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130 articles in food

Fasting - What's The Buzz. Part One

Fasting - What's The Buzz. Part One

The media is suddenly obsessed with fasting. On one hand, this is a good thing. The right kind of fasting can be a tremendously powerful tool for rejuvenation, weightloss, restoring insulin sensitivity, promoting human growth hormone—the anti-aging hormone—and lots of other things. Fasting can clear your mind and body of what is preventing you from living your life on top form. What worries me is the way so many wild fasting practices have turned up recently. One day it’s a cure-all for everybody. The next it leads people to binge on junk foods. So what is all the buzz about? Fasting is a powerful tool. But it needs to be taken seriously, fully understood and carefully followed. In recent months I have had a number of people join our Cura Romana Journey or Inner Circle Gold on line programs who were in trouble after their metabolism became all screwed up by their having tried to follow one of the current fast-yourself-slim diets. This is a sad state of affairs. More unbiased information about fasting, its blessings and its drawbacks needs to be forthcoming. MY LIFE IN FASTING When it comes to fasting of all kinds I’d wager there are few who have researched and experimented with it as long as I have. I was introduced to the ancient tradition of fasting in my mid-twenties when I had been unwell for many years, and it changed my life. I first wrote about intermittent fasting more than thirty years ago in The Joy of Beauty. I’ve continued to research and write about it in many other books since. I became fascinated by the profound healing of body, mind and spirit that takes place when people fast wisely. I have done so many kinds of fasts—juice fasts, water fasts, fasts using nothing but free-form amino acids, and intermittent fasts. I’ve just about tried them all. I even did a 40 day fast on water then spent the last five days of it skiing at St Moritz. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS I remember well the healing physical effects of carrying out my very first fast. My head became clearer and clearer. After the first few days my vision was so sharpened it was as if I were looking at the world through a crystal glass. It’s impossible to describe the changes that took place in my thinking and my emotions during the fast. I can only say that the world looked different. I realized that there was so much beauty around me which I had continued to miss. Fasting made me stop and think, stop and feel. I found delight in the simplest of things—just sitting under a tree, washing vegetables, or combing my hair. Everything seemed important. I found I wanted to do everything with real awareness. I also gained a sense of distance from my own problems, enabling me to make the decisions facing me calmly and quietly. As a result, since then, whenever I feel myself hung-up over something or whenever I sense I’m not seeing things clearly, I will quietly fast—often just for a day or two until I feel clear again. To some people this may seem an eccentricity, but not, I believe, to anyone who has actually tried fasting. DAYS ON DAYS OFF The buzz now, however, is intermittent fasting. This form of fasting has many faces. Some are better than others. The most lauded at the moment is where you spend two or more days a week drinking water while during the rest of the week you eat “normally” either with or without a very low calorie diet for the purpose of losing weight. The right kind of fast, while eating the right kind of foods, is indeed capable of facilitating weight loss provided you are capable of following it religiously for several weeks, while your body shifts from a glucose-based metabolism to a fat-based metabolism. But, even with the best will in the world, very few people can carry out this exacting procedure for long enough to allow this important metabolic transformation to take place. The second problem with days-on-days-off fasting is that it tends to precipitate binge eating during eating days. Few people understand that if you want to benefit from the experience you must rigorously fast when you are meant to be fasting and avoid binge eating on the days when you do eat. It’s essential, too, that you alter the kind of foods you eat if you want good results both in terms of weight loss and enhanced health for the future. MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE The other way to practice intermittent fasting works much better. It is a lot easier to carry out and protects your body from unnecessary strain. Here’s how it works: Instead of the day-on-day-off practice, commit yourself to eating only during a specific window of time—say 8 hours— each and every day. This is convenient and do-able for almost anybody, and it protects you from bingeing. You do all your eating between, say, 11am and 7pm and have no food or drinks except clean water and herb teas in between. For example, you skip breakfast and make lunch your first meal of the day, and you don’t eat anything after 7pm that evening. How does it all work? It takes from six to eight hours for your body to burn stored glycogen in your tissues after eating carbohydrate foods. Once this happens, your system starts to turn towards fat as its primary fuel. After a few weeks of this time-restricted fasting, food cravings that may have dogged you for eons are likely to have disappeared. (And you can take organic coconut oil which is rich in short-chain fatty acids which are quickly broken down to deal with any food cravings.) But you absolutely must be choosy about the foods you eat during the hours that you are eating. Download my little book Healthy and Lean For Life to learn more about what kind of foods protect from weight gain, foster natural weight loss and create powerful protection from degenerative diseases. It is free on the home page of www.curaromana.com in the lower right-hand corner. SPONTANEOUS INTERMITTENT FASTING So natural a procedure is fasting that in some cases it can happen spontaneously. By the time most Cura Romana participants have completed 24 days on the Essential Spray+Food Plan part of their program, and are ready to move into Consolidation, they are already fasting intermittently. At this point in their program the body has been taken through a process of deep cleansing. Food cravings have long since disappeared. Control centers for appetite, emotions, and hormones are functioning well so their food preferences are now excellent. Quite spontaneously most participants choose to skip breakfast. They say they love the vital, empty feel this brings them. They don’t need to be taught how to do intermittent fasting, they just do it. What has happened to them is that their bodies have already become adapted to burning fat instead of glucose for energy. Unnatural hunger is gone and sugar addictions no longer exist. HEALTH PAYOFFS The benefits of this kind of intermittent fasting are many. The procedure of incorporating this practice into your life becomes easy and natural. It is the start of a new way of living and eating that helps protect us from degenerative conditions long into the future. Here are just a few of the benefits it brings: Insulin sensitivity increases. So does the efficiency of mitochondrial energy, helping to slow aging and disease. Stress resistance improves dramatically. Oxidative stress diminishes since the body’s proteins, nucleic acids and lipids are protected from much free radical damage. Next week we can delve further into fasting—intermittent and otherwise. We’ll look in greater depths at the powerful therapeutic potentials it can have for weight loss, metabolic improvements, even as an effective treatment for mental and emotional disorders. We’ll examine its spiritual dimensions as well as its advantages and disadvantages. Then we’ll clarify who should and who should not fast. See you then.

