For most people, the consumption of berries is limited to only a few different types, and they are almost never organic. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (in that order) are the three most popular types in the U.S., but they’re almost never organic and are often heavily sprayed with chemicals, including strawberries which ranked #1 on the 2018 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list by the Environmental Working Group. While these berries are still relatively beneficial in comparison to other popular foods that make up the “Standard American Diet,” they’re still a far cry from being truly healthy. And as fate would have it, there’s one particular berry most Americans are missing out on that could solve some of the most common and debilitating health problems they face each day. Acai: The Powerful Brazilian Superfood That Destroys Cancer Cells Even as we continue to throw billions of dollars at the mantle of “Breast Cancer Awareness,” the problem shows little sign of slowing. According to current statistics from the website BreastCancer.org, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, and critics say not enough is being done in the field of prevention. Meanwhile, metastatic breast cancer remains the most overlooked and understudied killer of women that the Susan G. Komen Foundation and others are not doing enough to address, according to former Los Angeles Times columnist named Laurie Becklund who passed away from the disease and wrote this heart-wrenching final letter beforehand. It goes without saying, but we are not doing enough to address the root causes of breast cancer, which begins largely with diet. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of healthy superfoods out there capable of tackling this problem, starting with the humble purple acai berry out of Brazil and other parts of South America. The health benefits of the acai berry include: -The ability to reduce blood sugar levels in adults (the serving amount was 100 grams of acai pulp per day) -The ability to increase resting antioxidant levels in the blood 3-fold, according to PubMed –Powerful benefits for athletes who engage in high intensity athletic activities (acai smoothie bowls are a favorite, cultural staple of surfers and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors alike) -Benefits for regulating healthy insulin levels -The ability to reduce cholesterol in overweight adults And last but not least, the ability to eradicate breast cancer cells, to the tune of 55% of all cells in a laboratory setting. While further trials need to be done in order to figure out exactly how this all works in the human body, it’s a promising additional benefit to what is already one of the healthiest berries in the world, renowned for its brain protective powers. If you want to reap these benefits, there’s one thing to keep in mind, however: taking an acai supplement with high levels of PACs (proanthocyanidins) is the biggest key, according to PubMed. These are the unique type of antioxidants found to be highly effective cancer cell fighters in previous studies, that are found in everything from red wine to dark chocolate and even grape seed extracts. If you’re looking for the best health gains, however, eating smoothies or the famous acai smoothie bowls made from whole berries may be the healthiest and most cost effective way, especially taking into account the high price of most quality acai supplements. If you’re looking for whole acai berries, they are almost always found frozen in health food stores or even some grocery stores, as well as online through traditional brands like AmaFruits and Sambazon. Final Thoughts on Acai Health Benefits If you’ve never tried the acai berry before, you’re missing out. While it has taken awhile for the world to warm up to the taste of this widely revered superfood, those who’ve tried it and know the way it makes them feel have become lifelong fans. According to one story the fruit was not nearly as popular as it is today in Brazil before outsiders began coming in and harvesting it, because the taste was not thought to be sweet enough to be worth eating. Now, acai ice cream is a popular delicacy, as are the aforementioned acai bowls, which often include fruit purees like dragonfruit or banana, yogurt and/or granola, and are topped with everything from pumpkinseeds to raw cacao nibs, blueberries, shredded coconut, and other highly energizing foods to create one of the most delicious and functional breakfasts you could ever try. Acai bowls have also caught on at health food stores and cafes in the U.S. and throughout the world. I personally am a huge fan of homemade acai bowls, with a mix of half acai and half dragonfruit, the latter of which removes some of the chalky texture the berry was originally shunned for in some parts of Brazil. The taste takes a little while to warm up to because it’s more understated than more typically sweet berries, but the depth, complexity and highly unique taste of acai make it one berry that’s hard to forget. Check it out if you get the chance, and be sure to tell others in your family, especially those you might know who are struggling with blood sugar, cholesterol and the other similar health issues mentioned above. In this case, one simple superfood, taken consistently, really can make a dramatic difference. For more articles like these in your inbox (plus a free ‘Healing Secrets of the Amazon’ eBook), click here. To learn more about my personally recommended comprehensive 60-day health program utilizing superfoods like these, click here.
