The Bad News About Eating More Take-out

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eating much more take-out this past year than ever before. I was aware that stuff like styrofoam and plastic water bottles had a problem w/ plastic leaching into the contents, but didn’t realize it was to such a degree and could happen in a variety of ways. AND for some reason it never occurred to me that putting plastic dishes through the dishwasher was a bad idea. This article reminds me that it’s not just the quality of the food and drink we need to be concerned about, but also the packaging/container(s) it’s in!



(by DR. ADRIA SCHMEDTHORST) I’ll be the first to admit that I eat takeout way too often.

Even though I have the best of intentions when it comes to preparing dinner, it’s often just too tempting to go the easy route and pick up a phone than to spend hours cooking.

And thanks to the pandemic, even those among us who weren’t big takeout people before can’t help but embrace bringing food home in those handy little plastic containers since eating in restaurants was prohibited in many areas.

But a new study has some sobering information for those of us who’ve made a regular habit of it…

Along with our favorite foods and a hefty side of convenience, those takeout containers carry a mega-dose of plastic that’s finding its way into your meals.


A study reported in the Journal of Hazardous Material found that each time food is eaten out of a takeout container, you’re also eating microplastics as part of your meal.

That’s because according to the research team that investigated the issue, those takeout containers, especially ones with rough surfaces, shed microplastics like crazy.

Here’s what they found specifically…

  • Microplastics were found in different types of takeout containers.
  • The highest microplastic level occurred in the containers made of polystyrene. Think Styrofoam.
  • Microplastic fell from the inner surface of takeout containers after slightly flushing. Think about the way hot food cause condensation on your food container’s lid. That helps plastic particles rain down on your food.
  • Microplastics come from the takeout containers themselves and the air.
  • Microplastic intake through container may be up to 203 items/person/week.

The researchers say that based on the microplastic abundance they found in takeout containers people who order takeout food four to seven times per week may ingest 12–203 pieces of microplastics through containers.

Now, let’s just do the math on that…

That means that at the lowest level, you’ll be eating an extra 624 pieces of plastic a year.

But at the highest level, you could be ingesting a whopping 10,556 microplastic pieces each and every year!


Now if the thought of eating these plastics on its own doesn’t worry you, here’s where the issue comes in…

Research into the health issues with these plastics is indeed pretty new. However, Pete Myers, founder and chief scientist of the nonprofit Environmental Health Sciences and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University points out that the chemicals in these plastics are known to be harmful.

They’ve been linked to everything from obesity and reproduction problems to developmental delays in children.

And there’s evidence in animals that they can cross the blood-brain barrier and get into our bloodstream, where they could potentially cause hormone disruption, nervous system problems, hearing issues and even cancer.

This means that anything you can do to avoid excess plastics (like cutting back on takeout food) is a vital step in protecting your health.

To cut back on the microplastics contaminating your body, you can also:

  • Avoid the worst offender based on this research — Styrofoam containers, which are one of the most used materials for takeout.
  • Skip the bottled water — The level of microplastics in bottled water is approximately double that of tap water. And according to a study report in The Smithsonian Magazine, if you drink exclusively from plastic water bottles, you may ingest an additional 90,000 microplastics each year, compared to 4,000 among those who only consume tap water.
  • Wash plastic dishes by hand — High heat can cause a release of microplastics from your dishes. This means that plastic dishes should be hand-washed instead of run through the dishwasher.
  • Go fresh — Packaged foods wrapped in plastics are one more source of those microplastic flakes that can contaminate your food so stick with fresh food whenever possible and cook more often at home.

What else can you do? Eat cleansing foods. It may not be possible to cleanse actual pieces of microplastics from your body, but certain foods have been shown to help remove plasticizers — chemicals like phthalates and parabens found in plastics.

The Functional Medicine University suggests that two or more servings daily of Brassica or cruciferous vegetables revs up detoxification of plastics. They bind to the chemicals and remove them from the body in a process called chelation. So, make the following foods part of your diet: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula and dark leafy greens, like kale.



p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional/your inner knowing before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Everything You Need To Know About Jackfruit, But Didn’t Know To Ask!

I first got acquainted with jackfruit a couple of years ago when a little place called Nectar Cafe near where I live started serving bar-b-que made with it. It was something I enjoyed ordering on a regular basis until, unfortunately, the place closed. 😦 Since then I’ve been trying to fill the void and I have bought entrees made by The Jackfruit Company and Upton’s Naturals that I’ve found at Earth Fare and Whole foods. These are pretty good, but no where near what Nectar made. I’ve also found it canned in brine at Trader Joe’s,  and have planned to see if I could replicate the cafe’s bar-b-que recipe, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Hopefully this article will be what I need to finally spur me on.

If you aren’t familiar with jackfruit you really should give it a try! I’d personally like to see what the ripe fruit takes like, since it’s supposed to be similar to pineapple, mango and banana. Sounds great to me!

jackfruit in a bowl

Everything You Need to Know About Jackfruit — An Odd Yet Nutritious and Sustainable Food

What is jackfruit? And what does jackfruit taste like? Learn everything you need to know about the nutritious “miracle” fruit that may even help feed the world, including health benefits, where to find it, jackfruit recipes, and more.

Have you heard of jackfruit? One jackfruit tree can produce up to three tons of food from this huge and utterly unique fruit per year, providing an almost miraculous source of nourishment for people living in tropical countries!

Jackfruit is also increasingly being used in other parts of the world, particularly in the U.S., as a plant-based meat alternative because the young, unripe fruits soak up flavor well and have a stringy, “meat-like” texture when cooked.

You may have seen jackfruit popping up in stores and on menus — for example, jackfruit tacos and jackfruit BBQ sandwiches are popular ways to prepare it.

But what do you need to know about this food? And should it be something you look for and use in your own cooking?

What Is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family.

The jackfruit plant originated in southwest India, where it grows abundantly. And then, it spread to other parts of India, southeast Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It also grows in Africa and is relatively popular in Brazil and Suriname as well. Jackfruit trees typically grow in tropical and near-tropical conditions, but jackfruits can also be produced in Florida, Hawaii, and Australia.

The largest tree-borne fruit in the world, jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds and grow up to three feet long. (Though, the average size of the fruit is 10 to 25 pounds.)

The huge trees produce massive, green, oblong fruits with a bumpy, fleshy exterior. On the inside, jackfruit contains many pale-yellow, plump bulbs, which are edible and joined at the core. The seeds can also be cooked, eaten on their own, or ground into flour.

A ripe, unopened jackfruit has a strong, unpleasant odor. But the pulp of the opened fruit smells sweet.

What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?

When eaten ripe and raw, the taste of jackfruit is similar to pineapple, mango, and banana. When it’s unripe, the jackfruit has more of a neutral flavor, like a potato, and works well in savory dishes.

When it’s unripe, the jackfruit has more of a neutral flavor, like a potato, and works well in savory dishes.

A great thing about green jackfruits is they don’t have a strong flavor on their own, so they’re able to soak up herbs, spices, and other flavorings.

This allows the fruit to be made into plant-based versions of shredded chicken, pulled pork, or other meat-based meals.

Jackfruit can be made into a wide variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. And the seeds are often boiled or roasted and eaten as snacks. They are similar to chestnuts or macadamia in taste and flavor.

Jackfruit Nutrition

What is jackfruit? How to use jackfruit in a recipe.

Jackfruit isn’t only a fun and meatless way to add something new to your usual meals. It’s also packed with nutrients, including fiber and antioxidants.

Jackfruit benefits are impressive. One researcher even called jackfruit a “miracle” food because it provides so many nutrients and calories.

