The "Real Age Quiz"

Is a great way for the pharmaceutical companies to spy on you, apparently.

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The Milk Conundrum

I went vegetarian at age 15. (I am now what I call a “conscientious omnivore”– any meat I eat is organic free range grass fed- you know, all the buzzwords- and cooked by moi. I never refer to animals as “dinner”, and I do not eat meat more than once a day) Somewhere in my late teen’s, early 20’s, I dabbled in veganism. The best thing being vegan did for me was eliminate my allergic reactions to inhaled triggers. I was allergic to cat fur for example. I was a veterinary technician, so I was living on Claritin and Benedryl. Stopping consumption of milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, etc..and my allergies were gone, and have stayed gone 10+ years later. I can now have dairy here and there without any negative side-effects!

So what I am getting at is I have been there done that in regards to the different “milks” out there. Soy milk was a staple until I learned about it’s affect on hormones, and had begun to question processed foods. Plus it curdled in hot coffee. So there was rice milk. Rice milk is a problem because it contains a lot of carbohydrates and sugar (even the Original kind). Plus they all had Canola (blech) oil. Next was oat milk, which I just found disgusting. Then Hemp seed milk, but that too curdled in hot beverages, and just tasted funky…plus I think there was Canola oil or soy oil in that!

THEN it was almond milk. Argh! It curdles also, plus it has such a strong taste. I recently learned about an ingredient in almond milk called “carrageenan“, which is used as a thickening agent. It is extracted form an algae called “Irish Moss”. The fun part is, it causes cancer in the stomach lining and intestinal lining of lab rats. I couldn’t win!

*Carrageenen is found in LOTS of things, notably also whipped cream, and non-milk milks. Read your ingredient labels, people!

But I did win! For my graduation my wonderful parents gave me a VitaMix blender. I looked at my toxic box of crappy almond milk and gleefully poured it down the sink. Liberation! I had come to a radical notion (please note sarcastic tone): I will make my OWN almond milk! Bwahahaha!

And I did and it is great! The flavour is mild, it doesn’t curdle, it has no unwanted junk, and best of all, you don’t need a VitaMix to do it! Just a good strong blender.

Homemade Almond Milk

Boil a pot of water, about 2 inches full.
Drop 1 cup of almonds into the water until they start floating, or about 1 minute.
Drain, lay on towel and pat to dry a bit.
Grasp almond between your fingers and squeeze. The almond will pop right out of it’s skin! This is called “Blanching” an almond to de-skin it. Aim down when you do this, as the almond will slip out with some velocity and sail across your kitchen!

Dump this cup of naked almonds into your blender, add 3 to 3.5 cups of water and about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Blend on high for 60-90 seconds, depending on the strength of your blender.

Line a wire strainer with a layer of damp cotton cloth (just get it wet under the tap and wring out), such as a piece of your significant others Hanes t-shirt. *Make sure it is big enough to drape over the edge of the strainer, as you will be gathering this up to make a pouch to squeeze the liquid out.*

Hold cloth lined strainer over a large bowl, pour in some of the liquified almond mixture. Carefully gather up the cloth and squeeze gently from the top of the liquid down, like squeesing icing out of a piping tube. It will take a minute, and when it is all squeezed out, you will have a sort of crumbly paste. Rinse out cloth and repeat process until you have emptied the blender.

Refrigerate and use within about 5 days. Use it just like milk; cereal, coffee, tea, baking, drinking straight, whatever!

And “Go you!”, for making something you usually get in a carton, on your own! And it’s completely good for you!

Great video about Vit D

I just viewed a video of Dr. Michael Holick speaking at a European Symposium on the topic of Vitamin D. We are now learning that our demonizing of the sun for at least the past 30 years is doing us more harm than good, health wise.

A synopsis:

What is the best source of Vit D? The sun.

What is the next best source during winter months or if you live above or below about 38deg longitude? A simple Vitamin D3 supplement. In the video he talks about UVB waves and the angles in which they penetrate our atmosphere. They hit most directly at 37deg longitude, a distance from the equator north to about Los Angeles. Above that they distort, wave, and the delivery of Vit D decreases in potency. In winter even at these ideal longitudes, when the sun moves further away, Vit D delivery is again weakened.

