WAYS TO HEAL YOUR BODY

WHAT IS TRANSFORMATION?


Two young boys, maybe 8 or 9 years of age, walk down the street, both free of any care in the world, at least by all appearances. Suddenly, one of the boys sticks out his leg in front of the other and turns his body sharply so that his friend is thrown to the ground, face first. The friend's face hits the pavement hard and his nose is bloodied. The young boy with the bloody nose sits on the pavement and screams out in pain. He cries inconsolably. The perpetrator stands over his injured friend. Though he clearly tripped his friend on purpose, he now seems utterly bewildered and even shocked what he has done. He reaches down to help up his friend, but injured boy refuses the hand. He remains on the ground. Another boy arrives. He has a stick of candy, to which he gives all of his attention. Soon the perpetrator and the boy with the candy walk off. As they do, the perpetrator explains to the boy with the candy how his friend tripped over his own two feet. The perpetrator mimes again and again how his friend's feet got tangled together and then brought the boy down on the pavement, smashing his face. The perpetrator has constructed a story, in fact a lie, that he can better live with, perhaps.


Back to the boy still sitting on the pavement, still crying. An old man comes along, bends over, and puts his arm around the crying child. He reaches into his pocket, finds a handkerchief, and applies it to the boy's nose. He tilts the boy's head back and says something soft in the boy's ear. The boy stops crying. The old man is talking. The boy relaxes and nods. The old man is an angel who not only relieves the boy's pain, but also restores his dignity.


I am standing in the window of an office building across the street, two stories up, watching the entire scene unfold. The place is Antwerp, Belgium, the date, roughly fall of 2000, but it could be anyplace or anytime. Some version of this event is played out every day among children and adults. From my perch two stories above, I marvel and feel personally touched by what I have seen. Four people, four corners of the square – the symbol of the self, or the soul, played out right before my eyes.


I've been all three of those boys -- the victim, the perpetrator-liar, and the indifferent witness. I've been in the place of the old man, too. All four people are of vital interest to me. Some kind of soul-theater has been performed before my eyes. I am riveted to the events.


VITAL QUESTIONS


Why did the perpetrator hurt his friend and then lie about it? Why did the third boy act with such indifference to the events? What did the old man really do? And what does any of this have to do with transformation?


Transformation is healing, which itself means becoming whole. Becoming whole is the process by which the parts of us that have been separated from our consciousness, rejected and buried in our ancient memory, are finally restored to our awareness and our love.


These aspects of us, long banished into the darkness of the unconscious, are being reintegrated into the growing unity which each of us is. That unity, that wholeness, is a singular love, which each of us is becoming. When you and I are capable of loving ourselves totally and unconditionally, we will be fully healed, and there will be no more need for transformation.


Until then, there is work to be done. Healing is the act of bringing together that which has been separated. Thus, we finally welcome back our sexuality into the island of love, after years of rejecting it for fear that it was ugly, or sinful, or uncontrollable, or unacceptable to ourselves and others. We finally welcome back our power, after decades of rejecting it for fear of the damage it could do to ourselves and others. We finally embrace with love the parts of ourselves that are afraid, or angry, or vulnerable, or tender, or innocent, or spontaneous, or free of judgment, or simply victimized. We finally learn to live with ourselves in compassion.


What are we doing? We are becoming whole again. And the experience of bringing home each formerly separated part of our being is the experience of restoring aspects of ourselves to joy.


That which you accept and have compassion for in yourself, you will accept, understand, and have compassion for in others. In the process, the world grows in understanding, acceptance, and love as each of us becomes more compassionate beings. This is expansion of consciousness, which is only possible with love.


LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERPETRATOR IN ALL OF US


Back to our little friend, the perpetrator who tripped the victimized boy. The perpetrator’s act is one of rage. I am guessing that the victimized boy who was thrown to the ground was not the source of the perpetrator’s ire. On the contrary, someone else victimized the perpetrator, perhaps repeatedly, and finally that rage has surfaced and brought about an attack on another innocent being. Why attack an innocent? Because the perpetrator now gets to experience the other end of the attacker-victim motif. Having been victimized by someone else’s rage, he can now experience being the aggressor himself. Some kind of strange balance is being played out, but it’s not a healing balance. Rather, it is the process by which darkness and violence spreads out through families and society. The victim inside the perpetrator has now had a chance to strike out in rage against someone who is vulnerable and innocent.


Now he has been both victim and attacker, and neither one brings him peace. In fact, both aspects of the victimize-and-perpetrator dynamic bring him anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment. And every time he strikes out at someone as a way to release his anger, he will experience his own pain and disappointment in himself.


I doubt very seriously that there has ever been a perpetrator who was not an innocent victim first. The problem with this truth is that most of us have been trained to reject or deny the angry, victimized part of us, which means that whenever that angry victim strikes out against others, we must keep that part us hidden. Which is exactly why that part of us cannot be transformed, and why we continue in patterns of behavior that bring us so much pain and sorrow.


Thus, our little friend, the perpetrator-victim, cannot experience healing, or relief, no matter how many people he hurts, because he's in wrong relationship with the suffering victim inside of himself. Striking out at others will never bring healing or peace to the wounded part of his being that still carries his pain. Like so many of us, our friend hasn’t learned that, even at the tender age of 8 or 9, he too has been in the places of all three of little boys in the soul drama that has played out before our eyes.


Which means he has yet to be transformed. What is transformation? It is this little boy, who now sees himself as a perpetrator, suddenly discovering the tender victim inside of himself, the victim that cowers in some corner of his being, powerless and terrified. Rather than hating that victim for his powerlessness and his suffering, the little boy embraces the victim in himself with love and restores him to a place of dignity in his consciousness. Little does he realize now, but that wounded, victimized part of himself has mysterious powers and talents – abilities that he will desperately need later in life in order to become an effective and whole human being.


DENIAL MEANS REJECTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAL


At this point in his life, transformation still awaits him. Instead of owning his action, he denies it, just as most adults deny or justify their actions when they get done beating their children or their wives, or when they steal or lie or do something that is inconsistent with their fundamental human nature. Our young friend must reject his deed, and himself. But there's a price for such denial. By rejecting what he has done, he loses the opportunity to know himself and the root of his behavior, which is his own suffering. If he cannot know his own pain, he cannot experience compassion for himself and for all who suffer. Which means he cannot be a transformed human being.


Denial is the easy way out for all of us. Unfortunately, huge chunks of our humanity are lost in the bargain.


If our young friend continues on this path, he will become a bully and a liar and he will sink deeper into violence. He's not a bad kid. He's merely separated from the part of himself that is tender, compassionate, and loving, the part of him that knows how much it hurts to be attacked, especially when you least expect it.


CANDY AND DENIAL


What about the kid with the candy? Why was he indifferent to his victimized friend and all that blood? Probably because he could not bear it. This is another reaction to pain: to skip town, leave the body, dissociate from our own suffering, and the suffering of those around us. He cannot reach his own outrage; hence he is indifferent to the perpetrator's action, and the distress of his victimized friend.


Now we discover the importance of sugar, which helps to keep us indifferent to our own pain, as well as that of others. It's easier to choose sugar, alcohol, or drugs, than to become intimate with our own suffering, and that of our friends. But there's a price, of course. Empathy is lost. So are solutions to problems. Sugar, alcohol, drugs -- they're all great deterrents to transformation.


What is transformation? It is deep sea diving. It is the search for the ugly black boxes that lie deep in the ocean of unconsciousness. Inside the boxes are glowing pieces of you, pieces longing to be brought back to the surface, to the island of love.


Each of us has the template inside ourselves for wholeness. It is woven into our DNA. When you have a cut, or are injured, your cells know what to do to heal. When you have been wounded emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, your heart knows what to do to heal. Each of us is hardwired with instructions for wholeness, which means that something fundamental inside of us – our very souls – are already whole. The soul is attempting to bring the pieces of our being back together again.


All of which brings us back to the old man, who is doing what angels do – staunching the blood, healing the wounds, restoring the powerless to dignity.


What is transformation? Ask the old man. He knows.




WRITING ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH


What happens to your immune system and overall health when you write about painful emotions and traumatic events? That was the question researchers from the University of Auckland, in Auckland, New Zealand, wanted to have answered when they gathered thirty-seven men with HIV infection and asked them to write about their painful past.
The scientists were particularly interested in a specific immune cell in the body, known as CD4 cell. CD4 is the commanding general of the immune system. It organizes and directs the system’s attack against any threat to the body. In men with HIV, CD4 cells typically decline in number, especially as the illness advances.
The researches asked the men to write for thirty minutes a day, for four days in a row. The researchers measured the CD4 counts and the HIV load before and after the writing sessions. They also measured them again at three months and again at six months.
The study, published in the medical journal, Psychosomatic Medicine (March-April, 2004), reported that the emotional writing significantly increased CD4 levels, and decreased HIV viral load. Moreover, the researchers found that the results of the emotional writing held over time. The CD4 cell counts remained elevated at three months and at six months.
Interestingly, when the researchers compared these results with the effects on the immune system from non-emotional writing -- that is to say, writing about things that had no emotional content – they found that the non-emotional writing had no affect on the immune system, or on the HIV virus.
Other studies have supported these findings, including a report published in the journal Health Psychology (July 2006), which showed that even emotional writing via e-mail is associated with improved immune response. That study not only showed improved immune response, but also other health parameters reported by the study participants. The bottom line. Write a lot, and put as many of your intense emotions on the page.
Shout in writing, curse if you feel like it, cry through your pen – but get those emotions out. The power of your immune system, and your overall health, can be dramatically improved, just by speaking your truth. Your pen can be mighty medicine. Your truth can set you free.




SEVEN FOODS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE


Sometimes it’s better to think about what you can do right, than to list all the things you think you’re doing wrong.


Here are seven foods that if eaten on a daily basis will change just about every area of your life for the better. Your body will feel lighter, your mind clearer, your memory sharper. Your state of well-being will be dramatically enhanced. In short, you’ll be happier. And oh yes, you’ll protect yourself against all those nasty illnesses that we’re all terrified of – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.


1. Whole grains.

Especially recommended are brown rice, barley, millet, and quinoa.
Whole grains are unbroken and unprocessed. They’re brown rice, millet, barley, and quinoa – not muffins, bagels, and bread.
Whole grain improves every organ and function in your body. They provide abundant quantities of a plant chemical called lignans, which regulate hormones and protect against breast, ovary, and prostate cancers. Whole grains protect your arteries against atherosclerosis and heart disease, in part by lowering your blood cholesterol level. (One study, done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that barley lowered cholesterol 17.4 percent.)


Whole grains cleanse and heal your intestines and protect against colon cancer. They contain substances that signal aberrant cells to initiate programmed cell death, or apoptosis. They boost serotonin in your brain, giving you greater feelings of well-being, safety, confidence, better concentration, and deeper sleep.


Adults who eat whole grains on a daily basis are leaner than those who avoid grains. They also suffer far lower rates of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.


Meditate for a few minutes on whole grain, such as brown rice, barley, millet, or quinoa. Think about all the sun, rain, wind, and all the elements of the soil captured in this most complete of all foods. Think about the fact that a bag of brown rice can sit in your basement for 25 years – better yet, 50 years -- and it still will be both edible when cooked, and capable of germinating into a plant when placed in the soil. Try that with a loaf of “whole grain” bread. Keep a loaf of bread in your basement for 25 days and you’ll be a little bit put off by all that green stuff growing on it. Don’t bother planting it.


Whole grain is a kind of special matrix in which all the vital elements and life energies are held in an integrated state of balance for decades. It does exactly that in your body, too. Grain integrates body, mind, and spirit. It makes you like it – whole.


Boil your grains. Add condiments that you like, such as kimchi, sesame seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Eat at least two servings per day.


2. Vegetables.
Everybody thinks vegetables are boring. Well, yeah… But they’re also the all-stars of the health foods. They’re nature’s secret weapon against disease – all diseases, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis, and depressed immunity.


Here are a few recommendations.
* Eat three or four servings a day of green and leafy. Serving size doesn’t matter. If you go back for seconds, you’ve had two servings. If you put collard greens or kale or watercress in soup, you’ve had a serving.


* Eat two servings of round and sweet vegetables a day – any of the following: squash, onion, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, beets, corn, and asparagus.


* Eat one or two servings of roots per day, including carrots, parsnips, burdock, and daikon.


Vegetables are among the greatest health promoters in the food supply. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, collard, and mustard greens contain a group of compounds, called indoles, which may prevent tumor-causing estrogen from targeting the breast. In animal studies, they've been shown to switch on enzymes that prevent exposure to carcinogens. These vegetables also contain another cancer-fighter, called sulforanphane. Sulforanphane has been called a "major and very potent" trigger for detoxifying tissues and blood and for promoting production of cancer-preventive enzymes. (Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 89, March 1992.)


When researchers compared two groups of women -- one with breast cancer and another group without the disease -- they found that those who did not contract the illness ate significantly more vegetables, fruits, and fiber.


Researchers at the State University of New York compared the eating habits of 310 women with breast cancer with 316 women free of the illness. The difference in their eating patterns, said the researchers, was that the women who did not get cancer ate diets richer in fiber, folic acid, carotenoids, and vitamin C – all derived from their increased intake of vegetables and fruit.


3. Miso.

Make vegetables soups and put miso paste in the soup. It’s easy and delicious. Miso is one of the great alkalizers, immune boosters, and cancer fighters in the food supply.


In April 1993, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (vol. 90, pp. 2690-2994) reported the remarkable finding that scientists had isolated a substance in miso that effective blocks blood flow to tumors, thus starving them from the essentials of life. The scientists called the substance "genistein." What it does is block blood vessels from attaching to tumors, a process known as angiogenisis. Cancer cells and tumors, like all other cells and tissues in the body, need oxygen and nutrition to survive. In order for them to get both, they need blood. Thus, cancer is sustained within the body by blood vessels that grow to the cells and support their life. The genistein in miso soup blocks blood vessels from attaching to the cancer cells, and thus suffocating and killing tumors.


This is just the beginning, however. There’s an old Japanese saying: "Miso strengthens the weak and softens the hard." It tonifies and restores the vitality to organs that are sick and lethargic, while it softens and breaks up stagnation, cysts, and tumors.


Finally, miso is rich in health promoting bacteria, which we need to digest and assimilate our food. (See below.)


4. Nuts and Seeds.

Researchers have found that people who eat nuts and seeds regularly are leaner than those who abstain. They’re also happier and more satisfied with their diets – and they don’t overeat!


Eat a handful of nuts and seeds four or five times a week. You’ll find that they are highly satisfying and filling. Moreover, you’ll discover that the fulfill cravings that would otherwise make you crazy, especially at night.


Nuts lower cholesterol, provide essential fatty acids, including omega-3 fats, and are rich sources of vitamin E. They boost immunity and add selenium – a powerful cancer fighter – to your diet. They’re also rich in antioxidants. I especially recommend walnuts, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.


Researchers at George Mason University found that pistachios lowered LDL cholesterol and regulated blood sugar, thus lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.


5. Fruit.

Loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, fruit is cleansing, eliminative, and immune boosting.


Ironically, most adults avoid fruit. But let’s do an experiment. Eat an apple during lunch, or in the car on your way home from work, and see what effects it has on your state of mind. Many people find that when they eat an apple, they are immediately put in touch with their higher self. They awaken that part of the brain that encourages them to take better care of their health.


Most adults have trouble eating fruit. Yet, it is among the most cleansing, eliminative and health supporting foods in the food supply. A couple of caveats: fruit helps eliminate waste from the tissues and organs. Consequently, too much fruit will cause you to dump excess waste into the blood stream and cause your lymph nodes to swell. A piece of fruit four or five times a week is plenty – and plenty good for you. Second, eat fruit that will grow in your climate. Don’t eat too many fruits that grow in tropical areas, unless you live there.


6. Sauerkraut and other fermented foods.


We’re having great trouble digesting our food. One of the reasons – we’re killing all those friendly little beings that live in our intestines. We need those friendly flora in our gut in order to be healthy, strong, and vital. Here are just a few of the things that good bacteria do for us.


For starters, they help us breakdown and assimilate the nutrients in our food, thus making it possible for us to be optimally nourished. Without these little critters, you can eat a nutritionally-rich diet and still not get all the nutrients you need.


