Foods, Uncategorized

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

 

Every time I make bread pudding, I chastise myself for not making it more often! Maybe it’s because I don’t always have extra bread around, or perhaps it’s because I’m never quite sure if bread pudding is supposed to be for breakfast or dessert. The last time I made this fall-flavored Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I realized something: I don’t have to have a plan for it! It’s delicious hot out of the oven for breakfast, and the leftovers can be served for dessert later in the day.

This hearty dish is perfect for cold fall and winter days. When the days start to get shorter and the air crisps up a bit, I find myself craving sweet, rich food. That doesn’t always work out too well for my waistline, though. Luckily, with recipes like this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding, I can have my cake and eat it, too! You see, most bread pudding recipes are loaded up with excess sugars. It takes a lot of sugar to sweeten something as savory as whole-wheat bread. But, we found a brilliant workaround. Want to know how we did it?

You might be surprised to learn that cinnamon and cardamom aren’t exactly sweet on their own. They sort-of trick our taste buds into thinking they’re a sweet spice. That’s because baking recipes almost always pair them with sugar. If you were to taste a pinch of them on their own, you’d find that they’re super pungent, slightly spicy, and a touch earthy.

But, when you combine them with something sweet, these spices really bloom. They actually help fill out our palates, allowing us to really taste any sweetness in the dish. Using these spices is part-one of our super-secret hack to make this Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding recipe more healthy. Part two: applesauce!

Instead of using a ton of processed sugar, we swapped in applesauce instead. It gives the bread pudding extra body while allowing the naturally sweet apples to shine.

Apple Cardamom Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 6 slices whole-wheat bread , using gluten free works too
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk (or, milk of your choice)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped apples

options:  raisins, cranberries, nuts all work well

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Cut your bread into 1-inch cubes and place them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, applesauce, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat the mixture with a whisk until everything is well combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the mixture before pouring the contents over the bread cubes. Press the cubes down into the mixture to make sure each one soaks up the liquid.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until the pudding is set and no longer jiggles when you shake the pan. You can also insert a knife into the middle of the pudding to make sure it comes out clean.
  6. Allow the pan to cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
  7. This pudding can be served hot or cold. Store it in the refrigerator (covered) for up to two days.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

 

At a party over the holidays, someone informed me that spinach and artichoke dip is no longer “in.”

I had no idea that food, especially near-universally crowd-pleasing food, could fall so easily out of vogue.

Then again, this came from my sister, the same one who has insisted for years that no one gets acrylic nails anymore. All I can say is last time I went in for a full set, I was in line behind plenty of other ladies waiting to get plastic glued to their fingertips.

Likewise, my sister imparted this sage wisdom over none other than a spinach and artichoke dip that she herself had made. So whether or not it’s still “in,” we all still love it.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach, cooked and liquid squeezed out
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese on high until fluffy. Add the artichokes, spinach, garlic, cheese, half the salt, and half the pepper. Mix on low speed just until combined.
  3. Carefully cut open the side of the chicken breast to create a pocket. Stuff each with the cream cheese mixture. About 3 to 4 tablespoons per chicken breast.
  4. In a large oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken carefully so the filling does not fall out. Cook each side about 1 to 2 minutes or until each side golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked though.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 389 | Total Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 806mg | Carbohydrates: 16g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 54g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

5 Triggers to Autoimmune Diseases

I couldn’t believe what the consultant was telling me.  He couldn’t see anything on the MRI scan that could be accounting for my pain, but as it was December he wanted to help me throug…Autoimmune diseases are increasingly common. About 50 million Americans are suffering from a least one kind.

If you have an autoimmune disease, it means that your body is basically attacking itself. Your immune system goes into overdrive and sees everything as a threat. Trying to protect you from this perceived danger, it starts fighting and attacking its own tissues and cells, mistaking them as hazards. This can lead to pain, discomfort, and all kinds of issues depending on the autoimmune condition you have.

So what are the top 5 triggers common in almost all autoimmune diseases?

 

5 Autoimmune Disease Triggers 

1. Sugar.  Processed sugar is a common offender for anyone’s health. It leads to inflammation and can trigger autoimmune symptoms. Use organic honey and eat dates, fruits, and root veggies for sweetness.

2. Quinoa.  Though it is gluten-free and a trendy protein-rich pseudo grain, in large amounts, it can actually provoke your immune system. Limit your quinoa consumption and stick to other gluten-free products instead.

