all the more disturbing.
If You Weren't Depressed Before, WebMD's Test Guarantees You Will Be
Chances are you've seen WebMD's ad on TV recommending you take their free online depression screening test.
But did you know the test was rigged so 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…
As it turns out, the test is sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta, and apparently there's no room for mentally healthy individuals in this scheme.
This is a sad commentary on the current disease paradigm we live in…
Although the test states that it's sponsored by Eli Lilly, how many people would automatically assume that this publicized test, offered on one of the most visited health sites on the web, would give them an entirely false result, perhaps designed to push even the most well-balanced individual into considering taking an antidepressant?
I'm willing to bet quite a few people have taken WebMD's test, and based on the result started thinking that perhaps they're a candidate for a 'happy pill' after all…
Senator Charles Grassley believed this was a very real possibility, and demanded the link between WebMD and Eli Lilly be investigated. As a result, minor changes to the test were implemented. However, the WebMD depression screening test still offers NO objective information whatsoever. Writing for BNET, Jim Edwards posted the following update:
"WebMD has changed its Eli Lilly-sponsored depression test so that not every answer results in a diagnosis of potential major depression. BNET noted on Feb. 22 that if you checked the "no" box to all 10 symptoms in the online quiz, the results page said, "You may be at risk for major depression," and urged users to call a doctor "right away" if they were feeling suicidal.
Now, the result for someone indicating no symptoms of depression says:
Lower Risk
You replied that you are feeling four or fewer of the common symptoms of depression. In general, people experiencing depression have five or more common symptoms of the condition. But every individual is unique. If you are concerned about depression, talk with your doctor.
While "lower risk" is certainly an improvement for someone indicating no symptoms of depression, WebMD is still gilding the Lilly."
I agree. This "screening" test is just a cleverly disguised form of direct-to-consumer marketing.
Selling, or Selling Out?
Sure, WebMD needs to make money just like any other major web site, including mine. They don't sell products, so therefore they rely on advertising.
In reality WebMD is a marvelous example of the brilliant marketing the drug companies are doing. They seek to provide you with the illusion of an independent objective third party that just so happens to confirm their solution is the best choice for your health issues.
But when you draw back the curtains you will find it is the drug companies themselves that are crafting the message and not an independent entity.
They invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year on WebMD alone, in my opinion to distort reality so they can convince you that it's perfectly rational to choose their expensive and, in my opinion, sometimes toxic solutions for your health care challenges.
I've chosen the opposite path – selling a limited number of well-researched and independently tested products that I personally believe in, in order to remain independent and unbiased; free from the spoken or unspoken demands of advertisers.
However, WebMD does not appear to be particularly objective in the types of advertisers they allow on their site. Prescription drugs for every imaginable problem are listed on virtually every page. Along with plenty of processed foods and snacks.
The revenue generated from this advertising is considerable.
According to a recent WebMD press release, the revenue from advertising and sponsorship for the months of July through September, 2010, topped $113 million, up from $89 million for the same quarter last year.
Beware of Subliminal Sales Tactics!
OpEdNews.com also points out the site's habit of offering unmarked product placement to various pharmaceutical companies, which is an insidious, sneaky, subliminal sales tactic:
"Lilly is not the only pharma company receiving unmarked product placement on WebMD," Martha Rosenberg writes for OpEdNews.
"Last summer, a video featured a woman patient confessing she was fearful of life while a voice-over said she needed treatment for "general anxiety disorder" and the camera showed bottles of Forest Pharmaceuticals' antidepressant Lexapro moving down the manufacturer's assembly line.
Get it? No disclaimer on the video or "sponsored content" appeared.
Another unsponsored WebMD video last summer urged people on antidepressants to remain on their therapy "despite side effects" and a third suggested women concerned about cancer, heart attack and stroke risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy should continue their treatment at lowered doses. 'Hang in there, valued customers'..."
The Subsidiaries of WebMD
Furthermore, their partnerships and subsidiaries suggest that WebMD is anything but an independent consumer website offering accurate and independent health advice. (WebMD owns four of the top ten most visited health sites on the web, further extending Big Pharma's influence.)
The WebMD Health empire includes the following subsidiaries:
Drugs.com
Medscape
MedicineNet
eMedicine / eMedicine Health
RxList
theHeart.org
According to Rosenberg, drug giant Eli Lilly was actually one of WebMD's original partners and investors, along with:
Microsoft
DuPont
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (including his Fox TV networks)
Silicon Graphics
Netscape founder Jim Clark
Eli Lilly
EDS (computer services company founded by H. Ross Perot)
Just how independent and objective can you be in your health recommendations when one of your investors is a major drug company?
WebMD and most, if not all, of its subsidiaries claim to be "independent." For example, drugs.com has the following statement at the bottom of every web page:
"Drugs.com provides free, accurate and independent advice on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines & natural products."
And yet drugs.com is owned by WebMD, which has close ties to Big Pharma, and recommends drugs for their advertisers and pharmaceutical partners…
WebMD is Partnered with the US FDA – What Does that Mean for Impartial Health Advice?
Even more interesting: The first-ever partnership between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a private company is with, you guessed it, WebMD!
The two partnered up two years ago.
Why?
Well, according to WebMD's own announcement:
"The partnership will enhance the FDA's ability to get crucial information to the American public, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, said in a news conference.
… "WebMD has been a leader with regard to innovation in the use of the web as a form of communication and service to the public," von Eschenbach said.
"What we will do by virtue of this partnership ... is to really be able to present online ... content material we at FDA feel is extremely important for consumers to be aware of as they are making critically important decisions for themselves and for their families about their health and the products that they use to ensure their health."
This completes the circle of full-on conflicts of interest.
Never-mind the fact that there might be any number of inexpensive, safe alternatives out there for each and every ailment WebMD presents, what you will learn is what the FDA has approved for your condition. And by default, you will be kept in the dark about the strategies that can make a real and lasting difference, courtesy of WebMD's financial ties to the drug- and processed food industries.
WebMD and its subsidiary sites are disguised as "independent consumer sites," when in truth they're paid by the pharmaceutical industry and exclusively and uniquely partnered with the FDA.
These sites contain mainly Big Pharma and advertising, they recommend specific drugs created by their advertisers, and offer questionnaires and medical screening tests created by pharmaceutical companies to create a false "need" for those drugs…
How can this type of government/big industry conflict of interest lead to "independent and objective" reporting and advice?
And how can this create fair competition?
Personally, I think it's a pretty deceitful practice to snooker consumers into taking expensive pharmaceutical drugs for every possible ailment!
According to Boston.com:
"A WebMD spokeswoman… [said] the company believes "our internal process ensures our editorial independence in our programs."
Sure. That process worked so well when devising that depression screening test, which was apparently so good they also spent big money to promote it on TV…
Good for Eli Lilly and their antidepressant Cymbalta, that is. Not for you, the health-conscious consumer. All you got was a sly marketing shtick for the time you invested in answering those questions.
However, that spokeswoman's statement brings up yet another point to remember when you're browsing through the content on WebMD, and that is paying close attention to WHO authored the message.
Financial Backers Include Not Just Drug Companies, but Processed Food Industry Too
In various areas you'll find a small link that says: "From our sponsor." If you click on that link, it will tell you that:
"Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance."
The heading I'm looking at right now, at the time of this writing, is for "snacking smarter without the guilt." So… whatever the sponsor wants to say about "healthful snacking," that's the message you'll get. Obviously.
In this particular case, the sponsor wants you to know that baked potato chips are indeed healthier for you than regular potato chips. Isn't that great news!
The sponsor of this message is General Mills' Fiber One cereal – a breakfast cereal that, aside from being loaded with grain carbohydrates, also contains added sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, AND sucralose.
Folks, in my opinion, this is about the worst breakfast you could possibly eat, unless you're hell-bent on developing diabetes. And don't get me started on the potato chips…
Again, WebMD is the second most visited health site on the web and if you add in all their other sites, collectively they are easily number one in the world. They attract tens of millions of readers every day looking for accurate and dependable health advice, but what advice can be trusted?
More Conflict of Interest: Medscape's Continuing Medical Education Courses
But the pharmaceutical industry doesn't just target you, they also target your doctor.
Medscape, which is one of WebMD's subsidiaries, administers highly lucrative continuing medical education courses (CME's), which doctors must complete to retain their state licenses. And these courses are, of course, ALSO sponsored by drug companies.
Medical students may have attempted to quench Big Pharma's influence over their medical education, but pharmaceutical companies could easily be considered the number one educators of doctors, in and out of school. Their influence is so significant, broad in scope, persistent, and oftentimes 'hidden' from clear view that many physicians don't even realize where the information is coming from.
And even when they do realize the source, they still oftentimes believe they're getting accurate and truthful information.
Final Thoughts
The WebMD matrix is a maddening, vicious circle of conflicts of interest that creates all manner of deceit and deception. But these shenanigans are still easy to identify and avoid.
Just Follow the Money.
It is an easy trap to fall in. Over 50 years ago JI Rodale founded Prevention Magazine and it was one of the top ten most read magazines in the country. Rodale was a leader in promoting natural medicine, a true pioneer and defender of health truth.
Unfortunately he made the typical mistake of leaving the business to his children. I learned from someone who was their health editor at one time, that his children actually shifted the ads from natural medicine to drugs and processed foods because they could earn substantially more profit.
Had JI Rodale left his business to a foundation, natural medicine would be much further ahead today. Instead Prevention Magazine is now just another mouthpiece for the drug and food industry and virtually everyone who understands natural medicine ignores it.
Similarly, with WebMD in my opinion, if you follow the money behind much of its advice (and definitely all of its subliminal marketing messages), it leads right back to the coffers of the processed food industry and the pharmaceutical cartel, which also, incidentally, pays WebMD's government partner, the FDA, to hurry up and approve their poorly tested drugs – so they can advertise them on WebMD, and so on and so forth.
I'm sure by now you can follow the dots and can draw your own circular maps with arrows marking the many conflicts of interest that exist between this unholy alliance of so-called independent health advisors, pharmaceutical companies, processed food companies, and the regulatory agency, the FDA.
Remember, You Can Take Control of Your Health
Folks, it's time take control of your health, and that includes being able to discern real health advice from shadow marketing machines and propaganda that serves no one but the very industries responsible for much of the ill health in the first place.
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Rate Your Risk for Depression
Could You Be Depressed?
Depression affects people differently. Some people cry a lot and feel sad. Others seem angry, irritable, or anxious. For others, depression shows itself in vague physical problems like constipation, muscle aches, headaches. Take a minute to think about how you have felt over the past two weeks. Which of these statements describe you?
[1] I feel sad or down most of the time.
Yes
No
[2] I've lost interest in the activities I used to enjoy.
Yes
No
[3] I feel tired almost every day.
Yes
No
[4] I have problems sleeping. I'm either sleeping too much or staying awake at night.
Yes
No
[5] My appetite has changed. I'm not eating enough, or I'm eating too much.
Yes
No
[6] I have trouble concentrating.
Yes
No
[7] My friends say I'm acting different. I'm either anxious and restless or lethargic.
Yes
No
[8] I feel worthless or hopeless.
Yes
No
[9] I'm having frequent headaches, stomach problems, muscle pain, or back problems.
Yes
No
[10] I find myself thinking a lot about dying.
Yes
No
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Controversial New Breakthrough Can Boost Your Child's Health
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
November 25 2010
There were once doubts that strength training held any benefits for children. But a new research review confirms that children and teenagers can increase their muscle strength with regular workouts.
The findings support recent recommendations from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that kids strength-train two to three times a week under professional supervision.
Studies have shown that children's risk of injury from strength training is no greater than that from other types of exercise or sports, and the potential benefits of such training, such as increased bone density and decreased body fat, generally outweigh any risks.
Reuters reports:
"Overall ... the training was effective at boosting kids' strength, with gains being greater among older kids versus prepubertal children (typically about age 10 or younger) ... The average strength gain varied widely among the studies, but in the majority the kids improved their strength by 20 percent to 40 percent of their starting levels."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
There's absolutely no doubt that kids need exercise, and that most kids aren't getting enough. Less than one-third of kids aged 6 to 17 get at least 20 minutes of daily exercise in one form or another.
This is downright tragic, considering the multitude of short- and long-term health benefits your child can gain from a regular exercise regimen, including:
Improved brainpower, higher IQ, and improved thinking
Reduced risk of diabetes and pre-diabetes
Improved immune system function
Improved sleep
Improved mood
Stronger bones
Weight loss
Increased energy levels
However, whether or not strength training in particular is suitable for children has been a controversial issue. Many experts have long considered strength training too risky for growing children, warning it could lead to injury.
However, the evidence shows these fears are largely unfounded.
In fact, kids do not run any greater risk of being injured from strength training than they do from any other sport or physical activity. And the benefits of strength training during youth and adolescence have far-reaching health benefits, including:
Increased bone density
Decreased body fat
Improved physical performance, which reduces risk of injury when playing sports
Improved motor performance skills
New Guidelines: Exercise Regimen for Kids Should Include Strength Training
The most recent meta-analysis, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that children who engaged in strength training using either free weights or resistance-training machines one to five times a week, for about 40 minutes per session, improved their strength by 20 to 40 percent.
Teens experienced higher levels of improvement, compared to kids under the age of 10.
Those who trained a few times a week also saw more improvement than those who limited their strength training to once a week.
The most effective exercises included isotonic contraction-type exercises, such as:
Bicep curls
Squats
Bench presses
These findings line up with the most recent, updated exercise recommendations from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), which now recommends children, aged 6 and older, to incorporate strength training two to three times a week.
As of last year, the position of the NSCA is that a properly designed, supervised and age appropriate resistance training program for youths can:
enhance muscular strength and power
improve cardiovascular risk profile
improve motor skill performance and may contribute to enhanced sports performance
increase a young athlete's resistance to sports-related injuries
help improve the psychosocial well-being
help promote and develop exercise habits during childhood and adolescence
Please note that it's ESSENTIAL to make sure your child is under professional supervision when using free weights or resistance-training machines, to make sure each exercise is performed safely.
Incorrectly performed exercises can cause far more harm than good, and that goes for adults as well.
The NSCA guidelines include the disclaimer that "if qualified supervision, age-appropriate exercise equipment, and a safe training environment are not available, youth should not perform resistance exercise due to the increased risk of injury."
The Importance of Weight Training for Optimal Health
Children and teens are certainly not the only ones who can greatly benefit from weight training. Strength training is an integral part of a well-rounded exercise program, and is recommended for all ages, including seniors.
Many still make the mistake of equating weight training with "bulking up." Please understand that strength training is not just about "looking good." It's also an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening your bones, and improving posture, range of motion and functionality of your body.
The intensity of your resistance training can also achieve a number of beneficial changes on the molecular, enzymatic, hormonal, and chemical level in your body, which will help slow down (and many cases stop) many of the diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
Therefore, resistance training is also an important element if you want to prevent common diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and clearly, the earlier you start, the better off you'll be.
It has been clearly shown that exercising during your youth has long-term beneficial impacts on your health.
Strength Training Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis
Weight-bearing exercise is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis, and if you get your kids started on the right path during childhood, you can effectively set the stage for lifelong prevention.
Resistance training can improve bone density because as you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone.
In addition, as you build more muscle, and make the muscle that you already have stronger, you also put more constant pressure on your bones.
What about Peak 8 for Kids?
Peak 8 is the key component of my comprehensive Peak Fitness exercise program (which also includes strength training).
This high-intensity, short burst-type exercise is perhaps the most natural of all exercises for children. In fact, when left to their own devices, children will do this naturally – going all out for short bursts of time, followed by longer "recovery" periods. You also see animals doing the same thing.
Humans were simply not designed to run at a steady pace for extended periods of time, and you almost never see that type of behavior in the wild either.
The research is so clear about the superior benefits of this type of exercise – which mimics natural behavior -- that the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine have now changed their exercise cardio guidelines from slow but steady aerobic cardio to high-intensity interval training.
Peak 8 Instructions
During Peak 8 exercises you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold (220 minus your age) for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period.
Depending on your child's current level of fitness, he may need to work his way up to 8 cycles. I recommend starting with 2-4 cycles, and gradually increasing to 8.
Here are the principles:
Warm up for three minutes
Then, go all out, as hard as you can for 30 seconds
Recover for 90 seconds
Repeat 7 more times, for a total of 8 repetitions
Cool down for a few minutes afterwards by cutting down your intensity by 50-80%.
For more information about Peak 8, please review this previous article. You can also view this video which actually shows me performing a Peak 8 exercise on a recumbent bike.
Know that Peak 8 exercises have a number of health benefits that you simply cannot achieve with any other type of exercise, and for adults over 30, the most important of these is the natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), which is essential for strength, overall fitness, and longevity.
