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functional food

100 articles in functional food

The Miraculous Apple

The Miraculous Apple

The second most cultivated and widely-eaten fruit in the world is the apple. It seems we had to be well into the 21st century before science finally discovered its nutritional value. Not long ago, Medical News Today featured an article about the top 10 healthiest foods. Apples were number one. Apples are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and marvelous dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain help reduce our risk of developing cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. But there’s lots more news, too. MAGIC FROM A HUMBLE APPLE Recent studies show that apples have the ability to improve neurological health as they are rich in quercetin, which reduces cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. According to research carried out at the University of Quebec, apples also reduce our risk of stroke. A large study involving 9,208 people showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk of stroke. At Florida State University, scientists praised the apple as “a miracle fruit”. Older women who ate apples every day had 23% less LDL—the bad-guy cholesterol—and 4% more HDL—the good cholesterol, over a 6 month period. Meanwhile, researchers at Cornell University discovered that apples can help “protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity”. This reduces our risk of developing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Also at Cornell, researchers discovered that an apple a day may help prevent breast cancer. There is some mounting evidence that apples help reduce the risk of diabetes. A large study involving 187,382 people showed that those who ate 3 servings of apples a week had a 7% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to those who did not. Finally, researchers at Oxford University discovered that eating an apple everyday can be just as effective as statins are in preventing vascular death in people over 50. It’s about time that contemporary research is starting to celebrate the power of the apple. I have known for 50 years that apples are a miracle food. With so many benefits and uses, it is hard to list them all. HEADSTART TO A HEALTHIER LIFE One of the best ways to trigger rapid detoxification in your body, and get you started on a way of living that will keep you healthy all around, is to do an organic applefast for a few days. Of course, no one experienced in the art and science of fasting should fast on water for more than a couple of days, unless they are under the watchful eye of a health practitioner well-trained in natural methods of healing—and never if they are pregnant, suffering from kidney or liver disease, or on drug therapy. But an apple fast is different. In truth, it is not a fast at all. You eat as much as you want—but only organic apples, in place of regular meals. Like the traditional water-fast, the applefast is a powerful tool for stimulating the process of detoxification on which high-level health depends. An applefast can be used in many different ways, each of which is powerfully helpful. First, if you are keen to change the way in which you’ve been eating, an apple fast can get you off to a good start. It spurs the rapid elimination of waste, clears away food sensitivities—which can be present as a result of eating convenience foods, too much carbohydrate and sugar—and it can banish the ravages of unnatural appetite that develops due to chronic overstimulation of the digestive system. After your first 2 or 3 day applefast, try to set aside one day each week for applefasting. A once-a-week, one day applefast is a great boost because a day a week on apples is an excellent discipline. It’s a practice that helps us break through ingrained habit patterns which make us unconscious and mechanical in the way we live, and largely unaware of what we’ve been eating. Finally, you can also use the applefast whenever or for whatever reason you have slipped and eaten something that you know your body was not happy with. For example, if you discover you have eaten more than you really wanted, or your system has become somewhat polluted because you were trapped in a smoke-filled room the evening before. A day of applefasting quickly helps correct digestive disturbances and internal pollution problems which can result. It left unchecked, being out of sorts can trigger unnatural and excessive appetite. In effect, an applefast puts you back on track again, and can have you feeling great when you wake up the following morning. APPLEFASTING—HOW LONG If you’re keen to get off to a good start with detoxification, set aside two or three days for an applefast. Buy a box of organic apples. Usually the greengrocer will give you a good discount when you buy a box at a time. Or, buy three or four different kinds for variety to get you started. They must be organic. Eat as many as you like, but eat the whole apple, including the peel, the seeds and the core. You must chew it all very well, until the last drop of flavor has been extracted from the fruit. The only part you throw away is the woody stem. The apples you eat must not only be organic, they need to be fresh and eaten raw too. You can munch these crisp organic fruits au naturel, or you can grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. You can even put them in a blender with clean water to make a whole apple drink. Eat apples whenever you’re hungry throughout the day. How long you carry out your first applefast depends on how convenient it is for you to munch on nothing but apples, and on how you feel. Usually a couple of days are enough to give you a good start on spring cleaning the body from within. Three days is as much as any healthy body should do on his or her on, without being under the supervision of a health practitioner well-versed in fasting and the use of living foods. No pregnant or lactating woman should do an applefast, nor should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint, for in such cases a sudden change of diet carries with it potential dangers to health. But, if you are generally well, then a short applefast is a great way to clear the decks for a new way of healthier living. When your day or two on apples alone is finished, then you can start the next morning to apply your healthier way of eating based on fresh foods. ONCE A WEEK TREAT It really is a treat, too, as you’ll find after you’ve got into the swing of it. To lay aside one day of rest from the three-meals-a-day routine and spend it applefasting gives your digestive system a break. It helps clear your mind and encourages the letting go of old poor eating habits. It’s also an excellent tool for giving an extra push to the detoxification process. For me, applefasting is a pleasure. When I travel, and hate being faced with some of the airplane, hotel and restaurant food which I would otherwise be forced to eat. So instead, I carry a sack of apples with me, and munch away. I always find it increases my energy and has me sailing through whatever I have to do. I tend to vary the day of my applefast from week to week. Most often, it is Monday, because I feel that this is a good way to start the week. But when I have a commitment which entails lunch or supper or Monday, I simply shift it to a day later during the week. THE QUICK CORRECTOR In many ways, the most useful thing of all about the applefast is that you can call on it when you most need help to get you back on the rails again. Each of us occasionally finds ourselves in a situation where we’ve eaten something that we would rather not have eaten. You may find your system has been upset by some dish you were served the day before, which has forced the return of false appetite, and does not seem to want to go away until your digestive system is calmed and your body is balanced once more. Or perhaps you’ve overeaten—old habits die hard, and you must be patient with yourself if this does happen—or you’re under heavy stress for some reason, and feel you need help to smooth things over. The applefast is ideal as a “quick corrector” in any of these situations. Spend a day munching organic apples, and it well you to rights again, so that when you awaken the next morning you feel more centered and more yourself, ready to get back to eating good-quality foods with renewed enthusiasm and energy. CLEANSING CRISIS Very occasionally when someone goes on an active program of detoxification beginning with the applefast, he or she has the experience of a headache at some time within the first day or two, or feeling moody or having an upset stomach or loose bowels. This is a sign that your body is throwing off wastes at such a pace that you are experiencing what is known in natural medicine as a cleansing crisis. In fact, this happens to very few people. If you happen to be one of them, be glad. Even though it may be a bit of a nuisance for a few hours, it’s actually a good sign. Your body is taking the opportunity to get rid of a lot of debris that it wants to eliminate. If a cleansing crisis does take place, make time to relax—in a darkened room if possible—and be kind to yourself. It’s quite a feat to be ridding your body of so much old debris at once. The cleansing crisis will pass quickly, leaving you better than ever. BEWARE THE CAFFEINE MONSTER People most likely to get a headache as part of the cleansing crisis are those who’ve been drinking several cups of strong tea or coffee a day. This kind of reaction is triggered by your tissues dumping a lot of stored caffeine into your bloodstream all at once in order to clear it from your body. The first time this happened to me, I had been in Vienna for six days, where everybody drinks coffee—and very strong coffee indeed—all day long. Not being much of a coffee drinker myself (apart from a cup of bitter Turkish coffee once every six months after a middle-eastern meal), while there, I decided to go along with the custom. The day I left the city, I got into an airplane to return to London and to my usual way of eating, and found I was struck down by the most appalling headache which lasted about four or five hours. It was no fun, believe me. But when it passed, I did a 3 day applefast. I was left with the most wonderful feeling of freshness and lightness—the way you feel on a beautiful summer’s morning when there is a light breeze blowing. This sense of lightness is a common one for people who turn to an applefast to clear their system of stored wastes. It more than makes up for the headache or tummy upset that heralded its coming. When you experience a headache as severe as the one I had that day, it makes you appreciate even more how valuable a one-day-a-week applefast can be, and what a source of pleasure and energy. It’s something I would never want to be without.

Apple Detox - Sacred Truths Podcast Episode 1

Apple Detox - Sacred Truths Podcast Episode 1

In the next five minutes, I’ll tell you how—with little effort—you can banish feeling low in energy and replace it with looking and feeling great, in only two days. Meet my amazing Apple Detox. It can work miracles if you’ve been through a spate of too much work and too little sleep. It’s great in Spring before you hit the beach, after Christmas indulgences, or any time you need a lift. Detoxification Detoxification is a long word for just clearing out your system. It’s a process that stimulates your body’s natural ability to get rid of the toxic wastes that build up in your cells, tissues and organs from eating convenience foods and breathing polluted air. What’s the secret power? Organic apples. The second most cultivated and widely-eaten fruit in the world is the apple. We were well into the 21st century before science finally discovered its incredible nutritional value. Medical News Today featured an article about the top 10 healthiest foods. Apples were number one. Apples are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and marvelous dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain help reduce our risk of developing cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. And there’s lots more. Scientific Studies Recent studies show that apples have the ability to improve your neurological health since they’re rich in quercetin, which reduces cellular damage caused by the oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Research at University of Quebec discovered that apples also reduce our risk of stroke. A big study involving 9,208 people showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk of stroke. Apples can also help reduce the risk of diabetes. A huge study involving 187,382 people showed that those who ate 3 servings of apples a week had a 7% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to those who did not. Now, let’s talk Apple Detox. How do you do it? Set aside two, or no more than three days for your Apple Detox. Buy a box of organic apples—or three or four different kinds for variety. They must be organic You can eat as many as you like each day, but you should eat the whole apple, including the peel, the seeds and the core You must chew it all very well, until you’ve got the last drop of flavor out of the fruit The only part you throw away is the woody stem You eat nothing but apples They must be fresh and eaten raw. You can munch your crisp organic apple au naturel or you can grate them and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top You can even put them in a blender with a little pure water to make a whole apple drink But you must not put them through a juicer. You need the whole apple to make things work Detox Reaction If you happen to get a headache within the first day or two, or feel moody, get an upset stomach or loose bowels, this is only a sign that your body is throwing off wastes at such a pace that you are experiencing what’s known in natural medicine as a cleansing crisis. In truth, this happens to very few people—except a few heavy coffee drinkers. If it happens to you, be glad. Even though it may be a bit of a nuisance for a few hours, this is actually a good sign. Your body is taking the opportunity to get rid of a lot of debris that it wants to eliminate. Make time to rest and relax—in a darkened room if possible. Be patient and kind to yourself while it passes. It’s quite a feat to be ridding your body of so much old debris at once. When this cleansing passes, it can leave you better than ever. Check with your health practitioner Eat apples whenever you’re hungry throughout the day. How long you carry out your Apple Detox depends on you. Always check with your health practitioner. Two days are plenty to give you a good start on spring cleaning your body. Three days is as much as any healthy body should do on his or her own, without being under the supervision of a practitioner well-versed in the use of living foods. Cautions No pregnant or lactating woman should ever do an apple detox, nor should anyone with a kidney, liver or heart complaint. For in such cases a sudden change of diet can carry with it potential dangers to health. But, if you are generally well, then a short apple detox is a great way to clear the decks for a new way of healthier living. Keeps The Doctor Away No wonder apples are special. The Welsh adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is not just an old wives’ tale. The organic apple has more than earned it title as the queen of fruits. Try it and see for yourself.

