SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

April 4, 2010

Hype on alkaline water

Water, the Elixir of life

Fear is a rotten thing to live with.  It can erode and diminish one’s sense of safety and well-being.  And it is pathetic how many people make a pretty good living  roiling the waters and profiting from the naivety and/or inexperience of those of us who truly want/need to  improve our lives, health and so on.  Any of us can fall victim to hype and gimmicks.  Everybody has to make a living to be sure.  But this is all the more reason that we should be vigilant, check things out on our gut-meter.. . . make sure things pass the smell test.  (You have a gut-meter don’t you?  If you can’t find yours, may I suggest you call and order a copy of David Hawkins’ “Power vs Force”. . . there was never a more fascinating  read and it still blows me away!)

For those with questions about alkaline/ionized water.   The marketing is top drawer and many have spent big bucks to install home systems that claim to  provide alkaline water.  If your system is in sore need of an upgrade – go for it, but not because you are looking for ‘alkaline water’.    What everybody needs is alkalinity in our physical body.  We achieve this through diet alone.  We’ve all heard it – you are what you eat!  Amen.   Drinking alkaline water water will not make YOU alkaline.

Acid/Alkaline balance

All food ingested, once carried through the digestive system and metabolized  arrives in the kidneys and is either recognized as net acid or base.  It is up to each of us  to learn which foods cause the reactions we desire within our body and then endeavor to achieve that goal for this can keep us healthy.  Meats, fish, fowl, grains, legumes and dairy all will result in a net acid load. A body which is too acid offers the perfect soil for most of our diseases (including dreaded cancer) to flourish.  This upsets the chemical balance of the organism and produces trouble for the inner eco-system which Donna  Gates describes in her books and writings of the Body Ecology Diet.

Many do not realize that ingesting cheeses  (especially hard cheeses)  and other dairy products can ultimately lead to a loss of bone density and then on to osteoporosis – – creating the opposite of what one is hoping to achieve, the gaining of calcium to protect the bones. Please refer to the Paleo Diet book for a full explanation of this, but I will try to summarize what I’ve learned here on the subject.  It has much to do with “Calcium Balance” which is a process on the difference between how much calcium one takes in and how much is excreted (in the urine), which is equally important.  One may be “in calcium balance” even on a low intake providing the excretory rate is also low. (I haven’t taken calcium for many years, relying on Dr McDougall’s  truth-telling that we get all the vitamins and minerals we need from whole, natural foods – especially the vegetables) Eating cheese – – especially when one eats  it regularly,  one becomes too acid and the acid/base balance of the body then becomes too acid and too much calcium is  lost.

Getting the balance right

To insure that our bodies are in proper balance, we need to be aware of the acid/base balance and recognize that whole fruits and vegetables are the ideal method for achieving the alkalinity we need.  If you eat more alkaline foods, you will retain more  calcium – the green, leafy,  non-starchy vegetables  – – the low glycemic indices  which have a tendency to normalize your blood glucose and insulin levels, promote weight loss and leave you feeling energized.  It is little known by our  masses that a major benefit of fruits and vegetables is their ability to slow or prevent the loss of bone density or osteoporosis and in fact, those who ate  the most fruits and vegetables had the strongest bones with the greatest bone-mineral densities.  (On the other hand, starchy grains and potatoes which have high glycemic indices, rapidly cause blood sugar to spike).

It is a sorry state, because this (grains and dairy)  has been encouraged within the majority of the medical community and the so-called pyramid espoused from the FDA.  The medical authorities I respect and have followed have been trying to inform people who would listen to these truths for many, long years. . . Dr. John McDougall and Dr Loren Cordain of the Paleo Diet who have been frequently showcased here at  ” smokinchoices.”

With regard  to water, one of the  most important considerations is that almost all tap water is  toxic and unfit for human consumption.  Reverse Osmosis water purification systems are touted  for removing virtually all of these toxins. The alkaline water marketers claim RO systems produce “dead” water that will leach minerals from your bones! While many experts would disagree with that, I frankly don’t know.  I have posted several times on water and candidly admitted that I use distilled water with a little machine I buy at Sears for around $100 which doesn’t ding my budget too much. I have bought 4 or 5 of them and am completely happy with the results.  I’m going on twenty years (processing my own distilled water at home) and when it came to mind that I was not only ridding my water of toxins I don’t want – – I was also losing my minerals, so I have ever since added minerals back in to each gallon as I make it.  FYI I use Thropp’s  Ionic Trace Minerals and it takes about 40 drops per gallon. As an apartment dweller, this works for me.

One need not be a fanatic with regard to acid/base balance.  Its a good idea to acquire some special pH testing paper for a first of the morning urine test for your systemic pH level.  Then test it periodically just to keep an eye on things.  If your body fluids are in the desired range, your urine pH will be between 6.5 and 7.5,  with the ideal 6.8 to 7.3.  If your reading is consistently lower than 6.5 you are too acidic and your body chemistry won’t operate at peak proficiency.  Try to take steps to get the pH up to normal limits through diet choices as already discussed. For most Americans that level is going to be too acidic due to the Standard American Diet (SAD) and that is too bad and so unnecessary because the sources we rely upon to advise us are not telling us about these important but simple processes, what they mean and how they work.

For some people, eating a diet that’s 80% alkaline  (fruits and vegetables and 20% acid (protein) works great and they are happy and healthy.  It depends much on your body, your personal philosophy and what your believe.  As an example, the Paleo Diet suggests around 19% to 35% Protein whereas the McDougallers of course are vegetarian.  Both work and work beautifully.   There are many points of agreement, nix the dairy and sugars, but diverge on grains and the use of animal protein.

Since there is no ideal drinking water any longer,  our polluted earth has pretty much taken care of that – – just do the best you can, any way you can to consume the least toxic water you can get.  It is far more economical and “green” to put the effort in to clean up your water at home and carry it with you in safe containers.


March 1, 2010

Fix it – don’t mask it!

(This is the second time  lately that I have used an article from Dr. Donohue to push against in order to express an opposing view.  Nothing against Dr.Donohue;   he is a good man and uses excellent common sense, but heavily anchored in the allopathic modality [traditional medicine].  My $0.02 has to do with  drug manipulation rather than attempting to correct the cause area.. . more at the end of article.  Jan)


Pneumonia, flu deadly combination


Q: My sister, age 41, passed away unexpectedly. She had an upper respiratory illness that a clinic assured her was neither seasonal influenza nor H1N1, although no testing was done.  During the next several days, she rested and thought she was recovering. She mentioned a bad headache and body aches.   The autopsy identified the cause of her death as lobar pneumonia. How did this happen?
A: Pneumonia is lung infection. Lobar pneumonia indicates that only one lobe of a lung is involved (the right lung has three lobes; the left, two). Bronchopneumonia describes a more diffuse involvement of the lung with widespread patches of infection. Neither term indicates pneumonia’s severity.

Four million new cases of pneumonia arise annually in the United States in people who are active in their communities. Most otherwise healthy young people pull through the infection.  Either viruses or bacteria cause pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonias have an abrupt onset, and the patient suffers from a high fever, shaking chills, sweating, cough and shortness of breath. Viral pneumonias tend to have a milder course.

In the days before antibiotics, pneumonia was the No. 1 cause of death. Now death from pneumonia in a person of your sister’s age is rare. For older people, pneumonia is No. 6 on the list of death causes.  I believe your sister had influenza pneumonia, and probably with the H1N1 influenza virus. This influenza virus is a bigger problem for younger people than for the elderly, because younger people have had no prior experience with it.

The only way the cause of your sister’s death will be known with certainty is when cultures of her infected lung are available. You can obtain that information from the facility where her autopsy was done.
Please accept my profound sympathy for your loss.

: I currently take alendronate (Fosamax) for osteoporosis and omeprazole (Prilosec) for acid reflux.
I read that omeprazole can lead to osteoporosis. Is there another medicine I can take for reflux?

A: Prilosec is part of the family of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors. People who take drugs such as Prilosec for prolonged periods and in high doses run a greater risk of having a hip fracture than do those not taking them. You can ask your doctor whether it would be OK to take a vacation from your omeprazole from time to time. Or you could take an entirely different acid suppressant, such as Zantac.

Dr. Donohue answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

Of course, I am relating to the second question to the doctor who responds to a patient suffering from osteoarthritis (taking Fosamax) and this so upsets her stomach that she is required to take Prilosec to try to offset that.  One pharmaceuticl leads to another and then another as they all give us a terrible price to pay while not delivering on solving the problem in the first place.    (In a February post –  “Stroke or heart attack – – just luck?”,   I laid out my thinking pretty well and sought and finally found an integrative physician who does go after cause area rather than simply treating symptoms with drugs.)

