Nutrition – Kindred Media Sharing the New Story of Childhood, Parenthood, and the Human Family Mon, 28 Sep 2020 19:37:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nutrition – Kindred Media 32 32 Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Wisdom – A New Documentary Tue, 09 Jul 2019 16:46:56 +0000 TRAILER_MOTHERSMILK_MASTER from Jennifer Goldsmith on Vimeo.   ABOUT THE FILM The idea for Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Wisdom was born out of a passion to empower mothers-to-be and new mothers to persevere despite difficulties that may arise while breastfeeding, through candid personal narratives from other mothers who have done just that. The most meaningful and effective […]]]>

TRAILER_MOTHERSMILK_MASTER from Jennifer Goldsmith on Vimeo.



The idea for Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Wisdom was born out of a passion to empower mothers-to-be and new mothers to persevere despite difficulties that may arise while breastfeeding, through candid personal narratives from other mothers who have done just that. The most meaningful and effective breastfeeding support – according to many mothers themselves – often comes from women who speak openly about their difficulties and triumphs. Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Wisdom will serve as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and evidence-based information for mothers and partners.

Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Wisdom follows the stories of three women: Sarah, Yev, and Sumitra, who each face serious postpartum challenges. Not only must they draw upon their own vital resources of strength and determination, but each mother finds it critical to have a supportive presence to help her stay the course. Each mother’s experience becomes a catalyst for personal growth and healing and is a testament to the importance of having ongoing, non-judgmental, skilled support.

Postpartum and breastfeeding support are vital to the health of infants as well as mothers.

It is well-documented that breastmilk plays a crucial role in setting babies up for life-long health: It helps build a strong immune system, fosters healthy digestion, and curtails the risk of suffering from certain diseases later in life such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and The World Health Organization recommend that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life followed by breastfeeding in combination with other foods until 12 months or for however long as “mutually desired by mother and baby.” (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Yet in the U.S. in 2013, while 77% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, only 38% of mothers were still breastfeeding three months later (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This film will explore some of the reasons why exclusive breastfeeding is often interrupted well before most infants reach six months.

Besides the skin-to-skin contact which helps newborns feel warm and comforted, breastfeeding is beneficial to mothers in a multitude of ways. Breastfeeding immediately after birth stimulates the production of oxytocin which produces contractions in the uterus helping to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging. ( This hormone which is released during skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby(ies) also contributes to a feeling of calm for the mother, and positively impacts bonding and milk production. In addition, breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. (



“I love this film! It is rare to find a resource that presents mothers’ experiences and feelings about breastfeeding as accurately and authentically as Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Wisdom. It is by far the best film I’ve seen during my 30-plus years in lactation. In addition, it does a great job of illustrating the critical importance of support during the early learning period. Well done!”

– Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, lactation consultant, speaker, and coauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers and author of Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple, Breastfeeding Solutions, and its companion smartphone app

“This heartwarming, informative video provides real stories about the decision to breastfeed. Moms share honest discussion of their experiences that resonated in me deeply. My first time breastfeeding experience was a disaster, with undiagnosed insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) evidenced by no milk production. Even as a newly certified midwife I was at a loss, quickly falling in to depression. We flew to Beverly Hills to work with Dr. Sears and his wife when my son was 6 weeks old at 1 pound under his birth weight. I was fearful to introduce formula and desperate to find help. As a society, we must support women through all breastfeeding experiences. Breastfeeding may be a natural mammalian function but it doesn’t come ’naturally’.”

Ginger Breedlove, Ginger Breedlove, PhD, CNM, APRN, FACNM, FAAN, Author Nobody Told Me About That, The First Six Weeks

“I am so moved by your film. It has such a good flow, moving message and clear presentation… The film strikes just the right balance. We see intense emotions but there is no self-pity and we are not overwhelmed. Plus, at the end, we get such a satisfying resolution and learn that breastfeeding success has a broad definition. It’s a beautiful and profound film…Very solution oriented, very hopeful.”

– Peggy O’Mara, Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011 and its editor-in-chief until 2012, Founder of, Author of Natural Family Living, Having a Baby Naturally, and A Quiet Place.

“This intimate documentary sensitively and honestly conveys the challenges that some new mothers face despite their deep desire and determination to breastfeed their infant. We learn about these challenges… through the mothers’ own experiences and the voices of two pediatricians who themselves had difficulty with early breastfeeding. The film conveys a comforting and validating message. Although breastfeeding is normal and mother’s milk is invaluable, many mothers initially need help and support and should welcome assistance when they need it.”

– Nicette Jukelevics, Founder, Author, The VBAC Education Project



Kindred’s articles and videos on breastfeeding

Kindred’s breastfeeding resources

]]> 0
Thug Kitchen Cookbook: Eat Like You Give A F*ck Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:27:27 +0000 Yes, Thug Kitchen is a Real Cookbook:   Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular web site to inspire people to eat some Goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow (“This might be my favorite thing ever”) and named Saveur’s Best New Food blog of 2013—with half a million Facebook fans and counting—Thug Kitchen […]]]>

Yes, Thug Kitchen is a Real Cookbook:

Thug Kitchen


Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular web site to inspire people to eat some Goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow (“This might be my favorite thing ever”) and named Saveur’s Best New Food blog of 2013—with half a million Facebook fans and counting—Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food.

Yeah, plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell—and most people can’t afford the hype.

Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks, and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.

This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.



See a Sample Page Here:

Thug Kitchen feature
Like Thug Kitchen On Facebook
]]> 0
Meet Phosphoric Acid: The Corrosive Chemical in Cola Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:37:53 +0000 Food labeled “natural” raked in more than $40 billion in U.S. retail sales over the past 12 months. It’s crazy to give that much value to something that has absolutely no definition. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the Food and Drug Administration has no definition, says a spokeswoman, but rather a long-standing policy that […]]]>

Food labeled “natural” raked in more than $40 billion in U.S. retail sales over the past 12 months.

It’s crazy to give that much value to something that has absolutely no definition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “the Food and Drug Administration has no definition, says a spokeswoman, but rather a long-standing policy that it considers “natural” to mean that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”

downloadAnd while Coca Cola hasn’t gone so far as to slap a “natural” label on their sodas, women are taking on the giant soda maker for false and misleading claims on their labels.

The alleged class action lawsuit states that certain Coca Cola containers contain the affirmative statement that there are no artificial flavors, no preservatives added” despite the fact that these products contain a ‘chemical preservative’ and ‘artificial flavor’ phosphoric acid.

So what is the stuff?

Phosphoric acid is a colorless, odorless solid or a thick, clear liquid.  It can be used as acidifying agent to give sodas a tangy flavor.  It is also commonly used for rust removal.

It is used in rustproofing metals, fertilizers, detergents, foods, beverages, and water treatment.

You can see where these women might have a point.  Why in the world is this industrial chemical being put into cola in the first place?

After all, it’s used in fertilizers, livestock feed, soaps, polishes, dyes, polishing metals and in many other nonfood products.

