Archive for Eat

If everyone were vegan, what would the world look like?


People choose to be vegan for many reasons, such has to avoid supporting cruelty to animals, for personal health, and for the health of the planet.

I know that the decision to avoid eating animal foods is not taken lightly. Many people struggle with the ethics of taking the life of another living sentient being, and have concluded that becoming vegan fits best with their integrity.

I too am completely against cruelty to animals. What is done to animals in big-agriculture factory-farms is despicable and I want nothing to do with it. Animals have just as much right to a good life as we humans do, in my opinion.

Furthermore with the climate crisis now at the forefront of consciousness, avoiding beef and dairy is commonly suggested as a way to reduce methane release into the atmosphere. Meat substitute products like Beyond Meat are becoming extremely popular.

So the question is, should we all become vegan? If everyone became vegan, what do you think our world would look like? Let’s think it through.

  1. First of all, since they would no longer be needed, cows, goats, sheep and chickens would probably go extinct, except for the odd example of each species kept in zoos.
  2. Harvesting annual crops actually has a very high kill rate of small animals, so is it really a valid to suggest that a eating plants-only diet is more humane?

    As Andrew French suggests in the above link, “If the primary goal of veganism is to reduce suffering, then many of us are vegan, and a diet composed of primarily grass-fed beef and dairy, as well as free-range chicken eggs and perennial plant products, is the most vegan diet that I can think of. A diet based on grass that is never tilled, with no worm disturbed, no gopher sliced in half, allows nature to grow and flourish without our annual agricultural blades, machines, and chemicals.”

  3. Most likely there would be more deforestation in order to have enough land to grow crops to feed the world. This would further accelerate climate change, as trees are the lungs of the planet.
  4. There would be more monocrops and consequently less biodiversity, also not good for the health of the planet. If the crops are conventionally grown, that would mean even more chemical run-off into streams impacting fish and wildlife.
  5. So much land devoted to farming would further impact migration routes of wild animals, reducing their habitat, and potentially causing those species to decline.
  6. After 2-5 years of vegan-only eating, many people, particularly those whose ancestry is from places that are cold and snowy for several months of the year, will notice a decline in their health. In general, humans are omnivores and need to get some nutrients from animal foods, although those with tropical ancestry may manage to stay healthy longer without animal foods.
  7. As a result of deforestation and even more planting of annual crops, desertification would further increase, which is already a huge world problem. I will get into why, below.

Somehow I have a feeling that the above list is not what vegans want at all.

Desertification, a process where fertile land slowly dries out and becomes desert, is a growing problem that is made worse with hotter climates, deforestation, and poor farming practices.

Please watch this wonderfully hopeful TED Talk about how to reverse desertification and store enough carbon to put a dent in the climate crisis!

Isn’t the Ted Talk wonderful? According to Allan Savory, the best way to prevent desertification is to introduce grazing animals to the land. The cows, bison, sheep, goats etc. trample the grasses down stopping moisture from evaporating, fertilize the land which helps the vegetation grow, while at the same time sequestering carbon. The key to preventing desertification is to keep the animals moving so they are not grazing on the same exact bit of land day after day.

The way I see it, for our health and the health of the planet I choose to follow the middle path. Not veganism, but also not continuing with the status quo that doesn’t think about the impact of factory farms. What we eat is a political statement that has huge impacts for the world we live in and want to live in.

Absolutely refuse to eat animal foods from big agriculture factory-farms to stop the animal cruelty. We have a lot of power by choosing where to spend our dollars. If enough people stop supporting cruel farming methods, big agriculture would be forced to change.

Instead, to protect our health and the health of the planet, when I choose to eat beef and dairy, I am picky enough to choose from a farm that I know pastures their animals, and lets them lead a good life. Cows being cows, grazing outside, with the farmers moving them from pasture to pasture like nature intended, in order to retain moisture, keep the grass growing and sequester carbon.

Pastured animals and the carbon they sequester offsets the methane they produce, and the resulting reversal of desertification of the land helps cool the planet.

And pastured animals provide far more nutrition than factory-farmed animals. Twelve times the omega 3, 6 times the CLA, double the beta carotene, 5 times the vitamin E and A, and no antibiotics or hormones as they are not needed, and virtually no e-coli risk.

Every one of us will have to face that one bad day when we die, and it is important that while we are here that we live. And that we allow our animal friends to fully enjoy their life on this planet too before their one bad day.

Life eats life – should we fault the lion for eating the deer? Many plants eat insects too. Is that immoral? And why is it bad to eat animals and not bad to eat plants? Plants are living creatures also.

Yes, choosing how to eat in the most ethical way possible is complicated. There is so much information to sift through, and it can be hard to consider the hard truths and not make an emotional decision. I told you the decision I arrived at, but really your choice is yours alone to make. My goal here is to provide you with information that maybe you had not thought about before, so that your decision can be an informed one.

(I think it is also worth mentioning that artificial meat products are extremely processed”. Beyond Meat is made with peas, which is better than soy, but no matter how you look at it, it is still processed.)

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On vegetarianism
Conventional vs. Organic vs Pasture-fed meats, poultry, eggs and dairy
Industrial agriculture – what’s the real cost of cheap food?
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In defense of real meat

Savory, Allan How to Green the World’s Deserts and Reverse Climate Change TED TALK

French, Andrew Grass Fed Beef is the Most Vegan Item in the Supermarket Medium, May 12, 2018.

Purdy, Chase Plant-based meats sound healthy, but they’re still processed foods Quartz, July 1, 2019.

Eissen, Jill Have Your Meat and Eat It Too! Part 1 – 3 CBC Ideas Podcast, aired Aug 18, 25, Sept. 1, 2010.

Pollan, Michael The Omnivore’s Dilemma The Penguin Press, New York, 2006

Kenner, Robert Food Inc. Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2009.

Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Price Pottenger Foundation, La Mesa CA, 1939.

Taubes, Gary Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) Alfred A Knopf, New York, 2007.

Euromed It’s a Jungle Out There! How Plants Communicate to Get Their Needs Met

Chek, Paul Vegetarianism, inside out


Copyright 2019 Vreni Gurd

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Glyphosate (Round Up herbicide) in your Cheerios

Maybe you have used Round Up on your lawn, as it is a very common herbicide sold at Home Depot and other stores for home use. I imagine it is very effective.

