Cacao is known as the food (or drink) of the Gods!  It has been traced back to the Maya people who were thought to be the first to cultivate the cacao plant around 400AD.  The plant that is recognised today is actually a result of cross selection that started over 35,000 years ago and the scientific name is Theobroma cacao.

100% cacao has a rich, chocolate flavour but is also very bitter.  The taste of cacao can actually vary depending on the variety of plant, soil, temperate, sunlight and rain that is received during the growing process.

Once the cacao bean has been processed (cold pressed, unroasted beans) – you can end up with raw cacao powder, cacao nibs and cacao butter (the oils of the beans).

Cocoa vs cacao powder

Cocoa is the term used for cacao that has been roasted at high temperature, which changes the chemical nature of the bean.  This exposure to high temperature lowers the antioxidant capacity and reduces the nutrient density that is found in the raw, cold pressed cacao. Otherwise, cocoa powder and cacao powder are interchangeable.

Cocoa butter vs cacao butter

Cacao butter is the pure, cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean. Raw cacao butter production doesn’t exceed 46 degrees celcius, whilst cocoa butter might undergo some heating during the pressing process. Raw cacao butter  is more nutrient dense but otherwise they are totally interchangeable. Both are edible, stable vegetable fats that can be used in cooking and in preparations of skin and beauty products. You might also come across refined and unrefined cocoa and coconut butter, where in the refined version the colour and aroma are stripped. Unrefined is more supreme in our opinion.

cacao-vs-cocoa

Raw cacao health benefits

Be sure to note here – the benefits we are going to talk about all relate to raw cacao and cacao dark chocolate.  We are not talking about sugar and dairy laden milk chocolate!!!

One of the greatest health benefits of cacao comes from the flavonols (a class of flavonoids – antioxidants) that are found in cacao.  Schardt notes that “Flavonols are bitter tasting, so to make cocoa more palatable, chocolate manufacturers roast, ferment, pulverise and sometimes alkalinize the beans or cocoa…unfortunately, this processing can destroy a lot of the flavanols”.(2013)

Antioxidant – Heart and Renal Health

  • Cacao is a powerhouse FULL of antioxidants! The flavanols found in cacao can increase nitric oxide bioavailability, activate nitric oxide synthase and exert anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet activity – all of which may improve vascular function and reduce blood pressure.
  • Cacao has been studied for its ability to reduce blood pressure and has been shown to produce “a small but statistically significant effect in lowering blood pressure by 2-3mm Hg in the short term” (Schardt, 2013)
  • It has also been shown that the consumption of dark chocolate can increase renal medullary oxygenation and therefore may be a renal (kidney) protective agent.

Happy, Happy, Happy + Energy

  • Eating cacao makes you happy!  It contains phenylethylamine which is responsible for our state of mood and pleasure and the same feelings you get when you are in love.  It also acts as a stimulant and can improve mental alertness.
  • Cacao also contains serotonin and dopamine – which also stimulate good mood and ‘pleasure’ feelings.
  • Anandomide is also in cacao which is present in the brain as an endogenous substance and interacts with cannabinoid receptors.

Nutrients in cacao

  • As we mentioned above, cacao is a powerhouse antioxidant and rates in the top 20 on the Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scale.  The ORAC scale is used to rate the antioxidant capacity of foods.
  • Cacao also contains great levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral during times of stress and helps you to feel more relaxed.  It also contains manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium.
  • Raw cacao even contains good levels vitamin C!

Cacao/cocoa butter skin benefits

  • Cocoa butter has been widely used to reduce or prevent stretch marks. There is no substantial clinical evidence that it really works but the butter provides deep hydration and antioxidants to fight free radicals so we’d definitely use it to keep our skin supple and moist, which in turn can prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • It has been noted to help with sensitive skin problems such as irritations, eczema and dermatitis.

Be aware

  • Raw cacao is a stimulant so it is advised not to consume it after about 2-3pm as to not interfere with a good night’s sleep!
  • Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service found that the higher cacao content of chocolate the higher the benefits of the antioxidant properties found.  So the darker – the better J
  • It has been reported that dairy in chocolate reduces the bioavailability of the flavonoids found in cacao.  It should be noted that the jury is out on this one!  There are studies for and against – so I’m not convinced either way just yet.  At Rejuvenated for Life we acknowledge that there are many people who benefit from following a dairy free diet, as it can cause an inflammatory response in a lot of people and so for now would hedge our bets that you would be receiving more benefit from consuming chocolate and cacao that is dairy free.
  • There is such a thing as ‘chocolate poisoning’ or ‘theobromine poisoning’, which is an overdose reaction to the alkaloid found in cacao.  Theobromine has an effect primarily on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system, as well as on respiratory system and acting as a diuretic.
  • Although the risk is very small and it would be very hard to consume enough theobromine to make yourself sick – it is just a reminder that anything eaten in extreme quantities is not good for you!  This is why pets such as dogs can’t eat chocolate; it is the throbromine that makes them so sick.

Where to get raw cacao

You can find raw cacao powder and cacao butter in most health food stores these days and even at some major supermarkets.

You can find raw chocolate at good health food stores, variety stores or online.  Just be aware of the sugar content and still look out for the highest percentage of cacao.

