21 December, 2009

Apple, Date, Cinnamon Cookies

My son and I made these this afternoon to send to my children who will not be able to be with us for Christmas.

They are very moist and delicate cookies will a low sugar content.

This recipe makes about a dozen cookies.

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup dates, soaked, pitted, and chopped

Beat together in separate bowl:
1 Tablespoon oil or melted butter (I used sesame oil)
2 Tablespoons honey or agave
1 egg

Stir together in a small bowl:
2 Tablespoons garbanzo flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon kelp or dulse
1/4 teaspoon green stevia powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix wet ingredients into apple, date mixture. Stir in dry ingredients thoroughly.

Drop by Tablespoon fulls on well greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper as they do stick on the edges).

Bake in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 - 22 minutes, until edges start to brown.

Let cool completely before trying to remove from baking sheet.

03 November, 2009

Saint Hildegard Cookies of Joy

Hildegard von Bingen was born in 1098. She was a visionary, a Benedictine abbess, a scholar and correspondent with popes, scholars, kings and queens. Her writings include books of natural science, medicine, theology, metaphysics and music. She is the composer and lyricist for the earliest recorded music by a woman. As a scientist and healer, she promoted natural medicine that integrated physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. She proposed principles for a balanced diet and explored the medicinal uses of plants, animals, and trees.

She recommended them for slowing the aging process, creating a cheerful countenance, lightening a heavy heart, and releasing intelligence. "Eat them often," she says, "and they will calm every bitterness of heart and mind - and your hearing and senses will open. Your mind will be joyous, and your senses purified, and harmful humours will diminish..."

This is an adaptation of St. Hildegard's recipe (from a circa 1157 treatise Physica: Liber Simplicis Medicine). The saint was particularly fond of recommending spelt grain, so I included a suggestion to use flour made from spelt.

cream together:

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup honey
1 egg

In separate bowl, mix together:

2 cups flour (spelt, whole wheat, or 1/2 cup garbanzo flour + 1 1/2 cups wheat)
1 Tbs baking soda
1 tsp dulse or kelp (optional, but this adds valuable trace minerals)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 Tbsp ground fenugreek (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
Pour liquid ingredients in well and mix into dry ingredients.
Chill in refrigerator to cool, to make it easier to work with (optional).
Form into walnut sized balls.
Place on greased and floured cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 20 - 24 cookies.

16 October, 2009

Flu vaccines revealed as the greatest quackery ever pushed in the history of medicine

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) Prepare to have your world rocked. What you're about to read here will leave you astonished, inspired and outraged all at the same time. You're about to be treated to some little-known information demonstrating why seasonal flu vaccines are utterly worthless and why their continued promotion is based entirely on fabricated studies and medical mythology.

If the whole world knew what you're about to read here, the vaccine industry would collapse overnight.

This information comes to you courtesy of a brilliant article published in The Atlantic (November 2009). The article, written by Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, isn't just brilliant; in my opinion it stands as the best article on flu vaccines that has ever been published in the popular press. Entitled "Does the vaccine matter?", it presents some of the most eye-opening information you've probably ever read about the failure of flu vaccines.

Perhaps its impressive narrative shouldn't be too surprising, though, since writer Shannon Brownlee is also the celebrated author of a phenomenal book on modern medicine entitled Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.

While I've never done this before, I'm going to summarize this article point by point (along with some comments) so that you get the full force of what's finally been put into print. [The original article is three looong pages]

This information is so important that I encourage you to share the following summary I've put together. Email it to family, friends and coworkers. Or post it on your blog or website (with a link and proper credit to both NaturalNews" and The Atlantic, please). Get this information out to the world. People need to know this, and so far the mainstream media has utterly failed to make this information known.

(The really good information begins after around a dozen bullet points, so be sure to keep reading...)

Does the vaccine matter?

What follows is my point-by-point summary of this groundbreaking article by Shannon Brownlee, originally published in The Atlantic. My opinion statements are shown in brackets and italics.

• Vaccination is the core strategy of the U.S. government's plan to combat the swine flu.

• The U.S. government has spent roughly $3 billion stockpiling vaccines and anti-viral drugs.

• The CDC is recommending that 159 million Americans receive a swine flu vaccine injection (as soon as possible).

• What if vaccines don't work? More and more researchers are skeptical about whether they do.

• Seasonal flu (that's the regular flu) currently kills an estimated 36,000 people each year in the United States. [But most people who die are already suffering from existing diseases such as asthma.]

• Most "colds" aren't really caused by the flu virus. As few as 7 or 8 percent (and at most, 50 percent) of colds have an influenza origin. There are more than 200 viruses and pathogens that can cause "influenza-like" illnesses (and therefore be easily mistaken for the flu).

• Viruses mutate with amazing speed, meaning that each year's circulating influenza is genetically different from the previous year.

• The vaccine for each upcoming flu season is formulated by health experts taking a guess [a wild guess, at times] about what strain of influenza might be most likely to circulate in the future.

• The 1918 Spanish Flu infected roughly one-third of the world population and killed at least 40 million.

• In the U.S., the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology predicted that H1N1 influenza could infect up to one-half of the U.S. population and kill 90,000 Americans.

[Keep reading, the good part is coming...]

• Of those who have died from the Swine Flu in the U.S., roughly 70 percent were already diseased with some serious underlying condition such as asthma or AIDS.

• Public health officials consider vaccines to be their first and best weapon against influenza. Vaccines helped eradicate smallpox and polio. [I don't agree with that assessment. Vaccines did relatively little compared to improvements in public sanitation.]

• Each year, 100 million Americans get vaccinated, and vaccines remain "a staple" of public health policy in the United States.

Why the research is bogus

• Because researchers can't exactly pin down who has influenza and who doesn't, the research conducted on the effectiveness of vaccines simply calculates the death rate from all causes among those who take the vaccine vs. those who don't. [This includes deaths from accidents, heart attacks, medications, car wrecks and everything.]

• These studies show a "dramatic difference" between the death rates of those who get the vaccines vs. those who don't. People who get vaccinated have significantly lower death rates [from ALL causes, and herein lies the problem...].

• Flu shot propaganda cites these studies, telling people that if they get their flu shots every year, they will have a significantly reduced chance of dying. But this is extremely misleading...

• Critics question the logic of these studies: As it turns out, compared to the number of deaths from all causes, the number of people killed by influenza is quite small. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, deaths from influenza account for -- at most -- 10 percent of the total deaths during the flu season (and this includes all indirect deaths aggravated by the flu).

• This brings up a hugely important dilemma: If influenza only accounts for roughly 10 percent of all deaths during the flu season, how could an influenza vaccine reduce total deaths by 50 percent? (As is claimed by the vaccine manufacturers.) [It doesn't add up. Even if the vaccines were 100% effective, they should only reduce the total death rates by 10%, given that only 10% of the total deaths are caused by influenza.]

• Here's a direct quote from the story: Tom Jefferson, a physician based in Rome and the head of the Vaccines Field at the Cochrane Collaboration, a highly respected international network of researchers who appraise medical evidence, says: "For a vaccine to reduce mortality by 50 percent and up to 90 percent in some studies means it has to prevent deaths not just from influenza, but also from falls, fires, heart disease, strokes, and car accidents. That's not a vaccine, that's a miracle." [Emphasis added.]

The failure of cohort studies

• So how do the vaccine companies come up with this "50% reduction in death rate" statistic? Through cohort studies.

• Cohort studies compare the death rates of large groups of people who received the vaccine to large groups of people who did NOT receive the vaccine. But there's a fatal flaw in this approach: People self-select for vaccinations. And what kind of people? As it turns out: People who take more precautions with their health!

• [Thus, you automatically have a situation where the more health-cautious people are getting the vaccines because they THINK it's good for them. Meanwhile all the masses of people who don't give a darn about their health tend to skip the seasonal flu vaccines. And these people tend to not take very good of their health in lots of other ways. In other words, in terms of the masses, people who get vaccines are more likely to avoid junk food and live a more health-cautious lifestyle. This explains the differences in the death rates between the two groups! It has nothing to do with the vaccine...]

