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  • Mineral to Know: Magnesium

    August 16, 2011

    While many are aware of the importance of calcium, the parallel and in some ways even more crucial role of another essential mineral — magnesium — is less widely known. As a result, adequate magnesium intake is rare, especially in the U.S.

    There are fifteen essential minerals required by our bodies to function properly. These can be divided into “trace minerals”, those required in very small amounts, and “macro-minerals” or “major minerals”, those required in larger amounts.

    The six major minerals required in excess of 250 mg per day include:
    • Calcium
    • Magnesium
    • Potassium
    • Phosphorous
    • Sodium
    • Chloride

    The body needs these minerals on a regular basis as it cannot manufacture them. Four percent of the body’s weight is made up of minerals, but their function as regulators is vast.

    Magnesium impacts nearly all of systems of the body due to its cellular and molecular function. As a fundamental ion in the body (a charged particle soluble in water) magnesium is utilized in key chemical reactions on a microscopic level throughout the body’s cells, including its vital role as a co-factor to over 300 enzyme functions, and its role in DNA and RNA stability.

    Magnesium’s effect on the body can be as intense as that of many prescription drugs, because magnesium functions as a regulator of electrolyte balance, metabolism, and other biochemical reactions.

    Unlike prescription drugs, however, magnesium is recognized as an essential component of the body, not a foreign element. When supplied sufficiently, magnesium is actually conserved by the body for future use. Medications, on the other hand, tend to treat only one symptom or disease, and are flushed out of the body as toxins, thus taxing the liver and the body’s detoxification systems.
    Is an important factor in muscle relaxation and heart health
    Allows nerves to send messages in the brain and nervous system
    Aids and regulates the body’s use of calcium and other minerals
    Assists in bone and teeth formation
    Regulates the metabolism of nutrients such as protein, nucleic acids, fats and carbohydrates
    Regulates cholesterol production and helps modulate insulin sensitivity3

    Assists in energy production, DNA transcription and protein synthesis2

    Maintains the structural health of cell membranes throughout the body

    Healthy magnesium levels have been linked to lowered blood pressure, reduced incidence of type II diabetes, emergency migraine treatment, reduced symptoms of asthma, and improved memory.

    Magnesium is also a healthy part of bone and a necessary element in healthy calcium regulation. Increased magnesium has been linked to reduced bone loss in older adults.
    What Health Conditions Could Possibly Benefit from Magnesium?

    Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches, improve sleep, and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression.

    Conditions linked to magnesium levels include:
    • Headaches
    • Muscle Spasms and Muscle Cramps
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Autism and ADD
    • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
    • Insomnia
    • Tics
    • Psoriasis, Acne and Eczema
    • Asthma
    • Blood Pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Osteoporosis
    Magnesium works within our cells — the powerhouses, factories and regulators of the body’s systems.

    Because it is a necessary part of hundreds of biochemical reactions occurring constantly inside our cells, magnesium’s presence or absence affects the brain, the muscles, and the heart and blood vessels.

    Do I get enough magnesium? 8 Signs to Watch For

    Less than 30% of U.S. adults consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. And nearly 20% get only half of the magnesium they need daily to remain healthy. 
    1.Do you drink carbonated beverages on a regular basis?
    2. Do you regularly eat pastries, cakes, desserts, candies or other sweet foods?
    3. Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?
    4. Do you drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks daily?
    5. Do you take a diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy?
    6. Do you drink more than seven alcoholic beverages per week?
    7. Do you take calcium supplements without magnesium or calcium supplements with magnesium in less than a 1:1 ratio?
    8. Did you answer yes to any of the above questions and are also age 55 or older?

    If you did, you may have magnesium deficiency, a condition which disrupts the balance of not only magnesium but other minerals in the body, possibly causing problems that reverberate throughout the body’s systems.

    Low magnesium intake has been linked to risk factors for:
    • Osteoporosis
    • High blood pressure
    • Issues of heart health
    •  Diabetes
    • Asthma
    While symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include: 
    • Muscle Cramps or Tremors
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Fatigue
    • Confusion 
    • Irritability
    If you believe you have magnesium deficiency or are interested in magnesium supplementation, please click here to view our full line of Magnesium offerings!

    Courtesy: Ancient Minerals

  • Michael Pollan: Supermarket Secrets

    August 15, 2011

  • Pantry Intervention

    August 15, 2011

  • Herbs are A Natural Healing Tool

    August 13, 2011

    Traveling is an adventure. Especially when you take a few "highways less traveled."