Health is an extremely personal thing, and no one diet or exercise routine works the same for everyone. But one thing’s for certain when it comes to succinctly and completely healing degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia: one barely practiced activity towers above the rest, at least according to a landmark, forgotten study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Rarely Practiced Type of Dancing Wipes Out Alzheimer’s & Dementia The study in question, published in 2013, showed that the simple act of dancing “dramatically reduces the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease,” as noted by the website Psychology Today, by as much as 76 percent in total. One particular type of dancing helps seniors reap the full benefits: freestyle dancing, which is practiced without restrictions to the beat of a song, or sometimes uses a simple rhythmic pattern while allowing dancers to improvise and add their own moves. Some common examples of freestyle dancing that have long been practiced by senior citizens, especially those who grew up during the Roaring Twenties, include the basic foxtrot, waltz, swing dancing, and perhaps even the rumba and cha cha, according to Richard Powers, a 40-year dance teacher at Stanford University. These highly intuitive and free-flowing dance styles allowed senior citizens to stay mentally sharp, engaged, and in the moment regardless of what happened to be going on in their lives at the time, while also offering a quality form of exercise to get the heart pumping and neurons firing in the brain. In the aforementioned study, 76 percent of Alzheimer’s reduction was found to be twice as effective as reading, and playing sports or practicing choreographed dance sequences had “no benefit at all,” the article continued. Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week had a 47% reduction according to the 21-year study of senior citizens 75 years of age and older. “Freestyle dancing requires constant split-second, rapid-fire decision making, which is the key to maintaining intelligence because it forces your brain to regularly rewire its neural pathways, giving you greater cognitive reserve and increased complexity of neuronal synapses,” wrote Dr. Ilene A. Serlin in Psychology Today, citing the 5Rhythms Reach Out freestyle dancing organization. While every body and mind are different, it goes without saying that this type of dancing could have the effect of not just saving lives, but literally saving the personalities and memories of senior citizens across the world who are lucky enough to participate. How to Practice Freestyle Dancing In recent years the world of dance has shifted from a mostly performance-based art to one that has been recognized and utilized as a vehicle for healing and promoting an incredible sense of well-being. But for many of today’s senior citizens, it’s hard to beat classic dance techniques like the ones mentioned above, as well as others like ballroom dancing that imbue a certain type of feeling in all who practice them. “If I had my way, I’d dance every night,” says 101-year-old ballroom dancer Sally Salamy in the video below from the Orlando Sentinel, displaying the mental acuity of someone decades younger. “I feel free. I feel like a bird. And I feel that I’m not old.”
The chickens have come home to roost, so to speak, for the Bayer-owned Monsanto Company, and this time one of the biggest skeletons in its closet is being paraded out for the world to see. Amid reports that hundreds of additional people are suing the company alleging its Roundup herbicide contributed to or caused their cancer, now one of Monsanto’s biggest historical victims is also stepping up to the plate, demanding compensation for one of the most egregious and devastating wartime campaigns in recent history. Historic Roundup Trial Could Serve as Legal Precedent for Agent Orange Case, Vietnam Says Citing the recent $289 million settlement for groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson over gyphosate poisoning, the nation of Vietnam has demanded compensation from the Monsanto Company for the many people who were exposed to its devastating Agent Orange chemicals during the Vietnam War, the British newspaper The Independent reported. “The (U.S.) verdict serves as a legal precedent which refutes previous claims that the herbicides made by Monsanto and other chemical corporations in the U.S. and provided for the U.S. army in the war are harmless,” said the country’s foreign minister, Nguyen Phnong Tra. “Vietnam has suffered tremendous consequences from the war, especially with regard to the lasting and devastating effects of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange.” During the Vietnam War, 20 million gallons of herbicides were used in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and 4.5 million acres were impacted by Agent Orange, the article said. In total, 13 million gallons of Agent Orange were dumped on Vietnam itself. Agent Orange was used as part of a tactical herbicide warfare program to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam during the war, and was supplied to the U.S. military by Monsanto — which recently merged with Bayer to create an entirely new company that could control more than 25% of the world’s seeds and pesticides market, it if doesn’t end up being sunk by this new wave of lawsuits, of course. In 2005, Vietnamese plaintiffs lost a court case in which they were unable to prove a violation on the ban on toxic weapons during the war, or a direct link to health problems. But according to one legal analyst in a Voice of America article, Monsanto could be in serious trouble if it is able to show similarities between the toxic substances contained in Roundup and Agent Orange. That is a distinct possibility considering the many studies and individual cases showing the harm the chemical has caused. It is comprised of 2,4-D, which is still used as an herbicide in some places, and gives off the toxic byproduct dioxin, which studies have shown is a likely carcinogen. Agent Orange in Vietnam: Monsanto’s Dark Legacy As a result of their exposure to Agent Orange, millions of people still suffer to this day in Vietnam, including those who have suffered deformities, children born with serious birth defects, those still battling with cancer just like Mr. Johnson, and others. Monsanto has argued that the specifications and uses for Agent Orange were set by the government, but as we’ve seen recently, the company has continued to produce similar chemicals that are linked to causing immense harm to everyone from groundskeepers to farmers, as well as many people that live in close promixity to where these chemicals are being sprayed. Time will tell if Vietnam will be as successful in recovering damages as Johnson was in his cancer case, but one thing’s for sure: if the War’s legacy was any indication, the damage will continue for decades, if not generations, to come. The Vietnam War ended in 1975, and yet the U.S. was still invovled in cleanup efforts this decade, beginning with its first direct cleanup of the Agent Orange byproduct dioxin in 2012. In the meantime, the world will continue to do its best to raise awareness for Monsanto’s crimes. If you’d like to see a photo gallery from one photographer who traveled the country to spotlight the immense harm Monsanto has caused to Vietnam War veterans, you can check it out by clicking here. Thanks for reading! Subscribe here for more articles like these in your inbox (plus a free ‘Healing Secrets of the Amazon Rainforest’ eBook).
