Monday, June 16, 2014

If You Know What's Good For You ... (Part 18)

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Turning a Blind Eye to Reality!
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Factory Farmed Chicken May Be Cheap, But the Ultimate Price You Pay Is High

By Dr. Mercola
July 23, 2014
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Food, Inc. - Industrial Chicken Farmers
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Demand for food at cheaper prices has dramatically altered the entire food chain. Today, food production revolves around efficiency—the ability to produce more for less.
This mindset has significant ramifications for both animal and human health, and the environment.
Today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens, and pigs, are crammed into confined animal feeding operations known as CAFOs. These animals are imprisoned and tortured in crowded, unhealthy, unsanitary, and cruel conditions.
As noted by the Cornucopia Institute, the price of chicken has dropped dramatically over the past few decades, becoming the cheapest meat available in the US. As a result, consumption has doubled since 1970.
Seeing how chicken is supposed to be a healthy source of high-quality nutrition, the fact that it has become so affordable might seem to be a great benefit. But there's a major flaw in this equation. As it turns out, it's virtually impossible to mass-produce clean, safe, optimally nutritious foods at rock bottom prices.
CAFOs Are Hotbeds for Disease
A typical poultry CAFO measuring 490 feet by 45 feet can hold at least 30,000 chickens or more. Animal Welfare Guidelines permit a stocking density that gives each full-grown chicken an amount of space equivalent to an 8.5-inch by 11-inch piece of paper.
An example of a poultry CAFO can be seen in the video above. It's a short clip from the film Food Inc. Sickness is the norm for animals raised in these CAFOs—the large-scale factory farms on which 99 percent of American chickens come from.
These animals are also typically fed genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans, which is a far cry from their natural diet of seeds, green plants, insects, and worms.
This unnatural diet further exacerbates disease promulgation. Processing byproducts such as chicken feathers and other animal parts can also be added to the feed.
To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding, lack of vitamin D (as CAFO chickens may never see the light of day), and an unnatural diet, the animals are routinely fed antibiotics (hormones, on the other hand, are not permitted in American-raised chickens).
Those antibiotics pose a direct threat to human health, and contaminate the environment when they run off into lakes, rivers, aquifers, and drinking water. According to a landmark "Antibiotic Resistance Threat Report" published by the CDC, two million Americans become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 of them die as a direct result of those infections.
Research suggests you have a 50/50 chance of buying meat tainted with drug-resistant bacteria when you buy it from your local grocery store. In some cases, the risk may be even greater.
Last year, using data collected by the federal agency called NARMS (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System), the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in:
81 percent of ground turkey
69 percent of pork chops
55 percent of ground beef
39 percent of raw chicken parts
Despite the well-documented health and environmental hazards, most consumers are still unaware that well over 90 percent of all chicken meat and eggs sold in the US come from CAFOs.
Most people are also unaware that these cheap CAFO foods are very different, from a nutritional standpoint, from animals raised on pasture, and that while they may be inexpensive at the checkout line, there are significant hidden costs associated with this kind of food production.
The Hidden Cost of Cheap Chicken
As discussed in the featured article, the hidden costs of cheap factory farmed chicken can be divided into three categories:
Ethical costs: Research has shown that chickens are not only quite smart, they experience suffering just as animals higher up in the food chain—including you. "Chickens have nervous systems similar to ours, and when we do things to them that are likely to hurt a sensitive creature, they show behavioral and physiological responses that are like ours. When stressed or bored, chickens show what scientists call 'stereotypical behavior,' or repeated futile movements, like caged animals who pace back and forth," Cornucopia writes. Environmental costs: CAFOs are notorious for producing massive amounts of offensive waste that disturbs and pollutes the local ecosystem.
The featured article references a number of areas in which residents are battling nauseating odors and infestations of flies, rats, mice, intestinal parasites, and other disturbing health effects. As stated by Cornucopia:
"Tyson produces chicken cheaply because it passes many costs on to others. Some of the cost is paid by people who can't enjoy being outside in their yard because of the flies and have to keep their windows shut because of the stench. Some is paid by kids who can't swim in the local streams. Some is paid by those who have to buy bottled water because their drinking water is polluted. Some is paid by people who want to be able to enjoy a natural environment with all its beauty and rich biological diversity.
These costs are, in the terms used by economists, 'externalities' because the people who pay them are external to the transaction between the producer and the purchaser... In theory, to eliminate this market failure, Tyson should fully compensate everyone adversely affected by its pollution. Then its chicken would no longer be so cheap."
Human health costs: Besides the health ramifications suffered by those who happen to live near a CAFO and are exposed to the environmental contamination caused by these factory farms, cheap CAFO chicken and eggs are also taking a hidden toll on your health when you eat them.
In part because their nutrition is inherently inferior; in part because they're contaminated with antibiotics; and in part because they raise your risk of contracting a foodborne illness. Most recently, Foster Farms and Kirkland chicken brands issued recalls for Salmonella contamination that has affected hundreds of consumers across America since March 2013.
