Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If You Know what's Good for You ... (Part 5)


Farmageddon Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.
Doctors warn about dangers of energy drinks
Nicole Parsons
Thursday, June 23, 2011
(NaturalNews) They are easy to come by, lining the shelves of gas stations, convenient stores, supermarkets and even drug stores. However, in a new report, experts are now urging children and teenagers to avoid consumption of energy drinks.
"Children never need energy drinks," Says Dr. Holly Benjamin of the American Academy of Paediatrics who worked on the new report, "They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren't nutritional, so you don't need them."
Experts fear that kids are more vulnerable to the contents of the drinks than adults. Benjamin went on to say that "if you drink them on a regular basis, it stresses the body. You don't really want to stress the body of a growing person."
The report speaks of the jumble of ingredients in the energy drinks which include vitamins and various herbal extracts which could have potential side effects that are not yet entirely understood.
Benjamin goes on to say that while there aren't a great deal of documented cases of harm linked directly to
the drinks, the stimulants contained within can disrupt the hearts rhythm and in some rare cases can lead to seizures. She states that she recently saw a 15 year-old boy with ADHD who came to the hospital suffering from a seizure after drinking two bottles of Mountain Dew, a soft drink containing caffeine. The boy had also been taking stimulant ADHD medications and perhaps the combination of the drug and the extra caffeine had pushed him over the edge.
"You just never know." She said, "It's definitely a concern."
In an earlier published review on energy drinks Florida Pediatricians also described cases of seizures, heart problems and delusions in people who had consumed more than one non-alcoholic energy drink. While the group admits that such cases are rare and cannot be directly related to the drinks, they continue to urge caution, especially in children with medical conditions.
Sales of non-alcoholic energy drinks in the United States are expected to hit $9 billion dollars this year alone with kids and teens accounting for half of those sales. Manufacturers of the products claim that the drinks will enhance both mental and physical performance and were quick to downplay the report which was published in February, stating simply that the effects of caffeine are well known and so the product should be treated accordingly.
Benjamin, unsurprisingly, concludes that for most children, water is the safest and most effective thirst quencher.
Vibration exercise machines improve your lymphatic health
Alex Malinsky aka RawGuru
Thursday, June 23, 2011
(NaturalNews) With every beat of the heart, subtle vibrations are sent through the body, the movement stimulating a higher degree of circulation and a higher level of overall health. Because this movement is conducive to achieving a healthier circulatory system, among others, it has been recreated throughout the cultures and ages of history in an attempt to heal illnesses and improve the overall quality of life. A practice that has been utilized for thousands of years, vibration exercise is said to amplify the effects of the vibrations made each time the heart beats. These vibrations produce a level of blood flow that is uninterrupted, allowing oxygen and other important substances to circulate freely. By constantly pumping blood through the many systems of the body, the modern vibration exercise machine also promotes the drainage of the lymphatic system, which acts as a network of pipes that pushes toxins out of the body.
Moving the various fluids of the body requires power, which is only achieved through muscle contractions (such as the contraction of the heart when it pumps). The vibrations created by a vibration exercise machine create small muscular contractions. This forces the fluids through the body in a way that is efficient, constant, and gentle enough not to cause any harm while being forceful enough to discard toxins and other potentially dangerous buildup.
Individuals that cannot get rid of their toxins are more prone to illness and do not feel as healthy as those whose lymphatic systems are capable of draining regularly. Exercise is certainly one way to achieve a high level of lymphatic draining, but not everyone has the ability (either physically or practically) to indulge in a great deal of physical activity. For this reason, whole body vibration, facilitated by a machine, is able to help combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and rid the body of the toxins that it has stored. This being said, individuals that don't have time for extensive exercise can greatly benefit from whole body vibration.
In addition to acting as a catalyst for lymphatic drainage, a vibration exercise machine also sparks the activity of the lymph nodes, which are key components of the immune system. Therefore, the movement allows individuals to both rid their bodies of toxins that they already possess and prevent them from contracting illnesses from new ones.
Another benefit, which many individuals enjoy, is weight loss. Though the loss is not drastic, using a vibration exercise machine allows the lymphatic system to push stored fats out of the body, resulting in a healthier, leaner figure. This smaller figure can also be attributed to the decrease in cortisol, which is a known agent of belly fat, due to an increase in serotonin.
The benefits of vibration exercise, particularly to the lymphatic system, have been enjoyed by people from several cultures over thousands of years. Modern medicine will most likely continue to study this technique and analyze its many effects on the body, but as the research is conducted individuals will continue to utilize the therapy and take advantage of their healthier circulatory and lymphatic systems.
This Vitamin Can Radically Reduce Damage from Radioactivity from Fukushima
Posted By Dr. Mercola
June 03 2011
As understanding of Vitamin D increases, it is becoming apparent that its most active form, Vitamin D3 (calcitriol), may offer protection against a variety of radiation-induced damages. Vitamin D’s protective action is carried by a wide variety of mechanisms, including cell cycle regulation and proliferation, cellular differentiation and communication, and programmed cell death (apoptosis).
A paper on the subject argued that vitamin D should be considered among the prime nonpharmacological agents that offer protection against low radiation damage and radiation-induced cancer -- or even the primary agent.
According to the paper in the International Journal of Low Radiation:
"... [O]ur understanding of how vitamin D mediates biological responses has entered a new era ... In view of the evidence that has been presented here, it would appear that vitamin D by its preventive/ameliorating actions should be given serious consideration as a protective agent against sublethal radiation injury, and in particular that induced by low radiation".
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Many concerned readers have been asking for strategies to help prevent damage caused by radioactive fallout from the recent nuclear disaster in Japan. In all likelihood, radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant is NOT a serious threat to your health unless you are in the near vicinity. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has so far uncovered only very low radiation levels and notes that even those are declining.
As of May 3, 2011, they wrote:
"It is important to note that all of the radiation levels detected by RadNet monitors and sampling have been very low, are well below any level of public health concern, and continue to decrease over time."
This information was released before the operator of Fukushima announced at the end of May that additional fuel rods had melted at the facility, although it's unclear whether that will impact U.S. risks since the meltdown reportedly occurred in the hours and days immediately following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Regardless, considering the United States has many older nuclear plants that are susceptible to disasters like the one that occurred in Japan, this should not be considered the final word on radioactive fallout. Should a disaster occur close to home, or if you are currently in the vicinity of the Fukushima plant, it's important to have non-toxic strategies for protection available, and one of these may be vitamin D.
How Does Vitamin D Protect Against Radiation-Induced Damage?
Scientists have identified a total of nearly 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin D, so it makes sense
that it would have "multifaceted protective actions," as researchers noted in the International Journal of Low Radiation.
The report found that the most active molecular form of vitamin D -- D3 (also known as calcitriol) -- may offer protection against a variety of radiation-induced damages, including those caused by background radiation or a low-level nuclear incident, through the following mechanisms:
Cell cycle regulation and proliferation
Cellular differentiation and communication
Programmed Cell Death (PCD)
Anti-angiogenesis (a process that stops tumors from making new blood vessels, which means they stop growing)
The protective mechanisms are so strong that researchers suggested vitamin D3 should be considered among the prime (if not the primary) non-pharmacological agents to protect against sub-lethal low radiation damage and, particularly, radiation-induced cancer.
It's unclear how much vitamin D is necessary to protect against radiation-induced cancer, but researchers have found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers by about half.
Earlier studies have shown that optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers, so it's not a stretch to add radiation-induced cancer to that list.
It has been my experience that many are still nervous about taking doses larger than 1,000 to 2,000 units per day. This is unfortunate as most adults without sun or safe tanning bed exposure will need 6,000-8,000 units of vitamin D per day to attain healthy vitamin D levels.
