Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, chinese medicin, Food, health
In China, it was traditionally believed that our bodies are small worlds containing all the elements and energies found in the world around us and fully interconnected with our environment.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the different parts of our bodies, just like the earth around us, are made up of the energies of the five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Each organ system is connected with specific elements as well as certain emotions, a color, flavors, and other energetic characteristics. The four seasons and the hours of the day also correspond to different elements.
Because of this, our bodies’ needs change as our environments changes. To maintain harmony in our lives, we need different things when the sun rises and when it sets, and different things during winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Most of us have experienced taking a walk outside during the transition from one season to the next. We smell the difference; we feel the difference.
In autumn, as the days get shorter and the weather cooler, we are reminded that winter is around the corner, and we must prepare for it. Traditionally, we would be stocking up on fuel and food, unpacking our warm-weather clothing, and preparing for the period of winter stillness.
You may have noticed feeling a little sad these days, mourning the end of summer fun. You may notice your hair and skin feeling a little dry, just like the leaves and plants which are also less lustrous as they transition into autumn dryness. You may feel more vulnerable to getting chilled as you feel the rising autumn winds swirling about and cooling the summer air.
If you walk outside in shorts and a T-shirt at the beginning of autumn, break a sweat that opens your pores, and don’t get covered soon, the “autumn wind” can easily enter your system, making you more vulnerable to colds and chills.
To protect yourself from illness during this season, it is time to start preparing your body for the cooler months ahead.
The easiest and most practical way to prevent colds, depression, and colon issues such as constipation during the transition into autumn is to eat the foods that are local and in season.
The earth, in its mysterious wisdom, produces foods that warm us during the cold months, just as it produces foods that cool us during the warm months.
Aligning ourselves with the five elements means connecting our choices to the ruling element of the season. Autumn is governed by the metal element, which, when in balance, allows us to be more organized, focused, and productive.
Therefore, how we cook and what we eat should give us the energy to thrive in the cooler season.
Autumn is a time when we want to gradually move away from raw, cooling foods such as smoothies, salads, popsicles, and watermelon and into warming soups. Since it is not winter yet, you can still balance your meals with foods that are light and mucous-reducing, such as shitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, daikon or red radish, bok choy, and cabbage.
Slow-cooked dishes such as congee (Asian-style rice soup) with some pickled vegetables, miso soup, and bean soups such as chickpea or aduki bean soup with squash are all great autumn meal choices. The preferred meat choice is pork, which, as a white meat, relates to the metal element.
It will also help to include foods that are sour in flavor because these energetically help us pull our thoughts together and ground us. Some suggestions are sauerkraut, pickles, olives, lemons and limes, vinegar, plums, grapefruit, and even tart yogurt and sour dough bread (if you can handle gluten and dairy).
Autumn relates to grief. If we grieve too much, we can strain our lungs and colon. We must allow ourselves to process grief and let it go. We can release our emotions as we do our breath when we exhale fully.
Pick up your mood by exercising more, breathing deeply every day and at different times throughout the day, and spending quality time with friends or on activities that take you out of sadder emotions and into joy.
Just as the leaves on the trees start to dry up and shed, so does our skin and body. If you notice feeling thirstier lately or have dry skin and hair, it may be a reaction to the seasonal change; however, if thirst and dryness are severe or persist, there may be something out of balance in your diet, fitness, or internal health.
Foods that create more moisture in the body are tofu, tempeh, spinach, barley, millet, oysters, crabs, mussels, herring, pork, pesto made with pine nuts, eggs, almond butter, and seaweed. Avoid foods that are too bitter or aromatic.
For a healthy colon and strong lungs, it is important that you stay active and eat enough fiber. Avoid overeating, eating processed foods, and smoking.
Be sure to stay warm if you exercise outside. You don’t want to “catch wind” as the ancients used to say, referring to the fact that when you sweat, your pores open up and become gateways for pathogens to enter the body, especially during the cooler, windier autumn months. To avoid the flu and yearly colds, dress appropriately.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavendermamas.com.
Tags: Body & Mind, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society
The three largest fruit juice makers in China have been found to purchase vast quantities of rotting and putrid fruits for use in their beverages, according to investigations published in the Chinese press recently.
A fruit seller speaking from his tricycle in Xuzhou of Jiangsu Province was frank with a reporter who stopped by to ask him what he had planned to do with the rotten fruits he had.
“Those fruit can’t be sold to people for eating,” the fruit seller, giving his surname as Wang. “They are for the juice companies.” He pointed to Andre Juice, a large company, across the street. “I can probably get enough fruit by tomorrow and take them to the company,” he remarked to the reporter from the 21st Century Business Herald, a large newspaper in China.
“The closer to the fruit seller’s tricycle, the worse the fruit smelled,” the reporter wrote, describing the scene. “Liquid drips down from the tricycle. Flies are everywhere.”
Along with Andre Juice in Jiangsu, other companies to be found using corrupted fruit sources included China Huiyuan Juice and China Haisheng Juice, in Anhui Province and elsewhere. The companies are typically located near China’s large fruit production areas.
Local farmers have developed a hierarchy for the fruit they sell: the good fruit goes to the public, lower quality fruit goes to canned fruit manufacturers, and the worst of it, including rotting fruit, goes to juice companies.
Mr. Chen, the owner of a fruit market in Dangshan County, in the central Anhui Province, told the reporter that he delivers an average of 20 to 30 tons of “blind fruit” to juice company plants nearby every day. Sometimes he moves more than 60 tons. “Blind fruit” refers to rotten or damaged fruit.
Chen says he spends 400 yuan ($65.35) to purchase a ton of “blind fruit” from fruit farmers, and offloads it to juice companies for 450 yuan ($73.52).
The juice companies Huiyuan and Andre told the Chinese media that their fruit had no problems, but after the reports emerged the Anhui Provincial Food and Drug Administration suspended production, pending rectification of the problems, according to the state mouthpiece Xinhua.
The companies’ stocks, listed in Hong Kong, tumbled up to 5 percent on Sept. 23, the day after the reports emerged.
Huiyuan Juice had a domestic market share of nearly 50 percent in 2012. According to Haisheng Juice’s website, 95 percent of its products are for export, including to North America. Its concentrated apple juice exports are 20 percent of the global amount traded.
Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, chinese medicin, Food, health
By D.J. Heyes
As more research is done regarding so-called “non-traditional” healthcare, doctors and scientists are rediscovering “old” treatments that are increasingly supplanting today’s standard treatments for a number of conditions.
That includes coughs that often accompany the flu or mild chest infections, according to a recently published study in the journal Lancet.
About 2,000 patients from across 12 European countries were tasked with keeping an “illness journal,” the BBC reports. Researchers from the University of Southampton, led by Prof. Paul Little, found that the severity and duration of symptoms in those who were treated with antibiotics were no different than those who took a placebo (experts did say; however, that if pneumonia was suspected, patients should still be treated with antibiotics because of the severity of the condition).