Dark chocolate can be hard to get used to if you try to switch straight from milk chocolate to 90% cacao.  The best tip is to gradually start buying chocolate that has a higher percentage of cacao, say by about 10-20% every month. Dark chocolate is very palatable once you get used to it. It takes 21 days to change your tastebuds, so before you know it, you will be eating 95% dark chocolate.

How to use it

Cacao powder can be added to smoothies, to make chocolate desserts or to make a yummy hot chocolate.

Cacao butter can be used in conjunction with cacao powder and natural sweetener to make your own chocolate (see some recipes below). It is also great to add to bliss balls or nut bases to hold them together and can be used in the place of coconut oil.  It will add a lovely velvety, chocolate flavour. Cacao butter is edible but it is also used in skin care products.

Cacao nibs add a lovely crunch to muffins, ice-cream or as a topping on your favourite dessert.  They are also great to add to your favourite granola mix for breakfast or on top of a smoothie.

Fasting Induces Stem Cell Regeneration, Restores Immune System

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage – a major side effect of chemotherapy – but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles then “flipped a regenerative switch”: changing the signaling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems, the research showed.

The study has major implications for healthier aging, in which immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as we age. By outlining how prolonged fasting cycles – periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months – kill older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones, the research also has implications for chemotherapy tolerance and for those with a wide range of immune system deficiencies, including autoimmunity disorders.

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Longo said. “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?”

Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose, fat and ketones, but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. Longo likens the effect to lightening a plane of excess cargo.

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During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells. In particular, prolonged fasting reduced the enzyme PKA, an effect previously discovered by the Longo team to extend longevity in simple organisms and which has been linked in other research to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency — that is, the potential for one cell to develop into many different cell types. Prolonged fasting also lowered levels of IGF-1, a growth-factor hormone that Longo and others have linked to aging, tumor progression and cancer risk.

“PKA is the key gene that needs to shut down in order for these stem cells to switch into regenerative mode. It gives the ‘okay’ for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” explained Longo, noting the potential of clinical applications that mimic the effects of prolonged fasting to rejuvenate the immune system. “And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting. Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”

Prolonged fasting also protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical trial in which a small group of patients fasted for a 72-hour period prior to chemotherapy, extending Longo’s influential past research: “While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy,” said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital. “More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”

“We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system,” said Longo, whose lab is in the process of conducting further research on controlled dietary interventions and stem cell regeneration in both animal and clinical studies.

Source: Chia-Wei Cheng, Gregor B. Adams, Laura Perin, Min Wei, Xiaoying Zhou, Ben S. Lam, Stefano Da Sacco, Mario Mirisola, David I. Quinn, Tanya B. Dorff, John J. Kopchick, Valter D. Longo. Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression.

Science Finally Confirms That People Absorb Energy From Others

A biological research team at Bielefeld University has made a groundbreaking discovery showing that plants can draw an alternative source of energy from other plants. This finding could also have a major impact on the future of bioenergy eventually providing the evidence to show that people draw energy from others in much the same way.

Members of Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse’s biological research team have confirmed for the first time that a plant, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other plants. The research findings were released this week in the online journal Nature Communications published by the renowned journal Nature.

Flowers need water and light to grow and people are no different. Our physical bodies are like sponges, soaking up the environment. “This is exactly why there are certain people who feel uncomfortable in specific group settings where there is a mix of energy and emotions,” said psychologist and energy healer Dr. Olivia Bader-Lee.

Plants engage in the photosynthesis of carbon dioxide, water, and light. In a series of experiments, Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse and his team cultivated the microscopically small green alga species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and observed that when faced with a shortage of energy, these single-cell plants can draw energy from neighbouring vegetable cellulose instead. The alga secretes enzymes (so-called cellulose enzymes) that ‘digest’ the cellulose, breaking it down into smaller sugar components.

These are then transported into the cells and transformed into a source of energy: the alga can continue to grow. ‘This is the first time that such a behaviour has been confirmed in a vegetable organism’, says Professor Kruse. ‘That algae can digest cellulose contradicts every previous textbook. To a certain extent, what we are seeing is plants eating plants’. Currently, the scientists are studying whether this mechanism can also be found in other types of alga. Preliminary findings indicate that this is the case.READ  5 Of The Absolute Worst Law Of Attraction Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

These are then transported into the cells and transformed into a source of energy: the alga can continue to grow. ‘This is the first time that such a behaviour has been confirmed in a vegetable organism’, says Professor Kruse. ‘That algae can digest cellulose contradicts every previous textbook. To a certain extent, what we are seeing is plants eating plants’. Currently, the scientists are studying whether this mechanism can also be found in other types of alga. Preliminary findings indicate that this is the case.

“When energy studies become more advanced in the coming years, we will eventually see this translated to human beings as well,” stated Bader-Lee. “The human organism is very much like a plant, it draws needed energy to feed emotional states and this can essentially energize cells or cause increases in cortisol and catabolize cells depending on the emotional trigger.”

Bader-Lee suggests that the field of bioenergy is now ever evolving and that studies on the plant and animal world will soon translate and demonstrate what energy metaphysicians have known all along — that humans can heal each other simply through energy transfer just as plants do. “Human can absorb and heal through other humans, animals, and any part of nature. That’s why being around nature is often uplifting and energizing for so many people,” she concluded.

