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For All You Plant Cures And Remedies

A Great Book Of Remedies Of Our Forefathers And Plant Cures Right In your Own Backyard: The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies. A great guide to those plants our ancestors and great grandmothers used for natural health. Dr. Nicole Apelian is a fine example of a survivalist and survivor. Nicole Has collected and documented her over 28 years of investigation and is now giving it back in the form of a wonderful guide to natural healing through our green friends. Do have a look. Click Here or the Pictures.

A Must Have Guide For Every Survivalist And Gardner


  A Make Room On Your Bookshelf For This Wonderful Guide to Natural Health And Wellness Thanks To Our Green Friend Right Outsid Our Door. Click Here To Learn More.


"Curing what ails you" occupies much of our lives. It is in our thoughts, it empties our wallets and it engenders guilt because we are not more disciplined. Worst of all we are bombarded by the media daily with the should's and should not's of good health, the pharmaceutical industry aims its advertising at our weakest points and greatest fears, the FDA wiggles and waffles on what is healthy and nutritional and what is not and they approve medicines and our exposure to chemicals banned in most first world countries.

I believe we should all take a step back. At the heart of things we are in truth animals, just like squirrels or deer, and most of them survive very well with no medical intervention of any kind. If you take a walk through an old, very old, graveyard you will see that lives were lived into the 80's and 90's centuries ago. You will also see rows of children's graves. Those we don't see so much anymore because in the mid 20th century we found cures for deadly childhood diseases -- measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, chicken pox, mumps and polio to name the short list. Because most of us no longer die in childhood, if childbirth and war don't kill us, we'll live long lives. Probably as long as we do now with a lot less of the health hoopla.

What all of this told me is to get smart.

As a good rule of thumb it is wise to remember that food is the fuel for your body, fuel for you to live your life. Begin thinking of food this way and those bags of orange chemical snacks may look a little less appealing.

Places to Start Making Changes

-- Toss out your non stick (Teflon) pans and plastic food containers.
Dupont, producer of Teflon, never did anything beneficial in its home state of Delaware and it isn't doing anything beneficial for any of us either. Take all of the "new and improved" non stick surfaces on cookware with a grain of salt and opt for a ®Brillo pad.

-- Antibacterial Soap
This is soap that contains a pesticide. That's not a good thing to be putting on your hands or anyplace else. Soap will do the job of cleaning your hands just fine if you wash thoroughly.

-- Think For Yourself and Think Smart
First, smart means reading food labels. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. If you don't know what it is, don't eat it until you do know what it is and think it's okay to eat. And, this goes for all foods, commercial and organic. Don't expect a government bureaucracy like the FDA is looking out for you. They aren't. If you think someone has got your back, remember the FDA approved Thalidomide after it had already devastated the lives of European families where it was first introduced.

-- When you hear advertisements for companies that come around to poison your house for you, think about it. Paper bags do not have cockroaches. Markets have cockroaches that may live in paper bags. If you are worried, bring your own recyclable bags to the supermarket and load up. And, if you haven't seen a cockroach in your house, it isn't because the roach killers come monthly. It is because your house doesn't have cockroaches. When you see one, give the guy a call or better yet get a roach motel and put it where you saw the roach.

-- Lawn services that promise green may do just that, but they don't warn you to keep your pets and children away from the lawn. How will you feel when your 10 year old is dying from cancer and you remember how many hours he rolled around on the poisoned grass.

-- If you care about yourself or have children, get rid of all insecticides. They are a lot more dangerous to you and your children than any bug.

-- Eat nothing or as little as possible from cans. Frozen foods are safer if perhaps a little more expensive. Cans often have liners that contain toxic chemicals.

I am not a doctor and I am not a trained nutritionist, but I was raised to think for myself and that I have done. What follows is information that may be of help to you. I surely hope so, but do discuss your plans with a trusted doctor if you can find one.


This is a big problem these days with millions or even billions of dollars spent on fair to middling solutions. We look at food as a cause of the problem or stress or the moon, but have you considered the water you are drinking? Reverse osmosis water may be the entire cause of your problem. Many folks are drinking this version of bottled water thinking it is the most pure and it probably is. THAT'S THE PROBLEM. Reverse osmosis water has a naturally balanced pH which seems to set off an acid stomach response including acid reflux.

While living in Montserrat, we drank pH adjusted natural rain water and had terrible indigestion. At first I tried my father's solution, a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water. Not very tasty, but effective. Then I realized the amount of salt we were getting in the "cure" and hastily switched to Tums which we ate like candy. Later, living in Guatemala we drank bottled reverse osmosis water and continued with the Tums. I noticed that when we left and spent time in Miami drinking tap water the Tums addiction evaporated and I became curious. I thought back to all the times we had traveled and used tap water. These were always times when we were free of Tums.

One time while staying in a hotel in Miami we met and talked with a retired nuclear sub engineer who confirmed my thinking that reverse osmosis water could cause acid indigestion. He reported having the same problem every time he was at sea in a sub where the water is all reverse osmosis. After two days on land his digestive system always recovered on its own.

It isn't the only solution, but it may be one that will help you. Stop drinking reverse osmosis water or look into its pH.


1. Lose some weight. Sad but true, weight gain in the middle area puts a strain on digestion among other functions of organs in that area. If you can't or won't lose weight, wear lose clothing and avoid circumstances of moving your body in ways that restrict the middle area.

2. Adjust what you eat and when you eat it. In our experience foods eaten at lunch cause no problems. The same foods eaten in the evening can be devilish. So, have your pizza, barbecued ribs, chocolate, french fries with lots of ketchup at lunch. For dinner opt for a light meal of baked chicken with steamed vegetables or maybe a bowl of boiled potatoes in their skins with lots of freshly chopped parsley and a lot of butter.

3. Look around the internet for foods that naturally produce an alkaline response. Eating these can't hurt that much so it's worth a try.

4. When living in the Caribbean local folks recommended eating pieces of fresh peeled aloe vera. I never tried it and wouldn't recommend it, but it probably won't hurt you apart from tasting absolutely terrible.

5. Baking soda has been and still is in kitchen cupboards coast to coast. It was a popular heart burn "medicine" in my family when I was a child and it was in my cupboard for the same reason for years. It works very well and even provides a very satisfying burp just to let you know it has done its job. Mix a teaspoon in about a cup of water and drink it relatively slowly. You probably won't need the whole cup to get relief.

Caution: If you have a salt restricted diet for any reason, baking soda is not a good choice for you.

6. Apple cider vinegar is now being touted as something to save your life. To me that means its benefits should be taken with a grain of salt. I tried the vinegar solution for urticaria and have little faith in it. I also realized the surface of my teeth was disappearing with each day's dose of the "mother's vinegar." This isn't something I'd recommend.

7. Slippery elm is a soothing lozenge that may be worth a try. I remember it feeling a little strange, but very calming to my irritated throat.

8. Most definitely sleep on your left side. If you look at a chart of the organs in your body, you'll see that your stomach lies on the left. Its connections upwards into your esophagus and downwards into your intestine are on the right side of your body. Sleeping on your left side makes it a little more difficult for liquids to rise into your esophagus.

9. If you are trying to sleep with acid indigestion, sleep on your left side with two pillows raising the upper part of your body.

10. Ginger is a wonderful peppery root and I use it almost every day in cooking one thing or another. It is well known as a digestive calmative and my husband swears by it. I drink ginger tea to reduce blood pressure and it works like a charm, but I do find it slightly upsetting to my stomach. This brings home an important thing to remember. We are all different. We don't all respond to foods, herbs and medicines the same way. If ginger works for you, great. If not, there are other natural options to try.

11. Mint is my own personal wonder drug. It eliminates the itch caused by mosquitos and other biting insects and it calms my stomach.


I commend anyone wishing to have natural air purification, but quite honestly if you have a noticeable air quality problem, immediately turn to an air purifier with hepa filters. We used a few of these air filters in our home in Montserrat when the volcano was spewing sulphur. I would not have been able to live there otherwise.

Plants are no longer just decorative additions to our home environments. With the advent of winter and summer closed home environments and all of the poisonous materials now used in the construction and decoration of our living environments, plants have become vitally necessary air purifiers. Here are some to consider for your apartment, home or office and all are easily cared for. But, as much as I've heard about their air cleaning qualities, I have never heard what you do with them when they are chock full of such nasty chemicals as formaldehyde and benzene. I'd love to know and I'm sure other visitors to the site would like to know as well.

Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm Chamaedorea sefritzii

Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata To see a Boston Fern look alike, please click here.
I got my first Boston fern when a student in Boston. It hung in my window over looking Beacon Hill and in time blocked almost all of the light from its window. They are easy to grow hanging in a basket or pot in a bright window and given routine watering when just dry (stick your finger in the dirt to see if it's damp -- if the dirt sticks wait one day to water).
Benefits: Like English Ivy, Boston Ferns absorb formaldehyde, one of the most common and very damaging pollutants in many homes today.

Chinese Evergreen Aglaonema modestum To see Chinese Evergreen Plants, please click here.

Chrysanthemum Chrysantheium morifolium

Cornstalk Dracaena Dracaena fragans 'Massangeana'

Devil's Ivy Scindapsus aures

Dracaena Marginata, Red-edged Dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
This is an elegant and easy to grow plant that grows tall, but not wide. Keep it near a bright sunny window for best results and water when the soil begins to feel dry to the touch.
Benefits: Amazingly, the dracaena will absorb toxic gases like xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.

Elephant Ear Philodendron Philodendron domesticum

English Ivy Hedera helix
This vine manages well in cramped spaces with little natural sunlight.
Benefit: English Ivy absorbs formaldehyde, one of the most common and very damaging pollutants in many homes today.

Gerbera Daisy, Barberton Daisy Gerbera jamesonii

Golden Pothos Epipremnum aureum
Pothos is a wonderful alternative to philodendrons. It seems more vital and the leaves have bright cream and green in an appealing mix. I had them for years as potted plants in my apartments in New England and only discovered the plant's true self at our former home in Montserrat.
Benefits: Yummy, yummy good for the tummy, pothos ingests formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene. Your garage is likely to be a source of strong formaldehyde fumes, so try to find a place for the pothos near to your home's entrance to the garage.

Heartleaf Philodendron Philodendron oxycardium, syn. Philodendron cordatum

Janet Craig Dracaena Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig'

Lady Palm Rhapis excelsa
I have never had one of these plants, but they are said to be easy to grow.
Benefit: This pretty plant rids indoor spaces of ammonia.

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum
This was the first plant I was given as a gift. Upon my graduation from high school, my uncle gave me a large and glorious blooming spathiphyllum. I was thrilled. It is a shade lover that grows well near a window. Keep it routinely moist and keep it away from any plant loving pets you may have as it is toxic if ingested.
Benefit: Amazingly, this gently named plant clears the air of some extremely dangerous chemicals, among them benzene and acetone. By the way, if you are one of those people who still use polish on fingernails or toenails and then use "fingernail polish remover" or ACETONE to remove it, do so outside where your second hand acetone won't be killing pets, friends, children and partners. For your loved ones this is even worse than second hand smoke.

Rubber Plant Ficus elastica

Selloum Philodendron Philodendron bipinnatifidum, syn. Philodendron selloum

Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law's Tongue Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii'
This is one of my least liked plants, one I eradicated from all of the gardens at our former home in Montserrat. I think my dislike of the plant comes from childhood when my parents delivered pots of mixed plants to sick and dying relatives and friends in the hospital. The centerpiece of all of these pots was always one or two of these snake plants as they are completely indestructible.
Benefits: My mother was a nurse, but how did she know that the snake plant would provide the patient with additional oxygen during the night? This is not the usual process for plants. As if its oxygen producing qualities were not enough, the snake plant clears the air of benzene and formaldehyde.

Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum
Spider plants are lovely especially hung in a sunny window. Given the bright light of the window and routine watering when the soil is dry the spider plant will flourish.
Benefits: These lovely plants will absorb formaldehyde and benzene.

Warneck Dracaena Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckii'

Wax Begonia Begonia semperflorens
This is yet another simple to grow household plant. Find a sunny window and hang a basket of begonias or place a small table in front of the window with a pot of begonias. Either way your esthetics will be pleased as this is an easy to grow and appealing flowering plant.
Benefits: The wax begonia plant is a heavy hitter in filtering out benzene and toluene.

Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina


Allergies have become an increasingly important medical issue over the years -- maybe it is because of all of the GMO products we consume, maybe it's because of our interior environmental lifestyles or maybe it's because of increasing pollution and population density. Whatever the reason, allergies are now very serious business for many more people than ever before.

Regardless of the cause, here are a few options that may help diminish allergic responses.

Regularly consuming parsley may serve as well as or better than pharmaceutical antihistamines. Its cheaper, too, tastes good and provides lots of other benefits. Everyone knows about parsley potatoes, but have you tried sprinkling chopped parsley in a salad? It's delicious. Buy it organically grown because it would be difficult to rid commercial parsley of pesticide, herbicide and fungicide residues.

Sunflower Seeds
Vitamin E may play a role in reducing allergic responses and sunflower seeds are not only a dietary treat, but a good source of Vitamin E.

Water naturally dilutes blood and the histamines it carries that make you sneeze and wheeze. Try drinking an 8 oz glass of water on the hour every hour if you are having an allergic reaction and see how it goes. It's just water so it can't hurt and it very well might help. My husband has had serious allergies for years and years and water has been a great help.


Being in the Now
This may sound like a New Age promotional, but it really does impact your life when what you are feeling and thinking is related to right now. What do you see, smell, hear? What are you touching? How is your body arranged? Are you sitting in a chair? Is the seat soft and are you comfortable? Are you standing in the sun? Just getting back to attending to your physical experience of right now will usually be calming. Next think of the thing that is most important to you right now. Do you need to do anything about it right now? Your children are at school, your husband is at work and they are okay. What else is important? And so on. You'll find yourself feeling almost silly for having gotten in such a tizzy in the first place. Now have a cup of tea and get on with the day.

Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has long been known to bring on relaxation. For years it was the go to sleep tea. Now some research has shown that it can reduce anxiety as well. Be a little careful with the quantity you drink, remembering my golden rule, "some is good, more isn't better."

Eat Well
Your body is as important as your spirit. It requires nutrients and is reliant on you to provide them. Think about simple balanced meals, a little protein, some rice or potatoes, and a nice salad or hot buttered vegetable.

Exercise is just plain good for you. Instead of working out on some horrible machine at the smelly gym, think about an after work stroll around the neighborhood. You'll casually interact with other folks you may know, you'll catch up on what's being done to who's home, who's got a new car, what's blooming this week and who should get better control of their pets. All of these little bits of human interaction are good for you, so get out there and walk. AND, REMEMBER! Walk at a comfortable pace. You should be able to carry on a conversation as you walk. If you can't, slow down. It's better for you to walk at a normal pace than to try to achieve some walker's competition pace. Try to walk about two miles and avoid going round and round if you can. And, don't forget to stop and chat with your neighbors when the occasion arises.

For years, garlic was touted as the life saving food -- it cured everything. Having lost a little of its luster in that department, it is now said to stimulate the release of serotonin so that you will feel more at ease. Too bad it smells so awful on your body the next day. Having people avoid you because you stink can't help with good feelings about yourself.

Green Tea
I include green tea here because I have read that it may reduce anxiety along with lowering blood pressure and heart rate. I have not found this to be so. In fact, I had to stop drinking green tea because when I did so, my blood pressure numbers soared. I liked it as a cool summer drink and you may enjoy it that way too remembering that not everything works for everyone. Drop 3 or 4 tea bags into a quart of water and set it on the counter out of the sun. About 8 hours later it will have become tea, no boiling needed.

Hops Humulus lupulus
I have no personal experience with hops which are said to be very bitter, but with a tranquilizing quality if prepared in a tincture. I personally think you would be better off having a beer (which has hops) and going off to sleep. This does wonders for my husband. Did I say A beer? Yes, I did.

Lavender Lavandula hybrida
Apparently the long popular scent of lavender had another reason for being apart from simply smelling good. The scent of lavender may also be soothing to our nerves thus reducing anxiety. It is pretty harmless and might well be worth a try. Grow lavender in your garden and place small vases with a few flowering stems in each room. See if you notice any benefits. If not at least each of your rooms will be a little prettier for your efforts.

Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis
This is a relatively powerful herb and should be introduced into your life with my golden rule in mind "some is good, more isn't better." It is said to have been used since the middle ages to ease stress and help you sleep.

Like many cerebral folks the touchy/feeling solutions of the 60's just didn't do much for me. However, when I attended a lecture on TM (transcendental meditation) of Beetle fame, it sounded just right. I started it then and it is still a part of my life. Apparently it has gained recent popularity on Wall Street, so it might be worth checking out for stress relief. It works for me and may work for you too.

Valerian Valeriana officinalis
A few years ago I looked into relaxants because I found myself almost hyperventilating for no reason I could think of. Valerian was top on my list and when we traveled to Miami we bought a couple of little tincture bottles and took them home to Guatemala. I am always extremely reluctant to take anything medicinal, but my husband isn't. He had trouble sleeping and tried the valerian which worked like magic. Even with hearing my golden rule, "some is good, more isn't better" for years, he's more generous with the valerian than he should be. He goes right to sleep, but is drowsy all the next day. Maybe it's best to start with a couple of drops and go from there.

On Yahoo I read about a technique for reducing stress the Japanese call, Shinrin-yoku or "forest bath" a lovely phrase for a simple walk in the woods. If you are one of the lucky ones and have a nearby forest with an audible running stream of water go for a walk and I'm sure you'll feel terrific. Who wouldn't?

If you are like the rest of us a strolling walk taken early in the morning or at your favorite time of day every day may benefit you in the same way. We walk every morning at about 6 A.M. through the streets of Panajachel in Guatemala. It is quiet, the street dogs are still sleeping for the most part. Taking the same route every day we pass by street vendors setting up their crafts booths. We all say "buenos días" to each other and once in a while stop to chat about something. We see other folks out getting exercise usually not focusing on the glorious morning and we see a very spry old man by the lake dock setting out bicycles for folks coming for the day from the other side of the lake. If this isn't healthy and relaxing, I don't know what would be.

Remember, some is good, more is not necessarily better.








Pine Nuts




I grew up in New England and every fall Mom, Dad and the kids would get in the car with two clean trash cans roped into the trunk and head out to apple country on the other side of our little state. Leaves on the trees were changing color, the air was clean and crisp, Halloween was just a week or two away. We arrived at an apple farm and headed out to pick apples -- MacIntosh for eating and RI Greenings for cooking. I always liked eating the Greenings too. They are hard and sour and delicious. In an afternoon, the trash cans were full and the back of the car drooped with the weight. A big, very big, pumpkin was also part of the day's haul as was caramel corn to keep us kids happy in the back seat on the way home. I will always love crisp tart freshly picked apples. All of that sounds delightful, but these days for most of us apples and apple products are highly toxic chemical wastes.

Should you find an organic apple farm where you can pick your own, these are some of the benefits you may reap.

1. You can give your children an apple dunking pool for their Halloween party. Slip quarters into some of the apples and toss them into a huge tub of clean cold water with a big chunk of ice. One by one the children are blindfolded, holding their hands behind their backs they kneel by the tub dunking their heads into the water to see if they can bite into and hold an apple. Hopefully they'll get one with a quarter.

2. Bake a pie

3. Bake Apple Crisp

4. Make lots of applesauce and bake a big pork roast with lots of bones

5. If you can find peanut butter imported from Trinidad and Tobago, give your kids thick slices of apples spread heavily with crunchy peanut butter. If you are like me, you'll like it too. This suggestion comes from my own personal experience with my beloved peanut butter. Several years ago while living in Guatemala I bought a jar of an imported brand of peanut butter from the USA. I took just a couple of spoonfuls and began to experience difficulty breathing. I lay down and tried to remain calm as we were too far away from any emergency assistance to be of any help. I stopped eating peanut butter completely for six years until we found ourselves in Tobago where locally produced peanut butter is available along with emergency services. I ate one teaspoon of peanut butter with no problem, next day I ate two and so on. I realized it wasn't the peanut butter itself that was a problem for me, but some residue left on the peanuts when they were made into peanut butter.


Berries are one of the new "super foods." It seems hard to believe that any of us lived into adulthood without them. Take "berry mania" with a grain of sugar.

Growing up in New England, I remember spending whole days in the woods picking berries -- blueberries, black raspberries and red raspberries -- and the week or two suffering with poison ivy afterwards. The gooey itch always seemed to pale in comparison to the joy of blueberry pie and the delight of raspberry preserves over the next several months. No matter how determined we were or how many days we spent picking, the preserve supply always ran out before the next summer's supply of fruit. Maybe that is what made the whole experience extra special. Our strawberries came directly from my grandfather's garden. He and my grandmother would arrive with a huge bowl of strawberries and pint glass bottles of pure heavy cream to be whipped and Mom had always already made the shortcake. There was nothing like it.

We grew up as healthy kids, but I have yet to see any documentation that we are healthier than city kids who didn't get to pick berries. Most importantly, ALL OF THE BERRIES AND BERRY PRODUCTS you eat should be completely organically grown.


Below is a very short run down of this vs that in the food realm. My personal recommendation is to eat what natural foods appeal to you most. If you think for even a second that eating blueberries or strawberries is going to change the course of your life then you are sadly very misguided.

Blueberries vs Strawberries
If you live in a part of the world where strawberries or blueberries grow wild, go out there in the woods and pick as many as you can. Bring your children and their cousins and uncles and aunts and have a wonderful family day all together getting something terrific for free or almost free. Wild blueberries are something totally different than those dime sized things sold in supermarkets and the same can be said for strawberries. So, have a field day in the woods going wild with your children. Go home and eat the bounty of your terrific day.

Chicken vs Turkey
If you devote more of your finances to purchasing healthy foods dining on naturally raised chicken and turkey will be good for you. If you have other preferences in your budget, it won't matter if it is chicken or turkey. Both are pretty toxic. Remember when you allocate your budget for healthy food, what it will cost you to recover from cancer. Maybe that will put clean food costs in perspective. Something else that might influence your decision making is a drive through a town home to one of Tyson's chicken processing factories. The smell alone could make you a vegetarian.

Spinach vs Kale vs Collards vs Broccoli Rabe vs Mustard Greens
Green leafy vegetables are good for you and cooked well, they are also delicious. Buy any one of them only if organically grown because the pesticide/herbicide/fungicide residues on leafy vegetables can be very high undoing any nutritional benefits they may have.


Having lived many years in Mexico, black beans top my list of dried beans. Cubans and other folks eat them cooked whole while most folks in Mexico eat them pureed which is how I prefer them as well. Black beans take forever to cook, usually four or five hours, so we make a day of it and freeze a week's supply in serving size amounts, usually a quart or so. In Mexico and in Guatemala as well black beans are considered one of the healthier beans and I believe it, but there is some nutritional documentation to support the belief. Nonetheless, black beans are simply delicious so it is an added bonus that they are so nutritional. See FLATULENCE below.


Many folks believe that cranberry juice is helpful in the initial stages of a bladder infection and that may be true if you can find a source of whole organic pure cranberry juice. Good luck. Another similar treatment comes from the juice of organically grown sorrel or in Spanish, flor de Jamaica. These flower petals are sold by weight in Mexico, but beware many of these flower petals have been soaked for their flavor and dyed to look as they should. Find a shop whose owners are trustworthy if you can. Otherwise, grow your own as we did in Montserrat. It is a beautiful plant. Take a look at


There are long lists of foods with their chemical benefits defined for the ever increasing aging population. Until someone gives you a prescription for something that specifically ails you, forget about the food list and eat healthfully. Dine on lots of organic fruits and veggies, lean organically raised meats and freshly caught ocean fish if you live by the ocean (if not skip it). Avoid eating in restaurants whenever possible. Avoid eating "prepared foods" whenever possible. Think that everything you put in your body is going to give you a longer and healthier life. That will help you avoid the stuff for which that just isn't true.


Bloating is a word I first heard in college from young women each of whom seemed to have the problem once a month. I was lucky and never knew what it was till much later in life when I encountered amoebas in Mexico. This was abdominal swelling beyond anything those young college women could have dreamed about. Folks in the market where I shopped almost every day even asked with warm hearted smiles if I were preggers! So, there are lots of sources of the problem and appropriate solutions as well.