Antibiotic effectiveness has been reduced because of over-prescribing
“Using the antibiotic amoxicillin to treat respiratory infections in patients not suspected of having pneumonia is not likely to help and could be harmful,” Little said.
“Overuse of antibiotics, dominated by primary care prescribing, particularly when they are ineffective, can lead to the development of resistance and have side effects like diarrhea, rash and vomiting,” Little continued. “Our results show that people get better on their own. But given that a small number of patients will benefit from antibiotics the challenge remains to identify these individuals.”
Earlier research into whether antibiotics were actually beneficial in the treatment of chest infections that included symptoms of weakness, high fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing, produced conflicting conclusions, especially in older adults where chest infections have the potential of causing additional complications.
Researchers randomly assigned and divided patients into two groups – one that received an antibiotic for their cough and one that received a placebo – three times daily for seven days.
The study found little measurable difference in the severity and duration of symptoms that were reported from each patient group. Similar findings occurred in older patients as well – those who were aged 60 or older, a demographic that accounted for one-third of the entire study population.
Additionally, those who took antibiotics reported having more side effects, including nausea, rash and diarrhea, compared to those taking the placebo.
The study is particularly important, given the growing human resistance to antibiotics being seen all around the globe.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to treating mild forms of chest infections and cough, and it’s a treatment that has been around for centuries.
“Traditional Chinese medicine is especially effective in the treatment of coughs because of its careful differentiation of the various types,” write Bill Schoenbart and Ellen Shefi for Discovery Health.
For instance, they note, coughs due to heat produce a sticky phlegm that’s difficult to expectorate, so it is treated with cooling, moistening herbs and acupuncture directed at specific points on the body which clear heat from the lungs.
By comparison, “cough due to cold is accompanied by chills and copious mucus; it is treated with warming, drying herbs and the application of moxibustion,” a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb, they wrote.
Here are two more treatment options for cough:
– Treating a dryness cough caused by wind: Usually contracted due to overexposure to a dry environment, symptoms are a dry, non-productive cough accompanied by a sore throat with a ticklish sensation. The focus is to repel the dryness; a typical formula includes Sang Xing Tang (pronounced sahng shing tahng), which helps moisten the lungs and repel the “dryness pernicious influence,” Schoenbart and Shefi said. The treatment should be accompanied by a diet of soups and plenty of liquids, and follow-up treatment should include American ginseng daily for two weeks.
– General acupuncture therapy: Acupuncture therapy in general is an ideal way to treat coughs from a number of causes. “Needling a point on the Conception Vessel meridian (an extra meridian) just above the sternum can quickly calm a cough and assist breathing. Moxa therapy is used typically in the cold, damp type of cough, since there is a need for warmth in that pattern,” Schoenbart and Shefi wrote.
Most Americans tend to use over-the-counter elixirs to treat coughs, but many of them prove ineffective. Chinese therapies can help.
Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com and republished with permission.
More in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, sustainable development
By Paul Darin
Scientific debates continue to rage over these food additives. Many claim they pose no threat while others cite evidence to the contrary. Here’s a list of America’s five most controversial food additives.
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a flavor enhancing food additive found in snack foods, Chinese takeout, ramen noodles, and a variety of other foods. It’s been controversial since the 1960s when people complained about headaches, chest pain, sweating, and a variety of other symptoms from eating it. According to Yale Scientific Magazine, no negative effects have been found. But, it does appear that a minority of the population does experience some of these symptoms from ingesting MSG. Ancient Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, and Chinese used MSG.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Made from genetically modified corn, this sugar substitute is found in nearly every soft drink and many candies in America. The artificially produced sugar does not exist in nature and is 20 to 70 percent cheaper than sugar. Like sugar, it doubles as a food preservative. However HFCS, according to the Global Healing Center, has a high risk of leading to hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, liver damage, and mercury exposure. The center also cited a Princeton University study that found that mice that ate HFCS gained fat 300 percent faster than those who ate fruit sugar.
3. Trans Fats
A polyunsaturated fat that does occur in nature is artificially produced on the commercial scale for snack foods like baked goods and chips. Controversy abounded during the fat-free craze during the 1980s and 1990s when this fat was used in reduced-fat foods.
In the body, trans fat acts much the same way as saturated fat does and can be even worse than saturated fats including lowering good cholesterol and raising bad cholesterol. More controversy arose when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the labeling of zero trans fats on food packaging when the product contained less than half a gram per serving, according to NBC.
To avoid trans fats, avoid products that list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the ingredients.
4. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
According to Fox News, GMO crops have been on the market since 1995 and include corn, soy, cotton, and canola, which are called the “big four.”
Additionally, Fox cited research about GMO consumption done on different animals, which found intestine, lung, kidney, and liver problems, and inflammation of the colon. Anti-GMO lobbyists have consistently fought a losing battle in the United States to get GMOs labeled on food packaging. The EU requires labeling for GMOs.
Found in most diet sodas and chewing gum, this sugar substitute and artificial sweetener inspired backlash as a toxic chemical hastily approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Aspartame was an accidental discovery when in 1966 a scientist licked his fingers after touching the chemical by accident after it spilled out of a flask, according to the FDA.
The controversy is about its approval by the FDA despite its toxic effects. According to a letter written to the FDA by the Aspartame Toxicity Information Center, the chemical has several negative side effects:
In the 1970s tests on infant primates consuming aspartame in milk resulted in five out of seven experiencing grand mal seizures.
Another test concluded that the chemical caused brain damage in lab mice. In the FDA’s defense, the letter said some of these effects were purposefully kept from the FDA until after its approval.
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Not Even Good Enough for Dog Food: Imported Food From China Loaded With Chemicals, Dyes, Pesticides and Fake Ingredients17 September, 2013 at 07:28 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
Tags: animals, Body & Mind, CCP, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Mike Adams
NaturalNews – Do you really know what’s in all the food you’re eating that’s imported from China? If you don’t, you’re actually in good company: The FDA only inspects 1% – 2% of all the food imported from China, so they don’t know either. Even when they inspect a shipment, they rarely test it for heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs or other toxic contaminants.
Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, added emphasis to this point as he testified this week in The House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, saying, “We don’t trust, for good reason, the Chinese to supply ingredients for our dog and cat food. Why should we trust Chinese exporters for the food that we are feeding our children and families?”
It’s a good question. Especially when, as Kastel adds, Chinese food is being routinely found to contain “unapproved chemicals, dyes, pesticides and outright fraud (fake food).”
Heavily contaminated food from China
As Natural News has already reported, food from China is frequently found to contain alarming levels of heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury) and other contaminants. Politically, China is a communist dictatorship where freedom of speech is completely outlawed. Environmental regulations are virtually never enforced. The culture is one of total deception where lying, cheating, stealing or committing fraud to get ahead is considered completely acceptable — because that’s how government is operated there. The moral decay of China is directly reflected in the alarming dishonesty of the food supply. (Yes, a country’s food exports will reflect its cultural and political philosophies. Freedom produces healthy food. Oppression and communism produces deceptive, deadly food.)