At the core of this blog is the desire to relieve suffering where possible and in the simplest manner.  To first find and understand the problem would seem just logical to me. Then to pursue possible solutions. Labels don’t matter much – results do.  If something is wrong – deal with it and do not abdicate your own responsibility and authority in the process.  Your body will never matter to anyone else the way it does to you, because you live in it.  So take care of it.  Learn what it needs.  What your body needs may not be what mine needs and so on – we are all different.    I have learned from so many different people, going back many years.  But I will limit my chat here to the “experts” I have posted on here at smokinchoices so that you can refer to more complete treatments by referring to cited posts.   That would be Dr John McDougall,  Dr. Loren Cordain of the Paleo Diet) and Donna Gates at Body Ecology (B.E.D.) If we are lucky, we will keep an open mind and allow the new and possible in.

If we provide our bodies with adequate nutrient in our daily food regimen, we should not need a bunch of supplementation.  We can’t always have the luxury of organic so when that is the case,  we need to take precautions of extra washing of fruits and vegetables and careful preparation. We must learn what to eat to properly fortify our bodies.  Food combining is vital but not so complicated that one needs a diploma of some kind to use this benevolent tool.  The standard American diet is wrapped around the ole meat and potatoes idea,  spaghetti and meatballs,  fish and rice and so on.  ALL WRONG!  Meat (of any kind) is OK with vegetables;  Starches are good with veggies. But Meat and Carbs are a NO-NO.  Our sweets should come from fruits – eaten apart from  regular meals.  Nuts and seeds can be mixed in with fruits or veggies.  These are not arbitrary rules. In fact it is because though our stomach can handle all of the above – it just can’t handle it all at the same time because each food type (meat, carb) requires a different digestive process.  Starts in the mouth – that is why we should be chewing our food carefully.  Broken down in the stomach and then reaches the gut where all the important stuff happens like absorbing the nutriment thru the intestinal lining into the waiting cells.  Can’t happen if the food has not been properly digested and broken down and handled right in the gut.  Whole lot of manufacturing goin on here.

The process as given here is over-simplified – ones hope you will look to Cordain’s  Paleo – Acid/Base balance (12-6-09) full  treatment and science to back it up.

Now back to the patient who queried Dr Donohue – what about that Fosamax?. . .would really like you to look back to (2-25-09) ” I Worry about Sally Field”.  No sense trying to remember and repeat it all – have already done it!  After expounding at length, I end with Dr McDougall and interesting info regarding  that kind of medicine.

Whether we cotton more to Dr McDougall or to Dr Cordain milk is a big no-no!.  Dairy is one of the most destructive things Americans do to themselves and practically all of us love it.  Milk, cream, ice cream, yogurt, cheeses of every description, cottage cheese, sour cream and so on.   Humans were not meant to consume dairy – drink milk beyond weaning!  It is the single greatest destroyer in angelic clothing we face.  It causes young girls the pain,  irregularity and heavy bleeding (hemorrhaging)  of menses.  The pain and embarrassment of ACNE comes from dairy and afflicts the majority of our youth and many adults – because we don’t know!  Then as if that wasn’t enough, as we move along through the years – male and female alike, arthritis set in.  Again, the milk.  The people of no country in the world consume more Calcium than Americans, yet we have a higher incidence of arthritis than any other country. We have been deceived by our authorities for decades (for they didn’t know either) to take ever increasing amounts of calcium.  Calcium is not the answer.  It is far more complex.  Actually, why not just read Paleo  and your Bones (6-20-09).

If we could give up all grains and learn to eat the Paleo way; no dairy, and learn something about  food combining and the importance of the glycemic index – there would be no need for Prilosec or any other simple or complex antacid.

There’s a lot to think about.  Happy thinking

February 18, 2010

Stroke or heart attack – just luck?

Some thoughts on our Health Future

Based on our choices made today

The Problem

So can we DO something about our health or must we just go down the path of current expectation of debilitating disease, mounting disability and dependence?  I got to thinking about this after reading an article in the morning Columbus Dispatch on ‘stroke patients’ and the comments of Dr Andrew Slivka, medical director of Ohio State University Medical Center’s stroke program:     “There’s nothing anybody can do to make it so they’re never going to have a stroke.” I completely disagree!

At the conclusion of my thoughts.    I will present the article so you can see what is so disturbing about it.   The article reflects the standard of care not only for stroke sufferers, but people with cardiac problems, high blood pressure,  diabetes and so many other afflictions.  That care is almost totally involved with monitoring vital numbers (blood pressure and weight) and asking about habits (smoking, drinking and exercise) and determining that the patient IS taking his medications and of course, prescribing new meds. This seems more like disease-monitoring rather than giving health-care.  But that’s just me.

Doctors can watch their patients for years as conditions worsen,  gain weight, loose energy and abilities; become more infirm and dependent.  A sad progress,  indeed.  Though we all hate it – – we accept this as the way things go knowing that there is not much one can do about it.  Who would say otherwise?

What we want from a doctor is to ‘fix’ our problems, tell us what to do to get better. That’s why we go to them.   Nothing is more irritating than to have your doctor state (with a smile of course) well, you know, you’re not as young as you used to be.  In other words – suck it up, this is your life now!   Everybody wants to be healthy, free of pain and to remain active and productive with independence and choice in tact.  So who else are we supposed to turn to when something goes wrong? I don’t mean hand-holding or patronizing euphemisms – – I want to know what’s wrong?  How and why did it get this way? What are we dealing with and how do we fix it? Not just treat the symptoms with one prescription and then another.  I am entitled to resolve with an intelligent solution.  Is my body missing something I’m not giving it (malnutrition)?  Are my organs over- burdened with toxins from our polluted world? (resulting in sick organs e.g. pancreas, kidneys, liver etc.,.)?  How can we solve this if we don’t know what is wrong.  DO NOT Just tell me IT IS AGING!  We weren’t designed to fall apart without cause – what is the CAUSE? If our doctors can’t do this for us, then can we still call this “Health-care”? Or is it Disease-care?

It is wonderful to be blessed with a healthy body, the way most of us were born.  When we are young, we take it for granted and can feed it crappy food and it doesn’t break down.. . . seems very forgiving, until one day, it isn’t.  Things start to go wrong.  We pay a price for all our prior indiscretions – stuff catches up with us.  If we are not happy with the pain, lost energy,  stamina and developing problems that weren’t there before, then we can sit up and look around and wonder what happened and try to figure out where to start.  Most people turn to their doctors and come home with a few prescriptions and that long downhill trip starts. Independent rebels such as your truly dig into books and ask a thousand questions.  And go through a lot of doctors because I am not a doctors idea of a good patient – I demand too much time and explanation.  They don’t have it to give, most generally, on any level.

The Quest

One needs to learn enough about what the body requires by way of nourishment in order to have good health and to keep it. You really have no choice, we must give it respectable amounts of time to figure out what works best for us.  We have a couple of very good resources to help get the job done. . . curiosity,  observation,  asking questions of friends and well-informed others and then – – very importantly – –  the Internet.   Doctors have seldom been my source of help.  How often I heard “We just don’t know,”  or “Science has no answers on that,”  and “Tonsils were one of nature’s mistakes, we don’t really need them.”   They just don’t know!  If your physician knows anything about nutritional body requirements, he or she went to extra training beyond traditional medical school with all it specialties.  Old fashioned, common-sense knowledge seems missing

You can buy diet books and try to read and digest them until you are cross-eyed and bombed out of your mind.  No two of them agree on anything.   Hundreds of doctors have written good and excellent books.  Countless celebrities, ditto.  Some quite XLNT.   Its a good idea to scan down the table of contents and check out the index in the rear to be sure whatever you are considering buying covers the essences you seek knowledge and help with.  Don’t just buy a name, no matter how new or hip it sounds.  We are all different with varying needs and experiences (and problems) – so let your inner genie guide you.   I have given away a great many books that I didn’t respond to once I got em home and tried to read and make headway. I don’t seek a ‘story’  in a text like this.  I want facts, lots of them.  I want details on what the organs do and need and what I must do to insure this.  I need to know quickly what the rules of the program are so that I can determine if it is realistic for me or I think I can make it work.

Our government isn’t much help either.  They have their pyramid thing which does nobody any good – – in fact, it is hurtful. The recommended daily requirements on vitamins and minerals are all but useless as well.  These guidelines are about as useless to us as is the FDA in supposedly protecting us from inferior or harmful foods and medications, etc.  So we are in the end,  ‘ on our own.’     That’s  a problem because  modern life has less time to spend in leisure activity than prior generations and so we need easy availability to information that we need.  There is no shortage of information, sadly, we are over-dosed on it.

