Lifestyle, Uncategorized

100% of California Wines and German Beers have Roundup in them.

wineandroundup

Roundup’s Toxic Chemical Glyphosate, Found in 100% of California Wines Tested

 

Glyphosate usage has gotten so out of control that it’s seemingly taken on a life of its own and is now showing up even in foods that haven’t been directly sprayed, namely the grapes used to make organic wine.

 

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is the most used agricultural chemical in history. It’s used in a number of different herbicides (700 in all), but Roundup is by far the most widely used.

Since glyphosate was introduced in 1974, 1.8 million tons have been applied to U.S. fields, and two-thirds of that volume has been sprayed in the last 10 years.

 

A recent analysis showed that farmers sprayed enough glyphosate in 2014 to apply 0.8 pounds of the chemical to every acre of cultivated cropland in the U.S., and nearly 0.5 a pound of glyphosate to all cropland worldwide.1

 

If you purchase organic foods or beverages, you should theoretically be safe from glyphosate exposure, as this chemical is not allowed in organic farming. But a new analysis revealed glyphosate has now infiltrated not only wine but also organic wine.

 

100 Percent of Wine Tested Contained Glyphosate

 

An anonymous supporter of advocacy group Moms Across America sent 10 wine samples to be tested for glyphosate. All of the samples tested positive for glyphosate — even organic wines, although their levels were significantly lower.2

 

The highest level detected was 18.74 parts per billion (ppb), which was found in a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional vineyard. This was more than 28 times higher than the other samples tested.

  

How Does Glyphosate End up in Wine?

 

While glyphosate isn’t sprayed directly onto grapes in vineyards (it would kill the vines), it’s often used to spray the ground on either side of the grape vines. Moms Across America reported:3

“This results in a 2-to 4- foot strip of Roundup sprayed soil with grapevines in the middle. According to Dr. Don Huber at a talk given at the Acres USA farm conference in December of 2011, the vine stems are inevitably sprayed in this process and the

 

Roundup is likely absorbed through the roots and bark of the vines from where it is translocated into the leaves and grapes.”

 

As for how the organic wines became contaminated, it’s likely that the glyphosate drifted over onto the organic and biodynamic vineyards from conventional vineyards nearby.

 

It’s also possible that the contamination is the result of glyphosate that’s left in the soil after a conventional farm converted to organic; the chemical may remain in the soil for more than 20 years.4

 

Glyphosate Detected in 14 German Beers

 

A study of glyphosate residues by the Munich Environmental Institute also found glyphosate in 14 best-selling German beers.5 All of the beers tested had glyphosate levels above the 0.1 microgram limit allowed in drinking water.

 

Levels ranged from a high of 29.74 micrograms per liter found in a beer called Hasseroeder to a low of 0.46 micrograms per liter, which was found in the beer Augustiner.6 Although no tests have yet been conducted on American beer, it’s likely to be contaminated with glyphosate as well.

 

Indeed, laboratory testing commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse revealed that glyphosate is now showing up virtually everywhere, including in blood and urine samples, breast milk, drinking water and more.7

 

The beer finding could be a blow to the German beer industry in particular. The country is the biggest beer producer in Europe and has long prided itself on brewing only the purest beer.

 

“Das Reinheitsgebot” is Germany’s food purity law. It’s one of the world’s oldest food safety laws and limited the ingredients in beer to only water, barley and hops (yeast was later approved as well).

Now Monsanto’s chemicals are threatening this German tradition and their reputation for producing the purest beer. As reported by The Local:8

“‘In contrast to our colleagues abroad, German brewers don’t use artificial flavours, enzymes or preservatives,’ said Hans-Georg Eils, president of the German Brewers’ Federation, at the Green Week agricultural fair in Berlin.

 

The keep-it-simple brews indeed suit a trend toward organic and wholesome food, agreed Frank-Juergen Methner, a beer specialist at the National Food Institute of Berlin’s Technical University.

 

‘In times of healthy nutrition, demand for beer which is brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot is on the rise too,’ he said.”

 

Glyphosate May Cause Cancer and Other Health Concerns

 

 

Many are unaware of the fact that glyphosate is patented as an antibiotic. It’s designed to kill bacteria, which is one of the primary ways it harms both soils and human health. Recent research has even concluded that Roundup (and other pesticides) promotes antibiotic resistance.

 

Scientist Anthony Samsel, Ph.D. was the person who dug up the patents showing glyphosate is a biocide and an antibiotic. A study in poultry found the chemical destroys beneficial gut bacteria and promotes the spread of pathogenic bacteria.9

 

Samsel also reported that chronic low-dose oral exposure to glyphosate is a disruption of the balance among gut microbes, leading to an over-representation of pathogens, a chronic inflammatory state in the gut and an impaired gut barrier.

Samsel’s research also revealed that Monsanto knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused adenomas and carcinomas rats.

 

Monsanto’s own research supports the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determination that glyphosate is a Class 2A “probable human carcinogen” — a determination Monsanto is now trying to get retracted. Other research has shown glyphosate may:

 

Stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells10

Have endocrine-disrupting effects and affect human reproduction and fetal development11

Induce oxidative damage and neurotoxicity in the brain12

Modify the balance of sex hormones13

Cause birth defects14

Glyphosate May Be Even More Toxic Due to Surfactants

 

Most studies looking into glyphosate toxicity have only studied the “active” ingredient (glyphosate) and its breakdown product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). But the presence of so-called inactive compounds in the herbicide may be amplifying glyphosate’s toxic effects.

 

A 2012 study revealed that inert ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other added substances are anything but “inactive.” They can, and oftentimes do, contribute to a product’s toxicity in a synergistic manner — even if they’re non-toxic in isolation.

 

Certain adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides were also found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity,” adding to the hazards inherent with glyphosate.

It’s well worth noting that, according to the researchers, this cell damage and/or cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control.15 As written in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health:16

“Pesticide formulations contain declared active ingredients and co-formulants presented as inert and confidential compounds. We tested the endocrine disruption of co-formulants in six glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) … All co-formulants and formulations were comparably cytotoxic [toxic to living cells] well below the agricultural dilution of 1 percent (18 to 2000 times for co-formulants, 8 to 141 times for formulations).

 

… It was demonstrated for the first time that endocrine disruption by GBH could not only be due to the declared active ingredient but also to co-formulants.

 

These results could explain numerous in vivo results with GBHs not seen with G [glyphosate] alone; moreover, they challenge the relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) value for GBHs exposures, currently calculated from toxicity tests of the declared active ingredient alone.”

 

How to Avoid Glyphosate in Your Food

 

Your best bet for minimizing health risks from herbicide and pesticide exposure is to avoid them in the first place by eating organic as much as possible and investing in a good water filtration system for your home or apartment. If you know you have been exposed to herbicides and pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may help your body break them down.

