China’s Environmental Catastrophe

14 August, 2014 at 09:08 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, health, Nature, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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China's Environmental Catastrophe

By Hong Jiang

China’s environment has been so thoroughly assaulted by urban and industrial development that pollution in air, water, and soil has reached alarming levels. “It’s on a scale and speed the world has never known,” according to Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center. What do we know? What can be done?

‘Airpocalypse’

Beijing’s air pollution reached a level so dramatically high in January 2013 that a new word, “airpocalypse,” was coined for it. The word has since been used to refer to the alarming air pollution in Beijing and other Chinese cities.

Beijing’s PM2.5 level reached beyond 500 in January 2013, with the high index recurring in 2014.

The smog-choked city experienced a visibility so low that it put schools and work at a halt.

World Health Organization (WHO) measures PM2.5, particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, as a health indicator, as it can penetrate the blood stream and enter the lungs, causing respiratory disease, lung cancer, and various other ailments. Safe exposure to PM2.5 is 10 micrograms per cubic meter annually, and 25 micrograms per cubic meter over a 24-hour period—called PM2.5 index 12 and 25, respectively.

A research report released by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in February 2013 ranked Beijing as the second worst in living environment among 40 major cities in the world, according to the Daily Mail. The study considered Beijing “barely suitable” for living due to its severe air pollution.

Smog is especially severe in northern Chinese cities during the winter heating season when coal burning adds to air pollution. In October 2013, the northern city of Harbin had the record PM2.5 index of 1,000, with visibility reduced to less than 50 meters, according to data from China’s environmental protection agency.

China’s unbridled and coal-dependent development serves as the direct cause of air pollution. China consumes half of the coal in the world, used to fuel the world’s second-largest economy.

Air pollution has caused great harm to human health. Based on a “2010 Global Burden of Disease” study published in December 2013 in The Lancet, a British medical journal, air pollution led to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, which is about 40 percent of the global total.

Air pollution has reduced life expectancy by 5.5 years in Northern China, according to a study done by researchers from China, Israel, and the United States and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year.

China’s airpocalypse not only chokes the Chinese cities, but also affects other countries through long-range transport of air pollutants. About 40–60 percent of fine particulate pollution in Japan comes from China, said Hiroshi Tanimoto at Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies to New York Times. The effect on Korea is even greater. Pollutants have crossed the Pacific to affect the western part of the United States.

China’s airpocalypse goes hand in hand with China’s rank as the top emitter of greenhouse gases, aiding the driver of global climate change and the threat of global warming.

Water ‘Too Dangerous to Touch’

If air pollution is bad enough, water pollution is an even worse problem and more difficult to resolve, said a report by The Economist.

“There are large parts of the urban water supply which are not only too dangerous to drink—they are too dangerous to touch,” said John Parker, globalization editor at The Economist, in a video interview. “You cannot even wash in them.”

Data from the Chinese government in 2011 shows that over half of China’s large lakes and reservoirs were too contaminated for human use. Groundwater, which accounts for one-third of China’s water resources, suffers similar pollution. Of the more than 4,700 groundwater-quality testing stations, about 60 percent showed “relatively bad” or worse pollution level. Half of the rural population lacks safe drinking water.

Chemical, pharmaceutical, and power plants spew pollutants into waterways, creating dead zones where they flow. A notable example is central China’s Huai River, pronounced dead by Elizabeth Economy in her well-known 2004 book on China’s environment, “The River Runs Black.”

If China’s air pollution makes airpocalypse, water pollution has created incidents that attract international attention. In 2007, Lake Tai suffered from a heavy carpet of blue-green algae that is cancer-inducing, and its gruesome images have circulated on the Web. The 2006 incident of a chemical spill contaminated Songhua River in Northeast China, and the government cover-up was widely criticized. Many more incidents, however, go under reported.

Some incidents of water pollution can be sadly surreal. Urban waterways in the eastern city of Wenzhou were so polluted by chemicals that a lit cigarette set the water on fire, as reported in the Daily Mail earlier this year. This is not the first time a river was on fire, and other images of water pollution show water turning black or red or orange, or carpeted with algae or dead fish.

A report on chinadialogue indicates that in 2012 over half of China’s cities had water of “poor” or worse quality. Ma Jun, an environmentalist who heads a Beijing-based green NGO, told chinadialogue, “Tackling water pollution is as serious and worthy a challenge for the authority as combating air pollution … water pollution poses a bigger health threat to about 300 million people living in rural areas.”

Polluted Soil and Food

China Daily, an English-language newspaper published by the Chinese regime, ran an editorial stated, “Soil contaminated with heavy metals is eroding the foundation of the country’s food safety and becoming a looming public health hazard.”

