Chitika

Friday, September 30, 2011

How Lack of Sleep Makes You Gain Weight



You stayed up too late last night, so you grab a latte on your way into work. When you feel yourself slump at 3 p.m., you raid the vending machine. You're so tired at the end of the day, you can barely get home for dinner, let alone make a trip to the gym.

Sound familiar? Many sleep-deprived people drag themselves through the day, skipping physical activity and relying on sugary pick-me-ups. But these habits don't fight off sleepiness for long. And even worse? Over time, they can contribute to weight gain or, at the very least, sabotage your efforts to lose those last few pounds.

Lack of sleep changes your appetite
"We have very substantial research that shows if you shorten or disturb sleep, you increase your appetite for high-calorie dense foods," says Charles Samuels, MD, medical director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary, Alberta. "On a simplistic level, your appetite changes."

Two hormones in your body play an important role in controlling appetite and satiety. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, causing you to eat; leptin suppresses appetite—so you'll stop eating—and stimulates energy expenditure. In a properly functioning brain, the two hormones are released on and off to regulate normal feelings of hunger. But research has shown that sleep deprivation can alter ghrelin and leptin levels.

"When sleep is restricted to four hours a night, ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels go down," says National Sleep Foundation spokesperson William Orr, PhD, president and CEO of the Lynn Health Science Institute in Oklahoma City. "So you have a greater amount of appetite and a greater amount of intake."

Belly fat raises your diabetes risk
If you're chronically sleep-deprived and consume more high-calorie foods, it's likely those calories will be deposited around your middle, forming fat deposits that are especially dangerous for raising your risk of type II diabetes. "It's known as visceral fat deposition," says Dr. Samuels. "Sleep-deprived individuals' ability to respond to a glucose load and release insulin is altered."

In one oft-cited study, he adds, healthy people whose sleep was restricted for six nights showed impaired glucose tolerance, which is a prediabetic condition. When they then got enough sleep, about nine hours a night over the next six nights, their glucose responses returned to normal.

There's not enough evidence to claim that lack of sleep could cause diabetes, but research has found a connection between the two. At the very least, getting enough sleep can help regulate energy levels—eliminating the need to rely on sugar or carbs for a boost—whether you have diabetes or not.

If you sleep less, you may weigh more
Countering an occasional sleepless night with chocolate the next day won't set you back too far, but research suggests you may gain weight if sleep deprivation and overeating become routine. "Individuals who are obese tend to sleep less," says Orr. "There's been a marked increase in obesity over the last 10 years, and over the last 50 years, there's been a marked reduction in average sleep time for the average American—which suggests a link between sleep, appetite regulation, and obesity."

The trouble doesn't necessarily end if you watch what you eat. Cheat sleep and you may have more trouble losing weight, even if you have a healthy diet. If two women are the same age and weight, both eating healthy meals and walking five hours a week, but one isn't losing weight, "the first thing we'd ask is if she's getting enough sleep," says Dr. Samuels. "With weight control, we look at physical activity, movement, food intake, and recovery, and you have to focus on sleep and where it fits into this context. The fundamental foundation of recovery is sleep."

Kids and teens also may have problems if they skimp on sleep. Studies have shown that short sleep time in children and adolescents is associated with being overweight. One recent study also suggests a possible link between decreased REM sleep and an increased risk of being overweight.

To fight sleep-deprivation-related weight gain and help make weight loss easier, try the following:

  • Rest. "Get the sleep you need, end of story," says Dr. Samuels. "People always want some magic answer beyond that, but you've got to get your sleep. My biggest issue is people who wake up at 4 to go to the gym. People should focus on sleep first, to get to their goal from the weight perspective."

  • Work out early in the day. "Exercise can aid sleep, but not right before bedtime," says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Jim White, RD, an American College of Sports Medicine–certified fitness instructor in Virginia Beach, Va. After working out, "adrenaline hormones and body temperature are up, which can keep you from falling asleep," he says.

  • Eat right. "Protein is a critical factor for alertness, but people eat carbs when they're tired," says Dr. Samuels. "Instead, eat a handful of unsalted mixed nuts." Whole grains with fiber are also good, says White. "Sugary foods will give you an instant energy buzz for 30 to 45 minutes, but you'll see a big crash after that; whole grains will fuel you for a longer time."

  • Avoid alcohol. Even if you think it relaxes you, don't turn to alcohol to calm down in the evening. "People don't realize that alcohol has nearly the same amount of calories per gram as fat," says Dr. Samuels. "When men stop drinking, boy, do they lose weight fast." Additionally, drinking alcohol close to bedtime can disrupt sleep: You may fall asleep more quickly after a few drinks, but you'll likely wake up more frequently during the night, and research indicates you'll get less REM sleep during the first half of the night.


www.healingpowerhour.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My VBAC Success Story: I ignored my doctor to have the birth I wanted.

- By Jana Llewellyn


When I was pregnant with my son in 2007, I read articles, listened to radio broadcasts, and watched TV shows that all reported the alarming rate of C-sections. Since my pregnancy had been without complications up to that point, I assumed this wasn’t something I had to worry about. I was more interested in the increasing popularity of natural birth.

“Should I forego an epidural?” I asked my doctor.

He said, polite as always, that some women thought they'd decline an epidural, but once they hit active labor, “they realized why epidurals were invented."

He tapped into one of my biggest fears: pain.

So after the obstetrician broke my water and told me I’d be in “excruciating pain,” I agreed to the epidural. She assured me that epidurals didn’t slow down labor as I had thought. Ten hours later, I was in the operating room. I had been given enough Pitocin to dilate, but the doctor suspected that my baby was positioned sideways and mandated a C-section.

When I got pregnant with my daughter almost two years later, I did not want another C-section. In fact, I was planning my VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) only hours after my son was born. After all, my body was well-equipped to carry other human beings — both of my children wanted to stay well past 40 weeks — and I knew that I could labor successfully if given the chance. But, my doctor warned me, due to my first C-section, I was now considered a high-risk delivery case.

The biggest fear doctors and patients have with VBAC is a uterine rupture, where the scar tissue of the uterus opens, necessitating an immediate C-section to save the mother’s and/or baby’s life. This, of course, is to be taken quite seriously. But since the risk of uterine rupture is less than 1 percent, which means only 7 or 8 women in 1,000 will experience it, I thought I’d take my chances. After all, there are plenty of fatal complications that can occur in labor, like placental abruption, which affects women who have not had C-sections. Even women who have never had previous abdominal surgery are vulnerable to uterine ruptures. Furthermore, there are risks with C-sections, too — hemorrhaging, blood cots, bowel issues, and breathing problems for the baby — and I knew that having a second one could make those more likely should I get pregnant again. I also knew that a vaginal birth would come with a shorter recovery time and therefore allow me to be more attentive to my son during a transitional time.

For weeks I carried the weight of my decision in my chest, fretting about whether I was succumbing to unnecessary risks, whether I was being selfish in wanting to avoid surgery and somehow putting my life before my baby’s. The only way to face this labor, I decided, was to hire a doula, someone who would personally assist me before, during, and after delivery. I emailed one who was recommended by a friend and meanwhile continued to read more about the benefits of vaginal delivery as opposed to C-sections.

When I posed more questions to my doctors though, I became confused and overwhelmed. The male doctor who performed my C-section the first time around seemed eager to use this opportunity to convince me that a C-section was a better option, even though for my first two trimesters, I had told him I wanted a VBAC. He explained that many female obstetricians prefer to schedule Cesareans for their own births rather than endure the pain of vaginal labor. He also went into a story about women in third-world countries who labor for so many hours, their bladders collapse and urine shoots out of their vaginas. On my next visit, the female OB (the one who convinced me to have an early epidural) recounted how the doctors and nurses on call gulp down bottles of Pepto-Bismol when they have a VBAC patient in labor because they’re so afraid that something will go wrong. And when I told her I was considering avoiding the epidural, she told me that was not an option. It would be mandatory once I was three or four centimeters dilated.