Recalled items have "use or freeze by" dates ranging from March 17, 2014 to March 31, 2014. The identifying plant marks on the recalled products are P-6137, P-6137A, or P-7632. You can find this plant mark inside the USDA mark of inspection. One of Foster Farms' processing plants was also shut down by government mandate after cockroaches were discovered during a Food Safety inspection. And last fall, yet another of its plants were threatened with closure due to the presence of Salmonella contamination.
Follow Safe Handling Instructions for Raw Chicken
Your risk of foodborne illness is magnified if you fail to follow safe handling instructions. For example, washing your chicken increases your risk of food poisoning, as it allows dangerous campylobacter bacteria to spread. As reported by Fox News:
"When washed, campylobacter from raw chicken can be transferred into water droplets, which may splash onto neighboring surfaces, hands, clothing, and cooking utensils. If the campylobacter bacteria are ingested directly or via unwashed cutting boards and utensils, they can cause campylobacteriosis, characterized by symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, and fever."
Another important safety tip is to designate separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. Do not cut vegetables on the same cutting board you just used to prepare your chicken (or other meats). Besides avoiding cross contamination in your kitchen, also make sure you cook the chicken thoroughly, to kill off any potentially harmful bacteria.
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The Case Against Factory Farmed Foods
CAFOs represent a corporate-controlled system characterized by large-scale, centralized, low profit-margin production, processing, and distribution systems. It's important to realize that the factory farm system is NOT a system that ensures food safety and protects human health. On the contrary, it makes the food system far more vulnerable to pathogenic contaminations that have the capacity to kill—both the livestock, and the people who eat them.
For example, over the past year, nearly 10 percent of the entire swine population in the US has been wiped out by a highly lethal virus called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has been—at least in part—traced back to pig's blood used in piglet feed. In this case, the virus does not affect humans. But it's a valuable demonstration of how fragile the system becomes when you veer too far from the natural order of things.
Besides everything mentioned already, the factory feeding model also involves the mixing of animal parts (in this case, blood) from a large number of animals, which is then fed to large numbers of animals—the meat from which in turn are again mixed together in large processing plants, before it's ultimately sold in grocery stores across the nation. All this mixing and cross-contamination allows for pathogens to contaminate huge amounts of food products, and is the reason why a single food contamination can spread so far and wide, affecting people across multiple states.
Processing plant (i.e. plants where meat is cut or milk is pasteurized, for example) are primary culprits when it comes to the spread of pathogens. Due to regulations, traditional farmer-to-consumer practices have been outlawed. Now processors run the show and cut out the farmer's share, which has decimated small farmers and created this industrialized, disease-promoting mess.
Small-Scale Farming Makes for Far Safer Food
The weaknesses of the factory farm model are usually overlooked during food safety discussions. Instead, small-scale raw food producers—and raw dairy producers in particular—are targeted and vilified as sources of dangerous pathogens that threaten human health. Such attacks are completely out of order and do nothing to improve food safety on the whole, as the PRIMARY sources of pathogenic contamination actually originate in CAFOs, large-scale butchering and processing plants, and processed food manufacturing plants, where multiple ingredients are mixed together.
For example, late last year, Chobani Greek yoghurt was recalled following reports of gastrointestinal illness. The yogurt, which is pasteurized and not raw, was found to be contaminated with a fungus called Murcor circinelloides. In 2011, Cargill recalled a whopping 36 million pounds of ground turkey after an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella in the meat was linked to 107 illnesses and one death.
Remarkably, as explained in a previous Food Safety News article, a large-scale meat producer can have 50 percent of its samples test positive for Salmonella, and still get the green light of approval from the USDA! When it hits 51 percent contamination, the meat is tagged "unsafe." But even at that point, USDA testing simply continues until illness is reported. This is factory farmed food safety for you...
Meanwhile, a small organic farmer will notice a health problem with an animal in his herd long before it gets sent for slaughter, and he can then treat that individual animal as necessary. And, should a pathogenic outbreak occur on a farm, the risk of public exposure is limited by the fact that the animal products are sold locally; they're not shipped long distances and mixed in with others. This is why a food borne outbreak on an organic farm may affect one or two people, whereas an outbreak originating from a processing plant can affect hundreds, or even thousands. One pasteurized milk contamination sickened 200,000 people!
Organic, Pastured Chicken Is Your Best and Safest Alternative
If food safety, optimal nutrition and disease prevention really matters, the way forward is to shift into a socially responsible, small-scale system where independent producers and processors focus on providing food for their local and regional markets. This alternative produces high-quality food, and supports farmers who produce healthy, meat, eggs, and dairy products using humane methods. And it's far easier on the environment.
True free-range chickens and eggs come from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture, where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects, and worms. Keep in mind that when it comes to labels such as "free-range" and "natural," there are loopholes that allow the commercial egg industry to call eggs from their industrial egg laying facilities "free-range," so don't be fooled.
By far, the vast majority of food at your local supermarket comes from these polluting, inhumane farm conglomerations. If you want to stop supporting them, you first need to find a new place to shop. Your best source for pastured chicken (and fresh eggs) is a local farmer that allows his hens to forage freely outdoors. If you live in an urban area, visiting a local farmer's market is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality chicken and eggs. Again, free-range pastured chickens should be allowed outside, and to eat insects. To see how this looks in the real world, please watch my video below with farmer Joel Salatin.
