Why Use Sulfate Free Shampoos? Understanding the Difference

Sulfates are found in more than 90% of modern-day shampoos and body washes.

You may think that something so ubiquitous can’t be all that harmful. In truth, sulfates are one of the most severe chemicals found in cosmetics and can be the cause of some pretty nasty side effects, including dryness, brittle strands, itchy skin and dull, lifeless hair.shampoopic

Understanding the basics:

Sulfate, in general terms, is a name for any mineral salts that contain sulfur, most commonly found in the form of detergents. The two most widely used sulfates are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These chemicals can be easily identified as the suds and foam that build as you lather shampoo into your hair.

Sulfates exist in shampoos to remove the naturally occurring oil produced by your hair and scalp known as sebum. Sebum with time can accumulate bacteria, which is why it needs to be washed every so often.  Sulfates, however, are a corrosive agent that not only strip away more oil than necessary but also damage the hair, destroying hairs’ protective barriers. Sulfates are even strong enough to be found in industry-strength cleaners and have been shown to cut through heavily soiled surfaces.

So are sulfates bad for my hair?

The simple answer is: yes. In minor doses, sulfates can be relatively harmless to your hair and scalp. But since sulfates are found in shampoos and cosmetic products, which are intended to be used daily, some nasty side effects begin to manifest after repeated washes.

Here are 6 reasons to avoid sulfates:

  1. Hair loss: Follicular damage is one of the most common side effects of persistent sulfate use. Damaged follicules have a harder time holding on to hair, which can lead to hair loss.folicle-pic
  2. Scalp and skin irritation: More sensitive scalps can be agitated by sulfates, leading to tender skin, redness, dryness and itching. This is because sulfates strip away the protective lipids (natural fats) that otherwise protects the hair.
  3. Dull and lifeless hair: As sulfates corrode hair, the strands become porous, which manifests as a faded color and an overall dull, lifeless appearance.
  4. Toxic byproducts: One of the byproducts of manufacturing SLES is 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen. And while manufactures try to remove this compound, only a certain degree can actually be cleaned, meaning some gets left in the  final shampoo.
  5. Environmentally unconscious: Most industry sulfates are produced from petrolatum, a costly and non-renewable resource.
  6. Unnecessary: Harsh suds are not the only way to clean hair; there are many safer alternatives that cleanse hair without breaching our hairs’ natural protective barriers.

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So are sulfates the end of the world?

When it comes to sulfates in cosmetic shampoos, there is no need for dramatics. But there is a need to be more conscious about the ingredients found in the shampoos we use on an everyday basis.

Choosing a sulfate free shampoo is a step towards breaking the cycle of sulfates stripping away your natural oils and your scalp hastily trying to make up the difference. Overtime, as the hair and scalp adjust to gentler cleansers, sebum is produced at a more natural rate. With time and healthier choices, you can enjoy more natural hair that not only looks healthier but is healthier.

Sources

http://www.healthy-communications.com/slsmostdangerousirritant.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/036334_sulfates_skin_hair.html

http://sulfatefreeshampoos.org/why-are-sulfates-bad-for-hair/

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-looks/skin/the-truth-about-sulfates#C6lmI1FBgITIuBXh.97

Written by Colin Keane

Colin is cat lover and recent graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he studied English literature and communication. In his free time, he dances ballroom competitively

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

At Upaya Naturals, we handpicked perfect healthy living gift guide for you. This will help you and your loved ones live well this holiday season and welcome the new year.

Without implying anything, these healthy living gifts are highly recommended PLUS you can take advantage of up to 20% off our entire store until December 25th , 2016.

Equip your Kitchen for making the most delicious smoothies to vigorous salads to energetic raw food dishes. From new products to clearance corner, you have a range to select from.

Here are a few ideas for your loved ones:

  1. Omega NC800HDS – Our Number One Selling Juicer
  2. Blendtec High Powered Blenders – Many models to choose from to fit your budget
  3. Humio Humidifier – Cool Mist and Trendy Styling with Night Light
  4. Nut Butters – large variety to choose from. From pecan, hazelnut, brazil, walnut + more
  5. Chocolates – Hand Crafter Artisan Chocolates in a variety of flavours
  6. Gift Certificates – makes a simple and excellent gift. You can choose the amount.

Inspiring Quote of the day:

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” Marilu Henner, Actor and Author

Stay warm, healthy, and happy Holidays!

With best wishes.

The Upaya Naturals Team

www.upayanaturals.com

26 Scientific Studies on Avocado

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Avocados

Native to South America and the Caribbean, the avocado tree produces a fruit that is actually a large egg-shaped berry with a sizable seed at its center. Its use among pre-Incan and other ancient Mesoamerican cultures has been dated to about ten thousand years ago by archaeologists. The Aztecs considered avocado to be a fertility booster.

Though dozens of avocado cultivars are harvested, the Hass cultivar accounts for three-fourths of all avocados consumed. Mexico remains by far the biggest producer. Avocados contain much more potassium than bananas, are high in monounsaturated fats and B vitamins, and have a high fiber content. They have proven health benefits in many areas, particularly in lowering levels of harmful LDL and triglycerides and raising levels of beneficial HDL.

Anti-Inflammatory

AV119, a Natural Sugar from Avocado gratissims, Modulates the LPS-Induced Proinflammatory Response in Human Keratinocytes. Donnarumma G, Paoletti I, Buommino E, Et al. Inflammation. 2010 Oct 9 (Epub ahead of print). Key Finding: “Our data show that AV119, a patented blend of avocado sugars, is able to modulate significantly the proinflammatory response in human keratinocytes, blocking the NF-kB activation in human keratinocytes.”

