Archive for September 2012

CDC Preparing for New Swine Flu – Should You?   Leave a comment

By Dr. Mercola

According to the featured report by US News Health1, a new influenza A variant strain of swine flu, H3N2v, has been identified in children and adults recently in direct contact with pigs at country fairs. The CDC case count of detected human infections in the US with the H3N2-variant currently stands at 154.2

Fortunately, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the virus is still principally limited to swine, and poses a very limited threat as it appears to spread to humans only with great difficulty, and appears to cause only mild disease when it does.

Influenza A viruses infect humans, swine and wild birds. Transmission of avian-origin influenza A viruses (H5N1 and H7N7) and swine origin influenza A viruses (H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2) between humans and animals does occur.

In August 2011, two cases of swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus infection were identified in two children under five years old in different states, and both had been given seasonal influenza vaccine in 2010 (which contained the pandemic H1N1 swine flu virus strain) and had had recent contact with pigs before they got sick.

According to the CDC3, the swine-origin H3N2 influenza virus the two young children became infected with last year was a new “reassortment” virus variant that contained “genes of the swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus circulating in North American pigs since 1998 and the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus that might have been transmitted to pigs from humans during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.”

Six months later, the FDA selected the H3N2 influenza A virus strain to be one of the three strains included in this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine, along with the pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus strain and an influenza B strain (B/Wisconsin1/2010-like virus). According to the US News Health media report:

“The reason the CDC is concerned about this particular virus is that it contains an element seen in the pandemic 2009 swine flu strain, H1N1, which may make it more likely for the virus to spread from person-to-person,” US News Health reports.4

“All 29 cases were infected with strains of H3N2 ‘that contained the matrix (m) gene from the influenza A H1N1 pandemic virus,’ Bresee explained. ‘This ‘m’ gene may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans, compared with other variant influenzas viruses.’

In addition, the virus appears to have become more active recently, the CDC said. ‘The virus was first detected in humans in July 2011, and since then there have been 29 total cases of H3N2 variant virus detected, including the 16 cases occurring in the last three weeks,’ Bresee said.

Each of the recent 16 cases were among people who had direct contact with pigs. In 15 cases, contact happened at a county fair… Fortunately, sustained person-to-person transmission of the virus hasn’t happened yet, he added.” [Emphasis mine]

According to this media report (which does not explain the discrepancy between a detection of “29 cases” with the detected “154 cases” the CDC is reporting), symptoms of the H3N2 flu are similar to seasonal flu. However it’s well worth noting that not one of the recent 16 cases required hospitalization. And no deaths have resulted from it so far. Last year, three people with underlying disease did require hospitalization.

Since this strain is a pig virus, the CDC sensibly advises limiting your contact with swine, and avoiding all contact with sick swine. If you do have contact with swine, make sure you wash your hands, and do not eat or drink in the vicinity of the animals.

Why is This New Pig Virus in the 2012 Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

According to an August 13 press release by the US Food and Drug Administration5, the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine formulation for all six manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute the vaccines in the United States will contain the following formulation:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
  • A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.

The big question is whether the mass use of H1N1 influenza vaccine in the U.S. in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 flu season somehow contributed to the reassortment of the swine-origin H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses to create the new variant H3N2 influenza viral infections detected in the past year. I don’t have a solid answer to this question, but it’s worth at least considering…

There are inactivated, injectable vaccines, and live virus, inhaled vaccine. Live viruses in vaccines are shed for a period of time in body fluids6, so live influenza vaccine strain viruses could theoretically recombine with other influenza viruses to create new variant versions.

Multiple Faux Pandemics “In the Works”?

This new swine variant virus isn’t the only contender for the next pandemic. Just last month I wrote about renewed fears about the bird flu virus, H5N1 – yet another animal virus that doesn’t easily spread among humans, but is feared to have the capability to mutate and give rise to a human pandemic.

While it’s prudent to be aware that influenza viruses can be transmitted between animals and humans and a pandemic couldoccur, what we’ve repeatedly seen is that this slim possibility is massively over-sold, allowing drug companies to rake inbillions of dollars for inadequately tested vaccines and other dangerous and/or ineffective anti-viral drugs.

In recent years we’ve seen a number of media hyped flu pandemics that never materialized. Sadly, each time a greater number of people ended up being harmed by the drugs and vaccines than died from the “pandemic” virus:

    • The non-existent 1976 swine flu pandemic: In 1976 the U.S. acted out the first swine flu pandemic scare, devising a vaccine program in which 45 million people were vaccinated for a swine flu epidemic that never came. The hastily created mass vaccination program resulted in hundreds of Guillain-Barre Syndrome paralysis victims and 25 deaths for a flu pandemic that failed to materialize. Within a few months, claims totaling $1.3 billion had been filed by victims, who were permanently disabled from the vaccine, and more people died from the vaccine than from the virus itself.
    • The 2005 bird flu hoax: Headlines warned the U.S. was facing a cataclysmic extermination event, with a calculated two million Americans succumbing to the bird flu. The best case scenario called for the death of 200,000 Americans. Then, as now, constant references to the tragedy of 1918 heightened the fear factor to a fever pitch, despite the fact that the scientific data did not support the aggressively hyped claims that instilled fear and panic in a lot of Americans.

