How the USDA Traded One Disease For Another

In the late 1970s, a senate committee pushed its “Dietary Goals for the United States” urging Americans to eat less fat. It was thought that red meat, eggs, and dairy were killing Americans.

By the 1980s, nearly a million Americans were dying of heart disease each year.

Again, Americans were told to eat less fat and eat more carbohydrates. These recommendations were built into a monument and lauded to the public as the salvation for American health: The Food Pyramid.

The Food Pyramid recommended carbohydrates as the staple of a healthy diet. Fat was a killer, or so we were led to believe, therefore recommendations for fat intake were drastically reduced. A $150 million dollar study, which pushed the same message, came fast on the heels of these recommendations. The study said to eat less fat and avoid foods high in cholesterol in order to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Americans followed this advice and carbohydrate consumption rose. Not produce consumption, we increased consumption of grains and sugar. Americans are now sicker than before. Deaths from heart disease have dropped a bit, but obesity and diabetes is on the rise.

Whole milk has been banned from most of our public schools, but strawberry milk, chocolate milk, and soda machines are usually available. Whole plain yogurt is usually difficult to find in a grocery store, but low fat, sugar filled, artificially flavored, artificially colored options are everywhere. The prevailing belief is that these low fat options are healthier, even when loaded with sweeteners, than whole milk.

Deaths from heart disease have indeed slightly declined, but its close cousin, cardiovascular disease, remains the nation’s number # 1 killer and the leading cause of death for individuals with diabetes. According to Time Magazine, diabetes has increased 166% from 1980 to 2012. The low-fat trend was directed toward lowering cholesterol. Today the high fructose corn syrup found in nearly every processed food is the reason cholesterol remains high.

American Health is on a Downward Trend

In every measurable way, Americans are in worse health than ever before. It is widely predicted that our lifespan is shortening; the generations that came before us will outlive us, and we are likely to outlive the generations who succeed us.

Despite the variety of diets, popular and obscure, safe and dangerous, on average, Americans are fatter than ever before. Most Americans eat slightly less red meat and eat more lean meat, but they eat more sugar and more highly processed and refined foods. The CDC predicts that by 2030 up to 42% of the U.S. population will be obese, and 11% will be severely obese.

Over time, some foods have gone up in demand, while others have fallen in popularity. Sugar consumption from sugar cane has dropped 35% while corn-based sweeteners (mostly high fructose corn syrup) consumption has risen by 8,853%. It’s not that Americans choose to eat corn syrup, they choose to eat processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup is added to nearly every processed food.

The current government guidelines are only a little different than the original food pyramid. The current recommendations are still high in grains, but the recommendation for fruits and vegetables is higher.

Conclusion

A truly healthy diet is a diverse, whole food, plant based diet. A full 80% of your diet should consist of raw, fresh, organic produce – more vegetables than fruits. Meats should be organic. Nuts and seeds should be soaked or sprouted. Grains should be limited and gluten should be avoided if any illness is present. Dairy should be organic and raw or limited. Omega 3 fatty acids from flax seed oil, fish oil, or a blended oil and oily fish should be added to your diet.

You should avoid all artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives; MSG; high fructose corn syrup; and GMOs. Seriously limit or eliminate all processed sugar.

For more information about a truly healthy diet, read the 80% Raw Food Diet. Boost your nutrition with increased vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, learn how to make your own Total Nutrition Powder.

Further Reading:
Sources:

TEDxHarvardLaw – Stephan Guyenet – The American Diet – You Tube

Ending the War on Fat – You Tube

 

 




Football Players Are Deciding Concussions Are Not Worth The Risk

We often hear that professional football players are in the best shape of their lives. Their level of fitness cannot be denied, but what about their overall health, specifically their brain health? There has been increasing concern over the long-term effects of the concussions football players routinely suffer from collisions on the field. A professional football player will receive 900-1500 blows to the head during a single season and will have a 75% chance of suffering a concussion.

Previously, players sacrificed their brain health for the love of the game, for money and opportunities, or because they felt they had no choice. Now a 24-year-old professional football player named Chris Borland has decided the risks of football aren’t worth it. He’s not the first, but he is the youngest and the one who has shocked a country that is still actively resisting the idea of putting their health first until it’s too late. There is an important distinction between a young athlete protecting himself and an aging athlete trying to preserve whatever brain function he has left. It’s an example of a new mindset, one concerned with health and armed with more information than ever before.

The Football-Concussion Connection

Common sense says that being hit over the head with a heavy object is not a good idea. It follows that the effect of football on players has been a concern for a long time, but determining the level of damage and consequences of repeated trauma has been harder to do. In 1994, the NFL formed the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, paying lip service to health concerns over players and giving the NFL the opportunity to control the concussion narrative.

Athletes who are willing to ignore, or those who don’t know, the long-term health effects of what they’re doing are essential to the financial well being of professional football. The growing wealth of information available on concussions and brain health is available to anyone with the Internet, and it’s impossible to avoid the identification of sports and football as a major cause of these issues. The Internet’s ability to disseminate information has taken the latter away from the NFL, and the public and players are beginning to ask if football is worth the health risks. It’s also posed the question of trust. Are the people receiving the financial benefits from a 9 billion industry really the ones players should trust to care for them and their quality of life?

Degenerative Brain Disease Links

A concussion is an injury to the head that leads to a temporary loss of brain function. While the effects of a mild concussion are usually temporary, people who have had a concussion are more likely to suffer from another, and the damage from repeated brain injuries does accumulate. Recent research has found that NFL players who have suffered from multiple concussions have increased rates of memory and attention deficits and are more likely to develop Parkinson and Alzheimer like symptoms. Older athletes who experienced concussions were tested. It was found that the cortex had thinned, which combined with the presence of abnormal proteins in the brain, echoes the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Technology has made studies like this possible and provides a great resource for people who are concerned about the effects of playing an aggressive and violent sport like football.

