Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Best Anti-Aging Therapy



Story at-a-glance
  • You are never too old to start exercising; in fact, exercise only gets more important with advancing age
  • Research shows no matter what your age, you stand to gain significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity through exercise
  • Exercise reduces your risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression
  • Exercise is a key to remaining steady on your feet as you get older, can keep your sense of balance strong, and even restore what’s already been lost
  • Longevity is the new normal; increasing numbers of people in their 80s and 90s are accomplishing stunning physical accomplishments

Dr. Mercola and his mom, Jeanette, discuss the benefits she has received since beginning her workout program, followed by a workout demonstration including Darin Steen, which is tailored for those that are at are at the beginning stages of their fitness program, the elderly, or previously sedentary.

By Dr. Mercola

Have you ever thought you’d like to take up ballroom dancing, yoga, or cycling, but then thought twice because you’re no longer in your 20s or 30s? It’s time to put such notions right out of your head, as when it comes to exercise age is just a number — and no “number” is too high to start getting active.

Your mind may actually be your biggest hurdle to staying fit and athletic well into your 80s and 90s, especially if you buy into the myth that you’ve got to spend your afternoons sitting in a rocking chair once you reach 75.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be further from the truth!

From Triathlons to Rodeos, Seniors Do it All

If you’re looking for a bit of “exercise” inspiration, look no further than this uplifting article from Happy News. It explains that more and more people are achieving stunning physical accomplishments in their “golden” years. Most of you are probably familiar with Jack LaLanne, who was the picture of fitness well into his 90s, but he is but one example. Others include:

  • Tao Porchon-Lynch, who is winning ballroom dance competitions and teaches at least 12 yoga classes a week at age 93.
  • Lew Hollander, who became the second 80-year-old to complete the Ford Ironman World Championship, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mille bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon
  • Allan Johnson, who at age 80 still competes in rodeo competitions

Further, there are only four living people (and 16 in all history) who have earned a tenth-degree black belt, which is the highest rank in the martial art Judo. The fourth is not only the first woman to earn the title … she also did it at the age of 98. So if you’re having any thoughts that you’re “too old” to exercise, keep Sensei Keiko Fukuda (and the others listed above) in mind.

At age 98, she became the first woman to earn Judo’s highest-degree black belt, and she still teaches the martial art three times a week!

Not everyone has to become a world-class athlete to stay in shape, of course. Many communities have senior baseball leagues, swim teams, and other group sports that you can take part in, or you can simply exercise regularly with a personal trainer or on your own. The key to keep in mind is that the more active you are, the healthier, more nimble and happier you’ll be — AND …

You are Never Too Old to Start Exercising

You are never too old to start exercising and my mother is an excellent example.

Exercise can be a part of your life no matter what your age, and, in fact, becomes only increasingly important as you get older. Two years ago, my mother fell down a flight of stairs and broke her shoulder and wrist. It took quite awhile for her to recover, and when she did she started an exercise program to regain strength, balance, and flexibility.

My mom didn’t start working out until she was 74 and now, at the age of 77, she has gained significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity. After a bit of apprehension at first, she now, as you can see on the video, loves her workouts and, I’m hoping, will inspire you to get active as well, no matter what your age.

Yes, You Can Exercise at ANY Age

There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence confirming that physical exercise is a key player in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. After reviewing 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.

Ideally, you will have made exercise a regular part of your life long before you reach your “golden” years … but if you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than the present.  Research has shown that regular exercise, even initiated late in life, offers profound health benefits. For instance:

Further, the older you get, the faster your muscles atrophy if you’re not regularly engaging in appropriate exercise, so the key to avoiding sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is to challenge your muscles with appropriately intense exercise. Age-related muscle loss affects about 10 percent of those over 60, with higher rates as age advances, but you can prevent this from occurring if you exercise.

For the Elderly Exercise Can, Quite Literally, Save Your Life

Exercise is a key to remaining steady on your feet as you get older, which is of incredible importance because not only are falls responsible for most fractures and traumatic brain injuries among the elderly, but those who fall can also develop an intense fear of falling again, which leads them to limit their activities and in turn increases their risk of falling even more.

So while it may seem like exercises to improve balance and strength are optional as you get older, they should really be viewed as a necessity — like eating and sleeping — as they can quite literally save your life. As you get older your muscle and bone mass decrease and the senses that guide your balance — vision, touch, proprioception — may all start to deteriorate, and this can make you unsteady on your feet.

By taking the time to do balance, strength and other exercises on a regular basis you can keep your sense of balance strong, and even restore what’s already been lost.

In a study published last year, eight weeks of balance training reduced slips and improved the likelihood of recovery from slips among the elderly. Separate research, which noted that “altered balance is the greatest collaborator towards falls in the elderly,” found balance training is effective in improving functional and static balance, mobility and falling frequency in elderly women with osteoporosis.

The ability to balance on one leg is also an important predictor of injury-causing falls, so if you know that you’d be shaky if you tried to stand on one foot, you’re at an increased risk of being hurt in a fall and should start appropriate exercises immediately.

Making Exercise Safe and Effective

In the videos above you’ll hear Darin mention safety a number of times. This is always an important aspect of exercise, but is of crucial importance if you’re older and just beginning. Many elderly people forgo exercise altogether because of a fear of injury or pain, but what’s important to remember is that proper exercise will ultimately reduce your risk of injury as well as help to improve pain.

As Darin mentioned, if you’re older it’s best to get a workout buddy — a personal trainer or someone who is experienced — to help guide you through your routine, at least at first. You will want to start slowly and gradually increase intensity as you grow stronger, avoiding activities that aggravate or cause pain. While you need to use caution and avoid starting out too intensely, you do need to exercise at a level that is challenging to your body or the benefits will be lost.

Ideally your fitness program should be comprehensive, providing the necessary balance-training activities for stability while also improving your strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities with high-intensity “Peak” exercises. Just like strength training, you are never too old for anaerobic Peak exercises. The only difference is that the older you are the less your maximum heart rate will be, but you still work out with the same intensity.

During the ‘peak exercises,’ you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period. You repeat this cycle for a total of eight repetitions. For an in-depth explanation of my peak fitness regimen, please review this past article. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to perform Peak exercises while walking or riding a stationary bike.

As I mentioned earlier, regular exercise is essential to counteract muscle loss. However, it’s important to realize that simply lifting weights will not necessarily result in gaining muscle mass. In order to effectively build muscle you also need to incorporate high-intensity exercises such as Peak 8 in addition to strength training.

An Exciting Exercise Option for Building Balance

You can certainly build an excellent exercise program using nothing more than free weights, resistance bands and items you have around your home, but there is one form of exercise you may also want to consider, which is performed on a vibrational machine called the Power Plate.

This multi-directional vibration machine has a number of benefits for your health beyond the cardiovascular and metabolic aspects commonly associated with exercise. For example, the vibrational action of the Power Plate can help improve the following:

Strength Proprioception Balance
Flexibility Circulation Neurological processes

The tri-directional movement promotes proprioception, which is just a medical term for sensing the relative position of neighboring parts of your body. Proprioception is an internal feedback mechanism crucial for balance, as your body constantly adjusts to uneven terrain as you walk.