3. Gluten. Gluten is a well-known offender of health. People with Celiac disease know to stay away from it, however, it is destructive to anyone with any other autoimmune condition as well. Switch to gluten-free to stay safe.

4. Dairy.  Due to molecular mimicry, casein in dairy can act like gluten in your body. It can cause your immune system to go haywire and trigger your symptoms. Switch to plant-based alternatives.

5. Milk chocolate.   It may be yummy, but all the refined sugar, dairy, unhealthy fats, and possible artificial ingredients make milk chocolate the enemy. Switch to dairy-free, extra dark chocolate, raw cacao, and carob products. If you need sweetness, fruit and root veggies are your best options.

 

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-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Making Lifestyle Changes You Can Live With

                       Making Lifestyle Changes                           You Can Live With

News Picture: Making Lifestyle Changes You Can Live With

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights two important steps for improving diet and exercise habits. The first is getting practical and personalized tips for making changes that you’ll permanently adopt. The second is developing the inner motivation needed to help make the first step stick.

The study recruited adults from a rural area in the South with limited access to a gym and other health-oriented facilities. To help them make positive changes, each had four sessions with a wellness counselor who gave recommendations tailored to their lifestyle. These included making realistic changes to the typical southern diet they normally ate, with an emphasis on how to make better fat and carb choices.

They were also given a fitness goal of 30 minutes a day, such as walking at least 7,500 steps at least five days a week, plus information on where to find farmers markets for healthier food as well as local parks and schools where they could walk.

Although researchers thought that rural participants would have a harder time making healthy changes than city dwellers, those who lived in the country lost more weight and became more active than those in healthier, more supportive environments. In fact, some became so motivated that the farther they lived from a gym, the greater the number of steps they took.

Everyone trying to lose weight can apply these findings to meet key goals. Consider a personal evaluation from a dietitian to get tips you can easily put into action and which, in turn, can boost your inner motivation. And this can be especially helpful if you live in an area with few resources.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Just 2 Weeks On The Couch Starts To Damage Your Body

Just 2 Weeks On The Couch Starts To Damage Your Body

News Picture: Just 2 Weeks on the Couch Starts to Damage Your Body

A new study proves that the old adage “use it or lose it” is definitely true when it comes to fitness.

After just two weeks of sedentary behavior, formerly fit people had:

  • A decline in heart and lung health
  • Increased waist circumference
  • Greater body fat and liver fat
  • Higher levels of insulin resistance

“The study showed that two weeks of reduced physical activity — from approximately 10,000 steps per day down to 1,500 per day — caused changes in health markers that are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said study author Kelly Bowden Davies. She’s a lecturer at Newcastle University and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

But the good news from the study is that the body seems to quickly bounce back once you start moving again.

“It’s important to note that when people resumed their normal activity levels after this period, the negative health changes were reversed,” she said.

The researchers recruited 28 healthy, regularly active adults. Eighteen were women. The average age of the study volunteers was 32. Their average body mass index (BMI) — a rough measure of body fat based on height and weight measurements — was just over 24. A BMI under 24.9 is considered normal weight.

The study volunteers had been quite active, normally clocking about 10,000 steps daily. Bowden Davies said most of this was just from daily activity, rather than structured exercise. She said they usually participate in no more than two hours of structured exercise weekly.

The researchers asked the volunteers to cut their activity drastically. They dropped an average of just over 100 minutes a day, the researchers said.

After two weeks of couch potato life, the study volunteers underwent a battery of testing. These results were compared to findings measured when the study started.

Bowden Davies said cardiorespiratory fitness levels dropped by 4% in just two weeks.

Waist circumference rose by nearly one-third of an inch. Liver fat increased by 0.2%. Total body fat went up by 0.5%. Insulin resistance increased and triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels went up slightly.

Fourteen days after resuming activity, these measures all bounced back, the investigators found.

“Even subtle increases in activity can have a positive effect on health. Moving more and breaking up sedentary activity is encouraged,” Bowden Davies added.

Dr. John Osborne, an American Heart Association spokesman, said this was a very interesting, and somewhat surprising, study. The findings validate advice he gives his patients. “If you can be a shark or a turtle, be a shark — always moving. This study showed you can lose the benefits of exercise very quickly, but the good news is that when they became sharks again, all the benefits came right back.”

