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WATCH: Are Your Tomatoes Healthy?

Concerned that you can’t tell the difference between GMO tomatoes and regular healthy tomatoes? Well, you are definitely not alone. But the good news is there is an easy way to tell the difference. And in learning how to tell the difference, we are also exposed to the nasty nature of GMO foods.

Our future is one that will have us unable to depend on appropriate, honest food labeling. So it is incumbent on us to be able to decipher good from bad when it comes to good. This video is a great start to that journey.

 

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Mom Says She’s Found Secret To Cutting Sugar Down In Kid’s Diets

Mom of 6 Leanne discovers the secrets to being more Sugar Smart and you won’t believe how easy it is. Watch as Leanne and her family tackle the challenges and see what changes they make with the help of Change4Life and the Sugar Smart app.

Maybe a good app to help monitor sugar in your kids during the New Year? Would you ever use an app like this?

So how much does sugar affect your children’s lives? Some experts have linked symptoms of ADHD to a high sugar diet in kids. Kids intelligence may suffer from high sugar loads as well, according to recent studies.

But in the end, the subject is polarizing amongst parents, teachers and the medical community. Some believe sugar has been unfairly demonized. In the end, it comes down to what you feel as a parent.

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Obama Administration Silences Scientist Who Speaks Truth About GMO

This is the worst thing you will read all day (but you should read it). It is no secret that Government agencies don’t enjoy, nor harbor, the presence of those who work against their dogma; a dogma typically stout with crony backdoor deals which prove very profitable. Government agencies are merely businesses which server to protect their own interest.

The case of Jonathan Lundgren, a Scientist who wrote an article for the scientific journal Naturwissenschaften, is just such a perfectly built example. His article had to do with clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, harming monarch butterflies. Neonicotinoids already have a rather salaciously bad rap, having been featured in several documentaries as the main cause of our bee population dwindling away. In this case, Lundrgren was focusing mostly on the butterflies.

Lundgren’s life would change drastically when he was scheduled by the National Academy of Sciences to give a speech on the ill-effects of GMO crops. A series of backlash events by the USDA have called into question the ability for any scientist to legitimately study the effects of GMOs and other controversial matters. If the Obama administration shuts down these scientists, it radically changes the thoroughfare of evolved information.

Lundgren’s full story is published in the Atlantic and it is a frightening ready. I suggest everyone read it (click here).

Here is an excerpt.

For anyone who cares about scientific integrity, or about agricultural practices and policies with profound consequences for everyday life, it’s a disturbing allegation. The potential ramifications extend beyond Lundgren to other scientists who might be discouraged from studying important but politically contentious topics.

Keeping in mind, this is published in The Atlantic, which by all standards is considered a mainstream news source. The fact that this transgression by the Obama Administration is so vile and so obvious, it has received even mainstream media attention over the matter, should tell you a lot.

Our food supply is our lifeblood. Government agencies silencing those scientist attempting to shed light on their transgressions is a terrifying thought. It is my hope that this type of information is shared more liberally, that more people understand what is happening.

Photo by Joe Crimmings Photography

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This Guy Eats Nothing But Raw Meat

So you are thinking about going on the Paleo Diet, are you? Well how much heart do you actually have, folks? And seriously, by “heart,” I mean how much of it do you plan to eat? Vice has recently re-interviewed a guy that only eats raw meat. He’s insane. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m not judging at all, but in terms of what our culture is used to, the images in the article are incredibly shocking to “digest.” His name is Derek Nance and he’s from Kentucky. He’s traveled the world consuming local raw meats. He began consuming raw meats due to a “mystery stomach illness” which seemed to be impossible to deal with until he turned to eating a raw meat diet. The interview discloses how Derek is doing now (hint, he has a girlfriend it seems!). We encourage you to check it out.


So wait, is eating raw meat good for us?

Well, lets make a pretty important immediate point: Cooked food, in any case, is processed food. Cooking is processing. And yes, I understand that there is a point of being granular which we don’t want to slide into (such as washing meat or vegetables), however, cooking probably isn’t “too far.” We don’t want to group “cooking meat” in with “Toll House Cookies,” of course, but we also don’t want to assume that cooking meat has no effect on the meat at all. More than making it “safe,” it destroys nutrients (same with vegetables). Minerals, such as vitamins A, D, E and K are stable under heat. But fat soluble vitamins, such as B-vitamins and C tend to break down and suffer substantial losses, at the very least. Vitamin C, of course, is something we could all use more of and often times, people rely on worthless vitamin C pills which aren’t really, vitamin C. But at least vitamin C can be supplied by certain vegetables and fruits. Vitamin B is found in spinach and other items that people tend to eat raw.  But if someone is eating a diet limited to mostly cooked meat (think hard core low carbers), you might be running into some deficiencies.