Round-Up, otherwise known as glyphosate, is the most common herbicide used in North America, invented by and put onto the market by Monsanto. What they did is a truly brilliant for their bottom line.

Why, you ask? Monsanto is famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for marketing genetically modified seed, particularly GMO Round-Up Ready canola, soy and corn. How they modified the seed was to make it resistant to their brand of herbicide, Round-Up or glyphosate.

So, they market their GMO seed, and also sell Round Up Ready herbicide, which kills everything but the plants that contain the modified genes.

Monsanto makes money on their GMO seed, and they make money on their herbicide. A perfect marriage. Personally, I don’t have a problem with businesses making money on their inventions – I admire innovation and find it amazing how much our world has changed even in the last 10 years.

But here is the thing. Glyphosate has been recently classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s cancer branch, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

It is being sprayed on corn, canola, soy, cotton, sugar beet and alfalfa GM crops in greater and greater quantities, because as the years go by, the weeds that it is supposed to kill are becoming more and more resistant to the herbicide, and it takes more and more Round Up to do the job.

Round Up is also regularly sprayed on other crops such as wheat and oats just before harvest, a process called desiccation. By killing the crop first it allows the grains to dry down faster after harvest.

Consequently, glyphosate residue is everywhere in the food supply, as most of us eat wheat, soy, oats and canola every day in processed foods, such as breakfast cereals, cookies, cookies, and products containing canola or soybean oil. It is also found in animals that have been fed GM Round-Up ready grains.

Unintended consequences of spraying Round-Up Ready herbicide, include wind carrying the spray to other crops, run-off into water-ways harming stream life and birds, and although glyphosate is not really a pesticide, it does seem to impact the spatial-tracking ability of bees, making it harder for them to find their way back to their hives. Our bees are struggling enough without this added problem!

It is said that the poison is in the dosage, and the amounts of glyphosate in the foods is small. But we now know that often lower doses of a toxin disrupt endocrine function more than higher doses.

According to the University of California San Francisco, 93% of the population has glyphosate in their urine, and children have larger amounts than adults. With a steady daily drip of glyphosate entering our systems, it can’t be surprising that it may play a role in throwing off our hormones.

I have only scratched the surface of the issues around glyphosate and Round-Up herbicide. Research is pointing to the inert ingredients in the herbicide causing human cell death, and glyphosate may be implicated in the much larger rates of gluten and other food allergy in children, to highlight a couple of others that you may wish to research.

So, what can we do? Although probably almost impossible to eliminate glyphosate exposure altogether, there is a lot we can do to dramatically decrease the amounts we are exposed to. Choosing organic would make the biggest difference, as by definition organic crops are not sprayed with toxic herbicides like Round Up.

Read packaging labels carefully, and avoid conventional foods that contain canola, soy, corn, wheat and oats. And obviously, don’t spray the stuff in your own yard!

Related Tips:
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Balbuena MS Effects of sublethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation. J Exp Biol. 2015 Sep;218(Pt 17):2799-805. doi: 10.1242/jeb.117291.

Benbrook CM Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally. Environ Sci Eur. 2016;28(1):3.

Chou C. Quaker Oats on list of tainted oatmeals in FDA inspection The China Post May 27, 2016.

Alarming Levels of Glyphosate Contamination Found in Popular American Foods Nov. 2016.

Ecowatch Glyphosate Found in Urine of 93 Percent of Americans Tested May 29, 2016.

Gammon, Crystal Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells Scientific American Online June 23, 2009.

International Agency for Research on CancerIARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides World Health Organization, March 20, 2015

Alarming Levels of Glyphosate Contamination Found in Popular American Foods Nov. 2016.

Ecowatch Glyphosate Found in Urine of 93 Percent of Americans Tested May 29, 2016.

Gammon, Crystal Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells Scientific American Online June 23, 2009.

Samsel A, Seneff S Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases III: Manganese, neurological diseases, and associated pathologies Surg Neurol Int. 2015; 6: 45.

Copyright Vreni Gurd 2017

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Why the war on small farms is impacting our health


Are you not as healthy as you might be due to the politics of food? That statement may seem ridiculous, but it might be quite true for many if you are unable to access food you consider to be healthy. And for the American readers here, your food options are about to shrink even further due to politics.

More and more people are rejecting factory farms, conventional mono-crop farming methods and GMO food and are instead seeking to contract directly with farmers that grow the organic produce and raise the pastured meat, poultry, dairy and eggs that they want .

Big Food sees this trend as a threat to their monopoly, and Governments see it as a threat to food safety.

Food is huge business. Everyone needs to eat, and the huge food companies want you to eat their food, so they are doing all the can to stop the growing interest in farm fresh, local food.

Big Food has big pockets and they are influencing governments to pass regulations that will help them thrive.

Provincial and State governments are prosecuting farmers that form food coops and herd shares in order to supply real food to people that want it, under the guise of not having a retail license, and then making it impossible for the farmers to get the license they require. (People want raw milk which the farmer provides, but the farmer is not able to get a license for raw milk for example).

Farmers that are trying to preserve biodiversity are being prosecuted for such things as keeping “feral pigs”, even though this different breed of pig are not actually wild, but are on a farm.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency slaughtered all of Montana Jones' very rare heritage sheep despite lab tests showing her animals did not have scrapie. Autopsies afterwards also verified that her sheep were healthy.

(In an effort to save her sheep against an unjust fate, some other farmers “sheep-napped” them which delayed the slaughter for several months, and currently the suspected sheep-napper farmers are in court for that. I know – hard to believe it is true!)

Over 97% of the population wants GMO food to be labeled, and for years Governments have done nothing about that fact, largely because of the overlap between directors of companies like Monsanto and the US Federal Government. Only now are things beginning to change at the State level.

Big Food is putting millions and millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat Proposition 522 in Washington State, that would require food that contains genetically modified ingredients to be labelled. Big Food won in California by a very narrow margin, defeating that State’s effort to label GMO food.

The Big Food campaign suggests that labelling will increase the cost of food, but these same companies supply GMO labelled and GMO-free food to 64 other countries in the world so it would not be that hard for them.