Get Rid Of Inflammation

Get Rid Of Inflammation

Inflammation is the most dangerous condition your body has to handle to make you well and keep you that way. It diminishes your immune system. It can trigger a wide variety of serious degenerative illnesses, from early aging and heart disease to diabetes, arthritis, food intolerance and mental disorders. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection, injury and tissue damage. It comes in two forms: Acute and chronic inflammation—systemic inflammation, which spreads throughout your body. Acute inflammation is temporary, the purpose of which is to restore good tissue function as soon as possible. Your body creates inflammation as its defense against disturbing homeostasis in an attempt to prevent harm to surrounding tissues. Chronic inflammation is different. It turns into a festering fire causing pain, illness and disability all round. The reactions it brings about in the body are highly complex, involving many cellular and molecular distortions. It acts upon pro-inflammatory immune cells that circulate throughout your body, damaging healthy areas like the linings of your blood vessels in arteriosclerosis, joint tissue in arthritis, gut mucosa in lactose and gluten intolerance, and pancreatic tissue in diabetes. It can even act as a precursor to cancer. SURPRISING DISCOVERY Recently, highly respected cardiologists have pointed out that when it comes to the treatment of many conditions—such as heart disease—the medical profession has been doing it all wrong. Prescribing drugs to lower cholesterol, and telling people to restrict quality fats, do not protect from heart disease as we have been taught. The statins which cardiologists continue to prescribe are not only useless, they say, these pharmaceuticals can be seriously detrimental to your health. It is, they have discovered, inflammation in the arteries that is the real cause of arteriosclerosis and heart problems. Cholesterol can never line artery walls causing heart attacks and strokes unless systemic inflammation is widespread in your body. Dwight Lundell, former Chief of Staff and Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital in Arizona, is one of many outspoken physicians in regard to this mistake. “We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong,” he says. “I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years’ experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.” THE TRIGGERS What causes inflammation in the body? Many things, from genetic inheritance to environmental influences—especially the wrong diet; being exposed to bacteria, inhalants, pollutants; even electromagnetic influences from cell phones, smart meters and towers; not to mention taking long-term courses of powerful drugs—from antibiotics to hormones, anti-depressants, analgesics and sedatives, to drugs like statins, commonly used to treat heart conditions; and other prescriptive drugs, the remains of which literally poison the body, badly polluting its terrain. If you wish to protect yourself from inflammation, you need to become aware of where it’s likely to be coming from. This means examining how you live your life, and making changes to protect yourself from possible causes. The second step is to learn about which foods cause inflammation and which foods can help protect you from it. Then it’s time to throw out every one of the inflammatory foods that line your cupboard and your refrigerator, and forever change how you may have been eating. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EATING Certain foods, herbs, spices, and supplements help reduce inflammation and protect your body from it in the future. Organic dark green vegetables are high on the list: Spinach, kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, beet greens, and asparagus are high on the list of protective vegetables. So are organic berries of all kinds, organic chicken, grass-fed lamb, beef, venison, wild salmon, and green-lipped muscles from New Zealand. Foods that cause inflammation which you want to avoid at any cost are all kinds of sugars, regardless of how much they may be promoted as “good for you”; all artificial sweeteners, which are chemically dangerous to your body; and all GMO foods, which can literally be deadly. A large percentage of the population also reacts badly to cow’s milk products—from the milk itself to cow’s yogurt and cheese. Another category of foods that can be highly inflammatory to the body are high-carbohydrate foods, from the common grains and cereals to packaged convenience foods which line your supermarket shelves. They are chock-full of colorants, flavor enhancers and other chemicals which poison your body. It goes without saying that you want to avoid all junk foods, from sugared drinks to pastries, completely. Explore instead using the faux grains, which do not pollute your body and are great for meals and baking. (See: faux grain) SPICE IT UP Certain spices are wonderful for helping to quell inflammatory issues. Always buy organic. Most herbs in supermarkets have been irradiated—sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, which you do not want to allow into your body. Turmeric has been used for centuries as a medicine for treating colds, flu, and liver disease. It contains curcumin which has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation. Cinnamon, in addition to its beautiful smell and flavor, has been shown in many studies to exert anti-inflammatory properties and to ease swelling. Garlic in fresh form eases the inflammation of arthritis, as well as helping to protect you from colds, flu and other ailments. Ginger, in the form of a fresh root which you can grate into your foods and drinks, is fabulous for calming inflammation of upset stomachs, getting rid of headaches and infections. Cayenne, like other chili peppers, contains capsaicinoids which gives it its anti-inflammatory properties and can ease the pain of arthritis and headaches. MAGNESIUM THE ULTIMATE For those in the know, it is magnesium that forms the foundation of both treatment and prevention of heart disease, arteriosclerosis and diabetes by calming the fires of chronic inflammation. Virtually everybody in the western world is seriously deficient in this wonderful mineral. All packaged convenience foods are very low in it. Magnesium deficiency is common in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the insulin resistance that can trigger cardiac issues as well as the widespread incidence of cancer. Magnesium reduces hypertension, reduces your rate of aging, helps protect from bone fractures, and calms troubled minds. It is as basic as clean air and water for becoming healthy and staying healthy. There are many ways you can take magnesium, from swallowing supplements (not the best way) to bathing in magnesium chloride baths. One of the most effective ways to get more magnesium into your body—something all of us need to help clear inflammation and treat pain—is transdermal magnesium therapy. Get yourself a spray bottle of high quality magnesium chloride and spray it on your body, massaging it in all over. Magnesium chloride is taken right through your skin into the cells. Slowly but surely, doing this three times a day counters inflammation and pain superbly well. Spray it on or have a friend massage it into your body. When it dries, it may leave traces of white powder on the skin surface. This is nothing to worry about. It is some of the magnesium itself, that’s all; you can brush it off. Life Flo Health make a pure Magnesium Chloride Oil, which is inexpensive. It provides 66mg of magnesium chloride for every 4 sprays or 560mg per teaspoon. It is taken from the Ancient Zechstein Seabed, which lies 1600 to 2000 meters beneath the surface of the earth in the Netherlands, and is 100% pure. Magnesium chloride has no equal when it comes to the effectiveness of using magnesium to counter inflammation and athletic pain. It must be 100% pure magnesium chloride, not any other form of the mineral. I use it every day. Clearing inflammation from your body in whatever form it occurs may well be the very best action you can take to help you live a long and healthy life, during which you look and feel your very best at every age. Life Flo Health, Pure Magnesium Pure Magnesium Oil is a highly concentrated spray of pure magnesium chloride-nothing added and nothing removed. Mined deep under the earth's surface from the Zechstein Seabed in the Netherlands, it can be used daily, is non-greasy, and leaves no unpleasant odor. Provides approximately 66mg of elemental magnesium for every 4 sprays or 560mg per teaspoon. Order Pure Magnesium from iherb

