Natural Health

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NATURAL HEALTH INDEX: (please scroll down to read articles)
  • My Healing Philosophy
  • Top Ten GMO Foods
  • Can Metals be Destroying Your Memory?
  • Raw Digestion
  • Processed Foods to Avoid
  • Jin Shin Jyutsu Studies
  • Lab Work for a Raw Vegan
  • Dietary Imbalance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  • Ratios of Omega-3 to Omega-6 Fatty Acid
  • Reversing Diabetes
  • Taking Care of Your Colon
  • How to Tell GMO Foods by Labelling
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My Healing Philosophy - May 28, 2013

For me, embracing the raw living foods lifestyle did not come about through personal illness, but rather from a series of awareness expanding moments. And I have learned that instead of fighting against illness and difficulties - my whole being is better served by focusing on embracing what comes my way - and seeing the opportunity in every situation!
 
Many years ago I lost my father to heart disease, my mother to three different cancers, my oldest sister to ovarian cancer, and my middle sister to diabetes and heart disease - and somehow I decided this was not for me. Although I don't remember making a conscious decision - I do know that some deeper part of me chose life!

Betty, Dad, Marg, Mom
The loss of my birth family led me to question old belief systems and with each inquiry the doors of possibility began opening. Does illness have to be part of my reality? What about the heredity factor? Does my attitude have a direct effect upon my health? Do I have to listen to mass consensus and the opinions of others? And the big one - do I trust in my body to naturally heal, regenerate, and renew itself?

Coming from Ontario to British Columbia for a healthier lifestyle I began spending more time outdoors on the Earth, working with animals, and became involved in the healing arts - all of which became enabling triggers in my life.

My food choices gradually evolved into me becoming a vegetarian. And when I was ready, raw food entered my awareness through a deeper comprehension of the life force in food. So through a gradual series of insightful moments, living food has become intricately woven into my reality.

Each step on the ladder of awareness has led me to understand that the food we eat, the thoughts we think, the environment we live in, the people we surround ourselves with, and the work we engage in, all become the lifestyle we experience - the choice is ours.

I do believe health and self awareness are partners in an ongoing process - and now in my mid 60s (with no hereditary illnesses) I am happy, healthy and constantly discovering new possibilities!

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Top Ten GMO Foods - June 2, 2013

Let's talk about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) . . . also called Frankenfoods (as in Frankenstein monster) because they are created by scientists in a laboratory. Does the name Monsanto sound familiar? 



Poland has become the eighth EU member state to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops. You can read more at these two sites: 

My choice has always been to stay away from GMO foods - especially the ones in this picture! Here are some tips:
  • Canola Oil - Using first cold pressed, ORGANIC extra virgin olive oil eliminates the GMO worry about oils. So what if other oils are cheaper - what is your health worth?
  • Soy - Miso and Tamari contain probiotics and are both fermented and cultured foods. ORGANIC unpasteurized Miso and ORGANIC gluten-free Tamari, are the only soy products in my kitchen.
  • Corn is one of the most GMO contaminated foods in the world, it is something I haven't eaten for a few years now. If you check labels on food boxes and packages, you will be surprised how corn has found its way into most of the food chain.
  • Rice - Instead of rice, you can easily make your own veggie rice in a food processor using root veggies. And be aware that when rice is labelled enriched it means it has been sprayed with nutrients which may contain wheat (meaning gluten).
  • Tomatoes - Do your own taste test. In the summer when local tomatoes are ripe, compare an ORGANIC tomato to a conventionally grown tomato. I have done this and until my own tomatoes are grown and ripened, I buy tomatoes labelled ORGANIC only.
  • Potatoes have been off my menu ever since I began my raw food journey. Since raw potatoes are not a good fit, I have never had to deal with the GMO problem. But when eating sweet potatoes or yams (which go well in soups and pates) they are always ORGANIC.
  • Papayas fall under the GMO umbrella and are even labelled as such in some stores. Labels with 5 digits starting with an 8 indicate that the food is genetically engineered/modified.
  • Peas - ORGANIC peas are simply bursting with flavour and therefore a natural choice. During the summer they are readily available at farmers markets.
  • Dairy products have been off my table for many years, and I no longer suffer from  sinus infections. Dairy can raise our cholesterol, deplete our calcium, and place a strain on our heart. Allergic responses in the body as well as swelling that makes us feel and look bloated, inflammation and mucous are finally being linked to dairy. You'd be surprised at the variety of mylks, ice cream, and dairy-like foods that can be easily made by substituting nuts, seeds, and even coconut for dairy.
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Can Metals be Destroying Your Memory? - March 16, 2013