Are you “pro-vaccine” or “anti-vaccine?” Regardless of which way you choose to label yourself, a conflict is sure to break out when these terms are used because of the emotionally charged nature and seriousness of this issue. And at the end of the day, that’s exactly how the mainstream media wants it, because controversy is good for ratings and pharmaceutical companies are almost always among their biggest advertising partners. But somewhere beyond the simplistic notions of “pro” and “anti” vaccine, a whole new paradigm is emerging, populated by groups of concerned citizens who simply want to get to the bottom of what’s really happening with the United States’ highly controversial and fast-growing vaccination schedule. With the health of our children at risk, the stakes are bigger than ever before. It’s a complicated issue, but before you delve further into it (may I suggest watching the VAXXED and Trace Amounts documentaries for starters?), here are four quick facts you need to know about the United States’ highly controversial vaccine program. 1. Over 3.8 Billion has Been Paid Out to Injury Victims Since 1986- It may sound too crazy to be true, but the government sponsored vaccine injury compensation program really has paid out nearly $4 billion to vaccine injury victims since 1986, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. The program came about as a result of a 1986 ruling that allowed drug companies to evade lawsuits for damages (even including alleged deaths) their vaccine products inflict upon people. To make matters even worse, even the U.S. Health & Human Services Department admits that as little as 1% of vaccine injuries are actually reported to begin with. No wonder the seminal VAXXED documentary is subtitled ‘From Cover-Up to Catastrophe.’ 2. The Vaccine Industry Has Zero Liability for the Harm Its Products Cause- Unlike prescription drugs, vaccine companies do not have to foot the bill for expensive legal battles or settlements, which is just part of the reason why adding new vaccines to the schedule is so profitable. Since the 1986 law passed, drug manufacturers have gotten off scot-free, and taxpayers instead foot the bill for any vaccine-related “trials” and settlements. 3. The Vaccine Schedule has Grown Astronomically- Despite these and other risks, the vaccine schedule administered in its full capacity by many physicians has grown by leaps and bounds since 1983, when 22 doses were given in total. Now, the number has reached a sky-high 73 doses, with vaccines given throughout childhood and even into adulthood (high school years) for various diseases. But this packed vaccine schedule has never been tested for its synergistic effects, meaning our kids are the guinea pigs. 4. Taxpayers Foot the Bill for “Secret Vaccine Courts”- See video below for more information (I hope you’re sitting down for this one…also, feel free to share it with any parent who may be on the fence about avoiding or delaying vaccines due to potential health risks and concerns): (Learn more about the widely ignored Bailey Banks/MMR autism case mentioned in the video here). This article is for informational purposes only. Consult a doctor before making any major changes to your diet or vaccine schedule. For more articles like these in your inbox, click here.
