Sunday, May 22, 2011
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Proponents of soy tout it as a "health food" and laud the high protein and isoflavane content. But most of this propaganda is coming from those who are selling soy for a profit. A closer look reveals that yes, soy is high in protein and nutrients, but these nutrients are not very bioavailable because of the abundant enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients that are also in soy. Soy contains trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin which are growth inhibitors, isoflavones that are both goitrogens and phytoestrogens which interfere with the endrocrine system, and phytic acid which binds to minerals to make them undigestible. These compounds are found in other legumes and grains, but soy has much higher concentrations and that's bad news for health.
Cooking helps to slightly reduce some of the detrimental compounds, but fermentation is required to achieve the greatest reductions. Even fermentation does not eliminate them and that is why fermented soy should only be consumed in small amounts.
Long-term excess consumption of soy increases risk of thyroid problems, reduces male fertility, causes premature female sexual development, and increases risk of endrocrine related cancers including breast cancer and prostate cancer. These problems are seen not only in humans, but also in animal models.
As if these problems are not enough, also consider that most soy is now genetically modified to withstand massive amounts of toxic herbicide, which can also contaminate the soy products. Yet another reason to avoid soy!
Newest Research On Why You Should Avoid Soy
Soy: The Dark Side of America's Favorite "Health" Food
Why Babies Should Not be Fed Soy
The Ploy of Soy
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Before you panic over the current swine influenza outbreak, be sure to read Dr Mercola's excellent Critical Alert: The Swine Flu Pandemic - Fact or Fiction? and a different point of view on Swine Flu Sanity. Also, read here for more information about CAFO involvement: Swine Flu. And, read more about how the swine flu crisis lays bare the meat industry's monstrous power and a food system that kills and symptom: swine flu. diagnosis: industrial agriculture?
The Organic Consumers Association has links to many more related articles: Swine and Bird Flu Resource Center
To boost your immune system and minimize your risk of getting flu and colds, be sure that you don't have a vitamin D deficiency. Get plenty of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 and eat plenty of the foods that Weston Price found to provide optimal health: animal seafoods, organ meats, and dairy. Also, learn more about the Principles of Healthy Diets.
And it's not just flu that may be coming from CAFOs, but antibiotic resistant bacteria: Farmacology.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
It is in this context that we must consider food safety. There are potential hazards with all kinds of food. Some hazards are quite serious and can be fatal, such as virulent bacteria and some types of food poisoning. However, most food hazards cause illness, but are not fatal. Food can become contaminated by pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella or virulent strains of e-coli. It is mainly people with compromised immune systems who are at greatest risk from pathogenic contamination. Part of our challenge is in improving public health to resist infection. Most bacteria are not bad and many are very beneficial. Ironically, we need high quality probiotic foods like clean raw milk to help strengthen our immune systems.
So what is the best approach to tackle the problem of food borne illness? Should we require that all foods be sterilized or pasteurized before being sold or eaten? Should we sacrifice food quality for food safety? Should we require that all foods be traced from origin? None of these measures will guarantee safe food. Instead, they will degrade our food quality by damaging our food and forcing industrial and franken food on everyone. Large business interests would like nothing better and are working diligently to push legislation around the world to that end. Ultimately, government should empower the consumer to choose their own level of food safety by using food labeling requirements and by regulating the large businesses that cause the vast majority of food safety issues.
Unfortunately, fear is often cultivated by large business interests who recognize that rules can be covertly changed to eliminate competition from smaller businesses by forcing expensive measures to be taken in the name of "food safety". Legislation to this end is currently in the U.S. Congress masquerading as "food safety" measures that are in reality thinly disguised measures to force small farms out of business and thus eliminate farmers markets and local food sources. We need to be very careful to address the largest sources of risk, which are from large businesses. Small farms and businesses should be exempted from costly rules. The amount of risk from small businesses is almost negligible compared to the risks inherent in large operations. We need to find ways to encourage small farms and businesses that sell directly to local consumers. Small farms and businesses that sell to local consumers already have plenty of incentive to provide clean safe food, or they will quickly lose their business. It's the large global conglomerates that need to be constrained for food safety. They can easily sacrifice a few thousand customers here and there to increase their profit.Is the cure worse than the disease?
We could reduce speed limits nationwide to 30 miles per hour and probably save at least 20,000 lives and 50,000 serious injuries every year in the USA alone. But that would infringe on our individual freedom to choose our level of risk within reason. Similarly, we could require that all foods be sterilized before being sold. But that would infringe on individual freedom in the right to eat raw unadulterated foods. We need a balance in food safety that supports individual freedoms to eat raw and healthy local foods, but reduces the risk of food contamination. Ideally, efforts to eliminate contamination should be made during production of the food and should preserve food quality. Sterilizing and pasteurizing food may reduce nutrients and may produce harmful chemicals. We need to find and minimize the sources of contamination. Consumers should not have to sacrifice food quality for food safety.
If food is sterilized, it should be labeled so that those who want raw foods can choose a different product that is not sterilized. If food is grown with pesticides or contains genetically modified organisms, it needs to be labeled for food safety to empower the consumer to choose. Some individuals may be willing to sacrifice food quality for food safety, but that should be a freely made personal choice. Milk should be labeled as pasteurized or raw to let the consumer choose. Proper labeling is an important key to individual freedom in choosing foods to match individual preferences.
Let's choose food freedom over food facism!
Fake food safety legislation - act now to save our farms.