Good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics, help manufacture B vitamins, such as biotin, niacin (B3), folic acid, and pyridoxine (B6). They produce antibacterial substances that kill disease-causing bacteria. They also regulate the acid-alkaline balance in your intestines. By helping to make the intestines more alkaline, they produce an environment that kills harmful bacteria that would otherwise lead to disease, including candidiasis, vaginal yeast infections, and other infections that originate or proliferate in the gut.


Probiotics improve liver function, intestinal transit time, and protect against constipation and other disorders of the digestive tract.


Probiotics also help to regulate hormone balance. Without the friendly bugs, the unfriendlies take over. These produce estrogen-like substances that throw off hormonal balance and make us more susceptible to breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.


How can we get adequate amounts of these little friends? Eat fermented foods daily. Among the most important are as follows: Miso, tamari, shoyu, natto, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and tempeh. Whole grains, especially brown rice, barley, and oats provide the pre-biotics that help pro-biotics flourish.


My recommendation is to eat a tablespoon size serving of sauerkraut four or five times a week, and then eat two or three slices of pickles (dill pickles will do) on the other days. Eat miso soup four or five times a week. Eat noodles and vegetables in tamari broth.


7. Tea. Green, black, and bancha.


Tea is antioxidant and polyphenol soup. It is among the most immune boosting and cancer- and inflammation-fighting foods you can consume. Tea slows aging, protects your heart, fights cancer, and promotes healing throughout the body.


"Green tea is one of the most powerful food sources for chemoprevention, healing, and antioxidants," said Stephen Hsu, Ph.D., a cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia. Scientists have known for decades that those who drink green tea regularly have much lower rates of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and many other serious illnesses. "Now we are starting to understand what green tea is doing to create better health," said Dr. Hsu (pronounced "Shu").


Green tea contains perhaps the most powerful antioxidant in the food supply, ECGC. Researchers are finding that this substance speeds up healing, especially the skin, and initiates apoptosis in cancer cells. It cools inflammation and boosts the immune system.
The three teas that I recommend are green tea, black tea, and bancha (or kukicha tea). The latter tea is leaf or twig from the Japanese tea bush. Bancha and kukicha are highly alkalizing and exceptionally low in caffeine. Most teas contain about 45 milligrams of caffeine per cup, depending on how long it is brewed. Bancha contains minute quantities of caffeine, in many cases less than 10 mg. per cup.


There’s nothing like a good cup of tea to put the world right, even when it’s going crazy out there. Have several cups of green, black, or bancha tea a day. It will do your body, mind, and spirit good.




GIFTS OF HEALTH FROM THE MOTHER OCEAN


The ocean is the mother of life on the planet and, not surprisingly, the memory of the ocean still flows in our arteries and veins. Blood has a mineral composition almost identical to that of ocean water. Those minerals make both the ocean and our blood alkaline, which strengthens our immune system and make our blood resistant to disease.
Seaweeds are among the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. They are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, iodine, zinc, trace minerals, and essential vitamins, such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and some B12.


Here is a summary of just some of the nutritional benefits that seaweeds provide.


* They protect against heart disease. As rich sources of folic acid, seaweeds reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that acts like battery acid on the inner wall of arteries and contributes to the creation of atherosclerotic plaques that block blood flow to the heart and brain and lead to heart attacks and strokes. Folic acid reduces both the homocysteine levels and protects against the formation of plaques.


* They protect against numerous cancers, including those of the colon and breast. Seaweeds provide an abundance of lignans, a plant chemical that blocks the formation of blood vessels – and thus block blood flow – to tumors. Like all living tissue, tumors need blood, oxygen, and nutrients to survive. That means that they need blood vessels to attach to the tumor and supply these life-giving substances. Lignans attach themselves to tumors and cut off blood supply to these malignant tissues.


* They are anti-inflammatory. Most of the illnesses we suffer from today arise from inflammation, which is an immune reaction to disease-causing agents in the blood and tissues. The minerals and vitamins in seaweeds reduce the inflammatory response, cool the body, and protect against the diseases caused by excess inflammation.


* They are highly immune boosting. The immune system needs minerals to thrive. Many of the minerals found in seaweeds stimulate our powerful natural killer cells to become more numerous and aggressive in the face of a threat to health, especially cancer cells. Natural killer cells are specifically designed to fight cancer. The more NK cells we have, and the more aggressive they are, the lower our chances of contracting this dread disease.


* They promote healthy thyroid function. The hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), both produced by the thyroid gland, are essential to all metabolism and thus are essential to life. The thyroid requires iodine in order to produce both of these hormones. Sea vegetables are rich in iodine. New research has shown that iodine is essential to our body’s efforts at preventing and defeating the most common forms of cancer, such as breast, colon, and prostate cancers.


NO NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT SODIUM
Among the questions some people have when considering seaweed as a staple part of their diets is the sodium content. Only a small percentage of people are sodium-sensitive, which means that only a minority of people experience elevations in blood pressure as a consequence of sodium consumption.


Nutritionists maintain that the effects of sodium in seaweed are offset by its high levels of potassium, which maintains the body’s fluid balance. Seaweed’s sodium-to-potassium ratio is 3 to 1, which is very close to the body’s 5 to 1 ratio.


Contrast this with standard table salt, which has the ratio of 10,000 to 1.


In addition, we recommend soaking seaweed for at least three hours (you can also soak overnight) and rinse before cooking in order to remove excess sea salt.


We also recommend that you eat only one-to-two tablespoon-size servings of seaweed, between five and seven days per week. Indeed, because seaweed is so rich in nutrition, we need to eat only small amounts in order to obtain seaweed’s many benefits. Those one to two tablespoon size servings will provide all the benefits of seaweed, while protecting against the possible side effects from the over-consumption of sodium.


Below is a guide to sea vegetables – how they are used and some of facts about their nutrient content. Following this summary are a few recipes that can help you incorporate seaweed into your diet.


AGAR. This is a natural gelatin from the sea. It makes jellos, aspics, and puddings. It has no color, flavor, or calories.


WAKAME AND ALARIA. (Alaria is the Atlantic ocean form of wakame.) Wakame is rich in calcium, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B 12. It is good for purifying the blood and str
engthening the intestines, skins, and hair. Alaria is also high in A, B, and E.


One hundred grams of wakame contains: 10.2 grams of protein; 1,300 milligrams (mg.) of calcium; 13.0 mg. of iron; 6,800 mg. of potassium; 2,500 mg. of sodium; 140 International Units (IU) of vitamin A; 0.11 mg. of vitamin B1 (thiamine); 0.14 mg. of vitamin B2 (riboflavin); 10.0 mg. of vitamin B3 (niacin); 15 mg. of vitamin C.


ARAME. Mild, light, and delicate. Rich in iron, calcium, potassium, A and B vitamins. Harvested primarily in Japan, arame is first simmered and then dried. It can even be soaked and then added to salad, with no further cooking. Add to soups or stews, or saute’ with other vegetables.


DULSE. Native to the Atlantic Ocean and widely used in the British Isles where it is called laver. Dulse can be eaten without cooking, but its flavor becomes more mellow when cooked. Along the coast of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales dulse is cooked with porridge or eaten dry with when drinking beer.


Dulse is fast cooking and can be added to soups and salads, or combined with grain. Dulse is very high in protein – 25 grams and 150 milligrams iron.


One hundred grams of dulse contains 21 grams of protein; 214 mg. of calcium; 32 mg. of iron; 7,914 of mg. of potassium; 1,760 mg. of sodium; 188 IU of vitamin A; 1.93 of vitamin B2 (riboflavin); 1.89 mg of B3 (niacin); 6.4 mg. of vitamin C.


KOMBU AND KELP. Both referred to as brown seaweed, kombu is the Japanese version of kelp, the latter being the thinner variety of these related plants. Traditional healers have used this seaweed as a way to purge the body of toxins. Studies at McGill indicate that kelp aids the body in discharging radioactivity.


Kombu and American kelp is used to make soup stock. They both contain glutamic acid, which is a substance that enhances the flavor and nutritional content of anything it is simmered with. It also helps to make beans more digestible. High in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iodine.


Kombu and kelp can be cooked with beans for the purpose of tenderizing, and also enjoyed with vegetables, deep fried, or pickled It has a high content of glutamic acid and is therefore good for unifying and enhancing the taste of other ingredients in soups, broths, and stews.


One hundred grains of kombu contains 955 mg. of calcium; 5,800 mg. of potassium; 2,500 mg. of sodium; 535 IU of vitamin A; 2.1 mg. of B3 (niacin).


NORI. An excellent wrapper for rice or other snacks, nori contains 470 mg. of calcium; 23 mg. of iron; 510 mg. of phosphorus; 3000 mg. of vitamin B1; 1.24 mg. of vitamin B2; and 10 mg. of vitamin B3 (niacin).


Nori is the most commonly used seaweed. It can be dry roasted, crumbled, and used as a condiment for soups, popcorn, and rice dishes. It can also be added to stir fries.


HERE ARE A FEW RECIPES. ENJOY!


Nori Flake Condiment
Place nori on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven until crisp. Crumble it up and use as a garnish.


Kombu Ginger/Garlic Condiment
½ ounce dried kombu
6 cups water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon natural soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons rice syrup


Boil kombu for one hour. Remove from water and save the broth. Cut kombu into ¼ inch strips. Heat oil. Add ginger, garlic, and kombu pieces and saute’ together for three minutes. Add soy sauce and rice syrup and continue to sauté a few more minutes. Add 2/3 cup of kombu broth, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.


Umeboshi and Ginger Condiment
½ ounce dried kombu
6 cups water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 umeboshi plums
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons rice syrup
Soy sauce to taste


Boil kombu in 6 cups water for one hour. Remove from water and reserve broth. Cut kombu into ¼ inch strips. Heat oil in a pan and saute’ kombu for three minutes. Add umeboshi plums and ginger and sauté for a few more minutes. Add 2/3 cup kombu broth, rice syrup, and soy sauce to taste. Simmer, covered, over a low flame for a few minutes to blend flavors.


Arame with Shitake
2 cups arame, lightly rinsed
2 cups water
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
2 cups dried shitake, soaked and sliced thin
3 tablespoons mirin
Toasted sesame seeds


Soak arame for five minutes. Drain water. Saute arame in half the oil for three minutes. Add maple syrup, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and ginger. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for five minutes. In another pan, heat the remaining oil and saute’ the shitake for a few minutes, or until soft. Add mirin and 1 tablespoon soy sauce, stir, and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Combine arame and shitake, garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy.


Wakame and Cucumber Salad
2 cups water
1 medium cucumber, peeled
½ cup wakame (already soaked)
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
½ teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon soy sauce


Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Cut cucumber in half and scrape out seeds. Soak the wakame in cold water for ten minutes. Plunge into the boiling water for a few seconds and then into cold water. Drain and dry on cotton towel. Mix with cucumber. Combine the rest of the ingredients to make a dressing and pour over the salad.
Seaweed is among the most health-promoting foods on earth. It can also be a delicious form of health promotion. Let’s learn to enjoy it on a daily basis.




HOW DIET AND LIFESTYLE CAN CHANGETHE WAY YOUR GENES BEHAVE


Back in 1981, I wrote a book entitled, Recalled By Life: The Story of My Recovery From Cancer, with Anthony Sattilaro, M.D., who used a macrobiotic diet to overcome advanced prostate cancer. Before he adopted the diet, Sattilaro was given perhaps a year to live. His disease had spread throughout his body, including his skull, ribs, sternum, and spine. All his treatment options had been exhausted. His prognosis was hopeless, according to the best medical advice. Yet, after fourteen months on the macrobiotic diet, he was pronounced fully recovered. All his bones had been healed. There was no sign of cancer anywhere in his body.


Before I wrote the book, I published a couple of articles about Sattilaro, one for the East West Journal and another for the Saturday Evening Post. Later, Life Magazine excerpted the book. All of these articles and the book itself attracted enormous attention, the overwhelming majority of which was positive, especially from laypeople in the U.S. and around the world. Indeed, many people who suffered from cancer adopted the macrobiotic diet and made full recoveries from their illnesses.


On the other hand, the medical community was essentially disinterested in Sattilaro’s experience. It was an anecdotal report, they said, and thus proof of nothing. Let’s go back to doing what we were doing – that was essentially their reaction.


MORE IMPORTANT THAN MANY WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE
In fact, Sattilaro’s experience was a remarkable phenomenon and the books and articles were a watershed moment in the history of the natural healing movement. In a more perfect world, Dr. Sattilaro’s recovery should have touched off an explosion of research into the use of diet as a therapy against cancer. After all, the medical fight against cancer, at least to this point, has been largely a failure, especially when you consider all the billions of dollars spent on medical research, and all the lives lost in the interim.


Just as horrifying, perhaps, is the fact that treatment is often used on people who should never have been operated on, or given chemotherapy drugs. For example, back in March of this year, researchers reported that regular prostate screening tests were not saving lives. On the contrary, the tests were leading to unprecedented numbers of false or inaccurate diagnoses, and even encouraged many unnecessary procedures. Over-eager surgeons have been using the PSA tests, for example, to rush people into operating rooms and perform surgeries that were never needed. Either the people didn’t have cancer, or their cancers were slow-growing and low risk. Unfortunately, all too many of those patients were left impotent or incontinent or both.


Meanwhile, three trends have been occurring throughout the world that should have been getting a lot more attention from the medical profession. The first is that the body of scientific evidence supporting the use of a plant-based diet in both the prevention and treatment of cancer has been mounting. In fact, that evidence is so enormous, and so blatantly obvious, that the only explanation for the medical establishment’s resistance to the facts must be that they see dietary therapy as a threat to its enormous income.
Second, more and more people are using diet as part of their treatment against illness, including cancer, and often with great success.


And third, the cost of health care is now out of control. If Barack Obama cannot bring health care costs into line over the next four years, the U.S. may become bankrupt. And as we have seen during the past six months, if the U.S. economy falls, so too will the economies for much of the rest of the world.


THE EVIDENCE JUST GETS STRONGER
All of which brings us to two recent studies done by Dean Ornish, M.D., who used a plant-based diet to treat men with prostate cancer.


Before I go into those studies, it’s important to remember that researchers over the past 20 years have been asserting that cancers of the prostate and breast are essentially the same disease. One occurs in men, the other more commonly in women. But both arise from essentially the same conditions and both appear to respond to changes in diet and lifestyle. (About which, more in a moment.)


Okay, back to Ornish and his two studies.


The first we should discuss is the more recent experiment, which was published in the medical journal, Lancet Oncology (November 2008), and in the Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences.


Ornish and his colleagues studied the effects of a plant-based diet and a healthy lifestyle on 30 men, all of them with proven prostate cancer. All the men decided to forego conventional medical treatment and instead adopted a diet composed of whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans, soy products, and fruit. The men also adopted a moderate exercise program that consisted mainly of walking a half-hour per day, along with a daily practice of meditation. Yes, the men lost weight, as expected, and their blood pressure dropped significantly. But biopsies done on the prostates of the men revealed dramatic changes in the behavior of as many as 500 genes. Forty-eight of those genes became more active, while another 453 were turned off.


What is the significance of that? The 48 genes that were turned on were all health-promoting genes, including those that directly fight cancer – especially cancers of the prostate and breast -- while the 453 that were turned off were genes that promote disease, including the onset and growth of breast and prostate cancers.


Also remarkable was the fact that these changes took place after just three months on the diet, exercise, and meditation regimen.


Ornish is the head of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, and a best-selling author of several books, including Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.


One of the important points to emerge from his study, Ornish said, was that so-called “bad” genes are not a guarantee of disease, as so many people believe. On the contrary, diet and lifestyle can change the way genes behave. As Ornish told reporters after the study was published, “It's an exciting finding because so often people say, 'Oh, it's all in my genes, what can I do?' Well, it turns out you may be able to do a lot."


Ornish went on to say that people can now tell themselves that, “In just three months, I can change hundreds of my genes simply by changing what I eat and how I live?' That's pretty exciting.”


EARLIER STUDIES POINTED TO THE SAME CONCLUSION
Back in 2005, Ornish did another study in which he placed 93 men with proven prostate cancer on the same dietary regimen composed of whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans, soy bean products, and fruit. The men also walked six days a week. This group was called the experimental group, because they received the treatment protocol.


Ornish also established a control group of men with prostate cancer who did not make any changes in diet and lifestyle, nor did they adopt standard medical treatment for their illnesses. He followed both groups – the treatment and control groups -- for one year.