Break-Fast

Break-Fast

The way that you choose to eat after an apple fast is vitally important. If you break your fast the wrong way, all the benefits of eating only apples for two days will be lost. Having got rid of the junk, you don’t want to put any more in. The first two or three days after your apple fast you should eat only raw food – particularly fruit. Don’t eat too much, chew your food well and eat slowly. This is good advice for anyone at any time. Putting too much of even the very best food into your system will lower your energy, because so much of your energy goes into digesting and assimilating the excess food and eliminating the wastes which are byproducts of metabolizing it. Don’t eat when you are not hungry, and stop as soon as you feel full. remarkably raw Raw foods have a remarkable ability to rebalance and restore the entire body. At the same time, a high-raw diet provides a full complement of essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids in an easily assimilable form. This means that, unlike a crash diet, which depletes your body of the nutrients it needs and leaves you tired and irritable, an apple fast followed by a few days on raw fruits and vegetables will give you lots of energy. For the first three days you will do best to eat something like this: breakfast Live Muesli or Energy Shake (see Go For It) midmorning A glass of fresh vegetable or fruit juice, or a cup of herb tea. Avoid coffee, tea, alcohol and soft drinks. lunch For an appetizer have slices of fresh fruit such as apple, mango or a slice of melon. Follow with a large raw salad. dinner Begin with a freshly-squeezed raw vegetable juice cocktail, or half a grapefruit. For a main course have another big raw salad with fresh fruit for desert. On the fourth day you can begin to add a little more cooked food, such as homemade lentil soup with a slice of wholemeal bread with a salad for lunch, or a piece of fresh fish or chicken with a salad for dinner. Each of us is different, so it’s important to listen to your body’s needs. Be sure to eat enough at each meal, but don’t stuff yourself. If you get hungry between meals have a piece of fresh fruit or some sunflower seeds. This is not a starvation diet. There is no need to cheat. After your detox and a few days on raw foods you will most likely want to keep that wonderful feeling of clean and fresh vitality. To do this you need to cut out the rubbish that you have been taking in such as convenience foods and highly processed foods, including breakfast cereals, bread made from refined flour, white pasta, white sugar and all the ‘goodies’ made from it. Choose organic tea or coffee to avoid taking in any more chemicals and pesticides than absolutely necessary. Drink no more than a cup or two a day. Don’t drink too much alcohol - have only a glass (or occasionally two at the most) of good wine with a meal once a day. And remember to drink plenty of spring water. Instead, take in foods which support the proper functioning of your body’s natural elimination processes, and remember not to overload your system in the morning when your liver is working hard. Go for eating 50-75 percent of your foods raw. Eat well on natural foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses and nuts, with smaller quantities of steamed or wok fried fish, game and poultry. If this sounds boring, think again. sprout magic An excellent way to cram your meals with goodness is to sprout your own seeds (sometimes called bean sprouts). Seeds and grains are latent powerhouses of nutritional goodness and life energy. Add water to germinate them, let them grow for a few days in your kitchen and you will harvest delicious, inexpensive fresh foods of quite phenomenal health-enhancing value. The vitamin content of seeds increases dramatically when they germinate. The vitamin C content in soya beans multiplies five times within three days of germination - a mere tablespoon of soybean sprouts contains half the recommended daily adult requirements of this vitamin. The vitamin B2 in an oat grain rises by 1300 percent almost as soon as the seed sprouts, and by the time tiny leaves have formed it has risen by 2000 percent. Some sprouted seeds and grains are believed to have anticancer properties, which is why they form an important part of the natural methods of treating the disease. Another attractive thing about sprouts is their price. The basic seeds and grains are cheap and readily available in supermarkets and health food stores - chickpeas, brown lentils, mung beans, wheat grains and so forth. And since you sprout them yourself with nothing but clean water, they become an easily accessible source of organically grown fresh vegetables, even for city dwellers. dessert desert? no way Many people think that eating healthily means giving up all the things they like, such as sweet things and desserts. This is not true; I've put a couple of ideas in Go For It to start you off. But before you reach for the biscuits, there are a few things that it’s wise to know about sugar. Most people make the mistake of thinking that sugar gives them energy. True, sugar is high in calories, but these are largely empty. The energy jolt you feel after eating a bar of chocolate comes from the sugar flooding your bloodstream, which triggers the release of insulin. It is the job of insulin to keep things in balance, so it encourages the sugar not to be burned as energy, but rather to be stored as fat, thus reducing the level of your blood sugar. So, quick as a flash, your energy vanishes. Unfortunately, frequent sugar-eaters’ bodies tend to overreact and lower the blood sugar too much. This is why the familiar (and very short-lived) lift in mood and energy which comes from eating something sugary is soon followed by a depressive slump which can send you reaching for more sugar in a vicious cycle of fatigue and the effort to combat it. To avoid this high-low reaction and up-and-down cycle, steer clear of all refined carbohydrates – from sugar to white flour – and anything made from them. Instead choose complex carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables and wholemeal breads and cereals which release just the right kind of energy into your bloodstream slowly, bringing you sustained energy and enormous staying power. Eating sugar also robs your body of chromium, an important mineral which helps protect against chronic low blood-sugar and fatigue. Studies show that chromium deficiencies are common in Britain and the United States, in part because we eat so much refined sugar, and in part as a result of agricultural practices which have depleted our soils of the mineral. Eat raw fruits and vegetables that have been grown organically and you will be replacing all sorts of minerals lost through a diet of convenience foods. potassium power Potassium is another important mineral for keeping your body’s elimination processes working properly day to day. One of its jobs is to look after the activity of your nerves and muscles, and when too little of it is available you can become lethargic, weary and weak. It plays an important part in ensuring that your cells receive the oxygen and nutrients they need, and that their wastes are properly eliminated. Potassium is easily lost from your body. This means you need a fresh supply through your foods every day. Two factors contribute to potassium deficiency. First, potassium and sodium are antagonists which should balance each other in your body. Thanks to all the salt added to convenience foods and used at the table to season foods, many people eat a high-sodium diet. Then sodium gets the upper hand, potassium levels drop and you can end up chronically fatigued. Low potassium levels also result from our Western tendency to eat too few fresh fruits and vegetables, which are high in potassium. The best way to take in potassium is to take in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, their juices and homemade vegetable soups. Also, stop seasoning your food with too much salt. There is plenty of natural sodium in wholesome foods without adding more. Three weeks of eating like this can dramatically heighten your energy levels and increase your over-all feeling of health.

Want More Energy, More Health, A More Beautiful Body?

Want More Energy, More Health, A More Beautiful Body?

I want to share with you some information that could literally change your life in two weeks. It is this: Grains and grain products are probably not good for you - except only occasionally in very small quantities. However, for more than 75% of the population of the Western world, they appear to be no good at all. Why? They quickly turn to glucose, lower your energy levels, create cravings and addictive eating behavior, and trigger insulin release contributing to metabolic syndrome - otherwise known as syndrome X - as well as fostering all sorts of other health issues including high cholesterol high blood pressure cancer obesity celiac disease Many grains and foods - not just wheat - contain gluten. These include: wheat oats rye barley spelt most of our processed foods Thanks to a fascinating new medical study reported in the Gastroenterology journal, we now know that the damage grains have been doing to our bodies all along has increased exponentially in the past 50 years. More important news: It is not just gluten that undermines the health of most of us. 75-80 percent of all people improve dramatically by avoiding all grains. Avoiding grain-based products is one good step in the right direction. However, glucose intolerance is only part of the issue. For more information about putting it all in practice read The PowerHouse Diet.

Beware The Body Snatchers

Beware The Body Snatchers