With the explosion of the holistic health movement over the past few years, the focus has shifted toward gut health as one of the biggest indicators of a person’s overall health. Maintaining a healthy gut can be a difficult job, however, considering the sheer amount of bacteria that make up our “living ecoystem:” over 100 trillion cells in total, or about 2 to 6 pounds worth of bacteria in every 200-pound adult. Doing so requires a concentrated approach, and a mix of the right healthy foods including both prebiotics and probiotics. While most people know about probiotics, which are used to mitigate the effects of antibiotics and build healthy levels of “good bacteria” in the body, few know the complex role that prebiotics play. Let’s explore, and discuss the best sources of healthy prebiotics that you may want to consider adding into your diet. The Health Benefits of Prebiotics for the Gut Prebiotics are not found in a ton of foods, but the role they play in protecting and nourishing our guts cannot be understated. That’s because these substances, which are basically a type of dietary fiber that help feed the colon and allow it to work as efficiently as possible, also work in tandem with probiotics to allow the “good” bacteria to flourish. When you add more fermented foods into your diet such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, or even its little known Tibetan cousin Jun, they go to work in your gut, producing healthy gut-friendly bacteria. But having enough prebiotic “fuel” in your system will allow you to produce even more of these friendly bacteria, which is especially important considering that achieving balance in the gut is always a concern. The Top 8 Prebiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet Like probiotics, prebiotics come from a specialized class of foods that includes everything from fruits to seeds, vegetables, and little-known herbal remedies. The top 8 prebiotic-containing foods are as follows: 1. Bananas- Probably the easiest and most convenient food to find in grocery stores and to eat consistently on this list, bananas have been shown to support gut health by reducing bloating and increasing the amount of healthy gut bacteria. Be sure to by organic whenever possible because conventional varieties may essentially be “cloned.” About 95% of them come from a single variety, Cavendish, and are seedless. These bananas may still be relatively healthy in the short term, but why bother when organic bananas are only a few cents cheaper on average? 2. Chicory Root- Often used as a replacement for coffee, chicory root is usually brewed like a tea and can be drank as a complement to meals encouraging healthy digestion. (I like this organic chicory root-based coffee substitute, it tastes like a mix between coffee and hot chocolate and is great for gut health) What makes chicory root so valuable for gut health is it is comprised of about 47% inulin, the fibrous compound that nourishes gut bacteria, improves digestion and helps relieve symptoms of constipation, according to recent studies and this article from Dr. Arlene Semeco. 3. Asparagus- These powerful vegetables are not only excellent for building the body because of its relatively high mineral and protein content, but they also contain a high amount of inulin: as much as 2-3 grams per serving. Pair asparagus with enough healthy probiotic foods and eat it consistently and you have a recipe for incredible gut health. 4. Apples- Before getting to why apples are so benefical for gut health, it’s important to note that this is one fruit that should always be consumed organic. Apples are banned throughout Europe because of the chemicals we treat them with here in the United States, and are high in pesticides when bought from the “conventional” section in the grocery store. That being said, you can’t go wrong with apples when it comes to promoting and supporting gut health. Apples contain high amounts of pectin, which bind to toxins and remove them from your body (preventing them from being stored in layers of visceral fat). The pectin also helps produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the good bacteria in your bacteria while also decreasing the bad bacteria, as Dr. Semeco notes. 5. Cruciferous Vegetables- In addition to asparagus, prebiotic fiber can also be found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. All of these vegetables are also excellent for cancer prevention in addition to their prebiotic benefits. 6. Jerusalem Artichoke- While the Jerusalem artichoke is not something most people likely to eat every day, that doesn’t mean it should be discarded. This rarely eaten vegetable happens to be even better at helping to proliferate healthy gut bacteria than chicory root, as 76% of its dietary fiber comes from inulin. The Jerusalem artichoke can be found in the produce section of select grocery stores or at farmer’s markets, and goes well baked or roasted in the oven tossed in olive oil and spices at about 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. You can also find Jerusalem artichoke in the supplement aisle or online, where it comes in a type of inulin powder that helps to improve your body’s absorption of electrolytes like calcium and magnesium, while also helping it to produce more beneficial gut bacteria. (This organic brand has almost 80 percent 5-star reviews on Amazon) 7. Garlic and Onions- Similar in properties with high sulphur and natural antibacterial content, onions and garlic (along with their lesser-known cousins, the leek) contain high levels of prebiotics including fructooligosaccharides (FOS), another type of prebiotic found in many of the foods on this list. 8. Cacao (Cocoa)- In addition to its well known high-magnesium benefits and antioxidants, cacaos flavanol compounds also have the ability to increase healthy gut bacteria, and may lower cholesterol and improve heart health as well according to Dr. Semeco. When buying cacao, look for brands that are lower in sugar and high in actual cacao content. Many popular chocolate brands get their taste more from sugar [...]