Degenerative Disease Can Strike Anyone’s Brain

There are a few ways to look at these findings. An increasing number of players are retiring while they are still relevant and able to play at a high level. Chris Borland, Patrick Willis, and others are hanging up their cleats early because they feel like the game is no longer worth the health risks. On the flip side, playing sports professionally is a huge opportunity for others, and trading their potential quality of life in their later years for the shot at sports fame and fortune is something they’re willing to do. Concussions can have a serious effect on the brain. As people weigh the benefits of football against the costs, more people, especially parents, are deciding that it’s simply not worth it.

For more on brain health, intelligence, and for repairing brain damage, check out  Increase Your IQ With The Right Foods, Herbs, and Vitamins (check out the brain tonic recipe).

Further Reading:
Sources:



Cure Psoriasis By Killing Candida

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis is a disease that begins with a genetic predisposition that is set of by one or a combination of triggers: stress, skin injury, specific medications, or infection (in particular, strep).

In December of 2014, a new study was published that concluded superantigens and toxins from Candida “…may play various roles in the exacerbation and the persistence of psoriasis.” A full 60% of the psoriasis patients tested positive for Candida versus 20% of the control group in oral tests and 15% of the psoriasis patients tested positive verses 4% of the control group in skin tests.

The more we learn about Candida, the more we find it is a common factor in many if not all autoimmune diseases.

What Is an Autoimmune Disease?

The simple definition of autoimmune disease is that the immune system became confused, stopped working correctly, and began attacking healthy body tissue. Why would this happen? Persistent, chronic infection is sometimes thought to be the cause, and chronic Candida certainly fits in this scenario. But looking at the body holistically, we know that Candida filaments actually drill into tissue as Candida wreaks havoc in the gut, spewing toxins into the system, destroying the balance of healthy to unhealthy bacteria, and ultimately deteriorating the gut itself, resulting in leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky gut syndrome allows proteins and other particles to be dispersed directly into the bloodstream, setting up the immune system for a disastrous onslaught on foreign particles it is unequipped to handle. This is believed to be part of the process that triggers celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, as gluten proteins are also released into the bloodstream.

How To Heal The Body

In order to heal the body, regardless of the disease, the body needs an abundance of nutrition, to be cleansed of toxins, and to be rid of Candida overgrowth along with other parasites. And the gut needs to be healed.

What should you eat? A truly healthy diet includes a wide variety of whole, organic foods with lots and lots of raw produce – 80% of more of the diet – more vegetables, than fruits. Seeds and nuts should be soaked before they are eaten. Omega 3 fatty acids should be added to the diet. When dealing with any autoimmune situation, gluten and dairy should be removed from the diet until the gut is healed and only eaten thereafter if completely tolerated with no sign of autoimmune symptoms.

Of course, a healthy diet has no room for processed foods or their chemicals. No BHA, BHT, or MSG. No artificial flavors, colorings, or preservatives of any kind. No GMOs. No high fructose corn syrup. No wheat. Limit caffeine, and eliminate processed sugar. Yes, that’s right- no sugar. Sugar is the sworn enemy of the immune system and it feeds Candida as well. If you want it to heal, get rid of the sugar.

To learn more about how to eat healthy, read the 80% Raw Food Diet and check out Kill Candida and Balance The Gut Quickly.

Recommended Supplements:

Further Reading:



The Decline Of the American Diet

In every measurable way, Americans are in worse health than ever before. It is widely predicted that our lifespan is shortening; the generations that came before us will outlive us, and we are likely to outlive the generations that succeed us.

Most Americans simply want to lose weight, but some aspire to be healthier as well. For either goal or both goals, many Americans have lost confidence in government guidelines and have begun to look for other diets to follow. In the absence of sound advice from the government, many have turned elsewhere for ways to lose weight or to improve their health.

This has led to waves of diet fads, diets that rise and fall in popularity. These are some of the more popular diets:

  • The Pritikin diet
  • The Atkins diet
  • The Gluten Free diet
  • The South Beach diet
  • The Mediterranean diet
  • Weight Watchers
  • The Zone Diet
  • Volumetrics
  • Raw Food Diet
  • NutriSystem
  • Macrobiotic Diet
  • The Paleo Diet

Many of the diets have been designed and championed by doctors.

The Pritikin diet basically echoes government recommendations, with less meat. The South Beach diet is very similar, with fewer carbs and more lean meats like fish and poultry. The Atkins diet is a protein-based weight loss plan that is low in nutrition and very unhealthy. It has been called a nutritionist’s nightmare. The gluten free diet works best if there is a reason for one to avoid gluten. Otherwise, unless one cuts back on carbs, it is unlikely to be beneficial to anyone trying to lose weight. Weight Watchers stresses eat what you want but in moderation and constantly count calories.

The Mediterranean diet is a seafood, wine, veggie, and whole grain weight loss plan similar to South Beach. The Zone diet suggests a rigid focus on macronutrients in regards to protein, carbs, and fat. Nutrisystem is the ultimate have someone else do it for you plan with all meals pre made and pre measured. Volumetrics promotes a focus on fruits and vegetables. Because of their fiber content, they make you feel more full. The raw food diet allows for unlimited raw vegan food.

These were among the most popular diets. Many diet fads were highly restrictive, absurd, dangerous, and downright scary like the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the vinegar diet, and the liquid diet. Other approaches included the T.V. frozen dinner diet and even a Twinkie diet. The most dangerous and harmful diets were the diets that weren’t even based on food like the cigarette diet (whenever you’re hungry, just smoke), the eat sweets before a meal diet, or, even more crazy, the tapeworm diet, the baby food diet (substitute some of your meals with baby food), and worst of all the cotton ball diet, which recommended that you actually eat cotton balls dipped in juice. This is a choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockages, both of which can kill you. It was crazy, but these were all diets were practiced by some Americans.

