Not From Concentrate Orange Juices are Big Fakes

By L.J. Hodek-Creapeau, Managing Editor

Tropicana, the company that has been advertising for years that their o.j is “pure” “all natural” and “freshly made”, is in fact pasteurized, deaerated, stripped of flavor and aroma, stored for long periods of time before being made available to the public, and colored and flavored before being packaged and then shipped all over the country.

In the Lynch vs. Tropicana lawsuit which began in 2011, plaintiffs were suing PepsiCo – owners of Tropicana – for “unjust enrichment; breach of express warranty; numerous violations of New York, New Jersey and Wisconsin laws; punitive damages; injunctive relief and declaratory relief, among other complaints.”

However, you may be surprised to learn that what Tropicana does to make their orange juice is the norm in the food industry. Orange juice not from concentrate is stripped of its oxygen so it can be stored in large vats for up to a year before it is even packaged and shipped to stores. And because it is stripped of it’s oxygen properties, it also loses all of it’s nutritional value and taste. So what do o.j manufacturers do to compensate? They hire chemists to develop chemical flavorings that we have all come to believe is “fresh orange” flavor. Chemical packets are added back to the orange juice, and usually added sugar as well, before it is packaged to add back the flavor and nutrients lost during the deliberate deaeration performed by the storage facilities.

The only way to get truly pure, all natural, fresh orange juice is to squeeze it yourself. The concentrates are actually better for you because they are frozen orange juice and do not go through the pasteurization and deaeration ready-to-pour orange juices do. A fresh orange has a lot less sugar than manufactured orange juices as well.

Another thing you should know about orange juices is that most of them use oranges from countries other than the U.S. Why is this a concern? Because in the past (2012 to be exact) it was found that Minute Maid – which bought oranges from Brazil for their juices – discovered they were getting more than oranges with their fruit. Their orangee contained a fungicide that is approved in Brazil but not by the U.S. Minute Maid (manufactured by Coca Cola) discontinued the practice of using oranges from other countries because of the pesticides and fungicides later found in their orange juices.

Therefore, Orange Juice labeled (and we mean the actual ingredient label not what’s on the front packaging) “from Florida oranges” is much healthier than brands that import who-knows-what from other countries.

Long story short, if you truly want the vitamin C, potassium and flavor of real oranges, you’ll have to eat real oranges.



Unnecessary Medical Testing

By L.J. Hodek-Creapeau, Circkles Editor

Mammograms, prostate tests, colonoscopies…just how necessary is all this testing?

Forty percent of people between the age of 40 and 65 have an EKG, and twelve percent have had an exercise stress test. It costs at least $100 for the tests alone, and an additional $200 just for a doctor’s visit. The more concerning issue is that these tests are not very reliable due to false positives. According to a Consumer Reports study, a person at low risk for heart disease is ten times more likely to receive a false positive than a true result.

Most patients believe all these “unnecessary” tests are just a way for hospitals and the medical profession to suck more money out of people, scare people into office visits, and pad their bills. The real reason behind so much over-testing is that doctors and hospitals are so overly paranoid of malpractice lawsuits, they’ve taken on the practice of over-testing as it’s better to be safe than sorry and have a patient come back later and complain about something that is missed or not diagnosed.

Just a Few of the More Erroneous Medical Exams Include:

PSA test for prostate cancer: 

According to physician Reed Blackwelder, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, “The PSA test causes more harm than benefit.” For a test that costs around $75, that’s concerning. Why? Again, false positives. An estimated 75% of tests that come back high in PSA are false alarms.  The test often leads to ultrasounds, lab tests and biopsies to treat a problem where there isn’t one.  When treatments such as surgery and radiation are involved, men can end up with problems like impotence and incontinence.

X-Rays or MRIs for back pain:

One study discovered that those who had an MRI for back pain were 8 times more likely to have surgery – that did not lead to quicker relief. Eighty percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, and with it usually comes agonizing and debilitating suffering. Many seek treatment as a way to escape the excruciating misery. However, many doctors decide to skip right away to expensive, unreliable radiation imaging such as X-rays CT scans or MRIs. Often back pain can be caused by very simple things: such as a bad mattress, poor posture, sitting too much, lifting incorrectly and more.

Annual mammograms, colonoscopies and electrocardiograms or stress tests:

As we mentioned above, stress tests often produce inaccurate results. Most insurance companies will tell you that it is unnecessary to get a mammogram or colonoscopy every year. Many recommend every 3 years to be more than sufficient, yet your doctor’s office will try to convince you that you need one every year, and some doctor’s offices will automatically schedule you for annual exams  – or in extremely horrible instances – will refuse treatment for another condition if you are not up to date on your annual mammogram, pap smear, colonoscopy or prostate check. This latter practice of refusing treatment unless you get these test smacks of just a way to pad your bill and force you to have tests you do not need. I once had a doctor refuse to schedule my surgery to remove a fibroid in my uterus unless I had a mammogram first. My reaction was, “what does one have to do with the other?” Absolutely nothing, and I did firmly believe it was just a ploy to force me into more tests that I did not need at the time.