Atherosclerosis

Hypoglycemia and hypocholesterolemic potential of Persea Americana leaf extracts. Brai BI, Odetola AA, Agomo PU. J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):356-60. Key Finding: “These results suggest that aqueous and methanolic leaf extracts of P. Americana (avocado) lower plasma glucose and influence lipid metabolism in hypercholesterolemic rats with consequent lowering of T-CHOL and LDL-CHOL, and a restoration of HDL-CHOL levels. This could represent a protective mechanism against the development of atherosclerosis.

Cancer (oral; prostate)

Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism. Ding H, Han C, Guo D, Chin YW, Ding Y, Kinghorn AD, D’Ambrosio SM. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(3):348-56. Key Finding: “Avocados have a high content of phytochemicals with potential chemo preventive activity. Previously we reported that phytochemicals extracted from avocado meat selectively induced apoptosis in cancer but not normal, human oral epithelial cell lines. In the present study, we observed that treatment of human oral cancer cell lines containing high levels of reactive oxygen (ROS) with D003 increased ROS levels twofold to threefold and induced apoptosis. These data suggest that perturbing the ROS levels in human oral cancer cell lines may be a key factor in selective apoptosis and molecular targeting for chemoprevention by photochemical.”

Chemoproventive characteristics of avocado fruit. Ding H, Chin YW, Kinghorn AD, D’Ambrosio SM. Semin Cancer Biol. 2007 Oct;17(5):386-94. Key Finding: “Our recent studies indicate that phytochemicals extracted with chloroform from avocado fruits target multiple signaling pathways and increase intracellular reactive oxygen leading to apoptosis. This review summarizes the reported phytochemicals in avocado fruit and discusses their molecular mechanisms and targets. These studies suggest that individual and combinations of phytochemicals from the avocado fruit may offer an advantageous dietary strategy in cancer prevention.”

Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances. Lu QY, Arteaga JR, Zhang Q, Huerta S, Go VL, Heber D. J Nutr Biochem. 2005 Jan;16(1):23-30. Key Finding: “Avocado contains numerous bioactive carotenoids. Because the avocado also contains a significant amount of monounsaturated fat, these bioactive carotenoids are likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream, where in combination with other diet-derived phytochemicals they may contribute to the significant cancer risk reduction associated with a diet of fruits and vegetables.”

An avocado constituent, persenone A, suppresses expression of inducible forms of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase in macrophages, and hydrogen peroxide generation in mouse skin. Kim OK, Murakami A, Takahashi D, Nakamura Y, Torikai K, Kim HW, Ohigashi H. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2000 Nov;64(11):2504-7. Key Finding: “This study suggests that persenone A, an avocado constituent, is a possible agent to prevent inflammation-associated diseases including cancer.”

Cholesterol (and Hypercholesterolemia)

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) size and composition are modified in the rat by a diet supplemented with “Hass” avocado (Persea Americana Miller). Perez-Mendez O, Garcia Hernandez L. Arch Cardiol Mex. (Spanish). 2007 Jan-Mar;77(1):17-24. Key Finding: “The inclusion of avocado in the diet decreased plasma triglycerides increased HDL-cholesterol plasma levels and modified HDL structure. The latter effect may enhance the antiatherogenic properties of HDL.”

Effects of a vegetarian diet vs. a vegetarian diet enriched with avocado in hypercholesterolemic patients. Carrznza-Madrigal J, Herrera-Abarca JE, Alvizouri-Munoz M, Alvarado-Jimenez MR, Chavez-Carbajal F. Arch Med Res. 1997 Winter;28(4):537-41. Key Finding: “All three diets reduced HDL levels. To obtain beneficial effects on lipid profile with avocado, lower amounts of carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fatty acids are probably needed.”

Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Lopez LR, Frati Munari AC, Hernandez Dominguez BC, Cervantes MS, Hernandez Luna MH, Juarez C, Moran LS. Arch Med Res. 1996 Winter;27(4):519-23. Key Finding: “High lipid, high MFA-avocado enriched diet can improve lipid profile in healthy and especially in mild hypercholesterolemic patients, even if hypertriglyceridemia (combined hyperlipidemia) is present.”

Effects of avocado on the level of blood lipids in patients with phenotype II and IV dyslipidemias. Carranza J, Alvizouri M, Alvarado MR, Chavez F, Gomez M, Herrera JE. Arch Inst Cardio Mex. (Spanish). 1995 Jul-Aug;65(4):342-8. Key Finding: “Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids in diets designed to treat hypercholesterolemia with some advantages over low-fat diets with a greater amount of carbohydrates.”

Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6. Key Finding: “Adding avocado fruit can significantly enhance carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa, which is attributed primarily to the lipids present in avocado.”

Hypertension

Cardiovascular effects of Persea Americana Mill (Lauraceae) (avocado) aqueous leaf extract in experimental animals. Ojewole JA, Kamadyaapa DR, Gondwe MM, Moodley K, Musabayane CT. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2007 Mar-Apr;18(2):69-76. Key Finding: “The findings of this study tend to suggest that P. Americana leaf could be used as a natural supplementary remedy in essential hypertension and certain cases of cardiac dysfunctions.”

Effect of an avocado oil-rich diet over an angiotensin II-induced blood pressure response. Salazar MJ, El Hafidi M, Pastelin G, Ramirez-Ortega MC, Sanchez-Mendoza MA. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Apr 26;98(3):335-8. Key Finding: “Avocado oil-rich diet modifies the fatty acid content in cardiac and renal membranes in a tissue-specific manner. Diet content can be a key factor in vascular responses.”