Nature Ends Insomnia

Nature Ends Insomnia

“Insomnia? I know a great cure for it... get plenty of sleep” W.C. Fields Do you dread going to bed for fear for fear you won’t sleep? Do you wake in the night only to find that you can’t go back to sleep again? Well, you’re not alone. Over half of the population of both the UK and the United States—where Big Pharma collected $3.7 billion for selling drugs for sleep in 2012 alone—have problems with some form of “sleep disorder.” Many take hypnotic drugs despite the fact that at least two dozen published studies have examined mortality associated with these medications. Eighteen of these report significant connections between using these drugs and increased mortality. Taking sleep inducing drugs is also associated with a greater than three-fold increased risk of death, even when less than 18 pills a year have been taken. Bottom line: Hypnotics ain’t worth the risk. There are better ways of handling insomnia. DANGER WORRIES There’s no doubt about it, disrupted or poor quality sleep can be dangerous. I learned this myself first hand after taking a flight that crossed twelve time zones. I found— unusually for me—that my body never readjusted to the new time zone, and I was sleeping only an hour or two a night, and at very irregular times. This went on for almost two weeks, at the end of which I was in severe physical pain. I went to see my doctor, also a skilled acupuncturist, concerned that I may have contracted some fairly serious illness. He treated me with acupuncture and sorted out the pain within two treatments, as well as my inability to sleep. He also told me that he had seen this in patients of his who are pilots. Research studies show that when healthy male volunteers were deprived of four hours of sleep for a single night, the activity of the natural killer cells in their immune system fell by as much as 30 percent. That’s the bad news. The good news is that a single good night’s sleep brought normal functioning back to the cells. It has also long been known that shift workers, whose hours of sleep continually change, have increasing difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. They also have more accidents, suffer more illness and die younger than people with normal sleep schedules. INSOMNIA TRIGGERS Anxiety Fear of insomnia Stimulants such as coffee or alcohol Eating too many high glycemic carbohydrate convenience foods which disturb blood sugar Low levels of melatonin Low levels of serotonin Drug use Depression A lot of so-called insomnia is nothing more than the result of worrying about getting to sleep. Many people who consider themselves insomniacs are really victims of the general propaganda about sleep, rather than true non-sleepers. Many people seek treatment because they can only sleep four or five hours a night, although that may be all they need. There is nothing more likely to cause sleeplessness than the worry that you won’t be able to drop off. Sometimes sleeplessness can be normal. After all, we all experience a sleepless night every now and then, particularly if we are over-tired, worried or excited about coming events. Real chronic insomnia is less frequent. There are many things that can cause it, from taking stimulants such as chocolate, soft drinks, coffee and tea, to not getting enough exercise. Nocturnal hypoglycemia is another major cause of insomnia in many people. BEWARE OF BOOZE Alcohol can severely interfere with sleep for a number of reasons. First, it brings about the release of adrenalin giving you a sense of excitement—a totally inappropriate condition for putting your head down on the pillow. It also interferes with the transport of tryptophan into the brain. And since the brain depends on a good supply of tryptophan in order to produce serotonin—the neurotransmitter that brings about sleep—drinking alcohol late in the evening severely disrupts serotonin levels. Alcohol, of course, also has a relaxing effect, which for many people will put them to sleep immediately, provided they have drunk enough of it. Then they find that, two or three hours later, they awake dehydrated and unable to sleep for the rest of the night. LOOK TO NATURE For my money, botanical sleep support wins the battle against insomnia better than almost anything else. There are several botanicals I turn to and recommend to others. Some of the most powerful helpers for insomnia have botanical origins. Many plants, from skullcap (Scutellaria laterifolia) to hops (Humulus lupulus), can be used to help promote sleep. I use them often. Here are some of the most effective. CALIFORNIA POPPY Eschscholzia californica This gentle but effective sedative is also an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer, and the seeds of the plant offer excellent natural relief for someone living with chronic pain. It appears to work by telling the brain to increase your opiate receptors, which automatically decreases pain and brings relaxation. California Poppy is also non-addictive. But it should not be taken during pregnancy as it might stimulate uterine contractions. VALERIAN Valeriana officinalis A natural sedative and anti-hypertensive, valerian has been used on both sides of the Atlantic for generations, not only to induce sleep but to help protect people from the negative effects of stress. A double blind study involving 128 people showed quite clearly that a water extract of valerian root significantly increased the quality of sleep. The study, which was quite thorough, measured night awakening, people’s own perceptions of the quality of their sleep, sleeplessness in the morning and sleep latency—that is, how quickly a person got to sleep. In another double blind insomnia study, 20 people were given either a combination of 160mg of valerian root extract and 80mg of Melissa officinalis extract, or menzodiazapine (Triazolam 0.125mg), or a placebo. (Melissa, by the way, belongs to the mint family and also has a powerful anti-viral activity.) Researchers discovered that the valerian-melissa preparation was comparable to the benzodiazepine drug in its ability to increase deep sleep. However, unlike the drug, it did not cause side-effects—diminished concentration, impairment of physical performance or daytime sleepiness. My only problem with valerian is that to me it smells like dirty socks. KAVA KAVA Piper methysticum From the pepper family, this plant is consumed in liquid by the cultures of Polynesia. It is both an effective sedative and hypnotic. It also acts as a muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and anti-depressant. When you take it, it first stimulates then begins to sedate the central nervous system. Small doses can produce a euphoric sense of wellbeing. Larger doses or small doses repeated frequently produce deep relaxation, lethargy and induce sleep. Human studies where kava is given in therapeutic doses have failed to show any toxic effects. Nonetheless, kava should not be used by people who have or have had liver problems, who drink alcohol, or take drugs. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women are not to take kava either. PASSIONFLOWER Passiflora incarnata This magnificent climbing plant, with its white flowers and extraordinary purple centers, is mildly narcotic and a wonderful sedative for the body. It’s an anti-spasmodic, sedative, hypnotic, hypotensive anti-depressant and nerve relaxant. It is particularly useful if you are someone who tends to suffer from nervous tension as well as insomnia. Not as strong as valerian in its action, it is more calming than sedating, and is therefore a superb alternative to tranquilizer drugs. Passionflower works particularly well for sleep when taken together with 5-HTP as an herb, a tincture, or fluid extract or in dried powered form in capsules. Passionflower was used by the Aztecs as an analgesic and sedative. One of its plant chemicals is called harmine, which has an interesting ability to bring about a contemplative state and a feeling of mild euphoria. It was even used during World War II as a “truth serum”. Harmine and other plant chemicals in passionflower, which work synergistically with it, prevent serotonin levels from falling and therefore works extremely well with 5-HTP against insomnia. HOPS Humulus lupulus The flowers from this common herb are often used together with other remedies to treat everything from indigestion to edgy nerves. Like valerian, hops have a pronounced sedative effect but it is much milder. You can use hops in the form of a tincture, but it can be particularly useful as a tea for people who awaken in the middle of the night. Prepare it before going to bed by steeping the flowers for 10 minutes in hot water and then straining and allowing to cool. Put the tea, sweetened with a little honey or preferably stevia (if you can get it), by the side of your bed so you can drink it if you awaken during the night. Some people also swear by small pillows stuffed with dried hops blossoms which you put under your neck when you go to bed or if you awaken. LET GO OF FEAR Experiment with these wonderful plants. Get to know them. Each has its own personality and its own soul. I have used them all over the years and come to love each one of them for their beauty and their effectiveness. Just as when you meet a new friend, it takes time to experience all their gifts. But you will, and it will be wonderful. Meanwhile, forget worry about sleep. Do what you need to do and then just let it happen. If it doesn’t happen tonight, so what? It will tomorrow night, or the next. Lack of sleep is not likely to kill you, but worrying about it for long enough just might. St. Patrick began each day with a prayer, regardless of how much or little sleep he had, or how he felt when he awakened. It is my favorite celebration of new beginnings and can wipe away worries following a sleepless night: I arise today Through the strength of heaven Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendour of fire Speed of lightning Swiftness of wind. Depth of sea Stability of earth, St. Patrick My favorite herbal company is Gaia Herbs who are fanatical in their methods of gathering and processing each and every product. I buy them from iHerb. Here are some of the Gaia products I especially like: Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root, 60 Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps Many systems of the body can be negatively affected by stress. That is why achieving a state of calm and relaxation is so important for optimum wellness. Gaia Herbs' Kava Kava is a potent herbal extract which helps support emotional balance. Made from ecologically harvested Kava Kava from Vanuatu, it contains a guaranteed 225 mg of active Kavalactones per serving. Order Kava Kava Root from iherb Gaia Herbs, Valerian Root, 60 Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps Valerian root has long been used to promote deep and restful sleep in those with occasional sleeplessness. Made from Valerian grown on Gaia's own certified organic farm, this extract delivers 1.8 mg of Valerenic acid derivatives per serving. By promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, Valerian Root supports the body in falling asleep naturally. Order Valerian Root from iherb Gaia Herbs, Sound Sleep, 60 Vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps Getting a restful night's sleep is essential for optimal health. Sound Sleep is an all herbal formula with botanicals historically recognized to address difficulty with sleep. It works to normalize restlessness, physical tension, and worry sometimes associated with occasional sleeplessness. It may also be used when nervous excitement and/or stress affected normal sleep patterns. Order Sound Sleep from iherb Gaia Herbs, Serenity with Passionflower, 60 Veggie Liquid Phyto-Caps Occasional nervous stress and tension can interfere in the enjoyment of everyday life by disrupting the functioning of body and mind. Serenity provides the support you need to help restore a sense of calm and relaxation your life. Made with certified organic Passionflower and Skullcap, this formula gives your nervous system the nourishment it deserves. Order Serenity from iherb