Feeling discouraged, I wrote to my doula, Ellen, to tell her I didn’t think it would be worth it for her to be part of my labor. If I had to get an epidural that early, there wouldn’t be much pain management she could help me with. She called me before I even closed my laptop, angry for what she thought was my doctor’s dishonesty. I did not need an epidural, she said, and I had as much chance of succeeding at a VBAC as I did at a regular birth. In the more than 500 births she had attended, she had only seen a uterine rupture once, and it was for a first-time delivery. To my surprise, she told me I needed to leave my practice, or I’d end up in the same situation I did the first time around, with a stalled labor and a baby who hadn’t moved into position because of a premature epidural.

Who could I trust? And why did it seem that natural birthing advocates were on such opposing sides from the obstetricians I had entrusted to deliver my baby? This time I listened to my gut and took down the names of three practices that my doula felt would support my VBAC. But when I called, no one would schedule an initial consultation. Instead, they would only see me if I officially switched from my current practice. Not wanting my maternal health to be in limbo 10 weeks before my due date, I looked at the bottom of Ellen’s list, at the only name I hadn’t yet considered: the midwife who worked out of a hospital a half hour away.

I never thought I’d choose a midwife. I didn’t know they existed beyond history books and the birth center a few miles from my home. But from the first minute I talked to Ronni, I knew I was in good hands. She was willing to meet with me for a consultation so she could answer all of my questions. She explained the slight differences of treating a VBAC patient and a regular patient. She was honest with me, and she fully supported my decision without ever skirting around the reality of the risks involved. (It also helped that in all her years as a midwife, she had never seen a uterine rupture.)

When I expressed concern over my obstetricians’ feelings about the switch, Ronni told me that they probably wouldn’t know I was gone. She was right. The office charged me an arm and a leg for select photocopies of my record, but I never received a phone call from a doctor asking me why I left. At my new prenatal appointments, in a cozy apartment with warm, green walls and a counter lined with tea, my two-year-old was welcomed with a box of toys and the title of “midwife’s helper” as he squeezed my blood pressure pump. In our half-hour appointments, Ronni did all the things my doctors did, but we also compared iPhones and talked about our lives and her recent deliveries.

Though my prenatal care was great, my labor was not as fun. Seven days past my due date, my daughter still hadn’t arrived, and it was the hospital’s procedure to induce before she got too big. I could receive only a small amount of Pitocin (large doses increase the chances of uterine rupture) through an IV to help things along, and as I sat on a hospital bed that morning, I lamented that the labor was already not going as I had hoped. Would I ever have this baby?

After seven hours, contractions were intense enough that I knew my baby was on her way. Surrounded by my midwife, doula, a hospital nurse, and my husband, I breathed, moaned, and visualized the clouds of Paris to get through particularly painful contractions. My husband stood by my side, rubbing my back as I rocked, sat, and walked, trying to get the baby to move into position. When I finally started pushing, I tried as much movement as possible. I squatted, I stood, I rocked. When the pain got so bad, I did what most women do: I asked for drugs. Ronni told me I was 9 centimeters dilated, and it was too late for drugs. Knowing I had come that far along gave me the boost I needed to get through the rest of my labor. A little after 9 p.m., I started feeling the urge to push, but after an hour and a half, the baby had barely moved. I got a thigh cramp that was worse than the contractions, and that's when I started to curse at my midwife. I wanted her to DO something.

But within minutes I realized that no one could do anything. It was up to me, and solely me, to push this baby out. I closed my eyes and reached into the darkness, into reserves I never knew I had, in order to bring my daughter into the world. At 12:34 a.m., three hours after I started, I felt her body leave mine, and Madeleine, my nine-pound, one-ounce baby girl, was laid on my stomach. She and I locked eyes, and I can still remember the new warmth of her, those chubby hands.

That night, despite my exhaustion, I couldn't sleep. I relived the whole surreal experience over and over in my head, still in disbelief that a baby with a head that big could come out a five-foot two-inch body. All the adrenaline convinced me I was the most amazing person alive, practically a superhero. The memory of my painful labor didn’t go away for a long time, but neither did my amazement at what I was actually capable of.

Related: The case for VBAC — what you should know before having a repeat C-section

If I had stayed with my obstetrics practice, there were a few things they would have done differently. First, I would have had an ultrasound in the last trimester to see whether my second baby was bigger than the first, and therefore not suitable for a vaginal delivery. Considering my first baby was 7.5 oz. and the second was 9.1, they would have probably forced me to have a C-section. Second, the practice would most likely not have induced me seven days after my due date. Instead, they would have wanted to perform a scheduled Cesarean if I didn’t go into labor soon enough. Lastly, most doctors are not willing to let a woman push for three hours. Even though the average pushing time for a first-time delivery is two hours, most doctors start mentioning the dreaded “C” word after much less time, which is not helpful for a woman’s mental and emotional state. Believe me, I wish I didn’t have to push for three hours, but I am glad I had a caregiver who let me finish what I started. In essence, I am convinced that my doctors would have looked for ways to encourage surgery, rather than allowing my body to perform its natural functions.

I look back on the birth of my daughter as the most difficult physical exercise I may ever undergo, as something that taught me the utmost limits of what a body — my body — can do. I was exhausted in the days and months after her birth, as all mothers are, but I was also triumphant, with a new inner confidence.

What better way to enter the next stage of motherhood?

www.healingpowerhour.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Importance of Gratitude

By: Laura Miller


Do you take stock each day of the “who, what, and how” of your fabulous life? Many of us can agree that we've found our lives to actually notbe so fabulous at times; but in looking at the bigger picture, there's probably plenty that we can be grateful for. Let's examine the word “gratitude” – perhaps it’ll help you see ways that you can be grateful for things as simple as walking around upright, with all your fingers and toes intact.



  Gratitude: The Art of Appreciation


I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where I was taught the importance of “please” and “thank you.” Unfortunately, I think we live in a world where some people just expect certain things and never take the time to be appreciative when they get them; or worse, they never take the time to be appreciative in general. The importance of appreciation is often overlooked. Some people don’t ever feel appreciated themselves; and therefore, they have a hard time helping others feel appreciated. At home, in relationships with family, significant others, pets, neighbors, etc., and in any work environment, feeling appreciated can help get a person through hard times and keep them focused on what is good about any given situation.



  The Connection Between Appreciation & Happiness


 I recently heard an employment expert on the radio say that money is not what keeps a person happy in a job. Feeling appreciated by others in the work environment and enjoying their work runs circles around getting big bucks. Many people who earn a high income don’t feel appreciated for the job they do, and therefore do not enjoy their occupation; apparently it's as they say, "Money doesn't buy happiness." My friends and I tell one another often how much we appreciate the time, patience, and wisdom of one another. My husband and I verbalize appreciation for each other for the many things we do to keep our relationship going strong. It's important to even express to our parents how much we love and appreciate them for all they've done and continue to do for us. To have someone acknowledge your efforts and make you feel appreciated is an important part of feeling connected to them.


 Aside from people and relationships, for me it is important to have gratitude for the things that are so easily taken for granted in our daily lives. For me, the sun is a huge ‘upper’ and I like to say out loud, “Thanks for the glorious sun!” as often as possible. You don’t have to say this to anyone in particular, just put the sentiment out there. You will feel so good – I promise. My car is another object of my affection, as it gets me where I want to go, and I am so appreciative of that! I often tell my car how much it is loved and appreciated. Now you might think I’m nuts, but I've found that awareness of what is good in life will make you a better person and bring you joy day in and day out.


 



Count Your Blessings


 We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Gratitude for a healthy body and mind is something we are often reminded of when we are exposed to another person who is not as fortunate. Remember that whatever physical aliments you might be dealing with, someone, somewhere is probably fighting a similar or worse battle than you. When we are feeling bad, mentally, physically, or emotionally, it is a great time to get in the habit of making a mental list of all we have to be grateful for. Usually you'll find it easy to come up with at least three things that bring you joy in your life and can be considered a blessing, and a little gratitude can go a long way in making you feel better in rough times.