Nearly one-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted, according to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land Resources. Chemicals such as cadmium, nickel, arsenic, lead, and mercury poison the soil, as they are dumped into waters used for irrigation.

Early this year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection admitted that there are 450 pollution-related “cancer villages” in China. Prior to that, soil pollution and its threat to health and food received limited media attention, and the Chinese government had kept data on soil pollution as a “state secret.”

The change was partly brought about by a recent scandal of cadmium in rice that set off a Hunan rice scare. According to the mainland business magazine Caijing, the city of Guangzhou inspected local restaurants and found excessive cadmium level in 44.4 percent of rice and rice products. Most of the rice came from Hunan Province.

According to Caixin’s New Century Magazine, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other institutions had reported on cadmium pollution in 2009. They sampled 100 rice paddies near mines throughout Hunan Province, and found that 65 percent of the samples exceeded the cadmium safety limit. The contaminated rice had entered the local and national market.

WHO’s website states, “Cadmium exerts toxic effects on the kidney, the skeletal, and the respiratory systems.” The heavy metal is leached from mines and chemical factories in Hunan.

Also under the spotlight are Hunan’s new cancer villages, among which, Shuanqiao. China Youth reported that 26 people in Shuanqiao died of cadmium poisoning. Soil samples there showed cadmium content 300 times the permitted level, and 509 of its 2,888 villagers were tested positive for cadmium poisoning. The chemical came from the Xianghe Chemical Plant, whose pollution villagers have complained about since 2006. This example is just the tip of the iceberg of chemical poisoning in China.

Worrisome ‘War Against Pollution’

Facing catastrophic environmental pollution, the Chinese government has become alert. Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced early this year at the National People’s Congress, “We will declare war against pollution.” Li said, “Smog is affecting larger parts of China, and environmental pollution has become a major problem, which is nature’s red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development.”

The Chinese government has plans to clean up the environment. In September 2013, the government launched a $280 billion plan to clean up the air, and early this year, it announced an investment of $300 billion to tackle water pollution. Experts are uncertain, however, whether these investments will change the situation.

What is worrisome is the regime’s persistent attitude of a “war against nature,” that has rendered past investments in the environment limited in their effect. In Mao’s war against nature, draconian actions in agriculture destroyed the fabric of the rural ecosystem. Post-Mao pursuit of economic development has only trumped the past trend with unprecedented pollution in air, water, and soil from industrial and urban growth.

Experts on China believe the root of China’s environmental problems lies with the top-down control by the Communist Party, which has been trapped in corruption and a lack of political accountability and rule of law. Economic incentives for officials have continued to leave pollution unchecked. As some polluting factories are closed, others pop up.

“Environmental problems are one of the main outcomes of a one party-ruled, corrupted, non-humane government,” said Ahkok Wong, a university lecturer in Hong Kong, to the ROAR Magazine.

Environmental pollution has increasingly become a source of discontent and protest in China. In the 1990s, rural protests in China already included pollution-related land loss. Since the 2000s, large-scale protests expanded to cities where citizens reject polluting factories and plants. According to a Pew survey, environmental issues accounted for half of the protests in 2013 in China.

Short of fundamental changes in the political system, it is hard to foresee major environmental improvements.

As Mao obliterated traditional Chinese belief of harmony between human beings and heaven, and as the post-Mao communist regime continues to favor development over the environment, the moral foundation of the Chinese people has also been eroded, aiding corruption and disregard for others and the environment.

Without a rebuilding of a moral system, the Chinese environment will continue to suffer, along with the Chinese people.

Hong Jiang is associate professor and chair of the geography department at University of Hawaii at Manoa. She specializes in China’s environment and culture.

For more photos: China’s Environmental Catastrophe

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Grounding – The Ultimate Healing Technique?

11 August, 2014 at 09:20 | Posted in beyond science, Body & Mind, health, Science | Leave a comment
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By Derek Henry
Holistic Health Coach for Healing the Body

The amount of barriers to healing is a long and sordid list, with a dirty food, water and air supply sitting at the top. Combine that with a poor relationship with the sun and the earth, and true healing becomes very difficult. However, if we can reignite our connection with the earth, we may find healing becomes a lot easier.

What is Grounding?

Grounding, also known as earthing, is based on research showing that having a connection to the earth’s electrical energy promotes physical well-being. This connection is made between the electrical frequencies of the human body and that of the earth, which can be achieved directly (e.g., barefoot in grass or on a beach) or by proxy through grounding technology.

Turns out, its one of the core foundations for true health.

The Pioneer and the Science

Clinton Ober, a recognized pioneer in the concept of earthing, knew that the earth’s surface is made up of negatively charged ions, which contain extra electrons. These electrons have the ability to reduce positive charges, like those of free radicals. Free radicals circulate in our body looking for electrons in order to be complete, and once they do, they are “neutralized” and no longer contribute to inflammation in the body.

