Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flu Shot or Not: The Dangers of Vaccinations

This is a very important issue. Most people blindly trust their doctors and do not think twice about rolling up their sleeves to get a shot. They think that getting a vaccine is as benign as taking a multivitamin. But when a serious adverse reaction occurs, such as Guillian-Barre paralysis, seizures, or autism, they come face to face with the reality of how dangerous a simple vaccine can be.

So, what is the truth about vaccines? Are they safe?

The main preservative in vaccines, thimerosal, contains 49.6% ethyl­mercury by volume. This form of mercury is highly neurotoxic. Mercury is the second most toxic metal known to man, second only to uranium. When nerve cells have been exposed to mercury in a petri dish, the nerve cells suffer severe damage. Before 1986, children received a total dose of ethylmercury of 100 micrograms in the first two years of life from 10 vaccines. By 1991, this dose was up to 246 micrograms: an increase of 246%!

There is enormous controversy over whether vaccinations have played a role in the explosion of autism and other neurological disor­ders in our country. Autism didn’t even exist prior to 1929, the year vaccines were developed. In the 1980’s, autism affected 1 in 10,000 children. Today, autism is affecting 1 in 150. That is an increase of 6000%!! I don’t know about you, but this is VERY alarming! The rate of autism has increased as the amount of vac­cines given to children has increased. When I was a child, children were only given 10 vaccines. Now they are given 36 by the time they are 5 years old!

Children are not the only ones affected by adverse reactions to vacci­nations. Last August, Desiree Jennings, a 25 year old Washington Redskins’ cheerleader, had an adverse reaction to the H1N1 flu shot. 10 days after receiving the flu shot, she came down with the flu and her health started spiraling downwards. She began having seizures and began to have difficulty walking and speaking. But fortunately, she found an alternative medical doctor that started detoxifying her body and she is regaining her health.

Last year, many people declined to take the H1N1 vaccine, due to concerns about adverse reactions. But what you may not know is that this year's flu shot contains the H1N1 virus and there is NOT a version without it. I didn't know this until I started researching the flu vaccine for this post. The media is not reporting this probably because they do not want to scare people into not taking the flu shot. This year's flu vaccine formulation that includes the H1N1 is the same formulation that was used in Australia earlier this year and was reported to cause an increase in convulsions in young children. Children were becoming so seriously ill that Australia banned the vaccine entirely! More recently, Finland has suspended use of the H1N1 vaccine in children due to reports of narcolepsy in some Finnish children given the vaccine. The H1N1vaccine has been linked to seizures and other neurological disorders and has resulted in some children becoming paralyzed. Please think twice before getting the flu shot this year!

I recently had an opportunity to help someone completely recover from a severe vaccine reaction. A healthy 40 year old sushi chef was given a routine tetanus shot when he cut his hand and had to get stitches at the hospital. Immediately after the shot, his shoulder became sore. Then he started getting muscle pain and constriction in his other arm, and it progressed to his lower back. His muscles started to seize up and constrict and walking started becoming diffi­cult. Over the next few weeks, he went from being healthy to being completely bedridden and in constant pain. He would get muscle spasms, convulsions, and eventually lost the ability to stand upright. He became unable to work, or even take care of himself. His doctors scoffed at the idea that his symptoms could be related to the tetanus vaccine and were unable to offer him anything besides muscle relax­ers and pain medication. There was nothing else the doctors could do, and despite medication they offered him, his situation grew bleak.

When I saw him for an assessment, I quickly realized that the vaccine was in­deed the problem, and I put him on a homeopathic remedy to detox­ify his body from the adverse effects of the vaccine. In less than a week, his pain lessened and he started to improve. Over just a few months, he slowly but steadily regained his health. The pain in his muscles and nerves gradually lessened and he was able to start walking again, first with a cane, then on his own a couple weeks later. A month later, he made his first trip out to a store, which he had been unable to do for the past several months. He continued to make steady gains and now he is pain free and able to go on a 30 mile bide ride! He is living proof of the power of alternative medicine and the answers it can offer even when the doctors have failed to help.