And yet, even with all this being widely known, Chinese farms are rarely inspected by organic certifiers. “U.S. certifiers are unable to independently inspect farms and assure compliance to the USDA organic food and agriculture standards that are required for export to the U.S.” explained Kastel in testimony. “These imports should not be allowed to reach our shore until and unless we have a system in place to assure consumers they are getting what they pay for. Just like U.S. grown organic commodities, the safety of these products must be rigorously overseen by independent inspectors.”
Counterfeit ingredients are the new norm in China
Also testifying at the hearing was Patty Lovera, the Assistant Director of Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch. The news on food fraud out of China “is a steady stream of controversies ranging from adulteration with counterfeit ingredients like melamine in dairy products, to widespread outbreaks of animal diseases like avian flu, and high levels of pesticide residues,” Lovera testified. “Just last week, news reports described a Chinese government campaign to break up a fake meat operation, leading to arrests of more than 900 people accused of passing off more than $1 million of rat meat as mutton.”
See Natural News coverage of the fake rat meat scandal here.
You are eating far more food from China than you think
Why does any of this matter? Because you’re eating far more food from China than you probably think.
Not only do retailers like Whole Foods sell “certified organic” food grown in China, the vast majority of superfood powders sold in North America use raw materials purchased in bulk from China. Nutritional supplements, herbs and vitamins are often made using materials from China.
Not everything from China is bad, but in our own lab tests here at Natural News, we’ve been shocked to discover just how frequently products from China are contaminated with metals, chemical solvents and pesticide residues. We have rejected dozens of suppliers in our own search for clean ingredients to use in our product formulations, and we’ve even had to send back product that showed up at our warehouse and simply didn’t meet our stringent quality control requirements. (True fact: We recently had to return several thousand pounds of goji berries to one supplier after discovering the product failed our quality control review.)
But here’s the even scarier part in all this:
I am repeatedly told I’m the ONLY person asking these questions
When I talk to suppliers of raw materials, I am repeatedly told that I am the only person asking them for heavy metals tests, pesticide tests and product samples to send to our own lab.
This happens over and over again. From this, I have learned there is virtually NO due diligence being conducted by natural products retailers. Most retailers simply buy and sell, shipping boxes and moving product while turning a blind eye to the truth about what they are buying and selling. They literally do not care whether their products are contaminated with heavy metals. They just want to sell, sell, sell!
Even more shockingly — and I seem to be the only journalist reporting this jaw-dropping fact — there are currently NO LIMITS set by the USDA for contamination of certified organic foods. A product may be USDA organic and still contain deadly levels of mercury, arsenic or lead. The USDA does not test or even regulate heavy metals in foods via its organic certified program!
So you can be shopping at a famous natural products retailer and you might pick up a product carrying the USDA Certified Organic logo, thinking, “This is certified healthy and safe by the U.S. government.” You are being lied to. That product could be grown in China in a field of mercury runoff from an industrial factory. It could contain ridiculously high levels of mercury, arsenic, PCBs and even chemical solvents. You could be eating pure death while paying a premium for it!
This is not an attack on the USDA, by the way. Their organic certification program is surprisingly good for the scope of what it attempts to accomplish. But understand that USDA organic certifies a process, not a result. At the farm level, it means foods are not intentionally grown with pesticides and herbicides, but it does not say anything whatsoever about heavy metals contamination of food production fields in China.
Massive organic food FRAUD
In truth, what’s really happening right now on a global scale is a massive organic food fraud. Food is grown in China and certified organic even though no U.S. inspectors even visit the farms. That food is then imported into the U.S. and almost never inspected. It’s packaged and sold at top dollar in natural foods retail stores, emblazoned with the USDA Organic label.
But nowhere along the way — except in extremely rare cases — is that food ever tested for heavy metals or other contaminants. This is why Mark Kastel correctly states this food can’t even be trusted “for dog food,” much less to feed yourself and your family.
Make no mistake about it: China is a nation full of immoral, unethical liars and deceivers. (Taiwan, on the other hand, is very different and has a much stronger moral code as well as basic human decency.) Remember: I speak Mandarin Chinese. I’ve lived in the Chinese culture. I’ve traveled throughout Asia and even given numerous public speeches to Chinese audiences. At the same time, I’ve investigated and written about food and food safety for more than a decade. Very few people are as qualified to tell you the truth about what’s really in your food coming out of China, and I can tell you that I don’t trust it.
In fact, the only way I will eat anything from China is if I subject it to extensive testing and verify that contamination levels are acceptably low. There are some great products out of China that are completely safe and healthy. Certain medicinal mushrooms, for example, are produced in China and are very clean. Some producers of goji berries are very honest and clean. There are no doubt organic growers who are producing very clean products in China, but these would be the exception, not the rule. By default, we must all now assume that anything from China is heavily contaminated.
Almost universally, food grown in North America is cleaner and less contaminated. This isn’t true 100% of the time, but usually so.
Toxic Chinese agriculture puts honest U.S. farmers out of business
The sad part about all this is that food from China is economically displacing U.S. and Canadian farmers who are generally far more honest and ethical in their farming practices. So while U.S. farmers are being put out of business for following the rules set by the EPA, FDA and USDA, the Chinese farmers are selling us contaminated, toxic “organic” food frauds produced by breaking all the rules!
That’s why I say grow local, buy local and eat local as much as possible. And until China cleans up its act on food contamination, do your best to avoid food from China. I don’t trust it unless EVERY BATCH is comprehensively lab tested and those lab tests are made public.
Props to Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel for having the courage to lay a lot of this out in congressional testimony. Rest assured Congress will never ask me to testify on food contamination because I would describe a truth so horrifying that people would stop eating for days…
P.S. The reason all your dogs and cats are dying from diabetes and cancer these days is because you’re giving them highly toxic pet treats imported from China. They are loaded with toxic solvents and industrial chemicals that cause permanent liver and kidney damage, among other devastating side effects. You can find these toxic, colorful pet treats sold at all the major pet store retailers. They are selling you PET DEATH and making a tidy profit doing so.
Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com
Tags: Food, thoughts of the day
I didn’t know this. And many more with me don’t, I guess. In fact I find it disgusting to eat this. I thought I ate natural vanilla and raspberry flavors.
I wonder how the food industry get hold of the glands, are they keeping the beavers in captivity? Are they killed for just the sake of the glands?
Here you can read more about it… Castoreum: Love raspberry or vanilla flavoring? Chances you may have eaten castoreum, which is a gland that beavers use, along with urine, to mark their territory. This gland is very popular as it is used in perfumes as well as in some food flavorings. It qualifies as a “natural” ingredient in all-natural foods.
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, Nature, Society, sustainable development
By Channaly Philipp
Biodynamic chocolate business lets nature rule, and the results are world-class
The cacao farmer felt he had no choice. He called Santiago Peralta, the man who normally bought his cacao, and offered to sell him his land so he could move to the city.