• There is extreme "cult-like" peer pressure put on doctors and researchers to swallow the vaccine mythology without question. Quoted from the story: Lisa Jackson, a physician and senior investigator with the Group Health Research Center, in Seattle, began wondering aloud to colleagues if maybe something was amiss with the estimate of 50 percent mortality reduction for people who get flu vaccine, the response she got sounded more like doctrine than science. "People told me, 'No good can come of [asking] this,'" she says. "'Potentially a lot of bad could happen' for me professionally by raising any criticism that might dissuade people from getting vaccinated, because of course, 'We know that vaccine works.' This was the prevailing wisdom." [In other words, don't dare question the vaccine, and don't ask tough scientific questions because the vaccine industry runs on dogma, not science... and if you ask any questions, you might find yourself out of a job...].

[Here's where the really good part begins...]

• Lisa Jackson was not deterred. She and three other researchers began to study the widely-quoted vaccine statistics in an attempt to identify this "healthy user effect," if any. They looked through eight years of medical data covering 72,000 people aged 65 or older and recorded who received flu shots and who didn't. Then they compared the death rates for all causes outside the flu season.

The vaccine made no difference in mortality

• What she found blows a hole right through the vaccination industry: She found that even outside the flu season, the death rate was 60 percent higher among those who did not get vaccines than among those who do. [In other words, even when you take the flu season completely out of the equation, elderly people who don't get vaccines have other lifestyle factors that makes them far more likely to die from lots of other causes.]

• She also found that this so-called "healthy user effect" explains the entire apparent benefit that continues to be attributed to vaccines. This finding demonstrates that the flu vaccine may not have any beneficial effect whatsoever in reducing mortality.

• How well done were these particular studies? Quoted from the story: Jackson's papers "are beautiful," says Lone Simonsen, who is a professor of global health at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and an internationally recognized expert in influenza and vaccine epidemiology. "They are classic studies in epidemiology, they are so carefully done."

• Many pro-vaccine experts simply refused to believe the results of this study [because it conflicts with their existing belief in vaccine mythology]. The Journal of the American Medical Association refused to publish her research, even stating, "To accept these results would be to say that the earth is flat!" [Which just goes to show you how deeply ingrained the current vaccine mythology is in the minds of conventional medical practitioners. They simply cannot imagine that vaccines don't work, so they dismiss any evidence -- even GOOD evidence -- demonstrating that fact. This is what makes the vaccine industry a CULT rather than a science.]

• Jackson's papers were finally published in 2006, in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

[And here's the really, really juicy part you can't miss...]

Vaccine shortage proves it never worked in the first place

• The history of the flu vaccine reveals some huge gaps in current vaccination mythology, essentially proving they don't work:

• For example: In 2004, vaccine production was low and there was a shortage in vaccines (a 40 percent reduction in vaccinations). And yet mortality rates did not rise during the flu season. [Clearly, if vaccines actually worked, then a year when the vaccine wasn't even administered to 40% of the people who normally get it should have resulted in a huge and statistically significant increase in mortality. It should have spiked the death rates and filled the morgues... but it didn't. You know why? Because flu vaccines don't work in the first place.]

• In the history of flu vaccines, there were two years in which the formulated flu vaccine was a total mismatch to the widely-circulating influenza that made people sick. These years were 1968 and 1997. In both of these years, the vaccine was a completely mismatch for the circulating virus. In effect, nobody was vaccinated! [Knowing this, if the vaccine itself was effective at reducing death rates, then we should have once again seen a huge spike in the death rates during these two years, right? Seriously, if the vaccine reduces death rates by 50% as is claimed by vaccine manufacturers, then these two years in which the vaccine completely missed the mark should have seen huge spikes in the winter death rates, right? But what really happened was... nothing. Not a blip. Not a spike. Nothing. The death rates didn't rise at all.]

• If vaccines really worked to save lives, then the more people you vaccinate, the lower death rates you should see, right? But that's not the case. Back in 1989, only 15 percent of over-65 people got vaccinated against the flu. But today, thanks to the big vaccine push, over 65 percent are vaccinated. And yet, amazingly, death rates among the elderly have not gone down during the flu season. In fact, they've gone up!

• When vaccine promoters (and CDC officials) are challenged about the "50 percent mortality reduction" myth, they invoke dogmatic language and attack the messenger. They are simply not willing to consider the possibility that flu vaccines simply don't work.

• Scientists who question the vaccine mythology are routinely shunned by the medical establishment. Tom Jefferson from the Cochrane Collaboration is an epidemiologist who questions the claimed benefits of flu vaccines. "The reaction [against Jefferson] has been so dogmatic and even hysterical that you'd think he was advocating stealing babies" said a colleague (Majumdar).

• Jefferson is one of the world's best-informed researchers on the flu vaccine. He leads a team of researchers who have examined hundreds of vaccine studies. To quote directly from the article: The vast majority of the studies were deeply flawed, says Jefferson. "Rubbish is not a scientific term, but I think it's the term that applies [to these studies]."

[And here's the real kicker that demonstrates why flu vaccines are useless...]

Flu vaccines only "work" on people who don't need them

• Vaccines supposedly "work" by introducing a weakened viral strain that causes the immune system to respond by building influenza antibodies. However, as Jefferson points out, only healthy people produce a good antibody response to the vaccine. And yet it is precisely the unhealthy people -- the ones who have a poor immune response to the vaccine -- who are most at risk of being harmed or killed by influenza. But the vaccines don't work in them!

• [In other words -- get this -- flu vaccines only "work" in people who don't need them!]

• [At the same time, it's also accurate to say that vaccines don't work at all in the very people who theoretically could benefit from them. They only produce antibodies in people who already have such a strong immune response that they don't need the vaccine in the first place.]

• Jefferson has called for randomized, placebo-controlled studies of the vaccines. But vaccine pushers are resisting these clinical trials! They call the trials "unethical" [but, in reality, they know that a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study would reveal the complete failure of flu vaccines, and they will do anything to prevent such a trial from happening. Don't you find it amazing that drug pushers and vaccine advocates claim they have "science" on their side, but they won't submit their vaccines to any real science at all?]

• [No placebo-controlled studies have ever been conducted on flu vaccines because the industry says they would be "unethical." So where do these people get off claiming their vaccines work at all? The whole industry is based on fabricated statistics that are provably false... and the injections continue, year after year, with absolutely no benefit to public health whatsoever...]

Why anti-viral drugs don't work either

• On the anti-viral drug front, hospitals are urged to hand out prescriptions for Tamiflu and Relenza to almost anyone who is symptomatic, whether they actually have swine flu or not. Concern is growing about the emergence of drug-resistant strains of swine flu. " Flu can become resistant to Tamiflu in a matter of days..." says one researcher.

• In 2005, the U.S. government spent $1.8 billion to stockpile antiviral drugs for the military. This decision was made during the time when Donald Rumsfeld was Defense Secretary. Rumsfeld also held millions of dollars worth of stock in Gilead Sciences, the company that holds the patent on Tamiflu. That company saw its stock price rise 50 percent following the government's stockpiling purchase of Tamiflu.

• The evidence supporting Tamiflu's anti-viral benefits is flimsy at best. Even worse, as many as one in five children taking Tamiflu experience neuropsychiatric side effects including hallucinations and suicidal behavior. [In other words, your kid might be "tripping out" on some bad Tamiflu...]

• Tamiflu is already linked to 50 deaths of children in Japan.

• The evidence supporting Tamiflu is based on cohort studies, just like the vaccines, which may distort or exaggerate the apparent benefits of the drug.

• Even supporters of Tamiflu admit it's never been proven to help. A CDC official says that randomized trials to determine the effectiveness of Tamiflu would be "unethical."

• In all, neither vaccines nor anti-viral drugs have any reliable evidence that they work against influenza at all. Both are being promoted based entirely on pure wishful thinking, not hard science.

• The history of pharmaceutical medicine is littered with other examples of drugs that doctors "knew worked" but which later turned out to harm or kill patients. [All along, the proper scientific studies were avoided because, hey, if you already know everything, why bother conducting any actual science to prove anything?]

• The hype about vaccines provides a false sense of security, taking away attention from other things that really do work to prevent influenza deaths. That's why, except for "hand washing," virtually no advice has been offered to the public on preventing influenza beyond vaccines and anti-viral drugs.

• Concluding quote from the author: "By being afraid to do the proper studies now, we may be condemning ourselves to using treatments based on illusion and faith rather than sound science."

A recap of these astonishing points

Let's recap what we just learned here (because it's just mind-boggling):

• There have been no placebo-controlled studies on flu vaccines because the vaccine pushers say such clinical trials would be "unethical." Thus, there is actually no hard scientific evidence that they work at all.