There is also what’s known as the oxidation of fat. When the fat of meat is exposed to oxygen, it oxidizes. This happens even if you don’t cook it, but, it happens at a much expedited rate when you do cook it. Some believe that oxidized fats are inflammatory and should be avoided. Remember, even if you eat lean meats, they still have fat in them.

In some circles, it is believed that charred meat is cancerous. 

When meat—be it beef, pork, fish, or poultry—is cooked at high temperatures, it forms heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to the National Cancer Institute, HCAs and PCAs cause cancer in animal models (think: lab rats). So far it’s unclear if humans sprout cancer growths after exposure to HCAs and PHAs, but we aren’t volunteering for any trials to find out for sure.

Meat has long been associated with higher cancer risk, but many sources argue that correlation is not causation when it comes to the studies. A great many other factors, of course, exist, such as hormones / antibiotics found in the meat source and what diet the animal was subjected to while living its life.

But our common sense wisdom says that we cook meat to avoid bacteria and parasites that might do us severe harm. The CDC claims that meat is responsible for 22% of food-borne illnesses. And well, 29% of the deaths. That puts them behind leafy vegetables as the second most dangerous. But this claim, while valid, is wide ranging. It doesn’t dis-include pure, grass fed, organic meats. Any raw foodie is going to tell you that’s a huge difference maker, of course. In other words, maybe raw meat isn’t dangerous, but raw meat from poor sources is.

After this, we get into pretty much the basic premise of raw food eating in general: That’s how humans evolved. For some raw food advocates, cooking is a way of processing which relieves us of vital sources of vitamins and minerals while also putting us at risk for cancer, among other things. Raw, in their eyes, is always better, even when it comes to meat. But what if cooking HELPED humans evolve, rather than served as a detriment to their evolution. That’s exactly what one study from 2009 proposes.

This means that however sophisticated the non-thermal processing methods were, cooking would have conferred incremental energetic benefits. While much remains to be discovered, we conclude that the adoption of cooking would have led to an important rise in energy availability. For this reason, we predict that cooking had substantial evolutionary significance.

This isn’t to say that what Mr. Nance is doing isn’t helping him. He had an ailment which Doctors couldn’t resolve (we all most certainly understand that). He changed his diet and resolved it himself (boy, do we ever understand that). The key question is if it had to be raw meat, or if potentially some other variable exists. We all know that changing a diet is a complex matter. You leave out one item, you feel worse or better, you decide that item was the culprit. Then later you realize you also left out another item due to the complexity that is food and diet.

Many of us eat for various reason. Some are driven by animal ethics, while others are driven by cancer prevention. Some even eat for increased concentration or to help them have a baby. The list goes on. In the end and all things being equal, a diet, no matter how grotesque or shocking it may seem, is a pretty personal experience. This includes Mr. Nance and his vampire cocktail.

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How Much Does Your Diet Effect Your Mental Health?

Our diet drives our mental health. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is ran by pharmaceutical company marketing teams that try to lead us astray. But the fact is, the Standard American Diet has reeked havoc on our bodies. Most of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s were attached to a processed food feeding tube. We really didn’t know any better at all.

When I got older, I was a moody teenager. That’s normal, of course, to an extent, but I had no idea that maybe my diet was contributing the most to my mood. But it was. I went to Doctors for anxiety in my 20’s, yet none mentioned that diet could be a cause.

As it stands, here are three main causes of mood changes (depression, anxiety) for me.

Blood Sugar: Blood Sugar ebbs and flows really aren’t given enough credit for how they can alter your mood. Did you know that blood sugar has been linked to schizophrenia? Blood sugar could be the most vital part to your every day mental health. When I skip meals that involve complex carbs, such as vegetables, beans, brown rice, yams, etc., my mood heads south pretty fast. Keeping your blood sugar at a stable pace will help you remain focused, energized and feeling a lot more content with the world around you. This doesn’t mean you need to eat food all day long, this just means that when you choose to eat, choose balanced meals that are infused with complex carbs. Allow the complex carbs to give you a fuller feeling and slowly break down into glucose. This means no big peaks in blood sugar as well as no valleys.

Sugar and your addiction to it: Sugar addiction isn’t healthy (that’s not ground breaking), but it can be incredibly stressful. Being addicted to anything is stressful. When you overload on sugar, your body begins firing off hormones to deal with it. Hormones can cause stress in your body and mind. Check out this study from 2014, whereas 3663 people were tested for depression and their volume of sugar intake was measured. The people who ate high sugar diets were the most likely depressed.