    We stopped at a road side farmer's market along a small highway and spoke with Rachel, the co-owner of Red Road Herbs. She and her daughter have great knowledge and enthusiasm about herbs and how to use them. We enjoyed trading ideas on how herbs can enhance a diet and be used as a natural healing tools.

    Rachel loves to share her great knowledge of herb uses, how to properly plant and harvest, and Herbs 101 for home use. Red Road Herbs also sells some dried herbs online.
  • Mobile Device Radiation And Your Brain

    August 11, 2011

    An interesting interview with Devra Lee Davis. Author and founder of Environmental Health Trust.
  • Don't Forget Fido's Natural Health!

    August 11, 2011

    Don't forget Fido, FiFi and Trigger! We have animal health products for dogs, cats, horses, ferrets and lots of other animal friends. 

    Here are a few ideas: 

    Q Link EMF protection is specially designed for the riggers of a collar or on horse tack. Just add as a tag on their collar and protect your pet from EMF radiation. Especially good for horses that travel. Helps calm during transport and focus during performance. The Q Link Pet Link is energized with SRT-3 technology. 
    Healthforce Green Mush is great for: dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, ferrets, squirrels other mammals and human animals too! Mix approximately one part powder to one or two parts purified water, fresh juice or fruit such as a banana (for flavoring) to make a mush. Small animals, like rats, can eat it this way as a meal. For other animals, Green Mush™ can be mixed into their normal foods (you may need to add water because Green Mush™ is a dry powder). Daily serving depends upon size of animal. (See Natural Healing Tools for more information.)

    At Natural Healing Tools, our office dog, Murphy, is hooked on Green Mush. We give him a treat daily for being such a good companion!

    Willard Water Clear isn’t your typical supplement.  This product isn’t a nutrient, and taken on its own, it would do little to improve your physical well-being.  This is true, because it is a supplement for your supplements.  Willard Water Clear may help your body absorb vitamins, minerals, and other supplements more efficiently, all due to the wonderful CAW micelle.

    Willard Water is incredible for people - and can be shared with your animals. Willard Water can be diluted for horses, dogs, cats and even birds! Use diluted Willard Water (see here for dilution and recommendations) for dry fur, skin irritation, pink eye, scratches, burns, sprains and soreness.


  • Want to Win the Rat Race?

    July 18, 2011

    Mice Run Faster On High-Grade Oil

    Between the 1932 and 2008 Olympic Games, world record times of the men's 100m sprint improved by 0.6 seconds due to improved training techniques and technological advances. Imagine if this improvement could be achieved by a simple change in diet. Scientists at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology in Austria have managed to achieve an equivalent feat in mice fed on a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

    Polyunsaturated fatty acids are important dietary components which mammals cannot synthesize denovo. The research, to be presented on the 29th of June 2009 at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, has shown that mice fed for two weeks on a diet high in sunflower oil, which contains n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, ran on average 0.19m/s faster than mice fed a diet rich in linseed oil, which is high in n-3 fatty acids. 

    This means that, over a 2 second sprint, a mouse fed on a high n-6 fatty acid diet would have a 0.4m advantage. This represents a 6.3% improvement which equals that achieved in the 100m world records over more than 75 years. For a mouse, or other small mammal, this would be significant in evolutionary terms when escaping from a predator or catching prey. "The results of the current study on mice suggest that moderate differences in dietary n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake can have a biologically meaningful effect on maximum running speed", says Dr Christopher Turbill who will be presenting the research.  

    A previous study by the group, which looked at a range of mammal species, found that those with a relatively high n-6 fatty acid content in their skeletal muscles had a greater maximum running speed. Combined, these two studies suggest that diets enriched in these fatty acids "could also affect the maximum (or burst) running speed of other vertebrates, including humans" says Dr Turbill. "The application of this research to the performance of elite athletes (specifically those in sports that involve short distance sprints, including cycling) is uncertain, but in my opinion certainly deserves some further attention" he says.

    For a supplemental source of these "essential" fatty acids, click here

    July 1, 2009
    Courtesy: Science Daily
    Recommended by Brian Peskin


  • FDA Guidelines a Perversion of Congressional Intent

    July 15, 2011

    Courtesy: Alliance for Natural Health
    July 12, 2011

    The FDA is trying to turn a simple notification system for new supplements into a totally arbitrary approval system. Let’s tell the FDA that supplements are not drugs and ask Congress for help! 

    Last week we told you about FDA’s draft guidance on New Dietary Ingredients, which allows FDA to arbitrarily deny the sale of any supplement created (or said to be created) in the past seventeen years! Already this has become an explosive issue, with media attention from numerous quarters. The FDA will no doubt call everything that is being said “an overreaction.” We expect them to say, “It’s only draft guidance! It’s not legally binding!” But don’t be fooled. Just because the agency is calling it “draft guidance” doesn’t mean this thing doesn’t have teeth. 