What diseases and/or disorders can solid blood levels of Vit D help cure/ prevent? Breast cancer, prostate cancer, colo-rectal cancer, psoriasis, osteomalacia, fibromyalgia. (Note: I am not implying that any one thing is the be all end all cure all. However, sometimes the answer really can be shockingly simple. Intake of Vit C = No More Scurvy. Please remember you could take all the D3 in the world, but if you eat a crap diet, are sedentary, have anger/grief issues, smoke, or do other painfully obvious self-destructive behaviors…well, the odds become inherently against you.)

What is the appropriate daily dose of oral Vit D? 1000units Vit D3

What is the appropriate solar dose of Vit D? 5-15 arms and legs exposure daily WITHOUT sunscreen.

What precaution should I take in the sun during this time of exposure? Do not burn.

Can you become Vit D toxic? It is verrrrrrry hard to do this. VERY hard, because the body has an off switch. This is why you can be in the sun for hours and not become toxic from Vit D; from the sun the body converts D –> D2 –> D3. If it has enough D3, it simply does not convert any more D2 into D3. Orally, you would need to take about 3x the recommended amount consistently.

Here is the video for your viewing pleasure! Is does have science-y lingo, but it isn’t over the top at all. Challenge yourself! Dr. Holick has a great sense of humor. Enjoy!

Here is a link to Dr. Mercola aldo discussing Vit D in regards to cancer prevention.

Hard and Fasts part II- Corn Syrup

For my next installation of Rules To Eat By, I am proud to present….Cooooorn Syrup!!!

If you Google High Fructose Corn Syrup, the first link that comes up is for a website called “Sweet Surprise”. This website is a desperate attempt being made by the Corn Syrup council to save face for their food-type product in light of tremendous quantities of evidence questioning the safety of HFCS ingestion.

The catch phrase splattered all over the site is “corn syrup is fine in moderation, just like sugar!”

No. Your body recognizes real sugar and fruit fructose. It knows how to break it down and use it for energy. HFCS is shunted to the liver, where the liver proceeds to wrap up the HFCS moleules in a lipid layer (read” lipid= fat) in order to prevent its absorbtion. Kind of like when you shove all your junk into the closet when company comes over, so that it appears you are not a total slob! This produces Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Syndrome (non-alcoholic because it’s usually alcoholics who have fatty livers due to the liver trying to protect itself and the body from harm. This is why alcoholics have big bellies…that and also due to the grains in alcohol. Check this out!)

Problem is, it’s presence is surpassing sugar in food products! That bottle of “Maple” syrup in a plastic container you pick up at Ralphs is the farthest thing from real maple syrup that comes from a tree. It’s artificial maple flavoring in corn syrup. Soda contains more HFCS than sugar. In your Heinz ketchup…HFCS. In your tomato sauce, candy bar, fruit juice, breakfast cereal, INFANT FORMULA (!), protein drink, vitamins, tortillas, bread…foods you wouldn’t even expect to have corn syrup…there it is! So how are we supposed to have it “in moderation”? Infant formula? Here is the link to an article by Dr. Sears for Parenting Magazine.

If you watch the advertising videos on Sweet Surprise, there is a common theme; the person speaking out about corn syrup had no information to back up their claims. Well, too bad for them, because I do…or rather Dr.Mercola has already done the work for me here.

They call corn syrup natural? Really? You be the judge, here is how it’s manufactured (does “manufactured” sound natural?):

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. It all sounds rather simple–white cornstarch is turned into crystal clear syrup. However, the process is actually very complicated. Three different enzymes are needed to break down cornstarch, which is composed of chains of glucose molecules of almost infinite length, into the simple sugars glucose and fructose.

First, cornstarch is treated with alpha-amylase to produce shorter chains of sugars called polysaccharides. Alpha-amylase is industrially produced by a bacterium, usually Bacillus sp. It is purified and then shipped to HFCS manufacturers.