Rhodiola - Renew Body And Life

Rhodiola - Renew Body And Life

“Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners” Shakespeare One of the most powerful healing plants in the world originates in the dry, hostile environment of Siberia. For eons it was prized as a source of strength for Viking warriors, Russian cosmonauts having to endure the demands of space travel, and Olympic athletes. A beautiful perennial plant with pink, red or yellow flowers, it is called “Arctic Root” or “Golden Root.” Its proper name is Rhodiola rosea. If you don’t already make use of this incredible gift from nature, you don’t know what you’re missing. QUEEN OF ADAPTOGENS Rhodiola is the most versatile adaptogenic plant in the world. An adaptogen is a plant or herb which acts in non-specific ways to improve health and increase resistance to stress, without upsetting the body’s biological functions. Numerous studies carried out in France, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Russia confirm what has been known for centuries by shamans and wise woman healers: Rhodiola brings endless blessings to anybody using it. Here are just a few of its benefits. restores normal menstrual cycle in women prevents and clears fatigue increases vitality enhances immunity improves athletic prowess supports heart strength promotes improved wellbeing protects muscles when exercising helps endurance increases the metabolism of fats increases work capacity reduces stress and damage from stress supports thyroid function improves sexual function in men Whew! I could go on and on. The scientific research into this beautiful plant is voluminous and inspiring. I first learned of Rhodiola many years ago when Professor of Medical Science, Israel Brekhman—the much celebrated Russian research scientist in organic medicine and biologically active substances in Vladivostok—visited Britain. Brekhman’s career focused on the genetics of plants and herbs, and on improving health and wellbeing. It was he who first coined the word adaptogen. NON-TOXIC HEALING One of the wonderful things about Rhodiola is that it has a very low level of toxicity and very few side effects. (Since safety issues are as yet not available for pregnancy and lactation, however, it should be avoided in these circumstances.) There are many ways in which Rhodiola—which now grows in Greenland, Iceland, Canada and Alaska—as well as its native Siberia, can be used. One of the most surprising is this: If you can get hold of the plant itself (unfortunately in some countries, Rhodiola plants are not available because of agricultural import regulations), it will thrive in your garden. You can cook its shoots and leaves which are edible, prepare its roots as you would any starchy vegetable, serve its leaves raw in a mixed salad, and even serve its shoots prepared as you do asparagus. More about Rhodiola in a moment. Meanwhile, there are some important things you need to know about using herbs of any kind. NATURE’S MEDICINES Plants hold powerful medicine for men and women. To state such an obvious truth seems absurd, since every culture in the world from the beginning of human history has turned to herbs, trees, and other plants as medicine. Yet in our post-industrial world, we find ourselves in the absurd position of having to rediscover our medicinal and health-promoting heritage—not only by unearthing long neglected local practices, often passed on verbally from woman to woman, but also by investigating herbal traditions from other parts of the world: Tibet, China, India, Japan and Native America. The benefits of making nature’s medicinal plants a part of your day-to-day life becomes obvious when you realize that the origins of most drugs lie in plants. Using plants and herbs for strength and healing offers many advantages. First, their powers for enhancing wellbeing go far beyond their ability to alleviate symptoms. For centuries, women healers preferred to use the whole of most plants. They had no belief in the practice now propounded by today’s mainstream medicine which chooses to use isolated ingredients and make them into patented drugs. In every medicinal plant, there are two kinds of compounds, each of which has an important part to play in treatment. The first are the active ingredients—these are what capture the imagination of chemists and drug producers to make the biochemically twisted molecules that Big Pharma turns into patented drugs. The second are the compounds and substances which drug manufacturers ignore altogether—even seek to eliminate—but which good herbalists insist play a vital supportive role in the healing a particular herb can bring to the body. These compounds work synergistically with the active ingredients, making them more easily accessible to the body or dampening the effect of what are often very potent plant chemicals—helping to protect the body from side-effects. Some even help protect from overdose by causing nausea if the body's safe level of tolerance is passed. It is the synergy of these primary active ingredients and their secondary helpers that makes herbs work so well. There are many different substances and compounds in plants and herbs which offer health-supporting abilities. The volatile oils for instance, the tannins, phenylpropanoids (like those in Rhodiola), alkaloids, bitters, glycosides, and flavonoids. WAYS AND MEANS You can take herbs in many different ways—as infusions, decoctions, syrups, tinctures, suppositories, capsules, and in baths, ointments or creams. You can grow your own herbs or buy them in bulk dried. Using the dried plant is by far the cheapest way to use herbs, since you can buy a large amount at a time very cheaply and make up your own infusions, decoctions, suppositories and ointments, as well as tinctures. You can even buy empty gelatin capsules and fill them with dried herb yourself. However, it is often easiest if you are a complete beginner to rely on good quality ready-made herbal products from a good supplier—whole herbs, herbs in capsules, herbal extracts and tinctures. Tinctures are made by using water and or alcohol to draw out a plant's chemical constituents and preserve them. They are taken in a little water. These are best either bought ready-made from a reputable supplier, or left until you have mastered the use of herbs in other ways, as each herb demands a specific ratio of water and alcohol to plant material. MEET THE SOUL OF A PLANT It is worth remembering that, just as people have different personalities, so do plants. Once you get to know the actions of various herbs—and the best way of doing this is to use them or to watch them work on other people—you begin to develop a feel for the character or soul of each plant. Eventually you develop a skill that enables you to call on the right plant or plants when you need their help. But it is important to remember that plants, such as Rhodiola, are slower acting than drugs, so you need to be patient. It is necessary to use most herbs for a few weeks before you come to experience its full benefits. That being said, I sometimes find a plant can will bring almost immediate relief too. One big advantage of using herbs is that many herbs, when taken steadily over a period of time, will do the job for which they were being taken so well that you no longer need to use them. Another important thing to remember when using herbs is that some work well in combination. Whatever herbs you are using, they need to be fresh, clean and either well-crafted or grown organically. Some herbs on the market today have been grown in countries where pesticides and herbicides are sprayed heavily. Others are not fresh or have been irradiated or are contaminated with chemicals. Often suppliers themselves are not even aware of how the dried plants have been handled. BACK TO RHODIOLA The active constituents of Rhodiola root are many. This is one of the reasons that this plant acts so powerfully in so many ways to benefit your health. The most important ingredients it contains include Rosin, Rosavin, Salidroside, and Tyrosol. Although Rhodiola can be prescribed by an herbalist as a tincture or extract, for many reasons, this plant is usually best taken in capsules. In no small part, this is because its taste in tincture form is far too intense for most people. For those of you who, like me, love to know the minutiae: A typical dose in tablet or capsule form for long-term administration is 360-600mg per day when standardized for 2.6 Rosavin, 180-300mg when standardized for 2% Rosavin, or 100-170 when standardized for 2.6 Rosavin. Some products list the Rosavin in milligrams, such as 6mg of Rosavin per 120 mg of Rhodiola root, or 12 mg of Rosavin per 240mg of Rhodiola root. These formulations are an even more robust 5% Rosavin content. Even so, such products provide a large margin of safety. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Always read labels carefully. (This is one of the reasons I order almost all of my nutritional products—including capsules of Rhodiola—from iHerb, where they provide both clear in-depth ingredient information as practically no other company does, and they ship DHL incredibly fast worldwide.) Always check out where any herb such as Rhodiola has been sourced. Make sure the raw materials it contains are the most active and desirable ingredients. Use products only from a first-rate manufacturer who relies on high-quality processes and extraction methods. Reject nutritional supplements of any kind that contain flow agents like magnesium stearate, which is made from stearic acid. It can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients via the digestive system. Thanks to Rhodiola rosea’s stunning versatility, it is able to nurture the nervous system, cardiovascular system, hormonal system, immune system and musculoskeletal system all at the same time. It’s little wonder, given its wide spectrum of therapeutic benefits, that in this time of physical, emotional and financial pressures, demands and work loads, growing exposure to environmental stressors and increasing costs of health care, this unique inexpensive herb with its excellent safety profile is gradually becoming better known. Most people see an improvement in energy levels, mood, mental clarity, memory, stamina and endurance within 2 to 6 weeks of using it. I for one wouldn’t be without Rhodiola in my family herb cupboard. Personally I take it twice daily as does my son Aaron. You want to choose the very best Rhodiola you can buy. I’ve investigated a good dozen readily-available products, so 2 of my personal recommendations below: Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea This is a wonderful product in no small part because of the way Gaia encapsulate it as a liquid which is rapidly absorbed. Each capsule contains the equivalent of 2,000mg of the dry herb. I keep mine in the fridge once the bottle is open. Order Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea from iherb Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola Another excellent Rhodiola 100% fresh freeze dried. Order Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola from iherb