Two cups of jackfruit contain 310 calories and boast the following lineup of vitamins and minerals:

  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 20% of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 36% of RDI
  • Riboflavin: 22% of RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of RDI
  • Potassium: 28% of RDI
  • Copper: 30% of RDI
  • Manganese: 32% of RDI

The seeds are especially nutritious. They are high in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Jackfruit Benefits for Your Body

Here are eight ways jackfruit may benefit your health:

  • Good for your immune system. Jackfruit contains moderate levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps your body fight free radicals and protects you from colds and other illnesses.
  • Improve your digestion. Jackfruit is packed with fiber, which helps improve digestion and prevent constipation.
  • May help prevent cancer. Jackfruit contains phytonutrients, such as lignans, isoflavones, and saponins, which have anti-cancer properties. Jackfruit also contains many carotenoids, which have been found to help protect against cancer.
  • Boost your energy levels. Jackfruit has B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6. And it’s high in complex carbs which can give you a boost of energy, without throwing your blood sugar levels out of whack. In fact, clinical trials conducted at Sydney University’s Glycemic Index Research Service have found that raw jackfruit has a lower glycemic load (increase in sugar/blood glucose level) than wheat or rice.
  • Help maintain blood pressure and heart health. Jackfruit also has moderate levels of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Support healthy vision. Jackfruit has vitamin A, as well as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which helps improve vision and protects eye health.
  • Support skin health and reduces aging. The water content in jackfruit helps keep your skin moisturized and youthful. And the antioxidants help slow the aging process.
  • Good for bone health. Jackfruit is high in calcium, which strengthens and helps promote healthy bones. The rick amount of magnesium helps with the absorption of calcium. And the high amount of potassium helps decrease the loss of calcium.

A Sustainable Choice for a Growing World

With its huge size, nutrient density, and crowd-pleasing taste, jackfruit could be one of the most promising solutions for sustainably feeding the world.

Jackfruit could be one of the most promising solutions for sustainably feeding the world.

Amazingly, one jackfruit tree can grow about 100 to 200 fruits in a year.

Compared to the intensive land and water resources necessary to produce meat, jackfruit is far more efficient as a global food source.

Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank, which focuses on sustainable agriculture, told The Guardian this about jackfruit:

“It is easy to grow. It survives pests and diseases and high temperatures. It is drought-resistant. […] It achieves what farmers need in food production when facing a lot of challenges under climate change.

Researchers are also aiming to increase jackfruit consumption in India, where the food has fallen out of favor and often goes to waste. Making jackfruit a favorite staple food again could help feed millions of people who are facing food insecurity.

Where to Find Jackfruit

You may be able to find jackfruit as a whole fruit, sliced into sections, packed into cans, dried, or made into other products.

While your average chain grocer (outside of the tropics) may not sell jackfruit fresh, demand is rising fast and many stores are starting to sell it.

Specialty markets, such as Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Markets, will be more likely to have the fruit, or they may be able to order it for you. You can also look at your local Asian, Indian, or Caribbean food stores or find jackfruit products online.

Other names for jackfruit include jaca or chakka (in India), kathal (in Bangladesh), kanun (Thailand), nagka (in Malaysia) or “tree mutton” in Bengali.

Keep this in mind: Whole jackfruits sold in stores are on the sweeter side — versus the canned varieties, which are usually blander.

Most commonly, jackfruit comes in a can and is labeled “young” and “green” — namely because the younger it is, the less sweet it will be.

Canned jackfruit is usually packed with either brine or syrup (opt for the brine to avoid added sugars — although you may want to be mindful of the sodium content), and it can be drained and cooked any way you want.

So when shopping for canned jackfruit, you may want to look for “young green jackfruit packed in brine”(or salted water) on the label. Or you may be able to find “young jackfruit in water.”

Jackfruit Products Make Eating Jackfruit Easy

Packaged jackfruit is also becoming more available.

Upton’s Naturals is sold widely (including online from Thrive Market). The company makes jackfruit in a variety of flavors, such as bar-b-que, chili lime carnitas, Thai curry, sweet & smoky, sriracha, and original flavors.

The Jackfruit Company — whose mission is to transform world health, farmer’s livelihoods, and humanity’s eco-footprint for the better — is another option. The company makes an array of jackfruit products including curry, teriyaki, tex-mex, lightly seasoned, lemon-garlic and bar-b-que jackfruit, plus prepared bowls, sweet ripe jackfruit, and a “naked jackfruit” product designed for food service.

You may also be able to find dehydrated jackfruit chips, jackfruit noodles, jackfruit powder and other products.

How to Cut Jackfruit

What is jackfruit? This is an image of what a jackfruit looks like on the inside.

The idea of cutting into a massive, thick-skinned orb can be intimidating. But it’s doable if you’re willing to put in the work.

Here’s a quick step-by-step video to help you prepare this bulbous fruit.

When selecting jackfruit, remember this: Jackfruit is green when unripe, and then, it turns light brown and has a strong fragrance when ripe.

(Editor’s Note: All parts of the jackfruit contain a sticky, white latex “sap,” which can be used as an adhesive. You may want to use gloves or coat hands, knives, and work surfaces with vegetable oil prior to preparation and lay newspaper down if you try to cut a jackfruit. And a warning: There have been documented cases of anaphylaxis in people allergic to latex, so you may want to avoid this food if you have a latex allergy or are sensitive to latex.)

How to Cook Jackfruit

Much like tofu, unripe jackfruit absorbs the flavors it cooks but doesn’t have much flavor on its own. You can add it to a variety of dishes, such as curries, stir-fry’s, and chili, as well as soups, salads, and bowls.

If you’re looking to cook plain, canned jackfruit, the process varies depending on the different jackfruit recipes.

Usually, you want to start by draining the jackfruit, and then cooking it until it’s easy to shred, creating a meat-like consistency.

If you want to use jackfruit as a meat alternative, an important thing to consider is that jackfruit is much lower in protein than other meat alternatives — with only about three grams of protein per cup (though this is more protein than most other fruits). So you may want to pair it with protein-rich foods, such as lentils or beans.

Creative and Delicious Jackfruit Recipes

Here are six jackfruit recipes for using this unique fruit:

BBQ Jackfruit
This recipe is a perfect choice for your summer BBQ party! By cooking jackfruit with your favorite barbeque sauce, it’s an easy choice that is sure to please eaters of every persuasion.

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or any other day of the week, tacos are always a winning dish. This recipe uses orange for a flavor pop and pairs the tacos with fresh, healthy add-ons like avocado and cilantro.

What is jackfruit? Learn how to cook jackfruit tacos with this recipe.

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos image from The Fitnessista

Easy Jackfruit Curry
Made with a variety of spices, this dish is full of flavor for an appetizing meal served with quinoa, rice, or other grains. You can leave out the oil and use water instead to make this recipe oil-free.

Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes
This easy-to-make recipe is surprisingly good and similar in texture to the real thing. You can make these cakes without oil if you want (just put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with lemon juice, and bake in a 375° oven for approximately 10 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown and firm to the touch).

Buffalo Jackfruit Dip
Having a party? Here’s the perfect snack. This spicy dip uses jackfruit as a replacement for more traditional chicken versions, and the end result is a healthier-but-still-delicious treat.

Mu Shu Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps
This light, airy Asian dish uses traditional spices to create a flavorful end result. You can eat these lettuce wraps hot or cold — they’re tasty either way!

The Final Word on Jackfruit

Jackfruit can be a nutritious and sustainable food that can provide important nourishment in tropical communities. And it offers an interesting way to expand culinary horizons around the world.

You can eat the whole fruit as is or choose products made with young jackfruits, like canned jackfruit. But like most foods, eating jackfruit closest to its whole form will give you the most health benefits.

As more people move away from animal products in the U.S. and around the world, jackfruit, with its “meaty” texture, is another, more sustainable (and often less processed) option for plant-based meat alternatives.