 Gratitude has indeed become a habit with me. I go to sleep at night with gratitude for the day, no matter what happened or how it turned out in the end, and wake up, even when it is gloomy and raining, with gratitude that another day stands before me. Embracing gratitude and using affirmations has made me a better, stronger, and happier human being. The more you focus on what is good in your life and consciously acknowledge your gratefulness for your reality, the more you will see that you can truly be a very positive force in your own life. Gratitude grows when you become aware of how it can comfort you, bring perspective about who and what is important in your life, and how you can pass this gift on to the people you love.


 Take the time to get to know gratitude. You may be surprised at how quickly a little gratitude can transform your daily life. As your gratitude prospers, so will your capacity to love and be loved. Gratitude is good for all, especially you.



www.healingpowerhour.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke

By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com


Few things feel more terrifying and random than a stroke, which can strike without warning. And fear of stroke -- when a blood vessel in or leading to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot, starving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients -- is well founded. After all, stroke is the number-three killer in the U.S., affecting more than 700,000 people each year. Here are five foods that cause the damage that leads to stroke.

1. Crackers, chips, and store-bought pastries and baked goods

Muffins, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and many other baked goods are high in trans fats, which are hydrogenated oils popular with commercial bakeries because they stay solid at room temperature, so the products don't require refrigeration. Also listed on labels as "partially hydrogenated" or hydrogenated oils, trans fats are found in all kinds of snack foods, frozen foods, and baked goods, including salad dressings, microwave popcorn, stuffing mixes, frozen tater tots and French fries, cake mixes, and whipped toppings. They're also what makes margarine stay in a solid cube. The worst offenders are fried fast foods such as onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken.
Why it's bad

For years scientists have known trans fats are dangerous artery-blockers, upping the concentrations of lipids and bad cholesterol in the blood and lowering good cholesterol. Now we can add stroke to the list of dangers. This year researchers at the University of North Carolina found that women who ate 7 grams of trans fat each day -- about the amount in two doughnuts or half a serving of French fries -- had 30 percent more strokes (the ischemic type, caused by blocked blood flow to the brain) than women who ate just 1 gram a day. Another recent study, also in women, found that trans fats promoted inflammation and higher levels of C-reactive protein, which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetesheart disease, and stroke.
What to do

Aim to limit trans fats to no more than 1 or 2 grams a day -- and preferably none. Avoid fast-food French fries and other fried menu items and study packaged food labels closely. Even better, bake your own cookies, cakes, and other snacks. When you can't, search out "health-food" alternative snacks, such as Terra brand potato chips and traditional whole grain crackers such as those made by Finn, Wasa, AkMak, Ryvita, and Lavasch.

2. Smoked and processed meats

Whether your weakness is pastrami, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, or a smoked turkey sandwich, the word from the experts is: Watch out.
Why it's bad

Smoked and processed meats are nasty contributors to stroke risk in two ways: The preserving processes leave them packed with sodium, but even worse are the preservatives used to keep processed meats from going bad. Sodium nitrate and nitrite have been shown by researchers to directly damage blood vessels, causing arteries to harden and narrow. And of course damaged, overly narrow blood vessels are exactly what you don't want if you fear stroke.

Many studies have linked processed meats to coronary artery disease (CAD); one meta-analysis in the journal Circulation calculated a 42-percent increase in coronary heart disease for those who eat one serving of processed meat a day. Stroke is not the only concern for salami fans; cancer journals have reported numerous studies in the past few years showing that consumption of cured and smoked meats is linked with increased risk of diabetes and higher incidences of numerous types of cancer, including leukemia.
What to do

If a smoked turkey or ham sandwich is your lunch of choice, try to vary your diet, switching to tuna, peanut butter, or other choices several days a week. Or cook turkey and chicken yourself and slice it thin for sandwiches.

3. Diet soda

Although replacing sugary drinks with diet soda seems like a smart solution for keeping weight down -- a heart-healthy goal -- it turns out diet soda is likely a major bad guy when it comes to stroke.
Why it's bad

People who drink a diet soda a day may up their stroke risk by 48 percent. A Columbia University study presented at the American Stroke Association's 2011 International Stroke Conference followed 2,500 people ages 40 and older and found that daily diet soda drinkers had 60 percent more strokes, heart attacks, and coronary artery disease than those who didn't drink diet soda. Researchers don't know exactly how diet soda ups stroke risk -- and are following up with further studies -- but nutritionists are cautioning anyone concerned about stroke to cut out diet soda pop.
What to do

Substitute more water for soda in your daily diet. It's the healthiest thirst-quencher by far, researchers say. If you don't like water, try lemonade, iced tea, or juice.

4. Red meat

This winter, when the respected journal Stroke published a study showing that women who consumed a large portion of red meat each day had a 42-percent higher incidence of stroke, it got nutrition experts talking. The information that red meat, with its high saturated fat content, isn't healthy for those looking to prevent heart disease and stroke wasn't exactly news. But the percentage increase (almost 50 percent!) was both startling and solid; the researchers arrived at their finding after following 35,000 Swedish women for ten years.
Why it's bad

Researchers have long known that the saturated fat in red meat raises the risk of stroke and heart disease by gradually clogging arteries with a buildup of protein plaques. Now it turns out that hemoglobin, the ingredient that gives red meat its high iron content, may pose a specific danger when it comes to stroke. Researchers are investigating whether blood becomes thicker and more viscous as a result of the consumption of so-called heme iron, specifically upping the chance of strokes.
What to do

Aim to substitute more poultry -- particularly white meat -- and fish, which are low in heme iron, for red meat. Also, choose the heart-healthiest sources of protein whenever you can, especially beans, legumes, nuts, tofu, and nonfat dairy.

5. Canned soup and prepared foods

Whether it's canned soup, canned spaghetti, or healthy-sounding frozen dinners, prepared foods and mixes rely on sodium to increase flavor and make processed foods taste fresher. Canned soup is cited by nutritionists as the worst offender; one can of canned chicken noodle soup contains more than 1,100 mg of sodium, while many other varieties, from clam chowder to simple tomato, have between 450 and 800 mg per serving. Compare that to the American Heart and Stroke Association's recommendation of less than1,500 mg of sodium daily and you'll see the problem. In fact, a nutritionist-led campaign, the National Salt Reduction Initiative, calls on food companies to reduce the salt content in canned soup and other products by 20 percent in the next two years.
Why it's bad

Salt, or sodium as it's called on food labels, directly affects stroke risk. In one recent study, people who consumed more than 4,000 mg of sodium daily had more than double the risk of stroke compared to those who ate 2,000 mg or less. Yet the Centers for Disease Control estimate that most Americans eat close to 3,500 mg of sodium per day. Studies show that sodium raises blood pressure, the primary causative factor for stroke. And be warned: Sodium wears many tricky disguises, which allow it to hide in all sorts of foods that we don't necessarily think of as salty. Some common, safe-sounding ingredients that really mean salt:

  • Baking soda

  • Baking powder

  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)

  • Disodium phosphate

  • Sodium alginate


What to do

Make your own homemade soups and entrees, then freeze individual serving-sized portions. Buy low-sodium varieties, but read labels carefully, since not all products marked "low sodium" live up to that promise.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Monday, September 26, 2011

The 6 Most Horrifying Lies The Food Industry is Feeding You

By: Pauli Poisuo from cracked.com


If there's one thing in the world the food industry is dead set against, it's allowing you to actually maintain some level of control over what you eat. See, they have this whole warehouse full of whatever they bought last week when they were drunk that they need to get rid of -- and they will do so by feeding it all to you. And it doesn't matter how many pesky "lists of ingredients" and consumer protections stand between you and them.



#6. The Secret Ingredient: Wood


You know what's awesome? Newspaper. Or, to be precise, the lack thereof. The Internet and other electric media have all but eaten up classic print media, with the circulations of almost all papers on the wane. Say, do you ever wonder what they do with all that surplus wood pulp?

"But Cracked," you inquire, "what does this have to do with food ingredients?"