    If you’re a supplement manufacturer or distributor or possibly even a health food store, and you don’t file a NDI “notification” (actually a request for approval) for each ingredient in each product developed since 1994 in just the way prescribed by the FDA, and the court later decides the FDA is right, then you are guilty of product “adulteration,” which is punishable by jail.  

    The FDA will also say that they have no intention of destroying the supplement market. This is true for now. The FDA knows they can’t just disapprove all supplements developed or modified since 1994, at least not all at once. But they can double or triple the price of supplements and they can gradually disapprove more and more of them over time until there is little left but drugs. Those of us opposing this new FDA guidance are not using scare tactics. The threat to supplements is real and urgent. This has to be stopped now, or over a long period of time supplements as we know them may disappear.  

    The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) was landmark legislation. The NDI notification system that DSHEA outlined was supposed to be about notification, plain and simple, with only occasional response from the FDA. In fact, before this draft guidance was published, Sens. Tom Harkin and Orrin Hatch—the two principal authors of DSHEA seventeen years earlier—wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, to underscore their expectation that the guidance be consistent with the intentions of DSHEA. “In DSHEA,” they wrote, “Congress made clear that consumers should continue to have access to dietary supplements that meet the law’s definition [and] should also refrain from erecting barriers that will inhibit or needlessly delay consumer access to safe products.”  

    To quote DSHEA itself: “Congress finds that: the Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers; dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare; and legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness.” In nearly every provision of the draft guidance, the FDA simply disregards clear and compelling evidence of the law’s intent.  

    FDA: We Will Decide What Supplements Can Be Sold  

    By turning what was meant to be a pre-market notification system into a pre-approval system, the FDA becomes the ultimate arbiter of what dietary supplements will and will not be available. The FDA does this by simply not “filing” (which means accepting) any NDI notifications they don’t like. It may be because the notification does not meet rigid FDA specifications. Or it may be for any reason, however arbitrary. 

    ANH-USA has gone through the NDI notifications publically available, and we can confirm that a large number of NDI notifications, we think a majority, have been rejected—and this was before the new guidance spelled everything out, complete with handy flowcharts. Now it will be even harder for an NDI to be accepted, greatly diminishing consumer access to dietary supplements. The FDA even wants human trials, even if a supplement already exists and has just been slightly modified. 

    If the FDA does not “file” (approve) the NDI notification, and a supplement manufacturer, distributor, or possibly health food store still markets the supplement, the FDA considers the supplement an adulterated product. This makes the manufacturer or distributor vulnerable to FDA enforcement—including seizure of their products, injunctions, fines, and jail.  

    DSHEA: Supplements Are Not Drugs or Food Additives  

    Built into the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) are pre-approval food additive provisions. But under DSHEA, dietary ingredients were intentionally exempt from those food additive provisions, to ensure that the FDA would not ban new supplement dietary ingredients as illegal unapproved food additives. 

    Moreover, in the Congressional Record of August 13, 1994, the DSHEA authors explain the purpose of DSHEA is to “clarify that dietary supplements are not drugs or food additives” and that “regulations relating to food additives are not applicable to dietary supplements and their ingredients used for food additive purposes.” Since dietary supplements are also specifically not drugs, it is counter to congressional intent to push the approval standard in the NDI notification closer to the pharmaceutical standard. 

    According to DSHEA, all dietary ingredients on the market before 1994 are grandfathered in—that is, they are not considered new supplements (NDIs), and are therefore not subject to the NDI notification. But FDA interprets “chemical alteration” very broadly, and so the agency is demanding an NDI notification for every reformulation and every new combination of any dietary ingredient, even those marketed before 1994. This FDA interpretation essentially ensures that many—and eventually, most—dietary ingredients currently on the market will be considered an NDI, subject to notification, and therefore to disapproval.  

    This, too, is clearly counter to congressional intent. It sets up supplement manufacturers to fail, and will turn most of them into alleged criminals if they persist in selling supplements not specifically approved by the FDA. At the very least it will cause supplement costs to soar. Supplement costs are high enough already—too high for many Americans to buy them, no matter how much they benefit health and thus reduce costs over the long run.

