Natural Cures Not Medicine: 07/20/13

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The Results Are In: Gardening Makes You Happy, Smart

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“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin

Gardeners have been knowing for centuries that their pastime gives them joy and peace. Many people will say that gardening is stress therapy. There is even a group called the American Horticultural Therapy Association “committed to promoting and developing the practice of horticultural therapy as a unique and dynamic human service modality.”

As with so many things, science introduces us to the physical wonders behind what we already know on a subliminal level. There are two interesting pieces of research that give credence to the feeling that our bodies and souls are better off from gardening.

Researchers reported in the journal Neuroscience that contact with a soil bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae triggers the release of serotonin in the brain. This type of serotonin acts on several different pathways including mood and learning. Lack of serotonin in the brains is related to depression.

So basically, the things we do as gardeners—working the soil, planting, mulching, and so forth—can really contribute to happiness. We ingest the bacteria by breathing or through broken skin. The simple act of children playing outside in the grass and dirt can be a natural way for them to reduce anxiety.

In addition to increasing happiness and reducing anxiety, serotonin has positive effects on memory and learning. Research presented at the American Society for Microbiology shows that feeding live M. vaccae bacteria to mice significantly improved their ability to navigate mazes, due to the fact that the bacteria triggers the release of brain serotonin. It appears that this bacterium plays a role in learning in mammals.

Have you noticed that you feel really happy when picking those ripe vegetables, especially that first tomato of the season? Well, it turns out that harvesting fruits and vegetables triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. It is speculated that this evolved over 200,000 years of humans harvesting food as hunter-gatherers. Dopamine is strongly correlated with reward-motivated behavior.

So there we have it, two physical reasons why people can be happier and smarter through gardening. I suspect there are several other other reasons contributing to this, including the myriad of colors in plants and animals, trees swaying in the wind, birds singing, squirrels chattering, lady beetles, and fresh air. Perhaps one day we’ll have scientific explanations for all this, but in the meantime we can take comfort in our innate feelings.


Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

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Did you know that a single 11.5 ounce can of V8 juice contains 690mg of sodium?! This will leave you feeling dehydrated and foggy-headed. V8 juices are highly processed, reconstituted "vegetable blends" which have completely lost their natural enzymes and bioavailability of nutrients. Instead, make this homemade V8 juice. It will leave you feeling refreshed, high energy, and ready to take on the day!

- 2 tomatoes
- 1 beet
- 1 bunch parsley
- 3-4 radishes
- 1 cucumber
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 red pepper
- 1-2 lemons (optional, for those who enjoy a bit of kick)

Juice the above ingredients and reap the amazing benefits of these 8 nutritive vegetables (aside from tomato which is technically a fruit!).

Source: Live Love Fruit

The Connection Between Sugar and Cancer

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An estimated 12.5 million people had some form of cancer in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society. Another 25.8 million have diabetes. These two preventable diseases are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide each year. In the constant battle to stay healthy, many of us know that too much sugar in the blood can lead to diabetes and that by controlling our diets we can both prevent and even reverse the disease. But, could the same be said for cancer?

According to researchers, sugar and cancer are indeed connnected.

Obesity and high blood sugar are risk factors for diabetes. And diabetics have an estimated double risk of suffering a colon or pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Scientists say that the two facts are connected and that blood sugar could play a role in the development of cancer.

In one study published in the journal Molecular Cell, a team of researchers under Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez, have identified how sugar could directly increase the cancer risk.

During digestion, cells in the intestine identify sugar and tell the pancreas to release insulin (the hormone responsible for blood sugar regulation). The sugars in the digestive system do this with the use of a hormone called GIP which assists in the insulin release. Dr. Garcia-Jimenez found that a specific protein known as β-catenin controls the ability of the intestines to release GIP and this protein is dependent on sugar levels.
“Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression. The study demonstrates that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation. The changes induced on β-catenin, the molecules involved and the diversity of cancer cells susceptible to these changes are identified,” Science Daily reports.

Simplified: increased blood sugar levels could lead to increased production of this protein which is known to impact cancer risk.