 

So including fermented foods like kimchi in your diet may also be a wise strategy to help detox the pesticides that do enter your body. One of the benefits of eating organic is that the foods will be free of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and this is key to avoiding exposure to toxic glyphosate. Following are some great resources to obtain wholesome organic food.

 

Eating locally produced organic food will not only support your family’s health, it will also protect the environment from harmful chemical pollutants and the inadvertent spread of genetically engineered seeds and chemical-resistant weeds and pests.

Please share with family and loved ones:  Always call and ask us your questions and healthcare concerns.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archive Article: P. Carrothers

312-972-WELL

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Making a Commitment to Live Healthier

lliveheealthy

 

Making a commitment to live healthier is an ongoing process. It’s virtually impossible to make all the needed changes in one fell swoop. To assist you with this process, I’ve created a plan you can implement little by little, one step at a time.

 

Perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution to live healthier. The following list consisting of nine general categories will give you an indication of how far you’ve actually come.

 

If you’re still missing a few pieces, make the commitment to address one item at a time going forward. I’ve created a helpful Health Check Tip Sheet you can print out and post in a conspicuous location to keep you motivated.

 

#1 Replace Soda With Water, Tea and Black Organic Coffee

 

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver damage, osteoporosis and acid reflux are just some of the health conditions linked to soda consumption.

 

Making the commitment to swap your soda for healthier beverages like water, sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea and/or organic black coffee can go a long way toward improving your health.

 

Remember, the only beverage your body really needs is clean, pure water. In fact, many common health complaints are simply due to dehydration, including tiredness, headache, irritability, confusion, constipation, dry skin and more.

 

Unfortunately, most water supplies are heavily polluted these days, even in the United States, so a high-quality water filtration system is a wise investment. Most water supplies contain a number of potentially hazardous contaminants, including fluoride, drugs and disinfection byproducts (DBPs), just to name a few.

 

How much water do you need each day for optimal health? While many still recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day, individual water needs vary so widely, your best bet is to:

 

Use your thirst as a guide. Once your body has lost 1 to 2 percent of its water content, you will feel thirsty. This is a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids

Look at the color of your urine. Drink enough water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow (keep in mind certain vitamin supplements can affect the color of your urine)

Monitor the frequency of urination. If your urine is scant or if you haven’t urinated in several hours, that too is an indication you need to drink more

Besides water, tea and coffee also have their place if you enjoy them. According to the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you can safely consume up to five cups of coffee a day without detrimental effects.1 This is not true if you are on some medications that coffee interferes with including all cardiac and blood pressure medications, thyroid and endocrine medications, blood thinning medications, hormone replacements, cataracts and glaucoma, fibromyalgia, just to name a few.

 

All tests done are with people in their thirties, healthy, not on any medication!

 

Recent research even suggests drinking up to six cups of coffee a day may actually be beneficial for your heart and cardiovascular health, and is inversely associated with premature death.2,3,4,5,6

 

Tea and Coffee Caveats

 

Both coffee and tea contain caffeine (provided it’s not decaffeinated), which has been linked to adverse health effects such as elevated blood pressure, gastric upset and anxiety. However, both coffee and tea contain other health-promoting ingredients that appear to outweigh the drawbacks of caffeine.

 

Among them are beneficial antioxidants, and according to researchers, coffee, (because of the volume consumed, not because of its high amount) is the primary source of antioxidants in the American diet.7 As with water, quality and purity is not a given though. You need to use discernment with these beverages.

 

Most coffee is heavily contaminated with pesticides, so when we speak about the benefits of coffee, let it be understood that we’re talking about coffee that is:

 

Organic (ideally fair trade), to avoid pesticides

Freshly ground. Once ground, coffee quickly goes stale and rancid, so for optimal freshness grind your own coffee beans

Dark roast, such as French Roast, espresso or Turkish coffee tends to have the highest amounts of beneficial antioxidants. Dark roast coffee also produces more of a chemical that helps prevent the production of excess stomach acid, so it may be easier on your stomach8

Served black, meaning without milk or sugar. Adding dairy may interfere with your body’s absorption of beneficial chlorogenic acids, while the added sugar will contribute to insulin resistance, which is at the heart of most chronic disease

Brewed with non-bleached filters to avoid chlorine and DBPs such as dioxin

As for tea, both black and green teas tend to be naturally high in fluoride, even if organically grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally occurring fluoride in the soil.

 

So, as with coffee, when selecting tea, opt for organic (to avoid pesticides), grown in a pristine environment (to avoid fluoride, heavy metals, and other toxins from contaminated soil and water).

 

#2 Eat 2 Meals a Day Within an 8-Hour Window

 

 

Your body probably only needs two meals a day, and eating this way has a number of health benefits, including weight loss, disease prevention, resolving insulin resistance, optimizing your mitochondrial function and preventing cellular damage from occurring.

 

As long as you restrict your eating to a six- to eight-hour window each day, and avoid eating for at least three hours before bed, you can choose between having breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, but avoid having both breakfast and dinner.

 

Which two meals you prefer are up to you; let your body, and your lifestyle, be your guide. There are also a number of other intermittent fasting plans to choose from, should this daily eating schedule not appeal to you.

 

EFT Can Increase Your Intermittent Fasting Success

 

 

Compliance is a critical factor for any intermittent fasting plan, and stress about fasting can sabotage your success. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be a helpful ally here, allowing you to tap away your anxiety about fasting. It’s one of the most powerful tools for reducing stress and anxiety I know of.

 

In 2012, a triple blind study9 found that EFT reduced cortisol levels and symptoms of psychological distress by 24 percent — more than any other intervention tested. Do you worry you’ll be hungry all the time? Are you afraid you’ll feel deprived or suffer unbearable cravings? Are you worried it won’t work for you?

 

The first few weeks of fasting are typically the most challenging, while your body is making the necessary biochemical adjustments to its metabolic engine. Tapping can be extraordinarily beneficial for eliminating anxiety and cravings during this time. EFT is easy to learn and once you do, it’s always at your fingertips — whenever and wherever you need it.

 

#3 Clean Up Your Diet

 

As for what to eat when you do eat, the most basic of recommendations is to simply eat REAL FOOD. With that foundation in mind, I also recommend you:

 

Replace net carbs with healthy fats

 

Replace net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber; think sugars and grains) with high-quality healthy fats. Fats are a “cleaner” type of fuel for your body compared to carbs, and most would benefit getting anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of daily calories from healthy fats, such as that from avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw dairy, organic pastured eggs, coconuts, coconut oil, organic nut oils, raw nuts (especially macadamias and pecans), seeds, and grass-fed meats.