Let's define bloating as well as we can. I think of it as uncomfortable swelling below the waistline sometimes accompanied by cramping, gas, constipation or the reverse. If you have a short term problem, maybe a week or two, check in with your local pharmacist for some suggestions or give the doctor that has known you for a while a call to see what she would suggest. If the problem persists, definitely check in with your doctor.

Meanwhile here are some things that may help out.

Many of the vegetables you may eat, along with organic only milk and organic milk products like yogurt and natural cheeses contain more than enough calcium in your diet. Stay away from those nasty non calcium rich things like that greezy orange glop called "cheeze whiz" or the firmer but still toxic "velveeta." As a young woman I was in love with milk and never experienced monthly cramps or bloating. I thought the other young women in my college dorm were just looking for attention. I figured that since menstruation had been occurring in the human woman for millennia the disabling symptoms these young women were experiencing would have eliminated them by natural selection.

Try chewing organic fennel seeds. Take a teaspoon of them and chew until they're comfortable to swallow. Not only will this give you sweet smelling breath, it may also relieve you of your bloating problem. My husband swears by fennel so I grow it in the garden and collect the seeds. It is a very appealing plant.

Fiber is now much touted as some sort of health savior, but on the down side apparently fiber can also impact negatively on your digestive system, sort of freezing up or speeding up the normal flow of things. So what do you do? Begin eating some vegetables if you haven't done so before. One of the easiest and least scary is to grab a bag of frozen sweet corn at the supermarket. Take it home, cook it according to package directions, drain it and pour it in a wide bowl. Slice nice generous sizes of butter (not margarine) and place over the top of the corn. Top with freshly ground black pepper and a bit of salt. Grab a spoon and you've got a fiber filled treat that not many of us will under appreciate. For those of you for whom this is a new concept, consider making a pot of mashed potatoes as an accompaniment for the corn. Or for those who aren't fans of corn, consider a bag of frozen baby peas. Even most children love peas. From the corn and peas regime it is pretty easy to move on to other vegetables you may like even more.

Sage is said to have many healthful properties one of which is as a digestive aid. Though I love the flavor of sage, I have terrible digestive responses to eating it so I have a hard time suggesting that any one else give it a try. Don't misread me, I love the flavor of sage and when Thanksgiving turkey stuffing comes around every year, I succumb and later suffer happily, well maybe not happily, but not in a way that would make me give it up next year.

Water straight out of the tap (except in West Virginia) is probably a good alternative to the other liquids you may normally ingest -- sodas, questionable fruit juices loaded with artificial colors, flavorings, GMO corn syrup sweeteners and preservatives (all on the short list), pesticide laden teas, decorated coffees, bottled waters, hormone laden milk with an additional dose of antibiotics and of course who knows what GMO genes incorporated from the foods cows eat. Yikes, get a good water filter and drink lots of water.

This is something almost everyone suggests, but I have never found it helpful. It may be for someone who has had an antibiotic regime over a few weeks but that hasn't been my experience. If you want to give it a try, choose organic plain yogurt and flavor it yourself also with something organic. You don't need a special yogurt, just something produced without hormone/antibiotic laced milk.


This has become an increasingly important problem as we have aged and gained weight. Medications are readily available, but for men there is at least one decided downside. I don't know the downsides for women.

I remember speaking with heart specialists about my response to medication and I remember the response. "I've never heard of that." Hearing it from me didn't seem to overcome their resistance to a patient speaking critically of a long established medication. Actually, my side effect was considered by one specialist to be an indication that I had diabetes and out came the prescription pad. I edged quietly out of the office and headed home determined to solve the problem myself. Here is what I found.

First, buy yourself a good quality blood pressure meter. I use a cuff monitor that cost under $100 and it has been reliable and accurate for a few years. Next buy a notebook and pen and track your daily blood pressure AM, afternoon, PM. As well, track what you have eaten or had to drink. Lastly track what activities you engaged in -- did you swim or walk? Did you get together with friends? Did you do volunteer work? In a couple of months you will have a very good idea of what affects your blood pressure in a beneficial way and a good log to show to your doctor should you need to pursue a medical alternative in addition to changing aspects of your life style.

For so many people urticaria has become a life altering itch disease. Pharmaceutical solutions with over the counter antihistamines have not solved the problem, but in some ways exacerbated the problems of the disorder. Being a sufferer myself lends me some credibility on this. While living in Guatemala I became horribly itchy, enough so that I would awaken itching at 4 AM go to my office with a bag of ice on my head and a bucket of ice water for my feet. Intermittently I moved the ice bag on my head to my hands, but all the while I felt like screaming. Most of the antihistamines on the market raise blood pressure which at the time was a concern of mine though after a few years I did try a 3rd generation antihistamine, ®Zyrtec, taking 1/2 pill once a week. Despite my caution in using this over the counter drug, my husband felt he was losing me as I apparently was becoming a different person. I did finally find a solution in using ®Solarcaine which is a lidocaine based over the counter solution for skin irritations.

When in Chile this year (2019) we spoke with a homeopathic doctor who gave us a recommended medicine for the problem. IT WORKED and I no longer have to wear an ice hat or to slather myself with ®Solarcaine's lidocaine. After some years of intense suffering from the eternal itch, I no longer even think about it.

Beyond this, here are some guidelines I'd recommend.

1. Yes, Do All the Things the Health Experts Suggest
Quit smoking, lower your alcohol consumption if you are a heavy drinker, get some exercise on a regular basis and lose weight if you are heavier than you should be.

2. Ginger Tea
I have found this to be exceptionally helpful in lowering my peculiar form of high blood pressure (high in the morning/low in the afternoon and evening). I make a tea of fresh ginger with a bit of sugar (use honey if you prefer) and when my pressure is especially high, I have a half cup. Within ten to twenty minutes my pressure is down anywhere from 10 to 20 points. Ginger tea isn't going to kill you with side effects so have another half glass if your pressure remains higher than you think it should be.

3. Dill Weed
I was growing this in my garden and began to use it in quantity on baked fish. What I discovered was that my heart rate slowed when I ate the dill. Try it and see for yourself.

4. Dark Chocolate
I can't imagine the chocolate industry hasn't had something to do with funding of and finding the remarkable health improvements that can now be attributed to chocolate -- think the Koch brothers of cacao. But even if all of the industry funded research is bogus, chocolate is delightful so eat it and enjoy life. You'll live longer for having done so.

5. Keep an eye on your intake of potassium; eating a banana or a couple of ripe red tomatoes should do the trick. Keep the other eye on your intake of magnesium; eating clams or dark leafy vegetables every day should do the trick.

6. Walnuts and pistachios are also said to have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure.

7.   I recently read that dandelions, leaves and roots, can be beneficial as a diuretic in helping your body reduce its sodium content without losing other beneficial blood components. Sodium has a tendency to constrict blood vessels which raises blood pressure so reducing it is probably a good idea. I haven't tried this myself, but it seems like a good idea. Try it in a tea or make a salad.

8. Fresh pineapple may also aid in reducing high blood pressure, though I haven't noticed the affect myself.

9. Would you believe raisins are now being touted as beneficial in lowering blood pressure. One quarter cup of raisins three times a day was the suggested remedy based on the potassium in raisins. Remember though potassium is pretty readily available in a lot of foods -- tomatoes, potatoes and bananas to name just a few.

10. Most importantly, if your blood pressure is not controlled well by diet and medicine revisit your doctor and ask questions. Don't let her get away with moving you along without doing something to solve the problem.


Get your blood tested and if there is a problem talk with your doctor to get her recommendations. Ask her if before you opt for a prescription medication if it will be safe for you to try some of these ideas.

Losing all prepared foods, bagged snacks, carbonated artificially flavored beverages, diet beverages and excessive alcohol intake will all be a good beginning. Losing as many artificial ingredients as possible from your diet won't hurt either. Opt whenever you can for eating fresh organic fruit, organic vegetables and whole foods like beans, brown rice and lentils. Think about a nice range fed steak on the grill with a huge baked Idaho potato with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter and a scoop of additive free sour cream. The thought of that should help you move easily down the aisle of bagged junk food heading toward the fresh foods section of your supermarket. Think about eggs topped with melted swiss cheese for breakfast with rye toast and leave the instant breakfast options behind.


These are super suppliers of magnesium and potassium and truly just pure joy. Artichokes are something I would recommend you to eat even if they weren't beneficial nutritionally. The sheer pleasure of an artichoke has to be one of the healthiest things you can do with food.

