Tag Archives: Health
Telomeres are the caps at the end of human DNA strands known as chromosomes that protect the DNA code of the genome. As humans age, telomeres begin to decrease in size, causing cellular aging. After telomeres reach a certain length, the cell is no longer able to divide and will die. This process has been associated with disease, aging, and death. Antioxidants are often credited as providing nutritional support that can help protect normal telomere size and function.
Telomere Extension: Is It Possible?
Studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle and stress reduction can have a huge impact on telomeres, causing them to grow longer, potentially even lengthening lifespan. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have recently uncovered a new procedure for quickly increasing the length of telomeres in the laboratory. 
Scientists discovered that cells treated with this type of procedure acted as though they were much younger than untreated cells. Cells that had their telomeres lengthened by the treatment multiplied up to 40 times more quickly than untreated cells. By increasing the number of times cells are able to divide, the procedure essentially turns back the aging clock in cultured cells.
While the procedure causes telomeres to lengthen initially, the effect is only temporary. After 48 hours, telomeres resume shortening regularly as cells divide. The temporary nature of this new technique is key to the procedure’s potential for success, since infinitely dividing cells could create a risk of cancer if used in humans.
The discovery offers numerous potential benefits for humans, paving the path to treating and preventing aging diseases and other conditions associated with shortening telomeres. By developing telomere extension therapies, scientists can improve existing cell therapies and possibly treat aging conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, or target types of muscle cells in cases of muscular dystrophy. The procedure may also increase the amount of cells available for research and studies like disease modeling and drug testing.
Ways You Can Protect Telomeres
Currently, researchers are testing the procedure on different cell types. By working to understand and overcome the differences among cell types, scientists hope they can make the procedure more universally useful. Things that you can do to protect telomeres from shortening prematurely include eating a diet rich in antioxidants, reducing stress, exercising, increasing vitamin D production, and improving the quality of your sleep. Some research has also shown that tea drinkers have longer telomeres than non-tea drinkers. 
What are your anti-aging protocols? We’d love to hear about your suggestions and opinions in the comments!
- Ramunas J, Yakubov E, Brady JJ, et al. Transient delivery of modified mRNA encoding TERT rapidly extends telomeres in human cells. FASEB J. 2015 Jan 22. pii: fj.14-259531.
- Sheng R, Gu ZL, Xie ML. Epigallocatechin gallate, the major component of polyphenols in green tea, inhibits telomere attrition mediated cariomyocyte apoptosis in cardiac hypertrophy. Int J Cardiol. 2013 Jan 20;162(3):199-209. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2011.07.083.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade legislation and its companion Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are anti-consumer stealth corporate coup d’etat freedom and ecosystem-destroying measures – nightmarish by any standard.
They let corporate predators establish unrestricted supranational global trade rules overriding national sovereignty and domestic laws.
They serve investor rights at the expense of public ones. They permit anything goes for profit. They create a world more unfit to live in than already.
On June 10, WikiLeaks published the draft TPP Healthcare Annex (so-called Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices).
It establishes pharmaceutical and medical device procurement and reimbursement rules government healthcare authorities must follow.
Vague language creates opportunities for drug and medical device companies to challenge Medicare and healthcare program procedures of the 12 TPP-bloc countries.
Consumer friendly policy reforms would be constrained – including the ability of governments to contain rising prices making them unaffordable for millions.
Big Pharma wants profits protected over public health, said WikiLeaks. It wants them maximized.
An earlier Healthcare Annex was released in 2011. Some harmful provisions were removed in the latest version. Global Trade Watch (GTW) says serious questions remain unanswered – vital for people to know, including:
“What guarantees are there that the TPP’s requirements would not override existing procedures for Medicare?”
The US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) claims Medicare fully complies with TPP provisions.
“Yet (their) ambiguous language…leaves our domestic healthcare policies vulnerable to attack by drug and (medical) device manufacturers,” said GTW.
Could companies use Healthcare Annex provisions to cover expensive products “without a corresponding benefit to public health,” GTW asked?
Medicare reimburses for “reasonable and necessary” products and treatment. TPP “recognize(s) the value (of drugs and medical devices through the) operation of competitive markets (or their) objectively demonstrated therapeutic significance” – regardless of effectiveness or affordability.
Medicare permits limited reimbursement appeals only. Companies might argue TPP rules permit unrestricted reviews.
“Would the TPP constrain pharmaceutical reform efforts in the US,” asked GTW? Healthcare Annex provisions apply to future coverage determinations as well as current ones.
Healthcare reform advocates want soaring drug prices curtailed by establishing a “national formulary” enabling the government to get substantial discounts passed on to consumers. TPP won’t allow it.
“Could the inclusion of this Annex in the TPP bolster the case of a pharmaceutical company that is suing the United States,” asked GTW?
Investor-State Dispute Settlement procedures have been included in US trade agreements since the 1990s. Foreign companies may challenge government policies – claiming they potentially curtail future profits. In return, they demand “unlimited sums in taxpayer compensation.”
GTW asked if the Healthcare Annex boosts their case – at the expense of the public interest. Companies could claim government policies compromised their profit expectations and demand compensating reimbursement at taxpayers’ expense.
Much about TPP remains secret – vital information people have a right to know. If enacted, Washington wants it extended to all Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members – about 40% of the world’s population.
Attorney Judit Rius Sanjuan for Doctors Without Borders says TPP “will increase the cost of medicines worldwide, starting with the 12 countries that are negotiating” TPP.
Hugely profitable drug companies want unconstrained rights to charge whatever the market will bear. They claim high prices are needed to compensate for billions of dollars spent for research – without acknowledging how much governments in America and elsewhere pay for, passing on scientific research information to drug companies cost-free.
GTW director Lori Wallach calls the Healthcare Annex leak “the latest example of why fast-tracking the TPP would undermine the health of Americans and the other countries and cost our government more, all to the benefit of pharma’s profits.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”. www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html Visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Most Americans are deathly afraid to go to the hospital these days – and it is because of the immense pain that it will cause to their wallets. If you want to get on a path that will lead you to bankruptcy, just start going to the hospital a lot. In America today, hospitals and doctors are blatantly ripping us off and they aren’t making any apologies for it. As you will read about below, some hospitals mark up treatments by 1,000 percent. In other instances, basic medical supplies are being billed out at hundreds of times what they cost providers. For example, it has been reported that some hospitals are charging up to 30 dollars for a single aspirin pill. It would be difficult to argue that the extreme greed that we see in the medical system is even matched by the crooks on Wall Street. These medical predators get their hands on us when we are at our most vulnerable. They know that in our lowest moments we are willing to pay just about anything to get better or to make the pain go away. And so they very quietly have us sign a bunch of forms without ever telling us how much everything is going to cost. Eventually when the bills come in the mail, it is too late to do anything about it.
How would you feel if someone sold you something for ten times the amount that it was worth?
Would you feel ripped off?
Well, that is what hospitals all over the country are doing every single day. Just check out what one brand new study has discovered…
Some hospitals are marking up treatments by as much as 1,000 percent, a new study finds, and the average U.S. hospital charges uninsured patients three times what Medicare allows.
Twenty of the hospitals in the top 50 when it comes to marking up charges are in Florida, the researchers write in the journal Health Affairs. And three-quarters of them are operated by two Tennessee-based for-profit hospital systems: Community Health Systems and Hospital Corporation of America.
“We just want to raise public awareness of the problem,” said Ge Bai of Washington & Lee University in Virginia, an accounting professor who wrote the study along with Gerard Anderson of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Does reading that make you angry?
They are greedily taking advantage of all of us.
Other studies have come up with similar results. Here is one example…
According to National Nurses United, U.S. hospital charges continue to soar with a handful of them, such as Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, N.J., going as far as charging more than ten times the total cost — or almost $1,200 per $100 of the cost of care. Meanwhile, the hundred priciest hospitals in the nation were found to have this cost ratio begin at 765 percent, which is more than twice the national average of 331 percent.
Much of the time, we are being overcharged for tests, services and procedures that we don’t even need.
It has been estimated that the amount of truly wasteful spending in the U.S. medical system comes to a grand total of about $600 billion to $700 billion annually. That means that wasteful medical spending in the U.S. each year is greater than the GDP of the entire country of Sweden.
And of course almost everyone has a story about an absolutely ridiculous medical bill that they have received. In fact, if you have one that you would like to share, please feel free to share it at the end of this article. The following are just a few examples that were shared in an editorial in a local newspaper…
Have you heard about the little girl who required three stitches over her right eye? The emergency room sent her parents a bill for $1,500 — $500 per stitch (NY Times, Dec. 3). My neighbor recently spent six hours in the emergency room with bleeding from the mouth. He was on a blood thinner, needed several blood tests, and his heart was monitored. His hospital bill came to $22,000. A California man diagnosed with lung cancer chose to fight his cancer aggressively. Eleven months later his widow received a bill exceeding $900,000.
One of the most disturbing trends that we are witnessing all over the nation is something called “drive by doctoring”. That is where an extra doctor that isn’t even necessary “pops in” to visit patients that are not his or “assists” with a surgery in order to stick the patient with a big, fat extra bill. The following is from a New York Times article about this disgusting practice…
Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks in December, Peter Drier, 37, signed a pile of consent forms. A bank technology manager who had researched his insurance coverage, Mr. Drier was prepared when the bills started arriving: $56,000 from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, $4,300 from the anesthesiologist and even $133,000 from his orthopedist, who he knew would accept a fraction of that fee.