“We were surprised to realize that changes in our metabolism caused by dietary sugar impact on our cancer risk,” said Dr. Garcia-Jimenez. “We are not investigating what other dietary components may influence our cancer risk.”

Dr. Garcia-Jimenez went on to say something very simple and profound: “Changing diet is one of the easiest prevention strategies that can potentially save a lot of suffering and money.” I’m sure everyone agrees with that one.

Read more

Source: Raw For Beauty

Man Cures Cancer and Gets Off 25 Meds By Eating Healthy

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Dave “the Raw Food Trucker” describes how he was able to get off diabetes medication in days and cure his colon cancer within six months after fellow truck drivers taught him how to eat a diet of raw foods and juices.

7 Remedies To Keep Skin Clear

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Growing up, particularly in our teens, we are constantly told that eating fruits and vegetables will keep our skin clear. But there is more to it than just eating them and some of them can be used as a great natural alternative to medicine. 

Modern lifestyles often have a tremendous impact on our skin.

 We eat food and drink beverages that clog up our arteries, cause slow digestion and damage our cells. It is a well known fact that whatever damage we do to our bodies on the inside, will show on the outside.  Too often we run to the local pharmacy or doctor to treat problems such as acne, blemishes, pigmentation and infections. The treatments are often chemical concoctions that treat the symptoms and not the cause. 
Listed below are some natural treatments that provide a refreshing alternative.

  1. Cucumbers contain vitamin k which is great for reducing puffiness to eyes and vitamin c which can aid in promoting collagen growth. 
  2. Turmeric is high in antioxidants which can be great for lightening dark blemishes such as acne scars and age/sun spots.
  3. Papaya is another rich antioxidant. it can also be used to remove dead skin cells when applied to the skin topically.
  4. Lemon is great for removing dead skin cells and also acts as a moisturizer. It has antioxidant properties and can be eaten, added to salad dressings or applied direct to the skin.
  5. Coconut water has anti-fungal properties, high in vitamin c and also in vitamin b which can aid in the repair of skin tissue. It can be taken as a drink or simply washing your face or body in it will help to improve your skin.
  6. Mint, in particular peppermint is a great way to treat skin infections and is soothing relief for insect bites and stings.. It can also be used to help eradicate scabies mites but there is very little research to show the effectiveness of this. 
  7. Neem goes way beyond cleaning blocked pores and eliminating pimples. It has anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an analgesic, which means it can be used as a pain killer when used topically (applied to the skin). This is a little powerhouse and the essential oil and leaves are perfect for healing skin problems.
Always remember when trying any of these, do a skin test first. As with anything, sometimes sensitivity can occur.

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Cancer in a Can: The Shocking True Story of how Pringles are Made