My Personal Solution

Recognizing my nature and my need (due to relationship with the medical community), in order to help myself out of  (then) current trauma, I solicited help from a health-oriented person who recommended Dr Hulda Regehr Clark’s book, “The Cure for all Diseases”  Apparently, this has been a  popular book at health food stores and with the naturalists crowd, etc.  Though the title was off-putting, my gut approved and I bought it and never looked back.  This is one of the best purchases I ever made.  Dr Clark rose quickly to the top of the list of people I most admired.  An iconoclastic rebel, trained scientist and humanitarian, she dedicated her life to helping people help themselves.  She shares her machinery she invented with total displays of specs in how to build the Zapper,  a Synchrometer and frequency generator.  With all this, one can diagnose, detect and solve many problems.  Can’t you just see the glee in Washington?  Who did she think she was?  They ran her out of the states (like any other original thinker who dares to paint outside the lines) while calling them  “quacks.”Thereafter, she  worked in Mexico – just outside Tijuana.  I have written to her and spoken with her and benefited greatly from her books.  And I lamented her recent passing. Her foundation continues her work and I sometimes post an article here and there from them.  That was 1995.

The year before, I had discovered Dr. John McDougall and he made being a vegetarian sound appealing.  I had leaned toward this for decades, but was always dissuaded by friends and family insisting that it was unsafe.   So I bought his tapes and some of his books and tinkered around the edges for years.  When my arthritis began  troubling  me, I decided  – go for it! And did.  Overnite the pain of arthritis dissipated.  I was overjoyed and encouraged to really go for it.   It was very easy to do.  Lost a little weight, had a good time in the kitchen.  And so easy on the budget.

New to blogging (2008), I began including those I had come to respect and Donna Gates of Body Ecology is a remarkable teacher and I admire what B.E.D espouses.  Big Fan.  Have learned a good deal from her (fermented foods) and used some of her products.  Recommend her Video (11-19-09)

During 2009 I  began to seriously look at Professor Loren Cordain’s message in the Paleo Diet.  Bought the book because my son (Jeff Turner of who is as smart as anyone out there about physicality, strength and conditioning, athletic training and so on spoke so highly of the Paleo Diet and Cordain.  Was really impressed.  Then in conflict.   This Dr Cordain is a scientist like my beloved Dr Clark.  He too, is gifted with an easy writing style and giving as many facts as one can absorb or need.  And the Paleo Diet functions from bases that I have long found vital to health (no matter what plan or program one follows – there are certain physiological things that should be honored if one is to enjoy radiant health:

  • Acid/base balance  (Paleo and B.E.D. both emphasize this)
  • Glycemic Index  (Paleo -great job explaining all this)
  • Food Combining  (both Paleo and B.E.D. discuss and teach this)

After living the McDougaller life (not 100%, but mostly), it was a psychological hurdle for me to accept this much animal protein into my diet again.  But the three issues (above) that are so important to me are well-suited to Paleo.  Also, there is the recognition that certain fats are not only acceptable but extremely beneficial to health and well-being.    The biggies I have to sacrifice are personal passions –  bread, potatoes and rice, as these are high glycemic load foods and not working well for the body.   (Had given up Dairy long ago)  But an offsetting  perk is  allowance for a little wine or occasional cocktail.

No matter what plan or method one uses,  always go for fresh and organic if possible.  Use nothing processed and of course that takes in all cans of anything;  nothing in boxes.  No wheat, grain, sugar or dairy and if you know anyone with the bellyfat problem – this is the eating plan for them (and perhaps, the best one).  This is not just  adipose fat, it is fat girding the inner organs and ruining one’s health. This is one heck of a way to drop the numbers on the scale… . .thanks mainly to observing the glycemic factoring and the increase of healthy protein which fires up the metabolic engine.

Please take this as encouragement to seek your own answers.  I have shared what seems to work for me and admittedly, the enormous popularity of the Paleo Diet  and the McDougall program with the readers of my blog.   There are so many other sources out there  including Gary Null,  Pritikin, Dean Ornish who all occupy prominent shelf space in my library.  But then, I cut my teeth on Adele Davis back in the 60’s.  So for me, this has been going on a long time.  It’s a major interest of mine.

We are all different, have different needs.  Our bodies are miraculous instruments and deserve the best care we can give them and I believe there is no need for heart disease, strokes, obesity and diabetes to be cutting our lives short and ruining the precious time we have in this life to enjoy it to the fullest.  You and I don’t have to be doctors to do this, to learn how to care for our bodies.  Whatever you do, whatever you choose, enjoy it and make it fun.  It is quite an adventure with a big payoff. My heartfelt wish for your bountiful health and pleasure in living.     Jan

Vigilant stroke patients cut risk

Follow-up, life changes essential to future health

By Misti Crane

Stroke patients and their doctors should be vigilant in taking steps to stave off a second stroke, according to the author of a new study that reaffirms the risk of recurrent problems. The study, published in today’s issue of the journal Neurology, looked at 10,399 South Carolina stroke patients in 2002. The risk of a second stroke within one year was 8 percent. The risk of a second stroke within four years was more than double that, 18 percent. The risk of a second stroke among blacks was 16 percent higher than among whites.

“The findings from the study suggest that South Carolina and possibly other parts of the United States may have a long way to go in terms of preventing and reducing the risk factors for recurrent strokes or death,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Wuwei Feng of the Medical University of South Carolina.    Overall, one in four stroke patients died within a year. About 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year, according to the American Heart Association.
Recurrent strokes and other risks, including heart attacks, are well-established, and the study is a reminder of the importance of taking medication and making lifestyle changes that lower that risk, stroke experts said.
“There’s nothing anybody can do to make it so they’re never going to have a stroke,” said Dr. Andrew Slivka, medical director of Ohio State University Medical Center’s stroke program. But he said there’s room for improvement in managing those things that can reduce risk.    Patients sometimes struggle to stay on medications that help with problems that can lead to stroke, including high blood pressure and diabetes, Slivka said.
Lifestyle changes are notoriously difficult, said Dr. David Lang, a neurologist with the Mount Carmel Health System.
“If they’re smoking, they need to stop. If they’re drinking heavily, they need to at least cut back,” Lang said.
Access to medical care after a stroke is important, he said. Without good follow-up, patients might fall out of the routine of taking medicines and changing bad habits, he said.
Ted Hoff of Delaware suffered a stroke in 2006 and credits his good health since then to a variety of factors, starting with the intensive inpatient rehabilitation he had at Riverside Methodist Hospital. Since then, Hoff’s primary-care doctor has been vigilant about monitoring his health, including his blood pressure, Hoff said. And although it took a while, he and his doctors found a combination of medicines that works.
Hoff, 67, watches his weight and tries to maintain a positive outlook, something he thinks is essential to life after a stroke.
“The other thing that was very important in my recovery was the support I had from my wife. Everybody I talk to who has a supportive loved one, that really helps,” he said.   When stroke patients leave Riverside, they go with explicit recommendations about how to best avoid problems, said Dr. Geoffrey Eubank, co-director of the hospital’s stroke program.
The hope is that both the patient and the primarycare physician will work to achieve the goals set before the patient left the hospital.   It becomes easier to give patients a blueprint for trying to avoid strokes as more research is conducted to draw links between stroke and other factors, Eubank said.
In addition to obeying doctors, Ted Hoff, who recovered from a stroke, said the help of wife Marilyn was essential.

November 19, 2009

B.E.D. – video intro

Filed under: Body Ecology Diet (BED),Donna Gates — Jan Turner @ 10:19 am
Tags: ,

Received this lovely video today and wanted to share with those of you who don’t already subscribe to Donna Gates Body Ecology’s newsletter.

Introduction to Body Ecology – New Video
Curious about the Body Ecology system of health and healing? Find out the 18 reasons Body Ecology is the best diet for your health goals, including how to get started. This is a must-see for anyone curious about the benefits of healthy eating. Give the gift of good health — share this video with your loved ones who want to learn how to create their best health.

September 21, 2009

How to Ferment Foods

Much interest in Fermented Foods

(Original post dated 9-21-09)

From what you’ve  heard,  and I perceive, there  seems to be interest in  “fermented foods. ”  Everybody talks about  how it can help to rebuild your inner eco-system;  restore the gut flora, help  assimilate the food you eat better;   clear up a bunch of problems and make the whole gut area “feel better”;  reduce your craving for  sweets in general.  As for me,  after having had problems with understanding my immune system  and eternally trying to find ways to work with it and improve it – –  bells went off when I learned about the process to ferment foods.

I know that I have raved on about my experiences with it now and then.  I have not however actually told you how to do this.   Felt that this was all covered when I explained how I learned about the fermentation process and its benefits from Wholesome Goodness  who used to be in my blogroll before she shut her site down, and also from B.E.D.’s Donna Gates who often speaks on this subject and has shared her recipes with the world – often and is shown in the Body Ecology Diet book.  I remember speaking about Dom whom I found in Australia (his Kefir-Kraut)

Alyson’s tutorial (Wholesome Goodness) on “how-to Ferment Foods” was superb.  It was explicit and complete.  I can not attempt to do over again as I am not equipt with cameras   So this is why I have not given you a detailed account of how I do it or what I do.