Here are five energy tools to use to clear your space and prevent energy drains while releasing people’s energy:

Stay centered and grounded. If you are centered within your spiritual self (instead of your analyzer or ego) you will sense right away when something has moved into your space. If you are fully grounded, you can easily release other people’s energy and emotions down your grounding cord with your intention.READ  Dreams Hold Secret Messages From Your Spirit Guides: Learn To Decode Them

Be in a state of non-resistance. What we resists sticks. If you feel uncomfortable around a certain person or in a group, don’t go into resistance as a way to protect yourself as this will only keep foreign energy stuck in your space. Move into a state of non-resistance by imagining that your body is clear and translucent like clear glass or water. This way, if someone throws some invalidation at you, it will pass right through you.

Own your personal aura space. We each have an energetic aura surrounding our body. If we don’t own this personal space we are vulnerable to foreign energy entering it. Become aware of your aura boundaries (about an arms length away from your body all the way around, above and below) as a way to own your personal space.

Give yourself an energy cleanse. The color gold has a high vibration which is useful for clearing away foreign energy. Imagine a gold shower nozzle at the top of your aura (a few feet above your head) and turn it on, allowing clear gold energy to flow through your aura and body space and release down your grounding. You will immediately feel cleansed and refreshed.

Call back your energy. When we have our energy in our own space there is less room for other’s energy to enter. But as we focus on other people and projects we sometimes spread our energy around. Create an image of a clear gold sun several feet above your head and let it be a magnet, attracting all of your energy back into it (and purifying it in the gold energy). Then bring it down through the top of your aura and into your body space, releasing your energy back into your personal space.

Originally written by Michael Forrester and published on Prevent Disease

Scientists just discovered fasting triggers stem cell regeneration and halts tumor progression

A number of ancient health practices are proving to be effective in multiple ways. We recently posted an article about meditation, and how neuroscience can now explain what happens to the brain when we meditate.

Now, scientists have discovered the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system. The study was published in the June 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell by researchers from the University of Southern California.

The research shows that cycles of prolonged fasting protect against immune system damage and induce immune system regeneration. They concluded that fasting shifts stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal. (1)

Human clinical trials were conducted using patients who were receiving chemotherapy. For long periods of time, patients did not eat which significantly lowered their white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles “flipped a regenerative switch, changing the signalling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems.”  (1)

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the heatopoietic system. When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.  

What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. ” – Valter Longo, corresponding author. (1)

Again, because fasting significantly lowers white blood cell counts, this triggers stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.  More importantly, it reduces the PKA enzyme, which has been linked to aging, tumour progression and cancer.(1)

It’s also noteworthy to mention that fasting protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical trial where patients fasted for 72 hours prior to chemotherapy.

“Chemotherapy causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy.” Co-Author Tanya Dorff

Fasting is a tradition that’s been incorporated into many ancient cultures, from Vedic to Buddhist and more, fasting should not be confused with starvation. It’s the process of restrain and control from the sensorial experience of eating and at the same time making sure you are doing it correctly.

When I fast, I usually do water fasts and I have been doing them for almost eight years now and I always feel great and full of energy after doing so.

More Research

1. Fasting helps protect against brain disease:

Researchers at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore have found evidence that fasting for one or two days a week can prevent the effects of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease. Research also found that cutting the daily intake to 500 calories a day for two days out of the seven can show clear beneficial effects for the brain.

2. Fasting cuts your risk of heart disease and diabetes:

Regularly going a day without food reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Studies show that fasting releases a significant surge in human growth hormone, which is associated with speeding up metabolism and burning off fat. Shedding fat is known to cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Doctors are even starting to consider fasting as a treatment.

3. Fasting effectively treats cancer in human cells:

A study from the scientific journal of aging found that cancer patients who included fasting into their therapy perceived fewer side effects from chemotherapy. All tests conducted so far show that fasting improves survival, slow tumor growth and limit the spread of tumors.

The National Institute on Aging has also studied one type of breast cancer in detail to further understand the effects of fasting on cancer. As a result of fasting, the cancer cells tried to make new proteins and took other steps to keep growing and dividing.

As a result of these steps, which in turn led to a number of other steps, damaging free radical molecules were created which broke down the cancer cells own DNA and caused their destruction!

It’s cellular suicide, the cancer cell is trying to replace all of the stuff missing in the bloodstream that it needs to survive after a period of fasting, but can’t. In turn, it tries to create them and this leads to its own destruction

Again, make sure you do your research before trying this out. Hopefully this can kick-start you further into looking into it if you are truly interested.

Sources:

Collective Evolution

https://news.usc.edu/

1. Critical for chronic acid reflux
Acid reflux means 3 things are happening: low hydrochloric acid production, unproductive bacteria such as strep and e. Coli & a weakened liver. Celery juice helps improve these.

2. Fights autoimmune disease
Pathogens are the true cause of the inflammation that’s mistakenly considered autoimmune. Celery juice’s undiscovered sodium cluster salts can break down & flush out these pathogens.

3. Helps restore adrenals
The undiscovered sodium cluster salts in celery juice help keep your adrenals stable & functioning.

