Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is Organic Really Better? Yes It Is! And This Is Why.....

Is organic, local, grass fed, non GMO really better?  The answer is yes it is, and choosing these foods as much as possible is beneficial to your health.  The next best would be local produce.  Most small grocery stores now carry organic options, as well as farmers markets, and supermarkets.
For foods that are not bought organic, using a food wash (bought in the grocery store) or a vinegar or hydrogen peroxide diluted in water to reduce the pesticide/toxins on your produce is recommended.  
Buying grass fed/free range meats as much as possible is also recommended:  conventional animals feed of GMO feed that also has pesticides and fertilizers, not to mention the hormones, antibiotics that they are given.  Animals concentrate these chemicals in their fat and tissues, and when we eat them we are getting high amounts of these toxins.  Free range/organic meats are not exposed to these toxins, and as a result of their diet and lifestyles they are high in omega-3 fatty acids- the good anti-inflammatory fat! 

- The bottom line is do what you can when you can, but being aware of what you are consuming is important for your health. the following article explains in more detail the impacts of conventional foods:

From Dr. Mercola:
Research has shown that pesticides and other agricultural chemicals are neurotoxins and can cause disruptions to your neurological system and your brain. The reason why neurotoxins still enjoy widespread use on our fresh food supply is really more about the bottom line for farming operations than it is about the science of human health.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. All of these toxins are permitted on conventional farms, and any number of them can end up on your plate when you purchase conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.
The increased use of genetically engineered Bt hybrid plants1 and soil insecticides also increases the chemical load in food — particularly processed foods.
These man-made neurotoxic chemicals can bioaccumulate in your body, as they resist breaking down in water and also accumulate and store in fat, where they can remain for long periods of time.
In short, this means your body has a very hard time getting rid of them once they enter your body. The answer, of course, is to limit your exposure as much as possible, giving your body a chance to eliminate the toxins you do inadvertently ingest. One food that can help with detoxification is fermented foods.

What to choose Organic and What can be bought Conventional?
Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load.

And with food prices rising, many are looking for ways to buy the healthiest foods possible at the lowest cost.
One such way would be to focus on purchasing certain organic items, while “settling” for others that are conventionally-grown. To do this, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) annualShoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce.2

Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:
ApplesCeleryCherry tomatoes
CucumbersGrapesHot peppers
Nectarines (imported)PeachesPotatoes
SpinachStrawberriesSweet bell peppers
KaleCollard greensSummer squash

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

In the Meat Department:
Many people are still in the dark about the vast differences betweenConcentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats, both in terms of contamination and nutrient content. It's important to understand that when you raise animals in a CAFO — away from the animals’ natural environments and diets — you dramatically increase the risk of pathogenic contamination that can make you ill.

Take beef, for example. Most CAFO cows are fed grains (typically genetically engineered grains, which make matters even worse), when their natural diet is plain grass. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal's stomach, which E. coli bacteria need to survive. Meanwhile, E. coli contamination is actually quite rare in organic beef for this reason — the cows just aren't susceptible to those kinds of disease-causing bacteria and viruses when they eat what they were designed to eat.
Also beware that bacterial contamination of meat-glued steak — a cost-saving scam that is far more common than you might think — is hundreds of times higher than a solid piece of steak; therefore, if you cook your steak rare, which is ordinarily the most healthful way to cook your meat, you're at a much greater risk of contracting food poisoning.
It’s no surprise then to discover that pathogenic contamination of meat products is quite high. What’s worse, the routine use of low-dose antibiotics in CAFO’s has led to a dramatic and rapidly rising presence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
According to a recent NPR report,3 data published by a joint government program4 from tests conducted on supermarket meat samples collected in 2011 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, reveals the presence of several disease-causing bacteria, including the super-hardy antibiotic-resistant versions of salmonella, Campylobacterand E. coli. After analyzing the data, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) highlighted some of the startling implications in its own report,5 aptly named “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets.” The EWG points out that many of the meats tested contained “startlingly high levels” of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on:
  • 81 percent of ground turkey
  • 69 percent of pork chops
  • 55 percent of ground beef
  • 39 percent of chicken breasts, wings and thighs
One of the best ways to avoid contaminated meat is to avoid meat from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s), aka “factory farms,” and buying organic, pastured or grass-fed meats instead. Growth promoters such as antibiotics are not permitted in organic animal farming, and organically-raised animals are also healthier as a result of being pastured, so overall you’re getting far “cleaner,” healthier meat.
“To be safe, consumers should treat all meat as if it may be contaminated, mainly by cooking thoroughly and using safe shopping and kitchen practices (see EWG's downloadable Tips to Avoiding Superbugs in Meat),”6 EWG suggests.7


Article from:   "How to Find the Healthiest Fare in Meat and Produce Aisles"   May 08, 2013.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic, raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) is not only tasty but has many health benefits and has been used by naturopathic doctors for many years to treat a variety of ailments.  Made from fresh, crushed apples, which mature and ferment in wooden barrels, it is rich minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulphur, iron, amino acids and pectin fiber.  There are a multitude of uses for ACV but here are my top 10:

General ACV Tonic:  2 tsps ACV and 1-2 tsps raw or Manuka Honey in a glass of purified water drink 1-3 times a day. 