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Take Control of Your Health by Joining the Real Food Movement
If you really want to be sure your food is healthy and safe, it would be best to avoid grocery stores as much as possible, as conventionally-raised livestock, including chickens, are far from ideal. The more we all make it a point to only buy food from a source we know and trust, the faster factory farming will become a shameful practice of the past. Farmers and lovers of real food show us that change is possible. Here are a few suggestions for how you can take affirmative action to protect your and your family's health:
Buy local products whenever possible. Otherwise, buy organic and fair-trade products.
Shop at your local farmers market, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or buy from local grocers and co-ops committed to selling local foods. The following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods in your local area that has been raised in a humane, sustainable manner:
Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
Farmers' Markets -- A national listing of farmers' markets.
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs, and markets near you.
Support restaurants and food vendors that buy locally produced food.
Avoid genetically engineered (GMO) foods. Buying certified organic ensures your food is non-GM.
Cook, can, ferment, dry, and freeze. Return to the basics of cooking, and pass these skills on to your children.
Grow your own garden, or volunteer at a community garden. Teach your children how to garden and where their food comes from.
Volunteer and/or financially support an organization committed to promoting a sustainable food system.
Get involved in your community. Influence what your child eats by engaging the school board. Effect city policies by learning about zoning and attending city council meetings. Learn about the federal policies that affect your food choice, and let your congressperson know what you think.
Spread the word! Share this article with your friends, family, and everyone else you know.
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15 Natural Remedies for Back Pain
By Dr. Mercola
July 23, 2014
Up to 80 percent of the US population will experience back pain at some point during their lives. Most often, the problem is mechanical in nature: the result of poor posture, repetitive movements, or incorrect lifting, for instance (as opposed to resulting from injury, infection, or serious diseases, like cancer).
If you visit a conventional physician for back pain (which is actually the second most common reason for doctor visits, outnumbered only by upper respiratory infections), you’ll most likely be offered only a superficial treatment.
Pain-relieving drugs are among the most common treatment followed by steroid injections and even surgery. Along with being fraught with side effects, none of these solutions tend to lead to full recovery, leaving many patients still struggling with back pain, often chronically.
This is where the natural remedies that follow can be invaluable. Before you even consider drugs, injections, or surgery, give these 15 natural remedies for back pain a try.
Try This First: 15 Tips for Natural Back Pain Relief
This list is in no way meant to be comprehensive and all inclusive, but merely therapies that I have encountered or personally used.
1. Chiropractic Care
Seeing a qualified chiropractor is a wise option if you suffer from any type of chronic pain, including back pain. One study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine even revealed that chiropractic care is often better than medication for treating musculoskeletal pain.
2. Stretching, Especially the Egoscue Method
Participants who took 52-minute stretching classes (which emphasized trunk and leg stretches) received as much back-pain relief as those taking yoga classes. The way you stretch matters, however, and static stretching may actually lead to irritation and injury.
Another option is the Egoscue Method, which is a series of very specific posture stretches and special exercises tailored to each person's specific needs. Egoscue helps to restore muscular balance and skeletal alignment and is often used as a natural method of pain relief. Personally, this method worked well for me in eliminating pain I had when I got out of my chair or car.
3. Strength Training
A regular strength-training routine will help strengthen your back and core muscles, which is essential for both relieving pain and preventing injury.
4. Osteopathic Manipulation
Osteopathic manipulation, which may involve moving joints back into place, massaging soft tissue, and helping you relax stressed muscles, was found to reduce chronic low-back pain in a study of 455 people. Participants received eight weeks of either osteopathic manipulation, a sham treatment, or ultrasound therapy.
Sixty-three percent of those who'd had osteopathic manipulation reported a moderate improvement in their pain while half said they had a substantial improvement.
5. Reduce Your Stress
People with persistent negative thoughts and anxiety are more likely to suffer from back pain. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) borrows from the principles of acupuncture, in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system.
It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain and relieve stress.
6. Meditation
Meditation can be a powerful pain reliever. Among volunteers who had never meditated before, those who attended four 20-minute classes to learn a meditation technique called focused attention (a form of mindfulness meditation), experienced significant pain relief – a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness.
7. Yoga
Yoga, which is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, has been proven to be beneficial if you suffer from back pain. People suffering from low-back pain who took one yoga class a week had greater improvements in function than those receiving medicine or physical therapy. The Yoga Journal has an online page demonstrating specific poses that may be helpful.
8. Massage
Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation and relieve pain. Massage therapy for 10 weeks offered greater back-pain relief than usual care, according to one study, and the benefits lasted at least six months.
9. Acupuncture
Acupuncture can be another useful approach, although in my experience requires a bit more time to achieve results. In one analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment.
10. K-Laser Therapy
Several beneficial things happen during K-Laser treatment. First, infrared laser therapy treatment helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance tissue healing—both in hard and soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, or even bones.
These benefits are the result of enhanced microcirculation, as the treatment stimulates red blood cell flow in the treatment area. Venous and lymphatic return is also enhanced, as is oxygenation of those tissues.