Overall, jackfruit can be a healthy and affordable local food option if you live in the tropics. But for those of us in more northern climates, it has to be imported. At Food Revolution Network, we’re big fans of local food. But if we’re going to import anything, it might as well be foods that are nutritious and environmentally friendly to grow.

So unless you live in a region where it grows, jackfruit is not likely to become a staple food for you. But it can be an excellent occasional ingredient for creative meals — and it might even help feed the world.

Tell us in the comments:

  • Now that you know, what is jackfruit, what do you think about it?

  • Have you eaten jackfruit? How? And what did you think?

  • Will you try it if you haven’t already?

Jackfruit reminds us never to judge a book by its cover. We'd miss out in so much tasty goodness!

Source: The Food Revolution

7/8/21: I’m not vegan, but just saw this post of 18 vegan jackfruit recipes on Facebook. I would never have thought about using it as a substitute in a tuna melt, but the lady talks so glowingly of how it tastes I may have to give it a try!

FYI, you can get jackfruit at (use code CJG192, if you are a new customer, and spend more than $40 and you will get $5 off your purchase). Plus, shipping is free on orders of $20, AND you get an extra 5% off on orders over $60. They also have extra good deals in their Trial Offers section.

You can also get it at Vitacost, another favorite place of mine for health supplements, many food items, and personal care products. Great discount prices, ever-expanding inventory, free shipping on $49 and up, and if you sign-up for an account at Rakuten (formerly eBates) and then shop there or at iHerb (or 100s of other stores), thru the Rakuten portal, you will get a $10 reward for your first order of $25, plus earn cash back from the store where you’re shopping.

Thrive is another discount place I often shop that carries several versions of  Upton’s Naturals prepared jackfruit, as well Native Forest canned organic young jackfruit for using in your own recipes . If you use this link to sign-up for a new account at Thrive, you’ll get 25% off your first order and I’ll get a $25 credit. Woo-hoo! I’ve had a membership there for about 3 years now and really like the savings, plus usually try to time an order to coincide with when they are offering a free gift as a bonus. 🙂


p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

A Quick Fix For That Sugar Craving?! Works For Other Foods As Well…..


As someone who came out of the womb saying “Dessert, please!” this caught my eye. I’ve heard about something similar to this before. but have never remembered to actually try it. But I could tell by the reaction I had just in reading the words and thinking about doing it as I read, it might be pretty effective. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a try and supposedly it works on all sorts of food cravings, not just sweets……

stop sugar cravings
Photo: junce/istockphoto

The 5-Second Trick to Stop a Sugar Craving

“If you just can’t stop yourself from eating one more doughnut, imagine sprinkling a tablespoon of coarse iodized salt (I’m not talking about delicious, flaky fleur de sel) on it and imagine what it would be like to take bite after bite, swallow after swallow of the ‘pinch your tongue’ super-saltiness. Do this visualization when the urge to consume the sweet stuff comes up, and you’ll have some serious problems just thinking about having a taste.”Moalem speaks from experience. “The first time I tried it, I was at dinner at a friend’s house, and they had made homemade doughnuts topped with Nutella for dessert,” he remembers. “I did the visualization with the salt shaker, imagined unscrewing the top, dumping it on the doughnut and taking a bite, and it immediately elicited a little bit of a gag reflex. I don’t think I could have eaten one if I were forced to.” We had a similar wow-that-actually-worked moment one afternoon when chocolate chip cookies were calling our name.

The reason the trick works is because even though most of us like salty foods, humans have a natural aversion to overly salted eats (think so much salt that your face contorts like you just ate something bitter). That may be because extremely salty or bitter foods signaled danger for our ancestors, as those foods were more likely to be poisonous, says Moalem, a neurogeneticist and evolutionary biologist by trade. Just thinking about what a cookie covered in salt would taste like is enough to make you turn away. It’s not limited to sweets either–the trick should work with whatever type of food you’re trying to cut back on, like any and all kinds of cheese (just us?).

For really hard-to-break cravings, you can even take it to the next level and actually pour salt on the food in question and take a bite (Moalem did it to cure his ice cream addiction and says it did the trick.) Once you take a bite of that now disgustingly salty treat, your brain will remember how much you disliked it. So the next time visions of candy, ice cream, cookies or whatever food floats your boat start dancing through your head, you’ll be a lot less likely to give in to the craving.

Salty Sweet Visualization Exercise reprinted from The DNA Restart by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD. Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD. By permission of Rodale Books.


Read more:

Another thing to try when it comes to food cravings/addictions, or struggles to lose weight, is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka “tapping”). There are lots of free resources for learning the process at EFT Universe, The Tapping Solution, and elsewhere on-line. Here’s an article about how it helped 3 people overcome holiday over-eating:



p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Have A New You By Next Year…..Literally! Plus Free 2017 Events


I was aware that the body is always replacing/renewing itself, but I didn’t know the specific time periods for certain parts, … the stomach lining rebuilding in ONLY 5 DAYS and DNA renewing itself EVERY TWO MONTHS. Wow, pretty amazing! If you really let this sink in, it makes you realize we should never feel like some current condition or health issue is written in stone and can’t be changed for the better. Consider what might be possible between now and the end of the year if you really work with your body’s amazing ability to rebuild itself! 


Image may contain: 1 person, standing and text


And while you’re building a whole new you, here are some upcoming events to help you support your body along the way……


The Winter of Wellness starts January 11th!

Ready to discover medicinal plants for cooling inflammation and the cutting-edge science on autoimmunity and inflammation? Then mark your calendar for the kick-off on January 11th of the month long Winter of Wellness event, and prepare to be inspired by 40+ top experts who’ll reveal proven practices for whole-body health and wellness.

Some of the most esteemed doctors, teachers and healers will be presenting at this extraordinary on-line gathering — including David Wolfe, Donna Eden, David Crow, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Gregg Braden, Sue Morter, Alberto Villoldo, Reef Karim, Crystal Jones, Bernie Siegel, Anita Mckenzie, Mingtong Gu, Dawson Church, Ocean Robbins, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci — and many others.

By saying “YES” to this live event, you’re on your way to discovering secrets for becoming the best version of yourself in 2017 — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Access Details:
You’re invited to join Winter of Wellness on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Listen in via webcast to access the program sessions when they air and for 48 hours following their broadcast. You can access the FULL Program Schedule here.

You can sign up here for the series:

Note: All sessions are in Pacific Time, and a Timezone Converter is also included for your convenience.

Access Your Bonus!
YOUR Uncompromised Commitment to Self-Care & Wellness in 2017 
Audio Recording with Dr. Robyn Benson
Listen in to discover the absolute roadmap for living healthy in today’s world — with our host of The Shift Network’s most popular annual summit, Winter of Wellness, Dr. Robyn Benson.

In this session Robyn explores the emerging self-care revolution and what’s happening in the world of wellness. Plus, she’ll share exciting previews of coming attractions — preparing you to reap ALL the benefits you’re about to receive in this incredible health series.


Want to get in better shape in 2017? Here’s a great resource that gives some top-notch work-out moves and each links up to a different free full-length exercise routine…..

The 15 Toughest Do-Anywhere Workout Moves


For you yoga enthusiasts, here’s an invite to a free class from Lucas at Absolute Yoga Academy…..

We have a new LIVE format for our monthly online professional development series. This month’s “Applied Anatomy” class is hosted by senior trainer, Julie Sceeny, and it’ll allow you to ask questions, get answers, and learn in real time.

This is a 1 hr Yoga Alliance Continuing Education class on January 24th at 9:30 am EST, and everyone who attends will get a certificate. It’s free to join us live, and if you’d like access to this and all our previous classes (you can get certificates for all of them), you might consider our Online Yoga Academy. 