Three Points to Remember About Vitamin D
When using vitamin D therapeutically, it's important to remember the following:
Your best source for vitamin D is exposure to the sun, without sunblock on your skin, until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink. While this isn't always possible due to the change of the seasons and your geographic location (and your skin color), this is the ideal to aim for. Vitamin D supplementation or use of a safe tanning bed can fill the gaps during the winter months outside of the tropics, when healthy sun exposure is not an option.
If you supplement with vitamin D, you'll only want to supplement with natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Do NOT use the synthetic and highly inferior vitamin D2, which is the one most doctors will give you in a prescription unless you ask specifically for D3.
Get your vitamin D blood levels checked! The only way to determine the correct dose is to get your blood tested since there are so many variables that influence your vitamin D status. I recommend using Lab Corp in the United States. Getting the correct test is the first step in this process, as there are TWO vitamin D tests currently being offered: 1,25(OH)D and 25(OH)D.
The correct test your doctor needs to order is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the better marker of overall D status. This is the marker that is most strongly associated with overall health.
What Else Can You do to Protect Against Radiation Risks?
Biologists and drug makers have long been on the hunt for a pill that would protect humans from radiation in the event of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack. Currently, there is no such "magic pill," but there are a few close seconds, aside from vitamin D:
Potassium Iodide
If you're exposed to radioactive iodine, your thyroid, which uptakes iodine from your blood to make thyroid hormones, will actively take in this substance. This is why thyroid cancer is one of the greatest risks following exposure to this type of radiation.
Potassium iodide (a stable form of iodine) works by essentially "flooding" your system with iodine so your thyroid has no need to take in the radioactive form. The American Thyroid Association recommends that anyone living within 50 miles of a nuclear plant have potassium iodide in their household at all times in the event of a radiation emergency, and advises the supplement be made available to those living within 200 miles of a plant.
However, you should only take potassium iodide if you are near active radiation fallout. This is NOT a strategy that should be used as a long-term preventive because it only protects your thyroid for one to three days, no longer, and taking it when not absolutely necessary could result in thyrotoxicosis.
In this regard, vitamin D may be far superior because it can be taken before, during and after a radiation incident with only positive ramifications, assuming you monitor your blood levels to keep them in the optimal range.
Remember, it's only if you are deficient in iodine that if a radioactive cloud passes by, your body will tend to suck that radioactive iodine into your thyroid gland to fill up its iodine stores.
In an ideal situation you will have been taking adequate amounts of iodine from safe sources, which will protect you from radioactive iodine naturally. In reality, however, many are likely iodine deficient.
I recently conducted an interview with Dr. David Brownstein, who has compiled a tremendous amount of clinical data on this topic and can be considered an expert in this area.
Dr. Brownstein has been working with iodine for the last 20 years. He has tested over 5,000 patients in his clinic and found over 95% of them to be iodine deficient. This is an incredible result as it puts iodine deficiency on par with the percentage of people that are deficient in vitamin D.
Spirulina -- a blue-green algae -- might be another useful alternative to protect against the effects of radiation, and there is in fact research backing this up. Spirulina was actually used to treat children exposed to chronic low levels of radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
According to a scientific review of spirulina's benefits:
"Up to very recently, the interest in Spirulina was mainly in its nutritive value. Currently, however, numerous people are looking into the possible therapeutic effects of Spirulina.
Many pre-clinical studies and a few clinical studies suggest several therapeutic effects ranging from reduction of cholesterol and cancer to enhancing the immune system, increasing intestinal lactobacilli, reducing nephrotoxicity by heavy metals and drugs and radiation protection."
But what is it about this blue-green algae that gives it this radiation-protective capacity?
Spirulina has a 16 percent phycocyanin content—a blue pigment that is attached to its photosynthetic membranes. Phycocyanin is also a nitrogen storage molecule. The nitrogen atoms can form a complex with heavy metals such as radioactive cesium and stronium, hence "cleansing" these radioactive metals from your body.
Sweet Whey
I interviewed Ori Hofmekler for an alternative viewpoint with regard to how you can decrease the risk to your health from radiation. Ori makes some compelling arguments for the use of sweet whey to help protect against absorbing radioactive minerals.
One of the reasons for using sweet whey in a situation like this is because whey protein contains all the precursors that help your body produce glutathione, which is one of the best ways to detoxify these toxins.
The other reason is that sweet whey is whole whey. It's the highest source of all minerals and trace minerals that exist in nature. It has every possible mineral and trace elements -- including organic sodium -- that your body needs in the most bioactive form.
Other Herbs and Supplements
In general, the following foods, herbs and supplements may also help support your overall health in the event of a nuclear accident:
Ginseng Kelp and other seaweeds (high in natural iodine) Zeolites (to neutralize radiation) or bentonite clays
Ashwaganda (an adaptogenic herb) Fulvic Acid Reishi mushrooms (strong immune support
High-dose vitamin C Magnesium Selenium
Coconut oil, which supports optimal thyroid health Astaxanthin (has some protective function against ionizing radiation) Chlorella (contains chlorophyll, which will increase your resistance to radiation)
The Watermelon You Should Never, Ever Eat
Posted By Dr. Mercola
June 03 2011
Watermelon fields in eastern China are covered in exploded fruit. Farmers used growth chemicals to make their crops bigger, but ended up destroying them instead.
The farmers used the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron. Even the melons that survived tended to have fibrous, misshapen fruit with mostly white instead of black seeds.
MSNBC reports:
“Chinese regulations don't forbid use of the substance. It is also allowed in the United States for use on kiwi fruit and grapes ... About 20 farmers and 115 acres of watermelon around Danyang were affected ... Farmers resorted to chopping up the fruit and feeding it to fish and pigs”.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This may sound like a joke, but it's real alright. Seems the use of a chemical growth accelerator, forchlorfenuron, has been implicated in the widespread "exploding melon" phenomena.
What is Forchlorfenuron?
Forchlorfenuron is a so-called "plant growth regulator," registered with the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) in 2004 for use on grapes, raisins, and kiwis. According to the EPA Pesticide Fact sheet, [see below] the chemical is to be applied to the flowers and/or developing fruit during early post-bloom to improve fruit size, fruit set, cluster weight, and cold storage. The fact sheet explains that the chemical "acts synergistically with natural auxins to promote plant cell division and lateral growth."
According to MSNBC, the Chinese farmers incorrectly applied forchlorfenuron to the fruit "during overly wet weather and... too late in the season, which made the melons burst."
Indeed. Melons have been exploding by the acre.
Another article published on May 24 by The Epoch Times, specified that the seeds used were "quality watermelon seeds" imported from Japan. Of the 20 farmers in the affected Chinese province, 10 of them used these imported Japanese seeds. It's unclear whether all of the farmers whose crops blew up had also used forchlorfenuron.
But ruptured melon-heads are not the most concerning aspect of this story. There's also the question of consumer safety. Although no specific health hazards are mentioned in any of the articles covering this story, they do allude to the fact that there may be cause for health concerns.
EPA Pesticide Fact sheet: http://www.epa.gov/opprd001/factsheets/forchlorfenuron.pdf
Are Growth Promoting Chemicals Safe to Eat?
MSNBC writes:
"The report quoted Feng Shuangqing, a professor at the China Agricultural University, as saying the problem showed that China needs to clarify its farm chemical standards and supervision to protect consumer health. the report underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers."
Forchlorfenuron is in fact legal, both in China and in the US. But should it be? According to the EPA pesticide fact sheet, forchlorfenuron is not necessarily harmless, neither to the environment nor to animals and potentially humans. Side effects revealed in animal studies included:
Increased incidence of alopecia (hair loss)
Decreased birth weight
Increased pup mortality
Decreased litter sizes
They also categorize forchlorfenuron as "moderately toxic to freshwater fish on an acute basis."