• The "50 percent reduction in mortality" statistic that's tossed around by vaccine pushers is a total fabrication based on "rubbish" studies ("cohort" studies).

• Scrutinizing the existing studies that claim to support vaccines reveals that flu vaccines simply don't work. And when vaccines aren't available or the formulation is wrong, there's no spike in death rates, indicating quite conclusively that these vaccines offer no reduction in mortality.

• Flu vaccines only produce antibodies in people who don't need vaccines. At the same time, they fail to produce antibodies in people who are most vulnerable to flu. Thus, vaccines only work in people who don't need them.

• The entire flu vaccine industry is run like a cult, with dogma ruling over science. Anyone who asks tough, scientific questions is immediately branded a heretic. No one is allowed to question the status quo. (So much for "evidence-based medicine," huh?)

As you can see from all this, the flu vaccine is pure quackery. Those who administer vaccines are, by inference, QUACKS. They claim to have scientific minds, and yet they are the most gullible of all: They will believe almost anything if it's published in a medical journal, even if it's complete quackery.

Today, countless doctors, nurses and pharmacists across North America and around the world are pushing a medically worthless, scientifically-fabricated chemical injection that offers absolutely no benefit to public health... and yet they're convinced it's highly effective! It just goes to show you how easy it is to brainwash people in the field of conventional medicine.

They've abandoned real science long ago, you know. Now the whole industry is just run on the momentum of dogmatic arrogance and the illusion of authority. From the CDC and FDA on down to the local pharmacist at the corner store, the American medical system is run by some seemingly smart people who have been brainwashed into become full-fledged members of the Cult of Pharmacology where vaccine mythology overrules real science.

The vaccine industry is perhaps the greatest medical scam ever pulled off in the history of the world. Don't fall for it.

And don't forget to read the full article in The Atlantic by Shannon Brownlee.

Why people get vaccinated: Superstition

Reading everything you've read here, you might wonder: Why do people get vaccinated at all?

The reason is because no one knows whether they work or not, so people keep on taking them "just in case." It's exactly the kind of superstitious ritual that "science-minded skeptics" rail against on a regular basis... unless, of course, it involves their vaccines, in which case superstition is all okay.

People take vaccines for the same reason they rub a rabbit's foot. It's a good luck ritual that may or may not work, but no one really knows. And besides, what's the harm in it? (They think...)

Personally, I'd rather get some vitamin D and have a healthy, functioning immune system. But for those who prefer to play the lotto, gamble in Vegas or bet their lives on medical superstitions, flu vaccines are readily available.

So what are you waiting for? Shoot up a few flu vaccines, rub your lucky rabbit's foot, then spin around clockwise seven times and you, too, may be able to generate enough luck to avoid the flu this winter.

07 October, 2009

What to do about Chicken Pox

Chicken pox seems to be making the 'rounds recently. Since the vaccine, few young children have had the experience of this formerly common, mild, but uncomfortable childhood disease. Older children, and even adults, are more likely to have a difficult time with the outbreak.

I did some research on chicken pox. Herpes zoster is implicated in both chicken pox and shingles. Chicken pox is generally a mild disease and runs its course in a week or so. But it certainly can cause some children a great deal of discomfort, what with the constant itching. They scratch and scratch, which can cause secondary infections and scarring.

What to do about the itching:

* The first thing to do is to cut those little finger nails just as short as possible. Many times the little ones will scratch without thinking about it. They even scratch in their sleep. Scratching seems to make the itching more intense, causing more scratching....
* When my little ones got chicken pox 15 years ago (Micah brought them home from the church nursery, then the others got them for Thanksgiving), I was told that it is best to encourage them to break out. Suppressing the pox allows the virus to lodge deeper in their system and they are more likely to get shingles later in life. So put the kiddies in a hot (100 degrees or so) bath with the oatmeal pack below, and let them play. I remember my mom plunking the boys in the tub several times a day when I brought them home from kindergarten to my 3 preschool brothers.
* Of course there is oatmeal. It is very soothing and even nutritive to the skin. This helps to cut the itching and to help the lesions go away more quickly with less chance of scarring. I like to put some in a muslin bag (or put it in the middle of a washcloth, pull the corners together, and fasten with a rubber band). The oatmeal pack can be used like soap in a hot bath. Of course, it makes a BIG mess in the tub, but it cleans up easily, if you don't let it dry. Micah liked to carry the damp pack around with him so he could rub it on any itchy spots.
* Contrary to so many other ailments, it is recommended to keep the little one out of direct sun, for the most part, during the active phase. Somehow, the sunshine seems to stimulate the action of herpes viruses, leading to more scratching, more itching, and consequently to more scarring.
* Apply a wet tea bag (let it soak in hot water a few minutes to hydrate and cool first) to any areas that are particularly vexing. It is astringent and helps to dry up the oozy stuff, allowing that part to get past more quickly.
* Good old aloe vera juice will also help the lesions and prevent scarring.
* A yellow dock tea can be used as a wash to soothe the itching and feed the skin for a quicker conclusion.
* Some lavender oil can ease itching, help the blisters, and prevent scars. Just make sure it is real lavender rather than lavendin. Lavedin is a hybrid used by the perfume industry for scent because it is more productive.
* Old fashioned witch hazel is another astringent that can help dry up those gooey sores.
* Geranium oil is used for all sorts of skin issues. It is antimicrobial, very soothing, and helps return the skin to its normal supple condition.

Herbs that are useful as teas or in capsules:

* Of course echinacea is a good immune system booster, although I usually have the best results when I use it at the beginning of the illness.
* You can use Thieves oil blend on the feet, just like you can for any other bacteria/viral/fungus infection.
* Burdock is used for an internal and external cleanser. It is amazing how much of a mess it can clear up.
* Lemon balm is another general tonic that is gentle enough for babies. It also has some anti-viral activity and is very calming.
* Catnip is often used like lemon balm. It is very calming to the nervous system.
* Another anti-viral herb often used for herpes viruses is St. John's wort. It can be used as a tea, or there is an extract infused in olive oil that is often applied topically. I have some bottles of St. John's wort (infused) oil left over from trying to help my sister through her depression. The only caveat on St. John's wort is that some have found an increased sensitivity to sunlight after using it.
* Cat's Claw (from South America) is used to shore up the immune system and as an anti-inflammatory.
* Juniper is often used for nervous system issues. It is highly anti-inflammatory.
* One of my favorite herbs is slippery elm bark. It can be substituted for oatmeal above. This is not really a tea, it is more often consumed as a gruel (mix the powder in warm water until it makes a soft slurry - really a lot like oatmeal). Slippery elm is highly nutritive although it can clear out the bowels gently, but thoroughly. Many times bowel congestion adds stress to a body already trying its hardest to get rid of whatever is ailing it. The old herbalists (and some modern natural healers) emphasize the value of cleaning out the colon when one is ill. After all, isn't that the body's own natural tendency?

Certain nutritional issues may be helpful as well:

* The amino acid arginine seems to aggravate any of those herpes cousins. I used to get cold sores when under stress. Avoiding certain foods is recommended: gelatin, sesame, nuts, and peanuts, cod, soy, bacon, and chocolate.
* Lysine, another amino acid, has the opposite effect. It is anti viral, and seems to lessen the severity and length of herpes virus outbreak. You can find lysine in turkey, chicken, fish, parmazan, cottage & ricotta cheese, yeast, & wheat germ. I used to keep a container of lysine supplements around for emergencies.
* Vitamin A (as beta carotene - think green and orange veggies) is particularly useful for keeping the skin healthy. It also aids the immune system.
* B vitamins, particularly B 12, biotin, choline, PABA, and inositol, are particularly helpful for the nervous system. Herpes viruses seem to favor irritating the nervous system, so the B vitamins are particularly helpful. They may ease some of the itching. One of my teachers used to say about getting B vitamins: beans and greens! Of course B12 is found in meat, dairy, and fortified foods.
* Vitamin C is highly anti-inflammatory and is well known for shoring up the immune system. Fresh fruit is easily digested and welcome to most pun'kins.
* Vitamin E can be applied directly to the lesion. Just pop a hole in a capsule and squeeze directly on where it is needed.
* Zinc is essential to optimal immune function. Find zinc in shellfish, fortified and whole grain cereals, liver, sesame, pumpkin, & squash seeds, wheat germ & bran, beef and game meats, and yeast.