Children and teens do not need to worry too much about producing HGH, but this type of training can still have magnificent benefits for this age group, as it radically improves fat loss and helps build muscle. It also dramatically improves athletic speed and performance, which can greatly benefit aspiring youth athletes.
Overall, Peak 8 exercises will allow your child (and you!) to achieve her fitness goals much faster.
When doing Peak 8 exercises about twice a week, most people notice the following benefits:
Reduced body fat
Dramatically improved muscle tone
Firmer skin
Greater energy levels
Improved athletic speed and performance
The evidence is clear: everyone, regardless of your age, needs a comprehensive exercise program in order to maintain optimal health, and strength training is NOT just for muscle-heads and beach buffs. It's an integral part of a well-rounded physical fitness regimen – even for kids!
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10 Organic Foods That Are Worth the Money
Posted By Dr. Mercola
November 20 2010
Apples
The FDA states that more pesticides are found on apples than are found on any other fruit or vegetable -- a grand total of 36. One test found seven chemicals on a single apple. Sounds like a good reason to switch to pesticide-free organic produce to me.
Of course, if you do eat apples or any other fruit, use them sparingly and never consume them in the form of fruit juice, which is basically just a glass full of fructose.
Baby Foods
An infant's immune system is less developed than an adult's, and more vulnerable. Nonorganic baby foods tend to use fruits and vegetables that have been treated with chemicals.
Butter and Milk
Dairy cows eat grains that are heavily treated with chemicals, which show up in the milk. Non-organic milk can also contain bovine growth hormone and antibiotics.
However, RAW milk is nearly always better than organic milk if it is purchased from a conscious farmer. In that case, it may not be certified organic, but it will essentially be organic anyway, and drinking your milk raw is KEY. The linked article should have written loads about this difference, but failed entirely to do so.
Cantaloupe
Cantaloupes often are contaminated by five of the longest-lasting chemicals. Dieldrin, a very toxic and carcinogenic insecticide, still gets taken up through the cantaloupe's roots even though it was banned in 1974.
Cucumbers
Cucumbers were ranked the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content.
Grapes
Grapes get treated with numerous chemicals, especially Chilean grapes, which can be sprayed with as many as 17 of them. Grapes are also, whether organic or not, especially high in fructose -- you might want to consider eating the grape skins and leaving the grape itself alone.
Green Beans
There are over 60 pesticides that are registered for use on green beans in the U.S.
Spinach
The chemicals used to treat spinach may cause cancer or interfere with hormone production.
Strawberries
Strawberries are among the most contaminated of all produce. Once again, be wary of overdoing it with fructose when you eat fruit.
Winter Squash
Winter squash, like cantaloupe, can absorb dieldrin from the soil.
Sources: Real Simple November 2010
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Organic food can be more costly than its conventionally grown alternative, but your payoff of good health should more than make up for it -- and reduce your overall health care costs in the future.
It sure makes a load of sense to me to invest a bit more now so you can avoid paying much larger medical bills in the future, as well as avoid the physical and mental disability and dysfunction that inevitably follows from eating heavily contaminated foods for a lifetime.
That said, when you do buy organic you want to be sure you're getting the most bang for your buck, and your dollars are not being wasted on food that is only marginally better than its non-organic counterpart.
The list above is an excellent starting point if you're looking to switch to an organic lifestyle a little at a time, rather than converting 100 percent, but there are some additional points that can help you out too.
Why Organic Foods Appear Expensive
Most people fail to appreciate that their view of what food should cost is seriously warped by agribusiness. They don't realize that these multinational corporations, that care nothing about health, have perverted the entire system to provide "food" very cheaply through factory-farming methods.
As a result many now believe real food should be inexpensive.
For virtually all of human history, our ancestors paid proportionally far more for food, and many primitive cultures spend 75 percent of their time and money in simply acquiring food.
The upside of this, however, is that these very factory-farming technologies that make "food" cheap now make it possible to eat about as healthy as it has ever been possible in the history of this planet. And amazingly, it costs far less to do so now then it did previously.
We just need to do it with knowledge and wisdom. That is a large part of what I seek to explain on this site. To warn you of the pitfalls to health, and help you to identify the healthiest, most cost-effective approaches to health so you don't have to rely on drugs that can kill you.
You can also justify the higher cost of eating healthy by looking at the LONG TERM potential benefits which you will most likely appreciate, like avoiding disability and time in the hospital and most likely, avoid a premature death.
At least in the US, everyone has choices to make in terms of what type of food they will eat and how it will affect their health. The question becomes do you want to sacrifice your current and future health for convenience and taste or choose more expensive healthy foods and cut back in other areas?
The Most Important Foods to Buy Organic
If you're on a tight budget but want to improve your diet by shopping organic, animal products like meat, poultry and eggs is the place to start.
Since animal products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically present in vegetables, I strongly recommend you buy only organically raised meats.
Unlike conventional fruits and vegetables, where peeling and washing can sometimes reduce the amounts of these toxins, the pesticides and drugs that these animals get exposed to during their lives can become incorporated into their very tissues, especially their fat.
While you can cut off some of it, you may still be ingesting high amounts of toxins if you consume such foods regularly.
Another important factor that sets organic meat apart from its conventional counterpart is it will not contain antibiotics and other growth-promoting drugs.
When choosing organic beef, taking the additional step to make certain the cows are exclusively grass-fed, including the three months before they are slaughtered, can make a big difference in the quality, taste, and nutrient content of the beef.
For chickens, it would be important to make sure they are cage-free, or free-range, chickens, as well as being organic.
Eggs from truly organic, pastured chickens are also FAR less likely to contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, and their nutrient content is also much higher than commercially raised eggs. However, the organic eggs in your grocery store may have undergone additional treatments during cleaning and processing that you're better off avoiding.
So look for organic eggs as well, but buy them locally from a farmer you trust. If you're choosing between organic eggs from your supermarket or locally grown eggs that are not certified organic but come from a reputable source, the locally grown eggs are probably the better choice.
Dairy: Is Organic Worth It?
Organic dairy products are important because they'll be free from pesticides and Monsanto's genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH. However, the real issue is not organic vs. non-organic milk, but pasteurized vs. non-pasteurized, or raw, milk.
Hands down, raw milk, even if it's not organic, is the superior choice.
Pasteurization transforms the physical structure of the proteins in milk, such as casein, and alters the shape of the amino acid configuration into a foreign protein that your body is not equipped to handle. The process also destroys the friendly bacteria found naturally in milk and drastically reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content.
Pasteurization destroys part of the vitamin C in raw milk, encourages the growth of harmful bacteria, and turns milk's naturally occurring sugar (lactose) into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is rapidly absorbed in the human body, with the result that hunger can return quickly after a glass of milk -- especially in children.
The pasteurization process also makes insoluble most of the calcium found in raw milk. This can lead to a host of health problems in children, among them rickets and bad teeth. And then there's the destruction of about 20 percent of the iodine available in raw milk, which can cause constipation.
When pasteurized milk is also homogenized, a substance known as xanthine oxidase is created. This compound can play a role in oxidative stress by acting as a free radical in your body.
Raw milk contains good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system, and offers protection against disease-causing bacteria … so I don't recommend you waste another penny on pasteurized organic milk, seek out milk (and other dairy products) from a reputable raw dairy instead.
Which Produce Should You Buy Organic?
When it comes to produce, if you can't find the best of both worlds, which is locally grown organics, then buying fresh, vibrant locally grown conventional produce may actually be better than wilted organics. However, it can be tricky, since some conventionally grown produce simply LOOKS fresher due to all the chemicals they've been treated with.
Perhaps your best bet, if you can't find locally grown organics, is to opt for USDA certified organic, but not imported organic, over the conventionally grown variety.
Just be aware that wilted organic produce is not going to provide the nutrition that fresh produce will, even if it's conventionally grown.
That said, organic produce has been shown to have a much higher nutrient-content than conventional fresh produce, which should offer plenty of incentive to locate organic produce that has also been grown locally. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.
In terms of pesticides, the Environmental Working Group has done the work for you and identified the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:
Peaches
Apples
Sweet bell peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Lettuce
Grapes (imported)
Pears
Spinach
Potatoes
Meanwhile, the produce below has the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume:
Broccoli
Eggplant
Cabbage
Banana
Kiwi
Asparagus
Sweet peas (frozen)
Mango
Pineapple
Sweet corn (frozen)
Avocado
Onion
Making Sure Your Organic Foods are Really Healthy
As I'm fond of reminding you, 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, which is a disaster for your health even if you're buying "organic" processed foods.
Just because someone slaps an organic label on a food product, that label does not somehow magically transform a junk food into a health food. Organic processed foods -- ice cream, potato chips, soda, etc. -- are just as detrimental to your health as conventional processed foods.
So when planning your food budget, make sure your organic choices are centered on whole foods like meat, raw dairy and produce -- not processed imposters.
Also be aware that if you shop at farmer's markets or food coops you'll often come across food that is extremely high quality and grown according to organic standards, but not certified as such. Often small farmers cannot afford the costly organic certification process but still grow their food according to these principles.
Again, this comes down to knowing where your food comes from so you can make informed choices about whether it's better to buy non-organic locally grown produce or organic produce from your supermarket.
Overall, though, the old saying "you get what you pay for" applies perfectly to the food supply in your 21st-century stores and supermarkets.
Your grocery bill might be less if you purchase only processed foods, along with conventionally grown vegetables coated in pesticide residue with an artificially high nitrogen content, and corn-fed beef, or irradiated chicken filled with growth hormones.
But although they may cost you less at the checkout, are these foods really less expensive over time?
What about the cost to your health and quality of life from eating these foods?
These costs don't show up on your food bill, but they'll show up later in your health. Since your health is literally priceless, it makes sense to do all you can to protect its value, including buying foods that are as pure and natural as possible.
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Sunflower Seeds: A Natural Antidepressant
Lissa Coffey
CoffeyTalk News, editor@coffeytalk.com
November 17, 2010
Sunflowers are named because the large yellow flower is representative of the sun. They reach toward the sun and soak up the light, which is then stored in their seeds. Is it any wonder that this very happy looking flower can produce seeds that can help alleviate depression?
Sunflower seeds contain high levels of magnesium, which helps to regulate nerve function. They also contain tryptophan, which enhances serotonin production, improving mood. When serotonin is released, we feel more relaxed and content. Carbohydrates help tryptophan get to the brain where it can work. Vitamin B-6 is essential to fuel the body's normal depression-fighting chemical reactions. Sunflower seeds have a nice blend of tryptophan, carbohydrates and B-6, making them a great food to help fight depression.
Sunflower seeds are healthy in other ways, too. One-quarter cup of sunflower seeds contains over 90% of the daily value of vitamin E. Vitamin E protects cardiovascular health. That same amount also contains more than 30% of the daily requirement of selenium in a form that processes through the body more easily than supplements. Selenium is known as a cancer-fighter. Sunflower seeds are also rich in manganese, critical to the activation of enzymes.
Sunflower seeds are easy to add to any meal. They can be stirred into cereals at breakfast, or sprinkled on yogurt or toast. You can add them into bread or muffin mixes. Top off a sandwich with them, or toss them into a salad or stir-fry. Snack on them with a homemade trail mix.
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This Cooking Oil is a Powerful Virus-Destroyer and Antibiotic…
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 22, 2010
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx
The truth about coconut oil is obvious to anyone who has studied the health of those who live in traditional tropical cultures, where coconut has been a nutritious diet staple for thousands of years.
You've no doubt noticed that for about the last 60 years the majority of health care officials and the media have been telling you saturated fats are bad for your health and lead to a host of negative consequences, like elevated cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Meanwhile during this same 60 years the American levels of heart disease, obesity, elevated serum cholesterol and Alzheimer's have skyrocketed compared to our ancestors, and even compared to modern-day primitive societies using saturated fat as a dietary staple.
Did you know that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations who get 30-60% of their total caloric intact from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease?
Clearly, a lot of confusion and contradictory evidence exists on the subject of saturated fats, even among health care professionals.
But I'm going to tell you something that public health officials and the media aren't telling you.
The fact is, all saturated fats are not created equal.
The operative word here is "created", because some saturated fats occur naturally, while other fats are artificially manipulated into a saturated state through the man-made process called hydrogenation.
Hydrogenation manipulates vegetable and seed oils by adding hydrogen atoms while heating the oil, producing a rancid, thickened oil that really only benefits processed food shelf life and corporate profits.
The medical and scientific communities are now fairly united in the opinion that hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils should be avoided.
These manipulated saturated fats are also called trans fats, and no doubt you've heard about them lately. Some cities and states have now outlawed their use. There is no controversy anymore regarding the health dangers of these artificially saturated fats.
And guess what?
These are the same damaged trans fats that have been touted as "healthy" and "heart-friendly" for the last 60 years by the vegetable and seed oil interests!
But the truth finally came out. Trans fat was rebuked, debunked, and revealed as the true enemy to good health that it has always been, regardless of what the seed- and vegetable oil shills told the American public for the last half century.
Unfortunately, this rightful vilification of hydrogenated saturated fats has created a lot of confusion regarding naturally occurring saturated fats, including coconut oil. If one form of saturated fat is bad for you, the argument goes, then all saturated fat must be bad.
Right?
Nothing could be further from the truth! the MCFAs found in coconut oil have many health benefits, including the following beneficial qualities:
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which is a proven antiviral and immune system builder.Tropical Traditions. This virgin coconut oil is not only certified organic, but it also met all our other oil.


Your body sends medium-chain fatty acids directly to your liver to use as energy. This makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates.Coconut oil is about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. These types of fatty acids produce a whole host of health benefits.50 percent of the fat content in coconut oil is a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. If you're a frequent reader of my newsletter you already know that I consider lauric acid a "miracle" ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties.
The Truth about Coconut Oil
Back in the 1930's, a dentist named Dr. Weston Price traveled throughout the South Pacific, examining traditional diets and their effect on dental and overall health. He found that those eating diets high in coconut products were healthy and trim, despite the high fat concentration in their diet, and that heart disease was virtually non-existent.
Similarly, in 1981, researchers studied populations of two Polynesian atolls. Coconut was the chief source of caloric energy in both groups. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that both populations exhibited positive vascular health.
In fact, no evidence exists that the naturally occurring high saturated fat intake had any kind of harmful effect in these populations!
That's not what you expected, is it? Based on 60 years of negative public policy towards naturally occurring saturated fats, you would expect these cultures to be rife with clogged arteries, obesity and heart disease.
It may be surprising for you to realize that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil actually has some amazing health benefits, such as:
Promoting your heart health
Promoting weight loss, when needed
Supporting your immune system health
Supporting a healthy metabolism
Providing you with an immediate energy source
Keeping your skin healthy and youthful looking
Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
But how is this possible?
Does coconut oil have some secret ingredients not found in other saturated fats?
The answer is a resounding "yes".
Coconut Oil's Secret Ingredient
Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.
Monolaurin is a monoglyceride which can actually destroy lipid coated viruses such as:
HIV, herpes
Measles
Influenza virus
Various pathogenic bacteria
Protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
Lauric acid is a powerful virus and gram-negative bacteria destroyer, and coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth!
Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, has also been added to the list of coconut's antimicrobial components.
This is one of the key reasons you should consider consuming coconut oil, because there aren't many sources of monolaurin in our diet. But the health benefits of coconut oil don't stop there.
The Benefits of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids
Coconut oil is nature's richest source of these healthy MCFAs.
By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.
Let me tell you why these long-chain fatty acids are not as healthy for you as the MCFAs found in coconut oil :
LCFAs are difficult for your body to break down -- they require special enzymes for digestion.
LCFAs put more strain on your pancreas, liver and your entire digestive system.
LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat.
LCFAs can be deposited within your arteries in lipid forms such as cholesterol.
In contrast to LFCAs, MCFAs are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system.
MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
MCFAs actually help stimulate your body's metabolism, leading to weight loss. the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of their double bonds.
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Coconut Oil Helps Fight Diabetes
But although coconut oil and simple carbohydrates share the ability to deliver quick energy to your body, they differ in one crucial respect.
Coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. You read that correctly, Coconut oil acts on your body like a carbohydrate, without any of the debilitating insulin-related effects associated with long-term high carbohydrate consumption!
Diabetics and those with pre-diabetes conditions (an exploding health epidemic in America), should immediately realize the benefit of a fast acting energy source that doesn't produce an insulin spike in your body. In fact, coconut oil added to the diets of diabetics and pre-diabetics has actually been shown to help stabilize weight gain, which can dramatically decrease your likelihood of getting adult onset type-2 Diabetes. If you live in the United States, you have an almost 70 percent chance of being overweight.