During that year, several men from the control group dropped out of the study because their cancers were progressing. They now required medical treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Over all, the control group members saw their cancer markers go up, meaning their illnesses were progressing.


On the other hand, not a single member of the treatment group saw their cancer markers go up. On the contrary, most saw their indicators drop and several on the diet and lifestyle program saw their cancers go into remission.


Ornish told the Washington Post that the study was nothing short of revolutionary. “This is the first randomized trial showing that progression of prostate cancer can be stopped or perhaps even reversed by changing diet and lifestyle alone,” Ornish said.


Once the study was concluded, Ornish took yet another step in his attempt to discover why the two groups had such different fates. He took live cancer cells and placed them in beakers containing the blood from the two different groups in his study – the control group and the experimental group.


The blood of the control group only weakly inhibited the growth of the cancer. That growth was reduced by a paltry 9 percent, the researchers reported. In other words, the cancer continued to grow, but just at a little slower rate. (This very likely revealed that the blood still possessed some immunity and cancer fighting function.)


However, when live cancer cells were placed in beakers containing the blood from men on the plant-based diet, the cancer cells began dying. Ornish and his colleagues found that the blood from the experimental group inhibited the growth of the cancer by an average of 70 percent, and some were destroyed altogether. Moreover, Ornish discovered that those men who adhered the closest to the plant-based diet produced blood that was the most lethal against cancer.


All of which meant that the cancer fighting systems in the experimental group were growing stronger, and were able to aggressively fight the disease.


As the scientific instruments become more sophisticated, and researchers are able to peer deeply into the world of the genome, scientists are discovering that food has the power to turn genes on and off.


Last summer, British researchers showed that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables – such as collard, kale, bok choy, cabbage, and watercress -- has been the ability to turn on and turn off literally hundreds of genes that directly affect a person’s ability to prevent and overcome cancer.


After conducting these two studies, Dr. Ornish made the point that the implications of his research are not limited to men with prostate cancer, but can be applied to other cancers, as well, especially to breast cancer.


PROSTATE AND BREAST CANCER: COMMON ROOTS
In fact, researchers have maintained for years that prostate and breast cancer are essentially the same disease – one occurring in men, the other more commonly in women. Both prostate and breast cancer are, in a great many cases, inflammatory diseases. Both depend on the presence of similar chemical factors in the blood. Both arise from similar dietary patterns. And for those with either disease, diet and lifestyle change appears to extend survival time, and in many cases are associated with remissions from the illness.


Here’s an overview of the key factors that drive both diseases, as well as many other forms of cancer.


SUGAR: A FUEL FOR DISEASE, AND A TRIGGER FOR CHEMICAL CHAOS
Given cancer’s characteristic rapid growth cycle, it’s no wonder that the illness needs lots of fuel in order to thrive. And no fuel serves it better than sugar. Processed foods and refined sugar not only provides lots of excess energy – far more energy than the body can burn – but it also triggers chemical changes throughout the system that support cancer’s growth.


The first of these is the production of insulin, the hormone made by the pancreas that permits blood sugar, or glucose, to enter cells and be used as fuel. Insulin is essential for life. But when the hormone becomes elevated and excessive – as it does when we consume too many processed foods, along with too many calories – the insulin becomes a mitogen, or a trigger for cell division and cellular proliferation. Which is exactly what cancer needs in order to grow.


When insulin levels become elevated, they also stimulate the liver to produce growth hormone, which is used by cancerous cells and tumors to stimulate additional growth.
The sweet foods that are the most dangerous when it comes to producing cancer appear to be pastries and ice cream. In the October 2005 issue of Annals of Oncology, researchers examined the eating patterns of 2500 women with breast cancer. They then compared those dietary patterns with 2500 women who did not have breast cancer, but served as a control group. The researchers discovered that there were remarkable differences in the quantities of “biscuits, brioches, cakes, and ice cream,” as well as “sugar, honey, jam, marmalade, and chocolate” that the two groups ate.


“We found a direct association between breast cancer risk and consumption of sweet foods with high glycemic index and [high calorie] load, which increase insulin and insulin growth factors,” the scientists reported.


The glycemic index shows how rapidly a food is absorbed into a person’s blood stream. It also shows how many calories are provided by a specific food. Foods that have a high glycemic index, and high calorie load, include processed foods, such as white flour products -- bread, white rolls, and pastries – as well as chocolate, candy, and soft drinks.


EXCESS WEIGHT AND HORMONES
As body weight increases, fat cells become factories for producing hormones that cause both healthy and cancerous tissues to grow. These fat cells also produce high levels of inflammatory compounds, such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor. This combination of hormone and inflammatory compounds help drive the illness.


It is now well established that both men and women who are overweight are far more likely to suffer prostate and breast cancers. On the other hand, women with breast cancer who lose weight while following a health-promoting diet live longer.


WEIGHT LOSS, ADIPONECTIN, AND CANCER CELL DEATH
Part of the reason for this improvement in survival is that when fat cells begin to shrink, they produce an entirely different set of chemicals, most notably a substance called adiponectin.


Adiponectin fights cancer in several different ways. First, it surrounds a tumor and cuts off its blood supply, a talent known as anti-angiogenesis. Second, it causes cancer cells to initiate programmed cell death, or apoptosis.


For who are overweight and low in adiponectin, the dangers may be particularly acute. In the November 2003 issue of the medical journal, Clinical Cancer Research, Japanese scientists stated the following;


Our “results suggest that the low serum (blood) adiponectin levels are significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and that tumors arising in women with the low serum adiponectin levels are more likely to show [a] biologically aggressive phenotype. The association between obesity and breast cancer risk might be partly explained by adiponectin.”


With weight loss, however, adiponectin levels can be elevated and restored within weeks, thus bringing about all the health-restoring benefits of the substance.


WHEN IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE ENOUGH?
Should it come as any surprise to anyone that the same diet and lifestyle that reverses heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other illnesses could also play a major role in the treatment and reversal of cancer?


The truth is, there’s still so much to learn about diet and lifestyle’s effects on health, and much study is needed for us to fully understand how these natural methods can be used to protect and improve health.


Yet, how much scientific evidence must accumulate before scientists stop blindly focusing on chemotherapy drugs as the singular answer to cancer, and start pouring more research dollars into diet’s role as a treatment for the common cancers? Or to put it another way, how much scientific evidence will health authorities need before they embrace the obvious?




COOLING THE FLAMES OF INFLAMMATION


Global warming isn’t restricted to the outer environment. It’s happening inside of us, too. Our blood and internal organs are heating up, thanks to the epidemic we know today as inflammation.


This month, we will greet the summer – hello heat! Unless we adjust our diets and other behaviors, we can easily elevate our body heat and keep it high through the summer, which might lead to health issues in the fall.


Inflammation is the basis for a whole range of illnesses, including arthritis, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, circulatory disorders, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also deforms our organs, including our livers, digestive organs, hearts, nervous system, and brain. One of the keys to keep inflammation at bay is keeping our body temperatures down. And the way to do that is with good quality plant foods and behaviors that promote circulation.


WHY THE HEAT GETS TURNED UP
The spring often brings our underlying physical and emotional conditions to the surface so that they can be dealt with and healed. A physical or emotional issue can lurk within, and go unnoticed, during the fall and winter, but the spring – with all its rising energy -- pushes those conditions out and into the open. Summer can bring the condition to a more acute or fiery state, which is when treatment often succeeds rapidly.


In my own healing practice, I am seeing more and more inflammatory conditions turn up. The foods and behaviors that we used to keep the body warm and contracted in winter and early spring are no longer appropriate. We must cool down now. Otherwise, inflammation rises to a fire state and brings forth symptoms.


INFLAMMATION: A FIRE WITHIN
Inflammation is an immune reaction caused when our defenses recognize a threat to our health. In fact, it’s a good thing. Immune cells recognize that an unwanted guest – a virus, bacteria, or some form of poison – has invaded your biological house and is preparing to create havoc in the form of some kind of disease. The cells that recognized the invader signal the overall system to go into action. Pretty soon a whole army shows up to destroy the problem.


During the battle, the physical signs of inflammation appear throughout the body – elevated temperature, either as fever or as heat in various parts of the body; redness, swelling, blocked circulation, overall fatigue and, sometimes, localized pain.


These things happen because, as the immune system attacks the bad guys, it’s also releasing various forms of artillery that are either changing healthy cells, or killing them. It’s war. And like any war, there is collateral damage.


When the threat is neutralized, the system shuts down and rests. Problem solved. With the end of hostilities, the overall body cools.


We run into trouble when disease-causing agents build up and remain in place for an extended period of time. Over the years, poisons accumulate in the system. The immune system battles them for as long as it can, until the toxins overrun the system and bring about some form of disease.


When the immune system has to endure a long, extended battle, cells, tissues, and organs become deformed. Most of those cells die. Some of them form scar tissue, which can block circulation and deform organs, including the coronary arteries, liver, and brain. Still other cells can mutate and become cancerous.


Animal studies haves shown that as body temperature goes down, longevity is extended. In fact, traditional Asian medicine – especially Chinese medicine – has long maintained that cooling the body increases vitality and extends life. Heat, especially in the liver, said the Chinese, causes the creation of wind, or disruption throughout the system, and thus gives rise to illness. As it turns out, Western medicine has proven the Chinese correct.


TREATING INFLAMMATION MEANS TREATING THE LIVER
Body heat is regulated by the liver. More important, most of the chemicals that create inflammation are produced by the liver. Chief among these culprits are cholesterol, especially the toxic form of it, known as LDL cholesterol. The liver also produces a substance called fibrinogen, which makes your blood sticky and thick, and thus prevents it from flowing through your vessels. The liver makes growth factors, or hormones, that trigger additional inflammation, stimulate the creation of new tissue, and block blood from flowing. Finally, the liver can produce excessive amounts of blood fats, known as triglycerides, which further block circulation.


We tend to think of the heart as the source of good circulation, but it’s the liver that does even more to regulate the flow of blood and lymph in your system.


So the first thing we’ve got to do when treating inflammation is take good care of the liver.


The liver gets blocked by scar tissue that’s produced by inflammation that occurs within the organ. Inflammation increases the production of free radicals, or highly reactive oxygen molecules that break down cells and create scar tissue throughout the organ. The good news is that, given the right conditions, the liver can heal itself and restore its normal functioning capacity.


The crucial step we all must take right now is to use food and behaviors to cool the system. Here’s what we can do.


TURNING THE HEAT DOWN
1. Change the cooking. As the weather heats up, the body, in its wisdom, craves lighter food and cooking. Steam, boil, or lightly sauté. Cook for shorter periods – blanch and parboil. Regularly cook foods in more water to make them soft and moist. Eat salads, raw vegetables, and drink vegetable juices.


2. Drastically reduce animal foods. Animal foods heat the body. Many contain saturated fat, which leads to LDL cholesterol and more inflammation. The first step, therefore, in lowering inflammation and body temperature is to sharply reduce all animal foods. If you are ill, or suffering from some form of inflammatory disorder, stop animal food entirely for the remainder of the spring and summer.


The only exception should be for white fish, which can be steamed or boiled and eaten with lots of vegetables.


3. Make vegetables your primary source of nutrition. If possible, eat four daily servings of green and leafy vegetables; two servings of sweet or white vegetables; and one serving of roots. Complement these vegetables with regular salads. Whenever you eat salad, choose the darkest green and most colorful vegetables possible. These are the ones with the highest nutrition and antioxidant content.


Green and leafy should be emphasized now, in part because of their high antioxidant content, which cool the body and restore the health of the liver, and their energetic properties, which tend to open and release. (The DNA in green and leafy vegetables directs the energy of these foods up and out. It does the same inside your body.)


Try to vary your greens among the following: broccoli, kale, Chinese cabbage, green cabbage, collard greens, watercress, sprouts, endive, escarole, frisee, mesclun greens, scallions, Brussels sprouts, and any green vegetable that local farmers produce.


Sweet vegetables to emphasize include squash, corn, onions, parsnips, zucchini, and asparagus. Occasionally eat beets.


White vegetables drain the liver of blocked energy and toxins and keep it circulating. Daikon radish, cauliflower, onions, turnips, and small amounts of garlic (once or twice a week) all break up fatty deposits, and move and cleanse the liver.


4. Reduce the quantity of grain you eat; add more water when cooking grains; and choose lighter grains.


Reduce grain at any single meal, and eat more grains in the morning and afternoon, when the digestive organs are still active and stronger.


According to Chinese medicine, the body goes through a daily cycle, or rhythm, in which individual organs are most active during specific hours of each day. Not only is each organ more active during a specific set of hours each day, but it is also supported by more life force, or chi, during those hours.


For example, the large intestine is most active, and most supported, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. The stomach is most supported and active from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The spleen, which the Chinese refer to as the governor of digestion, is most active from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The small intestine is most active from 1 p. m. to 3 p.m.


After 3 p.m., the digestive organs are winding down, assimilating, and preparing to eliminate the day’s food. To make things easier on the digestive tract, we naturally desire lighter food and cooking as the day wears on. This is reflected in the practice of traditional people, who tended to eat their big meal at mid-day or early afternoon, after which they rested. Enjoy larger, heavier meals early, and lighter meals later, and see if this doesn’t enhance your digestion, energy, and overall vitality.


Boil and steam grains. Don’t pressure cook – it’s way too contracting and will only cause circulation to become stagnant and blocked.


Choose lighter grains, such as quinoa, amaranth, corn, and medium and long grain brown rice. Add corn to rice or quinoa to lighten and sweeten either grain.


5. Use beans and bean products as your primary source of protein. Beans provide about 24 to 28 percent protein. They are also rich in complex carbohydrates, potassium, and many vitamins and minerals. They are also rich, luscious, relaxing, and satisfying foods.


6. Add liver cleansing foods, including teas and juices, to cool the liver, release toxins, and enhance its function. Include any of the following: shiitake mushrooms; shiitake tea (boil a mushroom or two and steep for ten minutes); sprouts; carrot juice (add celery to give it a slight bitter edge that will strengthen its medicinal quality); pomegranate juice, and cranberry juice.


7. Eat more fruit, especially strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries. Also eat watermelon, pears and apples, both red and green, and pomegranate. Drink cool lemon water, which will help cleanse the liver of toxins.


SOFTEN, OPEN, AND STRETCH
Among the most effective ways to reduce fibrinogen and improve circulation is to exercise, especially walk, stretch, do yoga, Chi Gong, or ballroom dancing. When you walk, stroll. When you do yoga or Chi Gong, allow yourself to feel the grace of the movement. Play a game that causes you to sweat. But if you have a heart condition, don’t engage in competitive sports. Competition can cause you to push yourself too hard and increase the risk of a heart attack.


Find the places in your body where you are particularly tense. These are the areas where circulation may be blocked or restricted. Get massage or acupuncture to open these blocked areas. Take cool or luke warm baths with lavender oil to relax the tissues and open the tight areas. At night, put a light film of sesame oil on the low back or other tight areas of the body and allow the sesame oil to relax the tissues overnight.


Inflammation is the underlying source of most of the illnesses we face today. But we can control and reduce the condition. And in the process, we can cooling the system. Once that happens, your body knows what to do to restore your circulation and your health.




WHAT’S WRONG WITH DAIRY FOOD?


Thanks to the overwhelming success of ad campaigns conducted by the dairy industry, milk is widely believed to be essential to health, particularly the strength of bones and teeth. But scientific studies have consistently contradicted that assertion.

There are numerous problems with dairy products, which, for people who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, could tip the balance in favor of the disease.

The first is that whole milk, whole milk cheeses, and ice creams are high in saturated fat, which, as we have seen, promotes heart disease and cancer. In Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, Dr. Willett reported the following:

"In nine separate studies, the strongest and most consistent dietary factor linked with prostate cancer was high consumption of milk or dairy products. In the largest of these, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, men who drank two or more glasses of milk a day were almost twice as likely to develop advanced or metastatic (spreading) prostate cancer as those who didn't drink milk at all." Saturated fat, as I showed earlier, is highly inflammatory and oxidative, thus supporting any existing illness.

Milk, cheese, and yogurt increase blood levels of a compound known as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has been shown to promote the onset and growth of cancer, especially cancers of the breast and prostate. A study published in a 1998 edition of Science showed that men with the highest levels of IGF-1 had four times the risk of prostate cancer than men with the lowest levels of IGF-1. Women with high levels of IGF-1 have higher rate of breast cancer.