    The 75-Day Waiting Period  

    DSHEA says that a manufacturer or distributor has to submit a notification 75 days before it is introduced on the market. It makes no mention of any requirement for FDA to respond, because notification was assumed to be a routine event. FDA then takes that requirement and twists it to say that a supplement manufacturer must wait 75 days after FDA files (accepts) the notification before the product can be marketed. And depending on how much additional information the FDA requires, it can be a while before the FDA files or, as noted above, FDA may choose not to file the notification at all—ever. The product is then in limbo and can only be sold at great legal risk.  

    And who must submit the NDI notification? “Either the manufacturer or distributor of a dietary supplement that contains a NDI, or the manufacturer or distributor of the NDI.” But what, in FDA-speak, does “distributor” mean? Could it include health food stores? If so, this puts an absurd burden on mom and pop stores trying to offer healthy alternatives to the public—especially if no one else filed a NDI in the supply chain. It would certainly seem to apply to larger companies, like Whole Foods, who distribute supplements under their own label.  

    The FDA should limit the NDI notification requirement to ingredient or supplement manufacturers, not sellers. Putting that burden on sellers—making them file a notification if they learn that their supplier hasn’t done so—essentially turns them into FDA enforcers. We think that smacks of police state tactics. Make everybody turn everybody else in or be arrested yourself.

    The Question of Synthetics  

    Synthetic vitamins and supplements still have to comply with the NDI notification process if they were not a dietary supplement ingredient before 1994. The FD&C Act repeatedly includes synthetic vitamins and minerals with natural ones in its definition, and NDI notifications for synthetic vitamins and minerals have been filed in the past.

    However, the draft guidance makes clear that the FDA does not consider synthetic botanicals to be NDIs at all: “A synthetic copy of a constituent of a botanical was never part of the botanical and thus cannot be a ‘constituent’ of a botanical that qualifies as a dietary ingredient. Similarly, a synthetic version of a botanical extract is not an ‘extract’ of a botanical…because it was not actually extracted from the botanical.”

    What does all this gobbledygook mean? Bear with us, because it is important. It means that while new formulations of both natural and synthetic minerals are required to make NDI “notifications,” synthetic molecules derived from plants are not included. Why? Because these molecules might easily be made into a new drug by a pharmaceutical company.  

    The FDA is saying that synthetic botanicals can never be sold as a supplement and must always be treated as drugs. No surprise, of course. The FDA, if it had the power, would treat everything as a drug and require the full drug approval process, no matter what it does for cost or availability.  

    Both the FDA proposed NDI guidance and the dangerous Durbin bill (see our new article on Durbin in this issue) seek to give the FDA broad new authority to disapprove supplements or supplement ingredients on totally arbitrary grounds, with no rules or standards. If allowed to stand, over time this will drastically reduce the number of supplements and supplement potencies, raise prices substantially, injure our ability to take care of our health, raise healthcare costs, stifle supplement innovation, and cost millions of jobs in the supplement industry. 

    We are expanding our previous Action Alert to include Congress. They have the power to fix this, since it was they who passed DSHEA and set forth its guidelines. If you sent a message to the FDA alone before, don’t worry, we will see that your previous message gets to Congress too. Or you can send another one. If you haven’t yet sent a message, please be sure to do so. The future availability of supplements is at stake.  


    Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter. We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not the FDA, Congress etc.
  • Research: Mobile Phones and Head Tumors

    July 14, 2011

    The discrepancies in cause-effect relationships in the epidemiological studies - how do they arise?
    Angelo G Levis, Nadia Minicuci, Paolo Ricci, Valerio Gennaro and Spiridione Garbisa

    Environmental Health 2011, 10:59 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-10-59 Published: 17 June 2011
    Abstract (provisional)

    whether or not there is a relationship between use of mobile phones (analogue and digital cellulars, and cordless) and head tumour risk (brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, and salivary gland tumours) is still a matter of debate; progress requires a critical analysis of the methodological elements necessary for an impartial evaluation of contradictory studies.

    a close examination of the protocols and results from all case-control and cohort studies, pooled- and meta-analyses on head tumour risk for mobile phone users was carried out, and for each study the elements necessary for evaluating its reliability were identified. In addition, new meta-analyses of the literature data were undertaken. These were limited to subjects with mobile phone latency time compatible with the progression of the examined tumours, and with analysis of the laterality of head tumour localisation corresponding to the habitual laterality of mobile phone use.

    blind protocols, free from errors, bias, and financial conditioning factors, give positive results that reveal a cause-effect relationship between long-term mobile phone use or latency and statistically significant increase of ipsilateral head tumour risk, with biological plausibility. Non-blind protocols, which instead are affected by errors, bias, and financial conditioning factors, give negative results with systematic underestimate of such risk. However, also in these studies a statistically significant increase in risk of ipsilateral head tumours is quite common after more than 10 years of mobile phone use or latency. The meta-analyses , our included, examining only data on ipsilateral tumours in subjects using mobile phones since or for at least 10 years, show large and statistically significant increases in risk of ipsilateral brain gliomas and acoustic neuromas.

    our analysis of the literature studies and of the results from meta-analyses of the significant data alone shows an almost doubling of the risk of head tumours induced by long-term mobile phone use or latency.