If GMO food is so safe, why are those companies so afraid of letting consumers know what is in the food? Are you okay with being experimented on without your knowledge or consent?

Why is the GMO issue not being discussed regularly by the mainstream media? Why is it that only after the advent of social media that the issue of GMO food-labeling is suddenly on the radar?

Because the companies that supply GMO food have huge budgets, and they are very willing to sue any media outlet that says anything negative. Companies like Monsanto can’t do much about social media however, so it is up to us to spread the word …

Governments are stopping people from growing food in their front yards. They are requiring permits for kids that set up lemonade stands. They are stopping people from having potluck community events.

Food Coops are being raided at gun-point by SWAT teams. It is way over the top! Rawesome Food Coop in California a few years ago is a good example. Federal agents in full army combat gear were pointing their guns at people in tank tops and flip flops running the till. They confiscated the raw milk in the fridge, and jailed the owners. And this despite the fact that raw milk is legal in California, and can be purchased in grocery stores.

Now in the US, FDA is implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, which will probably result in many of the country's safest farms being put out of business.

For example, in an effort to control salmonella, the new regulations will make it next to impossible for small farmers to have outdoor flocks of chickens, which research shows is far safer than indoor caged chickens.

Funny they are trying to do this in the middle of a chicken salmonella outbreak from Foster Farms, a huge factory farm that has sickened 278 people in 18 States!

The new regulations unfortunately do nothing to address the real problem with respect to food-borne illness – sick animals living in the filth of factory farms. Check out this W5 video exposing the horrific conditions and abuse of factory farms.

Because the animals are held in such crowded, filthy conditions, antibiotics are part of the feed in the futile attempt to keep the animals healthy. The rise of antibiotic resistance that is affecting our hospitals is the direct result. Some believe we are now entering a world where antibiotics will no longer work, and people will once again regularly die of infections.

If the farms that provide the healthy food are out of business, US citizens will have no option but to eat the unhealthy stuff.

Big Agribusiness and Big Food are using the Government “food safety” regulations to control our food. There is a double standard when it comes to food safety – one for the factory farms, and another for the smaller farms trying to produce nutrient-dense food.

So, the question begs. Is this okay with you? Do you care enough about your health and well-being to do something to protect your food supply? Are you willing to help small farmers survive by going out of your way to seek their food out?

Do you shop at farmer’s markets or participate in community-supported -agriculture programs? Do you refuse to buy conventionally-raised food from big agribusiness sold at your grocery store? Are you choosing to spend your money on food now or on medicine that may or may not work later? Is buying cheap food worth the consequence?

What we choose to purchase will have a huge impact on our environment, food supply and the health that our kids and grand-kids will inherit. Please choose wisely.

I look forward to your comments. If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom of the blog post and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips
Improving nutrition by avoiding the grocery store
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John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Industrial Food Animal Production in America Fall 2013

Copyright 2013 Vreni Gurd

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Standard North American Diet Includes some of the Most Addictive Substances Known to Man

Guest post by Melissa Hathaway

It is no secret that the dietary health problems facing America are beginning to spiral out of control with more people than ever before in history suffering from illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Given the advances in modern medicine and nutritional knowledge, it seems difficult to comprehend how we could be in a situation where we have more medical expertise than ever before, yet have a worsening state of health.

There is a battle going on between the food industry giants and researchers who are trying to highlight the extremely dangerous and addictive additives that are being placed into just about every every pre-packaged and fast food product.

No Legal Protection
The average North American is under the impression that food manufacturers are not putting ‘toxins’ and ‘addictive’ substances into products as there would surely be laws against such things as the government would want to protect the health and wellbeing of the nation.

This is simply not the case, and closer inspection of processed food labels will reveal a whole host of extremely harmful ingredients that have now become standard in our ‘foods’. Here are some details on just a few of the substances commonly found in foods:

Monosodium Glutamate
MSG is present in a whole host of fast foods, chips and crackers, canned foods, and soups. It is a processed chemical additive which is used to enhance flavors, and researchers have discovered that it is a powerful excitotoxin.

These chemicals are responsible for a high level of brain reactivity to the foods being eaten, which is what is partly responsible for their addictive nature. Other bad side effects include possible carcinogenic properties which can have serious health implications if consumed in large quantities over an extended period of time.

High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS is a chemically produced sweetener that is made using corn starch as the base ingredient. Food companies use it as a cheap way of sweetening foods, without using natural sugars and it is a product that the body is ill equipped to deal with.

These days HFCS is present is the vast majority of processed foods including salad dressings, bread, fruit juice, sauces, cookies, biscuits, cereal, frozen foods, and soft drinks to name just a few.

There are many negative effects on health associated with high fructose corn syrup including increased risk of contracting type 2 diabetes and negative effects on the liver. HFCS is also extremely addictive, with some medical studies concluding that it had addictive qualities comparable to the illegal drug cocaine. It may sound extreme, but the ‘fake sugar’ gives the brain a rush of chemicals and this can become very addictive.

Beating Food Addiction
Food addiction may be a new term to you, but it is well documented in the medical and scientific professions. Just like any drug, the chemicals present in processed foods alter the brains chemistry and cause bodily reactions to its consumption.

Highly altered compounds such as as HFCS can trigger addictive tendencies as the brain enjoys the ‘sugar rush’ that it’s getting, and this can also create addictions to other chemical additives found present in these foods.

People usually associate addiction with smoking, drugs, and alcohol, but one of the biggest addiction problems in the US is actually food addiction.

There are numerous places that people can get help and advice on how to beat food addiction, including many local centers such as one for addiction treatment in Virginia. Centers such as this provide valuable help and guidance for overcoming addiction to food, but the best way to avoid becoming addicted in the first place is to be extremely careful about what chemical additives you consume.

Natural Whole Foods Offer the Answer
By consuming as natural a diet as possible, consisting of large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables and organic produce, you will be limiting the aforementioned addictive chemical additives to a minimum.

Not only will this be beneficial for your short term health and wellbeing, it is also likely to decrease your chances of developing long term diet related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, weight related health problems, and certain types of cancer.

Humans have lived for thousands of years on a natural whole diet, and the correlation between many of today’s most common health issues and the chemical ingredients present in the standard North American diet are clear to see.