To join this free, live class, please register here:


And Dr Pedram Shojai has put together a free on-line training called The Urban Monk 7-Day Reboot. You can start as soon as you sign up and there are sections on food (including a nice recipe book that has a number of things I’m going to try), stretching/exercise, Qi Gong, sleep, dealing with stress, and more….


You can sign up here: 



p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Glyphosate In Oatmeal, Prescription Drugs In Vegetables….What Next?!


Geez, I hate to be the bearer of bad news again, especially since I just featured a post on all the toxins found in bottled water and plastic contains, but I think the American public really needs to be better informed about what’s showing up in our food and water these days. I’ve even been reading about all the toxins in feminine hygiene products. I believe that part of the reason so many people are suffering from “mystery illnesses,” or have trouble staying healthy these days, is because of all the toxins we are unsuspectingly exposed to on a regular basis.

They say that awareness is the first step toward bringing change to a situation, so I’m hoping that posts like this one will serve to inspire us all to demand safer, healthier products from suppliers, and better regulation from the agencies and organizations that are supposed to be looking out for our best interests……



(by Mike Adams, for NaturalNews) According to glyphosate laboratory testing conducted at Microbe Inotech Laboratories, Inc., in St. Louis, the Quaker Instant Oatmeal (Strawberries and Cream) sample tested at the lab contains an astonishing 1,327.1 ppb (parts per billion) of glyphosate weed killer.

The test results, achieved via the ELISA methodology (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay), are astonishing for two reasons:

1) They are extremely high, far surpassing the levels of glyphosate that have so far been detected in other foods.

2) Oats are not GMO! While glyphosate might be expected at some concentrations in GM soy and other herbicide resistant crops, very few people are aware that glyphosate is being routinely sprayed on wheat, barley and oat crops as a powerful desiccant, right before harvest.

Organic brands were far cleaner

By comparison, Nature’s Path Organic Instant Oatmeal — produced by a cereal company that meticulously avoids GMOs and toxic agricultural chemicals — showed a final test result of “less than 75 ppb” which could mean essentially zero. For grains, anything below 75 ppb is below the LoD (Limit of Detection) for the ELISA methodology.

The testing was commissioned by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH-USA), which tested 24 popular breakfast foods and found glyphosate concentrations in 11 of those samples. ANH-USA has also released a video on the subject, entitled “Are You Eating Glyphosate For Breakfast?” (The answer is probably YES…)

“We decided to do this testing to see just how ubiquitous this toxin has become in our environment. We expected that trace amounts would show up in foods containing large amounts of corn and soy,” explained Gretchen DuBeau, executive and legal director of ANH-USA. “However, we were unprepared for just how invasive this poison has been to our entire food chain.”

See the brand names of the products that tested positive for glyphosate

ANH-USA results, found at this link, use generic descriptors of food samples, without their brand names. But Natural News can now exclusively report the brand names behind these foods which tested positive for glyphosate, according to lab results provided to Natural News:

1327.1 ppb – Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries and Cream
491.9 ppb – Thomas’s Whole Wheat Bagels
151.5 ppb – Rudio Multibagels
403.0 ppb – Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Bread, 100% Whole Wheat
136.4 ppb – Dave’s Killer Whole Wheat Bread
34.4 ppb – OreIda Hash Brown Potatoes
24.1 ppb – Russet Potato
260.6 ppb – Cream of Wheat Hot Cereal Whole Grain
104 ppb – 365 Coffee Creamer
86 ppb – Original Silk Soy Creamer Non GMO

In addition, results of over 100 ppb were also found in eggs, but extracting glyphosate from eggs hasn’t yet been validated with the ELISA method, so we’re not including those results here.

Silk, Whole Foods’ 365, Pepperidge Farm, Thomas’s and other brands all named

Many consumers will be extremely surprised — perhaps “shocked” is a better descriptor — to learn that “Silk” brand non-GMO soy creamer still contains glyphosate, according to these test results.

Whole Foods’ 365 brand was also found to contain a significant concentration of glyphosate, as was Cream of Wheat hot cereal, which is mostly made of wheat (which is also non-GMO).

Thus, the disturbing upshot of these tests is that even non-GMO crops can be saturated with glyphosate weed killer chemicals. This includes oats, wheat, barley and other crops.

Glyphosate is currently listed as ” a probable carcinogen” by the IARC — meaning these health experts believe there is credible evidence that it causes cancer. Click here for the IARC’s report and conclusions.

Because of its toxicity, glyphosate is being aggressively outlawed by various countries around the world such as The Netherlands and Sri Lanka, to name a few.

The European Union has publicly stated that glyphosate herbicide formulates are “genotoxic,” while Monsanto, which sells glyphosate branded as “Roundup,” is running a campaign to discredit anyone who disagrees with their stance on things.

Campbell’s recently announced it would label GMOs in its foods. Mars, Inc. soon followed, as did, reluctantly, General Mills.

Learn more about glyphosate news at, a Natural News content property.


More on glyphosate in oats:

Dr Joseph Mercola wrote an in-depth article about Roundup, glyphosate and GMO labeling that contains a list of foods that are commonly desiccated with glyphosate, which includes lentils, corn, peas, flax, canola, potatoes, sugar beets, non-GMO soy, sunflowers, rye and buckwheat. So the problem definitely goes beyond the products listed in the Natural News article. He also lists some non-GMO food resources:

For info about why we should be concerned about glyphosate:

Just within this past week there was the update on bottled water and plastics, the glyphosate situation, and then an article about prescription drugs showing up in vegetables….even those that are organic. 😦

The article mentions that about the only way to be sure of what’s in the food you’re eating is to grow it yourself. And for those of you who are wanting to do that, here’s a very helpful post by Wellness Mama about using the Square Foot Gardening system, which has been shown to yield 100% of the harvest of a traditional garden in 80% less space, and with a mere 2% of the work:

Also, if you don’t have the time, inclination and/or space for a garden, Dr Mercola’s site offers information about and a kit for growing shoots and sprouts that sounds much easier than doing the ole glass jar and frequent rinsing routine.  I plan to give it a try.

I certainly wish the issues of clean air, food and water were bigger topics of discussion and concern during the presidential campaign. Things such as a higher minimum wage would be great, but what good does more money do when everything around us is making us sick and unhealthy and we’re going to have to spend any extra money on health care costs? 

Okay, enough doom and gloom talk for today. On a more upbeat note, we’re fortunate that the internet provides us with a ton of free information and resources to help us raise our awareness and make better, healthier choices. Be sure to check out my What’s New page  for details about some of the free events, like The Food Revolution and The Longevity Anti-Aging Project, that are available. And the free screening of The Vitamin Movie has been extended until May 4th, if you want to check that out.



p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Free 15-Day Scalar Energy Session From Tom Paladino And Special Deal From Orawellness! Yea!


Today I have what I think is a great “find” for you. It’s an offer from Tom Paladino of for 15 days of free scalar energy sessions…..



This is something I thought may be of interest and support to many of you, especially if you are dealing with physical issues. I myself have felt on the verge of coming down w/ the flu or something almost daily for the past few weeks. My body has, well, felt like yuck. Don’t know if it is related to all the shifts during this time of transition or something “just physical” going on with my body.

Anyway, I got a notice the other day from OMTimes that Tom Paladino is offering a free 15-day trial period of his *scalar energy (see end of post for more on scalar energy) sessions. These normally run over $150 for a month, so this is really a great way to give this type of energy work a try with no obligation whatsoever. I have used his sessions in the past and could definitely sense a difference. The sessions are 3 part and include a pathogenic cleanse, nutrient therapy, and chakra balancing. You can learn more on his website SelfHealGo. All you need to do is sign up and submit a photo (doesn’t need to be current) AND I believe you can sign up family members as well (will need to send their photos, too)! I just signed up the other day and it seemed like the perfect time to be receiving some free support along these lines. Thank you, Universe!