The formula public health officials used to project the numbers of people who would die from the proposed 2005 bird flu pandemic as that they translated the minuscule number of deaths of bird handlers that had occurred worldwide into an impending extermination-level event from a virus that did not – and still does not – readily spread from birds to humans, nor between humans.

Most of the people who acquire bird-origin influenza virus infection were, and still are, bird handlers in continuous contact with sick birds. However, when it comes to keeping the public in constant fear of infectious diseases, often common sense is thrown out the window…

  • Bird flu hoax repeats: In 2006, 2007, and again in 2008, media hyped warnings over the bird flu were repeatedly exposed as little more than orchestrated efforts to instill fear and line the pocketbooks of the pharmaceutical industry and various special interest groups connected with the pharmaceutical industry.
  • The 2009 swine flu hoax: After four consecutive years of bird flu warnings that just refused to come to fruition, the H1N1 swine flu became front-page news again. This turned out to be yet another faux threat that cost tax payers billions of dollars, and in which fast tracked pandemic H1N1 vaccines were pushed on millions of people. The 2009 H1N1 vaccinewas one of the most reactive flu vaccines ever created and, just like its 1976 predecessor, harmed far more people than the virus itself.

Remember? H1N1 Vaccine was Not Only Ineffective, But Unusually Dangerous…

As you may recall, the fast-tracked pandemic 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu vaccine turned out to be particularly reactive – far more reactive than previous seasonal flu vaccines. Will this season’s trivalent flu vaccine – containing two swine origin influenza A viruses – pandemic H1N1 and H3N2 – usher in a repeat performance?

One of the most disturbing side effects of some of the marketed pandemic H1N1 vaccines was narcolepsy; a very rare and disabling neurological disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. About 70 percent of narcolepsy cases also involve cataplexy – the sudden loss of voluntary muscle control – along with vivid hallucinations and total paralysis at the beginning or end of the narcoleptic attack.

The 2009 season was a perfect example of how dangerous it can be to blindly trust public health authorities and vaccine makers, and how badly things can go wrong. As you know, health authorities around the globe fiercely maintain that vaccines are safe, regardless of what’s happening in the real world. Time and again, serious side effects from vaccines are overlooked and swept under the rug as being “coincidental.”

In the case of the H1N1 pandemic vaccine, the adverse events were so serious, and so widespread that the tragic reality could not be ignored. There’s no discussion about whether or not narcolepsy was caused by the vaccine; it’s been proven to be a vaccine injury by experts in multiple countries.

For example, according to Swedish findings, children and adolescents vaccinated with Pandemrix during the 2009-10 season had a close to 660 percent increase in risk for narcolepsy! Finland also noticed a dramatic increase in the condition following vaccination with Pandemrix. There, an interim report issued in January of last year found that the H1N1 vaccine increased the risk of narcolepsy by a staggering 900 percent in children and adolescents below the age of 19.7 France, Germany and Norway also reported cases of the rare sleeping disorder, causing the EU to launch an investigation as well.

Why are Vaccines Capable of Causing Serious Reactions?

It is very clear that vaccines do not cause problems for everyone who receives them, but when they do, it can be an unmitigated disaster. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has identified a brilliant strategy to help assess children who may be at higher risk for developing side effects from vaccines of all kinds. In her extensive experience it is often related to poor gut flora, which is typically transferred from the mother who was compromised due to an unbalanced diet, antibiotics and/or birth control pills. She maintains that children with compromised gut flora are at the highest risk for developing these infections and can often suffer neurological damage.

Dr. Campbell-McBride suggests there are simple tests that can be done to evaluate whether a child has compromised gut flora or other risk factors BEFORE they are vaccinated. If they are at risk, then a comprehensive protocol may help reverse the problem before any vaccines are administered. This is all carefully described in her wonderful book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

However, there is no guarantee that if you follow these guidelines or others attempting to minimize vaccine risks, that a vaccine reaction, injury or death will not occur. It is always important to remember that vaccines are pharmaceutical products, which carry risks that can be greater for some than others for many reasons, including genetic and biological high risk factors that have not been identified yet.

History   Leave a comment

Manual manipulation of the spine and other joints in the body have been around for a long time.  Ancient writings from China and Greece dating between 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. mention spinal manipulation and the maneuvering of the lower extremities to ease low back pain.  In fact, Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., published a text detailing the importance of manual manipulation. In one of his writings he declares, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”.  Evidence of manual manipulation of the body has been found among the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Japan, the Incas, Mayans and Native Americans.

