Archive for August, 2012

Natural Ways to Prevent and Reverse Autoimmune Illness

Natural Ways to Prevent and Reverse Autoimmune Illness
Posted By Dr. Ben Kim

As a followup to our look at the root causes of autoimmune illness, this post reviews several natural ways to protect yourself against autoimmune illness. In some cases, I’ve found that the steps outlined below can actually reverse some of the degenerative changes that can accompany various autoimmune illnesses.

Give Your Digestive Tract a Chance to Heal
Think of your digestive tract as your first physical line of defense against autoimmune illness, or any degenerative illness for that matter.

From your mouth to your rectal pouch, the lining of your digestive tract is continuous with the skin that covers your body. This technically makes your digestive tract lining similar to your outer skin in the sense that it acts as a barrier that protects your blood and inner tissues against undesirable substances in your environment.

Once the lining of your digestive tract begins to break down, if your genetic programming allows for it, you will begin to experience the antigen-antibody complex formation that occurs whenever incompletely digested protein leaks through your damaged digestive tract into your blood. The same goes for exogenous toxins like synthetic chemicals found in cosmetic products.

If you are suffering from an autoimmune condition, chances are good that your digestive tract is not as healthy as it can be, and that the effects of “leaky gut syndrome” and the formation of antigen-antibody complexes are contributing to your current symptoms.

How can you know with reasonable certainty that your digestive tract lining is not as healthy as possible? Leaky gut syndrome is not recognized by conventional medicine as a health condition, most likely because there are no clear-cut drugs or surgical procedures that can justifiably be prescribed for it.

The loss of lining integrity that we are talking about is microscopic, which doesn’t make it any less harmful than it is.

In general, you can safely assume that your digestive tract lining is in need of significant repair if you have symptoms of an autoimmune illness and you have one or more of the following symptoms of digestive tract dysfunction:

•Excessive, foul-smelling gas production

•Ill-defined discomfort in your abdomen following meals or even during meals

•Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea

So how do you go about restoring the health of your digestive tract?

First, recognize that your body’s self healing mechanisms are already hard at work to repair any damage that exists within your body, including within your digestive tract.

Just as your body predictably works to heal a cut on your skin the moment the cut is created, your body is constantly on the alert for trouble spots throughout your body and will always work to repair damaged areas.

The difference between your digestive tract and your skin is that you can see your skin and clearly determine if your daily choices are helping or hindering your self healing mechanisms as they work to repair a cut.

Put another way, it is easy for you to see that when you keep a cut on your skin clean and protected against abrasive objects, your body can almost always successfully restore it to health. But when it comes to your digestive tract, it is not as easy for you to know how your daily food and lifestyle choices are helping or hindering your body’s attempt to heal damaged areas.

If you could see with your eyes how a specific food that you ate over lunch – say a hot dog or a turkey sub – was putting stress on your digestive tract lining and preventing it from making progress in healing, you would certainly be well motivated to avoid such foods.

Similarly, it isn’t obvious to your eyes how other foods, lack of rest, emotional stress, and other lifestyle factors are affecting the health status of your digestive tract.

The good news is that you can learn – from this post and by listening to your body’s signals – how to best support healing of your digestive tract. And once your daily food and lifestyle choices consistently support your body’s ongoing efforts to restore the health of your digestive tract, recovery of your health is well within your reach.

When you want a cut on your skin to heal as quickly as possible, you know that you must do the best you can not to disturb that area. Leave it alone and let your healing mechanisms do exactly what they are well designed to do all the time.

This same principle applies to healing your digestive tract: leave it alone as much as possible. Do not give it any unnecessary stress.

Which takes us to our next major point…

Adopt Eating Habits that Facilitate Optimal Digestion
Perhaps the single most important eating habit that you can adopt to facilitate healing of your digestive tract is to chew your foods thoroughly.

Ideally, you want to chew your foods until liquid. When you chew well, you allow your digestive tract to efficiently break down small particles of food into micronutrients that can pass through the wall of your small intestine into your blood.