Sprout Magic Details

Sprout Magic Details

Make them the base for salads, add them at the last minute to homemade soups, even carry them around with you in a bag and eat them instead of chocolate bars and biscuits. They are sweet and delicious and won’t leave you with an energy slump. There are many different seeds you can sprout - each with its own particular flavor and texture. Use the following chart as a guide to the variety of sprouts you can try. Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Alfalfa 6-8 hours 3-4 tbsp 5-6 days 3.5 cm 1½ in Rich in organic vitamins and minerals Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Fenugreek 6-8 hours ½ cup 3-4 days 1 cm½ in Have quite a strong ‘curry’ taste. Good for ridding the body of toxins Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Adzuki beans 10-15 hours 1½ cups 3-5 days 2.5-3.5 cm 1-1½ in Have a nutty flavor. Especially good for the kidneys Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Chickpeas 10-15 hours 2 cups 3-4 days 2.5 cm 1 in May need to soak for 18 hrs to swell to their full size. Replace the water during this time Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Lentils 10-15 hours 1 cup 3-5 days 0.5-2.5cm ¼–1 in Try all different kinds of lentils. They are good eaten young or up to 6 days old Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Mung beans 10-15 hours 1 cup 3-5 days 1-5 cm ½-2½ in Soak at least 15 hours. Keep in the dark for a sweet sprout Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Sunflower seeds 10-15 hours 4 cups 1-2 days Same length as seed Soak them and sprout for just a day. Bruise easily so handle carefully Seeds Soak time To Yield 1 liter Ready to eat in Length of shoot Growing tips and notes Wheat 12-15 hours 2 cups 2-3 days Same length as grain An excellent source of the B vitamins. The soak water can be drunk straight or added to soups or juices

Age Nature's Way

Age Nature's Way

Real age—your biological age—has little to do with how old you are in years. Most people, age prematurely. This is avoidable. It is also reversible. One of the reasons I have such a passion for herbs is, when you know what to use when they can slow biological aging, help restore balance, and improve how you look, you feel, as well as how your body functions year by year. Combined with regular detoxification and a natural diet high in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and top quality protein, they can even rejuvenate the body in medically measurable ways—improved circulation, increased resistance to illness, and to emotional and mental troubles. They can also help you reconnect with your innate vitality whatever your chronological age. NATURE’S PROTECTORS Plants do this in many ways. Some such as ginseng, garlic and gotu kola are specifically anti-ageing in their actions. Others—herbs such as purslane and thyme as well as foods like seaweeds, oranges, carrots, and green vegetables—are literally brimming with anti-oxidants and other phyto-chemicals which are protective, regenerative and immune enhancing. Make a few of these plants an every-day part of your life. They will help protect you from the kind of free radical damage which underlies both premature ageing and the development of degenerative diseases. Here are some of my favourite anti-ageing herbs: Gotu Kola Gotu Kola—Centella asiatica—has been used for centuries in India to extend life span and enhance memory. Gotu kola, like many quality bulk herbs, is native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, particularly Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Traditionally, its leaves are dried and steeped in order to create a tea or infusion. Gotu kola is also easy to grow in your garden or in a pot in the kitchen window however. It is also easy to introduce into your life. Just add a fresh leaf or two or a teaspoon of this dried plant to whatever herb tea you are drinking. You can also put a few leaves into salad when you make it. My favorite is a product for making your own gotu kola tea which is reasonably priced and organic. (see below) Nori Seaweed Nori Seaweed—If you have never used sea vegetables for cooking, this is an ideal time to begin. Not only are they delicious—imparting a wonderful, spicy flavour to soups and salads— they are the richest source of organic mineral salts in nature, particularly of iodine. Iodine is the mineral needed by the thyroid gland. As your thyroid gland is largely responsible for the body’s metabolic rate, iodine is very important to a person’s energy and to protect from early aging . I like to use powdered kelp as a seasoning. It adds both flavour and minerals to salad dressings, salads and soups. I am also excessively fond of nori seaweed, which comes in long thin sheets or tiny flakes. It is a delicious snack food which you can eat along with a salad or at the beginning of the meal. It has a beautiful, crisp flavour. I like best to toast sheets of nori by passing it over a hob flame for no more than a few seconds. This brings out its wonderful flavor and turns it crunchy. The only problem I have with toasting nori is that Gus, is completely addicted to it. This means there is no peace while we are making it. He can smell nori from far away even when the kitchen door is closed. As soon as we open it, he devours a couple of big sheets of nori which we have crumbled into tiny pieces for him. Green Barley Green Barley—This is a dried form of the natural juice taken from young barley leaves. It needs to be organically grown and pesticide-free. Rich in proteins, flavonoids, minerals including iron, vitamins such as K and B15, as well as chlorophyll and other nutrients, green barley boasts thousands of enzymes, not all of which are destroyed in the digestive process. Many can play important roles in supporting anti-aging metabolic processes. It also contains a high concentration of superoxide dismutase (SOD)—an anti-oxidant enzyme. Sprinkle from 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of green barley on to salads or mix into juices, miso broth or water. The brand I like best is very inexpensive and you can buy a pound at a time. Purslane Purslane—Portulaca oleracea brims with anti-oxidants—plant chemicals as well as vitamins known for their abilities to quench excess free radicals in the body. As such perslane enhances immune functioning. You can grow purslane in a vegetable patch or just about anywhere—even in window boxes, between the rose bushes or wherever you have an extra bit of space. Add purslane to fresh vegetable juices or put it through a blender to make ‘live’ vegetable drinks. Ginkgo Biloba Ginkgo Biloba—improves circulation to the brain. Lots of well founded European research shows this. It can even be helpful to people with Alzheimer’s disease. The leaves from this most ancient of trees restore memory, elevate mood, and quell anxiety. There are more than 300 published studies and reports which support the anti-ageing properties of Ginkgo. Its extract is used in Germany to help treat everything from depression and cerebrovascular insufficiency to asthma, transplant rejection and hearing loss. It is also used in a few expensive skin products to protect against environmental irritation. You can take ginkgo as an extract, tincture or in capsules. I prefer a high potency herbal tincture—1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon 2 or 3 times a day. Ginseng Ginseng—Panax quinquefolius—is the classic anti-ageing plant. It can be a godsend for both men and women when recovering from a long-term illness or stress or pulling yourself out of deep fatigue. And it improves libido in both. This root brings endurance when you need it. I like to take ginseng as a tea – but make sure you buy a good one. When I need strengthening I drink double doses of ginseng tea that has been specially processed to dissolve instantaneously in hot water. Horsetail Horsetail—Equisetum arvense is the best natural source of the mineral silicon which declines in the body as we get older. Silicon is important to the maintenance of strong bones, preventing osteoporosis, firming skin, and protecting from wrinkles and sagging. Horsetail is one of the world’s oldest plants. Organic horsetail tea is the best way to take this wondeful plant several cups a day. My favorite brand is organic of course and sells for less than US $12 a pound. Here are some of my favorites and the very best products: Organic Gotu Kola Herb Centella Asiatica Origin: India Kosher Certified by Kosher Certification Services Certified Organic by QAI, Inc. Gotu kola herb, like many quality bulk herbs, is native to the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, particularly Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Traditionally, the leaves of such herbs are dried and steeped in order to create a tea or infusion. Order Starwest Botanicals, Organic Gotu Kola Herb from iherb NORI ORGANIC SEAWEED Emerald Cove Silver Grade Organic Nori has a fine, pliable texture, producing exceptionally smooth and delicious rolls of nori-maki sushi. Just briefly pass over a low flame to toast before using. You'll marvel at the clean, sweet taste of this kind of edible sea vegetables. Order Nori Organic Seaweed from iherb ORGANIC GREEN BARLEY Frontier Natural Products, Organic Powdered Barley Grass Barley Grass is a whole food loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and many more nutrients your body needs every day. A wonderful way to ensure you're getting enough dark leafy greens in your diet. Order Organic Powdered Barley Grass from iherb GINKGO BILOBA TINCTURE ORGANIC We prepare our Ginkgo Extract from the leaves of Ginkgo biloba trees which have been Certified Organically Grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. To assure optimal extraction of Ginkgo's bioactive compounds, the leaves are hand-harvested in early autumn when Ginkgo's bioactive compounds are at their optimal concentration. They are then carefully shade-dried and promptly extracted. Our Ginkgo is never fumigated or irradiated. Order Herb Pharm, Ginkgo from iherb AMERICAN GINSENG ORGANIC We prepare our American Ginseng Extract from dry Panax quinquefolius roots which are Certified Organically Grown. To assure optimal extraction of American Ginseng's bioactive compounds, the roots are hand-harvested in mid to late autumn, are carefully shade-dried, and are then thoroughly extracted. Our American Ginseng is never fumigated or irradiated. Order Herb Pharm, American Ginseng from iherb HORSETAIL ORGANIC FOR TEAS A perennial grass that is dimorphic, having a fertile stem in the spring which dies back and is replaced by a sterile stem in early summer. The fertile stem is brownish in color, shorter and unbranched. The sterile stem is green with whorls of needle-like leaves and jointed stems. Order Organic Cut & Sifted Horsetail from iherb