Scare Tactics: 

Many people believe the medical profession uses scare tactics to coerce people into getting more testing than they need. Such as the constant bombardment of vaccines because consumers have been brainwashed for years into believing all the horror stories regarding diseases that have been not even been an issue for years due to better sanitation, or that are not dangerous at all- just inconvenient: such as getting the flu vaccine just because doctors prey on how much we all hate to have the flu. In fact, flu vaccines cause a great deal more harm than good because they create “Super Bugs” – stronger and stronger vaccine-resistant viruses year after year – and they weaken your immune system by creating constant stress to the system.

Of course, all this unnecessary vaccination and testing has also spilled over into the veterinarian profession. The second veterinarians realized how much pet owners love their pets, it seems they have been taking advantage of that love ever since. Any ethical vet will tell you dogs do not need to be vaccinated every year for most of the things they are currently getting annual vaccines for. We vaccinate pets far more than even humans.

How to Prevent Medical Over-testing.

Question everything, have it explained to you in layman’s terms, and if you doubt its validity or necessity, get a second opinion, go to another medical provider that is not so pushy and doesn’t force extra testing, and by all means, educate yourself about your condition so you know if you are being taken advantage of our not.

New Studies on Migraines Reveal Unprecedented Data

If you get them, then you know, you will do anything to get rid of them as quickly as possible. People who do not suffer from migraines cannot possibly comprehend the intense pain experienced during a migraine attack, and just how debilitating those attacks can be. All a migraine suffer wants to do is hide away in a cool quite place and take anything to stop the throbbing pain. Most migraine sufferers also experience blurred vision or blocks in their vision, sensitivity to loud noises and smells, and nausea during a migraine. I had a classmate who shot himself because he suffered from migraines and thought he had a brain tumor. Nobody would help him to find out the truth and work on ways to reduce his pain. He was only 15 or 16 years old at the time.

Diet modifications can help. Certain foods can trigger a migraine, such as cured foods that contain nitrates, like bacon, sausages and ham, and alcohol, chocolate and caffeine can especially trigger migraines because they cause the blood vessels to constrict. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter in your brain that helps to dilate your blood vessels and slow nerve cell activity, which can make you feel sleepier.
One of the ways caffeine works is by attaching to the receptors for adenosine in your brain. This means instead of widening your blood vessels as your body normally would, your blood vessels constrict. The presence of caffeine on your adenosine receptors sets off additional chain reactions in your body that can affect your blood vessels. Because adenosine is not present to slow down nerve cell activity, your nerve cells start to move faster. This triggers the release of norepinephrine, one of two hormones responsible for your body’s “fight-or-flight” response. The additional hormone, epinephrine, also is activated. The goal of the fight-or-flight response is to reduce blood flow to less necessary organs, including those of your digestive system, and increase blood flow to your brain and heart. This makes you feel more alert and awake. Norepinephrine and epinephrine mean that caffeine can selectively dilate your blood vessels based on what your body would need most in an emergency situation.

For this reason, caffeine is generally considered to be a blood vessel dilator. Caffeine in coffee widens blood vessels in the lungs and brain, which can help you breathe more easily and reduce headache pain, respectively. This extra increase in stress hormones, including adrenaline, can also temporarily increase your blood pressure due to the changes in your blood vessels. The problem with caffeine causing headaches is die to withdrawal symptoms. When your body fully uses caffeine, the effects caffeine had will reverse. For example, the blood vessels to your brain and lungs will constrict back to their normal size and those to your stomach will dilate. This can cause you to feel fatigued, have a headache or experience stomach upset. My psychology instructor in college told my class that caffeine actually alters the chemistry of the brain. I believe this could be a valid point to consider as well.

Other common causes of migraines include food preservatives, gluten, hormonal imbalances, B vitamin deficiency and magnesium deficiency, lack of sleep, red wine, missing meals, bright lights and stress.

migrainesHowever, a few new studies on migraines have revealed some causes never before considered that may help migraine sufferers even further.

Researchers previously believed that migraines were caused from blood vessels in the brain that were dilated, but they now feel that migraines are caused from neuronal signals that are abnormal.  This newest study has offered another possible cause as it seems to give evidence that the blood vessels have a different role than suspected in the past.  This study has found that differences in the structure of the blood flow to the brain may make a person more susceptible to migraines than those with normal blood vessel structure.

According to Brett Cucciara, the lead author of the study, those that have migraines have differences the the blood vessel structure.  It’s something that people are born with.  The link seems to have something to do with the changes in the way that blood flows to the brain, which may trigger migraine headaches and might explain why some people notice that being dehydrated is a trigger for migraines.