4. Contains undiscovered sodium cluster salts that reverse illness
Celery juice’s undiscovered sodium cluster salts act together as an antiseptic. When they make contact with viruses & bacteria—troublemakers responsible for chronic illness—the salts begin to break down the pathogens’ cell membranes, eventually destroying them.

5. Neutralizes & flushes toxins out of the liver
Celery juice’s sodium cluster salts bind onto neurotoxins, dermatoxins, & other viral waste, as well as troublemakers, & draw them out of the liver.

6. Helps eradicate strep bacteria
Strep is responsible for many conditions, like acne, UTIs, SIBO, yeast infections, & more. Celery juice helps destroy strep.

7. Kills Epstein-Barr & Shingles viruses
The white blood cells of the liver’s personalized immune system add the cluster salts to their cell membrane coatings, making them toxic to viruses.

8. Brings down toxic liver heat
Celery juice purges a sluggish liver while bringing down liver heat.

9. Powerful weapon against SIBO & bloating
Celery juice is a powerful stomach acid replenisher so that gastric juices can kill strep, which causes SIBO. It also breaks down rotting protein & rancid fats in the stomach & small intestinal tract, helping bloating.

10. Repairs hydrochloric acid & liver bile production
Celery juice strengthens hydrochloric acid & bile production & strengthens the liver, which then allows for better bile production.

Learn about the miraculous healing powers of celery juice in the new book

Anthony William,

I talk a lot about antioxidants so what are antioxidants? They are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. This damage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases to people that eat processed foods, non-organic produce, meat and dairy to include hardening of the arteries, cancer, and arthritis. Free radicals can also interfere with your immune system. So, fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections.

Hippocrates said 100’s of years ago, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” i can’t tell you how important and true that statement is as fresh and powerful today as it was when Hippocrates first uttered those words 470 BC. I live my life by those words and being 60 years next month , I contribute to my health to eating fresh organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. I do not subscribe to “superfoods” that are sold on the Internet and in health food stores from exotic places. It is snake oil just as vitamins are snake oil (except B12).

Eat what is local, what is fresh and in season and is available in your community. If kale isn’t available, eat mustard greens, collard greens or spinach. If berries are not available or too expensive, then eat apples and oranges. By eating local organic food from local farmers, you are not only benefiting from fresh produce but you are also participating within your community by supporting hard working neighbors and businesses.

Adding more fruit and vegetables of any kind to your diet will improve your health. But some foods are higher in antioxidants than others. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables – especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed;

Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Vitamin C: Berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Vitamin E: Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds.

These food are the “superfoods,,” the ones that are right in your own community. Health, happiness, peace, kindness to your fellow man, compassion to all animals and respect and awareness for our environment is all part of achieving wholeness and wellness… thank you Doug .

It doesn’t matter what your health, age, or geographic location is. Those desiring to maintain good health must consider veganism. There are certain factors that make veganism absolutely essential.

Vegans have much lower cholesterol levels than meat eaters and heart disease is uncommon among vegans. The reasons are not hard to find. Diabetes and obesity are a rarity among vegans. Vegans also take very little if any prescription drugs as vegans avoid food that encourages disease while eating food that encourages health and well being…

Vegan meals are typically low in saturated fat and usually contain little or no cholesterol. Since cholesterol is found only in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, vegans consume a cholesterol-free diet.

The type of protein in a vegan diet may be another important advantage. Many studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol levels-even if the amount and type of fat in the diet stays the same. Those studies show that a low-fat, vegan diet has a clear advantage over other diets.

An impressive number of studies, dating back to the early 1920s, show that vegans have a lower blood pressure than non-vegans. In fact, some studies have shown that adding meat to a vegan diet raises blood pressure levels rapidly and significantly. The effects of a vegan diet occur in addition to the benefits of reducing the sodium content of the diet. When patients with high blood pressure begin a vegan diet, many are able to eliminate their need for medication.

The latest studies on diabetes show that a diet high in complex carbohydrates (which are found only in plant foods) and low in fat is the best dietary prescription for controlling diabetes. Since diabetics are at high risk for heart disease, avoiding fat and cholesterol is the most important goal of the diabetic diet, and a vegan diet is ideal. Although all insulin-dependent diabetics need to take insulin, plant-based diets can help to reduce insulin needs.

A vegan diet helps prevent cancer. Studies of vegans show that death rates from cancer are only about one-half to three-quarters of those of the general population. Breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in countries where diets are typically plant-based. When people from those countries adopt a Western, meat-based diet, their rates of breast cancer soar.

Vegans also have significantly less colon cancer than meat eaters. Meat consumption is more closely associated with colon cancer than any other dietary factor. A plant-based diet is primarily fiber-rich whereas meat and dairy has no fiber which compacts the colon…

Why do vegan diets help protect against cancer? First, they are lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat-based diets. But there are other important factors also. For example, vegans usually consume more of the plant pigment beta-carotene. This might help to explain why vegans have less lung cancer. Also, at least one study has shown that natural sugars in dairy products may raise the risk of ovarian cancer in some women. Some of the anti-cancer aspects of a vegetarian diet cannot yet be explained. For example, researchers are not quite sure why vegans have more of certain white blood cells, called “natural killer cells,” which are able to seek out and destroy cancer cells.

