Is Poop a Gift or a Curse?

In our world, a new creature has come into town. It is a devious enemy with a smell vicious enough to make us run away. Its brownish skin taunts you to come closer until you come close enough, and it haunts you forever. It is filling up our space and taking over, preparing to kill us one by one. The worst part is, we are producing it. POOP! Yes, poop, aka as feces, is this diabolical specimen that will be (and currently is) a big problem for the human race. Now, I’m not saying that human waste will smell worse over time and cause us to pass out every time we go to the bathroom. Do you ever wonder where all our human waste goes? Now you’re getting at what I’m saying.

Human waste isn’t the first thing you think of when someone says “crisis,” but this should be near the top of that list. Many humans don’t have access to necessary sanitation–precisely 1,800,000,000 people. Yes, you read that number correctly; nearly a quarter of humans do not have access to basic sanitation, for example, toilets. The result of this is that approximately 200 million tons of waste goes untreated. When sewage is untreated, it can lead to countless health issues. If the feces finds an entrance to the water supply, it will release E. Coli, leading to many diseases. Not only does human waste impact humans, but ecosystems may be destroyed. There was a disease spreading through the coral which decreased the population of coral greatly in the Florida/Caribbean area. This disease was White Pox. This disease spread to the corals as a result of human waste being discarded into the oceans. There are bacteria in the human feces, which we can live with but coral cannot. Many sea creatures lost their homes due to human feces. So, how do we control the amount of feces and how should we discard it?

Controlling feces is something out of the ordinary, meaning it needs an out of the ordinary solution. To control feces, there’s a two-step process. The first step is humans changing their diets to vegetarian or vegan. According to the Mayo Clinic, a leading medical center in the U.S., “Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass…” This explicitly states if you eat more fiber, your stool will be easier to pass. This means your body will be producing more waste as it’s heavier and larger. Right about now you are probably thinking to yourself, “I just spent the last 5 minutes reading why we’re producing too much waste, now he’s saying we should make more?” Yes, that’s precisely what I’m saying. The more waste we produce, the more efficient the second step will be.

Fecal energy; this is the second part of controlling human waste. Fecal energy is the process of converting biomasses such as human waste into sources of energy. How this works is the toilet has a grinding system that makes the waste odorless and dries it. Once it dries, microbes will biodegrade the waste. This process generates biofuel gasses such as Ethanol. You may think this sounds crazy, turning poop into power, but I can assure you it’s not. There have been multiple instances where biofuel has been beneficial. A small city in Colorado is fueling over 40 vehicles by using biofuel gasses provided by the local waste management company. On the second occasion in Europe, a Netherland’s Dairy company has started a new project. Since their building already has over 175 cows, they decided it would be more efficient to collect their waste and convert it into biogas for the company. Since the cows are constantly eating, and eating fiber, their stool is very efficient. This is where converting to vegetarian and vegan diets come in. If we are able to produce efficient stool by eating more fibers, the result could be very similar to the success in Colorado. If small towns and big businesses can jump into the future, why can’t the big cities (which have more people and more waste) do the same thing? 

As you can see, the idea of transforming poop into power is not a fantasy; it’s happening. There have already been multiple instances of people adapting to the process. Biofuel can help countries around the globe, as we don’t need to spend millions on drilling and importing, but we can use that money to develop a cheaper biofuel facility. Innovation is using what you have to make something great. In this case, you are using your waste to produce energy. The poop crisis on Earth may be harsh, but I see it as an opportunity. What do you see?

Obese? Got a Fatty Liver? No Problem. Spinach & Nuts Have You Covered

 

Besides the obvious reasons for eating spinach and nuts, like losing weight and eating real food, they can also aid in fighting fatty liver disease. For the first time, a correlation between vitamin E and symptoms of fatty liver disease caused by obesity has been uncovered. Fatty liver disease occurs when 5-10% of the weight of your liver comes from fat. It can be caused by alcoholic and non-alcoholic means.