Another expert who reviewed the study, Dr. Edmund Giegerich, chief of endocrinology and vice chairman of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York City, was also somewhat surprised by the magnitude of changes that happened in just two weeks.

Giegerich said the study confirms how important it is to stay active.

“Going from being sedentary to more active can help a great deal in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Just try to be more active. You’ll feel better, and if you’re trying to lose weight, it can help a little. You don’t have to run a marathon. Walking is fine. Just get up and get moving,” he advised.

Both experts pointed out that the study was small, and in a larger group, the findings might be different. The study was also only done for a short period of time.

Bowden Davies, Osborne and Giegerich all suspect that if people who are at a lower fitness level stop almost all of their activity that the results might even be worse.

The study was presented Wednesday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting, in Barcelona. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’re published in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Brain Games for Seniors

Brain Games for Seniors

 

Games for People with Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Many doctors encourage seniors to use brain fitness games as a means to help deal with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases, says SeniorLiving.org.

 

While research remains inconclusive, there appears to be a correlation between brain games and brain health.

The website says brain games that may help seniors include:

  • Memory games, such as Match and Simon.
  • Word games, such as word searches and Scrabble.
  • Electronic games, such as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud.
  • Board games, such as Chess and Checkers.
  • Interactive Wii and X-Box games.
  • Trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit.

 

If you need help determining which supplements you should take to prevent dementia, please contact us.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

News Picture: Your Noisy Knees May Be Trying to Tell You Something

Ever hear your joints clicking, creaking or crunching? Now, researchers say a new technique that listens closely to knees may help doctors diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis.

In the new study, researchers attached small microphones to participants’ knees, which allowed them to listen for high-frequency sounds as the person repeatedly stood up and sat down again.

Computer analysis of the sounds then provided information about the health of the knee, the study authors explained.

This study is the first to assess this technique in a large number of people with knee osteoarthritis. It was found to distinguish between healthy knees and those afflicted by this “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis.

The findings move the technique a step closer to use by doctors and in research, according to the report published Oct. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.

“This work is very exciting because it involves scientists and clinicians working together as a team to develop an entirely new approach,” said project leader John Goodacre. He’s an emeritus professor at Lancaster University, in the United Kingdom.

“Potentially, this could transform ways in which knee osteoarthritis is managed. It will enable better diagnosis, and will enable treatments to be tailored more precisely according to individual knee condition. It will also enable faster, bigger and better clinical trials of new treatments,” Goodacre said in a university news release.

The next step for researchers is to develop a non-invasive portable device that health care providers could use to assess whether patients’ knees are changing or are responding to treatment for osteoarthritis.

This technique could provide a quicker, cheaper, more convenient and more accurate assessment than current methods, the study authors said.

 

Remember!   We are in this together!

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

News Picture: Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to 'Flesh-Eating' Genital Infection

Say you have type 2 diabetes and you are taking a newer class of medications to treat your disease — but one day you notice pain, redness and a foul odor in your genital area.

If this happens, new research suggests you need to see your doctor immediately, because you may be suffering from Fournier gangrene. Also known as a “flesh-eating” disease, this infection attacks your genital or anal region and can quickly kill tissue as it spreads rapidly.

Unfortunately, it has become a rare but still possible safety concern for people taking diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists.

SGLT2 inhibitors are a newer class of diabetes medications, introduced in 2013. Drugs in this class include canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance).

Fournier gangrene occurred in 55 people taking these drugs between March 2013 and January 2019. For comparison, the researchers looked for cases of Fournier gangrene in people taking other diabetes medications from 1984 to 2019. They found only 19 such cases.

Still, the risk for Fournier gangrene remains very low, the researchers stressed.

“In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million patients received a dispensed prescription for an SGLT2 inhibitor,” said study author Dr. Susan Bersoff-Matcha, a medical officer in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. So, “Fournier gangrene is a rare event,” she said. “While our study shows an association between treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors and Fournier gangrene, we don’t know exactly what the risk is, or if Fournier gangrene can be predicted.”

Broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue are treatment options, the researchers said.

SGLT2 inhibitors work in the kidneys, allowing excess blood sugar to be removed in the urine, they said.

In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, the drugs may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in some people with type 2 diabetes.