Alzheimer’s is plaguing America at a mind-boggling rate. It is the fastest growing health threat in the United States, according to a new landmark report from researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle. Alzheimer’s disease is incurable. Dr. Neal Barnard has gathered the most important research and studies to deliver a program that can boost brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Doctor Neal Barnard discusses the new rules for preventing Alzheimer's disease. This video from the Doctor Oz show is well worth watching!
Click Here to Watch Video 

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Raw Digestion - February 27, 2013

I must confess that afters years of following the North American way of eating three meals per day . . . quite frankly it has not been working for me. In simple terms, there is no bloating, more regulated bowels, and my digestion feels much better when I am consuming many smaller meals. Well now is as good a time as any to begin working with my body – not against it!

Being a late riser, my ideal time to wake up is between 8-10 am with bedtime usually between 11-1 am. And because of my schedule I find myself eating a larger meal around 3 pm, which has become my main meal of the day. The result is that I feel too full after the meal and around 9 pm I am looking for snacks.

Circadian rhythms, roughly a 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, is important in determining the sleeping patterns, and of course free will (if and when used) determines our feeding patterns and diet. But let’s not forget all the old habits and belief systems that have moulded us. And if these systems have not been serving us well, why not break the old patterns by creating new ones?

It appears that early morning risers can accomplish much before I am even out of bed in the morning. But while the old adage ‘early to bed, early to rise’ can work wonderfully for some it may be the exact reverse for others, myself included. Personal experience shows that I have a lot of energy at around 10 am and am ready for a workout or a run. And at 9 or 10 pm my creative juices seem to bubble to the surface. We just need to create our own experiences and discover what works for us.

The majority of what I eat is already uncooked and unprocessed food. My former raw/cooked ratios of 95/5% have been shifting towards the 80/20% range and I like what the vegan runner Tim Van Orden had to say on this topic, "I am 100% raw, 95% of the time". In my continuing discovery of what works for me I have opened myself to making the odd pot of cooked soup from organic veggies and have been adding more warming herbs to the foods I consume, all the while listening closely to what my body is telling me.

Switching to four smaller meals! Instead of eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking at night, I now eat four small meals with fruit snacks as needed. Of course flexibility is going to be a key component, but to give you an idea of my meal planning experience yesterday, here is what I ate on day one:
  • 9 am - Green Smoothie. A green smoothie can leave me feeling very full, so drinking it earlier in the day would work better for me. If I was up at 7 am this would be a good time to make my green smoothie. But since I’m already falling behind, tomorrow I will aim for an 8 am green smoothie.
  • 12 pm – My EZ Cereal Mix (buckwheaties and Chia), handful of blueberries, 2 chopped Medjool dates, 3/4 cup Sesame seed mylk. I let the cereal sit for 10 minutes while the Chia seeds plump up. This cereal provides me with a post-workout protein boost while leaving me feeling full and satisfied for a long time.
  • 3 pm - Salad of mixed greens, Sunflower sprouts, chopped figs in Sea Salad dressing. My tendency was still to make a larger meal, but over time I am sure the portion sizes will adapt to fit my needs.
  • 6 pm – Bowl of Chocolate Mousse (containing avocados)
  • 9 pm - Handful of raisins
By the end of yesterday I had already noticed a difference! The absence of the over full feeling combined with the increase in bowel movements were both good signs. Today I am going for a run!

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Processed Foods to Avoid - August 2, 2012

7 ingredients to avoid in processed foods. You're invited to join myself and so many others who have already made the switch by:
  • Saying NO to buying processed foods in containers such as bottles, packages, boxes, cans, and jars. (Make your own sauces, dressings, cereal, mylk, and snacks!)
  • Saying YES to buying fresh whole food from the produce aisle, or from your local farmers market!