Cococut Oil, the Friend to Athletes and Dieters
And, by now, I'm sure you're well aware that obesity affects your quality of life and is linked to many health concerns.
One of the best benefits of coconut oil lies in its ability to help stimulate your metabolism.
Back in the 1940s, farmers found out about this effect by accident when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock.
It didn't work!
Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry.
However, many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing LCFAs with MCFAs results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.
In fact, the ability of MCFAs to be easily digested, to help stimulate the metabolism and be turned into energy has entered the sports arena. Several studies have now shown that MCFAs can enhance physical or athletic performance.
Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. And you've probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.
Besides weight loss, there are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. Your healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old cells, and your immune system functions better overall.
Besides the mounting medical and scientific evidence that coconut oil has powerful positive health benefits when eaten, it has also been used for decades by professional massage therapists to knead away tight stressed muscles.
Coconut Oil on Your Skin
However, you don't have to be a professional massage therapist to gain the skin and tissue support benefits of coconut oil. Just use coconut oil as you would any lotion.
Coconut oil is actually ideal for skin care. It helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals, and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.
In fact, physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat, Ph.D. considers coconut oil an antioxidant , due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formation. Plus, he believes it reduces our need for the antioxidant protection of vitamin E.
Like Dr. Peat, many experts believe coconut oil may help restore more youthful-looking skin. When coconut oil is absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother.
Coconut Oil and Your Heart
And despite the propaganda, the truth is this: it is UNSATURATED fats that are primarily involved in heart disease, not the naturally occurring saturated fats, as you have been led to believe.
Plus, the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable and seed oils encourage the formation of blood clots by increasing platelet stickiness. Coconut oil helps to promote normal platelet function.
I only use two oils in my food preparation.Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. And heart disease is often a silent killer. The first sign of cardiovascular disease is commonly a heart attack, and sadly, over one third of heart attacks are fatal.
Coconut Oil in Your Kitchen
The first, extra-virgin olive oil, is a better monounsaturated fat that works great as a salad dressing.
However, it should not be used for cooking. Due to its chemical structure, heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.
And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely requirements, including no GMO ingredients, bleaching, deodorizing, refining or hydrogenation. Tropical Traditions also uses fresh coconuts (not "copra" or dried coconuts like most oils) that come from a rural region of the Philippines untainted by urban pollution.coconut oil and experience the health benefits for yourself. If you do choose another brand, please be sure that it meets these requirements.I strongly urge you to throw out those omega-6 vegetable oils in your cabinets.
Why?
Reason # 1: Most people believe that frying creates trans-fat. That is not the major problem, in my opinion. Although some are created, they are relatively minor. There are FAR more toxic chemicals produced by frying omega-6 oils thantrans-fat.
Frying destroys the antioxidants in oil and as a result oxidizes the oil. This causes cross-linking, cyclization, double-bond shifts, fragmentation and polymerization of oils that cause far more damage than trans-fat.
Reason # 2: Most of the vegetable oils are GMO. This would include over 90 percent of the soy, corn and canola oils.
Reason # 3: Vegetable oils contribute to the overabundance of damaged omega-6 fats in your diet, which creates an imbalance in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. As you know from my extensive writing on this subject, I believe that excessive consumption of damaged omega-6 fats contributes to many health concerns.
They are all highly processed and consumed in amounts that are about 100 times more than our ancestors did a century ago. This causes them to distort the sensitive omega-6/omega-3 ratio which controls many delicate biochemical pathways which results in accelerating many chronic degenerative diseases.
There is only one oil that is stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage, while it also helps you promote heart health and even supports weight loss and thyroid function -- coconut oil.
So, whenever you need an oil to cook with, use coconut oil instead of butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or any other type of oil called for in recipes. Even though I don't fully recommend frying foods, if you must fry, by all means use coconut oil -- it's your smartest choice.
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Warning: Please Avoid Feeding This to Your Child
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 18 2010
According to a report in Science Daily, a new Canadian study shows that children exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with lower exposures.
The results were published in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives.
While manganese is naturally occurring in soil and groundwater around the world, some of Canada's groundwater contains an unusually high amount of it, giving the researchers an opportunity to study whether excessive manganese can adversely affect human health.
"We found significant deficits in the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children exposed to higher concentration of manganese in drinking water," said lead author Maryse Bouchard.
Yet, some areas where lower IQs were reported also registered concentrations below current guidelines. In response to the study, some of the affected municipalities have already decided to install special filtration systems.
Sources:
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
You probably know that manganese is an essential nutrient, but were you aware that when consumed in excess, manganese becomes a potent neurotoxin?
Studies on miners and steelworkers, for example, have shown that excessive exposure to manganese can cause manganese poisoning, Parkinson's disease, and Wilson's disease, for example.
Manganese occurs naturally in soil and can therefore be present in groundwater to a greater or lesser degree. Hence some people who drink well water could be exposed to higher naturally-occurring levels of manganese.
But there is another source of manganese that many people are completely unaware of, which may be even more significant than groundwater, and that is soy infant formula!
Soy formula is frequently used when a baby is allergic to milk, or if the parents are somehow convinced that soy is a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, because soy formula could easily be considered one of the most DANGEROUS food products on the market…
I always recommend breast feeding, if at all possible, but if you can't, please educate yourself about the dangers of soy formula!
This is such an important issue because so many mothers end up using formula in lieu of breast feeding or after breast feeding for a short time, not realizing just how bad most formulas are for their baby's health, particularly soy formula.
I've been concerned about this for a long time, and my team has now been working on an infant formula for an entire year. We still have about another year to go, but once we're done we should be able to offer the best commercial infant formula available in the US.
Soy Infant Formula is LOADED with Manganese!
Yes, researchers have found that soybean plants absorb manganese from the soil and concentrate it, so that its use in soy-based infant formula can result in as much as 200 times the level found in natural breast milk!
Such high concentrations can wreak havoc on your baby's immature metabolic systems.
I rarely talk about absolutes but this is one instant where I will say: NEVER give your child soy formula. (I guess the only exception would be if there was a catastrophe and soy formula was the only food source temporarily available to keep your baby alive.)
Because just like this latest study confirms, high concentrations of manganese, such as those found in soy formula, can lead to brain damage in infants and altered behaviors in adolescents.
In the study reported by Science Daily, researchers discovered that higher concentrations of manganese in groundwater significantly lowered the IQ of the children who drank it, even though the levels were below current guidelines.
A total of 362 children, aged six to 13, living in homes with individual or public wells were examined to test cognition, motor skills and behavior.
Science Daily reports:
"The average IQ of children whose tap water was in the upper 20% of manganese concentration was 6 points below children whose water contained little or no manganese.
The analyses of the association between manganese in tap water and children's IQ took into account various factors such as family income, maternal intelligence, maternal education, and the presence of other metals in the water.
… For co-author Donna Mergler, "This is a very marked effect; few environmental contaminants have shown such a strong correlation with intellectual ability."
The authors state that the amount of manganese present in food showed no relationship to the children's IQ."
For Maximum Health Hazard, Just Add Fluoridated Water...
As if that wasn't bad enough, there are a number of other factors that make soy formula an even more dangerous option.
One of these factors is the fact that fluoride can increase manganese absorption, so if you mix the powdered- or concentrated soy formula with fluoridated water, you're worsening matters even further!
Fluoride and manganese interact in a number of ways through various pathways.
For example, fluorides can cause zinc deficiency which in turn can cause damage to your brain by altering your manganese levels.
This is because fluorides act as a TSH (thyroid-stimulating-hormone) analogue, and along with iodine, zinc and selenium are also controlled by TSH. And when you're deficient in zinc, the manganese levels in your brain become altered.
Other Health Dangers of Soy Formula
Another significant issue is the estrogen in soy.
A soy-fed baby receives the equivalent of five birth control pills' worth of estrogen every day! These babies' isoflavone levels are typically anywhere between 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than in non-soy fed infants.
Unfermented soy is not a healthy option for anyone, but when you're feeding soy to an infant, you're really setting the stage for a number of health problems.
Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.
For more information about the many ways soy can damage your health – and certainly your baby's, if you're feeding them soy formula – please review this recent report.
It's also worth noting that at least 91 percent of soy grown in the US is also genetically modified (GM), and this too can have serious health effects.
Not only is the soy loaded with toxic pesticide, the plants also contain genes from bacteria that produce a protein that has never been part of the human food supply. Hence, GM soy has been linked to an increase in allergies.
Disturbingly, the only published human feeding study on GM foods ever conducted verified that the gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of our gut bacteria and continues to function. This means that years after you stop eating GM soy, you may still have a potentially allergenic protein continuously being produced in your intestines.
Even more frightening is the potential for GM soy to cause infertility in future generations, which has been evidenced by recent Russian research.
Soy-based formula also typically includes cornstarch, cornstarch hydrolysate (remember, any corn derivatives are also suspect of being GM), tapioca starch, or sucrose instead of lactose.
(Did you know that many infant formulas actually have MORE sugar than a can of soda? Do you really feel comfortable giving your precious newborn a can of soda for EVERY meal? If not, then it would sure seem best to avoid them ALL like the plague.)
All these things considered, it's truly shocking that soy formula is even allowed on the market.
The Benefits of Breast Feeding, and Healthier Alternatives
One of the best gifts you can give your child is to start out their life with a sound nutritional foundation, and the best way to do this is by breastfeeding. In fact, statistics show a clear correlation between feeding infants artificial formula and increased infant mortality within the first year.
It's important to realize that there are at least 400 nutrients in breast milk that are NOT found in formula. Of course, the healthier that a new mom eats, the healthier her breast milk will be, too.
While any amount of breastfeeding is better than none at all, it is clearly to your advantage, and best for your baby's health, to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first 6 months. Then, at the age of 6 or 9 months, you can begin to supplement with solid foods (while still continuing to breastfeed as well).
What exactly does your baby stand to gain by being breastfed?
Lower risk of respiratory tract and middle ear infections
Lower risk of eczema
Lower risk of obesity
Added protection against heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and allergies
Improved brain function and immune system function
There are benefits to mom, too. The main ones are a reduced risk of chronic diseases like cancer, a faster return to your pre-pregnancy weight, and increased bonding between you and your baby.
There are certain medical conditions that can prevent a woman from breastfeeding, however the majority of women are able to breastfeed successfully. If you need help, contact a lactation consultant in your area for tips and support. You can also visit La Leche League, which is a phenomenal resource for breastfeeding moms.
If for some reason you're not able to breastfeed, or you have adopted a baby, your next best option is to make a healthy infant formula using raw milk. You can find homemade formula recipes here.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, we're also in the process of producing the finest infant formula on the market. I'm hoping to have it available in about a year.
How Can You Protect Your Child from Excessive Manganese Exposure?
First and foremost, do not give your child soy formula or other unfermented soy foods.
As for manganese in your well water, your best bet is to use a high quality filtering system using activated carbon. A well designed activated carbon filter system is the simplest, most convenient, and most user friendly option to purify your drinking water.
A good system will likely consist of multiple filter cartridges; one to protect the carbon from larger contaminants in the water, and another containing carbon designed to remove trihalomethanes – a dangerous disinfection byproduct. Some systems also contain a backup carbon filter to ensure that all contaminants have been filtered out.
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The 'Other' Salt: 5 Foods Rich in Potassium
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 16 2010
"A recent report shows that consuming just 4.7 grams of "good salt" (potassium) is the equivalent of cutting out 4 grams of "bad salt" (sodium) in terms of reducing blood pressure.
But there are only so many bananas (.5g each) you can eat. Just in time for lunch, here's a list of 5 foods that can help boost your potassium intake."
The article goes on to list the following sources for potassium:
* Swiss chard (1 cup = 1g of potassium)
* Winter squash (1 cup = 1g)
* Avocado (1/2 Florida variety = .8g)
* Dried apricots (1/2 cup = .9)
* Baked potato (1 large = .9g)
The new study found increasing intake of potassium could improve blood pressure levels at the population level.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Potassium, an essential mineral "salt" sometimes referred to as the "good salt," is making headlines for its role in your blood pressure health. I do not agree with TIME's five food choices for potassium listed above (I'll explain why later), but I do suggest you make sure you're getting plenty of this beneficial mineral in your diet.
Its long been known that people with higher intakes of potassium tend to have lower blood pressure levels, but a new study revealed just how great the benefit may be.
Researchers determined that increasing average potassium intake to the recommended 4.7 grams a day would reduce systolic blood pressure by between 1.7 and 3.2 mm Hg on a population-wide scale. This decrease, they suggest, is similar to the reduction that would occur if Westerners lowered their salt intake by 4 grams a day.
You can read my take on salt and blood pressure in this past article (namely, I believe sugar is a far greater contributor to high blood pressure than salt), but it's clear that processed foods are far too high in refined sodium. The researchers suggested a novel solution -- using mineral salts in processed foods, which would replace some of the sodium with healthful potassium.
The Potassium Blood-Pressure Connection
A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly. As an electrolyte, potassium is a positive charged ion that must maintain a certain concentration (about 30 times higher inside than outside your cells) in order to carry out its functions, which includes interacting with sodium to help control nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and heart function.
There is so much research showing a link between low levels of potassium and high blood pressure that researchers now believe increasing your levels should receive just as much attention as a low-salt diet in blood pressure management.
Signs You May be Deficient
Potassium is widely available in fruits and vegetables, but if you eat a highly processed diet, there's a chance you're not getting enough. Further, it's generally recommended that you take in five times more potassium
than sodium, but because most Americans' diets are so rich in high-sodium processed foods, most people get two times more sodium than potassium.
So if you have high blood pressure, it could be a sign that you're lacking in this vital mineral. Likewise, if you've had excessive fluid loss, such as vomiting, diarrhea or sweating, it can also take a toll on your potassium levels, as can some medications, including certain diuretics, laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, and steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Prednisone.
Signs of severe potassium deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, abdominal pain and cramps, and in severe cases abnormal heart rhythms and muscular paralysis.
The Best Food Sources of Potassium
Many people immediately think of bananas when it comes to potassium, but you don't need to eat bananas to make sure you're getting enough (and because bananas are so high in sugar, I recommend you do not eat many of them at all).
Bananas do contain potassium, but so does the vast majority of other fruits and veggies. Potassium is the predominant nutrient among most all fruits and vegetables, and there are some excellent, very healthful choices out there.
An avocado, for instance, has more than twice as much potassium as a banana and is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fat. The avocado was one of the five foods to make TIME's list above, and it, along with Swiss chard, are two great options.
However, I do NOT recommend eating dried apricots or baked potatoes for their potassium. Both of these foods are high in sugar (white potatoes are a vegetable, but they digest more like a grain) and will raise insulin levels beyond what is ideal for most people -- especially if you are struggling with high blood pressure.
Winter squash is a better choice, but still should be consumed only in moderation by some people due to its high carb content.
Ideally, you should find out your nutritional type and then choose a variety of potassium-rich vegetables to fill out your diet. However, generally speaking you can round out your potassium intake by eating a wide variety of veggies, including:
Swiss chard (960 mg of potassium per 1 cup)
Avocado (874 mg per cup)
Spinach (838 mg per cup)
Crimini mushrooms (635 mg in 5 ounces)
Broccoli (505 mg per cup)
Brussels sprouts (494 mg per cup)
Celery (344 mg per cup)
Romaine lettuce (324 mg per 2 cups)
If you are struggling with high blood pressure, optimizing your potassium intake is highly recommended. The current recommended level for adults is 4,700 mg a day. You can also find more tips for lowering your blood pressure naturally by using the search feature on this site and reading the five strategies in this past article.
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McDonald's Happy Meal resists decomposition for six months
By Brett Michael Dykes, Yahoo! News
Wed Oct 13, 2010
Vladimir Lenin, King Tut and the McDonald's Happy Meal: What do they all have in common? A shocking resistance to Mother Nature's cycle of decomposition and biodegradability, apparently.
That's the disturbing point brought home by the latest project of New York City-based artist and photographer Sally Davies, who bought a McDonald's Happy Meal back in April and left it out in her kitchen to see how well it would hold up over time.
The results? "The only change that I can see is that it has become hard as a rock," Davies told the U.K. Daily Mail.
She proceeded to photograph the Happy Meal each week and posted the pictures to Flickr to record the results of her experiment. Now, just over six months later, the Happy Meal has yet to even grow mold. She told the Daily Mail that "the food is plastic to the touch and has an acrylic sheen to it."
Davies -- whose art has been featured in numerous films and television shows and is collected by several celebrities -- told The Upshot that she initiated the project to prove a friend wrong. He believed that any burger would mold or rot within two or three days of being left on a counter. Thus began what's become known as "The Happy Meal Art Project." http://www.refinery29.com/happy-meal-art-project.php
"I told my friend about a schoolteacher who's kept a McDonald's burger for 12 years that hasn't changed at all, and he didn't believe me when I told him about it," Davies told us. "He thought I was crazy and said I shouldn't believe everything that I read, so I decided to try it myself."