While it is true that I tried to ‘teach my grand-daughters during those early, growing up years’  how to function in a kitchen, I did it mostly by osmosis.  Expected it to transfer into their eager little brains through their own desire to learn and copy what they saw.  Both learned how to sharpen knives, mince garlic, dice an onion, toss a salad and we always sat around a table and talked when we raised our forks to enjoy the blessings thereof.  Good years.  Even so, don’t see myself as a teacher – not these days.    When I want to make something special like Biscotti or fermented foods,  I amass all the recipes I value and  find I take something from here and something from there and most often, don’t wind up with the same thing twice and seem to run a very loose ship as they say.  The last time I made the veggies, I forgot about the hot peppers (recently bought and lying fallow in the frig) and I really miss them when I don’t include them.

Let’s Get Started

So, I am going to ramble just a little here on what I actually do to make a big batch.   It is a good practice to assemble all that you will need – bowls, tools, like knives and cutting boards, etc.,  get the food processor out and place all the fresh, stuff out on the counter: e.g. cabbages, carrots, onion, garlic, hot peppers and any other fresh, green leafy favorite on hand.   Sometimes I get out fresh ginger (to grate), and/or perhaps a bunch of cilentro (tossing out the stems).  One needs a number of glass jars – pick your own amount and numbers.  Alyson speaks of one-quart jars with those special lids.  But the jars I use are a strange assortment of bigger glass containers with a rubber ring and attached lid with a funny clasp on it.  Range in size from 1 1/2 qt to bigger ones – have about 8 of them. (Note:   Larger quantity will take a little more time.  One might  start off with just a quart or two of course – just scale down amounts)

The Water

I distill my own water and also, make my own colloidal silver which requires having purified water, but with no carbon filters of any kind so  I use, plenty of these big jars.  Seems I’m always into something ‘cooking’ in my kitchen.   Be sure you have un-polluted water on hand –   not a good idea to use municipal water due to the chemical  content – seriously! . .those chemicals can interfere with nature’s fermenting process.  Another consideration, up front, is to decide whether or not you want to make it the old fashioned way (letting nature do whatever it does)  or you want to use a starter which both Wholesome Goodness and B.E.D. recommend.  As it happens,  I’m about half and half on this point.  Frankly, I can’t see any difference, they both taste about the same to me.  The first time I made it, I couldn’t wait for the starter to come, so I had read a bit on it and found that the ancients did not rely on starters.  This is a chemical reaction which happens via nature’s innate wisdom – that works for me!  Most of the time I use BED’s Culture Starter as this assures the satisfaction of knowing that you ARE getting the very best cultures into your fermented  food  That is a comforting thought.

Not Quite a Recipe

I start with 2 or 3 heads of regular or red cabbage;    4 or 5 carrots, scrubbed;    at least one red onion or large white;   much garlic (6 – 8 cloves or a whole head) which is fine either crushed or finely minced;    4 or 5 Jalapeno peppers and maybe 4 – 5 of the smaller, hotter ones – the peppers must be opened to remove most of the seeds or else the fire would be too intense (for my taste)  Its really cool to add whatever other green leafy veggie you might have on hand like kale, bok choy and so on.  Or not,  just cabbage is fine.  One’s preference should dictate the choices.  Adding a large crisp apple into the mix is wonderful.  Adds a hint of sweetness, but the sugar part is mostly eaten up by the bacteria which develops in the fermentation period.

I like pretty and beautiful, so I quite naturally add as much as I can scrounge up for color and variety and try to plan for this personal pleasure. Your food stuff should be as fresh as possible and organic if you can (to assure that you are not getting all those darned chemicals we don’t really want)   Speaking of things we don’t want in the mix, it is wise to be aware that Donna Gates and others recommend that we NOT USE SALT of any kind to season this mix.  And this would be for the same reason – it slows the bacterial action and fermentation process down measurably.  Not a good thing.  If when eating your fermented foods, you feel it needs seasoning for your personal taste, by all means, use a little sea salt – go for it.

First We Assemble

Best to assemble all that you will need,   I have huge bowls which I questioned myself on when I bought them as they are really large and cumbersome and a nuisance to house.  But oh my,  I wonder how others manage to do all this if you don’t have these big bowls.   Get out your best butcher knife (sharpened) in order to cut the fresh produce into pieces which will fit into your food processor. It is good to use the slicing blade on cabbage, tho I personally like it grated (large) a bit better. Also, grate the carrots and onions and whatever else.  Slice or grate – your choice for both size and appearance.

CABBAGE:  Generally, plain ole cabbage is what most people use – me too.    Tho I have also made a great batch with 1 red cabbage and 1 white one and a batch of beets (scrubbed and stemmed).  It was gorgeous due to the red contents  and I really liked the flavors.          Rinse off your cabbage and remove and SAVE the courser outer leaves – these will (at the end) be folded, and stuffed into the tops of your jars to secure your “batch” submerged under the brine  – very important.  So this must be done BEFORE you start chopping stuff up.  Then, you can quarter your cabbages, and with the large butcher knife, stand each quarter in a way that you can sever the inner  hard core which is probably only good for one thing – to munch on.

The Brine

Next,  the Brine we want to use.  Ideally, it can be a cup or so of the veggies you have already chopped up  placed into a blender to puree a little bit along with a couple of cups of that good, pure water (might want to buy some spring water), and then maybe a cucumber or two and/or a stalk of celery or two.  Sorry to be so vague, but I have no idea how much you will be making.  We want a pretty good slurpy mess to pour over the chopped veggies as they sit in the jars.  Want enough to cover completely and come up to within an inch or two of the lid.  Leaving room for the folded outer cabbage leaf which you have wadded up before putting the lid on.

I’ll tell you one of my own special little secrets.  This happened several months ago that I guess I also had no idea how far to go in my planning or gauging the amounts of anything – this was new to me.  I didn’t have enough of those outer leaves saved and now I was at the end and panic was mounting – what to do?   I had just spent hours in chopping and fixin and stuff, be damned if I was going to lose any of this  over some miscalculation.  At the back of the silverware drawer is a collection of the pretty corks I liked and had saved (pack-rat that I am) from varying wine bottles over time.   So I used 2 -3 corks at the top of my jars to keep the veggies submerged.  Worked great, I kid you not. This is a resource I continue to use.  It pleases me, and I don’t have to “save” as many cabbage leaves.

The Starter Culture

If you do in fact want to use a starter, it must be done up front in the beginning as it needs a little time to waken, eat some thing and digest a little before it sets to work.  (Isn’t that just a glorious concept?) Empty one of the packets of Culture Starter from the box into about 1 1/2 cup warm water to which you have added either one teaspoon of sugar or honey, etc.  This must sit for about 20 minutes or longer while the L. Plantarum and other bacteria waken and starts digesting the sugar.  This is then added to the brine which is poured over the veggies before finishing.

Putting it all Together

Shred up your veggies and gather them into large bowls, tubs or what-have-you.   Because I use rather hot peppers in my choice,  I must also don disposable gloves.  The one time I didn’t do that, I was in serious distress with my hands for the rest of the day.  So lift and blend your mixture til its all pretty and the way that appeals to you.  Then start filling your jars by measured quantities.  Add to the jar, tamp it down tightly either with your fist, an old-fashioned potato masher or other tool;     add more, tamp down again till nearing the top.  Want to leave about 2 inches free at the top.  I don’t understand why, I just do it as that is what they all say.   Now is the time to fold the cabbage leaves you have saved and insert into the tops.  Push down.  (I put corks on top of that and push down again.) Pour over the brine into each jar and clamp or screw down your lids. fairly tightly. (It doesn’t take as much brine as one might imagine since all has been tamped down so tightly.  It is important to completely cover  entirely with brine)

Okay,  Here is my Final Secret:

This probably doesn’t happen to anyone else, I have no way of knowing.   I have a lovely pantry off my kitchen.  Its very convenient and practical.   The first time I made the fermented veggies, I had maybe 4 or 5 of those big jars and since they are rather large and take up some space, I put them high on a shelf where they would be undisturbed and under no threat whatsoever.  They leaked all over the place.    So since my very first time, I have learned to bring up the Coleman Cooler (used for cooling foods for a picnic) and place all the jars in that and just leave it on the floor in its quiet, safe environment where it is free to generate as much juicy overflow as it wants.   Since I wash it and clean it out after use, I’m sure one could use this juice.  But I’m a Virgo type who finds it difficult to share a bite of anything with anyone.  Ugh! I’m quite certain, its very healthy stuff, I just can’t drink it myself, tho I am sure it would heal something.

As an aside, its perfectly fine to save the brine from one batch to another – it is brimming with bacterial heavenly bodies

I generally leave my fermenting foods to percolate for 8 to 12 days.  Now that it is cooler,  especially.  Really warm weather will complete the process in a matter of days.   You can let your own taste buds be the judge.    Once you have determined it to be ‘cooked’, just put them in a frig which slows the process down.  They keep under refrigeration for many months they say.   I have never had any last that long.

About that Taste!

