There is a new way to look at health and the body. NewRealities sees that a new paradigm of wellness is need over one of dis-ease. We need to define the body as a whole organism and not separate it into parts. Part of this new paradigm is to understand that the body is more than just a physical organism; it is an energetic organism, that is capable of housing the vitality of spirit. NewRealities recognizes the integration of body, with mind and spirit to truly create a fresh an vital relationship to a holistic approach to living.
By Dr. Mercola from his article:
How to Find the Healthiest Fare in Meat and Produce Aisles
Dr. Mercola has contunially been the most inform and most well researched articles in the internet about health, food and diet. I found this piece very relevant for anyone interested in having a cleaner, healther, toxin free diet. - Alan Steinfeld, founder of NR
May 08, 2013 | 160,324 views | + Add to Favorites
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. All of these toxins are permitted on conventional farms, and any number of them can end up on your plate when you purchase conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.
The increased use of genetically engineered Bt hybrid plants1 and soil insecticides also increases the chemical load in food — particularly processed foods.
These man-made neurotoxic chemicals can bioaccumulate in your body, as they resist breaking down in water and also accumulate and store in fat, where they can remain for long periods of time.
In short, this means your body has a very hard time getting rid of them once they enter your body. The answer, of course, is to limit your exposure as much as possible, giving your body a chance to eliminate the toxins you do inadvertently ingest. One food that can help with detoxification is fermented foods.
Updated Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load.
And with food prices rising, many are looking for ways to buy the healthiest foods possible at the lowest cost.
One such way would be to focus on purchasing certain organic items, while “settling” for others that are conventionally-grown. To do this, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) annual Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce.2
Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:
Apples Celery Cherry tomatoes Cucumbers Grapes Hot peppers Nectarines (imported) Peaches Potatoes Spinach Strawberries Sweet bell peppers Kale Collard greens Summer squash
In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables. Note that a small amount of sweet corn and most Hawaiian papaya, although low in pesticides, are genetically engineered (GE). If you’re unsure of whether the sweet corn or papaya is GE, I’d recommend opting for organic varieties:
Asparagus Avocado Cabbage Cantaloupe Sweet corn (non-GMO) Eggplant Grapefruit Kiwi Mango Mushrooms Onions Papayas (non-GMO. Most Hawaiian papaya is GMO) Pineapple Sweet peas (frozen) Sweet potatoes
What to Look Out for in the Meat Isle
Many people are still in the dark about the vast differences between Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats, both in terms of contamination and nutrient content. It's important to understand that when you raise animals in a CAFO — away from the animals’ natural environments and diets — you dramatically increase the risk of pathogenic contamination that can make you ill.
Take beef, for example. Most CAFO cows are fed grains (typically genetically engineered grains, which make matters even worse), when their natural diet is plain grass. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal's stomach, which E. coli bacteria need to survive. Meanwhile, E. coli contamination is actually quite rare in organic beef for this reason — the cows just aren't susceptible to those kinds of disease-causing bacteria and viruses when they eat what they were designed to eat.
Also beware that bacterial contamination of meat-glued steak — a cost-saving scam that is far more common than you might think — is hundreds of times higher than a solid piece of steak; therefore, if you cook your steak rare, which is ordinarily the most healthful way to cook your meat, you're at a much greater risk of contracting food poisoning.
You'd think that since the meat is being raised in ways that are known to encourage disease-causing organisms, there'd be stringent requirements on testing. Unfortunately, that's not the case. For example, there is no federal requirement for meat grinders to test their ingredients for E.coli prior to selling them. And most retailers do not test either. In August 2008, the USDA issued a guideline urging meat processors to test their ingredients before grinding. But the guideline is only optional and has been met with criticism and resistance from the meat industry.