Peralta asked, “What are you going to do in the city? Beg for money?”
He went to meet the farmer, who said his back caused him pain and he couldn’t carry the bags of cacao anymore.
The solution? Peralta gave the farmer $120 so he could buy a donkey.
That was four years ago. The farmer has carried on with farming cacao, and he never went into the city to beg for money.
Instead a donkey trend caught on. “Everyone started getting donkeys, just like that,” Peralta said.
Peralta, 41, makes some of the best chocolate on Earth, working with 3,000 farming families in his native Ecuador. Pacari Chocolate, which he and his wife Carla Barbota launched in 2008, swept last year’s International Chocolate Awards, taking home 23. These awards are where the world’s finest chocolates are put to the test through blind tastings.
If there was ever the notion that exceptional chocolate could only come out of Europe’s strongholds of culinary achievement, that victory proved the idea wrong. An increasing appreciation for regional authenticity has meant regions that used to be completely off the radar are coming into their own in the most surprising ways.
Just like a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar can reveal its provenance, its terroir, and even when it came about, as long as its flavor remains true to the cacao beans that were used.
Generally, in a mass production process, those flavors are flattened and standardized through over-processing and over-roasting and result in chocolate bars each as predictable as the next. Take a Hershey’s bar, for example.
The business of staying true to the bean is completely different. Pacari’s “tree-to-bar” production, for example, oversees every stage, from the cacao trees to the finished product, in the process creating income for all along the chain, from farmer to packager.
Ecuador has been producing cacao for hundreds of years, becoming the world’s largest cacao exporter in the late 19th century. Its production made fortunes, and played a crucial role in securing its independence from Spain, with farmers seeing the allure of being able to sell not only to Spain, but to other nations as well.
Its geography is particular: a small country, where jungles, deserts, mountains, and volcanoes all juggle for space, with climates ranging from desertic to monsoonic.
Peralta points out different characteristics of single-origin Pacari chocolate bars, tying region and flavor: floral and fruity from the Manabi region, which is dry, and caramel notes from the Esmeraldas region, which is rainy and green.
Then there is the spectacular limited edition Nube bar, which won the gold at the chocolate awards. Peralta won’t reveal the location of the cacao trees whose beans yield a chocolate that’s unbelievably floral—the aroma smacks of roses. It’s all in the terroir and the specific year. These results can’t be engineered; they are happy surprises from nature.
You could call it an accident, but Peralta is willing to partner with Nature and let her have her way, resulting in incredible flavors.
“It’s like love,” he muses. “You don’t control things in life. I have a friend, he’s a great chocolate producer in a company in the U.K. called Booja-Booja, who says, ‘Relax: Nothing is under control.’ Relax! You have nothing to do with it. You’re trying to go one way but the flow is the other way. You don’t control anything.”
Peralta is pushing the envelope as far away from mass production methods as possible. All his chocolate is already organic, and he pays double the market price, a premium far above the going Fair Trade rate, which he said pays 6 percent above the market price (he has little to say that is complimentary about the labeling scheme).
And he’s also making biodynamic chocolate, using an agriculture approach that takes into account the rhythms of nature, pioneered by Rudolf Steiner. The Demeter biodynamic seal took four years to obtain.
Biodynamic means power, you accept the forces, you act with the forces, you go with the flow, you don’t produce 24/7 – Santiago Peralta, co-founder, Pacari
“Biodynamic means power, you accept the forces, you act with the forces, you go with the flow, you don’t produce 24/7.” He became familiar with biodynamic concepts while living in Germany for a year. And he’ll admit, there are some strange practices, but he says they work.
For example, one practice calls for a cow horn filled with a mix of cow waste and silica, buried in the ground. As the concept goes, the silica powder acts as conductor for light and energy, sending concentrated energy underground, benefiting the cacao trees.
Only about 20 grams per hectare of the mixture is used for the cacao trees. There are no fertilizers, no pesticides.
Or when there’s a drought, a refreshing biodynamic mixture is applied over the trees.
“Just a tiny amount. Can you imagine?” asks Peralta. “Normally you need to pump oil from the Amazon, passing the mountains, to Esmaraldas port, passing Panama, going to Germany to make [oil] into a chemical, coming back, taking a truck” to then apply half a ton of chemicals per hectare, which would take someone a week to do. With the biodynamic method, one person covers eight hectares a day with a pump, just walking around.
“This is sustainable. And the cacao is stronger, you can tell it’s stronger.” The crushers that crack the cacao beans had never stopped in years of production. But the first year cracking the biodynamic cacao beans, it happened.
“But just taste it, it’s better,” he adds.
The biodynamic methods were used to make Pacari’s Raw chocolate bar, which has won multiple awards. The chocolate is minimally processed, at low temperatures, and is the only biodynamic chocolate in the world.
“It’s a special chocolate where you see a lot of flavors, every time you try it, you get something different. It’s not a chocolate, which is a nice chocolate, which is gone. It’s still in your mouth. It’s there—boom, aggressive. It has personality, tannic, like wine.”
The flavors evolve as the chocolate melts on your tongue, in turns dry, woodsy, fruity.
The nutritional profile is particular, too: Antioxidant counts are through the roof.
Direct Trade Cacao
Maricel Presilla, a chocolate judge, culinary historian, and chef in Hoboken, N.J., as well as a winner of a James Beard Award, has seen the benefits that a direct-trade approach has had on farmers. She herself comes from a family of farmers in Cuba, where her grandparents were cacao farmers.
She has seen stark differences between farms that were using biodynamic methods and ones that weren’t. During a dry spell, the biodynamic farm’s trees were full with cacao for harvesting. “Next door,” which wasn’t biodynamic, “they had nothing.”
“People begin to care a lot more about the land,” she said. “They see the land as alive, in tune with the seasons.”
Not only that, but cacao, she said, is a “generous plant that likes to live with other plants” so it’s not rare for farmers to also grow coconuts, bananas, and coffee, for their own use. “A typical sight on a cacao farm is to see a farmer carrying plantain, yucca, something like that.”
When Peralta started working with farmers, he began working with farming families. “We believe in family relations in southern countries. It’s very important.”
Peralta wanted high quality, organic cacao, which wasn’t a hard sell for the farmers. “A lot of people don’t believe in chemicals—a lot of people don’t have the money to pay for chemicals.”
He started offering prizes for the best cacao among the farmers he was working with, and also came up with practical, simple, and more importantly, cheap solutions to improve the quality of the cacao.
Some had social consequences, for example, cacao used to be packaged in 100-pound bags, which only strong men could carry. Now, the bags were smaller, able to hold 50 pounds at the most, which opened the door for women to work.
“The women are more clever with money,” Peralta said, so the way the money is spent has shifted too. When men used to get paid, their friends would wait around on payday, hoping for a round of drinks. “Just one stupid thing. We saw it, we changed it, and now life has changed for these people.”