And we look at you squarely in the eye, then slowly bring our gaze upon the half-eaten bagel in your hand.

Oh, shit ...



The Horror:

What do they do with all the cellulose wood pulp? They hide it behind a bullshit name and make you eat it, that's what.

And everybody's doing it. Aunt Jemima's pancake syrup? Cellulose. Pillsbury Pastry Puffs? Cellulose. Kraft Bagel-Fuls? Fast-food cheese? Sara Lee's breakfast bowls? Cellulosecellulose, goddamn cellulose.


It turns out that cellulose can provide texture to processed foods, so food companies have taken to happily using it as a replacement for such unnecessary and inconveniently expensive ingredients as flour and oil. As the 30 percent cheaper cellulose is edible and non-poisonous, the FDA has no interest for restricting its use -- or, for that matter, the maximum amount of it that food companies can use in a product. It is pretty much everywhere, and even organic foods are no salvation -- after all, cellulose used to be wood and can therefore be called organic, at least to an extent.

But the worst thing about cellulose is not that it's everywhere. The worst thing is that it is not food at all. Cellulose is, unlike the actual, normal food items you think you're paying for, completely indigestible by human beings, and it has no nutritional value to speak of. If a product contains enough of it, you can literally get more nutrients from licking the sweet, sweet fingerprints off its wrapper.

#5. Zombie Orange Juice

Quick, name the most healthy drink your nearest store has to offer. You said orange juice, didn't you? It's what everybody makes you drink when you get sick. Hell, that shit must be like medicine or something. And the labels are always about health benefits -- the cartons scream "100 percent natural!", "Not from concentrate!" and "No added sugar!"

And why not believe them? When it comes to making the stuff, orange juice isn't sausage. You take oranges, you squeeze oranges, you put the result in a carton, with or without pulp. End of story, beginning of deliciousness.

But what if we told you that "freshly squeezed" juice of yours can very well be a year old, and has been subjected to stuff that would make the Re-Animator puke?

The Horror:

Ever wonder why every carton of natural, healthy, 100 percent, not-from-concentrate orange juice manages to taste exactly the same, yet ever so slightly different depending on the brand, despite containing no additives or preservatives whatsoever?

The process indeed starts with the oranges being squeezed, but that's the first and last normal step in the process. The juice is then immediately sealed in giant holding tanks and all the oxygen is removed. That allows the liquid to keep without spoiling for up to a year. That's why they can distribute it year-round, even when oranges aren't in season.


Thanks to science, we can enjoy screwdrivers from Christmas to the 4th of July.


There is just one downside to the process (from the manufacturers' point of view, that is) -- it removes all the taste from the liquid. So, now they're stuck with vats of extremely vintage watery fruit muck that tastes of paper and little else. What's a poor giant beverage company to do? Why, they re-flavor that shit with a carefully constructed mix of chemicals called a flavor pack, which are manufactured by the same fragrance companies that formulate CK One and other perfumes. Then they bottle the orange scented paper water and sell it to you.

And, thanks to a loophole in regulations, they often don't even bother mentioning the flavor pack chemicals in the list of ingredients. Hear that low moan from the kitchen? That's the Minute Maid you bought yesterday. It knows you know.

#4. Ammonia-Infused Hamburger

Any restaurant that serves hamburger goes out of its way to reassure you how pure and natural it is. Restaurant chains like McDonald's ("All our burgers are made from 100 percent beef, supplied by farms accredited by nationally recognized farm assurance schemes") and Taco Bell ("Like all U.S. beef, our 100 percent premium beef is USDA inspected, then passes our 20 quality checkpoints") happily vouch for the authenticity of their animal bits. Their testaments to the healthiness and fullness of their meat read out like they were talking about freaking filet mignon.

And aside from the rare E.coli outbreak, the meat is clean. It's how they get it clean that's unsettling.

The Horror:

Ammonia. You know, the harsh chemical they use in fertilizers and oven cleaners? It kills E.coli really well. So, they invented a process where they pass the hamburger through a pipe where it is doused in ammonia gas. And you probably never heard about it, other than those times that batches of meat stink of ammonia so bad that the buyer returns it.


If your Big Mac ever tastes like pee, this is why.


The ammonia process is an invention of a single company called Beef Products Inc., which originally developed it as a way to use the absolute cheapest parts of the animal, instead of that silly "prime cuts" stuff the competitors were offering (and the restaurant chains swear we're still getting). Consequently, Beef Products Inc. has pretty much cornered the burger patty market in the U.S. to the point that 70 percent of all burger patties out there are made by them. Thanks, ammonia!

#3. Fake Berries

Imagine a blueberry muffin.




Even with your freshly gained knowledge that there may or may not be some cellulose in the cake mix, it's pretty impossible not to start salivating at the thought. This is largely because of the berries themselves. What's better -- they're so very, very healthy that it's almost wrong for them to taste so good.

Everything is better with blueberries -- that's why they put them in so many foods. Now that we think of it, there sure seems to be a lot of blueberries in a lot of products. You'd think we'd see more blueberry fields around ...

The Horror:

... not that it would do any good, as the number of blueberries you've eaten within the last year that have actually come from such a field is likely pretty close to zero.

Studies of products that supposedly contain blueberries indicate that many of them didn't originate in nature. All those dangly and chewy and juicy bits of berry are completely artificial, made with different combinations of corn syrup and a little chemist's set worth of food colorings and other chemicals with a whole bunch of numbers and letters in their names.

They do a damn good job of faking it, too -- you need a chemist's set of your own to be able to call bullshit. You can sort of tell them from the ingredient lists, too, if you know what to look for, although the manufacturers tend to camouflage them under bullshit terms like "blueberry flakes" or "blueberry crunchlets."


Nothing says "nature" like petrochemical-derived food coloring.


There are a number of major differences between the real thing and the Abomination Blueberry: The fake blueberries have the advantages of a longer shelf life and, of course, being cheaper to produce. But they have absolutely none of the health benefits and nutrients of the real thing. This, of course, doesn't stop the manufacturers from riding the Blueberry Health Train all the way to the bank, sticking pictures of fresh berries and other bullshit cues all over the product packaging.

Now, here's some good news: The law does require the manufacturers to put the whole artificial thing out there for the customers. The bad news, however, is that they have gotten around this, too. First up, the Kellogg's Mini-Wheats way:


This is somewhat recognizable. They just stick a picture of the berries there, while not actually bothering to conceal the fact that the actual cereal looks like it's made of cardboard and Smurf paste.

A bunch of  Betty Crocker products and Target muffins use the second route, which brings the cheat level even further by actually containing an unspecified amount of real berries. This way they can legally advertise natural flavors while substituting the vast majority of berries with the artificial ones.

Or, you can just take the "we don't give a fuck anymore" route, as evidenced by General Mills' Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal. The whole selling point of the product is that it contains a bucketload of blueberries and pomegranates, and the package boasts all the buzzwords the marketing department has been able to dream up:




In reality, not only are the blueberries fake, but also they've forged the freaking pomegranates as well.


#2. "Free Range" Chickens That Are Crammed Into a Giant Room


Buying "free range" eggs is one of the easiest ways to feel good as a consumer -- they are at least as readily available as "normal," mass produced eggs from those horrible giant chicken prisons Big Egg maintains. Hell, they even cost pretty much the same. There's literally no reason not to buy free range even though, now that we think about it, we're not actually sure what that means. But the animals must live in pretty good conditions. In fact, let's buy our meat and poultry free range, too!

Well, according to law, the definition of "free range" is that chickens raised for their meat "have access to the outside." OK ... so that's not quite as free as we assumed, and it appears to only apply to chickens raised for their meat. But at least they still have some freedom, what with the outside and all that.

The Horror:

Words have power, and "free range" in its original sense means unfenced and unrestrained. That makes it a powerful phrase that, no matter how smart we are, conjures subconscious images of freedom hens, riding tiny little freedom horses out on the plains, wearing hen-sized cowboy hats and leaving a happy little trail of delicious freedom eggs in their wake. There may be mandolin music.