Bok Choy
Low in calories and rich in flavor bok choy also provides a healthy dose of calcium which may help in bone building. Best of all it is easy to grow and very quick to mature so you could have a couple of planters on your patio supply you with a twice a week supply for stir fried dinners.

Bananas and Kiwis
If I hear even one more word about the miraculous qualities of these fruits I'll scream. If you like them, eat them; it won't hurt.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage
Just one serving of about a cup of any of these veggies will provide you with hefty amounts of calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. And not to be left out of this cup's nutritional bounty you'll also get lots of vitamins A, C and K. Of course you'll get more benefits from nutrients we've never heard of, but I think enough is enough on the let's promote broccoli circuit. And, remember, none of these vegetables improve with overcooking. Think al dente and you might find they taste a whole lot better than you remember.

I always think of leeks as an essential Irish food, because for years I only knew of potato and leek soup. It was delicious especially as it was always served with fresh chopped parsley, slices of a great bread and lots of fresh butter. As I developed in the kitchen over time, I have come to love leek and sausage pie and I've added leeks to lots of other dishes. They grow well in the garden though they take a long time relative to onions. Still, I think the flavor they impart is unique and worth the wait. Along with the taste treat they'll supply you with thiamine, folic acid, riboflavin, calcium and potassium.

These are best known as digestive aids (ho ho ho) but they may also assist in calcium absorption.

A cup of spinach cooked or twice that raw will give you ample amounts of vitamin K, along with minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Spinach is one of the most adaptable vegetables and the salads are terrific so try to eat it as often as possible -- spinach omelet or souffle, spinach toasts as appetizers, or maybe chopped cooked spinach tossed in pasta with parmesan. That should be enough to get your mouth watering for this delicious super food. Remember, only buy it organically grown or grow it yourself.



Absorption of commonly available calcium may be linked with your intake of less common dietary sources of vitamin D. It seems the two work together to keep us healthy, especially working on bone strength, nerve health and maybe even blood pressure. Many foods contain calcium -- oily fish, dark leafy greens and other deep green vegetables like broccoli, fresh oranges, figs, and apricots, nuts and seeds, and of course dairy products. Whenever possible, opt for lots of fresh home cooked vegetables, organic corn tortillas, and then snack on sunflower seeds while enjoying a glass of non-hormonally enhanced milk. With that diet you'll probably do just fine.


Before you are ever diagnosed with cancer it is important to pay attention to the fuels you put in your body -- food and fluids. Once you are diagnosed with cancer it becomes even more important to pay attention to the fuels you put in your body -- food and fluids. Many different foods have been touted as cancer fighting and we are told which foods to eat to fight which cancers. I watched my dearest friend ride this roller coaster for seventeen years and it broke my heart.

All that being said what follows is a list of foods and activities you may want to look into. If you don't want to get cancer, think about going organic for all of your fruits and vegetables. If you have cancer, do not eat anything that is not organically produced. Your body has enough of a fight on its hands.

Foods to Consider

Beans -- I actually read an article written by a professional nutritionist who recommended eating beans from a can. Never, never, ever do that. Cook them yourself or eat something else.

Berries -- Berries, especially strawberries, are pretty toxic. Eat organically produced berries or don't eat them at all. Better yet, go out to the woods with your children if you have some or with lots of friends during berry season. Make a day of collecting berries and an evening of enjoying dinner and good company.

Brazil Nuts -- Good luck on this one. See for instance the innocent sounding Australian nut PR company Nuts for Life. Creepy I think, but probably very profitable.

Broccoli -- This is now a GMO food in Guatemala and is probably soon to arrive or already being sold in the US supermarkets. I don't know what the incorporated genes are and neither do you. Why take the risk? Buy it organically grown or don't buy it or eat it.

Coffee -- Drink it if you like it.

Garlic -- This has been touted for years as the great life saver. I think it may even have been the first of the food producers public relations promotions. As for cancer, check the rates of cancer of folks who live in California and compare them to the folks who live in places where garlic is not considered a food group, maybe Italy.

Spinach -- Spinach is delicious and it is extremely versatile in how it can be prepared -- salads to omelets to souffles, to sautes and rice. BUT, spinach is a leafy green that insects love too. So eat only organically grown spinach.

Tomatoes -- The tomato is supposed to be a great fighter of endometrial/uterine cancer. I don't even know what endometrial is. This is another of the long list of things to buy organically grown. I suspect a lot of the super beautiful tomatoes in the market in Guatemala are GMO tests. I grow my own. If you are going to eat tomatoes, buy them organically grown and never eat them from a can. Buy prepared tomato products only in glass containers.

Walnuts -- Walnuts are delicious if a little bitter, but it is unlikely they are as yet GMO. I don't know if they are pesticide and herbicide and fungicide loaded by the time they get to the supermarket.

Watercress -- If you can find a clean stream of water in today's world, enjoy watercress. It is delicious. I don't personally eat it anymore.

Ideas to Consider

Live as cleanly as possible without becoming obsessed. One dietary or behavioral misstep is not going to appreciably change your life or your health.

1. Filter your tap water
It is likely that water from your tap is as clean or cleaner as that you buy at the supermarket and you have the added benefit of avoiding all of the chemical leached from the plastic bottles into the water. Get a good filter, maybe a ®Brita which we have used. Filter your water and store it in a glass container, not plastic. In fact toss the plastic containers you have in your kitchen. Take a trip to the local Goodwill and buy lots of old glass or stainless steel containers or things that will work as containers.

2. Pull up to "Full Service"
Have someone else fill your gas tank, preferably someone wearing a Hepa filter.

3. Never Grill with Processed Charcoal
Do not ever use processed charcoal like ®Kingsford. Find a local source of natural charcoal or get a gas grill. Before throwing that steak on the grill, toss it in rosemary and thyme and then lay it in non extra virgin olive oil and turn it over. Let it rest like that for about an hour and then give it to the grill. Maybe this will help and it probably can't hurt.

4. Drink Only Clean Water
Drink lots of clean water if you can find it. Buy bottled water from a service that produces, stores and delivers it in glass bottles. Avoid plastic bottles like the plague unless you have no choice. Try to avoid distilled water or reverse osmosis water as these may increase the likelihood of acid indigestion which you certainly don't need. Try to drink at least a quart or two of water liquids a day -- that includes tea and coffee, lemonade and all the other natural liquids you consume.

5. Exercise Like a Natural Being Would
WALK Before you jump in that monster SUV to go to the supermarket, think about walking. When you get to the office, park at the far end of the lot and walk. I'm not a great fan of walking up stairs as I blew my knees and hips doing just that in a beautiful 5th floor walkup on Beacon Hill in Boston. I wash by hand all of our clothes so I have great muscles in my back and never have a backache after doing two 12 pound machine loads by hand -- towels and sheets included. Needless to say I have that clothes drying system that made someone rich, a clothes line and clothes pins.

6. Eliminate Pesticides from Your Life
Skip the folks who come to your house to kill roaches on a regular basis. The stuff they are using will also kill you. I gave this advice to a good friend who had a new grandchild visiting and she actually took me up on it. As it turned out, she didn't have roaches for the next several years and maybe the child won't have cancer.

7. Live with Only Natural Fibers
Buy natural fiber clothes whenever possible so that they can be washed, not dry cleaned. Many clothes have a label saying, "dry clean only." I always see those labels as a suggestion. I go ahead and wash and rinse the clothes often in a dish detergent rather than a clothes detergent and I've had very good luck. Dry cleaning is a chemical process using some pretty nasty chemical which everyone should avoid if possible. If you have the perfect dress or suit that has to be dry cleaned, do so and leave it outside for a few days to diminish the chemicals before you wear it. Skip the dry cleaner whenever possible; you will be saving lives, theirs and yours. AND while we're on the subject, think about avoiding fire retardant clothing for your children. They don't need to have cancer either.

8. Lose the Cell Phone
If you have a cell phone, tape a message on it saying, "for emergencies only." That's how they were first marketed and it seemed a good idea even to me. Don't give your number to anyone but your immediate family (husband, wife, life partner, dependent children). If you make one call a day, that is overuse unless you are prone to serious emergencies.