In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Jacob Marley, Scrooge's dead partner, appears to him as a ghost: `You don't believe in me', observed the Ghost. `I don't', said Scrooge. `What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?' `I don't know', said Scrooge. `Why do you doubt your senses?' `Because', said Scrooge, `a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheat. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!' Scrooge was right. Biochemical changes brought about by what you eat, how well you eat, and how often you eat, can affect your brain and alter consciousness enough in some people to produce imaginary fears—even hallucinations—not to mention depression and anxiety as well as chronic fatigue and chronic insomnia. The very worst of the body snatchers are the sugars in their myriad of forms. More about this in a moment. Meanwhile, everybody knows that fruit contain a kind of sugar known as fructose. Does this mean we should ban fruit from the table? GOOD FOOD BAD RAP Somehow fruits seen to have have earned themselves a bad name. Why? Because fruits contain fructose—fruit sugar. Nonetheless, it’s fructose that gives glorious organic navel oranges, blueberries, apples, and golden kiwis their marvelous sweetness. And the right amount of organically grown, whole fruits do as lot to keep us well. Fruit plays an important part in any high-raw way of eating. These colorful gifts of nature cleanse the body of the toxicity we absorb from our environment, the water we drink and the dreadful packaged convenience foods people eat. That’s why fruits are so valuable to any serious detox program. So what’s the problem with fructose? First of all, there is evidence which indicates that people who eat too much fruit can make themselves vulnerable to chronic problems like insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity. And this is important. For most fruits we eat today contain between 30 and 50 times the amount of fructose compared to the fruit our hunter-gatherer forefathers munched on. This has come about because, during the 20th century, enormous hybridization projects continue to make fruits sweeter and sweeter. As a result, not only has the incidence of chronic illnesses—from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and mental disorders—exploded in developed countries: So has our consumption of sugar in its many forms—of which fructose is one. WHERE DO YOU STAND If you are someone with high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, insulin or leptin resistance or hypertension, then it is best to limit your fruit intake so you only get, say, 15 grams of fructose a day. How do you do this? Choose your fruits carefully so that most of them are low-fructose. If you do not fall into these categories, you should be able to eat a lot more fruit and have it do you nothing but good. That is, of course, provided the fruits you choose are organic and therefore not sprayed with chemicals. Make sure they have not been GMO grown. Under no circumstances do you want to put genetically modified foods of any kind into your body. All GMO crops are dangerous, despite all the corporate hype designed to make us think otherwise. BIG CONTRADICTIONS But findings about the effects of fruit eating are contradictory, to say the least. The British Medical Journal published three observational studies that examined the effects of fruit-eating on human health. These studies analyzed the diets of almost 200,000 people between 1984 and 2008—none of whom had indications of heart disease, diabetes or cancer when the studies began. On completion, the studies indicated that, far from fruits predisposing us to degenerative diseases, some fruits including grapes, blueberries and apples may actually reduce the risk of diabetes. This is great news and somewhat unexpected, since apples and grapes contain a lot of fructose. But beware. Drinking juices made from these fruits that are bought rather than being homemade from fresh produce do contribut to the development of the same diseases that eating whole fruit can help prevent. Steer clear of all packaged and tinned fruit juices and fruit drinks. DEVIL IN DISGUISE One aspect of fructose is as dangerous as hell—high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The ultimate body snatcher it is. If you value your health and the health of your children you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. But avoiding it is not easy. HFCS is added to just about every packaged food and drink you buy. So read every label on every packaged food or drink you buy and reject every food or drink containing it. HFCS is deadly stuff. A highly processed form of liquid sugar extracted by a nasty chemical solvent called glutaraldehyde, is not only HFCS frequently contaminated with mercury. Putting it into the body is a major cause of obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and mood disorders, and hyperactivity in children. High-fructose corn syrup is similar in composition to sucrose, with levels of around 45% glucose to 55% fructose. And, as with sucrose, its harmful effects are concealed from view. It does not raise blood sugar, as it is processed by the liver. There it promptly turns into fat. In 1978, HFCS was brought in as a substitute for sugar in soft drinks. This quickly became a real game-changer, but not in a good way. By the year 2000, sugar consumption in America increased by 25 pounds per person per year, nearly ALL of it in the form of HFCS. These days the average American consumes a massive 35 pounds of HFCS each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s no coincidence that the obesity rate in the US has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. SNEAKY AND SINISTER You’ll find HFCS in thousands of grocery items, even in places you might never suspect—such as pizza sauce, salad dressings, foods from sodas, drinks and sweets to sauces, breads, and delicatessen foods like smoked salmon, luncheon meats and salami. Farcically, HFCS is often labeled "all natural" because fructose is found in fruit—even though it is mass-factory-produced, using a process which dramatically increases the fructose content of corn syrup. Fructose in these protucts bears little resemblance to fructose found in fresh fruit. It also lacks the fiber, antioxidants and nutrients found in fresh fruit. As pediatric specialist and childhood obesity expert Robert Lustig puts it, high-fructose corn syrup is “a poison all by itself”. Lustig doesn’t distinguish between plain sugar and HFCS when it comes to health perils—they are “equally dangerous”, he insists, like two sides of the same coin. And what’s so insidious about HFCS is that it is sold to the public as a “healthy alternative” to regular sugar. You should avoid it at all costs. MY OWN FRUIT EXPERIMENT Most of you know that I am a passionate fan of organic raw food and have been for almost half a century. A high-raw way of eating in my mid-twenties healed me from so many illnesses contracted as a result of being raised on junk food throughout most of my unpredictable childhood. A few weeks ago, Aaron and I decided to experiment by returning to being on an all-raw fruits and vegetables diet for a period of six weeks. We wanted to check out what, if any, ill effects eating an all raw diet containing lots of fresh, organic fruits would have on us. The results of our little experiment have turned out to be excellent. We ate a lot of fruit. We put it in our salads, we made juice from a mixture of fruits and included in it much of the pulp produced from the juicing. We loved the way this made us look and feel. I’m happy to report that the results of ouro little experiment has been nothing but good. Like vegetables and herbs, fruits are not only a storehouse for vitamins and minerals; they boast high levels of phytochemicals. These powerhouses for health and vitality are not nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Yet they carry colored plant factors which play an important role in our health. A good supply of these phyto-nutrients helps minimize the incidence of cancer and heart disease and protect from degenerative conditions associated with aging, such as inflammation of the joints, loss of memory and concentration. They even help slow the aging process itself. Large quantities of these plant factors with many different names are found in common fruits, from berries, oranges, lemons and grapes to cantaloupe, kiwis, cranberries and cherries. However, in any diet based on manufactured convenience foods, they are scarce as hen’s teeth. MEET THE GOOD GUYS Berries, grapes and cherries as well as citrus fruits are excellent sources of water-soluble phyto-chemicals known as flavonoids. Flavonoids guard the integrity of collagen within the body. They work together with vitamin C and—as do many of the other phyto-nutrients—enhance the positive effects of antioxidant vitamins, improving the function and the integrity of tiny blood vessels known as capillaries, which deliver nutrients and oxygen to our cells. This helps raise overall energy. It also helps keep skin smooth and elastic, protects against bruising while improving memory and eyesight. Phyto-nutrients often carry weird names like catechin, quercetin and hesperidin. Among the more than 20,000 known, hesperidin, rutin, quercetin, catechin and pycnogenol are especially important. Catechin reduces allergic reactions by calming histamine release in the body. Rutin helps guard the integrity and health of capillaries, veins and arteries, as well as the skin itself. Many phytochemicals protect our health by interfering with or blocking specific disease processes. They do this either by acting as antioxidants and preventing free radical damage, or by inhibiting enzymes which promote the development of diseases like cancer. Some plant factors found in fruits and vegetables clear our cells of toxins and other damaging substances such as herbicides and pesticides we take in from our environment. HEALTHY SUPPORT HERE At Tufts University in the United States, scientists developed a method of quantifying the anti-oxidant power of specific fruits and vegetables by measuring their ability to quench free radicals in a laboratory test tube. To test a food’s oxygen radical absorbance capacity, called the ORAC test, scientists have been able to categorize a fruit or vegetable according to its overall anti-oxidant power. Fruits like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are at the top of the list. They can be highly protective of our health. While we’re talking of lists, here is a list of some of the most common fruits indicating how much fructose is in each. Become familiar with it and, given the state of your own body, you can easily make your own decision about what kind and how much of each fruit suits you best, as well as how much you want to eat of it. FRUIT SERVING GRAMS OF FRUCTOSE Lemon 1 medium 0.6 Passionfruit 1 medium 0.9 Apricot 1 medium 1.3 Raspberries 1 cup 3.0 Kiwi 1 medium 3.4 Cherries 1 cup 3.8 Strawberries 1 cup 3.8 Pink grapefruit ½ medium 4.3 Nectarine 1 medium 5.4 Peach 1 medium 5.9 Orange 1 medium 6.1 Banana 1 medium 7.1 Apple 1 medium 9.5 Persimmon 1 medium 10.6 Pear 1 medium 11.8 Grapes 1 cup 12.4 Mango 1 medium 16.2 Here are my suggestions on how to get the very best from fruits, now and always: If you know you have insulin or leptin resistance, suffer from food cravings and are overweight, it’s pick your fruits from those with the lowest levels of fructose and limit your fruit intake to around 15 grams of fructose a day. If you are not troubled by any of these conditions, you can experiment by eating fruits which give you from 20 to 40 grams of fructose a day and work out by trial and error what the levels of fructose best work for you. Always eat your fruits whole if possible. If you choose to juice them yourself, make sure you keep the valuable pulp from the juicing process and add a good quantity of it back to the juice. Go for organic fruits. You might even try growing a lot of your fruit in your garden if you have the space. Never eat GMO fruits...something difficult to ascertain in most countries these days since corporate interests have lobbied hard to prevent GMO labeling. This is another reason to choose organic. Never eat or drink anything with high fructose corn syrup in it. It’s deadly stuff—so read labels carefully. Fruits are one of nature’s most glorious gifts to us. Know the ones that work for you and shun those that don’t. Above all steer clear of high-fructose corn syrup and read labels carefully to make sure you do.