He was blindsided, though, by a bill of about $117,000 from an “assistant surgeon,” a Queens-based neurosurgeon whom Mr. Drier did not recall meeting.
How would you like to receive a bill for $117,000 from a doctor that you had never met and that you did not know would be at your surgery?
This is how broken our medical system has become.
And of course this type of abuse is not just happening in New York. It is literally happening all over the nation…
In operating rooms and on hospital wards across the country, physicians and other health providers typically help one another in patient care. But in an increasingly common practice that some medical experts call drive-by doctoring, assistants, consultants and other hospital employees are charging patients or their insurers hefty fees. They may be called in when the need for them is questionable. And patients usually do not realize they have been involved or are charging until the bill arrives.
If you or a close family member has been to the hospital recently, you probably know how astronomical some of these bills can be.
And if you have a chronic, life threatening disease, you can very rapidly end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
If you doubt this, just check out the following excerpt from an article that appeared in Time Magazine. One cancer patient out in California ran up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he finally died…
By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.
The sad truth is that the U.S. health care system has become all about the money.
A select few are becoming exceedingly wealthy while millions go broke. One very disturbing study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt. And collection agencies seek to collect unpaid medical bills from approximately 30 million Americans every single year.
Once upon a time, going into the medical profession was a sacrifice and you did it because you wanted to help people.
Today, it is considered to be a path to riches.
If the U.S. health care system was a separate country, it would actually be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet. Even though our system is deeply broken, nobody wants to rock the boat because trillions of dollars are at stake. If it was up to me, I would tear the entire thing down and rebuild it from scratch.
So what about you? How would you fix our broken health care system? Please feel free to share your ideas by posting a comment below…
Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.
Candles are great for encouraging relaxation and creating a calm, serene environment. A candle’s aroma and soft, warm glow sets a nice tone for romance, sophistication, and tranquility. Most candles today feature a variety of aromas. While refreshing they may be, the chemicals used to produce a candle’s fragrance can be toxic and can contribute to air pollution. Fortunately, there are safe options, and it’s just a matter of being conscious during your purchasing decisions.
The Health Dangers of Candles
Let’s take a quick look at the components of many candles, and how each component may be contributing to a toxic environment.
The Health Dangers of Candle Wicks
One of the main concerns over candles, besides the scents, is the wick. Different wicks are used for different purposes and they can be divided into two main categories: cored and non-cored wicks. Non-cored wicks are usually made of a braided or twisted cotton and considered the safest to burn.
Cored wicks are usually made of cotton around a paper or metal core. Zinc, tin, and lead are standard compounds used in its composition. Burning candles with lead-cored wicks is now known to cause lead poisoning, and there are similar concerns about zinc-cored wicks. In 1974, the National Candle Association of the U.S. voluntarily stopped using lead-cored wicks because of risks with airborne lead.  Unfortunately, many countries outside of North America still produce candles using dangerous wicks.
In 2000, the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that indicated candles with wicks containing lead were available at 12 different stores in the Washington-Baltimore area.  Testing showed that the candle containing the least lead would, during three hours of burning time, produce enough air lead concentration so that a normally active six-year old would exceed the recommended daily lead limit for children in 45 minutes. The authors concluded that there is no reliable method to distinguish lead-containing wicks from other metal-cored wicks.
The Health Dangers of Candle Wax
The type of wax the candle is made of and and how the candle is burned significantly affects air quality. A candle burned in a draft with a smokey, guttering flame will be emitting particulate matter in every direction. If you prefer a candle that has a metal-cored wick, ask the manufacturer what metal is in the wick. If they can’t or won’t tell you, for safety’s sake, choose another candle.
The Health Dangers of Artificial Fragrances
Beeswax and bayberry wax both contain natural scents, beeswax offering the sweet smell of honey and bayberry a spicy, fresh aroma. Scents added to wax vary in their source and composition. Originally, perfumes came from animal and vegetable sources. In the late 1800s, the first synthetic fragrances were produced and were quickly adopted as a cheaper source of aromas. Many people today are sensitive to artificial scents from perfume, candles, and even air fresheners.
Fragrance oils are specially made for particular uses, such as scenting candles, soaps, cosmetics, and potpourris. They are usually synthetic. Exact formulas for fragrances fall under the trade secrets act in the U.S., but manufacturers of the oils will normally be able to produce a Materials Safety Data Sheet which will cover the physical characteristics of the oil, physical or health hazards, and first aid treatment in case of an accident. Candle scents contain stabilizers and fixatives which allow the oils to mix with wax and give off an aroma when heated.
Essential oils are naturally-occurring oils that are extracted mainly from botanical sources. They are usually more expensive than synthetic fragrances, and may not blend well with candle wax. Natural essential oils are more volatile than synthetics and most of them are difficult to use in candles unless they have added stabilizers or fixatives.
Stearic acid was once the only additive available for paraffin candles and is derived from either animal fat or palm oil. It is now often replaced with Vybar, a polymer which raises the melting point of paraffin, allows scents and colors to blend evenly in the wax, and gives the paraffin some of the qualities of more expensive waxes, allowing candle makers to charge more for a cheap candle.
Microcrystallines are a group of substances derived from petroleum that are added to candles to change the texture of the wax, add gloss, increase opacity, etc. Polyethylenes are produced from natural gas. They add gloss, luster, or clear crystals to wax.
The Bottom Line on Candle Safety
When candles are lit, they emit these chemicals into the air, the air we breathe. Our bodies take the burden of this indoor air pollution with unknown toxic effects. The American Lung Association even warns people from burning scented or slow-burning candles that contain artificial ingredients. In addition, they suggest burning beeswax candles instead with metal in the wick, or candles that are greasy to the touch.
Choosing Safe Candles
Buy candles from trusted countries. Imported candles often come from countries where they employ chemicals no longer used in North America because of health concerns. Find out what the wick is made of. If your vendor can’t tell you, don’t buy it. Cotton or hemp wicks are considered to be the safest. Choose candles made from beeswax or soy wax. Avoid paraffin.
Be aware that many candle manufacturers make claims for their candles or waxes that can’t be substantiated or are untrue. No candle is “soot-free” because combustion causes soot; however, beeswax and soy wax don’t produce sticky, black, petroleum-based soot.
Do you have a safe candle recommendation? Leave a comment below and share it with us.
- National Candle Association. FAQs. National Candle Association.
- Public Citizen. Millions of Dangerous Candles Sold Throughout U.S. Public Citizen.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
According to a new report conducted by the State of the World Mother’s, the United States ranks 33 out of 179 countries surveyed for maternal health.  Just last year, the U.S. was at 31. How can a country so developed be drastically behind other countries in taking care of mothers and their newborns? Could it be the medical establishment in the country that is driving the maternal health crisis, or something far more hidden and obscure?
Maternal Health Even Worse in United States
One out of 1,800 women each year dies during or following childbirth, representing the worst maternal death rate of any developed nation. The U.S. also ranked 42 out of 179 for children’s wellbeing, and 89 out of 179 for political status. Washington, D.C., seems to have the highest rate of infant mortality at about 7.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. To put this into a comparable perspective, cities like Oslo and Stockholm rank below 2.0 deaths per 1,000.
Could a Simple Nutritional Factor Be the Culprit?
The requirement for iodine increases over 50% for pregnant mothers, but many still fail to receive enough through food.  Even physicians may overlook this crucial nutrient need. We know, based upon current meta analyses, that iodine deficiency increases infant mortality.  Research also shows that low iodine intake during pregnancy may also harm a baby’s IQ.  These findings suggest that, if we increase our awareness around iodine in medicine and the media, we may perhaps see a drop in infant mortality and increase in maternal health.
Were you aware of the state of maternal health in America? What do you think, other than iodine supplementation, could help improve it? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments!
- Eliana Dockterman. U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health. TIME.
- Zimmermann MB. The effects of iodine deficiency in pregnancy and infancy. Paediatr Pernat Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;26 Suppl 1:108-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2012.01275.x.
- Paolo Vitti, MD. Iodine deficiency disorders. UpToDate.
- Sarah C. Bath, PhD, Colin D Steer, MSc, Prof Jean Golding, FMedSci, Pauline Emmett, PhD, Prof Margaret P Rayman, DPhil. Effect of inadequate iodine status in UK pregnant women on cognitive outcomes in their children: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The Lancet. Volume 382, No. 9889, p331-337, 27 July 2013.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
With over 25 million sufferers, sleep apnea is on the rise in the U.S.  The disease can put you at risk for many health issues, so it’s crucial you keep it in check. Some people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t even know they have it; it’s only when health concerns pop up do most people learn they’re suffering from this far-too-common sleep disorder.
5 Ways Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that may be associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even hearing loss. If you catch it early, you could be saving yourself from a host of medical issues later on. Here are 5 reasons to take action now if you’re suffering from sleep apnea.
- Sleep Apnea Leads to Hearing Loss
A recent study suggests there could be a link between sleep apnea and hearing loss.  Most of the participants were not under treatment for sleep apnea, so make sure you’re on top of a plan to control it. If your ears could talk, they might just thank you.