It’s added to soft drinks to provide a sharper, tangy taste and to help slow the growth of molds and bacteria in sugary formulas.

In other words, it helps cola companies lengthen the shelf life of their products and enhance their profitability.

The flipside is that its use makes sodas incredibly acid.  So how do companies like Coca Cola account for all of that acidity?  They add huge amounts of sugar to mask it.

So what’s the risk?

Phosphoric acid is on the Hazardous Substance List because it is regulated by OSHA and cited by ACGIH, DOT, NIOSH, IRIS, NFPA and EPA. This chemical is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List because it is corrosive.


So if it’s used to remove rust, what can it do to us?  Phosphoric acid can affect you when breathed in. Phosphoric acid is a corrosive chemical and contact can irritate and burn the eyes.  Breathing phosphoric acid can irritate the nose, throat and lungs causing coughing and wheezing.   (Source:

And while it does occur naturally in some foods like milk, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and egg yolks, the percentages are low (0.1%-0.5%).

A study published in the “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine” in 2000 found that athletic teen girls who consume colas have five times the risk of bone fractures as those who don’t consume cola drinks.

According to Livestrong, “ a team from the National Institutes of Health investigated the dietary habits of 465 people with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy subjects. The results, published in the journal “Epidemiology” in July 2007, found that drinking two or more colas a day, diet or regular, was associated with a twofold risk of developing kidney disease. The clear sodas that contained citric acid didn’t have the same risk.”

Attorneys claim that they have a hall pass because the FDA has never defined the term, “natural.”  As the number of  lawsuits over the use of the term grows, a growing number of food and beverage companies are ditching the term “natural” on the label.

Only 22.1% of food products and 34% of beverage products launched in the U.S. during the first half of 2013 claimed to be “natural,” down from 30.4% and 45.5%, respectively, in 2009 according to Datamonitor.

The beverage industry is going to be quick to defend this ingredient that helps shore up their earnings, but one take away is clear: if you tend to sip soda, do so mindfully. Your body isn’t a rental car.  It’s the only ride you’ve got.

]]> 0
Fatal Flaws in Federal Nutrition Guidelines Promote Obesity Thu, 31 Oct 2013 00:44:50 +0000 According to a new study1 by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, 40 years of the NHANES American nutrition research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be completely invalid. The reason for this, the researchers say, is because the method used to collect the nutrition […]]]>

According to a new study1 by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, 40 years of the NHANES American nutrition research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be completely invalid.

The reason for this, the researchers say, is because the method used to collect the nutrition data is seriously flawed. According to the study’s lead author, exercise scientist and epidemiologist Edward Archer:2

“These results suggest that without valid population-level data, speculations regarding the role of energy intake in the rise in the prevalence of obesity are without empirical support.”

It’s no secret that childhood obesity has become a lethal epidemic in the US and many other parts of the world. The trend is so serious, some food advocates, like British chef Jamie Oliver,3 are taking more “dramatic” measures to inspire a collective and cultural U-turn.

Above is the first episode of Oliver’s TV show Food Revolution, which began airing in 2010. A major part of the problem, which Oliver addresses head-on, is that our food culture has changed so drastically over the last 30 years that a majority of today’s youth do not know what fresh, whole food is.

They don’t know where food comes from, or what the food they do eat is made of. Even many adults are at a loss when it comes to understanding the difference between synthetic chemicals added to foods during processing, and bioavailable nutrients found in unprocessed foods.

Tackling one town at a time, Oliver is on a mission to reeducate the masses about what real food is, and how to cook meals that will promote health and longevity rather than obesity and chronic disease. I’m hard-pressed to think of a more noble effort. But as you will see, it’s not an easy task.

Resistance to change—even positive, life-affirming change—can be fierce, and when it comes to altering school lunches, it’s made worse by having to adhere to federal nutritional guidelines that are fatally flawed in more ways than one.

According to the featured study, caloric intake has been under reported for the past four decades, and the rise in obesity isn’t necessarily a side effect of increasing calorie consumption—it might just be an artifact of slight improvements in the reporting.

If that’s true, then what is really at the root of the obesity problem? Not addressed in this study is the fact that the entire “calorie in/calorie out” hypothesis is a myth as well! You don’t get fat because you eat too many calories. You gain weight because you eat the wrong kind of calories, which I’ll get into in a moment.

Federal Nutrition Data Found to Be ‘Physiologically Implausible’

In the US, nutrition and health data is compiled by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).4 It collects self-reported food and beverage consumption data of children and adults, along with physical examinations to evaluate the health status of the participants. This information is then used by researchers studying the effects of nutrition and diet on the health of Americans.

Now, researchers evaluating the NHANES data and collection methods have concluded that the data is simply “not physiologically credible,” and that blaming obesity on excessive calorie consumption is “without empirical support.” According to the featured article:5

“The study6 examined data from 28,993 men and 34,369 women, 20 to 74 years old, from NHANES I (1971 – 1974) through NHANES (2009 – 2010), and looked at the caloric intake of the participants and their energy expenditure, predicted by height, weight, age and sex.

The results show that – based on the self-reported recall of food and beverages — the vast majority of the NHANES data ‘are physiologically implausible, and therefore invalid,’ Archer said. In other words, the ‘calories in’ reported by participants and the ‘calories out,’ don’t add up and it would be impossible to survive on most of the reported energy intakes.

This misreporting of energy intake varied among participants, and was greatest in obese men and women who underreported their intake by an average 25 percent and 41 percent (i.e., 716 and 856 calories per-day respectively).”

The failure to provide accurate estimates of Americans’ habitual caloric consumption can have far-reaching ramifications when it comes to federal nutritional guidelines. First of all, it points out the limited ability to create public policy that accurately reflects the connections between diet and health.

It also suggests that much of the nutritional research produced over the past four decades is unreliable at best, as it’s not an accurate reflection of people’s actual calorie intake. According to Archer:

“The nation’s major surveillance tool for studying the relationships between nutrition and health is not valid. It is time to stop spending tens of millions of health research dollars collecting invalid data and find more accurate measures.”

Reality Check—Health Is Dependent on Real Food

I agree we should stop wasting money on collecting invalid data. The question is, what would constitute “more accurate measures”? I’ve long advocated againstcounting calories at all, as they’re a poor way to evaluate the actual healthfulnessof your meal.

You’re not going to improve your health by eating fewer cookies than you did before if your entire diet consists of different kinds of pastries. If you really want to lose weight and, more importantly, improve your health, then you must replace“empty” calories from processed, denatured foods with nutrients from real, whole foods—especially healthful fats, which I’ll address below.

Three decades ago, the food available was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, the majority of foods served, whether at home, in school or in restaurants, are highly processed foods, filled with sugars and chemical additives. During that same time, childhood obesity has more than tripled. In the US, more than one-third of children and adolescents are now overweight or obese.