 

Dietary fats can be generally classified as saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (PUFA). A “saturated” fat means that all carbon atoms have their bonds filled with hydrogen atoms and as a result they are far less likely to oxidize and go rancid. Fats in foods contain a mixture of fats, but in foods of animal origin a large proportion are saturated.

 

Research shows avoiding saturated fat does NOT help prevent heart disease or improve longevity. In fact, saturated fats have protective effects. The benefits of saturated fat are many, and some appear to be uniquely traceable to saturated fat. For example, you need saturated fats for brain and immune system health.

 

Another argument is that animal foods in general, including meat cheese, butter, dairy, and eggs, contain high amounts of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, and you have to have the fat that comes naturally in animal foods along with the vitamins in order to absorb those vitamins.

 

The fats you need to avoid to protect your heart health are trans fats and processed vegetables oils, which are high in damaged omega-6 fats and PUFAs.

Eat more fiber

 

You can have virtually unlimited amounts of high-fiber vegetables, which are low in net carbs, Several studies have shown a 10 percent drop in risk for any cause of death with each 10-gram-per-day increase in fiber intake.

 

Soluble fiber helps nourish beneficial bacteria that assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function. Studies have also linked a high-fiber diet to beneficial reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation — all of which can influence your mortality risk.

Vegetable juicing

 

Vegetable juicing is an easy way to boost your vegetable intake, providing your body with important nutrients in an easily digestible form. The bulk of your juice should come from organic, green veggies – spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. — not fruits, which are too high in fructose.

 

 

Grow (and eat) sprouts

 

Sprouts allow you to get the most benefit out of a plant in its most biologically concentrated form. When you sprout foods, you increase proteolytic enzymes that make both carbohydrates and proteins digestible. Sprouts are not only an excellent source of fiber, they also offer some of the highest levels of nutrition available, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage, plus various plant chemicals unique to any given sprout.

 

Sunflower seed and pea shoots are both typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables, and are among the highest in protein. Sprouts are one of the easiest foods to grow at home, even in small spaces, allowing you to improve your diet at a low cost. You can find sprout starter kits and different kinds of sprouting seeds in my online shop.

 

 

Optimize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio

 

It’s important to understand the difference between plant- and animal-based omega-3 fats. Many believe plant-based omega-3 is preferable to animal-based omega-3, but they’re not really interchangeable. Ideally, you want both, but animal-based omega-3 is particularly important for optimal health and many are deficient in it.

 

Part of the problem is not eating enough omega-3 rich foods, like wild-caught Alaskan salmon and small fatty fish like sardines. The other side of the equation is eating far too many processed vegetable oils like corn, soy, and canola, which are high in damaged omega-6 oils. Ideally, you want an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of about 1:1. To achieve that, you likely need to increase your animal-based omega-3 and decrease your omega-6.

 

Barring high consumption of fatty fish, your next best option is to take a high-quality omega-3 supplement. I prefer krill oil, as it’s both superior in its activity to fish oil, and more environmentally sustainable.

 

 

Moderate your protein consumption and choose quality over quantity

 

Eating too much protein may be more hazardous to your health, than eating too much sugar. I recommend eating a moderate amount of high-quality protein (think grass-fed meats and eggs, for example), based on a formula of one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (or 1 gram per kilo of lean body mass).

Eat fermented vegetables

 

In the U.S., the preparation of fermented foods is a largely lost art. I’m trying to change that, as fermented vegetables are such an inexpensive and effective way to optimize your gut microbiome and improve both your physical and mental health. When your GI tract is not properly balanced, a wide range of health problems can appear, including allergies and autoimmune diseases.

 

In fact, over the past several years, research has revealed that microbes of all kinds — bacteria, fungi, and even viruses — play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body, influencing everything from vitamin production and detoxification, to your affecting your weight and mood.

 

Fermented foods are packed with beneficial microorganisms that most people do not get elsewhere. Just one-quarter to one-half cup of fermented vegetables, eaten with one to three meals per day, can have a dramatically beneficial impact on your health.

 

To learn how to make your own, please review the video below and read through my previous article, “Tips for Fermenting at Home.” Aside from your choice of vegetables, all you need are some wide-mouth glass jars with lids. There are other accessories that can be helpful, such as pounders, weights and carbon filter jar lids that help reduce odors, but they’re not essential.

 

One addition you may want to consider though is a starter culture. Besides speeding up the fermentation process, some can provide additional benefits. I like using a starter culture specifically designed to optimize vitamin K2. My research team found we could get 400 to 500 micrograms of vitamin K2 in a 2-ounce serving of fermented vegetables using such a starter culture, which is a clinically therapeutic dose for K2.

As always K2 can not be taken alone.

 

 

Clean up your condiments

 

Commercially prepared condiments are typically a mixture of low-quality, genetically engineered ingredients, chemical preservatives, fillers and taste and texture enhancers that have potential health risks. Fortunately, making your own isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. Recipes for homemade mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing, ketchup and barbeque sauce can be found in my article, “What’s in Your Condiments?”

#4 Get 8 Hours of Restful Sleep Each Night

 

Research shows most adults really need about eight hours of sleep every night for optimal health. What makes sleep deprivation so detrimental is that it doesn’t just impact one aspect of your health; it impacts many. It has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness, which may help explain why lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.

 

For example, sleeping less than six hours per night more than triples your risk of high blood pressure, and women who get less than four hours of shut-eye per night double their chances of dying from heart disease.10 Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, production of which is disturbed by lack of sleep. This is extremely problematic, as melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction).

 

Lack of sleep also decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin, while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain. Poor or insufficient sleep is also the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.11

 

Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep. If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re getting, a fitness tracker can be beneficial for helping you keep track of the actual time you’re asleep (as opposed to the time spent in bed). If you need more sleep, I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for details on proper sleep hygiene. You can also find useful tips in my “Top 5 Natural Sleep Aids” article.

 

Key recommendations for improving the amount and quality of your sleep include getting plenty of natural sunlight exposure in the early morning and mid-day, and avoiding blue light exposure in the evening. This includes avoiding electronic screens, which emit blue light unless you’ve installed light-altering software like f.lux. Another alternative is to use amber-colored glasses that block blue light, which can be purchased for about $10 on Amazon.

 

This is an ideal solution if you don’t want to change out your light bulbs and skip watching television before going to bed. Also make sure your sleeping quarter is dark to prevent melatonin suppression, which will make it difficult to fall asleep. I recommend installing thick drapes for this reason, but a far cheaper alternative is to use a sleep mask. An eye mask filled with lavender can be particularly soothing.