How to Spot Fruit Grown with Growth Accelerating Chemicals
One of the tell-tale signs of a fruit or vegetable that hasn't been grown by entirely natural means is their inherent lack of flavor. It may look plump and ripe, but once you bite into it, it's anything but a flavor sensation. This is because while growth enhancers like forchlorfenuron stimulate cell division, making the fruit grow faster, it also drains it of flavor. This is actually rather logical, if you think about it. Flavor is a sign of ripeness, which only comes with time. Many unripe fruits and vegetables are virtually tasteless.
In the case of watermelons, those treated with forchlorfenuron are very large and brightly colored on the outside, but the color of the flesh is more white than deep red. Other telltale signs are white instead of black seeds and fibrous, and/or misshapen fruit. (Note, this is for regular watermelons, which have black seeds. Seedless watermelons typically have tiny white seeds.)
Hormones in Your Fruits and Veggies? You Bet!
This is an area that doesn't get much press. While many are now aware of the fact that CAFO raised meats are loaded with hormones, few would imagine that fresh produce would be laced with hormone additives as well. But they are. According to Zheng Fengtian, a professor of agriculture from Renmin University, hormones can increase yields by 20 percent or more, and are therefore "widely used."
Some of these hormones you might never expect to make their way onto your plate, such as oxytocin—a hormone that acts as a neuromodulator in your brain; often referred to as "the love hormone," or "bonding hormone." It's released naturally in large amounts in a woman's body during childbirth, but has also been synthesized biochemically and is available as a prescription drug to induce labor—and is, apparently, being illegally injected into fruits and vegetables in some countries...
Last summer, an Indian health minister, Dinesh Trivedi, warned about the illegal use of oxytocin in fruits and vegetables in India. Apparently the hormone allows produce to gain weight and ripen sooner. Injected produce also appear plumper and fresher.
According to Trivedi, the hormone is being used on:
FoodSafety.com also reported that the drug, although banned for public sale in India, was widely available from fertilizer and pesticide vendors. Potential side effects of consuming oxytocin-laced produce include:
Irregular heartbeat Nausea Vomiting Cramping
Stomach pain Sterility Neurotic complications Nervous breakdowns
Other Growth Promoters Used on Produce
Other growth promoting agents used in fruits and vegetables include:
Ethylene (used to ripen mangoes)
Calcium carbide (used on apples, papayas, and guavas)
While ethylene is considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe), calcium carbide "may contain traces of arsenic and phosphorus, both highly toxic to humans," according to one industry source, and most countries do not allow its use.
Interestingly enough, one of the Chinese farmers whose melons exploded reportedly used a formula containing a mixture of growth enhancers, sweetening agents, and "a calcium solution." So it's not clear whether the formula used on the exploding fruits contained calcium carbide in conjunction with the forchlorfenuron. Whatever the case may be, the results are clearly not good.
Still on the Fence about Going Organic?
If you're still vacillating on the issue of going organic, I hope this information spurs you into action.
If you eat conventionally grown produce, not only are you exposing yourself and your family to a variety of pesticides; you may also get hormones and chemical growth promoters—all of which have the potential to devastate your health, especially that of young children. Remember, conventional produce sold in your local supermarket comes from all over the world! So you cannot brush off this information as being a potential threat affecting just the region in which the produce was grown.
Organic foods also contain higher amounts of nutrients, so you're getting "more bang for your buck," when seen from a nutrition standpoint.
One four-year long European-Union-funded study found that:
Organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants
Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc
Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants
Last but not least, if you're any kind of food aficionado, meaning if you like flavor, organic foods simply cannot be beat. When it comes to produce, your absolute best bet is locally-grown organics. That's truly the best of both worlds. However, if you can't find locally grown organics, 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 a fresh one will, even if it's conventionally grown, so freshness is also key.
There are some exceptions to the all-organic rule, which may be welcome news if you cannot afford to buy everything organic. For more information on which conventionally-grown produce are the safest, please see my previous article 12 Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/08/12/12-foods-you-don-t-have-to-buy-organic.aspx
Pay Now, or Pay Later...
My personal view of why you'd want an organic lifestyle is that although you may spend more money on organic food today, your payoff of good health should more than make up for it – and reduce your health care costs in the future. It makes sense to me to invest a little bit more now so I can avoid paying LARGE medical bills later on, but more importantly, I can avoid the physical and mental disability and dysfunction that inevitably follows from a careless, unhealthy lifestyle.
Making sure you're not being misled by labels in your search for a healthier lifestyle is unfortunately part of this process. However, by educating yourself about what to look for, talking to your grocer, and sharing information with family, friends and neighbors, you can help the movement toward healthier food choices.
Also Beware of Genetically Modified Foods
Buying organic will also help you avoid yet another major health hazard in our food supply, namely genetically modified (GM) foods. I strongly recommend looking for foods that are "non-GMO certified" by the Non-GMO Project. For your convenience, download this Non-GMO Shopping Guide, and share it with everyone you know. http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/GMObrochure.pdf
Although GM foods still do not require labeling by law, the campaign for GMO labeling is making progress, thanks to the persistence of Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology, an organization whose goal is to end the genetic engineering of our food supply and the outdoor release of GM crops. If you like, you can join the fight by signing the petition to President Obama in support of mandatory labeling of GM foods. http://www.responsibletechnology.org/
For ongoing updates on this cause, please follow our Non-GMO's page on Facebook.
By educating the public about the risks of GM foods through a massive education campaign, and by circulating the Non-GMO Shopping Guide so consumers can make healthier non-GMO choices, the Institute's plan is to generate a tipping point of consumer rejection to make GMOs a thing of the past.
Remember food is a critical part of the equation of "Taking Control of Your Health", you simply must get it right if you want any real chance of avoiding chronic degenerative disease.
Eating Mistakes that Age You
By Dr. Mercola
May 23 2011
Yahoo Shine notes that eating the wrong foods -- or not eating the right foods -- can result in symptoms that most people tend to assume are due to aging. Here are four tips they've assembled to steer you in the right direction:
Mistake #1: You avoid all animal protein
Vitamin B12, which is essential for energy, is found only in foods that are derived from animals. This nutrient helps regulate your metabolism, and it is an important part of maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. Fatigue is a classic sign of B12 deficiency
Mistake #2: You're not getting enough manganese and copper
Manganese and copper prevent joint pain, and are both essential for maintaining joint cartilage and flexibility. In many cases, getting enough of these nutrients reverses joint deterioration and eliminates joint pain.
Mistake #3: You avoid healthy fats
Omega-3 fats are part of your brain's building blocks. If you're not getting enough in your diet, the architecture of your brain becomes weak, and brain function, including memory, deteriorates.
Mistake #4: You favor packaged foods over whole
Most processed foods do not have enough potassium, which can result in high blood pressure. Eating better can correct the problem.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Most of the time conventional media health commentaries are fairly seriously flawed so I was surprised to see this one that actually was on target for the most part. So I thought it might help if I provided my perspective on their important notion of diet mistakes as I do believe they left out the MOST important one and included one that is relatively irrelevant. It really doesn't take a giant leap of intellectual understanding to realize the glaring omission, but like most "experts" they simply fail to appreciate the obvious even though it is staring them in the face.
So what is it?
The number one source of calories in the US.
That would be fructose, but more generically all sugars which are, in my view, the single most important dietary variable that needs to be addressed. Please understand that this is a numbers game though and the only thing that is intrinsically toxic with fructose is the quantity that is being consumed. If you take less than 25 grams per day you are in the safe range, but the AVERAGE intake is 300% more than that and the typical American consumes 75 grams every day.