Regardless of whether our federal nutrition guidelines are based on accurate calorie intake or not, cutting down on calories alone is not going to fix the problem of childhood obesity and the alarming rise of chronic disease in children and teens. Children need to be fed properly, and Oliver’s TV show clearly pinpoints what’s wrong with the American diet.

Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work

In a nutshell, it’s FAR more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need 45-65 percent of your daily calories in the form of carbs, as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.7

It’s these kinds of nutritional guidelines that are responsible for promoting obesity in the first place! It would be one thing if the recommendation was that half of your diet should consist of vegetable carbs, but that’s not the case. No, the federal recommendations for carbs touted by health agencies and nutritionists around the country include starches, fiber, grains, sugar alcohols, and naturally-occurring and added sugars—the very things that drive obesity and chronic disease rates skyward… According to the 2010 Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,8 the top 10 sources of calories in the American diet are:

1. Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars), 139 calories a day 6. Alcoholic beverages
2. Yeast breads, 129 calories a day 7. Pasta and pasta dishes
3. Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes, 121 calories a day 8. Mexican mixed dishes
4. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, 114 calories a day 9. Beef and beef-mixed dishes
5. Pizza, 98 calories a day 10. Dairy desserts

Looking at this list, it should be fairly easy to see the dietary roots of the American weight problem. Four of the top five sources of calories are carbs—sugars (primarily fructose) and grains—just as recommended. And while soda has dropped down to number four (it used to be number one), I still believe a lot of people, particularly teenagers, probably get a majority of their calories from sugary beverages like soda.

To Optimize Your Health, Pay Attention to the SOURCE of Your Calories

In order to curb the current obesity epidemic, we do not need more accurate reporting of calories; we need to start focusing on eating the right kind of calories. I firmly believe that the primary keys for successful weight management and optimal health are:

  1. Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet
  2. Increasing healthy fat consumption
  3. Unlimited consumption of non starchy vegetables. Because they are so low calorie, the majority of the food on your plate will be vegetables
  4. Limit the use of protein to less than one half gram per pound of body weight

Healthful fat can be rich in calories, but these calories will not affect your body in the same way as calories from non-vegetable carbs. As explained by Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose in particular is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. Eating dietary fat isn’t what’s making you pack on the pounds. It’s the sugar/fructose and grains that are adding the padding.

So please, don’t fall for the low-fat myth, as this too is a factor in the rise in chronic health problems such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Your brain, heart and cardiovascular system need healthy fat for optimal functioning. In fact, emerging evidencesuggests most people need at least half of their daily calories from healthy fat, and possibly as high as 70 percent. My personal diet is about 60-70 percent healthy fat. Add to that a small to medium amount of high-quality protein and plenty of vegetables. You actually need very few carbs besides vegetables; so you see, the federal guidelines are about as lopsided as they could be… pushing you toward obesity and poor health, if you follow them.

Hunger Can Be Used as a Guide to Determine How Much Fat You Need

Many do not realize this, but frequent hunger may be a major clue that you’re not eating correctly and are using carbs as your primary fuel. Not only is it an indication that you’re consuming the wrong types of food, but it’s also a sign that you’re likely consuming them in lopsided ratios for your individual biochemistry, and the timing of your eating may benefit from adjustment. Fat is far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and feel ravenous, thinking you “can’t do without the carbs,” remember this is a sign that you haven’t replaced them with sufficient amounts of fat. So go ahead and add a bit more. You do want to make sure you’re adding the correct types of fat though. And vegetable oils like canola and corn oil, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends is NOT on the healthy list… Sources of healthy fats include:

Olives and olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass-fed meats Palm oil Unheated organic nut oils

Another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year. For more information about omega-3s and the best sources of this fat, please review this previous article.

Healthy Eating Starts at Home

Home used to be the heart of passing on food culture. This rarely happens anymore, and children are suffering the consequences. School lunches also used to be far more nutritious. Today, as evidenced in the video above, most of the food served at school is processed food, requiring only to be reheated.

Sadly, many parents today don’t even know how to cook with fresh ingredients, because their parents embraced the novel convenience of the TV dinner back in the 50s. I’ve said this for many years, and it’s worth repeating many times over because it’s one of the main solutions to the obesity epidemic—Cook your food from scratch, at home!

Many people are under the mistaken impression that cooking from scratch is an extremely complicated affair that takes lots of time and costs more than they could possibly afford. Part of Jamie Oliver’s mission is to show the fallacy of this kind of thinking. There are plenty of sources for simple recipes, many of which are free if you have access to the internet. In a previous article, Colleen Huber offers a list of helpful guidelines on how to cook whole food from scratch while keeping your day job.

It does require some pre-planning in many cases, but remember that learning to plan your meals may actually reduce your stress levels rather than increase them! Many people resort to fast foods and processed foods simply because they’re too frazzled at the end of their work day to figure out what to cook. Planning a menu and shopping ahead could actually turn meal time into a more relaxed time spent with family.

Also, remember that whatever money you think you’re saving now by using processed foods, you’ll end up paying many times over later on when your health begins to fail. Proper nutrition, consisting mainly of whole, fresh foods, really is your number one health insurance policy. Likewise, children will not know which foods are healthy unless you, as a parent, teach it to them. Please, understand that poor eating habits at home, combined with poor food selections at school, may set your child up for long-term physical and behavioral problems.

Are You Trying to Eat Healthy on a Budget?

While it may not be immediately obvious for people who have grown up relying on ready-made, pre-packaged foods and snacks, you can replace those foods with something equally satisfying that will support, rather than wreck, your health. This requires some strategy, especially if you’re working with a tight budget, but it can be done:

  1. Identify a person to prepare meals. Someone has to invest some time in the kitchen. It will be necessary for either you, your spouse, or perhaps someone in your family prepare the meals from locally grown healthful foods. This includes packing lunches for your kids to take to school.
  2. Become resourceful: This is an area where your grandmother can be a wealth of information, as how to use up every morsel of food and stretch out a good meal was common knowledge to generations past. Seek to get back to the basics of cooking – using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat, using up leftovers and so on.
  3. Plan your meals: If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. This is essential, as you will need to be prepared for mealtimes in advance to be successful. Ideally, this will involve scouting out your local farmer’s markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales.You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, make sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time in the evenings.
  1. It is no mystery that you will be eating lunch around noon every day so rather than rely on fast food at work, before you go to bed make a plan as to what you are going to take to work the next day. This is a marvelous simple strategy that will let you eat healthier, especially if you take healthy food from home in to work.
  1. Avoid food waste: According to a study published in the journal PloS One, Americans waste an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person, each and every day. The two steps above will help you to mitigate food waste in your home. You may also have seen my article titled “14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries.” Among those tips are suggestions for keeping your groceries fresher, longer, and I suggest reviewing those tips now.
  2. Buy organic animal foods. The most important foods to buy organic are animal, not vegetable, products (meat, eggs, butter, etc.), because animal foods tend to concentrate pesticides in higher amounts. If you cannot afford to buy all of your food organic, opt for organic animal foods first.
  3. Keep costs down on grass-fed beef.Pasture-finished beef is far healthier than grain-fed beef (which I don’t recommend consuming). To keep cost down, look for inexpensive roasts or ground meat. You may also save money by buying an entire side of beef (or splitting one with two or three other families), if you have enough freezer space to store it.
  4. Buy in bulk when non-perishable items go on sale. If you are fortunate to live near a buyer’s club or a co-op, you may also be able to take advantage of buying by the pound from bins, saving both you and the supplier the cost of expensive packaging.
  5. Frequent farmer’s markets or grow your own produce. You may be surprised to find out that by going directly to the source you can get amazingly healthy, locally grown, organic food for less than you can find at your supermarket. This gives you the best of both worlds: food that is grown near to you, cutting down on its carbon footprint and giving you optimal freshness, as well as grown without chemicals, genetically modified seeds, and other potential toxins.