Ober finally received support in 2004, after many years of personal research, when the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine published one of his studies. The results showed that “earthing during your sleep resynchronizes cortisol secretion more in alignment with its natural, normal rhythm.”

This research has provided us with a whole new way to appreciate the earth.

Read more: Grounding – The Ultimate Healing Technique?

Why You Should Reduce Cellphone Radiation Risk for Children and How You Can – The Epoch Times

10 July, 2014 at 10:46 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Environmental issues, health, IT and Media, Science, Society, sustainable development, Technology | Leave a comment
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By June Fakkert
Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Scientists don’t all agree about how much electromagnetic radiation risks cellphones and other devices pose to fetuses and young children, but governments, health organizations, and insurance companies are advocating precautions.

The rapid development of a baby in the womb is a stunningly delicate process, and disruptions to it can have life-long repercussions.

“We know that exposures that occur during pregnancy can have life-long impact due to these window periods of vulnerability that occur as the brain grows and develops,” said Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein, an integrative pediatric neurologist board-certified in adult and child neurology and pediatrics. She spoke at a recent press conference for the BabySafe Wireless Project, an initiative to raise awareness about risks of electromagnetic exposure in young children.

Children have smaller brains, thinner skulls, softer brain tissue, and a higher number of rapidly dividing cells, which makes them more susceptible to damage from cellphone exposure than adults, Dr. Shetreat-Klein said.

“Disturbing scientific data continues to be revealed regarding the effects of cellphone radiation on developing brains.”

One such study was lead by Dr. Hugh Taylor, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.

Researchers put cellphones in the cages of pregnant mice, turned some of the cellphones on continuously during the pregnancy, and kept others completely off. The young mice whose mothers were exposed to radiation from the activated cellphones were more hyperactive and had poorer memories than the young mice whose mothers lived with the powered-off cellphones.

“They were running around these cages bouncing off the walls, not a care in the world, something that in our eyes resembles attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children,” Taylor said at the press conference.

Electromagnetic Fields and Common Sense

Underlying the debate about the risks of electromagnetic radiation is the fact that electromagnetic fields can be natural—such as the build-up of ions in the air before a thunderstorm, as well as manmade—such as the energy of a microwave oven that boils your tea water in two to three minutes.

The frequency of an electromagnetic field determines its effect on the human body. So while we aren’t afraid of being exposed to pre-storm air, common sense (and manufacturer safety mechanisms) stop us from sticking our hands into an active microwave to see if our water is hot.

The frequency of the radiation emitted by cellphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi routers falls somewhere between storm air and microwaves, and their safety profile is a murky gray area that requires consumers to stay informed and aware, and to take precautions—even if the science isn’t conclusive.

Cellphone Safety Standards

A reason researchers aren’t likely to definitively prove that cellphone radiation harms children is that it would be unethical to conduct necessary studies. Such experiments would require test and control groups, and no parent would sign up their child to be in the test group, Dr. Devra Davis points out.

Davis is the president of Environmental Health Trust and award-winning author of “Disconnect: The Truth About Cellphone Radiation, What the Industry Is Doing to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family.”

According to Davis, cellphones were originally tested on full-grown men and have never been tested on women and children.

Cellphone safety standards have also not been updated in 17 years, since smartphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi became ubiquitous, and the sight of a radiation-emitting device in a child’s hand became common.

Now toy manufacturers produce plastic teething cases with colorful plastic bells and whistles that allow the youngest babies to get really close to their screens, reminding Davis of the baby suits that were once made with asbestos fibers.

The take-home message is one of precaution—that every parent can limit young children’s electromagnetic exposure.

You can keep yourself updated on Twitter with #knowyourexposure

Below is a summary of what some concerned parties say about radiation and exposure to children:

Governments

The United States government does not acknowledge known risk of using cellphones that have a specific absorption rate (SAR—the amount of radio frequency absorbed by the body) of 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) or less.

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland rated the Apple iPhone 4 at 1.07 W/kg and the Samsung SGH-E330 at 1.17 W/kg. Nokia and Motorola phones tested lower, according to the report.

The European Parliament recommends that schools and classrooms “give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises.”

French law requires that all cellphones sold in the country have SAR clearly labeled as well as the recommendation that users limit cellphone exposure to their heads by using a headset. It also bans advertising cellphones to children under 14 years old and bans giving or selling any device specifically designed for children under 6 that emits radio frequency.

Israel has banned Wi-Fi in preschool and kindergarten classrooms and limited the Wi-Fi to an hour a day in first- to third-grade classrooms.

Belgium has banned the sale of mobile phones to children under 7.