You have no doubt heard  that Fermented Foods or Kim-chi is an acquired taste?   It’s true.  For many people, it takes a little getting used to.   I remember how stunned I was after all that work and waiting to finally taste it and be so dumb-struck with the taste!  I emailed Alyson right away and she, God bless her,  got back to me just as fast, to hang in there, that I could get some corn chips or something to scoop up some quantity to get some of it into my body.  It was a good idea.  But by the time her message reached me, I had already got “used to it” and in fact, learned to really like it.  I try to take some of it with two out of three meals daily.    There are so many benefits its hard to enumerate.  One big plus is that I no longer worry about taking B-vitamins any more as my fermented veggies are making more and better Vit B than anything I could buy in a jar of pills.

Keep your eyes and ears open to find new and different recipes.  Be courageous – try new things, it really is fun.  Please drop me a line if you wouldn’t mind sharing how you are doing.                                                              Jan

(I am re-issuing this post as one of my favorite acquired friends from South Africa has been unable to access  this post from the archives.  I had no idea that this was a problem, and I regard this information to be important. Jan 4-2-12)

September 17, 2009

Building Strong Muscles – B.E.D.

Little-known Secret to Building Stronger Muscles: Probiotics


Here’s a secret: the same probiotics that restore your inner ecosystem also make it easier for your body to absorb nutrients and build muscle!

Restoring balance in your gut with probiotics boosts immunity and digestion, but did you know these healthy microflora also aid in muscle growth and weight loss?

If you’re trying to increase lean body mass, adding fermented foods and drinks to your diet will ensure more efficient digestion. And that leads to increased energy, better workouts, and easier muscle growth and repair.

The Link Between Probiotics and Muscle Growth

Kenneth Bock, M.D., the author of The Road to Immunity, says that gaining lean muscle mass is more work with an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract:

“Your colon, stomach and small intestine digest food and absorb nutrients. If either of these processes is hindered, it can result in a loss of nutrients, which your body borrows from skeletal muscle.”1

Muscle-building expert and registered dietitian, James Collier, agrees that a good supply of healthy bacteria makes protein more readily available to your muscles, and burns fat more easily.

Probiotics also help prevent intestinal infection, so your body is more likely to absorb more and better nutrients.

Now that you know how probiotics build stronger muscles, learn the most effective way to get these friendly bacteria thriving in your gut.

Will Probiotic Supplements and Mass-Market Products Do the Trick?

With the recent buzz about probiotics, it’s no wonder there are a lot of products at your local health food store designed to boost healthy microflora.

But how effective are they really?

How can you be sure that these probiotic supplements contain all the friendly microflora necessary to populate your gut, build your immunity, help you digest, and assist in lean muscle growth?

Unfortunately, the truth is that too many probiotic supplements vary widely in quality and potency.

One university study recently tested a wide variety of probiotic supplements and found that in four out of twenty products, no sign of living friendly bacteria was present.3

But What About Yogurt, You Say?

It’s true: many mass-produced food products such as Dannon Activa™ claim to decrease intestinal transit time.

While many yogurts do contain live active cultures, there are some problems:

  • Many include some pretty awful sugars including fructose, cornstarch, and modified cornstarch. Like most yogurts sold in your store, all that sugar and unnatural ingredients will definitely feed pathogenic microorganisms, like candida. And by the way you can be certain that eating any form of sugar causes you to lose muscle mass.
  • More importantly, most mass-produced yogurts (and fermented foods like sauerkraut) are not always potent enough to make a difference. 50% of products do not contain the healthy bacteria that they claim to have had at the time of manufacture.
  • Even those that do have enough healthy bacteria may not have the right mix of healthy microflora to repopulate your inner ecosystem. If they’re not prepared in a way that allows the most beneficial bacteria and yeast to thrive in your digestive system, harsh stomach acids can kill probiotics.

In general, we at Body Ecology are not fans of yogurt, and instead, we recommend young coconut kefir to first help your body build up the dairy-loving bacteria that most people today are missing…and then milk kefir when your inner ecosystem is balanced.

If your body can digest dairy without symptoms, milk kefir is the better alternative to mass-produced or even home-made yogurt. Milk kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food that supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins. It is more alive than yogurt and it can also be made using raw milk from cows, goats or sheep. When you do not heat the protein in milk it is much easier to digest.

Young coconut kefir and Milk kefir are easy to make at home with Body Ecology’s Kefir Starter.

Unlike commercial yogurts which contain probiotics that do NOT colonize your colon, the bacteria and beneficial yeast in kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, which is they key reason you are eating these foods in the first place.

Milk kefir is also great food for anyone wanting to gain more weight via increasing muscle mass not fat. But, alas, not everyone can drink milk products today and are casein intolerant. Again, often drinking the young coconut kefir for a month or so and then slowly introducing dairy kefir may allow you to drink it safely. The young coconut kefir introduces the dairy-loving bacteria to your gut so that when you slowly introduce the casein-rich milk kefir, these bacteria (who were originally grown on milk) and can “learn” how to digest the new food. Just give them time to become skilled at breaking it down effectively by going slowly…about 1/4th cup per day for a week to ten days and then increasing in small increments.

Want to Accelerate Your Gut Recovery, Loose Weight, and Gain Lean Muscle Faster?

If you want to lose weight and gain muscle faster, then forget health food store probiotic supplements and revitalize your gut with potent, real fermented foods and drinks.

Probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks multiply the nutrition in your food hundreds of times, nourishing you more with less food. On top of that, they help build healthy bacteria that keep you naturally slim. Research shows that people of normal weight have different bacteria in their guts than obese people.4

With a healthy inner ecosystem, you’ll feel satiated sooner.

Plus, microflora reduce cravings for processed sugars and alcohol – two big roadblocks to weight loss and a leaner body.

Here are some tips for easily incorporating probiotics into your diet the most effective way:

  • Consume probiotic drinks, such as Innergy-Biotic, as an alternative to sugary sports drinks.

    is a delicious, low-calorie source of probiotics that’s gluten-free and provides you with loads of energy. It’s a double whammy for good lean muscle growth – it’ll give you the energy you need for great workouts AND heal your digestive track for better nutrient-absorbtion.
Innergy-BioticBuild Mucles Faster and More Effectively with Delicious Innergy-Biotic! Try this gluten-free energy performance drink, and you’ll never go back to those mass-produced, sugary sports drinks again! With Innergy-Biotic, you get a probiotic-rich whole food in liquid form that boosts your digestion of protein and other important nutrients for fast, effective muscle growth. Boost your energy and digestion today with Innergy-Biotic!.
  • To make affordable, delicious fermented superfoods at home, try Body Ecology’s Starter Kits .
  • To turn healthy vegetables into your fat-burning, muscle-building allies, make raw cultured vegetables. By introducing beneficial bacteria into your system, you’ll more effectively control your weight and set the stage for easier muscle building.
  • Need a caffeine fix in the morning or for afternoon slumps? Instead, boost your energy naturally while healing your digestive tract with vitamin-mineral-probiotic rich Vitality SuperGreen.  Just add two scoops to eight ounces of water and watch your energy soar. If you’re trying to gain healthy weight, it provides extra nourishment with added to a larger meal.

However you choose to get in the best shape of your life, remember that lean muscle mass is key to a healthy body. Scientists agree that building muscle helps burn fat.

If you’ve been struggling with weight loss or your muscle growth is stalling, probiotics are the little-known tool for increased health and energy. With probiotics as part of your plan, you’ll have extra help that goes a long way.

September 10, 2009

B.E.D. on “DHEA”

If You Really Want to Avoid Early Aging, Get to Know “DHEA”


Do you suffer from mood swings and fatigue? Is your health declining as you get older? Can’t keep the “middle age bulge” at bay?

If so, you may have low levels of DHEA.

As you get older, you may find that you struggle more to maintain muscle mass, feel tired more quickly, or perhaps you have developed rheumatoid arthritis or even osteoporosis. It is commonly believed that deterioration as we age is inevitable.

However current research indicates that we are not predestined to age in this regard, and by increasing our levels of DHEA before or even after they decline many of us can turn back the clock.

Low levels of DHEA have been linked to autism, arthritis, and depression.
Keep you and your loved ones healthy and vibrant by following the DHEA-boosting
Body Ecology program for wellness.

DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, has become known as the ‘fountain of youth.’ It is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. Estrogen and then testosterone are both made from this steroid hormone.

The Anti-Aging Hormone?

Many people have turned to DHEA because it has been shown to increase bone density, treat Lupus and depression, and decrease the risk for heart disease. Another potential benefit is increased muscle mass and stronger immunity.

Someone who lacks essential levels of DHEA really can benefit from taking a supplement and they can be easily found in your local health food store. At Body Ecology, however, we feel it is important to use this supplement only after you’ve had your levels of DHEA checked by a health care professional. It’s a very simply saliva test.

So before you supplement with DHEA capsules, first check with your health care practitioner to make sure that you are in fact deficient in this hormone.

Anyone will benefit, on the other hand, by naturally increasing their DHEA levels with diet and some simple changes in your lifestyle.