The official beginning of the chiropractic profession dates back to 1895 when Daniel David Palmer restored the hearing of Harvey Lillard by manually adjusting his neck and something told him that he was on to something good.  Two years later, in 1897, Dr. Palmer went on to begin the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which continues to train doctors of chiropractic to this day.

Throughout the twentieth century, the profession of chiropractic has gained considerable recognition and scientific support.  Research studies that have clearly demonstrated the value of chiropractic care in reducing health care costs, improving recovery rates and increasing patient satisfaction.  In fact, one very large study conducted in Canada, the 1993 Manga Study, concluded that chiropractic care would save hundreds of millions of dollars annually in work disability payments and direct health care costs.   Several major studies conducted by the U.S. Government, the Rand Corporation and others, have all demonstrated the incredible value of chiropractic care.

Find a Compassionate Doctor to Help You Prevent Vaccine Injuries   Leave a comment

By Barbara Loe Fisher

Ever since the first vaccines – smallpox and rabies vaccines – one of the most serious complications of vaccination has been brain inflammation.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7Brain inflammation can cause convulsions, also known as seizures.8Continuing seizures can permanently damage the brain over time.9

In fact, for the first 40 years that the pertussis vaccine was given to children in the DPT shot, pediatricians were told: “Do not give any more pertussis vaccines to children who develop seizures within 72 hours of a DPT vaccination.”10, 11,12,13 Convulsions were an absolute contraindication to more DPT shots, especially if they occurred without a fever.

Protecting Children Vulnerable to Vaccine Reactions

But that changed after Congress passed a 1986 law shielding doctors and vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits.14 Once pediatricians were protected from lawsuits,15 public health officials and medical trade associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, said serious vaccine reactions – such as seizures (1 child in 14,000),16 high-pitched screaming and collapse/shock (hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes) – weren’t all that important.17, 18, 19

So today, it is really up to parents to find a doctor they can trust, who will take the precautionary approach to giving more vaccines in the face of previous vaccine reactions, like seizures, especially if the child has symptoms of brain injury.

On NVIC’s Vaccine Freedom Wall at NVIC.org, mothers are posting descriptions of how they have been threatened and punished with dismissal from pediatric practices when they try to protect their children from vaccine reactions.

Here is one Mom’s story:

“After receiving her first vaccines, including DPT, my daughter began to have violent seizures, which continued but lessened over the next year. On many occasions, pediatricians have attempted to bully me into allowing more vaccinations for her. Telling them about her seizures, I refuse and tell each of them ‘unless you will personally guarantee, in writing, that there will be no adverse reactions so I can sue you if there are, then I won’t do it.’ Not a single doctor has taken me up on my offer,” she said.

“My daughter is now diagnosed with autism. After we moved, we had to get another doctor and, after a year when I wouldn’t change my mind about more vaccines, he told me he wouldn’t be our doctor anymore. I went to another doctor, who wouldn’t even take us into his practice. We finally found someone who understands. She is an awesome pediatrician! So something good came of it in the end,” she said.

The Precautionary Approach: Children Are Not All the Same

There are enlightened pediatricians, who do take the precautionary approach to vaccination because they care about preventing vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. They want to be partners with parents in making personalized health care decisions for children because they know that children are not all the same20 and that some children are not able to handle the process of vaccination.21

Please don’t be afraid to stand up for your human right to protect your child from harm. Especially if your child has already experienced a vaccine reaction, search until you find a compassionate pediatrician or family practice doctor who will work with you to make the best health care decisions for your child.

It’s your health, your family, your choice.

CA Bill to Restrict Personal Belief Exemption Passes

On Aug. 27 an amended California bill (AB2109) to restrict a parent’s ability to obtain a personal belief exemption to vaccination for their child to attend school, passed the Assembly by a vote of 49 to 24. The bill will force parents filing a non-medical exemption to pay for an appointment with a medical doctor or state-designated medical worker and ask for a signature that permits the parent to obtain an exemption for religious, conscientious or philosophical beliefs.

School Nurses, Not Pharmacists Can Sign the Form

The bill was vigorously debated on the Senate floor on Aug. 24 after an amendment had been added to allow school nurses to sign the personal belief exemption form but denied pharmacists the right to sign the form due to opposition from the bill’s sponsor, pediatrician Richard Pan, M.D. (D-Sacramento). There are fewer than 2500 nurses working in California’s 10,000 schools but there are more than 300,000 pharmacists working in local drug stores.

Posture   Leave a comment

he ancient Japanese art form of growing Bonsai trees is fascinating. Bonsai trees are essentially normal shrubs that have been consistently stressed in a particular way for a long time to create a posture which would never be found in nature. Depending on how the tree is stressed while it grows, it may end up looking like a miniature version of a full-sized tree, or it may end up looking like a wild tangle of branches with twists and loops. To most people, “good posture” simply means sitting and standing up straight. Few of us realize the importance of posture to our health and performance.