Finally, the treatment stimulates the cytochrome oxidase enzyme in your cells' mitochondria. This is really one of the key discoveries in the whole science of laser therapy.
Specifically, injured cells are targeted because damaged cells are more readily accepting of photons of light, whereas healthy cells don't need this extra energy. As explained by Dr. Phil Harrington, who is an expert on the use of K-Laser therapy:
"By stimulating the cytochrome oxidase enzyme, we are utilizing that oxygen in the respiratory chain inside of the mitochondria, producing more ATP for that cell. So regardless of what kind of cell it is, it's going to function at a higher level."
The three infrared wavelengths of the K-Laser target water, hemoglobin, and the enzyme to most efficiently stimulate cellular metabolism. The K-Laser is unique in that it is the only Class 4 therapy laser that utilizes three infrared wavelengths that penetrate deep into the body to reach areas such as your spine and hip.
11. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Talking with a therapist, with a focus on changing your thoughts and behavior, helped relieve back pain after just six weeks. After one year, nearly 60 percent of those who received cognitive-behavioral therapy reported that their pain was gone (compared to 31 percent of those who did not receive therapy).
12. Tai Chi
A form of Chinese martial arts, tai chi is an ancient form of self-defense that is said to support the balance of "yin and yang" in your body, thereby improving the flow of "qi," or life energy. Often described as "meditation in motion" or "moving meditation," the activity takes your body through a specific set of graceful movements. Your body is constantly in motion and each movement flows right into the next. A 10-week tai chi program has been found to improve pain and disability in people with persistent low-back pain.
13. Physical Therapy
People who received physical therapy soon after an episode of back pain are less likely to require subsequent medical care than those who seek it at a later time.
14. Comfrey Root
Comfrey, a perennial shrub, is traditionally used to reduce inflammation as well as heal pulled, sprained, or strained muscles and ligaments. Research shows that ointment containing comfrey extract may lower back pain significantly, although you shouldn’t use it longer than 10 days because it can lead to liver damage if used chronically.
15. Aquatic Therapy
Water therapy conducted in a pool is a gentle way to alleviate lower back pain. This is especially useful for people who are sedentary and pregnant women.
Don’t Blame Your Back Pain on the Weather
Does your back pain flare up when it’s hot or humid? New research found that weather parameters, including temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, and precipitation do not increase the risk of a low-back-pain episode. According to the study’s lead author:
"Many patients believe that weather impacts their pain symptoms. However, there are few robust studies investigating weather and pain, specifically research that does not rely on patient recall of the weather… Our findings refute previously held beliefs that certain common weather conditions increase risk of lower back pain."
So if the weather isn’t the problem, then what is? Poor posture and/or improper movement is to blame for most cases of back pain. Spending most of your day slouched behind a desk or on the couch is a surefire way to develop back pain. Sitting is also an independent risk factor of everything from diabetes to heart disease, and can even take years off your life—even if you exercise regularly! If you spend the majority of your day sitting like I do, then I could not encourage you more strongly to review this article on sitting and intermittent movement, which provides dozens of different mini exercises you can do to interrupt your sitting.
Even though I have always been very fit, I believe my chronic sitting caused me back pain, and these intermittent movement exercises have eliminated it. Proper posture is truly foundational for health and most who live in industrialized cultures have far from ideal posture. By understanding the functional biomechanics of your body, you can learn to optimize the way you move at all times. This in turn effectively prevents aches and pains from developing. An effective method to relearn proper posture is Foundation Training, developed by chiropractor Dr. Eric Goodman to address his own chronic back pain.
Please Beware of Conventional Back-Pain Treatments
Despite it being so common, few people—including specialists—have a clear understanding of how to treat back pain. If you have low back pain and see different specialists, you will get different tests: rheumatologists will order blood tests, neurologists will order nerve impulse tests, and surgeons will order MRIs and CT scans. But no matter what tests you get, you'll probably end up with a prescription for a painkiller and perhaps a spinal fusion -- because the latter is one of the "more lucrative procedures in medicine," according to Shannon Brownlee, author of the book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.
This despite the fact that the best success rate for spinal fusions is a mere 25 percent! According to one 2011 review, more than 17 percent of patients told they needed spinal surgery actually showed no abnormal neurological or radiographic findings that would necessitate surgery. A related concern is the fact that lower back pain is also one of the primary reasons why people get hooked on prescription painkillers. Deaths caused by overdosing on painkillers now surpass murders and fatal car accidents in the US, and over the past five years, heroin deaths have increased by 45 percent.
Officials blame this increase on the rise of addictive prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, codeine, and Fentora, all of which are opioids (derivatives of opium). Heroin is simply a cheaper option to these prescription medications. Still, prescription painkillers claim far more lives than illegal street drugs like heroin. According to Gil Kerlikowske, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, prescription painkillers were responsible for 16,600 deaths in 2010—well over five times more than those caused by heroin.
US officials have recently gone on the offensive, stating that narcotic painkillers are a driving force in the rise of substance abuse and lethal overdoses, and that both patients and doctors need to become better informed about their risks. Back pain, in turn, is a driving force behind opioid drug use, which makes it a central focus not just for decreasing disability claims and improving health and quality of life for millions of people, but also for tackling a rapidly growing problem of legal drug abuse and the associated death toll. Please do not let your physician convince you that prescription drugs are your only option for pain relief. I’ve already included nearly two-dozen alternatives in this article, and if you read below you’ll find even more.