HR 875 - The Death of Farmers Markets, CSAs and Local Food
Goodbye farmers markets, CSAs, and roadside stands
Read the full bill here:
HR 875 - Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
Contact your government representatives and inform them you oppose HR 875 and any legislation that would degrade food quality or unduly burden small farms and small businesses.
National Animal Identification System information
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Over-Regulation and Small Farms
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
Monday, February 16, 2009
Even if we manage to close Pandora's GMO box, GMO pollen has already infected many non-GMO crops. Consequently, much irreparable damage has already been done. But unfortunately, the box is only opening wider. Many more GMO plants and animals are planned for release in the near future. It's time to act and put and end to this travesty.
So what can we do?
In the United States of Big Business ... err America ... about all we can do immediately is to vote against GMO by buying organic foods. By definition, organic foods are not allowed to have GMO, at least not more than 5% at worst. If enough people switch to organic, businesses will follow the money. The rapidly growing organic market is a good sign, but this approach is not likely to stop the GMO epidemic.
Push government for required labeling of all products that include GMO. Such labeling would allow more consumers to make their economic voice heard.
Change the Law
The best way to end this plague would be to take away the right to patent genetically modified genes, which should have never been allowed in the first place. This action would take away the financial incentives for GMO. Unfortunately, this would probably take an act of Congress.
Learn More About Genetically Modified Organisms
What are genes?
Are GMOs safe?
Scrambling and gambling with the genome
Biohazards: The Next Generation?
Say no to GMO!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Everyone ate organic food until chemical pesticides and herbicides were invented in the last hundred years or so. The label "organic" is a bit of a misnomer, since all food is chemically organic because it is carbon-based. But organic in the context of food now means it is produced without the use of conventional pesticides and artificial fertilizers, is free from contamination by human or industrial waste, is processed without ionizing radiation or artificial food additives, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). Also, in the context of livestock, use of antibiotics or growth hormones is not allowed.
Organic foods are becoming more popular again as people realize that our bodies don't need the extra burden of harmful chemicals. Some foods are more likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Also, certain foods are more likely to contain GMOs. Avoiding those foods will also reduce your exposure, but that approach is getting more difficult, especially with GMOs since there is no labeling requirement. Buying organic foods from sources that you can trust is the best way to promote healthy foods. Beware of cut-rate vendors that offer "organic" products from overseas that may not really meet expected organic standards. Some unscrupulous producers and vendors may also falsely label food as organic. So knowing your food source is ideal - another good reason to buy local foods from producers that you know and trust.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is probably the largest organization that promotes organic food and defends organic standards. OCA has a wealth of information on their web site and is worthy of consideration for your support. The video below about organic food was included in a recent OCA newsletter.
We need to get back to producing and preparing foods like our healthy ancestors. We vote with our dollars - buy organic sustainable foods.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Many of us are deficient in vitamin D, especially at higher latitudes in the winter. Until recently, vitamin D was thought to mainly play a role in calcium metabolism. But recent investigations have discovered that it plays many important roles in the health of our immune system as well. Chronic vitamin D deficiency leaves us more vulnerable to infectious diseases as well as cancer and perhaps even heart disease. The correlation of colds and flu to winter and rainy season around the world may be a prime example of vulnerability to infectious disease because of vitamin D deficiency. The correlation of many cancers by latitude may also be an indication of the effects of vitamin D deficiency in causing cancer (though correlation does not prove causation).
Our early human ancestors in Africa had plenty of sun to maintain optimal vitamin D levels most of the year. Today, people living in this area who get good sun exposure are generally able to achieve about 40 to 60 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter (ng/ml) of blood and this appears to be near the optimal level. Ultraviolet (UV) light forms vitamin D from a cholesterol-derived precursor in the top layers of the skin (another reason why cholesterol is good). Sun angle, cloud cover, altitude above sea level, skin exposure area, skin color, sunscreen usage, obesity, and age are all factors that affect the body's ability to make and utilize vitamin D from sunlight. With optimal conditions, it only takes about 10 minutes of full-body high-angle direct sun exposure for the body to produce about 10,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D. Darker skin color and sunscreen both block UV light and reduce the vitamin D rate of formation. Obese and elderly people also need more sun exposure to achieve optimal blood levels of vitamin D. Above about 35 degrees latitude, the winter sun is inadequate to provide enough vitamin D to maintain optimal levels, even with full and frequent exposure.
Strong sunlight on our skin is necessary to produce vitamin D but also ages our skin. Diets high in polyunsaturated fat especially make the skin more vulnerable to damage from UV rays in sunlight - another good reason to limit polyunsaturated fat to ancestral intake levels of around 4% or less. Sunburn especially damages the skin, by literally burning the skin and can cause first, second, or third degree burns. So, those with fair skin need to be very careful to avoid sunburn when getting vitamin D from sun exposure.
Supplementing Beyond Sunshine
When adequate sunshine is not available, vitamin D levels need to be maintained by diet and/or supplements for optimal health. The foods highest in vitamin D are mostly animal seafoods, as shown in the table below. The problem is, there are many confounding factors in determining how much dietary vitamin D is necessary to achieve optimal blood levels. Part of this problem is that vitamins D, A, and K2 all interact synergistically and increasing one without increasing the others is more likely to lead to toxicity problems. Getting plenty of calcium and magnesium are also important to prevent toxic effects from high intake of vitamin D. Dairy and animal seafood are excellent sources of these minerals.