Want Safer Meat? Buy Organic Pastured/Grass-Fed
It’s no surprise then to discover that pathogenic contamination of meat products is quite high. What’s worse, the routine use of low-dose antibiotics in CAFO’s has led to a dramatic and rapidly rising presence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
According to a recent NPR report,3 data published by a joint government program4 from tests conducted on supermarket meat samples collected in 2011 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, reveals the presence of several disease-causing bacteria, including the super-hardy antibiotic-resistant versions of salmonella, Campylobacterand E. coli. After analyzing the data, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) highlighted some of the startling implications in its own report,5 aptly named “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets.” The EWG points out that many of the meats tested contained “startlingly high levels” of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on:
- 81 percent of ground turkey
- 69 percent of pork chops
- 55 percent of ground beef
- 39 percent of chicken breasts, wings and thighs
One of the best ways to avoid contaminated meat is to avoid meat from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s), aka “factory farms,” and buying organic, pastured or grass-fed meats instead. Growth promoters such as antibiotics are not permitted in organic animal farming, and organically-raised animals are also healthier as a result of being pastured, so overall you’re getting far “cleaner,” healthier meat.
Beware of Pesticides in Chinese Imports, Study Warns
Another related study warns about the pesticide load found in produce imported from China. The analysis was done by Food Sentry, an American food inspection analyst. After analyzing close to 1,000 reported food violations spanning 73 countries, China was identified as having the most violations. A second study focused on the Chinese violations only, over a 15-month period. As reported by Food Navigator,8 pesticides were the number one complaint. Thirty-two pesticides were identified in Chinese fresh produce and spices, in excess of the permissible amounts. Chinese seafood was also found to be high in antibiotics and other drugs. Other chemicals found in levels exceeding allowable amounts in food included:
- Sulfur dioxide
- Coloring dyes
- Sodium saccharine
The most concerning chemical was sodium hydroxide, aka caustic soda or lye, found in dairy. Excessive lead levels were also found in kelp and cardamom, and infant formula was found to contain excessive levels of mercury. According to Food Navigator:
“The study also found that economically motivated adulteration — the intentional adulteration of a food for economic gain — continues to be an issue in China. Examples of this included counterfeit eggs that were man-made from various substances and chemicals, synthetic shark fin, synthetic abalone and counterfeit peanut oil made from other oils.”
USDA Ruffles Feathers with New Poultry Inspection Policy
While all manner of food fraud and contamination issues continue to rise, the White House administration is about to dramatically scale back the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) oversight of chicken- and turkey slaughterhouses. As reported by Mother Jones:9
“Currently, each factory-scale slaughterhouse has four USDA inspectors overseeing kill lines churning out up to 140 birds every minute. Under the USDA's new plan, a single federal inspector would oversee lines killing as many as 175 birds per minute. That would mean there are three fewer inspectors for a production line running 25 percent faster...
[O]n April 10, the administration released a prospective USDA budget indicating that the agency plans to implement the new rules by September 2014. And in testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture on April 16, Vilsack said the rules would be finalized 'very soon,' declaring that the plan 'will allow the poultry industry to continue to be profitable, and allow us [the USDA] to save some money as well.'"
The USDA is expected to save $90 million over three years by reducing the number of inspectors. But these savings are dwarfed by the savings to be made by the poultry industry — dominated by Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Purdue, and Sanderson — which stands to save nearly $257 million annually.
Illogically enough, the USDA claims this plan will actually improve poultry product safety and prevent anywhere from three to five thousand foodborne illnesses per year. How could that be, you may wonder. The answer lies in new rules that would permit poultry producers to put all the poultry through an antimicrobial wash, using chlorine and other chemicals. The lone USDA inspector will continue what has been done in the past, which is to visually inspect the birds for obvious surface defects and fecal contamination.
Needless to say, I cannot recommend eating anything that has been washed in chlorine and antimicrobial chemicals. We already have a problem with antibiotics causing antibiotic-resistant pathogens when used in the animals’ feed. I cannot foresee the situation getting anything but worse by dousing each bird in antimicrobials on the outside as well...
Healthy Shopping Guidelines
Buying your food from a local organic source is the ideal way to ensure that it’s both fresh and high-quality. I strongly advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt, they lose much of their nutritional value. In fact, wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthful than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables.
For tips on cleaning your fruits and veggies, please see my previous article: 7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits, Vegetables. Regardless of where you shop, the following tips and guidelines can teach you the tricks of healthy shopping, whether you’re shopping at Whole Foods or a regular grocery chain:
Learn to identify:
High-quality food -- Whether you’re shopping at a supermarket or a farmer’s market, here are the signs of a high-quality, healthy food:
Grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods) Not genetically modified Contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs Does not contain any artificial ingredients, including chemical preservatives Fresh (keep in mind that if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may be the better option) Did not come from a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) Grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free access to the outdoors) Grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)
Organics – There are a few different organic labels out there, but only one relates directly to foods: the USDA Organic seal. It’s the best way to ensure you’re getting what you pay for when shopping organic.