Eat For Youth

Eat For Youth

Many of the most beautiful meals will be found on the ageless aging table. The variety of colors, textures, tastes and culinary experiences which delicious natural foods offer to anyone with an interest in food preparation and a love of fine cuisine at the very least equals the best traditional cooking. Eating fresh foods rich in `life force' in a high-raw way of eating means that your taste-buds, sense of smell and aesthetic awareness of food become dramatically heightened so that the appreciation of all that you eat can be greater than ever before. From being someone who used to love fresh cream and rich sauces I've become infinitely more appreciative of the fine flavors implicit in ageless aging cuisine. And I love it. Not only because I look younger, feel better all round and have infinitely more energy than before, but because the experience of eating itself has become so much more delightful. Most of us eat far too much and we dull our senses and our appreciation of food in the process. Even the most subtle of Beethoven's late quartets begins to dull the senses when you have too much of it. So can too much food even if it is the very best. Ageless aging cuisine revives them. Put your kitchen scales away and forget the complex routine for preparing a béchamel sauce.  It’s not conventional directions that matter when preparing foods, it is a passion for the foods themselves – a feeling reflected in our passion for the earth and life itself.  It’s good because it tastes good.  Such passion, which is visual, visceral and luscious, becomes the inspiration that, in food preparation, leads you automatically to make certain choices.  Open wide your kitchen window.  Welcome in the breezes of experiment, wit and spontaneity.  Inside, you find the traditional meal of roast meal and boiled Brussels sprouts topped off with a piece of sticky toffee pudding replaced by something far more hedonistic: slivers of raw Pacific salmon, luscious garden-fresh salad, followed by a winter sorbet of cranberry and mint.  The real joy in eating fresh, light foods lies in their taste, their texture and the remarkable ability they have to bring excitement to a palate jaded by too many highly processed, unimaginatively seasoned or over-cooked dishes. sheer energy I look on food as a source of both delight and life-energy which is passed on to us from the earth.  I believe this energy needs to be preserved by not cooking food too much, by eating it fresh and by respecting its essential nature.  Food eaten this way becomes a medium through which we build our own vitality – energy to protect the body from premature aging and illness, to enhance good looks and to keep the mind clear.  It is the life-energy present in abundance in fresh foods and the clean, simple protein from fish, game, organic meat and poultry that makes these foods irresistible and helps us look and feel great. The most significant change to human diets in two million years began with the agricultural revolution, when man went from a carbohydrate-poor to a carbohydrate-rich diet.  The more that these carbohydrates have become refined in the past 300 years, the more problems they have caused us, not only in terms of burgeoning obesity worldwide but also in the development of the chronic degenerative diseases of civilization.   The thing to remember is that when you eat low-starch vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus and cauliflower, or proteins such as fish, meat and eggs, the levels of glucose in the blood (blood sugar) rise very slowly and modestly.  On the other hand, when you eat what are known as high-glycemic foods - starchy foods, simple carbohydrates, sugars - like a muffin, pasta, breakfast cereal or ice cream, blood sugar soars, then crashes as insulin is released in order to lower your blood sugar.  You can end up feeling hungry even though you've just eaten a meal, crave sweets and biscuits, and reach for a cup of coffee and a cake mid-morning just to keep going.  High insulin levels, by the way, suppress human growth hormone essential for healthy muscle tissue, making you look flabby and older. The most important foods are fresh non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, and proteins like meat, seafood, eggs and game.  A little unprocessed cheese is fine too and a few nuts and seeds.  Go for nothing but the best.  Here are a few guidelines: Choose natural whole foods – organically grown/raised if possible Your foods need to be as fresh as possible and eaten as close to a living state as you can.  This allows little time for the deterioration that occurs as a result of oxidation. All the foods you eat should be non-toxic and non-polluting to your body.  They should contain no synthetic flavours, colors, preservatives or other additives used to ‘enhance’ them cosmetically.  Stay away from convenience foods. Try to vary the foods you choose from day to day and week to week.  All through our evolution the human body has adapted to a wide range of foods offering a broad spectrum of nutrients. Use fresh garlic and herbs often.  They bring high-level support for cellular regeneration and immune support. Eat what you enjoy and enjoy what you eat.  Eating is one of life’s great pleasures – make it one of yours. make way for a new lifestyle Eating for ageless aging leads most people to a totally new way of living. You become more alert and more active. You will probably sleep less yet far better than before. This is because your whole system will be far clearer of toxicity than before and you will need less time for tissue repair and restoration than you do on a normal diet. You will also probably find that you are better able to deal with stress than ever. This way of eating provides you with high levels of potassium and rapidly restores the sodium-potassium balance in most people. This leads to increased resistance to fatigue and a greater feeling of calm stability day in day out. It may also set you slightly apart from your gravy-eating, hard-drinking friends and may even have them feeling slightly suspicious of you in the beginning. But it has been my experience that as soon as they find you are not trying to sell them anything - that you have a live-and-let-live attitude to whatever they do - they show a similar respect for your new lifestyle. In fact, the people who have been the most resistant to what you are doing and the most opinionated are very often the ones who are first to become intrigued about what an ageless aging lifestyle might offer them. And they are usually the ones with the energy and interest to carry it out. Day 1 RAW DISHES: melon; cauliflower and tomatoes mixed with red peppers and lettuce salad topped with Avocado Delight Dressing (see blow). COOKED DISHES: Steamed fish; wok-fried beans and peas; brown rice. Day 2 RAW DISHES: lamb's lettuce, celeriac and wild-herb salad topped with chopped egg dressing; fresh pears and plumped raisins. COOKED DISHES: Garlic Chicken Soup; steamed baby carrots and basil; young peas with mint. Day 3 RAW DISHES: mushrooms, watercress and chicory salad topped with Basil and More Basil Dressing; Mulled Stuffed Apples (see below). COOKED DISHES:  Fabulous Fish Soup. Day 4 RAW DISHES: `Sunburst' platter of avocado, beetroot, cos lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery and peppers served with raw humus (see below). COOKED DISHES: carrot and coriander soup; or venison burgers; Scottish oatcakes; Pineapple Blackberry Frappe. Day 5 RAW DISHES: `Jungle Slaw' salad made from cabbage, tender green beans, carrots, spring onions, red or yellow pepper and almonds served with a citrus dressing. COOKED DISHES:  Lightly grilled salmon and steamed green beans. Day 6 RAW DISHES: gazpacho; pineapple salad stuffed with orange, mango, papaya and strawberries and topped with coconut. COOKED DISHES: Hand Made Sausages (see below). Day 7 RAW DISHES: `Sandstone Loaf' made from carrots, lemon juice, almonds, pumpkin seeds, tahini and herbs; apple and ginger salad; home made blackberry sorbet. COOKED DISHES: Flax Crackers (see below) with humus. small meals For breakfast - or for that matter instead of lunch or supper when you want a small meal - you can't do better than a bowl of fruit muesli. If you have never tasted real muesli (and it bears no resemblance to the flaky sweet stuff you can buy on the shelves of supermarkets) you have a real treat ahead of you. Fruit muesli was the invention of Swiss physician Max Bircher-Benner who devised it as the perfect light meal. It is a delicious and easy-to-digest completely uncooked dish which can contain all of the essential vitamins and minerals, and which is an excellent source of high-quality complete proteins and essential fatty acids. It can provide you with sustaining energy but will never lie heavily in your stomach. And it can be made low in calories. Real muesli (often called Birchermuesli after its inventor) is not a grain-based but a fruit-based dish with only a very small quantity of top-quality fresh wholegrain flakes in it. It is usually made with apples and oats but there are so many varieties which you can make, calling on whatever fresh or dried fruits and whatever kinds of grains, nuts and seeds you have available, that you could quite literally eat it twice a day all the year round and never get tired of it. Children absolutely adore Birchermuesli both as a complete breakfast and as a sweet after a main meal. A small bowl of muesli in the morning will keep you going all the way to lunch with none of the `elevenses slump' that has many people reaching for a cup of coffee and a pastry or a chocolate bar. It is also an excellent food to eat in the evening since it is so easy to digest that it never interferes with sleep. I do a lot of traveling and for many years I dreaded having to stay in hotels because the food available in so many hotel dining-rooms is so poor. I have got into the habit of carrying with me a small `muesli bag' with a hand grater in it plus some grain flakes and minced nuts and a small bowl so I can make my own breakfast or supper whenever I want and not be forced to eat what I don't want just because there is nothing else. Here is the basic recipe: bircher muesli For each person you'll need: I level tablespoon rolled oats soaked in 4 tablespoons water I heaped tablespoon raisins or sultanas I tablespoon lemon juice 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened yogurt I large apple ½ banana I teaspoon raw honey (if desired) or pure stevia to taste I tablespoon minced hazelnuts and almonds or other mixed seeds and nuts I pinch cinnamon (if desired) Soak the rolled oats and raisins in water, preferably overnight. This begins to break down the starch present in the grains and turn it into natural sugar so it is easily assimilated. If you have no time to soak the grains then simply mix with the water (you will need slightly less water in this case) and carry on immediately. Wash the apple(s) and remove core and stem but don't peel. Then, using a stainless-steel hand grater or a food processor, grate the apple into the mixture and, stirring, add lemon juice to protect it from discoloring. Cut the banana into small cubes, add to the mixture with the honey (if desired) and mix with yogurt. Sprinkle the top with the minced nuts and a little cinnamon if you like. Instead of rolled oats you can use other cereal flakes such as barley, millet or buckwheat. These are available from wholefood shops. I find I don't usually add honey to my muesli because it is so beautifully sweet already, thanks to the soaked grains and fruit. You can also make muesli with soft fruit such as strawberries or raspberries, loganberries, red and black currants, blackberries or blueberries as well as with apricots, cherries, peaches, plums or greengages. Or you can mix your fruits together. Also you can make the muesli from dried fruit which has been soaked for twelve hours or overnight in spring water. But make sure you get sun-dried not sulfur dried fruits to which no glucose has been added (it is commonly added to figs for instance) or you can end up with a gastrointestinal upset. seasoning and spices Make use of all of the wonderful culinary herbs that are available: And the list of seductive possibilities seems almost endless: caraway, fennel, dill, chervil, parsley, lovage - the Umberiferae; summer savory, marjoram, the mints, rosemary, and thyme-the labiates, which have a strong aroma and are particularly useful for seasoning; the Liliaceae such as garlic, onions, chives and leeks; and three of my favorites, basil and tarragon and horseradish. Herbs have a special role to play in any ageless aging regime. They contain pharmacologically active substances such as volatile oils, tannins, bitter factors, secretins, balsams, resins, mucilages, glycosides and organic vegetable acids each of which can contribute to overall health in a different way. The tannins, for instance, which occur in many common kitchen herbs, are astringent and have an anti-inflammatory action on the digestive system. They help inhibit fermentation and decomposition. The secretins stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes - particularly important for the complete breakdown of proteins in foods to make them available for bodily use. Organic acids have an antibiotic action and are helpful in the digestion of fats and the bitter factors, which are found in good quantity in rosemary, marjoram and fennel. They also act as a tonic to the smooth muscles of the gut and boost secretion of digestive enzymes. Use herbs lavishly in your meals and you will find you can create the most remarkable combinations of subtle flavors and aromas. drink yourself younger Coffee, although not completely forbidden on any serious program of ageless aging, is not something to drink daily. The occasional cup after dinner is not likely to do much harm. More than that and you are really undermining your potential for age-retardation not only because it contains mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds which cause oxy-stress and free radical damage but also because regular coffee tends to make cadmium (one of the heavy metals) build up in your system and can interfere with proper pancreatic functioning. It also leeches calcium from the bones. Tea is OK in moderation - no more than a cup or two a day - but there are other drinks which are not only good for you, they can be highly enjoyable as well. Alcohol is another substance you want to go easy on. Not only is it very high in calories yet practically worthless in terms of the nutrients it supplies, it also causes your liver to produce one of the most potent cross-linkers known - acetaldehyde. A glass or two of wine can be easily accommodated. More than that as a daily intake is likely to seriously undermine your effort. And make sure it is good wine. The run of the mill vin de table is full of toxic substances which your cells can do without. You'll find some delicious mixtures of herbs in ready-made tea bags if you comb through a few delicatessens and healthfood stores. Some of my favorites have names like Cinnamon, Rose, Almond Sunset, Creamy French Vanilla, and Red Zinger. They are great to drink for pleasure and refreshment the way most people drink coffee and ordinary tea. But there are others which are quite wonderful simply because they affect the body in specific ways. Lemon verbena, for instance, is a refreshing sedative, chamomile soothes the digestive tract, and both horsetail and solidago (goldenrod) are excellent natural diuretics. The teas I like best just before bed are orange blossom, which you make by boiling a few blossoms for 2-3 minutes in two cups of water, red bergamot and lemon peel, all of which are natural sedatives. This last tea comes from an Italian tradition. You make it by peeling the outer yellow skin off a lemon (which has been washed well) with a potato peeler. Pour boiling water over this and let steep for 5 minutes. Then strain and drink. a few recipes to play with Avocado Delight Dressing 1 avocado, peeled and stoned Juice of 1 lemon Juice of ½ orange 1 small onion, chopped finely 1 garlic clove, chopped finely Handful of fresh herbs – mint, parsley or basil Freshly ground black pepper to taste Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and serve. Italian Herb Dressing 100ml extra-virgin oliv oil 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1-2oz fresh basil, chopped 1 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Buillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder Freshly ground black pepper to taste Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adjusting the flavour as necessary. Garlic Chicken Soup (serves 1) 150g lean, skinless chicken breast, but into small cubes 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic 1 level teaspoon Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder 2 teaspoons chopped parsley and/or ½ teaspoon lemongrass or ½ teaspoon mild curry powder 180 ml water Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes and serve. Fabulous Fish Soup (serves 1) 360ml water 1 teaspoon Marigold Swiss Vegetable Buillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder ½ tsp fresh chopped garlic ½ tsp chopped onion 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil or ½ tsp dried basil 1 cup broccoli 150g white fish ¼ tsp paprika Himalayan or Malvern salt to taste Pepper, to taste Put the bouillon powder, water, garlic, onion and basil in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on.  Place the rish on top of the broccoli and sprinkel with paprika, salt and pepper.  Put the lid on and cook for another 5 minutes. Raw Humus 2 cups sprouted chick peas Juice of 3 lemons 1 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Buillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 3 tbsp tahini 3 tbsp chopped spring onions or chives Water to thin if too thick Put the ingredients, except the onions or chives, in a food processor or blender and blend thoroughly.  Top with the chives or onions. Hand-made Sausages 350g lean minced pork, chicken, lamb, beef, venison or wild boar 1 tsp Himalayan or Malvern salt, to taste 2 tbsp gram flour (chickpea flour) 4 cloves garlic (optional) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, coriander or sage ½ large onion, finely chopped Combine all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl and ix thoroughly with your hands.  Refrigerate until well chilled then separate into patties and cook in an oiled skilled until crunchy on the surface and cooked through. Flax Crackers 240g faxseed meal (or buy whole flaxseeds and grind them) 240ml water 30ml tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce Himalayan or Malvern salt, to taste Fresh minced herbs A little chopped garlic Ginger, chilli powder, or cayenne pepper (optional) Combine the flaxseed meal with the water and let it soak for 1 ½ hours.  The water will change to a sort of gelatinous state.  Add a little more water if necessary, you want it to be gooey but not too runny or too thick.  Add the tamari, salt, herbs and garlic (or other flavourings).  Blend together.  Spread the mixture out, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut into squares.  Carefully lift the squares onto a wire mesh and bake in a slow oven until crunchy.  You can also make them in a dehydrator - dehydrate them for 4-6 hours, turn the mixture and dehydrate for a further 3-4 hours. Mulled Stuffed Apples (serves 2) Most of the nutritional value of an apple lies in its skin, or just below it, so wash apples well but don’t peel them. Softish apples are best for this recipe as their insides have to be scooped out. 100ml grape juice or red wine ½ tsp cinnamon 2 cloves ¼  tsp nutmeg 1 crushed white cardamom pod ¼ tsp allspice 75g blanched almonds 2 large apples Squeeze of lemon juice handful dates or raisins ‘Mull’ the grape juice or wine by putting it in a bowl with the spices and leaving for at least an hour.  Discard the cloves and cardamom and blend the remaining mixture with the almonds in a food processor or blender.  Slice the tops off the apples and keep them.  Remove the cores, saving small pieces to plug the bottoms.  Scoop out the apple pulp, leaving a shell about 1cm thick. Lightly blend the pulp with the juice and the almond mixture until smooth, adding a squeeze of lemon juice.  If the mixture is not thick enough, add a few more ground almonds.  Chop the dates or raisins and fill the apple shells with the dried fruit and almond mixture.  Replace the ‘lids’. Or, make stuffed apples with apple sauce and blackberries.  Blend the apple pulp with a little lemon juice, stevia and spices then combine it with the blackberries and spoon into the apple shells. Pineapple Blackberry Frappe This makes a wonderfully refreshing dessert as it stands, or it can be chiled to serve as a cool sorbet on hot summer days. 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks ½ cup blackberries Juice of ½ lime Place all the ingredients in a blender and liquidise.  Serve immediately.