Just as restaurants are able to keep their costs down by getting food directly from a supplier, you, too, can take advantage of a direct farm-to-consumer relationship, either on an individual basis or by joining a food coop in your area. Many farmer’s markets are also now accepting food stamps, so this is an opportunity most everyone can join in on.

]]> 0
6 Reasons Why Eggs Are The Healthiest Food on The Planet Tue, 06 Aug 2013 12:12:22 +0000 Eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.” They also have unique antioxidants and powerfulbrain nutrients that many people are deficient in. Here are 6 reasons why eggs are among the healthiest foods on the planet. 1. Whole Eggs Are Among The Most Nutritious Foods on Earth One whole egg contains an amazing range […]]]>

Eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.”

They also have unique antioxidants and powerfulbrain nutrients that many people are deficient in.

Here are 6 reasons why eggs are among the healthiest foods on the planet.

1. Whole Eggs Are Among The Most Nutritious Foods on Earth

One whole egg contains an amazing range of nutrients.

Just imagine… the nutrients in there are enough to turn a single fertilized cell into an entire baby chicken.

Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins, good fats and various other lesser-known nutrients.

One large egg contains (1):

  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 9% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
  •  Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 7% of the RDA.
  •  Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
  • Eggs also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body… including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, Vitamin E, Folate and many more.

A large egg contains 77 calories, with 6 grams of quality protein, 5 grams of fat and trace amounts of carbohydrates.

It’s very important to realize that almost all the nutrients are contained in the yolk, the white contains only protein.

Bottom Line: Whole eggs are incredibly nutritious, containing a very large amount of nutrients compared to the calorie load. The nutrients are found in the yolks, while the whites are mostly protein.

2. Eggs Improve Your Cholesterol Profile and do NOT Raise Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

The main reason people have been warned about eggs is that they’re loaded with cholesterol.

One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a LOT compared to most other foods.

However, just because a food contains cholesterol doesn’t mean that it will raise the bad cholesterol in the blood.

The liver actually produces cholesterol, every single day. If you eat cholesterol, then your liver produces less. If you don’t eat cholesterol, then your liver produces more of it.

The thing is, many studies show that eggs actually improve your cholesterol profile.

Eggs tend to raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and they tend to change the LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol to a large subtype which is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease (234).

One study discovered that 3 whole eggs per day reduced insulin resistance, raised HDL and increased the size of LDL particles in men and women with metabolic syndrome (5).

Multiple studies have examined the effects of egg consumption on the risk of cardiovascular disease and found no association between the two (6789).

However, some studies do show an increased risk of cardiovascular disease indiabetic patients. This needs further research though and probably doesn’t apply on a low-carb diet, which can in many cases reverse type II diabetes (101112).

Bottom Line: Studies show that eggs actually improve the cholesterol profile. They raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and increase the size of LDL particles, which should lower the risk of heart disease.

3. Eggs Are Loaded With Choline, an Important Nutrient For The Brain

Choline is a lesser-known nutrient that is often grouped with the B-complex vitamins.

Choline is an essential nutrient for human health and is needed for various processes in the body.

It is required to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and is also a component of cell membranes.

A low choline intake has been implicated in liver diseases, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders (13).

This nutrient may be especially important for pregnant women. Studies show that a low choline intake can raise the risk of neural tube defects and lead to decreased cognitive function in the offspring (14).

In a dietary survey in the U.S. from 2003-2004, over 90% of people ate less than the daily recommended amount of choline (15)!

The best sources of choline in the diet are egg yolks and beef liver. One large egg contains 113 mg of Choline.

Bottom Line: Choline is an essential nutrient that 90% of people in the U.S. aren’t getting enough of. Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline.

4. Eggs Contain High Quality Proteins With a Perfect Amino Acid Profile

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and serve both structural and functional purposes.

They consist of amino acids that are linked together, kind of like beads on a string, then folded into complex shapes.

There are about 21 amino acids that the body uses to build its proteins.

The body can not produce 9 of these amino acids, which are deemed as “essential” and must be gotten from the diet.

The quality of a protein source is determined by its relative amounts of these essential amino acids. A protein source that contains all of them in the right ratios is a good source of protein.

Eggs are among the best sources of protein in the diet. In fact, the biological value (a measure of protein quality) is often evaluated by comparing it to eggs, which are given the perfect score of 100.

Bottom Line: Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with all the essential amino acids in the right ratios.

5. Eggs Are Loaded With Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Which Protect The Eyes

There are two antioxidants in eggs that can have powerful protective effects on the eyes.

They are called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, both found in the yolk.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin tend to accumulate in the retina, the sensory part of the eye.

These antioxidants significantly reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration and Cataracts, which are among the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the elderly (161718).

In one study, eating 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks increased blood levels of Zeaxanthin by 114-142% and Lutein by 28-50% (19).

Bottom Line: Eggs are very high in the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which can drastically reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration and Cataracts.

6. Eggs For Breakfast Can Help You Lose Body Fat

Eggs contain only trace amounts of carbohydrates, but plenty of protein and fat.

They score very high on a scale called the Satiety Index, which is a measure of how much foods contribute to satiety (20).

For this reason, it is not surprising to see studies where eating eggs for breakfast leads to fat loss.

In one study, 30 overweight or obese women consumed either a breakfast of eggs or a breakfast of bagels. Both breakfasts had the same amount of calories.

The women in the egg group felt more full and ate less calories for the rest of the day and for the next 36 hours (21).

In another study that went on for 8 weeks, eating eggs for breakfast lead to significant weight improvements compared to the same amount of calories from bagels. The egg group (22):

  • Lost 65% more body weight.
  • Lost 16% more body fat.
  • Had a 61% greater reduction in BMI.
  • Had a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference (a good marker for the dangerous abdominal fat).

Not All Eggs Are The Same

It’s important to keep in mind that not all eggs are created equal.

Hens are often raised in factories, caged and fed grain-based feed that alters the final nutrient composition of the eggs. It is best to buy Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs, they are more nutritious and healthier.