Your teeth are designed to mechanically break down food, while the rest of your digestive tract and organs are designed to chemically break down your food. Whenever you do not chew well, your digestive tract and organs take on the burden of trying to accomplish what is much easier for your teeth to accomplish.

If you have dental or jaw problems that make it difficult to chew well, consider blending your foods in a blender or a food processor.

Chewing your foods and liquids well allows your saliva and digestive enzymes to mix in with your foods and liquids, and begins the process of digestion right in your mouth.

Chewing well encourages physical and emotional rest while eating. And being emotionally balanced and at rest while you eat allows your body to send a rich supply of blood to your digestive organs during a meal, which helps to optimize every step of digestion.

If possible, strive to combine the habit of chewing well with a steady focus on feelings of gratitude for your food and other blessings. Just as the connection between your mind and body can cause you to sweat when you are nervous, having a feeling of gratitude while you chew your food can help your digestive organs break down your food and assimilate nutrients into your blood.

Once you condition yourself to chew well and to eat with a grateful heart, the next habit to adopt to promote optimal digestive tract health is to…

Avoid Eating More Protein than You Need
As mentioned previously, a significant cause of autoimmune illness is the formation of antigen-antibody complexes that can float around in your blood and get deposited into your tissues, which can cause inflammation and accompanying discomfort.

And a chief cause of formation of such immune complexes is the leakage of incompletely digested protein into your blood.

Chewing your food well will certainly help to minimize the amount of undigested protein that can make it into your blood.

But to stay optimally well, it is equally important to avoid eating more protein than your body needs.

In general, it is best to eat no more than half of your body weight of protein, in grams, per day. This means that if you weigh 150 pounds, you should strive to eat no more than about 75 grams of protein per day.

A three-ounce piece of beef, chicken, or fish contains approximately 25 grams of protein. And three ounces of meat equates to a serving size that is about the size of a regular deck of cards.

But don’t forget that every food that you eat, including fruits and vegetables, contains protein. So if you eat three ounces of animal-based protein for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you are almost certainly eating more than 75 grams of protein per day.

A cup of broccoli, cooked spinach, or corn contains approximately 5 grams of protein.

A cup of peas contains over 8 grams of protein.

Even a medium-sized potato contains almost 5 grams of protein.

If you eat plenty of vegetables and legumes, it is not difficult to get enough protein to be optimally healthy without eating any animal foods at all. I am not suggesting that you need to be a strict vegan for the long-term to recover from and prevent autoimmune illness. Rather, I am striving to illustrate how easy it is to eat more protein than you need, which is a critical mistake when addressing autoimmune illness.

My clinical experiences have led me to believe that animal-based protein, especially when cooked at high temperatures, tends to contribute to antigen-antibody complex formation in people with autoimmune illness more easily than plant-based protein.

To best support recovery from autoimmune illness over the long-term, I recommend eating no more than one three-ounce serving of animal-based protein per day, cooked using a low temperature technique, such as steaming or boiling.

If possible, I even recommend staying away from all animal-based protein for a period of six months to give your digestive tract complete rest from having to digest animal protein. During such a time, it is best to avoid eating large amounts of protein-dense plant foods as well, such as nuts, seeds, and legumes. So long as you eat plenty of vegetables, especially green ones like broccoli, lettuce, and cabbage, you will get plenty of protein for your daily needs.

After six months of avoiding animal protein and going light on protein-dense plant foods, you can gradually increase your protein intake until you are eating approximately one gram of protein per day for every two pounds of your body weight, with no more than one major serving of animal-based protein.

Now that we have emphasized how important it is to avoid over-consumption of protein, let’s take a close look at how you can choose to…

Eat Foods that Optimally Nourish and Cause Little to No Harm
The best food groups for preventing and reversing autoimmune illness are vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Ideally, you want to eat just these food groups (with perhaps very small amounts of legumes) for a period of six months to give your body the rest and nutrients that it needs to best support a full recovery.

Eat a fresh salad every day that includes plenty of dark green lettuces and colorful vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, shredded zucchini, and shredded red beets.

For concentrated healthy fat intake, add an avocado, as well as a simple salad dressing made out of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and a touch of honey if you like a little sweetness to your dressings.