Follow these guidelines to naturally increase DHEA in your body:

  • Eat good fats with plenty of omega 3 fatty acids. DHEA is made from cholesterol, and your body makes cholesterol from healthy fats. You can get essential fatty acids from a variety of oils like ghee, raw butter, cod liver, coconut oil, red palm oil, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, pumpkin seed and olive oils. For more information, read A Key Health Secret that Everyone Should Know: Eat a Range of Good Oils.
  • Get a Good Night’s SLEEP! Your adrenal glands not only create energy, they also manufacture DHEA. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue as most people do today, you may have trouble sleeping AND your adrenals will not be able to produce adequate levels of too little DHEA to support your daily activities! Read more about how sleep affects your adrenals and how to nourish them.
  • De-stress your life. Stress increases levels of two hormones: insulin and cortisol. These two hormones are sometimes called “the death hormones” because when blood levels of cortisol and insulin remain high, they suppress the youth hormone, DHEA. Stress also depletes the vitality of your adrenal glands that produce DHEA. So take time to breathe deeply, meditate, and spend time with friends and family. One of the most effective ways to immediately boost your DHEA levels is to be touched (as in having a great hand, foot, body or head massage). Learn more about The Proven Healing Power of Touch and how it can improve your health.
  • Cut out sugar. Sugar creates acidic blood. To be healthy your blood should be slightly alkaline. When your blood becomes acidic this sets the stage for fungal, viral and bacterial infections and also for imbalances like cancer and diabetes.
    Nourish your thyroid to support healthy DHEA levels with Ocean Plant Extract.
  • Feed your thyroid and your adrenals by eating plenty of mineral-rich sea vegetables – be sure to read Russia’s “Miracle” Heavy Metal Cleansing Sea Vegetable, “Laminaria Japonica. Always cook or culture cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage because they suppress the thyroid when they are eaten raw. Your thyroid is an active partner with the adrenals that produce DHEA so make sure it too is hearty. These two organs are tiny, but they are real workhorses in your body. Take special care to feed them right. Read Boost Your Thyroid to Boost Your Energy for more information.

We all want to age gracefully. Paying attention to your levels of DHEA is a great way to support yourself in healthy aging. The Body Ecology program, plus plenty of sleep, decreasing stress, and eliminating or reducing sugar intake can get you well on your way to turning back time.

Spending peaceful moments in nature — such as near water or in the mountains — is another great way to regenerate your adrenals and to find balance in life. Overall, proper nutrition and lifestyle are the two key secrets to finding your own fountain of youth.

Low DHEA Level,
Skerret, P.J., “DHEA: Ignore the Hype”

August 27, 2009

B.E.D. and Superfoods

Bless Donna Gates for simplifying this really big new interest I have and I’m sure many others as well.  I learned about “Super-foods”  online  thru the person of David Wolfe of the SunFood company and some videos I saw him in.  He is quite a remarkable young man (a hunk of course and so brainy, the offspring of two physicians who chose a unique path all his own).  He also spoke of raw, organic Hemp seed and raw organic Cacao nibs which I must say I am enjoying immensely in my morning shakes.  I bought the Yacon syrup, but found I don’t need it – apparently my tooth is not that sweet.

I did not know about Dr. Perricone having been on Oprah and espousing this as well.  That is very encouraging for I was fascinated with the few books of his which I own and read.  He seems very believable.   So gratitude to the fates who brought David Wolfe and Dr Perricone – that’s amazing.   Personally, I feel a lot better seeing what Donna Gates has to say about all of this as this is a lady who has been through it – truly, and knows what she is talking about.  Our inner ecology system is the single most important thing we must protect and enhance with all our nutritive decisions and I know of no one who teaches it better.      It is my hope that people will go directly to her site and subscribe to her very helpful letters, so as not to miss any of her thoughtful teachings.  I do not run all her important messages, just occasionally.        Jan

Mangosteen to Maca Part 1:

The Body Ecology Guide to 5 Exotic Fruits, Berries & Roots


Heard of all the new superfruits, like acai, mangosteen and goji berries? Or the roots, like maca root and yacon syrup? Find out the benefits AND detractors to these new superfoods and what you can do to get the most out of them.

NOTE: Also see Part 2 of Mangosteen to Maca: 5 Exotic Fruits, Berries and Roots

Everywhere you look from the Internet to the health food store, new and exotic fruits and vegetables are showing up.

Many of them come from far away islands and contain high antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. We recently met with Body Ecology founder Donna Gates to learn more about these exotic new superfoods and find out whether they live up to the hype.

In this article, you’ll learn about the new superfoods and how to best incorporate them into your healthy diet…or whether you’d best leave them out all together.

How to Incorporate the New Superfoods into Your Healthy Diet

Here are some of the most popular new superfoods and the Body Ecology solution for adding them into your diet:

The Fruits and Berries

  • Acai – Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, this fruit is grown in Brazil, Central and South America, Belize and Peru. The purple berry is the size of a grape and tastes like a combination of chocolate and berries.What all the fuss is about: Acai is has ten times the antioxidants of red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins (antioxidant flavonoids that protect many systems in your body) of red wine.1Additionally, acai has an excellent amino acid profile, is rich in fiber and has valuable trace minerals, essential fatty acids and phytosterols making it a powerhouse for digestive health, anti-aging and the health of your cells, muscles, hormones and neurotransmitters (brain chemical messengers).2Where to get acai: Acai is found as a juice in health food stores or online.

    Body Ecology says: The good news? Acai is a sour fruit, so like the pomegranate, you can enjoy some acai without the dangers of feeding the systemic fungal infection, candida.

    However, buyer beware! Due to the natural sour taste of acai juice, many manufacturers add a lot of sugar or combine it with other sweet fruits to give it a sweeter taste. To avoid the dangers of sugar, look carefully at the ingredients before you buy acai juice. Choose the sour version and make it taste delicious by following our recipe, below.

    Or, if you want to drink a juice like MonaVie, our recipe below will help you avoid the too-sweet fruits added to the juice, while still getting all the antioxidant benefits.

  • Goji Berries – Also known as the wolfberry Lycium barbarum, goji berries are getting a lot of attention for their health benefits. Goji berries are small red berried that come dried, like raisins.

    What all the fuss is about:
    Goji berries contain:3

    • Rich antioxidants (especially carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin).
    • Betaine (for liver health).
    • Amino acids (contains 18 amino acids, including all essential amino acids)
    • Minerals (including including calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, germanium, and phosphorus), polysaccharides (for immunity).
    • Vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, and E.
    • Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Chiefly grown in the subtropical regions of the Tibetan Himalayas, China and Mongolia, goji berries have long been used in Chinese medicine for liver health, fertility, immunity, improved eyesight, appetite suppression, circulation, organ strength, emotional balance and longevity. While about 50 studies have been done to confirm the beneficial effects of goji berries, more research is needed to show scientific evidence of all the benefits.

    Where to get goji berries:
    You can get goji berries online or at your health food store. Organic Tibetan goji berries are typically recommended.

    Body Ecology says: Goji berries are too sweet! But you can still get the benefits of goji berries if you ferment them in young coconut kefir. Just make your young coconut kefir as usual and add goji berries into the liquid. The microflora from the Kefir Starter will “eat” the harmful sugars from the goji berries so that you can enjoy their benefits without the added sweetness that can create acidic blood and candida.

    If you are considering goji juice, beware of the ingredients. Given that it’s already sweet, adding other sweet fruits and sugar can put it over the top. Choose a juice without added sugar and follow our recipe below to remove the damaging effects of the sugars.

    Innergy-BioticMake everything from mangosteen to maca healthier (and safer!) with Innergy-Biotic. The probiotics in Innergy-Biotic can “eat” the harmful sugars in the superfoods you love AND continue to reduce sugars in your intestines. Just add 2 oz. of your favorite superfood juice to 4 oz. of Innergy-Biotic and let it ferment for 2 days. Now you can have your superfruits and super-roots without the worries of detrimental health affects. Learn more about Innergy-Biotic and try some today!
  • Mangosteen – Not to be confused with the mango, Mangosteen is a tree fruit in the same family as St. John’s wort.  Mangosteen is mainly cultivated in Thailand, Burma, Singapore, Malaya, India, the Philippines, parts of the Caribbean and southern Vietnam.  Mangosteen has been used for dysentery and diarrhea (dried rind); thrush and urinary disorders (leaves and bark); and to regulate menstruation (root).4Mangosteen is the size of an apple, purple in color and tastes like something between a pineapple and a peach.What all the fuss is about: While the mangosteen fruit is highly prized, it is the special benefits of the rind that make it a true superfood. The rind (called the pericap) is rich in xanthones and a polyhydroxy-xanthone derivative termed mangostin, which are currently being studied for their medicinal benefits such as improved immunity and gastrointestinal health and slowing the progression of tumor growth and neurodegenerative diseases.