Here’s Tom’s offer:

“I invite you to experience 15 days of scalar energy healing sessions without obligation. There is no cost to you or your entire family. These scalar energy treatments are being offered without charge during this one-time offer.

Scalar energy treatments are a fundamental and easy way to break apart germs and significantly improve your health.”

*Scalar energy is the animating principle of the universe that brings order out of chaos. It is scalar energy that assembles and maintains the physical geometry of all physical matter. Furthermore, scalar energy is the underlying cause of all spiritual, mental and emotional expressions. That is, every prayer, thought or emotion is a broadcast or an emanation of scalar energy. Scalar energy is the Life Force of the universe as all prayer, thought, emotion and physical activity are dependent upon this primal light.

4/21/16 Update: Recently several people have left comments on this post thinking it is a way to contact Tom. It is not. This blog is not affiliated with him in any way and I just mentioned the free sessions as a courtesy to my readers. This post was written back in Sept 2015 and Tom must not be offering the free sessions at this time because the above link (now removed) no longer takes you to the sign-up page. However, if you would like more information about scalar energy sessions and their cost, you can go here:

8/9/16 Update: It looks like right now Tom is offering the free 15 day free trial thru Om Times until Aug 28th 2016 and you can find out more here:


Also, Orawellness is having a special Labor Day Sale thru Monday on several of their most popular bundles. Here’s the offer from Will and Susan, the good folks at Orawellness…..


Interesting Image

Here in the US, Labor Day is honoring us working class people… all of us who produce, support our families, and make things happen in the world.

So, in honor of us all doing our work, this weekend you can save 15% off our most popular bundles of HealThy Mouth Blend and Bass toothbrushes.

Sale starts Saturday, September 5, 2015 and ends Monday, September 7, 2015 at midnight pacific time.

You can save 15% off the following products:

HealThy Mouth Blend buy 2, get 1 free bundle (normally $45.94, sale price of $39.05)

HealThy Mouth Blend NUT FREE buy 2, get 1 free bundle (sale price $39.05)

Bass toothbrush 3 pack bundle (adult and junior) ~ (an additional 15% off already discounted bundle pricing)

Bass toothbrush 5 pack bundle (adult and junior)

No coupon code needed.  Discounted pricing will show up once you add products to your cart.

No other promotions or discounts will be applied this weekend.

Personal Note: FYI, I love the Bass brushes and the organic Healthy Brushing Blend is probably my favorite way to keep my teeth clean and my mouth fresh. A small bottle lasts a long time and is so convenient for carrying in a purse or pocket, and the refreshing formula doubles as a mouthwash. So this is a great time to stock up. If you use the link on my What’s New page you will also help support the work that I do….a win-win-win situation!

Update 9/6/15: I just came across this and thought some of you may want to check it out. It’s a free 7-Day Health Meditation series being offered by Prudence Hall, MD and it starts on Sept 7th. Here’s what she has to say about the series …

I created this 7 separate health talks followed by a meditation on each topic. The topics are:
  • Sleeplessness
  • Menopause
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irritation and Anger
  • Depression
  • Sexual Passion
As one of the pioneers in a new field called Regenerative Medicine, I bring a new context for treating these symptoms and other diseases as well. I always seek to correct the core root causes of each problem, because I don’t like Band-Aid solutions. The results are miracles in vitality, well-being, joy, and a resolution of disease.

You can find out more and sign up here:


p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on any future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

So What’s REALLY In Your Tea?!


For years now it’s been easy to find articles extolling the benefits of certain types of tea, especially green and white. I’ve even featured a couple of posts on the topic myself. But unfortunately things are not as straightforward these days when it comes to knowing if something is really healthy or not. Just read my posts on Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink?!  and When Organic Isn’t What It’s Cracked Up to Be to get a sense of how many highly-touted bottled waters or organic foods actually contain all sorts of contaminants. And recently it was revealed that many of the high-priced protein powders containing rice (even organic ones) contained heavy metals, mainly because so much of the rice used comes from toxic-laden China. And apparently almost anything containing wheat these days is to be avoided like the plague.

And now it seems you really need to beware of what’s going on with the tea you’re drinking, even, in some instances, if it’s organic. For me, this article by Food Babe does a great job of presenting possible issues you should be aware of…..


Food Babe's Tea Drawer

Do You Know What’s Really In Your Tea?

(by ) Tea is something I drink every single day. It’s sacred at my house – I even have a whole drawer devoted to it! I drink it because it is amazing for your health. There are so many varieties of tea that can improve digestion, metabolism and even prevent certain diseases. This investigation into tea ingredients has been in the making for a long time. What I’m about to share with you totally rocked my world forever and I’ll never look at tea in the same way again. Do you really want to know what’s in your tea?…Then read on.

The ancient Chinese tradition of drinking tea dates back thousand of years to the early Chinese dynasties and aristocrats who drank the beverage for its medicinal properties. In ancient times, leaves from the Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) were either ground into a powder or placed as loose leaves directly into water to infuse it with herbal essence. Unfortunately, modern day tea is nothing like the unadulterated version of old tea. Many of today’s tea brands are operating under the guise of providing health benefits and promoting clean living, but are actually laden with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and GMOs.


Conventional Teas – An Abundance of Pesticides

Did you know that most tea is not washed before it is put it into bags? That means if the tea was sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides, those pesticides go directly into your cup. And this is the reason why tea is on my organic shopping priority list. To prove this point, here are some shocking facts about one of the most well-known tea brands – Celestial Seasonings.

A recent third-party analysis by Glaucus Research found that 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea tested had pesticide residues exceeding the U.S. limits. For example, Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal contained 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which is a known carcinogen under California’s Propsition 65.

The “Wellness” tea line was found to contain traces of propargite, also a known carcinogen and developmental toxin. The FDA has already issued two warning letters to Celestial Seasonings in regard to poor quality control. Imagine what happens when pesticide-laden tea is steeped in boiling water.

If grocery store brands don’t provide a clean option for you, perhaps a high-end loose leaf tea would circumvent some of the issues of grocery store brands. Right? Wrong! Take Teavana, which is found in malls across North America for example. Teavana taps into tea culture with the “Teavana Experience.” Convincing their employees to take customers on a sensory journey – they open a huge canister of loose leaf tea and wave the top of the canister so you can smell the tea – touting all of the wonderful health benefits of tea complete with samples and manipulative demonstrations that end in an expensive visit to the tea shop. Is all the extra money worth it? Are customers getting a superior tea product? No.

Teavana tea was tested by an independent lab and 100 percent of it was found to contain pesticides. One tea in particular, Monkey Picked Oolong, contained 23 pesticides. 77 percent of the teas would fail European Union pesticide import standards, and would be banned from import. 62 percent of the teas tested contained traces of endosulfan, a pesticide that has been banned by the U.S., China, the E.U., and 144 other countries because it has been linked to impaired fertility and could harm unborn babies.

Teas Can Contain Artificial Flavoring, Natural Flavors, and Hidden GMOs

Furthermore, a majority of Teavana teas contain added flavor – specifically “artificial flavoring.” If their tea is so high end, why would they be adding ingredients produced by fractional distillation and chemical manipulation of various chemicals like crude oil or coal tar? Coal tar in my tea? No, thanks.