- Sleep Apnea Weakens Your Bones
Bone turnover is a process that replaces old bone with new growth, essential for maintaining bone health. Normally with this process there aren’t any problems, but when bone mass is lost, osteoporosis can occur. Sleep apnea, according to recent research, could be a missing link in some causes of osteoporosis.  While it sounds farfetched, the idea is catching on. It could be because “sleep duration and quality, oxygen levels, inflammation” and other health issues impact bone metabolism.
- Sleep Apnea Affects Your Fitness Levels
Sleep apnea could even be making it more difficult to do the fitness activities you love. A recent study suggests “predicted peak oxygen uptake, a measure of aerobic physical fitness, was significantly lower in people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.”  Since exercising for weight loss is one thing that can help sleep apnea, this news is troubling, to say the least. 
- Sleep Apnea Speeds Up Kidney Disease
Many sleep apnea sufferers also have type 2 diabetes, a disease marked by too much sugar in the blood.  Sometimes, those with type 2 diabetes can develop chronic kidney disease (CKD), which means the kidneys aren’t working as well. In the case of CKD, sleep apnea could even “accelerate kidney function decline,” leading to weaker and weaker kidneys. 
- Sleep Apnea Raises Blood Pressure
Because sleep apnea can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, this one’s very important.  One recent study suggests sleep apnea could raise your blood pressure even if taking blood pressure medications.  If you have high blood pressure and think you might have sleep apnea, make it a point to talk with your doctor.
One Final Thought
An important thing to remember is that the disease can also have a mental toll, weakening blood flow to the brain and possibly leading to brain damage.  Again, if sleep apnea is affecting you, don’t ignore it. Get a sleep study done, and, if deemed appropriate, consider a CPAP machine. There’s recent evidence that suggests airway pressure therapy (usually a CPAP machine) over time can actually reverse the brain damage caused by sleep apnea. 
What do you currently do for your sleep apnea? Tell us about it in the comments.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Rising prevalence of sleep apnea in U.S. threatens public health. ScienceDaily.
- American Thoracic Society. Sleep Apnea Tied to Hearing Loss in Large Study. ScienceDaily.
- Swanson, C. M. et al. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Metabolic Bone Disease: Insights Into the Relationship Between Bone and Sleep. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 30 (2).
- Beitler, J. R. et al. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is Associated with Impaired Exercise Capacity: A Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 10 (11).
- Dobrosielski, D. A. et al. Effects of exercise and weight loss in older adults with obstructive sleep apnea. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 47 (1).
- Investigación y Desarrollo. Poor sleep causes weight gain, susceptibility to diabetes. ScienceDaily.
- American Society of Nephrology. Sleep apnea may contribute to kidney disease progression. ScienceDaily.
- Walia, H. K. et al. Association of Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Elevated Blood Pressure Despite Antihypertensive Medication Use. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 10 (8).
- Marshall, N. S. et al. Sleep Apnea and 20-Year Follow-Up for All-Cause Mortality, Stroke, and Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the Busselton Health Study Cohort. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 10 (4).
- Macey, P. M. et al. Global Brain Blood-Oxygen Level Responses to Autonomic Challenges in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. PLoS ONE. 9 (8).
- Castronovo, V. et al. White Matter Integrity in Obstructive Sleep Apnea before and after Treatment. SLEEP.
You probably already know about some of the dangers that severe air pollution exposure can cause and how places like stoplights at intersections can increase your exposure to harmful air particles up to 29 times more than the open road. While these facts are startling, you probably don’t know about the almost invisible dangers.  Namely the numerous diseases and cognitive issues now being linked to air pollution. Here we’ll get into five ways you’re letting air pollution destroy your health.
The Hidden Dangers of Air Pollution
Despite the slow turn to more sustainable forms of agriculture and industry, air pollution is still a big problem. Here are just some of the ways air pollution negatively affects your health.
1. Air Pollution is Linked to Suicide
It may seem crazy to think that air pollution could lead to something as serious as suicide, but studies in Taiwan, South Korea, China, and now Utah suggest a link. Not only is suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the US, it is the number 8th cause of death in Utah.  Obviously, there are many factors that must be considered when discussing causes of suicide; however, suicide rates increased in Utah during the spring and fall (a time when certain aspects of air pollution can be worse).
2. Air Pollution Slows Cognition in Schoolchildren
We all know that air pollution can exacerbate symptoms of asthma and other respiratory-related illnesses and diseases, but did you also know that it can affect brain development? Dr. Jordi Sunyer did a study to see just how affected schoolchildren are by air pollution (specifically traffic pollution). The study concluded that children who attended schools in polluted areas showed overall slower cognition in comparison to those who attended schools in areas with less traffic pollution. “The associations between slower cognitive development and higher levels of air pollutants remained after the researchers took factors such as parents’ education, commuting time, smoking in the home and green spaces at school into account.” 
3. Significant Risks to Frequent Flyers
Those who fly frequently (especially pilots or other airline staff) could potentially be more at risk for certain issues, dubbed “aerotoxic syndrome.” Most planes have a mechanism that compresses air from the engines and uses that as air in the cabin, but sometimes, these mechanisms malfunction and allow oil particles to taint the cabin air. Many airline employees have mentioned this, but one pilot, Richard Westgate, passed away in 2012 after claiming to be a victim of poisonous and toxic cabin fumes. 
4. Cremations Release Mercury Into the Air
With land for burials becoming more scarce (and also more expensive), many people turn to cremation as an alternate form of honoring the body of a loved one who has passed on. The unfortunate side effect of cremation is mercury emissions.  Honoring a fallen loved one should not come at the price of endangering yourself and others, but there are alternatives such as alkaline hydrolysis or “liquid cremation” that are far healthier for the environment and for you.
5. Air Pollution Linked to Autism
Autism and related disorders have been on the rise for some time and research suggests air pollution may be a contributing factor. Several reports noted a link between exposure to toxic metals and other pollutants in children who were more at risk to develop autism. Other studies focused on pregnant women and how closely they lived to freeways and other sources of heavy pollution. All of the studies found similar exposures to a handful of particular pollutants that seemed to increase the risk of autism in newborns. 
Air Pollution: No Simple Solution
It’s difficult to remove all air pollution from your life, unfortunately, but you can monitor and limit your exposure. Keep abreast with local news about your city or even check in on a Breathe Cam.  Keep plants inside your home to help remove harmful pollutants.   Consider an air purification device, they can be a great active approach for purifying the air in your home.
How’ve you dealt with air pollution? Leave a comment and share your tips below.
- Baggaley, Kate. Stoplights are hotspots for air pollution. Science News. 2015.
- Pappas, Stephanie. Utah suicides linked to air pollution. Live Science. 2015.
- CBC News. Traffic pollution tied to slower cognition in schoolchildren. CBC News. 2015.
- Campbell, Jaime. Toxic fumes in plane cabin’s pose health risks to frequent flyers, says coroner. Independent.co.uk. 2015.
- Lewis, Barbara. EU should curb mercury emissions from cremations, campaigners say. Reuters. 2015.
- Arnold, Carrie. Air pollution and ASDs: Homing in on an environmental risk factor. EHP. 2015.
- Keane, Jonathan. Keep an eye on your city’s pollution in real time. New Scientist. 2015.
- Barboza, Tony. Cleaner air is linked to stronger lungs in Southern California children. LA Times. 2015.
- Kinzler, Don. NASA Study: Houseplants remove harmful substances from indoors. Duluth News Tribute. 2015.
The soft, yet sweet savory flavor of sage along with its wonderful health-promoting properties is held in such high esteem that the International Herb Association awarded sage the title of “Herb of the Year” in 2001! Fresh, dried whole or powdered, sage is available throughout the year.
Sage leaves are grayish green in color with a silvery bloom covering. They are lance-shaped and feature prominent veins running throughout. Sage has been held in high regard throughout history both for it culinary and medicinal properties. Its reputation as a panacea is even represented in its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means “to be saved.”
Like rosemary, its sister herb in the mint (Labitae) family, sage contains a variety of volatile oils, flavonoids (including apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin), and phenolic acids, including the phenolic acid named after rosemary—rosmarinic acid.
Rosmarinic acid can be readily absorbed from the GI tract, and once inside the body, acts to reduce inflammatory responses by altering the concentrations of inflammatory messaging molecules (like leukotriene B4). The rosmarinic acid in sage and rosemary also functions as an antioxidant. The leaves and stems of the sage plant also contain antioxidant enzymes, including SOD (superoxide dismutase) and peroxidase. When combined, these three components of sage—flavonoids, phenolic acids, and oxygen-handling enzymes—give it a unique capacity for stabilizing oxygen-related metabolism and preventing oxygen-based damage to the cells. Increased intake of sage as a seasoning in food is recommended for persons with inflammatory conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis),as well as bronchial asthma, and atherosclerosis. The ability of sage to protect oils from oxidation has also led some companies to experiment with sage as a natural antioxidant additive to cooking oils that can extend shelf life and help avoid rancidity.
Better Brain Function
Want some sage advice? Boost your wisdom quotient by liberally adding sage to your favorite soups, stews and casserole recipes. Research published in the June 2003 issue of Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior confirms what herbalists have long known: sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, two trials were conducted using a total of 45 young adult volunteers. Participants were given either placebo or a standardized essential oil extract of sage in doses ranging from 50 to 150 microls. Cognitive tests were then conducted 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 hours afterwards. In both trials, even the 50 microl dose of sage significantly improved subjects’ immediate recall.