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To understand the nature of Pringles and other stackable chips, forget the notion that they come from actual potatoes in any recognizable way.
The Pringles Company (in an effort to avoid taxes levied against “luxury foods” like chips in the UK) once even argued that the potato content of their chips was so low that they are technically not even potato chips.
So if they’re not made of potatoes, what are they exactly?
The process begins with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes that are pressed into shape.
This dough-like substance is then rolled out into an ultra-thin sheet cut into chip-cookies by a machine.
According to io9:
“The chips move forward on a conveyor belt until they’re pressed onto molds, which give them the curve that makes them fit into one another.
Those molds move through boiling oil … Then they’re blown dry, sprayed with powdered flavors, and at last, flipped onto a slower-moving conveyor belt in a way that allows them to stack.
From then on, it’s into the cans … and off towards the innocent mouths of the consumers.”
I suspect nearly everyone reading this likely enjoys the taste of potato chips. However, they are clearly one of the most toxic processed foods you can eat—whether they’re made from actual potato shavings or not.
Potato Chips are Loaded with Cancer-Causing Chemical
One of the most hazardous ingredients in potato chips is not intentionally added, but rather is a byproduct of the processing.
Acrylamide, a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical, is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted or toasted. Some of the worst offenders include potato chips and French fries, but many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C) may contain acrylamide. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and brown/yellow surface. Hence, it can be found in:
·         Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
·         Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks
·         Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contains 2-3 times MORE acrylamide than real coffee
How Much Acrylamide are You Consuming?
The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is 0.5 parts per billion, or about 0.12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of French fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide, or about FIVE HUNDRED times over the allowable limit.
Similarly, potato chips are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 2008 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label.
The 2005 report “How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips,” issued by the California-basedEnvironmental Law Foundation (ELF), spelled out the dangers of this popular snack. Their analysis found that all potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by a minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times! Some of the worst offenders at that time included:
·         Cape Cod Robust Russet: 910 times the legal limit of acrylamide
·         Kettle Chips (lightly salted): 505 times
·         Kettle Chips (honey dijon): 495 times
Beware: Baked Chips May Be WORSE than Fried!
If you think you can avoid the health risks of potato chips by choosing baked varieties, which are typically advertised as being “healthier,” think again. Remember that acrylamide is formed not only when foods are fried or broiled, but also when they are baked. And according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on acrylamide levels in foods, baked chips may contain more than three times the level of acrylamide as regular chips!
Interestingly, the same trend holds true for other foods, too, which suggests that baking processed potatoes at high temperature may be one of the worst ways to cook them. For instance, according to the FDA’s data, Ore Ida Golden Fries contained 107 ppb of acrylamide in the regular fried version and 1,098 when baked. So remember, ALL potato chips contain acrylamide, regardless of whether they are natural or not; baked or fried. Likewise, they will ALL influence your insulin levels in a very negative way.
Acrylamide is Not the Only Danger
Acrylamide is not the only dangerous genotoxic compound formed when food is heated to high temperatures.
A three-year long EU project, known as Heat-Generated Food Toxicants (HEATOX)whose findings were published at the end of 2007, found there are more than 800 heat-induced compounds, of which 52 are potential carcinogens. In addition to their finding that acrylamide does pose a public health threat, the HEATOX scientists also discovered that you’re far less likely to ingest dangerous levels of the toxin when you eat home-cooked foods compared to industrially or restaurant-prepared foods.
Additionally, the HEATOX findings also suggest that although there are ways to decrease exposure to acrylamide, it cannot be eliminated completely.
According to their calculations, successful application of all presently known methods would reduce the acrylamide intake by40 percent at the most—which makes me wonder whether chip manufacturers have really succeeded at this point in reducing acrylamide levels to within legal limits… There’s no updated data as of yet, so there’s no telling whether they’ve been able to comply with the 2005 settlement.
For more in-depth information about acrylamide, I recommend reading the online report Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization.  In general however, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised. A few of the most well-known toxins created in high-temperature cooking include:
·         Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs): These form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, and they’re also linked to cancer. In terms of HCA, the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections.
·         Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
·         Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized or sterilized), it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. When you eat the food, it transfers the AGEs into your body. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
The Search for a “Healthful” Chip Continues…
Like a modern-day search for the Holy Grail, chip manufacturers keep searching for methods to improve the image of their health-harming but profitable snacks. For example, by the end of 2011, about half of Pepsi’s Frito-Lay brand snacks will be reformulated with all-natural ingredients. The switch is part of PepsiCo’s master plan to tap into the healthy foods market share. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the company hopes to boost their nutrition business from $10 billion to $30 billion by 2020.
The company will remove dietary hazards like monosodium glutamate (MSG), replacing it with natural seasonings, such as molasses and paprika. Artificial colors will be replaced with beet juice, purple cabbage and carrots. All in all, about different 60 snacks are scheduled to get an all-natural makeover.
This is certainly a good example of how consumer demand can alter the direction of food manufacturers in a positive way.
The reformulated chips may end up being less bad for you than the original formulations. However, chips will never be truly healthful. All-natural chips may be the lesser of two evils, but if consumed regularly, they will still push your health in the wrong direction… There’s no getting away from the fact that modern plagues such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have a dietary component, and potato chips and French fries will always be a losing bet if you want to avoid becoming another disease statistic.
How to Avoid Heat-Induced Toxins in Your Diet
Ideally, you should consume foods that are raw or minimally processed to avoid these types of toxic byproducts—the more raw food, the better. My nutrition plan emphasizes the need for at least one-third of your foods to be consumed raw. Personally, I consume about 80 percent of my food raw, and I find it is one of the most important factors that help keep me healthy.
It may take you awhile to switch over to a less processed diet, but throwing out the most obvious culprits would be a great start.
These would include:
·         French fries and potato chips
·         All sodas (both regular and diet, as artificial sweeteners may be more problematic than fructose)
·         Doughnuts
Healthy Eating Made Easy
Aside from creating potentially toxic byproducts, cooking and processing also depletes the food of valuable micronutrients, which is another reason for eating as much raw food as possible. This includes protein sources such as eggs. Raw whole eggs from organic, pastured chickens are an incredible source of high-quality nutrients that many are deficient in. Raw milk is another good example of a food that is beneficial in its raw state but becomes harmful after it is pasteurized.
By opting for foods that will benefit your health, such as raw, preferably organic and/or locally-grown vegetables, organic grass-fed meats, healthy oils, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, you can change your health for the better. These are the foods that are truly natural, and quite easy to prepare once you get the hang of it.
Remember, eating fresh whole foods is the “secret” to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food. It’s unfortunate that so many are under the mistaken belief that it’s “next to impossible” to create a meal without processed foods. Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough tackle this issue head-on in their book Real Food Has Curves, which is a great starting point to “relearn” the basics of how to enjoy and prepare real food.
Once you get used to it, you’ll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. The main difference will be greater satisfaction, both physically and mentally, and perhaps even financially, as processed foods typically end up being more expensive than cooking from scratch.


