Saturday, December 05, 2009

Money Saving Tips: 75 Ways to Survive Recession

Regardless of how economists refer to this economy, recession or no recession, people are hurting, financially. Unemployment, flat wages and rising costs for food and gas have many hurting. Check out these great money saving tips to help your family survive these tough times.

Here are a few money saving ideas our family is using to get through the recession:

1. Switch to cloth napkins. I’m not sure why it took a down economy for this one to dawn on me, but cloth napkins are a great alternative to paper napkins, which increase waste and add to our non-food budget.
2. Diversify your income. Look for ways to increase your income outside of your full time job. Do you have a hobby that you could make a small business? Could you spend some time working online surveys (many of these survey companies are scams, but the one I’ve linked is not. I’ve been a CashCrate member for over a year now)? Could you add some freelance work in the same line of work you do full time?
3. Just say no to social events, or agree to meet after dinner. Peer pressure can wreak havoc on your financial plans. It’s never fun to turn down a chance to go out with friends, but there are ways to say yes without spending a fortune.
4. Scale back the cable. We’ve been living the last six months with only basic cable, and don’t miss any of the expanded cable channel offerings. Cable bill went down from $40 to $12 with this move alone.
5. Don’t pay a dime for banking privileges. There are too many free checking options out there to pay one penny in fees for the right to write a check or use a debit card. Many banks and credit unions simply require direct deposit or a minimum number of debit card uses per month to qualify for fee-free accounts. If you can’t find one, try ING Direct.
6. Look for a value internet package. While I was scaling back on cable service I asked our cable provider for a cheaper rate on internet service. They told me about a little-advertised “value package” which costs half the normal monthly rate for reduced speed. Since I mostly surf the web and check email I barely notice, but I saved about $20 a month on our internet service.
7. Skip the theater, subscribe to Netflix. Going to the movie theater is a great way to beat the heat, but it’s also expensive. Skip the theater, and sign up for an online DVD rental service. No late fees, and no gas used up traveling back and forth to the rental store.
8. Hang up the land line telephone service. If most of your calls are to other cell users in the same network, consider canceling the land line and using a cell phone exclusively.
9. Have a no-spend weekend. Sometimes it takes a break in the routine to get spending under control. Try to go an entire weekend without eating out, shopping, or ordering something online. It won’t solve all your spending problems, but it’s a start.
10. Carpool a few times a week. Take turns carpooling with a coworker, especially if they live close to you. Pick them up and take them home this week, and next week allow them to return the favor. You’ll both cut your driving time in half.
11. Raise insurance deductibles. Assuming you have a proper emergency fund in place, raise deductibles on insurance policies. The difference in a $500 deductible and a $1,000 deductible on your car insurance policy can help reduce your monthly or semi-annual premiums.
12. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure each time you fill up. Things like under-inflated tires and dirty air filters can reduce your gas mileage. Pick up an inexpensive tire gauge and check the pressure while filling up.
13. Change your driving habits to save on gas expenses. Cut out “jackrabbit” starts and heavy braking.
14. Do not buy new cars – Buy a used car, and drive it until the wheels fall off. My grandfather has driven two vehicles in 34 years! Sam Walton drove a twenty year-old pickup truck right up until the time he died. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Remember, a new car is “used” the minute you drive it off the showroom floor.
15. Consolidate errands into one trip. If you have to get out try to consolidate all of your errands into one trip away from home, instead of driving back and forth several times from store to home.
16. Ride a bike for short commutes. I’m fortunate to live about 5 miles from my employer, so I occasionally commute by bike. If you happen to live close to stores, consider riding a bike for small errands. Take along a backpack, or put some panniers on your bike to carry things back home.
17. Figure out how to do things on your own, rather than paying an expert. This year I’ve managed to rescue a toy from the bottom of our guest bathroom toilet and unclog and empty an air conditioner drain line. With the help of the internet, or a good “how-to” book such as Save $20k With a Nail, you would be surprised how much you can do on your own and avoid expensive repair charges.
18. Unload the trunk, and remove unused cargo racks. Added weight in the trunk reduces gas mileage, as does the added wind drag from an unused cargo rack.
19. Look into 3-month supplies of prescriptions via mail order. Many employers now offer as part of the health insurance plan a 3-month mail order prescription plan. I only have one daily prescription for asthma/allergies, and the cost of a 30-day supply from a local pharmacy is $25. For the same cost, I can get a 90-day supply via mail-order.
20. Wash your own car. Our town has one of those automated car washes and for $9.00 you can get “the works.” Essentially, it is a wash, wax and application of tire shine. I’m pretty sure I can do it for less. Better yet, employ the kids and let them earn a little extra money this summer.
21. Bank “found” money in a separate account. With any income above your normal earnings, bank the amount in a separate checking or savings account and use the money to pay down debt, build up savings, or offset increased expenses. Overtime, tax refunds (and stimulus checks), gifts and similar windfalls belong here.
22. Eat like a kid again. Eat off the same plates your kids eat off, which will force you to eat smaller portions. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
23. Drink tap water. I don’t have the inclination to run a cost comparison between an ounce of Coca Cola and an ounce of tap water, but I’m fairly confident tap water is infinitely cheaper.
24. Eat less meat. I’m about as far from vegetarian as you can get, but I recognize that my carnivorous habits cost me big at the grocery store. We’ve recently started having breakfast for dinner (eggs instead of meat), and substituting things like pinto beans (a great source of non-meat protein) in meals instead of meats.
25. Look for manager meat specials. When you do buy meat, check the manager’s specials area for meat that is about to pass the “sell by” date. The meat is still perfectly good, but freeze it immediately if you don’t plan on cooking within the next day or two.
26. Look for a used freezer to stock up on meat specials. Many times people relocating can’t take the extra chest freezer with them and advertise it on Craigslist or the local newspaper. If you can find a good used one stock it full of manager meat specials to reduce your food budget.
27. Don’t be afraid to buy generic. Forget brand loyalty when trying to save money. When we buy ketchup, we look for the lowest unit price, regardless of brand. Same with other foods and household supplies. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part generic items are just as good as name brands.
28. When in the store, look high and low for deals, literally. Marketers know that eye-level is the place most people tend to shop, so they put the items with the highest margins right in front of you. Better deals are usually found on lower shelves.
29. Cherry-pick coupon deals. Combine coupons with store sales to maximize savings. Our local Kroger store recently had mayonnaise 2/$4. We found a coupon for $0.50/1 that doubled to $1.00, so we picked up a mayo for $1.00. Don’t use a coupon to buy something you don’t need.
30. Supplement pet food with meat scraps. Quality dog food is expensive. To make ours last a little longer we occasionally skip the dog food and give our dog meat scraps. Avoid meats with sauces or spices as it can upset their stomach, and be sure to remove any bones. Plain beef, chicken and turkey make for a great treat for our dog.
31. Water down juices. When we open a new apple juice for our kids we pour up half in the old container and add about 1/4 – 1/2 container of water to each bottle. This makes each new bottle last a little longer, and dilutes the grams of sugar and calories per serving.
32. Shop at a farmers market for in-season produce. Few things taste as good as fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, most of the produce you’ll find in a grocery store is grown elsewhere, particularly if it is out of season, locally. Figure out what’s in season and support local growers by visiting a farmers market.
33. Avoid using the oven during the summer. Ovens heat up a house faster than any other appliance, adding to the strain on air conditioner systems. Plan meals that don’t require baking, or bake in the late evening and microwave the next night.
34. When eating out, divide entrees in half and save the rest for a second meal. Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal arrives and save half for tomorrow’s lunch. Restaurants are notorious for piling on portions, so this move will help you spread out the calories and cost of the meal.
35. Avoid pre-packaged foods. The little 100-calorie packs are convenient, but you can accomplish the same thing by buying a larger package of chips or cookies and then dividing into smaller portions using Ziploc bags. The unit cost savings are significant.
36. Grow your own vegetables. Unless you plan to dig up the entire yard to plant rows of food, you probably aren’t going to be able to grow enough to live off. However, a square foot garden can produce enough for some great summer salads without adding to your grocery bill.
37. Say no to fast food. Unless you hit the dollar menu exclusively, fast food can add up. Consider the cost of a combo meal for four people versus sandwiches, chips and drinks from home.
38. Properly insulate your home. Especially important in the summer and winter months, when the extreme temperatures outside can affect your temperature inside and cause utility bills to skyrocket.
39. Use a drying rack or line dry heavy clothing. Pick up a drying rack or install a clothesline to dry heavy garments and towels. When nearly dry, place items in dryer with a dryer sheet for just a few minutes to complete the drying cycle, remove wrinkles, and soften clothes.
40. Plant a tree next to your outside air conditioning unit. By shading your outside unit you may improve the operating efficiency of the overall system by 20%. Take care not to plant to close to the unit to maintain proper airflow.
41. Replace home air conditioner filter every month when in use. Manufacturers suggest changing your filter every 90 days, but I’ve found systems work better when changed once a month, especially in peak times like summer. Instead of picking up a top-of-the-line air filter, go for a medium grade filter and just buy more of them.
42. Switch to CFL lighting inside, and solar lighting outside. CFL bulbs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, and give off less heat. Solar lights used to line pathways around your home run off a rechargeable battery that is charged up during the day by the sun, and lasts for several hours after dark.
43. Half the number of days your lawn is being watered. An established lawn doesn’t really need to be watered every day. In fact, daily watering can cause a shallow root system because grass roots don’t have to work hard to find water. Water once or twice a week, for a slightly longer duration and let Mother Nature help fill in the schedule with the occasional rain.
44. Use bathroom exhaust fan during showers and for 10 minutes after. Exhaust fans help carry moisture out of the bathroom from a hot shower. Don’t believe it? Run the exhaust fan during your next shower and notice how the mirrors don’t fog up.
45. Take a “Navy” shower. Get in, soap up, rinse off and get out. And put a low-flow showerhead on there while your at it.
46. Reuse bath towels. Sounds gross at first, but think about it – you are clean when you get out of the shower. Hang up towels after each use to thoroughly dry, and only add them to the dirty clothes pile after every three or four uses.
47. Don’t run water when shaving or brushing teeth. While shaving pull up the sink stopper and pool a little water in the sink for rinsing your razor.
48. Skip baths. Even though they are relaxing, baths require a lot of H20 and drive up your water bill. They also drain your home’s supply of hot water, forcing your hot water heater to replenish the supply, further adding to your utility costs.
49. Bathe your own pets. Skip the pet grooming salon, pickup some shampoo at a pet supply store and wash them yourself.
50. Avoid stores. Stay out of stores unless you have a list (mental or otherwise) of specific things you need to buy. Shopping out of boredom leads to impulse buying and can quickly blow a budget.
51. Sunday paper only. Consider scaling back subscriptions such as newspapers to the bare minimum. If you are only going to get a paper once a week, opt for the Sunday paper, which usually includes coupons and weekly sales flyers from local grocery stores. Toss the other sales circulars – you may see something you want to buy!
52. Transfer existing debt using balance transfer offers. If you have debt, make becoming debt free a top priority. Moving existing balances to 0% interest plans helps more of your payment go towards repaying the balance, and less towards interest. Beware of high upfront fees and go-to rates when considering your options.
53. Don’t renew the gym membership. Being healthy can save you money, but exorbitant fees and inflexible contracts make gyms a dangerous proposition. Take the money you would have spent at the gym and try to build one at home with used equipment.
54. Make your own Play-Doh. Kids can find many hours of enjoyment from a homemade play-doh recipe, and it’s a cheaper than buying it from the store.
55. Try a home haircut. Mine is pretty easy since I buzz it short all over. Guys, you will still need someone to help you with the neckline, unless you are good with mirrors.
56. Rediscover a local library. To replace the time previously spent watching television develop a reading habit, and support your local library while you are at it. Can’t find the book you are looking for? Don’t rush out and buy it. Many times libraries are networked and can request a copy of a book from another library.
57. Start your own “keep the change” program. Several banks are now running “keep the change” promotions where they round up your purchases and put the difference in a savings account. Problem is, these accounts don’t pay a great interest rate, and the program encourages increased spending. Create your own program by spending only cash and dumping the change in a coin jar. Make deposits into your own high-yielding savings account at the end of the month.
58. Put away the credit cards. Save cash for large purchases by creating a dedicated savings account specifically for the next item on your list. Make regular contributions to the savings account with each paycheck, and when the balance is high enough to pay for the item, pay for it with cash.
59. Ask creditors to lower your interest rate. Creditors are feeling the crunch, too, and they recognize it takes more money to find a new customer than to retain a current one. If you are a profitable customer (pay interest), call creditors and ask for a lower rate. Tell them about all the 0% transfer offers you’ve been shredding for your garden!
60. Divide credit card minimum payments in half and pay that amount twice a month. Interest is calculated based on the average daily balance of your account for the entire month. By making a payment every couple weeks you are reducing that average balance and therefore reducing the finance charges assessed, as opposed to waiting until the end of the month to make a single payment.
61. Brown bag it. Can you believe how much a combo meal is at a fast food restaurant? And don’t get me started on dine-in restaurant tabs for lunch. You’re lucky to get out of there for less than $10-$12 including the tip. Multiply that times four or five times a week and we’re talking $200 added to your food budget each month.
62. Adjust your W-4 at work. The fastest way to give yourself a raise is to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck. If you received a huge refund this year, increase the number of exemptions on your W-4 to reduce withholdings. Check the IRS website to calculate the number of exemptions required to break even.
63. Sign up for budget billing with utility company. This won’t necessarily save you money, but it certainly helps the budgeting process by smoothing out highs and lows in your utility bills. Most companies offer this “levelized billing” service after you have 12 months of history to compute an average.
64. Use shredded credit card invitations as mulch in the garden. What a great way to put junk mail to good use! Run the mail through a shredder and use the clippings to mulch around your garden.
65. Buy generic ink cartridges for your printer. Ever stopped to calculate the cost per gallon of printer ink? Me neither, but I hate when my printer runs out of ink because it seems impossible to spend less than $30 or $40 to replace the black and color cartridges. Check out a generic cartridge reseller. The quality of ink is comparable to manufacturer’s ink, and many offer a dollar or two off if you recycle the old cartridge.
66. Use a power strip to power down unused electronics. Electronics continue to use power even when they are turned off for LED displays, stop/start memory, etc. Reduce this “phantom power” drain by unplugging devices, or plugging them into a central power strip which can be powered down with the flip of a switch.
67. Find new uses for old things. Not long ago my car’s check engine oil light came on, and the dip stick revealed I was seriously low on oil. I found a new use for an old milk jug by cutting away the bottom half and using the remaining top as a funnel to reduce spillage. This saved me a trip to the auto supply store to buy a funnel.
68. Cross train at work to make yourself more valuable. Make yourself more layoff-proof by taking on a new challenge, and adding to your skill set.
69. Sign up for medical flexible spending account (FSA) at work. Estimate carefully as unused portions of FSAs are not refundable. At a minimum, account for the amount of your family’s health care plan deductibles plus any over-the-counter medical supplies you must purchase during the year. As an added bonus, FSA contributions are pre-tax, which lowers your taxable income for the year.
70. Quit smoking. Besides being an incredibly unhealthy habit, smoking is expensive! Many pack-a-day smoker could easily trim $200 from their budget by kicking the habit. If you can’t find any other motivation to quit, use finances.
71. Shop for clothes on eBay. Add”NWT” to your search query and find many clothing items listed as “new with tag.” These items can be purchased for a fraction of their retail cost.
72. Buy wrinkle-free clothes to avoid dry cleaning bill. I have a golden rule about clothing purchases. I don’t buy anything that requires ironing. In some cases this means I pay a little more for “wrinkle-free” materials, but I save in the long run on the time and money spent ironing or dry cleaning.
73. Look for kids clothes at yard sales and thrift shops. Kids have a way of outgrowing most of their clothes before they “out use” them. For this reason, many times you can find excellent buys on clothing at thrift shops and yard sales.
74. Look for furniture on Craigslist or Freecycle. Many times people buy a new sofa or coffee table and don’t have a way to get rid of the old one. They will list it on Craigslist for a reduced price, or on Freecycle for free in exchange for picking it up and hauling it off. If you need a piece of furniture, but are short on cash, check out one of these sites before even thinking of going to a furniture store.
75. Give IOUs and homemade coupons rather than expensive gifts. In tough times there is nothing wrong with a homemade card and an IOU as a substitute for expensive presents. One Valentine’s Day my wife gave me a decorative jar with little scraps of paper where she hand-wrote “50 Reasons Why I Love You.” It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received, and cost less than $5.00 to make.