I believe the increase in adverse vaccine reactions is due to the in­creased body burden of toxins already in our bodies from over-vaccination, heavy metals, environmental pollution, pesticides, and chemicals that we are all exposed to in such high amounts.

Want more information on vaccine safety? See this video.

So, what can you do to avoid the flu without getting the vaccine? Here are my recommendations.

Good health begins with the food that you eat everyday. When your body is getting the nutrients that it needs, you will be much more resistant to illness. It is not the germs that we are exposed to that determines whether we get sick or not, but rather the condition of your health at the time of the exposure. Keeping your immune system strong and eating well are the keys to staying well. When you eat refined carbohydrates and sweets, you are setting the stage for illness. Sugar depresses the immune system and decreases the activity of infection-fighting white blood cells for up to 5 hours after you eat it.

With a good diet as the foundation, the most important supplement to avoid the flu is cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Vitamin A helps to maintain resistance to infections. Vitamin D is normally produced in our body when we are exposed to the sun. But lowered sun exposure during the winter months can drastically reduce our vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is essential for proper calcium absorption and for the health of the immune system. Adults should get at least 2000 I.U. of vitamin D and 20,000-40,000 I.U. of vitamin A per day in the winter months. Higher amounts can be taken for a few days when you first start feeling flu-like symptoms and can be remarkably effective in restoring health. Vitamin D levels should be monitored by a physician if you take more than 2000 IU of vitamin D regularly as it can be toxic in very high doses.

XenoForce is a nutritional supplement that I have found very effective for cold and flu prevention in combination with cod liver oil. It contains immune-boosting nutrients that work synergistically to keep the body's defenses strong: Vitamin C, Zinc, Beta-Carotene, Echinacea, Ginger, Licorice Root, and Wild Cherry Bark. XenoForce can be taken on a regular basis to help keep the immune system strong as well as at the first sign of symptoms.

Another favorite herb I like to use is Olive Leaf. Olive leaf extract is a powerful anti-microbial herb that is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fingal. It is also beneficial for sore throats and helps reduce fevers. Used at the first sign of a sore throat or illness, I have seen it stop sickness in it's tracks many times. A high quality tincture, such as Energetix Core Olive Leaf is recommended for maximum effectiveness.

These supplements can be easily ordered on my webstore on my website:

Natural remedies work best when they are taken at the very first sign of illness. If you wait until sickness becomes well established, it takes more time to bring the body back into balance. At the first sign of illness, I suggest greatly increasing your cod liver oil and taking XenoForce (1-2 capsules for children, and 4-6 capsules for adults). Eat only nutritious and easy-to-digest foods like homemade soup with stock, green vegetable juices, and raw foods. Avoid starchy foods, such as breads and pasta, sweets of any type, and dairy products, until you are well. Last fall, I started to get flu-like symptoms (fever, aches, and chills) and immediately took 2 tablespoons of cod liver oil and some olive leaf tincture. I took another tablespoon a couple hours later and within just a few hours, I was completely well!

Remember that YOU are the one in control of your health. You deserve to have all the facts before making decisions about any vaccine. Before you take ANY shot, ask your doctor to give you the package insert from the vaccine and discuss any possible adverse reactions with you.

Please pass on this important information, so that those you care about can be informed and educated on this issue.

Why You Should Eat Soup!

There's just something supremely comforting about a big bowl of hot soup on a cold day. All the wonderful aromas that fill the house as it is simmering on the back of the stove make preparing soup from scratch worth the effort. Soup is really not that much effort. It is one of the easiest meals to prepare. What I like about it is that it is extremely adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand, it can be very economical, and it can easily frozen for future meals.

"Good broth will resurrect the dead." ~South American proverb

Soup seems like such a humble, simple food but it actually has significant health benefits. The key ingredient for these health benefits come from stock. Stock is made by simmering bones and meat in water, along with various other ingredients. Due to modern meat processing techniques that offer boneless chicken breasts and individual fillets of fish, there has been a decline in using bones to make stock. Many people use canned broths or bouillion cubes, which are high in sodium and MSG (monosodium glutamate), a flavor-enhancing chemical that is toxic to the body. Studies have shown that MSG is a neurotoxin that can cause a wide range of reactions, from headaches to permanent brain damage.