Vegans are less likely to form kidney stones and gallstones. In addition, vegans may also be at lower risk for osteoporosis because they eat little or no animal protein. A high intake of animal protein encourages the loss of calcium from the bones. Replacing animal products with plant foods reduces the amount of calcium loss. This may help to explain why people who live in countries where the diet is typically plant-based have little osteoporosis even when calcium intake is low.

Vegans are healthier by a long shot. We cut our risk of major diseases by at least half, in some cases altogether. I have been a Vegan for most of my life and I have never had any symptoms of high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. I have never taken a prescription drug or had the need to see a doctor.

Meat and dairy have no fiber, it is a dead animal and lacks healing and healthy nutrition. Whereas live foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts are bursting with healing nutrients and vitamins that build pristine health. I know that I feel amazing every day, I can feel live foods in my body creating a healthy platform for a quality of life that only Vegans can experience.

It is so simple to understand why veganism is the fountain of youth. There are thousands of controlled studies that prove this. I am confused about

why people embrace life-threatening diseases and jeopardize their health substantially by eating meat, dairy, processed foods and drink alcohol

and smoke. Only two percent of the entire population are vegans and half

of that number are vegans that eat unhealthily… Without question Russian Roulette is dangerous. No one I know will play that game which

certainly will kill you… So, why do more than 98% of the population metaphorically play Russia Roulette every day of their lives by sabotaging their health?

I am constantly being told that my diet is “extreme, radical and abnormal.” My reply back to them is “cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chemotherapy, and prescription drugs are radical, extreme and abnormal.” My next door neighbor complimented me on my willpower. I had to laugh – I told her “that is like complimenting me on not being a murderer.”

Thank you Doug for this great piece of info ….

“I am a new to veganism and am very concerned with how much people around me are talking about vitamin B12. I didn’t know anything about it until I became vegan but now I am scared. Are there any natural sources of it or should I get a supplement?”

What does B12 do anyway?

Vitamin B12 helps maintain health of the brain and nervous cells. It is also involved in the production of DNA and RNA as well as red blood cells. B12 helps clear harmful homocysteine from blood (high levels of homocysteine are associated with inflammation, heart disease and osteoporosis).

What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Lack of energy, extreme tiredness, breathlessness, headaches, pale skin, palpitations, mouth ulcers, pins and needles, pale yellow tinge to your skin, sore red tongue, disturbed vision, irritability, depression, decline in mental abilities (memory, understanding, judgment).

Who is likely to suffer from deficiency?

Vegans (or anybody who limits animal based products in their diet) and the elderly, due to lowered stomach acid production (evidence shows that up to 50% of the over 65 are deficient in vitamin B12). Certain medications such as proton pump inhibitors or the diabetes drug Metformin interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.  Anyone with IBD and celiac disease or those who had weight loss surgery should keep an eye on their vitamin B12 levels. Lastly, some people don’t produce intrinsic factor, specific protein needed for the absorption of vitamin B12, and this leads to pernicious anaemia if B12 is not supplemented.

Do all vegans need to supplement?

The simple answer is yes. If you are not experiencing any symptoms of deficiency it may be that your body is relying on the stores of B12. Vitamin B12 is the only water soluble vitamin we can store in our body, however without regular supply our stores run out and deficiency symptoms start to emerge.

You may ask why vegans need vitamin B12 while herbivorous animals do just fine without supplements. Vitamin B12 is synthesised by bacteria, which herbivorous animals ingest with their unwashed food and contaminated water. We could get our B12 in the same way, but this could mean ingesting other critters that might lead to potentially dangerous infections. Vegans do have bacteria that synthesise B12 in the gut, but unfortunately this synthesis happens at a more distal portion of the gut which means the B12 is excreted rather than absorbed.

Are there any plant based sources of B12?

While there is a belief that there are plant sources that contain vitamin B12 (food such as nori, chlorella or miso), the type of B12 in these foods is an B12 analogue and is not active in humans, therefore it is not valid source of B12. Whilst there are some plant products that have shown improvement in Vitamin B12 status (such as Palmyra jaggery), it is still preferable not to rely on these products entirely in order to obtain a reliable regular dose.

Can I get enough vitamin B12 from fortified foods?

Yes, it is possible to get B12 from fortified products, however you need to make sure to consume at least 3 servings of these foods daily. Moreover, many of the fortified foods are not the healthiest, either containing additives, sugar, salt and/or unhealthy fats (such as many breakfast cereals). To achieve a healthy vegan diet it is much beneficial to eat a well balanced whole foods plant based diet supported with a good quality vitamin B12 supplement rather than relying on fortified processed products.

What supplements to take?

To achieve best results, it is recommended to use sublingual or spray vitamin B12 supplement. Taking Vitamin B12 this way ensures it enters the blood stream without the need to go through digestive system as is the case for B12 in tablet form. There are 3 forms of vitamin B12 on the market. Cyanocobalamin, the synthetic version of b12 is the most commonly available version and is most stable. Other versions are hydroxicobalamin and methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the form bacteria produce – hence is the closest to the B12 available in nature. Whilst methylcobalamin is my personal preference, all three B12 forms will help you achieve adequate vitamin B12 status when taken in appropriate doses. Generally, the recommendation is to take 2 smaller doses twice daily or one larger dose once a day for best absorption. If supplementing daily aim for 250mcg, for an efficient weekly dose aim for 2500mcg per week on an empty stomach. There is no doubt that  a well planned plant based diet has incredible benefits for our health, and making sure you get the recommended dose of vitamin B12 is essential to ensure you will be thriving as a vegan.