Steamed vegetables are also an excellent food group for overcoming autoimmune illness. You can eat a lot more broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, red beets, and other hardy vegetables when they are steamed than you can when they are raw. Steaming such foods can actually help you extract more nutrients out of them.

Steaming can also soften the fiber found in these foods, which can be helpful if your digestive tract is sensitive to large amounts of raw fiber. Try eating steamed vegetables with healthy salad dressings or even soups that can serve as nourishing and flavorful sauces.

You can make vegetable soups by boiling vegetables and then running them and the water that they are boiled in through a blender or food processor.

Eating vegetables in their raw state allows you to benefit from naturally occurring enzymes that are destroyed with cooking.

Eating vegetables that are steamed or boiled allows you to eat more of them and extract more nutrients out of them than you can when they are raw. So eating both raw and cooked vegetables positively diversifies your intake of health-promoting nutrients.

Freshly pressed vegetable juices provide intact enzymes, and because they are nutrients that have already been extracted from fibrous vegetables, they provide a concentrated batch of nutrients that are readily absorbed into your system and able to nourish your cells. If possible, do your best to include at least one freshly pressed vegetable juice in your diet on a daily basis. And if your life circumstances don’t allow for this, consider taking a high quality green food powder.

Whole grains like brown rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and oats can provide you with plenty of complex carbohydrates that can take care of the bulk of your daily caloric needs. Whole grains are also rich in B vitamins and a wide variety of minerals.

Just be sure to soak whole grains in water for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, before cooking. Doing so makes whole grains easier to digest and also prevents potential problems with mineral absorption. The bran of whole grains contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind onto calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous in your digestive tract, preventing them from entering your blood.

Soaking whole grains helps to neutralize phytic acid and prevent such binding from occurring in your digestive tract.

As is the case with salads and steamed vegetables, adding healthy dressings and sauces to whole grains can make them an enjoyable staple in your diet.

Fruits are also a good choice for autoimmune illness, but you have to be careful about not eating more fruits than vegetables.

While certain fruits like berries, grapes, pomegranates, watermelon, and mangos are concentrated in health-promoting antioxidants, most fruits have a lot more carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugar (fructose) than they do antioxidants.

Actually, the majority of health-promoting nutrients found in fruits are in their skins and seeds. So when eating fruits, choose varieties that are rich in color and, whenever possible, try to eat their skins and seeds. Excellent choices include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, mangos, papayas, apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, and some of the “super foods” that are becoming more popular with each passing day, such as goji berries.

Keep in mind that it is always better to eat fresh fruits rather than dried fruits. Dried fruits are heavily concentrated in natural sugars that can put stress on your blood sugar-regulating mechanisms, which can increase your risk of suffering from diabetes and other forms of cardiovascular disease.

Now let’s take a look at a three suggestions related to lifestyle choices that are not related to your diet…

Ensure Adequate Physical Rest
Do not overlook the importance of getting adequate physical rest as you seek to recover from autoimmune illness. Simply put, the more you rest, the more energy your body can devote to repairing damaged areas, including your digestive tract.

What’s most important is to get deep, restful sleep each night. It is during deep, restful sleep that your body produces large quantities of hormones that are directly or indirectly responsible for facilitating healing and growth of your tissues.

These hormones are growth hormone, testosterone, and erythropoietin. Your body produces these hormones in small quantities while you are awake and active, but in order to produce them in optimal quantities for healing moderate to severe degrees of autoimmune illness, you need deep, restful sleep on a regular basis.

Ensure Adequate Exposure to Natural Sunlight
Ensuring adequate vitamin D status is extremely important to treating and preventing autoimmune illness. And the safest way to ensure adequate vitamin D status is to regularly expose your skin to sunlight without getting burned.

UV-B rays in sunlight can convert cholesterol that is found in your skin to natural vitamin D. Amazingly, once you produce enough vitamin D through this mechanism, your body will not manufacture additional vitamin D until you need more, even with continued exposure to sunlight. This natural “stop” mechanism is important because you do not want to have more vitamin D than your body needs on a moment-to-moment basis; vitamin D is fat-soluble, and can therefore be stored to levels that are toxic to your body.