42 Ways That Going Green Saves A Ton Of Money

I admit to being an environmentalist, and a pretty “far out” one, too – I was raised with a Mother Earth News / Organic Gardening type of father who instilled a ton of basic environmentalism in me, and I try very hard to reduce my environmental footprint. Let me put it this way: one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to when having my own house is having a few giant compost bins in the backyard with potato peels and coffee grounds and yard clippings and earthworms and so on.

Today, Yahoo! launched their Yahoo! Green initiative, which lets you choose from an enormous list of minor lifestyle changes that can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. It has a slick, cute interface that lets you drag and drop the options from the big list onto one that lists the items you’re willing to do, and it automatically calculates how many tons of carbon dioxide per year that you would save by doing those things.

So why write about this on a personal finance site? It’s because a lot of these items on the list not only reduces your personal carbon dioxide emissions, they also save money. I went through the entire list of items and selected the ones that were really simple to do and also clearly saved money in the long run (I didn’t include ones that were ambiguous to me about money savings). Here they are:

1. Switch 3 lights that you use for 4 hours a day with compact fluorescent bulbs.
2. Replace a porch light that’s always on with a compact fluorescent bulb.
3. Turn your heater thermostat down 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in the summer.
4. Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s heating and cooling automatically.
5. Make sure your walls and ceilings are well-insulated.
6. Air-dry your clothes in the spring and summer instead of using the dryer.
7. Set your water heater thermostat no higher than 120 F.
8. Replace bathroom and kitchen sink facets with low-flow models.
9. Install low-flow showerheads.
10. Go from 500 sheets of 0% recycled computer to 200 sheets of 100% recycled paper.
11. Drive less aggressively — don’t accelerate and brake rapidly.
12. Drive the speed limit.
13. Keep the tires on your car adequately inflated. Check them monthly.
14. Drive 10 miles less per week.
15. Carpool, take public transit, or telecommute one day per week instead of driving to work.
16. Replace your old refrigerator with a new Energy Star one.
17. Replace an old TV with a new Energy Star one.
18. Replace your old dishwasher with a new Energy Star one.
19. Replace an old computer, monitor, and printer with new Energy Star ones.
20. Replace your old washing machine with a new Energy Star one.
21. Recycle all steel (”tin”) cans, aluminum cans, and glass containers.
22. Take one less short domestic round-trip flight this year.
23. Take one less cross-country round-trip this year.
24. Use a washable mug for your morning coffee instead of a Styrofoam cup (assuming you can get a freebie coffee mug).
25. Get a reusable water bottle instead of disposables (again, assuming you can get a freebie water bottle).
26. Buy products in the largest size you can use to avoid excess packaging.
27. Use washable plates and utensils for takeout dinners and parties instead of paper and plastic goods.
28. Buy vintage clothes instead of new stuff at the mall.
29. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them.
30. Turn out the light when you leave the room.
31. Shut down your computer and peripherals each night.
32. Run the clothes washer with only full loads.
33. Wash your clothes in cold water.
34. Run the dishwasher with only full loads and let dishes air-dry.
35. Take showers instead of baths.
36. Take shorter showers.
37. Insulate your water heater.
38. Clean or replace dirty air-conditioner filters every three months.
39. Replace old windows with double-pane windows.
40. Use a push lawn mower instead of gas or electric.
41. Change your car’s air filter and check it monthly.
42. Turn off the car instead of idling.