Many popular tea brands get away with using the ingredient “natural flavors” to trick the consumer into thinking they are buying better, cleaner ingredients; however companies are just covering up the inferior taste and low quality of their tea. Fortunately, there are brands that are putting the kibash on the use of natural flavors and using all real ingredients. I was happy to learn that Ahmed Rahim, CEO of Numi Teas is just as disgusted by this ingredient as I am. He said to me “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.” This is why when I see the words “natural flavor” listed on a label – I put the product down and run far, far away. I want to know what I am eating! Don’t you?

Additionally, the added risk of consuming possible GMOs is not something many people think about when consuming teas. Before this investigation and witnessing tea companies using modified corn starch and soy lecithin in tea (additives likely made from genetically engineered corn and soy), I didn’t think about it either! I can’t imagine having a serious soy allergy, considering all the places companies try to hide it.


Why The Tea Bag & Packaging Matters

A recent article in The Atlantic discusses the “silky sachet” and “luxurious mesh bags” that hold loose leaf teas (like in brands Tea Forte and Mighty Leaf). Turns out, these modern day bags meant to showcase the tea leaves, are made of plastic.

PLA (polylactic acid) is a (likely GMO) corn-based tea bag material that has attracted major tea companies due to its nice look and its claims of biodegradability. Terms like “silky sachets” and “corn-based biodegradable tea bags” mislead customers into believing a product is more natural and sustainable than it really is. While the processing for PLA removes all traces of genetic material, it is still made with genetically modified corn. Although the actual tea bag is not an ingredient like teas and herbs, it is an element that is put into boiling water.

According to The Atlantic, tea bags are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which are two of what’s considered the safest plastics on the scale of harmful leaching potential. However, Dr. Mercola disagrees, he states:

“While these plastics are generally considered among the safest in terms of leaching potential, the molecules in these plastic tea bags may still in fact break down and leach out when steeped in boiling water…” Well, isn’t that how tea is prepared?

Another temperature consumers need to worry about in tea is the “glass transition” temperature. Here’s the science behind the glass transition temperature or, Tg, and why it becomes dangerous according to The Atlantic:

“That is the temperature at which the molecule in certain materials such as polymers begin to break down. As a rule, the Tg of a material is always lower than the melting point. In the case of PET and food grade nylon (either nylon 6 or nylon 6-6), all have a Tg lower than the temperature of boiling water. For example, while the melting point of PET is 482 degrees Fahrenheit, the Tg is about 169 degrees. Both nylons have a lower glass transition temperature than PET. (Remember that water boils at 212 degrees.) This means the molecules that make up these plastic tea bags begin to break down in hot water.”

So, while the plastic itself won’t melt in your tea, the glass transition temperature could potentially leak out harmful phthalates if there are such things in your tea. Another thing to worry about is that some of the newer tea bags are made with a variety of plastics. Some plastics are nylon, some are made of viscose rayon, and others are made of thermoplastic, PVC or polypropylene.

Beware of paper tea bags too, which can be worse than plastic tea bags.

GET THIS: Many paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins. Considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health2 (NIOSH), epichlorohydrin is also used as a pesticide. When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It has also been implicated in infertility (it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats) and suppressed immune function.

So what do you do the next time you want a cup of tea? Antioxidant rich teas aren’t going to do much to counterbalance the chemicals, additives and artificial flavorings in today’s modern teas.

First, I recommend looking at this chart below to see how your favorite tea brand stacks up:

Tea 2

And then when brewing and picking out the safest tea remember these tips:

1. Choose an organic & non-GMO certified brand of tea. (My favorites are Numi, Traditional Medicinals, and Rishi Tea (loose leaf).

2. Check the ingredient list on the back of the tea package to make sure there are no added flavors, GMO ingredients like soy lecithin and corn starch added to the tea leaves.

3. Make sure the brand you buy uses a safe form of packaging material or buy loose leaf tea and use a stainless steel or glass tea strainer. Have the company verify that bags do not contain epichlorophydrin, and avoid plastic tea bags all together. (Numi and Traditional Medicinals are some of the only brands I trust in this category because they have publicly stated they do not use this harmful ingredient or GMO packaging and are Non-GMO Project verified.) 

4. The majority of restaurants use some of the most pesticide-ridden tea and brands that have harmful packaging like Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Bigelow, etc. Don’t fall victim to this. Bring your own tea when eating out or going to restaurants and ask for pot or cup of boiling water (remember to leave a good tip if you do this). I even do this at Starbucks because I like to vote with my dollars and not buy tea brands that are harmful. If you drink iced tea, brew your own at home and carry an *insulated water bottle  with you. 

*Personal Note: I recommend using the water bottles from Vibes Up; they help neutralize harmful toxins and balance and harmonize whatever liquid is put in them.

5. Remember these temps and times for brewing the perfect cup of tea


If you know someone who loves to drink tea, please share this post with them. I was just as shocked as you probably are about all of this craziness – knowing what’s in our tea and what we put in our body matters! Let’s change the world together.

Additional information:

For a “second opinion” on which teas and bags are safe, you may want to read this article:

And here’s what I found on one site about the dangers of tea bags:

As tea bags evolved, many companies tried different styles and designs of tea bags which led to pillow styled tea bags, rounded tea bags, and even pyramid shaped tea bags. Different tactics were taken to make tea bags more appealing and this resulted in companies that chlorine bleached their tea bags so that customers would find the cleaner look to be more visually appealing. However, the bleaching method comes at a heavy price to consumers. Chemicals linger on tea bags that are bleached and when steeped, these chemicals seep into the water of the tea and are then ingested into the body. This exposes the body to harmful toxins like dioxin. Dioxin, a common chemical that is found on bleached tea bags, lingers in the body for up to 11 years and cannot be dispelled through the detoxification process of the liver. This chemical builds up in the fat tissues of the body where it agitates and disrupts cell distribution leading to hormonal and behavioral disorders as well as increases the body’s risk to harmful cell deformities and cancers. —


**Personal Note: I highly recommend always using structured water for brewing your tea; it truly hydrates, neutralizes toxins, and has a balanced pH, so it will help off-set any worries about the tea you are drinking. Hmmm, and I just had a thought….the BerryBreeze™ refrigerator unit (I LOVE mine!) has the ability to neutralize the pesticides and harmful bacteria/fungus on the produce you store there. Wonder what it would do to teabags or a cup of brewed tea?!

Related Self-help Health posts:


Of course you can get organic teas in any good health food store or supermarket, however, I always buy mine on-line because it’s much less expensive that way. One of my favorite discount places to shop is; use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get $10 off, plus you can take advantage of their wonderful specials and trial offers sections. Shipping is free on orders of $20 and up. There’s an extra 5% off on orders over $60. is another on-line favorite of mine; if you are new to Vitacost and make your first purchase of $25 or more through the link on my webpage you will receive a $10 off coupon. Woohoo! 



p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my Evolution Made Easier blog for helpful tips, tools and information on health and well-being, expanded consciousness, spirituality and more.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Want to Improve Your Mental Health and Performance? Go For Baroque!




In a recent post I featured information about the physical benefits of combining music with movement/exercise. The article in today’s post also focuses on using music, particularly classical/baroque, but this time for improving mental performance and health. I’ve been aware of the positive effects listening to certain pieces of classical music can have on mental and emotional well-being for years, and listened to several of The Mozart Effect albums (mentioned in today’s article) regularly in the past. But they somehow got relegated to the back of the closet as I accumulated more and more CDs and MP3s, so I’m grateful for being reminded of them and the benefits they offer. I mean, what could be an easier self-help health tool than listening to music that I thoroughly enjoy?! 