Some observers of the photo series have noted that the burger's bun appears at different angles, and therefore aired suspicions that the Happy Meal may not in fact be as "untouched" as the project's groundrules stipulate. Davies says there's a simple explanation for the mobile-bun effect. "The meal is on a plate in my apartment on a shelf," she says, "and when I take it down to shoot it, the food slides around. It's hard as rock on a glass plate, so sure, the food is moving."
Click URL to see more photos of the unchanging Happy Meal
Davies' friend was the person who should have done the additional research. Wellness and nutrition educator Karen Hanrahan has indeed kept a McDonald's hamburger since 1996 to show clients and students how resistant fast food can be to decomposition. Read here" http://bestofmotherearth.com/2008/09/24/1996-mcdonalds-hamburger.html
As for Davies, she said that she might just keep her burger and fries hanging around for a while as well.
"It's sitting on a bookshelf right now, so it's not really taking up any space, so why not?" she said. It ceased giving off any sort of odor after 24 hours, she said, adding: "You have to see this thing."
Video rewind: Gay-friendly McDonald's ad goes viral
http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/93724?fp=1
In response to Davies' project, McDonald's spokeswoman Theresa Riley emailed The Upshot a statement defending the quality of the chain's food. Riley's email also blasted Davies' "completely unsubstantiated" work as something out of "the realm of urban legends."
"McDonald's hamburger patties in the United States are made with 100% USDA-inspected ground beef," Riley wrote. "Our hamburgers are cooked and prepared with salt, pepper and nothing else -- no preservatives, no fillers. Our hamburger buns are baked locally, are made from North American-grown wheat flour and include common government-approved ingredients designed to assure food quality and safety. ... According to Dr. Michael Doyle, Director, Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, 'From a scientific perspective, I can safely say that the way McDonald's hamburgers are freshly processed, no hamburger would look like this after one year unless it was tampered with or held frozen.'"
Do It Yourself (DIY): Make happier meals for your kids at home -- just don't forget one key tip
Also See:
Why McDonald's Happy Meal hamburgers won't decompose - the real story behind the story
by Mike Adams
Sunday, October 17, 2010
(NaturalNews) It's always entertaining when the mainstream media "discovers" something they think is new even though the natural health community has been talking about for years. The New York Times, for example, recently ran a story entitled When Drugs Cause Problems They Are Supposed to Prevent (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/h...). We've been covering the same topic for years, reporting on how chemotherapy causes cancer, osteoporosis drugs cause bone fractures and antidepressant drugs cause suicidal behavior.
The latest "new" discovery by the mainstream media is that McDonald's Happy Meal hamburgers and fries won't decompose, even if you leave them out for six months. This story has been picked up by CNN, the Washington Post and many other MSM outlets which appear startled that junk food from fast food chains won't decompose.
The funny thing about this is that the natural health industry already covered this topic years ago. Remember Len Foley's Bionic Burger video? It was posted in 2007 and eventually racked up a whopping 2 million
views on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYyD...). And this video shows a guy who bought his McDonald's hamburgers in 1989 -- burgers that still haven't decomposed in over two decades!
Now, he has an entire museum of non-decomposed burgers in his basement.
Did the mainstream media pick up on this story? Nope. Not a word. The story was completely ignored. It was only in 2010 when an artist posted a story about a non-decomposing McDonald's hamburger from six months ago that the news networks ran with the story.
Check out the video link above and you'll see an entire museum of Big Macs and hamburgers spanning the years -- none of which have decomposed.
This is especially interesting because the more recent "Happy Meal Project" which only tracks a burger for six months has drawn quite a lot of criticism from a few critics who say the burgers will decompose if you give them enough time. They obviously don't know about the mummified burger museum going all the way back to 1989. This stuff never seems to decompose!
So why don't fast food burgers and fries decompose in the first place? The knee-jerk answer is often thought to be, "Well they must be made with so many chemicals that even mold won't eat them." While that's part of the answer, it's not the whole story.
The truth is many processed foods don't decompose and won't be eaten by molds, insects or even rodents. Try leaving a tub of margarine outside in your yard and see if anything bothers to eat it. You'll find that the margarine stays seems immortal, too!
Potato chips can last for decades. Frozen pizzas are remarkably resistant to decomposition. And you know those processed Christmas sausages and meats sold around the holiday season? You can keep them for years and they'll never rot.
With meats, the primary reason why they don't decompose is their high sodium content. Salt is a great preservative, as early humans have known for thousands of years. McDonald's meat patties are absolutely loaded with sodium -- so much so that they qualify as "preserved" meat, not even counting the chemicals you might find in the meat.
To me, there's not much mystery about the meat not decomposing. The real question in my mind is why don't
the buns mold? That's the really scary part, since healthy bread begins to mold within days. What could possibly be in McDonald's hamburger buns that would ward off microscopic life for more than two decades?
As it turns out, unless you're a chemist you probably can't even read the ingredients list out loud. Here's what McDonald's own website says you'll find in their buns:
Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.
Great stuff, huh? You gotta especially love the HFCS (diabetes, anyone?), partially-hydrogenated soybean oil (anybody want heart disease?) and the long list of chemicals such as ammonium sulfate and sodium proprionate. Yum. I'm drooling just thinking about it.
Now here's the truly shocking part about all this: In my estimation, the reason nothing will eat a McDonald's hamburger bun (except a human) is because it's not food!
No normal animal will perceive a McDonald's hamburger bun as food, and as it turns out, neither will bacteria or fungi. To their senses, it's just not edible stuff. That's why these bionic burger buns just won't decompose.
Which brings me to my final point about this whole laughable distraction: There is only one species on planet Earth that's stupid enough to think a McDonald's hamburger is food. This species is suffering from skyrocketing rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia and obesity. This species claims to be the most intelligent species on the planet, and yet it behaves in such a moronic way that it feeds its own children poisonous chemicals and such atrocious non-foods that even fungi won't eat it (and fungi will eat cow manure, just FYI).
Care to guess which species I'm talking about?
That's the real story here. It's not that McDonald's hamburgers won't decompose; it's that people are stupid enough to eat them. But you won't find CNN reporting that story any time soon.
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Government Improves on God, Creates Frankenfish
By Jeffrey Smith
October 8, 2010
NewsWithViews.com
To help stop GE salmon, please sign petitions to the food industry and Congress. Click on link.
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6236/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4264
Has the FDA gone completely mad? Why are they trying to open the flood gates to genetically engineered (GE) salmon—a move that will go down in history as one of the most asinine and dangerous ever made by our government? What's it going to take for them to actually start protecting public health?
Frankenfish can promote disease
The FDA is reviewing data submitted by AquaBounty, the company that spliced a growth hormone gene into Atlantic salmon, forcing it to grow up to five times faster, and reach market size in about 18 months instead of 3 years. But according to the evidence, their buff salmon might have higher levels of a cancer promoting hormone IGF-1, more antibiotics, and more of a potentially life-threatening allergen(s).
The FDA failed to learn their lesson with their idiotic approval of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. It also has higher levels of IGF-1 and more antibiotics. Now it's condemned by the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association, banned in most other countries, and has been banished by most US dairies. Even Wal-Mart won't allow the stuff into their milk.
The GE soy and corn on the market, which the FDA continues to pretend is just the same as the natural stuff, also has higher levels of allergens, and has been linked to numerous disorders. Now the American Academy of Environmental Medicine condemned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and urged all physicians to prescribe non-GMO diets. "GMO-Free" is one of the fastest growing health claims among US brands for the past two years, and a tipping point of consumer rejection of all GE ingredients appears to be just over the horizon.
Then there is the threat of Frankenfish escaping into the wild. Here too, the FDA ignores the lessons from GE crops which, in spite of early assurances to the contrary, have been contaminating non-GE crops and wild relatives all over the world for more than a decade. Their self-propagating genetic pollution is irreversible; it can outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. But somehow escaped GE salmon carry an even greater hazard.
Frankenfish can wipe out natural salmon
According to a Purdue University computer model that tracked the effects of releasing just 60 Frankenfish (not salmon) into a population of 60,000, there was a shocking complete extinction in just 40 fish generations. Apparently their bigger size, which attracted mates more easily, combined with a slight reduction in survival rates, was a killer combination.
Canadian scientists engineered their own set of fast growing salmon and tested their behavior in tanks with other fish. When there was sufficient food, all was fine. When food stocks decreased, the Frankenfish freaked. They became cannibals, attacking and killing other fish—whether GE or natural. Their unexpected behavior resulted in population crashes or complete extinctions in the fish tanks. The study also suggested that if released, these ravenous aggressive salmon would pursue and consume other types of fish.
I'm not sure which scenario is worse: The complete extinction of salmon, or gangs of voracious mutant freaks scouring the ocean, attacking anything that can feed their rapidly-expanding, always-hungry bodies. (Heck, let's just give the fish automatic weapons.)
Never mind that the GE AquAdvantage salmon are supposed to be grown in inland tanks and are supposed to be sterile. In reality, they won't all be sterile; and there are numerous ways that these salmon, whose eggs will regularly be shipped from Prince Edward Island, Canada to growing tanks in Panama, can escape into the ocean. It only takes one!
Corporate interests and politics run the FDA show
US consumers have been clear for years that we don't want Frankenfish, Frankenpigs, Frankenmosquitoes, Frankenanything that walks, flies, slithers, or swims. And most Americans are now uneasy about the Frankencrops already growing in our fields. So who is clamoring for GE salmon? Who's getting the FDA to push open the doors to GE animals against public opinion?
Thank you Union of Concerned Scientists for the answer. Your September 12th survey of 1710 FDA employees explains who is really driving the bus at the agency. One staff member said, "Food safety has succumbed to the higher priority of global corporate profits." In fact, 38 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that "public health has been harmed by agency practices that defer to business interests."
Another employee points to political interference: "I have been here for 26 years and it still amazes me . . . how politics filter down to the lowest levels of government."
So its corporate profits and politics. Anyone surprised? About 1 in 4 surveyed admit that they had personally experienced, either frequently or occasionally, "situations where corporate interests [or members of Congress, or special interests] have forced the withdrawal or significant modification of [an agency] policy or action designed to protect consumers or public health."
If there is one face that best captures the FDA's conflict-of-humanity's-interest, it would be Michael Taylor. Taylor is the US Food Safety Czar. You'd think that if there were significant safety concerns about the GE salmon, our Czar would step in to preserve and protect. Don't count on it.
Back when the first Bush White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, the agency created a special position for Taylor to be in charge. He had been the outside attorney for biotech giant Monsanto, where he had dreamed up a regulatory facade that would allow GMOs to be brought to market with maximum speed and minimum oversight. Then he took a position with the FDA where he could apparently implement it himself. His GMO policy falsely claimed that the agency was unaware of information showing GM foods to be different. On that basis, no testing or labeling was required. Years later, 44,000 documents made public from a lawsuit revealed that the consensus among FDA's own scientists was that GM foods were unsafe, and should be carefully tested for allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems.
Soon after leaving the FDA, Michael Taylor went to work as Monsanto's vice president.
So the person who lied about GMO safety to push them on the market now sits above the folks that are looking at GE Salmon. Not a comforting thought.
Stacking the deck for approving salmon
How else does corporate influence play out in the current FDA debacle?
Consider Alison L. Van Eenennaam. She too used to work for Monsanto, and now has been added as a temporary voting member on the committee that advises the FDA about the salmon. She also advises the USDA and promotes GE animals on Youtube.
Kevin G. Wells was also added as a temporary voting member for salmon. He works at Revivicor, a company that genetically engineers pigs. Do you suppose there is any conflict of interest for him establishing an easy ride for GE animal approvals? Perhaps.
Gregory Jaffe was also imported into the committee as their supposed consumer advocate. In reality, he is with the pro-GMO Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), an organization that consistently ignores the mounting evidence of adverse health impacts from GE crops. Jaffe even filed a complaint to the FDA in 2001 complaining of companies that label their products as non-GMO. What further qualified Jaffe for his committee position was his published article Questions About Genetically Engineered Animals, where he touts the environmental benefits of AquAdvantage salmon.
The engineered bias of the FDA advisory committee is made even more clear by who is absent. There are no experts on allergies or hormones who can address the possible health damaging effects of the fish, and no fish ecologists who can figure out whether our grandchildren will live in a world without wild salmon.
Institutionalized stupidity
But even before the committee was picked, the deck was stacked in favor of approvals. In 2008, the Bush administration rolled out a policy in which GE animals would be approved as if they were animal drugs. This latest square peg is part of a continuing effort to regulate GMOs without asking Congress to pass any new laws. So, since 1992, the government has been jerry-rigging inadequate pre-existing laws to handle the unique and complex safety and environmental considerations of genetically engineered organisms.
Even if GE animals weren't infinitely more complex than some drug compound, using the FDA drug approval process shouldn't give us great confidence. Between 1976 and 1985, for example, more than half of their drug approvals turned out to have lethal or serious side effects, forcing withdrawal or added label warnings. Try conducting a recall of GE salmon from the ocean.
Failing grades all around
Even with stacked committee membership, an antiquated approval policy, and an agency that is officially mandated to promote biotechnology, the Frankenfish did not swim past the advisory committee on September 19th and 20th. That's because the committee agreed with safety experts like Dr. Michael Hansen of the Consumers Union (they publish Consumer Reports) that the evidence presented by AquaBounty was abysmal and insufficient. Using a sample size of only 6 fish, employing insensitive detection methods that could easily miss cancer-promoting hormones or allergens, and testing fish that were raised in a completely different climate than what is planned, were among the sloppy science that the FDA had accepted. (See addendum below for examples.)
In fact the only person on the committee who had any experience with fish, Gary Thorgaard, completely disagreed with the FDA's conclusion that the Frankenfish didn't threaten the environment. He called for a full Environmental Impact Statement.
Hansen says, "The data and analysis of food safety risks from the AquAdvantage Salmon are so sloppy and inadequate that, if this were an undergraduate paper, it would get a failing grade. No self-respecting scientist could conclude that these data demonstrate that AquAdvantage salmon are safe to eat."
Thus, in spite of the fact that the company had been submitting data to the FDA for more than ten years, the advisory committee concluded that the evidence was insufficient to conclude that GE salmon was safe for the environment and for human health. They told AquaBounty to go back and to do more testing.
I propose a different recommendation. This little exercise made it perfectly clear that AquaBounty is either completely incompetent to evaluate the safety of their own creation, or they're intentionally hiding evidence. In either case, let's not send the same folks back to do more research, hoping they'll get it right. Instead, tell these jokers that they have proved to the world that they are never ever ever to be trusted with the future of salmon or the safety of the human food supply.
And what about the FDA—the brain cell behind the Don't-ask-don't-tell food safety assessments? They have again demonstrated that they too are not competent to protect the public from the unique unpredictable dangers of genetically engineered foods.
If you want to GE salmon stopped for good, now is the time to raise your voice. Since the FDA has been ignoring US citizens in favor of business interests and politics, please join me in inviting the food industry and Congress to stop in and stop this madness. Go to our action alert pages to sign the petitions today.
Addendum: How Not to Do a Food Safety Assessment
The FDA's evaluation of GE salmon is the first of its kind. Because it will set a precedent for all future GE animal approvals, the bar should be set very high. According to Dr. Michael Hansen, who testified at the FDA advisory committee meeting on behalf of Consumers Union, the FDA set the bar a foot off the ground.
When AquaBounty looked for potentially dangerous growth hormones in the salmon, for example, they used a detection method so insensitive, it couldn't find any hormones in any fish. The FDA therefore concluded that there was no relevant difference in hormone levels in GE salmon. Dr. Hansen told the committee, "This would be like the police using a radar gun that cannot detect speeds below 120 mph and concluding that there is no 'relevant difference' in the speed of cars versus bicycles."
Because the company also used an insensitive test to measure cancer-promoting insulin-like growth hormone factor one (IGF-1), levels were detected in only a few fish. Of these, the GE salmon was 40% higher. Again, insufficient data combined with faulty reasoning allowed the FDA to conclude that IGF-1 from GE salmon is not a problem.
Even then, these test results were not from the type of GE salmon that the company plans to market. Instead, the tests were conducted on the GE salmon variety that will produce the fish eggs in Canada. The DNA of these "egg-layers" have the normal two sets of chromosomes (diploid). The GE salmon to be grown from their eggs in Panama, however, end up with three sets of chromosomes (triploid)—so that most will be sterile. It's the Panama-grown triploid variety that will go onto our dinner table if the FDA has their way. So what was the response by the FDA and AquaBounty when asked for the IGF-1 levels of the actual fish (raised in the actual conditions) that people would actually eat? "Well...er....uhm...we'll get back to you."