But the reality is there are absolutely no regulations whatsoever for the use of the term "free range" on anything other than chickens raised for their meat. Your Snickers bar could be free range for all the government cares.

The industry knows this full well and happily makes us lap up the free range myth, even though in reality a free range hen lives in pretty much the same prison as a battery cage hen -- except its whole life takes place in the prison shower, rather than a cell.


Look, they're free!


Awareness of the free range myth is slowly increasing, but although a manufacturer that has been pushing his luck a bit too much does get jailed every once in a while, that doesn't do much to the overall phenomenon. In fact, Europe is set to ban egg production in cage systems come 2012. Guess what the replacement is going to be?


#1. BS Health Claims


Nuts that reduce risk of heart disease. Yogurts that improve digestion and keep you from getting sick. Baby food that saves your kid from atopic dermatitis, whatever the hell that may be. Products like that are everywhere these days, and we do have to admit it's hard to see any drawbacks to them. We eat yogurt anyway, so why not make it good for our tummy while we're at it?

It's just that we can't keep wondering where all these magic groceries suddenly appeared from. One day your peanuts were peanuts, and then, all of a sudden, it was all coronary disease this and reduce heart attack risks that. Maybe Food Science just had a really, really productive field day a while back?

Or, of course, it could be that we're being fooled yet again.

The Horror:

The vast majority of product health claims use somewhat older technology than most of us realize: the ancient art of bullshitting. The "health effects" of wonder yogurts and most other products with supposed medical-level health benefits can be debunked completely, thoroughly and easily. So why are they able to keep marketing this stuff?

It all started in 2002, when many ordinary foods found themselves suddenly gaining surprising, hitherto unseen superpowers. This is when the FDA introduced us to a new category of pre-approved product claims. It was called "qualified health claims," and it was basically just another list of marketing bullshit the company can use if their product meets certain qualifications. This was nothing new. What was new, however, was that the list said no consensus for the scientific evidence for the product's health claims was needed.

"This brand treats syphilis and diabetes."


Since "no consensus needed" is law-talk for "pay a dude in a lab coat enough to say your product is magic and we'll take his word for it no matter what everyone else says," companies immediately went apeshit. Suddenly, everyone had a respected scientist or six in their corner, and the papers they published enabled basically whatever they wanted to use in their marketing and packaging.

We're not saying that none of the products boasting health properties work. There are plenty out there, but they're kind of difficult to find under the constant stream of bullshit supplementary claims. Come on, food industry -- just tell us the truth. Don't you realize that we'll just eat it anyway? Shit, people still buy cigarettes, don't they?

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

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Friday, September 23, 2011

8 Ways to Use Your Mind to Live Longer

by Self Magazine


Fret Less


To banish worries, put stressors on paper. Writing them down and stashing the note in a "worry jar" (or a drawer) makes it easier to compartmentalize and move on, says Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., a psychologist in Washington, D.C. Limiting anxiety is healthy. A surfeit of the stress hormone cortisol may lead to chronic pain, depression, cognitive issues and even heart problems, potentially shortening your life. Not to mention that constant worry is no fun.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up


Optimists live longer, plain and simple. In a 15-year study of more than 100,000 women, cheery types were 14 percent less likely to die in an eight-year period than gloomy gals were, the National Institutes of Health Women's Health Initiative finds. To change your thinking, visualize a happy moment: "Imagining yourself in a hammock on the beach can have an immediate, relaxing effect on the body that makes it more difficult to stay focused on the negative," Bonior says.

If All Else Fails, Take a Nap


When life starts getting you down, catch 40 winks. If you're stressed out, a 45-minute daytime snooze may lower your blood pressure, a study from Allegheny College reports. Siestas also help you catch up on much-needed sleep. That's crucial, because chronic sleep deprivation can cause aging at the cellular level. So give yourself permission to nap like a kid. We predict you'll start feeling like one, too.


Your Relaxation Rx


Which mind/body treatments have the most rock-solid science backing them up? Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, provides the big picture.

For: Back pain Try: Yoga

For: High cholesterol Try: Qigong

For: Depression Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga

For: Eating disorders Try: Meditation, yoga

For: Fertility Try: Visualization, yoga

For: Heart health Try: Deep breathing, qigong, yoga

For: Immunity Try: Breathing, chants, meditation, qigong

For: Insomnia Try: Acupuncture, visualization, yoga

For: Joint pain Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga

For: Migraines Try: Acupuncture, yoga

The Science


The latest cutting-edge research proves your mind can heal your body. Here's how:

Your body dials down stress. Dr. Benson's research has found that mind/body practices—meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, visualization—all elicit the relaxation response, quelling the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart slows, blood pressure falls and digestion eases. 

Your immunity soars. The relaxation response causes cells to release micropuffs of nitric oxide, a gas that dilates blood vessels and stabilizes the immune system, Dr. Benson reported in Medical Science Monitor. Mind/body methods worked as well as drugs designed to do the same thing, without the side effects.

Your genes change. Here's the real slap-your-forehead news: In a study in PLoS ONE, Dr. Benson compared the genes of 38 people, half of whom meditated regularly and half of whom never did. Controlling for other factors, he found that genes associated with stress-related illness behaved differently in the two groups. "These genes control not only stress but also premature aging and inflammation," he says. It seems meditators' genes were essentially telling their body to stress less and age more slowly.



www.healingpowerhour.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Truth About Natural Flavors

by M. 'Butterflies' Katz


The objective of this article is to warn you not to trust the term natural when you see natural flavor on a food label, and to urge you to tell so called Natural Food Company that we don’t want mystery chemicals in our foods.

The exact definition of natural flavors from the Code of Federal Regulations is as follows:
The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

.
When the phrase ‘natural flavors’ appears on a package, the best move is to call the company and find out what the flavors are actually made from. Of course, I say this assuming that we’re all the kind of people who would be horrified to find out that we might have come close to ingesting fluid from the sex glands of beavers.

Think that sounds absurd? Then you must not have heard of castoreum, which is “used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years.”

Castoreum is a bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers. The discharge of the castor sac is combined with the beaver’s urine, and used during scent marking of territory. Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail.

Castoreum is a product of the trapping industry. When beavers are skinned for their fur, these glands are taken out, and are sold after being smoked or sun-dried to prevent putrefaction.

The European Beaver was hunted to near extinction, both for fur and for castoreum, which was also believed to have medicinal properties. The North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million, largely due to extensive hunting and trapping. Although sources report that beaver populations have now recovered to a stable level, some experts say that today’s American beaver population is only 5 percent of what it was when Europeans first settled in North America.

Castoreum is used in “high class” perfumery for “refined leathery nuances.” It is also reportedly used in some incense, and to contribute to the flavor and odor of cigarettes. In food, castoreum is used to flavor candies, drinks, and desserts such as puddings.

Natural Flavors and Artificial Flavors are basically the same, and are chemical additives


Don’t let the word ‘natural’ fool you. It’s a marketing ploy being used to allay the suspicions of conscientious consumers who are trying to choose foods wisely. It’s a term that food producers are permitted to use instead of listing the actual ingredients in a product. It shouldn’t be legal to withhold ingredients from the public, and it shouldn’t be legal to call a product that contains a chemical additive ‘natural’.

The world’s giant producer of both ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ chemical flavors is International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF). Located off the New Jersey Turnpike, their lab workers concoct the chemicals that give smell or taste to floor polish, detergent, deodorant…and food. These chemical potions are then purchased by food producers who add them to their products. When marketing to the uncaring portion of the public that is currently subsisting on Kool-Aid and TV Dinners, food producers use ‘artificial’ flavor. When marketing to health conscious, green living types, food producers like Imagine Foods use ‘natural’ flavor to make us believe this mystery ingredient is perfectly innocuous. Don’t be fooled by this clever marketing trick!