There are small adjustments like these and larger community initiatives, but all of these come about because of direct relationships with farmers.
Peralta spends about a third of his time in the field. The farmers are his friends, his associates, he says.
Presilla says something as simple as paying a premium for cacao has a huge effect on the life of farmers.
Both Peralta and Presilla are members of a relatively new organization, Direct Cacao, formed last year in Honduras. “We have the best chocolate makers from Europe and America involved,” she said. It will open to new members this month.
The goal is to establish a direct network between farmers and chocolate makers, as exemplified in Peralta’s work. There will also be educational programs, and a first international conference in the Dominican Republic.
Ever since the practices in the Ivory Coast were exposed, large companies have been careful. “Even companies that seem to be gigantic do something that is good. Mars, for example, pours millions of dollars in research.” Still, she said, “You cannot have great chocolate inexpensively.”
In the normal chocolate production chain, the divide is wide and long between raw material and finished product. The history of chocolate production is rife with exploitation and in the Ivory Coast, infamously spawned child slavery and human trafficking years ago.
In Ecuador, there are cacao farmers who had produced cacao generation after generation, but had never tasted chocolate.
“We gave them chocolate for the first time in their lives,” Peralta said. “They said ‘It’s sweet! It’s really nice.’ Can you imagine? Your grand-grand-grand grandfather was growing cacao [and you’re growing cacao] and you never have tried it. They are very proud. We have the best chocolate, we have the best cacao on Earth.”
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Marc Sahr
Many health-conscious people read labels, checking for the customary, relatively easy-to-understand elements: the amount of sodium, sugar, vitamins, calories, carbohydrates, and so on. A skim through the ingredients list can also be informative, but for the majority of consumers the ingredient names don’t really provide a clear picture of what they’re eating.
How many people know what dipotassium phosphate is? How about propylene glycol? Monosodium glutamate? This latter one is more commonly known as MSG, but would not likely be labeled as such.
Here’s a look at some of the ingredients you may not know your eating.
Considered “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, propylene glycol is used in antifreeze.
While the version used in cars is ethylene glycol, propylene glycol nonetheless is an anti-freeze. What’s so surprising about that? Well it is also found in cake mixes, salad dressings, deodorants, and dog food.
This ingredient is used to preserve food.
So what effect will it have on your body? If you are allergic, you will develop a rash if you ingest it—or in the case of a deodorant, if you put it on your skin.
Hand sanitizer often contains propylene glycol.
Like pesticides or fertilizers? Well this ingredient, found in Coca Cola and non-dairy creamers is also found in many pesticides and fertilizers. Yummy! Originally used to slow the growth of bacteria, it also acts as a coagulant for foods such as pudding. It is used in pastas and cereals to reduce the cooking time.
It is also used in waterproofing, disinfecting and sanitizing products.
Untreated phosphate at the Marca factory in the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.
Love raspberry or vanilla flavoring? Chances you may have eaten castoreum, which is a gland that beavers use, along with urine, to mark their territory. This gland is very popular as it is used in perfumes as well as in some food flavorings. It qualifies as a “natural” ingredient in all-natural foods.
Two North American beavers at the Smithsonian National Zoo on Aug. 29, 2012.
We have mostly heard about MSG because many American-Chinese restaurants used this
extensively, and unless you see a sign that says “no MSG,” generally it is assumed MSG is used. While not recognized as unsafe by the FDA, people have been known to have adverse reactions from high blood pressure to heart rate problems. Most people do not experience any symptoms.
Fast food restaurant KFC lists the ingredients in all of its dishes online; monosodium glutamate appears 61 times in total.
While it’s not really an ingredient, mercury is nonetheless present in some fish people consume, especially swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. In these fish, the mercury level is generally higher than 1.1 parts per million (PPM), and they should be avoided by pregnant, or nursing women and young children.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the mercury in these fish could affect the nervous system of both mother and unborn child.
Some Ingredients You May Recognize, But Should Watch Out For: High Fructose Corn Syrup
Almost everything we eat and drink these days has this ingredient. Especially if you order out often from fast food restaurants.
Sugary sodas, such as Fanta, contain as much as 52 grams of sugar. Many people now go out of their way to actually buy the Mexican version of sodas that contain real sugar to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
The prevalence of this ingredient in American food has been identified as a cause of obesity and type II diabetes.
While not a deadly item if used in moderation, sodium has become a staple additive that Americans have used extensively. Sodium holds excess water in the body. The body requires a certain amount of sodium for the muscles and nerves to function properly, and to control blood pressure and blood volume, according National Institute of Health.
Too much sodium, however, causes high blood pressure, heart diseases, and kidney disease.
Foods containing excessive levels of sodium include cereals, salad dressings, crackers, and bread.
Don’t be misled by some labels on products that state “0 trans fat.” According to an article on Health.com, a labeling loophole allows foods with up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving to be labeled “0 trans fat.”
Generally when the ingredients list partially hydrogenated oil, the food contains trans fats. In New York City, trans fat has been outlawed in restaurants—but the NYC Department of Health also allows for 0.5 grams per serving.
The ban in New York City restaurants does not apply to sealed packages, such as crackers, made with shortening or partially hydrogenated oil.
Why are trans fats bad? According to the Mayo Clinic, “Trans fat raises your ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol.”
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Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Sally Appert
As the use of factory meat farms increases in China, scientists are concerned that the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could pose a worldwide health risk.
Over half the antibiotics in China are given to livestock, a recent study has shown.
The demand for pork has been rising in China, and half the world’s pigs are in China. Pig farmers routinely add antibiotics to their animals’ feed to promote growth and reduce disease risk, but they are not required to report the amount of antibiotics used, according to online media The World.
The World interviewed staff at a large commercial hog farm in the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province, where the pigs were fed in a big enclosed building. The manager declined to be interviewed.
However, one employee agreed to talk even though she didn’t have permission. “It takes a few months here for the pigs to grow big enough for sale. The pigs are fed really good materials,” she said, according to The World.
The antibiotics may make the pigs grow faster, but overusing antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
Scientists from China and the United States conducted a study last year on hog manure from commercial farms in China. As expected, they found large numbers of drug-resistant bacteria.
More surprisingly, they found that different drug-resistant genes could hop around in clusters from one type of bacteria to another, producing bacteria that were resistant to multiple drugs.
These hard-to-kill pathogens could spread to humans.
“The big problem is the resistance can be transferred to human beings and also could be transferred globally by food export or import,” Dr. Xiao Yonghong of the Antibacterial Resistance Investigation Unit of China’s Health Ministry said, according to The World.
China isn’t the only country with this problem. The online media Mother Jones reports that China is merely following in America’s footsteps, since half of China’s antibiotics use is for livestock, while the United States uses 77 percent for livestock.
It’s hard to compare it that way, though, because people in China use 10 times as many antibiotics per capita as people in the United States, Time reported according to Mother Jones.