Herbs are rich in antioxidants, phytosterols, vitamins, and other nutrient substances that equip the body to fight against toxins and germs. They help in boosting the immune system as well. In fact, you can call herbs as ‘medicines’ when taken in small doses. I have been making broths out of medicinal herbs along with powerful nutrient-rich vegetables like beets, onions,m celery, carrots, kale, mustard greens, shitake mushroom and red cabbage. Today I very gently simmered Astragalus Root,
Codonopsis Root, Reishi Mushroom, Poria Fungus, Shiitake Mushroom, Jujube Date Fruit and the vegetables I detailed… I simmer for about an hour and then I strain the herbs and the vegetables out of the liquid. I drink the liquid both cold and hot. I may add freshly squeezed lemon. I also make a clear chickpea miso soup with the broth…

The Herbs

Alfalfa Leaf (Medicago sativa): Naturally high in protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins. Alfalfa detoxifies the body and purifies the blood.

Astragalus/Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus): Astragalus nourishes and tonifies the blood, builds immunity and resistance to colds and flu, promotes skin generation, strengthens muscle, strengthens chronically weak lungs, improves digestion and metabolism, tonifies spleen Qi, and helps to maintain upright posture and positioning of the organs in the body.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa): A highly nutritive herb, rich in vitamins A & C, burdock root improves gallbladder function, helps to increase the absorption of fats, and aids in the detoxification of excess wastes. Burdock also helps to control sugar cravings as well as treating alcohol addiction. Burdock relieves lymph congestion and cleanses and nourishes the blood.

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum): Improves circulation, increases metabolism, boosts the immune system, and aids digestion. It breaks up congestion in the body, clearing mucus, moving blood and dispelling cold dampness. With anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, cayenne may be used internally or externally to treat muscle and joint pain, including arthritis. It is a tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach.

Chickweed (Stellaria Media): Loaded in nutrition and best known for its ability to cool and soothe inflammations, both internally and externally, It can be used to treat blood toxicity, inflammation and other “hot” type diseases.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum): Cilantro­ is rich in micronutrients, high in calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and has been found to remove heavy metals from the body. There is evidence that consumption of cilantro accelerates the excretion of lead and aluminum deposits from the body

Codonopsis Root/Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula): A supreme tonic supporting digestion and the immune system, it is a primary herb used to tonify Qi, particularly in the spleen and lungs. Codonopsis increases vital energy, strengthens digestion and assimilation, and is given in all diseases associated with weakness, debility after illness, tiredness, lack of strength, poor appetite and anemia. It supports breast milk production and can alleviate diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloatedness, chronic cough and shortness of breath.

Cordyceps/Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that, in the wild, typically grows on and completely consumes the larvae of certain moths (eg. caterpillars). Cordyceps is a tonic for the kidneys which control sexual function, cognition, structural integrity, and healing ability. It strengthens the skeletal structure; specifically the lower back, knees, and ankles, and is anti­bacterial, anti­viral, and anti­fungal.

Dang GuiDang Gui/Chinese Angelica Root (Angelica sinensis): Alleviates pain, regulates menstruation, and moistens intestines. Dang Gui is used as a blood tonic, vitalizing and improving circulation. It is used for abdominal and menstrual pain, traumatic injuries, arthritis, rheumatism, sores, and abscesses. It normalizes heart contractions and dilates blood vessels increasing peripheral blood flow. It causes red blood cell proliferation and helps treat anemia.

Dioscorea Root/Shan Yao/Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposita): Best known for regulating female hormones in Western Medicine, Chinese Yam is used as a Spleen Qi tonic and supports both the Yin and the Qi of the spleen, lungs and Kidneys. It is used to treat fatigue, lack of strength, exhaustion, and weakness.

Eleuthero Root/Siberian Ginseng/Ci Wu Jia (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Increases appetite, improves energy and enhances immune system, boosts endurance, stimulates virility and helps the body better withstand stress. Indicated when there is low energy, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness. As such it is popular as an adjunct treatment for cancer patients. Can be helpful in Lyme disease protocols when there is joint pain and fatigue.

Eucommia BarkEucommia Root/Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides): Supports the functions of the endocrine and skeletal systems, particularly ligaments and tendons. It is also known for its kidney tonifying effects and supports normal healthy sexual functions.

Fo­ ti Stem/Ye Jiao Teng (Polygonum multiflorum): A Chinese herb used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. Helps to quiet the mind and calm the nerves.

Galangal Root/Gao Liang Jiang (Alpinia galanga): Has a stimulating effect on the digestive system. Galangal root is antispasmodic and antibacterial.

Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic contains a substance called Allicin which has antibiotic properties. It is useful in treating everything from a common cold to allergies to tonsillitis. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds which detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Garlic has also demonstrated anti­cancer, anti­fungal and anti­oxidant effects.

Ginger RootGinger Rhizome/Gan Jiang (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is a wonderful herb for digestion. It helps break down proteins to decrease stomach and intestinal gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body. Ginger also treats nausea and morning sickness. Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver.