The human body craves alignment. When we are properly aligned, our bones, not our muscles, support our weight, reducing effort and strain. The big payoff with proper posture is that we feel healthier, have more energy, and move gracefully. So while the word “posture” may conjure up images of book-balancing charm-school girls, it is not just about standing up straight. It’s about being aware of and connected to every part of your self.

Posture ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting proper rest and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Good posture is a way of doing things with more energy, less stress and fatigue. Without good posture, you cannot really be physically fit. Without good posture, you can actually damage your spine every time you exercise.

Ideally, our bones stack up one upon the other: the head rests directly on top of the spine, which sits directly over the pelvis, which sits directly over the knees and ankles. But if you spend hours every day sitting in a chair, if you hunch forward or balance your weight primarily on one leg, the muscles of your neck and back have to carry the weight of the body rather than it being supported by the spine. The resulting tension and joint pressure can affect you not only physically, but emotionally, too, — from the predictable shoulder and back pain to headaches, short attention span, and depression.

Poor posture distorts the alignment of bones, chronically tenses muscles, and contributes to stressful conditions such as loss of vital lung capacity, increased fatigue, reduced blood and oxygen to the brain, limited range of motion, stiffness of joints, pain syndromes, reduced mental alertness, and decreased productivity at work. According to the Nobel Laureate Dr. Roger Sperry, “the more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism, and healing.”

The most immediate problem with poor posture is that it creates a lot of chronic muscle tension as the weight of the head and upper body must be supported by the muscles instead of the bones. This effect becomes more pronounced the further your posture deviates from your body’s center of balance.

To illustrate this idea further, think about carrying a briefcase. If you had to carry a briefcase with your arms outstretched in front of you, it would not take long before the muscles of your shoulders would be completely exhausted. This is because carrying the briefcase far away from your center of balance places undue stress on your shoulder muscles. If you held the same briefcase down at your side, your muscles would not fatigue as quickly, because the briefcase is closer to your center of balance and therefore the weight is supported by the bones of the skeleton, rather than the muscles.

In some parts of the world, women can carry big pots full of water from distant water sources back to their homes. They are able to carry these heavy pots a long distance without significant effort because they balance them on the top of their heads, thereby carrying them at their center of balance and allowing the strength of their skeleton to bear the weight, rather than their muscles.

Correcting bad posture and the physical problems that result can be accomplished in two ways. The first is by eliminating as much “bad” stress from your body as possible. Bad stress includes all the factors, habits, or stressors that cause your body to deviate from your structural center. Bad stress can result from a poorly adjusted workstation at work, from not having your seat adjusted correctly in your car, or even from carrying too much weight around in a heavy purse or backpack.

The second is by applying “good” stress on the body in an effort to move your posture back toward your center of balance. This is accomplished through a series of exercises, stretches, adjustments, and changes to your physical environment, all designed to help correct your posture. Getting your body back to its center of balance by improving your posture is critically important to improving how you feel.

33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly   Leave a comment

By Dr. Mercola

If you think eating healthy means only what you eat, then it may be time to reconsider your definition of “healthy living.”

From shopping at farmers’ markets to carefully selecting the bags you carry your food home in, there are ways to take healthy eating to the next level and help save the environment while you take care of yourself.

Time Healthland recently shared 33 tips to help transition your eating style into a sustainable one; even seemingly small changes can make a big difference.

At the Store

1. Use Reusable Bags

Each year about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. At over 1 million bags per minute, that’s a lot of plastic bags, of which billions end up as litter each year, contaminating oceans and other waterways.

Plastic bags, like the petroleum they are made from, don’t biodegrade very well at all, rather, they photodegrade. Meaning, they break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits, which contaminate soil and waterways, and enters the food chain – animals accidentally eat these bits and pieces, mistaking them for food. It’s estimated that 1 million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals starve to death each year after consuming plastic debris, which blocks their digestive tracts.

Paper bags are not an environmentally friendly alternative, as millions of trees must be cut down to make them each year… and the process is very energy intensive.

Carry reusable shopping bags instead; keep them in the trunk of your car, or stash a couple of the small fold-up varieties in your purse so you’re always prepared. You can also use avoid plastic produce bags (put the produce right into your reusable cloth bag instead) and use reusable cloth bags for packaging your child’s school lunch and snacks.

2. Choose Foods with Minimal Packaging

If you can choose foods in bulk, unwrapped form, do so. Excess packaging only adds to the waste filling up landfills, and often it’s made out of toxic materials (like Styrofoam, which may cause cancer and produces hazardous waste and gasses when manufactured).