“Chinese pork farming is changing rapidly,” Mother Jones states, citing a study by the Dutch bank Rabobank, showing that between 2001 and 2010, the number of hogs from factory farms increased while the number of hogs from small family farms dropped by half.
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Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
As the barometer rises, good hydration is key
By Mareya Ibrahim
Growing up in a warm country, a prerequisite for a blistering hot day—which was about 10 months out of the year—was to pay a visit to the juice bar around the corner from our apartment. The proprietor would stack the counters up with colorful pyramids of oranges, beets, mangoes, guavas and pomegranates, depending on what was in season.
Vases filled with rods of sugar cane and long carrots anchored the artful arrangements to create an edible landscape. Once the juicers started to whir, the sweet scent of freshness would dance through the steamy streets, luring customers in like a pied piper. The proprietor would create his own signature fruit and veggie “cocktails,” mixing beets with oranges, carrots and mangoes, a soulful blend of sweet and savory.
Little did we know that fresh pressed juice provided us with pure goodness in a glass. Packed with live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, fresh juice also helps boost metabolism, fight infection, build tissue and strong bones … and help everything move along the way it’s supposed to, if you know what I mean.
Before you reach for that diet soda or mega-can energy drink, you might want to think before you drink. Caffeine and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can zap you of vital nutrients that keep your system running smoothly.
Now that the barometer is rising, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. But before you reach for that diet soda or mega-can energy drink, you might want to think before you drink. Caffeine and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can zap you of vital nutrients that keep your system running smoothly.
How does proper hydration keep you fit and healthy? One of the most important features is to keep the body cool. When you’re active—hiking, biking, riding, swimming—it’s even more essential to keep replacing fluids lost through sweat. You may not feel thirsty but your body needs it. Try these simple tips to sip and quench your thirst for better hydration for the whole family.
Drinking half your weight in ounces of clear liquids each day is key to keeping everything running smoothly. In fact, every cell function requires hydration, but most people wait until they’re thirsty before they drink.
- Carry a lightweight, reusable water bottle everywhere. Pick a BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free model and make it part of your repertoire. My favorite is called the Bobble, and it has a filter inside, so you can fill it from any tap and enjoy clean, fresh water while doing your part for the environment. You can get the equivalent of 300 water bottles from one Bobble filter!
- Ditch the energy drinks. Most of the options out there are filled with stimulants and artificial colors and flavors that actually zap your body’s ability to recharge itself. Options like coconut water contain more give you a real pick-me-up while helping to regulate blood pressure and heart function. O.N.E. Coconut Water comes in a variety of flavors and kids’ varieties, mixed with juice in aseptic containers with straws for on-the-go convenience.
- Try rainforest superfruits instead of coffee. Açaí blends offer a natural kick along with an army of antioxidants to help raise immunity and fight disease. Smoothie packs make a refreshingly cool pick-me-up. Sambazon makes their blends ready to drink along with frozen smoothie packs so you can create your own delicious drinks.
- Make time for tea. Getting green tea and flavored water into your daily routine is a good way to keep it fresh. I love the Takeya Flash Chill Tea Maker and Fruit Infuser for an elegant, easy way to enjoy great iced tea and fruit-infused water with the beautiful pitcher system.
- Get your nourishment from Mother Nature. If the heat zaps your appetite, fill up on fruit and veggies along with a good quality protein powder—like Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake—into a glass. Fruit and veggies have a high water content and help keep you hydrated. Add watermelon, spinach, cucumber, and celery to your blender and get your daily supply of produce in a snap! Cucumber is also high in potassium, so it’s a good electrolyte replacement.
Mareya Ibrahim is The Fit Foody, an award-winning chef on ABC’s Emmy-nominated show “Recipe Rehab,” and author and founder of EatCleaner.com. Her book “The Clean Eating Handbook,” a guide on how to eat cleaner and get leaner, was released in May 2013.
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Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, censorship, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Gu Chunqiu
Following outrage among netizens, demands by Beijing attorneys, and media pressure, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources recently issued a report on the quality of the nation’s groundwater. The report has failed to address the scope or the severity of the problem, say critics.
Concern about groundwater seized the public’s attention in early February after blog posts by the journalist Dong Fei about the pumping of industrial waste water underground in eastern China’s Shandong Province. Chemical and paper plants in Jiangsu Province, just south of Shangdong, and in Huabei (a region of several provinces in northern China) were also reported using wells to dispose of their waste water.
By mid-February 2.9 million netizens published posts with pictures of water pollution in their hometowns in response to a request from Dong.
Three Beijing attorneys then publicly requested that the authorities publish official data on China’s groundwater pollution and media in China took up the issue.
In later March, a 400-page report titled “2011 Data on Groundwater Quality at Nationally Monitored Sites” appeared.
Environmental scientist Zhao Zhangyuan , a retired member of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, told the state-run Jinghua Times (a subsidiary of Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily) that the report used outdated 1993 standards, which do not test for many organic pollutants that make up the bulk of modern pollution.
The Nanjing Survey Center of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences monitored groundwater near the Yangtze River Delta—a heavily urbanized area in eastern China that includes Shanghai—and found that it contained cancer-causing chemicals such as dichloroethane and dichloromethane, and other organic chemicals known to affect the nervous system, kidneys, and liver, such as toluene and chloroform. None of these chemicals are covered under the 1993 standards.
Available evidence suggests that China suffers from groundwater pollution on a much larger scale than the authorities have been willing to disclose.
Studies done by the China Geological Survey since 2006 show that in the Huabei region, only 22.2 percent of the region’s groundwater was safe to drink. Groundwater makes up the bulk of the region’s drinking water supply.
The study found that throughout the region, groundwater at shallow levels was found to be heavily polluted. Although the groundwater at deeper levels was found to be cleaner, 12.86 percent of it was found to be polluted as well.
According to the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, a Shenzhen-based think tank, China will increasingly turn to groundwater sources for its drinking water supplies between now and 2017, due to the country’s relative lack of water resources.
The research institute projects that approximately 70 percent of the Chinese population, or over 400 out of China’s 660 cities, will draw their drinking water primarily from groundwater sources.
China’s rural population draws most of its drinking water supplies from wells, which tap into shallow-level groundwater sources. However the indiscriminate use of fertilizer and pesticide has severely polluted groundwater in the countryside.
“Cancer villages” have appeared in Henan, Anhui, Sichuan, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, and Shandong provinces.
According to a Voice of America report, groundwater in the Huabei region has been found to contain heavy metals far exceeding allowable limits, including mercury, chromium, cadmium, and lead.
In addition, organic substance pollution has appeared in: the southern suburbs of Beijing; Shijiazhuang, the capital of northern China’s Hebei Province; Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province; and the Yuxi Plain in Henan Province. The main pollutants are benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and trichloroethylene, all of which can cause cancer and other health problems.
Besides these pollutants, at least 100 million people in China are drinking groundwater with dangerous levels of arsenic, which can cause cardiovascular problems and an increased risk of cancer, as well as fluorine, which is known to cause bone deformities in children and kidney problems.