Organizations

The World Health Organization reports that so far “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use”; however, it also cautions that “the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

High priority on the World Health Organization’s research agenda is developing a better understanding of the effects of radiation in utero and on young children.

The German Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents limit children’s use of mobile phones.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said that children “are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cellphone radiation,” in a letter last year urging the Federal Communications Commission to adopt radiation standards that protect children. The AAP also recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2.

Insurance Companies

In the past, Lloyds of London and Swiss Re, two major re-insurers, have both refused to cover cellphone companies for health-related lawsuits filed by cellphone users.

In 2010, Lloyds wrote that “EMF cases could be more complex than asbestos claims” and in its 2013 report on emerging risks, Swiss Re put the “unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields” in the highest impact category for 10 years down the road.


10 Ways to Reduce Your Wireless Exposure

BabySafeProject.org gives the following tips:

1. Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body (that is, in a pocket or bra).

2. Avoid holding any wireless device against your body when in use.

3. Use your cellphone on speaker setting or with an “air tube” headset.

4. Avoid using your wireless device in cars, trains, or elevators.

5. Avoid cordless phones, especially where you sleep.

6. Whenever possible, connect to the Internet with wired cables.

7. When using Wi-Fi, connect only to download, then disconnect.

8. Avoid prolonged or direct exposure to Wi-Fi routers.

9. Unplug your home Wi-Fi router when not in use (that is, at bedtime).

10. Sleep as far away from wireless utility meters (“smart” meters) as possible.

via Why You Should Reduce Cellphone Radiation Risk for Children and How You Can – The Epoch Times

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The Seven Emotional Factors in Chinese Medicine

29 June, 2014 at 09:04 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, health | Leave a comment
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By Jennifer Dubowsky, http://www.tcm007.com

Last month, I wrote about “The Six Evils” which is how Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies the external causes of disease. Today I’m going to talk about the internal causes of illness which are called the “Seven Emotions” and are Anger, Fear, Shock, Grief, Joy, Pensiveness and Worry. These emotions are considered the major internal sources of disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Remember how you felt when you fell in love? When you were unjustly accused of wrongdoing? When some jerk took your parking space and smirked at you from the window? Yes? Then I don’t have to convince you that emotions have a huge effect on our bodies. Think about how your chest and stomach tighten when you are upset or how your heart beats faster and adrenaline rushes through your veins when you are angry or afraid.

Emotional responses can cause a cascade of chemical reactions in the body stimulating some organ systems and shutting down others. It is normal and healthy to have emotional responses. However, when the reactions are severe and/or prolonged, they can injure your organs and make you more vulnerable to disease.

In Chinese Medicine, the Seven Emotions are each associated with an organ. Therefore, it follows that if you have a strong negative emotion, the organ associated with that emotion will be affected.

Below, I have listed the Seven Emotions and their associated organs.
1. Anger – Liver
2. Fear – Kidneys
3. Fright/Shock (acute condition) – Kidneys/Heart
4. Joy – Heart
5. Pensiveness (excessive thinking and mental stimulation.) – Spleen
6. Worry – Spleen/Lungs
7. Grief – Lungs

For example, prolonged grief will affect your lungs. The reverse is also true – if you have a long term physical problem, let’s use your lungs again, you will be affected emotionally and you may experience feelings of sadness. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.  Here’s another example: if you carry a lot of anger with you for a long time, it will begin to affect the health of your liver and cause an imbalance. Also, if you have chronic liver disease, you might develop a shorter temper, have trouble tolerating frustration, and even become depressed.

This ancient concept of the Seven Emotions illustrates the importance of holistic treatment of disease because our bodies are not isolated parts. The WHOLE person needs to be treated. A disease or physical problem affects the rest of the body and the mind. Healing includes treating all the psychological, physical and spiritual imbalances.

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.

via The Seven Emotional Factors in Chinese Medicine

See also: Stay Balanced Emotionally, Feel Healthier Instantly—What Ancient Chinese Doctors Say

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10 Tips for Eating for Your Genes and Jeans

9 June, 2014 at 10:40 | Posted in Body & Mind, Food, health | Leave a comment
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By Dr. Frank Lipman, http://www.drfranklipman.com

Most of us believe that age related diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, adult onset diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc. are the inevitable consequences of aging, but we are now finding out that this is not necessarily true. We actually have a lot more control over how we age than you might think. Healthy aging is mainly the result of how we “communicate” with our genes – through our diet, our lifestyle and the environment we bathe them in.

Healthy habits nurture healthy genes.

When most of us think of genes, we think of the ones that determine particular characteristics such as whether we have brown hair, blue eyes or long legs, or those that predict specific childhood diseases. These are our genes that are “fixed” and are only few in number. By far the vast majority are the thousands of genes that direct all our biochemical processes that render us susceptible to the many chronic diseases so many people are experiencing today. While we are each born with a set of genes – a baseline set of conditions which we can’t change – we can change how they are expressed.