The labeling requirements of the NOP10 apply to raw, fresh products and processed products that contain organic agricultural ingredients. In order to qualify as organic,11 a product must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity. (For the complete National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances under the USDA organic label, see this link.)
Genetically modified foods – Avoiding genetically engineered (GE) food is just as important for your health as seeking out high-quality organics. In fact, they go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, GE ingredients are everywhere, so whenever you use pre-made, pre-packaged, processed foods of any kind, genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) becomes an issue. The ResponsibleTechnology.org has created a Non-GMO Shopping Guide, available for free at NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.12 By making sure to avoid all GM food products, you will actively help change not just your own health for the better, but the entire food industry.
Other health-harming ingredients – This is quite a bit trickier, since there are a vast number of additives, preservatives and food colorings that can wreak havoc with your health in the long term. However, I would suggest starting with the most obvious culprits, including MSG, artificial sweeteners, and fructose. Here are helpful guidelines for each:
- MSG – A great resource on how to find hidden sources of MSG, please see the website MSGMYTH.com13 for detailed listings
- Fructose – Any time you see ‘corn syrup’ or any variation thereof, on the label, avoid it, especially if it’s at the top of the list of ingredients.
- In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson reviews the effectiveness of reducing fructose intake to help prevent or treat obesity. His book also provides detailed tables showing the content of fructose in different foods, including whole foods, like fruits – an information base that isn’t readily available elsewhere.
ALL artificial sweeteners should be avoided, including:
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, Canderel, and AminoSweet)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One)
- Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin)
To optimize your diet you need to educate yourself on what ‘healthy food’ really is. It’s the only way to ensure you won’t keep falling for harmful processed food fads like no- or low-fat (which usually means it’s loaded with harmful fructose or sugar instead), or no or low sugar diet foods (which instead contain artificial sweeteners, which are even worse for you). There are few, if any, shortcuts to real health and it all starts with what you feed your body, so make educated choices. Lastly, for tips on how to prolong the shelf life of fresh produce, see my previous article Where Do You Store Produce In Your Fridge For Maximum Shelf Life?
I perosonally love pineapple. I try to eat it all year around, although its cooling nature is best in the summer.
-AS of NR
The pineapple is a member of the bromeliad family.
It is extremely rare that bromeliads produce edible fruit. The pineapple is
the only available edible bromeliad today.
"Vinegar is a wonderful organic tool that was discovered by accident 10,000 years ago when wine was accidentally allowed to ferment too long and turned sour," he writes.
"It can be made from many products, including beer, apples, berries, beets, corn, fruits, grains, honey, malt, maple syrup, melons, molasses, potatoes, rice, sorghum, and other foods containing sugar.
Natural sugars from these food products are fermented into alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar."
... The product label will identify the starting ingredients, such as 'apple cider vinegar' or 'wine vinegar.' Malt vinegar is made from the fermentation of barley malt or other cereal grains. Sugar vinegar is made from sugar, syrup, or molasses.
White, spirit, or distilled vinegar is made by fermenting distilled alcohol. Distilled white vinegar is made from 190 proof alcohol that is fermented by adding sugar and living bacteria.
... Vinegar that is made from the petroleum derivative, 99 percent acetic acid, is not acceptable in an organic program."
The name "vinegar" comes from the French words for "sour wine." But it's important to realize that not all vinegars are created equally. Some can benefit your health when taken internally, while others should only be used for tasks such as cleaning, or horticultural purposes, while others are best avoided altogether.
White Vinegar—A Great Non-Toxic Cleaner and Herbicide Ingredient
Distilled white vinegar is the type of vinegar you'll want to use for cleaning and laundry. Toward the end of this article, I'll also share Garrett's recipe for a non-toxic weed killer formula, which calls for white vinegar. Vinegar and water makes an excellent window cleaner, for example, and vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer. According to Garrett:
"Sprinkling white vinegar atop a dusting of baking soda is terrific for cleaning sinks, tubs, tile floors and other surfaces. For cleaning, it can be diluted with water as much as 50-50. For the herbicide, it should be used full strength. In all cases, the products to buy in this category are true vinegars made by distilling grain alcohol. For the purists, there is organic white vinegar made from corn."