Despite the variety of diets, popular and obscure, safe and dangerous, on average, Americans are fatter than ever before. Most Americans eat slightly less red meat and eat more lean meat, but they eat more sugar and more highly processed and refined foods. The CDC predicts that by 2030 up to 42% of the U.S. population will be obese, and 11% will be severely obese.

Experts do not agree on the health effect of grains and sweets. In Georgia, the only cereals WIC will pay for are cereals that contain some kind of sugar – corn sugar, sugar cane, or sugar from beets. Fruit juice sweetened and unsweetened cereals are considered health food and are not eligible for purchase under the program.

Over time, some foods have gone up in demand, while others have fallen in popularity. Sugar consumption from sugar cane has dropped 35% while corn based sweeteners (mostly high fructose corn syrup) consumption has risen by 8,853%. It’s not that Americans choose to eat corn syrup, they choose to eat processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup is added to nearly every processed food.

The current government guidelines are only a little different than the original food pyramid. The current recommendations are still high in grains, but the recommendation for fruits and vegetables is higher.

Conclusion

A full 80% of your diet should consist of raw, fresh, organic produce – more vegetables than fruits. Meats should be organic. Nuts and seeds should be soaked or sprouted. Grains should be limited and gluten should be avoided if any illness is present. Dairy should be organic and raw or limited. Omega 3 fatty acids from flax seed oil, fish oil, or a blended oil and oily fish should be added to your diet. Clean water is also essential.

You should avoid all artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives; MSG; high fructose corn syrup; trans fats; and GMOs. Seriously limit or eliminate all processed sugar.

For more information about a truly healthy diet, read the 80% Raw Food Diet. Boost your nutrition with increased vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, learn how to make your own Total Nutrition Powder.

Further Reading:

Sources:




Cinnamon – Ceylon Vs Cassia, Health Benefits, and Other Interesting Facts

Cinnamon comes from the bark of evergreen trees of the genus cinnamomum. When cinnamon is harvested, the bark is stripped and sun dried. As it dries, cinnamon curls into a well-known shape, called quills. If not ground, it is then sold as whole cinnamon or cinnamon sticks.

Contents

Cinnamon was once one of the most highly sought after commodities on the planet. This spice has been in use for thousands of years as a medicine, as an embalming agent, as a means of preserving food, and as a flavoring enhancing spice. The earliest reports of cinnamon date back to ancient Egypt in 2000 B.C. The Egyptians used both cinnamon and the related spice, cassia, as embalming agents. Cinnamon was also used in the Old Testament as an ingredient in anointing oil.

Tales of Cinnamon’s Origin

Europeans were aware that cinnamon was shipped from the Red Sea through the trading ports of Egypt, but where exactly it came from was a mystery. In an effort to maintain their trade monopoly, Arab traders wove elaborate stories about the origins of cinnamon. These stories further helped to justify cinnamon’s scarcity and exorbitant prices.

Sier de Joinville believed the fanciful stories he was given of cinnamon’s origin. Joinville told his king in 1248 that cinnamon was pulled up in nets at the source of the Nile, all the way out at the edge of the world.

An Arab, Herodotus, came to believe that the mythical cinnamologus birds gathered cinnamon sticks from a distant unknown land. The cinnamologus birds made their nests so high in the mountains that no one could climb them. According to this myth, the method of collection was to leave large chunks of ox meat below these nests and wait for the birds to collect them. When the birds gathered the meat into the nest, the increased weight would cause them to collapse, enabling people to gather the cinnamon sticks at the base of the mountain.

Another wild cinnamon origin story claimed that cinnamon was harvested within deep canyons, relentlessly guarded by monstrous snakes.

The 1st century Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, reasoned that cinnamon hails from Ethiopia. Cinnamon, he reasoned, was carried on rafts bereft of oars or sails and propelled by “man alone and his courage.”

Wars and Exploration for Cinnamon

Exploration of the new world was primarily motivated by a desire to expand the spice trade. At the time of Columbus’ expedition, cinnamon was at the height of its demand. Expanding the spice trade was one of the primary reasons for Columbus’ expedition. Columbus sent back what he thought was cinnamon from the New World. It was not cinnamon, however. Cinnamon country had yet to be found.

European efforts to find the source of cinnamon fell short until 1518 when the Portuguese located cinnamon at Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). With ruthless precision, the Portuguese conquered the island kingdom of Kotto and enslaved the population in order to monopolize the cinnamon trade.

The Portuguese maintained control of the region for a century, until the occupied people allied with the Dutch in 1638 to wrestle control of the region away from the Portuguese. Their combined efforts were successful, and they eliminated Portuguese control of the region. The Dutch made the island kingdom beholden to them for their military aide. The island people traded one European oppressor for another. The Dutch held the cinnamon monopoly for the next 150 years.

The British later conquered Ceylon in 1784. However cinnamon had begun to be cultivated in other parts of the world, and by the year 1800 it was no longer the rare precious commodity it once was.

Cinnamon Varieties

cinnamon comparisonThere are hundreds of types of Cinnamon, but there are only four varieties used for commercial purposes. The cinnamon known as “true cinnamon” is Ceylon cinnamon. This is the only variety that many other countries refer to as cinnamon. Other varieties are known as cassia.

Other cinnamon varieties, which are much more common in North America, are easier to produce and less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia (Chinese) cinnamon, Saigon cinnamon, and Korintje are typically all lumped in together and referred to as cassia cinnamon, though they are each distinctively different. Each of these three closely related spices are much stronger and more pungent than Ceylon cinnamon.