Next, an enzyme called glucoamylase breaks the sugar chains down even further to yield the simple sugar glucose. Unlike alpha-amylase, glucoamylase is produced by Aspergillus, a fungus, in a fermentation vat where one would likely see little balls of Aspergillus floating on the top.

The third enzyme, glucose-isomerase, is very expensive. It converts glucose to a mixture of about 42 percent fructose and 50-52 percent glucose with some other sugars mixed in. While alpha-amylase and glucoamylase are added directly to the slurry, pricey glucose-isomerase is packed into columns and the sugar mixture is then passed over it. Inexpensive alpha-amylase and glucoamylase are used only once, glucose-isomerase is reused until it loses most of its activity.

There are two more steps involved. First is a liquid chromatography step that takes the mixture to 90 percent fructose. Finally, this is back-blended with the original mixture to yield a final concentration of about 55 percent fructose–what the industry calls high fructose corn syrup.

DO NOT ingest corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.

Corn syrup is an epidemic! Read the ingredients on every bit of packaged product you buy!

Also, read Michael Pollan’s books. All of them. Especially The Omnivores Dilemma.

Red Meat = Death?

I just read this article on Yahoo news stating that “older people” who ate “large amounts” of red meat and processed meat have a higher death rate from basically everything. The study showed that women who ate more red meat had a higher rate of death from cancer. The article is here.

I have copied the article, and will interject my thoughts in a contrasting color:

CHICAGO – The largest study of its kind finds that older Americans who eat large amounts of red meat and processed meats face a greater risk of death from heart disease and cancer. The federal study of more than half a million men and women bolsters prior evidence of the health risks of diets laden with red meat like hamburger and processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and cold cuts.

From what I can gather, this wasn’t a study based on the servings of meat being “pure”- the meat servings were either processed or in hamburger form, which if you read my Do Not Eat Fast Food post, you would know that there is a ton of junk in just the bun of a fast food hamburger, besides the cheap grain-feed beef. (assuming that at least a marked amount of hamburgers the participants were eating were fast food…likely as these were Americans and there were 545,000+ people in the study). There are also ridiculous amounts of sodium, preservatives, and nitrates in processed meats.

Calling the increased risk modest, lead author Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute said the findings support the advice of several health groups to limit red and processed meat intake to decrease cancer risk.

I agree about limiting or eradicating intake of processed meat, and about limiting or eradicating intake of grain raised non-organic red meat. (Actually, any meat that is non-organic).

Speaking of decreasing cancer risk, there are many, many more things to do than decrease red meat and processed meat (I agree with the elimination of processed meat). Eat huge amounts of delicious vegetables, exercise, do not smoke, have love in your life, take vacations, do not use toxic products like chemical-laden body lotions, shampoos and soaps. Use natural household cleaners, get a shower filter.

The findings appear in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That’s compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week.

In the context of the medicine I practice, meat is considered a tonifying or building food, especially red meat or lamb. As a rule, tonifying foods for people in developed countries need to be limited/ monitored, as most people consume too much food without enough quality energy expenditure.

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less.

Again, remember this study is basing it’s findings on people who were not eating quality, non-processed organic meats.

For processed meats, the increased risks for large quantities were slightly lower overall than for red meat. The researchers compared deaths in the people with the highest intakes to deaths in people with the lowest to calculate the increased risk.

People whose diets contained more white meat like chicken and fish had lower risks of death.

In my medicine, while still tonifying/ strengthening, white meats are less so tonifying than red meat. Physiologically, this has to do with the leanness of these meats (leanness= fat content).

The researchers surveyed more than 545,000 people, ages 50 to 71 years old, on their eating habits, then followed them for 10 years. There were more than 70,000 deaths during that time.

Study subjects were recruited from AARP members, a group that’s healthier than other similarly aged Americans. (this is an organization for seniors who are concerned with living the good life- travel, community, longevity, etc..) That means the findings may not apply to all groups, Sinha said. The study relied on people’s memory of what they ate, which can be faulty.

In the analysis, the researchers took into account other risk factors such as smoking, family history of cancer and high body mass index.

In an accompanying editorial, Barry Popkin, director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote that reducing meat intake would have benefits beyond improved health.