According to the Voice of America report, companies throughout China have been digging wells for the sole purpose of discharging industrial effluent into the groundwater for the past 20 years.
Chinese netizens have since gone online to express their unhappiness over the issue. On Sina Weibo—a popular microblog service similar to Twitter—a user named Wang Pan wrote, “Large businesses are heartlessly pumping pollutants into our groundwater supply, and yet the government, blinded by political goals, has ignored and even openly tolerated this.
“Our rivers and streams suffer from the pollution of surface water, but our very water sources suffer from the pollution of groundwater. How is this different from nuclear waste? This will end the lives of our future generations. When there is no more clean water left in China, what will be the use of having GDP?”
Wang Pan’s account was removed shortly after the comment was posted, showing the regime’s unwillingness to allow free discussion of the problem.
According to Fan Xiao, a geologist and chief engineer at the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, China currently lacks official regulations on the discharge of wastewater into groundwater sources, and state agencies lack the capability to enforce regulations.
“[We] are heavily reliant on our groundwater sources, and if they become polluted, cleaning them up will be virtually impossible,” Fan said.
Rapid urbanization has driven the growth of both the extent and severity of mainland China’s groundwater pollution problems. Key to this is the communist regime’s single-minded pursuit of GDP growth.
According to the 2012 Chinese Cancer Registry Annual Report, due to extreme levels of environmental pollution, there are 3.5 million new cases of cancer in mainland China every year, resulting in 2.5 million deaths annually. This is the equivalent of 8,550 new cases of cancer being diagnosed every day.
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Tags: Body & Mind, Children, Food, health, Society
Thinking Shen Yun Performing Arts would be entertaining for my daughters, I bought tickets as soon as I heard about them. What I got from the performance was not only entertaining—it was enlightening. One historical story after another taught me about grace, kindness, and strength. That evening, I understood more about how to be a good woman than ever before.
Shen Yun is a performing arts company based in New York whose mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture. In honor of Mother’s Day, the Shen Yun website recounts stories of great mothers from Chinese history. The story of how the great philosopher Mencius came to be, and the role that his mother played, really stood out for me.
His father died when he was very young, and his mother was left to raise him. They lived near a cemetery and Mencius started imitating funeral processions. Noticing this, his mother moved them closer to the marketplace. But soon Mencius started speaking in the haggling way that merchants spoke. As a result, Mencius’ mother decided to move them again.
This time they moved next to a school, and Mencius started imitating scholars’ study habits. Pleased about this, Mencius’s mother did not move again, and Mencius grew up to become one of the greatest philosophers in Chinese history.
Just as Mencius’s mother gave him an environment to thrive in as a scholar, we can create the same kind of influence on our children when it comes to their health habits.
I’ve noticed that my children imitate me a lot. This is how they learned to speak, use body language, and react to things.
I had a lot of issues around my body image and my relationship to food, and I did not want to pass these notions on to my daughters. I have met many women who blame their poor eating habits (be it bingeing or starving) on their mothers.
I have more than one relative who suffers from an eating disorder, and I did not want my daughters to do the same. I needed to get clear about my food values so I could lead by example.
It became more important to me that I eat with ease, enjoyment, and respect for my health because that’s what I wanted to teach my daughters.
I stopped complaining about feeling fat or regretting my food choices if they weren’t optimal. It was surprisingly tough to do that. I had gotten into the habit of equating my body fat with my self-worth, and so I went through a bit of withdrawal from self-criticism.
Just as Mencius’s mother saw Mencius copying those around him, I saw my daughters copying me. I saw my clients’ daughters copying them, and I saw my friends’ daughters copying them. I wanted my daughters to learn confidence, healthy habits, and respect.
Helping Children Develop Healthy Habits
• Children love fun
Kids are fun-making machines. They love to explore with their hands and their mouths, so take advantage of this, and feed them foods they can interact with. For example, let them add their own sour cream and parsley to their black bean soup or place their own raisins on a celery stick with nut butter for an “ants on a log” treat.
I got my kids off the ice cream kick by letting them whip up really thick smoothies in the blender. They nicknamed these “smoothie ice cream.”
• Children are the best conscious eaters
Because most children approach things very simply, they have a lot of focus. I remember when my daughter had just learned how to tie her own shoelaces. She would breathe heavily as she carefully tied them. It took some serious focus.
Children pay a lot of attention to all of their various experiences. Have you ever seen a child get lost in a game? They aren’t just pretending, they are experiencing. With a little guidance, it is easy to teach them how to pay closer attention to what they are eating.
What does the texture of this food feel like? Is it smooth or rough in your mouth? Do the flavors change as you chew? How long can you chew before you swallow your food?
• Children love learning
Children are incredibly curious. They love to learn. Remember the endless “whys?” Take this curiosity by teaching them about food and health. The more you educate your children about what they are eating, the more they will choose healthy foods.
Get them excited about growing organic vegetables, and explain what happens to the earth’s soil when we use pesticides. Teach them about where dairy comes from, and how too much sugar will affect them.
Warning here: Keep it simple. If you get too technical, you risk your children getting bored, misunderstanding you, or getting scared of eating certain food for fear of illness or death. Keep it simple and light! They will make it fun.
• Children love variety
Notice how schools are often decorated with lots of colors, textures, and shapes. It keeps the children stimulated, interested, and engaged. With food, do the same. The more variety, the better. So build meals with a variety of colors, flavors, textures, and shapes.
When you follow these tips, your children will naturally learn to have a healthier relationship with food. It will become part of the way they live rather than an escape from life.
Give them enough guidance and boundaries with food to feel safe, yet enough freedom to explore, get interested, and be brave.
Mothers, we have a great role to play. Let’s be responsible to our children for better health and more confidence. Have a fabulous Mother’s Day!
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is http://www.lavendermamas.com
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
Probably the most beneficial and widely unknown use of linseed flax as a household medicine is the external application of the raw oil to any area where ligaments have been torn, cut, or strained, and even where they are too tight or loose. A small amount daily, massaged in thoroughly is all that is required. Too much and you will be left with oily stains on clothing.
When applied in this way linseed oil has the effect of toning and lubricating the affected tendons and ligament tissue.
If you are an office worker with repetitive strain in the wrists, or if you have recently twisted your ankle while out for your morning jog, or you are recovering from surgery or any accident that has resulted in damaged or cut tendons, then linseed oil applied every day can gradually soften and restore flexibility to tendons and ligaments. It should be a permanent fixture in your training bag if you are the type of person who is constantly pushing your body to its physical limits.
For the Skin
If you live in a hot dry climate or just suffer from dry skin at certain times of the year, then you should do as many desert dwelling cultures have and apply the raw oil to your skin to prevent dehydration. In ancient Egypt, linseed oil was used as an additive to preserve the paints that decorated the walls of the ancient tombs and temples. It can do the same thing for your skin, and when regularly applied it will help to prevent dehydration, and yes, prevent the formation of wrinkles!