This should give you a good number of choices. Many of these same remedies are suggested for shingles.

The herpes zoster virus can hide dormant in a person's body for years, even decades. When the immune system is seriously compromised by stress, nutritional factors, or whatever, the virus makes a re-appearance. It favors erupting along nerves which are close under the skin. Theories say the virus hides somewhere in the nervous system. Some sources suggest it lodges at the base of the spine. So additional nerve related herbs are suggested (scullcap, black cohosh, blue vervain, crampbark, valarian, sage, and wild yam).

27 August, 2009

You ARE What You Eat

Everything you put in your mouth has an effect on your body – for good or ill. There is no neutral ground. It must pack the best nutrition. The body expects to be fed something that will give it what it needs to build, repair, and strengthen itself.

Read that again . . . .

Think carefully about it.

Not all food is equally nourishing. Foods which lack nutrients cause your body to become unbalanced, cause inflammation, and disrupt the body’s own control mechanisms. It may not show up right away, but over time the whole system suffers.

You hear about ‘empty calories,’ or ‘too much salt,’ or ‘too much sugar,’ or ’too much fat.’ Foods which fit these descriptions please the palate – they seem to taste good at the time. When the rubber meets the road, they just do not perform as your body needs.

Many people (not you, of course) put ‘stuff’ in their mouths without thinking about this concept. Instead other factors come into play when they consider their desire for ‘something good to eat’:

★ The salty crunch of chips.
★ The cool, smoothness of ice cream.
★ The bubbly sparkle of soda.
★ The charred chewiness of steak.
★ They may fancy some other taste or texture on the tongue.
★ Boredom leads to finding something to keep the mouth busy.
★ A gnawing, hungry feeling hits, so they put darn near anything in their mouths to put a stop to it.
★ They hit a period of low energy and/or mood. Something filled with sugar and/or caffeine, sends the whole system into a tail spin.

When this ‘stuff’ goes into the mouth, it contains few nutrients. It does not deliver sufficient nourishment as it goes through the digestive process. The body then sends out signals of hunger which it hopes will provide the nutrition it needs to carry on.

So, one eats more, ... and more, ... and more ....

In this way, not only does one put on weight, but cravings, addictions, and allergies to certain foods develop. The intestines become blocked and sluggish – sometimes so blocked that only liquids can pass through. Many people eat large amounts of food, but are still undernourished.

Folks generally look at diet in an unsavory light: “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight;” or, alternatively: “the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person ... for a special reason.”

So ‘diet’ is a word often viewed with fear. Many try one diet or another, only to find themselves in torment. The experience leaves them with a constant sense of deprivation. Severe restriction of calories results in low energy and depression. In the end these efforts provide only a temporary remedy for the problem one is trying to address. One finally gives in, finding themself see-sawing back to (or above) their original weight. The chronic diseases you seek to avoid still plague you, or you end up with some other malady.

Webster gives higher status to these other definitions, by placing them first: “food and drink regularly provided or consumed;” and “habitual nourishment.”

In fact, the word ‘diet’ comes from a Greek word which means a manner of living.

We prefer definitions emphasizing the ways foods we ‘habitually eat’ enhance our health.

Remember: the cause of a habit is repetition. What you habitually eat depends on what you choose to put in your mouth. So choose wisely – over and over again.

Now, ask yourself these questions:

“Why do you eat?
Do you ‘eat to live’
or ‘live to eat’?”


This is the beginning of the current lesson in our online (by email) course in natural healing. For more information, check our web site.

31 July, 2009

Raw Gingerbread Men Recipe

Raw Gingerbread Men

From Karen Knowler, Raw Food Coach in England

Rawcookies It all began with a desire to replace my son's "healthy" (organic, no junk) gingerbread men with truly healthy ones just a couple of days ago. As my mind kicked in to try and figure out how this could be possible and with a little search on the web for traditional gingerbread men recipes, Luke and are were soon equipped with all we needed and raring to go to see what we could create. Fast forward to multiple Gingerbread Men all dehydrated and ready to be gobbled up: Success!

NB: This recipe doesn't have to be dehydrated to taste good or hold itself together, but for the crunch factor, yes, absolutely.

Makes 9 small Men.

* 1 cup of golden flax (linseed)
* 1 cup pecans
* 3 teaspoons powdered ginger
* 2 Tablespoons of dark agave syrup
* 1/8 cup of pure water


1) Mill the flax seed and pecans together into a fine flour. (This is best done in the Vita-Mix dry jug, or by using a coffee mill; a food processor won't get it fine enough on its own).

2) Pour the "flour" - saving just a little back for step 3 - into a food processor adding the remaining ingredients. Process until a dark sticky ball is created.

3) Remove the ball from the processor and lay it out on a flat surface ready for rolling out. This is where you may need to use the flour you held back from step 2 as it might stick to the surface or rolling pin! So lightly coat the board you are rolling on or the mixture itself in a fine dusting of flour and then roll out into a flat dough.

4) Using gingerbread men-shaped cookie cutters, cut out your men and either leave plain or decorate, according to your preference. Once finished, you can either eat as a "fresh" version which will be juicy and slightly chewy, or you can move to step 5 where you'll need a dehydrator...

5) Lay your men out on your dehydrator tray. No protective sheeting is required as the mixture isn't runny. Depending on how crunchy you want your men (!), dehydrate anything from a few hours to 24 hours. The full 24 hours at 100 degrees F will give you crunchy men, so long as they are no more than 5mm thick when they go in to dry.

By following this recipe you'll have gingerbread men ready to go in just minutes if you opt for the fresh version. As this is my first conscious foray into making creative raw food for kids, next time around as I tweak the recipe I'll be experimenting with raisin "buttons", chocolate "icing" and goji berry clothing!


* If your child doesn't like this recipe (but does like commercial gingerbread men), try making it using a different shaped cookie cutter, or adding decorations, or mixing their favourite raw ingredients in. My experience suggests that kids eat as much, if not more so with their eyes than their mouths! So be prepared to do things a little more differently than you would do for yourself.

* Try tasting them at all different stages of dehydration to see which one you prefer. My favourite is "almost fully dry with just a little bit of softness in the middle." (Make of that what you will!)

10 July, 2009

A Simple, Inexpensive Method to Improve Your Health

How do we break the inflammation cycle and encourage the body to operate at a heightened level of efficiency?

Toxic substances stimulate the immune system to go into action. These substances can range from foreign chemicals to bacteria, viruses, fungus, or parasites.

The immune system’s response to toxins generates free radicals which create inflammation throughout the body. A healthy body can clear this inflammation in a short period of time. However, our day to day food, lifestyle, and environmental milieu hammers on our bodies. These assaults erode the efficiency of the body's anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Thus, inflammation builds up in various parts of the body leading to a degeneration of health and vigor.

Throughout the history of natural medicine, cleansing has been a mainstay - or at least beginning - for optimizing health. A variety of techniques have been used, for instance:

★ Fasting.
★ Modified fasting using fruit and vegetable juices.
★ Eating raw foods.
★ Following a mucus-less diet.
★ Supporting the blood and liver in their cleansing activities.
★ Using herbs, plant fiber, or salt water to purge the colon.
★ Colonics
★ Enemas.
★ Charcoal.
★ Stimulating the kidneys.
★ Sitting in a room or shelter which encourages profuse sweating.
★ Application of hot and/or cold water baths.

From the Aruvedic tradition of India comes yet another tool to add to this arsenal: oil pulling. It is mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, where it is called Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha. It has been brought to the attention of modern practitioners by a Dr. F. Karach. He presented oil pulling in a paper before a meeting of oncologists and bacteriologists belonging to the Academy of Science of the USSR.

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy for strengthening teeth, gums, and jaws. It helps to prevent tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, dryness of the throat, and cracked lips. It is also used to reduce enamel wear from stomach acid in hangovers and bulimics.

Other systems of the body benefit from oil pulling as well. Dr. Karach lists these examples of ailments which are alleviated by oil pulling:

★ head-aches.
★ bronchitis.
★ tooth pain.
★ thrombosis.
★ eczema.
★ ulcers.
★ diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, and lungs.
★ women’s diseases.
★ diseases of nerves.
★ paralysis.
★ encephalitis.
★ prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them.
★ chronic sleeplessness.