One study conducted by Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center, for the Bulk is Green Council (BIG), revealed that Americans could save an average of 89 percent on costs by buying their organic foods in bulk, compared to organic packaged counterparts.2 According to the report, if Americans purchased the following products in bulk for one year, it would save hundreds of millions of pounds of waste from going into landfills:

  • Coffee: 240 million pounds of foil packaging saved from landfills
  • Almonds: 72 million pounds of waste saved from landfills
  • Peanut butter: 7 pounds of waste saved from landfills per family
  • Oatmeal: Saves five times the waste of its packaged equivalent

3. Ditch Bottled Water

Bottled water is perhaps one of the most environmentally unfriendly industries there is. Americans consume about half a billion bottles of water every week! The environmental ramifications of this practice are enormous. The video below, The Story of Bottled Water, brought to you by the folks who created the wildly successful video The Story of Stuff, does an excellent job of illustrating the truth about bottled water. Instead of bottled water, drinking filtered tap water is a healthier, more sustainable option. (Take it with you on the go using a glass water bottled.)

4. Think About Where You Shop

Choose to purchase your food at stores that have a thoughtful selection of local and organic foods, as well as store practices that limit waste, such as putting doors on the refrigerated section or offering a recycling program. Even better, shop at Farmer’s markets to support local farmers and craftspeople.

Produce

5. Get Your Produce Locally

Locally-grown produce is not only fresher, it will not have to be shipped across the globe to get to your dinner plate. Remember, food grown locally is not always organic. Though it may be grown just down the road and sold at your local farm stand, it may still be doused in pesticides and grown in chemical fertilizers, and tended by workers being paid unfair wages.

At the same time, the organic certification process established by the federal government is expensive, and some small farmers cannot afford it. This means some local foods are grown according to organic standards but are not “certified organic.” The only way to know for sure is to become “friendly” with your farmer, so that you can learn about his practices.

6. Eat More Produce

If you eat meat that comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) (one of the worst ways to raise food environmentally), then eating more produce in lieu of it will give the environment a break. CAFOs are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and deforestation, so whether you eat more produce or choose to get your meat elsewhere, both will help to save the planet.

7. Eat Organic Produce

The fewer chemicals used to grow your food, the better for all concerned. And the only way to ensure your food is as pure as possible, outside of talking to the farmer directly, is to look for the organic seal. There are a few different organic labels out there, but only one relates directly to foods: the USDA Organic seal.

This seal is one of your best commercial assurances of organic quality, so when in doubt: if it doesn’t carry the USDA Organic seal, you might not be getting what you’re paying for.

Growers and manufacturers of organic products bearing the USDA seal have to meet the strictest standards of any of the currently available organic labels. Certified organic crops cannot be grown with any of the following:

  • Synthetic pesticides
  • Bioengineered genes
  • Petroleum-based fertilizers
  • Sewage sludge-based fertilizers

8. Eat Your Produce Raw

There are a myriad of health reasons why you should consume more of your food raw… but from an environmental perspective, you can save some energy by forgoing cooking and chomping on raw (or fermented!) veggies instead.

9. Eat In Season

When you choose produce in season, you can shop locally and support farmers in your area – a huge win for the environment! As a bonus, it’ll taste better too.

10. Ferment or Preserve Your Veggies

If you have a lot of summer fruits and veggies that you need to use up before they spoil, try your hand at preserving them so they’re available to you year-round. You can also ferment your veggies, which is absolutely fantastic for your health, and they will keep for months in your fridge.

11. Grow Your Own

Growing your own organic fruits and veggies is about as environmentally friendly as you can get. In the spring, try your hand at growing your favorites; it only takes a small parcel of land. If you’re thinking of planting veggies but are not sure where to begin, visit a few local plant nurseries around your home, especially those that specialize in organic gardening. The employees are likely to be a great resource for natural planting tips that will help your garden thrive.

Even if you only have access to a patio, you can still grow some of your own veggies using containers. Tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers are examples of plants that thrive in containers, but the sky is really the limit.

12. Join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) Program

With a CSA, you purchase a “share” of a farm directly from a farmer, and in return get seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season (some CSAs also include other products, like meat, honey, dairy and more). It’s an excellent way to get locally-grown, seasonal produce for your family without any fuss.

Meat

13. Avoid CAFO Meats

The trend of large corporate-controlled CAFOs making up the lion’s share of U.S. food production has lead to an abundance of cheap food, but not without serious health, ethical and environmental consequences. Among them:3

  • Loss of water quality through nitrogen and phosphorus contamination in rivers, streams and ground water (which contributes to “dramatic shifts in aquatic ecosystems and hypoxic zones”)
  • Agricultural pesticide contamination to streams, ground water and wells, and safety concerns to agricultural workers who use them
  • A decline in nutrient density of 43 garden crops (primarily vegetables), which suggests “possible tradeoffs between yield and nutrient content”
  • Large emission of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide
  • Negative impact on soil quality through such factors as erosion, compaction, pesticide application and excessive fertilization

Most meat sold in grocery stores comes from CAFOs, so avoiding this meat means getting your food from local growers or seeking out certified organic, grass-fed meat (see #17 below).

14. Buy Locally-Grown Meats

As with produce, buying your meat from local sources is best for both your health and the environment.