Whew! All together, these options would save 7.38 tons of carbon dioxide per year, and all of them would save money in some fashion, either by reducing your energy bill, reducing your water bill, improving your gas mileage, cutting down on unnecessary things (like trips), reusing things more often, or by literally making money by recycling items. It’s very difficult to calculate exactly how much money you would save because of the variables, but these items will save money.

You could also use these items as the basis for your own 101 Goals in 1001 Days list. Just make sure to think about which of these items would work well in your life, and also be sure to quantify them so that the goal is clear, like “Move to taking five minute showers” and then using a wind-up timer to ensure that you’re doing this.

Author: Trent

The Dave Ramsey Baby Steps Budget

It seems a bit like a rite of passage for every personal finance writer to share their opinion of Dave Ramsey. That alone speaks volumes about Ramsey’s reach in the personal finance sector, but not all of the reviews have been glowing. I personally consider his book, The Total Money Makeover, one of my all-time top three favorite personal finance reads. The book is not overly technical, and is written with an inspirational, “can-do” tone. It is hard to argue with his success in motivating people to finally pay attention to their finances.
Is it time for Ramsey to Update His Plan?

Just last week Jennifer wrote about her issues with Dave Ramsey’s plan in, Falling Off the Dave Ramsey Diet. I have my own issues with some of the numbers, but basically agree with the concept of following “baby steps” towards financial freedom. Here is a look at the original baby steps, as they appear on Dave Ramsey’s website:

1. 1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
5. College funding for children
6. Pay off home early
7. Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate.

It’s hard to argue with the simplicity of Dave Ramsey’s approach, however I have found by tweaking a few of the baby steps, and rearranging them slightly, the plan has worked well for our family. We tried the original baby steps as written several times, but struggled to reach beyond baby step 2. It didn’t take much of an emergency for us to blow through the $1,000 baby emergency fund, and large emergencies still required us to use credit cards to cover. We would restart our savings plan from $0, and kicked ourselves for turning to credit cards again. This also made us hesitant to get rid of credit cards entirely because it was our only safety net against a complete financial meltdown. Here is a look at the approach my family has taken.
The Baby Steps, Frugal Dad Style

1. Cut up all but one credit card. This card should have the highest limit, and lowest interest rate, and should only be used for genuine emergencies. The older the card the better, as keeping your oldest trade line active will improve your FICO score. I recommend removing if from your wallet and stashing it in a sock drawer at home. Do carry the card with you on vacations or extended trips, but again, only use it in an emergency.

2. Six months of expenses in an emergency fund. As I mentioned above, $1,000 just didn’t provide enough safety net for our family. A dead transmission, busted hot water heater, or serious medical emergency could easily wipe out your entire emergency savings, forcing you to turn to credit cards to keep your head above water. This is counterproductive. Instead, we are working to save a full six months of expenses in an emergency fund. Three months may be enough for some families, but since we live on just one income we have little to fall back on. A shaky job market, or general angst over the broader economy may influence the amount you decide to save.

3. Cut up the last (emergency) credit card. With six months of savings in place you are “self-insured” against emergencies and can cut up your last credit card. If you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit, but now have $10,000 in savings, you have essentially replaced the need for an emergency credit card by building your own personal line of credit.

4. Implement the debt snowball. For this step, we follow Dave Ramsey’s plan as written. Pay off debts smallest to largest, regardless of the interest rate. Some will argue this is bad math – higher interest rate cards should go first. Well, we’ve already experienced the momentum Dave Ramsey writes about by paying off several small debts, quickly. These quick wins motivate us to keep going. If you prefer to pay off high-interest cards first, do it. It’s really not worth getting heartburn over. The point is to get busy getting out of debt, one way or another. Get a part time job, snowflake every single amount you can find, have a yard sale, look for “wasted money” in your budget, and make getting out of debt a top priority. Whatever you do, don’t give up! There will be many obstacles in your path to debt freedom, but clearing each one will make it that much sweeter when you reach the finish line.

4a. Invest in your retirement plan up to an employer match. This step should be happening at the same time you are working baby step 4, so I have labeled it step 4a. If your employer offers a match of 401(k) contributions, invest in the minimum percentage to receive that match. Three or four percent of your income isn’t going to make or break your get-out-of-debt plan, and passing up “free” money from your employer just doesn’t make much sense, financially. You’ll also benefit from the added months of compounding growth.

4b. If your employer doesn’t offer a match, skip the 401(k), open a Roth IRA and contribute 3% of your income. The earnings grow tax free! Many people will say it is impossible to save and get out of debt at the same time. True, you divert some financial resources that could be used to pay down debt, but by getting into the habit of saving you are setting yourself up for a much brighter financial future.

5. Max Roth IRA contributions. Now that you are debt free, use the money you were spending to pay off debts to fully fund Roth IRA contributions for you and your spouse. Check the IRS website for maximum contribution amounts and eligibility information. Again, if your employer offers to match 401(k) contributions, continue making the minimum contribution required to get the match. With any amount above that, fund Roth IRAs.

6. Save for kid’s college. With credit card debt behind you, and retirement savings on track, now is the time to focus on saving for your children’s education. Many people, myself included, feel compelled to move this step up in the process because we care so much about our children’s future. However, unless we want to become a burden to our kids in retirement, it is important to get our own finances in order before concentrating on saving for children. We are currently investing gifts and the occasional “found” money in 529 College Saving Plans for both our kids, and will ramp up these contributions when the previous baby steps are complete.

6a. Save for non-educational expenses for kids. In addition to college savings, we have also invested a small amount in single stocks for our kids, allowing them to help in the selection process and in monitoring the stock’s performance. My son now owns a few shares of McDonalds and my daughter owns shares of Disney. Both were purchased with birthday money from relatives. I don’t think they will ever become rich with their investments, but it has sparked an interest in saving and investing. We also set up a sub-account at ING in our names, but labeled for each of our kids, and contribute $50 a month or so for expenses we know are coming down the road: orthodontics, prom dresses, cars, etc.

7. Pay off the mortgage early. Probably the most controversial of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, this one causes math geeks to go into hysteria! And this hysteria runs even higher in periods of super-low interest rates. Trying to justify to a financial guru paying off a mortgage early at 5.5% versus investing in the market is like trying to pull teeth from a hippopotamus – it just isn’t going to happen! I generally like the idea because one day I hope to “retire” early, and to do that I’ll need to eliminate as many of my monthly expenses as possible. Without a mortgage, it is quite possible for passive income streams to cover our basic expenses, and we could live off a much-reduced salary or income from freelance jobs.

8. Build non-retirement wealth. The problem with only investing inside retirement accounts is that it is nearly impossible to get to your money before age 60. What if I don’t plan on working until age 60? Short of paying penalties, or turning to a 72t distribution (which is based on life expectancy and is nearly impossible to change or stop), there isn’t much choice other than waiting for the magical retirement age to arrive. When we reach this step I plan to invest money above and beyond retirement savings in low-cost, low-turnover index mutual funds such as the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund and the Vanguard International Index Fund. Both offer incredibly low expenses, and with low turnover, do not produce high capital gains taxes at the end of the year. It might also make sense to investigate other types of financial products such as low-cost annuities, or bond funds to hedge against fluctuations in the equities market. These funds may then be tapped early to allow for a comfortable lifestyle between an early retirement and the minimum age to access funds from retirement accounts.

I’ll wrap this up by saying that while I am a fan of Dave Ramsey and other financial advisors, no one should blindly follow advice they read in a book, on a blog, or on television (nope, not even on Frugal Dad!). I’ve shared with you what works for our family, but take time to investigate the different options yourself, and implement the best financial plan for you and yours. The great thing about finances is there is rarely only one way to do something, but opinions abound when it comes to money matters so take each one with a grain of salt.


Cure for the Common Cold

This totally unnecessary disease is preventable AND quickly relieved.

Before I learned to practice Holistic Medicine, I suffered the "occupational hazard" of frequent colds and flu because I was constantly exposed by close contact with my patients in the office who were infected. However, I have not had a cold, or flu, for the past 16 years. Part of this has to do with simply improving my immune system through Aerobics, Whole-Foods Diet and Skilled Relaxation. There are three other major factors that would stop this problem in the majority of those who tried them. These are:

1. humidification of the air
2. Vitamin C
3. zinc lozenges

Of course, changing these factors would not provide the substantial benefits of the lifestyle changes I mentioned above.

Humidification of the Air

First, the main reason there are more colds and flu in the "winter" is because of the low humidity caused by the heating of the inside air; not because of the exposure to the cold of the outside. The first line of defense to airborne invaders is the mucus, lining the upper respiratory tract, which traps them as they are breathed in. The normal upper respiratory tract makes a quart and a half of mucus every 24 hours. That is why we swallow every few minutes. The invaders (viruses, bacteria, allergens, etc.) are swept into the stomach, before they have a chance to get through the lining into our blood, and are pretty easily destroyed by the powerful acid in the stomach.

This system uses very little energy and is EXTREMELY effective. It is only when this system fails that the virus, etc., has to be dealt with by the immune system which takes a LOT more energy. The immune system is the second, and last, line of defense.