In other research presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Harrogate (September 15-17, 2003), Professor Peter Houghton from King’s College provided data showing that the dried root of Salvia miltiorrhiza, also known as Danshen or Chinese sage, contains active compounds similar to those developed into modern drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Sage has been used in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease for over one thousand years. Four compounds isolated from an extract from the root of Chinese sage were found to be acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. The memory loss characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is accompanied by an increase of AChE activity that leads to its depletion from both cholinergic and noncholinergic neurons of the brain. Amyloid beta-protein (A beta), the major component of amyloid plaques which form in the brain in Alzeeimer’s disease, acts on the expression of AChE, and AChE activity is increased around amyloid plaques. By inhibiting this increase in AChE activity, sage provides a useful therapeutic option to the use of pharmaceutical AChE inhibitors. (October 24, 2003)
Sage is native to countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and has been consumed in these regions for thousands of years. In medicinal lore, sage has one of the longest histories of use of any medicinal herb.
The Greeks and Romans were said to have highly prized the many healing properties of sage. The Romans treated it as sacred and created a special ceremony for gathering sage. Both civilizations used it as a preservative for meat, a tradition that continued until the beginning of refrigeration. What these cultures knew from experience, that sage could help to reduce spoilage, is now being confirmed by science, which has isolated the herb’s numerous terpene antioxidants.
Sage’s legendary status continued throughout history. Arab physicians in the 10th century believed that it promoted immortality, while 14th century Europeans used it to protect themselves from witchcraft. Sage was in so much demand in China during the 17th century, appreciated for the delicious tea beverage that it makes, that the Chinese are said to have traded three cases of tea leaves (camellia sinensis) to the Dutch for one case of sage leaves.
And the esteem with which sage is regarded has not faded. In 2001, the International Herb Association awarded sage the title of “Herb of the Year.”
Are you eating a diet high in sugar? If so, consider two of many health costs. As you chew on that sugary snack, those empty calories could be increasing your waistline and lead to a fatty liver (one thing that could lead to permanent damage).  Sugar is in practically everything these days, from your peanut butter to a loaf of bread. What’s worse, high fructose corn syrup has quickly replaced pure sugar, leading to even further complications. Could cutting sugar out of your life completely be the answer to your health concerns? Well, there’s one thing–it certainly might help.
Why You Should Sugar ‘Detox’ Your Life
Reducing or cutting out sugar consumption could do wonders for your lifestyle. Not only could it support your energy levels, but it may also support healthy aging. Here are just 4 reasons you need to get sugar out of your life.
1. Sugar Causes Obesity
With the way many Americans drink sugary beverages, it’s no surprise the latest report suggests sugar is a factor in the obesity epidemic–especially when it comes to kids. The Obesity Society estimates Americans consume about 6 to 7 percent of their calories in sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).  SSBs are brimming with empty calories, and cutting these out of your diet can only make a change for the better.
2. Sugar Causes Cardiovascular Disease
It’s not just weight gain that’s a possible concern, though; sugar could even add to your risk for heart disease.  In a recent study, sugar was linked to changes in blood pressure and in the body’s lipids. This latest finding only adds to evidence that continues to suggest there’s no such thing as a “safe sugar habit.”
3. Sugar is as Addictive as a Drug
The latest research even suggests sugar could be as addictive as a drug.  Sugar addiction could be a throwback to a distant time when food supplies were scarce, and people weren’t worried about empty calories. They were just eating enough to survive. At the time, our brains might have been wired to overload on carbohydrates, mostly fruit and grains, in order to maintain an energy storage during times of famine. In this day and age, however, finding food isn’t the problem: it’s mindlessly eating sugar.
4. Sugar Affects Memory
Certainly SSBs could be doing more harm than good to our physical health, but a recent finding even suggests they could be damaging the memories of kids and teens.  Drinking SSBs in excess before adulthood leads to metabolic changes, affecting the “brain’s ability to function normally and remember critical information.” That’s one more reason to cut sugar out of your life!
One Final Thought
Sugar can be bad news for our bodies, but sugar substitutes aren’t really that much better. The brain perceives artificial sweeteners as overly sweet, and this perception can still lead to overeating, just like the kind mentioned in point three.  So we’re back to square one, it seems. With the rising sugar crisis, some have even suggested sugary foods need a warning label. 
What do you think? Is cutting sugar a step in the right direction? Tell us in the comments.
- Koopman, K. E. et al. Hypercaloric diets with increased meal frequency, but not meal size, increase intrahepatic triglycerides: A randomized controlled trial. Hepatology.
- Skinner, A. C. & Skelton, J. A. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity and Severe Obesity Among Children in the United States, 1999-2012. JAMA Pediatrics.168 (6).
- Te Morenga, L. A. et al. Dietary sugars and cardiometabolic risk: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of the effects on blood pressure and lipids. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 100 (1).
- Nieh, E. H. et al. Decoding Neural Circuits that Control Compulsive Sucrose Seeking. Cell. 160 (3).
- Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages during adolescence impairs memory, animal study suggests. ScienceDaily.
- Antenucci, R. G. & Hayes, J. A. Nonnutritive sweeteners are not supernormal stimuli. International Journal of Obesity.
- Capewell, S. Sugar sweetened drinks should carry obesity warnings. BMJ. 348.
Rich, golden honey. What is not to like? Just the thought of sweet, fragrant honey and honey bees makes me think of happy times. That, coupled with it’s long storage life makes honey a perfect food for the survival pantry. But did you know that honey has a myriad of other uses, including as a therapeutic ointment that promotes healing?
In this article you will learn all about honey, the various types, its use to promote health and wellness, and other ways to use honey that you may not have thought of. But first, a little background about honey and its various forms and types.
Honey is made by bees from their own internal digestion (and regurgitation) of flower nectar. This is stored as a food source in wax honeycombs that are formed within the beehive. With about the same relative sweetness of granulated sugar, honey has a long history of human consumption, going back as far as ancient Egypt. Even back then it was used to sweeten cakes and biscuits.
There is also a long history of honey being used for religious and symbolic purposes. It is reported that jars of honey were found in Pharaoh’s tombs (now that is long term storage for you!) and Alexander the Great was supposedly embalmed in honey. In Jewish tradition, honey is a symbol for the new year, Rosh Hashanah and, at the traditional meal for that holiday, apple slices are dipped in honey and eaten to bring a sweet new year.
Types of Honey
The most recognized form of honey is the sweet, golden liquid that is found on the grocery shelf –often in cute little honey bear shaped squeeze bottles. Honey, however, can be found in various forms:
Liquid Honey – Free of visible crystals, liquid honey is extracted from the honey comb by centrifugal force, gravity or straining. Because liquid honey mixes easily into a variety of foods, it’s especially convenient for cooking and baking. Most of the honey produced in the United States is sold in the liquid form.
Comb Honey – Comb honey is honey in its original form; that is, honey inside of the honeycomb. Did you know that the beeswax comb is edible?
Cut Comb – Cut comb honey is liquid honey that has added chunks of the honey comb in the jar. This is also known as a liquid-cut comb combination.
Raw Honey – Raw honey is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. While there is no official U.S. federal definition of raw honey, the National Honey Board defines raw honey as “ honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat.
Naturally Crystallized Honey – Naturally crystallized honey is honey in which part of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized. It is safe to eat.
Whipped (or Creamed) Honey – While all honey will crystallize in time, whipped honey (also known as creamed honey) is brought to market in a crystallized state. The crystallization is controlled so that, at room temperature, the honey can be spread like butter or jelly. In many countries around the world, whipped honey is preferred to the liquid form especially at breakfast time.
Honey Mead – Honey mead is actually a wine. It is an alcoholic drink made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
In addition to various forms of honey, there are various types of honey. There is organic honey, local, geographically specific honey, and floral honeys. Furthermore, the various flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, such as Alfalfa, Clover, Fireweed, Orange Blossom and more.
One very special type of honey is Manuka Honey which is s a product of the bees feeding off the Melaleuca blooms. Melaleuca probably sounds familiar because in its essential oil form, it is also known as tea tree oil! Manuka honey leads the pack when it comes to therapeutic use and is known as the Queen of medicinal honeys”.
The Use of Honey in Medicine
When it comes to therapeutic use, honey has been used for centuries to promote healing. Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans employed honey for wounds and diseases of the intestine. On the other hand, up until very recently, modern medicine has shunned honey for lack of so-called documentary evidence. That is now changing as more and more members of the medical community embrace the antibacterial, anti-microbial, and wound healing properties.
By far, the most common main stream medical use of honey is to treat sore throats. Honey has been used in this manner for centuries and to this day it is used as a treatment for sore throats and coughs. Another use that is becoming more common is the treatment of wounds.
“Within wounds, honey not only destroys bacterial infections, it creates a moist healing environment that allows skin cells to regrow naturally. This helps prevent raised scarring. Honey both prevents and kills bacterial infections. It has an acidic pH that is inhospitable for bacteria. It also has an osmotic effect which kills by drawing out fluid from the bacteria. Several studies have shown honey heals wounds better and faster, with a dramatic decrease in infection rates, especially in burn injuries.