    Animal studies have shown that panaxanthone (approximately 80% alpha-mangostin and 20% gamma-mangostin) may have a protective effect in breast cancer.5

    Other studies have found that the mangosteen rind has phenolics and tannins that promoted free radical scavenging activity (the young rind has the higher amounts) and anti-acne producing bacteria (the ripe rind has higher amounts).6

    If you suffer from chronic pain or arthritis, the xanthone extract, garcinol, in the rind of mangosteen may also provide a pain-relief component because garcinol blocks COX enzymes (your body’s pain pathways) and has anti-inflammatory properties.7

    While studies on mangosteen and xanthones are still relatively recent and more need to be done, the healthful properties of this xanthones rich fruit are promising.

    Where to get mangosteen: Unless you are in one of the countries where mangosteen grows, chances are you will only have the option of mangosteen juice.

    Body Ecology says: XanGo is a popular mangosteen juice option, but before you start drinking XanGo or any mangosteen juice, here’s something to keep in mind:

    Most fruit juices, even nutrient-packed superfruit juices are too sweet and can create an acidic condition in your blood and feed candida. Mangosteen juice is no exception, but there IS a way you can benefit from superfruit juices like XanGo: Add them to your favorite probiotic liquid!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article, where we feature more superfoods AND a healthy, delicious recipe from Donna Gates that will have you enjoying the benefits of your favorite superfruit juices without the dangers of consuming too-sweet juices.


[1] Dr. Perricone’s 10 Superfoods.

2 ibid.

3 Kim, Ben, Dr. Authentic Tibetan Goji Berries:Nature’s Most Nutritious Fruit and a Super Healthy Snack Food.

4 Morton, J. Mangosteen. p. 301–304. In: Fruits of warm climates. 1987.

5 Doi, H et. al. Panaxanthone isolated from pericarp of Garcinia mangostana L. suppresses tumor growth and metastasis of a mouse model of mammary cancer. Anticancer Res. 2009 Jul;29(7):2485-95.

6 Pothitirat, W. et. al. Comparison of bioactive compounds content, free radical scavenging and anti-acne inducing bacteria activities of extracts from the mangosteen fruit rind at two stages of maturity. Fitoterapia. 2009 Jun 12.
7 Liao CH, Sang S, Liang YC, Ho CT, Lin JK. Suppression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 in downregulating nuclear factor-kappa B pathway by Garcinol. Mol Carcinog. 2004 Nov;41(3):140-9.

Mangosteen to Maca Part 2:

The Body Ecology Guide to 5 Exotic Fruits, Berries & Roots

(Including A Recipe to Make the New Superfoods Healthier!)


Curious about the new superfroods, like maca root and yacon syrup? Find out the benefits AND detractors t these new superfoods and what you can do to get the most out of them…plus get a recipe to make everything from mangosteen and acai to maca even healthier!

In part 2 of this article, you’ll learn about the new superfood “roots,” maca root, yacon root and yacon syrup. While these roots may seem like healthy “no-brainers,” they are not necessarily the best choices for your health.

But Body Ecology founder, Donna Gates, has come up with a solution for you to enjoy all the benefits with none of the health drawbacks of these superfruits and super-roots!

How to Incorporate the New Superfoods into Your Healthy Diet: The Roots

  • Maca – Also called Lepidium meyenii and Peruvian ginseng (although it is not related to the ginseng family, it has similar effects), maca has been used for centuries to promote energy, libido and longevity.

    This mat-like vegetable is in the same family as the wild Mexican yam and grows high in the plateaus of the Andes in Peru. Maca root looks similar to a radish.

    What all the fuss is about:
    Maca is easy to digest and packed with nutrients, like:1

    • 18 amino acids.
    • Vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E.
    • High trace minerals (calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous and trace amounts of 31 different
    • minerals) from the Peruvian soil.
    • Fatty acids.
  • Maca root is an adaptogen, which helps your adrenals respond to stress. It has also been used to boost energy, regulate the endocrine system, balance hormones and the menstrual cycle, support immunity and improve fertility and sexual function. Where to find maca: Maca root is typically sold as capsules or in powder form and you can find organic maca powder online or in your health food store. We recommend choosing organic maca.

    Body Ecology says:
    Maca is a starchy root vegetable that should be combined with grains and vegetables. However, keep in mind that maca has natural sugars that can feed candida, like the sweet potato. While 1 cup of sweet potato (200 grams) has 13 grams of sugar, you might consider only using a small amount of raw maca root (5 grams or approx. 1 tsp), which has only 1 gram of sugar.  Eating them with cultured veggies is great too so that the microflora eat up the sugar and these alkaline veggies help balance the more acidic maca powder.

    So the amount of maca you eat is important. Look at the label of the organic maca powder you are considering to be sure the sugar content is low.

    One thing you can do if you want to eat more maca is soak it for 8 hours or overnight in young coconut kefir or our probiotic liquids, like Innergy-Biotic. The healthy microflora in our probiotic liquids will eat up the excess sugars so that you can enjoy your maca with no worries.

    Another option is to take maca capsules with 2 oz. of your favorite probiotic liquid.

  • Yacon Root and Syrup – Another plant from the Peruvian Andes, yacon root has dark brown skin and looks like an elongated potato. A sweet tuber, yacon root is crunchy like water chestnuts and tastes like a cross between an apple and a watermelon.What all the fuss is about: Yacon root and yacon root syrup have been touted for being sweet (the sweetness comes from inulin), low-calorie and safe for diabetics.Where you can get yacon root syrup: You can get yacon root syrup online and at health food stores.
    LakantoAvoid the dangers of too-sweet sweeteners with all-natural Lakanto. More and more natural sweeteners are coming out on the market, but all too often, they are too sweet and still feed candida, the systemic fungal infection that plays a role in many diseases, like diabetes. Instead, use delicious zero-calorie, zero-glycemic index Lakanto that tastes and bakes just like sugar. The Japanese Ministry of Health approves AND recommends Lakanto for weight loss and blood sugar issues like diabetes. Try Lakanto today!

    Body Ecology says: Yacon root syrup may appear promising as a sweetner, but it is still too sweet and can cause acidic blood and feed candida. If you truly want a safe, healthy alternative to sugar that is low calorie, safe for diabetics and does not have the dangers of too-sweet sweeteners, we recommend you use Stevia or Lakanto.

    To learn more about Stevia, read: A Brief But Interesting History of Stevia … and How It Benefits You

    To learn more about Lakanto, read: Lakanto Q&A: Some KEY Questions about the New All-Natural Zero-Calorie Sweetener Answered

    Body Ecology Recipe to Enjoy Your Exotic Superfood Benefits Without the Health Detractors

    Here’s a recipe from Body Ecology’s founder, Donna Gates. Use this delicious recipe for a superior nutrition and energy packed superfood meal:

    In an 8 oz. Ball Jar, add:

  • 2 oz. of your choice: XanGo, MonaVie, goji juice or Acai juice (choose one with no-added sugar)
  • 4 oz. Passion Fruit Biotic or your favorite probiotic liquid (the microflora in probiotic liquids help eat the sugars from the superfruit juices and also, eat up extra sugars in your intestines)
  • 1 Heaping TBL chia seeds chia seeds (chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and slow the digestion of sugars in your body)Directions:
  • Let this mixture ferment for two days in the Ball jar and then enjoy your nutrient-packed super-superfood!

    At Body Ecology, we are always looking for ways to make healthy eating, well…healthier! Some foods, while inherently healthy, have a backside or detrimental affects on certain health conditions that are epidemic in our modern times. But when you pair them with the healing benefits of probiotic liquids, you can create a balance that keeps your body feeling it’s best for the long term.

    NOTE: Also see Part 1 of Mangosteen to Maca: 5 Exotic Fruits, Berries and Roots


August 17, 2009

Beating Autism Naturally

Beating Autism Naturally: How Body Ecology Mom, Gina LaVerde, Healed Her Son of Autism


Gina LaVerde healed her son, Dougie, of autism by focusing on the Body Ecology diet, probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks and other healing practices. Find out how this passionate mom changed her life, her son’s life and the lives of her family.

We recently met with Gina LaVerde, a BEDROK mom (Body Ecology Diet Recovering Our Kids) who shared her inspiring story of healing her son of autism.

Q. When did you first learn that your son, Dougie, had autism?

A. I first suspected autism when Dougie was about a year old. While he was born with some complications, he developed normally in the first year. At nine months, he was walking, talking and identifying things.

I have always known about health…I even made homemade, organic baby food for Dougie. I thought I was doing everything right.

But around age one, Dougie stopped talking.

At the time, I only knew a little about autism, so I called my aunt, who was a special education teacher and asked her to come over and help determine if Dougie had autism.

My aunt brought a colleague who was a speech therapist and while they were not certain if Dougie had autism, they suspected he did. My aunt told me that autism was not curable, but I chose not to believe her. It was then I began my journey to find the answers to heal Dougie.

Q. What steps did you take to help Dougie heal from autism?

A. I didn’t make a lot of changes at first and focused mostly on research.

But around Dougie’s last set of vaccines (he had most of the vaccines, but not the MMR) at 18 months, he got really sick with sore throats, rashes and high fever. At that time, he went on five different antibiotics for a period of five months.