The average indoor humidity, in the heating season, is 10%. The average humidity of the Sahara Desert is 25%. I nspired air must be 100% humidified by the time it reaches the lungs. ALL of this moisture is provided by the mucus I mentioned. When the air is this dry, the mucus dries out so that it is MUCH thicker and flows MUCH more slowly into the stomach. All of this additional time is used to good advantage by the invaders, to get through the lining before getting swept into the stomach. Then, there is only our immunity to protect us. If you have great immunity, the invader doesn't have a chance and you don't "catch a cold".

Using an indoor humidifier, attached to your heating system, will not only solve this problem (research shows an 80% reduction of viral infections in school children in schools with heating system humidifiers) but also greatly reduces the cost of heating. Sixty-seven degrees at 40% humidity feels as warm as 75 degrees at 10% humidity. That top 8 degrees is the most expensive part of your heating costs. The typical homeowner (or school) that installs a whole house humidifier saves the cost of that installation, in heating costs, the very first season--a pretty good investment. Forget about the cost of medications, missed work and productivity, the misery of being sick, etc.

Vitamin C

The second factor is Vitamin C. Since the availability of ESTERIFIED Vitamin C, we can get enough of the C into the White Blood Cell (WBC) to, in effect, "Supercharge" it for fighting viruses and bacteria. Esterified Vitamin C gets 4 times as much of the C into the WBC, per dose taken orally, as regular C. By taking 2-4 grams of Esterified Vitamin C daily, during the "Cold Season", most viral infections will be prevented. If you should feel a virus coming on, just start taking 4 grams 3 times a day. Loose stools mean that you need less. Ordinarily that will stop the virus within 24 hours. I would keep up the dosage for 24 hours after the last symptom to be sure it was gone.

The interferon factories of the body are put into "overdrive" once the equivalent of 50 grams of Vitamin C, daily, are used. It is really impossible to do that orally with regular vitamin C. However, it only takes 12 grams of ESTERIFIED Vitamin C to get to that point.

Anyone who tries this will know of its effectiveness. Best results happen if this is started at the first sign of symptoms. It will still work pretty well even if the cold has been coming on for 48 hours. After that, it may, or may not, work.

Zinc Lozenges

The third factor is zinc lozenges. For the past 10+ years research has indicated that the average length of a "cold" can be cut in half by using zinc lozenges. Since then, they have been available in health food stores and drugstores. A large study in 1996 has substantiated previous research. If this were advertised 1/10th as much as those medications designed only to relieve symptoms, there would be a lot less need for symptomatic medications. Does anyone wonder why it is not common knowledge?

I would be interested in feedback! I was raised with the adage of Build a better mousetrap and, though you build your house in the woods, the world will beat a path to your door! The same was said to be true of the "cure for the common cold." However, there is a LOT of money to be made TREATING the SYMPTOMS of viral infections. Those who are making the money will be VERY slow to spread the news. Unfortunately, they are the ones with the wherewithal to do it. The only way I can see to help people is to let them find out what works and they can vote with their dollars.

Of course, this is more completely covered in my book, along with what people can do to improve their immune systems enough to prevent other infectious diseases. The above recommendations work best for viral upper respiratory diseases.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Affordable Herbs - Dry Them Yourself

Herbs are a great way to flavor almost any food dish, but buying them at the store can be expensive. A more cost effective option that adds money to your pocket and flavor to your meals is to grow and dry your own herbs. It can also be tons of fun, especially if you have children who can help.

Fresh herbs have a benefit over the dried ones you buy in the store. If you have a sunny spot and some good soil, you can grow your own herbs at home. Choose the ones that you use most to season food and grow them in small planters.

When growing herbs, treat them like any other plant. Pruning and cutting back the leaves brings even more leaves. As you cut and use fresh basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, they will continue to grow. In fact, the herbs may grow faster than you can use them, so share some with friends and neighbors.

Another alternative to letting the extra go to waste is to dry your fresh herbs. Dried fresh herbs lose their moisture, but still retain the entire flavor of a fresh plant. You’ll now have herbs to last for months to come and you can pass them on to others once they are dried as well.

Begin with your equipment. You’ll need a place to dry them. You can use wooden or wire racks. That cooling rack you use in the kitchen for cookies and cakes would be perfect for drying herbs. Gather together a colander, some cheesecloth, paper towels, and some string.

All herbs to be dried should be washed and rinsed in cold water. A colander is perfect because the water can drain out the bottom. Use paper towels to pat each leaf and stalk until dry of any visible moisture.

Herbs can be dried in many ways. If you only want the leaves, remove the stalk and lay the leaves on a drying rack. Depending on the size of the leaves, you may need a wire rack for them as opposed to a cooling rack from the kitchen.

Herbs can also be dried in bunches. Tie them with string at the stalks and hang them upside down on a nail to air dry. This can be accomplished outside or indoors, but should be done in an area that is ventilated with no humidity. Humidity will help your herbs to retain their moisture and prevent drying. Use cheesecloth to cover herbs on a cooling rack if you plan on letting them dry outside.

Use the oven for faster drying. The temperature should remain low (around 120 degrees). Gently touch the leaves every half hour to test for dryness. The microwave oven is an alternative, but you will have to be careful not to shrivel them up.

Dried herbs will keep for a six months. After that, the flavor begins to wane. Herbs should be stored in Mason jars or plastic containers, just be sure to label them so you know which herb is which. In order to keep the herbs dry and avoid molding during storage, seal the containers air tight.

Herbs season food in many unique and yummy ways. Drying herbs allows you to savor the flavor while saving money and having fun all at once.


Frugal Kitchen Staples

I keep the following on hand:
Powdered milk, for the coffee when I run out of cream or milk, and to cook with.

Another amazing staple is Corn Meal. Dredging chicken or pork loins with it, and making cornbread or cornmeal patties for breakfast.

Brown Sugar - this can be used to sweeten fruit and vegetable to cook or baste with, make marinades, and for baking.

Corn Meal. Another staple for making various things like cornbread, coating foods for frying and making cornmeal mush and polenta. It is cheap and can be made into many other things.


Ever wonder how our ancestors always seemed to have food on the table even in lean times? When we are visiting the grocery store every week to the tune of hundreds of dollars, we long to know their secret. In fact it isn’t a secret at all. It is actually good planning and preparation on their part. Once we realize this and begin doing as they did, we too will see our dollar stretch further.

The items that we have on hand are what determine how far our food will go. Filling your cabinets or pantry with a few useful staples can be the difference between a trip to the grocery store each and every week versus once or twice a month. Stocking just a few choice items is all you need to create wonderful meals.

1. Flour. Flour is a starter item for many recipes. You can add it to some water and make gravy in the pan for many meat dishes. Flour is used to make bread (biscuits, rolls, loaves) and to coat chicken. It can also be used to coat a round or square cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Of course, one of the favorite uses for flour is in cookie recipes that make scrumptious desserts.

2. Rice. My husband loves rice so much that we once bought a fifty pound bag from a grocery store in his hometown. Fifty pounds! Rice is a side dish, but it doesn’t have to be plain. It can be jazzed up with veggies to accompany dinner. My mother uses leftover rice for a dessert called sweet rice. Just add evaporated milk and some sugar to a bowl of rice and warm it in the microwave. It is a tasty treat for after dinner. Another popular dessert is rice pudding. Rice can also be mixed with leftover meat and a cream soup to form a casserole. Rice has many uses and your sure to find a few that your family will love.

3. Pasta. There are many different pasta choices and all have great uses. Manicotti can be stuffed with tomato sauce and cheeses. Macaroni can be used to make a creamy salad and also is great combined with cheese or spaghetti sauce. Spiral pasta is used in many different pasta salads. Spaghetti can be used in a casserole topped with cheese or in the traditional way with tomato sauce and meat.

4. Spices. There are other ways to season food besides salt and pepper. In fact, many spices taste better than salt. Even diehard salt-a-holics won’t miss the salt in foods if other seasonings are used. Cayenne pepper, chili powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano, and garlic powder are all useful tools in your flavor arsenal to give foods a fresh new taste.

5. Beans. There go those beans again. Beans can top your salad (edamame), make an awesome dip (black beans), and go well with grilled foods (baked beans). They provide a good source of protein with very little fat. Beans are good in soups, stews, and over rice for a simple yet filling meal.

Do you have these staples in your kitchen? You can probably think of several more that will enhance your pantry and save money. Start with these and grow your own list of basic kitchen staples that are versatile and economical.


Vitamin C As An Antiviral

It's All About Dose
(OMNS, December 3, 2009) One of the most frequent questions from Orthomolecular Medicine News Service readers is, Just how much vitamin C should I take?
Our bodies cannot make vitamin C (ascorbate), although most animals can. We must get it from our food and from supplements. But how much do we really need? Persistent arguments on this question may be settled by looking at how much vitamin C animals manufacture in their bodies. The answer is: quite a lot. Most animals make the human body-weight equivalent of 5,000 to 10,000 milligrams a day. It is unlikely that animals would have evolved to make this much vitamin C if they did not need it and use it. Indeed, cells in many human body tissues concentrate vitamin C by 25-fold or more over blood concentration.

Each person's need for vitamin C differs because of differences in genetics and individual biochemistry [1,2,3]. Further, our bodies undergo different stresses, and we certainly eat different foods. Therefore, the daily need for ascorbate to maintain health for an adult varies between 2,000 - 20,000 mg/day. Linus Pauling personally took 18,000 mg of vitamin C daily. Although he was often ridiculed for this, it is interesting to note that Dr. Pauling had two more Nobel prizes than any of his critics. He died at age 93. Abram Hoffer, MD, a colleague of Pauling's, took megadoses of vitamin C and successfully gave it to thousands of patients over 55 years of medical practice. Dr. Hoffer died at age 91.