A Cup Of Heaven

A Cup Of Heaven

Coffee is the world’s most cherished drink. More than eight billion pounds of it are traded each year. Coffee has belonged to the elite “Food of the Gods” category for centuries. Those that fit into this category, such as chocolate and coffee, have certain things in common—like great intensity. Honor their power by taking them in pure, unadulterated form and small quantities. Provided the products you choose have not been contaminated by poisons and pesticides, they will expand your consciousness while bestowing clarity and joy. But use them carelessly, in too great a quantity and without regard for purity, and they will undermine health and seriously distort your perceptions of reality. These are but a few of the challenges and the rewards foods from the Dark Gods bestows upon us. Once associated with Persians and Arabs, coffee has become so much a part of modern life that most who habitually drink it dread being without it. If you’re going to drink coffee, there are certain things you need to know—such as how to choose the best coffee, how to protect yourself from the ever-increasing contamination from pesticides and herbicides, and about the magnificent mythologies behind this dark, ubiquitous drink. MYTHIC ORIGINS There are wonderful tales about where coffee comes from. An Abyssinian story insists that a goatherd called Kaldi noticed one day that his flock was much friskier when they ate the fruit of a certain glossy green tree. Kaldi decided to try some himself, and experienced a rush of energy. A passing monk noticed the energy and asked where it came from. Kaldi introduced him to the coffee tree. The monk then gathered some beans and took them home for himself. There is truth to the spirit of this tale. Coffee was indeed introduced to the world by monks. Christian monastics believed that the archangel Gabriel was responsible for bringing this fruit to the earth. Meanwhile, Muslims insisted that a banished dervish called Omar, weak from exhaustion, came upon the coffee plant and took its fruit, only to find that his energy flooded back in force. They insist it was he who brought this magnificent food to the world. By the 6th century, coffee trees were being cultivated in what today is known as the Yemen in Arabia. In the beginning, coffee beans were ground and used to make tea. There’s no record of how this practice changed and it became a question of tossing the beans on the fire to benefit from the aromatic alchemical change which takes place when you roast them. The way coffee was first prepared is probably the way the thick, grainy drink we now call Turkish coffee is still prepared—by grinding up the roasted beans, putting them into boiling water and heating the mixture to a boil several times over a flame until it burns down to make a powerful, thick black soup. FORBIDDEN DRINK Coffee, like any other food which has alkaline drug properties and strong effects, has been banned for periods throughout history. In the 16th century it was even forbidden in Mecca. However, the Sultan himself so loved the beverage that he insisted it be made legal again. In the 17th century, the Catholic church did its best to ban coffee throughout Europe. But the Pope, an avid coffee drinker, insisted that this not happen. Not long after, cappuccino was invented. In both France and the United States, by the 17th century, coffee houses began to appear here and there—much in the same spirit in which they still exist throughout the world. They were places where people could meet and talk in an atmosphere of warmth and camaraderie. SEEDS OF REVOLUTION The French historian Michelet in 1789 insisted that the widespread availability of coffee in cafés played a central part in the development of the French revolution. In such places, philosophers and activists gathered to plan the future of France. Even in colonial America, where the first coffee house was opened in Boston in 1670, coffee houses played an active part in the planning for the American revolution. Across the Atlantic, in Turkey, so important was coffee—which had then come to be considered a household staple—that a woman could sue her husband for divorce on the grounds that he was not giving her a fair share of the beverage. Coffee warms us, stimulates us and has a natural diuretic and purgative effect on the body. From the point of view of our creativity and mental functioning, coffee most definitely has something to offer. The cafés in Paris in the 20th century were filled with famous writers, artists, politicians and thinkers who enjoyed the stimulation that coffee can bring; among them Ernest Hemingway, Collette, Jean-Paul Sartre, Picasso and even W.B. Yeats. DANGERS AND TRUTHS Let’s look at dangers first. Research shows that women who drink coffee while eating the typical high-carb diet have a greater risk of breast cancer and bladder cancer, as well as obesity. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, under no circumstances should you be drinking coffee. Coffee taken during pregnancy increases the rate of birth defects and miscarriages. Most studies into the damaging effects of coffee, however, have been done using readily-available coffee in the market-place, almost all of which is contaminated by plants have have been cultivated using GMO seeds and/or sprayed with an ever-increasing number of herbicides and pesticides which build up to poison the body by interfering with metabolic processes. In so-called developed countries such as Europe and the United States, once an herbicide or pesticide is labelled “dangerous to human health” and made illegal, the chemical companies who produce it then send the banned chemical to third world countries for use there. MUST BE CERTIFIED ORGANIC Coffee is mostly grown in third world countries—in which there are no statutory controls over how much of a specific herbicide or pesticide can be sprayed on crops. As a result, coffee has become one of the most contaminated foods in the world. Personally, I take with a grain of salt some of the negative results of scientific research that’s been done into how damaging coffee is to the human body. I suspect that at least some of the damage may be due not to the caffeine, as is commonly supposed, but to the chemical contamination which most coffee beans now carry. This makes the argument for organic coffee a strong one. Coffee grown organically does not exploit the native peoples who work in the coffee plantations, but rather gives them fair financial remuneration for their work. Certified organic coffee is also free of the chemical dangers in relation to human health. So, when buying coffee, go organic. There is an aesthetic reason for this too. Organic coffees have a finer flavor than the coffees that have been grown with herbicides and pesticides. GOOD NEWS Despite all the warnings about how dangerous coffee is to health—and there is truth in most of them—clean, organic coffee has many benefits to mind and body. It has been prescribed for generations in the treatment of asthma, vertigo, headache, jaundice and even snake bite. A poultice of wet coffee grounds speeds the healing of insect stings and bruises. Coffee enemas are used internally as a strong purgative stimulant both to the bowels and to the liver in the natural treatment of serious illness, including cancer. Reports from several recent studies support positive effects that can be gleaned from using the right kind of coffee in the right amounts. Here are just a few of the recent findings: Japanese researchers have discovered that people who are not regular consumers of coffee experience a 30% increase in capillary flow after drinking 5 ounces of coffee. At Johns Hopkins University researchers reported that 200mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee improves memory for as much as 24 hours. At University of Oslo in Norway, researchers report that coffee has potent anti-inflammatory chemo-protective and anti-aging qualities. A Spanish study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition shows that coffee taken before a workout can increase your energy expenditure for up to three hours afterward. ESPRESSO IS KING If you are going to drink coffee, the best kind to go for is certified organic espresso. Espresso, which the uninformed often shun, believing it to be too strong, is most often derived from Coffea arabica. Arabica grows high up on steep mountain slopes. It needs lots of shade and plenty of rainfall to flourish. Its flavor is richer, deeper and more full-bodied than the less expensive Coffea canephora or robusta coffee. Most people still believe that espresso is very high in caffeine. In truth, one shot of 1.5 fl oz. of espresso contains about 64mg of caffeine compared to 95g in the standard 8oz cup of coffee. The dark roasting, on which the flavor of espresso depends, burns off some of the caffeine content. The darker the roast, the less caffeine is present in the coffee. HOW TO MAKE COFFEE WORK FOR YOU There are some important things for you to know if you want to get the best from drinking coffee. It’s essential to adhere to them or you can undermine coffee’s benefits and suffer from its dangers. Here’s the way to go: Drink only certified organic coffee, and make it fair trade. Go for certified organic espresso instead of the conventional cup of java. It is healthiest and boasts the greatest benefits for energy. The darker the roast, the better for wellbeing. Always drink coffee black, in all its intensity, without milk, cream or sweeteners of any kind. When you do this, the rich blend of polyphenol anti-oxidants, bioflavonoids, minerals and vitamins not only help neutralize the more aggressive effects of caffeine. They work in harmony to support your mind and body. Limit your consumption of to one cup a day—two if you must. Drink a shot of espresso in the morning before—never after—exercising. It can not only improve your athletic prowess, it can uplift you for the day. I’ve investigated and experimented with many espresso blends in the last few months. Let me share with you the two certified organic espressos that I find the best. You can buy them either ground or as whole beans to grind yourself. Do try them and let me know what you think won’t you? CAFFE SANORA, ORGANIC, FINE GRIND COFFEE Like fruits and vegetables unroasted coffee beans are loaded with powerful antioxidants. Sadly, most are destroyed in the extreme heat of roasting. That's why Caffe Sanora set out to create an all-natural coffee roasting process we call HealthyRoast. This revolutionary method gives you a great cup of good health; Premium organic coffee with more antioxidants than most green teas. Buy Caffe Sanora Organic Coffee MT. WHITNEY COFFEE ROASTERS, ORGANIC MAMMOTH ESPRESSO GRIND The best coffees in the world are a joy to the mind and soul. Brew a wonderful cup, sit down, and take a sip. Buy Mt Whitney Organic Coffee