In North America, when cinnamon is used as an ingredient or sold on the shelves as simply “cinnamon”, it is typically Korintje or cassia (Tung Hing).

CeylonCassiaKorintjeSaigon
Other NamesCinnamomum Verum, Sweet Cinnamon, True Cinnamon, Mexican Cinnamon, Cinnamomum ZeylanicumChinese Cinnamon, Tung HingPadang Cassia, Indonesian CinnamonVietnamese Cassia, Vietnamese Cinnamon
Scientific NameCinnamomum VerumCinnamomum AromaticumCinnamomum BurmanniCinnamomum Loureiroi
Country of OriginSri Lanka (90%), India, Madagascar, Brazil, and the CaribbeanChinaIndonesiaVietnam
TasteMild, sweetSpicy, bitterSpicy, pungentSpicy, slightly sweet
ColorLight to medium reddish brownDark reddish brownDark reddish brownDark reddish brown
Aromasweet, complexIntense, pungentIntense, spicy, pungentSpicy
PriceExpensiveCheapCheapMedium
Coumarin 0.017 g/kg0.31 g/kg2.15 g/kg6.97 g/kg

Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil, India, and the Caribbean. This variety is more popular in much of Europe, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Indian curries and desert recipes of the lighter variety that call for cinnamon are typically referring to Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon is the sweetest and mildest tasting and the lightest in color. It’s also three to four times more expensive than the other varieties.

Ceylon has less coumarin than the other varieties, and is often recommended above others by the alternative health community and many conventional doctors as well, since coumarin can cause liver damage in high dosages (more on that below).

Cassia Cinnamon (Chinese Cinnamon)

It can get a little confusing here since all three non-Ceylon varieties are often referred to as cassia cinnamon, while the Chinese Cinnamon is often referred to as cassia cinnamon. In other words, Cassia cinnamon may refer to Chinese cinnamon or it may refer to one of the other non-Ceylon cinnamons: Saigon cinnamon or Korintjr cinnamon.

Today, Tung Hing, the Chinese cinnamon is mostly grown in China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. This variety is spicy, bitter and very intense.

Saigon Cinnamon

Known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia, Saigon cinnamon’s scientific name is Cinnamomum Loureiroi. It comes from an evergreen tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. Saigon cinnamon is closely related to Chinese cinnamon. Saigon cinnamon has around 1-5% essential oil content and 25% cinnamaldehyde in the essential oil, which is the highest of all the cinnamon species.

Saigon cinnamon’s bark is similar to that of Tung Hing, but with a more pronounced and complex aroma. In Vietnamese cuisine, Saigon cinnamon bark is an important ingredient in many dishes including pho, the well-known noodle soup.

Saigon cinnamon has a volatile oil content of around 7%, which gives it a very bold and robust flavor that is ideal for cooking and for use in sauces.

Korintje Cinnamon

Fragrant Korintje cinnamon is as intense and spicy as Chinese cinnamon, but it is also a bit smoother. Korintje cinnamon from Indonesia accounts for most of the cinnamon imported into the U.S. Although lacking the depth of Chinese cinnamon, the flavor is smoother. Korintje cinnamon is a common choice for commercial bakeries in North America because of its good flavor and lower cost.

Coumarin in Cinnamon and Liver Damage

Ceylon cinnamon benefits are marketed as superior to the less expensive Cassia spices primarily due to Ceylon cinnamon’s ultra low levels of a chemical called coumarin, a blood thinner that is toxic to the liver and prevalent in much higher levels in the three cassia spices. It’s not anything most people need to worry about; the risk for any damage with normal or even much higher than normal consumption of cassia cinnamon is negligible.

For flavoring food, go with any and all varieties and discover what works best for each food. As a medicinal supplement though, if you want to take regular, relatively large doses, it may make sense to stick with Ceylon cinnamon for this purpose.

It should also be known that any cinnamon in very large doses will make one sick. Check out the cinnamon challenge; the objective is to film oneself swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything:

We don’t recommend trying it. The cinnamon challenge is a little risky. If you are taking cinnamon as a supplement in capsule form, it’s typically a good idea to take it with food, and don’t overdo it.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

While there are definitely color, taste, and texture variations between Ceylon, Cassia, Korintje, and Saigon cinnamon, the differences in respect to health benefits are minor.

Nutrients – One teaspoon of Cinnamon Powder has up to 16% of the U.S. recommended daily allowance for Manganese, 5% for fiber 3% for iron, and 3% for calcium.

Cinnamon, Blood, and Inflammation Reduction

Cinnamon helps reduce unwanted blood platelet clotting, which can result in inadequate blood flow, and is a common symptom of various diseases and overall poor health. Cinnamon inhibits the release of arachidonic acid (an inflammatory fatty acid) and reduces its formation. Cinnamon also removes blood impurities and helps to improve blood circulation due to the presence of a blood-thinning compound.

Cinnamon Is a Powerful Antimicrobial Spice

Cinnamon is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic.

Cinnamon can be used as a food preservative. Just a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to approximately 3 ounces of carrot broth inhibited the growth of the food-borne pathogenic Bacillus cereus for at least 60 days in the refrigerator. When the broth was refrigerated without the addition of cinnamon oil, the bacteria flourished.

Multiple studies have shown cinnamon’s effectiveness with a multitude of viruses including but not limited to HIV, herpes, and the adenovirus. Cinnamon even shows promise with cancer.

Cancer Preventer

Studies have shown that cinnamon and cinnamon oil shows promise with treating tumors, gastric cancers, melanomas, leukemia, colon cancer, and lymphoma cancer.

Antioxidant

Cinnamon a powerful antioxidant. In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano. In another study, cinnamon, anise, ginger, licorice, mint, nutmeg, vanilla, and artificial preservatives were looked at to see which compounds prevented oxidation most effectively. Mint came in first; cinnamon came in second.