The secondary portion is addiction. Addiction is stressful. Often times, we feel guilty for our inability to stop eating sugary foods. We want to say no to the piece of cake at night, but we give in, and that causes us stress and anger and depression. Learning to stop the cycle of this addiction is the best means of control. How does one do that? Stop eating it. Make it a few days. Your cravings will drop.

Caffeine: the friend or the foe? I don’t even like bringing this one up. People find the subject of caffeine polarizing. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Recent studies have shown that people who drink caffeine are less depressed. I never feel like those studies are well done, however. I think if you enjoy caffeine and you feel great, go with it. BUT, and this is a big BUT, if you are feeling down, anxious, unable to sleep, you should really consider getting rid of it.

I have my affairs with caffeine. I get it. But I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that I feel a lot better overall when I am not drinking it. For me, caffeine is great, that first moment you drink it. But coming down from it is tough. I feel edgy and hungry, or like I need a drink. That’s a super personal experience, of course.

At the end of the day, everyone has to find their own way. But more often than not, when speaking to people about their mood or their anxiety, people still pass over the diet aspect. People automatically look at other factors such as genetics, work-life relationship, marriage, bills, etc. And there is no doubt that much of that has to do with it, but it is unlikely the end all. Diet is a huge factor. What you put in your body (or don’t) can make or break how you deal with stressful encounters.

Pharmaceutical companies wash this under the rug with the singular purpose of keeping people turning primarily to medicinal treatments. They sell you on weight loss pills, SSRI pills for your depression, sleeping pills for the stressed nights. They have trained us. They have conditioned us. It is time to break the cycle, though. And we can do that by sharing more information.

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Pesticide Found In Milk Linked To Parkinson’s

Milk. It does the body good, right? Not always. Dairy is constantly under health scrutiny anymore and this month’s study into a pesticide found to have been used in milk decades ago is reviving that scrutiny. The pesticide, heeptachlor epoxide, was used in the 1980’s. It’s first used on pineapples. It made its way into the milk supply when cows began eating remnants of pineapples in Hawaii.

The study showed that non-smokers who drank more than two cups of milk per day were significantly more likely to develop Parkinson’s. The study originally was supposed to monitor the effects of aging, hence the average age of each participant was 54.

For the study, 449 Japanese-American men with an average age of 54 who participated in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study were followed for more than 30 years and until death, after which autopsies were performed. Tests looked at whether participants had lost brain cells in the substantia nigra area of the brain, which occurs in Parkinson’s disease and can start decades before any symptoms begin. Researchers also measured in 116 brains the amount of residue of a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide. The pesticide was found at very high levels in the milk supply in the early 1980s in Hawaii, where it was used in the pineapple industry. It was used to kill insects and was removed from use in the US around that time. The pesticide may also be found in well water.

The study found that nonsmokers who drank more than two cups of milk per day had 40 percent fewer brain cells in that area of the brain than people who drank less than two cups of milk per day. For those who were smokers at any point, there was no association between milk intake and loss of brain cells. Previous studies have shown that people who smoke have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

This isn’t dairy’s first run in with being linked to Parkinson’s. Here’s a study from 2007 that cited similar findings.

In this large observational study, we found that higher dairy consumption was associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. The association was stronger in men and was mostly explained by milk consumption.

What’s further interesting is that the pesticide link isn’t full proof; in other words, the milk itself isn’t ruled out as the actual cause. The researchers were quick to point out that the study’s results could have been based on “chance.” And that the milk was never tested for the pesticide in question. In any case, heeptachlor epoxide isn’t used as a pesticide anymore.

Parkinson’s affects roughly 1 million people in the states and it has no cure.

 

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Lemon Water Is Flat Out Amazing

Did you know that adding lemon to water will actually help quench your thirst more efficiently than water alone? Wait, this isn’t me saying water isn’t the ultimate human resource for vitality (it is), this is just me saying that adding some lemon can make it an even better experience. Lemon infused water means the body is being nourished with minerals and vitamins. When you wake up in the morning, it is likely you are a little dehydrated. This is natural. Drinking water with lemon will help hydrate, nourish the body, help kidney function and make you feel way more energetic. I know many of you may start your morning off with coffee, but really, trading in at least one coffee for lemon water can be a huge life-changing experience.