If you want to search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

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Adams, Mike Interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock on devastating health effects of MSG, aspartame and excitotoxins Natural News September 27, 2006.

Elliott, Sharon et al. Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome Am. J. Clin Nutr. November 2002 vol. 76 no. 5 911-922

Sanchez, Kevin New Research Suggests High Fructose Corn Syrup Triggers Addictive Consumption Similar to Drugs Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2013.

Copyright 2013 Melissa Hathaway

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Raw milk vs pasteurized – the science


My farmer was found guilty of contempt of court this week for producing and delivering an illegal “hazardous substance” to me. The substance in question? Elicit drugs? Assault rifles? Anthrax or other deadly agent? No. The hazardous substance they are spending our tax dollars on preventing me from obtaining is raw milk. If my farmer continues to care for and milk my cows for me and give me the milk from my cows, he will be sent to jail.

To me this seems like Orwellian joke. Who is the victim in this milk crime? Is this a crime that deserves a jail sentence? On the one hand Big Brother is trying to protect me from my milk, and on the other, Big Brother refuses to tell me which foods in the grocery store are genetically modified so I can’t protect myself.

I can buy ground beef, take it home and eat it raw but raw milk, which also comes from cows, is so dangerous it can’t be transported across town and given to me.

So, what is the science with respect to raw milk? Is the government’s position warranted? Independent researcher Nadine Ijaz MSc recently presented “Raw Milk: Myths and Evidence” at the BC Center for Disease Control, examining the recent research on raw milk. Please watch her excellent presentation. What follows is a summary of the points Ms. Ijaz makes in her presentation, and I suggest you watch the presentation to hear about each of these points in more detail. Anything in quotes in the summary below is in Ms. Ijaz’s words.

“Myth 1: Raw milk is more digestible for people with lactose intolerance” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.
A surprise to raw milk enthusiasts, but this is a myth. There is no lactase enzyme in fresh milk.

“Myth 2: Enzymes and beneficial bacteria make raw milk more digestible” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.
There are many enzymes and bacteria strains in milk, but at the present time there is no evidence to describe their role in human digestion. “There is some evidence that the non-harmful lactic-acid bacteria may having a function in holding the pathogenic bacteria at bay.”

“Myth 3: Raw milk is known to prevent cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.
Currently there is very little evidence to examine these questions, and “the existing evidence does not substantiate those particular claims.” Those of us that are raw milk enthusiasts need to be careful that we do not spread unsubstantiated claims, as that reduces our credibility.

“Myth 4: Raw milk is a high-risk food” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.
To determine if a food is risky, we need to know the risk per serving, as well as the rates of sickness, hospitalizations and deaths, along with how risky the food is for immunologically susceptible people, like children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) is the international gold standard recognized by Health Canada and the FDA for determining pathogenic risk. QMRA studies characterize the risk of a particular food as low, moderate or high.

Recent QMRA studies for raw milk show that “there is a LOW risk for illness or severe health outcomes or hospitalizations from consuming raw milk” for E-Coli, Listeria, Staphylococcus and Campylobacter. We do not yet have a QMRA for salmonella.

To confirm accuracy of QMRAs, outbreak data is used. There has not been a single confirmed sickness from Listeria from raw milk in the last 40 years. There has not been a single death from raw milk since 1998.

One to 6% of foodborne illnesses are attributed to all dairy, raw and pasteurized combined. An extremely small percentage of illnesses and hospitalizations from food-borne illnesses are attributed to raw milk. The rate of hospitalization from raw milk was significantly lower than that from all other foods.

Green leafy vegetables are the most frequent cause of foodborne illness representing 20 percent of all cases between 1998 and 2008. Yet the government has not named green leafy vegetables a hazardous substance.

“Myth 5: Raw milk has no unique health benefits” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.
There is strong evidence “… that the consumption of unprocessed cow’s milk has indeed a protective effect on the development of asthma and allergies”. Ten studies between 2001 and 2010 suggested a link.

The most recent, 11th study that really affirmed this evidence was the GABRIELA study. It was very large – 8000 school-aged children in Europe were studied. Both blood samples and milk samples were taken, and study showed “… that there was an independent protective effect of raw farm milk on the development of asthma, allergy and hay fever by about half.” That is HUGE! There is a suggestion that some of the whey proteins that are sensitive to heat and would be destroyed in pasteurization might be involved.

We used to think that each vitamin or mineral works in isolation, and as long as they are in the diet, all will be well. Now we know that vitamins do not work in isolation – vitamin D works with magnesium and calcium for example.

Many studies suggest that there are not large differences in nutrients between pasteurized and raw milk. Perhaps it is this synergistic action of the nutrients that might explain why even small nutrient changes can make big differences in how the milk works in our bodies. Vitamin A gets concentrated after pasteurization, whereas vitamins C, B and E are decreased. Perhaps the minor alteration in these ratios have major affects on how they work in our bodies.

The recent large Pasture Cohort Study of 2012, (the 12th study if we are counting) showed that pregnant mothers that drank raw milk had newborns with improved immunity and decreased cow-milk allergy. Infants drinking raw cow milk before the age of one had better immune gene expression. The risk/benefit analysis seems to pertain specifically to some of the most susceptible groups.

“Myth 6: Industrial milk processing is harmless to health” Nadine Ijaz MSc.
There are 4 processes of industrial milk production that milk drinkers may object to – pasteurization, homogenization, vitamin D3 fortification, and grain/sillage/soy feeding practices.

Some people are choosing raw milk in order to opt of the industrial process. This is the primary reason I personally prefer raw. Due to the precautionary principle it is reasonable to do so.

Pasteurization or heat treatment has already been discussed.

Homogenization is the process of putting the milk through a fine screen at high pressures to break up the fat globules so the fat won’t rise to the top. This is done to improve shelf life primarily. “Of all the industrial processes milk undergoes, homogenization results in the most profound difference to the structure of the milk, and it might result in altered health properties.” Michalazki Janual 2006: 424. It affects the fat globule membrane and the organization of the proteins.

It has been hypothesized that homogenization might be the reason that raw milk is protective for asthma and allergy.