When sunlight is not regularly available, as is the case in the northern hemisphere throughout the late fall, winter, and early spring months, it is important to ensure adequate vitamin D intake through foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D.

Although some commercially available foods like pasteurized dairy and some cereals are fortified with synthetic vitamin D, it is best to eat foods that are naturally abundant in vitamin D. Foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D include wild salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, and organic egg yolks.

Get Clear on Why You Want To Be Well
Have you ever experienced a frightful dream that was so real that you woke up with a pounding heart or a coat of sweat on your skin?

Have you ever experienced a gush of saliva in your mouth while thinking about eating something tart like a fresh lemon?

These and other everyday experiences are proof that your thoughts and emotions can create real physical change throughout your body. Every single thought and emotion that you experience triggers countless chemical reactions throughout your body via your nervous and endocrine systems.

In recognizing how powerful your mind-body connection is, you can harness its power as you seek to recover from and prevent autoimmune illness.

Every time you strongly believe that you will experience a full recovery, your body moves towards that reality. Every time you start feeling sorry for yourself and believe that you will never be free of autoimmune illness, your illness becomes more deeply rooted in your physiology.

Harnessing your mind-body connection to facilitate a full recovery goes way beyond repeating affirmations to yourself, telling yourself that you believe you will be well. Affirmations are important and useful, but they must come from a place of genuine strength and conviction.

Using your thoughts and emotions to be well must begin with a careful evaluation of your core life values, beliefs, and desires.

Choosing Your Mental Diet

Choosing Your Mental Diet

Have you ever given thought to the diet of your mind? Of course, our physical diet and our emotional diet are also diets of the mind, because they affect our consciousness. But let’s now consider the intellectual processes. How much information, how many facts is it necessary and healthy for us to ingest in a single day? It’s a good idea for a devotee to budget his reading, to choose and discriminate what he wants to make a part of himself through the process of mental digestion. We have to discriminate to the nth degree whether or not we will have the time and the capacity to digest everything that we desire to place in our minds. For instance, quickly reading an article in a newspaper might stir your mind and emotions. If it is not properly digested, it could conceivably upset your whole day. In the realm of intellect, the commonsense rule “Don’t eat when you are already full” also applies.

You may read a book of philosophy, and if you have time to digest it, well and good, but many people don’t and suffer from philosophical indigestion. They have read so many things and only digested a small part of what has passed through the window of the mind. Then again, it is one thing to digest something, and it is still another to assimilate it and make it a part of you, for when it becomes fully a part of you, you have a hunger and room for something more.

Many people come to lectures and then tune themselves out and simply benefit from the vibration created by the teacher and others in the room. They tune themselves out so that what is said is not absorbed consciously, but rather subconsciously. This is a good method for those who are still digesting material received from previous lectures. Another practice that makes for a very good mental indigestion pill is that of opening a spiritual book and allowing your eye to fall upon a random sentence on the page. Often you will find it will accent ideas that you are currently concerned with.

Just as you would participate in a seminar, gaining from the interpersonal relationships, so can you learn from the intrapersonal relationship established between your perceptive state of mind and the conscious and subconscious states of mind. When you awaken to the point where your inner mind teaches your personality, you are involving yourself in the “innerversity” of your own being. But this will not occur until you have balanced your physical and emotional bodies to the point where they are functioning at a slightly higher rate of vibration.

Add to your contemplative lifestyle a hobby or craft. Working creatively with your hands, taking physical substance and turning it into something different, new and beautiful is important in remolding the subconscious mind. It is also symbolic. You are remolding something on the physical plane and by doing so educating yourself in the process of changing the appearance of a physical structure, thus making it easier to change the more subtle mental and emotional structures within your own subconscious mind. Energy, willpower and concentrated awareness are needed for both types of accomplishments — hard work, concentration and concerted effort to produce an effective and useful change in either the physical substance or the mental substance.