Linseed oil is not an instant fix, nor does it have anti-inflammatory or warming properties, but if it is used regularly, it can in time restore elasticity to tendons, ligaments, and skin.
A tea brewed from the crushed seeds is helpful in cases of constipation if a dry bowel is the cause. The oil content along with other waxy and resinous substances that are present in the crushed seeds is sufficient to line and lubricate the intestinal tract. The seeds are readily available from health food stores. To prepare the tea just lightly bruise the brown outer cover of the seed and brew as you would any other tea.
Linseed meal has a nutty and slightly bitter flavor. It is sold on its own or sometimes included as an ingredient in muesli mixes, and can also be used as a healthy additive to flour. The seeds are high in vegetable protein, which is very helpful if you are vegetarian. It is also high in lecithin and other phosphorous compounds. Acetic acid is present, which has a stimulatory effect on enzymes and a balancing effect on blood viscosity.
The cultivation of linseed goes so far back into antiquity that it is unknown exactly where this plant originated. Educated guesses place its point of origin in Egypt or Central Asia. Its use was certainly well recorded by the ancient Egyptians, who set aside large tracts of land for its cultivation near the ancient city of Thebes. These fields of linseed produced all manner of essential products for that civilization, including medicine, cosmetics, fine linens for the noble class, as well as bandages for the process of mummification.
It was also important to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The Roman author, naturalist, and military commander Pliny the Elder writes of linseed, “What department is there to be found of active life in which flax is not employed?”
In Teutonic mythology linseed was held to be under the protection of the Goddess Hulda, who was said to have first taught mortals the art of growing, spinning, and weaving it.
Remember to only eat the crushed linseed meal, not the whole seeds. Refined and cold pressed linseed oil can be added to other oils for cooking and salad dressings. Raw linseed oil should only be used externally.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist and horticulturist based in Sydney, Australia.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Food, health, Society
By Li Wenhui
Recurring scandals are tarnishing the brand of Tongrentang, a Beijing-based, 360-year-old manufacturer and retailer of traditional Chinese medicine remedies that sells its products around the world. The firm’s difficulties reflect systemic problems with the production of traditional remedies in China.
According to a May 9 report in the mainland Chinese newspaper Southern Daily, on May 7 Hong Kong’s Department of Health ordered a recall of the remedy Jian Ti Wu Bu Wan from all retail outlets because its mercury content was found to be five times the permitted limit. The medicine was not even supposed to contain mercury, said a Department of Health spokesman.
After Jian Ti Wu Bu Wan was withdrawn in Hong Kong, sources in the traditional Chinese medicine industry told Southern Daily that two of the company’s other products, Niu Huang Qian Jin San and Xiao Er Zhi Bao Wan, were found to contain 17.3 percent and 0.72 percent of mercury sulfide by weight, far exceeding international safety limits.
The publicity about the high levels of mercury in these three remedies came just after Tongrentang’s subsidiary, Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Co Ltd (8138:Hong Kong) launched an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange on May 6. News of the heavy metal contamination thus gained much media and public attention.
The Tongrentang brand has been considered a benchmark for traditional Chinese medicine. The company was established in 1649 and served the imperial court. Today, its website reports its products are sold in 40 countries and regions, and the Chinese regime mouthpiece People’s Daily has referred to the company as the largest producer of traditional Chinese medicine.
According to industry sources cited by Southern Daily in a May 21 report, the problems involving mercury contamination are not limited to a few Tongrentang products.
The sources say around 40 medicinal products widely sold by Tongrentong contain mercury sulfide. In addition, about 30 percent of the company’s medicine products for children also contain mercury sulfide, according to the insiders.
The Chengdu Business Daily in a May 22 article reported that the illegal additive mannitol was detected in January this year in the Pobifong pollen flakes produced by Tongrentang, which violates China’s National Food Safety Standards.
Dried Chinese foxglove slices produced by Beijing Tongrentang (Bozhou) Sliced Chinese Medicine Co. Ltd. failed in April to meet requirements over total ash content as well as acid-insoluble ash content, also according to Chengdu Business Daily.
Dr. Wang Quansheng, vice director of the Integrated Therapy of Traditional and Western Medicines at central China’s Wuhan Union Hospital, told the Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po that according to China’s official pharmacopoeia, the daily intake of mercury sulfide should not exceed 0.1 – 0.5 grams per person. The long-term intake or overdosage of the compound could result in damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.
Tongrentong issued a statement on May 22 on its official website, saying that cinnabarite (or mercury(II) sulfide) is a traditional Chinese medicine with a history of about 2000 years, and as long as patients follow the doctor’s instructions, it should be safe to take.
The quality control issues that have surfaced with Tongrentang are not particular to it.
Shi Lichen, cofounder of the Medical Business Unit at the Alliance PKU Management Consultants Ltd., a specialized management consulting company held by Peking University, said that Chinese companies need to adopt strict controls to ensure that the raw materials they use are free from heavy metal contamination, with possible sources including herbs grown in contaminated soil, and middlemen who secretly add heavy metals to raw produce to increase its market weight. Companies must also ensure that their manufacturing processes do not introduce heavy metals into their medicine products as well.
The public has in the past shown great concern over the issue of heavy metal contamination, and the Tongrentang incident has left some wondering.
Mr. Wang Jingye, a famous Chinese tenor who now lives in Singapore wrote on his Weibo, “If I can’t even trust such an established medicine brand as Tongrentang, is my best hope to await death if I fall ill?” “God, if even medicine is poisonous now, can you please tell us what is still safe to eat [in China]?”
Translated by Leo Chen. Written in English by Shu Yan Tan.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Food, health, Society
BEIJING— Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country’s largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
The mills in Hunan province’s Youxian county were ordered to suspend business and recall their products after samples showed excessive levels of cadmium, according to an official notice issued Tuesday by the county government.
It said the mills had been operating legally and sourced their rice from local farmers.
The announcement followed reports over the weekend that government inspectors discovered that 44.4 percent of rice and rice products tested this year in the southern city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province showed high levels of cadmium. The carcinogenic metal can seriously damage the kidneys and cause other health problems.
Hunan is a heavily agricultural province that borders on Guangdong, although it wasn’t clear if there was a direct connection between the mills and Guangzhou’s tainted rice.
While investigations are continuing, cadmium is believed to have entered the rice from soil polluted with heavy metals. Air and soil pollution are chronic problems in China, caused by poor regulation of industrial emissions and heavy dependence on coal to generate electricity.
China’s food supply also suffers from deliberate faking or adulterating by unscrupulous operators, leading to occasional public panic over products from infant formula to cooking oil and a deep lack of trust in the government’s ability to ensure food safety.
In one of the worst scandals, at least six babies died and 300,000 became sick in 2008 after being fed milk powder tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, which was illegally added to watered-down dairy products to make their protein content appear normal.
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