 

 

#5 Mind Your Oral Health

 

 

Poor oral health can contribute to systemic inflammation, raising your risk for bad breath, dementia, pneumonia, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease and head and neck cancers. So make it a habit to brush twice a day and floss daily. Oil pulling with coconut oil is another strategy that can help improve both your oral and general health by deep-cleaning your mouth and drawing out toxins. It also helps promote microbiome homeostasis, which is important for oral health.

 

Personally, this technique has significantly reduced my plaque buildup, allowing me to go longer between visits to the dental hygienist. How is it done? Simply rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, much like you would using a mouthwash. Work the oil around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for about 15 minutes.

 

When done, spit out the oil (do NOT swallow it) and rinse your mouth with water. I typically spit mine out on the soil outside of my house, being careful to avoid any plants, to avoid clogging up my sink. If you want, you could dissolve a pinch of Himalayan salt in the water and rinse with that. Himalayan salt contains more than 85 different minerals that can also help promote strong, healthy teeth and gums.

 

#6 Sit Less, Walk More and Work on Your Flexibility

 

 

The average American adult spends nine to 10 hours each day sitting, which is so much inactivity that even a 30- or 60-minute workout cannot counteract its adverse effects on your health. While it might seem natural to sit this long since you’ve probably grown used to it (physically and mentally), it’s actually quite contrary to nature.

 

Studies looking at life in agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. Your body is designed to move around and be active the majority of the day, and significant negative changes occur when you spend the majority of the day sedentary instead. To get more movement into your daily life, consider implementing the following:

 

  • Set a goal to walk about 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day (which is just over three to five U.S. miles, or six to nine kilometers). This should be over and above any exercise regimen you may have. Daily walking has been shown to provide anti-aging benefits that could add an additional three to seven years to your life.

 

  • Walk barefoot more often. Your body is finely tuned to “work” with the Earth in the sense that there’s a constant flow of energy between your body and the Earth. When you put your feet on the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet.

 

The effect is sufficient to maintain your body at the same negatively charged electrical potential as the Earth. This simple process of grounding is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of. Grounding has been shown to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, enhance well being and much more

 

  • Stand up at work if you can, rather than sitting at your desk. A stand-up desk is certainly a worthwhile investment if you have an office job.

 

  • Work on your flexibility. Also make it a point to gain flexibility, which will help keep you functional well into old age. Pilates, yoga, and whole body vibration training are just some of your options.

 

#7 Get Your Vitamin D Level Tested

 

I recommend testing your vitamin D twice a year: around January, when your level will be at its lowest, and June or July, when it’ll be at its peak. This will help guide you as to how much vitamin D you may need to take in order to maintain a clinically relevant level of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter year-round. Testing your vitamin D is easy. You don’t even need a doctor’s prescription.

 

Vitamin D cannot be taken alone.  You can set up an appointment with us to determine the correct amount for you, and what you need to take with it.

 

#8 Make Stress Reduction a Daily Priority

 

Stress-related problems, including back pain, insomnia, acid reflux and exacerbations to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may account for up to 70 percent of the average American physician’s caseload.12 Such health-care expenditures are the third highest in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer. Research suggests these costs could be drastically cut simply by learning how to relax.13

 

There are many options here, so try a few to determine which works best. Here are just a few suggestions. For more tips and tricks, check out my “23 (Scientific) Happiness Hacks” article:

 

  • Daily meditation or mindfulness training: both are excellent for stress relief and relaxation. One simple way to incorporate these techniques into your life is to meditate for five or 10 minutes first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed, to take advantage of your mind being in a quiet zone.

 

  • Yoga: regular yoga practice has been shown to have a positive effect on both sleep and stress. It’s also been shown to alleviate mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

 

  • Keep a gratitude journal: people who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, are happier, and better able to reach their goals, and studies show that those who keep a gratitude journal typically end up exercising more and have fewer health complaints. Studies have also linked gratitude to improved sleep, reduced stress, enhanced well-being, improved heart health.

 

  • Learn EFT: one of the most effective tools against anxiety is EFT, which helps correct the biochemical short-circuiting that occurs with chronic anxiety. You can think of EFT as a tool for “reprogramming” your circuitry, and it works on both real and imagined stressors.

 

  • Start a garden: gardening is an excellent “blues buster,” helping relieve acute stress and attention fatigue associated with a fast-paced life. Many gardeners start out gardening because they want to sample some homegrown food but end up sticking with gardening because of how it feeds their mind and soul.

 

That said, anyone who’s really serious about improving their health will eventually conclude that growing your own food is an important part of the answer. For helpful tips on making your garden a success, please review my previous articles on using wood chips and biochar to optimize your soil quality.

 

#9 Help Others and Be Active in Your Community

 

Volunteering is a simple way to help others, but it’s also a powerful way to help yourself. Beyond the good feelings you’ll get from donating your time, and the potential to develop new, meaningful relationships with people in your community, volunteering has a significant impact on your physical health, including a boost to your heart health.

 

In one study, people who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who didn’t.14 People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, may even live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons.15

 

The benefits of being active in your community are particularly pronounced among older adults, a population that tends to slow down once retirement hits. There’s a definite social aspect, as if you’re socially isolated you may experience poorer health and a shorter lifespan.

 

Volunteering also gives you a sense of purpose and can even lead to a so-called “helper’s high,” which may occur because doing good releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin in your body while lowering levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Giving back is about so much more than even that, though, as it will help you to connect with your community and contribute your time and/or talents to promoting the greater good.

 

Please share with family and friends, and call to set up an appointment to get your personalize healthcare plan.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived   JM

312-972-WELL

Lifestyle

Pesticides are destroying Kauai

hanalei kauai

Pesticides are Destroying the Hawaiian Island Kauai

If you have ever been to Kauai, you might know that this is the only rain forest within the United States. Delicate, beautiful and a powerful island in it own tight.

Pesticides Increasingly Threaten Human Health

Pesticides… The chemical technology industry insists we can’t grow sufficient amounts of food without them, yet mounting research1,2,3 suggests they may carry a great deal of blame for the rise in human disease.

A recent article in The Guardian4 highlights a disturbing trend of spiking rates of birth defects in Kauai, Hawaii, which many suspect is due to an increase in pesticide use on genetically engineered (GE) corn.

Rates of learning disabilities are also higher in areas with heavy pesticide use.

The video above features a clip from a much longer GMO Free News interview with State House Representative Andria Tupola (R) and Tiana Laranio, a Kauai resident.

Birth Defects and Learning Disabilities on the Rise in Kauai

In one school, which is a mere 1700 feet from Syngenta’s genetically engineered (GE) corn fields, 10 percent of children need special education, compared to the state average of just over six percent.