Scientists also noticed that blood flow abnormalities that were the most obvious were at the back part of the brain.  The visual cortex resides in the back of the brain, so it might help to explain that most of the common migraine auras include visual symptoms including flashing lights, spots and wavy lines.

I personally would have to agree with this study because migraines run in my family. My grandfather had them, my mother had them, and I had them. It has also been suggested that migraines that appear to be hereditary may be due to a inherited personality type that is prone to migraines, such as people who are under a lot of stress and do not properly manage that stress. There are many causes of migraines, and the trick is to figure out what your trigger or triggers are. Then you can take a natural approach to managing migraines without having to live on painkillers all your life.

Most recently, a couple very unique discoveries have been made in migraine research. One study that has found a link to gut and mouth bacteria leading to migraines, and another study that shows having migraines actually changes the structure of the brain.

Todd Schwedt is a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic, and his important words to consider are, “Migraine,” he says, “is a neurological disorder and not a maladaptive response to stress.” There is a strong genetic predisposition: up to 70% of sufferers have family members who are also affected. The mechanism is not fully understood but includes electrical changes in nerve cells spread over the brain: the brain functions abnormally during an attack.” He further adds, “If someone without migraine is exposed to high stress levels, they don’t develop a migraine.” Don’t get triggers confused with causation. People who have migraines have different thresholds for triggering the electrical changes and the release of chemicals that cause symptoms such as flashing lights, nausea or throbbing pain.”

The Link Between Mouth and Gut Bacteria and Migraines.

The study linking mouth and stomach bacteria to nitrate levels in migraine sufferers made a very unique correlation. Nitrates, such as cardiac therapeutics and food additives, are common headache triggers, with nitric oxide playing an important role. Anaerobic bacteria in the oral cavity may contribute migraine-triggering levels of nitric oxide through the salivary nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. This study detected observable and significantly higher abundances of nitrate, nitrite, and nitric oxide reductase genes in migraine sufferers, also revealing a possible link to this finding and heart problems later in life. Recent work has demonstrated a potentially symbiotic relationship between oral commensal bacteria and humans through the salivary nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway (C. Duncan et al., Nat Med 1:546–551, 1995, Oral nitrate-reducing bacteria contribute physiologically relevant levels of nitrite and nitric oxide to the human host that may have positive downstream effects on cardiovascular health.

The results show for the first time a potential link between bacterial nitrate, nitrite, and nitric oxide reducers and migraines, by reporting their higher abundances in the oral cavities of people with migraines than in the oral cavities of those who do not suffer from migraines.

avocados high in magnesiumDo Migraines Affect the Brain?

A recent study says yes. Researchers found that white matter abnormalities are not limited to migraines; they also occur in non-migraine headaches, but people with migraines were more likely to have brain volume changes than those who don’t suffer from migraines. Just what these white matter abnormalities lead to is still unclear. That’s why more long-term studies are needed.

“Migraine affects about 10% to 15% of the general population and can cause a substantial personal, occupational and social burden,” Ashina said. “We hope that through more study, we can clarify the association of brain structure changes to attack frequency and length of the disease. We also want to find out how these lesions may influence brain function.”

Though migraines might be associated with structural changes in the brain, there’s no cause for concern.
“Studies of white matter changes showed no relationship to migraine frequency or cognitive status of patients.”
Dr. MaryAnn Mays, a staff neurologist at the Center for Headache & Pain at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the research, agreed.
“What this study does demonstrate is yes, brain changes are more common in patients with migraines and probably are more common in patients with migraine aura,” Mays said. “The good
news is that … long-term cognitive changes were not seen, even though these brain changes were apparent on imaging.”

Do these brain changes cause a problem?

“I don’t think, overall, in the long term, migraine sufferers need to be concerned,” Mays said. “However, clinicians should screen for cardiovascular risk factors that may be apparent and can be modified — such as hypertension and high cholesterol — that could be contributing to white matter lesions that are unrelated to the migraine.” Mays is confident that headache experts are going to continue to monitor these changes to determine whether it will have any impact on the health of migraine sufferers.

New Treatment for Migraines.
In 2009, news that a single surgery (Trigger-point release/nerve decompression) can improve migraines and chronic headaches spread worldwide. Subsequently in October 2010, the FDA approved BOTOX® (Allergan, Inc.) for chronic migraines. Drugs prescribed for migraines and chronic headaches may not help sufferers. Moreover, they have adverse effects including mental sluggishness, nausea, muscle weakness, difficulty in thinking, and trouble functioning.
Through trigger-point release and nerve decompression, the pressure on nerves are relieved thus preventing migraines and persistent headaches, or decreasing the frequency and intensity of pain. Reports have found that nearly 80% to 90% of patients experience improvement in pain, and in 50% to 60% of patients, the headaches are completely eliminated. However, addressing the issue of pain with pain killers or drug therapies is like putting a bandaid on the problem. It will help with the pain initially, and for severe attacks will help temporarily, but the goal of every migraine victim should be to determine the cause of your attacks and make long-term permanent changes to lessen them.