    The complete article is available as aprovisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.

    Natural Healing Tools selection of Cell Phone EMF protection products. 
  • Watch Out For Genetically Modified Foods!

    July 13, 2011

    While you may have heard about the most common GM food sources, such as corn, many people are clueless about just how much of your produce is now available in GM varieties. And, perhaps even worse, just how many deliberate GMO field trials are actually going on, all across the world. A perfect example of the repercussions of this practice can be seen in Hawaii, where non-GMpapaya seed supplies are now so seriously contaminated by GM seeds that at least 50 percent of organic seeds test positive for genetic modification!
    That means you have a greater than 50/50 chance of buying a genetically modified fruit even when buying organic Hawaiian papaya! Although the U.S. does not require GM foods to be
    labeled, you can still find out whether or not your produce is genetically engineered, by looking at its PLU code.

    Here are a few other fruits that are LOW in pesticide residue, and therefore good candidates to purchase as conventionally-grown, however, double-check to make sure you’re not buying a GM variety.
    • Avocado – A new GM avocado variety is scheduled to be introduced this yearthat is immune to “stress” and pests, per an Indian state report published in March, 2008.
    • Bananas – The first GM banana with extra genes that increase its levels of provitaminA and iron is being unleashed in Australian field trials this year. At Cornell University, researchers are also working to develop a banana that carries the hepatitis B vaccine. 
    • Pineapple -- GM pineapples, designed to produce greater levels of proteins,vitamins and sugars may already be on the market. Australia applied for pineapple into environment all the way back in 2002. The pineapple is called“Smooth Cayenne,” which has delayed flowering and herbicide resistance. It also contains the tobacco acetolactate synthase gene (suRB) from Nicotiana tabacum. 
    • Kiwi -- The transgenic variety of kiwi fruit is the Actinidia deliciosa from Italy. 
    Remember, if you can't afford to purchase all organic food, at least aim to buy produce that has a lower toxic load and has not been genetically modified.

  • Buyer Beware: Not All Organic Labels are Truthful or Even Pertinent

    July 12, 2011

    Although the organic label has really only become widely popular in the last several years, it has already been greatly compromised.  Whereas organic foods were once truly raised naturally, on small farms with great integrity, big business has now stepped in and tainted many of the principles upon which the organic label was founded.  Wal-Mart, for instance, is now the largest organic retailer in the United States. According to the Organic Consumers Association, the mega-store is:
    • Selling organic milk that comes from intensive confinement factory farm dairies
    • Importing cheap organic foods and ingredients from China and Brazil
    • Posting signs in its stores that mislead people into believing that non-organicitems are actually organic
    Organic food now represents a $16-billion business, with sales growing by as much as 20 percent per year. Unfortunately, the quality and meaning of the organic label is undergoing an equally fast and exponential decline.
    The sad fact is though, that you may be getting cheated by much of the organic food you are buying. One of the biggest "cheats", could be organic milk. Milk is not something that may possibly be more beneficial if in consumed in it is in raw form. However, for those individuals who want to consume raw milk and are concerned with pasteurization, it is important to note that organic milk is NOT raw milk.  Organic milk is still pasteurized, and is associated with all of the same health problems as regular pasteurized milk, regardless of its organic certification.
    Another major deception is all of those “organic” junk foods like ice cream, crackers, cookies, pizzas and potato chips. These foods may be organic, but that does not neccessarily increase the foods nutritional value, and suddenly transform an organic potato chip into a healthier eating choice then a conventionally grown apple.  So please don't buy in to believing that you can eat cookies, ice cream and potato chips without moderation, simply because they’re “organic.”

    Organic Consumers Association, Wal-Mart Charged with Selling Nonorganic Food as Organic,
    November 14, 2006,

    Courtesy of

  • Frequently asked questions about becoming a vegan

    July 12, 2011

    Thinking of becoming a vegan?  If so, here are the answers to some potential tricky questions that. 

    What will I eat?