9. Avoid Exposure to Direct and Indirect Sun
Use a good sunscreen on all exposed skin, usually face and forearms, every day of the year. While you are battling cancer stay off the beach or better yet begin to enjoy romantic night time swims. These I highly recommend.

10. Lose the Mammograms
Do some serious thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of mammograms. Talk with your doctor and your friends. I personally think that any test that tests the pain threshold of my breasts isn't good for them. I had one. That was enough.

11. Lose the Supplements
Unless your physician is against it, stop taking supplements. If you are eating a diet rich in natural foods -- vegetables, grains, fruits, fish and meats -- why would you want pills?

12. Avoid Medical Tests
Talk with your doctor about any tests she recommends. Ask what the benefit will be of the information she may get and what are the medical risks involved. Avoid CT scans and all exposure to radiation when ever you can, including at the dentist's.

13. Lose Weight
Lose excess weight if you can. Set yourself a weight loss goal and make achieving it a reason to go on. It may well save your life.


I read somewhere long ago about why cheddar cheese is orange. What I learned was that in American colonial times, milk farms produced milk that varied in color because of the weeds and wild flowers growing in the grassy fields where cows grazed. To solve the problem folks making cheese added carrot juice to the milk to make sure that all the cheese they made was of the same color. Who would have guessed that cheese processors in colonial times were as committed to fooling consumers as they are today. These days orange cheddar cheese has turned into the soft glop called cheeze whiz and the hardened glop called velveeta. Neither resemble food and all contact should be avoided.

Another story of food modification comes from England, where they have gone into the lab and created the best chicken broth you will ever have tasted no matter how old you are or what pure ingredients nor what organically raised chicken you used. This stuff is incredible. Sadly when you read the label, not one ingredient is a food you might recognize, not even citric acid. Everything is a truly chemical creation and they did an excellent job if tasting something in your mouth is the only important feature of food. McDonalds, and other American fast food companies have done the same, but our labeling laws are much more lax.

Truths to Live Better By

The FDA Is Not Working on our Behalf
Folks at the management level of the FDA are hired or appointed from the food industry. They are not working on the public's behalf at much less than half of their former salaries in industry. They are working on behalf of industry and will return to industry after a few years of making mischief with our food while managing the FDA. This is not the place for my tirade against the FDA so I will recommend a few things you might be interested in learning about.

Everything Added to Food in the United States
Caution: This list is downright scary!

Food Definitions
As in, what constitutes white flour? If it "constitutes" white flour it does not have to be listed as an ingredient. As I recall, white flour has about 80 ingredients that may be added, but that do not have to be listed because they "constitute" white flour. White flour as you can well imagine is just an inkling of the the dirty bits the FDA is responsible for endorsing. Remember Thalidomide?

Food Additives to Think About

The names of artificial sweeteners containing aspartame can sound almost appealing. Who would object to Equal if all it does in equal sugar. And doesn't NutraSweet sound almost nutritional? Neither of these is at all good for you and both should be avoided. If you want your food sweetened do it more naturally with non-GMO cane sugar or organic honey.

This chemical is a "dough conditioner" that may lurk in breads and other dough products. Avoid it and you and your loved ones may never have asthma. It is not always labeled as an ingredient so watch out for chain restaurant dough products like sandwich rolls, bagels and hamburger buns. Actually you shouldn't be eating in these places anyway if you have any regard for your health.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
These two chemicals are used to give a longer shelf life to foods containing oil, foods that otherwise might become rancid. That makes them very beneficial to the food industry, but not at all beneficial for you. The cancer causing nature of these two is known to the US Dept of Health and Human Services, but has been ignored by the FDA so they are still in our food. These are chemicals that can't even be easily pronounced which seems to be a good guideline for what you shouldn't be eating.

Caramel Coloring
You and I can easily make caramel coloring at home from sugar, but when industry adds ammonia to the process they end up with some things are are already proven to cause cancer. The FDA has done nothing to regulate this. Read labels carefully on soft drinks like Coke, on soy sauce and stuffing mixes among other products sold openly in your supermarket. If you read the words "caramel coloring" put it back on the shelf and look for another treat.

Carmine -- This red food coloring is made from powdered cochineal beetles. If used it will be on the label because some people are very highly allergic to it.

This glop comes from the processing of seaweed which sounds like it should be healthy. It isn't.
Carrageenan can cause problems in your digestive tract that may even become permanent. It is used to make products smooth and creamy so be a little more vigilant in reading the labels of all foods with that quality, like soy milk, cheese, almond milk and even some coconut products.

Castoreum — This presumably enhances the flavor of vanilla mostly in dessert items ranging from ice cream to cookies. Usually labeled a "natural flavoring" Castoreum actually is, even though the source may not be so appealing. It is made from the anal secretions of beavers. Yum!

Food Coloring -- This is a tough one because we've all come to believe that the color of our food is really its color. Usually it isn't. Food dyes alter our food in many ways, some of them even visually attractive which is the point, right? The down side is that many of these dyes contain dangerous chemicals, even those proven to cause cancer. Okay, it's your kids birthday and you have to decorate the cake the children will love. How about making an additive free cake and decorating it creatively with cutouts of organic dried fruits? Or make it pink with beet juice. Buy two organic beets, cut them in half and cook them in only a cup of water adding a little more if needed. Cook the juice a bit until it is concentrated and there you have it -- organic red dye. Freeze any left over in an ice cube tray for the future or share them with friends, especially those that have children.

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Used to enhance the flavor of less than flavorful food would you be surprised it contains MSG? Don't be; it does. And think about this. Do you really want to be eating second rate old tasteless food that contains a chemical that fools your brain into thinking it tastes good? Remember the phrase "garbage in, garbage out?"

Isinglass -- This lovely substance is made from fish bladders and is used to clarify wine and beer, though you won't find it on the label.

L-cysteine -- Cow horns, feathers and human hair contribute this little goody to our food supply. It is used to extend the life of baked goods.

Lecithin -- Lecithin is an emulsifier; it takes big things and makes them small. It is used to smooth foods which may not be as pleasant in the mouth as they are after adding lecithin. Chocolate is a good example.

These chemicals are ideal in preserving cheaply and poorly prepared cured meats -- bacon, ham, hot dogs, baloney, etc. Now think about a naturally cured hog leg in Italy. It becomes prosciutto which is delicious and has no additives. In fact it doesn't even have to be refrigerated. If you cannot find additive free organically prepared cured meats, think about greatly reducing your exposure or give them up entirely.

Procter & Gamble's fat substitute is infamous for diarrhea which is the least of its malicious characteristics. Read the labels on your junk food to see if olestra is there.

These are preservatives frequently used in cosmetics, but they are also being used in commercial breads and pastries and maybe even in some processed meats. You shouldn't be eating this stuff anyway, but parabens add another feature creating hormone problems in women and in men. Next time you reach for one of those mass produced pastries, think is eating it worth breast cancer?

Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
This is an oil that has an added hydrogen molecule, making it something other than food. In fact what it should then be called is TRANS FAT something you should not be eating because it isn't even food. Think about oxygen in the air we breathe. It's formula is O2, but add a little carbon with a formula CO2 and it becomes carbon dioxide, not something you want to be breathing.

Potassium Bromate
This is one of the dozens of chemical additives that constitute flour (see above Food Definitions). Eliminate this unnecessary exposure to a cancer causing substance as have the health departments in many more developed countries than the USA.

As we all know, accurate food labeling is a big problem for the FDA and this instance is no exception. The drug ractopamine is used in pig farming to significantly increase the growth rate of pigs. It has been banned in the EU, Russia and China for its damaging affects on humans. It has those effects on pigs too, but they aren't talking. The FDA has a budget of about 4.4 BILLION DOLLARS a year. You and I pay that amount from our taxes and I don't think we're getting much in return.

Initially the FDA required labeling on products containing saccharin, only to reverse that ruling in 2000 eliminating label warnings. Sadly they didn't eliminate the health risks too. Don't eat or drink anything containing saccharin.

These won't harm you if you aren't allergic. If you are, you may face death by something as innocent as supermarket cookies. Read labels carefully if you are allergic to anything.