The unique ability of the Power Plate to train and build your neurological system has huge implications for treating people with neurological problems as well as elderly individuals who are prone to falls because of instability. As the video below shows, you can re-train motor patterns and re-establish communication within your body as the Power Plate balances muscle groups, resulting in profound improvements in your overall balance.

Now’s the Time to Take Control of Your Health

I’m very proud of my mom for taking control of her health and starting an exercise program in her 70s, and she is already experiencing the benefits. If you are older and currently weighing whether or not to start one of your own, please use your age as a reason to exercise, as opposed to an excuse not to.

If my mom can do it, there’s a good chance you will be able to too.

If you don’t have access to a personal trainer or experienced exerciser who can help guide you, many health clubs now offer fitness classes geared toward seniors, ranging from dance classes and water workouts to yoga and tai chi. The more active you are, and the wider the range of activities you do, the more mobile, independent and, likely, happy you will be as you get older.

One final tip — make sure you engage in activities you enjoy. There was one common thread among the elderly athletes mentioned above, and that is, as Happy News reported:

” … they absolutely love the activities they’ve found to do. Even if some of it is a hard slog, the pleasure they get from it always outweighs the tedium.”

Porchon-Lynch, the 93-year-old ballroom dancer and yoga teacher, expanded:

“Don’t be scared to live. Don’t procrastinate. There’s very little time on this Earth and there’s so much to do and so much beauty. … There’s nothing you can’t do.”

You can find even more fitness tips, videos and articles to help keep you in optimal health no matter what your age at Mercola Peak Fitness.


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The Best Antiaging Therapy



Story at-a-glance
  • You are never too old to start exercising; in fact, exercise only gets more important with advancing age
  • Research shows no matter what your age, you stand to gain significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity through exercise
  • Exercise reduces your risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression
  • Exercise is a key to remaining steady on your feet as you get older, can keep your sense of balance strong, and even restore what’s already been lost
  • Longevity is the new normal; increasing numbers of people in their 80s and 90s are accomplishing stunning physical accomplishments

Dr. Mercola and his mom, Jeanette, discuss the benefits she has received since beginning her workout program, followed by a workout demonstration including Darin Steen, which is tailored for those that are at are at the beginning stages of their fitness program, the elderly, or previously sedentary.

By Dr. Mercola

Have you ever thought you’d like to take up ballroom dancing, yoga, or cycling, but then thought twice because you’re no longer in your 20s or 30s? It’s time to put such notions right out of your head, as when it comes to exercise age is just a number — and no “number” is too high to start getting active.

Your mind may actually be your biggest hurdle to staying fit and athletic well into your 80s and 90s, especially if you buy into the myth that you’ve got to spend your afternoons sitting in a rocking chair once you reach 75.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be further from the truth!

From Triathlons to Rodeos, Seniors Do it All

If you’re looking for a bit of “exercise” inspiration, look no further than this uplifting article from Happy News. It explains that more and more people are achieving stunning physical accomplishments in their “golden” years. Most of you are probably familiar with Jack LaLanne, who was the picture of fitness well into his 90s, but he is but one example. Others include:

  • Tao Porchon-Lynch, who is winning ballroom dance competitions and teaches at least 12 yoga classes a week at age 93.
  • Lew Hollander, who became the second 80-year-old to complete the Ford Ironman World Championship, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mille bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon
  • Allan Johnson, who at age 80 still competes in rodeo competitions

Further, there are only four living people (and 16 in all history) who have earned a tenth-degree black belt, which is the highest rank in the martial art Judo. The fourth is not only the first woman to earn the title … she also did it at the age of 98. So if you’re having any thoughts that you’re “too old” to exercise, keep Sensei Keiko Fukuda (and the others listed above) in mind.

At age 98, she became the first woman to earn Judo’s highest-degree black belt, and she still teaches the martial art three times a week!

Not everyone has to become a world-class athlete to stay in shape, of course. Many communities have senior baseball leagues, swim teams, and other group sports that you can take part in, or you can simply exercise regularly with a personal trainer or on your own. The key to keep in mind is that the more active you are, the healthier, more nimble and happier you’ll be — AND …

You are Never Too Old to Start Exercising

You are never too old to start exercising and my mother is an excellent example.

Exercise can be a part of your life no matter what your age, and, in fact, becomes only increasingly important as you get older. Two years ago, my mother fell down a flight of stairs and broke her shoulder and wrist. It took quite awhile for her to recover, and when she did she started an exercise program to regain strength, balance, and flexibility.

My mom didn’t start working out until she was 74 and now, at the age of 77, she has gained significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity. After a bit of apprehension at first, she now, as you can see on the video, loves her workouts and, I’m hoping, will inspire you to get active as well, no matter what your age.

Yes, You Can Exercise at ANY Age

There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence confirming that physical exercise is a key player in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. After reviewing 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.

Ideally, you will have made exercise a regular part of your life long before you reach your “golden” years … but if you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than the present.  Research has shown that regular exercise, even initiated late in life, offers profound health benefits. For instance:

Further, the older you get, the faster your muscles atrophy if you’re not regularly engaging in appropriate exercise, so the key to avoiding sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is to challenge your muscles with appropriately intense exercise. Age-related muscle loss affects about 10 percent of those over 60, with higher rates as age advances, but you can prevent this from occurring if you exercise.

For the Elderly Exercise Can, Quite Literally, Save Your Life

Exercise is a key to remaining steady on your feet as you get older, which is of incredible importance because not only are falls responsible for most fractures and traumatic brain injuries among the elderly, but those who fall can also develop an intense fear of falling again, which leads them to limit their activities and in turn increases their risk of falling even more.

So while it may seem like exercises to improve balance and strength are optional as you get older, they should really be viewed as a necessity — like eating and sleeping — as they can quite literally save your life. As you get older your muscle and bone mass decrease and the senses that guide your balance — vision, touch, proprioception — may all start to deteriorate, and this can make you unsteady on your feet.

By taking the time to do balance, strength and other exercises on a regular basis you can keep your sense of balance strong, and even restore what’s already been lost.

In a study published last year, eight weeks of balance training reduced slips and improved the likelihood of recovery from slips among the elderly. Separate research, which noted that “altered balance is the greatest collaborator towards falls in the elderly,” found balance training is effective in improving functional and static balance, mobility and falling frequency in elderly women with osteoporosis.

The ability to balance on one leg is also an important predictor of injury-causing falls, so if you know that you’d be shaky if you tried to stand on one foot, you’re at an increased risk of being hurt in a fall and should start appropriate exercises immediately.

Making Exercise Safe and Effective

In the videos above you’ll hear Darin mention safety a number of times. This is always an important aspect of exercise, but is of crucial importance if you’re older and just beginning. Many elderly people forgo exercise altogether because of a fear of injury or pain, but what’s important to remember is that proper exercise will ultimately reduce your risk of injury as well as help to improve pain.