14 More Natural Options for Powerful Pain Relief
Below I list 14 more non-drug alternatives for the treatment of pain. Again, this list is in no way meant to represent all of the approaches available; they are simply some of the best strategies I know of. If you are in pain, please try these first, before even thinking about prescription painkillers, steroid injections, or surgery of any kind.
Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat. My personal favorite is krill oil, which contains highly absorbable phospholipid-bound omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work, they manipulate prostaglandins.)
Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.
Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and you may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
Ginger: This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
Curcumin: In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility. A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.
Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Bromelain: This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.
Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
Evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
Cayenne cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Medical cannabis has a long history as a natural analgesic. At present, 20 US states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Its medicinal qualities are due to high amounts (about 10-20 percent) of cannabidiol (CBD), medicinal terpenes, and flavanoids. As discussed in this previous post, varieties of cannabis exist that are very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you feel "stoned"—and high in medicinal CBD. The Journal of Pain, a publication by the American Pain Society, has a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis.
Hot and cold packs, and other mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
Grounding, or walking barefoot on the earth, may also provide a certain measure of pain relief by combating inflammation.
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Study shows synthetic vitamins in 'fortified' breakfast cereals harming children
Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Monday, July 14, 2014
(NaturalNews) Breakfast cereals that are "fortified" with synthetic imitations of vitamins like zinc, niacin, and vitamin A could be harming children, says a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Researchers from the consumer advocacy organization maintain that many cereals, breakfast bars and other breakfast products marketed to children contain excess levels of synthetic vitamins that may harm vital organs and immune function in the longer term.
The investigative report looked specifically at the three aforementioned additives, all of which are synthetically derived when added to breakfast cereals, to see how manufacturers use them. The team looked at nutrition labels for 1,556 breakfast cereals and 1,025 snack and energy bars to analyze their contents of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, and compare these levels to recommended daily values.
What they discovered was that 114 cereal brands were fortified with levels of either vitamin A, zinc or niacin -- or all three -- that exceed the recommended daily amounts for adults by 30 percent. Similarly, 27 snack and energy bars were identified as having these same nutrients at levels 50 percent higher than the recommended daily amount.
Isolated, synthetic vitamins can disrupt proper absorption of nutrients
The reason why this is a problem is that each of these key nutrients, when consumed in synthetic form, poses potential health risks. Too much synthetic vitamin A, for instance, can potentially cause liver damage, skeletal abnormalities, peeling skin, and/or hair loss. And too much synthetic zinc can block the absorption of bioavailable copper, which is necessary for proper immune function.
These same nutrients as found naturally in whole foods are completely harmless, of course. But when they are manufactured in a lab and injected into processed foods that have been stripped of their natural nutrient content -- commercial
breakfast cereal is a perfect example of this -- the effects can be quite different.
"Food producers often fortify foods with large amounts of vitamins and minerals to make their products appear more nutritious so they will sell better," explains the EWG report. "Fortified
breakfast cereals are the number one source of excessive intake because all three nutrients are added to fortified foods in amounts calculated for adults, not children."
Whole food vitamins are safe to consume in high levels
Though the EWG report does not make a clear distinction between whole, food-based vitamins and the chemical imitators commonly added to processed foods, the evaluation clearly demonstrates that synthetic vitamins are the problem. Because they lack the necessary co-factors required for proper metabolism, synthetic vitamins tend to tax the body rather than feed it.
"Excessive exposure to fortified nutrients is the result of unscrupulous marketing, flawed nutrition labeling and outdated fortification policy," adds the EWG report. "The current nutrition labeling system puts children's health at risk and is in dire need of reform."
You can read the full EWG report here:
Static.EWG.org.
Again, it is important to note that these findings pertain to synthetic vitamins as they are added back into over-processed foods, and not to whole foods that are naturally high in vitamins. The findings also do not pertain to whole-food-based vitamin supplements derived from actual food rather than synthetic chemicals.
Sources for this article include:
http://www.ewg.org
http://www.usatoday.com
http://static.ewg.org [PDF]
http://science.naturalnews.com
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Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills (The dangers of MSG)
Part 2
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What is MSG? Side effects explained
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 by: Aurora Geib
(NaturalNews) Did you know that a substance added to the foods you may be eating every day has been connected to a multitude of physical ailments, including everything from obesity to Alzheimer's? And here's the worst part: The food industry has been aware of this issue for decades yet uses this substance anyway. The troubling ingredient is monosodium glutamate. Read on to learn more about the hidden poison, commonly known as MSG, which may be lurking in your next meal.
What is MSG?
MSG, a salt form of a non-essential amino acid, is a flavor enhancer and common food additive. While many people exclusively associate MSG with Chinese takeout and salty processed meats, the truth is that MSG is contained in processed foods we eat every day, including salad dressing, barbecue sauce, bouillon cubes and canned soups and vegetables. It's also an additive in many infant formulas and baby and children's foods.
