When my melanoma recurred in the lymph nodes under my arm, I was told by my oncologist that chemotherapy was pretty useless for melanoma, so they’d whip out the affected nodes and we’d hope for the best.
Post-op, I was lying in my hospital bed when two — quite separate — friends gave me A Time to Heal by Beata Bishop, the story of her healing her own melanoma almost 30 years ago using the Gerson Therapy. I knew I had to do something and her book convinced me that Gerson was it.
The therapy looked like a bit of a beast to do — 13 freshly-squeezed organic vegetable and fruit juices per day plus five coffee enemas, every day for at least 18 months to two years. On the diet front everything was organic. There was a thick vegetable soup to be eaten twice daily, and lunch and dinner consisted of a baked potato and vegetables and salad. A little oatmeal was permitted at breakfast. Everything else was forbidden. I couldn’t even wear make-up (though a little beetroot juice on the cheeks helped), and any chemical household products were banned. There was also some supplementation, including potassium and Lugol’s solution, some pancreatic enzymes, niacin and injectable B12.
The purpose of the therapy, devised by Max Gerson more than 60 years ago, is to massively detoxify the body thus helping the immune system to do the job it is designed to do. Their website describes it as “naturally reactivating your body’s magnificent ability to heal itself — with no damaging side effects.”
Despite the program’s rigidity, I seemed to be able to surrender to the routine of it. I had help with the juicing. And basically it was my job for those 18 months. The Gerson people counsel rest and even discouraged any exercise back in the mid-90s when I did it. But I liked the juices, I loved the enemas (designed to detoxify the liver) and even the food was doable. I finished my 18 months full-on and six months of a reduced program and, convinced I had put paid to the melanoma for good, I went back to my life.
Unfortunately the melanoma did come back around five years later, and that was the big nasty one when it recurred in my brain, spleen, stomach and lungs.
So why didn’t Gerson work for me? And how come I am still a proponent of using natural and alternative methods to heal cancer? Well, I still agree with the principles of the therapy. (The program that subsequently did the trick 10 years ago was based on similar principles, but with way more specific and targeted supplementation). And that, for me, is the key.
Cancer shows up in a toxic body. So to clean up, nourish and encourage it to work properly still seems completely logical to me. My theory — unproven — is that over the last 60 years or so our soil has got much more toxic and less fertile — even the soil that organic produce is grown in. Graham Harvey, author of We Want Real Food, told me that in the UK the supermarkets have encouraged their large scale growers to turn over some of their land to cash in on the demand for organic produce, and this has been done by obeying the minimum rules of organic farming rather than the spirit. Soil fertility is not something quickly achieved.
That, combined with the huge array of chemicals our 21st century bodies have to contend with, makes healing cancer through food alone a harder job and why I believe intense supplementation on top of a really clean organic regime is what worked for me. I would love to hear your experiences.
Article excerpted from www.huffingtonpost.com
Austria’s producers came out top in the organic stakes at Nuremberg’s BioFach trade fair over the weekend. The event in Germany which hosted some 2,400 exhibitors, 100 of whom were from Austria, was a roaring success for the country’s organic industry whose products proved hugely popular.
“Here in Germany, the whole world has been very impressed by the quality of our products,” explained Katja Huber from the organic butchers Sonnberg in Upper Austria. Companies from around the world presented their produce at the four-day fair which has long been pioneering the organic sector.
“Organic food is completely established in everyday life in Austria thanks to the producers. The entire marketplace is continually moving upwards,” said managing director of AMA (Agarmarkt Austria Marketing) Dr. Stephan Mikinovic.
The world’s organic industry saw a turnover of 45 billion Euros last year with 21 billion Euros of that in Europe, a 228 per cent increase from the year 2000 all despite economic and financial crisis. “Despite all the talk of saving and crisis, our organic industry has survived well and in fact suffered no significant losses”, said Mikinovic.
The USA and Europe are currently leading the organic market with 10 million hectares of organic farmland being worked in Europe alone. When looking at organic share in relation to available arable land, Austria is a world leader with 20 per cent. Only the Falkland Islands and Liechtenstein have a higher organic share.
Over the course of the last year Austrians spent around 304 million Euros on organic products with fruit, milk and meat products proving popular. The drive from supermarkets to create their own organic lines hugely benefits Austrian farmers, suggested Rudolf Vierbauch from Bio-Austria. “Austria would never have this organic turnover if the chains behind the strategy didn’t promote organic products,” said Vierbauch.
Despite currently being at a lower level, experts predict the areas of Middle and Eastern Europe to have the greatest growth potential in the organic market. Organic turnover in Croatia for example has increased twenty fold in the last six years.