As Darin mentioned, if you’re older it’s best to get a workout buddy — a personal trainer or someone who is experienced — to help guide you through your routine, at least at first. You will want to start slowly and gradually increase intensity as you grow stronger, avoiding activities that aggravate or cause pain. While you need to use caution and avoid starting out too intensely, you do need to exercise at a level that is challenging to your body or the benefits will be lost.

Ideally your fitness program should be comprehensive, providing the necessary balance-training activities for stability while also improving your strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities with high-intensity “Peak” exercises. Just like strength training, you are never too old for anaerobic Peak exercises. The only difference is that the older you are the less your maximum heart rate will be, but you still work out with the same intensity.

During the ‘peak exercises,’ you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period. You repeat this cycle for a total of eight repetitions. For an in-depth explanation of my peak fitness regimen, please review this past article. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to perform Peak exercises while walking or riding a stationary bike.

As I mentioned earlier, regular exercise is essential to counteract muscle loss. However, it’s important to realize that simply lifting weights will not necessarily result in gaining muscle mass. In order to effectively build muscle you also need to incorporate high-intensity exercises such as Peak 8 in addition to strength training.

An Exciting Exercise Option for Building Balance

You can certainly build an excellent exercise program using nothing more than free weights, resistance bands and items you have around your home, but there is one form of exercise you may also want to consider, which is performed on a vibrational machine called the Power Plate.

This multi-directional vibration machine has a number of benefits for your health beyond the cardiovascular and metabolic aspects commonly associated with exercise. For example, the vibrational action of the Power Plate can help improve the following:

Strength Proprioception Balance
Flexibility Circulation Neurological processes

The tri-directional movement promotes proprioception, which is just a medical term for sensing the relative position of neighboring parts of your body. Proprioception is an internal feedback mechanism crucial for balance, as your body constantly adjusts to uneven terrain as you walk.

The unique ability of the Power Plate to train and build your neurological system has huge implications for treating people with neurological problems as well as elderly individuals who are prone to falls because of instability. As the video below shows, you can re-train motor patterns and re-establish communication within your body as the Power Plate balances muscle groups, resulting in profound improvements in your overall balance.

Now’s the Time to Take Control of Your Health

I’m very proud of my mom for taking control of her health and starting an exercise program in her 70s, and she is already experiencing the benefits. If you are older and currently weighing whether or not to start one of your own, please use your age as a reason to exercise, as opposed to an excuse not to.

If my mom can do it, there’s a good chance you will be able to too.

If you don’t have access to a personal trainer or experienced exerciser who can help guide you, many health clubs now offer fitness classes geared toward seniors, ranging from dance classes and water workouts to yoga and tai chi. The more active you are, and the wider the range of activities you do, the more mobile, independent and, likely, happy you will be as you get older.

One final tip — make sure you engage in activities you enjoy. There was one common thread among the elderly athletes mentioned above, and that is, as Happy News reported:

” … they absolutely love the activities they’ve found to do. Even if some of it is a hard slog, the pleasure they get from it always outweighs the tedium.”

Porchon-Lynch, the 93-year-old ballroom dancer and yoga teacher, expanded:

“Don’t be scared to live. Don’t procrastinate. There’s very little time on this Earth and there’s so much to do and so much beauty. … There’s nothing you can’t do.”

You can find even more fitness tips, videos and articles to help keep you in optimal health no matter what your age at Mercola Peak Fitness.


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NASA Space Launch System Is A Joke

The Space Launch System is a Joke. I don’t want rocket fuel in the organic food I buy. There is not enough public interest in sustaining civilization with better and more efficient proposals for space travel. Entertainment is getting too much attention. articles.mercola.com www.nasa.gov www.nasa.gov www.nasa.gov www.nasa.gov Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 – www.law.berkeley.edu mylesohowe.wordpress.com

Source: YouTube

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Is this Simple Sugar a Major Factor in the Failure of the War on Cancer?

fructose a factor in failure on war against cancer
Story at-a-glance
  • Fructose, found in virtually all processed foods, may be cancer cells’ preferred source of fuel
  • While all forms of sugar feed cancer, fructose in particular is used for cell division, speeding up the growth and spread of the cancer
  • The vast majority of Americans consume far too much fructose
  • If you have cancer, or want to prevent it, limiting sugar in your diet, and particularly fructose, is essential

By Dr. Mercola

There’s compelling evidence and agreement by many experts that excessive fructose is toxic to your body. Unlike fructose, nearly every cell in your body can directly use glucose. However fructose is primarily metabolized in your liver and can serve as a substrate for increasing cancer cell growth.

Fructose Helps Cancer Cells Thrive

ALL forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer, but in slightly different ways, and to a different extent, as I’ll explain later. Fructose, however, clearly seems to be one of the most harmful sugars. A new article in Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets reviewed the relationship between increased dietary refined sugar and cancer risk, with specific emphasis on the monosaccharide fructose. The researchers noted:

“Recent observations indicate that cancer cells readily utilize fructose to support proliferation and preferentially use fructose for nucleic acid synthesis.”

They named several ways in which dietary fructose can promote cancer growth, including:

  • Altered cellular metabolism
  • Increased reactive oxygen species (free radicals)
  • DNA damage
  • Inflammation

Research published in the journal Cancer Research also showed that the way the different sugars are metabolized (using different metabolic pathways) is of MAJOR consequence when it comes to feeding cancer and making it proliferate. According to the authors:

” Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different … These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation.”

In this case, the cancer cells used were pancreatic cancer, which is typically regarded as the most deadly and universally rapid-killing form of cancer. The study confirms the old adage that sugar feeds cancer because they found that tumor cells do thrive on sugar (glucose). However, the cells used fructose for cell division, speeding up the growth and spread of the cancer.

Why is This a MAJOR Threat to Public Health?

Whether you’re simply interested in preventing cancer, or have cancer and want to live longer, you ignore these facts and listen to industry propaganda that fructose is safe and no different from other common sweeteners at your own risk. The truth of the matter is that fructose may very well be the most pernicious influence in the Standard American Diet, and is virtually guaranteed to cause chronic disease if consumed in excess.

The major problem is, the vast majority of Americans are consuming fructose at levels 3-600% of the upper limit!

Further, most people are seriously confused about fructose and still believe it is a “healthy” type of sugar because it is found naturally in fruits and touted as having a low glycemic index. But this is not a matter of eating an apple or a handful of raisins as a snack. Fructose, in one form or another, can be found in five of the 10 top sources of calories in America, and in some cases (particularly when processed or from a restaurant) may actually be in ALL of them:

1. Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars) 139 calories a day 6. Alcoholic beverages
2. Yeast breads, 129 calories a day 7. Pasta and pasta dishes
3. Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes, 121 calories a day 8. Mexican mixed dishes
4. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, 114 calories a day 9. Beef and beef-mixed dishes
5. Pizza, 98 calories a day 10. Dairy desserts

If you’re interested in preventing cancer, my recommendation is to keep your total fructose intake below 25 grams of fructose per day, if you’re in good health. Most people will also benefit from limiting your fructose from fruit to 15 grams a day, and, if you need to lose weight, you likely will need to limit your total fructose consumption to 15 grams a day total, including that from fruit.