My Love Affair With Plants

My Love Affair With Plants

For more than a million years, our ancestors lived with herbs. They cooked with them, healed with them, used them to scent their bodies and sanctify their prayers. On a molecular level, the human body recognizes herbs when we take them. Get to know the nature of a few specific plants and they will enhance your life immeasurably. In a very real sense, we can come to know an herb the way a woman knows her lover. The spirit of a plant meets the spirit of a human. Expect magic. You won’t be disappointed. A FINE ROMANCE My own passion for herbs began when I discovered the help they could bring me and my family. Simple plants such as nettle or golden rod (Solidago virgauria) have a natural cleansing and diuretic effect on my body. Traveling on airplanes, my ankles used to swell up. I discovered when I got home and made a cup of golden rod or nettle tea, the swelling would vanish. Fascinated, I began to read about what herbs can do for the immune system. I began to experiment with other plants—goldenseal and echinacea, burdock and shiitake mushrooms. I began to give herbs to my whole family whenever any of us threatened to come down with flu or a cold. I discovered that, provided we took them in time, one or a combination of plants would clear the problem before the full force of any illness hit. A doctor friend, Gordon Latto, taught me that gargling with red sage and sticking a clove of garlic in its paper shell in between the teeth and the inside of the mouth for a few hours a day would clear a sore throat and nip throat infections in the bud. I began to wonder just how many other remarkable things plants could do for us. THE SUPERB ADAPTOGENS I was lucky enough to meet with the famous Russian scientist I.I. Brekhman, expert in adaptogenic herbs, who won the Lenin Prize for Science. From him I learned that the adaptogens such as ginseng, eluthrococcus or Siberian Ginseng, and Suma from South America strengthen a person’s ability to resist illness as well as making it possible for us to work and play longer and harder without experiencing the negative effects of prolonged stress. That was thirty years ago. Since then I have come to use herbs and flowers, fresh raw juices and vegetables, water and tender loving care to help the body protect itself from illness, heal a sickness when it struck, calm an agitated mind, induce slumber when unable to sleep, clear depression, and care for my skin. I have also learned to use herbs to decorate my house and sanctify my working space. I also fell in love with photographing them. Meanwhile, I raised four children without antibiotics or over-the-counter drugs thanks to the blessings of herbs. DAZZLING POWER The classic definition of an herb is ‘a non-woody plant which dies down to its roots each winter’. This definition is far too limiting. It was probably made up by 19th century European botanists who had never seen the rainforest in which, of course, there is no winter to die back in. Neither had they ever heard of woody trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, ginkgo and elder, which provide us with some of the best-selling herbs on the market these days. My own definition of an herb is simply a medicinal plant. It can come from any climate and be a leaf, a bark, a flower or a root. It can be home-grown or wild—a weed, a spice, a plant which is used for its healing, culinary or beautifying properties. So powerful are the health-enhancing capacities of herbs that a vast number of common prescription drugs have been derived from a mere 90 species of plants. According to Professor Norman Farnsworth—leading American expert in pharmacognosy at University of Illinois —74% of common drugs have been developed directly out of traditional native herb folklore. In the United States alone, the annual sales of prescription drugs developed from plant products used by tribal cultures is already in excess of $6 billion. Unlike prescription drugs, whose side-effects can be devastating, most herbs are both safe and simple to use. Most carry no side-effects at all. MEDICAL FAILURE The way we have thought about health and healing for the past century—what the experts call our biomedical model—has come to the limits of its usefulness. Conventional medical practices view the body as a collections of structures—bones and blood, cells and tissues. Common medical treatment consists of acting on these structures in a symptomatic way. Doctors give one drug to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, another to get rid of headaches or put you to sleep. Whether these drugs are medically prescribed or over-the-counter products, virtually all carry negative side effects. Most have no concern with genuine healing. They instead focus on ‘managing’ illness by suppressing symptoms. Herbal treatment, like all of the great natural approaches to health through history, looks at things differently. It insists that at every level of biological organisation—from chromosomes in our DNA all the way up to our eyes and toes, stomach and liver—the body has a stunning capacity for self-treatment. It is capable of removing damaged structures and renewing them on its own. The natural capacity of living organisms as complex as ours to regenerate themselves is something that symptomatic drug-based medicine ignores altogether. Yet self-regeneration lies at the very core of using natural foods, water, air and movement therapies, and of course herbs, to strengthen, balance or heal. Chinese medicine is functional medicine; it did not develop along structural lines as Western 20th century medicine did. So is Ayurvedic and Unani medicine from India, and nature-cure in the West. The Chinese pharmacopoeia is the richest in the world. Chinese doctors value plants for their ability to strengthen the body’s functioning, heighten its own defences and improve immunity. They use herbs, as we are only now beginning to in the West, to extend longevity, to increase resistance to illness, to heighten energy, and to calm disturbed emotions. BRING MAGIC INTO YOUR LIFE There is an endless parade of different ways you can use herbs. In the health food store and mail order catalogue you can find a confusing array of capsules, pills, tablets, extracts, tinctures and ‘whole herbs’ or ‘bulk herbs’, none of which seem to relate to the ‘infusion’ you have decided you would like to take. And what about the herbs you have growing in your garden? Here is a rough guide to finding your way through the confusion. First, find yourself a reputable supplier. I have a passion for iHerb.com, since the variety of herbal products they offer are the best and cheapest anywhere, and they ship worldwide. Personally, I’m wary of buying herbs in health food stores or pharmacies unless they come from a manufacturer or supplier I know. With a supplier you trust and with whom you can discuss your needs, you can be sure you are getting a good potency and that the herbs have not been sitting in a cupboard somewhere for months. BULK/DRIED/WHOLE HERBS What you are buying is a bag or box of a specific weight of dried herb, either in its whole form, crushed or powdered. This is the best way to purchase herbs if you want to make teas (infusions), decoctions, or your own capsules, or if you want to use them in potpourris and sachets. It is also about the cheapest way to buy dried herbs. TINCTURES A tincture uses alcohol diluted in water to draw out the plant’s chemical constituents and preserve them. You can buy tinctures by the bottle and they are pretty potent. You take from several drops to 1 teaspoon or more of a tincture in a little water several times a day if needed. Tinctures are best bought from a reputable supplier. You can make them yourself, but the process is less accurate than when they are professionally produced. I buy many herbs in tincture form as I find them so convenient. You will sometimes find a figure such as 1:4 on a bottle of tincture. This gives you the ratio of the weight of the herb—in this instance 1 part of herb—to alcohol/water mix. An herbalist may suggest you take a specific ratio in which case your supplier can advise, but for general usage you don’t need to know the ratio. EXTRACTS Extracts are easy to confuse with tinctures. They are far more concentrated. They aim to contain all the active chemicals of the plant, not only those that will dissolve in alcohol. Extraction processes vary from pressure rolling to heat treatment to vacuum extraction. These are best left to the experts. Extracts have a limited shelf life. They should be kept in the fridge. Herbalists often prescribe extracts during an illness, rather than using them for prevention. Extracts can also be useful to add to a cream or salve for external use: ¼ extract to ¾ base. They are pretty strong in their action. TABLETS, PILLS & CAPSULES Tablets, pills and capsules are often more readily than the loose dried herbs themselves. Tablets, pills and capsules usually contain the whole herb, not just the constituents extracted in a tincture or infusion. Therefore, in taking them, you are making use of the synergy in action between all the constituents of each plant. Choose those from a reputable manufacturer/supplier. Tablets are made from dried plant material—leaves, roots, bark and/or flowers—mixed with a base, sometimes lactose, both to help you hold them in your hand to take them and to aid absorption in the stomach. Pills are, basically, tablets with a coating. If the plant is sticky, smelly, or tastes dreadful—or all three—it is more likely to come in pill form than tablet form as the protein or sugar coating disguises less pleasant aspects of the plant. Usually I avoid these, since sugar in any form is far from beneficial. Capsules, made of gelatine or a vegetarian equivalent, are filled with dried herbs—even the stickier, smellier ones. They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, but they preserve herbs well. You can buy gelatine capsules from a chemist and fill them yourself, either with herbs you have dried yourself or with dried herbs you have bought in bulk. The standard 00 size capsule holds about ½ gram (500mg) of herb. Make sure the herb is ground into as fine a powder as possible before filling, so that it can be easily absorbed by the body. A WONDROUS WORLD Plants speak volumes when you know how to listen. One of the great joys of our herbal tradition has been the love affair that takes place when the spirit of an herb meets the spirit of the person using it. It is an old art by which, using your intuition and trusting your instinct, you can move towards an awareness of the central nature of a plant and how best it can be used. For example—the herb Leonurus cardiaca is a powerful strengthener of the heart, reducing tachycardia and hypertension and promoting normal heart action. The essence of its personality, however, is better expressed in its common name—motherwort. This herb has the ability to bring a sense of absolute security—the way a baby feels lying in the arms of its mother—during periods of deep and unsettling change. Every plant has secret wisdom and power. It will tell you its tales and offer its richness to you as you open your heart to it.