Apple Detox

Apple Detox

A time to be luxuriously lazy and self-indulgent, to enjoy the process of getting rid of all those wastes you really don’t want hanging around in your system making you look and feel low. A two day apple fast designed to be done over a weekend; it’s not even a fast, for you can eat as much as you like – but only apples. For two days all you have to do is to eat apples, and nothing but apples. Your body will do the rest. The reason the apple fast is done over a weekend is that the process of elimination can use up a lot of energy, so it’s a good idea to do it over two days when you are not working. The apple fast was taught to me thirty years ago by Dr Gordon Latto, a British medical doctor who used nothing but food and breathing techniques and a few herbs to heal even the most complex and chronic conditions. Eating as much as you want – but only apples – in place of your regular meals, and in between too if you like, for two days cleans your body, helps clear away food sensitivities, and banishes the ravages of unnatural appetite. A few days on apples once in a while can eliminate retained water, revive flagging energy, make your skin look wonderful and your eyes shine. No pregnant or breast-feeding woman should do an apple fast: neither should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint, for in such cases any sudden change of diet carries with it potential dangers to health. But if you are generally well, a short apple fast is a great way to clear away the cobwebs. Check with your doctor first if you have any doubts. making apple history It was the apple which first led Swiss physician Max Bircher-Benner to develop his system of treatment based on living foods. Bircher-Benner was himself ill with a liver ailment, which made it virtually impossible for him to digest anything. One day, as he lay in his bed unable to rise or eat, his wife slipped a piece of fresh raw apple between his teeth. He tasted it, and to his surprise he found he could tolerate it. Several days – and many raw apples – later he found himself well again. He never forgot the humble apple or what it could do to detoxify the body and to help restore normal functioning to digestion, cells and the circulation. He used apples regularly in his dietary treatments of obesity and other illnesses. In fact, they formed the basis of his Bircher Muesli, which has become world famous. The apple has long been known as a health tonic, medicine, cosmetic and bowel-regulator all wrapped up in one skin. When eaten, it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. It contains natural substances that help prevent digestive and liver troubles. Where unsweetened apple juice is the traditional drink among country people, there tends to be no incidence of kidney stones. The simple apple is traditionally used for eliminating obesity, as well as being a folk treatment for skin problems, bladder inflammation, anemia, insomnia, intestinal parasites and bad breath. an apple a day The adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not just an old wives’ tale. The apple is quite rightly known as the queen of fruits. In its natural whole state, it supplies valuable fruit sugar and vitamins in a superb balance to ensure that your body can efficiently digest and use them. The apple is our richest fruit source of vitamin E and also provides a good supply of biotin and folic acid – two B-complex vitamins important in preserving energy, emotional balance and in keeping your digestive system clean and functioning well. It is also a fine source of vitamins A and C, which are both natural antioxidants – powerful anti-agers – not to mention more than a dozen minerals including sulfur, potassium, iodine, silica, magnesium and calcium, and even essential amino acids in small quantities. Apples are low in acidity to help balance stored bodily wastes which tend to be acidic. They stimulate the flow of saliva in the mouth, and clear away debris from the teeth. Eating a raw fresh apple stimulates circulation in the gums too. Finally, apples are rich in a very special form of soluble fiber called pectin which helps to clear out the dangerous heavy metals such as lead and aluminum that we all pick up from our city air, food and water. Heavy metals in your body are something you want to get rid of. These elements, the concentration of which has increased dramatically in our air, foods and water since the Industrial Revolution, can seriously interfere with your body’s metabolic functioning. Mercury tends to suppress the levels of white blood cells in the immune system. Cadmium displaces the essential element zinc needed for a great many of your body’s enzyme systems, and renders them inefficient and even inactive. In the West we now have a concentration of lead in our bodies some 500-1000 times that of our pre-industrial ancestors. High levels of this heavy metal age us prematurely, interfere with our mental processes, suppress immunity and contribute to depression. Aluminum, another heavy metal, detrimentally affects the central nervous system. The presence of all these elements in excessive quantities (and their concentrations in the human body appear to be increasing with each passing decade) generally interferes with your body’s metabolic processes. The ability of apples to remove heavy metals from your system is one of the best reasons for doing an apple fast, particularly if you live in a city. fantastic fiber The fiber that apples contain really is remarkable. In addition to cellulose (the most common kind of fiber, which binds water and increases fecal bulk), the apple is also rich in pectin – a very special kind of fiber with quite exceptional detoxification properties. So different in texture and character is pectin from other forms of fiber that it is sometimes surprising to think that they are classified in the same group. Unlike cellulose, pectin does not bind water, it is water-soluble. It has no influence on fecal bulking, but it appears to be an excellent substance for lowering cholesterol. It may also help eliminate bile acids from the intestines, thus short-circuiting the development of colon cancer and gallstones. It is also useful as a natural chelating (binding) agent which is why it is so good at mopping up unwanted heavy metals, such as aluminum, from the tissues and eliminating them from the body. This can be very important when it comes to detoxification for weight loss. prepare to be clean Getyourself a big bag of the freshest apples you can find – perhaps three or four different kinds for variety. If you don’t like the look of your apples you won’t want to eat them, so be picky. Buy a box of apples if you like, your greengrocer might give you a discount. On this pre-cleanse day it is a good idea to get your system ready. Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks. Steer clear of bread and cooked carbohydrates such as pasta and cereals, and make your last meal of the day a large raw salad made of fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t have anything else to eat after your salad, except perhaps a cup of herb tea before bed. This will give your body a good 12 hours head-start on the elimination process and it will thank you for it. the apple fast There’s really nothing to it. Over the two days you have chosen, tuck into your apples. Eat as many as you like at any time of the day or night. You must eat the whole apple including the peel, the seeds and the core. Chew well, until the last drop of flavor has been extracted from the fruit. The only part you throw away is the woody stem. Of course, you need to eat your apples raw. You can munch them whole, or grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. You can even put them in the blender with spring water to make a drink. Eat nothing else during this two-day period, but eat them whenever you are hungry. Do not drink tea or coffee. You may have herb teas such as peppermint, lemon balm or chamomile with a teaspoon of honey if you wish. Drink lots of spring water, but nothing else. Be lazy and luxurious.  During these days indulge yourself doing whatever is pleasurable for you. Many people find their sexuality is heightened during these days. If so, enjoy it. Apples are great to munch in bed. In many ways, the most useful thing about the apple fast is the way you can call on it when you most need help to get you back on the rails again. We all slip up sometimes - we over work or over indulge and live to regret it the next day. A two day apple fast, or even just a day spent eating only apples, is an excellent ‘quick corrector’. Spend even just one day munching apples and it will help set all to rights again, so that when you awaken next morning you feel more like your old self and ready to face the day full of energy. Apple fasting gives you the chance to step back regularly and take a look at your lifestyle, instead of mechanically going on day after day without being aware of where your energy is going. Set aside two days, three or four times a year – a weekend is best – for an apple fast. This will spring clean your body from the inside out. Even apple fasting for one day a week is a great boost to vitality and good looks, because it helps detoxify your body of wastes accumulated as a result of drinking or eating too much, or consuming the wrong kinds of foods. It can also help calm the ravages of an over-enthusiastic appetite, which many people suffer as a result of food sensitivities or over-stimulation of the digestive system. Furthermore, it is an excellent discipline: such a practice helps you break through ingrained habit patterns, which can make us largely unaware of how we are eating.