Fortunately, the research that is now starting to see the light of day in every way, what I've been warning about for over a decade.
Interestingly enough, while sugar, and fructose in particular, acts as a toxin in and of itself, and as such drive multiple disease processes in your body, excess grain carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose, has been found to detrimentally affect your genetic expression and contribute to accelerated aging that way!
The Role of Insulin in Health and Longevity
I have long said that the key to optimal health and longevity is reducing your insulin resistance, and this has been proven true again and again.
Unfortunately, for the past 30 years or so, the primary official health recommendations have been to reduce your fat intake and eat plenty of long-lasting complex carbo­hydrates (starches) to keep your body supplied with energy. This has been a prescription for health disaster, and we have skyrocketing disease statistics to show for it. By advocating heavy carb consumption, our health officials have made insulin resistance the norm rather than the exception, which in turn is driving a huge, expensive pharmaceutical machine...
Insulin resistance is in fact a MAJOR contributor to chronic disease and accelerates the aging process, all of which can impact your longevity.
For example, insulin:
Alters the expression of numerous hormones
Stimulates your sympathetic nervous system
Promotes vasoconstriction
Too much sugar, grains and processed foods in your diet, combined with insufficient exercise is a lethal combination, the "side effects" of which include:
High blood pressure
High cholesterol
How Carbs Cause Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Here's a quick refresher on how carbs affect your insulin levels and how you develop insulin resistance, which sets you up for the health problems just mentioned.
When you eat carbohydrates (starchy foods such as grains, rice, pasta, bread and cereal), your digestive system breaks them down to simple sugars which cause an acute increase in your blood sugar. If your blood sugar where to continue to rise you would die of a hyperglycemic coma.
But your body wisely reduces this level with insulin and this works just fine. However, when you do it every day for many years, as most of the population does, this progresses into insulin resistance, especially if you are not engaged in appropriate exercises.
Switch on Your "Youth Gene" by Avoiding Carbohydrates
According to Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into aging, carbohydrates (glucose) directly affect the genes that govern youthfulness and longevity! So, you may actually be able to extend your life and stay fit throughout your old age with a simple dietary change that switches on your "youth" gene.
Most people are seriously confused about the importance of exercise in optimizing weight and body fat. It only has a 20% role, a vitally important 20% but nevertheless it plays a far subsidiary role to the importance of diet and the exclusion of sugars and grains. When you optimize your body weight and % of body fat you dramatically decrease your risk of chronic disease and radically improve your chance for living longer.
Aging is the result of a number of processes, including telomere shortening, which I've discussed before in depth. However, Kenyon's groundbreaking research has found that specific genes also play a significant role. I've previously written about how your diet can over-ride genetic predispositions to disease, and this research further strengthens those claims, as the two key genes in question can be turned on or off as a consequence of eating carbohydrates.
Her research shows that decreased carb intake can lead to significant life extension and improved long-term health.
Professor Kenyon worked with C. elegans roundworms, but her findings have been successfully repeated in other labs around the world using other animals, including rats, mice, and to some extent, monkeys. Humans also have these genes, indicating these results should apply to us as well.
One of the most interesting details of her findings is that not only did the roundworms live up to SIX TIMES longer than normal, but they kept their health and youthful vigor until the end—and isn't that what "healthy aging" is really all about?
Previous research has shown that you can extend your lifespan by reducing your caloric intake, and I've written about this technique in the past. The problem is that most people do not understand how to properly cut calories, because in order to remain healthy, you have to cut out calories from a specific source – namely, carbohydrates!
Other Research Confirms Low Insulin is Imperative for Longevity
Previous studies have found that diets high in sugar and grains are the primary culprit of obesity, and that leanness itself is a key contributor to a long life. One such study was published in 2003 in the journal Science. This elegant study from Harvard confirms that insulin is the major mechanism through which this result is mediated.
Another study, published just last year, also illustrates how longevity is intimately tied to your insulin and leptin levels. It examined the effects of food on typical biological signs of advancing age. Typical signs of aging include elevated levels of glucose, insulin, and triglycerides. (Hence, your physical age may be younger or older than the calendar dictates.)
In this study, the participants were given a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet with an adequate amount of protein. This diet improved all of the measured factors related to the aging process, decreasing:
Insulin by 48 percent
Fasting glucose by 40 percent
Triglyceride by nearly 8 percent
Serum leptin by 8 percent on average
It's highly unfortunate that so few physicians have embraced this knowledge, because a firm appreciation of insulin's role in human health and disease is one of THE most important factors that can make or break your health!
Fructose—Even Worse than Grains
As I mentioned in the beginning, there are two primary dietary factors that contribute to insulin resistance and subsequent disease progression:
Grain carbohydrates. This includes ALL grains, including organic ones, rice, pasta, bread, etc
ALL sugars, including refined sugar, fructose (whether from corn, in the form of high fructose corn syrup, or whole fruits), honey, and agave.
Fructose, typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is perhaps the absolute worst dietary culprit as it:
Radically increases insulin resistance , which is not only an underlying cause of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but also most cancers
Metabolizes into fat far more readily than other sugars, which significantly increases your risk of obesity, decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure
Causes glycation and inflammation, which promotes chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and speeds up the aging process
Raises your uric acid levels, which increases your risk for a host of diseases, including:
Kidney disease
Fatty liver
Elevated triglycerides, elevated LDL, and cardiovascular disease
Fructose Recommendation
As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25
grams per day. The average American is consuming THREE times this amount, so this is a fairly substantial reduction for most people.
For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you're virtually guaranteed to consume "hidden" sources of fructose if you drink beverages other than water and eat processed food. Remember, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, so one can of soda ALONE would exceed your daily allotment.
Fifteen grams of fructose is not much -- it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or two Medjool dates. 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.
Here's a quick reference list of some of the most common fruits that you can use to help you count your fructose grams:
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
The Four Cornerstones of "the Fountain of Youth"
Is there such a thing as a "fountain of youth"? I believe there is, symbolically speaking, and the four cornerstones of it are:
Avoid sugar/fructose
Avoid grains
Exercise regularly and effectively
Tailor your diet to your nutritional type
These four cornerstones have one thing in common, and that is helping you improve your insulin sensitivity.
Aside from avoiding grains and sugars, exercise is one of the most effective ways to regain insulin sensitivity. And studies repeatedly show that regular exercise can help prevent or delay your onset of hypertension, obesity and heart disease, just to name a few of the diseases that significantly contribute to premature death.
Not to discourage you as in my mind it is impossible to ever be healthy without exercising, but exercise has a relatively minor role in health and it is only responsible for 20% of your improvement. Most people believe the opposite and believe that exercise produces 80% of the benefit. They work out like a maniac in the gym and are not as careful with their diet and they wonder why they don't see any progress.
The KEY to exercising for optimal health and longevity in particular, is incorporating anaerobic high-intensity, interval training like Peak 8. These types of exercises also promote human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is yet another important aspect of the longevity puzzle.
Nutritional typing helps you modify your food choices to ensure you're supplying your body with the exact fuel it needs to thrive, and in so doing, you give yourself the best chance of optimal health and naturally prevent diseases related to improper nutrition. This is such an important aspect of optimal health, I now offer my nutritional typing program for FREE so that everyone can benefit.
Nutritional typing is also becoming increasingly recognized as a foundational factor in the successful treatment of disease, including cancer.
The Anti-Aging Lifestyle
Of all the healthy lifestyle strategies I know of that can have a significant impact on your longevity, normalizing your insulin and leptin levels is probably the most important. There is no question that this is an absolute necessity if you want to slow down your aging process, and that means modifying your diet to avoid excessive amounts of fructose, grains, and other pro-inflammatory ingredients like trans fats.