Blood Sugar, Diabetes, and Cinnamon

Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar levels, which can help with weight loss, and can also prevent, and even help reverse, diabetes and hypoglycemia. Cinnamon actually slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. Cinnamon also stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates insulin receptors while it enhances muscle cells’ insulin-signaling pathways, which increases the body’s ability to properly utilize glucose.

One study found Cassia cinnamon was almost twice as effective as the same amount of Ceylon cinnamon for controlling blood sugar. On the other hand, if you are concerned about coumarin consumption, you could double your Ceylon cinnamon dosage and not even come close to the high Coumarin levels found in Cassia Cinnamon. The general consensus is that approximately 1/2 of a teaspoon a day of cinnamon is effective for normalizing blood sugar.

Lowering LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Studies have found that regular consumption of cinnamon is associated with a statistically significant decrease in levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase in HDL cholesterol (known as the good cholesterol).

A controlled study was done with 60 people with type 2 diabetes. One group received cinnamon daily while the other group was giving a placebo. Forty days later, all of the cinnamon group showed reduced blood sugar levels down by 18-29%; reduced triglycerides, down by 23-30%; reduced LDL cholesterol, down by 7-27%; and reduced total cholesterol, down by 12-26%. The placebo group saw no significant changes.

Cinnamon and the Brain

Folklore says the smell of cinnamon can cure the winter blues. No studies support this except for an interesting study that found the scent of cinnamon reduced driver irritability.

Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and removes nervous tension and memory loss. Researchers have proven that cinnamon improves cognitive abilities such as attention span, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response. Just the aroma or just the taste of cinnamon, can stimulate cognitive function.

Cinnamon consumption may delay the effects of, slow the effects of, and even reverse some of the effects of Alzheimer’s. In addition, some parents are using cinnamon to treat their children with ADHD.

Ways to Use Cinnamon

There are various essential oils extracted from various parts of the tree (not just the bark), and various species (as mentioned above) to choose from.

Cinnamon Stick Tea

      1. 5 cups water in a metal pot or glass kettle
      2. Add one cinnamon stick (3 inch length)
      3. Cinnamon sticks should be boiled slowly. Set the heat setting to as low as possible to sustain a low, slow boil and cook 15 to 25 minutes.
      4. Let it steep/rest for 15 minutes.
      5. You may reheat before serving. It yields just over a cup.

Enhanced Golden Milk Tea Recipe

This is a new twist on an ancient way of experiencing the benefits of turmeric. Ideally, use all fresh, unadulterated herbs whenever available.

      • 1 cup of warm Coconut Milk
      • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated turmeric with skin
      • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger with skin
      • 1 pinch of black pepper
      • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix it all up and drink. I you prefer to drink it warm, only heat the coconut milk; be careful not to cook the other ingredients. Add the other ingredients when the coconut milk is cool enough to drink to preserve enzymes and other fragile micronutrients.

Household Disinfectant and Odor Neutralizer

Cinnamon has been proven to be good at killing bacteria including, e-coli and salmonella. Cinnamon oil kills bacteria that create odors as well.

Mix 10 drops of cinnamon essential oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and use to disinfect counter tops, sinks, cabinets, doorknobs, toys etc.

Place three drops of cinnamon essential oil mixed with water on a diffuser to neutralize odors in a large room within minutes.

Tooth and Gum Health

Antibacterial properties of cinnamon remove harmful bacteria without damaging teeth or gums. Try using cinnamon with homemade mouthwash and toothpaste recipes. Also, try oil pulling with coconut oil and a few drops of cinnamon oil. See Homemade DIY Oral Health.

Insect Repellant

Cinnamon essential oil can be used for head lice treatment and to repel (or kill) ants, bed bugs, dust mites, roaches, and mosquitoes.

Skin Infections Like Athlete’s Foot

Try cinnamon oil on any topical skin infection, including athlete’s foot. It’s antimicrobial properties make quick work out of fungus.

Digestion

Cinnamon is very effective for treating indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. Cinnamon eliminates excess gas from the stomach and intestines, removes acidity, kills pathogens and acts as a diuretic to stop diarrhea. It relieves irritable bowel syndrome, reduces morning sickness, and is often referred to as a digestive tonic.

Menstruation

Cinnamon has been shown to provide relief from menstrual discomfort and cramping.

Breastfeeding

Regular consumption of cinnamon after childbirth delays menstruation, especially when combined with breastfeeding. Many believe that cinnamon promotes healthier breast milk as well.

Massage

Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory substance that combined with carrier oil for massage, and when consumed, can help soothe and remove stiffness in muscles and joints.

Wound Healing

Cinnamon oil acts as a coagulant to stop excess bleeding and kills infectious pathogens, facilitating the healing process.

Conclusion

The cinnamon in your pantry is most likely many years old, stale, and of little potency. Stale cinnamon has reduced flavor and health benefits. It may be time to go cinnamon shopping. Be sure to check out garlic, turmeric, ginger, and more below.

Further Reading:
Sources:

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GMO Science – Understanding How GMOs Are Created, and What Prominent Scientists Are Saying

According to the World Health Organization, GMOs are “Organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”

Genetically modified organisms are organisms built with genes from more than one species. The process involves laboratories and scientists followed by regulators, lawyers and lobbyists. There is nothing natural about it. So when biotech argues that the techniques for creating GMO crops are just like traditional crop breeding techniques, those statements are blatantly false.

The First Frankenfoods

One of the first GMO crops to be put on the market was Bt-corn. Bt-corn was made a few decades ago by combining the genes of a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, with the DNA of corn. This genetic modification was engineered to create corn that produces pesticide. Every cell now produces a new protein never before seen in corn, the Bt endotoxin or Bt protein. The toxin is produced in sufficient quantities to kill insects.