The collaborators, from Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Cornell University, discovered that the essential nutrient vitamin E can alleviate symptoms of liver disease brought on by obesity.

The implications of our findings could have a direct impact on the lives of the approximately 63 million Americans who are at potential risk for developing obesity-related liver disease in their lifetimes,

says Danny Manor, an associate professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Eating leafy greens such as spinach, as well as nuts and sunflower oils, could help battle the symptoms of fatty liver disease since they contain high amounts of vitamin E. Vitamin E has many beneficial health altering properties such as protection against toxins like air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.

The Fatty Liver Test

Dr Manor tested this hypothesis on a group of mice that were in the advanced stage of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It’s a common symptom of obesity by fat accumulation and inflammation in the fatty liver. The team deprived the group of mice of vitamin E and recorded an increase of fat deposition and other liver problems in the mice. Once vitamin E supplements were given to the mice, these symptoms ceased to exist.

Lessons Learned
  • The vast majority of adults do not consume enough vitamin E. This is most likely due to the increased consumption of processed foods which are not rich in Vitamin E for the most part.
  • We need to consume more vegetables, nuts and seeds, or a supplement, in order to get our daily vitamin E intake as well as to lose weight and avoid fatty liver symptoms.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/fatty-liver-disease

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/

It Says Organic: Does That Mean It’s Non GMO?

non GMO food products

USDA certified organic non GMO Wheat

GMO or non GMO? That is the question….

Lately, GMO products have been hit with some bad publicity. I recently went to a local grocery store in Palatine, Illinois and took a photo of this USDA Organic certified wheat package. In case you can’t see it, this is a whole wheat Gemelli brand wheat product with the fancy USDA Organic logo. However, an organic label alone does not guarantee that you are getting a non GMO product.

What’s the Difference?

non gmo use graph

The agriculture industry has decided the answer to the question for you: “GMO or non GMO?” . newhealthom.com

The difference is what each of these terms describe. The term organic is used to define how a product is grown. GMO and non GMO are adjectives that describe whether the product is genetically altered in some way. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. An organism that is genetically modified can still be grown organically.

GMO plants have their genetic code changed in a way deemed beneficial by scientists, not by nature.  Before 1997 the USDA Organic label did not specify whether or not the produce grown organically was non GMO or if GMO plants needed to be excluded from the definition of organic. Over the years the USDA has changed it’s stance.

The USDA government website states that,

USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use…

These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.

Organic farms and processors:

  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food

These standards specifically state that USDA certified organic products are in fact non GMO products as well. This is not necessarily true for all organic standards and certainly has not been true at all times in the past.

According to NewHope360.com,

In 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its draft National Organic Program rule. At this time, they proposed that organic allow the use of GMOs. This proposal was unacceptable to consumers, manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and basically anyone who had anything to do with organic.

The battle ended with consumers and farmers reigning victorious.

The final rule outlines that an organic operation has to document that it has not used GMOs and takes reasonable steps to avoid contact with GMOs. Whether a product is labeled “100% organic,” “certified organic” (with an allowance of 5% non-organic ingredients) or “made with organic” (a minimum of 70% organic ingredients), none of the ingredients are permitted to use genetic engineering.

That means in a “made with organic” cereal containing 70 percent organic ingredients, the remaining 30 percent non-organic ingredients cannot be produced from genetic engineering. Providers of non-organic ingredients being used in organic products, must also be able to provide proof that their ingredients are non GMO.

So the USDA Organic certification on a product is the government’s guarantee that these products will contain only non GMO ingredients. If you want to avoid GMO products and go only for the non GMO, then this is as sure of a bet as you can get at the grocery store.

non gmo map

Want to go non GMO in he US? Good luck. eatdrinkbetter.com

How To Tell If A Product is Non GMO

If you don’t want to buy exclusively USDA certified organic products but would still like to eat non GMO foods there is another way to go about your grocery shopping. It is common for produce to use short numbers called PLU codes, or price-look-ups, to indicate what kind of product is behind the label. It can be used to indicate manufacturer, color, etc. It is often used to indicate growing conditions. The major benefit of the PLU system is that each PLU code is unique to each product, regardless of where you buy it. This is key for those people going the non GMO route.