Article excerpted from www.austriantimes.at
When used in moderation, sugar can be part of a healthy diet. Indulging in the occasional sweet treat is safe for most people. But should you use organic sugar or stick to conventional? Organic sugar may offer several benefits over conventional sugar, including health and environmental benefits. If you’re interested in the benefits of using organic sugar, choose an organic sugar that is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Organic sugar is not refined as heavily as conventional sugar or corn syrup, according to Vegetarian Organic Life. As a result, it may contain more of the vitamins and enzymes that existed in the natural sugar cane plant, from which organic sugar is made. Also, organic sugar contains more molasses, a taste that some people enjoy.
No Pesticides Used
Organic sugar sold in the U.S. must meet the requirements of the USDA to be labeled an “organic” food. According to Wholesome Sweeteners CEO Nigel Willerton, the USDA-administered National Organic Program sets specific requirements for how organic sugar cane is raised. These include raising the sugar cane without using chemical pesticides. Sugar cane used in conventional sugar, on the other hand, is frequently treated with such pesticides as paraquat to kill insects. These pesticides may linger in the finished product.
No Animal Products Used
In addition to protecting local animal populations by not treating sugar cane crops with chemical pesticides that could damage local habitat and water supply, organic sugar protects animals by removing the use of any animal byproducts in the refining process. According to Vegan Action, conventional sugar is refined in part by using animal bone char to remove color from the sugar. On the other hand, the nonanimal product milk of lime is the only ingredient used in processing organic sugar, according to Wholesome Sweeteners CEO Nigel Willerton.
Article excerpted from www.livestrong.com
What do the food labels such as “organic,” “natural,” “free-range,” and “non-GMO” really mean? Understanding this terminology is essential when you’re shopping for organic foods.
The most important point to remember is that “natural” does not equal organic. “Natural” is an unregulated term that can be applied by anyone. Only the “USDA Organic” label indicates that a food is certified organic.
USDA Certified Organic Food Labels
When you’re shopping for organic foods, look for the “USDA Organic” seal. Only foods that are 95 to 100 percent organic can use the USDA Organic label.
- 100% Organic – Foods that are completely organic or made with 100% organic ingredients. May display the USDA seal.
- Organic – Foods that contain at least 95% organic ingredients. May display the USDA seal.
- Made with organic ingredients – Foods that contain at least 70% organic ingredients. Will not display the USDA seal. May list specific organic ingredients on the front of the package.
- Contains organic ingredients – Foods that contain less than 70% organic ingredients. Will not display the USDA seal. May list specific organic ingredients on the information panel of the package.
Meat and dairy labels: other terms you need to know
The organic label is the most regulated term, but when it comes to meat, we often see many other terms used. In order to make informed choices, it is helpful to know what some of these terms mean.
- Natural – This label means “minimally processed” and that the meat can’t have any artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or any other artificial ingredients in it. Animals can still be given antibiotics or growth enhancers. For example, this term can be applied to all raw cuts of beef since they aren’t processed.
- Grass fed – This term means that the animals are fed solely on a diet of grass or hay. These animals have access to the outdoors. Cattle are naturally ruminants that eat grass, so they tend to be healthier and leaner when fed this way. In addition, grass fed beef has been shown to have more of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Free-range – This means that the animals weren’t confined to a cage and had access to the outdoors. Unfortunately, the animal density can still be very high and the animals may have only short periods outside in an area that’s quite small. It is difficult to tell exactly what free-range means when you see it on meat packaging. You can contact the producer directly for clarification.
- No hormones added – This term is allowed when animals are raised without the use of any added growth hormones. For beef and dairy products it can be helpful, but by law, poultry and pigs cannot be given hormones, so don’t pay extra for chicken or pork products that use this label.
What does “Certified Organic” mean?
Keep in mind that even if a producer is certified organic, the use of the USDA Organic label is voluntary. At the same time, not everyone goes through the rigorous process of becoming certified, especially smaller farming operations. When shopping at a farmers’ market, for example, don’t hesitate to ask the vendors how your food was grown.
Article excerpted from www.helpguide.org
This just in from my lunch break: I put in next summer’s garlic crop. You can too! Here’s what you need:
- Digging tool
In most of North America, now’s the time to plant garlic and other bulbs. They will establish some roots before the ground freezes, then sleep all winter to emerge in spring.
What kind of garlic should I plant?
Obviously, you’ll want to plant organic. Not only is it better for you and for the soil, but non-organic garlic is often treated with an anti-sprouting agent that will keep it from growing in the first place.
I recommend seeking out an heirloom variety, ideally a hardneck “true” garlic. Though it can be tempting to pick up elephant garlic for its huge bulbs, elephant garlic is actually more closely related to the onion, and can have trouble if you plant it too late in the fall. True garlic has smaller cloves, but they’re much more potent. For my garlic patch, I picked a Chesnok Red that I picked up from a local permaculture nursery.