Apply to cuts, scrapes, burns of any depth if medical help is not available, rashes, or any open skin injury, after good wound cleaning.
In the event of a severe second degree burn or any third degree burn, immediate medical help should be sought. In the event this help is not available, using RAW honey would be the best choice for healing and prevention of infection. Do not rinse off the honey, just add more at least once daily and cover with plastic wrap or a clean linen or cotton wrap to hold the honey in place. Severe burn patients are at a serious risk for many problems and need to be monitored by the best medical personnel possible.”
Recently the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of honey been studied and chemically explained and even the prestigious Mayo Clinic has recognized various medical uses of honey.
There is just one caution: Honey sometimes contains dormant spores of a type of botulism, which can be dangerous to an infants intestinal tract. For that reason, children under one year of age should not be given honey in any form.
20 Uses of Honey for Wellness and Survival
If the only time you pull out the honey jar is to sweeten your food, you are in for a surprise. There are literally dozens of uses for honey that you are missing. Here is a short list of alternative uses for honey.
Treat sore, scratchy throat: Mix honey with lemon juice to create a throat-relieving serum. Repeat as often as needed until symptoms are reduced, if not gone.
Cough Syrup: Use as a cough suppressant instead of using a commercial cough syrup which is full of sugar and unwanted chemicals. Note: Do not, under any circumstances, use on children under the age of one.
Heal Wounds: Honey, and Manuka Honey especially, is known to heal wounds by killing bacterial and fighting infections. Apply liberally then cover with a dressing. For an interesting scientific article on using honey to treat wounds, read Patients Should Ask Surgeons About Using Honey To Heal Wounds.
Reduce/Relieve Acid Reflux: Consume 1 tablespoon a day to relieve to acid reflux.
Topical Antiseptic: The hydrogen peroxide released by honey makes it the perfect topical antiseptic for cuts and scrapes. In addition, due to its viscous consistency, it also prevents wounds and scabs from sticking to the dressing or bandage.
Remove Parasites – Combine equal parts honey, vinegar and water. Then drink. The combination of these three ingredients is supposedly the perfect parasite killer.
Boost Immunity: The phytonutrients in raw honey have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help boost the immune system and fight sickness. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, try combining 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a 1/2 cup of hot, but not boiling, water.
Sleep Aid: Honey is known to facilitate the action of tryptophan, which helps make people sleepy.
Allergy Relief: The daily consumption of locally harvested honey is said to to reduce any allergies you have to localized plant pollens.
Energy Booster: Mix honey with some water then drink the solution. Honey’s glucose content will be absorbed by the brain and in the bloodstream, reducing fatigue in the process.
Improve Blood Flow: Honey, being rich in glucose, is known to improve the blood flow through the fortification of blood’s formation. Glucose provides energy in the bloodstream, which is distributed throughout the body. As a result, the blood produced has the proper consistency, flowing smoothly through the blood vessels. Glucose is believed to prevent capillary damage due to its ability to improve your blood flow.
Burn Treatment: Apply honey as a dressing to burns. The hydrogen peroxide released by the honey cleans the wound and soothes the inflammation. Burn marks will heal quickly and with less pain.
Antibacterial Solution: Given its acidic pH balance and viscous base, bacteria and germs won’t survive when covered in honey. The microorganisms will be trapped in the sticky acidic base, which is too abrasive for their exteriors, killing them off eventually.
Calms Anxiety and Promotes Relaxation: Anytime, but especially while in survival mode, you need to be clear headed and calm. Honey’s nutrients produce a calming effect, especially when taken in significant amounts.
Aids Digestion: Mix honey and apple cider vinegar in equal proportion then dilute with water. This natural drink aids digestion.
Substitute Honey for Sugar in Baking: For every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. For best results, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
Hair Conditioner: Add a teaspoon of honey to your regular shampoo or conditioner. You can also combine it with olive oil for a deeper conditioning. Let it soak for 20 minutes with your hair wrapped in a towel before shampooing as usual.
Skin Moisturizer: Put honey on your skin and leave it there 15 minutes then rinse off. Your skin will be soft and nicely moisturized.
Zap Acne: Apply a a small amount of honey directly on acne with a cotton swab or finger. Wait five minutes and then rinse with warm water.
Food Preservative: Honey is known food preservative, replacing chemical additives and refined sugars in many commercial products. When used to replace sugar in homemade bread and baked goods, the result will be a moist product that stays fresh longer and will be less likely to mold.
Storing honey is a easy in that there are just a few simple guidelines that will insure it’s long term viability and pleasing color. The main thing you want to do is store honey at room temperature. Extreme high or low temperatures should be avoided although neither will affect it’s quality.
About the worst thing than can happen to honey is that it will crystallize. This is a normal part of the honey aging process whereby the liquid in honey becomes solid. Storing honey is the refrigerator hastens this process so don’t do it. Easy as that.
Regardless of how careful you are, in a long term storage situation, honey will crystallize. When that happens, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Just be careful not to overdo it since too much heat will darken the honey even more and may possible scorch and burn the honey.
Cooking With Honey
Although it is optimal to use recipes developed for honey, it can easily be substituted for sugar by following just a few simple guidelines. Begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe. If that works out well, you can add more next time, gradually increasing the substitution as long as you are satisfied with the results.
Here are some specific tips for using honey in baked goods:
- Use 75% liquid honey for each cup of sugar called for in the recipe
- As a rule of thumb, reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used
- To prevent over-browning, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning
Worried about a sticky mess when cooking with honey? For easy measuring and clean-up, coat your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray before adding honey.
Here is one of my favorite uses of honey – homemade honey butter!
1/2 cup butter (fresh, canned or made from butter powder)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/16 vanilla powder
1/2 cup honey
Mix all ingredients together until creamy. Use to serve on any hot bread, biscuits or cornbread. Yummy.
Nutritional Profile of Honey
Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates (natural sugars) and water, as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Providing 17 grams of carbohydrates and 64 calories per tablespoon, honey is an all-natural sweetener without any added ingredients.
Honey also contains a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, scavenging and eliminating free radicals. Generally, darker honeys have higher antioxidant content than lighter honeys.
The Final Word
It would be impossible to describe all of the benefits of honey in a single article. Manuka honey, in of itself, warrants a discussion of the progress the medical community has made in documenting its therapeutic and healing properties. The more I learn, the more I am convinced that Manuka honey has a place in the emergency survival kit.
Honey blends well with many foods, is delicious to eat, and has an shelf life that does not expire. Along those lines, for definitive information on the shelf-life of honey, read The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life.
In closing, I want to let you know that I a personally enjoy a bit of organic,100% raw honey when ever I indulge in a bowl of Greek yogurt and bananas. Simply delicious! And yes, as I think of honey bees, I do indeed put a big smile in my face!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.
As I child, I was always outside. Whether I was biking, playing hide and seek with the neighborhood kids, jumping in puddles or making mud pies, I always wanted to be outdoors. Given my affinity for dirt and the outdoors, I was hardly ill as a child.
The staggering decrease in our overall health and resistance to antibiotics leads many to believe that our preoccupation with hyper-cleanliness may be the culprit. For decades society has been fed the lie that we must keep a constant state of cleanliness. In fact, experts believe that because the body is exposed to less microbes and germs early in life, it is causing illnesses later in life.
“Bacteria, fungi, lots of these things we think of as bad — they’re all part of our environment, and we evolved to live with them,” says Michael Zasloff, an immunologist and physician at Georgetown University Medical Center. Through exposure to these microbes early in life, your immune system learns what’s harmful and what isn’t, he says, and that readies the immune responses you’ll have for the rest of your life.
According to the hygiene hypothesis, bad things can happen if this early exposure doesn’t take place or if it doesn’t include the right microbes. The immune system can become overly sensitive, overreacting to non-threats such as pollen or dander as if they’re potentially harmful. When combined with certain genetic traits, this process can lead to conditions such as asthma and allergies, says Kathleen Barnes, an immunogeneticist at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in the genetics of asthma.
Healthy Exposure to Germs is Essential Early in Life
Introducing your immune system to common microbes and germs early in life is the best course of action in developing a stronger immune system. A 2012 study found that the farm-dwelling kids had significantly lower rates of asthma, hay fever and eczema. Scientists believe that introducing these germs early in life is the key. Researchers induced two groups of mice — germ-free (GF) mice, which are raised in a sterile environment, and specific-pathogen-free mice raised under normal laboratory conditions — to develop forms of asthma or ulcerative colitis. GF mice had more iNKT cells in their lungs and developed more severe disease symptoms, indicating that exposure to microbes was somehow influencing iNKT cell levels and making the GF mice more susceptible to inflammatory diseases.
The study also found that a lack of exposure in early life could not be compensated for by introducing the GF mice to a broader range of microbes in adulthood. Source
These tips can help you safely introduce germs to your immune system:
- Get outside. Nature is an excellent immune stimulator and being exposed in a happy, healthy way does wonders to all aspects of your child’s life. Give your child plenty of fresh air. Go for walks in the woods, country or parks. Let your child run barefoot and play in the mud.
- Quit the hand-sanitizer. Teaching children how to properly wash their hands with soap and water is the best way to keep hands clean. Moreover, many hand sanitizers are alcohol-based and could be harmful to small children – especially toddlers who constantly put their hands in their mouths.