You know there are always two sides to every topic (and aside from the obvious health benefits) here are some extra benefits of saying NO to processed foods:
  • The downside - No space in my fridge because it is packed with fresh leafy greens, veggies, sprouts, nuts and seeds - yeah!
  • The upside - Lots of cupboard space because without all the cans, boxes and bottles, my cupboards are empty - yeah!
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Jin Shin Jyutsu Studies - July 1, 2012

Study #1: Cancer Patients with Side Effects Might Find Relief

The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has published the results from a study of cancer patients using Jin Shin Jyutsu!

If you are interested in Jin Shin Jyutsu and what it can offer, you can follow this link to read more:   http://uknow.uky.edu/content/study-suggests-touch-therapy-helps-reduce-pain-nausea-cancer-patients

Study #2: Traumatic Brain Injuries

A new University of Colorado Boulder study indicates an ancient form of complementary medicine may be effective in helping to treat people with mild traumatic brain injury, a finding that may have implications for some U.S. war veterans returning home.


As someone who has been practicing Jin Shin Jyutsu for a few years now, I was overjoyed to read about both of these studies. Finally, media assistance to help spread the word on this simple yet powerful Art of harmonizing the life energy in the body!

FYI - Here are three differing schools of Jin Shin:  Jin Shin Jyutsu, High Touch Jin Shin, and Jin Shin Do. My training has been in Jin Shin Jyutsu and High Touch Jin Shin.

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Lab Work for a Raw Vegan - March 25, 2012

As a Raw Vegan I do not eat dairy, gluten, or any animal products - mainly dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables. And although common thinking dictates that my body is not getting enough of what it needs to survive . . . I have to wonder about the connection and results of eating mostly raw foods and drinking Green Smoothies since 2005?
 
Once a year I visit the doctor to have my blood work done and renew my Thyroid prescription (my only medication). There have been no supplements for many years, with the exception of my personal experiment with B-12 (results below).
 
When I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) more than 25 years ago the doctor told me I would be taking thyroid pills for life. But I am seeing something new - this is the third time my thyroid medication has been lowered! Here are the results of my thyroid lab work on March 16, 2012:
 
2008 = 125 mcg  /  2009 = 100 mcg  /  2010 = 75 mcg  /  2011 - 75 mcg  /  2012 - 50 mcg
 
At my yearly physical, mammograms, pap smears, and colonoscopy tests are declined by me (my doctor laughingly calls me the one who doesn't want any tests). But this time I requested to have my B-12 tested also. Although they only test from blood work, here is the result of my B-12 lab work:
 
B-12 = 241 pmol/L (150 - 220 pmol/L = low probability of symptomatic deficiency)
 
MY PERSONAL B-12 experiment! 
  • Once a day for two weeks I took one 1000 mcg B-12 pill - Methylcobalamin (recommended over the cheaper synthetic form Cyanocobalamin) that dissolves under the tongue - no noticeable difference.
  • After two weeks I stopped the bottled pills and started taking B-12 strips (1,000 mcg Methylcobalamin) that are dissolved on the tongue - one per day. 
  • DAY ONE - a canker on the end of my tongue!
  • DAY TWO - Tongue burn! It felt like drinking something so hot that it burned my tongue with my tongue remaining tender into the next day.
This ENDED my test of B-12 under the tongue strips! To be fair, these B-12 strips had other ingredients which could have caused my reaction - but what I did discover was that they were not for me. I went back onto the B-12 pills for another week and then stopped taking B-12 altogether.

Remember this was my own personal experiment - I am not a licensed medical professional - and am not making any recommendations, either for or against, taking B-12 supplementation! Each individual's body and diet are unique to that individual, and they should follow what feels right for them.

So I return to the same old question:  Is optimal health really about external influences like food, medication, environment - or does our attitude truly have a direct effect upon our health? All I know for sure is that life is a delicately woven web with many possibilities - and I remain open!
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Dietary Imbalance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fatty Acids - June 1, 2011

Here is some new research for you to consider! The Omega-3 molecule is unique in its ability to rapidly change its shape. This exceptional flexibility of omega-3 is passed to organs that absorb it. Omega-3 can thin the blood of humans and animals as well as the sap of plants. As a result of these qualities, omega-3 fatty acids are utilized by the fastest functioning organs in the body. For example, omega-3 can enable our hearts to beat properly, our blood to flow freely, our eyes to see, and our brains to make decisions faster and more clearly.

The Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, serve the opposite function: they thicken the blood of humans and animals as well as the juices of plants. Omega-6 fatty acids solidify and cause inflammation of the tissues. Some scientists link an excess of omega-6 in the human diet with such conditions as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, menstrual cramps, diabetes, headaches, and tumor metastases.

Excerpts from  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7554/2  and Victoria Boutenko,  http://www.rawfamily.com/

Chia seeds: (1 ounce)
  Total Omega-3 fatty acids 4915 mg (3 times) more omega 3s
  Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1620 mg

Flax seeds: (1 ounce)
  Total Omega-3 fatty acids 6388 mg (3.9 times) more omega 3s
  Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1655 mg

Walnuts (1 cup)
  Total Omega-3 fatty acids 10623 mg
  Total Omega-6 fatty acids 44567 mg (4.2 times) more omega-6s

Almonds (1 cup)
  Total Omega-3 fatty acids 5.7 mg
  Total Omega-6 fatty acids 11462 mg (2000 times) more omega-6s

Lettuce, green leaf, raw (1 head, 360 g)
  Total Omega-3 fatty acids 209 mg (2.4 times) more omega-3s
  Total Omega-6 fatty acids 86.4 mg

Spinach, raw (1 bunch, 340 g)
  Total Omega-3 fatty acids 469 mg (5.3 times) more omega-3s
  Total Omega-6 fatty acids 88.4 mg 
 

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Ratios of Omega-3 to Omega-6 Fatty Acids - August 12, 2010

In Victoria Boutenko's presentation on August 9th, she was sharing her latest research into Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. In her opinion, the results she found show that many of us are including an unbeneficial imbalance of more Omega-6 than Omega-3 in our diets. Victoria also shared a website on nutritional data for foods http://nutritiondata.self.com  where each of us can have a look and do our own investigation.

So I did my own search this morning on a few of the foods that are of interest to me, and here are some of the more positive ratios I found. For a comparison, the numbers on the right begin with (3) for Omega-3 or (6) for Omega-6 showing the amount of (3) or (6) contained in 1 cup of the food.
  • Arugula, raw                    (3) 3.4  -  (6) 2.6 mg
  • Snap green beans            (3) 39.6  -  (6) 25.3 mg
  • Broccoli flower, raw          (3) 91.6  -  (6) 27.0 mg
  • Broccoli stalk, raw            (3) 147  -  (6) 43.3 mg
  • Brussel sprouts ,raw         (3) 87.1  -  (6) 39.6 mg
  • Chinese cabbage, raw       (3) 43.3  -  (6) 11.4 mg
  • Cabbage red ,raw             (3) 40.0  -  (6) 30.3 mg
  • Cauliflower, raw               (3) 37.0  -  (6) 11.0 mg
  • Collards, raw                    (3) 38.9  -  (6) 29.5 mg
  • Kale, raw                         (3) 121  -  (6) 92.4 mg
  • Seaweed, Irish Moss           (3) 4.7  -  (6) 0.2 mg **
  • Seaweed, Wakame             (3) 18.8  -  (6) 1.0 mg **
  • Spinach, raw                    (3) 41.4  -  (6) 7.8 mg
Foods from the list above followed by asterisks (**), indicate a ratio high in Omega-3 and low in Omega-6 (5% or less).

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Reversing Diabetes - July 20, 2010
 