But possible side effects include urinary tract infections and genital infections, such as yeast infections. Kidney problems can also be a concern with this class of medications.

All of the patients with Fournier gangrene identified in this study needed to be hospitalized. Some had several surgeries. Three of the 55 people died from Fournier gangrene.

The average age of the people with Fournier gangrene was 56. Thirty-nine were men. Forty-one cases occurred in the United States. Thirty-one of the 55 cases identified were also taking an additional diabetes medication.

Of those with Fournier gangrene, 21 were using canagliflozin, 16 were using dapagliflozin and 18 were taking empagliflozin, the study said.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said that while the study was well-done, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect link between the drugs and the disease.

“Infections of the pubic and rectal area are quite common in people with diabetes, they don’t have Fournier’s. Fournier’s is a very aggressive, but extremely rare, disease,” said Zonszein, who wasn’t involved with the study.

When Fournier gangrene does occur, it’s hard to know if it is caused by a medication. He pointed out that a number of clinical trials have been done on SGLT2 inhibitors that have included tens of thousands of people, and there haven’t been any reports of Fournier gangrene.

“I counsel my patients about infections in the genitalia. The main concern is to be aware that they can occur. And, providers need to be more aware of Fournier’s. They have to immediately try to establish the cause of infection and aggressively treat it if they suspect Fournier gangrene,” Zonszein said.

He said a far bigger concern is uncontrolled diabetes and the risk of complications when blood sugar levels aren’t controlled. “The benefits of these medications outweigh the risks,” he said.

In a statement, Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that makes Jardiance (empagliflozin), said the company actively monitors for side effects related to their medications.

“We remain confident in the positive benefit-risk profile of empagliflozin, and empagliflozin-containing products, as outlined in the prescribing information,” the statement from Boehringer Ingelheim said.

The prescribing information of all SGLT2’s was recently changed to reflect the possible risk of Fournier gangrene, as directed by the FDA.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, maker of Invokana (canagliflozin), and AstraZeneca, maker of Farxiga (dapagliflozin), did not respond to requests for comment.

The findings were published May 6 2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

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Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamin D Protects Against Dementia

 

Vitamin D Protects Against Dementia

 

Fat-soluble vitamin D protects bone health and helps the body absorb dietary calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.

We can get vitamin D from fish, liver, sunlight, and supplements.

Dr. David Llewellyn and his associates at the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom reported in the journal Neurology that low blood levels of vitamin D are also associated with a greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D in more than 1,600 adults with the average age of 73.

The subjects did not have dementia at the beginning of the study. Volunteers with vitamin D levels of less than 25 nmol/L were twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia at a follow-up five years later.

Earlier laboratory studies indicated that vitamin D helps break down brain-toxic amyloid proteins, which may explain the connection between low vitamin D and greater dementia risk.

The new study demonstrates an association with dementia risk but not a cause-and-effect relationship; however, it strongly suggests that getting adequate vitamin D may protect brain health.

Dont go out and buy Vitamin D until you talk to a healthcare provider and they figure out the right Vitamin D for you, and also what other supplements you must take with it to make it all work.   If your provider does not know what other supplements you are suppose to take, RUN!

You can always contact us to  help.

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Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

Amazon Caught Selling FAKE Suppliments

Have you gotten into the habit of buying your nutritional supplements through Amazon, along with your other day-to-day necessities? If so, you may want to reconsider.

The e-commerce giant — which controls an estimated 40% of all U.S. e-commerce1 and handles more consumer searches than Google2 — has been found to sell counterfeit supplements on more than one occasion. In July 2019, Wired reported3 that Amazon had pulled fake Align probiotics by third-party sellers off its site and issued full refunds to customers.

Now, the Organic & Natural Health Association warns that Amazon may be defrauding customers twice by preventing genuine high-quality cannabidiol (CBD) products from being sold on its site, while simultaneously promoting and selling products that claim to contain CBD but don’t.

How Amazon Misleads Consumers on CBD

As reported by the Organic & Natural Health Association4 on October 15, 2019, Amazon’s policy prohibits the sale of CBD products, yet when you search for “CBD” in its search engine, thousands of products match that search term.

The reason for this is because Amazon allows vendors to tag their products with whatever search words they want — including terms that are prohibited per its own policy, apparently. You can even find results matching the search term “crack pipes,”5 even though illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia are strictly prohibited under Amazon’s rules.