(click to enlarge)
Blood Testing for Vitamin D
The best blood test to indicate vitamin D status is the 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) test. Ideally, 25(OH)D levels should be at least about 30 to 40 ng/ml for optimal health. The cost for this test ranges from about $50 to $150 and is usually not covered by insurance - even though vitamin D status is probably as much or more important than most covered parameters (a sad comment on the poor state of our modern "health care" system). Ideally, testing should be done at least twice a year, once in summer and once in winter.
Update 2010 December 5
There is controversy over the optimal blood levels of 25(OH)D and unfortunately we are a long way away from having good long-term scientific studies to help us better understand what is optimal. For an excellent review of the science to date, see this article by Chris Masterjohn. Some researchers have speculated that optimal 25(OH)D blood levels should be in the 50 to 60 ng/ml range or even higher, but so far the science does not clearly support that contention. Also, considering that our ancestors got their vitamin D from sunshine and nutrient dense foods, this ancient approach seems best for promoting optimal vitamin D status since it includes other co-factors necessary for proper vitamin D metabolism.
References and Further Reading
From Seafood to Sunshine - A New Understanding of Vitamin D Safety
Are Some People Pushing Their Vitamin D Levels Too High?
On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor
Use of vitamin D in clinical practice
The Miracle of Vitamin D
Naked at Noon
Here's a little sunshine to hopefully brighten up your day :)
Walking on Sunshine - Aly and AJ
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The miracle of milk is that it provides all the nutrients that mammals need for optimal health in a highly bioavailable form that also includes beneficial probiotics and immune system support. Humans began routinely drinking milk from animals around the time that herding of animals began many thousands of years ago. Groups that included milk in their diet thrived and spread across much of the old world, quite possibly from the added health benefits from consuming dairy. In these cultures, milk was often revered as a special food that conferred good health. Milk was an important mainstay in the diet of most Europeans and European colonists of the new world.
As large cities grew in industrialized areas, the demand for milk increased. It wasn't long before large factory dairies appeared in many cities to supply this demand. Unfortunately, the cows were crowded in filthy conditions and fed unnatural diets that made them sick. The sick animals and filthy environment resulted in poor quality milk that was heavily contaminated with pathogens that quickly made many people sick from drinking it. In order to sell this filthy milk, the dairy owners turned to pasteurization to kill the pathogens in the milk. This approach was cheaper than trying to clean up their operations. Today, this has become the paradigm for cheap milk for the masses - quantity at the expense of quality.
Can you imagine pasteurizing and homogenizing a mother's milk before giving it to her child? When pasteurized cow's milk is given to calves, they don't thrive and many die prematurely. Many of the important healthful aspects of milk are destroyed by the heat of pasteurization, including beneficial probiotic bacteria, enzymes that promote bioavailability of nutrients, and other special proteins that stimulate the immune system and suppress harmful microbes. Pasteurization is simply an excuse to sell filthy milk. Now most of the public can only buy dead milk from filthy factory farms. Pasteurized milk won't immediately make you sick unless it becomes contaminated, but it will likely contribute to allergies, asthma, and inflammation, and won't provide the proper nutrition for good health.
Requiring milk to be pasteurized to avoid harmful bacteria is like requiring all vegetables and meat to be cooked before being sold. We as consumers have a right to buy clean and healthy unprocessed foods. Many more people are sickened from eating contaminated vegetables and meat, as well as contaminated pasteurized milk, than from raw milk. Most cases of illness from raw milk have resulted from filthy factory farmed milk being accidentally or intentionally distributed without pasteurization. Ironically, raw milk from clean dairies is very resistant to harmful microbes, whereas pasteurized milk is not. That's why raw milk turns sour at room temperature, but sour raw milk will not make you sick. It's known as clabbered milk and was commonly used before the days of refrigeration. On the other hand, pasteurized milk rapidly goes rancid at room temperature and will make you sick.
The real solution to food borne illness is to provide clean food for sale in the first place. Proper farming techniques can provide clean food, including dairy. Animals should be fed their natural diet for optimal health of the animals and for optimal nutrition in the meat and milk they provide. Most factory farmed feed-lot and dairy animals are fed unnatural diets of grain and soy that make the animals sick and more likely to spread pathogens such as e-coli. To keep them alive, they are given massive amounts of antibiotics, which in turn helps to develop strains of harmful bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The dairy animals are also given hormones to make them produce more milk, but of lesser nutritional quality. These tactics allow the production of cheap, but poor quality milk, to outsell competitors and drive larger profits.
Many health practitioners now advise patients to eliminate dairy from their diet because of the harmful effects of this degraded and sorry substitute for real milk. Too bad most of them don't know about the excellent health benefits of fresh clean raw milk. More and more people are learning about real milk as the word spreads from those who switch to raw milk and find that it is a true panacea for good health, unlike the dead milk most people buy.
The Milk Cure
In the past, raw milk from pasture-fed cows was used to successfully treat many diseases. As recently as the early 1900's, patients were treated by feeding them nothing but raw milk from pastured cows, about 5 to 10 quarts a day, in small amounts about every half hour. Dr. J. R. Crewe, of the Mayo Foundation, forerunner of the Mayo Clinic, in 1929 reported that this treatment was used "chiefly in tuberculosis, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular and renal conditions, hypertension, and in patients who are underweight". He also reported that "when sick people are limited to a diet containing an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance, which are available in milk, they recover rapidly without the use of drugs and without bringing to bear all the complicated weapons of modern medicine". Unfortunately, the milk cure is not very profitable and was soon replaced by more profitable therapies, including drugs and surgery. In this day of very expensive medical treatments, maybe we need to strongly reconsider the milk cure as a first resort. Modern medicine should be the last resort.