If you have cancer, however, you’ll want to reduce your total fructose consumption to below 10 grams per day from all sources, including fruit.

Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5″ x .75″)
4.0
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0

What Makes Sugar so Appealing to Cancer Cells?

In 1931 the Nobel Prize was awarded to German researcher Dr. Otto Warburg, who first discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. Malignant tumors tend to use a process where glucose is used as a fuel by the cancer cells, creating lactic acid as a byproduct. The large amount of lactic acid produced by this fermentation of glucose from cancer cells is then transported to your liver.

This conversion of glucose to lactic acid generates a lower, more acidic pH in cancerous tissues as well as overall physical fatigue from lactic acid buildup.

This is a very inefficient pathway for energy metabolism, which extracts only about 5 percent of the available energy in your food supply. In simplistic terms, the cancer is “wasting” energy, which leads you to become both tired and undernourished, and as the vicious cycle continues, will lead to the body wasting so many cancer patients experience.

Additionally, carbohydrates from glucose and sucrose significantly decreases the capacity of neutrophils to do their job. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that help cells to envelop and destroy invaders, such as cancer. Meanwhile, fructose appears to be preferred by cancer cells for cell division, which contributes to its growth and spreading throughout your body. Even though the theory that sugar feeds cancer was born nearly 80 years ago, most conventional cancer programs STILL do not adequately address diet and the need to avoid sugars and fructose if you have cancer.

As Patrick Quillin, PHD, RD, CNS wrote more than a decade ago:

“During the last 10 years I have worked with more than 500 cancer patients as director of nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Okla. It puzzles me why the simple concept “sugar feeds cancer” can be so dramatically overlooked as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan. Of the million[s of] cancer patients being treated in America today, hardly any are offered any scientifically guided nutrition therapy beyond being told to “just eat good foods.” Most patients I work with arrive with a complete lack of nutritional advice.”

Artificial Sweeteners are NOT a Safe Sugar Alternative

You may be tempted to swap sugar for artificial sweeteners, but these can damage your health even more quickly than fructose. In fact, there are already hundreds of published studies linking artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is widely used in diet soda and many other diet foods, to serious health complications. Cori Brackett’s documentary film Sweet Misery is an excellent summary of the problems with aspartame.

You can also view my interview with Victoria Innes-Brown, who over a 2.5-year period performed a set of meticulous and detailed experiments, documenting the effects of using aspartame liquid comparable to diet soda on mice. This included not only large tumors but also neurological effects, paralysis, skin disorders and symptoms of cerebral palsy.

Recent research has also linked diet soda consumption to higher rates of strokes, heart attacks and other lethal vascular events as well as metabolic syndrome.

There is literally enough evidence showing the dangers of consuming artificial sweeteners to fill an entire book — which is exactly why I wrote Sweet Deception. If you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat sugar free foods, this book will explain how you’ve been deceived about the truth behind artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.

For times when you want to add a bit of sweetness to your food or beverages, try using the herb stevia instead. It’s a safe, natural plant that’s has been around for over 1,500 years and is ideal if you’re watching your weight, or if you’re maintaining your health by avoiding sugar. It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and has virtually no calories.

Alternatively, you could use Lo Han or pure glucose (dextrose) as a sweetener. It costs about $1 a pound and does not cause many of the adverse biochemical disasters that fructose does.

It is only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose though, so you’ll end up using a bit more of it for the same amount of sweetness, making it slightly more expensive than sucrose—but still well worth it for your health as it has ZERO grams of fructose. Glucose can be used directly by every cell in your body and as such is far safer than the metabolic poison fructose.

Solid Nutrition is Paramount if You Want to Beat Cancer

You’re probably well aware of the link between the foods you eat and your risk of cancer. But if you’re not then please understand that virtually everything you put into (or onto) your body can either help or hinder your natural healing mechanisms, and thereby influence your risk of cancer and your ability to heal from it.

This is not an “alternative” view at all. Rather, even the conservative American Cancer Society states that one-third of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying excess weight.

However, cancer rates are escalating because modern medicine is in no way, shape or form addressing these underlying causes of most cancers. If ever there was an area in which an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure it is cancer. I strongly believe that if you are able to work your way up to the advanced health plan, you will virtually eliminate the risk of most cancers. What is often overlooked, though, is that if you already have cancer it is also crucial that you use nutritious foods to help boost your immune system and heal, and this includes avoiding fructose and other sugars.

The Gerson Research Organization maintains a collection of reports documenting the research behind one nutritional approach, the Gerson Therapy, as well as the role of diet on cancer, and you can hear anecdotes from patients who have improved using this nutritional therapy here.

Many of the success stories include people whose conventional doctors gave no hope for recovery, who were able to overcome their disease against all odds using not toxic cancer drugs but natural fruits and vegetables. The system is not a miracle cure for everyone, and even the Gerson Institute states that “No treatment works for everyone, every time” … but most conventional physicians offer only ONE route for cancer treatment — drugs, radiation and surgery — while ignoring or discounting alternative options such as the power of dietary modifications using healthy foods.

What Else Can You do to Prevent and Fight Cancer?

Along with limiting your intake of sugar and fructose, there are several other things you can do for yourself, right now, not only to prevent cancer, but to make sure you have the best chance of recovery if you do get it. Because cancer is almost wholly a man-made disease, it’s especially important to recognize that you do have power over many factors that could cause you to get cancer. Taking control of your health will put you in a position to make the best health decisions possible if you do get cancer.

Here’s a list to get you started on a cancer prevention plan:

  1. Radically reduce your sugar consumption. Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer, and in order to do so, cutting sugars and grains out of your diet is a must. Eliminating fructose is one of the most important sugars to initially concentrate on. Again, if you have cancer, you’ll want to reduce that to below 10 grams per day from all sources.
  2. Optimize your vitamin D levels. There’s overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths might be prevented each year simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population. On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by getting optimal sun exposure year-round.

    Alternatively, you could use a safe tanning bed, or, as a last resort, an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Remember the BEST way to raise your vitamin D level is by sun exposure. If you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 80-90 ng/ml—would be beneficial. To learn the details on how to use vitamin D therapeutically, please review my previous article, Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.

  3. Exercise regularly. There’s compelling evidence indicating that exercise can slash your risk of cancer, primarily by reducing elevated insulin levels and normalizing estrogen. For example, women who exercise regularly can reduce their breast cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent compared to those who are inactive. I prefer to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed and performed at a high enough intensity to achieve its maximum benefit.

    It’s important to include a large variety of techniques in your exercise routine. Additionally it is likely that integrating exercise with intermittent fasting will greatly catalyze the potential of exercise to reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate widespread healing and rejuvenation.