Livestock increase greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming, he wrote, and nations should reevaluate farm subsidies that distort prices and encourage meat-based diets.

“We’ve promoted a diet that has added excessively to global warming,” Popkin said in an interview.

While I absolutely believe that our exorbitent slaughterhouse ranches contribute significantly to local pollution due to waste runoff seeping into groundwater, lakes, streams, and homes, there doesn’t seem to be a way to accurately calculate methane contribution to “global warming” from cattle alone. Yes, methane is toxic. In a recent article discussing vegetarianisms contribution to saving the world, the author postulates that we currently have 100 milloin head of cattle in America awaiting slaughter or for dairy, yet in the time of pre-colonization Native American Indian-ness, there were easily 100 million head of bison roaming. Okay, but what there wasn’t were 6.5 billion+ people, cars, planes, chemical plants etc. Our diet has promoted excessively to global pollution not only from our meat obsession, but also from our obsession of having whatever we want whenever we want regardless of native plant population or season, thereby necessitating excessive use of freight shipping, trucking, and importing- all of which pollute.

Successfully shifting away from red meat can be as easy as increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet, said Elisabetta Politi of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C.

“I’m not saying everybody should turn into vegetarians,” Politi said. “Meat should be a supporting actor on the plate, not the main character.”

I totally agree with this statement, especially for average Americans who do not weight train, bodybuild, or do Crossfit religiously. I also agree it should be done especially by increasing intake of vegetables, not breads, pastas and grains, all of which raise glycemic indexes and are being found to contribute to inflammation. (Hence eating grass fed beef, as we end up eating what the animal eats by eating the animal)

The National Pork Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association questioned the findings.

No, really?!?! I’m shocked!

Dietitian Ceci Snyder said in a statement for the pork board that the study “attempts to indict all red meat consumption by looking at extremes in meat consumption, as opposed to what most Americans eat.”

No, I would venture to say that what most Americans eat are the extremes in meat consumption…meat at all three meals, meat as a snack (jerky), processed meat, fast food meat…

Lean meat as part of a balanced diet can prevent chronic disease, along with exercise and avoiding smoking, said Shalene McNeill, dietitian for the beef group.

Umm…way to state the obvious.

So, what was the point of breaking down that article for you? One thing I would love to teach people to is to read articles like this objectively. It was also an opportunity to integrate my positions and viewpoints in contrast to published mainstream material.

Another thing that I hope people will learn to do is to read every label of every pre-packaged product they buy. In just the last month alone I have found (not in my own home or grocery store, of course) two mainstream food-type products to contain Sucralose (Splenda) without it being indicated on the front of the package. One was in Act II microwave popcorn Kettlecorn flavour, the other were Mission tortillas. The tortillas were marketed as being “Carb-balancing”- whatever that means- so I had to check it out. Listen, tortillas should contain 3 ingredients: Flour or corn, water, salt. These contained at least 10 ingredients, including hydrogenated oil and Poison- oops, I mean Splenda (labeled as sucralose). Needless to say I was stymied and angry.

Please please please read your packaged food labels! You are your only true defendant of your health! Make it a habit to be your own diligent advocate!

Supermarkets

Again, another link to cardiologist Dr. Davis’ blog. This one is actually mainly a comment from a reader about a recent trip to a conventional grocery store. Around Thanksgiving last year was my first trip into a mainstream grocery store. It was 10:00 at night, and I had realized we didn’t have any more water. We popped out to grab just enough to get us through until I could access the Culligan dispenser at a local health food store and fill our glass jugs. It was such an unreal experience! First was the smell…acidic chemical detergents burned my nostrils, hyper-colors burst off the cereal boxes. The meat section had a sour, old blood smell. The cosmetic and hair “care” section was overwhelming. WOW! After years of shopping Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, farmers markets…what a difference. No wonder so many people do not know what food really is!

On to the link.

Here is another link to a “Mom and Pop” ranch in Texas, committed to raising animals for consumption according to the laws of nature.

How To Have A Healthy Heart

As I am not a Medical Doctor, I link to a Medical Doctor.