References: Asma Bashir, MD, Richard B. Lipton, MD, Sait Ashina, MD and Messoud Ashina, MD, PhD American Society for Microbiology


Best Foods to Eat Before a Workout

Grabbing that power bar, bottle of gatorade, or candy bar may not give you the energy you think it will. High sugar foods burn off too quickly leaving you feel sluggish perhaps before you even finish your workout. Some carbs can be too heavy before a strenuous exercise routine. So what kind of food is best to charge up your energy batteries?

First, let’s talk about the different types of sugar, as people are often very confused about them.

Glucose: A simple sugar found in many foods, including carbs like pasta and bread, as well as fruits. It’s the sugar your body burns most efficiently because it’s a monosaccharide — the primary type that cells use. This makes it the best option for a pre-workout pump-up, but don’t try to get it from high sugar junk foods like candy bars or even some power bars. Opt instead for whole grains and nuts to get your fix because they will sustain your energy longer instead of quickly being burned up.

Fructose: The natural sweetness of fruits is derived from fructose. Although fructose is also a monosaccharide, it differs from glucose in that the liver breaks it down before it moves through your blood and then to your muscles. Another drawback: Free radicals and triglycerides (a type of fat), form as by-products as your liver processes fructose. Thus, you are more likely to gain weight eating a lot of fructose-containing foods such as fruit, fruit juice, honey and vegetables. That does not mean you should avoid these foods, just be careful how much fruit juice your and your kids are consuming. Try to limit your consumption of fruit and fruit juices to two cups a day.

Sucrose: Commonly know as table sugar, is a dissacharide derived from plants like sugarcane, sugar beets and sorghum. Sucrose breaks down into equal parts glucose and fructose in the small intestine, where these simple sugars are eventually absorbed through the intestinal wall. It then gets into the bloodstream, where a protein takes the glucose to muscle cells to use for energy or store for later use.

Maltose: Found in molasses, this sugar consists of two-parts glucose. It doesn’t occur naturally in many foods, but manufacturers use it to produce beer; which explains why beer makes you gain weight if you consume a great deal of it. Also a dissacharide, maltose takes some time for the glucose to get to the muscles because it first needs to go through the small intestine.

Lactose: You are probably familiar with this sugar in dairy products. It’s also broken down in your small intestine, where it’s converted into the monosaccharides, glucose and galactose. After that, it travels to the bloodstream to power up your muscles.

Your body needs sugars, and the different types of sugars are all necessary. Kim Larson, RDN, CSSD, a sports dietician and media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says. “Each sugar uses a different metabolic pathway to provide energy to the muscles,” she explains. “You can pump more sugar into the muscle if you are consuming two or three different types, as opposed to one. That’s a distinct advantage that delays fatigue and increases training intensity and performance.”

“A lot of sugar just isn’t necessary and only adds unwanted, excess calories,” Larson explains. And, if you get your sugar from the wrong source, it could actually zap your energy and leave you running on empty. Many people actually crash from sugar rather than get an energy boost from it. It depends on how your body metabolizes sugars.

Best Sources of Sugar Energy:

Sugar from whole foods is far superior to sugars from prepackaged power bars or candy or junk foods. The fiber in whole foods like peanut butter or hummus, slows down the absorption of sugar, giving you energy extended over a longer period of time, instead of that quick boost and then fall caused by refined sugars. Larson adds, “A candy bar just dumps all of the sugar quickly into the blood stream,” she says. “After eating, blood sugar may fall even further, making you feel lousy and potentially causing headaches and fatigue.”

Here are a couple recipes for making your own high energy power balls.

Blueberry Energy Balls

• 2 cups nuts (I used 1 cup of cashews & 1 cup of almonds)
• 1 cup dates
• 1 cup dried blueberries
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
• Zest of 1 lemon, juice of half a lemon
• 1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Add nuts to food processor. Process until nuts are pea-sized.
2. Combine nuts with dates and dried blueberries and process until all ingredients have broken down and are a bit sticky.
3. Add in lemon zest and juice and vanilla extract.
4. Process until all ingredients come together to form 1 large sticky ball.
5. Roll into small balls and store in fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer.

cashew hemp seed energy balls recipeCashew Hemp Seed Balls

30 pitted medjool dates
½ cup cashew meal or ground cashews
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
pinch of salt

Place 30 pitted dates in a small food processor. Process for about a minute or until your dates are chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Using an inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough. Wet hands a little, then roll in your palm to form a ball. You shouldn’t need too much moisture, but wet hands does help! Repeat x 10.