Concerns have been raised about milk's possible link to other types of cancers, as well. Willett pointed to earlier research done at Harvard University by Daniel Cramer, M.D., and reported in the medical journal, The Lancet. Cramer found that, once consumed, the sugar in dairy products, known as lactose, is converted to another form of sugar called galactose. Galactose is broken down by enzymes produced by the liver. However, when the body's ability to break down galactose is exceeded, the sugars build up in the body and affect a woman's ovaries. Women who have low levels of the enzyme needed to break down galactose have three times the rates of ovarian cancer than other women.

Milk, like all animal proteins, are high in the sulfur amino acids, which increase the acid levels in the blood, according to a report published in the May 2001 edition of the professional journal, Dietitian's Edge. In order to protect the body's delicate acid-alkaline balance, the brain signals the bones to release phosphorus and calcium whenever acid levels become too high. Phosphorus is the body's natural alkalizer. But as phosphorus is released, calcium is lost, as well, resulting in weaker bones. "We know that dietary protein intake influences urinary calcium losses with each gram of dietary protein, increasing urinary calcium losses by 1-1.5 mg.," wrote Belinda S. O'Connell, M.S., R.D., L.D. "This means that a person who is consuming a high protein diet requires more calcium in his or her diet to maintain calcium balance than someone who eats less protein. In situations where dietary calcium intake or absorption is sub-optimal, a high protein diet may further worsen calcium imbalances and increase the risk of osteoporosis."

This promotes bone loss and increases the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that results in the thinning of bones and sometimes fatal fractures. In fact, studies have associated milk consumption with higher rates of osteoporosis. The Harvard Nurse's Study showed that women who consistently drink milk and have much higher rates of bone fractures than women who eat very little dairy products, or avoid them altogether.

Studies have shown that the countries that consume milk products have the highest rates of osteoporosis. On the other hand, populations such as the Chinese that avoid milk experience exceedingly low rates of osteoporosis. Not only do the Chinese avoid milk, but they also eat relatively low levels of animal protein. On average, the Chinese consume 64.1 grams of protein per day, 60 of which is from plant sources. Americans, on average, eat between 90 and 120 grams of protein, of which only 27 grams come from plant sources. The average Chinese person consumes 544 mg. of calcium per day. Yet, the Chinese have exceedingly low rates of osteoporosis. We, on the other hand, are experiencing an epidemic of osteoporosis.

"There's no solid evidence that merely increasing the amount of milk in your diet will protect you from breaking a hip or wrist or crushing a backbone in later years," writes Dr. Willett, in Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy.

Milk is touted as the ultimate source of calcium, but there are many other good sources that do not pose the same health risks, especially to people who are already suffering from serious illness. A cup of milk contains 300 mg. of calcium. A cup of cooked collard greens contain 360 mg. A cup of kale contain 210 mg.; a cup of cooked bok choy, 250. Many other green and leafy vegetables are rich sources of calcium, as are many fish. A three-and-a-half ournce serving of salmon contains 290 mg.; the same size serving of mackeral, 300. A tin of sardines contains 480 mg. of calcium.

Researchers are increasingly concerned about chemicals and allergens found in milk. Many milk products are often contaminated with bovine growth hormone, antibiotics, and pesticides, among other drugs. No one knows as yet what the effects of these substances are on human health, but many health authorities have already expressed concern that they may adversely affect the immune system.

A 1992 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and since repeated in more recent research, including a study published in Diabetes Metabolism Research Reviews (January-Feburary 2001), showed that dairy protein triggered an auto-immune response in sensitive children that caused immune cells to attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, thus triggering the onset of juvenile (type-1) diabetes. Population studies have shown an association throughout the world between milk consumption and higher rates of insulin-dependent diabetes.

Willett points out in Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy that about 75 percent of the world's adult population cannot digest milk sugar, or lactose, including some 50 million Americans. People who are lactose intolerant suffer from a variety of digestive disorders when they consume milk, including cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating.

Citing the tendency of milk to create constipation, iron deficiency, and allergies in infants, The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents avoid giving their infants any cow's milk products before the age of 1 year.

"How dairy foods came to be considered essential despite their high content of fat, saturated fat, and lactose is a topic of considerable historical interest," wrote Marion Nestle, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, author of the book, Food Politics, How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (University of California Press, 2002). "As it turns out, nutritionists have collaborated with dairy lobbies to promote the nutritional value of diary products since the early years of the twentieth century. Recently, however, some scientists have raised doubts about whether dairy foods confer special health benefits. In addition to concerns about lactose intolerance, some question the conventional wisdom that dairy foods protect against osteoporosis or, for that matter, accomplish any public health goals. Others suggest that the hormones, growth factors, and allergenic proteins in dairy foods end up doing more harm than good." [Emphasis, Dr. Nestle's.]
For those with a serious illness, milk presents too many assaults on the body -- and especially to the immune system -- to be considered part of a healing diet.




CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES: EAT LOTS OF THEM


Long ago, Native Americans created many myths to explain why plants had such awesome medicinal powers. One of those myths went like this.

When the white men came to the New World, many white hunters wantonly killed animals, such as the buffalo – not for food and clothing, but purely for sport. The animals were enraged by such behavior and decided to put an end to the human race by turning their own flesh into poison. This would have surely worked, the Indians said, but for the plant kingdom, which convened a council where it was decided that the plants would become medicine for the illnesses created by the animals. Thus was born the healing power of plants.

Today, scientists have only scratched the surface in their understanding of the power of plants to heal. And among the most powerful of these healing foods, they have found, are a special family of vegetables known as the crucifers.

The crucifer vegetables, which include broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, and turnips are so chock full of healing chemicals that scientists now regard them as living forms of chemotherapy.

As immune boosters, they are remarkable. But no food, it seems, can match them for their ability to protect genes and stop cancers from growing.


CHANGING THE WAY YOUR GENES BEHAVE

The old research was purely epidemiological, meaning that populations of people who ate broccoli and other crucifers experienced lower rates of many forms of cancer. But as scientific tools became more sophisticated, and researchers have been able to peer in the world of genes, new discoveries have been made.

This new research now shows that crucifers act on genes to literally stop the formation of tumors of the breast, prostate, lungs, uterine lining, colon, liver, and cervix. Moreover, certain chemicals in broccoli and its cousins trigger the production of enzymes that cause cells to rid themselves of poisons that might otherwise cause cancer.

A study published in the medical journal, Nutrition and Cancer (2009;61 (2):232-7), examined the effects of broccoli on the genes of 20 men, ten of whom were smokers. All the men ate a 200 gram serving (about 7 ounces) of broccoli per day, for ten days straight. Blood samples of the men were taken to determine the amount of damage done to their DNA. These blood tests were done before the study began, and then again at 10 days (when the stopped eating the broccoli) and again 30 and 40 days after the study began.

We should pause here to say that all of us experience damage to our DNA. Strands of DNA get broken. When that happens, DNA coding can mutate, causing some cells to become cancerous.

When the scientists examined the blood samples from study participants, they found that DNA damage dropped significantly in both the smokers and the non-smokers. Fewer strands of DNA were now broken, thanks to the daily consumption of broccoli. But as the broccoli washed out of the body, its protective effects decreased and DNA damage returned to previous levels.

In addition, the researchers found that in the smokers, the oxidized proteins – which also damage DNA -- had also fallen significant. Oxidants, or free radicals, are highly reactive molecules that deform cells and damage DNA, sometimes causing mutations and various types of cancer.


PROTECTION AGAINST BREAST AND PROSTATE CANCER

Women who eat crucifers are far less likely to contract breast cancer, studies have shown. Among the reasons, scientists have found, is that these vegetables change the way the body metabolizes estrogen, the female hormone that can promote the onset of breast cancer. Certain forms of estrogen are highly toxic to the hormone sensitive organs, such as the breast, uterus, and ovaries. Chemicals found in broccoli, collard, mustard, Brussels sprouts, and other crucifers transform these cancer-causing estrogens into benign substances that are easily eliminated from the body.

These same foods protect cells from cancer in a variety of other ways, including by helping the body eliminate powerful cancer-causing toxins that can trigger the onset of cancer cells and tumors. One of the most power of these detoxifying chemicals is known as sulforaphane, which the scientists at Johns Hopkins University have been studying extensively.

Scientists tell us that sulforaphane can literally turn on genes that recognize cancer-causing agents, and then trigger de-toxifying actions that literally wipe out both the toxins and any small nests of cancer that they might produce.

“Carcinogens mutate the DNA in genes, which leads to cancer,” said Dr. Shyam Biswal, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “Now we know that sulforaphane present in broccoli can turn [on] an extensive network of genes and pathways, which can annihilate a broad spectrum of carcinogens.”


KILLING CANCER CELLS

Yet another way that the cruciferous vegetables protect against cancer is by literally causing the death of cells. This is done by triggering apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. Scientists have observed this exact phenomenon in men with low risk prostate cancer. But there is reason to believe that this same phenomenon occurs in other forms of cancer, such as those in the breast, uterus, or lung.

This may be one of the reasons why people with cancer who adopt a plant based diet live longer.


VEGETABLES HELP PEOPLE WITH CANCER LIVE LONGER

Women with lung cancer who ate higher amounts of fruits and vegetables – including lots of crucifers -- experienced longer survival than those who ate vegetables infrequently, according to a study done by at the Cancer Research Center at the University of Hawaii. Consumption of broccoli and other foods rich in vitamin C was consistently associated with longer survival time.

Dr. James Carter and his colleagues at the Tulane School of Public Health in New Orleans reported that men with prostate cancer who followed a macrobiotic diet lived longer than men who received standard medical treatment.

Dr. Carter also found that people with pancreatic cancer who followed a macrobiotic diet lived substantially longer than those who were treated with standard medical care, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Carter followed patients pancreatic cancer for one year and found that 54.2 percent of those who adopted a macrobiotic diet were still alive one year after diagnosis, while only 10 percent of those who underwent standard medical care only were still alive.


SCIENTIFIC DOCUMENTATION OF MACROBIOTIC DIET

Scientists have become increasingly interested in the use of a macrobiotic diet in the treatment of cancer, especially given that so many people with carefully documented case histories have overcome cancer with the use of the macrobiotic diet. That interest came to a head on February 25, 2002, when the National Cancer Institute's Committee for Alternative and Complementary Medicine (CAPCAM) voted unanimously to fund research on the macrobiotic diet as a therapeutic approach to cancer. The 15 member panel, which was made up of scientists from many different medical fields, decided that there was sufficient medical support for the macrobiotic approach to warrant serious study of the diet and lifestyle as a possible means of treating cancer. The panel members were presented with six meticulously documented case histories of people who had been diagnosed with end-stage cancer. All six used the macrobiotic diet and lifestyle to treat their cancers after conventional treatment had failed. All six are still alive, some of them more than two years after diagnosis.

Ralph Moss, Ph.D., a longtime cancer investigator and best-selling author, is a member of the NCI's CAPCAM panel that reviewed the macrobiotic presentation. After examining the evidence and macrobiotic case histories, Moss wrote the following:

"This session [of the CAPCAM panel] brought forth strong testimony that sometimes the adoption of a macrobiotic diet is followed by the dramatic regression of advanced cancers. A nurse told how, in 1995, she was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread all over her body. She received no effective conventional therapy, and reluctantly went on the macrobiotic diet... What makes this case so extraordinary is that her progress was monitored weekly by a sympathetic physician colleague. The shrinkage, and finally the disappearance, of her tumors was documented millimeter by millimeter! She has now been disease-free for over five years." A scientific study of the macrobiotic diet as a treatment for cancer is now being planned and will likely begin sometime in 2005. Several studies already done on people who have used the macrobiotic diet to treat end-stage cancer have demonstrated that the diet does appear to lengthen survival.

Plant-based diets that are especially rich in broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and other crucifers are far more powerful than vegetarian diets that are low in these foods.

"When we compared relative potency, vegetables from the cruciferous family, like broccoli and cabbage, [are far more protective and] reduced the risk [of cancer] even further," said Dr. Alan Kristal, who studied the effects of crucifers on prostate cancer rates. The scientists rigorously examined the eating habits of 1,230 men in the Seattle-area between the ages of 40 and 64. Overall vegetable consumption provided strong protection against prostate cancer, but the cruciferous vegetables were the strongest.

"At any given level of total vegetable consumption, as the percent of cruciferous vegetables increased, the prostate cancer risk decreased," Dr. Kristal told Reuters news service.

All of which means that crucifers should find their way to our plates every day of the week. In order to help you do that, Toby has provided an array of easy-to-follow recipes. There’s no more delicious way to get your medicine.


RECIPES

Chow Mein
1 block tofu
4 shitake mushrooms (soak for 15 minutes; slice and remove stems)
1 onion, diced
3 cups broccoli flowerettes
1 rib celery, diced
2 carrots, sliced
5 Chinese cabbage leaves, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons shoyu
2 tablespoons kuzu
Ginger
Toasted sesame oil

Umeboshi vinegar
1. Cut up the tofu into squares and marinate it in ¼ cup shoyu for twenty minutes. Grate some ginger and add to the liquid.
2. Fry the tofu until golden. Drain.
3. Saute onion, celery, carrots, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and broccoli until veggies are soft. Add fried tofu, along with 1 ½ cups hot water and the shoyu. Dissolve the kuzu in ½ cup cold water . Add it to the vegetables and continue to stir. Turn off heat. Add freshly grated ginger and umeboshi vinegar to taste.


Cabbage with Umeboshi Sauce

4 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons umeboshi paste
4 teaspoons kuzu, dissolved in 4 teaspoons water

1. Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil, add cabbage and boil for five minutes.
2. Take out the cabbage but reserve the water.
3. Add umeboshi paste to the reserved water and bring to a boil again.
4. Stir in the dissolved kuzu and simmer until sauce thickens.
5. Pour over the cabbage.


Brussel Sprouts with Brown Rice Syrup-Ginger Glaze

1 ½ pounds brussel sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1. Steam brussel sprouts for five minutes, or until tender. Drain.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet and add ginger, salt, grated carrot, brown rice syrup, and brown rice vinegar. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
3. Add cooked brussel sprouts, mixing in well with the glaze.


Red and Green Coleslaw

1 head red cabbage, grated
1 head green cabbage, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed

Combine all ingredients and allow to chill thoroughly for several hours.


Quick Broccoli with Roasted Peppers

1 small bunch broccoli, cut into flowerettes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips
½ teaspoon oregano

1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ lemon – juiced
1. Bring pot of salted water to boil, add broccoli, and blanch for a few minutes, until tender.
2. Warm the olive oil in a skillet, add the broccoli, peppers, oregano, and garlic and sauté over medium heat for two or three minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and parley.




HEALING RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS


Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition that arises when immune cells attack the sensitive lining of the joints, causing pain, inflammation, and sometimes fever and deformity. That lining, called the synovium, can become gnarled and swollen over time, making joints lose their flexibility and range of motion. The joints most commonly affected are those in the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. The illness can also spread, causing the immune system to attack the skin, lungs, blood vessels and the lining of the heart. Like virtually all chronic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis tends to follow a wave pattern, meaning its symptoms rise and fall over time. There are periods of relative dormancy, when the condition seems to have subsided. These are followed by sudden flare-ups. Medical doctors will tell you that no one knows what causes arthritis, though they argue that genes may be the ultimate source of the illness. There is no medical cure for arthritis. Chronic diseases are a goldmine to the pharmaceutical industry and arthritis is no different. Millions of people worldwide suffer from the illness (2.1 million in the U.S. alone) and currently the market is valued at more than $16 billion worldwide. That is expected to grow considerably between now and 2012. Ironically, among the places where rheumatoid arthritis is expected to keep spreading is Japan, where the illness was virtually unheard of only decades ago. Incidence of the illness is rising in both Europe and the U.S., of course.


Current means of treatment include the following:

* Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs. These block the cox-1 and cox-2 pathways (otherwise known as cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, which are enzyme pathways that affect pain). * Steroid treatments, known as corticosteroid drugs.

* Supplements intended to rebuild the joints that have been deformed by the immune attacks.

* Biological treatments designed to reduce inflammation.

* A whole host of new drugs whose purpose is essentially to attack and disable certain parts of the immune system.

The drugs provide only temporary relief, at best, and all of these drugs have side effects.