Osteoarthritis

A potential role for avocado and soybean based nutritional supplements in the management of osteoarthritis: a review. Dinubile NA. Phys Sportsmed. 2010 Jun;38(2):71-81. Key Finding: “Basic scientific research studies and a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available high-quality randomized clinical trials indicate that 300 mg of avocado and soybean unsaponifiables per day (with or without glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate) appears to be beneficial for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis.”

Symptomatic efficacy of avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in osteoarthritis (OA) patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Christensen R, Bartels EM, Astrup A, Bliddal H. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Apr;16(4):399-408. Key Finding: “Based on the available evidence, patients may be recommended to give avocado/soybean unsaponifiables a chance for e.g., 3 months. Meta-analysis data support better chances of success in patients with knee OA than in those with hip OA.”

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Angermann P. Ugeskr Laeger (Danish). 2005 Aug 15;167(33):3023-5. Key Finding: “These studies indicate that ASU has an effect on the symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis but not on the structural changes caused by osteoarthritis.”

Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) for osteoarthritis—a systematic review. Ernst E. Clin Rheumatol. 2003 Oct;22(4-5):285-8. Key Finding: “The majority of rigorous trial data available to date suggest that avocado/soybean unsaponifiables is effective for the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis.”

Structural effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables on joint space loss in osteoarthritis of the hip. Lequesne M, Maheu E, Cadet C, Dreiser RL. Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Feb;47(1):50-8. Key Finding: “Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables significantly reduced the progression of joint space loss as compared with placebo in the subgroup of patients with advanced joint space narrowing.”

Symptoms modifying effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in knee osteoarthritis. A double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled study. Appelboom T, Schuermans J, Verbruggen G, Henrotin Y, Reginster JY. Scand J Rheumatol. 2001;30(4):242-7. Key Finding: “The efficacy of ASU at a dosage of 300mg/day and 600mg/day was consistently superior to that of placebo at all endpoints, with no differences observed between the two doses.”

Modification of articular cartilage and subchondral bone pathology in an ovine meniscetomy model of osteoarthritis by avocado and soya unsaponifiables (ASU). Cake MA, Read RA, Guillou B, Ghosh P. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2000 Nov;8(6):404-11. Key Finding: “These findings support other studies which have proposed that avocado and soya unsaponifiables may exhibit disease-modifying anti-osteoarthritis activity.”

The possible ‘chondroprotective’ effect of the unsaponifiable constituents of avocado and soya in vivo. Khayyal MT, el-Ghazaly MA. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1998;24(1):41-50. Key Finding: “An experimental in vivo model for studying cartilage destruction has been used to study the possible chondroprotective effect of the unsaponifiable constituents of avocado, soya and their combination. The unsaponifiables of both avocado and soya significantly reduced the degenerative changes induced by the granuloma tissue on the implanted cartilage in control animals. The effect was even more marked when animals were treated with the combination of the two unsaponifiables at a 1:2 ratio.”

Efficacy and safety of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. A prospective, multicenter, three-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Blotman F, Maheu E, Wulwik A, Caspard H, Lopez A. Rev Rhum Engl Ed. 1997 Dec;64(12):825-34. Key Finding: “One of the objectives of symptomatic slow-acting drugs for osteoarthritis is to reduce the need for drugs with a less favorable safety profile, mainly analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables reduced the need for these drugs in patients with primary femorotibial or hip osteoarthritis. The functional index showed a significantly greater improvement in the active (avocado/soybean) group.”

Psoriasis

Vitamin B(12) cream containing avocado oil in the therapy of plaque psoriasis. Stucker M, Memmel U, Hoffmann M, Hartung J, Altmeyer P. Dermatology. 2001;203(2):141-7. Key Finding: “The results of this clinical trial provide evidence that the recently developed vitamin B (12) cream containing avocado oil has considerable potential as a well-tolerated, long-term topical therapy of psoriasis.”

The effect of various avocado oils on skin collagen metabolism. Werman MJ, Mokady S, Nimni ME, Neeman I. Connect Tissue Res. 1991;26(1-2):1-10. Key Finding: “The effects of various avocado oils on collagen metabolism in skin were studied in growing rats. Rats fed the unrefined avocado oil extracted with hexane from the intact fruit, its unsaponifiables or the avocado seed oil, showed significant increases in soluble collagen content in skin.”

Schleroderma

Natural remedies for schleroderma. Gaby AR. Altern Med Rev. 2006 Sep;11(3):188-95. Key Finding: Avocado/soybean extract is a promising natural treatment for scleroderma, an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue characterized by fibrosis and thickening of various tissues.

Wounds

Wound healing activity of Persea Americana (avocado) fruit: a preclinical study on rats. Nayak BS, Raju SS, Chalapathia Rao AV. J Wound Care. 2008 Mar;17(3):123-6. Key Finding: “Avocado oil is rich in nutrient waxes, proteins and minerals, as well as vitamins A, D and E. It is an excellent source of enrichment for dry, damaged or chapped skin. This study aimed to evaluate the wound-healing activity of fruit extract of Persea Americana in rats. Rate of wound contraction, epithelialization time, together with the hydroxyproline content and histological observations, supports the use of Persea Americana in the management of wound healing.”

source: Lindsay Johnson, Hippocrates Health Institute

Insects To Welcome In Your Garden

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Gardeners often clump insects together, viewing them all as pests. Yet there are plenty of beneficial insects that can help crops thrive and turn any garden into a well functioning ecosystem.