The situation with allergies is worse. According to Hansen, the tests conducted by AquaBounty confirmed that "the act of genetic engineering did lead to an increase in allergenic potency." In fact, when the flesh from egg-laying (diploid) fish was exposed to the blood (sera) of people who are allergic to salmon, there was a whopping 52% increase in reaction levels. Furthermore, the specific allergen that had increased in the Frankenfish was not supposed to be affected. It did not come from the inserted gene. Rather, the increase in this potentially life-threatening allergen was just one of the unpredictable side-effects that can result from the process of genetic engineering itself.
The FDA decided this time to ignore this troublesome finding, since it was from the egg-laying diploids. The company did test the allergic reaction to the triploids (the ones we'll eat), but used fish that were raised in Canada, not Panama. This should have disqualified the fish study, according to Hansen, since the composition of GE salmon can obviously be affected by water temperature, and growing conditions. Still, the Canadian raised Frankenfish still elicited an allergic response level that was 20% higher than normal salmon. But the FDA dismissed this figure since it was not statistically significant and concluded that the GE salmon was safe to eat. But of course it wasn't statistically significant. They used just six fish in the sample size! The easiest way to prevent statistical significance is by using a pathetically small number of subjects in your experiment.
Hansen said:
"To base a conclusion of no additional risk on exactly six engineered fish, when those data themselves suggest a possible problem, is not responsible science or responsible risk assessment. FDA owes it to the thousands of Americans who are allergic to finfish to demand more data on the allergenicity of these engineered salmon from AquaBounty."
Thank you Dr. Hansen for helping to protect us from the bungling Frankenfish promoters. Let's hope they will listen.
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Chemicals in Indoor Swimming Pools Increase Cancer Risk
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 01 2010
A new study is the first to provide a comprehensive characterization of the effects of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in an indoor pool environment. It found that swimming in indoor chlorinated pools may induce DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
DBPs form from reactions between disinfectants and organic matter. Previous studies have found an association between DBPs in drinking water and bladder cancer.
The new study looked at close to 50 healthy adults after they swam for 40 minutes in the chlorinated pool. The researchers found increases in two genotoxicity biomarkers associated with cancer risk.
Newswise reports:
“… the authors identified more than 100 DBPs in the pool waters, some never reported previously in swimming pool water and/or chlorinated drinking water. In vitro assays showed that the swimming pool water was mutagenic at levels similar to that of drinking water but was more cytotoxic (can kill cells at a lower concentration) than drinking water.”
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Swimming is an incredible form of exercise and recreation, but if you perform it in a chlorinated swimming pool, especially one that’s indoors, you could be putting your future health at risk.
The risk comes from disinfection byproducts (DBPs), which are formed when organic materials like hair, skin, sweat, dirt and urine react with the large amounts of chlorine used to sanitize the pool water.
DBPs are over 10,000 times more toxic than the chlorine itself, and in the first study of its kind to examine exactly what kind of damage these toxins are doing to swimmers, the results were alarming.
Swimming for Just 40 Minutes May Result in Cancer-Causing DNA Damage
Researchers measured evidence of genotoxic (DNA damage that may lead to cancer) and respiratory effects on swimmers who swam in a chlorinated pool for 40 minutes. They found:
Increased micronuclei in blood lymphocytes, which are associated with cancer risk
Urine mutagenicity, a biomarker of exposure to genotoxic agents
An increase in serum CC16, which suggests an increase in lung epithelium permeability
In all, more than 100 DBPs were identified in the pool water, and the researchers noted that tests showed the levels was similarly mutagenic to drinking water but able to kill cells at a lower concentration.
The results may make you think twice if you’re a frequent indoor swimmer, as this could be a source of toxin exposure that could significantly increase your risk of cancer.
Already, it’s known that trihalomethanes (THMs), one of the most common DBPs, are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They’ve also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, such as spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, and congenital malformations, even at lower levels.
These types of DBPs can also:
Weaken your immune system
Disrupt your central nervous system
Damage your cardiovascular system
Disrupt your renal system
Cause respiratory problems
Again, this is a serious issue if you swim in chlorinated pools on a regular basis, as your body absorbs higher levels of DBPs by swimming in a chlorinated pool once than you would by drinking tap water for one week!
How Chlorinated Pools May Cause Cancer and Other Health Problems
DBPs are extremely toxic, and when you swim in a chlorinated pool you’re exposed on multiple levels.
According to one study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences, the cancer risk of THMs from various routes in descending order was:
Skin exposure while swimming
Gastro-intestinal exposure from tap water intake
Skin exposure to tap water
Gastro-intestinal exposure while swimming
The cancer risk from skin exposure while swimming comprised over 94 percent of the total cancer risk resulting from being exposed to THMs!
The authors even went so far as to conclude that swimming in a chlorinated pool presents “an unacceptable cancer risk.”
As an aside, DBPs are also the likely culprits for the increased incidence of sinusitis and sore throats among swimming instructors, as well as the negative impact of chlorinated pools on the respiratory health of children and adolescents. In fact, one study found that in children with allergic sensitivities, swimming in chlorinated pools significantly increased the likelihood of asthma and respiratory allergies.
How to Avoid DBPs
The most obvious option is to avoid swimming in chlorinated swimming pools, as this will greatly cut down on your exposure.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up swimming. Swimming in an ocean is an excellent alternative, as is swimming in a lake or other natural body of water. You can also find a way to keep your pool clean from bacteria, algae, and other organisms without the use of dangerous chemicals.
One of the best solutions is NOT to chlorinate your pool and just use a maintenance “shock” treatment every five or six days, which will kill the algae buildup. The shock treatment volatilizes in about 24-48 hours and gives you a several day window in which you can safely use your pool.
You can also reduce the amount of organic material you bring into the pool, and thereby the amount of DBPs created, by showering prior to entering and teaching your children not to urinate in the water.
Beyond your swimming pool, you’ll also need to address other sources of DBPs, such as your tap water, including the water you use to shower and bathe.
Out of all the other toxins and contaminations present in your water, such as fluoride and miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, DBPs may be the absolute worst of the bunch.
But, not all water filtration systems are capable of filtering out DBPs. In fact, there is currently no point-of-entry, whole-house water filtration system that is certified to filter out these toxins.
So you’ll need separate filters to cover both your shower and your kitchen tap, and you must look for those that remove chlorine along with other contaminants. Do not settle for anything less, as filters that do not remove chlorine are actually NOT protecting you and your family from DBPs.
It’s important to filter both sources, but if you’re only going to choose one, most people will mistakenly choose to filter their drinking water. Again, it’s important to filter your drinking water for a number of reasons, but in terms of DBPs the biggest risk comes from your shower (or your pool).
You can easily absorb as many toxins in one shower (or swim) as you would by drinking tap water all week long, so be sure you recognize this common source of exposure.
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This Harmful Food Product is Changing its Name - Don’t Get Swindled
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 01 2010
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has petitioned the U.S. FDA to allow manufacturers the option of using the term “corn sugar” instead of “high fructose corn syrup”.
In their press release on the subject, they claim that “independent research demonstrates that the current labeling is confusing to American consumers.”
They blame “inexact scientific reports and inaccurate media accounts” for the current stigma associated with high fructose corn syrup.
In reality, as opposed to the CRA’s dream world, if you need to lose weight, or if you want to avoid diabetes and heart disease, high-fructose corn syrup is one type of sugar you’ll want to avoid.
Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
As I’ve stated on many occasions, the number one source of calories in the United States is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), mainly in the form of soda.
This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices.
Even seemingly “health-conscious” beverages like Vitamin Water, Jamba Juice and Odwalla SuperFood contain far more added sugar and/or fructose than many desserts!
The corn industry persistently claims that it is not much different than sugar and is perfectly safe, but we know otherwise.
The primary reason it’s so dangerous is that it is quite cheap to produce, so it has been added to nearly all processed foods. The excessive consumption of fructose, such as HFCS, is a primary driving factor behind a number of health epidemics, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Don’t Get Confused By the Latest Smoke and Mirror Tactics
Americans' consumption of corn syrup has fallen to a 20-year low, probably due to consumer concerns that it is more harmful or more likely to cause obesity than ordinary sugar.
This is why the corn industry wants to sugar coat the fact that their product may be prematurely killing hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, and rename it to confuse people to keep using it – all in the name of trying to “clear up” confusion!
You have probably seen their new marketing campaign on television. Two new commercials try to alleviate shopper confusion, showing people who say they now understand that "whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference.”
This is an absolutely brilliant marketing strategy and will work as the average consumer will not be smart enough to realize the difference.
However with your help, spreading the message through your Facebook accounts, your blogs and websites, and sharing it with your friends and family, we can sabotage their plans to manipulate and deceive you and the rest of the public.
Their latest strategy is aimed at seeking to defend their market and their profits, and your health depends on whether or not you buy into their smoke and mirrors routine.
The corn industry is still holding fast to the claim that all sugars are metabolized by your body in the same way, even though this outdated belief has been entirely SHATTERED in more recent years by a number of scientific studies.
This research has devastated the image of high fructose corn syrup which is why they are doing this massive makeover, to do an end around the science.
The CRA claims that “a continuing series of inexact scientific reports and inaccurate media accounts about high fructose corn syrup and matters of health and nutrition have… increased consumer uncertainty.”
Folks, there’s nothing inexact about the evidence against fructose. It’s very clear. If you want to improve your health, you need to avoid fructose in all its forms, especially HFCS, which is a highly processed, unnatural form of fructose.
Why the ADA’s Support of Fructose as ‘Safe and Equivalent to Other Sugar’ Means NOTHING…
The industry has one ace up their sleeve that they pull out again and again -- the 2008 report by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), which concluded that HFCS is "nutritionally equivalent to sucrose (table sugar).”
But, could that report possibly have had anything at all to do with the fact that the ADA partnered with Coca-Cola Company earlier that same year?
The press release declaring this unholy union states:
“The Coca-Cola Company’s Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness team of physicians, PhD-level nutrition scientists and registered dietitians serve as a resource for health professionals and others interested in the science of beverages and their role in health and living well.
The Coca-Cola Company will share research findings with ADA members in forums such as professional meetings and scientific publications, to augment the body of knowledge around consumer motivation and health behaviors. To improve understanding of consumer behavior and motivation around healthy living, The Coca-Cola Company will also share its consumer research and expertise with ADA members.”
How nice. I’m sure we can all sleep better knowing that one of the authorities for dietary recommendations in the US is getting their scientific information from such a health-minded group of corporate scientists.
And while we’re at it, who are some of the other ADA sponsors?
Let’s see… there’s PepsiCo… and sugary-snack giants Hershey and MARS Inc… oh, and SoyJoy, along with a couple of sugary-cereal giants.
All in all, I’m not impressed. In fact, it’s downright frightening to see how many corn syrup-reliant companies support the ADA.
Financial alliances such as these are a major part of why it is virtually impossible to get honest, impartial, factual information about health from conventional media, medicine, and government health agencies.
The Truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup
The truth is, scientists HAVE linked the rising HFCS consumption to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers HAVE pinpointed various health dangers associated with the consumption of HFCS specifically, compared to regular sugar.
This is why the corn industry is now scrambling to save face and profits – NOT because it’s really okay to consume an average of 59 pounds of HFCS a year.
If you haven't yet read the impressive scientific analysis on fructose in one of my favorite nutritional journals, I would strongly encourage you to do so as it will open your eyes to some of the major problems with this sweetener.
And for an in-depth review of just how different fructose and HFCS really is from regular sugar, please read through this article and watch the lecture given by Dr. Robert Lustig.
If you have not yet taken the time to see it, you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s a real eye-opener!
Another expert on fructose is Dr. Richard Johnson, who has also written the best book on the market on the dangers of fructose, called The Sugar Fix.
The information presented by Drs. Lustig and Johnson is exactly why I am so passionate about educating you about the dangers of fructose!
I am thoroughly convinced it’s one of the leading causes of a great deal of needless suffering from poor health and premature death.
If you received your fructose only from vegetables and fruits (where it originates) as most people did a century ago, you’d consume about 15 grams per day -- a far cry from the 73 grams per day the typical adolescent gets from sweetened drinks today. And, in vegetables and fruits, the fructose is mixed in with fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients, all which moderate its negative metabolic effects.
The main factor that makes fructose so dangerous is the fact that people are consuming it in absolutely MASSIVE DOSES. This is largely related to technology advances in the mid 70s that made it so cheap to produce. The vast majority of processed and restaurant foods are now loaded with it, so it is very difficult to avoid.
How Fructose Wrecks Your Health
Contrary to industry claims, your body does NOT recognize and treat all sugars the same.
HFCS is a highly processed product that contains similar amounts of unbound fructose and glucose.
Fructose and glucose are metabolized in very different ways in your body.
Glucose is metabolized in every cell of your body and is converted to blood glucose, while all fructose is metabolized in your liver, where it’s quickly converted to fat and cholesterol. (When a diet includes a large amount of fructose, it can therefore create fatty liver, and even cirrhosis.)
Sucrose, on the other hand, is a larger sugar molecule that is metabolized into glucose and fructose in your intestine.
Fructose is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form (soda), its negative metabolic effects are further magnified.
Why does it turn to fat more readily than other sugar?
Most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. However, researchers have discovered that fructose bypasses this process and turns directly into fat.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and lead author of a recent study on fructose in the Journal of Nutrition:
"Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body."
It is also this uncontrolled movement of fructose through these metabolic pathways that causes it to contribute to greater triglyceride [i.e. fat] synthesis. There are over 35 years of hard empirical evidence that refined man-made fructose like HFCS metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose.
The metabolic pathways used by fructose also generate uric acid. In fact, fructose typically generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion. When your uric acid level exceeds about 5.5 mg per dl, you have an increased risk for a host of diseases, including:
Hypertension
Kidney disease
Insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes
Fatty liver
Elevated triglycerides, elevated LDL, and cardiovascular disease
For pregnant women, even preeclampsia
Other specific health problems associated with excessive fructose consumption include:
Metabolic Syndrome
Diabetes
High blood pressure
Obesity
An increase in triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
Liver disease
Name virtually any disease, and you will find elevated insulin levels is a primary risk factor. This is why, if you want to be healthy, let alone optimally healthy, you simply MUST restrict your fructose consumption.
And if you’re currently eating a diet full of processed foods, sodas and sweetened drinks, that restriction will need to be quite severe, because you’re ingesting massive amounts of fructose in the form of HFCS and other forms of corn syrup, such as crystalline fructose.
Please understand that if you eat processed foods, there’s fructose in practically every single bite of food you put in your mouth.
Ironically, diet foods are clear culprits here as well.
Yes, the very products that most people rely on to lose weight -- low-fat diet foods -- are often those that contain the most fructose!
The downside of this is that fructose does not stimulate your insulin secretion, nor enhance leptin production. (Leptin is a hormone thought to be involved in appetite regulation.) Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.
So, any “diet” food containing fructose will not help you lose any weight. And neither will diet foods containing artificial sweeteners for that matter....
Another significant health concern of HFCS is that the majority of it is made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects. And, adding insult to injury, last year nearly 50 percent of tested HFCS-containing foods and beverages were found to be contaminated with mercury.
What about Fructose from Fruit?
Fresh fruits also contain fructose, although an ameliorating factor is that whole fruits also contain fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that reduce the hazardous effects of the fructose.
Nearly every canned or bottled commercial juice, on the other hand, are actually worse than soda, because a glass of juice is loaded with fructose, and a lot of the antioxidants are lost. Additionally the processed juice has methanol which has its own toxicities.
It is important to remember that fructose in and of itself isn’t evil as fruits are certainly beneficial. (HFCS, however, is far from natural. It’s a highly processed product that does not exist anywhere in nature. Changing the name to ‘corn sugar’ will not change this fact.)
But when you consume high amounts of fructose – regardless of its source -- it will absolutely devastate your biochemistry and physiology.
Remember the AVERAGE fructose dose is 70 grams per day which exceeds the recommended limit by 300 percent.
So, I urge you to be careful with your fruit consumption as well – especially if you eat processed foods of any kind.
I recommend limiting your total fructose consumption to 25 grams per day, and your fructose from fruit to below 15 grams, since you are virtually guaranteed to consume plenty of "hidden" fructose in other foods.
Keep in mind, 15 grams of fructose is not much -- it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or just two Medjool dates! (For comparison, however, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams.)
If you’re a raw food advocate, have a pristine diet, and exercise very well, then perhaps you could be the exception that could exceed this limit and stay healthy. Dr. Johnson has a handy chart, included below, which you can use to estimate how much fructose you’re getting in your diet.