That said, longevity is the result of an overall healthy lifestyle, so in addition to the four cornerstones just mentioned, these additional strategies can further help you stay young and vibrant, longer:
Learn how to effectively cope with stress – Stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day, so developing effective coping mechanisms is a major longevity-promoting factor.
Meditation, prayer, physical activity and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium. I also strongly believe in using energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to address deeper, oftentimes hidden emotional problems.
Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels to between 60 and 80 ng/ml.
Animal based omega-3 fats – Correcting the ratio of omega-3 to healthful omega-6 fats is a strong factor in helping people live longer. This typically means increasing your intake of animal based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil, while decreasing your intake of damaged omega-6 fats (think trans fats).
Get most of your antioxidants from foods –Good sources include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, beans, and artichokes.
Get your resveratrol naturally – Because resveratrol appears to be so effective at warding off many diseases associated with aging, it is often referred to as a "fountain of youth" that can extend lifespan. Good sources of naturally-occurring resveratrol include whole grape skins and seeds, raspberries and mulberries.
Use coconut oil – Another excellent anti-aging food is coconut oil, known to reduce your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer's disease, and lower your cholesterol, among other things.
Naturally increase your glutathione levels with high quality whey protein concentrate – Another exciting anti-aging discovery is related to the process of slowing down telomere shortening, as discussed in more detail in this previous article. There's some evidence that this can be done nutritionally, by consuming high quality whey protein.
Avoid as many chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as possible – This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
Avoid prescription drugs – Pharmaceutical drugs kill thousands of people prematurely every year – as an expected side effect of the action of the drug. And, if you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need any of them in the first place.
Incorporating these healthy lifestyle guidelines will help set you squarely on the path to optimal health and give you the best shot at living a much longer life.
7,000 Clinical Studies Concur - This Meat is a Clear Invitation to Cancer...
Posted By Dr. Mercola
April 11 2011
If you are for some reason choosing between rotisserie chicken and a hot dog, it turns out, surprisingly, that the hot dog may be the better option. That's because hot dogs, and similar meats such as pepperoni and deli meats, are relatively free of carcinogenic compounds.
A study examined a number of ready-to-eat meat products for the presence of heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs can increase your risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers.
According to MSNBC:
Pepperoni had the least HCA content ... followed by hot dogs and deli meat ... Fully cooked bacon ... and rotisserie chicken meat ... contained all five types of HCAs tested. Rotisserie chicken skin had significantly higher HCA levels".
Meat Science June 2011; 88(2): 227-233
Time Magazine March 28 2011
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
You might have missed the media headlines last month which extolled hotdogs as better for you than chicken.
If you click on the Time Magazine link above you can get a taste of this nonsense. This is a perfect example of how taking too narrow-minded a view can lead you astray from the truth about what's healthy and what's not.
Here, the researchers measured several different types of meats for levels of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), and because hot dogs and pepperoni happened to have lower levels of HCAs than rotisserie chicken, MSNBC leapt to the conclusion that these processed meats are better for you because they're "relatively free of carcinogenic compounds."
They're just relatively lower in ONE type of carcinogenic compound!
But hot dogs and other processed meats contain OTHER compounds that put them squarely on the list of foods to avoid or eliminate entirely...
What You Need to Know about HCAs
Heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, are compounds created in meats and other foods that have been cooked at high temperatures. The worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat charred sections.
Studies have shown that humans who consume large amounts of HCAs have increased risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers.
But HCAs aren't the only cancer-causing chemicals created during cooking. A couple of other well-known compounds include:
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Many processed meats are smoked as part of the curing process, which causes PAHs to form. PAH's can also form when grilling. When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures—including when it is pasteurized or sterilized—it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
In this particular study, published in the June issue of Meat Science, researchers specifically measured the HCA content of a variety of meats and found they contained the following amounts of this cancer-causing compound:
Pepperoni--0.05 ng/g
Hot dogs and deli meats--0.5 ng/g
Fully cooked bacon--1.1 ng/g
Rotisserie chicken--1.9 ng/g
Rotisserie skin--16.3 ng/g
Clearly, when it comes to HCAs, the skin of rotisserie chicken is one of the worst culprits, so the advice to remove the skin is a good one. However, although they admit that other ready-to-eat processed meats contain lower HCA levels because they are enhanced with "a water solution with flavoring added to them," MSNBC fails to add that these added ingredients make processed meats far from healthful.
You simply cannot judge the danger of a food by its HCA content alone, which is based on the manner in which its been cooked. You also have to evaluate all those added ingredients, such as preservatives, flavoring, and food colors.
Why You Should Avoid Processed Meats
Virtually all processed meats contain another well-known carcinogen: sodium nitrite. It's a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor to processed and cured meats. Hot dogs, deli meats and bacon are notorious for their nitrite content, so even though they might be low in HCA's, they are far from healthful.
Nitrites can be converted into nitrosamines in your body, which are potent cancer-causing chemicals. Research has linked nitrites to higher rates of colorectal-, stomach- and pancreatic cancer.
Needless to say, should you choose to char your hot dog on the grill instead of heating it up in the microwave (which is what these researchers did) then you'd have both nitrites and HCA's to contend with from that hot dog.
The truth is, processed meats are not a healthful choice for anyone and should be avoided entirely, according to a recent review of more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between diet and cancer! The report was commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) using money raised from the general public. Therefore the findings were not influenced by any vested interests, which makes it all the more reliable.
It's the biggest review of the evidence ever undertaken, and it confirms previous findings: Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is "safe." A previous analysis by the WCRF found that eating just one sausage a day raises your risk of developing bowel cancer by 20 percent!
Other studies have also found that processed meats increase your risk of:
Colon cancer by 50 percent
Bladder cancer by 59 percent
Stomach cancer by 38 percent
Pancreatic cancer by 67 percent
And that's not all.
Hot dogs, bacon, salami and other processed meats may also increase your risk of diabetes by 50 percent, and lower your lung function and increase your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
People who eat processed meats regularly also tend to eat fewer vegetables than others, which likely only compounds any health risks.
So what's the moral of this story?
Don't jump to conclusions based on piecemeal reporting. The overall evidence is actually pretty cut-and-dry: processed meats will raise your cancer risk and should be avoided as much as possible. So, don't believe you're eating healthier by switching from grilled chicken to hot dogs and other processed meats.
How to Shop for Less Harmful Hot Dogs and Deli Meats
Now, if you are going to eat hot dogs or other processed meats once in awhile, here are a few shopping tips to reduce their harmful health effects:
Look for "uncured" varieties that contain NO nitrates
Choose varieties that say 100% beef, 100% chicken, etc. This is the only way to know that the meat is from a single species and does not include byproducts (like chicken skin or chicken fat or other parts)
Avoid any meat that contains MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavor or artificial color
Ideally, purchase sausages and other processed meats from a small, local farmer who you can ask about the ingredients
Again, these are still not ideal as they're still processed, but they are better than the vast majority of processed meats on the market.
Healthier Meat Choices
Now, if you want to eat truly healthful meat, make sure the meat is organic and grass-fed (preferably from a local farmer). Chickens should be organic, pastured chickens. This is an essential requirement healthy meat.
Meats from conventional Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) are loaded with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals and should be avoided entirely.
To counteract some of the harmful effects of cooking, add homemade spice rubs, herb-enhanced marinades or even fresh blueberries to your meat prior to cooking it. This will not only impart added health benefits but will also help cut down on the harmful substances formed!
Better yet, use the same spice rubs and marinades, but eat the meat only lightly cooked or raw. Keep in mind though that when eating your meat raw, it's IMPERATIVE that the meat is organically raised and grass-fed. Never eat conventional CAFO meats raw as - CAFO raised meats typically come from very unhealthy animals that can harbor dangerous infectious agents.