Before the days of refrigeration, milk was consumed fresh, shortly after milking, or was cultured for later consumption. Raw milk can be cultured by it's own microbes to create clabbered milk or buttermilk, or with added cultures to make products like yogurt, kefir, and cheeses. Raw cultured dairy offers the same benefits of raw milk and may be a better option for those with blood sugar problems, since the amount of milk sugar is reduced by culturing. Cultured dairy made from pasteurized whole milk may not be as beneficial and "low fat" dairy may even be detrimental to health.
Nutrients in Human Milk
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has compiled nutrient data on human milk, which is shown in the table below, along with the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for children ages 1 to 3 from the US Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, for comparison. This table shows data for the amount of milk required to achieve 100% of the calcium DRI. It is interesting to note that when the calcium DRI is satisfied, the average human milk is greatly deficient in iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, manganese, and vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), E (alph-tocopherol), D (cholecalciferol), and K (phylloquinone), with less than 50% of these nutrients compared to the DRI. In contrast, copper and vitamins A and C in human milk are two to five times higher than the DRI when calcium is at 100% of the DRI. If we assume that the average human milk documented by the USDA is sufficient for good health of the child at the quantity necessary to provide 100% of the calcium DRI, then the implication for the deficient nutrients is that either the DRIs are over-estimated for these nutrients, or the bioavailability of these nutrients is much less in foods other than milk (or some combination of these two possibilities). As for copper and vitamins A and C, perhaps the DRIs for these nutrients are too low relative to calcium.
(click to enlarge)
Comparing Milk from Humans, Cows, and Goats
Milk from all mammals is similar in content, though each mammal produces milk best suited to the needs of their own offspring. However, even within species, the nutrients in milk can vary substantially depending on the diet of the mother. Mammals eating a healthy native diet will produce the healthiest milk. When important native foods are missing from the diet, milk quality will suffer.
Even though milk evolved primarily to boost the survival odds for offspring, it has the complete package of nutrients, probiotics,and enzymes to sustain adults of many species as well. Human use of milk from herded animals over thousands of years is a prime example. Nonetheless, it is interesting to compare the nutrients in human milk versus those in cow's milk. The table below shows nutrient data for human, cow, and goat milk for comparison. Human milk has less protein and more fat and carbohydrate that cow and goat milk, possibly because human babies don't grow as fast as young cows and goats. Human milk is also lower in most minerals, except for iron, copper, manganese, and selenium. It is substantially lower by weight in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Human milk is substantially higher in vitamin C than cow or goat milk and substantially higher in vitamins A and B3 (niacin) than cow milk. Human milk is much lower in vitamin B12 than cow milk and substantially lower in vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B9.
(click to enlarge)
Not all humans can properly digest milk, for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is that a large number of people lose the ability to produce the digestive enzyme lactase as adults. Lactase is needed to digest the lactose sugar in milk. Most people who are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk because it has lactase provided by bacteria in the milk. However, this natural lactase is destroyed by pasteurization. Consequently, lactose intolerant individuals will have difficulty digesting pasteurized milk and will suffer unpleasant symptoms such as excessive gas or diarrhea. A few individuals have difficulty digesting the casein protein in milk. This problem may be aggravated by inadequate stomach acidity. The type of casein from the most modern breeds of cow, like the pervasive Holsteins, appears to cause the most problems. The casein from older breeds, like Jerseys and Guernseys, or from goat milk is usually better tolerated by these individuals.
Update 3/21/09 A1 and A2 Milk
The primary reason for casein related health problems may be the form of the casein. The casein in human, goat, and sheep milk is the A2 form of casein that is well tolerated by humans. However, most modern cows also have the A1 form of casein, which is not as well tolerated. Heritage breeds like Jersey and Guernsey have much less of the suspect A1 casein. However, the much more common Holsteins often have as much as 50-70% of the casein as A1, while pure-bred Jerseys have more like 10-30% of the casein as A1. Since Holsteins dominate milk production in many areas, these populations are exposed to greater risk of problems from the A1 form of casein, including auto-immune disease, heart disease , type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia. For more details read The Devil in the Milk and Beta Casein A1 and A2 in Milk and Human Health.
References and Further Reading
What Is Real Milk?
Raw Milk - History, Health Benefits and Distortions
The Health Benefits of Raw Milk from Grass-Fed Animals
The Health Benefits of Raw Milk
Milk: It Does a Body Good
What's in Raw Milk?
Real Milk Cures Many Diseases
The Raw Milk Revolution
Where to Find Raw Milk
Sunday, November 16, 2008
There are several widespread misconceptions about fat that might be hilarious if they didn't lead to the poor health of millions of people:
Eating fat will make you fat.
Saturated fat is bad for health.
Polyunsaturated fat is good for health.
Low fat diets are good for health.
These misconceptions are partly responsible for the obesity epidemic and an important contributor to the the declining health of millions for people around the world. Here's the real truth about fat:
Eat more fat to lose weight.
Excess carbohydrates (sugar and starches) will make you fat.
Saturated and monounsaturated fat are good for health.
Polyunsaturated fat should be restricted to about 4% of total calories.
Artificial trans-fats should be avoided completely.
Eat Fat Lose Fat
Eating more fat to lose weight seems like an oxymoron. But ironically, because of the satiating effect of fat, most people eat fewer calories in the long run when they eat a higher percentage of calories as fat. And eating fewer calories will lead to weight loss if your activity levels remain the same.