This means that most genes in and of themselves do not create disease. Rather the likelihood of developing disease and disability is determined by the way we live our lives and by the choices we make. You may have the genes for and be susceptible to heart disease or diabetes or arthritis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get those diseases. In other words, these genes do not cause disease per se unless they are thrust into a detrimental environment, one conducive to expressing these genes as chronic disease.

There are multiple factors in your diet, environment and lifestyle that affect your genes and how you age. Many of these are within your control. Of all the factors, diet is the easiest to control and probably the most important determinant of how our genes are expressed.

A revolutionary new science, Nutrigenomics, is showing how different foods may interact with specific genes, how food “talks” to our genes and how our genes express themselves after the conversation. It is confirming that food provides potent dietary signals that directly influence the metabolic programming of our cells and modify the risk of common chronic diseases. It is telling us that food is information, that it contains “instructions” which are communicated directly to our genes.

Armed with this information, your genes commandeer various metabolic actions and affect millions of critical biological processes, including cholesterol levels, aging, hormone regulation, weight gain and loss, and much more. Eat the right foods and they will send instructions to your genes for good health. Eating the wrong foods however, sends messages for disease.

What we are finding out is that there is so much more to food than just the nutrients we have discovered thus far. Real food is packed with thousands of compounds which have a complex and dynamic relationship with one another and your genes. With processed foods however, these micronutrients have either been altered or are missing, and therefore they can never deliver the same beneficial messages to your genes. Just as a computer program won’t function well when it gets fed bad data, neither will your body. Once you understand that food is “data” or complex information that the body uses to direct the multifaceted actions that keep us vibrantly alive, it’s easy to understand that loading up on junk food is like taking the fast lane to a giant system failure.

Foods loaded with sugar, trans fats and chemicals, and foods processed beyond recognition, are simply “bad data” for human consumption. I call these “food-like substances” because they are not real food. If you eat these regularly, your body stops working properly.

It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. When you bathe your genes in an unhealthy environment, like the one created when you eat junk food, your genes “miscue”metabolic actions that can trigger disease. For example your body responds to “food-like substances” as if they are “foreign bodies.”  This prompts an inflammatory response as your body tries to protect itself. Over time, continued consumption can lead to the development of a low grade chronic inflammatory condition which is now becoming recognized as an important precursor to a variety of more serious forms of illness.  Bottom line: the food you eat affects the functioning of your genes.

Top 10 Tips for Eating for Your Genes

1) Eat real food i.e fresh, whole, unrefined and unprocessed food. Food is more than a delivery system for nutrients containing protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Real food is more than the sum of its parts, it’s about how it all works together, about the integrity of the information or the total message. Although you should know how to read food labels, most real food does not come with a label – vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grass fed meats, wild fish, organic eggs and chickens etc.

Read more: 10 Tips for Eating for Your Genes and Jeans

The Art of Deep Breathing

28 September, 2013 at 07:32 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Tysan Lerner

Fall is sweeping in fast, and suddenly I find myself feeling a bit sad. The summer is over, my kids are getting older fast, and … Wait, why is that Dove commercial making me cry?

It turns out fall is the season associated with grief, according to Chinese medicine, as well as the season of the lungs.

Everything is interconnected. Even when an organ system is a little out of balance, you will feel it. According to ancient Chinese science, every organ has an associated emotion. For lungs, it’s the emotion of grief, which affects the health of the lungs.

So now that fall winds are sweeping summer away, cleaning up the air with a fresh cool breeze and getting the earth ready for winter, you too can prepare your body. You can clean up your lungs, keeping them healthy and strong by incorporating a deep breathing routine into your life.

When grieving, simply take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, and notice the sun, the trees, and the sky. Soon you’ll find you are no longer choked up.

Deep Breathing

When you breathe deeply, you’ll inevitably bring yourself out of a stress state and into a calm state. To breathe deeply, it is important to use your diaphragm to draw in your breath.

Many people can breathe deeply into their chest, but they are missing out on the calming effects breathing can have when they breathe into their belly and pelvis.

Not only will you be able to strengthen your belly-flattening muscles when you get belly breathing down, but you will also improve hip stability and bring your body into a deep state of calm—deeper than you may have ever experienced.

Belly breathing can be difficult to experience if you haven’t practiced it before. Some people find it while standing, others while lying on their back, and some can’t find it unless they are kneeling on their hands and knees. Choose a position to start exploring your belly breath.

As you inhale, expand your belly out as if it were a balloon puffing up with air. Try to leave your chest muscles out of it. Think of breathing all the way down into the bottom of your pelvis.