The procedure is simple, inexpensive, and uses readily available ingredients. First thing in the morning (and before meals, on an empty stomach), oil is swished around in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, then spit out. That is all there is to it. No fancy equipment or complicated techniques are required.

Cold pressed sesame oil is regarded as the best oil for this use. Extra Virgin coconut oil or Sunflower oil also comes highly recommended. If these are not available, you may try refined oils or another pure vegetable oil that does not have genetically modified sources. However, oils other than sesame or sunflower have not been shown to be as effective.

Sesame oil is derived from the plant Sesamum indicum of the Pedaliaceae family. The seeds of the plant are known as benne, 'gingelly' or 'teel'. It is often used for cooking and as a flavor enhancer in Indian, Chinese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine. Due to the natural antioxidants present in the oil, it is least prone among cooking oils with high smoke points (its average smoke point is 420°F) to turn rancid when kept at room temperature. Still refrigeration is recommended for optimum freshness.

Sesame , one of the first crops processed for oil, is considered the queen of the oil seed crops because of its nutritional qualities and many desirable health effects. Few people have allergic reactions to sesame. If you have a mild allergic reaction, try a different brand of oil, as manufacturing practices vary from one to another.

Sesame oil has a high concentration (41 percent) of polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is a good source of vitamin E. Among six edible plant oils tested, sesame oil had the highest antioxidant content. The antioxidants present in it are mainly sesamol, sesamin, and sesamolin. Sesamin has been found to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol as well as limiting cholesterol production in the liver. It reduces the formation of fat cells and acts to lower blood pressure. Sesame oil is said to generally fortify the constitution during recuperation from severe or prolonged illness.

As with most plant based condiments, sesame oil contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6. Copper provides support for the nerves which regulate heart beat and provides relief for rheumatoid arthritis. Magnesium supports muscle, blood vessel, and respiratory health. Calcium helps prevent colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraine and PMS. Zinc promotes bone health.

Sesame seed oil helps joints keep their flexibility.

Keeping the skin supple and soft, sesame oil has multiple uses in skin care. It heals and protects areas of mild scrapes, cuts and abrasions. It helps tighten facial skin, particularly around the nose, controlling the usual enlargement of pores as skin ages chronologically.

In The Green Pharmacy, the prominent herbalist James Duke states that sesame contains at least seven pain-relieving compounds. Thus, sesame may also have some power as an analgesic.

In lab cultures, sesame seed oil inhibited the growth of malignant melanoma - a skin cancer (Prostaglandin Leukatrines and Essential Fatty Acids 46: 145-150, 1992) and replication of human colon cancer cells (Anti Cancer Research 11: 209-216, 1992).

Two scientific studies indicate the effect of oil pulling against specific bacteria in the mouth cavity. Streptococcus mutans, which reportedly causes dental caries, was measured. Subjects swished sesame oil in their mouths for ten minutes a day. Within a week, bacterial counts in the mouth were significantly lowered.

The mouth contains many blood vessels quite close to the surface. When food is thoroughly chewed, it mixes with saliva which contains a large number of enzymes. Many nutrients are absorbed through the buccal tissue (tissues inside the mouth) before food descends to the stomach. In fact, with enough chewing, forty percent of carbohydrate digestion takes place in the mouth. Thus, the beneficial effects of the sesame oil can be transmitted to the body, without swallowing it. While some controversy exists about whether molecules can be passed through these membranes into the mouth, there is a sense in which oil pulling may remove toxins from the body.

Oil, which is composed of fat molecules, is a medium which is very absorbent. The fat in your body stores certain vitamins, excess hormones, and many toxic chemicals.

Sesame oil is reputed to penetrate the skin easily, and is used in India for oil massage. Sesame seed oil absorbs quickly and penetrates through the tissues to the very marrow of the bone. It enters into the blood stream through the capillaries and circulates. The liver does not sweep sesame seed oil molecules from the blood, accepting those molecules as friendly. Oil soluble toxins are attracted to sesame seed oil molecules which can then be washed away. These same properties may take place in the buccal tissues during oil pulling.

Here is the oil pulling procedure, step by step:

Step 1: First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and before drinking any liquids (including water), pour exactly one tablespoon of sesame or sunflower oil into your mouth. Use one teaspoon for children old enough to be able to swish it without swallowing it – most sources suggest an age of five. If you wear dentures, oil pulling is done with the dentures out of your mouth. Some people choose to accelerate oil pulling’s effects by swishing two or three times a day. It should be done before meals or several hours after a meal, on an empty stomach.

Step 2: Swish the oil around in your mouth without swallowing it for about twenty minutes. Move it around in your mouth and through your teeth. Sip and suck it through the teeth. Use a gentle chewing motion from time to time. Don't tilt your head back to gargle. Keep swishing. If your cheek or jaw muscles get sore while swishing, you are putting too much effort into it. Relax your jaw muscles and use your tongue to help move the liquid around the inside of your mouth. When you do this correctly, you will feel very comfortable. Pretty soon, it will become second nature. You will find that the oil starts to get watery in the first ten minutes, as your saliva mixes with it.

Step 3: As the end of the oil pulling session approaches, the oil/saliva mixture in your mouth becomes thicker. This is quite normal, since it is pulling out toxins from your body. When 20 minutes are up, spit out the oil into the commode. It is best if you do not spit into the sink. Do not be alarmed if it looks yellow or whitish – this also is normal.

Step 4: Rinse out your mouth a couple of times with warm water or with a good mouthwash and spit into the commode. I prefer to rinse and spit with regular hydrogen peroxide diluted half and half with water (or use full strength). Once again, do not swallow. The hydrogen peroxide is very effective in rinsing out any toxins or organisms which may be left in the mouth.

Step5: Brush your teeth. Use a damp toothbrush with a small amount of baking soda. A small amount goes a long way and minimizes the abrasive effect of the baking soda. The baking soda will normalize the pH of the mouth.

Sesame oil has the following advantages over the standard and commercially available mouthwashes: it causes no staining, has no lingering aftertaste, and causes no allergic reactions. It is five to six times more cost-effective than the commercially available mouthwashes and is, moreover, readily available in the household.

For more information:


04 May, 2009

Summertime Learning Opportunity

Herbs and Your Health
June 13 - July 25
Studio Dance and Fitness
116 E. Crogan St.
Lawrenceville, GA 30045

Seven week course on using herbs and diet to improve the health of body systems (special topics may be substituted by request). The class can be taken as a whole, or each class taken individually.

June 13: Introduction and overview of dietary issues. We do not prescribe a diet, just present issues related to diet. Hands on project.

June 20: The Digestive System. Overview of how the system works. Some ideas on how to improve its function. Hands on presentation.

June 27: The Respiratory System. How it works. Ways to increase it effectiveness. Hands on demonstration.

July 4: Break. Take the day to celebrate with family and friends. Show someone how special they are and how much you love them.

July 11: The Circulatory System. A quick tour. Suggestions to tweak its functioning. Homework due.

July 18: The Reproductive System. Survey. Promoting health. Hands on demonstration.

July 25: The Immune System. How it works and how to encourage it to work better. Hands on activity.

Cost: $90 ($100 at the door) pre-registration deadline: June 10
$20 per class prepaid, ($25 the day of class) Pre-registration deadline 3 days before class.

Payment may be made through PayPal (email: mail@grainsofhope.com)
Or mail:
Maryann Marshall
645 Oak Springs Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Phone: 678-764-4865

07 April, 2009

What Type of Specator are You?

Bishop Fulton Sheen offered this meditation on the Passion of Christ in 1979, shortly before his death.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

May you have a blessed Holy Week!

13 March, 2009

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

The Obama administration has allowed a 30-day comment period, before they take away conscience protection from doctors and nurses in the US. Here is an excerpt from the actual document:

“The Department is proposing to rescind in its entirety the final rule entitled “Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law,” published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2008 (73 FR 78072, 45 CFR Part 88).”