MEANWHILE, A DIETARY CURE HAS BEEN KNOWN FOR DECADES

As any medical doctor, rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in arthritis), or medical scientist who has looked at the research knows, there has been an effective dietary approach to rheumatoid arthritis for decades – and very likely centuries.

The dietary solution to this worldwide problem is a plant-based diet.

Back in 1991, Norwegian researchers, led by J. Kjeldsen-Kragh, at the University of Oslo, placed a group of 27 people with proven RA on a health farm, where they did a modified fast on vegetables and juices. This was followed by a vegan diet that was maintained for 3.5 months, after which a vegetarian diet was adopted in which some eggs and dairy products were permitted. The same group was followed for a year.

Within 30 days on the vegan diet, all physical symptoms and biological markers for rheumatoid arthritis were reduced. Moreover, Kjeldsen-Kragh and his colleagues found that these benefits lasted, and were improved upon, throughout the yearlong period on the vegan and vegetarian diets.

The group receiving dietary treatment was compared against another group with proven RA who ate the normal Western diet and got standard medical treatment. These people experienced little or no change in their symptoms or overall condition.

The researchers, who reported their findings in the October 1991 edition of the medical journal, The Lancet (12;338 (8772):899-902), concluded that,” The benefits in the diet group were still present after one year, and evaluation of the whole course showed significant advantages for the diet group in all measured indexes.”

In fact, the scientific evidence to support the conclusion that diet is an effective treatment against RA is abundant, and if there were more funds to support the search for a dietary cause and cure for arthritis, the literature would soon be overwhelming. But let’s have a closer look.

An October 2001 study published in Rheumatology (Oxford; 40 (10):1175-9) reported that “a vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.”
The study was relatively small. The scientists examined 66 patients, all with proven RA (rheumatoid arthritis). Thirty-eight of the patients were placed on a vegan diet, free of foods containing gluten. Twenty-eight were placed on a normal “balanced diet” that contained meat and other animal foods. The two groups were then followed for one year.

The results were that just under half of the people on the vegan diet (40 percent) completely experienced a remission of their disease, along with a reduction in all antibodies from their immune systems. That means that the immune systems cooled and stopped attacking the synovial lining of the joints. The vegan diet changed the way the immune system acted within the body.

Only one person on the normal diet experienced a reduction in symptoms and none of those following the normal diet experienced any change in antibodies.

The researchers concluded that, “The data provide evidence that dietary modification may be of clinical benefit for certain RA patients, and that this benefit may be related to a reduction in immunoreactivity to food antigens eliminated by the change in diet.”

Numerous other studies have shown similar results, including those published in the February 2002 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (8 (1): 71-5). In that study, done at St. Helena Hospital in Deer Park, California, 24 people with proven RA were placed on a vegan diet and followed for one month. In that single 30 day period, the researchers found that, “All measures of RA symptomatology decreased significantly.” So, too, did weighit and c-reactive protein (a marker for the degree of inflammation throughout the system).

The researchers concluded that, “This study showed that patients with moderate-to-severe RA, who switch to a very low-fat, vegan diet can experience significant reductions in RA symptoms.”

A study published in the January 2003 journal of Rheumatology International (23 (1): 27-36) found that a plant-based diet, supplemented with fish oils, significantly improved all RA symptoms, including all immune markers that form the basis for rheumatoid arthritis. The scientists concluded that, “A diet low in arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid found in certain oils and animal fats) ameliorates clinical signs of inflammation in patients with RA and augments the beneficial effect of fish oil supplementation.”

A study published in the November 2000 edition of the Journal of Toxicology (30; 155 (1-3): 45-53), showed that a vegan diet, rich in antioxidants, showed significant improvement in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and those with another inflammatory joint disorder, known as fibromyalgia. The researchers stated that, “The improvement of rheumatoid arthritis was significantly correlated with the day-to-day fluctuation of subjective symptoms. In conclusion the rheumatoid patients subjectively benefited from the vegan diet rich in antioxidants, lactobacilli and fiber, and this was also seen in objective measures.”


IGNORANCE KEEPS PEOPLE IN PAIN

I wonder how many patients have had some version of the following experience. They go into their doctor’s office and, after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, are informed that they have a choice: Either they can take a drug treatment that will not cure their condition, and will only give them temporary relief from the pain, or they can change their diet completely and rid themselves of the illness entirely? Mind you, the drugs will cost a great deal of money over time, and the chances are very good that the prices of those drugs will go up substantially during the years ahead. Meanwhile, the chances are good that the drugs will have their own debilitating side effects, particularly the steroidal medications, which are likely to affect hormonal balance, and the immune suppressants, which could affect many aspects of health.

On the other hand, you’ve got to eat, so you might as well eat foods that will support your recovery and very likely improve your health overall. That overall improvement, by the way, could reduce your medical bills – not to mention the degree of pain and suffering you are currently experiencing, and will likely experience – for the rest of your life.

Dietary change or drug treatment? On one hand, you can experience elimination of the pain and related symptoms entirely. Or you could choose the chronic pain, related arthritis symptoms, drug treatment for pain management, the side effects, deformity, and the possibility that the illness could affect vital organs, such as the heart and lungs? Hmmmm.

That’s a tough one.

Now it’s true that a lot of people will take the drugs, because they have been brainwashed and because relatively few people know where to go to get good cooking instruction in order to make the food delicious.


YOU CAN HELP. ISN’T IT TIME?

That’s where you come in. You already know a lot and can help a lot of people with your knowledge. You can also show people how to cook healing foods so that they are delicious for anyone’s palate. The world needs you. Let’s start becoming more active at spreading the word.




YOUR ACID-ALKALINE BALANCE: THE KEY TO BETTER DIGESTION, GREATER HEALTH, AND SLOWER AGING


When the fall and winter months arrive, we naturally crave more warming foods, which means we tend to increase our consumption of animal foods. People eat much more fish, but many also consume more fowl -- especially chicken, turkey, and eggs – as well as beef, pork, and wild game.

These foods warm us, to be sure, but there is a big downside. Animal food consumption increases the acid levels of our blood, fluids, kidneys, digestive tract, and cells throughout the body. As acid levels rise, we age more rapidly. Increased acid in the digestive tract makes it a hothouse for harmful bacteria and viruses. Inflammation spreads, triggering a process that can lead to an array of degenerative and life-threatening diseases. Kidneys, bladder, sex organs, and bones get weaker. Cells become deformed. Many cells die, others form scar tissue, and still others can become malignant. In other words, elevated acid levels are dangerous to every aspect of our health and longevity.

Animal foods are not the only sources of acid, however. White sugar, white flour, processed foods, carbonated beverages, and foods containing yeast all increase the body’s acid load. Among the most acidic substances people consume every day are soft drinks, especially cola. Colas are rich in phosphates, which are acids. They also contain abundant quantities of sugar, caffeine, and other acidic substances. It’s worth noting that soft drinks are so acidic that they can remove the rust from a car’s bumper and dissolve the lining off the aluminum can in which they are contained.

Other foods that are essential for our health can be mildly acidity. Among the most important of these are many whole grains, including brown rice, which is has a mildly acidic effect, especially if it is not prepared properly.

There are other ways we increase our acid levels. The first is through increased stress, which releases fatty acids into the blood stream, thus making the blood more acidic. A second is by avoiding exercise. Unless you belong to a gym, or are an avid practitioner of yoga, a martial art, or some other indoor exercise, you very likely get less physical exercise during the darker end of the calendar. That means that you sweat less and breathe more shallowly – both of which increase the acid levels in your body, as well.

People who maintain their alkalinity experience tremendous resistance to all forms of illness, including both communicable diseases, such as the flu, and degenerative disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, and many forms of cancer.

The fall and winter are important months for healing, to be sure. But there can be hidden patterns lurking at this time of the year that can have a profound and often negative effect on our health. Above all else, during these months we must guard our alkalinity.

Here’s how.


ACID-ALKALINE BALANCE: ONE OF THE KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH

The relative state of acidity or alkalinity of any organism is referred to as its “pH”, which stands for potential hydrogen. A substance’s relative pH, or acid-alkaline state, is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being the balance point. Water, which makes up about 70 percent of an adult’s body weight, has a pH of 7, perfectly balanced. Anything below 7 is an acid; anything above 7 is an alkaline.

Your blood, cells, and tissue fluids fall within a range of 7.35 to 7.45, which means that your body is inherently alkaline. Your brain is constantly monitoring your acid-alkaline balance, and goes to great lengths to ensure your body’s continued alkalinity. Unfortunately, that has become extremely difficult in a world in which the diet and lifestyle are overwhelmingly acid-producing.

Your kidneys and lungs are the primary organs for maintaining your alkalinity. The kidneys remove acid from the blood and eliminate it through the urine. The lungs remove carbon dioxide, an acid, from the blood and replace it with oxygen, an alkalizing substance. If you don’t breathe deeply, your carbon dioxide levels can become elevated, which means that your acid levels are climbing. Deep breathing, such as during exercise, infuses the blood with life-giving oxygen (alkalizing), and pumps out carbon dioxide from your body, thus removing significant amounts of acids.

If you become too acidic, your brain will signal the release of minerals – especially calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium -- from your bones and other tissues.
These minerals neutralize the acids and restore the alkaline balance. But if your diet is rich in acidic foods, and your lifestyle largely sedentary, acids will accumulate in pockets throughout your body, especially in your fat cells, digestive tract, reproductive organs, muscles, and liver. These organs will release these acids on a steady basis, especially when you are under stress, thus causing an ongoing acid drip into your blood and vital organs.


THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF ACID OR ALKALINITY

To maintain or restore alkalinity, we must control protein and processed foods, on one hand, and eat an abundance of vegetables and fruits on the other.

Once consumed, protein is converted into uric acid, a powerful acid that must be extracted from your blood by your kidneys and excreted by your urinary tract. Foods that contain moderate amounts of protein, such as beans, have a moderately acid-producing effect on the body, while high-protein foods, such as animal foods, are highly acidic. Both chicken and turkey are acidic, and beef and lobster even more acid-producing. So, too, are dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and milk. Cow’s milk is more acidic than goat’s milk. (See chart, below.)

White sugar is also acidic. Inside the body, sugar is converted to triglycerides, or fatty acids, which raise blood acid levels. Other processed foods, such as white bread and white rolls, are also converted to triglycerides, or fatty acids, and thus are acid-producing, as well. Chocolate, which contains caffeine, sugar, and other acidic compounds, is one of the most acid-producing foods we can consume.

Not all sweeteners are acid, however. Rice syrup and raw honey are both alkalizing. Processed honey, however, is acidic.

Alkalinity is determined by a food’s mineral content. The more minerals in the food, the more alkalizing it is. Seaweed, one of the most mineral rich foods available to us, is among the most alkalizing foods we can eat. Green and leafy vegetables – which are very rich in minerals and vitamins – are also alkalizing. Most fruits are alkalizing.
When it comes to acid and alkalinity, green vegetables give us something in addition to minerals – they give us oxygen. The chlorophyll in green vegetables carries oxygen into our blood streams, thus increasing the blood’s oxygen content and alkalizing it in the process.

Sweet, colorful vegetables also alkalize the blood, as well. Thus, beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, pumpkin, squash, mushrooms, asparagus, and rutabaga are all alkalizing. Burdock, broccoli, lotus root, daikon, onion, sweet potatoes, and yams are all highly alkalizing, indeed among the most alkalizing of all the vegetable kingdom.
There are exceptions to the vegetable and fruit rule, however. Swiss chard, zucchini, and tomatoes provide a weak, or low, acidity. Prunes and cranberries are moderately acidic.

Whole grains, which contain complex sugars, are mildly acid producing, but the kind of salt one uses to cook grains can determine the degree of its acidity and their health effects. Standard table salt, which is 99.9 percent sodium chloride, is acidic. On the other hand, sea salt, like the sea itself, contains a rich array of trace minerals and is highly alkaline. Cooking whole grains in sea salt, therefore, alkalizes the food somewhat.


THE TOXINS IN YOUR TISSUES

Acid accumulation in your tissues and digestive tract creates one of the most conducive breeding grounds for disease. Harmful bacteria, viruses, fungus, molds, and yeast thrive in warm, acid-rich environments. Candida Albicans is just one of the bacteria that flourish in the acidic environment provided by excess consumption of sugar and protein.

Not only do these substances directly injure health, but they produce acidic compounds, including hormone-like substances, that further impair our health. Bacteria that flourish in the intestinal tract produce estrogen-like compounds that can contribute to breast disease, including breast cancer.

The immune system must engage these disease-causing agents. But if we continue to consume excess quantities of protein and sugar, the conditions can support the illness, which means the battle may tilt in favor of the disease.

Meanwhile, the more acid in the system, and the greater the immune reaction, the more inflammation we suffer from. As inflammation increases, so too do the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a wide variety of cancers.

High acid levels can deform the DNA coding of our cells, and thus trigger new commands that tell cells to replicate beyond their healthy limits, and thus become cancerous.
Interestingly, new research has shown that alkalized blood promotes apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. Cells work in neighborhoods, with the local community exercising great control over the behavior of individual cells. If a group of cells start to behave in ways that are contrary to the common good of the overall system, the local cells will demand that the misbehaving cells either reboot, and thus start behaving in a healthy manner, or initiate its self-destruct sequence, which will then eliminate them as a threat to the system. Scientists are now finding that the alkalinity of our blood and tissues plays a major role in whether unhealthy cells actually listen to the commands of their neighborhood, and thus start to behave again in healthy ways.

High blood acid levels are also one of the primary causes of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Bones and teeth are the body’s mineral reserves and thus part of the body’s defense against high acid levels. However, the more your body is forced to release calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium from your bones in order to alkalize your blood, the weaker your bones become.

Scientists are now showing that the following conditions are just some of the illnesses that arise from an overly acidic condition. At the same time, any of these disorders can serve as signs of an overly acidic condition.

Allergies
Asthma
Arthritis
Chronic constipation or diarrhea
Chronic indigestion, heartburn, nausea, acid reflux.
Chronic cravings for sugar and other processed foods
Chronic skin discharges, acne, rashes, rosacea, cold sores
Diabetes
Fatigue, nausea, dizziness
Heart Disease
Herpes virus
Kidney stones
Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
Overweight
Parasites
Various types of cancers
Weakened or compromised immune system, slow healing, and susceptibility to colds, flus, and other infections.


WHAT TO DO

Clearly, the relative alkalinity of our blood and tissues is one of the most important factors that determine our health, especially since it is the consequence of our food choices, and therefore largely under our control. Not only can we use the acid-alkaline balance to prevent disease, but we can also use it to guide us in the recovery from any number of ailments, ranging from the common cold to much more serious conditions.

Okay, so what should we eat?

Ideally, our diets should be composed of at least 60 percent alkalizing foods, and 40 percent acid producing foods. Many researchers insist that that ratio should be 80 percent alkalizing foods, and 20 percent acidic.

We can get a lot closer to that 60/40 ratio by adopting the following recommendations:

* Eat three or four servings of green and leafy vegetables each day, such broccoli, collard, kale, mustard, endive, Chinese cabbage, green cabbage, watercress, bok choy, and asparagus.
* Eat at least two servings a day of round and sweet vegetables, such as onion, squash, rutabaga, turnip, sweet potato, and yam.
* Eat at least two servings of roots, including carrot, daikon radish, lotus root, and parsnip.
* Eat daily servings of highly alkalizing fermented foods, such as miso, tamari, shoyu, pickles, and sauerkraut.
* Cook your food with a pinch of sea salt (you don’t need more than a small pinch of sea salt to alkalizing the grain). That goes especially for whole grains, such as brown rice and barley.
* Eat sea vegetables several times per week. A tablespoon size serving is all that is needed to provide an abundance of alkalizing minerals, including calcium.
* Eat at least one piece of fruit per day, preferably one that will grow in your climate.
* Chew each mouthful of your food extensively. As an experiment, consciously chew a few mouthfuls of food. You will realize that you must chew each mouthful at least fifty times in order to fully masticate the food. Chewing also infuses the food with saliva, which is a highly alkaline substance (consisting primarily of alkaline salts and the enzyme amylase, which begins the digestion of carbohydrates). Thorough chewing – preferably fifty times a mouthful – is the first step in alkalizing your system.
* Eat foods that are alkalizing and rich in friendly flora, or probiotics. High quality miso, tamari, shoyu, pickles, and sauerkraut all provide the body with essential probiotics that alkalize digestion. Miso soup, tamari and shoyu broths are excellent ways to alkalize the entire digestive tract, as well as your blood and tissues. If necessary, take a probiotic supplement. There are many organic, food-based probiotic supplements available in natural foods stores.
* Sit comfortably when you eat. Eat with gratitude and consciously accept your food into your body. Eating while agitated or under stress will prevent you from chewing. It will also increase stomach and bile acid production, which will increase the acid levels of your food.
* Eat foods rich in fiber. Fiber binds with acids and other toxic substances and eliminates them from your body. Fiber is present in all plant foods. The minerals and fiber will neutralize acids and make digestion much easier and efficient.