  4. Get appropriate amounts of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats.
  5. Eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties. Seriously consider vegetable, not fruit, juicing.
  6. Use a variety of relaxing tools such as meditation, yoga and social support to manage and relieve emotional stress in your life. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed.
  7. Maintain an ideal body weight.
  8. Get enough high-quality sleep.
  9. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners, air pollution, and plastic toxins like BPA.
  10. Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use.
  11. Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.
  12. Avoid artificial sweeteners, which are actually worse for your health than sugar, and have been linked to brain tumors.


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Things That Piss Me Off and Dangers of Aspartame

Hey YouTube! KaiHimotama here to tell you a few things that piss me off! Yeah another rant video, but I saw that my first rant video got some good feedback with the amount of views. So I thought I would do this. Aspartame Dangers and Side Effects aspartame.mercola.com SomeWhiteBlackDude’s Channel www.youtube.com

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Why Vegetarianism Will Not Save the World

vegetarianism will not save the world
Story at-a-glance
  • Many foods that make up a vegetarian diet, like genetically modified soy and corn, are actually detrimental to the environment and human health
  • The argument that eating meat devastates the environment refers to meat from factory farms, not meat raised naturally, such as grass-fed beef
  • The real culprit threatening the environment is modern-day industrial agriculture in all of its forms (both plant and animal farming)
  • A diet based on sustainable, locally grown foods raised according to the laws of nature is best for the environment, whether the foods are plant or animal-based

By Dr. Mercola

Many vegans and vegetarians choose not to eat meat and/or animal products because they believe it is the morally superior, environmentally friendly choice. But this theory is being put to the test by the book The Vegetarian Myth, written by ex-vegan Lierre Keith.

In it she argues that saving the planet and ending the suffering found in factory farms can not be achieved by refusing to eat animals, it can only be achieved by boycotting modern agricultural practices, which Keith calls “the most destructive thing that people have done to the planet.”

Have Vegans and Vegetarians Been Led Astray?

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a report in 2006 titled Livestock’s Role in Climate Change and Air Pollution. In it, they estimated that 18 percent of the world’s man-made greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by livestock. This information was heralded by vegetarians and environmentalists alike as proof that eating meat was bad not only for you, but for the entire planet.

But, it’s important to realize that this detrimental effect comes from modern farming practices, not from cows being raised naturally as they were designed to be. The differences between the two are so vast, you’re really talking about two different animals, and two separate industries with entirely different farming practices and environmental impact.

Keith states:

” … the first mistake is in assuming that factory farming—a practice that is barely fifty years old—is the only way to raise animals. Their [vegetarians'] calculations on energy used, calories consumed, humans unfed, are all based on the notion that animals eat grain.

You can feed grain to animals, but it is not the diet for which they were designed. Grain didn’t exist until humans domesticated annual grasses, at most 12,000 years ago, while aurochs, the wild progenitors of the domestic cow, were around for two million years before that. For most of human history, browsers and grazers haven’t been in competition with humans. They ate what we couldn’t eat—cellulose—and turned it into what we could—protein and fat. Grain will dramatically increase the growth rate of beef cattle (there’s a reason for the expression “cornfed”) and the milk production of dairy cows. It will also kill them.

The delicate bacterial balance of a cow’s rumen will go acid and turn septic. Chickens get fatty liver disease if fed grain exclusively, and they don’t need any grain to survive. Sheep and goats, also ruminants, should really never touch the stuff.”

The carbon footprint of conventional farming is mainly due to the unnatural feed that these animals are given, which requires lots of fossil fuels. Many don’t think about this, but fossil fuels are used in everything from the fertilizers and pesticides that are sprayed onto the crop to the transportation of the feed.

Grass does not require fossil fuels to grow (rotating pastures does the job instead), and other health-harming practices, such as injecting the livestock with hormones and antibiotics, are also not allowed in organic farming. What it boils down to is this: it’s easy to argue against factory-farms and other products of the corrupted agricultural system, but the argument becomes much more muddled, incorrect even, when you try to apply it to farming in the traditional sense of the word.

Is Modern Agriculture the Ultimate Animal Abuse?

There are those vegetarians and vegans who are morally opposed to killing animals for food, which appears to be one of the  more regularly used arguments for adopting this lifestyle. However, Keith makes an interesting point, which is that any food that is the product of modern-day farming — even a soy burger — is exacting a toll on life itself, including that of animals.

Keith writes:

“Specifically, agriculture is biotic cleansing. It requires taking over entire living communities and clearing them away, then planting the land for just humans. All of that is a long way of saying “extinction.” None of us can live without a place to live, without habitat. An activity that has destroyed 98% of most animals’ habitat can hardly be claimed to be animal-friendly.”

And as for the environment, modern-day agriculture — not just the factory farms but also the monocultures of genetically modified corn and soy — is one of the biggest enemies out there, pilfering the land and its resources. But we sit back and accept it because, after all, it’s where we get our food. But there is nothing sustainable about vegetarian foods that come from this agricultural system.

As Keith expands:

“You take a piece of land and you clear every living thing off it–and I mean down to the bacteria. That’s what agriculture is.  … Besides the mass extinction, it’s inherently unsustainable. When you remove the perennial polyculture — the grassland or the forest — the soil is exposed and it dies. It turns to desert ultimately.

Northern Africa once fed the Roman Empire. Iraq was forests so thick that sunlight never touched the ground–no one in their right mind would call it the “Fertile Crescent” now. The dust storms in China are so bad that the soil is literally blowing across the Pacific Ocean and over the continent until it hits the Rocky Mountains, where it’s causing asthma in children in Denver.

The planet has been skinned alive. And the only reason we have not hit complete collapse is because we’ve been eating fossil fuel since 1950. This is not a plan with a future … The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems.”

What about the Health Effects? Is Being Vegan or Vegetarian Healthy?

Like many, I tried a mostly vegetarian diet in the mid-80′s (based on the theories presented in Fit for Life) because I thought it would improve my health.

Unfortunately it didn’t.

After a few weeks of eating fruit for breakfast, as the book advised, I was stunned to discover my fasting triglycerides had skyrocketed from below 100 to nearly 3,000! Clearly this diet was NOT right for me and was rapidly causing damage to my body. So, I had to reevaluate.

From a clinical standpoint, I believe virtually everyone benefits from some animal protein. This doesn’t have to be meat, necessarily, as there are other healthy animal proteins like raw organic dairy and organic free-range eggs. The evidence suggests that raw organic milk is actually one of the healthiest options as it has the highest biologic value and utilization of any protein.

Many who hold strict vegetarian views still hold up The China Study as the authoritative “proof” that eating meat is harmful. In case you’re not familiar with it, this book makes a radical case against eating animal protein at all, by linking it to all manner of ill health, including cancer.

However, it’s important to realize two things:

  1. The China study was an observational study. Correlations deduced from an observational study do not — in fact, cannot — prove causation. All you can really do with data from an observational study is form a hypothesis, which must then be tested in randomized, controlled trials, to ferret out the truth about whether or not x actually causes y.
  2. In many cases, the data (presented in arduous detail in the book Diet, Life-Style and Mortality in China) do not show statistically significant correlations between animal protein consumption and disease such as cancer at all. On the contrary, it would seem that sugar and carbohydrates are correlated with cancer — not animal protein. In addition, the data indicate that fat is negatively correlated with cancer mortality, which again contradicts the claim that meat is harmful.