15. Focus on Organic Meats

Certified organic meat (and milk) must come from animals that have had access to pasture for at least four months of the year. Further, 30 percent of the animals’ feed must come from this grazing time, and the animals cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones. The most important foods to buy organic are animal products – not produce – because animal foods, which are raised on pesticide-laced feed, tend to have higher concentrations of pesticides. So when prioritizing your purchases, look for organic meats, eggs and dairy products before anything else.

16. Opt Out of Antibiotics

About 80 percent of all the antibiotics produced are used in agriculture – not only to fight infection, but to promote unhealthy (though profitable) weight gain. Feeding livestock continuous, low-dose antibiotics creates a perfect storm for widespread disease proliferation – and, worse yet, antibiotic-resistant disease. This link is so clear-cut that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed has been banned in Europe since 2006…

Antibiotics are not only embedded in your meats, they have made their way into your produce as well, as slow-to-biodegrade antibiotics are transferred, via the manure used as fertilizer, into your corn, lettuce, potatoes, and other crops. Even eating organically may not entirely alleviate this problem, since organic crops, which cannot be fertilized with synthetic fertilizers, are the ones most often fertilized with manure.

As it stands, conventional, factory-farmed animal manure containing antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria is still allowed under the USDA organic label. However, non-medical use of antibiotics is not permitted in organic farming, so going organic is still the best choice for avoiding antibiotics in your food.

17. Choose Grass-Fed Meat

The differences between conventionally-raised, grain-fed livestock, and organically-raised, grass-fed cows are so vast, you’re really talking about two different animals, and two separate industries with entirely different farming practices and environmental impacts.

The carbon footprint of conventional farming is mainly due to the unnatural feed that these animals are given, which requires lots of fossil fuels. Many don’t think about this, but fossil fuels are used in everything from the fertilizers and pesticides that are sprayed onto the crop to the transportation of the feed.

Grass does not require fossil fuels to grow (rotating pastures does the job instead), and other health harming practices, such as injecting the livestock with hormones and antibiotics, are also not allowed in organic farming. Grass-fed cows are also not concentrated into small spaces the way CAFO cows are, meaning their waste is easily re-used as fertilizer, rather than congregating as toxic waste. This equates to healthier meat, a healthier you, and benefits to the planet.

Seafood

18. Check for This on Your Seafood Label

I don’t normally advise eating seafood, unless you know for certain that it comes from unpolluted waters and is free from contaminants. However, if you choose to, look for The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification on the label. The MSC focuses on the health of ocean stocks and how they are managed, in addition to assessing the effect of the fishery on the wider ecosystem. This includes a range of marine mammals, birds and fish.

Companies who have completed the certification can offer yet another layer of assurance to their customers. The MSC eco-label provides a guarantee of sustainable fishing practices, as well as full traceability through the chain of custody, from beginning to end.

19. Know Your Fish

Certain fish should not be consumed because they are endangered or pose too high of contamination risks. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a Seafood Watch guide to help you determine which seafood choices are better off avoided.4 For instance, the following seafood options should be avoided because they are overfished or caught/farmed in ways that harm marine life or the environment:

  • Chilean Seabass
  • Atlantic cod
  • King crab (imported)
  • Orange Roughy
  • Farmed salmon
  • Tuna (canned and Bluefin)

It is also reasonable to assume that radioisotopes from the Fukushima disaster have now accumulated in some fish that are harvested from the Pacific, as was recently confirmed in California Bluefin tuna that had migrated from the ocean off Japan.5 So please exercise caution when choosing your fish.

20. Avoid Imported Fish

As with all food, the farther the fish has to travel to get to you, the worse it is for the environment. More than 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, and over 40 percent of all seafood is produced in aqua-farms in China and other Asian countries.6

21. Avoid Farmed Fish

It’s estimated that about half of the world’s seafood comes from aquaculture, which is the term used to describe industrial fish farming. Like the land-based CAFOs, industrial fish farming has had problems from the start, including overcrowded conditions, pollution and unnatural diets.

Feed has been an area of controversy, as sometimes wild fish are used to prepare the fishmeal fed to farmed fish, depleting the natural fish supply in some areas. Further, the soy industry, Monsanto, Cargill and other agribusiness giants are trying to position genetically modified (GM) soy as a “sustainable” choice for aquaculture feed. But since soy is not a natural food found in the oceans, it poses serious risks of pollution, lack of nutrient content in seafood, and contamination of the oceans with herbicide-saturated GM soy.

Dairy

22. Choose Hormone-Free Dairy

Recombinant (genetically engineered) bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is used to significantly increase milk production in cows to highly unnatural levels. Treated cows can produce as much as 15-25 percent more milk. But this increase in milk production, and hence profit, has hidden costs, namely the cows’ and your health (including links to cancer). In addition, this hormone is primarily used by dairy cows raised on CAFOs, which pose all of the same environmental, health and ethical concerns as CAFOs for other types of animals.