Many people around the world have been challenging diabetes and changing their lives. Diabetes has been called incurable - but is this true? Here is some food for thought!
  • In "Reversing Diabetes" by Dr. Julian Whitaker he states: "Aerobic exercise enhances the body's sensitivity to insulin and is recommended because it significantly lowers the insulin requirement. An exercise program should be prescribed for the diabetic patient in the same way that medication or diet is prescribed."
  • Victoria Boutenko of the Raw Family states: "On many nights when my son would have a glucose level of 350 or more and was unable to fall asleep, I would go for a two mile run with him, sometimes after midnight, to bring his sugar level back down to 120." There is information on reversing diabetes in her website archives at  http://www.rawfamily.com/  and while there have a look under her testimonies tab to see what people are saying.
  • Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MD, Director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center has made an invaluable contribution to the study of diabetes. He invited six Americans suffering from Diabetes to the Tree of Life Center in Arizona. These six diabetics went through a radical 30-day diet and lifestyle change in the hope of reversing or reducing their insulin dependence. You can view this documentary "Raw for 30-Days" on dvd - request it at your library or view at  http://www.rawfor30days.com/view.html 
  • Dr. Cousens also has a book "There is a Cure for Diabetes" which you can see on his website  http://www.treeoflife.nu
  • Yacon Syrup - Yacon is a type of plant native to Peru. Yacon root contains a special type of sugar known as oligofructose, or fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS). The human body has no enzyme to hydrolyze (process) FOS. This means it is not converted to glucose in the bloodstream and thus passes through the digestive tract unmetabolized. These unmetabolized sugars then become food for the "friendly" bacteria that live in the colon, increasing their population and simultaneously decreasing harmful bacteria. When something has this effect on our intestinal flora it is known as a "prebiotic" and is very beneficial for overall colon health. It regulates intestinal flora and boosts the immune system. Since the body cannot process the FOS type of sugar, it is generally referred to as "sugar-free" and is not on the glycemic index. The syrup of the root is what is mainly used, and it resembles molasses in colour, consistency, and flavour. (from the book "Sweet Gratitude") This syrup is available at http://www.realrawfood.com/  and  http://www.upayanaturals.com/
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Taking Care of Your Colon - March 7, 2010

One of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain colon health that I have found is the regular consumption of Green Smoothies. Since my journey with raw living foods started began, my biggest 'aha' moment was when I discovered Green Smoothies. This was my turning point! And now I never miss my yummy blender full of Green Smoothie every day!

I have observed a huge improvement in my intestinal functions. Drinking one quart of Green Smoothie per day can improve elimination with regular bowel movements 2-3 times a day. This means gentle elimination, without discomfort, for fast and complete elimination. You can read more about the benefits of Green Smoothies in the book "Green for Life" by Victoria Boutenko.

And consider adding fresh ginger root to add warmth to your Green Smoothie, strengthen the immune system, and soothe a sore throat. Cut off anywhere from half an inch to an inch of the fresh root, slice off the dry peel (if not Organic) and chop into bits small enough for your blender to handle (a Vitamix can take the whole piece with peel if Organic). Just add the ginger to the other ingredients in your blender.

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How to Tell GMO Foods by Labelling - February 25, 2010

Labeling Standards
Source:  International Federation for Produce Standards, "Produce PLU: 2006 User's Guide,"  www.plucodes.com

These 4 or 5 digit numbers, assigned to loose and bunched grocery items, are international designations used for coding - and they're a quick way to tell whether produce is conventionally grown, organically grown or genetically modified (GM).
  • Organic produce has a five-digit number beginning with a 9. Organic bananas, for example, would be given the designation of 94011.
  • Conventional produce has a four-digit number beginning with a 3 or 4. Therefore, the number on conventionally grown bananas would be 4011.
  • Genetically Engineered produce also has a five-digit number on the label and begins with an 8. The number on genetically altered bananas would be 84011.
GE Labelling
In 1992, the FDA declared that biotech foods were the same as conventional foods – because the biotech companies said so. The number 8 was then instituted since the produce industry thought consumers would prefer genetically modified food more so than conventionally grown food. It did not take long for them to find out differently. Although the number 8 designation can still be found, it is rare. The biotech industry is also fighting any sort of labelling for their inventions – now that they know consumers really do not want them. As it stands now, Hawaiian papaya is about the only food you will find that has the number 8 in front of it.

Unless the label specifically states “Certified Organic”, it is a safe bet that any food containing corn, soy, and cottonseed oils has a GE origin. These processed foods will not have the genetically engineered PLU code that would alert the consumer. In addition, manufacturers of GE products are not subjected to any special review, approval, or labeling. The Organic producer is, however.

Ironic, isn’t it? Something that is grown naturally requires more scrutiny than does something containing any number of harmful substances?

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