In short, MSG tricks the taste buds and brain into thinking that food tastes delicious. An excitotoxin, MSG works by triggering the brain to produce excess quantities of the feel-good drug dopamine. This allows food manufacturers to cut back on quality in order to increase their profits.
Unfortunately, the rush of good feelings caused by MSG doesn't last, but the consequences do. MSG doesn't just hook us by making food taste better. It is actually physically addictive, which keeps consumers coming back again and again. This not only leads to overeating but also wreaks havoc on the body's comprehensive wellness.
Side Effects Explained
We've all heard of MSG headaches and nausea; this is often attributed to "MSG sensitivity." Unfortunately, the problem goes far beyond that.
MSG has been linked to weight gain and even obesity by researchers. And it's not just because MSG makes people want to consume more. In fact, groups of participants in one research study were restricted to the same caloric intake and physical activity, yet those who ate foods containing MSG were nearly three times more likely to be overweight than their non-MSG ingesting peers. (1
Researchers have also connected MSG to liver and kidney damage as well as increased blood pressure. (2) (3) Furthermore,
excitotoxins have been linked to brain damage, leading to a host of neurological diseases including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and many others. (4)
How to Avoid MSG
If you regularly rely on the "No MSG" labels on your food, it's still likely that you are eating foods containing MSG. How? Because the FDA's and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's regulations only require that MSG be disclosed when it's added as a single ingredient. In other words, if MSG is added on its own, it must be listed on food labels. Otherwise, it may be lurking in your food under one of many seemingly innocuous names. The following items are likely to contain MSG (5):
yeast food, autolyzed or hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, textured protein (including TVP [textured vegetable protein])
hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, plant protein extract, hydrolyzed plant protein
soy protein (concentrate and isolate)
enzymes
dough conditioners
malt (flavoring and extract)
malted barley
sodium caseinate
calcium caseinate
gelatin
seasoning, spices
flavoring of any kind (may be listed as "natural flavors" or "natural flavoring")
carrageenans
whey protein concentrate
hydrolyzed oat flour
bouillon, stock, broth


And don't assume that it's safe just because it came from the local health food store. Many "natural" and "organic" products also contain MSG.
One simple way to avoid consuming MSG is to buy whole foods and prepare them yourself. However, this isn't always possible. The best defense against MSG is information. By being vigilant about checking food labels, knowing what to look for and asking the right questions, you can avoid ingesting this known toxin and enjoy a healthier life.
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Turmeric as effective for treating disease as 14 different conventional drugs, study finds
(NaturalNews) It's no secret that turmeric has amazing healing properties; in fact, it's one of the most thoroughly researched plants in history. Dating back thousands of years, humans have used turmeric as both a food and a medicine, even using it to cure life-threatening diseases
Researchers at GreenMedInfo, an organization dedicated to providing evidence-based resources to the world, found turmeric to have over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications and 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. Click
here for a downloadable PDF of medically researched data regarding turmeric.
Turmeric is an ancient spice traditionally used in India that gives curry its yellow color. It not only is tasty but contains highly effective compounds with medicinal properties. The most beneficial compound in turmeric is curcumin, which is also its most active ingredient, offering strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
A research project conducted by GreenMedInfo found that turmeric is capable of replacing a variety of conventional medications designed to treat various conditions including plaque build-up in arteries, inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes, inflammatory eye disease, depression, arthritis and many more.
It's been proven to be a common replacement for aspirin or ibuprofen, offering pain-fighting and anti-inflammatory abilities in a more natural way.
Below are the conventional medications that
GreenMedInfo found turmeric could either replace or supplement:
Lipitor/Atorvastatin (cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D discovered that curcuminoids, found in turmeric, can be used to treat endothelial dysfunction, a condition affecting the functionality of blood vessels. Researchers also believe that curcumin can help treat inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients.
Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that curcumin can treat chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease, similar to the way steroids are used, but in a safer, healthier fashion.
Another study found that curcumin can act as an alternative therapy for protecting lung-transplantation-associated injury, working similarly to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone, but without the side effects.
Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin worked in treating depression, potentially capable of replacing psychotropic drugs like Prozac.
Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung (Drug Research) found that curcumin has "anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin," and might be capable of treating patients prone to blood clots and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.
Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found curcumin to be an effective alternative to drugs like aspirin, ibuorofen, anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals and tumor-cell-fighting medications.
Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer discovered that curcumin could be used to treat colon cancer, potentially replacing oxaliplatin.
Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications found that curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes and increasing glucose uptake. Researchers think that it may also be capable of suppressing glucose production in the liver in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, one of the most common cancers worldwide.
Scientists found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times more potent than the diabetes drug metformin.
Overall, the benefits of Turmeric are quite amazing. It's no wonder its been used by humans for thousands of years. If you decide to take supplements containing curcumin extract, be sure to consume it with black pepper containing piperine, an all natural substance that helps with curcumin absorption.
Because curcumin is fat soluble, it also helps to take it with a fatty meal.