One of the most exciting parts about summer is the abundance of fresh garden tomatoes — but sometimes it can be a little daunting to figure out what to do with them. Most people know tomatoes are healthy, but not all tomatoes are created equal. The type is extremely important, especially since grocery store tomatoes may be pumped full of ethylene gas for ripening, and also that conventional growers may use as many as 110 different chemicals in the field. By contrast, heirloom tomatoes are often grown organically from healthy seeds that have been saved and passed down from generation-to-generation. The following recipe (from the book ‘Pure Food: Eat Clean with Seasonal, Plant-Based Recipes’ by Veronica Bosgraaf) puts those heirloom and garden-grown tomatoes to good use, while also offering a bounty of health benefits to end summer on the best possible note. Heirloom Tomato and Summer Fruit Salad Health Benefits There are more than 3,000 heirloom tomato varieties available for cultivation, in different colors ranging from yellow to classic red, green and even orange and purple. Their tastes are usually more crisp, sweet and complex than a typical tomato, which makes them an excellent pairing with all sorts of different fruits in a summer salad. In this recipe, the tomatoes are paired with mangoes and kiwis to bring out a rich, sophisticated and intense flavor profile, making for an unforgettable late summer side dish. Heirloom Tomato and Summer Fruit Salad Recipe For this recipe you can use any heirloom tomato of your choice, but some good suggestions are black cherry (a small purplish-red variety), yellow pear (a brightly-colored variety that may be shaped like a small lightbulb), and amana, an orange variety consistently praised for its rich and full-bodied flavor. Heirloom tomatoes are best found at farmer’s markets or grown at home, but if you don’t have them you can substitute cherry or regular tomatoes. This recipe is listed under the August section of the book. Heirloom Summer Salad Ingredients -2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped whenever possible): -2 cups red grapes -2 kiwi, peeled and cut into wedges -3 heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped -2 tablespoons grapeseed oil -2 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar (I use this kind) -1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint -1/2 teaspoon sea salt Directions 1. In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, mango, kiwi, and all but ½ cup of the tomato. Toss gently. 2. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the remaining ½ cup tomato, oil, vinegar, mint and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. 3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fruit, or pour it into a bowl on the side for dipping, and serve. The health benefits of heirloom tomatoes may include: -A healthy amount of Vitamin C, ranging between 20-40 percent of your daily value per medium-sized fruit -High amounts of lycopene (especially when cooked), which may help prevent prostate cancer -Potential for reducing heart disease risk in some people -They are low in calories (35 pr medium tomato) but high in disease-fighting compounds and antioxidants -Far less toxins than traditional store bought or conventionally grown tomatoes (especially if you grow them yourself organically as most heirloom seed growers do) This salad also offers benefits for gut health because of the cider vinegar in the dressing. You can also add spring mixed greens to your salad in order to maximize the health benefits — the cider vinegar will help your body more effectively absorb the calcium, a must for preventing osteoporosis and building strong bones. Thanks for reading! More original recipes like these are available in Veronica’s book ‘Pure Food: Eat Clean with Seasonal Plant-Based Recipes,’ which can be found on Amazon by clicking here. The book encourages the use of seasonal produce and offers recipes for each month of the year, with a focus on sustainable, local and organic ingredients. Over 120 different recipes are included in total. This recipe was shared with permission from our friends at Pure Bar and Pure Food.