Is This the World's Most Effortless Way to Slim Your Waistline?
By Dr. Mercola
March 23 2011
If you are steering away from red meat due to the negative press on saturated fats, you may be happy to hear that a very powerful fatty acid primarily found in beef and dairy products has been linked to long-term weight management and health.
This potent nutrient is called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, and the best possible sources of CLA are grass-fed beef and raw dairy products that come from grass-fed cattle.
Many ranchers are responding to the call from U.S. consumers by shifting from traditional, factory-farmed, grain-fed methods of raising cattle to a free-range, all-grass diet. Even the USDA is waking up to the consumer demand for grass-fed products. Their June 2010 publication of Livestock, Poultry, and Dairy Outlook indicates that grass-fed beef represents 3 percent of the total U.S. beef production and has been growing about 20 percent for several years.
CLA Benefits Across the Board
A host of research has been conducted on animals, under microscopes, and with humans to determine the impact of CLA on disease. Results have shown CLA to be a potent ally for combating:
Cancer: Animal studies show that as little as 0.5 percent CLA in your diet could reduce tumors by over 50 percent, including the following types of cancer:
Cardiovascular disease
High blood pressure
High Cholesterol and triglycerides
Insulin resistance: CLA's actions actually mimic the effect of synthetic diabetic drugs. Testing on mice with type 2 diabetes have shown CLA to improve insulin action and reduce circulating glucose. Even better, the early results from human trials are just as positive, when consuming CLA for longer than eight weeks.
Immune system invaders
Food-induced allergic reactions
Body Composition: Exciting research with humans has shown that CLA has been beneficial in lowering body fat, with even greater improvement in those who combine exercise with dietary intake of CLA. Animal research has been even more promising, with significant improvements seen in both reducing body fat and in increasing lean body mass.
Previous studies have shown that CLA reduces body fat while preserving muscle tissue, and may also increase your metabolic rate. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took 3.2 grams of CLA a day had a drop in fat mass of about 0.2 pounds a week (that's about one pound a month) compared to those given a placebo.
Since CLA cannot be manufactured in the human body, you must get it from your diet. And your best dietary source of CLA is grass-fed beef.
What's the Deal with Grass-Fed Beef?
The natural diet for ruminant animals, such as cattle, is grass. When left to feed on grass-only diets, levels of CLA are three to five times more than those fed grain-based diets. And that's just the start.
A joint effort between the USDA and Clemson University researchers in 2009 determined a total of 10 key areas where grass-fed is better than grain-fed beef for human health.
In a side-by-side comparison, they determined that grass-fed beef was:
Lower in total fat
Higher in beta-carotene
Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
Higher in total omega-3s
A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease
The Bull We've Been Fed – Dangers of Grain-Fed Cattle
If you've been reading my articles with any frequency, you'll know that my dietary recommendations are largely based on scientific literature that clearly spells out the types of foods that human beings were naturally designed to eat.
This is no different for a cow.
When a ruminant is left to eat on its own, it doesn't choose corn or soy to munch on… it selects grass. Therefore, when a cow grazes on natural grass pastures, its body composition is affected accordingly: the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is slightly above two. In other words, two parts omega-6 to one part omega-3, which is very close to the ideal ratio between these two fats.
Cattle raised in conventional Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs), on the other hand, are shipped to giant feed lots and fed corn to fatten them up, and when consumed, this has an impact on your health as well.
When a cow's diet primarily consists of grains, its body's composition (and subsequently yours) changes. In fact, previous studies on grain-fed steer found the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was between 5-to-1 and 13-to-1, which is far from the ideal.
Since you are what you eat, the beneficial effects of eating grass-fed beef and dairy products with the proper balance of fatty acids are translated into health benefits for you. These foods are rich in all the fats now proven to be health-enhancing, and low in the fats that have been linked with disease.
Since meat from grass-fed animals is lower in fat than meat from grain-fed animals, this means that it is lower in calories as well. By switching to lean grass-fed beef, it is estimated that the average person in the U.S. could reduce intake up to 17,000 calories a year, which is equal to losing about six pounds! Imagine how this could impact the national epidemic of obesity.
The Madness of Sick Cows
Another troubling aspect of grain-fed cattle involves the well-being of the animal and, consequently, the health effect this has on you. Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) and feedlot conditions typically result in unhealthy animals.
A list of these consequences from Eatwild.com includes:
Acidosis. During the normal digestive process, bacteria in the rumen of cattle produce a variety of acids. Saliva neutralizes the acidity from grass-based diets, but grain-based eating in feedlots prohibits saliva production. The net result is "acid indigestion."
Animals with this condition are plagued with diarrhea, go off their feed, pant, salivate excessively, kick at their bellies, and eat dirt. Over time, acidosis can lead to a condition called "rumenitis," and inflammatory response to too much acid and too little roughage and results in inefficient nutrient absorption.
Liver abscesses. From 15 to 30 percent of feedlot cattle have liver abscesses, which results when bacteria may leak out through ulcerated rumen in cattle and are ultimately transported to the liver.
Bloat. During digestion, cows produce gas and when they are on pasture, they belch up the gas without any difficulty. Grain-based feeding cause these gasses to become trapped, and results in bloat. In more serious cases of bloat, the rumen becomes so distended with gas that the animal is unable to breathe and dies from asphyxiation.
Feedlot polio. A highly acidic digestive environment results in the production of an enzyme called "thiaminase" which destroys vitamin B-1, starving the brain of energy and creating paralysis.
Dust pneumonia. In dry weather, the feedlot can become a dust bowl which springs the cattle's immune system into action and keeps it running on a constant basis, ultimately resulting in respiratory ailments and even death.
In addition, BSE, or mad cow disease results when cows are fed bone meal and waste products from other cattle infected with the disease.
Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) Produce Inferior Food
In addition to everything already mentioned, AFO's have further health consequences.
AFO-farmed, commercially-produced animals carry a greater risk of spreading E.coli infection to humans, for example, due to the higher incidence of harmful bacteria growth in grain-fed animals, and fecal contamination in feedlots and on kill floors. This is an extremely rare problem with grass-fed, organically-raised cattle as cows that graze on grasses naturally maintain the proper ratios of healthy bacteria in their guts.
In addition, you might not suspect that AFO-farmed steak to be a source of heavy metals, pesticides, and an array of potentially harmful drugs, but that's exactly what you get.
Conventionally-raised meats contain residues of everything the animal was exposed to, which includes veterinary drugs, heavy metal residues, and pesticides from their grain-based diet.
Drugs such as growth hormones and antibiotics are given to cattle to increase growth and reduce illness, but invariably enter the food system when producers slaughter animals that still have these toxins in their system.
The use of growth hormones is becoming of particular concern as we're now clearly noticing the dramatic effects they're having both on growing youngsters and adults.
Many children are now entering puberty at the age of 9! And although this poses emotional challenges, the long-term health effects of this include an increased risk of heart disease and estrogen-sensitive cancers, for example. Leading scientists have also linked hormone-laced foods (plus other endocrine disrupting chemicals) to falling sperm counts and fertility problems in adults.
Lastly, environmental pollution from organic waste produced by cattle, and the enormous amounts of petro-chemical fertilizers used to produce feed crops is out of control. Waste and waste treatment methods of grain-fed cattle are believed to be responsible for producing a significant portion of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (the three major gases that are largely responsible for global warming), along with other harmful gasses.
Many don't think about this, but fossil fuels are used in everything from the fertilizers and pesticides that are sprayed onto the crop, to the transportation of the feed.
Grass, on the other hand, does not require fossil fuels to grow (rotating pastures does the job instead), and other health harming practices, such as injecting the livestock with hormones and antibiotics, are also not allowed in organic farming.