Meat and fish stocks are used almost universally in other traditional cuisines, but have almost completely disappeared from the American kitchen. This is a shame because as every chef knows, it is stock that makes soup taste so good. Rich stocks and broths form the base of delicious soups and sauces. Most chefs use stock as their magic ingredient in making wonderful tasting dishes.

When stock is homemade, it is extremely nutritious because it contains the minerals from the bone and cartilage in a form that is easy to assimilate. But the most important health benefits come from the gelatin the stock contains. Gelatin is very unique because it supplies hydrophilic, or water-loving, colloids to the diet. These water-loving colloids attract liquids. This means that they attract digestive juices for rapid and efficient digestion. Raw foods, or foods that are unheated, also contain hydrophilic colloids, which makes them easy to digest. When foods are heated in cooking, they become hydrophobic, or water-repelling. This means that cooked foods repel digestive juices. This is why cooked foods can be harder to digest. However, because gelatin attracts liquids even after it has been cooked, it aids in digestion by attracting digestive juices to the surface of cooked foods, making them digest easily. That is why gelatin-rich soups are so soothing to the digestive system and are so nourishing. That is another reason why your grandmother was right when she told you to eat her homemade chicken soup when you got sick. Just a small amount of gelatin-rich stock added to your cooked meals, whether as a soup, sauce, or used to cook grains, will help facilitate easy and efficient digestion.

Gelatin-rich stocks have been used therapeutically in the treatment of digestive and intestinal disorders, such as hyper-acidity, indigestion, colitis, and Crohn's disease. Gelatin has been used for anemia, ulcers, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and even cancer. Modern research has confirmed that stock helps prevent infectious diseases. The soluble components of cartilage and collagen in stock are beneficial to those with rheumatoid arthritis and other joint problems. Rather than buying expensive glucosamine or chondroitin for our joints, it would be better to eat soups make with stock regularly and get the mineral and cartilage elements we need from our diet.

I recently had a client who had gone through gallbladder surgery a few weeks prior to seeing me. Due to the side effects of modern medicine, she could not keep down any food or water without vomiting. The doctors didn't know what else to do for her situation at this point, and she was getting desperate! On the verge of dehydration, I recommended a strict diet of only chicken broth along with some supplements. Starting with only a sip at a time, she sipped the broth and her body was able to keep this liquid down when nothing else worked. She was able to gradually drink more stock and finally eat soup as the broth rapidly restored her health. If it wasn't for this therapeutic use of the chicken stock, she could have gotten dangerously dehydrated and malnourished.

For much more technical information on the health benefits of stock, see the article, Traditional Bone Broth in Modern Health and Disease from the Feb/March 2005 Townsend Letter.

A wise cook will use gelatin-rich stock on a frequent basis to provide protection from many health problems. While stock is usually used to make soups, it can also be used in sauces or used instead of water to cook grains or beans.

"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine your food." ~Hippocrates

~How to make Chicken Stock~

I like to slow roast a chicken in a crock-pot or in a covered pot in a 225 degree oven for 8-10 hours with lots of garlic, half a lemon, and a handful of parsley inside the cavity. Our family will enjoy the meat for a few meals and then I will use the carcass to make the stock. You can also use raw chicken to make stock.

  • 6-8 lbs. chicken parts (bones and some meat attached)
  • 2 medium onions, halved
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 leek, cut into large pieces and rinsed well (optional)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 8-10 peppercorns (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in a large pot or stockpot and add enough cold filtered water to cover everything in the pot by about 1-2 inches. Place it over medium high heat and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer, skimming off any foamy scum that appears on top of the broth with a slotted spoon or strainer. Let the broth simmer for 4-12 hours.

Remove from heat and strain the stock. Let cool a bit and pour into storage containers. If stored in the refrigerator, it will keep 4-5 days. It can then be stored another 4-5 days if it is brought to a boil for 10 minutes and then refrigerated. After it has chilled, the fat will congeal on the top of the stock. This should be scooped off and discarded before using the stock. Properly made stock should congeal like Jello after it has chilled.