If you’ve been following the most recent news involving the Monsanto/Bayer behemoth lately, you’ve probably heard about the monumental court victory of groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who’s been suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lypmhoma and has been given only months to live by doctors. Johnson recently won a $289 million court victory over the Monsanto Company after it was determined they acted with “malice or oppression” toward him in light of his use of the “probable human carcinogen” glyphosate (according to the IARC of the World Health Organization). The Johnson case has many wondering what the fallout will be, since the chemical can be found virtually everywhere from our drinking water to two of the world’s most popular breakfast foods and even in childhood vaccines. And now, as fate would have it, recent research shows it may be more prevalent in breast milk than ever before. Over 80 Percent of Milk Samples Tainted with Glyposate, Study Shows According to a new study from Inacio Pereira Lima, a master’s student in Women’s Health at the Federal Univesity of Piaui’s (UFPI) Center of Health and Sciences, 83.4% of the breast milk samples were found to contain either glyphosate or aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), or both, as reported by Telesur, a Latin American media outlet. “The presence of glyphosate in breast milk indicates direct contamination by this agro-toxin or that the quantities utilized in agricultural activity in the region must be so high that the plant metabolism or microbiology did not degrade the excess,” Lima said according to GMWatch.org. “Nearby regions where agricultural activity is not present, we suspect that agro-toxins have contaminated the water.” In this case the samples were taken from one of the largest soy-producing areas in the state, in the municipality of Urucui in the Brazilian state of Piauí. Brazil and Argentina in particular are two of the largest GM-soy producing countries in the world, where Roundup with its active ingredient glyphosate is routinely sprayed on these crops, which are created in a lab by Monsanto to withstand large doses of chemical sprayings. In 2016, 10.1 million kilos total were consumed in the state, which amounts to an average of 3.18 kilograms per person. According to the article Brazil has become the primary consumer of pesticides on the planet with a 20 percent stake in the world’s total consumption since 2008, the report said. Science Still Unsettled on Glyphosate in Breast Milk? The controversy over glyphosate in breast milk has been brewing for years, especially since 2014 when a Moms Across America study found “high” levels of glyphosate in 3 out of 10 breast milk samples. Since then, Washington State University researchers closely tied to Monsanto instead found mothers’ breast milk to be glyphosate-free. A 2015 German study of 16 mothers disagreed, however, stating that levels found were much higher than in safe drinking water concentrations. In the comments section of the 2018 Telesur article, research scientist Anthony Samsel, who unsealed a treasure trove of EPA documents showing a link to cancer in EPA tests going back decades, had the following to say about the new results out of Brazil: “This confirms previous breast milk analysis in the USA that were refuted by Monsanto with a study done by Washington State that was (deliberately) fudged to show no contamination. Washington State and Monsanto lied. FACT: If you eat a diet contaminated with glyphosate, all of your tissues will contain glyphosate without exception including expressed milk.” Monsanto has said its glyphosate-containing herbicide is safe based on government regulatory agency approvals and studies, but critics counter that their products are often approved in biased safety studies in concert with federal officials. At any rate, the results are worth noting for mothers, especially those who eat glyphosate heavy, non-organic diets, because of the sensitive nature of developing babies. Thanks for reading! For more articles like these in your inbox (plus a free eBook), click here. You can also learn about the first-ever glyphosate-free certified baby formula by clicking here.
Is the United States government doing enough to protect us from the health effects of glyphosate, the cancer-linked Monsanto herbicide whose use has skyrocketed in recent years since the introduction of GMO crops in the mid-90s? That depends on who you ask. Big food corporations like General Mills, Conagra and Quaker Oats insist their products are safe, but millions of parents strongly disagree in the wake of this month’s landmark $289 million Monsanto/cancer verdict in California and news of Monsanto’s collusion with government safety agencies. One thing’s for sure: we’re being bombarded by glyphosate and other farming chemicals, and our food is being contaminated each day: including two of the world’s most popular breakfast foods. Nearly 70% of Breakfast Foods Tested Contain High Levels of Glyphosate In a report released Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group said that 31 of 45 breakfast foods tested contained elevated levels of glyphosate, dubbed a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s IARC in 2015. “There are levels above what we could consider safe in very popular breakfast foods,” said Alexis Temkin, who served as a toxicologist for the group. Perhaps the two most noteworthy offenders were Cheerios and Quaker Oats according to the report, which can be read here. According to the EPA, the average daily intake for glyphosate is set at 1,750 µg (1.75 mg) per kg of body weight. But that number is far more lenient than in Europe, where the allowable level is just .3 mg per kg. While glyphosate won’t kill you overnight, it has been well established that it is a strong, cumulative toxin that builds up in human tissues, and may be a chief reason for human cancer cases, according to thousands of recent lawsuits against Monsanto. Organic is Still the Top Way to Avoid Monsanto Chemical If you’re looking for ways to avoid glyphosate in your food, you can’t go wrong by buying organic. According to the results of the EWG’s tests, 43 of the 45 conventional foods tested had glyphosate residues on them. An additional 16 organic food samples were tested, with 5 of them showing some glyphosate residues. The highest recorded sample was Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats product, which scored 1,100 and 1,300 parts per billion respectively in its second and third samples. Oat products in general are among the highest-testing because of the way they are sprayed before harvest with glyphosate. One organic product, Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Organic Rolled Oats, tested far lower than Quaker Oats with tests of 0, 10, and 20 ppb respectively. Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal also had high levels, coming in at near or over 500 ppb in its three tests, with its last the highest at 530 ppb. The EWG, which consistently studies glyphosate levels, set its own “health benchmark” at 160 ppb, meaning the above foods are more than three times higher than daily safe limits in their estimation, far surpassing the limit with just one serving. For more on the other organic foods that tested completely clean (and one other with minuscule levels detected), as well as how the EWG came to its own proposed limit for safe levels, check out the full list here. Thanks for reading! For more articles like these in your inbox, click here.