As you exhale, squeeze the air out of you as though you were squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Exhale until all the air is pushed out of your body. At the end of the exhalation, you should feel a tightening of the muscles in your abdomen.

Once you find this breath, try these belly-breathing exercises:

The Elevator. Inhale and expand your navel out. As you exhale, your navel will draw in. Imagine an elevator traveling from your navel to your spine. Draw the navel back six flights, pausing at each flight as you do so. Repeat three sets of 10 repetitions every day.

Belly Breath on All Fours. Kneel on all fours. Keep your hands in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Keep your spine in a neutral position.

Inhale and expand your belly toward the floor, activating your diaphragm. Hold your breath and draw your navel to your spine, pushing all your organs out of the way, activating your transverse abdominis.

Lift your pelvic floor by using the muscles that can stop the flow of urine.

Exhale forcefully as you continue to draw your navel in without rounding your back. Repeat 6 to 10 times.

This autumn, keep your lungs healthy and clean by incorporating a deep-breathing routine into your life.

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 LavenderMamas.com.

via The Art of Deep Breathing » The Epoch Times

Preparing Ourselves for Autumn

26 September, 2013 at 16:24 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, Food | Leave a comment
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By Tysan Lerner

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.

Autumn Eating

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).

Emotional Cleansing

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.

Dryness

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.

Activity

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.

via Preparing Ourselves for Autumn » The Epoch Times

China’s Biggest Juice Companies Are Found Using Rotten Fruit

26 September, 2013 at 09:45 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society | 1 Comment
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By Lu Chen
Epoch Times

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.

via China’s Biggest Juice Companies Are Found Using Rotten Fruit » The Epoch Times

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine strongly protect us from colds and flu

24 September, 2013 at 07:42 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Melissa Sokulski
http://www.Natrualnews.com

Cold and flu season is upon us. Traditional Chinese Medicine has effective time-tested techniques which boost immunity and protect us from colds or the flu. Points can be needled and herbal formulas can be given to balance the body’s energy, strengthen the body and even speed recovery if one does come down with symptoms.

In Chinese medicine colds and flu are considered to be an external pathogen invading the body. When our body`s energy, or qi, is strong we are able to fight off these pathogens. If our qi is weak we come down with symptoms of cold and flu: headache, chills, fever, body aches, cough, and sore throat.

To keep our qi strong and prevent colds and flu it is important to:

  • Eat a healthy diet full of fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut out white and brown sugar, and corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup – all of which lower our immunity.
  • Wash hands frequently with regular soap and water.
  • Get outside in fresh air exposing your face to sunshine. It may be wise to supplement with vitamin D3 this time of year.
  • Receive acupuncture treatments which strengthen the qi and balance energy.
  • Choose herbal medicine, supplements and nourishing food to keep immunity strong.

It is important to make sure all meridians are balanced to keep the energy flowing smoothly and our immunity strong. Immunity relates especially to the earth and metal elements which show up in the pulse as the spleen and lung meridians.

An acupuncturist will often use points such as Stomach 36 to keep the energy strong and Spleen 6 to make sure food is digested properly and nutrients are absorbed and turned into vital energy.

Large Intestine 11 is a powerful immune point. Large Intestine 4 and Triple Warmer 5 are often used to help the body push pathogens out. Lung 7 combined with Large Intestine 4 strengthens the body`s defense against pathogens.

Often the earth and metal points on the back (Bladder 13 and Bladder 20) are needled to harmonize the body`s energy and strengthen immunity.

In terms of herbal medicine:

  • Astragalus is an excellent immune tonic.
  • Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Maitake can boost the immune system especially if compromised.
  • Four Gentlemen Formula is a classic Chinese herb formula to keep the qi strong.
  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a combination of ginseng, astragalus, and other herbs used to strengthen qi.

If someone comes down with symptoms of the flu the treatment switches to formulas which expel the pathogen:

  • Yin Qiao contains cooling detoxifying herbs such as forsythia and honeysuckle. It is used with symptoms of sore throat, headache, and a yellow tongue coat.
  • Gan Mao Ling is used when in the midst of a bad cold or flu especially with head and body aches.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been around for thousands of years successfully treating many disorders including colds and flu.

Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com and republished with permission
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031540_influenza_Chinese_Medicine.html#ixzz2egYYYn1h

via Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine strongly protect us from colds and flu » The Epoch Times

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Antibiotics are Proven Ineffective for Coughs; Try Chinese Medicine and Herbs Instead

21 September, 2013 at 17:35 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, Food | Leave a comment
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By D.J. Heyes
http://www.Naturalnews.com

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.  