Amazon also allows vendors to purchase advertising space for CBD products, again despite the fact that they don’t actually allow CBD products to be sold. To investigate this paradox, the Organic & Natural Health Association hired a third-party laboratory to test Amazon’s best-seller, New Age Premium Hemp Oil 1000 MG, for the presence of cannabinoids.

In what appears to be a clear violation of Amazon’s policy, the product was found to contain approximately 1% CBD6 (7.7 milligrams of CBD per 30 drops). It does not list CBD on the label, however. In a statement, Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of Organic & Natural Health, said:7

“It’s really important for consumers to know that because Amazon doesn’t allow the sale of products with CBD, there are no reputable companies selling CBD on their site …

Amazon states it has banned the sale of CBD supplements on its site, but allows advertising and tagging of CBD instead, inviting an influx of products to consumers that the FDA has been warning about …

Essentially, the public is being defrauded twice. First, Amazon’s best-seller, New Age Premium Hemp Oil contains CBD even though its label does not list CBD. Second, those searching for CBD products are being misled into buying products containing zero CBD.

We will continue our analysis of these products on Amazon’s site. Without any requirement for GMPs, consumers are running the risk of consuming products adulterated with processed oils, and we also know synthetic cannabinoid is in the market …

This deception Amazon is spoon-feeding consumers on CBD is highly irresponsible to millions of Americans in search of legitimate CBD supplements to help specific health ailments including stress, sleep and pain.”

Amazon Shirks Responsibility for Counterfeits

In instances where Amazon has warned consumers about counterfeit sales and refunded their money, the company has “taken far more action than it’s obligated to under the law,” Wired points out.8 The reason for this is because they’re considered a third-party marketplace and not an actual vendor; they’re simply an intermediary — or so they claim.9

Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act10 shields companies like Amazon, eBay and Etsy from most liability for what’s being sold on their sites, even if products are found to be dangerous. Amazon manages to take a nearly 20% cut of most sales, while escaping all liabilities of defrauding customers and even while breaking their own policies.

EBay, for example, was found not guilty in a case where a vendor was selling recalled items,11 which is against eBay’s terms of service. As noted by QZ.com:12

“This undermines the very existence of U.S. tort laws. Potential liability is considered a kind of protection that incentivizes individuals and companies to act responsibly and produce safe products — or pay.”

Indeed, retail vendors are responsible for everything they sell, and can be held liable for dangerous or counterfeit products. However, when a dangerous product is bought via Amazon, it can be near-impossible to track down the Amazon vendor responsible for a defective or counterfeit product.

Some of them are overseas. Most simply vanish and cannot be located. But the main problem with Amazon’s categorization as a third-party marketplace is that it’s not a mere marketplace platform anymore. As noted by Wired:13

“Amazon is both a retailer and a third-party marketplace. It buys some products directly from manufacturers and sells them at a markup, and it allows independent merchants to offer their goods directly to consumers, the latter of which accounts for 58 percent of gross merchandise sales on the platform.

But the line between those two parts of its business are not always clear. Amazon exerts a significant amount of control over sellers, including dictating how their goods appear in search results. It also often warehouses and ships their products for them.

And unlike on eBay, Etsy, or other online marketplaces, a single Amazon product listing can feature goods from dozens of independent sellers, making it difficult for consumers to understand from whom they’re purchasing a product.

‘Amazon has obviously kept pushing the needle further and further toward taking responsibility for marketplace goods,’ says [Eric] Goldman [professor at Santa Clara University School of Law who has written extensively about intermediary liability].

The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled14,15 earlier this month that these kinds of differences do, in fact, make Amazon liable for harmful products sold by third-party sellers in some circumstances.”

According to the Pennsylvania court of appeals ruling:16

“Amazon fails to account for the fact that under the Agreement, third-party vendors can communicate with the customers only through Amazon. This enables third-party vendors to conceal themselves from the customer, leaving customers injured by defective products with no direct recourse to the third-party vendor.

There are numerous cases in which neither Amazon nor the party injured by a defective product, sold by Amazon.com, were able to locate the product’s third-party vendor or manufacturer.”

 

Bad Actors Run Amok on Amazon

A related article17 in The Verge points out that “Recent investigations find that bad actors are running amok” on Amazon, and that the platform “may be too big to police.”