Eat Carbs Get Fat
When you eat more carbohydrates than you burn, your body converts the carbs to saturated fat and stores it in fatty tissue. Eating large amounts of refined carbohydrates, like sugar and white flour, causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. In healthy people,the pancreas then releases insulin to reduce blood sugar by storing small amounts as glycogen while large excesses are stored away as fat. Diets that are high in refined carbs often lead to a roller coaster ride with a blood sugar high followed by a blood sugar crash. With the blood sugar high, you may briefly feel happy and energetic. But when your blood sugar crashes you will likely feel tired, irritable, and hungry. If you then eat more refined carbs, you keep the roller coaster ride going. Over time, it can lead to obesity and insulin resistance and then type II diabetes.
Saturated versus Polyunsaturated Fat
Saturated fats have falsely been blamed for increasing risk to heart disease largely because they tend to raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "cholesterol" levels. Likewise, polyunsaturated fats are supposedly heart healthy because they reduce LDL "cholesterol" levels. But LDL levels are not a strong indicator of heart disease, and in fact oxidized LDL is a much stronger indicator. How does LDL get oxidized? Polyunsaturated fats are more prone to oxidation in processing, storage, and cooking, and when ingested, they end up in LDL. It's the oxidized polyunsaturated fats that greatly increase heart disease risk.
Saturated fats are mainly from animal foods that have been predominant in healthy human diets for hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of years. The change to more animal foods may be largely responsible for increasing human brain size and our evolution away from apes. So, it doesn't make much common sense that foods that nutured our ancestors for so long are now suddenly bad for us.
In contrast, polyunsaturated fats were low in our ancestral diets and have increased dramatically in consumption the last 100 years with the large-scale production of cheap vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil. Also, entirely new to the human diet within the last 100 years, are artificial trans-fats, mainly in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats appear to be even worse than polyunsaturated fats in causing health problems.
PUFA in Meat and Dairy
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In my view, the forces of nature identified by science are the same as the will of the universe or God or Allah or Yahweh or Brahman or the great spirit or the creator or whatever you want to call the source and enforcer of these natural forces. In this universe, we are constrained to follow these forces. Ironically, our existence is only possible with the exact balance of natural forces that we observe. If these forces were different, our universe would be different and might not be capable of generating conscious life forms as we know them - the anthropic principle.
To me, it seems intuitive that for the universe to exist, it must have always existed and will always exist. Also, each conscious portal on the universe is the same ONE consciousness, just at a different location in space and/or time. It is the form of our consciousness that changes over time.
I am you as you are me and we are all together.
Duality of nature
Yin and yang
Light and dark
Day and night
Good and bad
Hot and cold
Wet and dry
Sweet and bitter
Smooth and rough
Forward and backward
Selfishness and selflessness
"The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and in the valley. Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang (literally the 'sunny place' or 'south slope') is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed."
Health of the Spirit
Health of the spirit or mind is an important part of our overall health. The mind has a powerful influence over our body, but our body also influences our mind. Pain or illness can be mentally debilitating. But the mind can choose how to react to stimuli from the body and can influence our health for better or for worse.
It's critical for our good health to eat a diet that will nurture our body, but our mind must chose to do so. We must learn what foods bring the best health to our bodies. We must also act on this knowledge to achieve optimal health.
It's important for good health to foster a positive attitude. Focus on the good things in your life. Don't dwell on the negative more than is necessary to deal with it. Find things that you enjoy. That can mean receiving pleasure as well as giving pleasure.
Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. An infinite cosmic dream.
Recognizing some basic truths can make life more enjoyable for everyone.
You reap what you sow.
What goes around comes around.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Life is all about taking risks. With any action that we take, we have to weigh the possible benefits of success against the risk of failure or harm. Knowledge is our best tool to help in this process.
Finding the right balance between the benefits and risks in your life is probably the best goal. Don't try to do too much. You can't have it all, but you can have a lot. Cherish what you do achieve. You have to take care of yourself first, so you won't be a burden on others. But also, help others when you can.
Handling Stressful Situations
Chronic stress is linked to many health problems. Our best defense is a good offense. Recognize when you are stressed and take time to relax and rationally deal with the cause of your stress. Sometimes by planning ahead, you can avoid stressful situations. Also, confidence is a key to overcoming stress. Build your confidence by learning about the cause of your stress and finding ways to deal with it. Focus on the things in your life that you can control. There's no use in worrying about things you can't control.
Religion is the human effort to understand the forces we cannot control and to explain what happens to the spirit or soul after the body dies. Many people find comfort in following the rituals associated with religions. Religion can also help provide structure to an otherwise chaotic world for many people. The fact that there are so many religions with differing views is a sign that no human ever really knows all the answers to every question about the universe and probably never will. However, most religions do have common themes of helping others and having faith that good things will happen. The differences are in the details and unfortunately have led to considerable strife over the years. Probably the worst outcome of religions are zealots who believe that their way is the only way and anyone who seeks a different way is not worthy or is even condemned. If you choose to follow a religion, at least be considerate of those who choose not to follow that religion.
It's easy to take for granted the good things in life. Enjoy them while you can.
To infinity and beyond! May the force be with you! :)
Imagine by John Lennon
Monday, October 13, 2008
The companies that develop and manufacture vaccines for profit and the clinics that provide the vaccines also for profit, would have us believe that vaccines will save us from disease while causing negligible harm. They point to the dramatic drop in disease as evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines and claim that risks in taking vaccines are minimal and well worth the benefit.