Stock can also be frozen. Put it into containers but leave plenty of room at the top of the container because the stock expands as it freezes. Label and date the containers and freeze. When frozen, it will keep for many months.

Note: This basic recipe can also be used to make turkey, beef, venison, or fish stock.

Here are some of my favorite cookbooks on soups:

What is your favorite soup recipe or soup cookbook? Please feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eating Well on a Budget

Going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace this fall has been good for me in many ways. I am not the one in the household that takes care of the finances, so I always can use more advice in this area. As my husband and I sat down to do our household's budget, what struck me the most was the percentage of our income spent on food. It was a little bit higher than Dave's recommended 5-15%. It did not surprise me at all, since food is an area that I will spend as much as I need to keep us healthy. Actually, I have to admit that I had not even been keeping track of how much I spent on food. But seeing those numbers on paper definitely got me thinking. I started wondering about the percentage that was allocated for food expenses. I began researching the percentages for other countries and found that Americans spend only a fraction of our disposable income on food. WOW, a fraction is right! They spend about 9%! Thirty years ago, it was 15%.

Let's compare that with other countries around the world and you will see there is a pretty big disparity between them. German consumers spend 10.9 percent of their disposable income on food at home, followed by Japan (13.4 percent), South Korea (13.4 percent), and France (13.6 percent) among high income countries.

Middle income countries include South Africa (17.5 percent) and Mexico (21.7 percent). China (28.3 percent) and Russia (36.7 percent) are seeing rapid decreases in food expenditure percentages but are still relatively high. India (39.4 percent) and Indonesia (49.9 percent) are among the highest when it comes to the amount of disposable income spent on food.

This suggests that there are many Americans who could afford to spend more on food if they chose to. It all comes down to priorities. For me, staying in good health, not paying for medical expenses, not missing any days of work, and therefore being more productive are things that you just can't put a price tag on. I would rather cut back on other areas of the budget before cutting back on food.

But I do realize that good food can sometimes cost a bit more than some typical American fare. So, for the next few months, I am going to see if I can save more money on our grocery bills, while still keeping good quality food on the table.

Organic does not have to cost much more than conventional produce, if you know where to shop. Rather than buying organic food at Kroger or Publix, there are places like Trader Joe's and local farmer's markets that can definitely be worth the trip. There is a great place in Atlanta called the Dekalb Farmer's Market that carries a wide selection of organic food at unbelievably good prices. I went there just last weekend and bought a cart full of food and only spent $140. If I had gone to Publix or Whole Foods, I would have easily paid twice as much or even more!

Another way to save money on food is to buy in bulk. Every few years, I stock up on food that stores well, such as lentils, quinoa, beans, and other grains. I will buy them in 25 -50 lb. bags or containers and store them in my pantry. If stored properly, these foods will keep for several years. I store my grains in hard plastic buckets that I got for free from grocery store bakeries. I have lots of food in my pantry that will sustain our family quite well for a very long time if I need it to. Tonight, I made a big pot of lentil soup with the French green lentils I had stored away. After dinner, I'm planning on freezing it in small containers for "fast food" for nights I don't want to cook.

Growing your own produce is one of the best ways to save money. If you have time to devote to gardening, I encourage you to do it. Even if you only have a small backyard, you can still produce quite a bit of food. Square Food Gardening is one of the first gardening books I used to grow a garden when we lived in a subdivision with a tiny backyard. It was amazing what we could grow in a 6 x 8 foot plot of land! You can even grow your own sprouts if you don't have land or a green thumb. I will be growing some sunflower sprouts this winter to add to my salads. Several years ago, I volunteered to work for a local organic farm one afternoon a week in exchange for several bags of fresh produce. If you think outside the box, there are many ways to get high quality food without breaking the budget.

Here is a nice blog that I found that will even give you recipe ideas for inexpensive, healthy meals: Poor Girl Eats Well. Check it out and it will give you even more ideas!