The Bt protein or Bt endotoxin must be ingested in order for it to kill. After ingestion, the Bt protein binds to the insect’s digestive tract. It can no longer feed, and in a matter of hours its gut breaks down, and bacteria from its digestive tract flood the insect’s body. It dies of septicemia, eaten from within.

The Bt toxin has been found in human blood and in pregnant women and their fetuses. This means that these toxins are not only making their way into our bodies, our bodies are not fully eliminating them.

Other examples of GMOs include adding a gene from a fish into tomatoes and strawberries to protect them from freezing. Goats have been injected with spider genes in order to produce milk that contains proteins more durable than Kevlar. Also rice has been injected with human genes to manufacture pharmaceuticals.

Methods to Create GMOs

Genetically modifying plants and animals are typically created using one of three methods: the gene gun, the plasmid method, and the vector method.

Gene Gun

The gene gun literally shoots genetic material into the targeted cells. Genetic modification using the gene gun begins with either a young plant, or with cells grown in a culture. The gene gun, using specially prepared bullets, bombards the cultured cells or the young plant. The bullets are coated with microscopic gold or tungsten particles that contain segments of DNA. Once the microscopic particles are inside the nucleus of cells, the DNA can merge into the genes of the young plant or the genes of the cells in a tissue culture.

It is interesting to note that the young plant (now called a chimera) will retain most of its physical characteristics, but the plant grown from a cell culture may grow to look very different from the original plant.

The Plasmid Method

The plasmid method, the most common method, uses bacteria to modify an organism. Plasmids are a type of DNA found in bacteria. The process involves bathing the plasmids in enzymes, encoding the bacteria for antibiotic resistance, and then fusing the plasmids into target bacteria. The culture is then treated with antibiotics that kill all of the unmodified bacteria.

The Vector Method

The vector method uses a modified virus to alter the genes of the target cells. The genes to be modified or removed are isolated. The virus is altered to be less destructive and to carry the genetic payload. The virus then infects the target cells with altered genes. The infection modifies the cells’ genetic structure. As the cells multiply, all copies of the cells will express the modified genes.

Artificial Selection Vs. GMOs

Biotech argues that genetically modifying food is no different than artificial selection. Irrefutably, both processes change the genes of plants and animals.

But artificial selection and natural selection carry genes within populations that are constrained by species. Genetically modified foods have no such constraints. Genes from different species are put together to make new organisms. Let’s take a closer look at artificial selection.

What is Artificial Selection

Artificial selection is a process by which natural evolutionary processes are altered by human intervention. Current estimates place the beginning of life at 3 ½ to 4 billion years ago. This long time span is what accounts for the rich diversity of life on Earth. More than 99.9% of all species that have existed on this planet are now extinct. Of those that remain, the plants and animals most useful to us have been domesticated. Instead of survival of the fittest, think survival of the friendliest and survival of the most nutritious and delicious. With our help, the evolution of these plants and animals was put on fast forward.

Through artificial selection (also called artificial breeding) we have bred plants and animals that are in almost all cases so different from their wild counterparts as to be unrecognizable.

Wild carrots, and wild lettuce are, by today’s standards, inedible. Wild carrots produce natural pesticides, which are good for carrots and bad for us, so we bred that trait out of carrots. Wild carrots also provide fewer calories, and less nutrition than their domesticated counterparts. Wild lettuce contains latex. As you might have guessed, latex tastes horrible, and it irritates our digestive tract.

The main limitation of selective breeding is that the organisms to be bred must be closely related, usually of the same species. If not of the same species, they must be very closely related and share a recent common ancestor, such as dogs and wolves, or wild boars and pigs. Attempts to breed more distant relations such as horses and donkeys or lions and tigers usually produce sterile offspring, or no offspring at all. (A mule is bred from a male donkey and a female horse. A hinny is bred from a female donkey and a male horse. Less commonly known, a liger is an animal bred from a male lion and a female tiger. The progeny of a female lion and a male tiger is called a tigon.)

This radical alteration of plants and animals has been going on for a long time. Selective breeding has a proven track record. It isn’t perfect, and agronomists still have a lot to learn to learn in order to improve upon it, but we have been doing it for thousands of years. Without the domestication of plants and animals we could not support our population, not nationally and definitely not globally.

The changes made to domesticated plants and animals over time do alter genes. Desired traits are selected and undesirable traits are selected against. To say this modifies genes is semantically correct, but so does natural selection, but it is not the same thing as genetic modification.

Despite this limitation, it is incredible what can be achieved via artificial selection. We can produce purple potatoes, black tomatoes, yellow watermelon, over 300 breeds of dogs, and more than 800 breeds of cows. Heirloom fruits and vegetables, commercial cultivars, and hybrids have all been realized through artificial selection.

The GMO Debate and Prominent Scientists

Neil Degrasse Tyson argues that all foods are genetically modified, and that people have an irrational fear of these new foods. Bill Nye echoes the same sentiments. Both have begun publicly supporting GMOs. Neither individuals are experts on genetics, nutrition, health, or biology. Dr. Tyson is an accomplished astrophysicist. Bill Nye earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Both individuals studied under Carl Sagan, and the late Carl Sagan had something very different to say about genetic engineering.

“Fortunately, we do not know, or at least do not yet know…how to assemble alternative sequences of nucleotides…to make alternative kinds of human beings. In the future, we might well be able to put nucleotides together…in any desired sequence…to produce human characteristics we think desirable. A disquieting and awesome prospect.” – Carl Sagan

“Biology is more like history than it is like physics. You have to know the past to understand the present. There is no predictive theory of biology just as there is no predictive theory of history. The reason is the same both subjects are still too complicated for us.” – Carl Sagan

A Geneticist Weighs In – David Suzuki

David Suzuki agrees that biology and genetics (a subfield of biology), are unpredictable. He doesn’t think that GMOs have been adequately tested, and he says that biotech has put us all in great experiment by prematurely introducing GMOs to the food supply.