Listening To Music

Boosting Brain Power with Baroque Music

By Frederic Patenaude for Renegade Health
I was lucky enough to spend three years of my life in a music college, right after high school, where I dedicated most of my waking hours to the study of music and classical guitar.After graduating, I decided to do something different with my life. I felt that, although I loved the classical guitar, music wasn’t my true talent. I wanted to become involved in the natural health field instead. Even though I never took my music studies to the next level, music has been a big part of my life ever since. And lately, I’ve been interested in the use of music to boost creativity, enhance brain power, and more.When working on the computer, half the time I blast classical music to bring me to a state of enhanced productivity and creativity. I use music to enhance my workouts, and to relax my mind before going to sleep.

Why Classical Music?

Studies have shown that baroque music has potent brain-enhancing qualities by affecting brain waves. Classical music in general has been used to:

– Improve performance
– Temporarily boost IQ score results
– Lower stress and anxiety
– Help with post-traumatic stress disorder 

One study even used a Mozart Sonata (K448) to help patients suffering from epilepsy. During the test, while listening to this particular piece by Mozart, EEG data showed less epileptic activity. Other studies showed that music had beneficial long-term effects for epileptic patients. The benefits of classical music have been since then referred to as the “Mozart Effect.”

Can Classical Music Make Kids Smarter?

You probably heard the popular idea that if children listen to Mozart’s music, or other classical music, they will grow up more intelligent. This is not actually true. In fact, the original studies were done on students, not children. What they found was that the students listening to a Mozart’s piece before a test did better at certain types of tasks where they had to create shapes in their mind. But the effects only lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.

I also think that generally, parents who play classical music to their children probably also have a well-stocked bookshelf and will care a lot about the education of their children. So it may not be as easy as popping a CD and turning your child into a genius, but I’m sure that developing an interest for music early on helps the brain in some ways we don’t understand just yet.

So merely listening to classical music won’t make you or your children smarter, but it does affect your brain waves and can probably enhance your creativity and help reduce stress.

Specific Benefits to Baroque Music

When I was in music school, my favorite music to play on the guitar was Bach. Bach is considered by some as the greatest composer who ever lived, and he certainly had a huge influence over the development of music. I always found that playing Bach relaxed my mind, creating a state of inner peace. I didn’t know completely why, but I felt like Bach’s music was true music for the soul.

Now that I make my living writing, I often use Bach and other music of the Baroque genre to boost my creativity (Baroque is style of Western music composed in Europe from approximately 1600 to around 1750. The composers that are the most famously associated with this genre are Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Corelli, and Telemann.)

Why Baroque?

Baroque is my favorite genre of classical music, and I have my own theory as to why it’s so appropriate to boost your brain’s creativity. Let’s first take a look at the research.

Some researchers found that Baroque music was best to stabilize “mental, physical and emotional rhythms to attain a state of deep concentration and focus in which large amounts of content information can be processed and learned.” 

“Baroque music, such as that composed by Bach, Handel or Telemann, that is 50 to 80 beats per minute creates an atmosphere of focus that leads students into deep concentration in the alpha brain wave state. Learning vocabulary, memorizing facts or reading to this music is highly effective.”

In one study, students found that they enjoyed the class better when baroque music was playing in the background, and found math classes less challenging.

Some say that baroque music seems to be particularly better than other genres of classical music at inducing relaxation and states of creativity because it generally pulses between 50 and 80 beats per minute, which is close to the human heart. I don’t think that’s necessarily the reason, because many of the movements in the works of Baroque composers are played faster than this.

So why Baroque?

Baroque music is light and lively. Yet, it can be very expressive and soulful, but never falling into the melodramatic. It doesn’t try to hook you with a ton of “hummable melodies” that stick in your head, like those composed by Mozart. It’s often a flow of delicious notes taking you on a melodic journey.

Baroque musicians improvised a lot, and at the time baroque music was considered a bit wild. After that period, starting around the death of Bach in 1750, music became more regimented, with the classical period of Mozart, Haydn, and early Beethoven works.

After the classical period comes the Romantics, with later Beethoven works, Wagner, Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Mahler, and many others. Music during this period became very emotional, with grand and dramatic symphonies and concertos and wild piano sonatas, often taking you through a torrent of emotions.

Why Not Other Kinds of Music?

The response to music is individual, and can vary at different times in your life.

I’ve been into rock, pop, alternative, bossa nova, and many other genres. At some point I was even into death metal! (I still listen to some occasionally…) But classical music is what has had the biggest effect on me.

You can listen to any music you’d like, but if you want to specifically enhance your creativity and “boost your brainpower,” you should give baroque music a try.

I can’t get anything done if I listen to music with words. Songs are too distracting and the lyrics just bring a lot of nonsense that I don’t want in my brain if I want to focus on something.

I think the second best thing to baroque would be music from the classical era (from Mozart and Haydn, for example), because it’s very beautiful and structured. Maybe it’s a question of taste. But when you get to the romantics, things get a bit wild and out of control! It’s too emotional to use as a music for focus, at least for me.

Maybe you’ve found that something else works for you.

But my recommendation to you is to give Baroque music a try, if you want to:

– Study for an exam
– Enhance your mood
– Boost your creativity

And who knows… maybe it will even make you smarter, at least temporarily!

If you’d like to try a few Baroque CDs here are some recommendations I think you will love, from my own collection:

 Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (English Concert): This is the pinnacle of Baroque music. I keep discovering new things every time I listen to  it.
– Bach: Goldberg Variations (Pierre Hentai). Some say it’s the most beautiful keyboard music ever written. I prefer the harpsichord version, but you should also listen to the classic recording by pianist Glenn Gould.
– Marin Marais: Pieces de viole des cinq livres, by Jordi Savall. This is true meditative music, and Savall, played on an ancient instrument by a master.
– Mass in B Minor: Some say it’s the best work of music ever written, in any genre.
– Corelli Violin Sonatas: Some of my favorite soothing “background” music.
– Handel: 12 Concerti Grossi. You can’t go wrong with that one.
– Handel: Water Music: For some reason I never get tired of hearing Handel’s Water Music.
– Julian Bream Plays Bach: This has been a favorite CD of mine for the past 20 years solid!

(Also check out author Frederic Pantenaude‘s book on oral health and natural ways to protect your teeth and heal decay, and his Raw Health Starter Kit is a way to kick-start your health and find out exactly how you can use the power of raw foods to experience more energy, detox and rejuvenate, and reach your ideal weight.)


FYI, many of the subliminal and brainwave entrainment sites, such as Mind Power MP3 and Real Subliminal use classical music on some of the albums they offer; they also offer some free downloads on stress reduction, etc. you may want to take advantage of.

And be sure to check out the Self-help Health post on using Solfeggio tones to balance and harmonize your body and your life. The post includes information about where you can get downloads of 9 Solfeggio tones for free. I have strained my back twice recently….once shoveling snow (using a dust pan, so I’m not sure if “shoveling” is the correct term to use! :-)) and then when cleaning off my balcony, and I have used the tone for pain and the one for rejuvenation and repair, and whether it was a coincidence or placebo effect or what,… who cares. I have felt better after listening to the tones each time.


Other related posts:

Get Your Groove On:The Benefit of Music and Movement

Trees: They’re Not Just For Hugging



p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Walking……Just Do It (In Nature)!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know at a fundamental level that walking and spending time in Nature are good for you, and combining the two is even better. But I found these articles interesting because they not only go into the variety of benefits you receive, but also the science/mechanics of the how and why. Thanks to Raw For Beauty for the graphic and Natural Health 365 and Natural News for the information….


Japanese maple tree

(by Ben Hirshberg for Natural News) Sometimes the best solutions are the most simple. This appears to be the case with walking, arguably the simplest form of exercise. Walking is gentle on the body and takes no special equipment to perform, making it also a very accessible way to exercise. There has been quite a bit of research done on the effectiveness of walking and the results are staggering.

Decreased pain and disability

Walking appears to make the body stronger and more resilient in addition to being therapeutic. When people suffering from knee arthritis walked for only three hours a week, their pain and disability went down by nearly half. Walking for only four hours per week decreased the risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women by over 40 percent.