Plant health depends on beneficial insects that are often mistaken for pests. Be sure not to spray harmful insecticides, or you will be doing more harm than good. Not only are these beneficial insects good for your garden, but they also help take care of pest problems for you.

 

Syrphid or Hover Flies

HOver Flies_tnThese little insects are often mistaken for bees, but they are actually flies. The easiest way to tell the difference is by looking at their wings. Syrphid flies only have 2. The adults can often be seen hovering in mid-air, before darting off. The larvae of these creatures feast on aphids, while the adults spend their time darting from flower to flower, aiding in pollination.

 

 

Lady Beetles or Ladybugs

ladyBug_tnThese beetles and their larvae thoroughly enjoy feasting on aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites. Ladybugs are attracted to fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot, yarrow, and dandelion. The ladybug in the photo is a Spotted Pink Lady Beetle. They can often be found munching on pest larvae such as Colorado potato beetle eggs.

 

 

Parasitic Wasps

ParasiticWasps_tnThere are several species of parasitic wasps, and although their name may sound scary, they have no interest in hurt humans. The amount of pests that can be controlled by parasitic wasps is nothing short of amazing. They can effectively control aphids, scale, whiteflies, sawfly larvae, ants, leaf miners, and many types of caterpillars. This bugs also parasitize the larvae of several pests, including tomato hornworms, codling moths, cabbage loopers, and cabbageworms.

These pest eating wasps are attracted to dill, cilantro, fennel, and many more flowering plants and shrubs.

Green Lacewing

GreenLacewing_tnThis is one of the prettiest beneficial insects you will find in your garden. This delicate little insect has large translucent wings and it can devour a deceptively large amount of soft bodied pests, like aphids, scale, and thrips. The larvae of these insects can also help keep caterpillar populations down in your garden.

 

 

Ground Beetles

Ground Beatle_tnGround beetles are wonderful for any garden! They generally come out at night and forage through the soil, eating cutworms, caterpillars, maggots, and slug eggs. These beetles will patrol your soil and keep your plants safe.


 

 

 

Source: via health freedoms alliance

Hot Wings & Dip – Recipe Week

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Wings

1 Head Cauliflower

Break up cauliflower into medium-large pieces, clean and dry.

 

Spicy Coating for Cauliflower

1 Cup Peeled and Chopped Zucchini

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil*

¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin*

6 Tablespoons Raw Tahini*

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Hing (garlic substitute)

2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika*

1-2 teaspoons Chipotle* (to taste)

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt*

6 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds*, soaked 4 hours, drained, and rinsed

½ Cup dry Sesame Seeds* (may be needed to thicken)

Place all ingredients except sesame seeds and tahini, in a blender* and blend until smooth. Add the sesame seeds and purée until perfectly smooth and creamy. Add the tahini and blend again. If the purée is too thin to coat, up to ½ cup dried sesame seeds can be blended in.

 

Assembly

Coat cauliflower pieces with Spicy Coating and dehydrate* at 125℉ for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 115℉ and dehydrate for another 6 hours. Serve with Ranch and/or Chili Dipping Sauce.

 

Cashew Ranch Dipping Sauce

2 Cups Raw Cashews*

1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

2/3 Cup Olive Oil*

1 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt*

1/4 tsp Hing

2 Tbsp Dried Parsley

2 Tbsp Dried Sage

2 Tbsp Dried Oregano

1 Cup Purified Water

Blend all ingredients except dried herbs until smooth. Add herbs and gently blend in until incorporated.

 

Chili Dipping Sauce

1 Large or 2 Small Avocados

1 Cup Purified Water

3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar*

5 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos*

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt*

¼ teaspoon Chili powder* or flakes

In a blender, blend all ingredients together until smooth.

*available at http://www.upayanaturals.com

 

 

How Processed Foods Wreak Havoc on Your Health

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It’s safe to say that most American consumers probably can’t recall the last time they ate a meal prepared entirely from wholesome, garden-to-table ingredients, without any canned or prepackaged products. That’s because most Americans today consume mostly processed foods—foods produced with pesticides, GMOs and synthetic chemicals, routinely laced with too much sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.

In fact, processed foods make up as much as 70 percent of people’s diets– meaning only 30 percent of what they consume consists of wholesome, natural, or organic foods!

But here’s the truth about processed foods: Long-term consumption of these “food products” spell bad news for your health.

Processed vs. ultra-processed: What’s the difference?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines “processed food” as any raw agricultural commodity that has been subjected to processing methods, including canning, cooking, dehydration, freezing or milling. This means that the only time a food can be classified as “fresh” is when you’ve taken it straight from the source (washing it is okay, and would not be classified as a form of processing) and eaten it. By this definition, most foods would be considered processed.

However, in layman’s terms, processed foods can refer to sodas, potato chips, candy, baked pastries with extended shelf life–basically, “convenient,” easy-to-eat products that have been altered through the addition of artificial or ingredients, synthetic flavorings, fillers and chemical or genetically engineered additives. But this type of description actually refers to “ultra-processed food.” Researchers from the University of São Paulo and Tufts University define “ultra-processed” as:

Formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular, flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives used to imitate sensory qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.

But most people use the term “processed food” and “ultra-processed food” interchangeably when talking about these consumer products. Conventional processed foods today come in a variety of forms. These include:

• Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables
• Canned meats (luncheon meat and sausage, corned beef, and meatloaf)
• Breakfast foods, including cereals, oatmeal, energy bars
• Canned, bottled, or tetra-packed fruit juices, energy drinks, and soda
• Jarred baby foods and infant cereals
• Foods “fortified” with nutrients
• Ready to eat meals, microwave dinners
• Ramen noodles
• Pastries, including cookies, breads, frozen pizza, and pies
• Condiments, seasonings and marinades, salad dressing, and jams
• Yogurt and other commercially made fermented foods

The simplest way to determine if a food is processed is by looking at the ingredient list at the back of its packaging. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be.