Antiviral Function

When we are challenged with a viral infection, our need for vitamin C can rise dramatically, depending on the body's immune function, level of injury, infection, or environmental toxicity such as cigarette smoke [4,5]. Ascorbate at sufficiently high doses can prevent viral disease and greatly speed recovery from an acute viral infection. Surprising to some, this was originally observed by physicians in the 1940s and has been verified and re-verified over the last 60 years by doctors who achieved quick and complete recovery in their patients with ascorbate mega-doses [5]. The effective therapeutic dose is based on clinical observation and bowel tolerance. Clinical observation is essentially "taking enough C to be symptom free, whatever that amount may be." Bowel tolerance means exactly what you think it means: the amount that can be absorbed from the gut without causing loose stools. [5,6]. Very high doses, 30,000 - 200,000 mg, divided up throughout the
day, are remarkably non-toxic and have been documented by physicians as curing viral diseases as various as the common cold, flu, hepatitis, viral pneumonia, and even polio. [4,5,7]. On first reading this may sound incredible. We invite interested persons to read further, starting with the references listed below, and especially Dr. Frederick R. Klenner's Clinical Guide to the Use of Vitamin C.

To read further, this short book is posted in its entirety at:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thyroid Health and The Coconut Diet

Many Americans suffer from symptoms such as cold hands and feet, low body temperature, sensitivity to cold, a feeling of always being chilled, headaches, insomnia, dry skin, puffy eyes, hair loss, brittle nails, joint aches, constipation, mental dullness, fatigue, frequent infections, hoarse voice, ringing in the ears, dizziness, loss of libido, and weight gain, which is sometimes uncontrollable. Approximately 65 percent of the U. S. population is overweight; 30 percent is clinically obese. Research is pointing to the fact that an under active thyroid might be the number one cause of weight problems, especially among women, in the US today.

Hypothyroidism Reaching Epidemic Proportions

In 1995, researchers studied 25,862 participants at the Colorado statewide health fair. They discovered that among patients not taking thyroid medication, 8.9 percent were hypothyroid (under-active thyroid) and 1.1 percent were hyperthyroid (over-active thyroid). This indicates 9.9 percent of the population had a thyroid problem that had most likely gone unrecognized. These figures suggest that nationally, there may be as many as 13 million Americans with an undiagnosed thyroid problem.1

In her book Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You. . . That You Need to Know, Mary Shomon quotes endocrinologist Kenneth Blanchard, M.D., of Lower Newton Falls, Massachusetts as saying, “The key thing is . . . doctors are always told that TSH is the test that gives us a yes or no answer. And, in fact, I think that's fundamentally wrong. The pituitary TSH is controlled not just by how much T4 and T3 is in circulation, but T4 is getting converted to T3 at the pituitary level. Excess T3 generated at the pituitary level can falsely suppress TSH.”2 Hence, many people who are simply tested for TSH levels and are found to be within “normal” range are, in fact, suffering from thyroid problems that are going undetected.

Ridha Arem, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Baylor College of Medicine, agrees. He says that hypothyroidism may exist despite "normal range" TSH levels. In his book The Thyroid Solution he says:

Many people may be suffering from minute imbalances that have not yet resulted in abnormal blood tests. If we included people with low-grade hypothyroidism whose blood tests are normal, the frequency of hypothyroidism would no doubt exceed 10 percent of the population. What is of special concern, though, is that many people whose test results are dismissed as normal could continue to have symptoms of an under active thyroid. Their moods, emotions, and overall well-being are affected by this imbalance, yet they are not receiving the care they need to get to the root of their problems. Even if the TSH level is in the lower segment of normal range, a person may still be suffering from low-grade hypothyroidism.3

Thus, if we were to include those who may be suffering from “low-grade hypothyroidism,” the number could well be double the 13 million estimate from the Colorado study.

What is Causing This Epidemic?

While more research needs to be done, it is generally accepted that diet plays a major role in thyroid health. For decades we have known that low iodine intake leads to low thyroid function and eventually to goiter. Iodized salt was intended to solve this problem, but it has not been the answer. There are a number of foods known as goitrogens that block iodine. Two goitrogens are quite prevalent in the American diet—peanuts and peanut butter and soybeans used most often in prepared foods as textured vegetable protein (a refined soy food) and soybean oil.

The rise of industrialization, corporate farming, and mass production of food has drastically changed our food supply from what our ancestors ate. Many studies show the detrimental effects of refined sugars and grains on our health. These foods are very taxing on the thyroid gland, and we consume them in large quantities.

Environmental stress such as chemical pollutants, pesticides, mercury, and fluoride are also tough on the thyroid. A growing body of evidence suggests that fluoride, which is prevalent in toothpaste and water treatment, may inhibit the functioning of the thyroid gland. Additionally, mercury may diminish thyroid function because it displaces the trace mineral selenium, and selenium is involved in conversion of thyroid hormones T4 to T3.

The Truth About Fats and Oils

Many dietary oils can negatively affect thyroid health. We cook with them almost every day and they are plentiful in commercially prepared foods. Expeller-pressed or solvent-extracted oils only became a major part of the American diet in the last century. It is possible they are among the worst offenders when it comes to the thyroid. They are known as vegetable oils or polyunsaturated oils. The most common source of these oils used in commercially prepared foods is the soybean.

Large-scale cultivation of soybeans in the United States began after World War II and quickly increased to 140 billion pounds per year. Most of the crops are produced for animal feed and soy oil for hydrogenated fats such as margarine and shortening. Today, it is nearly impossible to eat at restaurants or buy packaged foods that don’t have soy oil in the ingredients. Often labels simply state “vegetable oil.”

Ray Peat Ph.D., a physiologist who has worked with progesterone and related hormones since 1968, says that the sudden surge of polyunsaturated oils into the food chain post World War II has caused many changes in hormones. He writes:

Their [polyunsaturated oils] best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. When the thyroid hormone is deficient, the body is generally exposed to increased levels of estrogen. The thyroid hormone is essential for making the ‘protective hormones’ progesterone and pregnenolone, so these hormones are lowered when anything interferes with the function of the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is required for using and eliminating cholesterol, so cholesterol is likely to be raised by anything which blocks the thyroid function.4

There is a growing body of research concerning soy’s detrimental affect on the thyroid gland. Much of this research centers on the phytoestrogens ("phyto" means plant) that are found in soy. In the 1960s when soy was introduced into infant formulas, it was shown that soy was goitrogenic and caused goiters in babies. When iodine was supplemented, the incidence of goiter reduced dramatically. However, a retrospective epidemiological study by Fort, et al. showed that teenaged children with a diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease were significantly more likely to have received soy formula as infants (18 out of 59 children; 31 percent) when compared to healthy siblings (nine out of 76, 12 percent) or control group children (seven out of 54; 13 percent).5

When healthy individuals without any previous thyroid disease were fed 30 grams of pickled soybeans per day for one month, Ishizuki, et al. reported goiter and elevated individual thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels (although still within the normal range) in thirty-seven healthy, iodine-sufficient adults. One month after stopping soybean consumption, individual TSH values decreased to the original levels and goiters were reduced in size.6

Traditionally, polyunsaturated oils such as soybean oil have been used for livestock feed because they cause the animals to gain weight. These oils are made up of what is known as long chain fatty acids—the kind of fatty acids that promote weight gain. In the North Carolina State University's Extension Swine Husbandry 1998-2000 Departmental report, for example, was a study entitled “EFFECT OF DIETARY FAT SOURCE, LEVEL, AND FEEDING INTERVAL ON PORK FATTY ACID COMPOSITION” by M.T. See and J. Odle. Ironically, since the market in its low-fat dogma of recent years is demanding leaner meats, this study showed that one could produce leaner meat and reduce the weight on swine by reducing their intake of soy oil and substituting it with saturated animal fat!7

According to Dr. Ray Peat, the fattening effect of polyunsaturated oils (primarily soy and corn) is due to the presence of Linoleic and linolenic acids, long-chain fatty acids, which have an anti-thyroid effect. Peat says:

Linoleic and linolenic acids, the "essential fatty acids," and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are now fed to pigs to fatten them, in the form of corn and soy beans, cause the animals' fat to be chemically equivalent to vegetable oil. In the late 1940s, chemical toxins were used to suppress the thyroid function of pigs, to make them get fatter while consuming less food. When that was found to be carcinogenic, it was then found that corn and soy beans had the same antithyroid effect, causing the animals to be fattened at low cost. The animals' fat becomes chemically similar to the fats in their food, causing it to be equally toxic, and equally fattening.8

Of course in the 1940s the fat from pigs (lard) was highly desirable, as were most saturated fats. Today, saturated fats are fed to pigs to keep them lean, while most people buy polyunsaturated soy and corn oils in the grocery stores as their primary cooking oil! So we have a population now characterized by lean pigs and obese people…

Coconut Oil: A-Healthy Choice for the Thyroid

Coconut oil, on the other hand, is a saturated fat made up primarily of medium chain fatty acids. Also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), medium chain fatty acids are known to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. Coconut oil can also raise basal body temperatures while increasing metabolism. This is good news for people who suffer with low thyroid function. We have seen many testimonies to this effect.

Coconut Oil and Oxidative Stress

One of the reasons the long chain fatty acids in vegetable oils are so damaging to the thyroid is that they oxidize quickly and become rancid. Food manufacturers know about this propensity towards rancidity and, therefore, highly refine their vegetable oils. Considerable research has shown that trans fatty acids, present when vegetable oils are highly refined (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated), are especially damaging to cell tissue and can have a negative affect on the thyroid as well as health in general. Because the longer chain fatty acids are deposited in cells more often as rancid and oxidizing fat, impairment of the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 to T3 occurs, which is symptomatic of hypothyroidism. To create the enzymes needed to convert fats to energy, T4 must be converted to T3.