Another interesting take on whether or not people are meant to eat meat is the Paelo Diet, which is based upon scientific research examining the types and quantities of foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. During the Paleolithic period, which spans to 12,000 years ago, people ate primarily vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots and meat, so the foundation of the Paleo Diet is lean meat, including ostrich and bison as well as organ meats, seafood, fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables — from as close to naturally raised sources as possible.

If you are sincerely objective and honest in seeking to understand what diet is best for you it will be important to trust your body to guide you. It is my recommendation to abandon any previously held convictions you might have about food and instead carefully listen to your body as you experiment with different food ratios and including or excluding animal foods.

If Modern-Day Agriculture Doesn’t Work, What Does?

All of the “advances” that modern agriculture has given us have essentially created a food system that is completely unsustainable and dependent on monoculture, or growing very large fields of the same crop. The U.S. government has encouraged this system by subsidizing only certain crops like corn, wheat, rice and soy, while making it much less desirable for farmers to grow vegetables like broccoli or Swiss chard.

While monoculture is efficient and excellent for increasing production, it also depletes the soil and is extremely vulnerable to pests. The only way that monoculture can be successful, in fact, is with the application of large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The end result is cheap calories, and lots of them, but largely in the form of genetically modified corn and soy, and loaded with chemical residues. This, in turn, is fueling a growing number of health epidemics, from obesity and type 2 diabetes to cancer and heart disease. Quite simply, producing food on a massive scale at the lowest price possible has taken precedence over obeying natural laws.

So, in terms of sustainability and saving the world, the real “battle” that needs to be fought is not one of meat-eaters vs. vegetarians, it’s one of agriculture as an industry vs. agriculture the way nature intended.

Please understand that industrial agriculture lobbyists wield incredible power in Congress; however they cannot dictate which food you choose to buy for your family. So please do your health and the environment a favor and support the small family farms in your area who are embracing the environment, not destroying it.

If you can, look for farms that use permaculture.

The word itself comes from “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture,” and at its foundation is developing agricultural and other systems that are interconnected and dependent on one another. In other words, they mimic the natural ecologies found in nature. The focus is not on any one element of the system, rather the focus is on the relationships between animals, plants, insects, soil, water and habitat — and how to use these relationships to create synergistic, self-supporting ecosystems.

On a small-scale version, if you compost your food waste and use it to fertilize your own vegetable patch, you are engaging in permaculture. On a wide scale, small farmers are increasingly allowing animals to live in their natural habitats, eating their natural diets, thereby raising healthier foods and dramatically reducing their footprint on the environment.

So, whenever possible, support your own health and the livelihood of the farmers out there who are trying to do things the right way. Here are two excellent resources you can use to find them:


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Why Was This Ancient Spice Given to Slaves Building the Pyramids?

health benefits of garlic
Story at-a-glance
  • Garlic may benefit more than 150 health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, immune function and MRSA
  • Garlic was reportedly given to the slaves who built the Egyptian pyramids in order to enhance their strength and endurance
  • Saffron and “Indian Saffron” (turmeric) have shown promise in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline
  • Herbs and spices are a great way to turbo-boost the natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power of your meals

Garlic has a truly astonishing number of health benefits. Green Med Info has assembled studies that list more than 150 beneficial effects that garlic can have on your health.

The studies show that garlic:

  • Inhibits cholesterol accumulation
  • Reduces risk for heart attack and stroke
  • May be effective against drug-resistant bacteria
  • Lessens cadmium-induced liver damage
  • May have protective effects against cancer

According to one of the studies linked on the site, garlic may also help fight multi-drug resistant tuberculosis:

“Alternate medicine practices with plant extracts including garlic should be considered to decrease the burden of drug resistance and cost in the management of diseases. The use of garlic against MDR-TB [multi-drug resistant tuberculosis] may be of great importance regarding public health.”

Saffron is another spice making headlines, as there is increasing evidence to suggest that it may be an effective means of managing Alzheimer’s disease. A study found that saffron had an effect similar to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s after 22 weeks — and had fewer side effects.

Another study found that dietary supplementation with vitamin E and folic acid, as well as ALA, DHA, and GPC, could aid in decreasing oxidative stress in mouse brains.

According to FYI Living:

“… [T]his reveals that such dietary supplementation also helps improve cognitive performance in the normal mice. This study is a significant step towards development of newer preventive nutritional therapies in the elderly who are susceptible to cognitive decline and related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It also enables an understanding of the involvement of oxidative stress and other molecular mechanisms that lead to age-related loss of cognitive abilities.”


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Dr. Mercola Discusses Health Liberty

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Dramatically Slash Your Food Bill – With This Winter Habit

Story at-a-glance
  • There are many benefits to growing your own food, not the least of which is the rapidly rising cost of commercial produce, especially organic produce.
  • It is important to implement organic gardening principles in your home garden, regardless of the season, so as to avoid exposure to toxic chemical herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
  • In most regions, at least some vegetables can be grown during the fall and winter, giving you four seasons of garden bounty, rather than just the typical two.
  • What vegetables you can grow in the winter depends on your climatic zone, so you must know your “first frost” date, as well as how many days it takes for each type of crop to mature. Planning ahead is essential.
  • For colder zones, you can still raise crops in winter by with the help of cold frames, cloches and row covers, which help to create a warmer “microclimate.”

Dr. Mercola’s Comment

Think about the last time you strolled down the produce aisle of your neighborhood grocery store in the middle of winter. If your grocer is like most, the “fresh veggies” were completely bedraggled at that time of year, looking pale and wilted and completely uninspiring. The produce that looked better was probably grown in the southern hemisphere, thousands of miles away, with a price tag to match the giant ecological footprint needed to transport it to your store from some far-away grower—most likely in another country.

Nutrients deteriorate with time after a vegetable is harvested, so it’s likely the nutrient profile of your imported produce pales in comparison to that grown and harvested locally. This nutritional deficit worsens during winter as the distance from farm to table grows.

As the cost of organic produce has skyrocketed (along with just about all consumables), many of you have taken the plunge into backyard gardening. In fact, between 2008 and 2009, there was a 19 percent increase in the number of home gardens. Why are so many of you starting your own gardens?

  • You get higher quality produce in terms of nutritional quality and flavor, uncontaminated with toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and other harmful chemical agents.
  • Your produce is always fresh—you pick food when it’s actually ripe, and it’s on your plate within minutes or hours, as opposed to weeks or months.
  • You can save a great deal of money by growing your own veggies. For what you would pay for two weeks’ worth of salad greens for a family of four, you could be able to plant your garden for the whole season.
  • Gardening is good for you—it’s one of the forms of exercise that many healthy elderly people can do until the very end of their lives. If you garden barefoot, you receive a bonus in the form of Earthing. By having your feet in contact with the bare soil, you pick up the flow of electrons from the Earth, which neutralize free radicals in your body, like a constant “infusion” of antioxidants.
  • Gardening is good for the Earth because it shrinks our ecological footprint, reduces soil erosion, protects water quality, promotes biodiversity, and helps beautify your community. It also strengthens family ties by uniting families in a common goal and provides an opportunity for you to teach your children where food really comes from.