Below is a chart that reveals the relative acid and alkalizing effects for most of the foods we eat each day. Look at the chart closely and manipulate your diet so that your acid and alkaline levels are balanced in favor of alkalinity

In addition, walk daily and, three times a week, do some form of exercise that elevates heart rate and causes your body to perspire. Such activities can include a sport, a martial art, yoga, aerobic dance, or swimming.

Be aware of your breathing. Take regular breaks throughout the day to breathe deeply. Emphasize exhalation whenever you think about your breathing. Exhalation will restore a deeper and more natural breathing rhythm.

By restoring your alkalinity, you will experience a tremendous increase in energy, deeper sleep, emotional balance, and greater clarity of thought. You will also be resistant all kinds of illnesses, including major disease. Alkalinity is the key to good health. Your path back to alkalinity is as close as your next meal.


CHART
ACID PRODUCING FOODS AND BEVERAGES
Low Acidity Moderately Acidic High Acidity
Vegetables Spinach Potatoes w/out
Zucchini skins
Swiss chard
Fruits plum Cherries Prunes
Tomato Rhubarb Cranberries
Pomegranate
Sour Cherries
Grains Brown Rice Barley Pastries, muffins
White Rice Corn, maize Bagels, Croissants
Spelt
Buckwheat
Kamut
Wheat bread
Beans Aduki Beans Chickpeas Tofu Lima beans Green Peas
Navy Beans Soy beans
Pinto Beans Tempeh
Red Beans
Split peas
White Beans
Black-eyed peas
Fava Beans
Fowl Wild duck Goose Chicken
Turkey
Meats Venison Lamb Beef
Mutton Pork
Veal
Dairy Butter Raw Milk Hard Cheese
Buttermilk Soft Cheese Ice Cream
Yogurt Cottage cheese Homogenized Milk
Fish White fish, i.e., Shellfish
Sole, Scrod, flounder
Haddock, Fluke,
Oils Canola Almond Cottonseed
Corn Chestnut Lard, Palm Kernel Grape Seed Fried foods Pumpkin
Safflower
Sesame
Sunflower
Nuts
and seeds Pine nuts Peanuts Brazil Nuts
Sunflower Seeds Cashews Hazel Nutsa
Pistachios Walnuts
Pecans
Vinegars Rice Vinegar Balsamic White Vinegar
And
Fermented
Beverages Black tea Beer Coffee
Cocoa
Soft drinks, soda pop
Orange juice
Wine
Hard liquors
Sweeteners Molasses Processed Honey White Sugar
Maple syrup Brown Sugar
Aspartame
Equal
NutriSweet
Sweet’N Low
Processed
Jams (w/sugar added)
ALKALIZING FOODS AND BEVERAGES
Low Alkalizing Moderate to High Most Alkalizing
Vegetables Brussels sprouts Arugula Broccoli
Carrots Asparagus Burdock root
Corn Bok Choy
Celery Cauliflower Lotus root
Chives Cabbage, both
Cilantro Green and Chinese Daikon radish
Cucumber Collard Greens Onion
Lettuce Endive Sea Vegetables
Mushrooms Garlic Sweet Potato
Snow peas Ginger root Yams
Squash Kale
Turnips Mustard Greens
Parsley
Watercress
Fruits Banana Avocado Apples
Currants Black berry Grapefruit
Grapes Peach Nectarines
Oranges Berries Pears
Persimmons
Raspberry
Watermelon
Grains Amaranth
Oats
Quinoa
Wild rice
Millet
Oils Avocado oil Cod liver oil Olive oil
Coconut oil Primrose oil
Flax seed oil
Nuts Chestnuts Almonds Pumpkin Linseed nuts Sesame seeds Seeds
Fermented Umeboshi vinegar Pickles Miso
And (When made w/ Shoyu
Vinegars water and sea salt) Tamari
Umeboshi
Plum
Beverages Ginger tea Green tea Herbal teas
Kambucha Bancha
Mu tea. Kukicha
Sake Mineral water
Sweeteners Raw Honey Rice Syrup




MAKING YOUR KIDNEYS STRONGER


The first snow came to Amherst, Massachusetts this month, and with it the first signs of kidney season. Winter is the Water phase of the year, the Chinese sages tell us. The energies that drive the season now dive deeply into the body, spiraling and taking root in the kidneys and bladder. With the increase in Qi, or life force, the winter months offer the opportunity to heal these organs, should the conditions be right. Winter can also bring forth symptoms of kidney and bladder imbalances, especially when these organs have been too long under stress.

Traditional healers of Asia asserted that the kidneys hold and distribute the gifts of ancestors in the form of individual talents, life’s opportunities, and even one’s purpose for living. Care for the kidneys is, in essence, caring for your soul.


A GENIUS BEYOND RATIONAL COMPREHENSION

Each kidney is about five inches long and weighs approximately six ounces. They stand parallel with the spine, in the mid-back, just behind the 12th rib. They are oval shaped, with a slight indentation on their spinal side.

The kidneys are part of the urinary tract, which is composed of two kidneys, a bladder, two ureters, and a urethra. Each of the two ureters connects a kidney to the bladder. The urethera allows urine to pass from the bladder and out of the body. In the case of men, the urethra serves as a conduit for semen, as well.

The kidneys are no ordinary filtering system – they don’t work like the filter in a coffee maker. Rather, they identity everything that is in the blood. They then decide which elements should excreted as urine, which should stay, and how much of any worthwhile substance should remain in the blood.

The filtering unit of the kidneys is called a nephron. During youth, there are more than 1 million nephrons in each kidney, but that number decreases with age. By the time you are, say, seventy, each kidney contains fewer than 250,000 nephrons, or about a quartet of its original filtering capacity. Aging, dietary poisons, and stress—with its consequent wear and tear—destroy nephrons.

The primary waste products that the kidneys remove from the blood include the byproducts of protein metabolism, such as nitrogen, urea, and ammonia. The kidneys also eliminate excess hormones, vitamins, minerals, and foreign substances, such as food additives and drugs. The presence glucose (brood sugar) or protein in the urine indicates some form of disease.

The kidneys regulate electrolyte balance, retaining more or less of the blood’s supply sodium, potassium, hydrogen, magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate, phosphate, and chloride. The quantities of these elements that are retained by they kidneys depend on the body’s overall needs.

They also convert vitamin D into a hormone, its usable state. They maintain the body acid-alkaline balance, or its pH, by regulating the acidity or alkalinity in the blood and urine.

Blood pressure is controlled by the kidneys, as well. The kidneys do this by secreting precise amounts of an enzyme called rennin, which converts in the blood into another substance called, angiotensin. Angiotensin causes blood vessels to constrict, and thereby increases blood pressure. It also alerts the kidneys to retain more sodium and excrete more potassium. Sodium increases the volume of water in the body and blood, which will increase blood pressure, as well.

When excess water is consumed, tile kidneys release it. When the body needs more water, the kidneys retain it. In short, the kidneys are constantly monitoring the body’s overall needs, and adjusting fluid and mineral balances to meet the body’s needs.

The kidneys perform their tasks with miraculous efficiency. About two and a half pints of blood pass through the kidneys every minute, or about 450 pints per day. Although we possess two kidneys, only one is necessary for life.


COURAGE, POTENCY, TALENTS, AND TOLERANCE

According to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys and bladder are paired organs that make up the Water Element and govern the body’s fluid content.
Cold weather can injure the kidneys, if the body – especially one’s back – is exposed to the cold for too long. Cold drinks, especially those that contain sugar, injure the kidneys, as well.

Cold drinks and excess consumption of sugar are not recommended at any time of the year, but are especially injurious during the winter.


Health and Vitality of the Sex Organs and Libido

According to the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the 3000 year old bible of Chinese medicine, “Those who disobey the laws of winter will suffer an injury to the kidneys. Then the spring will bring impotence, and they will produce little.” In short, they will not be able to expand and flower with the Spring’s rising and opening energies, and thus will not be creative or particularly productive.

The Yellow Emperor used the word “impotence” both literally and figuratively, for the kidneys govern the sex organs and the body’s overall sexual energy. Thus, all types of sexual dysfunction are related to some form of kidney imbalance, said the Yellow Emperor, including impotence, infertility, excess sexual hunger, low libido, and premature ejaculation.

In addition to cold drinks and sugar, milk products are especially harmful to both kidneys and reproductive organs. Milk sugar, called lactose, is converted to galactose in the body. Galactose attacks ovaries, testes, and prostate, causing inflammation and even more serious disorders. Men who drink milk or eat cheese, for example, have more than twice the rates of prostate cancer than those who do not eat dairy products.

In order to improve sexual health and vitality, avoid milk products, sugar, and fatty foods, and follow the recommendations provided below.


Fear and Courage

The emotion associated with the kidneys is fear. Conversely, people with strong kidneys not only experience less fear, but also experience more courage in the face of fear. The kidneys also provide us with the ability to endure and tolerate stressful situations. People with strong kidneys don’t complain, and instead tend to adapt to demanding situations.

Excess fear and stress injure the kidneys, said the Chinese sages, and this was confirmed in modern times by pioneer stress researcher Hans Selye, who discovered that chronic stress can destroy the kidneys.

The kidneys also control the deep breath, meaning that the depth of our breath is determined by the strength of the kidneys. Strong kidneys pull energy and breath deep into the body, thus filling up the lungs, even the lower lobes of the lungs.

Breathing regulates nervous system function. Thus, when our breathing is more regular, relaxed, and deeper, we experience less fear and anxiety.
Bones and the Kidneys

Kidney Qi regulates bone health and acupuncturists often treat bone issues by strengthening the kidneys. Several kidney-strengthening foods also strengthen bones. Among them are burdock, sea vegetables, and beans. Burdock is a tough root vegetable that makes kidneys and bones stronger. Seaweed is rich in minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus, both essential for bones. Beans contain plant hormones and proteins that strengthen both kidneys and bones.
Kidneys and Lungs

According to acupuncture theory, the source of much of the energy that flows to the kidneys originates in the lungs. Thus, practitioners of Chinese medicine treat the kidneys, as well as the lungs, when they want to reverse such conditions as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory disorders.
Interestingly, traditional medicine has long regarded milk products and sugar as especially harmful to both lungs and kindness. Both of these foods play important roles in the creation of pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. If you or someone you love suffers from one or another of these conditions, it would be wise to avoid dairy and sugary foods.


Ears and Hearing

The Yellow Emperor states that the Qi originating in the kidneys opens up into the ears, and that all disorders affecting the ears – including ear infections, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss – have their origins in kidney imbalances. Thus, treatment of these conditions includes care for the kidneys.

Again, dairy and sugar are usually at the source of ear infections and hearing loss. Studies done on people living in Wisconsin, the dairy producing and consuming capital of the U.S. (they refer to themselves as “cheese heads”) have shown that people who eat cheese and other milk products suffering higher degrees of hearing loss, including at relatively young age.


Healthy Hair

The kidneys rule the body hair and strong, luxurious hair is a sign of strong kidneys. Conversely, split ends, broken hair, and premature baldness (hair loss before 50) are signs of weak and (usually) deficient kidney energy. Since the kidneys govern the sex organs, unhealthy hair, especially split ends, is a sign of weak or degenerating sex organs.

Baldness occurs when the kidneys are unable to maintain proper water balance within the body. Each hair is rooted in a follicle that contains oil and water. The kidneys control the amount of water present in the tissues throughout the body. When excessive amounts of water infiltrate the scalp, the hair follicles swell, allowing the hair to uproot and fall out – hence, baldness. Hair care begins with treating the kidneys well, say the Chinese.


Kidney Meridian and Restless Leg Syndrome

The kidney meridian runs from the bottom of the foot, along the inside of the legs, to the top of the chest, just below the clavicle bone. The Chinese maintain that heavy legs, or restless legs, arise from lack of Qi flow in the kidneys and kidney meridian. Acupuncture and care of the kidneys relieves these conditions.

The Chinese recognized that there is a distinct circadian rhythm cycle for the year and for the hours of the day. They kidneys receive optimal amounts of Qi between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., while the bladder receives an increased dose of Qi from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Weakness or fatigue during these hours can indicate a kidney or bladder imbalance.


OVERACTIVE VERSUS DEFICIENT KIDNEY ENERGY

In general, the relative strength of the kidneys can be seen as overactive, or excessive on one side, or underactive or deficient on the other.

Overactive kidney energy is associated with great kidney strength. These are the people who are the risk-takers (they are the bungie jumpers), the thrill seekers, and daredevils. Overactive kidney people are usually highly sexually active. They love adventure, have enormous courage, and tremendous appetites for life. They are nonconformists and go against the grain; they enjoy the thrill of placing their lives on the line.

They can be foolhardy and take silly and even life-threatening risks in order to feel exhilaration and fear. They tend to be very thick-skinned and can be insensitive to others.

In general, people tend to be more overactive (or excessive kidney energy) in youth, and gradually become increasingly underactive (or deficient) as we age. The Chinese maintain that the Jing (a special form of condensed and powerful Qi found in the kidneys) rises in adolescence. With it comes great courageous and feelings of invulnerability. This is the reason young men are sent off to war: the rising Jing permits them to think that they won't be the one to be killed. Middle-aged men, on the other hand, experience the diminution of the Jing, and consequently experience their vulnerability and believe wholeheartedly in their mortality.

Eventually, overactive kidney people deplete their kidneys and become underactive. But until they do, they live life in a blaze of glory, or go down in flames.
John Wayne, test pilots, astronauts, extreme sports enthusiasts, and professional athletes are among those with overactive (or excessive) kidney energy.

People with excessive kidneys should reduce their consumption of animal foods, especially red meat, dairy, and other high protein foods. They should substitute plant sources of protein, including beans, tempeh, tofu, and grain products.


Underactive Water

Most people in Western culture are underactive water. They experience a good deal of anxiety, nervous tension, stress, and outright fear. Survival seems to be a constant issue for underactive Water. So, too, is the need to identify themselves, to maintain a hold on who they are in the face of new conditions or experiences. Underactive Water people have little or no faith. Consequently, they feel the need to control their environments excessively, even to the point of phobia. People who suffer from acute phobias suffer from extremely underactive Water.

When the Water Element is deficient, all the organs suffer fatigue because of the inadequacy of the Jing. The body is saying, in essence, that more rest and more gathering of energy is needed.

While most people in Western cultures are to some extent underactive Water, the characters played by Woody Allen are particularly good examples of underactive Water. Chicken Little was underactive-Water.

People with underactive kidneys should eat regular amounts of fish and experiment with occasional consumption of eggs, especially an occasional soft boiled or poached egg. They should also eat warming grains, such as buckwheat – an especially healing food for the kidneys (see below) – brown rice, and millet. Warming vegetables, especially burdock, squash, onions, rutabaga, and turnips, also support both lungs and kidneys.


HEALING THE KIDNEYS BEGINS WITH BALANCE

Healing the kidneys and bladder begins by understanding of the nature of winter, and our essential need to balance energy expenditure with energy recovery.
Winter is a resting time in nature. The earth does not expend its energy in leaf and food production. Many animals hibernate. The nights are longer; there is less time to expend energy working. The earth and animal kingdoms rest, gather their life forces, and prepare for the great expenditure of energy that will accompany the rising energies of spring and summer.

Throughout human history, the same can be said for people. Farmers rested with the land and planned the spring planting. People spent more time indoors and tended to sleep many more hours than in spring and summer.

All of this helps to heal the kidneys. Rest relieves stress, which takes an enormous burden off the kidneys. But it also causes the body to gather energy, which strengthens kidney Qi.