After more than 20 years of struggle by consumer activists and public interest groups such as the Organic Consumers Association, major food manufacturers are finally being forced to label GMO ingredients in processed foods sold in grocery stores. Because of this, many of them are starting to remove GMOs from their products, along with other artificial chemicals and additives.

The history of ‘processing’

Humans have been “processing” food through traditional methods for thousands of years. Egyptians have used salt for 4,000 years to extend the shelf life of food. In ancient sites in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic, there was evidence that early humans pounded cattails and ferns into flour and mixed it with water to bake bread.

Other methods of food preservation, including fermentation, pickling and curing, have also been used for thousands of years, in different cultures. The food was used to help survive long winters and voyages, and also as rations when soldiers went to war. This led to the production of foods like beer, wine, cheeses, yogurt and butter.

The 19th century saw the rise of modern food processing methods. Canning and bottling began mainly to serve military needs, although the initial cans used were hazardous, as they were contaminated with lead.

Pasteurization, a method that prolongs the shelf life of dairy and wine to allow increased production and distribution, was discovered and patented by Louis Pasteur in the mid-1800s.

In the 20th century, the rising consumer society in the U.S. contributed to the growth of food processing. Advances such as freeze drying, spray drying and juice concentrates were developed. At the same time, coloring agents, preservatives and artificial sweeteners were introduced. Self-cooking meals, “TV dinners,” reconstituted fruits and juices and other “instant” foods like coffee and noodles became popular. These were mostly marketed to working wives and mothers who were tired of preparing foods from scratch.

To convince people that processed foods were as good, or even better, than wholesome foods, they were marketed as a means for people to save time and money–hence the term “convenience foods.”

But do the time and money you save by choosing these processed goods make up for the havoc that they wreak with your health?

Not what the human body needs, or wants

The human body is not designed to thrive on processed foods. And foods are not meant to be altered. The more altered they are, the worse they are for your health.

Processed foods are actually lacking in nutritional content compared to natural foods. For example, processed bread and other snacks use refined grains that have the bran and germ removed and, along with it, important nutrients like fiber, iron and B-vitamins.

Dried processed foods not only have reduced amounts of vitamin C and fiber, but they also become more energy dense, which causes them to contribute to weight gain. When these foods are constituted and cooked with water, even more nutrients leach out.

Processed foods are also loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium, all of which your body is not designed to handle in high amounts, and all of which can endanger health. Particularly damaging are refined sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which convert into fat in your body. This wreaks havoc on your insulin and leptin levels, and leads to chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and cancer. Meanwhile, synthetic trans fats, in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, have been linked to heart disease.

And of course processed foods are routinely laced with hazardous genetically engineered and pesticide-drenched ingredients derived from GMO corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets and cotton (cottonseed oil is common in low-grade vegetable oils). According to the Grocery Manufacturers of America, 80 percent of all (non-organic) supermarket processed foods contain GMOs. Only now are those ingredients being labeled, as food manufacturers are being forced to comply with Vermont’s GMO labeling law.

Loaded with health-harming synthetic additives

Close to 5,000 additives are now allowed to be used in food products. And this number keeps growing. If you factor in the additives found in the packaging (which can also leach into your food), that number of additives can rise to 10,000!

What’s worse, most of these food additives have not undergone any safety testing, and very few have been tested according to the way that they are ingested–meaning in combination with other additives. Some of these additives are downright dangerous. For example:

Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione (PD), both of which are added to microwave popcorn to give it a buttery aroma, are linked to brain health, Alzheimer’s disease and respiratory toxicity.

• Monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is found in chips, processed meats and a wide array of other foods, is an excitotoxin that can lead to cell damage, triggering brain dysfunction and leading to learning disabilities, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and more.

• Artificial food dyes like Red #40, Yellow 5, and Blue #2 are linked to brain tumors, hyperactivity, hypersensitivity and other behavioral effects in children.

• Preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxyl toluene (BHT) can mess with your brain’s neurological system, causing behavioral problems and even cancer. Another preservative, tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), is also deadly. In fact, just five grams can kill you, according to the FDA.

Giving up processed foods—easier said than done

If you think you can simply shake off your processed food cravings, you’re wrong. These foods are intentionally addictive. They stimulate dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that affects your brain similarly to how drugs affect you. Manufacturers are fully aware of this, and actually engineer their products to produce this “delicious” yet dangerous effect. (Michael Moss details this in his book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.”)

Sadly, many people still consume GMO and pesticide-tainted, highly processed foods because of their affordability, convenience and “delicious” flavor. But what you save in terms of money and convenience will ultimately put a double whammy on your health.

source: Elaine Catherine R. Ferrer via Organic Consumers Association

Anti-Aging Foods and Beyond

healthy_pain_free_couple

What causes us to age? Scientist who study Gerontology are not exactly sure. Some believe it is due to genetics, exposure to the sun, breathing, eating, or some kind of predetermined biological clock. One thing gerontologists all agree on is that that chronological age has little bearing on biological age. In other words, the number of years you have walked on this planet is not necessarily an indicator of how old you will look and feel. These scientists who study longevity say that what has the greatest impact on your biological age is diet and lifestyle.