What to do About Arm Flab

What to do About Muscle Atrophy After Age 50.

by Redstone Promotional Communications /

After 35 years of age, we start to lose muscle mass at a rate of 3-5% every year. By age 50, you will lose 40% of your muscle. Ever notice that elderly people have extremely flabby arms? This process starts when you are middle aged, and sooner for women than men. But, with a little work, you can have the muscle mass of someone 10 years younger than you.

Strength exercises don’t have to be strenuous to help maintain muscle mass. Something as simple as doing leg lifts or push ups can keep muscles toned. If you do them every day for a year, you will notice a difference.

Your heart is also a muscle, so consider that muscle-building exercise and aerobics can also strengthen your heart and may help prevent a heart attack. Below are some muscle-toning exercises that anybody can do without fancy, expensive weight-training equipment and a personal trainer. Plus, if kids need “Play 60” so do adults. So 60 minutes of exercise a day will not only keep you toned, it has numeroushealth benefits beyond that.

Thigh and Butt Builders:

I saw a woman – about 60 years old – a couple weeks ago that was wearing the spandex leggings that are so popular now. You could not only see every panty line, but also that her butt cheeks were sagging terribly. It was gross, I have to say. Obviously she didn’t care what she looked like or wasn’t aware of how she looked, but some of us take some pride in our appearance no matter how old we get. It just makes you feel better about yourself overall. I would never have been caught dead in public looking like that, and if I did, I sure wouldn’t wear spandex to highlight it.

Butt Lifters: Kneel on the floor with your hands in front of you and lift your leg behind you for 20 repetitions to start with. After you see how sore you may or may not be, increase the reps to 30-50 every day. In about 3 months, you will see your butt start to lift.

Inner Thigh Toners: The outside of the thighs are generally not a problem, but the inside thigh gets flabby pretty quickly because it’s not used much. Biking helps, but doing inner thigh exercises will tone it up better. Laying on your back with your legs bent, let your legs fall to the side then pull them back up to touch at the knees. Do these thigh pull-ups for 30-50 reps to start every day. The more likely a muscle area is to atrophy with age, the more diligently and consistently you have to work that area. Working it every day is best to see any improvement.

Flabby Upper Arms:

For women who don’t typically have much upper body strength to start with, the upper arm is one of the worst problem areas to keep toned. Especially that rarely used part of the back of the arm to prevent that flab that sways back and forth when you shake your arms after age 50.

Push-ups help a great deal, also, scrubbing floors or other surfaces by hand with a rag works the back of the arms and serves a dual purpose of getting exercise while cleaning your house at the same time, which can often be a lot less boring than strength-buildingexercises. Also, if you have hand weights or dumbbells of at least 3-4 pounds each, you can tone up that arm flab by lifting a weight behind your body for a minimum of 20-30 reps to start.

Get rid of Muffin Top:

The exercises in this video are more difficult than they look, but I can say from personal experience, they work to help get rid of that unsightly bra bulge in the back and that little bit of stomach that hangs over your jeans (called a muffin top) even if you are fairly slim. Tight abdominal muscles help prevent muscle atrophy that causes so many women to have to have surgery later in life for prolapsed internal organs like a prolapsed uterus that doctors surgically reinforce with mesh. Not the way to go if you can prevent it.

New Findings on Mercury Toxins and Risk

by LJ Hodek-Creapeau, Circkles Managing Editor

We’ve published some of this before, but recent new findings show an increased risk of mercury poisoning in our day to day lives. This makes it crucial that we learn how to reduce our risk and alleviate the buildup in our bodies.
Since we are exposed to mercury far more than we should be in everyday life, and recent surprising findings by the NFA show an alarming amount in our environment due to pollution, we should know what will help reduce and eliminate it from our bodies.

“Dome is one of the last untouched islands on Lake George,” says Henry Caldwell, chairman of the Dome Island Committee, which oversees The Nature Conservancy preserve. “It has never been inhabited, and there is no indication it has ever been logged.”

In 2006, however, researchers discovered that some of the island’s songbirds—including red-eyed vireos, black-capped chickadees and song sparrows—have among the highest mercury levels of any upland forest songbirds in the Northeast. That startling news was followed in 2011 by research showing the island’s spiders also had elevated mercury levels.

“We were very surprised,” says Caldwell, whose family has lived in the area for generations.

Dome Island highlights a continuing and growing threat to wildlife: airborne mercury pollution. Coal-fired power plants are the leading sources of mercury in the United States, belching more than 50 tons of the neurotoxin annually. Much of the mercury falls near the source, but some flows into the atmosphere and drifts long distances, falling back to Earth in rain, snow and as dry particulates. This problem of “atmospheric deposition” of mercury is a global dilemma but is particularly acute in the Northeast, which lies downwind of the coal-burning epicenters of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois.