But a closer and independent look at the data paints a different picture. While some vaccines may confer a reduced likelihood of infection, all vaccines have significant side effects, with substanitial numbers of severe adverse reactions, sometimes resulting in death. Not surprisingly, there have been no long-term safety studies for vaccines where the health of vaccinated children is compared with an unvaccinated control group! We need to take a very careful and unbiased look at the benefits and risks of any vaccine before accepting it.
Most infectious diseases were already declining rapidly before vaccines were introduced, with little evidence that vaccines have made an improvement. Some vaccines are notoriously ineffective, such as the influenza vaccine. Many people who take the vaccine get the flu anyway. Even the most effective vaccines offer no more than about 40 to 60 percent effectiveness and some vaccines are actually suspected of causing cases of the disease they are supposed to prevent.
The above graphs show the decline in death rates from infectious disease in Australia based on the official death numbers and shown in the book Vaccination A Parent's Dilemma. Most other countries show a similar result.
Against this backdrop of uncertainty about the effectiveness of the vaccines, we have the problem of side effects caused by vaccines. In order to make a vaccine work, it must strongly stimulate the immune system into responding to the target agent given in the vaccine, usually a disabled version of the target infectious agent. But strongly stimulating the immune system has its own hazards, one of which is possible triggering of allergies to other non-infectious agents that just happen to be present when the vaccine is given or shortly thereafter. The rapid rise in asthma and allergies in recent years could be one of the consequences. Another hazard is the possible triggering of auto-immune problems like lupus and type I diabetes, and neurological problems, like autism. The pertussis vaccine has actually been used to induce auto-immune disease in laboratory animals. Another problem is that vaccines are often given several at a time to young children. This practice is likely to compound the effect on the immune system, which is not fully developed in young children. Yet another problem is that some of the adjuvants used to stimulate the immune system are poisons in their own right and can cause harmful side effects, such as aluminum hydroxide and aluminum phosphate. Finally, the production and preservation of vaccines introduces even more potentially harmful compounds directly into the blood, such as foreign animal proteins used to incubate the infectious agent, poisonous formaldehyde used to deactivate live infectious agents, and thimerosal with poisonous mercury which is still used to preserve some vaccines.
Below is a long but well worthwhile video about vaccines. It can be paused to take breaks by clicking on the start/pause button.
An excellent resource for vaccine information is the National Vaccine Information Center. They have information about individual vaccines as well as state laws and exceptions regarding vaccines.
An Introduction to the Vaccination Controversy
Vaccines and Autism
Why Vaccines Aren't Safe
Do Vaccines Work and Are They Safe?
Vaccines: A Second Opinion
Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D Instead
Significant Harm from Just ONE Mercury-Containing Vaccine
Sunday, September 28, 2008
When you get a blood test for "cholesterol", what they are measuring is not the chemical cholesterol directly, but instead is the total amount of certain lipoproteins that just happen to contain some cholesterol. It's a bit of a misnomer - sort of like calling a car an engine. Let's measure the weight of all those engines on the road by totaling the weight of all the cars on the road. What's worse, there are many other vehicles on the road that have engines but are not cars, like trucks and buses. Does it make sense to total the weight of just cars as an indication of the weight of engines on the road?
There is a chemical called cholesterol and it's an essential part of every cell membrane. It's a precursor to several important hormones and to vitamin D. It's considered both a sterol and a lipid, but not a fat. All fats are lipids, but not all lipids are fats. Cholesterol and fats are not soluble in water, but are needed by our cells. In order to transport cholesterol and fats through our blood, which is largely water, our body bundles them into packages of protein, fat,and cholesterol that can be carried in the blood. These packages are lipoproteins.
There are several kinds of lipoproteins the body uses for different purposes. They are classified by their density, which also roughly corresponds to their size. The largest and least dense are chylomicrons, followed by very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). Both of these contain cholesterol but are not included in total "cholesterol" blood tests. Next are low density lipoproteins (LDL), intermediate density lipoproteins (IDL), and high density lipoproteins (HDL).
In blood tests, the VLDL is called "triglycerides", even though all lipoproteins contain triglycerides (more confusion?) and "total cholesterol" is the total of LDL, some IDL, and HDL.
So how do cholesterol and lipoproteins relate to heart disease?
True cholesterol does not really appear to be a player in heart disease. It is actually very important for good health. However, glycated proteins and fats as well as oxidized fats, all of which can be incorporated into lipoproteins, do appear to play a role. Glycation occurs when a sugar molecule, such as fructose or glucose, binds to a protein or fat and oxidized fats are generally polyunsaturated fats that have been oxidized into peroxides. Some types of glycated proteins and all fat peroxides can cause a variety of problems and are implicated in both heart disease and cancer.
For optimal health, and thus avoidance of heart disease and cancer, we should be striving to reduce our load of glycated proteins and oxidized fats. Elevated blood sugar and triglyceride levels are correlated with elevated blood levels of glycated protein. So, obviously, keeping blood sugar and triglyceride levels normalized is ideal. Eat starches with fat and protein to minimize blood sugar spikes after meals or snacks. Don't eat foods with added refined sugar and don't eat too much fruit. Low-carb diets and/or excercise tend to normalize blood sugar and triglycerides.