Most people have a “May-September romance” with their gardens—but what about turning that into a year-around committed relationship? Have you ever considered growing a WINTER vegetable garden?

A Winter Garden That Will Make Your Neighbors GREEN With Envy

Winter gardening is far easier than you might think. If you are tempted to hang up your garden gloves in September, you might want to reconsider. You could be harvesting spinach, beets, and carrots in February, while your neighbors are still battling their winter blues and longing for the whispers of spring.

Many vegetables grow and even THRIVE in cooler temperatures. Many concentrate their sugars in cooler weather, resulting in better flavor during the fall and winter months. Even in the northernmost areas of the U.S., a wide variety of vegetables can be grown, especially with the assistance of a few simple temperature-shielding strategies that I’ll be talking about later, such as row covers and cold frames.

But in more Southerly regions, you don’t even need those!

One of the greatest benefits of a winter garden is the savings to your grocery bill. Produce costs more during the winter, especially organic produce. Many winter vegetables ship poorly, so freshness is compromised. It makes even more sense to grow your own food in the winter than in the summer. But the benefits to a winter garden don’t end there.

Consider this:

  • There are fewer pests and fewer weeds to deal with in cooler months than during the summer.
  • Mother Nature takes care of some of your garden chores between September and May—she does the watering. In some regions, you can skip watering altogether and let the winter rains do it for you.
  • The cold winter ground is Nature’s own refrigerator. You can “store” root vegetables in the ground and harvest them as you need them—for example, carrots and beets keep very well this way.

Gardeners Beware: Garden Chemicals Can Be Toxic

One of the greatest advantages of being a home gardener is controlling exactly what goes into your food and soil. There are now millions of organic products on the market, as well as numerous books and websites offering organic gardening advice. The organic gardening explosion testifies to a wonderful shift in people’s attitudes about food.

The EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides carcinogenic. Pesticides may cause an extra 4 million cancer cases among Americans.

The problem is that pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides bioaccumulate. Once these toxins are dumped onto our plants and soil, they are very hard to get rid of. Each year tons upon tons of these poisons are sprayed on farms, which then run off through the soil into streams and rivers, ending up in lakes and underground aquifers, rivers, and oceans. The damage from this continual massive toxic runoff is very hard to undo.

Bioaccumulation also occurs in your own body, and these chemicals are neurotoxic. For example, pesticides have recently been linked to Parkinson’s disease. They may also be responsible for the honeybee die-off. And synthetic fertilizers have had a host of unintended consequences to food and the environment, and to the sustainability of our food system. We now know that synthetic nitrogen from fertilizers results in weaker soil and weaker plants. They are also a source of air and water pollution because they volatize, leach and runoff. Organic fertilizers do not.

You can protect yourself and the Earth from damage by these toxic chemicals by gardening organically. But be aware that, just because a product is organic doesn’t mean it’s necessarily environmentally friendly—some organic pesticides have a higher environmental impact than conventional ones. Remember, not all weeds are bad! And some are not only edible but offer great nutritional benefits.

Things to Consider BEFORE You Start Moving Dirt

In your exuberance from reading this article, you may be tempted to dive right in. But there are some practical considerations. Taking the time to plan NOW will save you headaches later.  A winter garden does not mean waiting until winter to plant a garden. Planning a winter garden begins in the spring, with the ultimate goal of harvesting in the winter. Timing will be perfect (October) for planting garlic from cloves. Winter gardening is basically about extending the growing season. Some plants are grown for fall and winter harvesting, whereas others are planted to “overwinter” for an early spring harvest.

Either way, timing your planting is important, and timing depends on the type of veg you’re planting and your “hardiness zone.” As an aside, these zones are now changing as a result of global climate patterns, which you can read more about here.

What and When to Plant

For your winter garden, your most important date to know is your “first frost” date. You’ll want to plant your seeds early enough that the plants will be established before getting subjected to a light freeze. So your first step is to check your hardiness zone to see when your first frost is expected.

Most winter veggies are planted in mid to late summer so they are strong and ready for when the temperatures drop, and then ripe for harvest in winter or early spring. Timing this depends on how long each plant takes to reach maturity. Some vegetables, such as parsnips and Brussels sprouts, actually develop a better flavor if they are kissed by a light frost.

The following tables list the best vegetables for a winter garden and how long it takes each to mature, on average. Of course, there are certain varieties of each veggie that are more suitable for cooler temperatures, and the seed packet often gives you this information. If not, make use of the staff’s expertise at your local nursery—they usually know what varieties perform best in your area and are usually eager to help.

90 Days to Maturity

Beets Carrots Parsnips Rutabagas
Brussels sprouts Globe onions Garlic Cabbage
Broccoli Cauliflower Fava Beans  

60 Days to Maturity

Early carrots Leeks Turnips Kohlrabi
Early cabbage Collard greens Swiss chard Peas
Kale      

30 Days to Maturity

Chives Radishes Leaf lettuce Spinach

Herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage will also do fine during a mild winter. Parsley and cilantro can be reseeded year-round in many places, whenever a fresh patch is desired. Unless you have very warm winters, avoid trying to grow corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, and melons during the winter, as they are primarily warmer weather crops.

This page has a handy timetable to guide your seed sowing. Keep in mind that these dates are based on the climate in Sumner, Washington, so the timetable may shift for your geographic region and gardening zone. There are really no hard and fast rules for when specific crops must be planted.  All of this requires a bit of trial and error… but that’s half the fun!

Where to Plant

You don’t necessarily have to designate a separate winter garden space. If you already have a summer garden going, most of your veggies will be harvested by late August, leaving an empty bed just in time for planting fall and winter crops.

Be creative! You can tuck winter crops into little nooks and crannies of your yard.

For example, as those annual pansies finish up and become scraggly, you can pull them out, and then sprinkle a few veggie seeds into that spot and top it off with a little fresh garden mix and compost. Then come spring, you have veggies where the pansies were. Or, consider edging an 18-inch path along the sidewalk to your front door with a colorful carpet of winter greens. By the time the plants are a few inches tall, you will need to thin them—just pull out a few for an instant salad of fresh baby greens in November!

You can also plant many veggies in containers. Container gardening is a great way to have a small garden if you live in a condo or have limited space. If you live in the city, you might even consider a rooftop garden, or a vertical garden.” Some folks are even getting into aquaponics, which combines hydroponics with fish to fertilize the plants, using less than 2 percent of the water and one-tenth of the energy of conventional farming, for ten times the vegetable yield!

But getting back to more conventional outdoor gardens, think about how far you will want to walk to access your garden in the wintertime.