Now, as the United States prepares to implement long-overdue regulations on coal-fired power plants, a flurry of new science shows that atmospheric deposition of mercury is affecting more lands and waters, and harming more wildlife, than previously known. “It has become clear in recent years that no corner of the food web is untouched by mercury,” says Joe Mendelson, NWF’s director of climate and energy policy.

Enacted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in late 2011, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule requires power plants to reduce their mercury output by 90 percent through 2016. “This is the biggest step the country has ever taken to control our mercury problems,” Mendelson says. “We are finally bringing our power plants into the modern age.”

“Progress on mercury reduction would not have occurred without the many NWF members who took action to help move this issue through some very stormy political waters and who mobilized last year against congressional attacks designed to stop the new rules,” says Jeremy Symons, NWF’s senior vice president for conservation and education.

mercury-symptoms chartOpponents are always trying to stall the new regulations. “Critics will say these regulations will kill jobs and harm the economy,” Mendelson says. “But history shows that just the opposite is true.”

“Regulations work,” adds Rutgers professor Joanna Burger. Since 1971, Burger has been studying heavy metal contamination in common terns in Barneget Bay, New Jersey. Levels of lead and cadmium have declined dramatically in the birds due to federal rules on those toxics, but “mercury levels in the birds have remained the same.”

U.S. regulations alone, however, will not solve the problem. Coal is the cheap fuel of choice for much of the developing world. China is erecting new coal power plants at a rapid pace. Some of the mercury emitted in Asia rises into the atmosphere and feeds a growing global mercury cloud, depositing the neurotoxin in locations where it never was found in the past. Hoping to stem this problem, the United Nations Environment Programme will attempt to ratify an international mercury treaty in 2013.

Mercury, alas, is a coal problem. Burning it fuels a host of environmental ills, from climate change to acid rain, smog and habitat loss, at great cost to human health and wildlife. “The big question is: How do we transition from coal to a power system that utilizes cleaner, renewable sources and technologies?” Mendelson asks. “We have the technology. We need to implement it.” Only then will the Dome Island songbirds be safe.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Mercury Risk.

Don’t eat fish. Most of us are now aware that fish contain high levels of mercury. Some fish are more contaminated than others; namely any fish that is large and has been living a long time is thus more contaminated that a species of fish that does not live as long such as Tilapia. Tilapia is low in mercury because it matures very quickly and is eaten within a very short amount of time.

There are certain foods that will help the body to chelate (remove) heavy metals such as mercury. It is a very good idea to detox yourself on a regular basis for all the harmful metals and other toxins in our environment that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Some foods known to help the body detox mercury are apples, cilantro, brewer’s yeast and B vitamins. It is also a very good idea that while you are detoxing from heavy metals that you protect your liver by also taking milk thistle herb while detoxing. This is because the detox process causes toxins to be dumped into your bloodstream so your body can remove them via the kidneys and liver. For more information on the correct way to detox, see our article archives or do a search for detoxing.


BPA Free Not Any Better

by LJ Hodek-Creapeau, Circkles Managing Editor

Some pretty big names in the journalism world have circulated studies showing that the BPA alternatives used by manufacturers are in fact just as hazardous as BPA. Big names like CNN who recently published the article; Your “BPA-free” plastic product may be no safer than the product it replaced, based on a new UCLA study that analyzed the impact of a common BPA alternative on zebra fish embryos. The study joins a small but growing group of similar research sounding the alarm about so called “BPA-free” alternatives.

“Our findings are frightening and important,” said senior author and reproductive endocrinologist Nancy Wayne. “Consider it the aquatic version of the canary in the coal mine.”

Time Magazine wrote a similar article, as well as CNN and Mother Jones. It turns out the chemicals used to replace BPA may have nearly the exact impact on the human body — hormone disruption — as BPA, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“According to pretty much all the literature there is on these two substitutes, they are hormonally active in ways similar to BPA – similar mechanisms, similar potencies,” said study author Johanna Rochester, a researcher at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange.

The most common replacement is BPS (Bisphenol S), says Wayne. She and her colleagues exposed zebrafish to low levels of both BPA and BPS, and looked at the impact of the chemicals on genes and brain cells that control reproduction. Zebrafish have often been used to study the impact of plastic additives because their transparent embryos allow scientists to see and monitor cell growth.
Wayne and her colleagues exposed zebrafish to low levels of both BPA and BPS, and looked at the impact of the chemicals on genes and brain cells that control reproduction. “Our research showed that low levels of BPS had a similar impact on the embryo as BPA,” Wayne told CNN. “In the presence of either BPA or BPS, embryonic development was accelerated. Additionally, BPA caused premature birth.”
In addition to the effect on estrogen, the study also found both BPA and BPS affected the thyroid hormone system. “Because of thyroid hormone’s important influence on brain development during gestation,” said Wayne, “our work holds important implications for general embryonic and fetal development, including in humans.”