Walking and mental health

Though physical activity and mental health are not always put in the same breath, walking also appears to have a significant impact on our happiness levels. In one study, nearly a third of the depressed patients reported feeling better after only a small dose of walking. When that small dose was increased, the number of depressed patients who were feeling better jumped to about half. Similarly, walking has been shown to reduce anxiety in about half of all patients who implement it into their routine.

Decreased illness and disease

The risk of disease and illness also seems to be significantly cut down when walking is added to the picture. Some research has found that walking can decrease the risk of heart disease by as much as 50 percent. Older patients who started a walking routine were able to reduce their progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s by about half as well. In one study of patients at a high risk for diabetes, walking was combined with other lifestyle interventions and almost 60 percent of patients reduced the progression to frank diabetes.

Walking and lower mortality

All of these benefits point to a lower mortality rate as well. A Harvard alumni study followed graduates for a dozen years and found that people who walked had a 23 percent lower rate of death than those who did not walk. Cardio-respiratory fitness, something walking can influence, has also been pointed to as the best mortality predictor.

Though walking may never become a fitness fad, its benefits are undeniable. In fact, if a pill could produce effects similar to the statistics cited above, it would be the bestselling drug in the world. Until then the rest of us will be making strides naturally, one step at a time.

Walking benefits kidney disease:

This article by Jonathan Landsman talks about “forest walking/bathing,” a particular kind of walking with added benefits….

(from NaturalHealth365) There is strong scientific evidence coming out of Japan about the anti-cancer effects of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. In fact, according to Dr. Qing Li – one of the world’s foremost experts on shinrin-yoku, forest walking may prevent chronic illnesses like cancer; reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.

Chronic stress slowly kills. Environmental toxins like car fumes and industrial wastes; processed foods and EMF pollution increase our cortisol levels and the risk for disease. Bottom line, most people in modern society are stressed out and need to relax – much more.

A natural way to quickly energize the human body

There’s simply no debate – forest bathing provides a natural environment of grass, trees and fresh air – which can literally bring you back to life. Thankfully, there is mounting scientific data to prove that being in contact with nature is good for us physically, emotionally and mentally.

Naturally, it is widely thought that leaving the noise and stress of everyday life and spending more time in nature is good for us. Researchers have now been putting this understanding to the test. Unfortunately, only until recently, the practice of walking in the woods was never really investigated using laboratory equipment.

Medical studies prove forest walking boost immunity

The studies which began in Japan sought to find the physiological impact of forest bathing. Dr. Li, an associate professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo and current president of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine, has conducted experiments to test forest bathing on human health.

The studies found favorable effects on mood, stress level, and immune function. The scientists in Japan back up the work done by Boris Tokin, a Russian researcher, who discovered trees and other plants actually release chemicals called phytoncides. This chemical protects plants from harmful pathogens and can offer significant health benefits to humans.

How does forest walking reduce cancer risk?

The profile of Mood States test showed that forest bathing trips significantly increased vigor in test subjects – while decreasing anxiety, depression and anger. This factor alone was shown to decrease the risk of stress related diseases like heart disease and cancer.

The studies on immune system function showed an increase in the activity of natural killer (NK) cells – a component of the immune system in charge of preventing cancer. Wouldn’t it be nice if every (conventionally-trained) oncologist talked to their patients about this?

One of the best studies to date

In one particular study, subjects experienced a 3-day/2-night trip to three different Japanese forests. Prior to the forest visit, the same subjects participated in a city tourist visit – consisting of a 3-day/2-night trip to Nagoya city, which had very few trees.

The class of hotel and the lifestyle of the subjects during the stays in the hotels were the same for the city and forest trips. The walking courses in both trips were 2.5 km.

But, the city tourist visit did not increase their natural killer cell activity or the expression of selected intracellular perforin (more about this in a moment). These findings showed that forest bathing trips did increase natural killer cell activity, the number of NK cells and the levels of perforin.

You may be wondering – what is perforin? It’s actually a protein, known for breaking into cells which have been taken over by a virus or tuned into a cancerous cell and allowing toxic enzymes in. This process will destroy the cell from within. But, without this protein, the immune system can’t destroy rogue cells.

Forest air has a powerful anti-cancer effect

Dr Li attributes the increase in NK activity partly to breathing in air containing phytoncide – an essential oil from the wood – like α-pinene and limonene, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds emitted from trees to protect them from rotting and insects.

By the way, phytoncides are natural preservatives and fungicides, classified as antimicrobial volatile organic compounds, and can also be used as essential oils in aromatherapy.

These phytoncides induce NK cell activity, which kill tumor cells by releasing anti-cancer proteins. In fact, it’s been shown that ‘forest bathers’ have increased this activity by 50%.

So, it makes sense, living in heavily forested areas is associated with a decreased risk of early mortality and cancer. For example, researchers compiled data from several major cities in Japan and found that populations that lived in areas with more trees had a decreased rate of several different types of cancer.

Forest walking offers immediate results

Walking in a forest or park will strengthen your white blood cells, lowers heart rate, reduce blood pressure and decrease the stress hormone – cortisol.

By breathing in the aroma of the plants – we are saturating our body with chemicals known for their ability to prevent infections, viruses and cancer. So, remember, the next time you’re in the forest – hug a tree and take a deep breath, because it may just save your life.

About the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.

Want even more on walking? Check out this in-depth article by Dr. Mercola that even includes a video about the proper way to walk:

And these articles about how walking benefits creative thinking, cuts your risk of death by up to 50%, increases blood flow to the brain and more:

Related Self-help Health post:

Using Exercise to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Nature Sounds = More Healing, Less Stress

So where’s your favorite place to walk? One of my best walks ever happened with a friend while visiting one of the giant redwood parks in California. Truly a magical, healing experience on all levels!


p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

The Yoga Code Free Virtual Conference Is Coming!

Here’s another free event from EnTheos that sounds interesting and expansive, so sign up now so you won’t miss out on all the health-promoting information and insights that will be shared….

Get ready to shatter what you thought you knew about yoga, and join Jackie Dumaine, founder of The Yoga Code™ as she unveils the “other side” of yoga…..the side that doesn’t involve downward dogs or the ability to touch your head to the ground.

You’ll be learning from a panel of 17 dynamic and visionary thinkers in the field of Parenting, Money, Relationships, Addiction, Happiness, Body Image, Yoga and more on how the 10 Universal Principles  of ancient yoga wisdom can be used to create a life with more peace, balance and joy.  Yea!  Forget the postures! Do some soul yoga 🙂


Sure, yoga seems relaxing and can be a great practice for a healthy body, but what if I told you that there’s a completely different side of yoga that doesn’t even involve a rubber mat or black stretchy pants?

Yoga has inspired people for generations to excel in areas of their lives that go beyond just health and fitness.

Author and creator of The Yoga Code, Jackie Dumaine, has created a 3-day virtual conference that includes 15+ interviews with some of the world’s visionary thinkers​ as they open up about the 10 Universal Principles​ of ancient​ yoga wisdom and how you can use them to start creating a life with more Peace, Balance and Joy. ​

The Yoga Code virtual conference is available for streaming FREE online March 17 – 19, 2014. 
This wisdom can create immediate transformation in your parenting, relationships, finances, happiness, body image and so much more!
Don’t worry about the headstands and spinal twists, just dive in and reflect on yoga’s ancient wisdom to create more happiness and passion in your everyday life.

What You Need to Know:
Dates: March 17 – 19, 2014
Price: FREE
Where: Sign up online here.

PLEASE NOTE: Rubber mat and black stretchy pants not required. 🙂

Related Self-help Health posts:


p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.


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