Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh Honey Honey

I must confess that it would be an understatement to say that I have a sweet-tooth; they're ALL sweet teeth! [not sure if that makes sense, but it's true.]. That's why I was so interested in non-nutritive sweeteners to start with (see my previous blog post).  Every diet I ever tried (and there have been many) I always rushed to find out what sweet treats I was "allowed" so that I could consume them in large doses.

About 4 years ago I was introduced to the wonderful benefits of honey, again because of a diet. It was an elimination diet where you weren't allowed sugar, wheat, dairy, red meat, coffee etc etc. The first thing I checked was, how I was going to get my sweet fix and I discovered honey was going to help me out - and it was NATURAL! Woohoo I felt like "the good-eating guru". I loved the fact that honey cured so many diseases and that it was fresh from nature.

I first started consuming honey when I began eating a healthy breakfast of muesli, nuts, plain yoghurt, fruit and honey (yummy, my favourite brekkie ever.)  I would pour on copious amounts of honey to sweeten up the plain yoghurt and I felt soooo healthy!!  Little did I know that the honey I was eating, was doing nothing for me (great placebo effect though.)

About 2 months ago, for the first time in my life, I went into a health store. I was in search of raw chocolate [I was told I had to be healthy so I rushed out to find sweet stuff that I was allowed] - healthy chocolate of course sounded delicious, so there I was, in a health shop, so I thought I'd look around. There was a sign up saying  something about the legal issue with a local large retain chain regarding their honey.  Hmmm I was intrigued..... then I was shocked that the local retailer [let's call them Pure n Profit for ease of reference] was sourcing its honey from China and the label which boldly stated "Pure Honey" was not what I would call "pure."  Not fair Pure n Profit!

So I started investigating further and what I found, really annoyed me because I trusted this retailer to be honest with their labeling (apparently it is legal to say that honey is pure, it's what they DON'T say that is important) Who knows this stuff??  My naivety of healthy foods was beginning to show. One of the very few things that I thought I was doing right, I was doing wrong. My daughter suffers terribly from skin allergies and I did not realise how REAL, RAW honey could help, if you source local honey, the bees use local plants (obviously) and therefore you build up an immunity to those local allergens [duh] but I was feeding her "pure" instead, bad mom!  What I know now is that if it pours quickly, chances are, it's not good for you!

I read this article by Carrie Murphy and I couldn't explain it better myself, so why try, let her do it for me:

The Benefits Of Raw Honey vs Conventional Honey

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of raw honey: it’s great for your immune system, it can help with allergies, it’s chock full of vitamins. But I wasn’t sure exactly what raw honey was, or what the difference was between raw honey and the honey you buy at the grocery store. So, armed with my curiosity, my sweet tooth and a boyfriend with terrible fall allergies, I learned more about raw honey and why it’s so good for your health.

Generally speaking, the basic difference between raw honey and “regular” honey is the way it’s processed. Raw honey has not been heated to high temperatures in order to achieve the golden, syrupy look we’re used to. Some people think that this heating, also called pasteurization, is necessary to make the honey fit for human consumption, as it kills bacteria and filters out bits of pollen and other debris.

But proponents of raw honey disagree that pasteurization is necessary, or even helpful. Some raw honey is filtered, too, but usually minimally. Margaux J. Rathbun, a Certified Nutritional Therapy practitioner, explained why raw honey is so great for our bodies:

Just like most foods that are processed or pasteurized, liquid honey loses a lot of its beneficial nutrients when it undergoes a heating process. Raw honey is loaded with nutrients like energizing B vitamins and immune-boosting vitamin C. It contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties, helping fight off free radicals in your body and keeping your immune system strong.

Raw honey can also reportedly help with burns,  wound healing, and respiratory problems. Dr. Peter Molan, a professor of biochemistry at Waikato University in New Zealand, said, “The remarkable ability of honey to reduce inflammation and mop up free radicals should halt the progress of skin damage like it does in burns, as well as protecting from infection setting in…there are very good grounds for using honey as a therapeutic agent of first choice.”