As reported in the featured article:

“In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta, and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre (mostly herbicides, along with insecticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland, according to the most detailed study5 of the sector…

Sidney Johnson, a pediatric surgeon at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children who oversees all children born in Hawaii with major birth defects… says he’s been thinking about pesticides a lot lately.

The reason: he’s noticed that the number of babies born here with their abdominal organs outside, a rare condition known as gastroschisis, has grown from three a year in the 1980s to about a dozen now…

So he’s working with a medical student on a study of his hospital’s records to determine whether the parents of the gastroschisis infants were living near fields that were being sprayed around the time of conception and early pregnancy.”

Poisoning Paradise

The reason for this alarmingly elevated use of pesticides on the island of Kauai is because the companies are testing GE corn’s ability to resist chemicals that normally kill other plants.

One quarter of the 12,000 acres is dedicated to “restricted use pesticides” — chemicals known for their elevated toxicity, such as chlorpyrifos, atrazine, and paraquat; the latter two of which are banned in Europe.

In 2012, 18 tons of these “restricted use” pesticides were applied in Kauai. Glyphosate, in the form of Roundup, is also used of course, and this broad-spectrum herbicide may also be far more toxic than anyone ever imagined.

Far from being harmless and biodegradable as Monsanto’s PR department has maintained, glyphosate has now been reclassified as a “probable carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In response to the IARC’s determination, some British and German retailers have started removing Roundup from its lineup of weed killers sold to the general public, and France has announced plans to restrict its sale at garden centers.6

In a recent interview, researcher Anthony Samsel, PhD also revealed that internal Monsanto documents show they actually knew, over 30 years ago, thatglyphosate caused adenomas and carcinomas in rats

Recent follow-up research7,8 by Gilles-Éric Séralini also shows that long-term exposure to ultra-low amounts of Roundup may cause liver and kidney damage, tumors, and hemorrhagic bleeding.

The expression of more than 4,000 genes in the rats’ liver and kidneys had changed in response to the herbicide, and since the dose used is“environmentally relevant in terms of human, domesticated animals, and wildlife levels of exposure,” the authors suggest Roundup may have significant health implications.

“When the spraying is underway and the wind blows downhill from the fields to the town – a time no spraying should occur – residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches, and vomiting,” The Guardian writes.

Unfortunately, the pesticide companies refuse to divulge exactly which chemicals are used, and in what amounts. This makes treating patients more difficult, as there’s no information about what they might have been exposed to.

What’s worse, these companies are also operating under a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that was grandfathered in from the days when the area was a sugar plantation. Back then, far fewer pesticides were used, but this decades-old permit still allows them to discharge chemicals into local water supplies.

A number of attempts have been made to restrict the growing of GE crops and curb the undisclosed use of pesticides on the island chain of Hawaii, but none have been completely successful as of yet.

In Maui County, a ballot initiative calling for a moratorium on all GE farming was successfully passed, despite Monsanto and its allies spending $7.2 million to defeat it.

But, the industry sued and a federal judge overturned the law saying the Maui County initiative was preempted by federal law. That and a few other rulings in favor of the chemical technology industry are still under appeal.

Pesticides Pose Greater Risk to Pollinators Than Previously Thought

In related news, a new European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) study has concluded that neonicotinoid pesticides may actually pose a greater risk to bees than previously thought, and is calling for extending the EU’s ban on neonicotinoids.

According to The Guardian:9

“Already proscribed for seed treatments and soil applications, the Efsa analysis says that clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam also pose a ‘high risk’ to bees when sprayed on leaves.

The UK is currently facing a legal challenge to an emergency exemption it granted, allowing use of two of the substances… But far from supporting the British case, the advisory expert assessment will add to pressure for an extension of the ban to apply to fruit orchards after blooming, and crops grown in greenhouses…”

Syngenta, which manufactures thiamethoxam, has historically not garnered the same horrible reputation as Monsanto. But in this case, Syngenta showed it operates according to the same ruthless rulebook when it threatened to sue EFSA officials involved with the creation of the original risk assessment two years ago.10

Speaking of Syngenta, Monsanto’s bid to buy the company has fallen through after Syngenta rejected the latest offer of $47 billion.11 One by one, pesticides are eventually found to be profoundly harmful — at least that appears to be the trend.

So to keep one step ahead, companies need to continue creating new ones, which is likely why Monsanto sought to acquire Syngenta in the first place, In addition to changing their brand name, which has been associated by many with evil incarnate, the purchase would have added mammoth holdings and power to Monsanto’s GMO arsenal.

With Roundup’s patent expiring a few years ago, I believe it’s only a matter of time before regulators will have to curb (if not ban) the use of Roundup due to its toxicity, which means Monsanto undoubtedly needs to find something to replace its best-selling flagship product.

Next-Generation Weed and Pest Killers

Disturbingly, Monsanto is reportedly working on a whole new breed of pesticides — sprays that employ RNA interference technology rather than toxic chemicals to kill insects and weeds. In a nutshell, such a product kills its target by way of silencing certain genes that are crucial to the target’s survival. As reported by Mother Jones:12

“RNAi, as it’s known, is an emerging science; the two US researchers who discovered it brought home a Nobel Prize in 2006. Regalado describes the process like this:

‘The cells of plants and animals carry their instructions in the form of DNA. To make a protein, the sequence of genetic letters in each gene gets copied into matching strands of RNA, which then float out of the nucleus to guide the protein-making machinery of the cell. RNA interference, or gene silencing, is a way to destroy specific RNA messages so that a particular protein is not made.’

If you can nix RNA messages that exist to generate crucial genes, you’ve got yourself an effective bug or weed killer…

The first obstacle is technological — the problem of ‘how to get a large, electrically charged molecule like RNA to move through a plant’s waxy cuticle and into its cells,’ Regalado writes. That’s crucial, because the technology works like this: A targeted bug… chomps on a leaf that’s been sprayed by RNA solution and then, fatally, gets critical genes turned off. To make that happen, you have to get the RNA material into the leaf.”

An obvious question here is: how may this RNA material in the plant affect animals and humans that eat it? RNAi sounds reminiscent of the experimental GE wheat created two years ago, which employed a gene silencing technique to alter the wheat’s carbohydrate content.

At the time, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann released results from genetic research he conducted on the wheat, which showed the gene silencing molecules created in the wheat could potentially silence human genes as well. University Professor Judy Carman agreed with Heinemann’s analysis, stating that children in whom that specific enzyme does not work tend to die by the age of five.13 So, if you ask me, the health risks may reach brand new heights if this kind of gene silencing technology takes over the pesticide industry.

Pesticide Use Near Schools Raise Concerns

Pesticides pose risks in two ways. One is via contaminated foods — and GE foods in particular, as they’re more heavily treated than conventional varieties. The other is via the pesticide application itself. Gardeners, farm workers, and those living near farms are at greatest risk. Concerns over pesticide application near schools, playgrounds, and churches have also been raised.