The organic renaissance in the United States has brought a fundamental shift in the way our food standards are set, but the movement still has a long ways to go. While store shelves are lined with food packages emblazoned with organic symbols, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that the vast majority of all organic food is imported (as much as 80%, with much of it coming from faraway places like Turkey and China), and standards are being watered down leading pioneers of the moment to start their own labels. Restaurants attempting to go pesticide and GMO-free have been especially affected by these supply chain issues. And according to a new report from The New York Times, most of these so-called “organic” restaurants may not be so organic after all in many cases. Organic Restaurants Do Not Require the Same Certifications as Food Products Seeking to capitalize on the organic trend and to provide more pesticide-free (or low-pesticide residue) GMO-free food to consumers, many restaurants, especially of the “fast casual” variety, have begun adding organic options to their menus, and even classifying themselves as organic restaurants. But unbeknownst to most customers, restaurants are not subject to anywhere near the same regulations as the already watered-down organic foods industry. According to Jennifer Tucker, the deputy administrator of the National Organic Program, restaurants may use the organic moniker and classify their food as organic as long as they make a “reasonable effort” to use organic ingredients. But the problem is that there is no standard for how many organic ingredients each restaurant must use, and no system in place for monitoring compliance, as revealed in this recent New York Times investigation. The Difficulty of Running Certified Organic Restaurants Unfortunately for the true organic supporters out there and people who are deadly serious about avoiding GMOs and non-organic food, certified organic restaurants are extremely difficult to find. Because of the limited organic supply chain within the United States farming community, restaurateurs can face major hurdles in their quest to create a fully organic menu with staying power. “It’s doable, but it is not easy,” said Alberto Gonzalez, owner of Gustorganics, one of New York City’s first certified organic restaurants, to the Times. Each of his dishes involves as many as 25 organic ingredients, but local farms can’t always keep up with demands. Creating a true organic restaurant takes a lot of planning, he discovered. “If there was a shortage, we were struggling,” he said. “You have nowhere to go.” Because of the lack of organic food supplies, most restaurants have instead opted to use terms like “locally sourced” and to explain that they “use organic ingredients whenever possible.” But unless you ask the right questions as a consumer, you may never know. The Times report focused on the Bareburger chain for example, which serves beef that is about 75 to 80% organic but was simply marketed as being organic. A devoted customer concerned about allergies later searched the restaurant’s dumpsters and found that they used non-organic condiments and beef not labeled organic, even though they seemed to be advertising themselves as an organic restaurant. The chain also serves potential GMO foods such as the Impossible Burger, a vegan alternative that is made using genetically engineered yeast. Recently, they have focused their advertising to be more specific about which foods are truly organic. What to Look For When Dining Out Finding a certified organic restaurant is almost impossible, which is why it is recommended to cook and eat organic at home as often as you can. This way you can ensure that only the best non-GMO and hopefully glyphosate-free food reaches your plate each meal. If you can’t always do so, you have other options for eating Organic and GMO-free on the run: 1. Get to know your local organic restaurants- Ask the manager which foods are organic and aren’t. Many times, the condiments and drinks are least likely to be organic while meats, cheeses and side dishes are hit-or-miss depending on the supply situation. 2. Set a day for meal planning- Cook extra food on the weekends and portion it out to eat during the week, so you always have high quality organic dishes on hand 3. Consider a meal delivery service that uses organic ingredients- Sun Basket uses organic produce and has vegan options, but the meat is hit-or-miss. Green Chef sources their beef from cattle who have been entirely grass fed (as of 2017). 4. If you’re in a pinch, consider Chipotle or Panera Bread- Chipotle is almost entirely non-GMO and uses many organic and pastured ingredients, while Panera Bread has removed artificial ingredients, although there are at-risk GMO items on the menu to watch out for (see ingredients listed on their website). 5. Check out a local grocery or health food store and learn how to “graze” – Instead of always eating large meals, learn to snack on the truly health stuff as an alternative. Intermittent fasting and eating in smaller portions are two of the best ways to give your digestive system a break, and to maintain a healthy weight while eating organic and GMO-free, without having to rely on a restaurant. Thanks for reading! 