According to geneticist Richard Cawthon and his colleagues at the University of Utah the causes of aging in persons over the age of 60 can be narrowed down to these four factors:

  1. Telomere shortening                  4%
  2. Oxidative stress                      44%
  3. Glycation                                46%
  4. Chronological age                     6%

Telomere Shortening (4%)

Telomeres are sequences of nucleic acids extending from the ends of chromosomes and acting to maintain their integrity. Think of it as the little plastic tip on the end of your shoelaces. Every time a cell replicates itself the plastic tip gets a little shorter. The telomeres that translate the information required to replicate an identical youthful cell are shortened–creating a “lost in translation” scenario that leads to the cellular damage and ultimate cellular death and is we call “aging.”

The rate of telomere shortening in humans varies from person to person. Therefore, you might consider this factor as genetic or something we inherit from our parents. But, is the rate of telomere decay something we can change? Scientists have recently discovered an enzyme called “telomerase” that can not only slow down telomere shortening but, actually reverse it. This enzyme is found in humans and also in certain plants.

Dr. Dean Ornish found in his research that just three months on a whole-food, plant-based diet, coupled with exercise, could significantly boost telomerase activity. This is the only intervention that had been shown to do so. In a five year follow up study he found that those who changed their diet and lifestyle to healthier options actually grew their telomeres while those who did not in a control group predictably saw their telomeres shrink with age.

Oxidative Stress (44%)

Oxidants are highly reactive substances containing oxygen which cause free radical damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids (fats.) Free radicals steal electrons/energy and are called acidic or oxidizing (which means to burn up, break down, rust, decay.) A free radical is an unstable molecule that is missing an electron making it unstable and deficient in energy. Free radicals cause cellular damage which can lead to wrinkles and dry, sagging skin and they pre-maturely age you. While smoking is a primary source of free radicals they also come from drinking alcohol, air pollution, radiation, stress, coffee, processed food and food cooked above certain temperatures

Free radicals are like energy vampires which attack and snatch energy (electrons) from other cells to satisfy themselves thereby making new free radicals. This chain reaction process continues until these free radical energy vampires encounter an antioxidant which has extra energy in the form of spare electrons. The antioxidant will happily give up its spare electrons in order to neutralize the free radical. Things that are healthy contribute electrons/energy and are called alkalizing or reducing.

The “total antioxidant capacity” in foods is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC.) Foods that are high in phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, lycopene, and beta-carotene have the highest ORAC value. Foods that have the most phytonutrients are whole, raw sprouts, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. These are the anti-aging foods. Here are the foods with the highest ORAC value:

Food & ORAC

Spices  (Cloves)                       314,446

Herbs (Oregano dried)            200,129

Chaga mushrooms                   110,400

Acai berry                               102,700

Goji berries                                25,300

Pecans                                       17,940

Beans                                          8,000

Pistachio nuts                              7,983

Plums                                          7,581

Lentils                                         7,282

Blueberries                                  6,552

Blackberries                                5,347

Garlic, raw                                  5,346

Cilantro                                       5,141

Raspberries                                  4,882

Almonds                                     4,454

Dill                                              4,392

Apples, red delicious                  4,275

Strawberries                                3,577

Cherries                                       3,365

Cabbage, red                               3,145

Broccoli                                       3,083

Pears                                            2,941

Lettuce, red leaf                          2,380

Alfalfa sprouts                            1,510

There are no antioxidants found in beef, chicken, fish, cheese, eggs, milk or any animal products.

Glycation (46%)

Chemical changes occurs when we apply heat to food. This creates acidic toxins including carcinogens, mutagens, and twisted proteins, twisted carbohydrates, and twisted fats. This results in Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE’s.)

Glycation happens when glucose, the main sugar we use as energy, binds to some of our DNA, proteins, and lipids, leaving them unable to do their jobs. The problem becomes worse as we get older, causing body tissues to malfunction, resulting in disease and accelerated aging. AGEs are also formed by high sugar consumption. The best way to avoid glycation is to eat a whole food plant-based minimally processed diet.

Chronological Age (6%)

There are certain risk factors that increase over time such as the accidental exposure to infectious diseases. These risk factors can be mitigated by doing things that will boost your immune system.

Calorie Restriction

Every single research study that has ever been conducted on longevity shows that calorie restriction increases lifespan. In fact, when the calorie intake is cut in half the lifespan of certain test animals doubles. And, when you cut the calories in half and fast one day a week the lifespan triples. Every time you eat food, even the most nutritious food, the digestive process causes some degree of oxidative stress on the body. Simple foods are easier to digest than complex foods. The simplest foods are plant-based. The higher you eat up the food chain the more difficult it is for the body to digest.

However, it is important to insure that you are getting enough vitamins, minerals, protein and essential fatty acids. If you are going to cut your calorie intake in half you must make sure you are eating a very nutrient rich diet. This type of diet is called the Calorie Restricted Optimal Nutrition (CRON) diet. The most nutritious food on land are sprouts. The most nutritious food in fresh water is blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella. The most nutritious food in the ocean are sea vegetables.