I am linking to a great post written by a cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, about the new trend of adding sterols to edible products. (I am no longer going to refer to these things as food. They are now to be referred to as food-type products.)

The gist of the article is this:

“The FDA approved a cholesterol-reducing indication for sterols , the American Heart Association recommends 200 mg per day as part of its Therapeutic Lifestyle Change diet, and WebMD gushes about the LDL-reducing benefits of sterols added to foods.”

“The food industry has vigorously pursued the sterol-as-heart-healthy strategy, based on studies conclusively demonstrating LDL-reducing effects. But do sterols that gain entry into the blood increase atherosclerosis regardless of LDL reduction? That’s the huge unanswered question.”

Again and again, the advent of the microscope shows itself as a blessing and a curse. Technology is yet again taking one minuscule component (sterols) of a perfect whole (walnuts, lentils, brown rice) and marketing it as a nutritional be-all and end-all miracle.

In nature, the quantity of sterols and stanols found as a micronutrient in the food source are minimal. A person would have to eat 50 pounds of produce daily to get the FDA (excuse my smirk) recommended .8 grams of plant sterols. No human I know would or could eat that much produce in a day. Doesn’t that tell us something? They are not meant to be consumed in large, isolated quantities.

The minute we start isolating nutrients (sterols) to treat one thing (LDL), we run into trouble (The case against sterols, studies documenting its coronary disease- and valve disease-promoting effects, is building).

As stated in the last paragraph of his post:
“In my view, sterols should not have been approved without more extensive safety data. Just as Vioxx’s potential for increasing heart attack did not become apparent until after FDA approval and widespread use, I fear the same may be ahead for sterols: dissemination throughout the processed food supply, people using large, unnatural quantities from multiple products, eventually . . . increased heart attacks, strokes, aortic valve disease.”

Please take a minute to read the post by Dr. Davis, if you have not already done so.

I have said it before…we are all unwitting participants in medical experiments on a daily basis. Become analytical and take personal responsibility for your own health. Do not become complacent and gullible in the face of MARKETING! There are no quick fixes, and our body is a complete unit, NEVER to be reduced to individual parts and pieces!

Want to keep your heart healthy? Follow this list:

  • Eat whole, unprocessed, home- cooked food. Eat vegetables, people! Eat dark green leafy things with abandon! If you have trouble digesting plants, steam them lightly, take high quality probiotics twice daily at a dose of 50 billion bacteria for two months. Experiment with pancreazyme or digestive enzymes. There are mixed opinions about the efficacy of digestive enzymes, but I have seen them work for people.
  • Do not use a microwave. Microwaves heat by force, stimulating the water molecules inside the cells first, whereas ambient heat from a stove warms gently from the outside to the inside. Would you rather get warm from someone boiling water within your cells or by laying in a warm beam of sunlight?
  • Exercise daily doing something you like! Get out there and play!
  • Have healthy relationships. If you aren’t, deal with it. Seek spiritual support and guidance.
  • LOVE. Give and receive love every day. MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS!
  • Do not eat poison. Margarine, synthetic sugar, alcohol, cigarette smoke are DONT’S. If you are dealing with addictions, deal with them. I speak from experience, having been a smoker for 7 years. Haven’t smoked for 8 years now, and never will again (except when second hand is forced upon me).
  • Drink water. I am not talking “8 cups a day” here. Yes, there is water in tea and coffee. What I am talking about is to give your body, your blood, clean and pure water everyday. Just because we can live in an environment with constant white-noise, does that mean we should never escape to the mountains every so often to give ourselves some peace and quiet?

Heart health has three components, and we as a society only focus on the two that can be qualified, quantified, licensed, and certified: Exercise and Diet. The third component affecting Heart Health are EMOTIONS, most specifically Love. Anger, hate, resentment, criticism, jealousy, impropriety, rage, stubbornness, selfishness…all these emotions damage the integrity and well- being of the heart.

The Heart Trifecta:

  1. Love/ Emotions
  2. Diet/ Nutrition
  3. Exercise/ Play

We must overcome this aversion we have to work, discomfort, and growth.