The only difference between an artificial and a natural flavor is that the artificial flavor never came from a food in the first place, but once upon a time, the natural flavor did. For example, the natural flavor for banana was derived by distilling a chemical called amyl acetate from the banana, and then copying its properties. Artificial banana flavor is made out of vingear, amyl alchohol and sulfuric acid. Both routes may produce a banana-like taste and smell, but neither route is derived from putting an actual banana in the end product. It’s all achieved by totally unnatural processes being conducted in giant factories by people in lab coats. It’s not healthy, wholesome or necessary…and it’s sure not natural!

Food tastes good when you use actual, real ingredients. Whole foods don’t need additives to taste perfect, just as they are. When a company is adding chemical flavorings to their products, they are either trying to take financial shortcuts or are covering up a really bad taste. Remember…their goal is to sell, and they are quite willing to make a fool of you and your taste buds to do so.

Don't fall for it.

www.healingpowerhour.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

4 Over-Prescribed Treatments and Tests



What doctors do is important. Equally important: what they don’t do. To keep patients healthier, prevent unnecessary treatment (and side effects), and save health-care dollars, a panel of doctors is urging internists, family medicine specialists, and pediatricians to follow top-five lists of medical don’ts. Here are some of those tests and procedures — and the go-slow approaches that are preferable.

Lower-Back Pain

  • Don’t do an imaging test within the first six weeks except in special cases.


“The vast majority of back pain goes away on its own,” says Shannon Brownlee, author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. “A back image is not going to help you heal faster, but it can mislead your doctor into thinking that something is wrong, which can lead to costly and unnecessary surgery.” Of course, sometimes tests and treatments are unavoidable (say, if you’re also having bladder problems), so make sure your doctor listens carefully to all your symptoms, says Jerome Groopman, MD, coauthor of the forthcoming Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You. “A really good doctor doesn’t follow a cookbook,” Dr. Groopman says.

Bone-Density Screening

  • Don’t do a routine bone-density test for women under 65 or men under 70.


The standard test, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), measures the mineral content of your bones, but “for premenopausal women, routine screening is a huge scam,” says Brownlee. “It often leads them to take osteoporosis drugs, which is very controversial at best for that age group. At that age, you don’t need a DEXA scan to tell you what you should be doing to prevent osteoporosis.”

Electrocardiogram (ECG) Screening

  • Don’t do an annual test if risk is low.


“If you don’t have symptoms and are at low risk for heart disease, chances are pretty good that the test is wrong if it says you do have a problem,” Brownlee says. Even so, your doctor will almost certainly feel compelled to follow up with more invasive tests that carry the risk of injury or even death.

Sinus Infection

  • Don’t accept antibiotics for most cases of mild or moderate sinusitis.


“Antibiotics are not ‘anti-every-kind-of-bug’ drugs,” Brownlee says. “They don’t work against viruses, and most sinus infections are caused by viruses.” Plus, overprescribing these drugs can produce stubborn new bacterial strains that antibiotics can’t fight — which can cause problems more serious than sinus trouble. Don’t ask for the hard stuff unless the sinus problem is severe or symptoms last longer than a week or get better and then worsen.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

8 Foods That Keep You Full and 4 That Make You Hungry

By - Camille Noe Pagan

Anyone who’s ever walked away from the table only to be starving moments later (Chinese food, we’re looking at you) knows that certain edibles can leave you more famished than you were before you ate ‘em. If you want to stay satisfied longer—a key to weight control—remember this magic trio: protein, healthy fats and fiber. Here, nutritionists’ favorite healthy filler-uppers.

Food That Keeps You Full:


Eggs


For just 70 calories, an egg delivers more than 6 grams of protein, says Shelley McGuire, Ph.D., a spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition. One study found that women who ate eggs for breakfast lost more weight than those who had bagels with the same number of calories, possibly because all that protein kept their hunger in check. The egg eaters reported more energy too!


Note from Dr Akilah - Make sure you buy and eat hormone free eggs

Soup


Studies show that foods containing a lot of water can keep you feeling full. And when you start a meal with soup, you activate brain signals that begin to tell you you’ve had enough to eat—so that by the time you finish your second course, you’ll be satisfied. “Go for a broth-based bowl with fiber-rich veggies like celery and spinach,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D.



Avocados


Their healthy monounsaturated fats may help slow the rate at which your stomach empties, says McGuire. They’re also loaded with folate, potassium and vitamin E, and early research suggests that foods containing these nutrients may be more satiating than others.



Low-Fat Greek Yogurt


Seventeen grams of protein in a 6-ounce container (that’s more than you get in four slices of turkey!) means major hunger control.



Oatmeal


All that filling fiber (4 grams per half-cup serving in the old-fashioned variety; 3 grams in the instant) helps this breakfast stick to your ribs. It also provides a surprising 4 to 7 grams of protein (the steel-cut kind typically has the most)—and that’s before you add milk. For extra staying power, toss in blueberries, which have 4 grams of fiber per cup.



Apples


“Only 80 calories, but one can be as filling as a meal because of the 4 grams of fiber and high water content,” says Jamieson-Petonic.



Beans and Lentils


Eat them and you may end up eating less of everything else. “They’re high in protein—about 7 grams per half cup—and high in complex carbohydrates, the type that take longer to break down,” says McGuire.



Nuts


“They have the perfect combination of fiber, protein and fat,” says Jamieson-Petonic. The nutritionists’ faves? Walnuts, almonds and pistachios. Just stick to an ounce or less to avoid calorie overload.



.


Food That Makes You Hungry:



Cookies, Crackers and Croissants


Steer clear of the three C’s— those processed, sugary carbs tend to cause hunger to rebound. Pick whole-grain snacks instead. (Low-fat popcorn counts!)



Alcohol


Famished after happy hour? It’s not just your willpower: Booze can spike your appetite, experts say.




Cereal


Many are high in hunger-producing sugar and little else. Look for protein and fiber like in Kashi GoLean.



“Diet” Foods


Some frozen dinners, for example, actually have too few calories and not enough filling fruits and veggies.



www.healingpowerhour.com 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Canned foods found to contain dangerously high level of toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA)

by: David Gutierrez, staff writer


A new study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group found the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in over 50 percent of the name-brand canned goods tested. In some cases, a single serving was enough to expose a woman or infant to BPA levels that were 200 times higher than the government's safe level for industrial chemicals.

What you need to know - Conventional View


• BPA is an industrially produced chemical commonly used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA-containing resins are a common ingredient in the linings of canned goods.

•BPA is a known estrogen mimicker, and can cause hormone-disrupting effects, toxicity or even neurotoxicity, low sperm counts and cancer. Some of these effects can occur in concentrations as low as two parts per billion. More than 200 animal studies show that BPA is toxic at very low doses, and the Centers for Disease Control explains that it has found BPA in 95 percent of patients being tested at levels that raise health concerns.

• The study found that cans of chicken soup, infant formula and ravioli had the highest levels of BPA. One to three servings of these foods was enough to expose women or children to BPA levels that have been shown to cause harm in animal tests.

• One in 10 of the cans tested -- and one in three cans of infant formula -- contained concentrations high enough that a single serving contained levels less than five times lower than the dose shown to cause harm in animal studies. Typically, the government classifies exposure as dangerous if it is within 1,000 to 3,000 times that shown to harm animals.

• The FDA estimates that 17% of the U.S. diet comes from canned food, but there is no government safety standard regulating the amount of BPA allowed in such foods.

• Quote: "Given widespread human exposure to BPA and hundreds of studies showing its adverse effects, the FDA and EPA must act quickly to revise safe levels for BPA exposure based on the latest science on the low-dose toxicity of the chemical." - Environmental Working Group

What you need to know - Alternative View


Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, author of Grocery Warning: How to identify and avoid dangerous food ingredients

• It is worth noting that bisphenol-A is only found in processed, manufactured foods and packaging. Consuming fresh, raw produce avoids the ingestion of bisphenol-A.

• Food packaging that has long been considered "safe" by the FDA is now being found to be surprisingly hazardous to human health. As a general rule, the more fresh food you eat and the less processed, packaging food you eat, the lower your risk will be for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders and many other diseases.

www.healingpowerhour.com

Sunday, September 18, 2011

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Too busy to cook?