Additional sources:
https://www.clinicalkey.com
http://www.drugs.com
http://heartdisease.about.com
http://https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
http://authoritynutrition.com
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10 Poisonous Foods We Like To Eat
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Halt salt? Not so fast: scientists say not enough can harm health
by: Raw Michelle
Monday, June 16, 2014
(NaturalNews) With the exception of people who toss a pinch of salt over their shoulder for luck, sodium is typically associated with anything but good fortune. Individuals are often warned to cut back on it, if not avoid it altogether. Not only is voluntarily adding salt to meals frowned upon, but so too is eating foods that that are already rich in sodium content such as yeast extract paste and certain cheeses. Especially for those with high blood pressure, it's advised to reduce sodium intake
However, while intake varies by each individual, researchers are suggesting people be cautious of getting too little salt. Not enough, they say, can throw the body out of whack and lead to detrimental health risks. For example, researchers at the University of Ontario, Canada, studied over 28,000 people for seven years and found that when sodium levels in urine were too low, people faced an increased risk for developing congestive heart failure and cardiovascular death. While these people already were at an elevated risk of heart disease at the onset of the study, scientists maintain that not enough salt can lead to serious health consequences more quickly
Another study examined high blood pressure groups in New York City for eight years and found those on low-salt diets had more than four times as many heart attacks as those on normal-sodium diets. Numerous other studies around the world yield similar findings
In addition to heart problems, scientists also explain that not consuming enough
salt can wreak havoc on the body by causing everything from muscle cramps and nausea to headaches and fatigue
Rather than avoid salt like the plague, consider the role it plays in keeping the system running properly.
Reasons why salt benefits the body
1) Digestive health: salt activates taste buds as well as breaks down food. It also is responsible for making hydrochloric acid, a digestive secretion which lines the stomach walls
2) Keeps electrolyte levels balanced: the body needs electrolytes, minerals that primarily affect muscle function. Electrolytes are made up of
sodium, among other minerals like calcium and potassium. When the body does not have adequate amounts of salt in the body, electrolyte levels are thrown off, upsetting the tissue-water and blood-acid balance. In some instances, sodium deficiency can lead to shock
3) Blood pressure control: no, that's not a misprint. Although it seems contrary to what most people hear, sodium is used by the body to control blood pressure. Fact is, the body needs sodium to function optimally
The National Academy of Sciences recommends that Americans consume a minimum of 500 mg/day of sodium to maintain good
health, however that varies by individual. The key is to not engage in either extreme excess or too little consumption of salt, or anything ingested for that matter
What's that phrase about "everything in moderation?"

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Green tea benefits for memory, study says
By Antonia on 15 Apr, 2014
(TRFW News) From cancer prevention to weight loss to overall positive effect on our well-being, green tea is known to offer plenty of exciting health benefits. According to the recent study conducted by the University of Basel and the Psychiatric University Clinic in Switzerland, improved brain function can now be added to the drink’s already impressive list of benefits.
Swiss study details
Published in the journal Psychopharmacology, the study looked into the effect of green tea on brain’s cognitive functions, such as memory. A group of male participants were given a soft drink with green tea extract in it, after which they were asked to conduct several memory-related tasks.
The MRI machine helped researchers track brain activity during this process. They found increased connectivity between frontal and parietal cortex of the brain, which helped the test subjects do a better job at the given memory tasks.
Similar findings in a Chinese study
While researchers have extensively explored other benefits of this antioxidant-rich drink, most studies focused on green tea’s effect on the body rather than mind. The University of Basil research was one the first of its kind to evaluate the effect of green tea on the working memory and cognitive performance.
Prior to that, a Chinese researcher Bai Yun published similar findings in journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in 2012. Bai’s study on mice focused on the part of the brain responsible for processing information from short-term to long-term memory. Researchers found that EGCG, the organic chemical found in green tea and known as a powerful antioxidant, also has the ability to improve memory and spatial learning.
Other benefits of green tea
Some of the other studied benefits of this healthful beverage include the ability to prevent eye disease, cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer. Green tea has a fat burning ability and slows down the effects of aging. It kills bacteria, lowers the risk of infection and even improves dental health.
The implications of the research
The study might help evaluate the effect of green tea on the treatment of different neuropsychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairments. This includes the treatment of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and potentially lowering the risk of developing such diseases in the first place.
Sources for this article include:
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Chemical-Free Strategies to Trick Yourself Out of the Blues
Dr. Mercola
May 20, 2008

Need some help rising above life’s little letdowns? You might be able to manipulate your mood with these quick mental fake-outs.
1. Put on a blue shirt Blue is generally relaxing, while orange is the biggest irritant.
2. Pause your mental TiVo
Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and quickly count to 10 while strongly pressing your right thumb and forefinger together. Now do the same with your left hand. Repeat this five times. This will clear your mind.
3. Recruit an anger buddy
Find a thick-skinned friend who’ll let you verbally assault him when the situation warrants. Make sure you’re willing to return the favor. Make sure the tirade is brief, private, and somewhat controlled.
4. Fabricate a smile
Grin. According to experts, people who are manipulated into smiling report feeling better instantly -- going through the motions can trigger the emotions.
5. Clean your room Most people don’t realize how much clutter causes stress. Pick clothes up off the floor, remove dirty glasses from the coffee table, and make your bed.