Think of your kidneys as a couple of CEOs who are responsible for determining how much money is spent on any individual endeavor. If you are reckless and overspend, you are soon broke and sick. If you under-spend, nothing gets done, there is no growth, and none of your abilities are expressed and manifested in your life.

The wisdom in the kidneys expend and recover energy according to a wave pattern. On the rising arc of the wave, energy is expended. With it, stress and oxidation occur. On the downward slope, rest occurs, energy is recovered, antioxidation functions take over, and healing takes place. This is one of the reasons why sleep is so healing. It is part of the downward, energy-recovery part of the wave pattern.

Both sides of the wave pattern are essential, but in order for balance to exist, both must be roughly equal to the other.

In the West, we promote and respect energy expenditure, while denying and even disrespecting the importance of energy recovery. What we don’t realize is that this imbalance trains the body to perform one function over the other, which means that only one part of the wave – energy expenditure – is truly developed. In the process, energy surpluses are lost. Antioxidant functions are never performed adequately. We get burned out and weak. And when times of struggle arise, it is easy to become overwhelmed and sick.

The kidneys demand that we practice energy recovery, which means conscious rest. Deliberately take breaks. Do gentle forms of exercise, such as yoga, Chi Gong, and strolling. This stretches the body, gathers energy and Qi, and allows tension and bound-up toxins to be released.

This winter, rest more. Sleep at least eight hours. Consciously rest during the day. Take breaks and feel your body relax. Take naps when you can and the spirit moves you. Don’t be afraid to disengage from excess work. The more you gather energy, the more you heal your kidneys.


Salty Flavor Heals

The taste associated with the kidneys and bladder is salty, and the kidneys crave small amounts of it. Balanced amounts of salt intake stimulate, moisten, tonify, and strengthen the kidneys and bladder. Too much salt, however, can injure the kidneys. Excess salt can make the kidneys contracted. At the same time, salt increases fluid retention, including in the blood, thus increasing the chances of high blood pressure.

In addition the Yellow Emperor warns that too much salt will cause despondency, low mood, negative thinking, and depression.

Salt is made up of about 40 percent sodium. Only about a pinch of sea salt is recommended when cooking grains, pasta, and hearty vegetables, such as squash and roots. No salt is needed to cook greens, such as collard, kale, mustard, bok choy, and broccoli. As for miso, which contains sodium, anywhere from a half a teaspoon, to a rounded teaspoon, per cup of soup is recommended. Low sodium tamari and shoyu are also available and should be used moderately, as well.

Most health authorities recommend that healthy people limit their salt intake to one teaspoon per day. If you use sea salt moderately (a pinch in cooking) and small amounts of miso, tamari, and shoyu, you can easily fall within those limits.

Salt, or sodium intake, is not the primary cause of high blood pressure in most people who have this condition. Only about 30 percent of those with high blood pressure are sodium sensitive. The rest of high blood pressure is caused primarily by atherosclerosis, or cholesterol plaques that block and narrow arteries.

Salt, miso, tamari, and other kidney-strengthening foods are important for people with deficient kidneys. Eat miso soup four to six times per week and use tamari in noodles-and-broth, sauces, and other dishes. (Recipes for these foods are provide in this newsletter.)


Beans Heal

The kidneys are constantly regulating the acid-alkaline balance of the blood by processing protein and minerals. Animal foods are rich protein. Excess consumption of protein elevates acidity and can injure the kidneys. On the other hand, plant proteins, which are easily digested, strengthen, stimulate, and tonify the kidneys. Beans derive about 28 percent of their total calories from protein, which means that they gentle stimulate the kidneys to work, yet support them in their function.

Beans, which are shaped like kidneys – a fact that drew traditional healers to the relationship between the kidneys and beans -- have long been seen as one of the most powerful healing foods for the kidneys. All the beans support kidney health, but aduki beans, black beans, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas are all highly recommended for healing these organs.

Eat a small amount (less than a cup of beans four to seven times per week) for optimal kidney health.


Sea Vegetables

Seaweed is perhaps the most-mineral rich family of vegetables on earth. They are loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, and other essential minerals and vitamins. These foods alkalize the blood, thus supporting the kidneys in their work.

Traditional healers have long seen sea vegetables are essentially the kidneys of the ocean. They cleanse the waters of waste products, absorbing them into their leaves, sending them into their root systems, and discharging these waste products into the ocean floor.

Many studies have been done on the sea vegetables that are cultivated for human consumption and the research has consistently shown that sea weeds are clean, free of toxins, and incredibly healing foods.

Excellent sea weeds include arame, alaria (also known as Atlantic wakame and used in soups), dulse, hijiki, irish moss, kelp, kombu (usually used in cooking beans), nori, and wakame (often used in soup, such as miso soup).

Eat small amounts of sea vegetables daily. All you need is a tablespoon or two of sea vegetables to help you heal your kidneys.


Buckwheat and Soba Heal

The grain that strengthens and heals the kidneys is buckwheat, which can be eaten as groats, kasha, or soba noodles. Buckwheat causes small blood vessels to contract, which in turn increases heat throughout the body. This is one of the reasons why the grain (which is really a grass) is so revered in cold climates, such as Russia and Eastern Europe.

Buckwheat is warming and drying. It is highly recommended for people with conditions that are excessively cold, moist, and deficient (or underactive). It is harder on those who are overactive kidney, or excessively hot and dry. Because buckwheat is highly contracting, people with coronary artery disease or prostate issues should limit their consumption of buckwheat and soba noodles. (One or two servings per month is usually fine for people with such conditions.)


FOODS THAT STRENGTHEN AND HEAL THE KIDNEYS

In addition to the foods and behaviors mentioned above, the following are especially recommended to strengthen and heal the kidneys.

Animal foods. Fish, especially white fish, trout, and salmon. Occasionally, an egg, preferably organic, range fed, and soft boiled or poached.

Beans. Especially aduki and black beans.

Black sesame seeds, including as gomasio.

Burdock, especially when sliced into match sticks and cooked with carrots and kombu seaweed. (See recipe below.)

Chestnuts. Chestnuts and rice cooked together are strengthening to both kidneys and lungs.

Cucumber, especially cucumber juice, which soothes and heals kidneys, including when inflamed.

Fruit. Watermelon, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries.

Grains, especially buckwheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, wild rice, corn, and mochi, or pounded sweet rice.

Pickles and fermented foods, including sauerkraut, cucumber pickles, daikon pickles, and ginger pickle (without sugar).

Sea vegetables. All of them.

Spices. Warming spices are especially recommended for deficient kidney conditions. Cinnamon, cloves, fennel, anise seeds, black pepper, and ginger.

Vegetables. Parsley, radish, daikon radish, scallions.

Watermelon and watermelon seed. Watermelon tea from the seeds. (See recipe below.)

Water. Drink pure water throughout the day. When you drink, reflect on how the water affects your body. Many people are out of touch with their thirst. Therefore, offer your body water throughout the day. If your body needs the water, it will react with a profound thirst once the water enters your mouth. If it doesn’t, the body will resist further drinking. Follow the body’s guidance, but offer your body water throughout the day.


MEDICINAL TEAS FOR THE KIDNEYS

Aduki Bean Tea to Strengthen Kidneys
1 cup of aduki beans
2 inch strip of kombu seaweed.
4 cups of water.
Place 1 cup of beans in a pot with a 2-inch strip of kombu.
Soak 4 hours or overnight.
Finely chop the kombu.
Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Lower the flame, cover, and simmer for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
Strain the beans and drink the liquid while hot.
You may continue cooking the beans longer with additional water until soft and edible for regular consumption.
To Help Dissolve Kidney Stones

Black bean tea.
1 cup of black beans
5 cups of water
simmer for one hour
Drink the broth twice a day.
Corn Silk tea
1 ounce of corn silk
1 1/2 pint of water
simmer 30 minutes
drink the broth twice a day

Foods that help dissolve kidney stones
Grated Daikon Radish
Grate tablespoon of fresh daikon radish
Eat two ties a day.
(If you cannot find daikon, use red radish)

To soften and open kidneys, Watermelon Tea
Watermelon and watermelon tea promote urination and elimination of waste. Watermelon tea can be made by grinding dried watermelon seeds. Boil them in water for 20 minutes. Steep another ten minutes. Strain and drink while warm.

Eat corn once a day for next several days (even if it has to be frozen corn).
Eat parsley once or twice a day for several days
Drink bancha tea, two cups per day. .


MEANWHILE, AVOID THE POISONS

The following foods injure the kidneys and should be avoided, especially this winter.

Cold drinks, especially those that contain sugar.
Coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.
Red meat and dairy products.
Protect against the cold, especially in winter.
Raw foods.
Excessive amounts of salt.
Excessive amounts of raw fruit.
Fatty foods, especially fried meats and dairy products. These foods create atherosclerosis in the tiny nephrons, thus blocking blood flow in the organs.

This is the season for caring for your kidneys. Follow these recommendations and your kidneys will have the strength and vitality to open to the new opportunities that will blossom in the spring.




HELPING YOUR LIVER DO ITS SPRING CLEANING


We’re still weeks away from the official arrival of spring, but my neighbors have already tapped their maple sugar trees to capture the sweetness of the season. Nature’s energy is rising out of the earth and carrying the sap skyward. It’s March first and there are still two feet of snow on the ground here in Amherst, Massachusetts. But the old gray pots hanging from the trees are a more accurate sign of the season than the snow. The great life force has awakened and is pushing the “up” button.

Even the sun, which has taken a higher angle in the sky, obeys. We can feel it in our bodies, too. We’re a little bit more relaxed, a little more at home in our skin.

Ever aware of humanity’s inextricable bonds with nature, the Chinese sages realized long ago that the same energy that causes the sap to rise is also running like a fountain inside of each of us. And where does it go? It flows directly into the liver and gall bladder, the sages said. The biggest internal organ and its little sac of a partner are being re-invigorated by the rising tides of life.

It’s a good thing, too, because, the body is desperate for a spring cleaning. After a long winter of heavy food and too much contraction against the cold, it’s time to clean house and lighten up. As they used to say about Superman, that’s a job for the liver.


CLEANING UP AND SUSTAINING LIFE

The liver is a cone-shaped organ, located primarily on the right side of your body, directly under your rib cage, but extending to the left side to a point beneath the left nipple. In adults, it weighs about two-and-a-half pounds and holds about a quarter of your blood supply at any one time.

The liver does its best to remove all the poisons from your blood, including those from the environmental – such as pollutants -- and dietary poisons, such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. It neutralizes the drugs people consume, both pharmaceutical and recreational, and it breaks down and converts fats into various types of cholesterol.

All day long, it transforms deadly poisons into harmless, water-soluble substances that are eliminated through the feces.

The liver is the genius chemist of your body. It creates bile acids, which emulsifies and digests fats. It also produces numerous life-sustaining blood constituents.

As if all of that weren’t enough, it makes about a thousand enzymes that help digest your food and assimilate its nutrients into your blood and cells. It produces some hormones and blocks the re-absorption of existing hormone, thus maintaining your hormonal balance.

The liver serves as a reservoir for reserve fuel, known as glycogen. It regulates the body’s heat, breaks down proteins into amino acids, and reassembles them into proteins that are unique to your biology.

We abuse it constantly, of course, but it keeps coming back. You can lose up to three quarters of its function and, given the right conditions, it will restore itself to health.


THE CHINESE VIEW

The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (the bible of Chinese medicine) states that the liver wants to be the “free and easy wanderer.” In other words, it loves to be flexible and open up so that blood can flow freely through its many channels.

When those channels are open, the liver is able to parcel out an abundant flow of life force throughout the body, especially to the eyes, joints, tendons and ligaments. When healthy, it gives us a deep and restful sleep.

The liver sustains our emotional equilibrium, and when disturbed, gives rise to irritability, frustration, and anger. As the liver and gall bladder become more imbalanced, we frequently suffer from headaches, shoulder and upper back pain, constipation, floaters in the eyes, poor vision, and eventually glaucoma.

The Chinese maintained that our will power was rooted in the kidneys, but our self-expression, and the experience of our personal power, are made possible by the liver. A healthy liver helps us express ourselves and thereby fulfill our needs, desires, and ambitions. A weak or deficient liver causes timidity and shyness. Wallflowers suffer from deficient livers.

Thousands of years ago, the Chinese worked out their own version of circadian rhythms and maintained that the gall bladder became more active between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., while the liver was most active between 1 and 3 a.m. Thus, any disturbances in the liver would result in insomnia.

This time of the year, the liver wants to cleanse itself and the overall system of waste products and fat. That means that it wants us to help it clean the house, so to speak.
Traditional and complementary healers throughout the world maintain that we can help the liver do that by engaging in certain supportive and cleansing behaviors.

The primary threats to the liver are poisons that create high levels of oxidation, which deform healthy cells and turn them into scar tissue. Two of the most damaging are alcohol, which makes the liver fatty, hard, and can lead to cirrhosis, and fried foods block and congest the liver. In other words, both are going to make you angry before they kill you.

There’s a limit to the amount of animal fat the liver can process, dissolve, and eliminate. Animal fats are converted in the liver into compounds that inflame the liver and alter its function. As consumption of animal foods increases, the liver produces excessive amounts of poisonous chemicals that spread throughout the system. (Among them are LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein-a, growth factors, homocysteine, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and other clotting proteins). Not only do these substances wreak havoc in the liver, but they also destroy arteries, the heart, and tissues throughout the body.

There’s a lot you can do to restore the liver and its functions, however. Here are just some of the foods that heal your liver.

1. Sour-tasting plant foods, such as lemon and sauerkraut, both of which help to cleanse and heal the liver. Don’t put too much lemon juice in the water before you drink it. It shouldn’t be too astringent, but rather have a sweet edge. Excess astringency may slow the release of toxins from the organ.

Small amounts of sauerkraut – a tablespoon three-or-four-times a week -- promote liver cleansing and elimination of toxins. A couple of slices of pickle, say two or three times per week, does the same.

Brown rice vinegar is heavenly nectar to the liver. It’s both sour and sweet, which makes the liver very happy, indeed. Similarly, green apple is cleansing and opening to the liver, as well.

2. Healing grains. The Chinese maintained that wheat and barley were the two grains that promoted healing of the liver. Because our diets and environments have been so toxic, many people today suffer from weak livers and can no longer digest wheat and wheat products, such as bulgur, bread and seitan (a wheat protein made from wheat gluten). If your liver is weak, avoid wheat berries and wheat products. Instead, try eating barley, such as in barley-and-vegetable soup (see recipe below), and oats, especially steel cut or whole oats, both of which help to heal the liver.

Pasta relaxes the liver and noodles in a light tamari or shoyu broth (with greens, onions, and shiitake mushrooms) can be soothing, relaxing, and healing to the liver.

3. Green and leafy open and heal. Broccoli, collard greens, kale, Napa cabbage, sprouts, dandelion, and leeks have long been seen as the big green healers. They open, cleanse, and promote the organ’s amazing self-healing capacities. Try adding brown rice vinegar to broccoli (the two are perfect together), as well as on kale, Napa cabbage, and sprouts.

4. Antioxidants not only reduce oxidation but promote repair and healing of the liver. The foods that are richest in antioxidants, of course, are those that are richest in color – vegetables that are deep green, yellow, or orange vegetables. Eat lots of them in the spring.

Antioxidant-rich juices, such as carrot juice, drunk once or twice a week, can be very healing to the liver.

5. White vegetables – daikon, cauliflower, turnips, and onions -- have long been used traditionally to decongest, break-up fat deposits, and drain excessive energy from the liver. They also cleanse the organ of toxins.

6. Shiitake mushrooms, which researchers have found to be highly immune boosting, have long been used to dissolve fat deposits and blockagtes in the liver. Shiitake tea is a great drink to help relax and detoxify the liver. Just boil one or two shiitake mushrooms in water, let simmer for ten minutes, steep, and drink hot. Also, use shiitakes in vegetable medleys and pasta dishes. (See recipes below.)

7. The liver loves exercise. Exercise promotes blood flow and elimination of waste throughout the organ. The liver also loves it when we laugh and have fun. Have lots of fun this spring. Go to the movies, spend time in nature, play games, and eat plenty of greens and leafies.

Here are a handful of recipes to help you clean house this spring.