The fats most prone to oxidation are polyunsaturated fats. Large amounts of dietary polyunsaturated fat are new to the human diet. Up until the last couple hundred years, the typical amount of dietary polyunsaturated fat was around five percent of dietary calories or less. Only recently has the amount of polyunsaturated fat been increasing dramatically in the human diet as cheap vegetable oils have displaced healthier animal fats in commercial food products. Keeping dietary polyunsaturated fats under four percent of total calories is ideal. That means avoiding most processed foods like sauces, dressings, baked goods, and most cooking oils, and eating only small amounts of nuts. Most commercial sauces and dressings are loaded with soybean oil or other oils high in polyunsaturated fat. Most commercial cooking oils are also high in polyunsaturated fat and sometimes trans-fat (made from hydrogenated polyunsaturated fat). That means avoid most commercial fried and baked foods.
Hopefully you are now less confused about cholesterol :)
Land of Confusion by Genesis (thanks to Yahoo Music)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's really a philosophy for healthy eating that's been around for thousands of years and was put into perspective about 70 years ago by the work of Weston A. Price (WAP). The idea is to eat foods that kept our ancestors healthy and to avoid highly processed and refined foods that are low in nutrients and high in harmful additives. Actually, many people do lose weight using this approach to eating, but the main goal is getting good nutrition for optimal health. Normalizing weight is a fringe benefit :)
Not all of the foods that our ancestors ate were equally healthy. Some foods confer greater health than others. That's what Weston Price studied in the 1920's and 1930's when he traveled around the world to document the native foods that people ate and their health. His conclusion was that the healthiest native diets included animal seafoods, organ meats, and/or dairy in their diet. These are the foods that have provided optimal nutrition for thousands of years. He found that when people abandoned the healthy diet of their ancestors for a more modern diet of refined flour and sugar and highly processed foods, their health suffered greatly.
Today we see a massive shift to highly processed foods in much of the world and a corresponding rise in poor health. Rates of obesity are increasing rapidly as people follow sadly misguided conventional dietary and health advice and are confused and misled by advertising for manufactured fake foods. When they get sick, they are given expensive drugs that often cause more health problems than they solve. It's time to get back to the foods that kept people healthy for thousands of years and shun the modern manufactured fake foods.
The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) has been teaching the about the WAP approach to eating for about 10 years now and is a good source for health and diet information. My experience is that each of us has to discover which ancestral foods are best for us by trial and error. Not all traditional foods are best for everyone. Try them out and find the ones that work best for your health. Here's a WAPF video that discusses Price's teachings:
Some people have food sensitivities to even some traditional foods that others are able to tolerate. Read here for more information about food sensitivities. That's why it's important to find the traditional foods that work best for your own health.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Well, maybe not quite the elixir of life, but my favorite daily drink is very nutritious and delicious :)
To make this tasty treat, I gently blend about a cup of raw milk, 1 or 2 ounces of raw cream, 3 or 4 raw egg yolks, and a heaping tablespoon of raw organic unsweetened cocoa powder. I use raw milk and cream from grass-fed Jersey cows. Their natural diet of grass provides the most nutritious milk and cream. Since it's not pasteurized or homogenized, the raw milk still has it's enzymes to help in proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients, as well as a compliment of probiotics - beneficial microbes that also assist in digestion and help to boost the immune system. The lactose in the milk provides plenty of sweetness, so there's no need to add any sweetener. I get the raw eggs from pastured chickens that also provide better nutrition than than factory farmed eggs. I leave out the egg whites because they contain enzyme inhibitors and avidin, a protein that binds to the biotin in the yolk to make it unavailable for digestion. Most of the nutrients are in the egg yolks anyway. I add the cocoa powder mainly for flavor, but it also adds additional minerals like copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium. Adjust the amounts to your own taste and appetite. You can also use fresh or frozen fruit for flavoring instead of the cocoa powder.
The tables below provide an estimate of the nutrients with one cup of milk, 2 ounces of cream, 3 egg yolks, and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. As you can see, it's a powerhouse of nutrition and what you won't see in these tables is the added bonus of enzymes that help to provide greater absorption of the nutrients, as well as probiotics which also assist in digestion and support immune function.
Pasteurized and homogenized factory farm milk is a whole different story. When this milk is fed to calves, they don't thrive and many will die. Not a good sign for our health either.
Stick with natural foods that have been keeping people healthy for ages.
Bon appetit :)
Monday, August 11, 2008
But I'm almost 56 years old now and I'm working on losing some weight. I've managed to lose 8 pounds the last 5 weeks and I'd like to lose another 15 to 20 pounds. I'm trying the 16/8 approach where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour period. Effectively, I'm cutting out my lightest meal of the day for reduction of about 500 to 800 calories each day. It may actually be healthier to eat during a shorter period with a longer fast because it forces the body to burn fat towards the end of the fasting period and should help to stabilize blood sugar levels for a longer time. Most people eat during a 12 to 16 hour period and fast for only 8 to 12 hours, mainly while sleeping.
I eat a fairly low carbohydrate diet, with about 50-60 percent of calories from fat and only about 20-30 percent from carbs. I try to minimize sugar and polyunsaturated fat - among the worst additives in the modern diet. The fat in my diet is mostly saturated and monounsaturated fat from pastured and wild animal foods. These are the healthiest fats that our ancestors have eaten for many thousands of years. The extra fat in my diet helps to curb hunger so I don't get very hungry during the 16 hour fasting period.
With my new routine, on workdays, I start breakfast at about 6:15 am and finish lunch at about 12:30 pm, which is actually a 6.25 hour eating period. On weekends and holidays, I push breakfast to around Noon to 1:00 pm and then finish dinner by 7:00 pm for about a 6 to 7 hour eating period. So, I'm really doing closer to a 17/7 or even an 18/6 regime. I've been very pleased with the results so far and highly recommend this approach to those of you who want to lose some weight.