Avoid 20% Vinegar
Garrett warns against using 20 percent vinegar, which is made from 99 percent glacial ascetic acid, stating it's far stronger than you'd ever really need, in addition to being overly expensive. Perhaps more importantly, this type of vinegar is actually a petroleum derivative, which is dangerous to breathe and can be damaging to your eyes and skin.
"One final warning is that some of the 10 percent vinegars being sold to naïve organic gardeners are the fake 20 percent product that has been cut with water. Proper vinegars should have on the label that they are made from distilled grain alcohol or other similar language indicating natural products from distilling," Garrett warns.
Apple Cider Vinegar—Good for Your Health
The cider vinegars, made from fermenting fruits such as apples, have little value as cleaners or herbicides. Instead, these are the types of vinegar associated with a number of different health benefits when taken internally. There are two basic categories of cider vinegars:
Regular apple cider vinegar
Organic apple cider vinegar with the "mother" included
When purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you'll want to avoid the perfectly clear, "sparkling clean" varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar, which is murky and brown. When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as "mother," and it indicates your vinegar is of good quality. While it may look suspicious at first, in this case, it's the murky looking stuff you want. As with everything else, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is, and this holds true for apple cider vinegar.
Surprisingly enough, while apple cider vinegar has historically been prized for its health benefits, little research has been done to evaluate its therapeutic actions. However, lack of scientific studies is a common problem for many natural and alternative therapies.
Perhaps the most researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar's benefits are in the area of type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower blood glucose levels. In 2004, a study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation's publication Diabetes Care1 found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. The study involved 29 people, divided into three groups:
One third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
One third had prediabetic signs.
One third were healthy.
The results were quite significant:
All three groups had better blood glucose readings with the vinegar than with the placebo.
People with prediabetic symptoms benefitted the most from the vinegar, cutting their blood glucose concentrations by nearly half.
People with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25 percent with vinegar.
People with prediabetic symptoms had lower blood glucose than the healthy participants after both drank vinegar.
A follow-up study geared at testing vinegar's long-term effects yielded an unexpected but pleasant side effect: moderate weight loss. In this study, participants taking two tablespoons of vinegar prior to two meals per day lost an average of two pounds over the four-week period, and some lost up to four pounds. In 2007, another study cited by WebMD2 involving 11 people with type 2 diabetes found taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4 to 6 percent. Although the research to date looks favorable, more studies are needed to confirm the extent of vinegar's insulin stabilization benefits.
Other Apple Cider Vinegar "Cures"
Although this article and many others advocate the benefits of using vinegar therapeutically, I really think that this is an inferior approach. From my perspective, it would be far better to use large quantities of fermented foods to get these types of acids because you will then also help to recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria. However, vinegar is easier and certainly safe to use, so you can put your toe in the water by trying it first. Garrett, however, has been a long-time proponent of vinegar, recommending it for a number of uses.
"Apple cider vinegar might cure more ailments than any other folk remedy," he writes. Vinegar apparently provides at least some cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, Candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, gout and the list goes on... It also brings a healthy, rosy glow to the complexion and can cure rough scaly skin. Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for animals, including dogs, cats and horses. It helps with arthritic conditions, controls fleas, repels flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats."
As an example, Garrett has shared the following recipe with me, which can help soothe a sore throat:
"Use 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of honey and 16 oz. water, and warm to sipping temperature and sip. Adding juice from chopped ginger can be used for more power."
What Can Account for Apple Cider Vinegar's Health Benefits?
Many who tout apple cider vinegar's wide-ranging benefits claim its healing power comes from the abundance of nutrients that remain after the apples are fermented. However, standard nutritional analyses of apple cider vinegar have found it to be a surprisingly poor source of most nutrients. For example, the one milligram of calcium found in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar does not come close to the 1,000 milligrams a typical adult needs each day.
It has also been claimed that soluble fiber in the vinegar, in the form of pectin, binds to cholesterol and helps carry it out of your body, thereby improving your lipid profile. However, apple cider vinegar contains no measurable pectin or any other fiber, for that matter.