The investigation in question was performed by three Wall Street Journal18 reporters, who discovered “4,152 items for sale on Amazon that have been declared unsafe or banned by federal regulators, or have deceptive labels.”19

This included 52 listings for supplements previously identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Justice Department as containing illegally imported prescription drugs, 116 products falsely listed as “FDA Approved” when in fact they’re not, and 80 listings for infant sleeping wedges that Amazon claims to have banned after FDA suffocation warnings were issued.

Adding insult to injury, dozens of these potentially dangerous items were also tagged “Amazon’s Choice.” As noted by The Verge, this label is based on customer ratings, price and average shipping time, but most consumers tend to interpret it as a seal of approval.

Senators Call for Thorough Investigation

In response to The Journal’s investigation, three Democratic senators — Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ed Markey, D-Mass. and Bob Menendez, D-N.J. — have written a letter to Amazon calling for a thorough investigation.20 In their letter,21 dated August 29, 2019, the three senators write:

 

“In addition to defective helmets, the WSJ investigation identified myriad problematic items for sale on the platform, including … unregistered pesticides; toxic paint strippers; pain relievers lacking appropriate FDA warning labels …

electronics deceptively labeled as third-party certified; and thousands of children’s products lacking federally mandated choking hazard labels, as well as toys containing lead at levels that violate federal limits.

Even when Amazon has banned products, its monitoring appears to be inadequate … they still remain widely and easily accessible on the platform … Unquestionably, Amazon is falling short of its commitment to keeping safe those consumers who use its massive platform.

We call on you to immediately remove … all the problematic products examined in the recent WSJ report; explain how you are going about this process; conduct a sweeping internal investigation of your enforcement and consumer safety policies; and institute changes that will continue to keep unsafe products off your platform.”

 

Hijacked Reviews — Another Tactic That Can Mislead You

The Verge also points out another significant problem on Amazon’s platform that results in customers being deceived: hijacked reviews.22 In some cases, the reviews you see under a product do not actually refer to the product currently for sale but for some previously listed product.

This migration of reviews appears to be the result of Amazon allowing sellers to edit listings. The take-home message in this case is that if a product has an excellent rating, you’d do well to read through the reviews to make sure they’re actually referring to the specific product you’re considering buying. Also look to make sure the positive reviews are tagged “Verified Purchase,” to avoid being misled by fake reviews.

Don’t Buy CBD From Amazon

The growing recognition of CBD’s medicinal benefits has led to an explosion of CBD products hitting the market. According to Project CBD, at least 50 conditions23 are believed to be improved by CBD, including pain, seizures, muscle spasms, nausea associated with chemotherapy, digestive disorders, degenerative neurological disorders, mood disorders and high blood pressure.

Cannabis has been legalized in several states, either for medical or recreational use or both, and hemp was included as a legal crop in the 2018 Farm Bill,24 leading to a rapidly growing market of hemp-derived CBD products. That CBD has noteworthy health benefits seems indisputable, but quality is paramount.

The fact that Amazon is prohibiting vendors from selling high-quality CBD products on its platform while advertising and shuttling consumers toward fake ones is a double disgrace. It seems Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is willing to sell just about anything to fund his dream of going into outer space.25

The take-home message here is this: Knowing that Amazon will not permit high-quality CBD products to be sold means you simply should not buy anything CBD-related from them. I also recommend caution when buying other nutritional supplements.

Also keep in mind that since CBD oil became a focus of popular holistic medicine almost overnight, effective quality control has not caught up yet and some products do not meet the claims made on the label.26 Until such a system is in place, it’s important you purchase your CBD products from a trusted source.

The need for more stringent quality control has already been demonstrated in studies27 showing 26.19% of 84 CBD products tested contained less CBD than advertised, and 42.85% of them contained more. Only 30.95% were accurately labeled.

The Case for Organic CBD

Heavy metal testing is particularly important for hemp-based CBD products, as the plant is known to extract heavy metals from the soil. In fact, it’s frequently used for bioremediation purposes,28 which is great if the hemp is used for rope, fuel and other nonmedical uses.

When made into medicine, however, this soil-cleansing feature could pose significant problems, as it must be grown in clean soil. As a general rule, I recommend seeking out certified organic CBD products to ensure the least amount of contamination with pesticides and other harmful agricultural contaminants.

Remember, We are in this together!

Health and Wellness Associates
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