    There are so many delicious vegan dishes to choose from that you’ll never be short of ideas.  How about Indian curries, spaghetti, pizza, enchiladas, Chinese stir fry, sausage and mash, falafel, vegetable  casserole and dumplings, sandwiches, wraps, samosas, quiche, soups, pasta and pesto, spring rolls, lasagne, spicy bean burgers, risotto, hot and sour soup, Thai green curry, Moroccan tagine…and don’t forget dessert! Vegans can enjoy sponge cake, ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies and more that taste as good as or even better than their non-vegan equivalents. Rest assured that vegan food is just as tasty and varied as any other type of food.  You don’t have to be a genius in the kitchen or have loads of time to cook – quick and easy vegan meals include stir fries, pasta and sauce, chilli, jacket potatoes and burritos. If you do enjoy cooking, you can have lots of fun trying out new recipes and discovering new favorite ingredients and dishes.


    What about eating in restaurants?

    Many restaurants offer vegan options and the choice is improving all the time. Chain restaurants which have vegan options include JD Wetherspoon, Wagamama, Pizza Express, Las Iguanas, ASK and Pizza Hut. Indian restaurants usually have a good selection for vegans, and Middle Eastern, Chinese and Thai restaurants often have vegan dishes as many of their vegetarian dishes do not contain milk or eggs. Just check with the staff to make sure there are no hidden animal ingredients, such as fish sauce in Thai food.  There are also several guides to vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants all over the world - have a look at our travel and eating out page for details.



    How do I know if a product is vegan or not?

    If you’re in the UK, check out the Vegan Society’s Animal Free Shopper website, which contains details of vegan food, drink and non-food products sold in the UK, including many supermarket own brand products. It is also available as a handy pocket-sized book from the Vegan Society online shop.


    Is vegan food expensive?

    No more than any other type of food. In fact, meals based on vegan staples such as pasta, rice, beans and vegetables often work out cheaper than using animal products. Vegan meals in restaurants are often cheaper than the meat dishes. Products such as non-dairy milk, veggie burgers and vegan pesto are usually a similar price to their non-vegan counterparts and are available in most supermarkets. As with any type of food you can splash out on luxuries if you like, but that’s entirely up to you.


    How can I make sure I remain healthy?

    A balanced vegan diet meets many current healthy eating recommendations, such as eating more fruit and vegetables, whole grains and fiber and consuming less saturated fat and cholesterol. It can also decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Well-planned vegan diets meet nutritional requirements for all age groups and stages of life – have a look at our nutrition pages  for more details.



    Will I need to take supplements?

    Vegans need to obtain vitamin B12 either from supplements or from foods fortified with it. Our bodies produce vitamin D by the action of sunlight on skin, so depending on where they live, it may be advisable for vegans to consume vitamin D2 during winter through supplements or fortified foods (particularly in northern countries such as the UK). Other than Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, all nutrients necessary for good health can be obtained from plant foods in adequate amounts. 



    I’ll miss chocolate/pizza/ice cream/cheese/cake!

    There are vegan versions of or alternatives to many familiar foods, including all of the above – you may not have to give up that favourite food after all! Check out the Being Vegan guide and our recipes pages.



    What if I eat at a friend or relative’s house?

    Friends and relatives may not know how to cater for you at first but will soon get used to your new diet. To help them out:
    • explain to them in advance what you do and don’t eat;
    • offer to give them some recipes they could cook for you or suggest a few ideas;
    • offer to take a dish to share with everyone;
    • offer to take your own non-dairy milk for tea, if you use it;
    • get them a copy of the Animal Free Shopper to take to the supermarket.
    You may find that friends and relatives get into the ‘challenge’ of cooking vegan food for you and will look forward to having you round to show off their latest efforts!

    Please mark your calendars that November 1st is World Vegan Day and show your support! 

     Courtesy: Vegan Society


  • Does Exercising on an Empty Stomach Burn More Fat?

    June 30, 2011



    Working out while hungry may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but many athletes and gym-goers push themselves on empty stomachs in the belief they’ll burn more fat.
    The idea, advocated in popular fitness books over the past decade, is that exercising on an empty stomach forces the body to dip into fat stores for fuel instead of the carbohydrates quickly available from a pre-workout meal or snack. But while it seems to make sense, research shows that exercising in this way doesn’t offer any benefit and may even work against you.
    After reviewing years of research on the subject, a report published this year in Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that the body burns roughly the same amount of fat regardless of whether you eat before a workout. But you’re likely to lose muscle by exercising in a depleted state, the report found, and without fuel to aid the workout, exercise intensity and overall calorie burn will be reduced.
    One of the studies reviewed in that report looked at cyclists when they trained after eating and when they trained while fasting. When they trained with nothing in their stomachs, about 10 percent of the calories they burned came from protein, including lost muscle, the researchers wrote.
    In a separate study published in 2002, scientists found an additional benefit from a pre-workout meal: Healthy women who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates before their workouts ended up eating less throughout the remainder of the day.