Where should I plant it?
Someplace it’ll have good sun, in well-draining soil. You don’t want your bulbs to rot.
If you live someplace that gets very cold with little snow cover, mulch it with straw after the first hard frost. Otherwise, it should survive the winter just fine.
How much should I plant?
Are you kidding? Garlic is delicious. Plant as much as you can. Bury one clove of garlic every foot or so (advice varies on this, but one foot seems a safe distance even for hungry bulbs). Each clove should divide into a new bulb, and will flower in early summer.
How do I plant it?
Dig a hole and put a clove of garlic in, pointy side up. For small cloves, put them about one inch deep — that is, they should have an inch of dirt over their heads. Bigger bulbs like elephant garlic should go deeper, up to 3 inches.
After you’ve planted it, water it in by drenching the soil completely.
Now, you wait. Begin watering in the spring, and you’ll harvest your garlic crop in the summer.
And that’s garlic, and that’s how I spent my lunch break! Speaking of which: Got a few cloves left over? Whip up a batch of organic bistro garlic fries.
Article excerpted from www.organicauthority.com
It’s not hard to plant the garlic and we should start to plant it at our garden. This will be one way to save money and we will have a healthy exercise too by planting the garlic. Once garlic crops have been harvested, don’t forget to try out the organic bistro garlic fries recipe.
By now, we all know there’s a benefit to buying some stuff organic. But these days you’re faced with the option of getting everything organic — from fruits and veggies to mattresses and clothing. You want to do right by your body, for sure, but going the all-natural route en masse can be pricey.
So we wondered: What’s really essential for our health? That’s why we came up with this definitive list. Here’s what should be in your cart — and what you don’t have to worry about.
You’ve probably read plenty of stories about the risks of eating chicken. But the most important protein to buy organic may well be beef. “Research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer,” says Samuel Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.
Specifically, the concern is that the estrogen-like agents used on cattle could increase your cancer risk, adds Ted Schettler, M.D., science director at the Science and Environmental Health Network.
Though there are strong regulations about the use of hormones in cattle, “not all beef producers are following those regulations strictly, and some studies continue to find hormone residue in cattle,” Dr. Schettler says.
When you buy beef that’s been certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you’re not only cutting out those hormones, you’re also avoiding the massive doses of antibiotics cows typically receive, which the USDA says may lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in people.
Strawberries may be a superfood — but they pose a potential risk unless you go organic. In addition to having up to 13 pesticides detected on the fruit, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis, conventional “strawberries have a large surface area and all those tiny bumps, which makes the pesticides hard to wash off, so you’re ingesting more of those chemicals,” explains Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University and author of “What to Eat.”
If you can, also skip conventional peaches, apples, blueberries, and cherries, which are typically treated with multiple pesticides and usually eaten skins-on.
Your pots and pans are just as crucial to upgrade as the food you cook in them: “Most nonstick cookware contains a fluorochemical called PTFE that breaks down to form toxic fumes when overheated,” says Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the EWG. “Those fumes can coat the inside of the lungs and cause allergy-like symptoms.”
Tests commissioned by the EWG showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with nonstick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating emits toxic gases. Switch to stainless steel, ceramic, or cast iron cookware.
The linings of microwave-popcorn bags may contain a toxic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which is used to prevent the food from sticking to the paper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFOA is a likely carcinogen.
“We don’t know all of the hazardous effects of PFOA yet, but we have some evidence of a link to cancer, as well as to effects on the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems,” says David Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.
Pick up an air-popper or make your popcorn in a pan on the stove top.
Some lawn and garden pesticides contain suspected carcinogens, according to EPA data. Long-term pesticide exposure may be related to changes in the brain and nervous system, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reports.
“Not only are you breathing the chemicals in, but you bring them indoors and onto carpets via your shoes,” says McKay Jenkins, Ph.D., a journalism professor at the University of Delaware and author of What’s Gotten Into Us?
Healthier brands like BurnOut and EcoClear are made from vinegar and lemon juice, and are effective weed-killers. To find less-toxic lawn-care companies in your area, go to Health.com/lawn-care.
All-Purpose Home Cleaners
Time for spring-cleaning? Using common household cleaners may expose you to potentially harmful chemicals. Ammonia and chlorine bleach can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. And some cleaners contain phthalates, some of which are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with normal hormone activity, says EWG senior scientist Becky Sutton, Ph.D..
Although there’s no definitive proof that phthalates cause problems in humans, “the greatest concern is how early-life exposure will affect male [reproductive] development,” Dr. Carpenter says. There’s weaker evidence, he adds, that phthalates affect the nervous and immune systems.