In a 2013 study, Texas researchers found that as little as one part per trillion of BPS could interfere with the normal functioning of a cell, in some cases leading to cell death. Another study of zebrafish, out of Canada, found BPA accelerated neural cell growth by 180% for fish exposed to extremely low levels; it was even worse for BPS — neural growth exploded 240%. As adults, the fish exposed to both chemicals showed significant signs of hyperactivity.

BPA free canned foodAnother study, this time in rats, found BPS caused heart arrhythmia when given in doses equivalent to those humans usually experience. In a press release, study author Hong-Sheng Wang, said, “Our findings call into question the safety of BPA-free products containing BPS.

“It’s all pointing in the same direction: BPS is not harmless,” said Wayne about the results of her study in connection with prior research. “Consumers should be cautious about the assumption that ‘BPA-free’ means a product is safe.”

“This is a classic case of ‘regrettable substitution’ in which the replacement chemical is as toxic as the chemical it was replacing,” said Sharima Rasanayagam, director of science for the Breast Cancer Fund, which tracks environmental causes of breast cancer.

BPA is still available in many consumer products such as water bottles, food-storage containers and plastic tableware, as well as contact lenses, eyeglass lenses, compact discs, water-supply pipes, and some dental sealants and composites.
According to the Breast Cancer Fund, BPS has been found in “things printed quickly and at high heats,” such as body wash, hair care products, makeup, lotions and toothpaste, as well as some paper products such as flyers, tickets, mailing envelopes, airplane boarding passes and thermal receipts.
The Breast Cancer Fund recommends that consumers wishing to limit exposure to possible toxins in BPA, BPS and other alternatives use glass, stainless steel and food safe ceramic containers for food and water storage. They stress that it’s not safe to microwave in plastic. Other suggestions include using gloves to handle thermal paper receipts, and researching canned goods to find those that no longer use plastic liners.

Know that BPA-free products can still have unhealthy chemicals.
This is the most important thing to know and it’s pretty straightforward: a BPA-free label doesn’t mean a product is free from other harmful chemical compounds that are slightly different but have a different name. Indeed, the BPA-Free Package program, a third-party group that verifies that products don’t have BPA, is halting operations because the certification creates a “false halo of health” given growing evidence of the dangers of BPS and BPF. Still, because products with BPS and BPF behave similarly to products with BPA, you can follow the same rules to avoid the associated hazards that you would use for BPA.

Avoid handling shopping receipts.
Receipts at many grocery stores and retailers are printed on a product known as “thermal” paper. These receipts, once heavy in BPA, are often made with BPS or BPF these days. In some ways, exposure to these compounds in receipts may be riskier than exposure to containers made with the compound. In receipts, BPS and BPF are “free” and can easily migrate from the product to your skin and other surfaces. “If it’s a receipt that I do need, I’ll hold out my bag and ask the person to drop into the bag so I don’t have to touch it,” Watson says.

Drink from steel or glass containers, not plastic ones.
Steel and glass drinking containers are widely available. It makes sense to purchase a few for the house and a few for the office.

Don’t microwave your food in plastic containers.
The heat from the microwave can separate BPA-like compounds from plastic containers, making them easier for the consumer to ingest. If you must use plastic containers, you should avoid the microwave. Ideally, you just store food in ceramic or glass containers in the first place.

BPA-free plastic alternatives may not be safe as you think by Sandee LaMotte February 1, 2016

No Poo Hair Care

Natural Body Care: No Poo Alternatives.


Hair loses its luster and vitality due to all the hair care products we put in it and the heavy buildup left behind by most shampoos and conditioners. Lately there has been a new fad of not washing your hair with harsh soaps/shampoos to improve hair health and vitality. Is there any truth to this? Yeah. Some.

We tried the “No Wash” fad of not washing your hair at all but just rinsing it once a month. Sounds gross, and it does take some getting used to at first, but we did see some natural oils return to our hair and the scalp was less dry.

Based on the theory that there are actually tiny microorganisms that live in the hair follicles and scalp which are responsible for the overall health of your hair, and that continually cleaning your hair with soaps kills them thus destroying the health of your scalp and hair, we found some pros and cons to this. The pros are that yes, not shampooing more often than once a week did seem to improve the overall health of the hair by restoring its natural oils, but it did seem to increase dandruff. We eventually found that we still had to moisturize the hair with something to make it manageable and for styling purposes.

Most women who have tried going poo-less all agree that the first week your hair may feel and look worse, but that the no-poo method takes at least 3 weeks to notice any improvement. After months of giving up their poo, they all agreed that their hair’s natural shine returned, one woman’s hair actually got darker, and all agree that with the natural oils returning, their hair is softer, less frizzy and doesn’t need conditioner. They all stated their scalps felt better, less dry and itchy, over time as well.

no shampoo comparison

Vinegar, Water, Aloe Hair Rinse.