However, conventional supermarket eggs are still a good choice if you can’t afford or access the others.

Take Home Message

To top things off, eggs are cheap, taste awesome and go with almost any food.

Eggs really are an egg-ceptional superfood.

]]> 0
Let Fruit Be Your Medicine: Watermelon’s Remarkable Health Benefits Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:14:17 +0000 Watermelon is so much more than just a highly refreshing summertime treat. From the perspective of a growing body of clinical research, it is a truly medicinal food. Only this month, research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found watermelon juice is an effective remedy for reducing the recovery heart rate and muscle soreness […]]]>

Watermelon is so much more than just a highly refreshing summertime treat. From the perspective of a growing body of clinical research, it is a truly medicinal food.

Only this month, research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found watermelon juice is an effective remedy for reducing the recovery heart rate and muscle soreness in athletes who were given 500 ml of watermelon juice (16.9 oz) containing 1.17 grams of the naturally occurring amino acid L-citrulline.[1]

Additional research indicates watermelon may possess the following health benefits:

  • Boosting Your Antioxidant Levels: Watermelon is exceptionally rich in lycopene (hence its red color) and other carotenoids such as lutein and beta carotene.[2] A 2003 study published in theJournal of Nutrition found that regular watermelon juice consumption resulted in significant increases in blood plasma concentrations of lycopene and beta carotene.[3] Keep in mind thatlycopene has been found to have over 40 potential health benefits, and beta carotene (especially in its natural, food-complexed form) equally plentiful health benefits, adding extra significance to this finding. Also, the watermelon-induced increase in plasma antioxidant levels may lend explanation to why an epidemiological study of the Chinese found greater watermelon intake to be associated with a lower risk of cancer.[4]
  • Reducing Blood Pressure/Improving Arterial Health: A 2012 study published in theAmerican Journal of Hypertension found that middle-aged obese subjects with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension who were given 6 weeks of treatment with a watermelon extract containing 6 grams of L-citrulline and L-arginine daily, experienced reduced ankle blood pressure and altered carotid wave reflection, an indication of improved arterial function.[5] The inability of the blood vessels to dilate and function properly is known as endothelial dysfunction, and is likely the most well-known initiating step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. If watermelon can ameliorate or reverse this process, it would certainly provide a breakthrough alternative to many of the drugs used for primary prevention, such as the cholesterol-lowering statin drug class, whose side effects, numbering in the hundreds, include heart muscle dysfunction and damage.
  • Increasing Plasma Arginine Concentrations: A 2007 study published in the journal Nutritionfound that watermelon juice consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults, proving that the L-citrulline from this plant origin was effectively converted into arginine. This is a highly significant finding because arginine has a great number of health benefits, especially for ameliorating the aforementioned cardiovascular problem known as endothelial dysfunction. There are at least 20 studies in the biomedical literature documenting its therapeutic role in improving endothelial dysfunction, but you can view over 150 potential health benefits of arginine on the GreenMedInfo database.
  • Combatting Metabolic Syndrome: A promising preclinical study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2007 found that watermelon pomace, a rich source of L-citrulline, significantly improved metabolic syndrome in diabetic, overweight rats.[6] This study is of particular interest because it lends support to relatively new research showing that fruit consumption is not harmful for type 2 diabetics.[7] The new study results were described as follows: ” These results provide the first evidence to our knowledge for a beneficial effect of watermelon pomace juice as a functional food for increasing arginine availability, reducing serum concentrations of cardiovascular risk factors, improving glycemic control, and ameliorating vascular dysfunction in obese animals with type-II diabetes.”
  • Watermelon Seeds, a Rich Source of Protein:  It behooves us to mention the fact that all parts of the watermelon have something to offer. The seeds, in fact, are an excellent source of protein. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology found that “The good nutritional and functional properties of watermelon seed meal proteins suggest their potential use in food formulations.”[8]  While seedless watermelon are far more convenient to eat, keep in mind that they can not reproduce without human intervention and so there are several good reasons to choose seedless varieties.

So, next time you are in the mood for watermelon, and are concerned about its notorious sugar content, ‘weight-promoting effects,’ and therefore possible diabetogenic and cardiotoxic properties – think again. Quality and moderation are the only things to make sure you are careful about when deciding to consume watermelon. Otherwise, enjoy it (remember Vitamin P(leasure))and know that it may just be as good for you as it tastes.

[1] Martha Patricia Tarazona-Díaz, Fernando Alacid, María Carrasco, Ignacio Martínez, Encarna Aguayo. Watermelon Juice: A Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes.J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Jul 17. Epub 2013 Jul 17. PMID: 23862566

[3] Alison J Edwards, Bryan T Vinyard, Eugene R Wiley, Ellen D Brown, Julie K Collins, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Robert A Baker, Beverly A Clevidence. Consumption of watermelon juice increases plasma concentrations of lycopene and beta-carotene in humans. J Nutr. 2003 Apr;133(4):1043-50. PMID: 12672916

[4] Cai-Xia Zhang, Suzanne C Ho, Yu-Ming Chen, Jian-Hua Fu, Shou-Zhen Cheng, Fang-Yu Lin.Greater vegetable and fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. Int J Cancer. 2009 Jul 1;125(1):181-8. PMID: 19358284

[5] Arturo Figueroa, Marcos A Sanchez-Gonzalez, Alexei Wong, Bahram H Arjmandi. Watermelon Extract Supplementation Reduces Ankle Blood Pressure and Carotid Augmentation Index in Obese Adults With Prehypertension or Hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2012 Mar 8. Epub 2012 Mar 8. PMID: 22402472

[6] Guoyao Wu, Julie K Collins, Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Muhammad Siddiq, Kirk D Dolan, Katherine A Kelly, Cristine L Heaps, Cynthia J Meininger. Dietary supplementation with watermelon pomace juice enhances arginine availability and ameliorates the metabolic syndrome in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. J Nutr. 2007 Dec;137(12):2680-5. PMID: 18029483

[7] Christensen AS, Viggers L, Hasselström K, Gregersen S. Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes–a randomized trial. Nutr J. 2013 Mar 5;12:29.

[8] Ali Abas Wani, Dalbir Singh Sogi, Preeti Singh, Idrees Ahmed Wani, Uma S Shivhare.Characterisation and functional properties of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) seed proteins. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2011 Feb;137(2):279-86. Epub 2010 Apr 18. PMID:20824684


]]> 0
Groundbreaking Civil Action Launched Against High Fructose Corn Syrup Makers Tue, 25 Jun 2013 21:17:00 +0000 Last year at this time the news wires were abuzz with the FDA’s decision denying the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petition to rename high fructose corn syrup “corn sugar.” This June, however, the Associated Press, daily papers and law journals are reporting another story regarding HFCS, one perhaps just as disconcerting to the CRA – […]]]>

Last year at this time the news wires were abuzz with the FDA’s decision denying the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petition to rename high fructose corn syrup “corn sugar.” This June, however, the Associated Press, daily papers and law journals are reporting another story regarding HFCS, one perhaps just as disconcerting to the CRA – that the manufacturers of this test-tube sweetener are being taken to court.