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038582_antibiotics_Chinese_medicine_coughs.html#ixzz2egLf7cRL

via Antibiotics are Proven Ineffective for Coughs; Try Chinese Medicine and Herbs Instead » The Epoch Times

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Not Even Good Enough for Dog Food: Imported Food From China Loaded With Chemicals, Dyes, Pesticides and Fake Ingredients

17 September, 2013 at 07:28 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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….

By Mike Adams
Naturalnews.com

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.”

Read Kastel’s full testimony here.

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

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040266_food_fraud_china_heavy_metals_contamination.html#ixzz2egbiWg

via Not Even Good Enough for Dog Food: Imported Food From China Loaded With Chemicals, Dyes, Pesticides and Fake Ingredients » The Epoch Times

Mindfulness Training Helps Reduce Stress for Teachers

16 September, 2013 at 07:07 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, meditation, Society, Spirituality, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Rosemary Byfield
Epoch Times

How teachers cope with demands in the classroom may be made easier with the use of “mindfulness” techniques, according to new US research.

Learning to pay attention to the present in a focused and non-judgemental or mindful way on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course helped teachers in the study to feel less stressed and to avoid burnout.

Dr Richard Davidson, chair of the Centre for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, is the study co-author. “The research indicated that simple forms of mindfulness training can help promote a certain type of emotional balance, leading to decreased stress,” he said in an interview on the Centre’s website.

“[Teachers] perceive greater ability to remain present in the classroom for their children and less likely to respond to children with anger,” Davidson said.

“[Teachers] perceive greater ability to remain present in the classroom for their children and less likely to respond to children with anger,” Davidson said.

Stress, burnout, and ill health are increasing burdens experienced by teachers in schools leading to absenteeism and prematurely leaving the profession.

“This is an area where mindfulness may be particularly important and interesting,” he said.

“We wanted to offer training to teachers in a format that would be engaging and address the concerns that were specifically relevant to their role as teachers,” said lead researcher Lisa Flook in a statement.

Researchers trained 18 teachers to use MBSR techniques designed to handle difficult physical sensations, feelings, and moods and develop empathy for pupils in challenging situations.

Randomly assigned teachers practised a guided meditation at home for at least 15 minutes per day and learned specific strategies for preventing and dealing with stressful factors in the classroom. These included “dropping in”, a process of bringing attention to breathing, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations; and ways of bringing kindness into their experiences, particularly challenging ones.

Mindfulness originates from Buddhist meditation but was developed for secular use in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts in the United States.

“The most important outcome that we observed is the consistent pattern of results, across a range of self-report and objective measures used in this pilot study, that indicate benefits from practising mindfulness,” Flook said.

Study participant and teacher Elizabeth Miller found that mindfulness could be practised anywhere, and at any time.

“Breath awareness was just one part of the training, but it was something that I was able to consistently put into practice,” Miller said.

“Now I spend more time getting students to notice how they’re feeling, physically and emotionally, before reacting to something. I think this act of self-monitoring was the biggest long-term benefit for both students and teachers.”

In Britain, teachers Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen developed the Mindfulness in Schools project, “.b” or “Stop, Breathe and Be!” programme. After experiencing the benefits of mindfulness themselves they wanted to teach it in the classroom. Their course is now taught in 12 countries.

via Mindfulness Training Helps Reduce Stress for Teachers » The Epoch Times

Propylene Glycol and Tea? 8 Ingredients You Didn’t Know You Were Eating

13 September, 2013 at 07:11 | Posted in Body & Mind, Environmental issues, Food, Science, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Marc Sahr
Epoch Times

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.

Propylene Glycol

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.

Dipotassium Phosphate

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.

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.

Two North American beavers at the Smithsonian National Zoo on Aug. 29, 2012.

Monosodium Glutamate

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.

Mercury

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.

Swordfish

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.

Sodium

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.

Trans Fats

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.”

via Propylene Glycol and Tea? 8 Ingredients You Didn’t Know You Were Eating » The Epoch Times

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Over-Drugging Chinese Livestock Causes Dangerous Antibiotic Resistance

12 September, 2013 at 15:39 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Sally Appert
Epoch Times

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.

via Over-Drugging Chinese Livestock Causes Dangerous Antibiotic Resistance » The Epoch Times

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The Wisdom of Ancient Skin Care

4 September, 2013 at 10:38 | Posted in Body & Mind | Leave a comment
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By Sarita Coren
Epoch Times

There is no denying it—ancient wisdom still prevails today, even in the ways we care for our skin. Beauty regimens from long ago have lasting power for one simple reason—they work!

Yet some of these skin care rituals may surprise you. With all the fancy ingredients in skin care products today, these uncomplicated and cost-effective treatments taken from our ancestors are definitely worth a try.

Rub On Olive Oil

As early as Biblical times, people unlocked the power of olives by using the cold-pressed oil in everything from food to anointing the skin.