Now touted as the cure all for whatever may ail you, it would probably be good to remember that chocolate was a product of Mexico. It was not available to Europeans and others until after the conquest of Mexico in the 16th century.  Still, people lived without ever having heard of it and they didn't get cancer or alzheimers. And, we did have some real stars like Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, who lived their entire lives without it and of course without quinoa, potatoes, tomatoes and more and they did just fine. When hearing the "touters of nutrition," it's always good to keep your perspective.


For years and years I whistled in the wind telling friends to eat whole eggs because the whites of eggs contain natural lecithin, something that breaks down and smoothes out fats. Check your candy bar wrappers to confirm this tidbit of information. I was also saying that butter, a natural substance, was better for them than vegetable oil with an added molecule of hydrogen which changed it from a healthy liquid food to a hard non-food. Remember those cans of ®Crisco on your mother's pantry shelf. That "food" would last into the new millennium and more, because it wasn't food.

Now the food industry journalists are talking about the size of cholesterol tidbits -- small is bad, big is better. Let's eat naturally and stop worrying about what the food industry sponsored researchers and journalists have to say.


I remember years ago bumping into a companion passenger on a flight from somewhere to somewhere else. She was returning from a few years of her life in The Philippines I think and remarked on how astronomically high her cholesterol was. Laughingly she said everyone in the country had the same problem because they used coconut oil pretty much for everything. She didn't seem concerned.

Years later my husband and I were staying at a little hotel in Bucerias just north of Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The owner was a tall charming English speaking Mexican fellow who had an advanced degree in his field and enjoyed an upper level career in agriculture in Mexico. He touted the fact that one could essentially live off the coconut palm, explaining the benefits of the coconut at its varying stages of ripening. It was fascinating stuff.

Whatever its health benefits, coconut is delicious in all of its many incarnations from macaroons incorporating shredded fresh or dried coconut meat to the coconut milk that makes piña colada dreams. If you live in a warm climate, you can easily grow a couple of coconut palms. They don't take much space and don't provide much unwanted shade. Just a couple of trees will be plenty for most families.


Coconut Water
This light tasting treat is loaded to potassium. One cup will equal a banana.

Coconut milk
A sweet alternative to cows milk, it comes from a mature coconut, one that is brown and dry to the touch. It is almost as beneficial to you as coconut water in its potassium content.

Coconut Cream
This is the stuff of dreams and piña coladas.

Coconut Meat
Usually available in markets already shredded and ready for those macaroons or coconut cake. When you live in a hot climate, it is especially wonderful to eat in chunks cold from the refrigerator.


Recent research results have concluded that drinking coffee will benefit you in a slew of ways. You will be less depressed, your sperm (if you have them) will swim faster, you may have fewer instances of the least dangerous skin cancers and it isn't physically addictive. All that being said, just try enjoying your coffee. Your pleasure will probably the most healthful result.

I should also say it is wise to clean your automatic coffee maker's water tub frequently as it may be a good source of relatively unpleasant bacteria. Try leaving the top open right after use so it dries out quickly. Removing the container of coffee grounds while still hot will also probably be beneficial to your health. The best thing you could do would be to look for a porcelain drip basin over a porcelain container and boiling your water on the stove in a stainless steel pan.


There aren't any,
but some things can help. Try this. Cook an organically raised chicken in water to cover with a peeled organic carrot, a big bunch of organic parsley, and a medium sized peeled whole organic onion. Cook it with the top off. Pour yourself a big bowl of broth with some of the boned chicken. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and enjoy. Then get into bed pull up the covers and read a junk novel. You'll be right as rain the next day.

In this "study" I read, they speak about a cold being an infection. It isn't. It's a virus. Antibiotics don't work and neither will yogurt.



Recently there has been a lot in the "natural" press about the benefits of raw foods, especially juiced raw foods. While the touting of the benefits of raw foods runs rampant, those of us who have eaten natural foods from the garden for decades have to give it all a nod and a wink. No, cooked food isn't going to "save your life" and neither is a diet of raw foods. Try to relax a bit and eat what you like in the way you like. I've eaten pounds and pounds of al dente broccoli with lots of melted butter and I'm none the worse for it. If it helped me out along the way, I say many thanks. Meanwhile the industry sponsored nutritionists have done studies to demonstrate the benefits of raw vs cooked vegetables as follows.

Asparagus -- Cooked
Cooking asparagus is supposed to increase its cancer fighting potential, but who would eat it raw except when in the garden cutting it?

Beets -- Raw
Cooked beets lose a bit of their nutritive value, but they taste great. Raw beets are also a treat, but supposedly also give you a few more benefits. I have a macaroni salad recipe that calls for grated raw beets and it it delicious though its appearance is rather purple. It is one of those foods we eat and enjoy, but don't offer to dinner guests.

Broccoli -- Raw
Gosh, heating broccoli diminishes something other than taste. Who would worry? This is not to say that raw broccoli isn't delicious. It should be a great part of salad when ever the mood strikes.

Mushrooms -- Cooked
Truthfully I love raw mushrooms. My husband though has seen me reacting to raw mushrooms a few times and would always favor cooking them. Sorry to say I'm beginning to get on his side about this. One good argument for those like me is that cooked mushrooms are supposed to be more healthful.

Onions -- Raw
I'm one of those folks who just can't abide even the smell of raw onions and I believe anything that makes you cry can't be good. So, cook your onions and eat tons of them as I do.

Spinach -- Cooked
Spinach should always be picked fresh from your organic garden or bought at the organic market. If so, delight in a fresh young spinach salad and as the season moves on cook your spinach and enjoy it in dozens of meals.

Tomatoes -- Cooked
I have a tomato fetish so I'll eat them fresh from the garden or cooked and home canned. Either way, raw or cooked, I think tomatoes are heavenly.


Air Purifier
If you have a persistent cough or any trouble breathing, consider buying an air purifier. They aren't expensive considering the benefit of breathing easier. I have one running right this moment as I write these words. I love them.

Cough drops
This is something my husband swears by, but doesn't seem to work well for me. The only lozenge I ever found soothing is slippery el

Check the condition of the filters in your heating and cooling systems. Most folks don't ever think about this and most would be disgusted by what they find when they do. When we are staying more than a day in a hotel, my husband always removes and cleans the filters if there is an in room heating/cooling device.

Fluids Overload
Being super hydrated when you have a cough or cold will loosen mucus making it easier for you to get rid of it.

Ginger Tea
I haven't yet tried ginger as a cough and cold medicine because truly I so rarely get colds. I have found it to be wonderful for some other health problems so maybe it will help. Make a tea by peeling and slicing about 1 fat thumb size piece of ginger added to 2 or 3 cups of water. Simmer it uncovered for about 20 minutes or a half hour. Pour it through a strainer into your favorite mug and add a little honey to sweeten it a bit. Ginger can be very peppery at times and the honey takes the edge off. Any tea left over can be refrigerated and reheated later.

Honey, Lemon and Rum
One of the nicest cough suppressants and relaxants I've ever known is this simple recipe. It seems to work like a charm so you can get some rest and be back up to speed. Take the juice of one lemon, 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey and 3/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer. When it is hot, add 1/4 cup of rum or less to taste, stir and pour it into a big mug. I know it has alcohol, but for years and years all cough medicines had alcohol and many cold remedies as well. It probably was the only "healthy" ingredient.

Thyme tea
Crush 2 teaspoons of French thyme leaves and steep them in a cup of boiling water in your teapot. After 10 minutes it's ready and you can add a little lemon and honey to make it just right. Those last two ingredients will serve you well too


"Prevent weight gain with red wine"
This is one you are going to love as I did. Perdue University is on the hook for this one. They found that red wine works on fat cells in some magical way. Who do you suppose paid for this "study?"

Dieting is big business in the world today. Folks make money writing about it. Companies make money selling diet foods. Professors make money doing research. Companies make money selling exercise machines. Trainers make money making you sweat. Doctors make money sewing up tummies. Doctors make money doing liposuction operations. Reporters make money talking about all of the other folks making money. You see what I'm saying about dieting being big business, right?

I've always thought of my body as something of a machine. Food goes in, activity goes on using the food and wastes go out. Think of a fireplace if you are having trouble with the idea. Wood goes in and burns creating heat. Ash is left over and discarded. Here's the tricky part. If your fire is not well managed, a lot of the wood is leftover along with the ash. Think of the left over as fat and you'll get the idea.