Improve digestion:  Millions of people suffer from indigestion, which is aggravated by poor digestion and weak saliva juices.  This causes distress: gas, heartburn, burping and stomach bloating.  15- 20 minutes before mealtime, drink 1-2 tsp of ACV in a few ounces of water.  This stimulates digestive fluids in the stomach, resulting in improved digestion and better health.  ACV also helps to protect against food borne pathogens. 

Relieving Muscle Cramps: 
            Internally: 2 tsps ACV and 1-2 tsps raw or Manuka Honey in a glass of purified water three times a day to relieve the cramps.
            Externally: Hot Vinegar pack:  mix 60/40 ACV/hot water, enough to soak a cotton hand towel.  Wring out towel and apply over sore/cramping area.  You can cover this with another dry towel and even a heat pack for additional heat.   Keep on for 20-30 mins.

Apple cider vinegar for your feet! Combating corns callouses, and warts:
            For corns and callouses:  First soak affected areas in warm water with 1/3 cup ACV for 20 minutes.  After soak, rub areas briskly with coarse towel, then gently use a pumice stone or wand.  Now apply full-strength ACV-soaked gauze bandage overnight, and in the morning prepare a fresh ACV soaked bandage for daytime use.  These treatments help soften and dissolve corns and callouses. Check shoes for cofort and width. 
            For common Warts:  Use the ACV treatment above but caution: DO NOT RUB WARTS, as this could spread them.  After soaking use ACV-soaked gauze, cove with waterproof tape, keep on overnight.  In the morning for a daytime treatment, apply a castor oil soaked gauze bandage.  At night you can alternate ACV with Vitamin E (prick open a capsule and apply). 

Nail fungus: soak affected nails (hands or feet) in a 50:50 ACV to warm water mixture morning and night for 10 minutes.  Nail fungus can be stubborn so this must be continued often for many months until nails heal. 

Varicose Veins:  Applications of ACV can help to shrink the veins and also uptake of vitamins C, K, and rutin.  Wrap and ACV dampened cloth around the needed areas morning and night, then elevate legs, allowing to stay on for 15 mins.  Then remove wrap (legs still up) and starting at the ankles press over pooled veins to get blood back into circulation.  Also consume ACV tonic 1-3 times a day. 

Sore throat and laryngitis:  Organic, raw ACV is a dangerous enemy to all kinds of germs that attack the throat and mouth!  To fight the germs and keep the throat healthy, an ACV gargle mixture can be used. 1 tsp to ½ glass pure water, gargle 3 mouthfuls of mixture each hour.  ACV acts like a sponge drawing out the throat and mouth germs and toxins.  As the throat feels better gargle every three hours.

ACV Facial:  Wash face with warm water (no soap).  Soak a cotton face towel under warm/hot water and wring it out, them lay over face for 2-3 mins.  Then soak face towel in a 50:50 ACV: warm water mix and reapply to face, allow to stay for 10 mins while you lie down.  Gently rub face with cotton towel to remove dry skin and revitalize the face. 

Apple cider Vinegar for dandruff, dry, thinning har, and shiner hair!
            The high acidity (organic malic acid) plus the powerful enzymes in ACV kill the bottle bacillus, a germ responsible for many scalp and hair conditions.  The problems caused by this are dandruff, itching scalp, thinning hair, and often baldness.  ACV not only kills bottle bacillus, but stimulates the oils pores for healthier activity.
            For Dandruff: put 2-3 tbsps ACV in a cup- part the hair and sponge directly onto the scalp and wrap hair with towel.  ACV helps restore the proper acid/alkaline balance to the scalp, do before every shampoo.
            For dry hair: weekly apply castor oil or bragg olive oil to hair, and ACV to scalp, then wrap.  Leave on for 30 minutes to 3 hours before shampooing.
            Hair growth stimulating Mixtures:  For bald or thinning hairs try these two mixtures:  On scalp (2 tbsps SCV and tiny pinch of cayenne powder), apply an hour before shampooing (keep out of eyes!).  Mix royal jelly cap, tiny pinch of cayenne & 1 tsp ACV & pat on bald areas – leave on overnight.
            Hair rinse mixture for shiny hair:  For a healthy after shampoo rinse for shine and body; add 1/3 cup ACV to a quart of water.  Pre mix in a handy plastic bottle and keep in the shower to use. 

As a cleaner for your homefor cleaning purposes white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used.  White vinegar is effective and inexpensive as a household cleaner and deodorizer.  A straight 5% solution of vinegar has been shown to kill 99% of bacteria, 82% of common molds, and 80% of germs and viruses. Some mix it with water to wash windows as it removes sludge and keeps them sparkling clean. 

Commercial household cleaners are full of chemicals and additives that are harmful to our health, using these homemade cleaners are a great alternative:
Appliances & countertops:  Clean and disinfect with a white-vinegar dampened sponge or cloth.
Sponges and dishrags:  disinfect and deodorize by soaking overnight in 1 quart hot water with ¼ cup vinegar. 
General hard surface cleaner: Mix vinegar and water in a 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and.  Add 10-20 drops  of an essential oil like thyme, lavender, lemon, or tea tree for added disinfecting and a great scent. 

Source: BRAGG Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System.  By Paul Bragg, and Patricia Bragg