The anecdotal evidence from raw honey devotees is overwhelming. In fact, even some vegans have decided to use it (technically it’s an animal product, so it shouldn’t be included in a vegan diet). Vicki Chelf, the creator of Vicki’s Vegan Kitchen, says the health benefits of raw honey are worth compromising her vegan diet: she eats honey every day in her soy latte.

Almost everyone I spoke to discussed the reported benefits of eating local honey as a way to combat allergies, too. Holistic nutritionist Andrea Palen commented:

The idea behind eating honey as a remedy for allergies is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against pollen allergens, a process called immunotherapy. Honey contains a variety of the same spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when the seasons change. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey might make the body more accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance of an allergic immune response.

And if raw honey contains a higher amount of the pollen used by the bees to make the honey, it might be a better bet to help you stop sneezing up a storm. Expert beekeeper and the volunteer mentor-in-chief of NYC Beekeeping Jim Fischer says, “The good news is that a jar of honey is the cheapest thing one could buy for one’s allergies, and it certainly can’t hurt. ”

If you want to buy raw honey, how can you recognize it? Palen told me:

“Raw honey is characterized by fine textured crystals and has a milkier look to it. It is solid at room temperature and might contain particles of bee pollen, propolis and honeycomb. You should be suspicious if a honey that is marketed as “raw” is clear and runny – it’s likely that this honey has been heated and filtered and is not truly raw.”

Not all raw honey looks milky or cloudy, though; there are a range of different filtering practices for beekeepers and honey producers. But Fischer emphasizes that lots of beekeepers claim their honey is “raw,” when the use and definition of that term hasn’t been widely agreed upon in the national community of beekeepers. He cautions, “The easiest one-step way to make sure that one is buying good honey is to get to know your local beekeepers, and buy only from local beekeepers.  But ”raw” is a term that is reluctantly used by ethical beekeepers.” You can check the label for the word raw, but it’s also good to ask whoever is behind the counter if they have any more information on the honey’s source.

It’s likely that raw honey isn’t sold at your local grocery store; in fact, a 2011 study found that many brands of honey sold in conventional stores don’t even contain any pollen.  If you want to go raw, look for honey at your local health foods store, at a farm stand, or at a farmer’s market.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sweet Poison - A Killer in your Kitchen!

Many years ago I worked for a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. I was asked to investigate the oppotunity of launching a non-nutritive sweetener in South Africa in opposition to the market leader Canderal.  I was thrilled with this task as I was an avid sweetener user and investigating its origins and thinking of all the marketing opportunities, was, well, quite simply put, a marketer's dream! The bubble that I had been living in soon popped. Aspartame was a poison! The inventor of the chemical was attempting to manufacture a new type of fuel, licked his finger in error and discovered the sweetness. Since reading that I have never used products containing any type of non-nutritive sweeteners and I don't allow my children to either. I think that it just made sense not to consume large amounts of chemicals. Come to think of it, this was probably my first conscious decision to remove a foodstuff from my diet and I became fanatical especially when I was pregnant. I realised that it was in e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g even in my Barocca! I got to the point that I thought "something from a plant can't be as bad as something that is made in a lab. Both are freely available, go natural."

The problem with Aspartame is that generally the stories surrounding it are "inflamatory" [ha ha amusing because Aspartame causes inflammation - bit of medical humour!].  So, although you should not consume the product, when you read stories such as the lady's story below (and I'm not doubting her) but she must have been consuming vast quantities over an extensive period of time, in order to achieve such toxic levels in her blood stream.

That being said, there is overwhelming evidence that non-nutritive sweeteners are carcinogenic and should not be consumed by anyone, especially children and pregnant women or those genetically predisposed to cancer. It is particularly concerning that non-nutritiive sweeteners are used in many medications and vitamin supplements, not only food. If you are concerned, read your labels carefully.