Vitamin D3 fortification: A recent 2012 review suggests that vitamin D from the sun is quite different from synthetic vitamin D. There is another study that suggest that kids that are taking vitamin-D3 fortified milk have lower serum ferritin (iron) status. Individuals may use the precautionary principle and opt out of industrial milk for this reason.

Contemporary feeding practices: Consumers are looking for grass-fed milk that have a more beneficial fatty-acid profile with higher omega 3 and CLA content.

“Current evidence does not support:
1) An argument that people should choose raw milk.
2) A suggestion that pregnant women should consume raw farm milk
3) A public health recommendation that parents should give their babies and children raw farm milk.” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.

The current evidence does however, support choice.
“It is scientifically reasonable for people, including pregnant women and parents of young children to choose hygienically produced raw milk over industrially processed milk, whether or not they heat it themselves afterwards. It is not scientifically justifiable to prohibit people, including pregnant women or parents of young children from choosing to seek out an important food which may effectively prevent allergy and asthma.” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.

“So what is the role of public health enforcement?
1) Limitations should be proportional to the risk posed by a given hazard.
2) Enforcement should be consistent across foods.” (salad is far riskier than raw milk but is not deemed a hazardous substance).
3) Balance individual rights with public protection.” Nadine Ijaz, MSc.

In the case of our herd share, none of our milk goes into public commerce, so there is no risk at all to public safety.

We need to focus on minimizing risk to reasonable levels.  No other food has a zero hazard tolerance threshold. It is important to realize that pasteurization is no guarantee that the milk will be risk-free.

The evidence no longer supports raw milk being designated as a health hazard. Instead governments should consider regulation, mitigation and education in light of the existing evidence.

I sincerely hope that Nadine’s presentation gets viewed and shared.  If you know any health reporters that can take on this story, please let them know. 

The war on raw milk and on farmers that are trying to feed a community that wants the food they provide, needs to end. Year after year we hear of farmers being prosecuted and forced out of business for providing food to those that want it. Most recently, Wisconsin is threatening to jail farmer Hershberger despite being acquitted of 3 of 4 charges related to his raw-milk coop.

We as individuals should have the right to determine what we want to eat, whether that involves raw milk, or avoiding GMO food. We need help making this a national conversation. If you can help, please do!

If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom of the blog post and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips
Finding quality dairy
Industrial agriculture – what’s the real cost of cheap food?
Raw milk, the health authorities, and the right to choose the food we eat

Ijaz, Nadine Raw Milk: Myths and Evidence” Presentation to the BC Center for Disease Control, May 2013.

Copyright 2013 Vreni Gurd, after consultation with Ms. Nadine Ijaz MSc. for accuracy

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3 reasons we don’t know what we are actually eating


Do we actually know what we are eating?  Seems like a no brainer, right? What we put in our mouth is our choice. We have complete control over what passes through our lips. Well, I am about to argue that that premise is false, and this is why.

1) Fraudulent labels. The label says one thing, but the food is something else all together.
This is far more common than one would expect. There is the obvious example that recently made the news.

People in Europe coming home from the grocery store with steaks labeled “beef”, only to find out later that what they were eating was horse meat. Horse meat is not dangerous, but I’m sure consumers felt more than a little deceived.

Then there is the ongoing issue of fish in the package not actually being the type of fish on the label. Pay for snapper and get something else.

Over 50 percent of olive oil sold is not pure olive oil. Often it is mixed with another seed oil and sold to us as extra virgin olive oil. Much cheaper for manufacturers, and they charge consumers as if it were actually pure.

You can check the quality of your olive oil by putting it in the fridge. It should turn sludgy. If it remains a liquid, it is not pure olive oil.

2) Ingredients in food that are not listed on the label
Most serious in my opinion, is the lack of labeling of genetically modified food in North America. More than 75 percent of the food in grocery stores is genetically modified. Are you aware you are eating GMO food when, for example, you eat breakfast cereals made by General Mills or Kellogg's?

There is science that suggests that GMO food is cancer-causing and completely alters our gut bacteria.  It does not seem to leave our bodies, which is in my opinion, rather scary.  BT toxins from GMO corn  has been found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of umbilical cord blood. The prudent person would probably choose to avoid GMO food, but currently we are eating a ton of it completely unawares, because there is no labeling.

Most foods are genetically modified to either withstand Round-Up pesticide, or they are modified to contain a toxic pesticide within each cell of the plant itself (BT corn), so that when an insect eats the corn for example, the pesticide within each the corn plant's cells will kill the insect. Of course, perfectly safe for humans to eat, they say.

I personally think it would be useful too if all pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc. sprayed our produce were labeled. Each pesticide might be safe alone, but strawberries for example, are sprayed with about 19 different pesticides.

We have no idea how the chemical cocktail of pesticides sprayed on produce affect our biochemistry, but our poor livers are put into overdrive trying detoxify us!

Pesticides are not only sprayed on the plants but also on the soil they grow in, so the plants also take up the pesticides within their tissues. Therefore one cannot really wash pesticides off, not matter how long we soak or how hard we scrub.

Pesticides are usually sprayed by plane, or by farmers dressed in clothing that protects their body, face, nose and eyes so they won’t breathe in the toxic substances or get any on their skin.

Usually fields (and lawns) that have been sprayed have signs on them warning that they are toxic and dangerous. So … it is unsafe to walk in the fields but it is safe to eat the produce from these fields?

Would you be more likely to choose organic strawberries if you noticed a list of 19 different pesticides on the conventional ones?

3) Food labels that say something that isn’t true
If a product label says "0 transfat", is that true?  Probably not. When the transfat in the product is less than 0.5 grams per serving, it can be labeled as 0 transfat on the label according to the FDA. This transfat can add up if one eats more than one serving.

In Canada, whole wheat bread is not whole wheat.  The wheat germ has been removed. Two small examples, but I better stop here or this post will never be done!

For these reasons, the grocery store and restaurants is the primary source of our food, we actually have very little control over the ingredients in our food.  Bottom line is there is no reason to trust a food label.

How we can gain control over what we feed our families
Choosing organic can make a huge difference, but the best way to actually have control over what you feed yourself and your family is to opt out of the commercial food system.

Go barcode-free.  Do not buy any packaged food, and know the source of your whole food.