Juicing or Blending: Which is Better?

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I often get asked the question of whether it is better to blend or juice. In fact, both blending and juicing hold their own respective benefits, it simply depends on what stage of detoxing you wish your body to undergo. Both juices and smoothies play a very important role in any health and wellness program or lifestyle. Below I will compare these two methods as well as list out the specific benefits of each.

Why Are Blending & Juicing Different?

Juicing removes all indigestible fiber from fruit and vegetables and extracts the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in juice form

This means that your body can access and absorb the nutrients faster, especially if you have impaired digestion (which is often a result of making bad food choices, or if you have ever taken a round of antibiotics). In addition, juicing helps give your digestive system a break, so that your body can focus on rest and repair.

Juicing also allows you to consume large amounts of vegetables that you wouldn’t normally consume. Some people find that eating that many vegetables in one sitting is very difficult, but by turning it into a juice, you can get them down quickly and efficiently.

Individuals who juice often report finer mental clarity and focus, weight loss, increased energy, better complexion and increased immunity. Juices also help cleanse our liver (especially if you add things like dandelion greens and beets) and fight off depression (thanks to their high mineral content).

Blending includes all fiber and nutrients from the fruit and vegetables

Blending produce into a smoothie helps preserve the fiber so these mixtures help regulate and keep our blood sugar levels balanced (and thus, keeps your energy levels balanced too). Smoothies also tend to be more filling than juices if you intend on going quite a while without a next meal.

Smoothies also ensure that toxins in the digestive tract get pushed out with healthy, regular bowel movements. They also help support the good bacteria in our gut needed for good digestion! Individuals who consume smoothies also report natural weight loss due to their ability to stave off cravings and hunger pains.

Lastly, smoothies are much cheaper to make than juices. Juicing often takes much more fruit and vegetables to create a hearty drink than it does to make a smoothie.

(1) When you consume smoothies or juices, make sure you swish around the mixture in your mouth for 20-30 seconds to assimilate enzymatic activity in your mouth and to prevent bloating and gas!

(2) Make sure you combine fruits, starchy vegetables, and low-starch vegetables properly. 

(3) Try you best to consume the smoothie or juice right away! The nutrients oxidize quickly, and you want to minimize this as much as possible. If you want to store your juice for a couple hours, make sure you keep it somewhere dark and cold like the fridge, and add some high vitamin-C foods like lemons (for juice) or oranges (for smoothies) to slow oxidation rate!

Source:  Live Love Fruit


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