For example, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a report14 showing that Roundup is being sprayed in fields next to 12,000 churches, which might put thousands of Christians in harm’s way.15

In Ventura County, the Board of Supervisors recently demanded to know why the California Department of Pesticide Regulation allowed strawberry farmers to use “unusually high” levels of 1,3-Dichloropropene — a known carcinogen via inhalation or ingestion — on fields surrounding the Rio Mesa high school. A Reveal News article16 discussing this case notes that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation responded to community concerns “with statements that contradict the findings of their own scientists.”

According to the article:

“By carving out a loophole for Dow AgroSciences and growers, the department allowed heavy amounts of the pesticide to be used near schools, homes, and businesses in Ventura County, and across the state. In all, the investigation found, more than 100 communities were put at greater risk of cancer… The department was effectively letting growers use as much 1,3-D as they wanted, despite the possible health concerns…”

Conflicts of Interest Place Citizens at Risk

The situation in Ventura County has become typical. Again and again, we see regulators bowing to the will of the chemical industry and growers who aren’t wise to less toxic alternatives. The end result is an increasingly toxic food supply, and an increasingly toxic environment. How long are we going to allow the food industry to be one of the greatest sources of pollution and toxic exposure in this world? It’s really madness when you stop and think about it.

It really makes one wonder just how bad the situation needs to get before money ceases to have more value than ecological and human life… When it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides, conflicts of interest seem to have had a particularly strong influence.

In February, the California-based activist group US Right to Know filed a request under Washington’s freedom-of-information law (FOIA) to obtain correspondence between 40 researchers at US public universities and 36 different companies, trade groups, and PR firms. The purpose of the FOIA requests was to determine whether or not academics and researchers are coordinating their messaging with the industry, and/or receiving undisclosed remuneration for spreading positive messages about GMO’s.

According to the journal Nature,17 obtained documentation included “roughly 4,600 pages of emails and other records from Kevin Folta, a plant scientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a well-known advocate of GM organisms. The records… reveal his close ties to the agriculture giant Monsanto… and other biotechnology-industry interests.”

The Case of Kevin Folta

Kevin Folta is one of the scientists answering questions on the industry website GMO Answers, which is managed by the biotechnology PR firm Ketchum.  Folta claimed he never accepted any honoraria for any of his pro-GMO outreach work. According to GMO Watch, a couple of months ago he even declared18 he had “nothing to do with Monsanto.” Yet the FOIA documentation shows he received an “unrestricted grant” of $25,000 from Monsanto in 2014 — monies he never disclosed receiving.

According to Gary Ruskin, executive director of US Right to Know:

“I think it’s important for professors who take money from industry to disclose it. And if they’re not disclosing it, that’s a problem. And if they say they aren’t taking money, and they are, then that’s a problem.”

To quell growing criticism, Folta’s employer now wants the grant money Folta received to be donated to a food pantry.19 A recent article by GMO Watch20 points out how Folta is now playing the victim after playing the public as fools, and is claiming to have received “implied threats.” But according to GMO Watch, this may be nothing more than “a flimsy attempt to distract from the real issue – his own apparent dishonesty – while vilifying his critics…” noting a number of non-GMO advocates and anti-GMO scientists who have received very real death threats.

“[I]t has to be said that neither Folta playing the victim nor the reallocation of Monsanto’s money does anything to address the driving force behind all the criticism,” GMO Watch writes. “People are angry with Folta not about the Monsanto money per se, but about Folta not being straight about it or about his wider relationship with the biotech industry. And nothing Folta has done since the news came out has done anything to repair that yawning integrity gap.”

Academics Increasingly Used as Public Relations Pawns

The now-routine “third-party approach” of enlisting academics and “independent” researchers like Folta to push an industry agenda is also discussed in a recent New York Times article,21 which includes a rather damning quote from Folta to an Monsanto executive. In response to the approval of the $25,000 grant in August last year, Folta wrote back saying: “I am grateful for this opportunity and promise a solid return on the investment.”

That doesn’t sound like a comment from an impartial party, does it? In another email22 from Folta to a Monsanto executive released by US Right to Know, Folta wrote: “I’m glad to sign on to whatever you like, or write whatever you like.”

Moreover, while the initial Nature23 article made it seem as though Folta had ignored the pre-written answers provided for him by the biotech PR firm Ketchum, along with the questions they sent to be answered for the GMO Answers website, theNew York Times claims Folta often did use the canned answers nearly verbatim, noting he now says doing so was “a mistake,” and “absolutely not the right thing.” This is yet another lie Folta’s been caught in, according to the latest US Right to Know update on its investigation24 — lies that the New York Times did not address.

What’s more, since the $25,000 Folta received was given as a SHARE contribution, it’s not subject to IDC and not publicly noted. In other words, it’s a way for donations to be made without having to disclose the contribution and the potential influence of the donor, while still being able to claim full transparency.

“Corporations have poured money into universities to fund research for decades, but now, the debate overbioengineered foods has escalated into a billion-dollar food industry war,” the New York Times writes. “Companies like Monsanto are squaring off against major organic firms like Stonyfield Farm, the yogurt company, and both sides have aggressively recruited academic researchers, emails obtained through open records laws show.

The emails provide a rare view into the strategy and tactics of a lobbying campaign that has transformed ivory tower elites into powerful players. The use by both sides of third-party scientists, and their supposedly unbiased research, helps explain why the American public is often confused as it processes the conflicting information… There is no evidence that academic work was compromised, but the emails show how academics have shifted from researchers to actors in lobbying and corporate public relations campaigns.” [Emphasis mine]

Another Trend: Retracting Articles Unfavorable to Industry

The FOIA requests issued by US Right to Know also received support in an article25 published in PLOS Biology Community Blog, written by Paul D. Thacker and Charles Seife. Monsanto and the biotech industry at large has developed a pattern of demanding retractions of unfavorable articles, so it was no great surprise to find that Thacker and Seife’s article (which argued in favor of using FOIA requests to scrutinize scientists’ behavior and potentially undisclosed industry ties) was promptly removed from the PLOS website.

According to PLOS,26,27 the article “was not consistent with at least the spirit and intent of our community guidelines.” It’s become quite clear that not only is the industry trying to monopolize science — allowing only favorable research to see the light of day — they’re also trying to protect the system of conflicts of interest. The end goal is to keep consumers in the dark about what’s really going on. And about what’s in their food. Why else would they pour tens of millions of dollars into lobbying against transparency?