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose - Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes - 1 medium 0 Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Lemons - 1 medium 0.6 Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Cranberries - 1 cup 0.7 Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Passion fruit - 1 medium 0.9 Peach 1 medium 5.9
Prune - 1 medium 1.2 Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Apricot - 1 medium 1.3 Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Guava - 2 medium 2.2 Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Date (Deglet Noor style) - 1 medium 2.6 Banana 1 medium 7.1
Cantaloupe - 1/8 of med. melon 2.8 Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Raspberries - 1 cup 3.0 Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Clementine - 1 medium 3.4 Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Kiwifruit - 1 medium 3.4 Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Blackberries - 1 cup 3.5 Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Star fruit - 1 medium 3.6 Pear 1 medium 11.8
Cherries, sweet - 10 3.8 Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Strawberries - 1 cup 3.8 Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Cherries, sour - 1 cup 4.0 Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Pineapple - 1 slice (3.5" x .75") 4.0 
Apricots, dried - 1 cup 16.4
Grapefruit, pink or red - 1/2 medium 4.3 
Figs, dried - 1 cup 23.0
In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Johnson includes detailed tables showing the content of fructose in different foods -- an information base that isn’t readily available when you’re trying to find out exactly how much fructose is in various foods. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this excellent resource. It is important to note however, that Dr. Johnson does promote the use of artificial sweeteners in this book - which I do not recommend, under any circumstances.
One of the Simplest Ways to Improve Your Health NOW!
I recommend that you avoid sugar as much as possible, particularly fructose in all its forms.
This is especially important if you are overweight or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure as fructose will clearly worsen all of these conditions.
However, I also realize we don’t live in a perfect world, and following rigid dietary guidelines is not always practical or even possible.
If you want to use a sweetener occasionally, this is what I recommend:
Use the herb stevia. My favorites are the flavored liquid bottles.
Use organic cane sugar in moderation.
Use organic raw honey in moderation, but remember, honey is also very high in fructose so it is not an ideal replacement.
Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners, which can damage your health even more quickly than fructose.
Avoid agave syrup since it is a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose. Your blood sugar will spike just as it would if you were consuming regular sugar or HFCS. Agave’s meteoric rise in popularity is due to another great marketing campaign, but any health benefits present in the original agave plant are eliminated during processing.
Avoid so-called energy drinks, sports drinks, and vitamin-enriched waters because they are loaded with sugar, sodium and chemical additives. Rehydrating with pure, fresh water is your best choice.
If you or your child is involved in athletics, I recommend you read my article Energy Rules for some great tips on how to optimize your child’s energy levels and physical performance through optimal nutrition.
As a last precaution, if you have high fasting insulin levels (anything above 3), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight, I strongly recommend avoiding ALL sweeteners, including stevia, until you’ve normalized your condition.
This is because any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity, which as I’ve mentioned before, which drives up your risk of nearly every disease there is, from diabetes to cancer.
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Coconut Oil Safety
The medium-chain fats in coconut oil are considered so nutritious that they are used in baby formulas, in hospitals to feed the critically ill, those on tube feeding, and those with digestive problems. Coconut oil has even been used successfully by doctors in treating aluminum poisoning.
Coconut oil is exceptionally helpful for pregnant women, nursing moms, the elderly, those concerned about digestive health, athletes (even weekend warriors), and those of you who just want to enhance your overall health.
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Could This be the Key Factor Spiking the Rise in Dementia and Alzheimer's?
Posted By Dr. Mercola
September 28 2010
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/28/high-doses-of-b-vitamins-can-reduce-brain-shrinkage-memory-loss.aspx
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.
A two-year clinical trial was the largest to date into the effect of B vitamins on "mild cognitive impairment," a condition which is a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
Reuters reports:
"[Researchers] conducted a two-year trial with 168 volunteers with MCI who were given either a vitamin pill containing very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill ...
[O]n average the brains of those taking the vitamin treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76 percent a year, while those taking the dummy pill had an average brain shrinkage of 1.08 percent."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
We are in the midst of an Alzheimer's epidemic. Odds are absolutely overwhelming that you personally know someone with this disease or who has recently died from it.
In the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer's will affect one in four Americans.
According to the Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report for 2009, 5.3 million people in the U. S. now have the disease, which bumps it up to the sixth leading cause of death.
Reuters reports:
"Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects around 16 percent of people aged over 70 worldwide and is characterized by slight problems with memory loss, language or other mental functions.
MCI does not usually interfere with daily life, but around 50 percent of people diagnosed with it go on to develop the far more severe Alzheimer's disease within five years.
Alzheimer's is a mind-wasting disease for which there are few treatments and no cure, and which affects 26 million people around the world."
Absolute Best Way to Treat Alzheimer's
Believe me, I don't mention these statistics to frighten you, but to warn you, because this is a bugger of a disease to beat when you have it.
You want to avoid this disease for sure, and the BEST way to "treat" it is to lead a lifestyle that will prevent it in the first place. And I can confidently assure you that this is possible.
I have absolutely no doubt that I will successfully avoid this disease as my lifestyle prevents it.
It is important to understand that dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, is NOT a normal part of aging, which makes the steady rise in dementia cases all that more frustrating.
Clearly, determining the underlying causes of these brain disorders is imperative if we're going to slow down or reverse this troubling trend.
In this latest PLoS study, extremely high doses of B vitamins were successful in limiting brain shrinkage, which is a common precursor of Alzheimer's disease.
According to one of the co-authors:
"This is a very dramatic and striking result. It's much more than we could have predicted… It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay development of Alzheimer's in many people who suffer from mild memory problems."
This is good news, but there are certain factors that must be considered here, and I believe there are other, more effective strategies to combat Alzheimer's, which I'll review at the end of this article.
B Vitamins for Optimal Brain Health
B vitamins are indeed important for optimal brain health, and may even serve as an adjunct to "emergency" medicine in some cases. For example, vitamin B3 (niacin) may be helpful in your neurological recovery after you've experienced a stroke.
In a previous study on the impact of B12 on brain wasting, seniors with lower vitamin B12 levels at the start of the study also had a greater decrease in brain volume at the end.
Those with the lowest B12 levels had a six-fold greater rate of brain volume loss compared with those who had the highest levels!
Interestingly, none of the participants were actually deficient in vitamin B12 -- they just had low levels within a normal range.

This goes to show that "normal" is not necessarily the same as "optimal" when you're talking about nutrients. You don't have to be clearly deficient in order to experience a decline in health. The study's lead researcher commented on this, saying:
"Our results suggest that rather than maintaining one's B12 at a level that is just above the cut-off for deficiency, it might be prudent to aim to keep it higher up than normal range."
This is really important to hear, as most people would assume that if their levels are within the normal range, they're fine. In reality, you cannot always count on the "normal" reference ranges that come with your blood tests.
Vitamin D is another example of a test that lists "normal" ranges that are nowhere near adequate to keep you healthy.
Here, in this latest PloS study, the participants received very high doses of B vitamins. The vitamin pills, which are so potent you can only obtain them with a prescription, contained:
•800 micrograms (mcg) folic acid -- US RDA is 400 mcg/day
•500 mcg B12 (cyanocobalamin) – US RDA is only 2.4 mcg/day
•20 mg B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride) -- US RDA 1.3-1.5 mg/day
As one of the researchers stated, this is actually "a drug-, not a vitamin intervention."
The study was based on the presumption that by controlling the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, you might be able to reduce the amount of brain shrinkage, which tends to precipitate Alzheimer's.
High levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's, as well as heart disease, and stroke.
B vitamins are homocysteine suppressant, and vitamin B12 in particular is known as essential for neurological function.
It seemed to work. After two years, those who had received the vitamin B regimen suffered significantly less brain shrinkage compared to those who had received a placebo.
According to Reuters,
"People who had the highest levels of homocysteine at the start of the trial benefited the most from the treatment, with their brains shrinking at half the rate of those on the placebo.
Although the trial was not designed to measure cognitive ability, the researchers found those people who had lowest rates of shrinkage had the highest scores in mental tests."
What Do We Know about the Causes of Alzheimer's?
Some believe that we need to wait for the ultimate placebo controlled randomized trial to "prove" an approach before recommending it. I believe that is an absolutely foolhardy approach when we are in the midst of an emergency.
People are losing their minds at an alarming and increasing rate, and we need to act now.
So it makes sense to use natural approaches, which are essentially without any side effects and are very inexpensive. Many of them, like exercise, only cost you time.
So, what do we actually know?
Well, we know that risk factors for brain atrophy include high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, and as already mentioned, brain shrinkage typically precipitates the more serious forms of dementia. If you have followed this newsletter you know we are constantly reviewing lifestyle changes to address these risk factors.
Alzheimer's disease is a chronic form of dementia that results in severe memory loss and eventually death. The average lifespan of someone with Alzheimer's is only about eight years, although many can, survive up to 20 years with proper care.
The primary genetic risk factor is the presence of the Apo lipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOE e4) allele, which is more common among Africans, Inuits, Amerindians, Northern Europeans than southern Europeans.
But genetics certainly cannot account for the vast majority of Alzheimer's cases. Something else is affecting us...
The exact causes and mechanisms behind Alzheimer's disease are still not entirely clear, but the disease has been linked to a number of other health conditions, nutritional deficiencies, and environmental toxins.
Health conditions associated with Alzheimer's:
•Obesity, especially increased belly fat
•Insulin resistance and diabetes – Diabetics have up to 65 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease
•Elevated uric acid levels
•Thyroid dysfunction
•Intracellular T3 (immune system cells) deficiency
•Heart disease
Nutritional deficiencies associated with Alzheimers:
•Insufficient omega-3 fats
•Elevated homocysteine levels due to vitamin B6, B12 and folate deficiencies
•Vitamin K deficiency
Environmental toxins associated with Alzheimer's:
•Aluminum toxicity
•Mercury toxicity
One of the factors that I believe are among the most important of all is insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance and/or diabetes is a major factor in elevating your blood pressure, as well as for gaining excess weight; elevating your lipids, blood sugar and uric acid levels; and developing heart disease.
If you are producing too much insulin, you're going to be at risk for all of these health problems—along with brain atrophy and Alzheimer's as well.
Yes, once you begin to see the circular cause and effect relationships between these common health problems, it becomes easier to understand how you can prevent nearly ALL disease, including something as tricky as Alzheimer's.
Special Notes About Vitamin B12
Should you decide to boost your B12 intake with a supplement, please be aware that oral or sublingual B12 tablets do not work very well. Injectable B12 is considered the gold standard, however sublingual sprays are just as effective as the injectable versions and far more convenient and less painful to use.
You also need to beware of the fact that certain common drugs can cause you to become deficient in B12.
Prilosec (omeprazole), for example, has been clearly shown to decrease B12 absorption. This might be because it decreases your production of intrinsic factor, which is needed for proper B12 absorption.
Other medications may have similar adverse effects as well.
How to Prevent Alzheimer's Without Drugs

As you probably know, the primary treatment strategy employed by conventional medicine is drugs. Unfortunately, drugs such as Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl, may do more harm than good.
This class of drugs is known to provoke slower heart rates, significantly increasing your chances of getting a permanent pacemaker, as well as increasing your risk of hip fracture.

Interestingly, studies have demonstrated that ginko biloba is effective in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. One study published in 2006 found that the herb works just as well as Aricept (donepezil) in treating mild or moderate Alzheimer's-related dementia.
It's important to realize that ginko biloba will not cure the underlying problem, however but it is certainly safer to use compared to conventional drugs.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to significantly reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer's.
While effectively preventing associated health risks, such as obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and heart disease, these simple lifestyle changes can also help keep your brain in optimal working order well past your 60's.
•Optimize your vitamin D levels through safe sun exposure, a safe tanning bed and/or vitamin D3 supplements.
•Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate. Ideally you'll want to design your diet around your nutritional type. Everyone, however, regardless of nutritional type will want to avoid fructose as much as possible.
Strict vegetarian diets have been shown to increase your Alzheimer's risk, whereas diets high in omega-3's lower your risk. However, vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.
•Eat plenty of high-quality omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. I recommend avoiding most fish, however, because although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish stocks are now severely contaminated with mercury.
High intake of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA helps by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder. Researchers have also said DHA "dramatically reduces the impact of the Alzheimer's gene."
•Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3. There is no question that insulin resistance is one of the most pervasive influences on brain damage, as it contributes massively to inflammation, which will prematurely degenerate your brain.
•Avoid and remove mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury, 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. Please be careful as you could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire like I did if you see a conventional dentist to do the exchange. ONLY see a high quality biologically trained dentist, or your health could be seriously affected.
•Avoid aluminum, such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, etc.
•Exercise regularly. According to one study, the odds of developing Alzheimer's were nearly quadrupled in people who were less active during their leisure time, between the ages of 20 and 60. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
•Avoid flu vaccinations as they contain both mercury and aluminum!
•Eat plenty of blueberries. Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.
•Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.
•Avoid anticholinergic drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain night-time pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.
A recent study found that those who took drugs classified as 'definite anticholinergics' had a four times higher incidence of cognitive impairment. In those who were not carriers of the specific gene, APOE ε4 allele which I mentioned earlier in this article, the risk was over seven times higher.
Regularly taking two of these drugs further increased the risk of cognitive impairment.

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This "Breakthrough" One Page Chart Will Help You Slim Your Waistline
Posted by: Darin Steen
September 27 2010
By Darin Steen and Dr. Mercola and excerpts from some of Brian Tracy's work
One important element of most people's fitness and fat loss programs that usually gets overlooked is goal setting.
Most people who have successful exercise regimens have taken the time to create a clear blueprint for themselves and their future.
Even if they started the process of goal setting and personal strategic planning with a little skepticism, every one of them has become a true believer. Every one of them has accomplished far more than they ever believed possible, and they ascribe their success to the deliberate process of developing a detailed, written road map to get them to where they wanted to go.
The Definition of Happiness
Happiness has been defined as, "The progressive achievement of a worthy ideal, or goal."
When you are working progressively, step-by-step, toward something that is important to you, you generate within yourself a continuous feeling of success and achievement.
You feel more positive and motivated. You feel more in control of your own life. You feel happier and more fulfilled. You feel like a winner, and you soon develop the psychological momentum that enables you to overcome obstacles and plow through adversity as you move toward achieving the goals that are most important to you.
Are You Fuzzy or Clear?
Successful people are successful because they are very clear about their values.
Unsuccessful people are fuzzy or unsure. Complete failures have no real values at all.
Determine Your Values – What's Important to You?
Personal strategic planning begins with your determining what it is you believe in and stand for--your values.
Your values lie at the very core of everything you are as a human being. Your values are the unifying principles and core beliefs of your personality and your character. The virtues and qualities that you stand for are what constitute the person you have become from the beginning of your life to this moment. Your values, virtues and inner beliefs are the axle around which the wheel of your life turns.
All improvement in your life begins with you clarifying your true values, and then committing yourself to live consistent with them.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your goal must be congruent with your belief system, or else success will likely linger beyond your reach.
I think (or at least hope) we can agree that being healthy is a wonderful thing. Therefore, if being healthy is in your belief system, you are congruent with the goal of mastering the dietary recommendations and working out according to plan!
Your mind contains a cybernetic goal-seeking mechanism. Once you have programmed a thought or desire into your subconscious mind, your subconscious and your superconscious mind take on a power of their own that seems to drive and steer you to attainment of your goal, whatever it is.
Unfortunately, less than 3 percent of adults have clear written goals with plans on how to achieve them.
This article will help you be one of those 3 percent.
Step 1: Develop desire for health and being fit
A desire is completely personal and comes from within. Our actions are usually based on fear or desire. If you are trying to implement the dietary recommendations because you are fearful that you will stay sick or never achieve the weight or health you would like, you are most likely going to fail.
Fear is a powerful force, but not one that spurs you toward greatness.
Desire, though, is a burning that comes from within and has the power to change your very nature and core.
Step 2: Believe you CAN be successful
If there is any doubt in your mind that you may not be able to achieve something, you don't give it your all. In fact, you may very well just set it aside. In order to fully achieve anything, you must believe it is possible at a cellular level.
Make your goals obtainable, and set short-term goals that slowly but surely lead up to your long-term goal.
Step 3: You MUST write it down
Having a goal of exercising optimally or weighing a certain amount is not a goal if it is not in writing.
Until you put it in writing, it is a fantasy. Once your goal is in writing, it is concrete.
I would encourage you to write out your goal in two ways.
The first way is to use a lot of detail.
Be specific on what your life will be like when you have met this goal. Let your imagination run wild. If your goal is eating optimally, write in detail what your meals will look like and what you will be able to do with all the energy you now have. Then, put this in an envelope to read when you need encouragement and motivation.