Incredible hugs

Mary Melfi hugs her dog “Glory” after being reunited with him for the first time since being deployed as part of the U.S. war with Iraq. (2006)

Image by Ellen Ozier / Reuters

Zookeeper Stefanie Krueger gets a hug from a polar bear cub named Flocke. (2008)

Source: Reuters

Satsuko Yatsuzaka holds a therapeutic robot named Paro at a retirement home in Japan. For some elderly survivors of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, comfort comes in the form of a small white robotic seal. (2011)

Image by Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

Aummarine Kamolkunpipat hugs his wife’s coffin. His wife was the victim of a Malaysian bus crash.

Image by Bazuki Muhammad / Reuters

Two miners embrace after being rescued from a collapsed mine in the eastern Ukrainian city of Snezhnoye. (2006)

Image by Alexander Khudotioply / Reuters

Are Raisins Good for Losing Weight?

Are Raisins Good for Losing Weight?

As with any fruit, raisins will never be considered a “bad food.” In fact, for their size, raisins pack a lot of nutrition into a tiny package. Assisting in everything from lowering blood pressure to providing a natural source of energy, when part of a healthy diet, raisins are beneficial to healthiness.

The benefits of incorporating raisins into your diet seem almost endless. According to, raisins contribute to better bone health and, due to their high level of antioxidants, may protect against macular degeneration. They are high in potassium, low in sodium, which is good for a healthy heart. Also extremely high in fiber, raisins help to promote proper digestion and aid in keeping the colon healthy.

No fruit is bad for you; however, some are better when eaten in small doses. Raisins fall into this category as do their fruit relative—grapes. As a matter of fact, according to, 1/2 c. raisins is equivalent to 1 c. of many other fruits. Don’t let this discourage you because raisins are a natural food source they are nutritious.

Weight Loss
While they are high in calories and carboyhdrates, 1 c. equals 493 calories and 131g carbs, raisins are fine to consume if you are an active person. In fact for athletes or those who work out daily, raisins provide energy and solid carbohydrates to burn.

As far as raisins and weight loss for those just starting out, a recent study at the University of Conneticut showed that reaching for a packet of raisins to ward off hunger was beneficial to those trying to lose weight. When those in the study integrated raisins into their daily diet plan as a snack, the raisins raised leptin levels and worked as an appetite suppressant in between meals. The study did find that raisins should be eaten in moderation because they are high in calories and sugar.

Nature’s Healthy Candy
Those looking to lose weight fast or by only using one food source may be disappointed to know that this little super food is high in sugar and calories. But raisins promote regularity through fiber, which is helpful in weight loss. Fruit will not make you fat when eaten in moderation and when, like other foods, they are incorporated into a diet plan complete with exercise.

Read more: Are Raisins Good for Losing Weight? |

The Effects of Smelling Cat Litter

The Effects of Smelling Cat Litter

By Timothy Mucciante, eHow Contributor

Particular Hazards For Pregnant Women
Besides the ammonia smell coming from the cat urine, cat feces can also be a danger. Feces contain toxoplasmosis, a bacterium that can cause illness. If this disease is passed onto a pregnant woman, her baby may suffer from birth defects like mental retardation. The child being stillborn is the worst case scenario. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that can be spread from cats to humans. However, simply smelling cat urine coming from a litter box does not pose any greater danger to a pregnant woman.

Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA has classified ammonia as a toxic chemical and requires notification to a community when there is an abnormally high concentration of ammonia in the area. Ammonia is colorless, but has a truly distinct and foul odor at concentrations of 50 parts-per-million. Repeated exposure to ammonia, even of lesser concentration, can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, eye damage and skin cancer.

Date Rape Drugs

Date Rape Drugs
Drink spiking has been on the increase and is most dangerous.  You ladies, should never leave your drinks unguarded in public places.   Beware!   cheers!  

What’s the difference between drunken sex and date rape?

If a woman says yes, it’s not rape. If a woman is drunk and says yes, and has no regrets later, it’s drunken sex. If a woman is drunk and says yes, but later has regrets, it’s date rape.

When people think of rape, they might think of a stranger jumping out of a shadowy place and sexually attacking someone. But it’s not only strangers who rape. In fact, about half of all people who are raped know the person who attacked them.