- Change of diet. If your child has a history of ear infections, oral thrush, digestive trouble, colic, food allergies or other ongoing problems you need to look at their present diet. Certain foods such as excessive amounts of dairy, sugar, cold foods, sodas, and excessive fruits can make these problems worse. Restricted foods can be slowly re-introduced back into the diet at a later date.
- Create a non-toxic environment. Certain chemicals in household detergents and cleaners could be exacerbating childhood illnesses. Using natural cleaners would be a more proactive approach. Here are 10 products you can make yourself.
- Avoid unnecessary doses of antibiotics. Antibiotics are not always required for certain childhood illnesses. Children are prescribed excessive amounts of antibiotics for illnesses that do not require antibiotics. An example of this is ear infections. Over time, antibiotics can weaken a child’s immune system and also build up a resistance to the medicine itself. Ask your child’s pediatrician if antibiotics are the best course of action with your child’s illness. I know it’s hard watching your child suffer, but you want to ensure that you are giving them proper medical care.
Childhood is very different these days. Kids rarely venture outside and are conditioned to constantly keep clean. As well, our obsession with killing germs and bacteria has led to a generation of sick children and a sharp increase in methicillin-resistant illnesses. Knowing how to naturally increase your immune system at a young age is paramount in having a healthy immune system later in life.
Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.
The globalist plans for depopulation and global enslavement could not be any clearer. The oddities and idiosyncrasies behind the Agenda 21 movement cloaked inside the climate movement is often overwhelming to anyone who thinks on their own and values the human experience. One need only to tune into one’s one intuition, and apply basic common sense, knowledge, and reason to figure out how we are being lied to today.
Consider this: Why is the control system so eager to push for “sustainable” earth but nothing else apparently needs to be sustainable? Remember, this is the same “climate change” multi-billion dollar movement that spun off in the name of the now long dead and gone global warming hoax movement pushed by the globalist secret Club of Rome after their creation in April of 1968 while working under the orders of the Committee of 300. For those who still can’t wrap their heads around this reality, you will never get to the core questions that matter. Instead, as I’ve often discovered from conversation and debates with the usual “progressive” climate advocates, their knowledge, passion and beliefs are all based on faith. That’s right, faith in what another “scientist” or government authority has claimed.
I recently challenged a “climate” activist in the streets of Hollywood. The woman seemed happy to tackle the climate issue, hoping to lure me into her all-planet-loving happy vibration and get me to donate to the movement. When I kindly but firmly confronted her as to why she believed what she believed, when I challenged her on the scientific and the conspiratorial sides of the argument she dismissed both arguments with- ‘I know a researcher who agrees with me’ and ‘I just don’t believe that’, respectively. In terms of anything to do with science (CO2, knowledge of Greenhouse gases, the earth, the atmosphere and climate) her only rebuttal was her knowledge obtained by another scientist. When I mentioned IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change) and how all of these “scientists” are government sponsored with a clear-cut agenda, she appeared to have no knowledge of this. When I mentioned Michael Mann and his fake exposed so-called “Hockey Stick” graph which ignored major temperature fluctuations on earth throughout history (Medieval warm period, Little-Ice Age), she responded with a blank look saying “oh that thing”!
I use this story to illustrate the ignorance that drives the “sustainable” movement of climate worship and how this ignorance is so deeply engrained in the minds of the zombies who push it that it now requires no logic, reason or ability to make your argument. Like a religion, the movement seems to be strictly based on blind faith and emotional commitment to that position, like rooting for a favorite team without having to know the entire detailed history of that team.
This recent confrontation reminded me that it’s important to continue to challenge this global enslavement agenda which is disguised as a religion built on faith based assumptions, propaganda, logical fallacies, and disinformation. Let’s step back and ask more important questions that will challenge the paradigm of global control looming in the background of the climate religion and Agenda 21 “sustainable” living.
Knowing that the primary goal is control of all human activity, let us ask questions like- how about the sustainability of human freedom? Doesn’t human consciousness deserve sustainability also? Is it really normal to live in a future world where government monitors what you are doing, how much energy you are consuming and subsequently punishing you for breaking the rules? Isn’t “sustaining” human freedom important? Like, very important? Isn’t the need to sustain true justice, liberty and equality also very important? Isn’t it sickening and hypocritical that the world’s wealthiest 16% are said to consume over 80% of the planets resources? Isn’t it disturbing that those who have concocted this plan for global sustainability are part of the same 16% (more like 0.01%) who are consuming the most resources?
What about “sustaining” human health by removing ALL genetically modified (GMO) foods from the planet? How is Monsanto contributing to sustainability when in the best case scenario their genetically modified food is at least suspected of causing cancer and disease? Wouldn’t it be a move in a positive direction for human sustainability to terminate all GMO foods now? Or does human health sustainability not count? Why are there still toxins all around the planet affecting human health sustainability without a globalist secret society having meetings to stop this??
One aspect of those who follow the climate religion that begs explanation is their willingness to ingest all sorts of poisons into their bodies (which ultimately also affects the planet as well when the body decomposes, human waste etc), be it blatantly genetically modified toxic foods, toxic metal laced mandatory vaccines, chemically toxic water and an entire food manufacturing industry that freely sprays food with toxic pesticides. Climate changers pushing the U.N.’s Agenda 21 (without most of them realizing it) feel the earth is special but your body is somehow not. Their position is that your freedom is not important but the planet condition is. It’s like making someone clean their prison cell until its spotless. Yes, you might die in that prison cell, miserable due to your captivity and sick because you are eating poison but who cares, at least the cell is clean and spotless! The retardation, inconsistencies, hypocrisy and disconnect from humanity that the climate movement brings is not different from this logic. Climate changers view the earth with linear single-dimensional logic. They fail to realize the universe and everything in it is one complete form of energy that cannot be separated. The planet, the environment, the universe, human consciousness, freedom and the ability to thrive in a healthy clean pollution free world is all tied into one. You cannot focus on JUST the environment and then watch as humanity suffers from endless illnesses, depopulation, anguish and enslavement at the hand of an overreaching oppressive global government.
And as the hypocrisy of the Agenda 21 movement hiding under the climate religion exerts its hypnotic effect on the masses, YOU, the human being are supposed to play second fiddle to the planet, even as the government literally destroys the planet themselves with their ongoing geoengineering spraying programs. Let’s remember this is the same globalist controlled government who seeks absolute power over humanity, loves propaganda and loves endless wars. This is a movement brought to you by the same controllers who want to depopulate the world down to 500 million and have no problem allowing the epidemic of cancer and other human diseases to explode to record numbers.
As the climate goons continue to push their political goal of controlling all human activity in the name of saving the planet, no one should be fooled by the strategies they are employing to attract others to their agenda. They are able to convince the average politically asleep zombie that if the “Koch brothers” are resisting climate measures then that is proof that the evil corporations are the ones against climate change which presumably represents “truth” (I.E. the global warming “deniers”). This ‘common enemies’ argument is so useful and believable that it works. The strategy is simple: Find a convincing enemy of the movement and pin your movement against them so as to attract others via the common enemy effect. It’s that simple. Yes corporations are known for being greedy and ruthless but here’s the catch, so is government. And more importantly the Koch brothers pale in comparison to a deceptive movement and agenda concocted by some of the most greedy and powerful secret societies on the planet (the Club of Rome and the Counsel of 300).
“Oh I don’t believe that” – This was the response I got from the activist who was selling Agenda 21’s climate religion, when asked if she was aware of the Club of Rome’s publicly outlined long term agenda for controlling all human activity by introducing a climate religion that would supersede all other religions and put the blame for the planet’s condition on the ever consuming individual.
So as we continue to march ever closer to the globalist new world order where every form of human activity will be surveilled, categorized, documented, and fully controlled for fines, fees, imprisonment or worse, let’s document the steps that got us there. Persistent propaganda, blind belief, collectivism, lots of funding, and the mindset of acting for the “greater good”.
Ignorance- the great enemy
In order to get to where we are today it is necessary for ignorance to prevail in a major way. We’ve got just that, today. Ignorance of humanity’s history is at an all-time high. Don’t forget that the history of the Illuminati, the history of the globalist bankers, and the history of controlling governments and dictators is all part of our collective human history. What we are seeing is a generation of zombies who are completely ignorant of the history of their own species. This is the power of dividing people. When the people are divided they become unaware of each other’s history. This is what divide and conquer is all about.
The information war is an at its peak, so if you are awake now is the time to let your light shine. Share this information with others. It’s time to either throw out the whole “sustainable” religion talk from our vocabulary or start incorporating “sustainability” to human freedom, human dignity, and human health as well because it’s all interconnected.
Consider how retarded it is for a species to forsake it’s OWN sustainability (of health, happiness, and freedom) for the sake of sustaining its planet based on “rules” and “science” concocted by the very same voices at the top who are making billions $$ promoting the very religion of sustainability while consuming most of the resources.
The great challenge humanity faces is the quest to overcome the great ignorance we are under and see the bigger picture. Will enough people break through the ignorance and see the greater picture to change the retarded and ominous course we are on? Or will the bigger picture end at where we “save” the planet for the globalist to enjoy it for themselves as they enslave the entire species? Only time will tell.