The second way I encourage writing it down is in one sentence that captures what that goal is.
For instance, you may write "I choose only foods that add life and vitality to my organs and cells and hydrate myself with clean, pure water." Take this sentence and write it on several post-it notes. Place them in your car, at your office, on your bathroom mirror and one by your bed.
Before retiring for the night, read your sentence a few times and then spend 1-2 minutes visualizing what that is like.
Step 4: Make a list of all the ways that you will benefit from achieving your goal, and get EMOTIONAL
This is similar to what was recommended above. The reasons why you set your goal are the forces that will move you in the direction of the goal.
The reasons may include having more energy, looking better, feeling great, or fitting into a dress. Reviewing this on a regular basis will assist in keeping you motivated.
Remember to use the word "I" with each goal, and write it in the present tense. Your subconscious mind responds only to commands that are personal, positive and in the present tense.
Plugging in your emotional reasons for wanting to optimize your fitness and fat loss is crucial. It is the "why" to the "what."
It does not matter what they are. Just make sure that they are real for you. Pick the top two or three emotional reasons why you must become healthier, leaner, stronger, and more energetic, and focus on those.
An important tip in developing goals is to use the word "I" with each goal and write it in the present tense. Your subconscious mind responds only to commands that are personal, positive and in the present tense.
To give you some ideas, here's a list of 15 ways exercise can improve your health:
1. Improve your brainpower
2. Lower your blood pressure
3. Fight off a cold
7. Fight depression
9. Build strong bones
You can use the exercise benefits above as a help to create personal reasons for you that are LOADED with emotion. Remember that unless you have emotion attached to your reasons, the likelihood that you will succeed is radically reduced.
Step 5: Analyze your position, your starting point
This will provide a starting point, a baseline, to measure your progress.
If your goal is to lose weight, weigh yourself and write down where you are. If your goal is to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, have your cholesterol or blood pressure measured and write down where you are.
Step 6: Set a deadline
If your goal is to obtain a certain weight, blood pressure, or cholesterol, set a deadline. These are tangible goals. Setting a deadline programs it into the cells to achieve that goal by a certain time, if not sooner.
However, if your goal is intangible, such as optimizing health, do not set a deadline. If you set a deadline on an intangible goal, such as "optimizing health", the date you set will be the first date your cells are programmed to actually start demonstrating that quality.
If you do set a deadline and fail to reach it, set another deadline.
Step 7: Make a list of obstacles that stand between you and the accomplishment of your goal
After listing all the possible obstacles that you can think of, re-list them in order of the difficulty to overcome them.
The obstacles you list may be internal or external.
An internal obstacle would be a belief that you have about yourself, or an attitude. "This diet is too difficult" and "I don't have time to prepare foods" are examples. An external obstacle is something outside of yourself, such as a spouse who brings you chocolate, or friends who like to eat out at Italian restaurants.
Step 8: Identify the additional information you will need to achieve your goal.
There are multiple resources available on many subjects. If there is an area you are pursuing, research it and empower yourself with all of the information you can. Successful people are those who obtain and have information.
Arm yourself with knowledge on why a desired weight is more beneficial. Know why weighing too much or having excess body fat is unhealthy.
Setting a goal and going after it without knowing why you are going after it is a sure-fire way of stopping short of your goal.
Step 9: Make a list of all the people whose help and cooperation you will require
This list may include family, friends, co-workers, your doctor and whomever else you deem appropriate. You are going to require the help and encouragement of others in achieving any goal. Although you want to be careful in selecting only those who you know will support and encourage you in the fullest.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who seem to sabotage others, especially when it comes to trying to lose weight or achieve better health. Educate the people you select on the reasons you are working toward your goal. If you present it well, they may even decide to join you and then you will be really supported and held accountable!
Step 10: Make a plan
Write out in detail the entire plan: what you want, when you want it, why you want it, and from where you are starting. List the obstacles to overcome, the information you will need and the people you need to help you. Use steps 1-9 to help with this.
Step 11: Use visualization
Visualization is a powerful tool. What you see is what you get. And what you eat provides the energy that enables you to become what you want. Picture yourself sitting at a table and only selecting foods that add life and health to the body.
Visualize yourself participating in activities that also add life and provide energy. Picture how good you will feel when implementing the dietary recommendations. Imagine life with health.
Take time each day for this. As recommended in step 3, do this at night before retiring while reading the sentence you created.
I also highly suggest that you cut out the physique of a lean, muscular person out of a magazine or print one off the computer. Cut out the silhouette of the body you want and put your head on it.
It is important for you to see this often throughout the day.
I did this 15 years ago, and within 2 years I took my physique to a level that I never dreamt of, and became a drug-free-for-life competitive bodybuilder in the WNBF.
It works.
Step 12: Make the decision in advance that you will never, ever, give up
As they said in Apollo 13: "Failure is not an option."
A lot of the patients I work with at times become frustrated, but they do not give up. I have become frustrated at times also with eating optimally and making healthy choices, but I have NEVER given up.
When you realize how important food choices are to your core being, you will want to persevere.
Surround yourself with those who are choosing wisely and who care enough about you to hold you accountable. We all have days, or weeks, where we slip. The important thing is that you realize this, admit it, and get back with the program.
Be VERY Clear About Your Goals
Clarity accounts for probably 80 percent of success and happiness. Lack of clarity is probably more responsible for frustration and underachievement than any other single factor.
You could say that the three keys to achieving your goals are "Clarity, Clarity, Clarity." Your success in life will be largely determined by how clear you are about what it is you really, really want.
The more you write and rewrite your goals and the more you think about them, the clearer they will become about them.
The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to do more and more of the things that are consistent with achieving them. Meanwhile, you will do fewer and fewer of the things that don't help to get the things you really want.
The Seven Step Process to Achieve Goals Faster and Easier
First, decide exactly what you want to achieve.
Second, write it down CLEARLY and in as much detail as you can.
Third, set a specific deadline. If it is a large goal, break it down into subdeadlines and write them down in order.
Fourth, make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. As you think of new items, add them to your list.
Fifth, organize the items on your list into a plan by placing them in the proper sequence and priority.
Sixth, take action immediately on the most important thing you can do in your plan. This is VERY important.
Seventh, do something every day that moves you toward to attainment of one or more of your important health goals.
Remember that fewer than 3 percent of adults have written goals and plans that they work on every single day. When you sit down and write our your goals, you move yourself in to the top 3 percent of people in our society. And you will soon start to get the same type of results that they do.
Study and review your goals EVERY DAY to be sure that they are still your most important health goals. You will find yourself deleting goals that are no longer as important as you once thought.
Whatever your goals are, plan them out thoroughly, on paper, and work on them every single day. This is the key to peak performance and maximum achievement.
I truly hope that the steps provided assist you in your journey toward health and in creating the life you choose. Setting goals is necessary if you are going to direct your life. May you be blessed with wisdom and love as you go about setting goals and achieving them!
The strategies presented above are abstracted from Brian Tracy's book "Maximum Achievement" It is a book definitely worth purchasing and reading more than once. It will greatly improve your likelihood of reaching your goals.
Commitment Sheet
Here is another example of a goal setting tool that we use with our clients. It is called a commitment sheet. This is a commitment that you make to yourself, that ties everything together.
As you can see, the commitment sheet is written in the present tense, as if you've already accomplished your goals.
Your homework now is to read the commitment sheet out loud, with a positive tone in your voice, three times, right before bed. Also read your commitment sheet right upon waking in the morning. There is power in the spoken word. So stand up tall, with good posture, and say it like you mean it.
At these times of the day you are in an alpha brain state. This is a prime time for you to be more susceptible to auto suggestion or self hypnosis. Your mind will repeatedly review what you were thinking about at these two times as it "cleans the files" while you sleep.
Why Using a Scale Alone Will Not Tell You if You're Successfully Losing Weight
Most people make the mistake of only using the scale to see if their fat loss program is working. But the scale does not tell you the whole story. It will not tell you if you are replacing fat with muscle, for example. And it will not tell you if you are losing valuable water and muscle, or undesirable fat.
Ideally you should use a one site skin fold caliper kit. It is quick, easy, and consistently accurate. Within one minute you will know your overall body fat percentage, fat weight, and lean body mass.
Armed with this information you will be able to really tell if your fitness program is working.
If you are reluctant to use a skin fold caliper kit, at least use a tape measure in addition to a scale.If the scale stays the same, but your waistline has been reduced, then you know you have gained muscle and lost fat.
It's not as precise as a skin fold caliper kit, but it is much better than using just a scale.
Program Your "Faith Muscle"
What you are doing when you go through all these steps and visualizations is working on your "faith muscle", so that you can optimize your fitness and health, and therefore peak in all the areas of your life, at any age.
This is a great mental and emotional exercise, because what I have found for myself, my trainers, and my clients, is that once you believe something, with a sense of certainty deep down in your core, it will almost always become true.
That is what this commitment sheet can do for you. It is very powerful. I have seen well over 100 personal clients radically change their waistline, their lifestyle, and their lives by using this goal setting / visualization tool.
Remember, a fitness / fat loss lifestyle is the only true fountain of youth that exists. And yes, you DO have the power to change!!
Your Healthy Lifestyle Coach,
Darin L. Steen
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Eating Meat Kills More People Than Previously Thought
Monday, March 30, 2009 by: Andreas Moritz, citizen journalist
(NaturalNews) There is no more denying it. Meat contains highly toxic substances that are responsible for many deaths and diseases. Heavy meat consumption increases your risk of dying from all causes, including heart disease and cancer, according to a federal study conducted by the National Cancer Institute and featured in Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday.
The study looked at the records of more than half a million men and women aged 50 to 71, following their diet and other health habits for 10 years. Between 1995 and 2005, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died.
The researchers divided the volunteers into 5 groups or "quintiles." All other major factors were accounted for -- eating fresh fruits and vegetables, smoking, exercise, obesity, etc. People eating the most meat consumed about 160g of red or processed meat per day - approximately a 6oz steak.
Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less. Men had a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That`s compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week, or 25g per day -- approximately a small rasher of bacon.
The study also included data on white meat and found that a higher intake was associated with a slightly reduced risk of death over the same period. However, high white meat consumption still posed a major risk of dying.
"For overall mortality, 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption to the level of intake in the first quintile," Sinha`s team wrote.
Sinha`s team noted that meat contains several cancer-causing chemicals, as well as the unhealthiest forms of fat.
The good news is that the U.S. government now recommends a "plant-based diet" with the emphasis on
fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The bad news is that it also hands out massive farm subsidies that keep meat prices very low and encourage meat-based diets. The government`s food-price policies contribute to such risk-filled eating habits as meat consumption.
Another drawback is that the National Cancer Institute study only looked at the increased mortality risk resulting from meat consumption. It should be noted, that if eating meat can kill a large number of people, it can make an even larger number of people seriously ill.
Food that kills or makes people sick should not be considered food at all. However, the meat industry thinks otherwise. It believes that the study is flawed. American Meat Institute executive president, James Hodges, said: "Meat products are part of a healthy, balanced diet and studies show they actually provide a sense of
satisfaction and fullness that can help with weight control. Proper body weight contributes to good health overall."
The question is whether it is worth risking one`s life over having a little sense of satisfaction and fullness, which could easily be experienced by eating a healthful diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
The new findings support a previous study published earlier this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which showed that eating meat boosts risk of prostate cancer by 40 Percent. And just last month, parents learned that their children had a 60% increased risk of developing leukemia if they consumed meat products, such as ham, sausages and hamburgers.
Vegetarians Live Longer and Healthier Lives
More recently, medical research has found that a properly balanced vegetarian diet may, in fact, be the healthiest diet. This was demonstrated by the over 11,000 volunteers who participated in the Oxford Vegetarian Study. For a period of 15 years, researchers analyzed the effects a vegetarian diet had on longevity, heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.
The results of the study stunned the vegetarian community as much as it did the meat-producing industry: "Meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60 percent greater risk of dying from cancer and a 30 percent higher risk of death from other causes."
In addition, the incidence of obesity, which is a major risk factor for many diseases, including gallbladder
disease, hypertension and adult onset diabetes, is much lower in those following a vegetarian diet. According to a Johns Hopkins University research report on 20 different published studies and national surveys about weight and eating behavior, Americans across all age groups, genders and races are getting fatter. If the trend continues, 75 percent of U.S. adults will be overweight by the year 2015.
It is now almost considered the norm to be overweight or obese. Already more than 80 percent of African-American women over the age of 40 are overweight, with 50 percent falling into the obese category. This puts them at great risk for heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. A balanced vegetarian diet may be the answer to the current obesity pandemic in the United States and many other countries.
Those who include less meat in their diet also have fewer problems with cholesterol. The American National Institute of Health, in a study of 50,000 vegetarians, found that the vegetarians live longer and also have an impressively lower incidence of heart disease and a significantly lower rate of cancer than meat-eating
Americans. And in 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90-97% of heart diseases.
What we eat is very important for our health. According to the American Cancer Society, up to 35 percent of the 900,000 new cases of cancer each year in the United States could be prevented by following proper dietary recommendation. Researcher Rollo Russell writes in his Notes on the Causation of Cancer: "I have found of twenty-five nations eating flesh largely, nineteen had a high cancer rate and only one had a low rate, and that of thirty-five nations eating little or no flesh, none of these had a high rate."
Could cancer lose its grip on modern societies if they turned to a balanced vegetarian diet? The answer is "yes," according to two major reports, one by the World Cancer Research Fund and the other by the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy in the United Kingdom. The reports conclude that a diet rich in plant foods and the maintenance of a healthy body weight could annually prevent four million cases of cancer worldwide. Both reports stress the need for increasing the daily intake of plant fiber, fruits and vegetables and reducing red and processed meat consumption to less than 80-90g.
If you are currently eating meat on a regular basis and wish to change over to a vegetarian diet, unless you suffer from a major cardiovascular illness, do not give up all flesh foods at once! The digestive system cannot adjust to a substantially different diet from one day to the next. Start by reducing the number of meals that include meats such as beef, pork, veal and lamb and substituting poultry and fish during these meals. In time, you will find that you are able to consume less poultry and fish also, without creating strain on the physiology due to too rapid an adjustment.
Note: Although the uric acid content of fish, turkey and chicken is less than in red meat and, therefore, not quite as taxing to the kidneys and tissues of the body, the degree of injury that is sustained to the blood vessels and intestinal tract from eating these coagulated proteins is no less than it is with the consumption of meat.
Death in the Meat
Research has shown that all meat eaters have worms and a high incidence of parasites in their intestines. This is hardly surprising given the fact that dead flesh (cadaver) is a favorite target for microorganisms of all sorts.
A 1996 study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that nearly 80 percent of ground beef is contaminated with disease-causing microbes. The primary source of these bugs is feces. A study conducted by the University of Arizona found there are more fecal bacteria in the average kitchen sink than in the average toilet bowl. This would make eating your food on the toilet seat safer than eating it in the kitchen. The source of this biohazard at home is the meat you buy at the typical grocery store.
The germs and parasites found in meat weaken the immune system and are the source of many diseases. In fact, most food poisonings today are related to meat-eating. During a mass outbreak near Glasgow, 16 out of over 200 infected people died from the consequences of eating E. coli contaminated meat. Frequent outbreaks are reported in Scotland and many other parts of the world. More than half a million Americans, most of them children, have been sickened by mutant fecal bacteria (E. coli) in meat. These germs are the leading cause of kidney failure among children in the United States. This fact alone should prompt every responsible parent to prevent their children from eating flesh foods.
Not all parasites act so swiftly as E. coli though. Most of them have long-term effects that are noticed only after many years of eating meat. The government and the food industry are trying to divert attention from the escalating problem of meat contamination by telling the consumer it is his own fault that these incidents happen. It is very obvious that they want to avoid hefty lawsuits, and bad-mouthing of the meat industry.
They insist that dangerous bacterial outbreaks occur because the consumer does not cook the family`s meat long enough. It is now considered a crime to serve a rare hamburger. Even if you have not committed this "crime," any infection will be attributed to not washing your hands every time you touch a raw chicken or to letting the chicken touch your kitchen counter or any other food. The meat itself, they claim, is totally safe and meets the standard safety requirements imposed by the government; of course, this holds true only as long as you keep disinfecting your hands and your kitchen countertop. It evades all good reasoning to propose such a "solution" to the 76 million cases of meat-borne illnesses a year, except to safeguard the vested interests of the government and the meat industry. If a particular imported food produced in China is found to be contaminated, even if it hasn`t actually killed anyone, it is immediately taken off the shelves of grocery stores. Yet, with all the research proving that meat-consumption harms and kills millions of people each year, meat continues to be sold in all grocery stores.