Conclusion

When carefully examining all the factors that cause us to age it turns out that genetics play a very small role. We tend to inherit our parents habits more than we inherit their genes. The things that have the greatest impact on your biological age is diet and lifestyle. Foods with the most antioxidents have the greatest effect on reversing pre-mature aging in humans. Other lifestyle factors play an important role in logevity as well. In summary, here are the top ten natural anti-aging strategies:

  1. Eat a whole food plant based minimally processed diet
  2. Regular Fasting
  3. Blue-green algae, spirulina and/or chlorella
  4. Reduced stress
  5. Pure Water
  6. Exercise
  7. Sunshine
  8. Fresh Air
  9. Adequate Rest
  10. Positive Thinking

By Brian Hetrich via Lindsay Johnson @ HHI

Breatharianism: Science Examines People Who Claim Not To Eat & Here’s What They Found

breatharianism

Breathariansim refers to the practice of sustaining oneself without the need for food. This concept is not new; in fact, for thousands of years, various cultures around the world have written of this ability. In the third book of the Yoga Sutras, for example, approximately twenty-five siddhis are listed as having extraordinary abilities. This is a common theme throughout Buddhism, and various other spiritual traditions as well. Clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and many more are all special traits attributed to the siddhis, as is the liberation from hunger and thirst.

Though modern day science has seen evidence of extended human capacities like telepathy, remote viewing, and pre-cognition, very little work has gone into examining breatharianism. Some brilliant minds do believe it’s possible, however, including Nikola Tesla. In 1901, he made the following argument:

My idea is that the development of life must lead to forms of existence that will be possible without nourishment and which will not be shackled by consequent limitations.  Why should a living being not be able to obtain all the energy it needs for the performance of its life functions from the environment, instead of through consumption of food, and transforming, by a complicated process, the energy of chemical combinations into life-sustaining energy?(source)

Liberation from food and hunger does indeed sound unrealistic and, from what we know of modern day biology, impossible. But the history of science has shown us many times that the impossible can become the possible in an instant. A great example of this is the recent discovery that humans can actually influence their autonomic immune system using the power of the mind.

Let’s take a look at what happened when people who claimed that they don’t eat were examined by science.

Breatharianism

The Qigong practice of Bigu, and Qigong practices (which include the liberation from food) examined by science have yielded some extraordinary results. A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, as seen in the the US National Library of Medicine, demonstrated that a woman with special abilities was and is able to accelerate the germination of specific seeds for the purposes of developing a more robust seed stock.

The Catholic Charism of India also involves the claim of living well without eating food. Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, explains the concept in his book Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities:

The implication is that the human body can transmute ambient energy into nutrients, and through the practice of cultivating this ability one can live comfortably for as long as one wishes without food, and possibly without drinking water. This is described as a siddhi in the Yoga Sutras as Pada 111.30: liberation from hunger and thirst.

This flies in the face of a substantial body of medical knowledge, which has established that the human body can last about five days without water, and a few weeks at most without food. Beyond that, you’re dead. As a result, despite a host of historical examples of people lasting for years without eating, and sometimes without drinking, most nutritionists and biochemists regard such claims to be ridiculously impossible, and the people who make the claims—currently dozens to hundreds worldwide—to be seriously delusional. Some of those claimants may well be delusional. But all of them? 

Prahlad Jani

Prahlad Jani is a local of Ahmedabad, India, who claims that at the age of 11, the Hindu goddess Amba appeared to him and told him that he would no longer have to eat food. He has apparently lived in a cave since the 1970s, and claims not to have eaten anything for most of his 81 years (as of 2012).

Jani was tested in 2003 and in 2010 at Ahmedabad’s Sterling Hospital by Dr. Sudhir Shah and his large team of doctors. Dr. Shah is a consultant neurologist who has been practicing for 20 years, as well as a professor and department head of neurology at KM School of PG Medicine and Research.

During the first test, which took place in 2003, Jani was monitored 24/7 by hospital staff and video cameras, where it was confirmed that Jani neither ate nor drank. He also did not show any physiological changes which, according to modern day medicine, should be impossible. This test took place over a 10 day period. Although it might not seem like a significant amount of time, to go 10 days without food and water and not experience any physiological changes is actually quite astounding.

He was tested again at Sterling Hospital in 2010 from April 22nd to May 6th. This time, he was observed by thirty-five researchers from the Indian Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, among other organizations. This time, Jani was observed to not eat or drink for two weeks. As with the previous test, he exhibited no deleterious effects from this abstention.

This truly is unbelievable, and goes against everything we know about both human physiology and the nutritional requirements of the body.

As one might expect, neither these tests nor their results were published in medical journals.  The studies have also generated a lot of criticism. The main arguments against these tests were, however, quite weak in my opinion. One argument holds that Jani escaped the scrutiny of the hospital staff and video cameras with the assistance of his disciples, and that he did in fact eat/drink something. Yet hospital staff maintains this is impossible because he was monitored around the clock, as per the requirements of the study.

Even with these criticisms, the evidence is solid and appears to correspond with a known siddhi.

A statement from a scientific group (which included the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences) given to ABC News back in 2012 reads as follows:

We realized that, if this whole phenomenon really exists in a human being even for 15 days, it would have immense application in unraveling secrets of medical science and its application for human welfare.

Instead of ignoring this case, we selected to investigate further, in a rational and scientific way. We again make it clear that the purpose of this study was not to prove or disprove a person, but to explore a possibility in science and study a new phenomenon. (source)

It’s an interesting case, isn’t it?

Michael Werner

Another case comes from a doctor of chemistry named Michael Werner, who is the managing director of a pharmaceutical research institute in Switzerland. This man claims to not have eaten any solid food since January 1st, 2001. He was studied in a ten-day observational test in October 2004 by the intensive care unit at a hospital in Switzerland, and as with Jani, displayed no significant or dangerous physiological changes. These results have yet to be published, however.

Dean Radin offers an insightful explanation for why these results might not ever be published, and for why not much attention has been given to this phenomenon:

Perhaps the most curious aspect of the breatharian tests is the in-your-face nature of the claimed phenomenon and yet an almost complete lack of interest from the scientific community. If it is possible to live well without eating food, this ought to be easy to demonstrate, and if it held up, the scientific and social consequences would be astounding. 