Its magic can also not be traced to vitamin content. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), apple cider vinegar has no measurable vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, or folate -- and it's equally lacking in amino acids, lycopene, or any other nutritional elements.
Still, despite the fact that it's devoid of many of the traditionally valued nutrients, evidence of apple cider vinegar's health benefits has been witnessed for hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of years. So, what can explain this mysteriously beneficial elixir?
It may be partially related to the fact that vinegar is a diluted acid, specifically acetic acid, which help to normalize your body's pH. This likely improves nutrition, by optimizing your gut flora and helping eradicate pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria, and by serving as growth accelerators for beneficial bacteria that typically thrive in more acid environments. This is also one of the reasons why eating fermented foods is so important.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
Pet care is another area where vinegar can be a useful, non-toxic, all-natural tool. According to Garrett:
"Vinegar is a remedy with multiple uses for dogs including alleviating allergies and arthritis, and helping to provide the correct pH balance. You can give apple cider vinegar to any animal by simply adding it to the water.
If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly washes its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, an application of apple cider vinegar can help. For poor appetite, use it in the food at 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 50 lb. dog. For itchy skin or the beginning hot spots, put apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle, part the hair and spray on. Any skin eruption will dry up in as soon as 24 hours and shaving the dog won't be necessary – which is good because I never recommend that. If the skin is already broken, dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and spray on.
Taken internally, apple cider vinegar is credited with maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract. I take a large spoonful straight or in my "witches brew" in the morning that I drink at least once a day.
Another tip is if you have a dog that has clear, watery discharge from the eyes, a runny nose, or coughs with a liquid sound, use apple cider vinegar in his or her food. One teaspoon twice a day for a 50 lb. dog will do the job.
After grooming sessions, use a few drops in dogs' ears after cleaning them to avoid ear infections. Fleas, flies, ticks and bacteria, external parasites, ring worm, fungus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, pneumococcus, mange, etc. are unlikely to inhabit a dog whose system is acidic inside and out.
Should you ever experience any of these with your dog, bathe with a nice gentle herbal shampoo - one that you would use on your own hair - rinse thoroughly with vinegar, and then sponge on apple cider vinegar diluted with equal amounts of warm water. Allow your dog to drip dry. It is not necessary to use harsh chemicals for minor flea infestations. All fleas drown in soapy water and the apple cider vinegar rinse makes the skin too acidic for a re-infestation. If you are worried about picking up fleas when you take your dog away from home, keep some apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray your dog before you leave home and when you get back. For raw spots caused by excessive licking, use a few drops in water, and sponge the affected areas with apple cider vinegar."
Horticultural Uses for Vinegar
Vinegar can also be used to control weeds in your garden. According to Garrett:
"To keep the weeds out of a decorative or utility gravel area, the best approach is to design them out from the beginning or use organic products later to kill the weeds. Salt, toxic herbicides and bleach should never be used because they contaminate the soil long term. They also leach into the water stream. To head off the problem, install the gravel in a thick layer – 6 to 8 inches after scraping away all grasses and weeds.
Any weeds that grow through the gravel can be sprayed and killed with a mix of 10 percent pickling vinegar mixed with 2 ounces orange oil and 1 teaspoon liquid soap or you can use commercial organic herbicides. Vinegar sprays can also be used to kill weeds in the cracks in sidewalks and driveways. The best choice for herbicide use is 10 percent white vinegar made from grain alcohol. It should be used full strength. Avoid products that are made from 99 percent glacial acetic acid. This material is a petroleum derivative. Natural vinegars such those made from fermenting apples have little herbicidal value.
1 gallon of 10 percent (100 grain) vinegar
Add 1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene
Add 1 tablespoon molasses (optional - some say it doesn't help)
1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant (I use Bio Wash)
Do not add water
Shake well before each spraying and spot spray weeds. Keep the spray off desirable plants. This spray will injure any plant it touches. This natural spray works best on warm to hot days. Vinegar sprayed on the bases of trees and other woody plants will not hurt the plant at all. This technique was first learned about by spraying the suckers and weeds growing around the bases of grapevines.