6. Climb the stairway to heaven Music has been shown to reduce stress and have a positive effect on health.
7. Order Chinese
According to recent research, ginger and broccoli may temporarily help relieve depression.
8. Dot your eyes Draw two dots an inch or so apart on a piece of white paper. Stare at the space between them with an out-of-focus gaze until they merge. Release and repeat three times.
9. Sniff a lemon
Nice smells such as fresh fruit, a looming thunderstorm, or just-mowed grass can turn your beat around.
10. Chop till you drop Cook something from scratch. You are now in touch with your primal self; destroying and creating at the same time is the ultimate mood lifter.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
There is something to be said for the phrase "Fake it till you make it." Because, at the most basic level, happiness is really about counting your blessings instead of adding up your troubles.
Of course, if you are addressing serious depression, you will need more help than putting on a blue shirt will offer. So if you have been feeling down for two weeks or more, and have lost interest in activities you once enjoyed, I’d encourage you to consider these
treatment options for healing depression.
For the rest of you facing life’s "run-of-the-mill" ups and downs, remember that there’s nothing wrong with feeling blue now and again. In fact, accepting your feelings, whatever they may be, is one of the reasons why the
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) works so well.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say I am feeling overwhelmed with projects that need my attention. I could feel angry at myself for taking on too much, or be critical of myself that I’m not able to get to everything on my plate. But this would get me nowhere, other than increasing my stress levels.
With EFT, you can use positive affirmation statements that build you up instead of beat you down.
For instance, while I’m
tapping on specific energy meridians, I might say, "Even though I am feeling overwhelmed, I deeply and completely accept myself." Or, I could say, "Even though I’ve taken on a lot of projects, I love and accept myself."
With these statements you are doing two things:
1. Accepting your feelings (whether they’re positive or negative)
2. Tuning in to the feelings, which bring about the energy disruptions involved and allows them to be corrected using EFT
EFT truly allows you to gain emotional freedom so that you are able to feel inner peace no matter what is going on in your external life.
What ELSE Can You do to Overcome the Blues?
1. Find your life’s mission. This is the thing that makes you jump out of bed each morning with vigor and enthusiasm. What is the true passion in your life? What would you do if you had $10 million in the bank and had every guarantee that whatever you would do you would succeed? That is likely your passion and life purpose. Please take the time to identify what this is for you, and then
try as much as possible to arrange your life around it.
2. Be active. Not only socially in your community but also physically. Studies show that aerobic exercise is an antidote for mild depression and anxiety.
3. Decide to be happy today. Avoid waiting until you reach a certain goal, like getting a raise or going on vacation, to start being happy.
4. Focus on gratitude. Incorporate a daily gratitude session where you identify something you are grateful for. You can express your gratitude in any number of ways: silently say "thank you," call or e-mail the person you want to thank, or devise your own gratitude ritual -- maybe even try out "
The Gratitude Dance!"
5.
Center your life around total health. When you are eating the right foods, sleeping well, getting out in the sunshine and de-stressing regularly, you can’t help but smile. You’ll feel too good not to.
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Also See:
If You Know What's Good For You ...
(Part 1)
19 February 2009
and
(Part 2)
01 August 2009
and
(Part 3)
02 March 2010
and
(Part 4)
28 September 2010
and
(Part 5)
15 March 2011
and
(Part 6)
20 July 2011
and
(Part 7)
09 October 2011
and
(Part 8)
12 December 2011
and
(Part 9)
09 March 2012
and
(Part 10)
12 July 2012
and
(Part 11)
30 October 2012
and
(Part 12)
11 February 2013
and
(Part 13)
11 May 2013
and
(Part 14)
01 August 2013
and
(Part 15)
14 December 2013
and
(Part 16)
13 February 2014
and
(Part 17)
14 April 2014
and
Vitamins, Genetic Food, Health
03 April 2007
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2007/04/vitamins-genetic-food-health.html
and
FDA - Drugs, Vaccines & Vitamin Supplements
(Part 1)
07 July 2008
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2008/07/marching-towards-police-state.html
and
How Safe Is Our Food?
(Part 1)
06 December 2008
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2008/12/food-how-safe-is-it.html
and
(Part 2)
26 March 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-safe-is-our-food-part-2.html
and
Genetic Manipulated Foods Are Not Healthy!
24 May 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/05/genetic-manipulated-foods-are-not.html
and
Losing Weight - Are Diets Detrimental to Health?
16 September 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/09/too-much-too-young-teen-body-obsession.html
and
No More Fluoride in the Water - Waterloo, Ontario
08 November 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-more-floride-in-water-waterloo.html
and
No More Fluoride in the Water - Portland, Oregon
05 June 2013
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.ca/2013/06/major-victory-as-portland-oregon-votes.html
and
Why is Fluoride in Our Water?
09 January 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/01/why-is-fluoride-in-our-water.html
and
Medication Errors are a Major Killer!
(Part 1)
04 February 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/02/medication-errors-are-major-killer.html
and
Can't Sleep? There is Help!
08 February 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/02/cant-sleep-there-is-help.html
and
Avoid Chemotherapy and Radiation!
19 November 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/11/chemotherapy-and-radiation.html
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