By Simone Austin


Do you typically arrive home from work feeling too tired to cook? Haven’t shopped, fridge nearly empty? The takeaway shop is looking tempting. Well think again.

Let’s plan ahead a little so there is always a healthy option in the fridge or pantry at home. Write a list before going to the shops so you buy only those foods on the list. Think about some quick meals and which ingredients you will need for them.

To have a well balanced meal, even one that is quick to prepare, you should include:

  • a carbohydrate source for energy, such as pasta, rice, couscous, noodles, potatoes, sweet potato, kumara or bread

  • a protein source, such as lean meat, eggs, legumes or fish

  • vegetables or salad


These should generally be in equal proportions on your plate.

Here are some quick, healthy meals that are easy to prepare from everyday ingredients kept in the fridge and pantry:

  • poached eggs with wholegrain bread, corn on the cob and some canned tomatoes and mushrooms cooked up together

  • baked beans on toast with a side salad

  • homemade pizza using pita bread, with tuna, low-fat cheese, mushrooms and capsicum topping

  • chicken, tomato, olives (jar) and vegetables (frozen or fresh peas and beans) with pasta

  • salmon patties (or tempeh) with a garden salad or vegetables


Try and keep some staples in the pantry, including fruit that you can eat with yoghurt for dessert. Frozen berries blended with almond milk and yoghurt makes a great smoothie snack at any time of day.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

HPV Does NOT Cause Cancer - The Gardasil Scam

Some time ago at Matewan I expressed doubts about Gardasil, the vaccination that was being forced on teenage girls supposedly because it acted to prevent cervical cancer. I suggested then that there was something fishy about all the political wheeling and dealing behind the scenes that had resulted in various governors – Texas’ Rick Perry for one – making Gardasil vaccinations mandatory.


It all sounded cooked. To begin with, Perry had very heavy connections with the pharmaceutical industry, including the companies that manufacture and distribute Gardasil. Secondly, studies show that some 94% of sexually active women have some form of HPV and in almost all those cases, it goes away by itself. Why, I wondered, would we be making the injections mandatory for a disease that cures itself without troubling the patient for the sake of maybe protecting the small slice of the population that might develop cervical cancer from HPV?

It sounded like another Big Pharma scam but it may be far worse. Turns out that studies actually show that not only does HPV NOT cause cervical cancer, the Gardasil itself does.
This revelation should be quite shocking to anyone who has been following the debate over Gardasil and mandatory vaccinations of teenage girls. First, it reveals that Gardasil appears to increasedisease by 44.6 percent in certain people — namely, those who were already carriers of the same HPV strains used in the vaccine.

In other words, it appears that if the vaccine is given to a young woman who already carries HPV in a “harmless” state, it may “activate” the infection and directly cause precancerous lesions to appear. The vaccine, in other words, may accelerate the development of precancerous lesions in women.

This was sent to me via email from a friend and comes from a website called NaturalNews. Below is the entire text, with links. Read it and make up your own mind. It’s long but if you have or know a teenage girl or her family, it’s crucial information worth taking the time to read.
NaturalNews) For the last several years, HPV vaccines have been marketed to the public and mandated in compulsory injections for young girls in several states based on the idea that they prevent cervical cancer. Now, NaturalNews has obtained documents from the FDA and other sources (see below) which reveal that the FDA has been well aware for several years that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has no direct link to cervical cancer.

NaturalNews has also learned that HPV vaccines have been proven to be flatly worthless in clearing the HPV virus from women who have already been exposed to HPV (which includes most sexually active women), calling into question the scientific justification of mandatory “vaccinate everyone” policies.

Furthermore, this story reveals evidence that the vaccine currently being administered for HPV — Gardasil — may increase the risk of precancerous cervical lesions by an alarming 44.6 percent in some women. The vaccine, it turns out, may be far more dangerous to the health of women than doing nothing at all.

If true, this information reveals details of an enormous public health fraud being perpetrated on the American people, involving FDA officials, Big Pharma promoters, and even the governors of states like Texas. The health and safety of tens of millions of young girls is at stake here, and what this NaturalNews investigative report reveals is that HPV vaccinations may not only be medically useless; they may also be harmful to the health of the young girls receiving them.

This report reveals startling facts about the HPV vaccine that most people will find shocking:
• How it may actually increase the risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent.
• The FDA has, for four years, known that HPV was not the cause of cervical cancer.
• Why mandatory HPV vaccination policies may cause great harm to young girls.
• Why HPV infections are self-limiting and pose no real danger in healthy women
• Little-known FDA documents that reveal astounding facts about Gardasil
• How Big Pharma promoted its Gardasil vaccine using disease mongering and fear mongering

HPV Infections Resolve Themselves, Without Vaccines


As the reclassification petition reveals, HPV infections are naturally self-limiting — meaning that they are controlled naturally, without requiring intervention with drugs or vaccines. It is not the HPV virus itself that causes cervical cancer but rather a persistent state of ill-health on the part of the patient that makes her vulnerable to persistent infections.
As the petition states:

“Based on new scientific information published in the past 15 years, it is now generally agreed that identifying and typing HPV infection does not bear a direct relationship to stratification of the risk for cervical cancer . Most acute infections caused by HPV are self-limiting [1, 4-7]. …Repeated sequential transient HPV infections, even when caused by “high-risk” HPVs, are characteristically not associated with high risk of developing squamous intraepithelial lesions, a precursor of cervical cancer.

A woman found to be positive for the same strain (genotype) of HPV on repeated testing is highly likely suffering from a persistent HPV infection and is considered to be at high risk of developing precancerous intraepithelial lesions in the cervix . It is the persistent infection, not the virus, that determines the cancer risk.”
The FDA agrees with this assessment of the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer, as evidenced by its 2003 news release quoted above.

Next, we reveal evidence that HPV vaccines actually cause precancerous lesions in women.

Do HPV Vaccines Increase the Risk of Precancerous Lesions?


The reclassification petition cited above also reveals that Gardasil vaccines may increase the risk of developing precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent in some groups of women. This is found in a quote referencing a document mentioned in the petition, which states:
“PCR-based HPV detection device with provision for accurate HPV genotyping is more urgently needed now because vaccination with Gardasil of the women who are already sero-positive and PCR-positive for vaccine-relevant genotypes of HPV has been found to increase the risk of developing high-grade precancerous lesions by 44.6%, according to an FDA VRBPAC Background Document : Gardasil HPV Quadrivalent Vaccine. May 18, 2006 VRBPAC Meeting.www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4222B3.pdf”

NaturalNews tracked down the correct URL of the document referenced above and found it in the FDA docket archives. We have placed a safe backup copy at: http://www.NaturalNews.com/downloads/FDA-Gardasil.pdf
Sure enough, this document reveals startling information about the extreme dangers apparently posed by Gardasil vaccinations. On page 13, this document states:

“Concerns Regarding Primary Endpoint Analyses among Subgroups

There were two important concerns that were identified during the course of the efficacy review of this BLA. One was the potential for Gardasil to enhance disease among a subgroup of subjects who had evidence of persistent infection with vaccine-relevant HPV types at baseline. The other concern was the observations of CIN 2/3 or worse cases due to HPV types not contained in the vaccine. These cases of disease due to other HPV types have the potential to counter the efficacy results of Gardasil for the HPV types contained in the vaccine.

1. Evaluation of the potential of Gardasil™ to enhance cervical disease in subjects who had evidence of persistent infection with vaccine-relevant HPV types prior to vaccination. The results of exploratory subgroup analyses for study 013 suggested a concern that subjects who were seropositive and PCR-positive for the vaccine-relevant HPV types had a greater number of CIN 2/3 or worse cases as demonstrated in the following table:

Observed Efficacy
- 44.6%

It appeared that subjects in this subgroup of study 013 who received Gardasil™ might have had enhanced risk factors for development of CIN 2/3 or worse compared to placebo recipients.”