23. Choose Local Dairy Products

Notice a theme yet? The more of your food you can buy locally, the better.

24. Choose Organic Dairy Products

Organic dairy products are important because they’ll be free from pesticides and Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH creation. However, the real issue is not organic vs. non-organic milk, but pasteurized vs. non-pasteurized, or raw, milk (the latter is the superior choice).

25. Raw Dairy Products Reign Supreme

If you want to continue consuming milk and milk products, I suggest you get them in the raw from organic dairy farmers who are set up specifically to produce high-quality, clean, nutritious raw dairy products.

You can find milk, cheese, and other dairy products in raw form, although it may take a little searching. High-quality raw milk has an abundance of nutritional elements, including enzymes, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and natural butterfat that are destroyed or lacking in pasteurized dairy, and will not subject the environment or the cows to the horrors of CAFOs.

Conventional dairy farms are not typically set up to produce milk that is safe and pure enough to be consumed raw, whereas milk that’s been produced with the intention of being consumed raw should come from a small, dairy farm that raises grass-fed cows in natural, healthy conditions.

At a Restaurant

26. Skip the Bottles

Just as you avoid bottled water at home, skip it in restaurants too (if you’re worried about quality, bring your own from home). You can also save waste by ordering beer on tap instead of in a bottle.

27. Eat at Restaurants That Purchase Local Food

Increasing numbers of restaurants are supporting local farmers to find the freshest, most sustainable sources of produce and other food. Support these restaurants and their efforts to make the world a better place.

28. Ask About the Food When You’re Eating Out

It’s ok, and encouraged, to ask your server or restaurant manager about where they get their food or how it’s processed, and state your preferences as well. While they may be surprised by your interest, if enough people begin to inquire it could prompt them to start sourcing their foods from more natural, sustainable sources.

Eating at Home

29. Reduce Waste

If you use plastic utensils or paper plates, swap them for real dishes and cloth napkins. It’s also important to cut down on food waste, which another unnecessary drain on an environmental and financial resources.

I’ve long stated that planning your meals is important for a number of reasons, one of which is reducing the amount of food that will go to waste, since you’ll only buy what you need each time you visit the store.

30. Try Composting

Leftover fruit and veggies scraps, leaves and grass clippings (only if not chemically treated) can turn into a valuable natural fertilizer if you compost them instead of throwing them in the trash.

31. Eat Your Leftovers

Rather than simply throwing leftover food in the trash, reduce the waste and save the energy of cooking another meal by revamping them into a new dish. You can, for instance, use the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, or throw some extra veggies in the fridge into your juicer to make a fresh green drink.

32. Double Your Recipes

This is a great way to save some cooking energy (yours and the oven’s), as you can use one batch to eat right away and put the other in the freezer for another day.

33. Cook One or More “Local” Meals Per Week

If you’re new to buying locally-grown foods, challenge yourself to create one meal a week solely from these foods. You can even invite some friends or neighbors in on the challenge, and have a locally-grown potluck dinner for sustainable, tasty eating and a night of socializing!

Effects of Chiropractic Care   Leave a comment

Wellness requires you to be a proactive agent for your body. You need to treat it well and not wait until you hurt before you decide to take care of it. As we’ve said before health is not merely the absence of disease any more than wealth is an absence of poverty. Let’s remember health is not simply “feeling fine,” for we know that problems may progress for years without causing any symptoms whatsoever. As you know by now, heart disease for example, often develops unnoticed for many years before it strikes: in fact, the first symptom of heart disease that many people experience is a heart attack or death.

Now let us be clear that we are not under the illusion that everyone who creates a wellness lifestyle will be immune from pain, sickness, and disease. There are many people who do everything right and still get sick and die. Some will argue that there are many people who do everything wrong and live long, seemingly healthy lives. However, since we have no way to predict who is who, we have to do our very best to reduce our risk and promote our health.

Over the years in private practice, we have seen how neglecting their health has drained people of thousands of dollars, sometimes to the point of bankruptcy. We have seen people who have saved up and waited their entire lives to take a dream trip or to send their kids to college, whose savings and dreams were siphoned away to pay for health care expenses. We have seen people with work injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or neck/back pain who have been unable to work, unable to drive, and even unable to sleep without pain. We have seen family members whose entire lives become dominated by the necessity to care for another family member who is sick or in pain. The effects of long-term illness or disability on a family can be devastating; in many cases, it happens to families who are already over-stressed, under-loved, and emotionally maxed out.

On the other hand, We have seen people who have been unemployed due to their pain or health condition choose to adopt new healthy habits: within a short period of time they are back at work making money, taking care of themselves and their families again, and are able to put away savings for their retirement.

We have heard every excuse you can imagine as to why people believe they can’t afford the time or money to invest in their health. But the truth is that you must invest in your health today, or disease may bankrupt you in every way later. If you don’t have the time and money to improve your health while you feel good, what makes you think you will have the time and money to improve your health once you have lost it? As Anthony Robbins once said, “you can make time for wellness now or you can make time for sickness later.” The choice is yours.