Berry/Gou Qi Zi (Lycium barbarum): Regular consumption of Goji is traditionally believed to lead to a long and happy life. Goji is also said to brighten the eyes and support vision. It is traditionally said that Goji strengthens the legs and enhances sexual function. Goji fruit contains polysaccharides that have been demonstrated to support the immune system. Goji provides B vitamins and is high in Beta Carotene.

Jujube DatesJujube Date/Da Zao (Ziziphus jujuba): An excellent superfruit that fosters radiant health and provides energy when consumed consistently. Red Jujube Dates nourish the blood, soothe the mind, and build and strengthen muscle. Jujube is considered a mild Shen tonic because it calms the mind ­ without causing drowsiness – while increasing physical energy.

Kaffir Lime Leaf (Citrus hystrix): Aids in digestion and purifies the blood. It is believed to have a positive effect on the mind and the body and leaves one with positive thoughts. The leaves can also be rubbed on to gums and teeth for total dental health.

Kelp/Kun Du (Ascophyllum nodosum): Seaweed draws an extraordinary wealth of mineral elements from the sea including sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus. Kelp is rich in natural iodine which benefits proper functioning of the thyroid glands.

Kombu SeaweedKombu/Hai Dai (Laminaria japonica): Kombu is very high in organic iodine, and has been used to treat thyroid disease in China for centuries. It also is very high in calcium and potassium, and contains a number of other minerals and trace elements. The algin in kombu has been found to fix and remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body, have a strong blood anticoagulant activity, and reduce blood pressure.

Ligusticum Root/Chinese Lovage Root/Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum wallichii): Ligusticum treats conditions such as upper respiratory infection, helps to promote healthy blood flow and relieves pain. Liguisticum has been known to treat all types of headaches and relieve menstrual symptoms. Because it warms the uterus and decongests blood in the pelvic region, it is especially popular for menstrual cramps.

Lily Bulb/Bai He (Lilium brownii): Lily bulbs are used to relieve coughs, dry throats and other respiratory conditions, to clear away heat, and to treat insomnia and heart palpitations. Its tonic properties make it a good herb for promoting restful sleep and treating restlessness and irritability.

Lotus Seed/Lian Zi (Nelumbo nucifera): Beneficial for the heart, tones the spleen and kidneys, prevents insomnia, and calms the nerves. Lotus seeds have astringent properties, which make them helpful in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea while also improving appetite. The seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia.

Maitake Mushroom/Hui Shu Hua (Grifola frondosa): A highly nutritious food, traditionally eaten throughout the world. It has a positive effect on the immune system and anti-cancer properties and has been effective in the treatment of diabetes.

NettlesNettles (Urtica dioica): Is a nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of wastes. Nettles are especially important for women’s health. Through pregnancy it helps in guarding against excessive bleeding as well as strengthening the fetus. It eases labor pains and increase milk production. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti­-inflammatories that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergic reactions. Nettles is extremely high in essential vitamins and nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and even protein!

Peony RootPeony Root/Bai Shao (Paeonia lactiflora): One of the most highly prized women’s herbs used traditionally to help regulate the female hormonal cycle and to tonify and purify the blood. It is also used as a pain reducing agent and as an emotional stabilizer by women. It is said to relieve cramps and spasms anywhere in the body. Peony root is also believed to extend life and to promote beauty. Men should use Peony as well, since it has an anti-aging effect without affecting hormones.

PoriaPoria Fungus/Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae cocos): One of the main benefits of poria is it’s anti­-cancer properties. It is widely used in Chinese medicine to treat malignant tumors. Furthermore, poria stimulates the immune system and helps enhance the positive effects of cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy while negating some of their side effects. Poria is well known for correcting problems related to the digestive system such as diarrhea, constipation, acidity, and other gastrointestinal issues and promotes the secretion of digestive fluids.

Reishi Mushroom/Ling Zhi (Ganoderma lucidum): Considered both the “elixir of life” and the “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi has long been a fundamental ingredient in the attainment of a long, happy life and even spiritual enlightenment. It is believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build willpower and as a result, helps build wisdom. Its effect is cumulative; gradually strengthening the nerves and a sense of peace. It is safe to take on a daily basis by most everyone and other benefits include: Supports immune system, antibacterial, adaptogenic qualities protect against stress, tonifies blood and qi and strengthens major organs including lungs, heart, bone marrow and liver.

Rehmannia/Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Glutinosa): Frequently used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to nourish the kidneys. It is considered the food of the kidneys and is used for loss of blood, yin deficiency, lower back pain with deficiency from overwork. It can also treat cough, diabetes, urinary incontinence, deafness, uterine bleeding, vertigo, tinnitus, and regulate menstrual flow. It helps to protect and support the liver and adrenal glands and is often found in energy tonic formulas used to combat chronic fatigue.

Schizandra/Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra chinensis): Promotes soft, radiant, clear skin and is known to increase sexual fluids, endurance and strengthen the whole body. For this it is considered “anti-aging.” Used in Chinese medicine as an adaptogenic herb to improve mental function, reduce tiredness and improve endurance. Schisandra is also a recognized lung tonic. It enhances immune response, regenerates liver tissue, and has been proven to treat hepatitis. The Chinese name, wu-wei-zi, means five taste fruits and refers to the fact that sweet, salt, bitter, sour and warmth can all be tasted when it is consumed, distinguishing it as a uniquely balanced herb.