The inherent differences between these two farming practices are truly vast. They are two distinctly different industries with entirely different environmental impacts, producing what is, in the end, two distinctly different animals.
Grass-fed cows equate to healthier meat -- which leads to a healthier you -- and benefits the planet.
Grass-Fed Trumps Organic Beef
There's one final note I'd like to make regarding grass-fed beef.
Oftentimes certified organic beef is misunderstood to be grass-fed; it's not necessarily so. Beef products that are considered to be "organic" come from animals being fed organic grains, especially corn, which still results in most of the negative health problems that I have highlighted earlier.
Don't be fooled!
Be sure to specifically seek out beef that is classified as grass-fed. Even if it is not labeled organic, most grass-fed cattle are fed on grasslands with limited pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals, and will never see the inside of a feedlot.
CLA Supplements
You may be wondering whether or not you can still stay true to your beef-less diet and supplement with one of the popular CLA supplements on the market today instead. As with most of my recommendations, it is always better to get your nutrients from whole foods, vs. their synthetic counterparts.
Foods that naturally contain CLA are generally far superior, easy to find, and less expensive than capsules.
That said, should you decide to go the route of taking a supplement, do make sure it does not contain any potentially harmful or detrimental additives.
You Can Taste the Difference
There is no question that the flavor, look, smell, and texture of grass fed beef differs from grain-fed beef. I have been eating it since 2001, and personally enjoy the taste and all the health-giving benefits grass-fed beef delivers.
That said, the flavor, cooking method, and even the appearance will require a bit of an adjustment. Many of my patients from Europe – where grass-fed products are more prevalent – had a difficult time getting used to grain-fed beef products in the U.S. Once you make the shift, it is just a matter of time until you find the taste not only palatable but rather enjoyable.
Based on the research between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, the benefits of CLA in your diet, you owe it to yourself and to your family to make this switch.
The high cost of cheap meat
Sherry L. Ackerman, Ph.D.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
(NaturalNews) When interviewed, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore responded to a question about whether every American was entitled to healthcare. His reply was, "We have to decide what kind of people we are." He was referring to our national character. Who are we? What kind of society do we want to become? Are we interested in creating a world that works for everyone . . . or one that only works for an elite few?
Americans' love affair with cheap stuff - all the way to education and airfares - has been one of the biggest
roadblocks standing in the way of sustainability. In the same way that consumer culture has moved toward valuing profit over people, it has put profit before nature. The U.S. agricultural industry, for example, can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals, and humans. Though Americans might like to imagine their food being produced the way their grandfathers did it, it's more likely that their burger began where 1,000 or more head of livestock were kept in overcrowded, unventilated, infected, and infested indoor feedlots, where they were fattened up for
slaughter as fast as possible. Today's factory farms are large industrial facilities, a far cry from the green pastures and red barns that most Americans imagine. The animals in these facilities are not considered animals at all; they are food-producing machines. The problem is that animals aren't widgets with legs. They are living creatures and there are consequences to packing them in prison-like conditions.
Doesn't anyone ever wonder where all of that manure goes? To survive and grow in that much sludge, factory-farmed animals need antibiotics - which then leads, inevitably, to antibiotic resistant bacteria. "These antibiotics are not given to sick animals," says Representative Louise Slaughter, who is sponsoring a bill to limit antibiotic use on CAFOs. "It's a preventative measure because they are kept in pretty unspeakable conditions."
Something has gone terribly wrong with the relationship between human beings and the animals they rely
upon for food. And whatever is wrong is wrong on a huge scale, as traditional animal husbandry has given way to industrialization. But Americans want cheap burgers, and Big Agriculture is good at hushing up what they do to keep the costs down. As one commentator stated in Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture, an agribusiness textbook: "One of the best things agriculture has going for it is that most people in the developed countries . . . haven't a clue how animals are raised and processed. For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows, the better."
And consumers don't know. There's a lot of distance between the CAFO and their dinner table. They buy beef all neatly arranged on a styrofoam tray, shrink wrapped in plastic, from a squeaky clean refrigerator case. It's a commodity, not an animal. And they are certainly not aware that it was an animal that was badly treated - objectified - like a mere cog in the industrial wheel. Is this the best that humans are capable of?
Superfood Expert, David Wolfe, Shares Latest Insights on How to Stay Healthy
Posted By Dr. Mercola
July 17 2010
David "Avocado" Wolfe, a leading authority on raw foods and superfoods, coaches Hollywood celebrities and leading business people on nutrition and wellness.
In this interview, David shares his extensive knowledge about the holistic treatment of chronic inflammation.
If you want to purchase the DVDs of the Longevity Conference that I spoke at earlier this year with David Wolfe you can watch the free Longevity Conference presentation here.
If you want to join me live on Friday, September 24, 2010 - Sunday, September 26th, 2010 at The Orange County Hilton in Costa Mesa, CA, then you can go to David's page in which he fully describes the fall Longevity Now Conference and you can see all the speakers that will be attending. I am very excited about being a part of this event, as the energy and conversations that occur there are extraordinary.
I feel like this group of people are the graduate students of how to maximize healthy living to the fullest, and one of the reasons I attend is because I learn so much.
Not to worry if you can't attend that weekend as you can always get the Longevity Conference DVDs now.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
David "Avocado" Wolfe has been an advocate of raw food for 16 years. He is a world authority on raw foods and superfoods and coaches Hollywood celebrities and business people on nutrition and wellness.
A field researcher in the most literal sense, David studies and conducts his research while traveling all over the world.
"I have been into the Amazon, into the jungles of Costa Rica, into the jungles of Mexico, into the jungles of Indonesia, all through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, all over…" David says.
A good portion of the information on nutrition, some of which we will discuss in this interview, is actively being suppressed by multibillion dollar industries that do not want you to know the truth. They seek to discredit much of it because they want you to opt for their expensive drug solutions instead, which nearly always come with potentially toxic side effects.
But David and I are here to tell you that there are natural options to almost every health problem or condition you'll ever face.
One of the primary components of many disease processes is chronic inflammation.
The conventional approach to treat inflammation typically involves taking some type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like Vioxx -- which was taken off the market years ago, but only after it had killed more than 60,000 people.
These drugs do absolutely nothing to treat the cause of the inflammation in your body, AND may deteriorate your health even further as most of them have side effects and cause additional health problems, some of which are potentially lethal.
The Self-Healing Revolution
David was originally deeply embedded in the traditional medical system, growing up as the son of two medical doctors.
"When I was very, very young, my Mom always told me, "If you lose your health, you've lost everything you've got. You've got to maintain your health no matter what," David says.
"I began to see that eating oranges straight off a tree and walking around barefoot when I was a kid, really made me feel good."
That self-discovery activated his search for knowledge.
"I literally spent the last 22 year of my life on the cutting edge of what is possible via supplements, herbalism, food, superfoods, right positive thinking, etcetera," David says.
Many people still do not realize that one of the leading causes of death in the US is the conventional medical system.
This fact is in large part invisible, because when a person dies from a heart attack caused by a drug, such as Vioxx, that death is not attributed to that drug. It's simply listed as "a heart attack."
Those who are paying closer attention are beginning to see this truth however, and are also beginning to realize that the answer to their health problems is not drugs, but lifestyle. If you're reading this newsletter, chances are you are in this category.
I can't stress enough how important it is to realize that most of the health problems and diseases you may encounter in your life can be treated and overcome without resorting to synthetic drugs.
In this interview, David tells the story of how he healed himself from chronic pain using yoga – despite the fact that all of his doctors, chiropractors, and osteopaths told him he had a mechanical problem in his spine that was causing chronic inflammation and pain.
"I completely healed myself using natural approaches," David says.