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Are you one of the thousands of people who reach for artificial “low-calorie” sweeteners—such as aspartame or saccharin—to add to your tea or coffee, in the belief that they can help keep you from getting fat? If so, this is hardly surprising. We have had this lie shoved down our throats through advertising and the media, thanks to the lobbying of money-hungry companies keen to sell the sickly sweet chemicals they peddle. Independent research into the dangers of artificial sweeteners rarely sees the light of day. It can be a serious challenge to find unbiased data amongst the multitude of misinformation that is littered across cyberspace. It’s essential that you learn the truth about these destructive substances, as well as what they’re really doing to your health and your waistline. APPETITE STIMULANTS Independent studies have turned up some surprising results when analyzing the relationship between the use of artificial sweeteners and obesity, although as yet few people know about this. Far from helping you lose weight, these sweeteners actually stimulate your appetite, causing cravings and telling your body to “store fat”. How does this happen? When you taste something sweet, your body expects calories to immediately follow, just as they do when you eat sugar. This triggers your appetite. However, since the calories don’t follow, the sensation of hunger remains. You begin to crave more sweet-tasting, carb-rich foods. This effect is most marked in aspartame, though it also applies to the other common sweeteners such as saccharin and acesulfame potassium. HORMONE HAVOC This alone is bad enough, but it’s only half the story. The other half concerns aspartame’s effect on the key hormone insulin, responsible for regulating fat metabolism. Although vigorously denied by the “research” of the manufacturing companies, recent studies indicate that aspartame can actually trick your pancreas into releasing insulin—despite the fact that aspartame does not alter blood sugar. It can do this simply by activating our “sweet” taste receptors. Since the elevated insulin finds no blood sugar to combine with, this increases your hunger even more, and makes your cravings worse. The result of all this? You’re more likely to a) eat more of the sugary foods you’re craving, setting up a vicious circle, and b) lay down more fat stores, due to the hormonal fluctuations happening in your body. A new study published in the January 2013 issue of science journal Appetite reported that, between groups of rats fed either aspartame, saccharin or sugar, the aspartame and saccharin groups gained more weight than the sugar group—and this was unrelated to intake of calories, since they all ate the same foods. BAD NEWS FOR DIABETICS Not only is this terrible news for those trying to shed fat. It also has dire consequences for the ever-growing group of humans afflicted by diabetes. Many diabetics have been led to believe that these sweeteners are a healthier alternative than sugar, when this too is based on a fallacy. Sugar itself, in all its forms, is also toxic to the human body. And it too is an arch enemy to good health and weight loss. (See Robert Lustig’s excellent lecture on the dangers of sugar here.) But unlike sugar, low-calorie sweeteners are often sold as “diabetes-safe.” This too is a dangerous lie. As we have already seen, consuming aspartame can elevate insulin levels abnormally. The more often this happens, the more the body becomes resistant to this hormone. The insulin resistance that follows will lead to—or worsen—diabetes, along with obesity and many chronic degenerative conditions. FURTHER DANGERS As if you needed any more reason to stay away from artificial sweeteners, get this: Aspartame is composed of two separate components, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Phenylalanine quickly degrades into methanol, which in turn becomes formaldehyde—yep, that stuff lab specimens, and dead bodies are stored in—and accumulates in our cells. When levels of this nasty chemical get high enough in the system, it can cause all sorts of dangerous effects. The “Aspartame Consumer Safety Network Fact Sheet” warns of the following potential symptoms: “headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomnia, numbness, blurred vision, blindness and other eye problems, memory loss, slurred speech, depression, personality changes, hyperactivity, stomach disorders, seizures, skin lesions, rashes, anxiety attacks, muscle cramping and joint pain, loss of energy, symptoms mimicking heart attacks, hearing loss and ear ringing, and loss or change of taste.” All that, and it won’t even help you lose weight! NATURE’S SWEET OFFERINGS So what can we turn to now that both artificial sweeteners and sugar are off the menu? Fortunately for those of us with a sweet tooth, nature has provided a delicious and safe alternative: Derived from the sweet leaf plant, Stevia, in its natural state, is the best no-calorie, health-supporting natural sweetener on the planet. Even though it’s sweeter than sugar, its taste has a slower onset and longer duration, meaning it doesn’t carry the same risks as aspartame and the other artificial sweeteners. Not only is it safe—it is actually good for you, and may even help enhance glucose tolerance and improve insulin sensitivity. Another natural alternative safe for occasional use is coconut sugar, derived from the blossoms of the coconut palm. It has a high nutritional content, containing potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. It has a low glycemic index, so is considered safe for diabetics. It has a rich flavor that has been compared to toffee. Coconut sugar, which is currently bringing high profits to both coconut farmers and retailers especially in the US, has one major drawback, however. What nobody is warning consumers about is that coconut palm trees cannot produce both coconuts and coconut palm sugar, which is gleaned by drawing the sap out of the tree. When the sap is used to make coconut sugar, the flower buds, which are dependent on the tree’s sap enabling them to form, wither and die so the tree cannot grow coconuts. Because the tree can no longer produce coconuts and all the precious products made from them it can suffer and die. In short, producing coconut palm sugar is not a sustainable industry. Despite experiments in some places to make use of coconut trees one year as sap producers and the next as a coconut producer, this remains a serious challenge worldwide. STEVIA—IT’S GOOD FOR YOU An exotic herb which grows in subtropical areas of South America, stevia is replete with non-caloric sweet molecules. This is the reason for its sugary flavor. Stevia has sweetened herbal drinks since Pre-Columbian times. Its properties were first recorded by a botanist named Antonio Bertoni in 1887, who wrote about ways the natives of Paraguay used it. Others have discovered stevia in the past fifty years and made good use of it. Japan and the United States have done extensive research and safety testing on the plant. Their research shows that this marvelous sweet herb is non-toxic, safe for diabetics and beneficial for weight loss as well as daily use for yourself and family. More good news: Stevia is not a source of nutrition for bacteria in the mouth, nor for yeasts and fungi such as Candida albicans in the body. A few years ago, following some rather bogus animal research promoted by Monsanto—who produce much of the artificial sweeteners in the world—the European parliament banned the sale of stevia in Britain and Europe. There is not much pressure at the moment to lift that ban. In the meantime, if you live in the EU, you can nevertheless order stevia online from herbal shops, either in your own country or another European country, including the UK, without difficulty. It is widely available in shops and stores in the United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand and most other countries of the world. Stevia is great for all sorts of reasons on Cura Romana. How sweet is Stevia extract? Stevia extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Add a pinch to drinks like coffee or tea. Dilute in water when you are using it to make a salad dressing or dessert. How many calories are in Stevia extract? None. Stevia extracts have zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sugar, zero fat and zero cholesterol. Can Stevia extract replace sugar in the diet? Yes. Refined sugar is virtually devoid of nutritional benefits and, at best, represents empty calories in your diet. Stevia is natural, much sweeter than sugar, and has none of sugar’s unhealthy drawbacks. Can Stevia replace artificial sweeteners in the diet? Yes! Stevia is the only a safe, calorie-free, all-natural alternative to artificial or chemical pharmaceutical sweeteners in the world. Will Stevia raise my blood sugar levels? Not at all. In fact, according to some research, it may actually lower blood sugar levels. Can I use Stevia if I am diabetic? Yes. Stevia is a great addition to a healthy diet for anyone with blood sugar problems since it does not raise blood sugar levels. I’d advise you to stay away from any form of artificial sweeteners including those recently being marketed as “natural stevia” which are, in truth, distortions of the real thing. Here are the best and most useful forms of stevia you will find anywhere. Both can be ordered direct from iHerb no matter where you are in the world. BEST LIQUID STEVIA Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, English Toffee Sweet Leaf liquid stevia with all natural flavors is convenient and easy to use. As a supplement, add this nutritious stevia to water, tea, coffee, milk, sparkling water, protein shakes, plain yogurt or anything else you can imagine. It comes in many different flavors including lemon but English Toffee flavor is the best by far. Buy English Toffee Stevia BEST GRANULATED STEVIA Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling. Buy Stevita GOOD COCONUT SUGAR Navitas Naturals, Coconut Sugar, 16 oz This coconut sugar is top of the range. It’s produced in Indonesia where farmers have harvested the nectar from coconut palm trees for herbal medicine and food for centuries. This product contains 100% pure evaporated coconut sugar that is certified organic, kosher and vegan. Buy Coconut Sugar ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: They ship all over the world very cheaply, and their products are the cheapest and best in the world. Get your order sent to you via DHL. I use them for almost everything no matter where I am.