The fact is, as with many other observed phenomena that science can’t explain, most researchers regard things like this as ridiculous and extremely unlikely, and therefore don’t even take the time to look into them. They dismiss the claims out of hand rather than approaching them with scientific neutrality and curiosity.

Another reason for this silence could be simple fear; researchers rely on funding from various parties, and they know it will be denied them if the topic seems too ‘out there.’ They also know what kind of criticism they would face from the mainstream scientific community should they go ahead and publish a study on something so esoteric.

Werner learned of breathariansim from an Australian spiritual teacher names Jasmuheen, who teaches how to transition from eating to not eating. And Jasmuheen has also been the subject of a study, but she began showing signs of stress, high blood pressure, and dehydration after just 48 hours.  As most of you reading this know, this is not something you can just go and try. It can be very dangerous, and there have been multiple reports of deaths occurring as a result of people engaging in this practice. Clearly, there is much more involved than simply refraining from eating or drinking.

The Science Of Fasting

Science is now showing just how beneficial food deprivation can be. Mark Mattson, the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging and a Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, gave a great TED talk on fasting in 2014. This practice has been shown to generate new stem cells, repair DNA, fight cancer, fight both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

It’s also interesting to note that all caloric restriction models in animal studies have shown significant health benefits and improvements, including a longer life span.

To learn more about the science of fasting, you can read a more detailed article and watch a TED talk by Dr. Mattson HERE.

by Arjun Walia via health freedoms alliance

The ELT (Raw Vegan BLT) – Recipe Week

ELT-recipe

BREAD:

1 batch is too large for the blender* so make a ½ batch twice.

Blend ingredients (EXCEPT Chia) until creamy. Place in a mixing bowl and add enough chia to form a soft spreadable mix.                               

3 cups Pumpkin Seeds*

3 cups Sunflower Seeds*

1 Chopped Zucchini

1 cup Sun-dried Tomato*

2 Tbsp Dried Basil

1 tsp Salt*

3 Tbsp Olive Oil*

3 cups Water      

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar*

1 cup Ground Chia*

Spread evenly, 1 inch thick, on teflex dehydrator tray. Dehydrate 6 to 8 hours at 115°F flipping half way through. It should be dry all the way but not hard as a cracker. Set aside.

AVO MAYO:

3 Ripe Avocados

1/4 cup Olive Oil*

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar*

1 tsp Mustard

½ tsp Salt*

½ tsp White Pepper

BBQ ZUCCHINI/EGGPLANT:

Slice 3 large eggplant (or zucchini) with a mandolin*.  Salt, let sit 2-3 hours, rinse, and pat dry. Set aside.    

               

SAUCE:

Blend the following ingredients until smooth, should be the consistency of heavy cream.

1 ½ cups Sun-dried Tomato*

1 cup Sun-dried Tomato Soaking Water

½ cup Olive Oil*

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar8

¼ tsp Hing

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Sage    

2 tsp Smoked Paprika*

¼ tsp Chipotle*

1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning     

1 tsp Cumin*

1 ½ tsp salt*

Cover zucchini/eggplant with sauce and place on a dehydrator tray. Let dry until desired crispiness is achieved (6 to 8 hours minimum).

Serve with lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

Upaya Note: Phase 1 means it is suitable for diabetics

*available at Upaya Naturals

Analysis of more than 1.5 million people finds meat consumption raises mortality rates

Death rates higher when red and processed meats are eaten daily, according to Mayo Clinic reviewers

American Osteopathic Association

A review of large-scale studies involving more than 1.5 million people found all-cause mortality is higher for those who eat meat, particularly red or processed meat, on a daily basis. Conducted by physicians from Mayo Clinic in Arizona, “Is Meat Killing Us?” was published today in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The authors analyzed six studies that evaluated the effects of meat and vegetarian diets on mortality with a goal of giving primary care physicians evidence-based guidance about whether they should discourage patients from eating meat. Their recommendation: physicians should advise patients to limit animal products when possible and consume more plants than meat.

“This data reinforces what we have known for so long – your diet has great potential to harm or heal,” said Brookshield Laurent, DO, assistant professor of family medicine and clinical sciences at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. “This clinical-based evidence can assist physicians in counseling patients about the important role diet plays, leading to improved preventive care, a key consideration in the osteopathic philosophy of medicine.”

While findings for U.S. and European populations differed somewhat, the data found the steepest rise in mortality at the smallest increases of intake of total red meat. That 2014 study followed more than one million people over 5.5 to 28 years and considered the association of processed meat (such as bacon, sausage, salami, hot dogs and ham), as well as unprocessed red meat (including uncured, unsalted beef, pork, lamb or game).

A 2014 meta-analysis examined associations with mortality from cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease. In that study of more than 1.5 million people, researchers found only processed meat significantly increase the risk for all-cause mortality.

Combined, the findings of these studies are statistically significant in their similarity, the reviewers noted. Further, a 2003 review of more than 500,000 participants found a decreased risk of 25 percent to nearly 50 percent of all-cause mortality for very low meat intake compared with higher meat intake.

They also found a 3.6-year increase in life expectancy for those on a vegetarian diet for more than 17 years, as compared to short-term vegetarians.

Open access to the full review is available until July 1, 2016: http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2517494

About The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) is the official scientific publication of the American Osteopathic Association. Edited by Robert Orenstein, DO, it is the premier scholarly peer-reviewed publication of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA’s mission is to advance medicine through the publication of peer-reviewed osteopathic research.