Buffalo attorney J. Michael Hayes filed last week what is likely a first-of-its-kind civil action against six manufacturers of HFCS, including giants Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, for products liability, failure to warn, gross negligence, reckless conduct and injuries.

Hayes’s plaintiff in the case is a Buffalo-area woman and her 14-year-old daughter who has type-2 diabetes, a condition, Hayes says, to which there is a “direct, causal connection” with the consumption of HFCS.

“My view,” Hayes told Food Identity Theft in a phone interview last week, “and my experts’ view is essentially the government is too corrupt to do anything on this…so you’re not going to get the politicians to do it, you’re certainly not going to get industry to do it, because they’re making too much money. So the only choice is litigation.”

“I’ve got a nationally renowned expert who is solid that HFCS is a cause of type-2 diabetes, which is what we have to prove in the law,” Hayes said. “It doesn’t have to be the sole cause,” he added, but “it has to be a substantial factor.”

Hayes said his interest in pursuing a case against HFCS grew out of what he “filtered” from a health and nutrition conference he and his wife, a nurse and nutrition counselor, attended last year. “I spent three days absorbing that, and I came out of it saying HFCS is an artificial product that is causing a harm, and it’s not warned against.” So  “it very well may be that there is something here.”

“Industry argues (HFCS) is the same as sugar, which is not true as we know. It has a different metabolic effect,” he maintained. It is also his belief that “if you make HFCS and you know it’s going to be consumed and you know it has the potential to cause illness and disease, then you have to place a warning on (products containing) it.”

An ‘evolving’ legal challenge

Galvanized by what he had learned at the conference, Hayes advertised in a local paper seeking clients for his HFCS case, and was called by the mom (both mother and daughter are being kept anonymous in the complaint), whom Hayes describes as being a “very conscientious” parent.

The attorney’s 17-page complaint, which calls HFCS “a toxin,” also states that HFCS is “totally man-made,” “not natural” and “cannot simply be extracted from an ear of corn.” It also notes that “(s)ince 1970, coinciding with the advent and increasing and pervasive commercial use of HFCS, type-2 diabetes rates in the United States have skyrocketed.

“I know they (the defendants) are going to fight like crazy for the first three or four years…and because these are individual cases and not a class action I could have another dozen (plaintiffs) coming in.”

Hayes says he will not be discouraged by losing one of these cases, as “we can try another and another one,” nor does he think that he is the only litigator who will be pursuing such claims.

“It’s fascinating and it’s evolving,” he said. “These cases are going to pop up all over the nation, and this is going to take HFCS off the shelves.”

– See more at:

]]> 0
Ibuprofen Kills Thousands Each Year, So What Is The Alternative? Sat, 08 Jun 2013 15:44:15 +0000 A recent HMHB article opened with the following stunning sentence: “Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers, researchers said.” The 2004 Vioxx recall, as you may remember, was spurred […]]]>

A recent HMHB article opened with the following stunning sentence:

“Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers, researchers said.”

The 2004 Vioxx recall, as you may remember, was spurred by the nearly 30,000 excess cases of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths caused by the drug between 1999-2003. Despite the fact that scientific research had accumulated as early as 2000 linking Vioxx to increased heart attacks and strokes, the drug’s manufacturer Merck, and the FDA, remained silent as the death toll steadily increased.

The Reuters report focused on new research published in Lancet indicating the risk of heart attack increases as much as a third and the risk of heart failure doubles among heavier users of NSAID drugs.

INFLAMED: Our Default Bodily State

Why are so many folks taking NSAID drugs like ibuprofen anyway?

Pain and unhealthy levels of inflammation are fast becoming default bodily states in the industrialized world. While in most cases we can adjust the underlying pro-inflammatory conditions by altering our diet, and reducing stress and environmental chemical exposures, these approaches take time, discipline and energy, and sometimes we just want the pain to stop now. In those often compulsive moments we find ourselves popping an over-the-counter pill to kill the pain.

The problem with this approach is that, if we do it often enough, we may kill ourselves along with the pain…

Ibuprofen really is a perfect example of this. As mentioned above, this petrochemical-derivative has been linked to significantly increased risk of heart attack and increased cardiac and all-cause mortality (when combined with aspirin), with over two dozen serious adverse health effects, including:

DNA Damage[2]
Hearing Loss[3]
Influenza Mortality[5]

Ibuprofen is, in fact, not unique in elevating cardiovascular disease risk and/or mortality. The entire category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to have this under-recognized dark side; cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality score highest on the list of over 100 unintended adverse health effects associated with their use. See also our analysis of the rarely acknowledged dark side to aspirin: The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives.

So, what does one do? Pain is pain. Whether it happens to you, or you witness it in another (which can be worse), finding relief is a top priority.

Research on Natural Alternatives To Ibuprofen

Here is some evidence-based research on alternatives to ibuprofen, sourced from the National Library of Medicine:

Ginger – A 2009 study found that ginger capsules (250 mg, four times daily) were as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle (primary dysmenorrhea). [7]

Topical Arnica – A 2007 human study found that topical treatment with arnica was as effective as ibuprofen for hand osteoarthritis, but with lower incidence of side effects.[8]

Combination: Astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin C – A 2011 animal study found this combination to be equal to or better than ibuprofen for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation.[9]

Chinese Skullcap (baicalin) – A 2003 animal study found that a compound in Chinese skullcap known as baicalin was equipotent to ibuprofen in reducing pain.[10]

Omega-3 fatty acids: A 2006 human study found that omega-3 fatty acids (between 1200-2400 mg daily) were as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain, but with the added benefit of having less side effects.[11]

Panax Ginseng – A 2008 animal study found that panax ginseng had analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen, indicating its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties.[12]

St. John’s Wort – A 2004 animal study found that St. John’s wort was twice as effective as ibuprofen as a pain-killer.[13]

Anthrocyanins from Sweet Cherries & Raspberries – A 2001 study cell study found that anthrocyanins extracted from raspberries and sweet cherries were as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2.[14]

Holy Basil – A 2000 study found that holy basil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory activity comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.[15]

Olive Oil (oleocanthal) – a compound found within olive oil known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.[16]

There are, of course, hundreds of additional substances which have been studied for their pain-killing and/or anti-inflammatory effects, and there are also aromatherapeutic approaches that do not require the ingestion of anything at all, but there is also a danger here. When we think of taking an alternative pain-killer to ibuprofen, we are still thinking within the palliative, allopathic medical model: suppress the symptom, and go on about our business. It would behoove us to look deeper into what is causing our pain. And when possible, remove the cause(s). And that often requires a dramatic dietary shift away from pro-inflammatory foods, many of which most Westerners still consider absolutely delightful, e.g. wheat, dairy, nighshade vegetables and even wheat-free grains, etc.