    Exercising on an empty stomach does not help burn more fat.
  • Pets Can Reduce a Child’s Risk of Developing Allergies

    June 29, 2011


    Many parents worry that keeping a dog or cat in the house may make a child more likely to develop pet allergies. But the scientific evidence suggests otherwise.
    Instead, Fido and Whiskers seem to have the reverse effect. Most studies now show that children who are exposed to a pet during their first year have a lower likelihood of developing dog or cat allergies later on in life.
    In the latest study, appearing this month in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy, researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit followed 566 boys and girls from birth until age 18, regularly collecting data from the children’s families about exposure to indoor pets. At the end of the study, the researchers took blood samples and tested the subjects for their allergic sensitization to dogs and cats.
    The children who had shared a home with a cat in their first year of life were about half as likely to be allergic to cats as those who had not. A decreased risk also was found in boys who lived with a dog as infants, though for some reason the effect was not as strong in girls.
    The researchers also concluded that exposure at later ages did not make much of a difference — it was exposure in infancy that mattered. “The first year of life is the critical period during childhood when indoor exposure to dogs or cats influences sensitization to these animals,” the study’s authors concluded.
    Another study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002 documented a similar pattern: Children exposed to two or more dogs or cats in the first year of life were less likely to develop allergies to dust mites, ragweed and dog and cat hair.

    Research suggests that exposure to a dog or cat in the first year of life can reduce the risk of allergies to them.
  • 5 Great Reasons For Parents to Swap Bubbles for Bath Flakes

    June 28, 2011

    For most parents, bath time accomplishes the functional task of getting a dirty child clean while at the same time providing aquatic entertainment… but what if it provided something much more valuable as well? That's right, folks! Bath time is no longer just for hygiene and frivolous fun, it's now a fabulously easy way to get a vital nutrient into your child without resorting to the ole "hide the vitamin" trick.
    So, for all of the conscientious parents out there, here are 5 fantastic reasons to toss the bubbles and add magnesium bath flakes instead:
    1. Every parent wants their child to be a diligent student - pay attention in school, get good grades, and overall just be “smart”, right? So, what if someone told you that the nutrients you provide play a strong role in your child’s intellectual growth and intelligence? Studies show that mineral supplementation - with an emphasis on magnesium - in juveniles produces significantly increased I.Q. as well as a reduction in brain wave abnormalities.
    2. Similar to #1, magnesium offers a protective effect on neurons in the developing brain. This vital mineral is required to build a healthy myelin sheath, which both insulates nerve fibers throughout the body as well as provides a “road map” of sorts should the nerve be damaged and need repair. Not only is this important because children play hard and fall harder, but also because childhood is the foundation adulthood is built on, and protective measures taken now could prevent nerve disorders from occurring later on in life.
    3. What’s in your parenting medicine cabinet when allergy season rolls around? Or when your pediatrician declares your child an asthmatic? Well, if you're like us in your reluctance to expose your child to unnecessary amounts of pharmaceuticals, magnesium is a must try! Research shows that not only does magnesium decrease asthmatic episodes but it also decreases sensitivity to antigens. Meaning – by supplementing with magnesium, mild cases of both asthma and allergies were either abolished or decreased to negligible levels and, in more severe cases, the use of prescribed treatments for asthma and allergies were significantly decreased in frequency. 
    4. Moodiness, tantrums, depression, aggression... every parent has dealt with a wide spectrum of emotions and behavior, since it seems to come with the territory. Most resources provide tips and tricks on how to cope, discipline, and ultimately overcome these trials and tribulations, but on a psychological level. On a biological level, magnesium has powerful anti-depressant and anti-aggressive properties, as well as being a natural mood lifter. On a related note, studies have found that magnesium also significantly decreases hyperactivity in children found to have ADHD.
    5. The aches and pains endured as children grow can cause many a sleepless night, causing parents to fret over how to ease the hurt. Nocturnal leg cramps are a relatively common occurrence amongst certain age groups, caused by any number of things including over- exertion, electrolyte imbalance, rapid growth and dehydration.
    *When using magnesium bath flakes you cannot add bubble bath at the same time (just in case you were tempted). The magnesium is very adept at counteracting foaming agents, and you will do nothing more than create the equivalent of floating soap scum.
  • Food Industry And Health Experts Face Off Over Package Labeling