To lose weight, you have to establish a calorie deficit - where your body is burning more calories than it receives from the food you eat. If your metabolism is in a steady state, that means increasing your exercise and/or reducing the number of calories you ingest. About three and a half years ago my weight had reached nearly 245 pounds while trying to do a low fat diet, where I had been gaining weight instead of losing weight. I switched to a low carb diet and decided to increase my exercise by walking 2 miles every day to try and lose weight. Most people burn about 70 to 100 calories per mile, whether you walk or jog that mile. That comes out to no more than 200 calories per day for a 2 mile walk. It takes net deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose a pound of weight. That means I should have lost about 2 pounds per month and I did actually lose about 10 pounds in about 6 months - but I gained most of it back that fall and winter by cheating too much and indulging in too many sweets over the holidays. It wasn't until I broke my sugar addiction and maintained a consistent low carb diet early the next year that my weight dropped significantly. I lost about 20 pounds in about 3 months doing a rigorous low carb diet with no cheating, thanks to dropping sugar as well as aspartame and sucralose. My weight loss then slowed and over the next 6 months I only lost about 10 additional pounds. My weight loss ended at that point and I started gaining weight very slowly. I gained almost 10 pounds over the next year and a half. I guess I like to eat too much. I did manage to lose about 2 pounds during the month prior to starting the 16/8 regime. My weight today is back down to 213 pounds, which is the lowest that I reached a little less than two years ago. My goal is to drop to at least 200 pounds, and I might keep going to 195 pounds, which is what I weighed at age 40. I will update this post when I reach my goal.
For those of you who want to lose weight - try the 16/8 along with a low carb, low sugar, and low polyunsaturated fat diet. Good luck!
Update November 11, 2008
After about four months now, I've lost 18 pounds and I'm down to 203 pounds! I plan to keep going for at least another 10 pounds.
Fast Way to Better Health by Dr. Michael Eades
Protein Power verses Intermittent Fasting by Dr. Michael Eades
Thursday, July 31, 2008
What Is Mercury ?
Elemental mercury is a shiny silverish liquid metal at room temperature and is considered one of the most toxic of chemicals. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATDSR) ranks mercury as the third most toxic substance, behind arsenic and lead. Metallic mercury emits gaseous mercury vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. About 80% of inhaled gaseous mercury is absorbed into the body and most of it quickly enters the the bloodstream via the lungs. It is also readily absorbed by the skin on contact. Metallic mercury is used in fluorescent light bulbs, in some thermometers, and in some electrical switches. Elemental mercury is also a major component of amalgam fillings and typically constitutes about 50 percent by weight. Mercury often combines with other chemicals such as chlorine, sulfur, or oxygen, to form inorganic mercury compounds or salts, which are usually powders or crystals. Mercury salts are used in antiseptic creams and ointments and as preservatives. Mercury also can combine with carbon to form organic compounds, including methylmercury and ethylmercury. Methylmercury is produced mainly by microscopic organisms in contaminated water and soil and accumulates in fish, shellfish, and animals that eat fish. The highest concentrations are in large fish highest on the food chain, such as tuna and swordfish. Smaller fish generally have much lower concentrations. Ethylmercury is a metabolite of the mercury compound thimerosal, which is still used as a preservative in some vaccines.
The most common exposure to mercury is from contaminated fish or shellfish (methylmercury), from amalgam fillings (elemental mercury), and some vaccines (ethylmercury). It can also occur from breakage and cleanup of fluorescent light bulbs or mercury thermometers (elemental mercury). Less common exposure can occur in the workplace - in dental offices, or health services or industries that use mercury.
From ToxFAQS: "The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Methylmercury and metallic mercury vapors are more harmful than other forms, because more mercury in these forms reaches the brain. Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems."
The primary health effect of methylmercury on fetuses, infants, and children is impaired neurological development that can result in impaired cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills. The mother's consumption of fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury, can expose the fetus and any nursing children.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a limit for mercury of 2 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set a maximum permissible level for methylmercury in seafood at 1 part per million (ppm). The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set limits of 0.1 milligram of organic mercury per cubic meter of workplace air (0.1 mg/m3) and 0.05 mg/m3 of metallic mercury vapor for 8-hour shifts and 40-hour work weeks.
What Can We Do to Limit Our Exposure?
Don't get amalgam fillings! There are plenty of alternatives that have minimal effects. If you already have amalgam fillings, consider removing them. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has developed recommendations for safe removal of amalgam fillings. If you take vaccines, insist on vaccines that do not have thimerosal. Most influenza vaccines and DTwP and tetanus vaccines still have thimerosal. Vaccines have many other potential problems, so be sure to research any vaccine you are considering for yourself or your family. If you accidentally break a fluorescent light bulb or mercury thermometer, follow the recommended cleanup and disposal procedures to minimize your exposure to mercury. Limit your intake of large fish like tuna, king mackeral, and swordfish. If you eat tuna, get the "light tuna", which is usually from smaller varieties that have less methylmercury. Pregnant women should especially be careful about mercury exposure, because mercury is much more harmful to the fetus than to the mother.
And most of all - avoid mercury madness :)
Update 2010 December 5
Dietary selenium appears to be important in helping to prevent mercury toxicity. Thus, seafoods that have more selenium than mercury may not pose a health problem for most people.