You may want easy access for grabbing something from the garden on those cold, dark wintery evenings.

Or, if you want to force yourself to walk more, then plant it a ways away from the door. Just remember that on cold and rainy winter days, you MIGHT not want to journey to the far ends of your property to snip a sprig of parsley. The point is to consider how the season will impact your energy level and lifestyle, and plan accordingly. You also need to consider where other critters might have access to your garden goodies—like deer, if you live in an area where this is an issue.

Tips for Preparing and Planting Your Winter Garden

Here are some tips to assist you in the preparation of your winter garden bed. (Most of the following tips come from organic gardening expert Howard Garrett, also known as The Dirt Doctor.)

First, the DON’T'S:

  • Don’t remove native soil unless building the raised beds causes drainage problems. Existing native soil is an important part of the bed preparation mix.
  • Don’t till wet soil. Tilling, forking or digging holes in wet soil does damage by squeezing the soil particles together, compacting it and eliminating the air spaces needed for healthy soil life.
  • Don’t use peat moss, pine bark or washed concrete sand. These products are problematic, especially when compared to the natural organic choices.
  • Don’t spray toxic herbicides. Spraying toxic herbicides anytime is a bad idea, but in the winter, it’s even worse because they don’t kill dormant grasses and weeds. 

And now for the DOs:

  • Remove unwanted vegetation wisely. Scrape away any existing weeds and grass and toss that material into the compost pile or replant the sod elsewhere. Always remove the grass BEFORE you do any tilling. Tilling first drives the reproductive part of the grasses and weeds down into the ground, which will create a weed problem. Organic herbicides can be used in the summer, but physical removal (including the root) is still better.
  • Raise the beds. Walls aren’t essential, but the top of the beds should be flat and higher than the surrounding grades with sloped edges for drainage. This lifting happens naturally if proper amounts of amendments are added to the native soil.
  • Add amendments. Add 4 – 6″ of compost, dry molasses or other organic fertilizer (2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.), zeolite (10 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.), lava sand (10 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.), greensand (4 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.), and whole ground horticultural cornmeal (2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.). If your budget allows, add one-half inch of decomposed granite. Rototill or fork to a total depth of 8 inches.
  • Make mycorrhizae your new best friend. Mycorrhizae are fungi that interact symbiotically with the roots of plants, resulting in great benefits for both. Garden supply stores are now carrying several mycorrhizae products that will make your garden plants thrive, dramatically improving root strength, water and nutrient transport into the plant, and better competitiveness against weeds.
  • Moisten beds before planting. Planting beds should be moistened after being prepared and before the planting begins (moist but not sopping wet). Do not plant in dry soil because tender young roots will dehydrate quickly as they try to grow; roots of any transplants should be sopping wet and thoroughly hydrated.
  • Bare root plants. Pot-bound plants can resist water, which results in unhealthy root development. Soak root balls in water for at least 30 minutes or until they are thoroughly saturated. Remove most if not all of the soil and synthetic fertilizer pellets. Separate the rootballs (and even trim off the perimeter if root bound), and spread the roots out in a radial pattern, and then cover them with prepared bed soil, for healthy root development.
  • Plant high. Set plants high with the top of the rootballs slightly higher than the surrounding soil. This is especially critical on woody plants—make sure the trunk flares are uncovered and visible. Setting the plant too low can cause poor growth or drowning.
  • Mulch beds after planting. Add 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch after planting. Use shredded native tree trimmings for trees, shrubs and ground cover, and a thin layer of compost for annuals and perennials. Never pile mulch onto the stems of plants.
  • Harvest winter veggies in the warmth of the day. Wait until the plants have had a few hours to get well above freezing in their protected environment.

Create a Microclimate Using Cold Frames, Cloches, and Row Covers

If you live in an area where temperatures routinely drop below 25 degrees F, you may need the assistance of row covers or cold frames for successful winter gardening. These don’t have to be fancy or expensive. You can see how these work in the second video at the top of this article.

According to Eliot Coleman of VegetableGardener.com:

“A cold frame is a simple bottomless box with a removable glass or plastic lid that protects plants inside from excessively low temperatures, wind, snow, and rain. It creates a microclimate that is a zone and a half warmer than your garden. My garden may be in Maine, but the plants in my cold frame think they’re in New Jersey. A cold frame in New Jersey provides Georgia weather. The result is a harvest of fresh vegetables all winter long.”

You can look at pictures of his cold frame, as well as learn how to construct your own, at the link above. And this webpage has numerous tutorials and videos related to cold frame gardening.

Row covers are simply lightweight plant protection blankets that can be draped over a row of plants during cold spells. You can choose from a variety of row covers, based on how much sunlight they let in and how much air circulation they allow. Simple row covers can be held in place with metal anchors, dirt, bricks, rocks, or even filled water jugs. Once the covers are no longer needed, you can store them away until next year.

Another lightweight, portable structure to shelter plants is called a cloche. Cloches are informal structures, very similar to a “hoop house” or “high tunnel.” These are built using PVC pipe bent into hoops, with plastic sheeting draped across the piping and anchored down with rocks or filled water jugs. Of course, it’s always useful to have a greenhouse, as your budget and space allows.

Organic Pest Control

Although pest control is easier in the winter, you will probably have SOME irritating freeloaders.  It is possible to control pests without toxic chemical products. But there is an art to it—organic products require a more patient and persistent approach, as opposed to the “sledge hammer” approach of toxic chemicals. According to the Dirt Doctor, biodiversity of microbes, insects and animals is the best long-term control.

On his website, Howard Garrett offers a few organic products for sale to home gardeners. But you can also make your own inexpensive organic pest control products using ordinary items you probably already have in your pantry. For example, a homemade garden spray that will discourage most pests combines mashed garlic paste with a little cayenne pepper or horseradish.

Add a small amount of this mixture to a gallon of water and let it sit for a day or two, shaking occasionally. Then just spray it on the affected plant. You may want to test the spray out first by spraying a small amount onto a few leaves, to make sure it’s not so strong that it burns them.

Garrett suggests that, for aphids (a common garden pest plaguing backyard gardeners and professional gardeners alike), you can control them pretty well using a mixture of compost tea, molasses, and orange oil. He adds that lemon Joy dishwashing soap mixed at a rate of one ounce per gallon of water also works. With a little trial and error, you may come up with your own dynamite mixture.

For more details on these types of natural solutions to pests of all kinds, I recommend the book Dead Snails Leave No Trails by Nancarrow and Taylor, or visit the website BeyondPesticides.org. They have a section on do-it-yourself natural solutions to a wide range of pest problems, along with how to find pest management companies that use non-toxic products.

More Gardening Resources

Our main gardening source is The Dirt Doctor. Several gardening sites also highly recommend a book by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch called Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long. Their website Four Season Farm includes a number of resources that will help you learn about year-round gardening.

As far as online resources, here are several others to help you along your path:

Growing your own food is the wave of the future. We must all become better stewards of the land. A garden for all seasons is a great step forward, and the seeds you sow now will reap great health benefits later for you and your family.

References


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