    June 28, 2011

    For some of us, the regular trudge to the grocery store is a trial all by itself. But consumers trying to make healthier choices are often left scratching their heads in wonder at the sheer volume of food products with claims about less fat and more whole grain.
    When first mom and food maven Michelle Obama called for some clearer guidance last year, the food industry proposed a simple, front-of-package label called Nutrition Keys. It has boxes with information on saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories, plus two optional ones for industry to decide what nutrients they would like to promote — such as potassium or fiber.
    But Kelly Brownell, who heads the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, says the industry proposal makes things worse for consumers instead of better.
    For starters, the timing of the industry proposal is suspect, he says. "They've completely preempted the White House, the Food and Drug Administration, and an Institute of Medicine committee report that are all working on coming up with an ideal front-of-package system."
    In fact, the independent IOM is expected to release its final recommendations this fall. But the industry's Nutrition Keys program is already under way, and the hope is that it will soon reach 70 percent of packaged foods and beverages in the U.S.
    Brownell isn't sure it will do much good. "If left to its own devices, it's pretty apparent that the industry will not come up with a system that works for consumers and will help guide healthy food choices," he says.
    The Grocery Manufacturers Association tells Shots that Nutrition Keys is "aligned with the IOM's 2010 nutrition labeling findings" about which ingredients should be highlighted on packages. The GMA also argues that the results of its own testing show that consumers like the icons in part because they're simple.
    But case in point, Brownell says, is the industry's previous effort at creating a simple labeling system. It allowed things like Froot Loops and Cocoa Krispies to be considered "Smart Choices" because they contain certain vitamins, nevermind the sugar. It was later discontinued after much criticism.
    Another problem Brownell notes is that the industry would have a lot of leeway under its proposal to decide what nutrients to include — potentially causing another round of back-and-forth between industry and regulators. And besides that, on one package of Cocoa Krispies he picked up at the store, the Nutrition Keys only took up 1.5 percent of the surface area of the front of the box, he says.
    "My guess is that consumers will be lucky if they even notice it, much less make use of it," he says.
    Brownell and Jeffrey Koplan,vice president for Global Health at Emory University, published a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine today suggesting that so much is at stake on food labeling, the food industry should just wait for the IOM report.
    The editorial says more research is needed, and it proposes labels that are simpler, colorful and less numbers driven — like the U.K.'s "traffic light" color-coded symbols.
    That way, consumers could figure out with a glance what foods are a go, a go slow, or a stop.

  • The Case For Test-Tube Steaks: Harvesting Artificial Meat Would Save Tons Of Energy

    June 27, 2011

    Lab-grown meat is going to be on your table someday. It's cheaper than dealing with whole animals, there are none of the ethical issues associated with factory farms, it can help prevent the spread of animal-borne diseases, and according to a new study, cultured meat production generates up to 96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat production. Except for chicken, which is the most energy efficient of all meats. You may be seeing a test-tube steak well before a test-tube chicken breast.
    The Stanford and Amsterdam University-authored study, Environmental Impact of Cultured Meat Production, contends that the overall environmental impact of cultured meat production is significantly lower than conventionally produced meat. This is largely because of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising livestock (i.e. methane emissions from cow burps and farts), manure management, nitrous oxide from soil, and the conversion of forests to grassland.

    In almost all cases, growing animal muscle tissue in vitro makes more sense for the environment than having actual animals. But it requires more energy than conventionally produced poultry, which has relatively few CO2 emissions when conventionally grown and requires less energy than it would to run an in-vitro meat lab. The study's authors argue that cultured poultry production still may make more sense, because the emissions numbers don't take into account that biofuel crops could be put on the land where chicken coops now stand:
    Energy input alone does not necessarily provide a sufficient indicator about the energy performance if the opportunity costs of land use are not taken into account. Cultured meat production requires only a fraction of the land area that is used for producing the same mass of conventionally produced poultry meat. Therefore, more land could be used for bioenergy production, and it can be argued that the overall energy efficiency of cultured meat would be more favorable.
    And since most of the greenhouse gas emissions from cultured meat production come from fuel and electricity use, using renewable energy sources could cut down on emissions even further. There's another (slightly creepy) energy bonus: Cultured meat might require less refrigeration than conventional meat because of a lack of excess bones, fat, and blood.
    Large-scale cultured meat production is still far from reality. The study's authors estimate that it would cost $160 million in research to bring artificial meat to mass production. And there is still the cultural acceptance issue to work out--who will actually eat this stuff?
    But the study makes an excellent point: "Cultured meat consists of similar muscle tissue to conventionally produced meat, but only the production technique differs. It can also be argued that many current meat production systems are far from natural systems."
  • Jordan's Story: Did you know?

    June 24, 2011

    Jordan is very inspiring!
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