Sacred Truth Ep. 65: Come Alive & Cook

Sacred Truth Ep. 65: Come Alive & Cook

In the realm of cooking a whole new ethos is being born. You don’t need to have every ingredient to make a recipe work. I no longer worry about coming into my kitchen and making a meal out of practically nothing—wilted spinach, whatever herbs I have in the garden, four eggs, an apple, half a carrot, and a piece of fresh ginger. Make up your own recipes. Don’t get hung up on measurements. Use them only as guidelines. Try a little more of something that intrigues you, a little less of what does not. If you like the look of some recipe you’ve come across but don’t have all the ingredients, substitute. At the age of 11, one of my sons, Jesse, decided to make Banana Bread. The recipe he found called for nine ingredients but he had only five. So he tossed all five of them together and whipped it all up. Much to his amazement and ours, he managed to create what we in the family thought was the nicest “Banana err...something or other” that we had ever tasted. So put your kitchen scales away and forget the complex routines for preparing a béchamel sauce. You see, Come Alive Cookery breaks all the rules. It’s not rules that matter when preparing foods. It is a kind of passion for the foods themselves—a feeling reflected in your passion for the earth and life itself. You can watch this in a small child as he enthusiastically devours a bowl of fresh strawberries drizzled with honey. Such passion, which is visual, visceral, and sensuous, can become an inspiration in food preparation, which leads you automatically to make certain choices. If two things look good together they taste good together. Open wide your kitchen window. Welcome the breezes of experiment, wit and spontaneity. The standard meal of roast meat and boiled Brussels sprouts topped off with a piece of sticky toffee pudding must be replaced by something far more hedonistic: slivers of raw Pacific salmon, luscious garden-fresh salads with a slice or two of Russian black bread followed by a winter sorbet of cranberry and mint—foods that are lighter, richer in top quality proteins, full of texture, flavor, and surprises. I look on food as a source of both delight and life-energy passed on to us from the earth. And I believe this energy needs to be preserved by not cooking food too much but by eating it fresh and respecting its essential nature. That way meals become a medium for building the kind of natural vitality that protects your body from premature aging and illness, enhances good looks, and keeps your minds clear. It is the life-energy present in abundance in fresh foods and clean, simple proteins from fish, game, organic meat, and poultry that makes such foods irresistible. Shun manufactured convenience foods that fill up the shelves of supermarket. They’re dead and can make you feel dead if you eat them. Instead, use Real Food—fresh, organic stuff untainted by chemicals, preservatives, colorants, and phony flavor enhancers. We thrive on the kind of food our grandparents grew for themselves. Why? Because these foods are both the most delicious and the most life nurturing. Your kitchen, big or small, should be treated like an artist’s atelier in which you can lose yourself in creative games. I remember as a child sitting in front of an old Stanley stove gazing into the flame filled with delightful visions as my grandmother canned pears, peaches, and green beans for winter. My kitchen is more like a sculptor’s studio than a food preparation station. It is a place where I can laugh with friends, workmates, and family while discussing both serious and trivial stuff as we prepare meals together. Every kitchen should be a space that reflects things that delight you or amuse you. Twenty years ago I bought a gigantic soup ladle that has hung above my sink ever since. It is so big I use it only rarely. It would be ideal for a Salvation Army soup kitchen. Practical? Not really. But I love its beautiful shape and the absurdity of its size makes me laugh. In India the best foods are those you buy in the cheapest cafés because they have been made with love and joy (sometimes with humor too). The word “café” is really a euphemism, since these places are little more than a few stone slabs in which a fire has been built for cooking. Yet the foods they sell are infinitely better tasting, more nourishing and “safer”—less likely to cause Delhi belly than all the fancy foods you get in India’s most expensive restaurants and hotels. Unless each dish you prepare is invested with love—or at least lots of affection—the meal will be dead. Have you noticed how much better food tastes when it’s cooked by someone who likes cooking? This is not because they know what they’re doing; it’s because they love what they do. The bottom line is simple: Experiment and enjoy. The rewards can be endless in terms of health and sensuous pleasure. Above all...have fun!

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 18,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 13 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 31st of July 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.74 lb
for women
-1.12 lb
for men
-0.74 lb
for women
-1.12 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 31st of July 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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