Grow what you can. Even if you only have a windowsill, you can grow fresh herbs or salad greens.

Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, and get fresh food direct from the farm.  Or join organizations like SPUD, who will deliver fresh food to your doorstep.

Farmers' Markets provide another option. Get to know the farmers, and you will find out if the chickens truly are pastured or if they are in a huge barn running around on the concrete.

It can be cheaper to get together with friends and purchase a side of grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free beef directly from the farmer.

I look forward to your comments! If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom of the blog post and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips
Our toxic body burden
Processed food is taking over our supermarkets
Deceptive food labels
GMO – crossing the species barrier

Henley, John How to tell if your olive oil is the real thing The Guardian, Wednesday 4 January 2012

Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reprod Toxicol. 2011 May;31(4):528-33. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Poulter, Sean GM food toxins found in the blood of 93% of unborn babies Mail Online, May 20, 2011.

Smith, Jeffrey Dangerous Toxins From Genetically Modified Corn Found in Blood of Women and Fetuses Oct. 2011

Find GMO-free products here: The NON-GMO project

Copyright 2013 Vreni Gurd

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GMO – Crossing the species barrier


Lots of recent news on the genetically modified food front. First the good news. Whole Foods Grocer will require all GMO food to be labeled by 2018, and will encourage food companies to switch to non-gmo ingredients. Consumers demanded it, and Whole Foods listened. This could be a game-changer. Should other grocers follow suit, GMO labeling will expected everywhere. As usual, governments bow to companies, but consumers are the ones that truly have the power.

Now the bad news. The US government just passed the “Monsanto Protection Act” which as Food Democracy Now put it, ” …strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment.”

Genetically Modified Organisms are NOT produced by cross-pollinating two wheat varieties in order to create a type of wheat that is hardier, nor by breeding two kinds of horses in order to encourage off-spring with certain desired traits such as speed or hauling ability.

Cross-breeding or hybridization also happens naturally without human help, as the wind and insects carry pollen, and well, animals will be animals. But dogs and cats cannot interbreed, corn cannot hybridize with rice, and fish can’t produce offspring with sunflowers.

Genetically modified, genetically engineered or transgenic organisms are creations made in the lab, where genetic material from one plant or animal is inserted into a totally different species in order to "improve" the species in some way, and to give the company the ability to patent and control the new life-form.

Patenting genes is a huge business which prevents farmers from saving seed to plant the following year. Instead they must buy new seed each year putting them at greater financial risk should their crop fail.

Monsanto goes after farmers for patent infringement if their fields are accidentally contaminated with GMO plants. Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian canola farmer who was sued by Monsanto because the wind blew some Round-Up Ready GM canola onto his non-gmo field of canola. He fought Monsanto all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the Court ruled that he did not owe Monsanto anything.

The benefits of the genetic modifications are questionable. For example, GE soybeans were altered with the genes of brazil nuts in order to improve the taste of the soybeans.  The idea sounded good until those with nut allergies unknowingly ate them. (Nut allergies can be fatal).

Most of the genetic modifications are designed for pest control with toxic results.  Round-Up Ready Canola for
example, is modified to withstand Round-Up Ready insecticide, which pretty much kills anything but the GMO crop, rendering the soil infertile.  This modification encourages more pesticide use, particularly as the pests adapt and become more and more resistant to the insecticide.

Corn is modified so that every cell in the plant contains BT toxin. The leaves, the stems and yes, the kernels that we eat.  The BT toxin is meant to destroy the guts of the bugs that eat them. But those bugs have become resistant to this modification as well.

So instead of solving the pest problem, these genetic modifications have created resistant "super bugs", rendering the modifications useless.

Monsanto said BT toxin would be destroyed in the guts of humans, but research now shows that that is not true. BT toxin has been found in the placenta blood of pregnant women.

Rats that have been fed GM food for their entire lives suffer huge cancerous tumors.

GMO agriculture tends to promote monocrops, which decreases biodiversity, which in turn impacts food security.

Monsanto also created a “terminator gene” in 1998, which would stop a crop from producing viable seed. If this technology gets to market it will ensure the farmers need to re-buy each year.

Many farmers initially believed that they would benefit from higher crop yields by switching to GMO crops, but found that any marginal benefit they may have gained was wiped out by the fact that instead of being allowed to save seed from the previous crop, they were forced to re-buy GMO seed each year.

Monsanto, the major player in GE foods, also created a “terminator gene” in 1998, which would stop a crop from producing viable seed. If this technology gets to market it will ensure the farmers need to re-buy each year.

As you have probably observed, crops tend to be grown outside, with access to wind and insects. I find it frightening to think that this "terminator gene" may naturally hybridize with non-GMO crops. We don’t really know what might happen, but it seems at least possible that we may accidentally destroy our food supply if this gene were to get out of control.

Genetically Engineered food is a huge experiment in which we are the unknowing guinea pigs. Of course those involved will say it is safe – they have a vested interest. But the bottom line is we simply don’t know how safe it is for us or the planet.

The most commonly modified foods are canola, corn, soy and cottonseed.  If you want to avoid genetically modified food, read labels and avoid any products that contain these ingredients, or choose organic.

GMO food is a complex topic encompassing many important ethical issues. For more information, see the movie The Future of Food, and to look up GMO issues in your part of the world, go to to research by country, crop and year known GMO incidents caused by contamination, illegal release, or negative agricultural side-effect.

Aris A, Leblanc S Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reprod Toxicol. 2011, May;31(4):528-33.

Chek, Paul; How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2004.

Garcia, Deborah Koons; The Future of Food DVD, Cinema Libre Studio, CA, 2005.

Greenpeace International

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Factory farms, meat processing and E. coli

The XL Foods meat recall is highlighting the dangers of factory-farmed meat as well as giant processing plants.

Over the last month across Canada at least and probably in parts of the US, the daily news has been filled with the ever-expanding recall list of meat contaminated with E. Coli 0157 from the XL Foods meat-packing plant in Brooks, Alberta. Fifteen people have been sickened thus far.

This is the largest meat recall in Canadian history, affecting about half the meat production in the country. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspended XL Foods’ license Sept. 27th, putting 2000 people out of work. (That is one HUGE plant!)