If your water is alkaline, add 1 tablespoon of 50-grain (5 percent) natural apple cider vinegar to each gallon of water to improve the quality of the water for potted plants and bedding. This doesn't have to be done with every watering, though it wouldn't hurt. This technique is especially helpful when trying to grow acid-loving plants such as gardenias, azaleas, and dogwoods. A tablespoon of vinegar per gallon added to the sprayer when foliar feeding lawns, shrubs, flowers, and trees is also highly beneficial, especially where soil or water is alkaline. The other horticultural use for vinegar is in the watering can."
Other Uses for Vinegar
Last but not least, vinegar can be used to remove certain pesticides and bacteria from your fresh produce. Of course, you don't need apple cider vinegar for this—any basic white vinegar will do. Gayle Povis Alleman, MS, RD recommends a solution of 10 percent vinegar to 90 percent water as a bath to briefly soak produce.3 Just place your veggeis or fruit in the solution, swish it around, and rinse thoroughly. Just don't use this process on fragile fruits (like berries), since they could be damaged in the process or soak up too much vinegar through their porous skins.
Apple cider vinegar has also long been used as a natural hair care product. Its acidity is close to that of human hair; it's a good conditioner and cleaning agent, as well as an effective germ killer. You can visit www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com for information on how to make a vinegar hair rinse.
While we need a great deal more research to investigate vinegar's full healing potential, it can certainly be useful in a variety of ways, for a variety of conditions. It's definitely a great multi-purpose tool to have in your pantry.
This one a few physicians educated enough to tell it like it is. We don't need more medication, we need less processed foods to feel better... Whole foods, non GMO, fresh, locally grown when possible, unpaturized are the best for us... - AS, founder of NR
This leaves the responsibility of lifelong health on you and me, which is where it belongs.
In the previous posts I proposed that the secret to lifelong health is letting your body take care of you, as it was designed to do. That is ultimately the point of prevention, to support the body's own power to heal, balance, and regulate itself. Since the control switch for these processes is in the brain, we need to cover an all-important issue: creating the best inner environment for your brain. Your brain processes every experience you have, and it must function well in order for the real controller of your life -- the mind -- to make its best intentions known.
The intention to live as long as possible isn't one of the mind's best intentions, because quantity isn't the same as quality. Intending to live in a state of well-being is a higher intention, since it focuses on quality, but few people have devised a credible recipe for well-being. There is no recipe. Well-being changes as we move through life, which is why a child's version of it cannot be the same as an old person's. So what is the common factor that never changes as we age?
The answer is self-awareness. When you have any experience, your mind is in one of three states: unconscious, aware, and self-aware. The first state leaves health -- and well-being generally -- to chance. If you light up your fifth cigarette of the day without thinking, you are doing something unconsciously, as is the nature of habits. If you see yourself lighting up the cigarette, you are aware of what you're doing. But self-awareness goes further; it says, "What am I doing to myself?" Posing questions, reflecting on your behavior, looking at the larger picture, taking your life seriously -- these are all self-aware behaviors.
The mind and body are connected in a feedback loop, and it will operate automatically without any awareness, much less self-awareness. Someone in a coma is an extreme example of the automatic nature of the body's feedback loop being monitored by the brain's automatic mechanisms. The feedback changes when you add awareness, which is why it is better to be awake than in a coma. The best way to participate in the feedback loop, however, is through self-awareness. In that state you tune into your body and lead your brain's responses in a positive way.
A self-aware approach to life would include the following prescriptions, which were drawn up by Dr. Rudy Tanzi and myself when we co-wrote a forthcoming book, Super Brain:
- Be passionate about your life and the experiences you fill it with.
- Remain open to as much input as possible.
- Don't shut down the feedback loop with judgment, rigid beliefs, and prejudices.
- Don't censor incoming data through denial.
- Examine other points of view as if they were your own.
- Take possession of everything in your life. Be self-sufficient.
- Work on psychological blocks like shame and guilt -- they falsely color your reality.
- Free yourself emotionally -- to be emotionally resilient is the best defense against growing rigid.
- Harbor no secrets -- they create dark places in the psyche.
- Be willing to redefine yourself every day.
- Don't regret the past or fear the future. Both bring misery through self-doubt.