Although admittedly dramatic and evidence-lacking on some of the points, the post below is still an interesting read. I am not sure who to credit with writing this
article, so I apologise up front. If anyone can assist me with the name of the author, please let me know, I would like to give credit where credit is due.

A Killer In Your Fridge ~ Sweet Poison…A MUST READ

In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore. It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications. The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her. She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and she said they didn’t find anything on the test, but they believe she had MS.

I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda? She told me that she did. As a matter of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment.

I told her not to open it, and to stop drinking the diet soda! I e-mailed her an article my friend, a lawyer, had sent. My sister called me within 32 hours after our phone conversation and told me she had stopped drinking the diet soda AND she could walk! The muscle spasms went away. She said she didn’t feel 100% but, she sure felt a lot better.

She told me she was going to her doctor with this article and would call me when she got home.

Well, she called me, and said her doctor was amazed! He is going to call all of his MS patients to find out if they consumed artificial sweeteners of any kind. In a nutshell, she was being poisoned by the Aspartame in the diet soda.. and literally dying a slow and miserable death

When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill, and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning! She is well on her way to a complete recovery. And she is walking! No wheelchair! This article saved her life. If it says ‘SUGAR FREE’ on the label; DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!  I have spent several days lecturing at the WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE on ‘ASPARTAME,’ marketed as ‘Nutra Sweet,’ ‘Equal,’ and ‘Spoonful. ‘In the keynote address by the EPA, it was announced that in the United States in 2001 there is an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus. It was difficult to determine exactly what toxin was causing this to be rampant. I stood up and said that I was there to lecture on exactly that subject.

I will explain why Aspartame is so dangerous: When the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants. The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.

Many people were being diagnosed in error. Although multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, Methanol toxicity is!

Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers. The victim usually does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit. He or she continues it’s use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a life-threatening condition. We have seen patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once taken off diet sodas.

In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the symptoms disappear. We’ve seen many cases where vision loss returned and hearing loss improved markedly.

This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia. During a lecture, I said, ‘If you are using ASPARTAME (Nutra Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from:

Fibromyalgia symptoms
Shooting pains
Numbness in your legs
Joint pain
Unexplainable depression
Anxiety attacks
Slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss, you probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!’ 

People were jumping up during the lecture saying, ‘I have some of these symptoms. Is it reversible?’



STOP drinking diet sodas and be alert for Aspartame on food labels! Many products are fortified with it! This is a serious problem. Dr. Espart (one of my speakers) remarked that so many people seem to be symptomatic for MS and during his recent visit to a hospice; a nurse stated that six of her friends, who were heavy Diet Coke addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence!

Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates.

It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight!

These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs. Formaldehyde is an absolute toxin and is used primarily to preserve ’tissue specimens.’

Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT store it IN our body!

Dr. H. J. Roberts stated in his lectures that once free of the ‘diet products’ and with no significant increase in exercise; his patients lost an average of 19 pounds over a trial period. Aspartame is especially dangerous for diabetics. We found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame. The Aspartame drives the blood sugar out of control. Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEUROTOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance.

Treating diabetes is all about BALANCE.. Especially with diabetics, the Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, Seizures, Depression, Manic depression, Panic attacks, Uncontrollable anger and rage. Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as well. Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet.

So called ‘behavior modification prescription drugs’ (Ritalin and others) are no longer needed. Truth be told, they were never NEEDED in the first place!  Most of these children were being ‘poisoned’ on a daily basis with the very foods that were ‘better for them than sugar. ‘It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of diet Coke and diet Pepsi consumed by men and women fighting in the Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Roberts warns that it can cause birth defects, i.e. mental retardation, if taken at the time of conception and during early pregnancy. Children are especially at risk for neurological disorders and should NEVER be given artificial sweeteners.

There are many different case histories to relate of children suffering grand mal seizures and other neurological disturbances talking about a plague of neurological diseases directly caused by the use of this deadly poison.’

Herein lies the problem: There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was included in 100 different products and strong objection was made concerning its use. Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings, and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets.