“The problem is this: geneticists follow the inheritance of genes in what we call a vertical fashion. You breed a male and a female. You follow their offspring. You breed them. You follow it on down, within a species. What biotechnology allows us to do is to take genes from this organism and move it, what we call horizontally, into a totally unrelated species. …What biotechnology allows us to do is to switch genes from one to the other without the biological constraints.” -David Suzuki

“The problem is this you see, it’s very, very bad science. We assume that the principles governing the inheritance of genes vertically applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There is absolutely no reason to make that conclusion. We have to do more experimentation.” – David Suzuki

Biotech claims that they are thousands of studies proving the safety of GMOs. Many short-term studies, up to 90 days, do show their products are safe. Many long-term studies, show a very different outcome.

Dr. Goodall’s Informed Opinion

Before Jane Goodall’s work our definition of mankind was “man the toolmaker.” Dr. Goodall has made many important scientific discoveries. She proved that chimpanzees use tools, that they eat meat, and that they have a complex social system. She is a highly respected scientist.

She is well informed on GMOs, so her opinion of them is not borne of ignorance. Dr. Goodall has publically accused GMO supporters of fraud, and says that they are the ones who are “anti science”. She has warned Britain and Europe not to lower GM safeguards, and she has condemned politicians for endorsing “Frankenstein food.”

“I pursued nature to her hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?” Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

When the GMO Studies Are Not Funded By Industry…

A two-year study in France has shown that rats didn’t get cancer in the first 90 days of being fed GMO corn, they began to get cancer after four months. The journal, which published the study, retracted it.

The scientists stand by their results, and they believe that the editorial appointment of Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee, is the reason behind the retraction. The study has been criticized for what kind of rats was used, but these are the same kind of rats used in many Monsanto studies.

There have also been long-term studies that show disruption of reproduction due to GMOs with low fertility and high infant death rates in rats and mice.

And while articles will state that there is no evidence, even anecdotal evidence of disease or problems due to GMO livestock feed, this is another lie. Farmers have complained about their animals’ poor health and sterility due to GMO feed.

GMO Contamination

Biotech said they could contain GMOs, but this was another lie. GMOs contaminate other varieties by cross-pollination. This contamination typically comes from natural sources. Birds, insects, wind, and weather can carry pollen or seeds from GMO crops many miles to other farmer’s fields. When this happens, if the farmer isn’t growing the same GMO crop, he isn’t considered the victim, he is often sued for patent violation. The usual procedure is a settlement agreement that forces the farmer into silence.

GMO wheat was not approved by the FDA, but a field of GMO wheat was found in Montana, well after the GMO crop was ordered to be destroyed.

The South Korean government bans the cultivation of GMO crops, but GMOs have been found growing in their country; especially along shipping routes. South Korea imports animal feed, and they import GMO crops, but they do prohibit growing GMOs. Now they have no choice; GMOs are growing themselves.

Many countries have banned the cultivation of GMOs, and most countries require GMOs to be clearly labeled. Canada and the U.S. do not currently require GMO labeling, except in a few states. There is currently a bill called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would eliminate state’s rights to label GMOs.

The Labeling Double-Standard

Biotech has opposed GMO labeling for consumers, but they are certainly pro-labeling when it comes to their seeds. When farmers buy their seed, they extensively label it, and they explain the many restrictions placed on their seeds. One of the restrictions is that farmers are prohibited from growing non-GMO crops alongside GMO crops, making it impossible to compare yields. Biotech claims GMOs increase yield, but this is another lie as proven by crop yields across the world.

One of the more common genetic modifications renders a plant immune to Round Up. This allows the farmer to spray Round Up in large amounts all over his or her field to kill weeds. Unfortunately, this process has resulted in Round Up resistant weeds, and it increases herbicide residues in the crops. Recently, the World Health Organization said the widespread use of Round Up is a main cause of the rising cancer rates worldwide.

How To Avoid GMOs

Avoiding GMOs won’t be easy for most people who eat prepackaged, processed foods. The NON-GMO project verified label is helpful. It means the ingredients are 99% GMO free. Organic also means 99% GMO free. More than 80% of processed foods contain GMO ingredients. If you buy processed foods, buy organic.

Trader Joe’s sells GMO foods, though their name brand items do not contain them.

Whole Foods talks a good game, but so far they have done nothing except provide some organic options. Exclusively organic restaurants are few and far between, and unfortunately, almost any other restaurant will be serving GMO food. The most common GMOs are canola oil, soy (including milk and oil), corn (including high fructose corn syrup), cottonseed oil, zucchini, yellow squash, papaya, aspartame (which is produced from genetically modified bacteria) and sugar (from sugar beets).

Conclusion

Despite what biotech would have you believe, it is not unscientific to reject GMOs. The rest of the world is not too keen on genetically modified foods, and the scientific community is divided on the issue. The majority of scientists appear to support GMO technology, but there is a lot of money involved in supporting it and nothing but hardship for those who dare oppose it. Many scientists are harshly criticized, censored, and have their funding disappear if they are critical of biotechnology.

Censorship has no place in science, and in order for science to thrive, scientific inquiry must be given free reign. If allowed, science is ultimately self-correcting, but not when scientists are coerced into supporting commercial interests before science. This is exactly what is happening.

The belief that GMOs are harmful to human health certainly has scientific validity. Despite what biotech companies would have us believe, we evolved to eat food, not chemicals. We evolved to eat organisms that came from the earth, not organisms that came from a laboratory.

What We Can Do About It

In a free society, it should be easier to opt out of this GMO experiment. We should have the right to choose what we put into our bodies and not have it chosen for us.