I don’t like to write these articles without having an attached, real-experience. Meaning, I like to write about it as from my experience in doing it and not just what “everyone says should happen.” I’ve always had a propensity towards caffeine, namely coffee. I know there are a lot of articles out there citing coffee as healthy, I’m not going to debate the matter, but I will say that once I started replacing my morning coffee with water with lemon, I started feeling a lot better. I didn’t quit coffee, I just moved it. Instead of having it first thing in the morning, I moved it to the afternoon so that I could start my day off better. So in some ways, the great effects of water with lemon could be just the fact that I cut back on caffeine.

What have I noticed? I notice I am sick less than ever. I eat pretty well (I mean this is my site, so of course!), but the water with lemon seems to have really stimulated my immune system. I have also found that if I drink coffee first thing in the morning, it causes a delayed appetite. Meaning, around noon, I’m starving (more than just the normal lunch hunger). When I start with water infused with lemon, I feel way more stable. I feel less hungry and the food I do crave is on the healthier side. The reason? The lemon is providing nourishment causing my body to not crave bad things. The water with lemon makes me feel satiated and satisfied.

When you wake up in the morning, you want to hydrate the body AND add nourishment of vitamins and minerals. To me, coffee was accomplishing none of that and in fact, probably just dehydrating me more. The “first thing in the morning” spot is really huge for infusing the body with hydration and health. What better way to start the day?

Do what do you say, coffee drinkers? Why not try replacing that cup of joe? And those who don’t drink coffee first thing, try this anyways. You really can’t go wrong! I wrote a few good reasons to try it out.

Water with lemon means electrolytes. Electrolytes are a big deal, but not because Gatorade made them so. It is more because electrolytes are the key source for our body’s balance. Electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium are central to our body’s function.

It helps your digestion. The citric acid in lemons helps stimulate gastric acids which help get your digestion working. It helps to detoxify you.

It will cleanse your liver. Lemons in water cleanse the liver, which acts as a detoxification system for the body. Cleansing the liver is central to health and vitality.

Lemon is anti-inflammatory. It will help your immune function.

High levels of potassium can often mean lower occurrence of depression. The nervous system needs potassium for proper function. People with low levels of potassium often also report feelings of depression.

It can help lower blood pressure.

It’s a vitamin C load! Vitamin C is great for the immune system and preventing sickness. Want to always be fighting colds? Water with lemon is the solution.

It can help dissolve gallstones and kidney stones. 

Really, this is a win for anyone who tries it! You can’t go wrong!

 

 

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Mastectomies Are Dangerous

Angelina Jolie did it. In fact, she’s the face of it in some ways having done it only due to her carrying what modern medicine considers a “genetic disposition” to it. The mastectomy, a procedure used to remove the breast after an aggressive breast cancer diagnosis, or in the more controversial “preventative” action, is ever-popular. And the amount of mastectomies are rising, according to a study from last year.

In the past decade, there have been marked trends toward higher proportions of BCS-eligible patients undergoing mastectomy, breast reconstruction, and bilateral mastectomy. The greatest increases are seen in women with node-negative and in situ disease. Mastectomy rates do not yet exceed current American Cancer Society/American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditation benchmarks.

I noted that final sentence because, well, it needs to be noted. Many women subjected to mastectomies either did so due to carrying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which are touted as massive precursors to breast cancer, or due to misdiagnosis (like this woman). The credibility of preventive mastectomy has been called into question, as you can imagine. The American Cancer Society paints the picture of the disfiguring surgery in almost a heroic way (see justifications above in high benchmarks). Believe me, I respect and empathize with any woman who has had to go through it, but I do think we need to question how needed it actually is.

The main reason to question it is because mastectomies are simply dangerous. In fact, they are the most dangerous breast cancer treatments available. When you combine mastectomies with breast reconstruction, you risk serious financial gloom and health complications surpassing all other treatments. A recent study examined the burdens of mastectomies. The study used 100,000 women with early-stage breast cancer. The researchers analyzed 10 years of medical claims within two divided groups: Over / Under 65 years of age. The under 65 group of women who had a mastectomy followed by reconstruction ended up having complications. In the latter half (over 65), the number was 70%.

And the cost are no joke either. You can see a graph here directly from the study itself.

image credit: http://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=2644818-SABCS-v2
image credit: http://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=2644818-SABCS-v2

For those who do end up with complications, the complication ends up tallying an average cost of $10,000. That’s in addition to the treatment’s initial cost of $1,400 to $3,600.

With mastectomy rates increasing, there is really no indication that the financial and health related complications will do anything but scale in growth. It is important that women understand that they do have options and should seriously research and consider everything. When a Doctor recommends a mastectomy, do your research, particularly if you don’t have breast cancer in the first place. These procedures are very serious surgeries which aren’t without serious risk, as the study shows.
Photo by KOMUnews