- There is a spiritual component to self-awareness that consists of expanding your consciousness through meditation, mindfulness, and other established spiritual practices. But in this list we wanted to tell people how to function efficiently in the mind-body feedback loop. From birth each of us has been part of the loop, dependent upon it for all the good things in our lives, doing our best not to bring in bad things. But most people don't pursue self-awareness. They equate it with feeling bad about themselves, turning over stones that are best untouched, and exposing the darker hiding places where anxiety, depression, and anger lurk. None of this is true. Self-awareness is value-free. It isn't scary. It doesn't imply that you will subject yourself to needless pain.
- At its most basic, self-awareness is simply self-appreciating the self. To find an answer to a question we are all interested in -- "How am I doing?" -- you have to be willing to look in the first place. It is much more beneficial to your health if you feel your way through life than think your way through life. Self-awareness monitors how you feel. It is flexible, sometimes placing awareness on a bodily sensation, sometimes on the world around you, your relationships, the people you meet, the thoughts in your head, and so on. To be in such a state means that you are fully participating in the mind-body feedback loop. By doing so, you make your body and your brain into allies, and then the path to lifelong health can be followed in security and fulfillment.
But that isn't my focus. As important as it is to take care of yourself, letting your body take care of you is the real secret.
In the last post two things were crucial to giving your body the best chance to do what it was designed to do: survive and thrive at any age. Here I want to deal with the first critical ingredient: Create a matrix for a positive lifestyle. You can't make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.
The flaw in the whole prevention movement has been non-compliance. We are a nation suffering from an epidemic of obesity, turning more and more sedentary despite the good advice, which is constantly drummed into our heads. Unless they've been hibernating, everyone knows that long-term health depends upon a sensible diet and moderate physical exercise every day. As a first step, let's stop thinking in terms of discipline and self-control altogether. Some people are prevention saints. They consume only one tablespoon of total fat per day in their diet, because that's the ideal amount for heart health. They ignore wind and rain to get in five hours of vigorous exercise a week. Saints are inspiring to the rest of us, but deep down they are also discouraging because they remind us that we are a hundred miles from being saintly ourselves.
Change without force is certainly possible. What you need is to create a matrix for making better choices. By matrix I simply mean your setup for daily living. Everyone has a matrix already. Some people live inside a setup that makes positive choices much easier than it is for others. A cupboard that doesn't contain any snack foods would be part of such a matrix. A house without a television or video games would be another, but you aren't being good to yourself by jogging every day because you have no entertainment at home. In the end the physical side is secondary. A matrix is more substantial and sustainable.
The real key is to live in an environment where the mind feels free to choose the right thing instead of being compelled by habit and inertia to choose the wrong thing.
Matrix for a Positive Lifestyle:
Have good friends.
Don't isolate yourself.
Sustain a lifelong companionship with a spouse or partner.
Engage socially in worthwhile projects.
Be close with people who have a good lifestyle -- habits are contagious.
Follow a purpose in life.
Leave time for play and relaxation.
Keep up satisfying sexual activity.
Address issues around anger.
Practice stress management.
Deal with the reactive mind's harmful effects: When you have a negative reaction, stop, stand back, take a few deep breaths, and observe how you're feeling.
These items have been well correlated with longevity. One thing that links them is very basic: Success comes when people act together; failure tends to happen alone. A spouse or life partner who keeps an eye on your diet ("Haven't you already eaten a cookie today? Have a carrot!") is better than wandering the supermarket aisles alone and impulsively grabbing a week's worth of frozen dinners. A friend who goes to the gym three times a week gives you more incentive than all the promises you make to yourself as you watch Sunday Night Football. It's important to establish your matrix early and keep it going. Studies have shown that losing a spouse can suddenly lead to isolation, depression, higher risk for disease, and ultimately shortened life span. But if you have a wider social network beyond your spouse, you have a cushion against these baleful influences.
The other items on the list should be perused carefully, asking yourself honestly how you can improve your matrix. The goal is to practice what is good for you while making everything as effortless as possible. This only happens with positive reinforcement. The good news is that as you change your lifestyle, you are training your brain in a positive direction. In time, all the right choices become second nature. Research has shown that the best way to be happy is to make each day happy. The same holds true for the highest state of health, which is well-being. Build it day by day and the results will last a lifetime.
Your outer environment is only half the story. In the final post I'll discuss the second key to lifelong good health, which is to create the right inner environment, a journey that begins with making the mind-body connection as strong as possible.
(To be continued.)