Mushroom Barley Soup
1/2 cup pearled barley
10 shitake mushrooms
1 piece kombu seaweed
1 onion
2 carrots
7 leaves Chinese cabbage
1/4 cup of barley miso
1 scallion
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Fill a pot with water. Add kombu, shitake, and pearled barley. Bring to a boil. Turn down flame and after twenty minutes, take out shitake with a spatula, dice, and return to broth. Add one onion, carrots, and Chinese cabbage to soup. Cover and simmer for at least an hour. Scoop out some broth and mix 1/4 cup miso into it. Return to pot and simmer on low for twenty minutes, but do not allow to boil. Garnish with scallions and grated ginger. Serves 4.


Udon Noodles in Broth
1 8-ounce package of udon noodles
6 cups water
1 strip kombu
2 shitake mushrooms, soaked and ends of stems cut off
1 tablespoon tamari
2 to 4 tablespoons bonito fish flakes
fresh grated ginger
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Add the noodles, kombu, shitake mushrooms, tamari, fish flakes, and grated ginger to boiling water and cook for 15 to 25 minutes or until soft. Do not cover. Serves 4.


Sweet and Sour Leeks
5-6 leeks, washed and cut into one-inch slices
1 carrot, diced
1 turnip, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon tamari
3 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar

Saute leeks, carrot, and turnip on low flame, covered, for about twenty- five minutes. Remove cover and cook until there is no remaining liquid. Put rice syrup, mustard, and vinegar in a covered jar and shake. Stir into the vegetables. Serves 3.


Marinated Vegetables

Choose from some combination of the following vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, carrots, or green beans. Cut them small and marinade in a mixture of 1 cup lemon juice, 2/3 cup olive oil, and 2 teaspoons sea salt. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for twenty- four hours before serving.
Steamed Leafy Greens #1
1 bunch leafy greens
1 pinch salt
a few drops of toasted sesame oil, tamari, and/or umeboshi vinegar

Wash and cut greens. Place them in a pot with one inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for two minutes. Flavor with toasted sesame oil and umeboshi vinegar. If you wish to include another vegetable in this dish, add the vegetable that needs longer cooking time first. Serves 4.


Sauted Leafy Greens #2

1 bunch leafy greens
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
a few drops of tamari

Wash the greens and cut them in half lengthwise along the side stem, stack them on top of each other, and cut again lengthwise. Turn them sideways and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat oil and add greens, stirring gently until they begin to change color. Cover, add tamari, and simmer for two minutes. Serves 4.




HEALING YOUR INTESTINES


THE MICROBIOME

When we talk about healing the intestines, what we are really saying is heal your microbiome, the rich microbial community living on your body, and within it.

The microbiome is the vast population of bacteria that inhabits the human digestive tract, from the mouth to the rectum. It covers the skin; lives within tissues, organs, and bodily fluids; it even extends beyond the human body to define the bacterial environment of one’s home and workplace.

Composed of trillions of bacteria, the microbiome is a living organism that plays a crucial role in every aspect of our physical, emotional, and mental health. Scientists have now established that the health of the microbiome determines, to a great extent, the strength of the immune system; the health and function of every organ in the body, including the brain; and the mental and emotional state of every individual.

The health and vitality of the microbiome depends on the consumption of high-quality plant and fermented foods; the amount of stress in the person’s life; and the quantity of processed and toxic foods consumed. Each and every meal helps determine the kinds of bacteria that flourish in the gut, and thus contributes to the health- or disease-promoting conditions within the entire organism.

Each of us has the power to transform the health and vitality of our microbiomes, and in the process change the very arc of of lives. As their physical, emotional, and mental health improve, there is no limit to what each of can experience and achieve.


HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE POSITIVE CHANGES THAT CAN OCCUR WHEN YOU IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF YOUR MICROBIOME

(1) Restores the integrity of the mucosal lining and intestinal wall.
(2) Prevents and, in some cases, reverses many digestive disorders, including common forms of intestinal distress, inflammatory bowel diseases, and intestinal permeability.
(3) Improves nutrient assimilation.
(4) Regulates weight and prevents overweight and obesity.
(5) Strengthens immune parameters and overall immune response.
(6) Reduces inflammatory conditions throughout the body, and protects against inflammatory diseases, including many common cancers, heart disease (atherosclerosis), diabetes, and numerous autoimmune disorders.
(7) Regulates and improves brain and cognitive functions, including memory and learning abilities. (Reduces brain fog; creates clarity.)
(8) Reduces the symptoms and overall impact of attention deficit, hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
(9) Prevents and in some cases reverses mental, emotional, psychiatric, and neurological conditions, including mood-disorders, depression, and anxiety.
(1. Martin, Osadchiy, Kalani, and Mayer, “The Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis,” Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2018; 6(2): 133-148.)


BUTYRATE

Butyrate is a short chained fatty acid that the body produces in greater abundance when we eat whole grains and vegetables

Numerous studies have determined that most (perhaps all) of the above mentioned benefits from microbial enhancement are either the consequence of, or associated with, an increase in butyrate, and the bacterial and metabolic pathways that give rise to this and related substances.

Research has shown that an increase in the consumption of plant and fermented foods causes an elevation in butyrate production.

Intestinal bacteria produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that supports digestive health, helps control inflammation, and prevents disease.

Here just some of the benefits of butyrate.

• 1. Encourages the growth of intestinal lining, its health and repair.
• 2. Harnesses antioxidants to speed healing of the intestines.
• 3. Stop gut inflammation, the basis for many intestinal illnesses.
• 4. Prevents cancer, i.e., colon cancer.
• 5. Heals leaky gut.
• 6. Helps prevent overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
• 7. Protects your brain and helps restore brain function.
• 8. Helps prevent and heal mood and brain disorders, including ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
• 9. Helps to regulate blood sugar.
• 10. Helps to regulate blood cholesterol, i.e., LDL cholesterol.

To make butyrate, your gut bacteria transform dietary fibers found in whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fruit. These contain"prebiotics", so-called because they feed friend bacteria and cause them to multiply, thus increasing all the health-promoting activities of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome.

What is fiber and why is it essential for gut health?

Unless you consume lots of plant foods, your body produces less butyrate tham other short-chained fatty acids. That’s obviously a problem, since butyrate is one of the much preferred SCFAs in your intestinal tract. That’s why we have to make sure we get lots of plants foods to encourage the production of butyrate.

Butyrate Production is especially ncreased when we eat the following foods:

Brown rice
Barley
Oats
Millet
Amaranth
Quinoa
Rye
Whole Wheat
Onions
Garlic
Mushrooms (all types)
Apples
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, others.
Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries.
Simple recommendations for healing the intestines and resolving common intestinal imbalances.


1. FEED THE FLORA. EAT PREBIOTIC-RICH FOODS

SOURCES OF PRE-BIOTIC FIBER AND NUTRIENTS
Sources of Soluble fibers
Soluble fibers feed good bacteria in the gut and thus cause them to multiply and displace harmful bacteria. Soluble fiber lowers LDL cholesterol, the kind that leads to disease. It also binds with blood sugar (glucose), slowing absorption, and thus lowers insulin levels. This prevents many forms of serious illnesses.
Whole grains, especially brown rice, whole and steel cut (Irish) oats, barley, quinoa, and buckwheat.
Green and leafy vegetables, esp. broccoli, collard, kale, endive, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicory, carrots.
Root vegetables, especially turnips,
Beans, especially black beans, limas, kidney beans,
Good sources of fat, including avocado,
Sweet potatoes
Apples, especially red.
Fruit of all kinds, including all berries (esp. blueberries), pears, papaya, figs, nectarines, apricots.
Seeds and nuts, including flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts.
Insoluble Fiber Sources
Insoluble fiber maintains bowel regularity, preventing constipation and hemorrhoids. It also helps to strengthen the intestinal lining, thus preventing and healing leaky gut syndrome.
Wheat and whole wheat bread
Oats, which are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Lima and pinto beans
Cauliflower
Green beans
Potatoes
Nuts

VARIETY OF WHOLE GRAINS, VEGETABLES, AND FRUITS MATTERS — A LOT

Try to eat 30 different varieties of cooked whole grains, vegetables, and cooked and raw fruit per week. Research shows that the more varied your grains, vegetables, and fruit intake, the healthier, stronger, and more plentiful your microbiome is.

CONSIDER A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

Remember that in order for a food or supplement to have a positive effect on your microflora, it should contain a minimum of 100 million bacteria. That’s not a lot.

Nevertheless, studies have shown that probiotic supplements can have a significant effect on a person’s microbiome and, in the process, improve intestinal health and mental and emotional well being.

In order for a probiotic to positive affect the microbiome, it needs to have a strength of at least 100 million to one billion bacteria.

Probiotic supplements are priced according to their bacterial counts, with the lowest strength priced lower.

If you use a probiotic supplement, purchase one that has at least 1 billion bacteria, and preferably 10 billion. That will insure that the bacteria survive the enzymes in the mouth and acids and pepsin in the stomach.

But keep in mind, there is no substitute for natural probiotic-rich foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and other probiotic-foods contain trillions of bacteria in a four ounce serving. It’s been calculated that two ounces of sauerkraut — the equivalent of four tablespoons — will provide more bacteria than most supplements canSauerkraut has been tested to provide 10 trillion bacteria. Kimchi, miso, and many other foods listed above contain trillions in a four to six ounce serving. That’s more bacteria than most supplements can provide in 100 capsules.


2. REPLENISH THE FLORA

PROBIOTIC-RICH FOODS

Recommendation: Eat at least two servings from any of the following foods every day.

The foods named below are abundant sources of probiotics and thus are extremely healing to your intestines.

Sauerkraut. Serving size. 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Kimchi. Serving size. 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Miso. (Do not boil. Kills friendly flora.)
Tamari. (Do not boil. Kills friendly flora.)
Shoyu. (Do not boil . Kills friendly flora.)
Fermented Pickles. 1 to 2 slices of pickle
Natto. Serving size. 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Tempeh
Apple cider vinegar. With the mothers (fibers). 1 teaspoon or tablespoon, as desired.
Umeboshi plum
Umeboshi vinegar. 1 tsp.
Fermented vegetables and beans of all types, including fermented sprouts, mung beans, rice bran, fish sauces.
Kombucha
If desired and health permits:
Honey
Kefir
Goat milk yogurt
Raw Cheese
Red wine
Beer

DOSES PER QUANTITY

In order for a probiotic to have a positive affect on your microbiome, you must consume at least 100 million to one billion bacteria in any single serving. When it comes to food sources, that’s pretty easy to get.

A fifth of a teaspoon of organic sauerkraut (made from cabbage, water, and salt) provides about one billion bacteria.

Studies have shown that some sauerkrauts provide more than a trillion bacteria in a single 4 ounce serving (about 8 tablespoons).

If you have two tablespoons of sauerkraut or kimchi per day and some other probiotic rich food — say, fermented pickles, miso, or tamari — you are getting trillions of friendly microflora every day!


3. REMEDIES FOR COMMON BOWEL IMBALANCES

ALKALIZE THE INTESTINES AND BLOOD

MISO. Use as miso soup, or dressings using miso.

KUZU: The white, starchy powder from the root of the kudzu plant used to thicken medicinal drinks, as well as sauces, soups, and desserts. It is highly alkalizing, healing, and strengthening for the intestines.

UME- SHO KUZU DRINK: Alkalizes digestion and blood; soothes and heals the tissues of the intestines; controls diarrhea; stops bleeding from the intestines in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. If stools are very loose, use more kuzu in the recipe and continue using until symptoms abate.

1 heaping tsp. Kuzu
3T water
1c water
Pulp of 1 umeboshi plum that has been chopped into small pieces
shoyu
Dissolve Kuzu in 3 T spoon of water.
Add to 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Add umeboshi plum. Bring to boil.
Simmer over medium low flame.
Stir constantly until liquid becomes translucent.
Add several drops of shoyu and stir gently.
Drink while hot.

UMEBOSHI PLUM: A highly alkaline, salty pickled plum with strong medicinal properties. Promotes healthy intestinal flora. Drink before getting out of bed. Good for Crohn's and colitis that is active in the morning. Add to pressure-cooked or boil grains at beginning of cooking time for better digestibility.

UME-SHO-BAN TEA Pour hot bancha (or kukicha) tea over 1 umeboshi plum (mashed in the bottom, of the cup) or a teaspoon of umeboshi paste. Steep for two or three minutes. Add one teaspoon of shoyu or tamari. Drink hot. The tea clears indigestion, soothes intestines, reduces bloating, gas, cramps, headaches, and acid reflux. Highly energizing during the day. Relaxing at night.


CONSTIPATION

(Most commonly caused by liver stagnation. Stagnant liver creates heat and dryness. Must cool and moisten liver. See foods that support, cleanse, and strengthen liver.)

DO THE FOLLOWING:

Increase water consumption.
For men, 3.7 — 4 liters. per day
For women: 2.7 — 3 liters. per day.

Eat these foods:
Soft rice. Well cooked with plenty of water. Can add small amount of fresh grated ginger to stimulate bowels.
Root vegetables stew. Turnips, rutabaga, carrots.
Boiled. Tsp. fresh grated ginger. Pinched of salt. Cook 1 hour.
Cabbage with onions. Sauteed.
Cooked cabbage. Well cooked. Moist.
Stew prunes, figs, and raisins, in water. Eat an hour before bed.
Sauerkraut. 2 servings per day. 2 tablespoons per serving.
Lentil beans, Peas.
Flax seeds. Grind and Soak overnight. Eat first thing in the morning.
Seeds, black sesame. Chew well.
Apple, red
Apple sauce
Alfalfa sprouts
Sweet potato
Coconut
Papaya
Castor oil
Asparagus
Teas
Licorice root tea.
Psyllium seed tea.
Senna tea. (Smooth Move)
Rhubarb root. Dried herb used as tea. (Use only occasionally. Many people find this herb very strong, but also very effective. Used with other herbs in Chinese medicine to treat constipation.)
Supplements
Magnesium citrate. 200 mg to 400 mg.
Magnesium citrate with Vitamin C. 1000 to 2000 mg.
B vitamins, especially B5 and B9.
Fish oils
Castor oil supplements
Probiotics supplement. 50 billion to 100 billion.
Castor oil supplements
Behaviors
Chew every mouthful of food 100 times.
Exercise daily. Walk 1 to 2 miles daily, if possible.
Reduce stress.
Avoid sugar, white flour products, and all yeasted bread. Avoid all red meat, dairy products, and eggs while constipated.


DIARRHEA

Rice. Mix brown rice with white rice. 50/50 . Increase proportion of white rice if condition persists.
Sweet Brown Rice. Boiled or pressure cooked.
Brown Rice. Boiled or pressure cooked. Eat as primary grain for at least five days.
Umeboshi plum. Mix with rice. Drink as Umeboshi tea. (See recipe below)
Garlic (esp. recommended for diarrhea caused by bacteria)
Sunflower seeds
Green apple
White potato.
Yam
Aduki beans
Ginger root
Buckwheat groats, cooked with carrots.
Button mushrooms
Eggs from chicken. Fried. i.e., sunny side up.
Rest.
Avoid excess thinking.
Confront, deal effectively with fear.
(Avoid sugar, processed foods, and highly acidic foods.)


SOME EASY-TO-FOLLOW BEHAVIORS TO HEAL YOUR LIVER AND STRENGTHEN DIGESTION AND BOWEL HEALTH

1. Drink two large glasses of clean, spring water with a wedge of lime or lemon (squeezed) every morning, first thing, before any food is eaten.
2. Drink celery juice, and/or celery-cucumber-kale or some other green juice drink daily, preferably in the morning, after spring water and lime.
3. Eat fermented foods daily, especially sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, fermented pickles, pickled vegetables. Whole Foods has all of these foods and you can buy a wide variety of them. Eat at least 1 and preferably two servings (serving size 1 to 2 tablespoons) per day.
4. Eat one or two apples per day.
5. Eat berries, pears, clementines regularly through the week. If possible, eat another fruit in addition to apples daily.
6. Eat dried dates and/or figs as a snack.
7. Eat at least three servings per day of cooked green and leafy vegetables, especially broccoli, kale, bok choy, dark lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and endive.
8. Eat at least two servings of roots daily, especially turnips, rutabaga, carrots, and daikon.
9. Eat salads w. lettuce, sprouts, tomato, some good quality vinegar (fermented), olive oil. Whenever possible, eat sprouts with salad. Broccoli sprouts and/or alfalfa sprouts.
10. Eat white vegetables regularly, including cauliflower, daikon, onions, and turnips.





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