Dr. Ray Peat says:

When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmer, and more directly exposed to oxygen than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy. The enzymes which break down proteins are inhibited by unsaturated fats; these enzymes are needed not only for digestion, but also for production of thyroid hormones, clot removal, immunity, and the general adaptability of cells. The risks of abnormal blood clotting, inflammation, immune deficiency, shock, aging, obesity, and cancer are increased. Thyroid [hormones] and progesterone are decreased.

Since the unsaturated oils block protein digestion in the stomach, we can be malnourished even while "eating well." There are many changes in hormones caused by unsaturated fats. Their best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. Coconut oil is unique in its ability to prevent weight-gain or cure obesity, by stimulating metabolism. It is quickly metabolized, and functions in some ways as an antioxidant.9

Because coconut oil is saturated and very stable (unrefined coconut oil has a shelf life of about three to five years at room temperature), the body is not burdened with oxidative stress as it is with the vegetable oils. Coconut oil does not require the enzyme stress that vegetable oils do, preventing T4 to T3 hormone conversion, not only because it is a stable oil, but also because it is processed differently in the body and does not need to be broken down by enzyme dependent processes as do long chain fatty acids. Also, since the liver is the main place where damage occurs from oxidized and rancid oils that cause cell membrane damage, and since the liver is where much of the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place, eliminating long chain fatty acids from the diet and replacing them with medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil can, in time, help in rebuilding cell membranes and increasing enzyme production that will assist in promoting the conversion of T4 to T3 hormones.

More research in this area is necessary. In the meantime, those switching from polyunsaturated oils to coconut oil are reporting many positive results. For example, Donna has experienced encouraging improvements in her thyroid health. She writes:

A coconut oil user writes:

I have experienced thyroid problems . . . body temperature not going above 97 degrees, cold hands and feet, can't lose weight, fatigued, slow heart rate, can't sleep some nights, dry skin, etc..... My doctor did the thyroid test and it came back normal. I am 46 and peri-menopausal. My Naturopath symptomatically diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. She explained the blood tests currently used by allopathic medicine are not sensitive enough. I started on the coconut oil 5 weeks ago. In the first week I noticed my body temperature had risen and my resting heart rate had gone from 49 to 88 beats per minute. This has since settled to 66. My energy is now really high and I am slowly losing the weight - 3 lbs. in the past 5 weeks. I also had been taking flaxseed oil and gamma linoleic acid oil but have stopped eating every other oil but what Dr. Raymond Peat recommends, which is coconut oil, olive oil and butter… I take 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily. Cindy (Coconut Diet Forums)

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Find this article and MORE in the best-selling book: Virgin Coconut Oil How it has changed people's lives, and how it can change yours!

1. Gay J. Canaris, MD, MSPH; Neil R. Manowitz, PhD; Gilbert Mayor, MD; E. Chester Ridgway, MD The Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:526-534.
2. Mary Shomon, Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You. . . That You Need to Know (New York Harper Collins, 2002)
3. Ridha Arem, The Thyroid Solution : A Mind-Body Program for Beating Depression and Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health, (New York: Ballantine Books,1999)

4. Raymond Peat Newsletter "Unsaturated Vegetable Oils Toxic” 1996

5. P. Fort, N. Moses, M. Fasano, T. Goldberg and F. Lifshitz “Breast and soy –formula feeding in early infancy and the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease in children”’J. Am. Col. Nutr. 1990;(9):164-167.

6. Daniel R. Doerge, Hebron C. Chang, “Inactivation of thyroid peroxidase by soy isoflavones in vitro and in vivo” Journal of Chromatography B Vol. 777 (1, 2); 25; September 2002: 269-79

7. M.T. See and J. Odle, “EFFECT OF DIETARY FAT SOURCE, LEVEL, AND FEEDING INTERVAL ON PORK FATTY ACID COMPOSITION” 1998-2000 Departmental Report, Department of Animal Science, ANS Report No. 248 - North Carolina State University

8. Raymond Peat Newsletter "Unsaturated Vegetable Oils Toxic” 1996

9. Raymond Peat Newsletter "Unsaturated Vegetable Oils Toxic” 1996


What To Do If Force Vaccinated

What To Do If Force Vaccinated
By Dr. Russell Blaylock

Dr Blaylock's List of suggestions on How to Reduce the Toxic Effects of the A/H1N1 Vaccine, is as follows:

1. Number one on the list says Dr Blaylock, is to bring a cold pack with you and place it on the site of the injection as soon as you can, as this will block the immune reaction. Once you get home, continue using a cold pack throughout the day. If you continue to have immune reactions the following day, have cold showers and continue with the cold press.

2. Take fish oil. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), one of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements, is a potent immune suppressant. If you take high dose EPA you will be more susceptible to infections, because it is a powerful immune suppressant. However, in the case of an immune adjuvant reaction, you want to reduce it. Studies show that if you take EPA oil one hour before injecting a very powerful adjuvant called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), it would completely block the ability of the LPS to cause brain inflammation. Take a moderate dose everyday and more if needed to tame a cytokine storm.

3. Flavonoids are third on the list, namely curcumin, quercetin, ferulic acid and ellagic acid, particularly in a mixture. The curcumin and quercetin in particular have been found to block the ability of the adjuvants to trigger a long-term immune reaction. If you take it an hour before the vaccination, it should help dampen the immune reactions says Dr Blaylock.

4. Vitamin E, the natural form that is high in gamma-E will help dampen the immune reactions and reduces several of the inflammatory cytokines.

5. An important ingredient on the list is Vitamin C at a dose of 1000 mg, taken four times a day between meals. It is a very potent anti-inflammatory and should be taken in a buffered form, not as absorbic acid, says Dr Blaylock.

6. Also use astaxanthin as it's an anti-inflammatory. According to Dr Blaylock, fatal reactions to vaccines in aboriginal and African children occurred in those who were deficient in carotinoids, like astaxanthin. It is a good protection against the toxic effects of the vaccine.

7. Likewise, it was found that children who were deficient in zinc had a high mortality rate. Zinc is very protective against vaccine toxicity. (Do not use zinc mixed with copper however, as copper is a major trigger of free-radical generation according to Dr Blaylock).

8. Ensure you avoid all immune-stimulating supplements, such as mushroom extracts, whey protein and beta-glucan.

9. Take a multivitamin-mineral daily ­ one that does not contain iron. This multivitamin-mineral is to make sure your body has plenty of B vitamins and selenium. Selenium, said Dr Blaylock, is very important for fighting viral infections and it reduces the inflammatory response to vaccines.

10. Magnesium citrate/malate 500 mg of elemental magnesium two capsules, three times a day. (This was not mentioned during the show, but was posted at Dr Deagle's website,

11. What is very important is vitamin D3, which is the only 'vitamin' the body can manufacture from sunlight (UVB). It is a neural hormone, not really a vitamin says Dr Blaylock and helps if you are over-reacting immunologically by cooling down the reaction. Similarly, if you are under-reacting, it helps to boost your immune response. In addition it also protects against microorganism invasion.

Black people and those in colder climates are particularly deficient, so they will almost certainly require supplementation.

Dr Blaylock recommends that following vaccination it will help to keep the immune reaction under control if:

i) All children get 5,000 units a day for two weeks after the vaccine and then 2,000 a units a day thereafter;

ii) Adults get 20,000 units a day after the vaccine for two weeks, then 10,000 units a day thereafter;

iii) And with that adults should take 500-1000 mg of calcium a day and children under the age of 12 years should take 250 mg a day, as vitamin D works more efficiently in the presence of calcium.

12. Ensure you avoid all mercury-containing seafood or any other sources of mercury, as the heavy metal is a very powerful inducer of autoimmunity, is known to make people more susceptible to viral infections and will be in H1N1 vaccines.

13. Avoid the oils that significantly suppress immunity and increase inflammation - such as corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, canola and peanut oils.

14. Drink very concentrated white tea at least four times a day. It helps to prevent abnormal immune reactions.

15. Pop parsley and celery in a blender and drink 8 ounces of this mixture twice a day. Dr Blaylock says the parsley is very high in a flavonoid called apigenin and that celery is high in luteolin. Both are very potent in inhibiting autoimmune diseases, particularly the apigenin, so go and plant some parsley in your garden now.


Protective Remedies Against Forced Vaccination

Have you ever known anyone who HAS NOT had a single dot of indent or scarring at the site of an injection/immunization (your arm)? Can you imagine the same thing – swelling – in your brain? Think that’s NOT possible? Think again!

“Mercury (thimerasol) is highly toxic in even very small doses. And vaccines have mercury and aluminium amongst other risky food additives.”

If you ever find yourself forced to take a vaccine injection (if the health authorities force mandatory vaccinations at gunpoint, for example), you can help protect yourself NOW!! Don’t wait till the day of the vaccination itself! I strongly feel we need to take responsibility for our personal health now more than ever. Starting now, we all should be paying extra attention to our immune system!

Forced A Vaccination You Don’t Want or Need? Here’s Your Plan for Protective Shield Against Forced Vaccinations, especially against the H1N1 (Swine Flu) and future Vaccinations! First, make sure you go over Steps 1 to 5 here. Then read below!

Many Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables not only cure infections but are also capable of preventing the ailments they treat – so load up on some of these (best to do this a few weeks to a few months before the day of your H1N1 Flu Vaccination; Inflammationis a critical part of the body’s immune response – but when it goes awry – it can lead to serious physical and mental problems. Many natural foods mentioned in this list are “anti-inflammatory”.):

1. Superfoods such as micro-algae: although chlorella has a great affinity for mercury and other heavy metals but it will also extract mercury from the water it is grown in. Organic spirulina is a better choice and is rich in gamma carotene (the body automatically converts gamma carotene to natural vitamin A).