Next we tried a few of the minimalist fads for washing the hair; such as using a diluted vinegar and water solution to rinse the hair with followed by a rinse of aloe vera juice if needed for moisturizing. This actually worked pretty well. The vinegar removes any buildup form previous hair products and also softens hard water that contains minerals that can dry the hair and scalp. This No Poo solution works wel,l and surprisingly, no, you do not smell like a pickle from the vinegar. Some hair care experts also claim the vinegar helps the hair’s pH balance which also keeps it looking more luxurious.

In a pint jar, pour 1 cup rice or apple cider vinegar into the jar then top off with 2-3 cups distilled water. You can wash your hair with a mild bar soap if it is oily then apply the vinegar solution, or if your hair is typically dry, just use the vinegar solution followed by pouring about 1 cup of aloe vera juice (not the gel or you may not be able to rinse it out of your hair) over your scalp.

Baking Soda and Vinegar No Poo.

2-3 Tbsp baking soda in a pint jar three quarters full of water. Pour this over your hair and scalp then rinse with an apple cider vinegar solution of 1/4 cup vinegar in a pint jar topped off with distilled water.

Many women found the baking soda drying after a few months, but when they switched to the first method of just using vinegar and followed it with aloe juice, they were pleased with the moisture content of their hair. If your hair feels dirty or greasy, use these no poo methods more often until you get the results you are looking for.

Special Note: These solutions work best if you mix them with distilled water, or filtered water, which will make your hair softer. The whole point is to use the vinegar to dilute and rinse out heavy minerals in tap water, so using tap water to mix your vinegar solutions would make them pointless.

Also, many women have tried the No Poo methods and given them up after 3-6 months for various reasons. Some of these reasons could have been avoided if they had used distilled or filtered water as mentioned above. Try it, see if you like it, if not, you can always go back to poos, but if you can manage to withstand the uncomfortable results of the first couple of weeks on a no-poo regimen, you may really like the results and think of all the money you will save on worthless hair care products.

We will say this much, the human scalp and hair were never meant to be washed every single day. That was a viscous social misnomer that unfortunately took hold and made us all feel like scumbags if we didn’t take a shower and wash our hair every day. Once a week is more than enough. Consider dogs and cats, who never wash their fur in the wild and it does just fine. In fact, it look gorgeous without all the goop and poo we use on our heads. Forget the social faux pas and do what is best for the health of your head; just don’t tell anybody: unless they are gleening about how beautiful your hair looks and are asking what you use. Or in this case, it will be what you don’t use.

Photos from top: 1.) No shampoo method. 2.) After 20 days, the photo on the left is with just rinsing with water and not using any hair shampoos or products. The photo on the right is after using the baking soda method. The hair is less greasy looking.

© 2016 All rights reserved to images and articles. Website designed and published by Redstone Promotional Communications.

Foods That Heal: Molasses

Molasses is made the same way as maple syrup is in large vats over an open fire usually. Sweet sorghum is cut, the outer stalks stripped and the inner sweet part is juiced and boiled down to make a thick, dark sweetener known as molasses. In contrast to refined white sugars and corn syrup, molasses is much higher in nutrients than mostly sweeteners making a better choice than sugars or corn syrup which have very little nutritional value.

Therapeutic Properties: Molasses is one of the richest sources of nutrients per ounce. Conditions which have shown improvement with molasses added to the diet are, varicose veins, angina, constipation, ulcers, eczema, nerve disorders, anemia, colitis, damaged hair and psoriasis. It is the best sugar substitute available because it contains all the enzymes and vitamins necessary for metabolizing of sugar.

Acid or Alkaline: Alkaline (refined sugar is acidic in the body)

Significant Nutrients: 1 Tablespoon of molasses contains more iron than eggs, more calcium than a glass of milk and is an excellent source of B vitamins. It also contains some trace elements not found in many foods, such as inositol and copper. Molasses is also very rich in magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin E. Refined white sugar contains none of these nutrients or any other nutrients.

How to Use: Best eaten as unrefined as possible and preferably, organic.


Homemade Shaving Cream

Homemade Shaving Cream.

Shave Cream Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive, almond or coconut oil
  • 2-3 TBSP Shea or Cocoa Butter
  • 1/4 cup Aloe Gel or Honey
  • 1 TBSP Kaolin clay or white cosmetic clay (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Liquid Castille Soap
  • Vitamin E or GSE (to preserve)

Shave Cream Instructions

  1. Melt the oil and shea/cocoa butter in a double boiler until just melted
  2. Remove from heat and add other ingredients
  3. Whisk or blend well for several minutes
  4. Transfer to jar or container to store
  5. Check while it is cooling to make sure it doesn’t start to separate. If it does, shake or mix well to re-incorporate.
  6. Lasts up to six months