Chemical, Agricultural, and Food Industries All Spend Big Bucks Lobbying for Less Transparency

According to Civil Eats,28 food and beverage companies have spent $51.6 million on a series of efforts to defeat GMO labeling laws, including lobbing for HR 1599, which would bar states from implementing their own GMO labeling laws. As of July 21 Monsanto alone had spent $2.5 million lobbying Congress.29

The food industry has also spent $54.2 million lobbying for the removal of country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for beef, chicken, and pork (HR 2393).30

In a similar vein, in 2013 and 2014, agribusinesses, agricultural organizations, and trade associations spent more than $11 million lobbying for an early version of S1500,31 which eliminates the need for permits to discharge pesticides into rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water regulated under the Clean Water Act. Who does that benefit? Certainly not the environment or people living near bodies of water!

International trade agreements also threaten to restrict transparency about food — how it’s produced, and where it comes from. In addition to hampering GMO labeling efforts in the US, provisions in both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would also effectively force participating nations to eliminate country of origin from their food labels or run the risk of being sued for harming trade.

It seems the reason why these industries are spending so much money and going to such great lengths to eliminate transparency about toxic exposures and potentially harmful substances in our food supply is because they too can see that the jig is almost up. The situation is simply unsustainable. It’s only a matter of time before the human lifespan begins to dwindle in response to excessive toxic exposures — people’s health is already being compromised at an ever-earlier age.

These industries are really just grasping for straws right now, trying to hang on for as long as they can, until the whole system falls apart — as it must, eventually. But just because the opposition is great, that doesn’t mean we quit fighting to turn the system around. On the contrary, now is the time to press on with greater resolve. I believe we can still avoid a lot of hardship and misery by standing up for what’s right, and right now, that includes pressing our US Senators to reject HR 1599.

We Only Have a Limited Time to Set Our Senators Straight

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) introduced a bill that would preempt states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs.

Unfortunately, the bill has been passed in the House and now heads to the Senate. There needs to be an extra push to put an end to the absurdity. It’s imperative you contact your senators today urging them to not support HR 1599. Tell them this bill is an attack on consumer rights and states’ rights, and you expect your elected officials to protect you.

You can find your senators’ contact information by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. To set up an in-person meeting with your senators, contact their district office.

It’s really imperative to concentrate our efforts on our senators right now, and to inform them accurately. They’re being deceived by industry lobbyists, and this is our last chance to preserve our right to know what is in our food.

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods

9 Foods to Stay Away From

margarine

Many foods have been heavily promoted as being healthy when they are nothing more than pernicious junk foods. In the featured article, Clean Plates1 founder Jared Koch shared his list of nine staple foods that are far less “good for you” than you’ve been led to believe.

Here, I expand on the selections that are mentioned in the featured article.

1. Canned Tomatoes

Many leading brands of canned foods contain BPA — a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. According to Consumer Reports‘ testing, just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed the safety limits for daily BPA exposure for children.

High acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes – causes BPA to leach into your food. To avoid this hazardous chemical, avoid canned foods entirely and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, or switch over to brands that use glass containers instead—especially for acidic foods like tomatoes.

Many companies are now lining the insides of their cans to stop the toxic chemical leakage.

2. Processed Meats

As Koch warns, processed deli meats like salami, ham, and roast beef are typically made with meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

This means they’re given growth hormones, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs, and raised in deplorable conditions that promote disease, these meats are also filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor) and other chemical flavorings and dyes.

Nitrites can be converted into nitrosamines in your body, which are potent cancer-causing chemicals. Research has linked nitrites to higher rates of colorectal, stomach and pancreatic cancer. But that’s not all. Most processed deli meats also contain other cancer-promoting chemicals that are created during cooking. These include:

  • Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) which are hazardous compounds created in meats and other foods that have been cooked at high temperatures. According to research, processed meats are clearly associated with an increased risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Many processed meats are smoked as part of the curing process, which causes PAHs to form. PAHs can also form when grilling. When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures—including when it is pasteurized or sterilized—it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

The truth is, processed meats are not a healthful choice for anyone and should be avoided entirely, according to a 2011 review of more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between diet and cancer. The report was commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund2 (WCRF) using money raised from the general public. Therefore the findings were not influenced by any vested interests, which makes it all the more reliable.

It’s the biggest review of the evidence ever undertaken, and it confirms previous findings: Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is “safe.” You’re far better off ditching the deli meats and opting instead for fresh organically-raised grass-fed meats, or wild caught salmon.

3. Margarine

The unfortunate result of the low-fat diet craze has been the shunning of healthful fats such as butter, and public health has declined as a result of this folly. There are a myriad of unhealthy components to margarine and other butter impostors, including:

  • Trans fats: These unnatural fats in margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid fat. Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance and skin disease; infertility, difficulties in pregnancy and problems with lactation; and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children. A US government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level.
  • Free radicals: Free radicals and other toxic breakdown products are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Emulsifiers and preservatives: Numerous additives of questionable safety are added to margarines and spreads. Most vegetable shortening is stabilized with preservatives like BHT.
  • Hexane and other solvents: Used in the extraction process, these industrial chemicals can have toxic effects.

Good-old-fashioned butter, when made from grass-fed cows, is rich in a substance called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Much of the reason why butter is vilified is because it contains saturated fat. If you’re still in the mindset that saturated fat is harmful for your health, then please read the Healthy Fats section of my Optimized Nutrition Plan to learn why saturated fat is actually good for you.

4. Vegetable Oils

Of all the destructive foods available to us, those made with heated vegetable oils are some of the worst. Make no mistake about it–vegetable oils are not the health food that you were lead to believe they were. This is largely due to the fact that they are highly processed, and when consumed in massive amounts, as they are by most Americans, they seriously distort the important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Ideally, this ratio is 1:1.

Anytime you cook a food, you run the risk of creating heat-induced damage. The oils you choose to cook with must be stable enough to resist chemical changes when heated to high temperatures, or you run the risk of damaging your health. One of the ways vegetable oils can inflict damage is by converting your good cholesterol into bad cholesterol—by oxidizing it. When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soy oils), oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system.

As the oil is heated and mixed with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil and should NOT be consumed—it leads directly to vascular disease. Trans-fats are introduced when these oils are hydrogenated, which increases your risk of chronic diseases like breast cancer and heart disease.

So what’s the best oil to cook with?

Of all the available oils, coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to heat damage. And coconut oil is one of the most unique and beneficial fats for your body. For more in-depth information about the many benefits of coconut oil.  Olive oil, while certainly a healthful oil, is easily damaged by heat and is best reserved for drizzling cold over salad.

5. Microwave Popcorn

Perfluoroalkyls, which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are chemicals used to keep grease from leaking through fast food wrappers, are being ingested by people through their food and showing up as contaminants in blood. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with PFOA, and when they are heated the compound leaches onto the popcorn.