2. Seaweeds, aloe vera (leaves). Seaweeds have #a. Sodium Alginate (a probiotic that kills at least 9 harmful strains of gut bacteria), #b. beta-glucan also found in seaweeds (otherwise found in whole grains, and in lesser amounts in edible mushrooms like the ^Shiitake mushrooms that has an anti-cancer compound “lentinan”), and #c. iodine (natural prescription antibiotic). Fresh seaweeds are more nutritious than dried ones – if you can get them. Aloe vera helps protect your digestive tract while supporting protein digestion and assimilation.

3. Red Reishi Mushrooms - the Reishi is known to Chinese as “Ling Zi” and is anti-cancer. (Reference: )

4. Maitake Mushrooms are good for both cancer and diabetic sufferers

5. Probiotics and digestive enzymes. Live active culture in the food, creates nutrients that are of extraordinary value in promoting health. Many fermented foods and products have live active culture. In fact eat anything with probiotics – yoghurt (you can useKefir to make your own home-made yoghurt), sauerkraut (German pickled vegetables fermented in vinegar and fruit juice), fermented gherkins. The Malay’s (Asia) fermentedachar (pickled sliced carrots, cucumber and pineapples), and the Korean Kimchi (spicy stuff!) are equally healthy for the digestive system – helps to clean the intestine walls of plaque. Bacteriocins in probiotics kill or narrow the negative effects of prescription drugs found in prescription antibiotics and vaccines. More information on what and whys of probiotics here. ( You may wish to check out fellowblogger AlexmZolt’s Nuriche site or take his poll: Where do you get your nutrition? )

6. Glutathione found in Whey Protein – defends your cells against intra- and extra-cellular oxidative stress ie. kills free radicals that are attacking cells. Whey Protein (the liquid leftover after cheese is made) is also a good probiotic and encourages the human body to make its own natural glutathione. Whey protein has long been the favorite among athletes and bodybuilders; it is very inexpensive, and a couple small scoops can pack of 30 to 40 grams of protein. Whey protein also helps in weight loss: fat is reduced and lean muscle mass is increased.

7. Raw vegetables juices (for diabetics, please seek advise from a nutritionist, not a dietician who may recommend you fad diets or pills): add mangosteen juice orblueberry juice that are rich in anti-oxidants for example; add lemon or orange juice,or any Vitamin C-rich fruit juice; diabetics need to take whole fruits and avoid freshly-pressed fruits juice but 100%-vegetable juice is alright for everyone. Blueberries have been clinically proven to be more powerful than statin drugs in lowering LDL cholesterol (great for the heart).

8. Germanium supplements are good for adding oxygen into the body. The logic is that the more oxygen your body has, the lesser chances for impurities and toxins surviving inside your body. Oxygen will “burn” or “singe” the outer protein envelope of a flu virus (or any kind of virus), preventing it from attaching itself to a human cell, preventing it from multiplying and spreading. With the help of oxygen, your body will break down the damaged virus and use its amino acids, ect, for use in the body. The USA’s FDA outlawed these but you can get germanium naturally from tomato juices, garlic, beans, onions, ginsing, shitake mushrooms, comfrey and barley. (Cobalt, another supplement, is also used for the same purpose of maximising oxygen intake through body cells.)

9. Tumeric (looks like yellow or orange ginger) has a flavanoid known as “curcumin” and fights Cystic Fibrosis (tumeric is to be used under the gudiance of a naturpathic physician). You need VERY little of this tumeric; if you are already taking some tumeric supplements, you do not need to add your grounded tumeric powder into vege/fruits juice. Ginger is an alternative if you can’t find tumeric or tumeric supplements. Dr. Mercola highly recommends organic tumeric powder :: Why organic

10. Seeds of Grapefruits (or use whole Grapefruit) – anti-cancer, anti-leukemia, I usually add 1/8 of a grapefruit into my daily vegetable juice – with its skin unpeeled. Anything more may be too bitter. The whole grapefruit can be used.

11. Olive Leaves (or pure olive oil although this can come in powdered form or as a tincture).

12. Oregano Oil (aka Oil of Oregano) is one of nature’s natural antibiotic and is high in an antioxidant known as “rosmarinic acid”. ”Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries.. For example, one tablespoon of fresh oregano contains the same antioxidant activity as one medium-sized apple.” – Dr. Mercola Difference between natural antibiotic to prescription antibiotic

13. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – “raw” as in not cooked. Not many people can stomach undiluted apple cider vinegar. I usually cheat by holding my breathe while I down a tablespoon of this potent anti-detox stuff. Apple Cider vinegar is also known to clean the sticky plaque from the walls of your intestines so you absorb nutrients better without killing any benefician germs in your digestive system/guts.

14. Take sulfur-rich foods like ^Raw Garlics (botanical name is Allium Sativum; “raw” as in uncooked). The active “allicin” in garlic kills pathogenic bacteria, the Helicobacter pylori and rotavirus infections (which is responsible for many cases of diarrhea); garlic also lowers risk of heart diseases, is a natural probiotic and is also anti-cancer. Spinach,Kale and Garlic boost the immune system and treat cough, whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma, fever, facial paralysis, flatulence, colic pain, constipation, atonic dyspepsia, worm infestations, duodenal ulcers, tuberculosis, eye diseases, cardiopathy, fatigue, leucoderma, leprosy, hysteria, piles, sciatica, otalgia, lumbago, swellings, splenopathy, hepatopathy, and dental caries! Alternative: odourless garlic capsules although not all of them are of good quality; consult a holistic or natoropathic doctor for advise.

15. onions Raw Onions are also sulfur-rich and anti-cancer, especially for the colon (intestines); you can eat sliced onions with satay for example.

16. Reservatrol (from Natural Unpeeled Red Grapes or Red Wine) has proathocyanidins (anti-cancer) or you can find the capsuled form in good health shops. Also a natural blood sugar regulator, reservatrol is great for those who are thinking of reversing their Type 2 diabetes.

17. Green Tea is also rich in cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and catechins such as EGCG; as evidenced in the China Study by Professor T. Collins Campbell and his research team.

18. Milk Thistle is ideal for supporting the liver from any onslaught of toxins and pathogens.

19. Anise Seeds may be the reason why India is one of the last countries to see deaths from H1N1/Swine flu. Their natural foods (spices) are rich in untainted un-modified anise seeds, shallots, garlic, onions, etc.
Different Types of Anise Seeds:
1. Anise in its original “star” pods (recommended).
2. Anise without its pods look like small oval and flat grains (recommended).
3. And ground Anise powder looks a little like curry powder. 4 oz of this costs US$2.75.
4. Anise Seed Essential Oil – add to lukewarm water for soaking and bath, this makes a natural anti-cold therapy (recommended)
5. Anise Seeds by Wholesale prices (recommended)Here’s a recipe Biscuits with Anise Seeds (although I highly recommend you do NOT microwave the anise seeds). I cannotrecommend Anise extract or Anise powder at this time because before one can do so, one needs to look at EVERY ingredient that has gone into the manufacture, and its storing and preparation processes. For example, it is very easy to add ground ginger powder to ground Anise powder, and IF ginger is not safe, the while food/Anise powder is questionable. Poor storage of food products can also diminish nutritional value of foods and herbs. If at all possible, try to get WHOLE (unground) and organically-grown foods. (Organic foods should be drug-free, hormones-free, aspartame-free, pesticide-free, mercury-free, yeast-free, toxic-free, etc. )

20. Cilantro prevents your body from absorbing thimerasol (mercury). If you want to keep something in your fridge to be drank or added to your soup everyday, organic cilantro is what you want. Get a ton of organic cilantro, chop it up, add pure water, simmer until you have a thick stew of it. You want the water to be a VERY dark green color. As you want organic nutrients, do not keep for more than a week in the fridge.

21. Roots of Yellow Dock removes harmful aluminium found in vaccines. You simply grind the roots and add to your favourite vegetable or fruit juice. One of the most affordable vege you can ever find for detoxification.

22. Gingko Biloba promotes mental alertness but if your gingko biloba supplement contains ginseng, don’t take it (bad reactions with vaccinations). Avoid any supplement product with ginseng as it may contain neurotoxin 4-O-methylpyridoxine.

23. Ban Zhi Lian (Chinese Barbed Skullcap aka Skullcap) help to moderate seizures in epilepsy and vaccine-related seizures. Not meant to be taken in large doses (please consult your nutritionist!)

24. Huang Qin (Chinese herb) causes apoptosis for leukemia cells. Anti-cancer (you don’t want cancer to weaken you for vaccines).

25. Black Cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizome) is also anti-cancer.

26. Bicarbonate Soda although found in baking powder, consumption of baking powder with MSG (monosodium-glutmate) is not recommended. You need very little of this in your one serving of water/vege juice everyday.

27. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense ) Used in alternative medicine for menopause, osteoporosis, cough and eczema. Ref:

28. Chinese Astragalus Root: aka Huang Chi has been used for over 2,000 years to strengthen body’s immunity system.

29. Bugleweed supports the thyroid, heart and lung functions. Also used to treat upset stomach, gout, hemorrhoid bleeding and pain in breasts (for those breastfeeding). Also known by these names: Lycopus virginicus, Lycopus americanus, Lycopus europaenus, Archangle, Ashangee, American Bugleweed, Carpenter’s Herb, Common Bufle, Egyptian’s Herb, Farasyon Maiy, Green Wolf’s Foot, Gypsy-Weed, Gypsy-Wort, Menta de Lobo, Middle Comfrey, Paul’s Betony, Sicklewort, Su Ferasyunu, Water Bugle, and Water Horehound

30. Lobelia Inflata (aka Indian Tobacco): this plant originates from North America, the Lobelia has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis and cough. First used for those who could not stand the smell of tobacco! Also known by other names: Cardinal flower, Red lobelia, Scarlet lobelia, Puke weed

31. Barestem Desert-Parsley (Lomatium dissectum) was used for treatment of tuberculosis.

32. Spearmint (or spearmint tea) can reduce flatulence and burping, reduce heartburn and nausea, intestinal distress. The tea (non-caffeine) also appears to block the action of androgen in the body, which can make it a natural treatment for hirsutism (excessive hair) in women and hair loss in men.