It was at this time, my research led me to information about candida.

Dougie’s medical doctor didn’t really know about candida, so I continued my search until I found Diane Farr’s story about healing her son of autism on the Body Ecology website.

This is when I started working on changing Dougie’s diet and my own, because I felt that I had candida as well.

Q. Was it difficult to change Dougie’s diet?

A. It was challenging because when Dougie was on antibiotics, all he wanted to eat were foods like pizza and French fries. But we overcame that by slowly introducing fermented foods and drinks , like cultured vegetables and young coconut kefir. We also introduced healthy soups.

I started out slowly, but giving Dougie a teaspoon of young coconut kefir and then a French fry and gradually increasing the amount of young coconut kefir while reducing the amount of French fries. Within 3 days, Dougie was drinking a cup of young coconut kefir.

I was always looking for inventive ways to get Dougie (and my husband!) to eat healthy foods. Stevia was particularly useful because Dougie would eat anything with a little stevia, even his green juices.

Kefir StarterWant to make your own young coconut kefir? You can with Kefir Starter! Follow the instructions in the box for a delicious, healing beverage that delivers energy and immune-boosting probiotics in every sip! Learn more about Kefir Starter and start fermenting today.

These days, we ferment everything from coconut water, mangosteen juice, acai juice, and beet juice to all kinds of veggie mixes, dips, sauces and salad dressings.

The probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks made a HUGE difference in Dougie’s health.

Within less than a month, he began to have eye contact. This was a big relief and we took Dougie off antibiotics, even though the doctor said he still needed them. Since Dougie and I both had the same symptoms of candida, I took him to my doctor and we used all the same remedies for Dougie that I did for myself.

Around this time, Dougie became physically well, even though he still had some behaviors of autism.

Within two months of starting the fermented foods and drinks and changing his diet, Dougie became very healthy physically and he has not been sick since January of 2006.

While Dougie was always vegetarian, I thought following Body Ecology meant we’d have to give him meat. But after learning more about Body Ecology, I realized that the Body Ecology principles were the most important and I could follow them as a vegetarian, vegan or with raw food.

These days, we focus on a vegan, high raw diet (mostly raw food diet) with plenty of vegetables, algae, fermented foods and drinks and blended foods.

Dougie also occasionally wants things like eggs and when he asks for something like this, I feel he’s doing it for a reason, so I give it to him. We are still eating low to no sugar and no gluten.

Believe it or not, the biggest challenge was with our family.

They felt like the changes we were making in Dougie’s diet would hurt him, so we had to distance ourselves from family members who did not support what we were doing.

Kefir StarterA probiotic-rich fermented drink that kids love! Can’t find coconuts to make young coconut kefir? Want something faster and more convenient? If you want to introduce your kids to fermented foods and drinks, Passion Fruit Biotic is an easy (and delicious!) way to do it. Full of probiotics that help heal digestion, boost immunity, eliminate cravings for processed foods and improve energy, Passion Fruit Biotic is your best bet for helping even the pickiest eaters heal. Learn more about Passion Fruit Biotic and try some today!

Q. How are things going with Dougie today?

A. Dougie is doing really well today. We have recovered his health and he shows no signs of autism.

I am so grateful for what Dougie taught me. My health, my husband’s health and even my extended family’s health has improved. Formerly skeptics, everyone in my family is now on probiotics.

My experience with Dougie changed my life. I went from doing work in advertising and freelance writing assignments that I didn’t really like, to helping people heal. Helping others is my passion and I feel like I am doing meaningful work consulting with other moms and families to heal themselves and their children.

While I have definite opinions on how to help people heal, I also value the beliefs and opinions others have for their own healing journey.

With Dougie, Body Ecology was a major part of his healing path and we also incorporated a variety of energy healing practices, like Reiki, along with dry skin brushing, baths, castor oil packs, movement therapy and sound therapy. All of these things help to relax the body to promote healing and open up the avenues for detox.

The most important thing for everyone to remember, whether addressing their own health or the health of their child is the principle of step by step. Getting well and detoxifying your body takes time and it’s important to work on one thing at a time.

And most of all, be willing to say “I don’t have to be like everyone else, I have to do what’s best for myself or my child.”

Gina’s Free Upcoming Webinar: Autism Undone

Join Gina LaVerde and Body Ecology Coach, Christina Allen, as they candidly discuss the methods they’ve successfully used to bring their own families and clients to optimal health. Learn about autism recovery, Body Ecology, fermented foods and raw foods.

Tuesday, August 18th from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Eastern Time

Click here to learn more and register.

About Gina LaVerde:

Gina LaVerde is a writer, Body Ecology/Raw Foods Nutritional Coach and energy healer. You can learn more about Gina and the healing practices she recommends by reading her blog: You can contact Gina by e-mail at or by phone: 773-540-9328.

July 30, 2009

Natto, fermented soy

Now this is something which I have not fermented,  but after this, I will look into it.  The health benefits sound amazing!        Thank you Donna Gates.

*                                     *                                        *                                     *

Natto – the little-known food with big benefits for your Heart and Skin

by BodyEcology

  • Haven’t yet tried natto? Body Ecology will explain how this fermented soybean dish from Japan increases all-around wellness and youthfulness, and why you should incorporate it into your diet.
    • If you want beautiful skin, a healthy heart and strong bones, it’s time you try vitamin-rich natto.

    Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis1 . Keep in mind that we do not recommend eating soybeans unless they are fermented.

    The key element in natto is the fermentation of the soybeans, which make them easier to digest while increasing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

    Fermented foods and drinks, such as natto, are the cornerstone of the Body Ecology Diet because they are a great source of probiotics.

    Natto has a long history as a super food. It has a stringy consistency, strong smell and an acquired taste.

    Primarily eaten as a breakfast staple in Japan for over 1,000 years, natto is a great source of protein and is low in calories. But it goes even further to enhance your inner and outer health.

    Natto and Vitamin K

    Unlike many foods that are only rich in Vitamin K1, natto is rich in both types of Vitamin K.

    Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and makes up about 90 per cent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet. Vitamin K2 isn’t produced in plants, but by various types of bacteria. It makes up only about 10 per cent of Western vitamin K consumption2.

    Natto increases the health and strength of your skin, heart and bones.

    Here are some of the many health benefits of natto:

    • Natto is especially rich in vitamin K2, which could reduce bone loss in post-menopausal women by as much as 80 per cent3
    • Fermented soybeans such as natto contain Vitamin PQQ, which is very important for the skin. PQQ in human tissues is derived mainly from diet.4
    • Vitamin K is repeatedly shown to reduce blood clots by slowing arterial calcification, enhance liver function and encourage the flow of urine.
    • Vitamin K2 has a better bioavailability that K1. Studies show that this molecule remains in the body for a longer period and is more effective at lower doses, hence is much more bio-effective.5
    • Additionally, natto suppresses immune reactions.6
    InnergyBioticReady to add probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks to your diet? Sipping just 2 oz. of Innergy-Biotic helps boost your energy, strengthen your immunity and provides a good source of vitamin K2. Learn more about Innergy-Biotic and get yours today!

    Tips for Enjoying Natto

    Eating natto as a food is far better than taking the supplement version, which is less potent and less effective. You can find it at Asian markets and some health food stores.

    While fermented foods and drinks all have an acquired taste, natto may take more time to get used to than cultured vegetables or probiotic liquids. But the taste is definitely worth acquiring!

    When you take the natto out of its package, pour it into a bowl and, using a fork, whip it about 50 times until it gets kind of foamy. In Japan, natto is commonly served over rice but instead, we recommend you add: plenty of cultured vegetables, mustard (made with apple cider vinegar), wheat free tamari, scallions and if you like, a little wasabi.

    Even if you’ve experienced soy allergies, natto may not bother you.  The fermentation process breaks down the difficult-to-digest proteins that many are sensitive to, rendering them unrecognizable as a problem food to your immune system!

    Now that you know the vitality secret the Japanese have know for a thousand years, make fermented foods and drinks, like natto, part of YOUR diet today.


    1 Madigan M, Martinko J (editors). (2005). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (11th ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-144329-1.

    2 Study strengthens Vitamin K1’s heart benefits:

    3 Journal of Nutrition, May 2006 (Vol. 136, pp. 1323-1328):

    4 T Kumazawa, K Sato, H Seno, A Ishii, O Suzuki (01 April 1995). “Levels of pyrroloquinoline quinone in various foods”. Biochem. J. 307 (Pt 2): 331–333. PMID 7733865. Retrieved on 2007-10-20.

    5 Vitamin K1 and K2:

    6 Kuniyasu Soda, Yoshihiko Kano, Takeshi Nakamura, Keizo Kasono, Masanobu Kawakami and Fumio Konishi (July 2005). “Spermine, a natural polyamine, suppresses LFA-1 expression on human lymphocyte”. The Journal of Immunology. 175 (1): 237–45. PMID 15972654.

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