[1] Direct cytotoxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in acidic media: model study on human erythrocytes with DIDS-inhibited anion exchanger. Pharmazie. 2002 Dec;57(12):848-51. PMID: 12561250

[2] Genotoxicity of ibuprofen in mouse bone marrow cells in vivo. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2012 Jan 27. Epub 2012 Jan 27. PMID: 22283434

[3] Analgesic use and the risk of hearing loss in men. Am J Med. 2010 Mar;123(3):231-7. PMID: 20193831

[4] Effect on blood pressure of lumiracoxib versus ibuprofen in patients with osteoarthritis and controlled hypertension: a randomized trial. J Hypertens. 2008 Aug;26(8):1695-702. PMID: 18622250

[5] The effect on mortality of antipyretics in the treatment of influenza infection: systematic review and meta-analysis. J R Soc Med. 2010 Oct;103(10):403-11. PMID: 20929891

[6] Taking non-aspirin NSAIDs in early pregnancy doubles risk of miscarriage, study shows. BMJ. 2011 ;343:d5769. Epub 2011 Sep 9. PMID: 21908536

[7] Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb 13. PMID: 19216660

[8] Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study. Rheumatol Int. 2007 Apr;27(6):585-91. Epub 2007 Feb 22. PMID: 17318618

[9] Summative interaction between astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761) and vitamin C in suppression of respiratory inflammation: a comparison with ibuprofen. Phytother Res. 2011 Jan;25(1):128-36. PMID: 20632299

[10] The antiinflammatory and analgesic effects of baicalin in carrageenan-evoked thermal hyperalgesia. Anesth Analg. 2003 Dec;97(6):1724-9. PMID: 14633550

[11] Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 2006 Apr;65(4):326-31. PMID: 16531187

[12] Potential analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Panax ginseng head butanolic fraction in animals. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3749-52. Epub 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18930781

[13] Antinociceptive activity of methanolic extracts of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) preparation. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2004 Jul;17(2):13-9. PMID: 16414593

[14] Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine. 2001 Sep;8(5):362-9. PMID: 11695879

[15] Antioxidant and cyclooxygenase inhibitory phenolic compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine. 2000 Mar;7(1):7-13. PMID: 10782484

[16] Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Curr Pharm Des. 2011 ;17(8):754-68. PMID: 21443487

]]> 0
Nothing Natty About Natto, Soy Slime Is Good for You! Sat, 11 May 2013 17:30:15 +0000 There’s nothing natty about natto.  This old-fashioned soy product is made from whole soybeans that have been soaked, boiled or steamed, and then fermented.    It’s known for its sticky coat, cheesy texture, musty taste, sliminess, stringiness and pungent odor.   Healthwise, it’s good for us and one of the “good old soys.” Natto first appeared […]]]>

There’s nothing natty about natto.  This old-fashioned soy product is made from whole soybeans that have been soaked, boiled or steamed, and then fermented.    It’s known for its sticky coat, cheesy texture, musty taste, sliminess, stringiness and pungent odor.   Healthwise, it’s good for us and one of the “good old soys.”

Natto first appeared in northeastern Japan about a thousand years ago.  Traditionally, it smelled like straw because it was made by inoculating whole cooked soybeans with Bacillus subtilis or Bacillus nattoand incubated in straw.   The straw also absorbed the none-too-fragrant ammonia-like odor.   Because of frequent contamination by unwanted microorganisms, natto makers abandoned the straw method in favor of inoculating the cooked beans with B. natto, then mixing and packing the product in wooden boxes or polyethylene bags.

Natto is one of the few fermented soy products in which bacteria predominate over the fungi.  It’s made the news as a good source of vitamin K2, which exists in only a few foods other than animal fats like butter, but is vital to blood clotting and healthy bone formation and preservation.   Nattokinase is an enzyme sold as a supplement and recommended by many alternative MDs for cardiovascular and circulatory problems.

As a food, natto may be served with mustard and soy sauce, or used in soups and spreads in Japanese cuisine.   A little goes a long way.   Children love it — not for its strong, rotten flavor — but because its glistening threads can be stretched, making it one of the all-time great play foods.   As for them actually eating it, not likely, at least not over here!

Indeed, natto isn’t even popular in all parts of Japan.  In areas where it is popular, many restaurants that serve it require patrons to sit in a private area so as not to offend other patrons with the distinctive smell.

Why so?  I’ll let the irrepressible Anthony Bourdain explain it:

“What I was not ready for, and never will be, wasnatto  .  .  .  an unbelievably foul, rank, slimy, glutenous and stringy goop of fermented soybeans.  . . .  If the taste wasn’t bad enough, there’s the texture.  There’s just no way to eat the stuff.  I dug in my chopsticks and dragged a small bit to my mouth.  Viscous long strands of mucuslike material followed, leaving numerous ugly and unmanageable strands running from my lips to the bowl.  I tried severing the strands with my chopsticks, but to no avail.  I tried rolling them around my sticks like recalcitrant angel-hair pasta.  I tried slurping them in.  But there was no way.  I sat there, these horrible-looking strings extending from mouth to table like a spider’s web, doing my best to choke them down while still smiling . . . All I wanted to do now was hurl myself through the paper walls and straight off the edge of the mountain.   Hopefully, a big tub of boiling bleach or lye would be waiting at the bottom for me to gargle with.”   

That about sums it up.   Unlike Vegemite though, natto‘s actually very good for you!


]]> 0
Why You Should Ditch Sugar in Favor of Honey Thu, 18 Apr 2013 12:30:58 +0000 While honey and sugar share similar degrees of sweetness, the differences in the way our bodies respond to them are profound. Technically, honey and sugar (sucrose) both exist because they are food for their respective species. In the case of sugarcane, a member of the the grass family (Poaceae) which includes wheat, maize and rice, […]]]>

While honey and sugar share similar degrees of sweetness, the differences in the way our bodies respond to them are profound.

Technically, honey and sugar (sucrose) both exist because they are food for their respective species.

In the case of sugarcane, a member of the the grass family (Poaceae) which includes wheat, maize and rice, sucrose provides energy for its leaves and is an easily transportable source of energy for other parts of the plant, such as the root, that do not produce their own energy.

Honey, of course, is produced by bees from the nectar of flowers solely for the purpose of food.

Beyond this obvious similarity, the differences between honey and sugar, however, are much more profound.

First, honey is a whole food and sucrose is not.  In other words, sucrose is an isolate – technically only one chemical compound – lifted from a background of hundreds of other components within the whole plant, whereas honey is composed of an equally complex array of compounds, many of which are well-known (including macronutrients and micronutrients, enzymes, probiotics and prebiotics, etc.), others whose role is still completely a mystery.