Agenda 21 The Depopulation Agenda For a New World Order
Bernie Suarez is a revolutionary writer with a background in medicine, psychology, and information technology. He has written numerous articles over the years about freedom, government corruption and conspiracies, and solutions. A former host of the 9/11 Freefall radio show, Bernie is also the creator of the Truth and Art TV project where he shares articles and videos about issues that raise our consciousness and offer solutions to our current problems. His efforts are designed to encourage others to joyfully stand for truth, to expose government tactics of propaganda, fear and deception, and to address the psychology of dealing with the rising new world order. He is also a former U.S. Marine who believes it is our duty to stand for and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. A peace activist, he believes information and awareness is the first step toward being free from enslavement from the globalist control system which now threatens humanity. He believes love conquers all fear and it is up to each and every one of us to manifest the solutions and the change that you want to see in this world, because doing this is the very thing that will ensure victory and restoration of the human race from the rising global enslavement system, and will offer hope to future generations.
From slowing the decline in fatal brain disease, to generating a sense of oneness with one another and the universe, drumming’s physical and spiritual health benefits may be as old as time itself.
Drumming is as fundamentalform of human expression as speaking, and likely emerged long before humans even developed the capability of using the lips, tongue and vocal organs as instruments of communication.
To understand the transformative power of drumming you really must experience it, which is something I have had the great pleasure of doing now for twenty years. Below is one of the circles I helped organize in Naples Florida back in 2008, which may give you a taste of how spontaneous and immensely creative a thing it is (I’m the long haired ‘hippie’ with the gray tank top drumming like a primate in the background).
Anyone who has participated in a drum circle, or who has borne witness to one with an open and curious mind, knows that the rhythmic entrainment of the senses[i] and the anonymous though highly intimate sense of community generated that follows immersion in one, harkens back to a time long gone, where tribal consciousness preempted that of self-contained, ego-centric individuals, and where a direct and simultaneous experience of deep transcendence and immanence was not an extraordinarily rare occurrence as it is today.
This experience is so hard-wired into our biological, social and spiritual DNA that even preschool children as young as 2.5 years appear to be born with the ability to synchronize body movements to external acoustic beats when presented in a social context, revealing that drumming is an inborn capability and archetypal social activity.[ii]
Even Bugs Know How To Drum
But drumming is not a distinctively human technology. The use of percussion as a form of musicality, communication, and social organization,[iii] is believed to stretch as far back as 8 million years ago to the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees and humans living somewhere in the forests of Africa.[iv]
For instance, recent research on the drumming behavior of macaque monkeys indicates that the brain regions preferentially activated by drumming sounds or by vocalizations overlap in caudal auditory cortex and amygdala, which suggests “a common origin of primate vocal and nonvocal communication systems and support the notion of a gestural origin of speech and music.”[v]
Interestingly, percussive sound-making (drumming) can be observed in certain species of birds, rodents and insects. [vi] Of course you know about the woodpecker’s characteristic pecking, but did you know that mice often drum with their feet in particular locations within their burrow, both for territorial displays and to sound alarms against predators? Did you know that termites use vibrational drumming signals to communicate within the hive? For instance, soldiers threatened with attack drum their heads against tunnels to transmit signals along subterranean galleries, warning workers and other soldiers to respond accordingly.[viii] See the video below for an example of termite drumming.
Percussion: Sound Waves Carry Epigenetic, Biologically Meaningful Information
Even more amazing is the fact that wasps appear to use antennal drumming to alter the caste development or phenotype of their larvae. Conventional thinking has held for quite some time that differential nutrition alone accounted for why one larvae develops into a non-reproductive worker and one into a reproductive female (gyne). This is not the case, according to a 2011 study:
“But nutrition level alone cannot explain how the first few females to be produced in a colony develop rapidly yet have small body sizes and worker phenotypes. Here, we provide evidence that a mechanical signal biases caste toward a worker phenotype. In Polistes fuscatus, the signal takes the form of antennal drumming (AD), wherein a female trills her antennae synchronously on the rims of nest cells while feeding prey-liquid to larvae. The frequency of AD occurrence is high early in the colony cycle, when larvae destined to become workers are being reared, and low late in the cycle, when gynes are being reared. Subjecting gyne-destined brood to simulated AD-frequency vibrations caused them to emerge as adults with reduced fat stores, a worker trait. This suggests that AD influences the larval developmental trajectory by inhibiting a physiological element that is necessary to trigger diapause, a gyne trait.” [vii]
This finding indicates that the acoustic signals produced through drumming within certain species carry biologically meaningful information (literally: ‘to put form into’) that operate epigenetically (i.e. working outside or above the genome to effect gene expression).
This raises the question: is there ancient, biologically and psychospiritually meaningful information contained within drum patterns passed down to us from our distant ancestors? Could some of these rhythms contain epigenetic information that affect both the structure (conformation) and function of biomolecules and biologically meaningful energetic/information patterns in our body? If so, this would mean these ancient patterns of sound could be considered “epigenetic inheritance systems” as relevant to DNA expression as methyl donors like folate and betaine and not unlike grandmother’s recipe (recipe literally means “medical prescription” in French) for chicken soup that still adds the perfect set of chemistries and information specific to your body to help you overcome the common cold or bring you back from fatigue.
We do have some compelling evidence from human clinical and observational studies on the power of drumming to affect positive change both physically and psychologically, seemingly indicating the answer to our question about the biological role of acoustic information in modulating micro and macro physiological processes in a meaningful way is YES.
Naples drum circle joins the African cultural festival performance in Fort Myers, 2008
6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Drumming
Drumming has been proven in human clinical research to do the following six things:
- Reduce Blood Pressure, Anxiety/Stress: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine enrolled both middle-aged experienced drummers and a younger novice group in a 40-minute djembe drumming sessions. Their blood pressure, blood lactate and stress and anxiety levels were taken before and after the sessions. Also, their heart rate was monitored at 5 second intervals throughout the sessions. As a result of the trial, all participants saw a drop in stress and anxiety. Systolic blood pressure dropped in the older population postdrumming.
- Increase Brain White Matter & Executive Cognitive Function: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease found that two months of drumming intervention in Huntington’s patients (considered an irreversible, lethal neurodegenerative disease) resulted in “improvements in executive function and changes in white matter microstructure, notably in the genu of the corpus callosum that connects prefrontal cortices of both hemispheres.”[ix] The study authors concluded that the pilot study provided novel preliminary evidence that drumming (or related targeted behavioral stimulation) may result in “cognitive enhancement and improvements in callosal white matter microstructure.”
- Reduced Pain: A 2012 study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that active performance of music (singing, dancing and drumming) triggered endorphin release (measured by post-activity increases in pain tolerance) whereas merely listening to music did not. The researchers hypothesized that this may contribute to community bonding in activities involving dance and music-making.[x
- Reduce Stress (Cortisol/DHEA ratio), Increase Immunity: A 2001 study published in Alternative Therapies and Health Medicine enrolled 111 age- and sex- matched subjects (55 men and 56 women; mean age 30.4 years) and found that drumming “increased dehydroepiandrosterone-to-cortisol ratios, increased natural killer cell activity, and increased lymphokine-activated killer cell activity without alteration in plasma interleukin 2 or interferon-gamma, or in the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory II.”[xi]
- Transcendent (Re-Creational) Experiences: A 2004 study published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis revealed that drumming enables participants to go into deeper hypnotic states,[xii] and another 2014 study poublished in PLoS found that when combined with shamanistic instruction, drumming enables participants to experience decreased heartrate and dreamlike experiences consistent with transcendental experiences.[xiii]
- Socio-Emotional Disorders: A powerful 2001 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that low-income children who enrolled in a 12-week group drumming intervention saw multiple domains of social-emotional behavior improve significantly, from anxiety to attention, from oppositional to post-traumatic disorders.[xiiii]
Taking into account the beneficial evolutionary role that drumming likely performed in human history and prehistory, as well as the new scientific research confirming its psychosocial and physiological health benefits, we hope that it will be increasingly looked at as a positive medical, social and psychospiritual intervention. Considering the term recreation in its root etymological sense: re-creation, drumming may enable us to both tap into the root sense of our identity in the drumming-mediated experience of being joyous, connected and connecting, creative beings, as well as find a way to engage the process of becoming, transformation and re-creation that is also a hallmark feature of being alive and well in this amazing, ever-changing universe of ours.
New to drumming and want to try it?
Fortunately, drum circles have sprouted up in thousands of locations around the country spontaneously, and almost all of them are free. You will find them attended by all ages, all walks of life and all experience levels. The best way to find one is google the name of your area and “drum circle” and see what comes up. Also, there is an online directory that lists drum circles around the country: http://www.drumcircles.net/circlelist.html
You can also find a drum online through sites like Djembe Drums & Skins. For the record, I have no affiliate relationship with Shorty Palmer or his site, but only know him as a humble master craftsman and the source for all the drums I own today.