Dear Friends,
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but not only would this be an enormous setback for the prolife movement but it would violate our religious freedom and First Amendment rights. It doesn’t make sense that anyone should be forced to have an abortion. Neither does it follow that a person should be forced to be an abortionist, especially when that infringes on their religious or ethical principles!
This move by the administration, if enacted, will permit the discrimination and intolerance of the ethical choices of healthcare workers who don’t want to be part of an abortion or other questionable and controversial practices. We have two choices: to act now, or to do nothing and look back in regret. Let’s choose to act! Please send this to as many pro-life people as you can. Let everyone know what is going on.
For the Greater Glory of God,
Beth Burgess, Respect Life Director

You may submit comments:

1. http://www.Regulations.gov

2. Email to proposedrescission@hhs.gov

3. Electronic comments to http://www.Regulations.gov, go to the Web site and click on the link "Comment or Submission" and enter the keywords "Rescission Proposal."

4. Regular mail: You may mail written comments (one original and two copies) to the following address: Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 716G, Washington, DC 20201.

03 March, 2009

Vaccines as Biological Weapons?

(From NaturalNews) There's a popular medical thriller novel in which a global pandemic is intentionally set off by an evil plot designed to reduce the human population. In the book, a nefarious drug company inserts live avian flu viruses into vaccine materials that are distributed to countries around the world to be injected into patients as "flu shots." Those patients then become carriers for these highly-virulent strains of avian flu which go on to infect the world population and cause widespread death.

There's only one problem with this story: It's not fiction. Or, at least, the part about live avian flu viruses being inserted into vaccine materials isn't fiction. It's happening right now.

Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Baxter International Inc. has just been caught shipping live avian flu viruses mixed with vaccine material to medical distributors in 18 countries. The "mistake" (if you can call it that, see below...) was discovered by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Canada. The World Health Organization was alerted and panic spread throughout the vaccine community as health experts asked the obvious question: How could this have happened?

As published on LifeGen.de , serious questions like this are being raised:

"Baxter International Inc. in Austria 'unintentionally contaminated samples with the bird flu virus that were used in laboratories in 3 neighbouring countries, raising concern about the potential spread of the deadly disease'. Austria, Germany, Slowenia and the Czech Republic - these are the countries in which labs were hit with dangerous viruses. Not by bioterrorist commandos, but by Baxter. In other words: One of the major global pharmaceutical players seems to have lost control over a virus which is considered by many virologists to be one of the components leading some day to a new pandemic."

Or, put another way, Baxter is acting a whole lot like a biological terrorism organization these days, sending deadly viral samples around the world. If you mail an envelope full of anthrax to your Senator, you get arrested as a terrorist. So why is Baxter -- which mailed samples of a far more deadly viral strain to labs around the world -- getting away with saying, essentially, "Oops?"

But there's a bigger question in all this: How could this company have accidentally mixed LIVE avian flu viruses (both H5N1 and H3N2, the human form) in this vaccine material?

Was the viral contamination intentional?

The shocking answer is that this couldn't have been an accident. Why? Because Baxter International adheres to something called BSL3 (Biosafety Level 3) - a set of laboratory safety protocols that prevent the cross-contamination of materials.

As explained on Wikipedia:

"Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents. This is considered a neutral or warm zone. All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets or other physical containment devices, or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory has special engineering and design features."

Under the BSL3 code of conduct, it is impossible for live avian flu viruses to contaminate production vaccine materials that are shipped out to vendors around the world.

This leaves only two possibilities that explain these events:

Possibility #1: Baxter isn't following BSL3 safety guidelines or is so sloppy in following them that it can make monumental mistakes that threaten the safety of the entire human race. And if that's the case, then why are we injecting our children with vaccines made from Baxter's materials?

Possibility #2: A rogue employee (or an evil plot from the top management) is present at Baxter, whereby live avian flu viruses were intentionally placed into the vaccine materials in the hope that such materials might be injected into humans and set off a global bird flu pandemic.

It just so happens that a global bird flu pandemic would sell a LOT of bird flu vaccines. Although some naive people have a hard time believing that corporations would endanger human beings to make money, this is precisely the way corporations now behave in America's ethically-challenged free-market environment. (Remember Enron? Exxon? Merck? DuPont? Monsanto? Need I go on?)

Make no mistake: Spreading bird flu is a clever way to create demand for bird flu vaccines, and we've all seen very clearly how drug companies first market the problem and then "leap to the rescue" by selling the solution. (Disease mongering of ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc.)

Why it all suddenly makes sense

Until today, I would not have personally believed such a story. I personally thought talk of bird flu vaccines being "weaponized" was just alarmist hype. But now, in light of the fact that LIVE bird flu viruses are being openly found in vaccine materials that are distributed around the world, I must admit the evidence is increasingly compelling that something extremely dangerous is afoot.

Baxter, through either its mistakes or its evil intentions, just put the safety of the entire human race at risk. Given all the laboratory protocols put in place to prevent this kind of thing, it is difficult to believe this was just a mistake.

There is some speculation, in fact, that the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed up to 50 million people worldwide , was intentionally started by injecting servicemen with "experimental" flu vaccines that actually contained live, "weaponized" flu material just like the material being distributed by Baxter today.

Examine the historical record. You'll find that the 1918 flu originated with servicemen. Even more interestingly, it began in multiple cities, simultaneously! There is no single point of origin with the 1918 flu. It appears to have "spontaneously" sprung up across multiple cities all at once, including a military base in Kansas. (Kansas? Yep. So how did it get to Kansas in an era when air traffic was virtually non-existent? Vaccines, of course!)

All those cities and servicemen have one thing in common: Flu shot vaccinations given to them by the military.

If you put the pieces together on this, it's not too difficult to suspect that influenza could potentially be used as a tool of control by governments or drug companies to catalyze outrageous profit-taking or power grabbing agendas. A desperate, infected population will gladly give up anything or pay anything for the promise of being cured.

Or was it just an innocent mistake? Oops!
But for the skeptics who dismiss any such talk of conspiracy theories, let's examine the other possibility: That a global avian flu pandemic was nearly unleashed unintentionally due to the outrageous incompetence of the companies handling these viral strains.

As we just saw, this is a very real possibility. Had this live bird flu virus not been detected, it could have very easily found its way into vaccines that were injected into human beings. And this, in turn, could have unleashed a global avian flu pandemic.

If the drug companies making and handling these materials are so careless, then it seems like it's only a matter of time before something slips through the safety precautions again and gets unleashed into the wild. And that leads to essentially the same scenario: A global pandemic, widespread death, health care failures and a desperate population begging for vaccines.

So either way -- whether it's intentional or not -- you essentially get the same result.

Why a global pandemic is only a matter of time

I am on the record stating that a global pandemic is only a matter of time. The living conditions under which humans have placed themselves (crowded cities, suppressed immune systems, etc.) are ideal for the spread of infectious disease. But I never dreamed drug companies could actually be accelerating the pandemic timeline by contaminating vaccine materials with live avian flu viruses known to be highly infectious to humans. This, it seems, is a whole new cause for concern.

You can believe what you will. Maybe you agree with the nefarious plot theory and you agree that corporations are capable of great evils in their quest for profits. Or perhaps you can't accept that, so you go with the "accidental contamination" theory, in which your beliefs describe a very dangerous world where biohazard safety protocols are insufficient to protect us from all the crazy viral strains being toyed with at drug companies and government labs all across the world.

In either case, the world is not a very safe place when deadly viral strains are placed in the hands of the inept.

We are like children playing God with Mother Nature, rolling the dice in a global game of Viral Roulette where the odds are not in our favor. With companies like Baxter engaged in behaviors that are just begging to see the human race devastated by a global pandemic wipeout, it might be a good time to question the sanity of using viral strains in vaccines in the first place.

Vaccine-pushing scientists are so proud of their vaccines. They think they've conquered Mother Nature. Imagine their surprise when one day they learn they have actually killed 100 million human beings by unleashing a global pandemic.

We came close to it this week. A global pandemic may have just been averted by the thinnest of margins. Yet people go on with their lives, oblivious to what nearly happened.

What's inescapable at this point is the fact that the threat of a pandemic that looms for all of human civilization, and that drug companies may, themselves, be the source of that threat.

Important Resources

Read my book How to Beat the Bird Flu here.

See a remarkable collection of quotes and accounts from authors writing about the 1918 influenza pandemic here.

Stories about Baxter International, Inc. and its avian influenza "oops" moment

The Canadian Press.



28 February, 2009

Behind the Scenes - Skin Deep

Webisodes are the future of entertainment. Here is a sneak peek at an upcoming ground breaking series.

17 February, 2009


This short film, written and directed by Kurt Kuenne and starring T.J. Thyne and Vicki Davis, has won a variety of awards including Best Narrative Short at the Cleveland International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival. It’s guaranteed to give you a smile.