Nature's Helpers

Nature's Helpers

Amidst the growing awareness of what high-tech biochemistry boasts in the form of the antioxidant nutrients against degeneration and what expensive treatments such as cell therapy can do to improve your appearance, to slow down the rate at which you are aging and to revitalize your system, we often give little thought to what simple natural substances have to offer. Take herbs and roots and animal tonics for instance - some with a history going back several thousand years. Amongst them all, the most exciting, the finest and most effective belong to a group called `the adaptogens'. The adaptogens, which include a number of very different natural substances - from Panax ginseng and eleutherococcus (sometimes called `Siberian ginseng') to an exotic-sounding preparation made from the horn of a deer - have been widely investigated in recent years by Soviet scientists and, in centuries past, mostly by the Orientals. Most of the adaptogens belong to long traditions of folk medicines and most have been held in high esteem for thousands of years in the pharmacopoeia of the world's medicine. What is so special about these natural products and why they are grouped together under the name is that they are all substances which, in carefully conducted laboratory and clinical studies, have been shown to enhance an organism's `nonspecific resistance' to aging, illness and fatigue. In practical terms they enhance your body's ability to adapt itself to all forms of stress - from the stress of fatigue, of illness, of exertion and of aging to emotional hardship - while at the same time helping to normalize biochemical activities. Taken as `medicines for well people' they can be remarkably helpful in keeping your body young and full of vitality. So remarkable are the positive effects that adaptogens have been shown to have on a living organism that it is a constant source of wonder to me that they have not been more widely investigated and used in Europe and in America. Meanwhile Soviet and Oriental scientists have spent the last forty years working with certain natural products which, when taken in a form unadulterated by heat or heavy processing, have a remarkable ability to improve health. They appear to be high in structural information. structural information for high-level health As Soviet scientists I.I. Brekhman and others have shown, not only are the chemicals and nutrients which can be extracted from natural plant or animal substances in the laboratory - vitamins, minerals, protein, organic acids, oils, etc - important for health, so is the complexity of the way they and other as yet unidentified factors are synergistically combined. In Brekhman's terms certain natural products (many of them folk remedies) are rich in `structural information' a high-quality health-supporting energy which cannot be measured in chemical terms alone. He was particularly interested in certain natural pharmacological substances such as ginseng which appear to supply a high degree of structural information to an organism and thereby support a high level of health and energy. There is something quite special in the way the constituents of such natural products seem to work together and have a natural affinity for the body. They have been shown to increase physical stamina and endurance, stimulate protein repair on a cellular level, protect from radiation damage, increase antibody production, detoxify your body and improve your stamina and vitality. In a way the adaptogens could be considered the `elixirs of life'. They are perfect natural tools for ageless aging stress without distress It was Soviet scientists who first developed the notion of an adaptogen, from the work of Hans Selye, Director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at the University of Montreal, whose work on stress has become universally accepted. His `general adaptation syndrome' describes the way in which when your body is stressed by whatever agent - from cold to fatigue to emotional upset to overwork to chemicals in your air or foods - its homeostasis, that is its natural balance, is threatened. Immediately it draws upon its resources to resist the threat and to maintain well-being. And indeed, provided you are young and strong and well it can go on resisting any damage from stress for a long time. But, alas, eventually it enters the final stage of the GAS in which exhaustion takes over. Then your body's weakest system starts to break down and chronic illness, fatigue and (if the stress is great enough) even death can follow. What in effect has happened is that your body's adaptive energy - its ability to cope - has finally become exhausted. Selye pointed out that the aging process itself can be viewed as the GAS on a wider scale. He emphasized that the capacity to adapt virtually disappears in old age and that this loss, equivalent to a loss of vitality, is characteristic of senescence. Selye was always fascinated by the notion that it might be possible to discover or to develop `medicines for well people' which could enhance the body's own adaptation mechanisms - substances which could prolong your body's ability to resist age degeneration and exhaustion. They would be different from usual medicines in that, unlike drugs, they would not be aimed at a specific effect such as lowering blood pressure or eliminating pain. Nor would they be intended for the treatment of illness. Instead they would belong to a new category of medicines for health for they would improve the body's nonspecific resistance to illness, aging and fatigue. That's where the adaptogens come in - substances which can increase your general capacity to overcome external stresses through adaptation. Their use has an important part to play in protecting skin from aging, in maintaining a high level of health and vitality and even in enhancing mental abilities. Russian researcher I.I. Brekhman, at the Far-East Scientific Center of the Academy of Science, Vladivostok, did more than any other single scientist to explore adaptogens and to test their effects. In fact it was Brekhman's teacher, the Russian expert in pharmacology N.V. Lazarev, who first coined the word in order to describe these substances with the remarkable ability of strengthening and rebalancing the whole system. One of the first natural substances which Brekhman and his coworkers investigated and which they found had this ability was Panax ginseng - the root that was first used for medicinal purposes more than 4000 years ago `to restore the five internal organs, tranquilize the spirit, calm agitation of the mind, allay excitement, and ward off harmful influences. The continual use of ginseng makes for long life with light weight of the body.' It is probably the most well known and highly respected natural medicine in the world. useless in perfect harmony Traditionally ginseng has been prescribed only in states of imbalance. It is used to treat toxicity in the body, sluggishness, anemia, weakness and fatigue. But like most of the nutritional and natural tools for health, in a perfectly healthy and balanced person it is supposed to have no effect whatever. Because, as your body ages, its ability to withstand stress and to maintain homeostasis declines, ginseng has become a prime anti-ageing remedy. For generations in the West the value of ginseng has largely been dismissed as an old wives' tale. In part this is because the very notion of a medicine for health finds no place in the thinking behind Western orthodox medicine. But in part too it is probably because some of the few studies which have been carried out to test claims made for it have been done on inferior crops or on ginseng which had been heat-treated and heat-treating destroys many of the beneficial effects of most of the adaptogens. A number of well-conducted studies, both on animals and humans, carried out by Brekhman and others in the Soviet Union and by European researchers in Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and Britain show quite conclusively that ginseng has extraordinary adaptogenic properties. It improves the body's ability to use oxygen - important in staving off aging as well as increasing mental and physical stamina and in enhancing athletic performance, all of which it has been shown to do. It helps lower blood pressure that is too high, but doesn't affect normal readings. It offers protection against radiation-caused damage - also important in slowing down the rate at which your body ages. It increases your resistance to illness and against harmful effects of chemicals in the environment. It heightens mental faculties and is a natural stimulant to the central nervous system, improving reflexes, long term and short term memory, and making learning easier. But unlike coffee and most other stimulants, it does not produce a sudden rise in body activity followed by an unpleasant dip in energy, or depression. Nor is there any danger of becoming dependent on it. Like all of the adaptogens, ginseng has a gradual buildup effect on the body when you take regular doses of it over about three weeks. staving off exhaustion If, like me, you like to work long hours but still be reasonably fresh and responsive afterwards, you can use ginseng as a means of staving off exhaustion, while improving mental and physical functioning and maintaining a sense of mental and physical balance. At the Maudsley Hospital in London, Stephen Fuller gave ginseng to nurses involved in stressful and exhausting shifts and an identical placebo to others. He found that although performance in psychological as well as physical tests, and overall mood, vitality and competence, were undermined by the stressful conditions in which they worked, ginseng improved many of these parameters in those who took it. In the Soviet Union ginseng was given to fifty soldiers on a 3km race while to another fifty a placebo was given. Those who had taken the ginseng finished an average of 53 seconds sooner than the rest. At the University of Minnesota researchers tested the exam taking abilities of students giving some ginseng and some a placebo. The exam results from the ginseng group were significantly better than the placebo-takers. In repeated trials Brekhman and others have found that ginseng acts as a stimulant without causing insomnia and that not only does it help stave off fatigue and strengthen the organism's ability to cope with stressors of all sorts, the beneficial effects of taking ginseng appear to multiply and build up over the period in which it is taken. Also, ginseng's benefits last long after you stop taking it. As Brekhman said: After a series of experiments on men it was established that daily doses of ginseng preparations during 15-45 days increase physical endurance and mental capacity for work. The increase was noted not only during the treatment itself, but also for a period of time (a month to a month and a half) after the treatment had been over. The increase in work capacity was attended by a number of favorable somatic effects and a general improvement of health and spirits (appetite, sleep, absence of moodiness, etc). siberian ginseng Another adaptogen which has now been widely investigated, particularly in the Soviet Union, is eleutherococcus or Siberian ginseng. Unlike ginseng, eleutherococcus has not been used for generations for health. Indeed its therapeutic properties have only been discovered in the past fifty-odd years. Siberian ginseng is a prickly plant known as `devil's shrub' with leaves similar to ginseng and beautiful yellow and purple flowers. It is the plant's hot and spicy roots which are used medicinally. Like ginseng it has an ability to strengthen the body's ability to resist illness, degeneration and fatigue while never upsetting your body's natural physiological functions. It is a mild stimulant. Take it now and this stimulant action will last between six and eight hours. Its tonic effects are accumulative - they come gradually over a few weeks. They include increased stamina, better sleep patterns, better memory, clearer thinking and improved athletic performance. Eleutherococcus has particular relevance to any anti-ageing program because it is a natural protector against the kind of free radical oxidation which leads to cross-linking of proteins and, among other things, skin sagging and wrinkling. It also appears to have potent anticancer properties. Brekhman and many Russian researchers believe that eleutherococcus is a better adaptogen than ginseng. It has been shown both to increase the work capacity of people in factories and also to reduce the incidence of absence from work because of illness. And it is considered by Russian physicians to be a treatment of choice for both high and low blood pressure thanks to its ability to harmonize bodily functions. It is also used widely to treat anemia and to treat arteriosclerosis in the Soviet Union. Like ginseng and all of the adaptogens it is best taken regularly over a period of several weeks. It can however be taken year round without any loss in beneficial effects. stringent demands for adaptogens Ginseng and eleutherococcus are the two adaptogens most widely available in Britain and America (not, alas, always in active forms however - you have to be careful what you buy). But there are others too: pantocrine (an extract of deer horn); Schizandra Chinensis (the red berries of a Chinese plant which are widely used as a tonic); and many more, including the Scandinavian Arctic Root, and Kvann - a Norwegian variety of Angelica - still under rigorous investigation. Schizandra Chinensis has protective properties for the liver, increases the ability to use oxygen at a cellular level and stimulates brain function. Acantha Root or Acanthopanax Senticocus is used to build physical strength, regulate blood pressure that is too high or too low, improve adrenal action and heighten cerebral function. Each has its unique properties but they have a great deal in common both in the way they act on the body and in their safety even when used regularly over long periods of time. The most exciting herb I have come across for a long time is suma (Pfaffia paniculata). Locally known as Para Todo - `for everything' - suma has been used by Brazilian Indians for centuries as an aphrodisiac and general tonic. Recent research shows that, like good ginseng, the wild root of the suma plant also has strong adaptogenic properties. Amongst its other constituents, suma is rich in the saponins, some of which show anti-tumour activity, and in a plant hormone called ecdysone. At the University of São Paulo, Dr Milton Brazzach, Chairman of Pharmacology, has treated thousands of patients with serious ailments, including both diabetes and cancer, and verified the plant's potent healing and preventative powers. Researchers have found that a major source of the plant's energy-enhancing and stress-protective properties lies in its ability to detoxify connective tissue of what are called homotoxins. These are wastes which can interfere with the active transport of nutrients to the cells and in the production of cellular energy, and lead long-term to changes in the DNA associated with premature aging and the development of degenerative diseases. What all of this means to the active man or woman is that suma is well worth looking at as a nutritional support to raise your energy levels, enhance your ability to be very active both mentally and physically without fatigue or damage, and to detoxify your cells as a prevention against premature aging and degeneration. Russian scientists are very careful about the requirements that need to be fulfilled if a natural medicine is to qualify as an adaptogen. In Brekhman's own words: 1.The substance must be absolutely safe to the body. It must also have a wide range of therapeutic and protective properties while only bringing about minimal alteration to bodily functions. 