Even the “sugar” in honey, which we might mistakenly equate (due to caloric and nutrient classification equivalencies) to the “sugar” from sugarcane, is a complex mixture of the monosacharrides (one-sugars) glucose and fructose, and at least 25 different oligosaccharides (which are sugars composed of between two to ten monosaccharides linked together), including small amounts of the disacchardide sucrose, as well as trisaccharides (three-sugars) like melezitose and erlose.[i]

Interestingly, if you were to isolate out the fructose from honey, and consume it in isolation in American-size doses (over two ounces a day), it would likely contribute to over 70 fructose-induced adverse health effects; primarily insulin resistance, fatty liver, obesity, hypertension and elevated blood sugar. But place that fructose back into the complex nestled background of nutrient chemistries we call honey, and the fructose loses its monochemical malignancy to our health. Food is the ultimate delivery system for nutrition. Reduce whole foods to parts, and then concentrate and consume them excessively, and you have the recipe for a health disaster that we can see all around us today in the simultaneously overnourished/malnourished masses who still think a ‘calorie is a calorie,’ and a ‘carb is a carb,’ without realizing that the qualitative differences are so profound that one literally heals, while the other literally kills.

But the differences between honey and sugar are not simply based on their respective chemical and nutritional compositions, but also the length of time we humans have had to adapt to them as a source of energy and nourishment.

Honey was the primary concentrated sweetener consumed by humans until after the 1800’s when industrial production of sugarcane-derived sugar was initiated.  While the first written reference to honey is found on a 4,000 year old Sumerian tablet,[ii] and depictions of humans seeking honey have been found in cave paintings at in Spain that are at least 8,000 years old, we can assume that our love affair with the sweet stuff graciously provided by the bee goes back much further, perhaps hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years ago.

bee honey gatherers

8000 year old cave painting from the Araña Caves in Spain.

Regardless of the exact date of its introduction into our diet, from the perspective of evolutionary biology and nutrition, it is clear that our body has had infinitely more time to adapt to honey than sugar.  It is instructive, as well, that sugarcane is in the same grass family whose seeds in the form of “cereal grains” we now consume in such plenty that, arguably, we are now slowly digging our graves with our teeth (particularly, our grain-grinding molars). After all, we have only been consuming them for 10-20,000 years, and in some cases less than 10 generations – a nanosecond in biological time, even if from the lived perspective of a single human lifespan, or even cultural time as a whole, it may seem like “forever.”

For those skeptics who consider this reflection on the differences between honey and sugar mere theory, there is now plenty of clinical research confirming their significant differences.

A double-blind, randomized clinical study titled, “Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and postmeal thermogenesis,” published in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, compared the effects of honey or sugar on appetite hormones (ghrelin, peptide YY) and glycemic and thermic effects after a meal, in 14 healthy, nonobese women.

The researchers found that the group given 450 calorie (kcal) honey in their breakfasts had “A blunted glycemic response may be beneficial for reducing glucose intolerance,” and saw positive modulation of appetite hormones, i.e. delayed the postprandial ghrelin response and enhanced total peptide YY levels.[iii]

Another study published in Journal of Medical Food in 2004, which compared honey to dextrose and sucrose, found that natural honey was capable of lowering plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine in healthy, diabetic and hyperlipidemic subjects.[iv]

Animal research also confirms that, when compared to sucrose, honey is more effective at promoting lower weight gain, adiposity (fat accumulation), and triglycerides.[v]

Healer Bee

Why Consuming Honey Raw Is So Important

Raw honey contains enzymes and probiotics which are destroyed when heated or used in cooking applications.  These compounds are of no small significance and contribute directly or indirectly to honey’s many well-known health benefits.  Take the active starch-digesting enzyme amylase, for instance, found only in the raw form of honey in a form known as diastase, which is believed to contribute to clearing antigen-antibody immune complexes associated with allergies to pollens, while also reducing mast cell degranulation associated with histamine, and related inflammatory hormone, release linked to allergic symptoms. Also, if it is local honey, it will pick up small amount of local pollen which may help to “immunize,” or desensitize an overly active immune response to these environmental triggers. There is also the enzyme in raw honey known as glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid from glucose. The hydrogen peroxide formed as a result of this enzyme is associated with honey’s well-known wound sterilizing and healing properties.

Honey is also rich in prebiotics, as attributed to some of the oligosaccharides already mentioned (e.g. FOS), and probiotics that contribute to supporting the healthy flora in our gut as well.

Recently, in fact, an abundant, diverse and ancient set of beneficial lactic acid bacteria were discovered within the honeybee gut.  Researchers found a collection of 50 novel species from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium from a single insect. Further investigation of these strains indicated that the association between these bees and the bacteria are at least 80 million years old.[vi]  Consuming raw honey, therefore, likely significantly impacts the microbiota within our own gut, and is one way to reconnect to ancient symbiotic relationships with flora that in our modern, sterilized, pasteurized, irradiated, poisoned, cooked, and bleached world, are all but eradicated from our environment, soil, food, and therefore bodies.

Honey’s ability to support the growth of beneficial bacteria was recently demonstrated in a study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology in 2000, where researchers compared the stimulatory effect of honey with sucrose on the multiplication of lactic acid bacteria in in vitro conditions and found “[T]he number of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum counts increased 10-100 fold in the presence of honey compared with sucrose.” Animal feeding of honey to rats also resulted in significant increase in counts of lactic acid bacteria.[vii]

The probiotic-boosting properties of honey may provide an explanation for why it is such an effective anti-infective agent and has been proven to heal many gastrointestinal disorders.

For a full list of honey’s medicinal properties visit our honey health benefits research page. Also, feel free to explore our article on 5 Honey Health Benefits.

A Final Word on The Bee

A full appreciation of honey inevitably leads to a full appreciation of the bee, as well as an awareness of the precarious relationship presently existing between our species. While shallow, the bee’s role in pollination has been estimated to have over several billion dollars of economic value annually. The reality is that we are far more dependent on this insect than it is on us, which is why when we use “pesticides” and various agrichemicals to radically transform the bee’s natural habitat and microbiota, or use antibiotics, feed them high fructose corn syrup, and add other various amendments in its hive, the resulting collapse of immune function, and secondary infections that emerge, we pretend are a novel new disorder whose origins are unknown, i.e. bee colony collapse disorder, much in the same way that we blanket over our own self-poisoning with various idiopathic syndromes that are actually iatrogenic or environmental in origin.

Bee products, including venom, wax, propolis, royal jelly, etc., have been found to provide potential medicinal solutions for over 170 different health conditions (see Bee Products), expressing over 40 distinct beneficial pharmacological actions. This growing body of research should awaken in us greater respect for this sacred insect — even if only for selfish reasons — and when we say sacred, we mean this both entomologically and etymologically, as the word sacred means “to make holy,” and the word holy shares the same root meaning as the words whole and heal.


  • [ii][ii] Crane E: History of honey. In Crane E (ed):“Honey, A Comprehensive Survey.” London: William Heinemann, pp439– 488,1975 .
  • [iv] Noori S Al-Waili . Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose. J Med Food. 2004 ;7(1):100-7. PMID: 15117561

Photo by Lisa Reagan

]]> 0