Just as Canadian cattle farmers were recovering from the mad cow disease scare in 2003, they are worried about the impact this E. coli scare may have on their bottom lines.

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to raise awareness in the general population of the real dangers posed by factory farms and giant agribusiness meat-packing plants, but there is a better way to preserve not only the jobs in the cattle industry, but also the health of consumers.

In my opinion there are two main issues that converged to create the E. Coli problem: 1) Factory Farms, and 2) Ridiculously gigantic meat-packing plants.

Factory farms are where most cattle are raised – they are kept inside standing in their own excrement for most of their lives, not seeing the light of day. These animals are not eating their natural diet of grass, but are fed pesticide-laden, probably GMO corn. Feeding corn (even if it were not GMO) to ruminant animals whose bodies are designed to eat grass makes the cattle very sick, raising E. Coli levels to dangerous levels.

Antibiotics are given to the animals in an effort to control illness, which we now know is one of the most important reasons we have antibiotic resistance in humans today.

Pastured cattle do not have high E. coli counts, as grass is the natural diet of a cow. Pastured animals do not need antibiotics, as they don’t tend to get sick.

Research has shown that if cattle ranchers were to stop the grain and replace with grass or hay for as little as 2 weeks prior to slaughter, E. coli counts would drop by 90%. Why is this not done? Because cows fatten up quickly on grain, and feeding hay would reduce the weight of the animal, reducing the price fetched.

This summer I read about a farmer who actually began feeding his cattle gummy worms because the price of grain was so high due to the drought. He found his animals fattened up really well – yes, a diet of gummy bears would definitely be as fattening to cattle as to humans, but also as bad for the health of the cattle as they would to humans. Can you imagine how high those E. Coli counts would be? Eating sick animals is not going to make us healthy.

Even if the cattle are grass-fed, if they are slaughtered in a huge plant alongside all the factory-farmed cattle, there is no way to assure that their meat won’t be contaminated too.

From the stories that have recently come out of the XL Foods plant, it seems that the problems are mirroring what Eric Schlosser wrote about in his book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.

The animals are being slaughtered at such a fast rate that the workers can’t hose down the carcasses fast enough to remove the poop. Therefore it isn’t hard for the poop to get into the meat. Yes, absolutely disgusting.

There are fewer CFIA inspectors on the floor of the plant due to government cut backs, so lapses in food safety are more likely to occur. A company as huge as XL Foods is unlikely to go under if there is a problem, so safety might take a back seat to profit.

The best way to ensure that the animal foods we eat are safe, is to opt out of the big agribusiness food-system completely. Small farms and small slaughter houses have to be much more invested in food safety, because if something happens they are done. Out of business.

It is encouraging how this E. Coli scare has woken many people up. Farms that sell grass-fed beef and bison are finding their businesses have increased dramatically in the last month. Hopefully more farmers will switch their operations to take advantage of a growing trend.

People are getting together with friends and splitting the cost of the meat of a whole cow, or half a cow from a local farmer that raises the animals on grass. This is not only economical for the consumer, but also supports local farmers and local economies, encourages happy, healthy cows that get to spend their life outside doing what cows do best, does not promote antibiotic resistance, is much more environmentally friendly as there are no “poop ponds” that leach into waterways, and is more likely to result in safe, delicious meat.

In my opinion, “organic” is not important when it comes to meat. A cow gets just as sick on “organic” grain. The land the cow grazes on does not need to be certified organic. It is unlikely that a farmer is going to spray the grass. So spend the money on grass-fed / pastured and hormone-free, but don’t bother springing for organic meat.

If you want to search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

If you would like to get clarity on how to eat healthy, take my online nutrition course.

Related tips
Industrial agriculture – what is the cost of cheap food?
Conventional vs Organic vs Pastured meat, chicken, eggs and dairy
Bacteria, our immune system, and food-borne illness
In defense of real meat

CFIA investigation into XL Foods (E. coli O157:H7) Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2012.

XL Foods – List of Recalled Products Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2012.

Pollan, Michael The
Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Penguin Press, New York, 2006

Gonzalez F. et al.Grain feeding and the Dissemination of Acid-Resistant Escherichia coli from Cattle Science Washington, Sept. 11, 1998, Vol. 281, Iss. 5383: p. 1666-69. (A study
that shows the difference in e-coli levels between grass and grain fed

Scott, Julia Is Buying A Side Of Beef Worth It—Or Just Plain Crazy? Business Insider May 2012.

Copyright 2012 Vreni Gurd

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5 Key Nutrients for Healthy Eyes


Guest article today by Dr. David Cronauer, Doctor of Optometry.

Can you imagine what it would be like not to be able to see, or to have a dramatically reduced visual ability? There are so many things we take our sight for and yet we do very little to protect our eyes and keep them healthy! Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make sure your eyes get the protection they need to stay strong throughout your life. This post will focus on five key nutrients that will keep your eyes healthy and help avoid the development of eye damage, such as cataracts or glaucoma.

  1. Vitamin A. Do you remember hearing that carrots are good for your eyes? That is because carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which plays a key role in vision as well as in cell reproduction and healing. Vitamin A helps you see well in the dark, and a deficiency in this vitamin often causes blindness in third-world countries. In addition, vitamin A helps the immune system. Other than carrots, an excellent source of vitamin A is liver. Nutritional supplements can also provide this important element. Be careful, though, as large doses of vitamin A can be toxic.
  2. Vitamin C.Vitamin C has been linked to the prevention of cataracts. Studies show this is most effective over a long period of time, so start focusing on this today! It can also reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients, easing the stress on their vision. Excellent sources of vitamin C include many fruits, such as oranges, watermelon, grapefruit, and strawberries.
  3. Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from cell damage cause by free radicals. Intake of this vitamin can help protect your eye from many diseases associated with aging. Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, nut oils, and green leafy vegetables.
  4. Lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid that can protect your eyes from light-inflicted damage. While sunlight is an important nutrient in itself, certain frequencies within the sunlight can be damaging to your eyes. Leafy green vegetables are a good source of lutein, and you can also find supplements that provide carotenoids.
  5. Sunlight! Many of us spend the majority of our days indoors, often in front of a computer. Extended periods of time looking at a computer screen and in unnatural light can be very damaging for your eyes. Be sure to take frequent breaks, focus your eyes on a variety of distances, and try to get at least one hour of natural sunlight each day.