Sadly, MONSANTO’S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED! There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced. Everybody wants a ‘piece of the Aspartame pie. ‘I assure you that MONSANTO, the creator of Aspartame, knows how deadly it is.

And isn’t it ironic that MONSANTO funds, among others, the American Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association and the Conference of the American College of Physicians?

This has been recently exposed in the New York Times. These [organizations] cannot criticize any additives or convey their link to MONSANTO because they take money from the food industry and are required to endorse their products. Senator Howard Metzenbaum wrote and presented a bill that would require label warnings on products containing Aspartame, especially regarding pregnant women, children and infants.

The bill would also institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioural symptoms.  The bill was killed. It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting and uninformed public. 

Well, you’re informed now!

This is how it all started........

I know what you're thinking..... she's already got a blog, why another one?  Well this is all about one topic - Earthing. I wrote about it a while back on At Home with my BLT and I think it stands on its own, away from my soapboxing and family dramas fun. Back to Earth with a Bump. So welcome to the birth of this new page called  Health, Wealth and Healing!! 

My children's names begin with B,L and T so I refer to them as Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato - BLT - to protect their identity on the potentially crazy worldwide web and I have a blog called At Home with my BLT (in case you are not aware) which includes numerous posts relating to the antics of our nutty clan. So now you're all caught up!

For 4 years my daughter (Tomato - now 7½ years old) has been suffering with a terrible skin condition and toxicity issues. It has been a huge challenge parenting this child with her debilitating condition while still raising her sister (Bacon - 5½ years old) and brother (Lettuce - 2 years old) in as normal an environment as possible.
Not long ago after a particularly difficult time with Tomato, I was diagnosed with some pretty scary auto-immune illnesses which came with an aggressive regimen of cortisone, anti-inflamnatories and chemotherapeutic drugs. I was mortified and the side effects were debilitating and chronic - severe exhaustion, nausea and blurred vision to name a few.

The idea of "Health, Wealth and Healing" has been floating around in my head for a while now. After reading that skin disorders and auto-immune issues are largely diet related, I have been following some inspirational ladies who blog about eating "real" food and minimising toxic living (including the chemicals we put onto our skin and into our water).  They make it look so easy but frankly I am terrified to go this route as I know how time-consuming it is and being a busy work-from-home mom, I particularly like life's little time-savers like 2-minute noodles and prepared foods that are jam-packed with additives [eeek]. But damn they're convenient *gulp*.

Tomato has been on a wheat free, dairy free and sugar free diet which is distressing not only for her, but for the whole family including our wallets!! It is extremely difficult to try to continue "normally" and just remove those 3 important ingredients!! An entire lifestyle change is required and I guess that's what I'm resisting! 

What I do like about the ladies I have been following is that they try to make us feel as guilt-free as possible and encourage us to start small.

So this will be a blog of my journey with my BLT to reconnect - with ourselves, our bodies, our inner soul, our environment, nature and to remove as much toxicity as possible from our lives without losing quality of life (bakerman at school will still be a favourite pastime, as will baking) but this will be our journey of trying to be more natural. Let's see how we go...... wish us luck!

This blog used to be called Earthing with my BLT but as it progressed, I realised that health is critical, true wealth can only be found in good health and healing needs to occur so that we can all live the best lives that we possibly can. I still love earthing though.

What is Earthing?

"Throughout time, we humans have sat, stood, strolled, and slept on the ground – the skin of our bodies touching the skin of the Earth.

And throughout time, such ordinary contact served as a conduit for transferring the Earth’s natural, gentle negative charge underfoot into the body. You see, we are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet.

Modern lifestyle has disconnected us from this primordial charge.

Earthing is the landmark discovery that the disconnect may make us more vulnerable to stress and illness. Contact with the Earth appears to uphold the electrical stability of our bodies and serve as a foundation for vitality and health. In an age of rampant chronic inflammation and disease, “grounding” ourselves by reconnecting with the Earth beneath our very feet provides a way back to better health."