Revealing the Dangers of Gardasil


This revelation should be quite shocking to anyone who has been following the debate over Gardasil and mandatory vaccinations of teenage girls. First, it reveals that Gardasil appears to increasedisease by 44.6 percent in certain people — namely, those who were already carriers of the same HPV strains used in the vaccine.

In other words, it appears that if the vaccine is given to a young woman who already carries HPV in a “harmless” state, it may “activate” the infection and directly cause precancerous lesions to appear. The vaccine, in other words, may accelerate the development of precancerous lesions in women.

This is information that has simply not been made available in the debate over Gardasil vaccination policies. The pro-vaccination rhetoric has always been about “saving lives” and it carried the implied statement that Gardasil is perfectly safe for all women, posing absolutely no increased risk of cancer. What these documents reveal, however, is that Gardasil may, in fact, pose a serious increase in the risk of cervical cancer in some recipients of the vaccine.

Research Shows Gardasil to be Useless


To further investigate this conclusion, NaturalNews took a closer look at research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (August, 2007), entitled, “Effect of Human Papillomavirus 16/18 L1 Viruslike Particle Vaccine Among Young Women With Preexisting Infection”

This research sought to determine the usefulness of the HPV vaccine among women who already carry HPV (which includes virtually all women who are sexually active, regardless of their age).

This document can currently be found at a University of Louisville document archive reprinted from JAMA. Click here to read the PDF yourself.

Just in case that copy disappears, we’ve also hosted the PDF here:http://www.NaturalNews.com/downloads/HPV-Vaccine-Effects.pdf

This document reveals startling information about the ineffectiveness of the Gardasil vaccine. It reveals that the HPV vaccine often caused anincrease in the presence of HPV strains while utterly failing to clear the viruses in most women.

These shocking results caused the study authors to publish this sobering conclusion, printed in JAMA:

“No significant evidence of a vaccine therapeutic effect was observed in analyses restricted to women who received all doses of vaccine or those with evidence of single HPV infections at entry (Table2). We observed no evidence of vaccine effects when we stratified the analysis on selected study entry characteristics reflective of [various parameters] (TABLE3). Similarly, no evidence of vaccine effects was observed in analyses stratified by other study entry parameters thought to potentially influence clearance rates and efficacy of the vaccine, including time since sexual initiation, oral contraceptive use, cigarette smoking, and concomitant infection with C trachomatis or N gonorrhoeae (Table 3).”

In other words, the authors found no evidence that the vaccine worked at all. This observation led the authors to offer this damning conclusion that appears to render Gardasil nothing more than a grand medical hoax:

“… rates of viral clearance over a 12-month period are not influenced by vaccination.”

The study goes on to state words that should cause every doctor, Governor and health authority across the United States (and around the world) to rethink Gardasil vaccination policies:

“…given that viral clearance rates did not differ by treatment group and that persistent viral infection is the best established predictor of risk of progression, it is unlikely that vaccination could have a significant beneficial impact on rate of lesion progression.1,17

Results from our community-based study provide strong evidence that there is little, if any, therapeutic benefit from the vaccine in the population we studied. Furthermore, we see no reason to believe that there is therapeutic benefit of the vaccine elsewhere because the biological effect of vaccination among already infected women is not expected to vary by population.

In other words, the vaccines didn’t work on the population studied, and there is no reason to believe that those same vaccines would magically work on other populations, since the biology of women and HPV is so similar across various populations.

The Conclusion: HPV Vaccinations a Medical Hoax


It is difficult to take an honest look at this scientific evidence and the statements made by the FDA and not come to the conclusion that mandatory Gardasil vaccination policies being pushed across U.S. states right now are based on something other than science.

There are many theories exploring the motivation for such vaccination policies. Possible theories include:

Financial benefit: Big Pharma is pushing mandatory Gardasil vaccination policies so that it can profit from selling more vaccines to the states. This idea is at least partially supported by the fact that the first state Governor to mandate such vaccines (Texas Gov. Rick Perry) had undisclosed ties to Big Pharma. (A top official in Perry’s administration worked directly for Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil.)

Conspiracy to poison the people: This theory, which may stretch the bounds of belief in some readers, proposes that such mandatory vaccines are put in place in order to create future disease by poisoning the people with dangerous chemicals and DNA fragments that are knowingly added to vaccines. The poisoning of the people, it is said, will pay off in future profits for Big Pharma when those people develop other serious diseases requiring “treatment” with medications. Many people who support this theory currently believe, for example, that AIDS was engineered by human scientists and then administered to the gay population in New York in the late 1980′s through vaccines.

Control the sheeple: This theory supposes that the main purpose of mandatory vaccines is to train the American public to get used to submitting to compulsory medicines. Once a certain segment of the population is targeted and effectively injected with mandatory medicines, these policies can be extended to other groups and, eventually, can encompass the entire population.

The first theory — Financial Benefit — is the simplest and easiest theory to believe. It requires nothing more than simple greed on the part of Big Pharma, along with the usual level of corruption at the FDA. NaturalNews believes this is the most likely explanation for events surrounding Gardasil vaccination policies, but we do not rule out other possible explanations, either.

Profits at Any Cost


What’s clear in all this is that mandatory HPV vaccination programs are not based on anything resembling good science. They seem to be based on a carefully planted meme — an idea that, coincidentally, spreads from one person’s mind to the next much like a virus, gaining momentum as the mainstream media (MSM), health authorities, FDA and drug company reps repeat the meme on a regular basis. And what is that meme? That HPV causes cervical cancer, and, therefore, HPV vaccinations could halt cervical cancer and save lives.

This meme appears to have no real scientific basis. It is more of an urban legend than anything resembling scientific fact. Furthermore, it appears to have been conjured by those in a position to financially benefit from the adoption of that meme (the drug companies who manufacture, sell, and profit from the sale of HPV vaccines). In this case, that drug company is Merck, a powerful corporation with a dubious history rife with charges of price fixing, large-scale tax avoidance (it set up offshore accounts to avoid billions in U.S. taxes), widespread biopiracy, conspiring with the FDA to discredit its critics, burying negative evidence about its drugs (see the history of Vioxx at www.NaturalNews.com/vioxx.html ) and numerous other actions that many consider to be criminal in nature.

There is no question that Merck has the lack of ethics, the willingness and the means to commit medical fraud on an unprecedented scale. Based on the information revealed in this report, the mandatory vaccination of young girls with Gardasil appears to be the boldest medical hoax yet perpetrated by the company. You can read the true history about Merck and its crimes at: http://www.NaturalNews.com/Merck.html

NaturalNews believes Merck is currently engaged in a massive medical fraud, and that it has influenced, corrupted or otherwise recruited FDA officials and state health authorities in a grand scheme to sell vaccines that are at best medically worthless, and at worst medically dangerous. Halting cervical cancer seems to have nothing to do with the marketing and prescribing of Gardasil. The entire campaign push for mandatory HPV vaccinations seems to be based entirely in the realm of sales and marketing.

The “marketing” of HPV vaccines involves classic disease mongering — spreading fear about a disease as a way of corralling patients into begging for the “solution” that just happens to be readily available from the same pharmaceutical company that promoted the disease in the first place. The hype over cervical cancer and Gardasil seems to be nothing more than a classic case of fear-based marketing designed to create such consumer fear over cervical cancer that a massive public outcry would result in legislation mandating the vaccines.

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Sources Cited
HiFi DNA Tech files lawsuit against FDA
http://www.news-medical.net/?id=31180

Reclassification Petition – Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Detection Device (K063649 )
http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/07p0210/07p-0210-ccp0001-01-vol1.pdf

FDA Approves Expanded Use of HPV Test
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2003/NEW00890.html

VRBPAC Background Document, Gardasil™ HPV Quadrivalent Vaccine, May 18, 2006 VRBPAC Meeting
http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4222B3.pdf

Effect of Human Papillomavirus 16/18 L1 Viruslike Particle Vaccine Among Young Women With Preexisting Infection
Journal of the American Medical Association, August, 2007