With regards to your wellness, the three main ideas that we really want to drive home . . .

  1. Health is not merely the absence of disease.
  2. The body has an innate intelligence that runs a series of complex systems that rely on proper balance and coordination in order to function correctly.
  3. By living a wellness lifestyle you can enrich your life with vibrant health.

New and Improved –Your Nutrition Plan to Take Control of Your Health   Leave a comment

By Dr. Mercola

I’ve been passionate about food and nutrition to optimize my own health for over three decades. The last 15 years I have also been sharing what I learn with you through this newsletter. Diet is clearly the foundational strategy of Taking Control of Your Health.

You can have an excellent exercise program, but if your diet is poor, you will not be able to reap the full benefits of your efforts. A full 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle can be attributed to your diet, with the remaining 20 percent coming from exercise.

Changes to Our Food Supply Necessitates Dietary Modifications

The challenge is that dietary advice can be a bit of a moving target. It needs to be regularly revised based on new research and increases in wisdom from personal explorations of applying this research.

A classic example would be the advice to eat fish, for example. Fish has been one of the best sources of protein for most all of our ancestors, and a critically important source of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fat, but environmental pollution with heavy metals and other toxins has now become so pervasive that eating nearly any fish in the 21st century may actually do more harm than good…

Most of the seafood you have access to is quite simply too polluted with mercury, PCBs and other toxins, which is why I now recommend getting your omega-3 from krill oil instead of fish, unless you can be assured your fish is mercury-free.

I am certain that technology and research will continue to evolve and even my current recommendation of krill will likely change in the future, but for now that is what the bulk of science and personal observations support.

Other major changes to your food supply include the introduction of genetically engineered foods, as well as the massive increase in agricultural chemicals. Both of these factors have resulted in the recommendation to buy USDA 100% organics whenever possible.

A mere generation or two ago, the “organic” label was completely unnecessary. Today, the label merely indicates that the food more closely represents the type of food that nourished our ancestors. This shift emphasized the fact that we need to be ever vigilant about the evolving nature of the food supply and how it impacts our health, as the food we eat has one of the most profound effects on any activity we engage in to improve our health.

Of course, there are some basics that are foundational that I believe will likely never really change, at least in our lifetime, such as avoiding processed foods, and limiting sugar intake as much as possible. But everything else is evolution in process. The challenge is to keep up-to-date with it all and have a process that allows you to integrate this information in an easily digestible format.

Your Regularly Updated Guide to Staying Healthy

That is one of the primary reasons behind my compilation of this Nutrition Plan. In the 90s, I rejected the idea of writing a book as by the time it was printed it would be out of date. That is one of the reasons I chose to focus my efforts on the internet.

I’ve recently completed the first major revision of it in about five years or so. It’s now significantly improved and contains a number of updated recommendations, such as the addition of fermented vegetables as a source of healthful probiotics; and using intermittent fasting and high intensity exercise to really optimize your health.

I realize that some people enjoy reviewing printed material like books, and my Nutrition Plan is available in my book Take Control of Your Health, however you need to pay for that as it is a physical item. But you can review the bulk of the book for FREE in the regularly revised Nutrition Plan that I am launching today.

The Plan is divided into three stages: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. If you realize you’re already doing all the things included in the beginner’s phase, then it may be time to move on to the next phase.

I strongly recommend reviewing the revised Nutritional Plan whenever your schedule allows. It is a very detailed and comprehensive program – it’s basically an entire book, in multi-media format, as we’ve now added lots of informative videos to it as well. If you’re new to the site, I encourage you to go through it from the beginning as it is one of the most powerful tools to truly allow you and your family to take control of your health.

Your Opportunity to Revise My Nutritional Plan

It has literally taken me over 30 years to compile the wisdom to write this Nutrition Plan.

Is it perfect?

Far from it, but it is my best attempt to provide something that will radically improve the health of you and your family. One of the beauties of writing this document in the 21st century is that I can have you actively participate in making it better. Below this article you’ll find the Vital Votes comment section where you can participate if you’re a registered user on the site.

I strongly encourage you to leave your feedback there, both good and bad. If you feel there are areas that can be improved, let us know! We may not act on every single recommendation, but we will certainly consider your input. After all, this Plan is for YOU, and our aim is to make it as user friendly and informative as possible, to help you take control of your health.

I promise you that I will personally review your input and consider revising the plan based upon it. It has taken me over 30 years to compile this information, so I believe the foundations are very solid. What could certainly be improved, and I hope you will help, is the design layout and order of implementing the suggestions.

The goal would be to have any of your friends or relatives read it and feel comfortable and excited to be able to start the program. I am confident that there is enormous collective wisdom in the millions that read this newsletter, which could radically improve the Plan. So thank you in advance for helping improve and revise it, and convert it to a document that will truly transform people’s health.