Go natural with the cleaner you use the most frequently and in the most places, such as kitchen-counter spray — look for brands approved by Green Seal or EcoLogo, two organizations that identify products that have met environmental label guidelines.
You’ve probably heard that many hard, reusable plastic water bottles could be bad for you because they may contain BPA, or bisphenol A, another endocrine disruptor according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
“For adults, the biggest concern with BPA is that it may increase the risk of breast cancer in women and reduce sperm counts in men,” says Dr. Carpenter, who explains that BPA can leach out into the water in the bottle. To be safe, sip from an unlined stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottle.
BPA strikes again: Many food-storage containers are made of the hard, clear polycarbonate plastic that may contain BPA. As is the case with water bottles, the BPA can leach out of the plastic in these containers and seep into your leftovers.
“The leaching is increased during heating, but it also leaches to a smaller degree even when cold foods are stored,” Dr. Carpenter explains. Glass containers are your safest — not to mention planet-friendly — bet. Both Rubbermaid (at left) and Pyrex make glass ones with BPA-free plastic lids.
The milk you’re drinking may not be doing your body good: Dairy products account for a reported 60 to 70 percent of the estrogens we consume through our food. If that seems like a shockingly large number, it’s mainly because milk naturally contains hormones passed along from cows.
What worries some experts is that about 17 percent of dairy cows are treated with the hormone rBST (or rBGH), which stimulates milk production by increasing circulating levels of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).
“Elevated levels of IGF-1 in people are associated with an increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer,” Dr. Schettler explains. In fact, the use of rBGH is banned in Europe and Canada. Although research has yet to definitively conclude whether drinking rBGH-treated milk increases your IGF-1 levels high enough to cause concern, Dr. Schettler says it’s advisable to buy milk that hasn’t been treated with it. So pick up milk that’s labeled rBGH-free, rBST-free, or is produced without artificial hormones.
When researchers at the EWG analyzed 89,000 produce-pesticide tests to determine the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, celery topped the chart. “In terms of the sheer number of chemicals, it was the worst,” says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the EWG.
Celery stalks are very porous, so they retain the pesticides they’re sprayed with — up to 13 of them, according to the EWG analysis. Lunder also advises buying organic bell peppers, spinach and potatoes because they scored high for pesticides, as well.
When picking up tomato sauce or paste, choose the glass jar or box over the can. “The lining on the inside of food cans that’s used to protect against corrosion and bacteria may contain BPA,” explains Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., a professor of carcinogenesis at MD Anderson Cancer Center and past president of the Society of Toxicology.
In 2009, Consumer Reports tested BPA levels in a variety of canned foods and found it in nearly all of the brands tested, suggesting that the chemical leaked in. “What can happen is that BPA in the lining can leach into the food,” Walker explains.
Some regular mattresses may have been treated with potentially toxic flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which have been linked to learning, memory, and behavioral impairments, according to Lunder.
Though PBDEs were phased out of mattresses in 2005, they can still be found in other household items, including carpet padding and some electronics. The EWG advises opting for products that haven’t been treated with brominated fire retardants and choosing less-flammable materials, such as wool.
Article excerpted from www.huffingtonpost.com
(CBS) Can organic food make you fat? It’s a question some people are asking, in light of a new study showing that consumers often assume – incorrectly – that organic fare contains fewer calories than conventionally produced versions of the same foods.
In the study, 144 people at a shopping mall were asked to compare what they thought were “regular” and organic versions of chocolate cookies, plain yogurt, and potato chips, according to a statement released by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). In fact, all of the foods were organic – only the labels were different. Using a nine-point scale, the shoppers rated each food on 10 different attributes, including how it tasted and how much fat and how many calories it contained.
The foods labeled “organic” were perceived to lower in calories and higher in fiber and overall more nutritious. That raises at least the possibility that people who seek out foods bearing the “organic” seal may be eating more than they would if they bought “regular” versions of the same foods. More research will be needed to confirm that hypothesis.
The study may reflect the “halo effect.” That’s the term psychologists use for the phenomenon in which how we perceive a particular trait of a person influences our perceptions of other traits of the same individual, according to the statement. For example, people are sometimes assumed to be intelligent just because they are good-looking.
This isn’t the first study to show that the halo effect can apply to food as well as to people. Previous research showed that people tend to consume more calories at fast-food restaurants that claim to serve healthy fare than at typical burger-and-fry joints.
The study, conducted by Wan-chen Lee, a graduate student at Cornell University, was scheduled to be presented on April 10 at an FASEB conference in Washington, D.C.
Article excerpted from www.cbsnews.com