We can vote with our dollars, but not when we are kept in the dark.

Please contact your representative and senators (also check out How To Contact Congress) now and let them know you want to see all GMO foods labeled. Ask them to vote against the Food Safety and Labeling Act, which would deny states the right to require GMO labeling.

 

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All About Fleas – Natural Remedies – Inside and Out

Spring is here and here come the fleas.

When your cat or your dog starts scratching and little red bumps appear on your ankles and itch like crazy, a flea infestation is already underway. Although there are more than 2,500 types of fleas (with about 325 species in the U.S.), you are probably dealing with the cat flea, one of the peskiest creatures known to cats, dogs, or people.

Fleas can consume up to 15 times their weight in blood. They are so tiny, this doesn’t seem like much, but a serious infestation can cause your pet to suffer from anemia (which could be life-threatening, especially for puppies or kittens) or to suffer from a mild to severe allergic response. Fur loss, chewed skin, scabs, and hot spots may result. Some animals exhibit a severe reaction to a single fleabite. Animals also swallow fleas, which can result in tapeworms.

Fleas are interesting little critters. These wingless, 6-legged monsters can jump 100 times their height and 10,000 times in a row, the entire length of a football field.

Cat fleas are not the type associated with plague or murine typhus; but rat fleas associated with these diseases can be found in the southwestern United States, so eradication of rodent infestation and their fleas is also important.

Life Cycle of a Flea

Adult females lay 25-40 eggs a day, up to 2,000 eggs in their lifetime. Though the eggs are laid on the host, they are not glued to the pet’s hair. They fall off easily when the animal shakes, moves, or scratches. They hatch in two to five days and enter stage one of three larval stages, which together last a total of seven-fourteen days. Pupae usually develop into adults within one or two weeks, but they can lie dormant in this stage until the vibration of an animal or human stimulates them. The typical warm weather life cycle for a flea is three to four weeks.

Cat fleas are also a problem for the farm, as they feed on livestock (especially cows and pigs) and chickens. Adult fleas survive the winter and begin their reproductive cycle as weather warms up in the spring and summer.

Conventional Treatment

Conventional treatment involves toxic ingredients – toxic to both animals and humans. Pest control companies spray their noxious sprays in and around our homes, we set off indoor bombs to fumigate, and we put toxic collars, sprays, powders, and treatments on our pets. Then we wonder why our animals develop cancer.

We may spend hundreds of dollars on treatments and see no discernable progress in eradicating an infestation before resorting to alternative, healthy ways to control fleas.

Alternative Treatments For Our Pets

Raw Food Diet

All health, for all animals, begins with diet. Just as a healthy diet is the basis for human health, a truly healthy diet is the basis for your pet’s health. If you want your pet to achieve optimum health and vitality, begin with an organic, raw diet. This one choice will eliminate most of your parasite problems. Parasites prefer unhealthy, malnourished animals. (To learn how to make your own cat or dog food, see the third link below.)

The addition of small amounts of garlic to raw food helps to repel fleas (but do not overdo garlic in animal food. Some say it will interfere with their red cell production). Diatomaceous earth will help eliminate parasites from the gut (remember ingested fleas can cause tapeworms to grow in the gut), omega 3 oils aid in skin health and sleek shiny fur, and total nutrition powder will boost nutrition.

Make sure to add a little oil-coconut oil is and omega 3 oil.

Essential Oils and Other Repellents

Peta suggests the following spray to repel fleas on dogs: “…add five drops each of tea tree oil, citronella oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil to one cup of water, shake it, and put it in a spray bottle.”

Another dog spray recipe follows:

Put 3 cloves of garlic, the peels from 1 orange and 1 grapefruit, 1 tablespoon of rosemary and 1 pint of water into a blender. Blend until liquefied, and then heat the concoction at a simmer for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool and strain. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and spray your pets before they go outside.

Cats don’t do as well with essential oils. Lemon water or vinegar water sprayed on the skin or food grade diatomaceous earth used as a powder on the skin will do the trick.

To make lemon water, use one sliced up lemon to a pint of water. Bring it to a boil and let it sit in the pan overnight. To make vinegar water, just mix one part vinegar to three parts water.

Alternative treatment for the indoors

Boric Acid is a long time standard, a powder that can be beaten into the carpets and sprinkled on the floor and other furnishings. Though it has been touted as a natural way to combat fleas and kill other insects, including roaches, it is not entirely non-toxic. It is best to use it in cracks and crevices where children and animals are not exposed.

The first line of defense indoors, is vacuuming and washing bedding. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Place the used bag in a zip-locked plastic bag and freeze it. Re-use and refreeze until you seal it and throw it away.

Wash your pet’s bedding, daily if possible. If your pet sleeps with you, wash your bedding daily or as often as possible. Remember, up to 40 eggs from each adult female flea are falling off your pet each day.

You can sprinkle Diatomaceous earth on the carpets. Do take care not to inhale it and remove your animals from the area. Leave it on carpets for a few hours before vacuuming and use a mask. Do not use the variety that has been chemically treated for swimming pools. Peta suggests salt or borax can also be used. Just leave it on carpets for a day before vacuuming. These three substances help dry out larvae, thus killing them.

Outdoor Treatment

Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled around the perimeter of the house and any areas where you suspect or have seen fleas.   You can also spray beneficial nematodes on lawns and around shrubs. They are safe for beneficial garden dwellers like ladybugs and earthworms, and they are non-toxic to children, and pets. They eat the fleas. Problem solved.

Conclusion

The best way to defeat fleas is to be proactive. Wash your animal’s bedding regularly and spray or powder your pet. If you had an infestation last year, treat the yard.

Learn how to make your own Total Nutrition Powder (great for you or your pet!).

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