We all want to make sure we stay healthy as long as possible. As you take care of your muscles, cholesterol, joints, and bones, don’t forget to also nurture your eyes. They will serve you well throughout life if you make sure they receive the nutrition and care they need.

About the Author

Dr. David Cronauer works for, an online retailer of cheap contacts such as 1 day acuvue tryeye and Proclear Toric. He is a graduate of Wilkes University Pennsylvania College of Optometry where he received his Doctor of Optometry degree. Dr. Cronauer is certified in the treatment and management of ocular disease and specializes in vision-related problems for head injury and stroke victims.

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Solutions for Acid Reflux, Heart Burn and GERD

Acid reflux is a fairly common condition that has serious consequences for the body, and can often be addressed without antacids.

Most of us have probably encountered heart burn at one time or another, and many suffer from heart burn or acid reflux on a daily basis. The problem is caused by hydrochloric acid in the stomach splashing up into the esophagous (food pipe) causing a burning sensation in the chest. If this acid gets into the food pipe often, it can inflame and damage it.  The usual medical treatment is antacids, which neutralize the acid, or protein pump inhibitors which block the body’s ability to produce acid in the first place.

But here's the thing. Our body manufactures hydrochloric acid for a reason. We need it to help us break down and digest proteins, to stimulate the pancreas and liver to dump their digestive juices into the tract for the digestion of carbohydrates and fats, and also to kill off dangerous microbes that make their way inside of us along with the food we eat. So by reducing HCL we are destroying one of our very important immune defences, thereby increasing our chances of food poisoning.  And we are severely impacting our ability to gain the nutrition from our food.  Since food provides the building-blocks for our cells, acid reflux can be considered a sign of malnourishment.

Acid reflux can be viewed like a warning light on your car. What would you think of your car mechanic if you brought your car in and he removed the warning light-bulb as a strategy to resolving your car problem? That is exactly what taking antacids or PPIs does – it deals with the symptom but does not address the underlying issue.

Ironically, more frequently than not, those that suffer from acid reflux actually have too little acid rather than too much. Commonly another symptom is an inability to digest meat – it sits in the stomach for hours because there is not enough acid there to break it down. The little acid these people have is floating on top of the other gastric juices, and then splashes up when the valve from the esophagous (food pipe) opens. So taking PPIs which decreases acid production further is actually making the underlying problem worse.

The problem can also be mechanical. The stomach is located on the left side just under the ribs and is snugged up against the diaphragm, which separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. There is a hole in the diaphragm which allows the esophagous (food pipe) through to the stomach, and there should be a few centimetres of esophagous below the diaphragm before it enters the stomach.

The diaphragm moves a long way when we breathe, and if the esophagous is pulled up too high, the valve that prevents the stomach acid from backing into the esophagous may be kinked open due to diaphragm movement, and acid can more easily escape up. If there is a huge amount of upward pressure, the stomach can also be pushed up through the hole in the diaphragm, creating a hiatal hernia.

Other common symptoms related to low stomach acid include belching, gas, flatulance, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, undigested particles in stool, iron deficiency, fatigue, cracked, weak fingernails, dry skin, food allergies, acne, and/or chronic candida.

Here are some solutions to heart burn, acid reflux or GERD:

  • Find a visceral massage therapist who can nudge your stomach a bit lower allowing for proper closure of the valve, and preventing a hiatal hernia.
  • Drink at least half your bodyweight in pounds, in ounces of water each day.  A recent study shows that water works better and faster than antacids to clear up heart burn.  And it provides the raw material from which to make your own HCL.
  • Drink your water at room temperature rather than ice cold, as ice cold water suppresses HCL production.
  • Eat a quarter to half a cup of fermented foods that have not been pasteurized after they were fermented, such as cold sauerkraut or kimchi with each meal, in order to increase the good bacteria in the gut.  Or speed up the process by taking a good quality probiotic.
  • Chew your food thoroughly until liquid before swallowing to help digestion.
  • Decrease or eliminate sugar intake, which suppresses HCL production.
  • Eat lots of bitter greens, cooked –  dandelion is especially effective at increasing HCL production.
  • Do not lie down after a meal – stay upright so gravity can aid in keeping the acid down.
  • Avoid raw vegetables until digestion is improved but do eat them cooked or fermented.
  • Avoid triggers like caffeine, alcohol, hot and black peppers.
  • May be helpful to take a multivitamin if you've been suffering from acid reflux for a while, as you will probably be mineral and vitamin deficient.  Vitamin B12 can't be digested at all without adequate HCL, for example.
  • To support your digestion until you are making enough of your own HCL, take betaine HCL supplements immediately after each meal. To figure out the right dosage for you, take the tablets / capsules one at a time with a meal until you get a slight burning sensation. Your dosage is one less pill than that with each meal.  When you are at the right dosage, your stomach should feel like you just had a warm cup of tea.
  • Digestive enzymes may also assist initially until the body is producing them properly on its own again.
  • If you are overweight, decrease sugar and flour products as well as all processed food in order to lose weight.  The extra abdominal weight particularly when lying down, pushes the stomach up, potentially worsening the mechanics.
  • Turning the lights out by 10:30pm increases melatonin secretion, which has been shown to reduce acid reflux.

If you want to share this article, scroll to the very bottom and click the “share” icon to post on Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want to subscribe or search for other posts by title or by topic, go to

Related tips:
Stress and the digestive system
Bacteria, our immune system, and food-borne illness
What makes us sick, the germ, or a poor immune system?

Diagram of the normal placement of the stomach and esophagous, as well as a haital hernia

Karamanolis G A glass of water immediately increases gastric pH in healthy subjects. Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Dec;53(12):3128-32. Epub 2008 May 13.

Vesper BJ et al. The effect of proton pump inhibitors on the human microbiota. Curr Drug Metab. 2009 Jan;10(1):84-9.

Coté GA, Howden CW. Potential adverse effects of proton pump inhibitors. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2008 Jun;10(3):208-14.

Maura Banar How to Increase Hydrochloric Acid in Stomach

Lisa Porter Deficiency of Hydrochloric Acid & B12

Copyright 2011 Vreni Gurd

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