2.Its action must be nonspecific. That is it must increase resistance to a wide variety of harmful chemical and biological influences. 3.It must have a normalizing action regardless of the direction of pathological changes it may meet with in the person's body. In other words in a person with blood pressure which is too high it should help lower it while it should have just the opposite effect on an organism in which blood pressure is too low. When you think just how remarkable these requirements are you begin to realize why the Chinese have traditionally believed many of the adaptogens to be worth their weight in gold. It is also easy to understand why the Western mind has such difficulty grasping the idea of an adaptogen at all. After all, we are used to a totally different approach: mostly this is because of our strong emphasis on symptomatic medicine. Our science has investigated a number of pharmacological preparations designed to do specific things, such as improve circulation or increase oxygen uptake by cells during surgical operations. However most of these drugs, such as the derivatives of phenothiazine and ganglio-blocking agents, bring about side effects which make them inappropriate for any healthy person to use as part of a program for increasing vitality, promoting high-level health and encouraging ageless-ageing. We take substances such as the phenylalkylamines, like amphetamines and their analogues, as a means of suppressing an overactive appetite, or we drink coffee with its caffeine or other purine derivatives to pep us up, and we can turn to the bromides and sedatives such as the herb valerian to calm us down, but we find it hard to conceive of something that could do both or either depending upon our specific mental and physical state when we take it. As a result little investigation of possible new adaptogenic substances is going on. Good candidates would be bee products such as pollen, propolis and royal jelly and even honey itself. bee power `Use thou honey,' commanded Solomon, `for it is good.' Just as ginseng has a long history of being used to increase vitality and protect from aging, so folklore is filled with advice about the medicinal use of honey and other bee products such as pollen, propolis and royal jelly, which have been employed throughout history to increase stamina, heal sickness, beautify skin and retard aging. A natural antiseptic with a proven ability to kill bacteria, honey and all its `by-products' - pollen, propolis and royal jelly - have antibiotic properties. And although honey has been scientifically analyzed for the last fifty years, there appear to be a number of its constituents which remain unidentified. Scientists who have attempted to break it down into its parts and then to put it together again have failed. Although honey is made up of 75 per cent natural sugars and 17 per cent water it is also a good source of many of the B group of vitamins, vitamin C, carotene and organic acids, and of many important minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, sodium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus and lime. This sweet golden substance has a reputation for prolonging life. While researching longevity another famed Russian scientist, biologist and experimental botanist DR Nicolai Tsitsin, discovered that of the 200 people in Russia whom he surveyed claiming to be over 100, a large number were beekeepers. All of them claimed their principal food was honey. Natural unprocessed honey has been shown to increase calcium retention and to raise hemoglobin count - it is traditionally used to treat anemia. It also appears to speed the healing process in a great many conditions from arthritis and poor circulation to liver and kidney disorders, poor skin and insomnia. Some researchers even believe that, thanks to its high aspartic-acid content - an amino acid important in the proper functioning of sex glands - it has rejuvenating properties. But just in case you're tempted to rush to your local supermarket and buy the first jar of golden stuff you come across you should know that it is not the honey itself which appears to be the most potent source of health-promoting qualities but the pollen-rich waste matter which lies at the bottom of honey containers. Tsitsin found that beekeepers tended to sell the `good' honey and to eat the `dirty residue' themselves. The dirty residue - which is a constituent of natural unfiltered and unprocessed honey and appears to have such exceptional properties for health - is too often filtered off from commercial honeys. Most have also been heated, which further limits the structural information they carry and therefore depletes their health promoting value. Honey, by the way, keeps indefinitely thanks to its anti-microbial properties so you need never worry about it spoiling. royal bee power Even more interesting than honey are the other bee-based products - propolis, royal jelly and pollen. Propolis is a sticky resin made out of the substance bees gather from the leaves and bark of trees. It is secreted via their pharmageal glands. They use it as a binding material when making hives. It has strong antibiotic properties and is much used in Sweden and Denmark to combat minor infections. Royal jelly is a white jelly-like substance produced by glands in the heads of very young worker bees. It contains almost every life-supporting element known. The queen bee, who lays over 2000 eggs a day, lives on the stuff and it appears to have remarkable benefits for beauty both when it is taken internally and when it is used in beauty products. The problem is most Royal Jelly on the market is pretty worthless. To be active it needs to be fresh, not processed into pills and potions, and it must be properly extracted from the hive and kept under refrigeration at all times - including while it is being transported. Royal jelly contains virtually all the life-supporting elements plus an unidentified 3 per cent which scientists have been unable to break down. In the south of France royal jelly is a common sight for sale by the roadside. People take a `cure' of it for a month or so twice a year. It is also said to be beneficial for anyone suffering from stress or exhaustion or for people recovering from an illness. Bulgaria is often called `the country of royal jelly' because beekeeping and all its products have formed an important part of the economy since feudal times. The Bulgarians have also done a great deal of research to establish the health benefits from royal jelly, pollen, honey and propolis. They have found for instance that royal jelly has an ability to protect against radiation, that it increases fecundity in animals, that it improves the body's use of oxygen, lowers blood pressure, speeds regeneration of damaged tissue, lowers cholesterol and, like the official adaptogens, increases tolerance to stress. It even stimulates and encourages better functioning of the immune system. priceless pollen Pollen is the male germ seed of flowering plants. A fine powder that plants need to make seeds, it is gathered by bees in the process of collecting nectar for honey and harvested by pollen collectors as the bees fly back into the hive. Not only does it contain all the water-soluble vitamins including the elusive B12, it is a good source of carotene, and vitamins E and K, and it offers a rich supply of minerals, trace elements and enzymes as well as hormonal substances beneficial to human beings. As such it is probably the perfect `skin food'. Pollen is a rich natural source of rutin as well - one of the bioflavonoids which, together with vitamin C and zinc, is particularly important in the formation of collagen (the structural protein which gives skin its contours and much of its strength). A thrice daily dose of raw pollen can do wonders for ailing skin whether the problem is acne, excessive dryness or hypersensitivity. It can also improve the look and feel of normal healthy skin. But pollen's health promoting properties don't stop there. It has been a favorite of Olympic athletes since ancient times and still is. Those who use it claim it increases strength and endurance, improves performance and helps prevent minor infections. cure for allergies? One of pollen's more curious attributes - particularly important in springtime - is its ability to render many hay fever sufferers free of symptoms, provided oral doses of the stuff are taken regularly for several weeks before the season begins - another example of one of those folk remedies which is supported by the experience of a number of physicians who still use it successfully every year. One more interesting attribute of pollen of interest to anyone concerned about preventing premature aging is its ability to protect the body from some of the damaging effects of radiation. It has been tested on irradiated animals and given to cancer patients subjected to radiation doses with excellent results. Finally, and most important, pollen taken in this way, like many of the natural substances which are high in structural information, seems to possess an ability to restore balance to a body. It is said to be particularly helpful in weight regulation - whether the person taking it is underweight or too fat. Bee products - all of them - are best taken unheated in small quantities daily. In the case of pollen and propolis, which usually come in tablets, the recommended dose is usually two to three tablets a day on an empty stomach. Royal jelly is best bought raw, kept refrigerated and taken in amounts of between 250 and 500mg a day under the tongue where it is absorbed by the mucosa in the mouth and bypasses the digestive system. It can also be bought in less biologically active forms as capsules and suspended in tonic solutions. proof of the pudding Using any adaptogen as a tool for increasing vitality, protecting health and resisting aging is simple. It is taken every day, usually on an empty stomach, and an average long term restorative dose is usually 1-2g a day in the case of ginseng and Siberian ginseng. Benefits tend to accrue over the time one is taking it and the best results come from taking it regularly over a period of a month to six weeks at least. Often people take it twice a year as a `cure'. What is not so simple is making sure that the product you are taking has been properly grown, harvested and processed in order to preserve its biological activity. For instance there are dozens of ginseng preparations on the market which are virtually empty of ginsenosides - the active ingredients in ginseng. And if eleutherococcus has been heated too much in its processing its effectiveness is either reduced or completely destroyed. Panax ginseng comes from Korea or China and the best quality are the big red roots which are six years old. Second are the white roots and third are the red grown in Japan, so look for country of origin when buying them and also for the Korean `Office of Monopoly' seal on the pack. The whole roots are the best, with root pieces and extracts following in that order. Ginseng tablets and powders often contain `fillers' and are much less potent. American ginseng - Panax quinquefolium - is usually less effective than Panax ginseng unless you can get large old roots, and they are hard to come by. The best form of eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng) comes in extract direct from the Soviet Union. It has been carefully low-heat processed to preserve its biological activity. This form of extract is used in some of the German Siberian ginseng preparations. Most experts in adaptogens insist that Panax ginseng is primarily a man's preparation, although it can be useful for women past menopause, and that eleutherococcus is excellent for both men and women. People with very high blood pressure are usually given eleutherococcus instead of ginseng. It is best to steer clear of coffee while on a course of ginseng or you may have trouble sleeping, and to follow a light diet without too much meat. Certain herbs and plants such as astragalus and echinacea now also appear to offer excellent immune support. Known as Purple Coneflower, echinacea is a member of the Compositae (daisy) family with potent antibiotic and anti-viral effects. The roots of two species, E. purpurea and E. angustifolia, have long been used against infection and in detoxifying the body by native people including the American Plains Indians, who also used it for poisonous snake and spider bites, abscesses, diphtheria, measles, chicken pox, septic wounds and many other infectious or immune-compromising conditions. In recent years the herb has been heavily researched in Germany where numerous scientific studies now verify its health-promoting abilities. In Germany there are now more than 200 prescription products based on echinacea or its derivatives. The herb can inhibit the growth of viruses and bacteria that cause colds and 'flu, increase the number of valuable B-cells in the body and enhance the protective functions of macrophages - white blood cells - which are the guardians of the immune system. In short, echinacea is able to amplify the activity of the immune system not only by helping an ailing body recover swiftly, but by helping protect from infections such as colds and 'flu during the long winter months. I find particularly interesting some recent research in the treatment of vaginal thrush where the herb was used. All the women in the study were treated with conventional anti-fungal drug agents. Some were also given echinacea - the equivalent of 100-200mg a day. As any woman who has ever suffered from it knows only too well, one of the major problems with thrush is although you can knock it out, it tends to recur, especially when you are under stress. Researchers discovered that amongst the echinacea-supplemented group there was a significantly lower recurrence of infection than amongst the rest. And the protection went far beyond thrush. They also found a heightened immune response to tetanus, diphtheria, streptococci and tuberculin. What is exciting about their findings is that they concluded that, unlike antibiotic drugs, echinacea does not attack germs directly. Instead it strengthens your body's own ability to resist them and heightens your defenses. I find it a welcome friend taken daily as a preventative during `the 'flu season' as well as a great boon to recovery.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 13,000+ 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 8th of May 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.75 lb
for women
-1.27 lb
for men
-0.75 lb
for women
-1.27 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 8th of May 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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