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Heart disease is the number one cause of death around the world and the #1 killer of people in the United States, claiming about 375,000 lives in a year. But despite these sobering statistics, there are places across the world where heart disease is far less prevalent, including France, Japan and Korea, and also in a traditional society found in the Amazon Rain Forest named the Tsimanes, who were found by the National Institute on Aging to Have the healthiest hearts on the planet. Most medical problems like heart disease are complex, with emotional, dietary and lifestyle all factoring in. But there is much to learn from the societies who protect their hearts the best, especially among Americans who still rank in the top 10 for heart disease deaths despite our highly advanced, life-saving emergency medical system. Six Heart Disease Prevention Tips from Around the World When it comes to heart health the little details and the actions we take on a day-to-day are what ultimately matter the most, which is part of the reason why the aforementioned countries are so heart-healthy. Here are eight secrets of heart healthy societies around the world that you may want to work into your daily routine: 1. Walking Matters. A Lot- The Tsimane people in the Amazon Rain Forest have lived in health for centuries while preserving their culture, language and heritage. They surprisingly eat a high-starch, high-inflammatory diet, much like the vast majority of Americans. Yet according to researchers, an 80-something member of this culture has the same “vascular age” as an American in their mid-50s on average. “I was just floored by the data,” said Dr. Gregory Thomas according to NPR about his research on the Tsimane society. For them, walking plays a huge role, as they trek approximately 7 ½ miles per day. Walking is also a major factor in the health of heart-healthy French, Japanese and Korean people. Since we can’t always walk, do your best to get steps in wherever you are, even if that means walking around the block or your home. 2. They Take Time Out to Relax and De-Stress- There’s a big difference between meditating, as Koreans and Japanese do, or praying as the long-living Seventh Day Adventists of California do, and the most popular American ways of relaxing (we prefer online distractions, movies, video games and other mentally distracting hobbies). There’s no substitute for mental clarity and consistent breathing for both heart health. Stress relief takes on different forms for different people, but ultimately the key is to find something that works for you and take note of how you truly feel in your heart when you do it. 3. They Eat Fermented Foods- Fermented foods are making a comeback in the U.S., and it couldn’t come at a better time. Fermented foods like organic sauerkraut (Polish), kimchi (Korean) are excellent for gut health and perhaps even reducing heart disease according to Dr. Dean Ornish (as mentioned in this article from Reader’s Digest). Fermented foods are a clear hallmark of many of the longest-living and most heart-healthy societies. As with any food, try it out and see if it works for you, in consultation with a holistic doctor. 4. Smaller Portions- In traditional Japanese society there’s a saying, “hara hachi bu,” which means to eat until you’re 80% full. Compare that with the American mentality of eating until everything on the plate is gone (regardless of the plate size), and you can see a huge difference. When you slow down and eat smaller and more varied portions, you also taste and enjoy your food more. It takes time and practice to eat this way, but it’s worth it. 5. They Prefer to Stand- Apart from simply moving and walking more, standing could also be a major benefit for heart health. According to a Canadian Fitness survey, people who stand for most of the day had a 33 percent lower mortality rate than those who sat. If you don’t have the opportunity to work a non-desk job, you may want to purchase an affordable stand-up desk like this one, or at least learn about the health benefits of standing while working in order to plan for the future. [Read: Research Backed Reasons Why Sitting is Slowly Killing Your Health] 6. Alcohol in Moderation- Researchers have long wondered about the French Paradox, a name given to the phenomenon of the country’s high consumption of saturated fat and low levels of coronary heart disease. Society and lifestyle could have a lot to do with it. Many have attempted to explain it, but a diet based on Mediterranean cuisine (including high Omega-3’s from fish) and moderate consumption of red wine could play a major part. Other heart healthy countries also enjoy alcohol in moderation, but generally don’t overdo it like we do in the U.S. at bars and clubs for the purposes of getting drunk. It’s a social custom meant to foster goodwill and cheer. “The trick is to drink one to two glasses per day,” says Dan Buettner in his book The Blue Zones Solution, “with friends and/or food…Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers.” Final Thoughts on Heart Healthy Nations While many of these strategies can be helpful for heart health, it’s important to keep in mind that the way you feel and how you do things are just as important as what you do, if not even moreso, and avoiding the bad stuff like trans fats, fried foods, isolating yourself from friends and family, sitting for too long and working in a dead end job that you don’t enjoy are just as important. Mainstream medicine still views the heart in an extremely mechanical way, but there are secrets to its power and what keeps a heart healthy that are still being unlocked, as illustrated by Baptist de Pape of the Heartmath Institute. “The language of the heart is feeling,” de Pape said. “When you follow your heart, you listen not to your head, but to what you [...]
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