ShiitakeShiitake/Xiang Gu (Lentinus edodes): Shiitake mushrooms have deep immune system healing properties, have been proven to stop or slow down tumor growth and are used in treating a variety of cancers. It is credited with lowering serum cholesterol and contains protein, potassium, niacin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Recent studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushrooms to help protect against cardiovascular diseases. They are also strongly anti-viral.

Spirit Poria Fungus/Fu Shen (Sclerotium Poriae cocos Circum Radicem Pini): The poria fungus grows underground in conjunction with pine roots. This is the center of the fungus, containing a portion of the root. It is considered a shen tonic and is sought by many spiritual seekers for its ability to calm emotions and raise shen (spirit.) It also strengthens the immune system and fortifies heart, kidney, and spleen function.

Teasel Root/Xu Duan (Dipsacus Japonicus): Known in Chinese as “Repair what is Broken,” Teasel fortifies the lower back, knees and bones as well and sinews and joints. It is used for pain and stiffness due to decreased Kidney energy or traumatic injury and promotes the movement of blood to repair damaged tissues. Used in Lyme Disease treatment, as an analgesic for pain relief, an anti­-inflammatory, and a stimulant for the nervous system.

Turkey Tail Mushroom/Yun Zhi (Trametes versicolor): Common throughout the world, growing on and decomposing logs and stumps, it is used to strengthen the immune system and fight chronic diseases such as hepatitis and cancer. Traditionally, it has also been used for asthma and cough, invigorating digestion in cases of weakness and poor appetite, and clearing dampness associated with arthritis.

Turmeric/Jiang Huang (Curcuma longa): Powerfully anti-inflammatory, healing to the liver, and pain relieving. Excellent source for beta-carotene. Improves circulation. Treats liver congestion, jaundice, and Hepatitis.

Wakame Seaweed/Qun Dai Cai (Undaria pinnatifida): Aides in weight loss by inhibiting the accumulation of fat in the cells and by stimulating fat oxidation. Also helps our body transfer energy efficiently, regulate hormones throughout the body, and helps our body produce and utilize protein. Wakame balances hormone levels and promotes bone growth and repair. High in trace minerals.

Zao Ren (Ziziphus jujuba): Ziziphus seed is the most commonly used herb in sedative formulas designed to help relax the mind. It is categorized as a heart­ blood tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, therefore it is calming to the heart, which is the Seat of Shen and which determines our emotional stability.

In these five “Blue Zones” – Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, Loma Linda, California, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, and Ikaria, Greece – the people live longer than anywhere else in the world…

All of these people who live into their 90’s and 100’s eat a mostly vegan diet of beans, grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables… They do not over exercise, they walk and do their own chores, they are passionate about something whether it is painting, writing or playing an instrument, they have faith whether it is of God, mankind or the Sun, they have something to look forward to every day, they surround themselves with family and friends and they don’t worry about stuff..

A vegan diet is most certainly an important part of the longevity and healthy equation but equally important is in a vegan lifestyle. You have to embrace diversity, community harmony, and purpose in life.

Achieving purpose in life is welcoming to your life people and cities and neighbors and family and friends that share your same purpose in life. Say goodbye to adversity, people that aggravate you, cities that are too polluted and violent, neighbors that cause friction, family, and friends that keep you up at night (in a bad way).

Follow your heart. Turn your hobbies into professions. look forward to Mondays instead of Friday’s. I tell young people that are trying to figure out their life’s path to pretend that they just won the lottery. Now, put aside the expected answer from a 20’ish young person’s wishes like a Ferrari, a penthouse on top of the Four Seasons in Manhatten and an AMEX black card…I ask them what do they look forward to every day – painting, writing, critiquing restaurants, creating fun fashion, skiing, cycling? Turn your passion into cash flow. Become an artist, write a blog, design clothes, be a ski instructor, whatever… The bottom line is to be happy and build your own little or big empire.

My advice is to embrace your passion. Sever relationships that drag you down and only surround yourself with people that share your same goals and ideologies in life. If you hate your job, get a new job. If you hate the 8-5 grind, turn your passions into cash flow. Write a book, paint, teach, become a gardener, travel or start a blog… Some of the most unhappy people I know are the richest people I know. Some of the happiest people I know are the poorest people I know.

“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” Pablo Picasso

They say, “life is a struggle” and “life is unfair.” I say that life does not have to be a struggle or does it have to be unfair. You make your own decisions in life and your own choices. Choose wisely, you only get one shot at it.

Step outside. Take a long and deep breath of fresh Spring air. A new beginning is within your grasp. If you are unhappy with your job then get a new job. If you are unhappy with where you live then move. If you are unhappy in your relationships then get new relationships… The prospect of change is a powerful moment of happiness and fulfillment… The alternative is counterproductive to peace and well being… Life is short – You only get one shot at it. Make your life a monumental phenomenon…

Enjoy your week and thank you so much for being a part of my page and supporting my passions that I hope are the same as your passions…

thank you Doug for this piece Eric