These chemicals are part of an expanding group of chemicals commonly referred to as “gender-bending” chemicals, because they can disrupt your endocrine system and affect your sex hormones. The EPA has ruled PFCs as “likely carcinogens,” and has stated that PFOA “poses developmental and reproductive risks to humans.” Researchers have also linked various PFCs to a range of other health dangers, such as:

  • Infertility — A study published in the journal Human Reproduction3 found that both PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), dramatically increased the odds of infertility. PFOA was linked to a 60 to 154 percent increase in the chance of infertility.
  • Thyroid disease — A 2010 study4 found that PFOA can damage your thyroid function. Individuals with the highest PFOA concentrations were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease, compared to those with the lowest PFOA concentrations. Your thyroid contains thyroglobulin protein, which binds to iodine to form hormones, which in turn influence essentially every organ, tissue and cell in your body. Thyroid hormones are also required for growth and development in children. Thyroid disease, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis.
  • Cancer — PFOA has been associated with tumors in at least four different organs in animal tests (liver, pancreas, testicles and mammary glands in rats), and has been associated with increases in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers.
  • Immune system problems — Several studies by scientists in Sweden indicate that PFCs have an adverse effect on your immune system. As described in a report on PFCs by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFOA was found to decrease all immune cell subpopulations studied, in the thymus and spleen, and caused immunosupression.
  • Increased LDL cholesterol levels – A 2010 study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine5 found that children and teens with higher PFOA levels had higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol, while PFOS was associated with increased total cholesterol, including both LDL cholesterol and HDL or “good” cholesterol.

I strongly recommend avoiding any product you know containing these toxic compounds, particularly non-stick cookware, but also foods sold in grease-proof food packaging, such as fast food and microwave popcorn. Clearly, if you’re eating fast food or junk food, PFCs from the wrapper may be the least of your problems, but I think it’s still important to realize that not only are you not getting proper nutrition from the food itself, the wrappers may also add to your toxic burden.

6. Non-Organic Potatoes and Other Fresh Produce Known for High Pesticide Contamination

Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load. While Koch focuses on potatoes, as they tend to take up a lot of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals present in the soil, I would recommend reviewing the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”6 by the Environmental Working Group.

Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:

Apples Celery Cherry tomatoes
Cucumbers Grapes Hot peppers
Nectarines (imported) Peaches Potatoes
Spinach Strawberries Sweet bell peppers
Kale Collard greens Summer squash

In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables. Note that a small amount of sweet corn and most Hawaiian papaya, although low in pesticides, are genetically engineered (GE). If you’re unsure of whether the sweet corn or papaya is GE, I’d recommend opting for organic varieties:

Asparagus Avocado Cabbage
Cantaloupe Sweet corn (non-GMO) Eggplant
Grapefruit Kiwi Mango
Mushrooms Onions Papayas (non-GMO. Most Hawaiian papaya is GMO)
Pineapple Sweet peas (frozen) Sweet potatoes

7. Table Salt

Salt is essential for life—you cannot live without it. However, regular ‘table salt’ and the salt found in processed foods are NOT identical to the salt your body really needs. In fact, table salt has practically nothing in common with natural salt. One is health damaging, and the other is healing.

  • Processed salt is 98 percent sodium chloride, and the remaining two percent comprises man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents, and a little added iodine. These are dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate. Some European countries, where water fluoridation is not practiced, also add fluoride to table salt
  • Natural salt is about 84 percent sodium chloride. The remaining 16 percent of natural salt consists of other naturally occurring minerals, including trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium

Given that salt is absolutely essential to good health, I recommend switching to a pure, unrefined salt. My favorite is an ancient, all-natural sea salt from the Himalayas. Himalayan salt is completely pure, having spent many thousands of years maturing under extreme tectonic pressure, far away from impurities, so it isn’t polluted with the heavy metals and industrial toxins of today. And it’s hand-mined, hand-washed, and minimally processed. Himalayan salt is only 85 percent sodium chloride, the remaining 15 percent contains 84 trace minerals from our prehistoric seas. Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:

  • Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid
  • Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
  • Maintain and regulate blood pressure
  • Increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning
  • Helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange

While natural unprocessed salt has many health benefits, that does not mean you should use it with impunity. Another important factor is the potassium to sodium ratio of your diet. Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and other health problems, including heart disease, memory decline, erectile dysfunction and more. The easiest way to avoid this imbalance is by avoiding processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium. Instead, eat a diet of whole, ideally organically-grown foods to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium.

8. Soy Protein Isolate and Other Unfermented Soy Products

Sadly, most of what you have been led to believe by the media about soy is simply untrue. One of the worst problems with soy comes from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE), and these are used to create soy protein isolate. Genetically engineered soybeans are designed to be “Roundup ready,” which means they’re engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of herbicide.

The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is called glyphosate, which is responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle. What’s more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.

Glyphosate’s mechanism of harm was only recently identified, and demonstrates how this chemical disrupts cellular function and induce many of our modern diseases, including autism. Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.

Even if you are not a vegetarian and do not use soymilk or tofu, it is important to be a serious label reader. There are so many different names for soy additives, you could be bringing home a genetically modified soy-based product without even realizing it. Soy expert Dr. Kaayla Daniel offers a free Special Report7, “Where the Soys Are,” on her Web site. It lists the many “aliases” that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists — words like “bouillon,” “natural flavor” and “textured plant protein.”

Besides soy protein isolate, ALL unfermented soy products are best avoided if you value your health. Thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

The only soy with health benefits is organic soy that has been properly fermented, and these are the only soy products I ever recommend consuming. After a long fermentation process, the phytate and “anti-nutrient” levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system. To learn more, please see this previous article detailing the dangers of unfermented soy.

9. Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to popular belief, studies have found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In one of the most recent of such studies8, saccharin and aspartame were found to cause greater weight gain than sugar.

Aspartame is perhaps one of the most problematic. It is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.

You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables. However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body.

Methanol acts as a Trojan horse; it’s carried into susceptible tissues in your body, like your brain and bone marrow, where the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme converts it into formaldehyde, which wreaks havoc with sensitive proteins and DNA. All animals EXCEPT HUMANS have a protective mechanism that allows methanol to be broken down into harmless formic acid. This is why toxicology testing on animals is a flawed model. It doesn’t fully apply to people.

Guidelines for Healthy Food

Whatever food you’re looking to eat, whether organic or locally grown, from either your local supermarket or a farmer’s market, the following are signs of a high-quality, healthy food. Most often, the best place to find these foods is from a sustainable agricultural group in your area.

  • It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  • It’s not genetically engineered
  • It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  • It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives
  • It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may still be the better option as freshness is important for optimal nutrient content)
  • It was not grown in a factory farm
  • It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  • It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)