Most friendships, acquaintances, and dates never lead to violence, of course. But, sadly, sometimes it happens. When forced sex occurs between two people who already know each other, it is known as date rape or acquaintance rape.

Date Rape

Even if the two people know each other well, and even if they were intimate or had sex before, no one has the right to force a sexual act on another person against his or her will.
What are date rape drugs?

These are drugs that are sometimes used to assist a sexual assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It can include inappropriate touching, vaginal penetration, sexual intercourse, rape, and attempted rape. Because of the effects of these drugs, victims may be physically helpless, unable to refuse sex, and can’t remember what happened. The drugs often have no color, smell, or taste and are easily added to flavored drinks without the victim’s knowledge. There are at least three date rape drugs:

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid)
Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)
Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride)

Although we use the term “date rape,” most experts prefer the term “drug-facilitated sexual assault.” These drugs have been used to help people commit other crimes, like robbery and physical assault, and have been used on both men and women.

What do the drugs look like?

GHB has a few forms: a liquid with no odor or color, white powder, and pill.

Rohypnol is a pill and dissolves in liquids. New pills turn blue when added to liquids.
However, the old pills, with no color, are still available.

Ketamine is a white powder.(special K)

What effects do these drugs have on the body?

The drugs can affect you quickly. The length of time that the effects last varies. It depends on how much of the drug is taken and if the drug is mixed with other substances, like alcohol. Alcohol can worsen the drug’s effects and can cause more health problems. Also, one drug � GHB � can be made by people in their homes, so you don’t know what’s in it.

Girls and women are most often raped – one in three women will be sexually assaulted in her life. Guys can also be raped, though: 7% to 10% of rape victims are male.

You may hear some people say that those who have been raped were somehow “asking for it” because of the clothes they wore or the way they acted. That’s wrong: The person who is raped is not to blame. Rape is always the fault of the rapist. And that’s also the case when two people are dating – or even in an intimate relationship. One person never owes the other person sex. If sex is forced against someone’s will, that’s rape.

Even though rape involves forced sex, rape is not about sex or passion. Rape has nothing to do with love. Rape is an act of aggression and violence.

Healthy relationships involve respect – including respect for the feelings of others. Someone who really cares about you will respect your wishes and not force or pressure you to have sex.

GHB can cause these problems:

problems seeing
unconsciousness (black out)
problems breathing
can’t remember what happened while drugged
slow heart rate
dream-like feeling
can’t remember what happened while drugged
lower blood pressure
muscle relaxation or loss of muscle control
drunk feeling
problems talking
difficulty with motor movements
loss of consciousness
problems seeing
stomach problems


Rohypnol can cause these problems:

Clonazepam and Alprazolam

These two drugs are taking the place of Rohypnol abuse in some areas of the United States now. Clonazepam is marketed as Klonopin in the United States and Rivotril in Mexico. Alprazolam is marketed as Xanax. These drugs offer very similar affects compared to Rohypnol when used and when abused can cause dependency and addiction

Ketamine can cause these problems:

lost sense of time and identity
distorted perceptions of sight and sound
feeling out of control
impaired motor function
problems breathing
out of body experiences
memory problems
dream-like feeling
loss of coordination
aggressive or violent behavior
slurred speech

Here are some things teen girls and guys can do to protect themselves against date rape drugs:

Keep your drink with you at all times, even when you go to the bathroom.
Don’t drink from punch bowls.
Don’t accept drinks from others.
Only drink from containers you opened yourself.
Don’t drink things that taste or look funny.
Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs.
Go to parties with friends and watch out for each other.
Be clear about your standards and limits, and avoid people who pressure you to change them.
Stay away from people and situations that make you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t go off alone with anyone you don’t know well.

If Date Rape Happens . . .

Get help. Don’t isolate yourself, don’t feel guilty, and don’t try to ignore it. It is a crime and should be reported.

Get medical attention as soon as possible. Do not shower, wash, douche, or change your clothes. Valuable evidence could be destroyed.

Get counseling to deal with the emotional trauma.

If you think you’ve been assaulted while under the influence of Rohypnol or GHB, seek help immediately, try not to urinate before providing urine samples and, if possible, collect any glasses from which you drank.