"I can do everything today. So, in spite of the sincere opinions of very qualified health professionals, I still was able to go beyond the information I was getting, and actually heal myself. And I want to put that out there for everybody.
You may get sincere advice. But, it may be sincerely wrong advice.
Be open. Be aware that solutions are out there."
Most physicians are well-intentioned and truly believe that they're doing what's appropriate, and it's what they use for themselves and their family. The sad reality is that most of them have not done independent, objective research to find alternatives that work based on natural principles.
When was the Last Time You Walked Barefoot?
"I want to start off by talking about the barefoot revolution," David says.
"If there is a local park or a beach nearby where you can easily get your shoes off and take a walk, this is really powerful in terms of helping you deal with inflammation of your ankles, knees, hips, and, I would say, even lower back.
A lot of back problems, a lot of postural problems, are caused by wearing shoes that throw out our posture in different directions, and they also make your toes limp. Your toes lose their ability to grip. They lose their strength by the wearing of shoes."
Most shoes emulate a cast in that they do not allow your foot to articulate properly.
In terms of inflammation, shoes also block the beneficial electromagnetic radiation of the earth, which actually has an anti-inflammatory effect. According to David, about 30 studies performed by Clint Ober over the past 12 years reveal this.
"The studies indicate we can just touch the earth with our bare feet or our bare skin; sit down on the grass, and the earth actually releases anti-inflammatory electromagnetic radiation," David says. "This helps to draw out inflammation, in particular of your lower extremities: your feet, our ankles, knees, and hips."
My own understanding of this phenomenon is that it's not caused so much by the electromagnetic radiation but rather from the transfer of free electrons from the earth; a grounding effect that is, in my understanding, one of the most potent antioxidants we know of.
Unfortunately, few people ever walk barefoot anymore to experience it.
According to David, it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your blood stream and transform your blood.
"This is what Clint's research has been showing," David says.
"We actually did this at the Longevity Conference. We showed, within an hour and 20 minutes, how people's blood profiles changed and improved just based on being grounded for an hour and 20 minutes."
Walking barefoot can also help ameliorate the constant irritation caused by EMFs and other types of radiation on your system from cell phones, computers and Wi-Fi on your system. By getting outside, barefoot, touching the earth, and allowing the excess charge in your body to discharge into the earth, you can alleviate some of the stress put on your system.
That is the grounding effect.
Walking barefoot outside and breathing fresh air are grossly neglected foundational health principles, as is having large amounts of your skin exposed to natural sunlight so you can optimize your vitamin D, which is another crucial component for treating inflammation.
Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
There are also several powerful anti-inflammatory supplements that can have immediate use. Here are a few of David's favorites:
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) – Its ability to neutralize inflammation is one of the greatest, and one of the most inexpensive, discoveries in this field.
MSM has been shown to break down the calcification that is frequently associated with chronic inflammation. In your arteries, it's called plaque, which leads to heart disease. These plaques are the root cause of inflammation.
"MSM helps dissolve these calcified deposits, turning it into calcium sulfate and making it soluble so your body can excrete it," David explains.
"The dosage of MSM has to be, in the beginning, maybe 2,500 mg per day. But really, you need to get up to 5,000 mg or 7,500 mg, and allow it to work over a period of months.
But don't ever want to start anything at a very high dosage. Move into it gently.
I have a good friend of mine who is now taking 30,000 mg of MSM for his rheumatoid arthritis, and that is the dosage he needs in order to feel complete relief of his pain."
Keep in mind that there may be side effects because MSM can detoxify you, and that may initially aggravate any condition you have. So increase dosage slowly to allow your body to adjust.
It's also important to note that if you're allergic to sulfa drugs, you may also have trouble with MSM because it is a type of sulfur.
MSM is not a drug however. It is a natural compound that exists in all trees and many plants. MSM is highly concentrated in aloe vera, for example, so you can also use natural aloe vera products that contain MSM in its natural form.
As with most supplements, quality is a concern when it comes to MSM as well. David recommends using wood pulp or tree-derived MSM.
Vitamin C -- A tremendous antioxidant, vitamin C is also anti-inflammatory, and is vital for rebuilding collagen and connective tissue. David recommends taking your MSM and vitamin C together if possible. Your best bet is to use a natural plant-based or botanical vitamin C supplement, such as acerola cherry, rosehip, or camu berry.
Keep in mind that high doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea, so again, you'll want to start slowly and work your way up to about 3,000 mg per day. Certain newer supplements also use liposomal delivery systems that can increase their bioavailability.
Medicinal mushrooms – These include reishi mushrooms, cordyceps, Agaricus blazei and chaga
mushrooms. According to David, medicinal mushrooms can help boost your immune system to break up longstanding infections.
There are also mushroom products available as powders that you can add to smoothies, protein shakes, tea and other beverages.
Mangosteen – Organic mangosteen rind is another superior antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
The rind of mangosteen has been used in traditional medicinal systems in Southeast Asia, all the way into Indonesia, since the beginning of recorded history.
Interestingly, it specifically treats the pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
I have personally treated thousands of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, so this is an area I have a lot of experience with. Nearly all patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are deficient in vitamin D, so optimizing your vitamin D levels is also an essential part of treating this condition.
In addition, rheumatoid arthritis nearly always has an emotional component. Addressing and resolving these emotional wounds is therefore another vital part of the process.
In my experience, energy psychology tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique is one of the most effective strategies to address this underlying emotional component, and will work synergistically with herbal- or supplemental therapies.
Sometimes, unless you address the basics, such as your emotions, the herbs and vitamins won't do much good. But once you include such simple basics as getting regular sun exposure and addressing your emotions, in addition to whatever supplements you choose, you can at times end up with what appears to be a miracle.
Astaxanthin – A seafood component extracted from algae, astaxanthin provides three unusual health benefits:
Preventing sunburn (4mg dose)
Eliminating cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
Protection against radiation damage when flying in an airplane
It's a bit pricey, but can be extremely effective. A less expensive alternative is krill oil, which also contains astaxanthin, in addition to essential omega-3 fatssuch as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).
Cooling Inflammatory Conditions with Raw Foods
"Inflammation, of course, is "in flame" or "on fire,"" David explains, and there are also a large number of raw foods that can help "cool" the inflammatory response.
"One of my favorite tools to do that is vegetable juicing, particularly celery and cucumber juices.
Celery is very rich in electrolytes. It has a cooling effect on your body, which is really an anti-inflammatory effect. Cucumber does as well.
A simple juice is celery and cucumber. There is no sugar and it's an instant 'turn-on' for energy. It also has an instant drawing effect of toxins out of your system due to the chlorophyll present in the celery."
Fennel is another cooling plant suitable for juicing. Fennel juice is specifically implicated for headaches and migraines.
Dill is related to fennel, and both are very beneficial for producing breast milk in nursing women.
More Must-Hear Information!
For even more information, I highly recommend you listen to this interview in its entirety, or read through the accompanying transcript as David is an absolute treasure trove of information.
Other in-depth discussions in this interview include:
The difference between prostaglandin 2 versus prostaglandin 1 and 3 – these biochemical modulators can either aggravate or ameliorate inflammation, which is why it's so important to choose the right oils when cooking
The dangers of food irradiation
The concept of "raw water," the nature of hydrogen and how it dissolves bad calcium, and why alkalizers and water ionizers may do more harm than good
The benefits of gammalinolenic acid products (GLA), such as hempseed and spirulina
I am convinced, as is David, that nearly every health problem you face can be addressed using safe, natural, non-toxic strategies. So keep educating yourself to take control of your, and your family's, health!
Also See:
If You Know what's Good for You
(Part 1)
19 February 2009
(Part 2)
01 August 2009
(Part 3)
02 March 2010
(Part 4)
28 September 2011