[i] Shinya Fujii, Catherine Y Wan. The Role of Rhythm in Speech and Language Rehabilitation: The SEP Hypothesis. Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 ;8:777. Epub 2014 Oct 13. PMID: 25352796
[ii] Sebastian Kirschner, Michael Tomasello. Joint drumming: social context facilitates synchronization in preschool children. J Exp Child Psychol. 2009 Mar;102(3):299-314. Epub 2008 Sep 12. PMID: 18789454
[iii] Magdalena Babiszewska, Anne Marijke Schel, Claudia Wilke, Katie E Slocombe. Social, contextual, and individual factors affecting the occurrence and acoustic structure of drumming bouts in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Am J Phys Anthropol. 2015 Jan ;156(1):125-34. Epub 2014 Oct 18. PMID: 25327570
[v] Ryan Remedios, Nikos K Logothetis, Christoph Kayser. Monkey drumming reveals common networks for perceiving vocal and nonvocal communication sounds. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 20;106(42):18010-5. Epub 2009 Oct 1. PMID: 19805199
[viii] Felix A Hager, Wolfgang H Kirchner. Directional vibration sensing in the termite Macrotermes natalensis. J Exp Biol. 2014 Jul 15 ;217(Pt 14):2526-30. PMID: 25031457
[ix] Claudia Metzler-Baddeley, Jaime Cantera, Elizabeth Coulthard, Anne Rosser, Derek K Jones, Roland J Baddeley. Improved Executive Function and Callosal White Matter Microstructure after Rhythm Exercise in Huntington’s Disease. J Huntingtons Dis. 2014 ;3(3):273-83. PMID:25300331
[x] R I M Dunbar, Kostas Kaskatis, Ian MacDonald, Vinnie Barra. Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: implications for the evolutionary function of music.Evol Psychol. 2012 ;10(4):688-702. Epub 2012 Oct 22. PMID: 23089077
[xi] B B Bittman, L S Berk, D L Felten, J Westengard, O C Simonton, J Pappas, M Ninehouser.Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Jan;7(1):38-47. PMID:11191041
[xii] R L Maurer, V K Kumar, L Woodside, R J Pekala. Phenomenological experience in response to monotonous drumming and hypnotizability. Mult Scler. 2004 Aug;10(4):417-24. PMID:9385724
[xiii] Bruno Gingras, Gerald Pohler, W Tecumseh Fitch. Exploring shamanic journeying: repetitive drumming with shamanic instructions induces specific subjective experiences but no larger cortisol decrease than instrumental meditation music. PLoS One. 2014 ;9(7):e102103. Epub 2014 Jul 7. PMID: 24999623
.[xiiii]Ping Ho, Jennie C I Tsao, Lian Bloch, Lonnie K Zeltzer. The impact of group drumming on social-emotional behavior in low-income children. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2011 ;2011:250708. Epub 2011 Feb 13. PMID: 21660091
Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.
Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.
David Icke explains how the foundation of liberty, self-ownership, is under direct assault in the United States by a system of medical fascism. If we can’t choose what we put into our own bodies, we are the opposite of free.
Conspiracy theories relating to the government and our health have existed for years, but it’s only now that they’re beginning to be discussed in public mediums. The new riveting documentary ‘Bought’ explores how the vaccine, food, insurance, and health industry has literally bought your health, forcing citizens into a healthcare system that is primarily run for profit. Its revealing claims have provided a wake-up call for everyday individuals unaware of what’s going on behind the scenes in our healthcare.
If you are wanting to see Bought, the documentary, you can now watch it for free until Sunday, March 15, 2015. Share with your family, friends, and colleagues in order to spread this message. The more people who watch, the greater chance we have of expanding our vision on the current healthcare system and protecting our health!
Health and fitness are important parts of life, and are part of a mindset that I make sure is part of my day every day – even if that means just having an active rest day. I believe the body requires exercise every day. For a while I used to lift weights at a gym, but then that changed for me and I want to share some info about why I chose to leave that behind.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with lifting weights at the gym or at home, as there are multiple ways to “get results” in the fitness world. But I believe it comes down to enjoying something and asking what you want from your exercise. For me, right now, I use a combination of training styles, with calisthenics as the focus. With calisthenics (body-weight training) you can get all the same results as weight-lifting, become very strong, and build a truly firm foundation, while lowering your risk of injury significantly compared to weight-lifting.
Calisthenics (Body-Weight Training)
I, along with many others, strongly believe that calisthenics is the future of fitness. It’s already taken off in some countries and is now showing its spark here in Western culture -and for good reason. Many people I talk to lately seems to be looking for something different, as if they are bored of the same old gym/weight routine just as I was. It also seems people want to have more fun when they work out.
Calisthenics is about functional strength, natural looking bodies, free workouts, creativity, self-mastery, and healthy routines. It is also something many people can do. I believe that in general we are moving in this direction because times change, our minds change, and things seem to be shifting towards a more natural way of being, which means getting out of repetitive cycles.
Why I Left The Gym
I worked out at the gym for years and was lifting heavy. Did it work? Absolutely, I got plenty of muscle and gained strength. Exercising was part of my routine in high school, as I was inspired by a kinesiology course I took where I learned all about the body, muscles, nutrition, and how to work out to get results.
But I noticed that I started to get tight, I wasn’t flexible, and it was easy, even with proper form, to irritate joints when lifting heavier weights. I didn’t feel my whole body was getting strong either, just in certain parts doing specific things. Plus, I didn’t like the gym and lifting weights – the vibe, the repetition, the lack of creativity, the people so focused on hyping themselves up, looking at themselves in the mirror all day – it simply wasn’t for me. My goals were never about impressing people with my body. I wanted to be healthy, have functional strength, enjoy movement, have healthy joints, build strong neurological connections to my body, and exercise in an environment I liked.
Functional strength is strength that you utilize in everyday tasks. It also goes along with a lot of natural body movements. What I noticed in my experience from weight lifting was that I could get stronger at certain exercises yet I didn’t notice much functional strength increases versus training calisthenics. This was further illustrated to me when I would train my back and shoulders like crazy with weights, yet could only do a small amount of pull-ups. Weight-lifting often trains very localized muscles, whereas with calisthenics it’s more of a full-body workout. This was probably one of the most noticeable differences for me, I was gaining strength throughout my whole body in areas that don’t get touched by weight-lifting. Plus, doing calisthenics and avoiding weights healed injuries that I had struggled with for years.
Coming from a point of having my back and core heavily injured, this was a huge transformation for me. The photo below is of me after only 3 months of calisthenics training. My form for this “human flag” is not perfect yet in this picture, but it’s not far off. Three months later (today), I can now hold that same move with straight arms and flatter legs.
Choosing A Workout That’s Right For You
First off, don’t let anyone tell you what routine you should be doing or what workout methods are best. You have to do what’s right for you, and being aware of your options will empower you. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, then you will have a hard time with motivation and in general you will be forcing yourself to do something you don’t like. Find what works for you, calisthenics is only one option out of many.
For me, getting out of the gym and into outdoor calisthenic workouts made me LOVE my workouts. Compared to when I used to lift weights, I’ve never felt this good. I’m stronger and more flexible than I have ever been. My mind and body connection is through the roof and even though my goals are health related, the appearance of my body is the same as when I used to lift heavy, except now my muscles are longer and my body isn’t puffy and bloated. I also don’t need to go through bulk up phases and then slim down phases because my nutrition choice is a sustainable lifestyle versus being strictly fast-goal oriented.
Currently I do a mix of calisthenics and yoga. I add in sports and active rest time on days where I don’t work out. Don’t be afraid to use multiple workout methods and switch things up. It seems we often get afraid that as soon as we stop working out we’ll deflate. If that’s happening to you, you’re probably not building sustainable muscle.
Focusing totally on body image is a mindset I truly believe Western culture struggles with greatly; we are obsessed with physical results and short-term results. We’ll do anything to be a “hunk,” even if it’s not healthy for us. When you take the ego away and go for what’s a true healthy choice for you – for mind, spirit, and body – your choices and goals become very different, and your results do too.
Check Your Mindset & Goals
So is calisthenics for you? You answer that question yourself. What appeals to you? What do you want your lifestyle to look like? What do you like doing when you work out? You have to enjoy it! There’s no wrong answer.
If you want to be a body builder, and have that huge body, maybe compete in competitions, or be a power lifter (a couple reps of a ton of weight), then you will need to lift weights simply because you have to stress your body to incredible levels to get those results. You also have to eat in a specific manner to get those results and to be honest, much of the diet advice you get from these types of athletes is not all that healthy for you long-term.
If you are looking for a lot of functional strength, solid bone, and ligament health, good cardiovascular fitness, or a toned, muscular looking body, calisthenics will give you all of that.
One myth you hear a lot is that you can’t build muscle mass or get good results with calisthenics, but this isn’t true at all. You will gain a lot of strength and size, and be in great shape just as anyone working out at a gym does. There are easy exercises and tough exercises, and many of weight lifters have trouble performing some of them. Your body is your weight, so it’s not like you are not lifting weight, there’s just no added weight. You’d be surprised how hard many of these exercises are and how well they work any other body part, without an increased risk of hurting yourself.
This guy pretty much sums it up well and he’s been through a ton of different techniques. He explains why, in his opinion, he feels bodyweight/calisthenics is best. He does still lift weight as he believes in multiple types of training, but he covers some great points.
I’m simply trying to lead us to realize that it’s about kicking the ego out of your health and make it about a lifestyle choices and health. You can play in whatever realm you like, there’s no need to judge either, but keep yourself honest and in check with what you are doing and why. You have options. Choose what’s fun and engaging for you!