What does all of that mean? It means if you are tall you get to eat more than someone who is short. If you are young and active you get to eat more than someone who is older and not very active. And, of course there are individual differences which affect the ways our bodies use the fuel we give it. Especially important is the quality of fuel we are ingesting. Nutritionists give us targets to aim for like men get to eat x calories a day and women get to eat x-2 calories a day. That works for the average man and the average woman, but does it work for all of us?

If you are heavier than you would like to be here are some starting points.

1. Get an A to Z calorie counting book and a notebook.

2. For two weeks day by day write down everything you eat and drink. At the end of the day, weigh yourself and write that down. Next look up each item and write down how many calories did each item cost. NO CHEATING At the end of two weeks, you'll have a good average of the calories you are consuming and the weight you are gaining or losing.

3. Next look over that list of food, consider what foods are most important to you and what foods you might consider not eating anymore. Try not eating those less interesting foods for a week still keeping your daily log of foods eaten and weight. Is it working, are you losing a pound a week? Remember one pound a week is more than 50 pounds a year.

4. Go for a walk. Walk at a speed that is comfortable and enjoyable, a speed at which you could chat with a friend who is walking with you. Do not walk until you are exhausted, just comfortably tired. Do that for a week and then walk another couple of blocks for a week and see how that feels. Doing it this way, I got up to two miles a day and felt terrific.

5. Never, never eat food you don't want.


Fennel/Fennel Seed
In India there is an after dinner mix called Mukhwas served to freshen the breath and improve digestion. One of its typical ingredients is fennel seed and for good reason. Fennel seed seems to work its wonders primarily in the intestines, relieving us of gas and the cramps it can cause. Chew about a teaspoon a day and see how it works for you. My husband swears by it and always has sweet breath. If you have a garden, fennel is lovely. Take a look at the fennel in the garden.


While my husband swears by the utility of a short term diarrhea diet, most of us would like to get on with our lives without this unattractive malady. Many folks recommend eating very lightly and only very neutral foods, like dry toast. I'm more in favor of eating normally, but adding rice to the mid day and evening meals. It is easy on the system, but more importantly it seems to slow things down so your body can recover its digestive balance. And, it can do so without adding any commercial curative chemicals.


I would think that eggs make a ludicrous joke of commercial researchers and nutritionists who for years told us to eat whites only as the cholesterol in eggs was going to shorten our lives. At the same time natural food folks were talking about the lecithin in eggs which maybe neutralizes the cholesterol issue. Now commercial researchers and nutritionists are touting whole eggs as good food for a myriad of complaints and I am wondering who is paying for the "research" this time.

In any case, eggs taste great and that's got to improve your mood, right? Remember whenever possible to buy organic eggs to reduce the incidental hormones and antibiotics in regular eggs.


Fruit Seeds and Pits
Hydrogen cyanide is not an uncommon natural chemical found in foods that we eat. Seeds and fruit pits from apples, pears, mangos, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and cherries all contain a toxin called amygdalin that can become hydrogen cyanide. Symptoms may include a wide range of uncomfortable and potentially life threatening issues -- headaches, seizures, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure and heart rate. REMEMBER -- NOT ALL SEEDS ARE GREAT TO EAT!!

Kidney Beans
Should you be so inclined to eat raw kidney beans, think again. They contain lectin, a poison that apparently can greatly annoy your stomach. So, soak your kidney beans over night and drain and rinse them before cooking them up for your best home made chile.

Lima Beans
Lima beans are delicious and very nutritious, but they also may offer you something called limarin that will cause a very real and unpleasant digestive upset. Cook them well and if you're adding them to a stew or something like that don't add the water in which they were cooked.

Potatoes these days are pretty old and experienced by the time you find them in the supermarket. They've been irradiated and whatever else creepy to keep them looking good. So, pick them carefully so they look good to your eye and AVOID any that have a green tint. These have been exposed to light which interacts with the potato to form solanine a poison that may give you diarrhea and vomiting for a little while. So, if you see a potato looking green around the gills, toss it. It is just not worth getting sick over a potato. Look what it did to the Irish! Always store your spuds in a dark, cool and airy space.

Stalks of the lovely rhubarb plant are incredibly delicious cooked with sugar until soft, cooled and pooled over yogurt or vanilla ice cream. I'm not even going to mention strawberry rhubarb pie. BUT, never never ever eat the leaves or any other part of the plant. They contain oxalic acid which even in small amounts can make you very sick on an initial basis, but with a hefty dose can permanently damage your kidneys and liver.


Let's just take another look at that phrase. I remember when Harvard researches proclaimed that coffee was "bad" for you. Within two months or so Yale researchers declared coffee was one of the healthier things you could drink. First ask, who funded the research. Second ask, does what they're saying make sense. Third ask does it have any meaning in your life.


Banana Skins Recently I read somewhere about the inside of banana skins being soothing on insect bites, but the writer didn't mention the terrible stains that come with the soothing skins. Be very careful not to touch your clothes with the skins. I guess one benefit is enjoying banana while you're curing the itch. Leave the banana skin on the bite until it stops itching which should be about the time you finish eating.

Mint is especially soothing for skin irritations Many many years ago a very old woman in Guatemala told us that ®Colgate's most simple "Cavity Protection" toothpaste would ease the itch of mosquito bites. She was absolutely right and it works on all sorts of skin itches. Recently I spoke with a skilled dermatologist in Guatemala and she explained that it is the mint in the toothpaste that does the trick. I'd recommend you travel with the toothpaste and grow a pot of mint at home. If you have an itch, make a strong tea with 6 leaves steeped in a very hot 1/2 cup of water. Let it cool (hot liquids increase itch). Dip a cotton ball in the tea and apply to the itch. A weaker mint tea is also very soothing for stomach ailments.


The Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University has to take responsibility for this one. Given that their Governor has just been indicted for corruption felonies it doesn't seem very surprising. They suggest you eat whole pomegranate fruits for the maximum protection. Is that 1/2 hour before exposing yourself on the beach? Do you have to eat one an hour or just a few every day? Maybe Rick Perry can tell us. And who do you suppose paid for this research finding?



      Most Recommended Sources
: Eggs and yogurt.

I read the following somewhere in an article on Yahoo, "Another bone builder that about 56% of Americans lack is magnesium. It also maintains blood circulation, supports cardiovascular health, and helps your muscles and nerves relax." It went on to list good sources of this mineral, "...nuts, Swiss chard, dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate, squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, black beans, navy beans, cereals, and bran." I couldn't help but wonder what on earth people were eating if they were avoiding all of these foods.

     Most Recommended Sources: halibut fish, navy beans and spinach

Potassium plays an important role in keeping us healthy and it's not to hard to find in the foods we eat.

     Most Recommended Sources: Bananas, sweet or white potatoes, avocados, white beans, yogurt and spinach.

Vitamin B12
Apparently some of today's more popular medicines may interfere with our bodies' ability to absorb Vitamin B12.

     Most Recommended Sources: Lamb and salmon.

Vitamin C
This is a commonly available nutrient. If you are eating daily only in low end fast food restaurants, you might have a deficiency.

     Most Recommended Sources: Fresh fruit, fresh fruit juices, freshly cooked vegetables, dairy products, fresh tomatoes and fresh corn tortillas.

Vitamin D
This is one of those recent miracle cures and my response is always to read about it and think about it and move on to the next "miracle." There isn't anything you are going to eat that is going to "save" your life. Eat well, eat the cleanest food you can find, eat lots of fresh food cooked (but not to death) and you'll probably do just fine. Staying out of restaurants, both fast and slow, staying away from prepared foods and canned or packaged products will likely do a lot more for you than a daily dose of Vitamin D. In the end a dose of Vitamin D might not be so bad until you consider the source.

     Most Recommended Sources: The sun is our best source of vitamin D and of skin cancer so you might want some early morning exposure for a half hour or less and then go for some foods that are good sources -- home cooked oily fishes like ocean caught salmon, mackerel and tuna, organic whole cow's milk, eggs and certain mushrooms.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. Think about where you live in the world and which of the sources of Vitamin E are common to that place. Then go first for the source that is local and try to avoid all prepared sources of nutrients. No doubt people have lived there for hundreds of years and they did so largely without imported foods. If it worked for them, it will work for you too.

     Most Recommended Sources: Seeds and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts), olive oil, vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, broccoli) and fruits (kiwis and mangos).


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