33. Marshmallow root is used for many years to relieve dry cough and sore throats (natural cough expectorant), as well as to treat chapped skin, minor wounds. Has been used in connection with heartburn, diarrhea, Cron’s disease, asthma, indigestion, pap smears, cystitis and hiatus hernia and peptic ulcer. Mildly stimulates the immune system.. Externally used as a stretchmark gel, and can be poulticed on bruises, sprains, burns, muscle aches, bee stings, boils, eczema and psoriasis. Not found in the USA, its peeled root is considered of higher quality than root with the outer bark.

34. Chanca Piedra (aka yerba de San Pablo; botanical name: phyllanthus niruri) is a herbal plant that can be used in whole to protect liver and support liver, reduce spasms, aid digestion, reduce blood sugar, expel kidney stones and worms, prevent cell mutations (anti-cancer) and even to treat malaria. However, those with diabetic and heart problems should not take this without first consulting their doctors, as Chanca Piedra has geraniin, which interacts with prescription drugs for diabetics and heart patients.

35. Natural Fibre: Reduce corn flakes (they’re nothing flattened genetically-modified corn with only carbohydrates and sugar anyway), and instead go for wholemeal (ground from whole grains), oatbran and psyllium breakfast treats. Psyllium (or Organic Psyllium Husk Powder) helps to cleanse your colon of the bad germs without killing the good germs.

36. Green peas are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and beta-carotenes (aka carotenes or carotenoids – converts to natural non-toxic safe Vitamin A in your body). Carotenes is a natural remedy for depression (mental health is important for physical health), helps slows progression of cataracts, prevents macular degeneration, high blood pressure, arthritis, helps asthma, bone development, reproductive health, and is anti-cancer, etc. Carotenes are also found indark green vege, orange-yellow vegetables (carrots, broccoli, romaine lettuce, apricots, and green peppers). Commercially available carotene are made from palm oil or fungi and so, pales in comparison to natural carotene-rich foods. Peas are preferred over beans partially because they have lesser calcium (refer to box below about calcium). Vitamin K, a stronger antioxidant than vitamin E or coenzyme Q10, prevents oxidative cell damage, promotes strong bones and heart, and are found in foods like brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus, Swiss chard, broccoli, and mustard greens. Vitamin K works outside the liver (gives liver a break!) to regulate calcium, and gives proteins “claws” so proteins can “hold on” to calcium. (Vitamin K2 should not be taken by those who are taking blood-thinning medicines.)

37. Foods rich in Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) are good for the heart. The best source of ALA is flaxseeds. Other sources: walnuts

38. Parsley and Basil Leaves have an obscure bioflavonoid called called “apigenin” thathelps to keep capillaries strong and cells strong. Basil leaves have ursolic acid (anti-cancer) too. Celery and green pepper are high in another flavonoid known as “luteolin” (luteolin disrupts inflammatory responses in your brain and has proved to be very good for preventing deterioration in Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis). Anti-inflammatory, food containing apigenin and luteolin are very potent in inhibiting/preventing autoimmune diseases. Dr. Russel Blaylock recommends at least a daily intake of 8 ounces of juiced parsley and celery to drank immediately after juicing.

39. Gamma-E, found ONLY IN Natural Whole Foods like nuts, whole grains, and wheat germ, helps reduce several of the inflammatory cytokines (”toxic storm” within the body). The other kind in your vitamin E capsules, aka alpha-tocopherol , is different because alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) may promote oxidation (free radicals), specifically in smokers who also eat a lot of foods with omega-6 cooking oils.

40. Rosemary contains Rosmarinic acid and makes strong anti-inflammatary agent (reduces swells, etc).

41. Borage (starflower) has GLA that inhibits the action of the cancer gene Her-2/neu (present in 30% of breast cancer). Primrose Oil (normally taken by women) also hasGamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that is is anti-cancer. Primrose oil and Borage regulate the metabolic rate of various tissues, division and growth of cells, secretions (including digestive juices and hormones), controls fertility processes, and supports your body’s immune system; also fight inflammation, arthritic pain and eczema. GLA is the perfect replacement for Omega-6 oils (you don’t need a lot of Omega-6 oils commonly found in cooking oil.)

42. Wild Alaskan Red Salmon is a natural source of Omega-3 oils and is least likely to be contaminated with industrial mercury waste (other than Krill Oil which is also rich in GLA).

43. Bromelain (an enzyme) found abundant in ^pineapples, blocks a defective protein found in all cancerous cells. (Ref: Queensland Institute of Medical Research)

44. The EGCG found in green tea and black tea, reduced the levels of reactive carbonyls commonly found in diabetics; also helps in treating /preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s Syndrome (also known as one of the Invisible Diseases). A component called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in^Green Tea, can block the ability of the AIDS virus to hijack and destroy the immune system, protects the heart, blood vessels and prevents atherosclerosis and cancer. Polysaccharides in ^Black Tea helps to retard absorption of glucose, and is a natural scavenger of free radicals (which are involved in the onset of Cancer and Rheumatoid Arthritis). These teas neutralize some of the toxins formed by high-fructose corn syrup(vaccines have high fructose corn syrup!) Ref: Sciencedaily and Institute of Food Technologists

1. Burdock Root, Synephrine (immature orange peel), Capsicum, Horehound herb, Althea root and Yerba Santa herb: magnesium, potassium, silicon, zinc, vitamins A and C, and thiamine. Dang Gui root, Epimedium leaf, Eucommia bark, Ganoderma plant. Lycium fruit, Rehmannia root, Achyranthes root, Atractylodes rhizome, Citrus peel, Hoelen plant, Ligustrum, Zeolites, H1X1 mushroom, sasa bamboo leaf, Ophiopogon root, Peony root, Polygala root, Schizandra, Licorice root, Rhodiola Rosea, Eleutherococcus Senticosus, Ashwaganda, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum and schizandra, Dandelion Whole Plant (Taraxacum officinale)
Purslane Tops (Portulaca oleracea)
Indigo Leaves and Root (Indigofera tinctoria)
Thlaspi Whole Plant (Thlaspi arvense)
Bupleurum Root (Chinese Bupleurum)
Typhonium Rhizome (Typhonium flagelliforme)
Scute Root (Scutellaria baicalensis)
Cinnamon Twig (Cinnamomum cassia)

46. Vitamin & Mineral Supplements (see next part of this blog entry - coming soon so check back in a couple of days!!)

Anti-cancer. The main role of antioxidants (eg. flavoniods, isoflavones, bioflavonoids) is to prevent cell damage (or mutation) via free radicals. Free radicals cannot be avoided, they are found in almost everything, in our bodies and in air. Free radicals (a class of molecules/compounds) exist and act like microbes that react quickly to dead or decomposing material. Free radicals are generated by a variety of sources including pesticides, smoking and exhaust fumes – the very things that causes cancer so antioxidants are synonymous with anti-cancer and good health.

by Kelly at

I am not a doctor so PLEASE consult a Traditional Chinese Herbalist or a Naturopathic Nutritionist before buying anything from your health shop. Why you need to consult an expert? Over-load of antioxidants could also lead to heart failure!

Mercury in High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

Researchers Say 17 Products Tested Had Some Mercury; Industry Group Says Syrup Is Safe
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Some foods and drinks rich in high-fructose corn syrup may contain detectable levels of mercury, a new report shows.

The report, published on the web site of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), shows detectable levels of mercury in 17 out of 55 tested products rich in high-fructose corn syrup.

But the researchers aren't telling people to avoid those products or other items containing high-fructose corn syrup, and they aren't sure what form of mercury those products contained.

The Corn Refiners Association stands by high-fructose corn syrup, calling it "safe."

Mercury and High-Fructose Corn Syrup

The new report comes from researchers including David Wallinga, MD, director of the IATP's food and health program. They bought 55 products that list high-fructose corn syrup first or second on their list of ingredients, which means high-fructose corn syrup was a leading ingredient in those products.

Wallinga's team sent samples of those products to a commercial lab, which checked the levels of total mercury in each sample.

"Overall, we found detectable mercury in 17 of 55 samples, or around 31%," write Wallinga and colleagues.

Here is the list of those products:

* Quaker Oatmeal to Go bars
* Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce
* Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
* Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
* Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars
* Manwich Gold Sloppy Joe
* Market Pantry Grape Jelly
* Smucker's Strawberry Jelly
* Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry
* Hunt's Tomato Ketchup
* Wish-Bone Western Sweet & Smooth Dressing
* Coca-Cola Classic: no mercury found on a second test
* Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt
* Minute Maid Berry Punch
* Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink
* Nesquik Chocolate Milk
* Kemps Fat Free Chocolate Milk

Wallinga and colleagues caution that their list was "just a snapshot in time; we only tested one sample of each product. That clearly is not sufficient grounds to give definitive advice to consumers."

Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. A form of mercury called methylmercury is particularly risky to a baby's developing brain and nervous system, according to background information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Wallinga points out that the lab only tested for total mercury levels, not methylmercury or other types of mercury. He also notes that the EPA has a "reference dose," or upper limit, for methylmercury intake but not for other forms of mercury.

Where Did the Mercury Come From?

Wallinga's report doesn't prove that the mercury in the tested products came from high-fructose corn syrup, but "I'm hard pressed to say where else it would come from," Wallinga tells WebMD.

Wallinga explains that mercury can be used to make caustic soda, which is one of the products used to make high-fructose corn syrup. That's outdated technology; mercury isn't needed to make caustic soda, notes Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, in a statement emailed to WebMD.

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