05 February, 2009

Make Your Own Tasty Nutritious Bread

All of us are budget conscious these days. Food prices remain high because the prices were negotiated last summer and fall, when gas prices went through the roof. Like everything else, the cost of bread is rising like the yeast-laden dough from which it is made. News reports estimate, the cost of bread is up 10.7 per cent in the last 12 months. Unless you cave in and buy empty-calorie white bread (we used to call it Balloon Bread), you find yourself paying over $2.00 a loaf. The price can be twice as much, if you want something fancier and more exciting.

Homemade bread is much cheaper, once you invest in the ingredients, a couple of pans and baking sheets. Even using organic whole grain flour, bread will cost about $1.67 a loaf, and it tastes like a million bucks. Buy in bulk, and the cost per loaf decreases dramatically (as low as $1.09). Your nutritious home made bread, then, will rival the cost of white balloon bread - and you and your family will be happier and healthier in the long run.

Beyond the dollar cost, look at the list of ingredients on the bread label. Does bread really need more ingredients than flour, water, and yeast? Perhaps a bit of sweetener and some fat to support the structure of the dough might be called for. Yet the list of ingredients on the label goes on and on. What might that list of unnecessary ingredients cost in terms of deteriorating health?

The highly processed sweetener, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is ubiquitous. It seems to be in every loaf you pick up. Recently, it was revealed that almost half of the HFCS produced is contaminated with mercury, leading to concerns over birth defects and neurological damage. that Far from being a natural product, several chemicals are required to make HFCS, including caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, alha-amylase, gluco-amylase, isomerase, filter aid, powdered carbon, calcium chloride, and magnesium sulfate. Diabetes may be linked to consumption of HFCS. Fructose interferes with leptin, an important digestive-system hormone that tells your brain that you’re full and should stop eating.

Most bread has a long list of additives.

Citric acid and sodium benzoate are also often produced at manufacturing plants that use mercury as part of the manufacturing process.

According to www.foodsafety.gov, chemicals in monosoduim glutamate (MSG) were believed to be unsafe to the nervous system. MSG hides in such ingredients as glutamate, glutamic acid, gelatin, monosodium glutamate, calcium caseinate, textured protein, monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, yeast extract, yeast food, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed), hydrolyzed corn gluten, natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium.

And the list goes on....

What can a person do? Why not take control of your health by making your own bread? It costs much less and you know what ingredients are in it.

The practice of making bread has been around for six thousand years. Yet, many people feel intimidated at the prospect of making bread.

Baking bread does not have to be a fussy or time consuming business. You can fit bread making into your schedule, rather than becoming a slave to the task. It really only needs a few minutes of attention here and there. As you get more comfortable with the process, you will find that your bread choices are limited only by your imagination.

Always make more bread than you think you will use. Bread is a very sociable commodity. There is always someone to share a loaf of fresh baked bread.



Liquid ingredients which are slightly acidic support the growth of the yeast:

* Of course, plain water can be used. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice per cup for the yeast.
* Rejuvalac (water in which wheat or rye berries soaked for 2 days) gives the yeast an extra enzyme boost.
* For extra protein, soured milk or whey makes a delightful loaf. Naturally soured milk works very well, but if you do not have any, a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in the bowl will produce just what you need.
* Use left over water from cooking beans. Soy beans, however have chemicals that inhibit yeast growth, so any other beans will be a better choice.
* Adding fruit juice makes a moist, sweet loaf that needs no additional sweetener. Dilute half and half with plain water.
* For 'pizza bread,' use half water and half tomato juice or tomato paste.


The fats in the dough help to support the gluten. They seal in the little bubbles, so the loaf does not deflate as easily.

* Butter actually is best to provide support for the gluten.
* A mild tasting vegetable oil, like sesame, grape seed, or coconut works nicely.
* If you are making an herbed Italian loaf that will allow a stronger taste, try olive oil.

Be careful with oils that turn rancid easily, like safflower and sunflower. The heat required for cooking your loaf may be too much for them. Rancid oil gives the bread an off flavor, that is none too pleasant.


Yeast requires a lot of energy for its growth. For that reason, some sort of sweetener is necessary. Yeast gets some of its energy from the natural sugars in the grain, so practice moderation, a little goes a long way. Use anywhere from a quarter to half a cup in this recipe.

* Blackstrap molasses provides both the yeast and the final consumer with the best nutritional profile. It is often used to grow the yeast commercially. Sometimes you will not find blackstrap in your grocery store, it may be labeled robust or full flavored.
* Barbados molasses can be used, as well, but it is much sweeter, so less is needed.
* Honey will act as a natural preservative. Your loaf will keep a day or two longer. Honey is also sweeter than molasses, so use less.
* Stevia (use the green powder) sweetens without adding calories. The yeast seems to like it. The bread rises quite nicely with smaller amounts of other sweeteners. Stevia is more intensely sweet than anything else. Add a teaspoon at a time until you produce your preferred level of sweetness.
* Agave nectar works well for bread as well. It gives a taste more like sugar than any of the others, so if you have people who do not like change, agave is a good choice to start. Once they get hooked on the variety of home made breads, you can branch out to others.
* It is not necessary or desirable to use white cane sugar for your bread. It provides no real nutritional value for you or for the yeast.
* Never use artificial sweeteners in bread. They are fraught with dangers to your health.


On the baking ingredients aisle you find pre-measured yeast in little yellow and red foil-lined packets. It is certainly convenient to use this product. At times, however, this is not as active as buying it loose and measuring it yourself. Buying it in bulk is more cost effective and decreases the amount of packaging required, resulting in less waste to dispose.

The yeast stays active for a very long time, as long as it is kept out of extreme heat. I bought 5 pounds when my kiddies were little and I was making bread every day. I kept it in a tub in the freezer most of the time. It survived several moves, when it was impossible to refrigerate the tub. My young 'uns are all grown now, and I just recently used it up and it was still quite enthusiastic.


Many, many seeds can be used for bread. Enhance the texture and flavor of your loaves by mixing different flours. Feel free to experiment with different combinations of flours to find just the right loaf for any occasion.

Of course, the best flours are made of whole, ground, organic seeds. Whole grains make a denser loaf than what you may currently be eating. You know you have really eaten something, when you finish a slice of whole grain bread.

If you must use white flour at first, mix it half and half with any other flour. Each batch you make, reduce the amount of white flour until your family's palates are trained to eat 'real bread.' Sometimes, it takes a while to work up to this.

* For the sake of the texture of your bread, wheat is far and above the best grain for the majority of the flour in your loaf. Gluten in wheat captures carbon dioxide bubbles produced by the yeast. These bubbles make the bread rise. Sixty to eighty per cent wheat flour in your mix gives the best results.
* For a lighter loaf, add some gluten flour, especially if you are using less gluten rich flours. One tablespoon of gluten flour per cup of any other kind of flour is generally sufficient.
* Rye is a traditionally used for dark, heavier loaves which remind many of 'the Old Country' for those of European descent. It contains a fair amount of gluten, although not as much as wheat. So, you can use a greater percentage of it in your loaves - up to forty percent of the flour can be rye. Rye bread dough tends to be a bit more sticky than wheat when you knead it.
* Oats provide a moisturizing influence on your bread, making a nice soft loaf. They, too contain some gluten, although in rather small amounts. As much as a quarter of your flour can be oats. Oats absorb more moisture than other flours, so increase the liquid in your recipe or decrease the amount of your dry ingredients.
* Rice flour also absorbs moisture, so keep this in mind when measuring. There is no gluten in rice, so use it for an eighth or less of your flour. It gives the bread a crispness that can be delightful, especially if you intend to eat it toasted.
* Buckwheat is used (along with rye) in pumpernickel bread. It is darker and more dense than most other flours. Use a small amount. Buckwheat makes a nice 'warming' loaf that is satisfying in the cold winter months.
* Garbanzo beans can be ground easily in your blender to make flour. They give a slightly nutty flavor to the loaf. It is also a nice way to get a complimentary protein into the mix.
* Soybeans are often touted for adding protein to bread. However, there is much controversy over the use of soybeans. This is not the place to address the controversy, so we will leave that for another time and place. Soybeans contain an enzyme which inhibits the growth of the yeast, so its use should be minimized. On a side note: much of the soybean crop is genetically modified, so it is mandatory that you use only organic soybeans.
* Carob powder is often used in pumpernickel bread, too. It darkens the loaf and provides a mellowing influence.