Nutrient-rich, extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants, protects against bacteria, and assists with the body’s ability to heal itself. Due to its small molecular structure, it absorbs easily into the skin. In fact, its lipid profile is very close to that of human skin.

For many people with oily or acne-prone skin, the thought of putting more oil on the skin may seem counterintuitive. Contrary to what you would think, olive oil can balance overproductive oil glands and can even clear out blackheads, since it is naturally anti-inflammatory.

If you’re not into slathering olive oil on your skin, try Norma Kamali’s Olive Only Soap made with puréed olives. It can be used on both the face and the body. You can find it for $15–$85 at the Wellness Cafe (www.thewellnesscafe.com).

Take Baths in Milk

Cleopatra, famous for her beauty, reputedly took regular baths in milk, among other beauty rituals. French and English aristocracy also bathed in milk in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Milk contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that naturally exfoliates the skin. This type of acid gently dissolves proteins to exfoliate dead skin cells and reveal fresh, younger-looking skin underneath.

Choose creamier milk, as it is better at moisturizing dry skin.

For products containing milk to be effective, labels should list “milk” or “lac” within the first five ingredients, and the contents should be opaque, according to Cyren Organics, an Australian company that produces a beauty line based on goat’s milk.

The company also warns against soap bars with milk ingredients.

“When milk is used in soap bar manufacturing,” Cyren Organics says on its website (www.cyrenorganics.com), “soaps are naturally alkaline, which negates any benefit ‘lactic acids’ would have on the skin. Lactic acid in milk is already quite mild; put that into a highly alkaline environment and the acid won’t work.”

A nice, no-fuss formula to try is Osmia Organics Organic Milk Bath (www.osmiaorganics.com). It contains organic buttermilk powder, organic oats, and baking soda, combined with essential oils.

Or simply add two to four cups of milk or buttermilk to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Slather On Raw Honey

Once again, we turn to beauty icon Cleopatra who used honey and natron, or baking soda, as a facial scrub.

Raw honey has naturally antibacterial, antiseptic, and moisturizing properties.

To blend a honey mask, Jennifer Taveras, an acupuncturist and herbalist at Lyt in New York, recommended in an email to combine one tablespoon of raw honey with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and apply as a facial mask for 15 minutes. Then rinse off with warm water.

“Cinnamon works to kill acne by drying out the affected area and bringing blood and oxygen to the surface to open the pores,” says the Acne Skin Site (www.acneskinsite.com).

Once considered an elixir of health and immortality in oriental and ayurvedic medicine, the combination of honey and cinnamon can also be brewed as an anti-aging tea used by an ancient Himalayan tribe called Hunza.

The Health from Nature website (www.health-from-nature.net) recommends using one tablespoon of cinnamon and four tablespoons of honey in one cup of hot water. Drink this four times a day to slow down the aging process.

Use Mud and Clay

Rhassoul clay has been used for over 1,400 years as a soap, shampoo, and skin conditioner, according to the Mountain Rose Herbs website (www.mountainroseherbs.com).

Hailing from the Atlas Mountains in Eastern Morocco, the reddish-brown cosmetic clay contains high percentages of silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium—topical nutrients that benefit skin and hair. The clay’s properties cause it to swell when water is added to it, which makes it a popular choice in spas and skin care regimens from facial masks to hair care.

One pound of raw Rhassoul clay powder costs only $9 on the Mountain Rose Herbs website and can be used in multiple ways.

Mud from Israel’s Dead Sea is renowned for its therapeutic properties for the skin due to the high mineral content. We still cover our bodies with it today to help heal eczema and psoriasis, and to deliver beautifying minerals to the epidermis.

Can’t travel to Israel to get it? Dead Sea Warehouse Mud Mask is practically the real deal, with minimal processing. It costs $24.95 on the Dead Sea Warehouse website (www.deadseawarehouse.com).

Grind Mint Leaves

Mint leaves have been used for their medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties since the earliest stages of human evolution. Mint was used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans for its fragrance. In Greek mythology, mint symbolized hospitality.

“Mortals rubbed mint leaves on the table to welcome gods,” says one blog post on the Dr. Vita website. “During the Middle Ages, people used mint as a cleaning agent and as a way to purify drinking water.”

Mint leaves and mint oil help heal acne and acne scars due to their high content of salicylic acid, according to Aida Duncan, writer of How to Improve Your Skin with Mint on the How Stuff Works website. It also contains vitamin A, which can strengthen skin tissue and help reduce oily skin.

Duncan recommends a mask, which combines two tablespoons (15 milliliters) of mint with oatmeal and yogurt. Apply this mixture to your face and rinse off with warm water after 10 minutes.

via The Wisdom of Ancient Skin Care » The Epoch Times

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