The new mutant bugs found in today`s meat are extremely deadly. For you to come down with Salmonella poisoning, you have to consume at least a million of these germs. But to become infected with one of the new mutant bugs, you need to ingest a measly five of them. In other words, a tiny particle of uncooked hamburger, making it from a kitchen utensil to your plate, is enough to kill you. Scientists have now identified more than a dozen food-borne pathogens with such deadly effects. The Center for Disease Control admits that they don`t even know the bugs behind most food-related illnesses and deaths.
Much of the germ-infestation of meat is caused by feeding farm animals foods that are unnatural to them.
Cattle are now fed corn, which they are unable to digest, but it makes them fat very quickly. Cattle feed also contains chicken feces. The millions of pounds of chicken litter (feces, feathers and all) scraped off the floors of chicken houses are recycled as cattle feed. The cattle industry considers this "good protein." The other ingredients of cattle feed consist of ground-up parts of animals, such as deceased chickens, pigs and horses. According to the industry, giving the cattle natural, healthy feeds would be far too costly and so unnecessary. Who really cares what the meat is made of, as long as it looks like meat?
Combined with hefty doses of growth hormones, a diet of corn and special feeds shortens the duration of fattening up a steer for market from a normal time period of 4-5 years to a mere 16 months. Of course, the unnatural diet makes the cows sick. Like their human consumers, they suffer from heartburn, liver disease, ulcers, diarrhea, pneumonia and other infections. To keep the cattle alive until the deadline for slaughter at the "ripe old age" of 16 months, the cows need to be fed enormous doses of antibiotics. In the meantime, the microbes that respond to the massive biochemical assault of antibiotics, find ways to become immune to these drugs by mutating into resistant new strains.
Those unfortunate cows that don`t drop dead prematurely due to all the poisons fed to them during their short earthly existence, experience an undignified and gruesome end of life in the slaughterhouse or meat-packing plant. From there, the diseased, germ-infested meat ends up in your local grocery store, and a little later, on your dinner plate, if you so dare.
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Olive Oil Good for Health but Not for Cooking
September 27, 2003
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/09/27/olive-oil-health.aspxcoconut
Posted By Dr. Mercola

Researchers found that participants in a study who consumed the most olive oil tended to have healthier diets than those who consumed the least amount of olive oil.
Participants who had the highest consumption of olive oil consumed less cereal and baked goods but more eggs and vegetables, and had a higher vitamin intake than those who consumed the least amount of olive oil.
Researchers concluded that olive oil is a major contributing factor to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This study reinforces the value of olive oil in promoting health as part of the Mediterranean diet. While olive oil can and should be a healthy part of your diet, what most people do not appreciate is that olive oil should not be used to cook with.
Olive oil is primarily a monounsaturated fat. This means that it has one double bond in its fatty acid structure. The problem with olive oil is its overabundance of oleic acid, which creates an imbalance on the cellular level that can inhibit prostaglandin production, which can increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease.
So if you plan on using a fat to cook with, your clear choice is
However, most commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD), and contain chemicals used in processing.
Because of these variations my team and I here researched coconut oil extensively until we found the ideal source. I now highly recommend and offer you what is clearly the premier brand of virgin coconut oil in the United States,
I urge you to try this virgin
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The Great Con-ola
By Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD
Posted By Dr. Mercola
August 14 2002
Canola oil is "widely recognized as the healthiest salad and cooking oil available to consumers." It was developed through hybridization of rape seed.
Rape seed oil is toxic because it contains significant amounts of a poisonous substance called erucic acid.
Canola oil contains only trace amounts of erucic acid and its unique fatty acid profile, rich in oleic acid and low in saturated fats, makes it particularly beneficial for the prevention of heart disease. It also contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, also shown to have health benefits. This is what the food industry says about canola oil.
Canola oil is a poisonous substance, an industrial oil that does not belong in the body. It contains "the infamous chemical warfare agent mustard gas," hemagglutinins and toxic cyanide-containing glycocides; it causes mad cow disease, blindness, nervous disorders, clumping of blood cells and depression of the immune system. This is what detractors say about canola oil.
How is the consumer to sort out the conflicting claims about canola oil? Is canola oil a dream come true or a deadly poison? And why has canola captured so large a share of the oils used in processed foods?
Hidden History
Let’s start with some history. The time period is the mid-1980s and the food industry has a problem. In collusion with the American Heart Association, numerous government agencies and departments of nutrition at major universities, the industry had been promoting polyunsaturated oils as a heart-healthy alternative to "artery-clogging" saturated fats.
Unfortunately, it had become increasingly clear that polyunsaturated oils, particularly corn oil and soybean oil, cause numerous health problems, including and especially cancer.
The industry was in a bind. It could not continue using large amounts of liquid polyunsaturated oils and make health claims about them in the face of mounting evidence of their dangers. Nor could manufacturers return to using traditional healthy saturates -- butter, lard, tallow, palm oil and coconut oil -- without causing an uproar. Besides, these fats cost too much for the cut-throat profit margins in the industry.
The solution was to embrace the use of monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil. Studies had shown that olive oil has a "better" effect than polyunsaturated oils on cholesterol levels and other blood parameters. Besides, Ancel Keys and other promoters of the diet-heart idea had popularized the notion that the Mediterranean diet -- rich in olive oil and conjuring up images of a carefree existence on sun-drenched islands -- protected against heart disease and ensured a long and healthy life.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) sponsored the First Colloquium on Monounsaturates in Philadelphia. The meeting was chaired by Scott Grundy, a prolific writer and apologist for the notion that cholesterol and animal fats cause heart disease. Representatives from the edible oil industry, including Unilever, were in attendance.
The Second Colloquium on Monounsaturates took place in Bethesda, Maryland, early in 1987. Dr. Grundy was joined by Claude Lenfant, head of the NHLBI, and speakers included Fred Mattson, who had spent many years at Proctor and Gamble, and the Dutch scientist Martign Katan, who would later publish research on the problems with trans fatty acids. It was at this time that articles extolling the virtues of olive oil began to appear in the popular press.
Promotion of olive oil, which had a long history of use, seemed more scientifically sound to the health-conscious consumer than the promotion of corn and soy oil, which could only be extracted with modern stainless steel presses. The problem for the industry was that there was not enough
olive oil in the world to meet its needs. And, like butter and other traditional fats, olive oil was too expensive to use in most processed foods. The industry needed a less expensive monounsaturated oil.
Rapeseed oil was a monounsaturated oil that had been used extensively in many parts of the world, notably in China, Japan and India. It contains almost 60 percent monounsaturated fatty acids (compared to about 70 percent in olive oil). Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the mono-unsaturated fatty acids in rapeseed oil are erucic acid, a 22-carbon monounsaturated fatty acid that had been associated with Keshan’s disease, characterized by fibrotic lesions of the heart.
In the late 1970s, using a technique of genetic manipulation involving seed splitting, Canadian plant breeders came up with a variety of rapeseed that produced a monounsaturated oil low in 22-carbon erucic acid and high in 18-carbon oleic acid.
The new oil referred to as LEAR oil, for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed, was slow to catch on in the US. In 1986, Cargill announced the sale of LEAR oil seed to US farmers and provided LEAR oil processing at its Riverside, North Dakota plant but prices dropped and farmers took a hit.
Marketing LEAR
Before LEAR oil could be promoted as a healthy alternative to polyunsaturated oils, it needed a new name. Neither "rape" nor "lear" could be expected to invoke a healthy image for the new "Cinderella" crop. In 1978, the industry settled on "canola," for "Canadian oil," since most of the new rapeseed at that time was grown in Canada.
"Canola" also sounded like "can do" and "payola," both positive phrases in marketing lingo. However, the new name did not come into widespread use until the early 1990s.
$50 million to obtain GRAS?
 An initial challenge for the Canola Council of Canada was the fact that rapeseed was never given GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status by the US Food and Drug Administration. A change in regulation would be necessary before canola could be marketed in the US. Just how this was done has not been revealed, but GRAS status was granted in 1985, for which, it is rumored; the Canadian government spent $50 million to obtain.
Since canola was aimed at the growing numbers of health-conscious consumers, rather than the junk food market, it required more subtle marketing techniques than television advertising. The industry had managed to manipulate the science to make a perfect match with canola oil -- very low in saturated fat and rich in monounsaturates.
In addition, canola oil contains about 10 percent omega-3 fatty acids, the most recent discovery of establishment nutritionists. Most Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, which had been shown to be beneficial to the heart and immune system. The challenge was to market this dream-come-true fatty acid profile in a way that would appeal to educated consumers.
Canola oil began to appear in the recipes of cutting edge health books, such as those by Andrew Weil and
Barry Sears. The technique was to extol the virtues of the Mediterranean diet and olive oil in the text, and then call for "olive oil or canola oil" in the recipes. One informant in the publishing industry told us that since the mid 1990s, major publishers would not accept cookbooks unless they included canola in the recipes.
In 1997, Harper Collins engaged Dr. Artemis Simopoulos to write a cookbook featuring the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Simopoulos was a pediatrician who had served for nine years as chair of the Nutritional Coordinating Committee of the National Institutes of Health before becoming president of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health.
She had published several papers on omega-3 fatty acids, calling attention to their disappearance from the food supply due to the industrialization of agriculture. Her most famous paper, published in 1992 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared omega-3 levels in supermarket eggs from hens raised on corn with eggs from hens allowed to roam and eat a more varied diet. The more natural eggs contained twenty times more omega-3 than supermarket eggs.
Simopoulos’s The Omega Plan came out in 1998 and was reissued as The Omega Diet in 1999. The book discusses the virtues of monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids in the Mediterranean diet. Since unprocessed canola oil contains not only lots of monoun-saturated fatty acids, but also a significant amount of omega-3, it shows up in most of the book’s recipes. Simopoulos claims that the Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fat and recommends lean meat and lowfat yogurt and milk as part of her regime.
The canola industry’s approach -- scientific conferences, promotion to upscale consumers through books like The Omega Dietand articles in the health section of newspapers and magazines -- was successful. By the late 1990s, canola use had soared, and not just in the US.
Today China, Japan, Europe, Mexico, Bangladesh and Pakistan all buy significant amounts. Canola does well in arid environments such as Australia and the Canadian plains, where it has become a major cash crop. It is the oil of choice in gourmet and health food markets like Fresh Fields (Whole Foods) markets, and shows up in many supermarket items as well.
It is a commonly used oil in sterol-containing margarines and spreads recommended for cholesterol lowering. Use of hydrogenated canola oil for frying is increasing, especially in restaurants.
Dangers Overstated
Reports on the dangers of rapeseed oil are rampant on the internet, mostly stemming from an article, "Blindness, Mad Cow Disease and Canola Oil," by John Thomas, which appeared in Perceptions magazine, March/April 1996. Some of the claims are ludicrous. Although rape is a member of the brassica or mustard family, it is not the source of mustard gas used in chemical warfare.
Glycosides or glycosinolates (compounds that produce sugars on hydrolysis) are found in most members of the brassica family, including broccoli, kale, cabbage and mustard greens. They contain sulfur (not arsenic), which is what gives mustard and cruciferous vegetables their pungent flavor.
These compounds are goitrogenic and must be neutralized by cooking or fermentation. As rapeseed meal was high in glycosides, it could not be used in large amounts for animal feeding. However, plant breeders have been able to breed out the glycosides as well as the erucic acid from canola oil. The result is a low-glycoside meal that can be used as an animal feed. In fact, canola meal for animal feed is an important Canadian export.
Hemagglutinins, substances that promote blood clotting and depress growth, are found in the protein portion of the seed, although traces may show up in the oil. And canola oil was not the cause of the mad cow epidemic in Britain, although feeding of canola oil may make cattle more susceptible to certain diseases.
Like all fats and oils, rapeseed oil has industrial uses. It can be used as an insecticide, a lubricant, a fuel and in soap, synthetic rubber and ink. Like flax oil and walnut oil, it can be used to make varnish. Traditional fats like coconut oil, olive oil and tallow also have industrial uses, but that does not make them dangerous for human consumption.
We have had reports of allergies to canola, and internet articles describe a variety of symptoms -- tremors, shaking, palsy, lack of coordination, slurred speech, memory problems, blurred vision, problems with urination, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and heart arrhythmias -- that cleared up on discontinuance of canola. None of this has been reported in the medical journals, however.
Writing for the Washington Post, Professor Robert L Wolke (www.professorscience.com) chastises the publishers of these reports as spreading "hysterical urban legends about bizarre diseases." The industry actually profits from such wild claims, because they are wrong and easily dismissed.
Nevertheless, consumers do have reason to be cautious about the establishment’s favorite oil, now showing up in an increasing number of products.
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The Deadly Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill
Posted By Dr. Mercola
November 22 2007
Long-term use of birth control pills may increase artery buildups in your body that may raise your risk of heart disease, Belgium researchers found.
In a study of 1,300 healthy women between the ages of 35 and 55, there was a 20 percent to 30 percent increased prevalence of plaque for every 10 years of oral contraceptive use.
Though the researchers pointed out that the plaques identified were small and not large enough to block an artery, any plaque is thought to raise your risk of heart disease.
Many of the women in the study had used older, first-generation birth control pills, which had twice the estrogen levels as most oral contraceptives used today.
About 100 million women worldwide currently take birth control pills, and hundreds of millions of women have used them since they were first introduced in 1960.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Birth control pills are used by 16 million American women. In my opinion, this is a tragedy.
The use of birth control pills, which are synthetic hormones, is rarely justified. If you're using birth control pills to control your menstrual cycles, irregular bleeding, cysts or endometriosis, you are not treating your underlying dysfunction.
Instead, you are simply increasing the risks to your health. Consider the evidence:
The pill may increase your risk of cervical and breast cancers
Oral contraceptives containing the synthetic hormone desogestrel more than double your risk of fatal blood clots
The pill may make your bones thinner
Oral contraceptives can increase your blood pressure
Many women also report awful side effects, which are undoubtedly due to the artificial hormones running through your body, when they take birth control pills. These include:
Migraines and nausea
Weight gain and mood changes
Irregular bleeding or spotting
Breast tenderness
Yeast overgrowth and infection
Because the risks are so high, and other safer options exist, I ask ALL of my patients to stop hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills as soon as possible.
Natural Alternatives to Birth Control Pills
Barrier methods and natural family planning (NFP) offer much safer, albeit less convenient, options than oral contraceptives.
With NFP, there are no side effects and no toxic substances to put in your body and women often feel empowered as they become aware of their fertility cycle.
I do recommend that you learn the method from a reliable source and if preventing pregnancy is an absolute must you may want to use a backup barrier method until you feel comfortable with the technique you’re using.
However, when used properly, the following natural methods can be just as effective as the pill:
The temperature method: This is a way to pinpoint the day of your ovulation so that intercourse can be avoided for a few days before and after. It involves taking your basal body temperature (your temperature upon first waking) each morning with an accurate "basal" thermometer, and noting the rise in temperature that occurs after ovulation.
Illness or lack of sleep can change your body temperature and make this method unreliable by itself, but when it is combined with the mucus method below, it can be an accurate way of assessing fertility. The two methods combined can have a success rate as high as 98 percent.
The mucus method: This involves tracking changes in the amount and texture of your vaginal discharge, which reflect rising levels of estrogen in your body. For the first few days after your period, there is often no discharge, but there will be a cloudy, tacky mucus as estrogen starts to rise.
When your discharge starts to increase in volume and becomes clear and stringy, ovulation is near. A return to tacky, cloudy mucus or no discharge means that ovulation has passed.
You can also use some of the more common, non-hormonal, barrier methods, such as:
Male condoms: Condoms have a 98 percent effectiveness rate when used correctly. A water-based lubricant will increase the effectiveness; do not use an oil-based lubricant, however, as they break the latex.
Female condoms: These thin, soft polyurethane pouches fitted inside your vagina before intercourse are 95 percent effective. Female condoms are less likely to tear than male condoms.
Diaphragm: Diaphragms, which must be fitted by a doctor, act as a barrier to sperm. When used correctly with spermicidal jellies, they are 92 to 98 percent effective.
Cervical cap: This heavy rubber cap fits tightly against your cervix and can be left in place for 48 hours. Like the diaphragm, a doctor must fit the cap. Proper fitting enhances the effectiveness above 91 percent.
Folks, I realize that the convenience of birth control pills is what makes them so popular. But my advice is to avoid them like the plague. The bit of planning it will take on your part is well worth the health risks you’ll avoid.
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Also See:
If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 1)
19 February 2009
If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 2)
01 August 2009
If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 3)
02 March 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/03/if-you-know-whats-good-for-you-part-3.html
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