Additional Ingredients

Here, the real fun begins. You can add all sorts of flavor and nutrition to your bread. Amounts are for the recipe below, which makes three or four loaves. Adjust to the size of your batch.

* Salt controls the growth of the yeast. Too much or too little salt will not allow the yeast to grow properly. Half a tablespoon of salt is optimum for this size batch.
* Half a tablespoon of ginger enhances the digestibility of the bread.
* For traditional rye bread or pumpernickel, sprinkle in four tablespoons of caraway seeds.
* A Swedish rye results from adding 2 tablespoons of anise seed, 2 tablespoons of fennel seed, and 2 tablespoons of grated orange peel.
* An omega rich loaf can be made by adding 3 tablespoons of flax or chia seed.
* That pizza bread will want Italian spices: a tablespoon of thyme, two tablespoons of oregano, and three tablespoons of basil. Do not add garlic or onion to the dough, because they will retard the growth of the yeast. More later on adding flavors that are less yeast friendly.
* Throw in a half cup of raw sunflower seeds.
* Put a cup of raisins or other dried fruit in for a sweet bread.
* Add two to three tablespoons of rosemary. Better yet, roll your loaves in the rosemary after they are formed.
* If you want a sweeter bread, add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of green stevia powder.

The Basic Process

The following procedure makes three or four loaves, depending on how much it rises and the size of your loaves.

Start with a quart of room temperature or slightly warmer liquid. Add one-fourth to one-half cup of oil and an equal amount of liquid sweetener. Measure them both in the same cup. The oil helps the sticky sweetener to slide out of the cup much more easily. Then run a rubber spatula around the inside of the cup quickly to get the rest of the oil and sweetener out.

Now that you have all the liquid ingredients assembled, it is time to introduce a tablespoon of active dry yeast to them. Recipe books from the past couple of generations ask you to soften the yeast in one half cup of warm water. That can still be done, if you desire. If you skip that step and add it directly to your liquid ingredients, the yeast gets a jump start on absorbing the nutrients that will allow it to be strong and healthy as it builds your loaf. It takes ten minutes or so for the yeast to come out of its dormant state and begin to grow again. Since it is in a medium that feeds it, you do not have to be strict about attending to the next step. It can be left for an hour or more without damage. You will come back to see lots of frothy bubbles.

Finally, it is time to add some flour a few cups at a time. Begin by adding four cups of flour to your yeast mixture. At this time, add your salt and ginger as well as whatever extras you will put in your loaf. Mix it in until it is smooth. It will still be a very wet batter.

The next four cups of flour do not have to be wheat. If you want rye bread, add that flour - all four cups if you want. Other flours with less gluten need to be used sparingly - no more than a total of two cups in this recipe.

Once these are mixed in, add the final two to four cups of flour, one at a time, mixing and observing the consistency of the dough. At this point, the dough should be firm and still a bit sticky, but not gooey.

This part of the process offers the ultimate in flexibility. Cover your bowl of dough with a damp towel and put it in a warm, draft free place: Near the range is often nice and warm, if you are cooking something else. Put it on top of the refrigerator, to take advantage of the warmer air near the ceiling. Some people place the dough inside an oven which has a pilot light, without turning on the oven.

Allow the mixture to sit for an hour or more before kneading. It can sit for several hours, even overnight, until you get some time to spend kneading it. In the past, women often mixed up the bread dough, and left it to rise and fall several times before baking it.

If it is left longer than eight hours, it starts to take on a sour dough type flavor which gets stronger the longer it sits. It will also be less sweet, the longer it waits. One advantage to such a delay is the easier digestibility of the finished loaf.

During the down time, the gluten, bran, herbs, and seeds absorb the amount of liquid that they will need during the rest of the process. When it comes time to knead your bread, you know pretty closely the final texture of the bread and can adjust accordingly. The additional benefit is the fact that it takes less (actually about half as much) time kneading to achieve the right elasticity of the loaf.

Kneading is the most fun of the whole process, except for the eating part.

Place your ball of dough on a clean counter top. If the dough sticks to the surface, dust the counter lightly with flour, or rub a layer of butter on it. For dough that it too stiff to work, flatten the dough and sprinkle it with water.

Place the heels of your hands in the middle of the ball. Push down and away from you. Hook your fingers over the far side of the mass of dough. Roll it all back toward you, again pushing toward the counter. Repeat the process, turning the dough a quarter turn every so often. After a bit, you develop a rhythm, pushing and pulling the mass, that comforts and satisfies some deep place in your soul.

Notice the change in the dough as you knead. It becomes smooth and stretchy in short order.

Return the dough to its bowl, or let it rest on the counter. Cover again with the damp towel. Let it rise until it doubles in size, perhaps another hour. Punch the dough down with your hand to redistribute the bubbles. This gives the yeast more time to work, and creates more bubbles.

On the other hand, you may proceed directly to forming your loaves.

It is time to form your loaves. When dividing the dough, cut off pieces with a sharp knife so you do not tear the gluten.

Grease the insides of the pan either with butter or with a light vegetable oil. The spray on kind works well and does not leave a big mess.

Loaf pans get filled halfway, so there is plenty of room for the bread to rise and form a nice rounded top.

Without a pan, you can make the ever-popular artisan loaf. These can be round or oblong. Many slice a series of gashes across the top. For an extra fancy presentation, try braiding your dough.

On the other hand you can make individual serving sized breads like rolls or buns of various sorts. With a rolling pin in hand, you can make cinnamon rolls, pizza shells, pitas, or flat breads.

Once your bread is in the form in which you want it baked, you can add extra flavor by adding herbs, seeds, or grains to the outside of the loaf. Many times, the outer decoration adds more flavor to the loaf than they would if you mix them into the dough.

* Press into its crust those tasty morsels that do not get along with the yeast: onion, or garlic.
* Mmmm! Time for some cinnamon rolls!!!! Roll out the dough to half an inch thickness. Spread with softened butter. Layer honey over the butter. Sprinkle a generous coating of cinnamon over the surface. Then start at one end and roll the yummy mixture inside a spiral of bread. Place the whole thing in a bread pan, or cut across the roll to make half to three quarter inch spirals.
* Sesame seeds add a nice nutty flavor to the loaf when pressed into the bread.
* Adding Italian herbs to the outside of your loaf gives you a ciabatta or foccacia-type bread.
* You might want to decorate it with rolled oats and/or corn meal instead.
* Try poppy seeds for the beauty of their tiny round shapes.
* For a more tender crust, apply a little water to the top of your loaf. Be careful not to soak the loaf, only apply enough water to make the top look glossy. A pastry brush will be helpful in controlling the application of the water.
* Brush on some beaten egg or egg white for a shiny top.
* If you want a golden brown top. Spread a thin layer of butter on top of the loaf.

Let the formed loaves rise one more time--about half an hour, depending on your indoor weather conditions.

If you are in a hurry let them rise in the oven as it warms. Many sources warn against this action because with white bread, the yeast will grow too fast exhausting the gluten and your loaf will collapse by the time there is sufficient heat to kill the yeast. However, with the well fed yeast and additional support you loaves will rise nicely and bake up fluffy.

Bread that has already risen will take 35 to 40 minutes in a pre-heated 325 degree Fahrenheit oven depending on the size of your loaves. Rolls, of course will cook faster, more like 25 to 30 minutes. If you allow the loaves to rise as the oven is heating, allow 45 minutes to an hour for them to bake.

Test for done-ness by dumping the loaf out on the counter and thumping the bottom. An unfinished loaf will respond with a dull thud. Put it back in the oven immediately and cook for another five minutes, then test again. The fully baked loaf sounds hollow.

Let your loaves cool on the counter for ten minutes before cutting them.

To keep the crust moist, put them in their bag at this time. However, many people feel that packaging them before they are cooled makes the crust soggy. Try it both ways and decide for yourself which way you like best.

Enjoy pampering your family and friends with fresh baked home made bread. This method allows you to put it together on your time, rather than becoming a slave to the dough.


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Recommended Books:

Peter Reinhart "Brother Juniper's Bread Book"
Rose Levy Beranbaum "The Bread Bible"
Beth Hensperger "The Bread Bible"
Laurel Robertson "Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book"