The PLU Code user guide states that:

The IFPS shall be responsible for deciding the assignment and definition of qualifying prefix digits
for international recognition. At present, only three digits have been allocated:

0 Applies to all non-qualified produce and is generally presented without the leading
“zero” digit.
8 Genetically modified
9 Organic

This means that if the PLU code is five digits the first digit indicates organic or genetically modified, but it is not mandatory for the producer to specify if they do not want to. If the PLU code is four digits, then PLU code will not indicate whether the product is GMO or non GMO. While it is not currently a requirement in the United States to label GMO produce, in the USA and Canada, food manufacturers are not allowed to label their food as 100% organic if any GMOs are used.  To be 100% certain that your food is organic: look for an organic label, a 9 at the beginning of a 5 digit PLU code, or just grown your own.

 

 

Sources:

NewHope360.com- USDA says “organic” means “non GMO”

USDA.gov- Organic Agriculture

USDA.gov- National Organic Standard

International Federation of Produce Standards

IFPS- Produce PLU Codes User Guide

Organic 101: Can GMOs Be Used in Organic Products?

Organic Food Council- Certified Food Logos

Snopes- PLU Codes

The Greatest Medical Discovery of Our Time: Starve Cancer by Eating

Everybody in the world has a body that produces abnormal cancer cells.  For most people, the cancer cells, usually the size of the tip of a ball point pen, does not have any available oxygen from surrounding blood vessels, and thus perishes.  In this same way, if we are able to destroy the tiny capillary veins through a natural process of antiangiogenisis the cancer cells will be rendered harmless and quickly disappear without any available oxygen.

In this TED talk, William Li describes a new approach to treating cancer by halting angiogenesis, or the growth of blood vessels.  By consuming antiangiogenic foods the survival time of patients with  late stage cancer can be extended by more than six times the normal span.

Many different antiangiogenic drugs and topical creams have been created but they come with the price of dealing with many side effects.  Not only is antiangiogenic food side effect free, it is also cheaper and, most importantly, more effective.

Li has already shown dramatically effective and efficient results in his work but takes the idea of treating cancer a step further by emphasizing prevention.  Very simply, all forms of cancer, and more over disease, can be prevented through diet.

This article goes into detail regarding how the antiangiogenic properties of certain foods were discovered. It also mentions many diseases that can be treated through antiangiogensis including:

  • Cancer
  • Blindness
  • Psoriasis
  • Endometriosis
  • Obesity
  • Rosacea
  • Alzheimers

A list of some highly antiangiogenic foods are as follow:

  1. Green Tea
  2. Strawberries
  3. Blackberries
  4. Blueberries
  5. Raspberries
  6. Oranges
  7. Grapefruits
  8. Lemons
  9. Apples
  10. Pineapples
  11. Cherries
  12. Red grapes
  13. Red wine
  14. Bok Choy
  15. Soybean
  16. Ginseng
  17. Maitake
  18. Licorice
  19. Turmeric
  20. Nutmeg
  21. Artichoke
  22. Lavender
  23. Pumpkin
  24. Sea Cucumber
  25. Tuna
  26. Parsley
  27. Garlic
  28. Tomato
  29. Olive Oil
  30. Grape Seed
  31. Dark Chocolate

“Of these foods, the ones that appear to have the most potent anti-angiogenesis activity include (in order of potency):”

  1. Soy extract
  2. Artichoke
  3. Parsley
  4. Berries
  5. Soy
  6. Garlic
  7. Red grapes
  8. Brassica
  9. Citrus
  10. Lavender
  11. Green tea
  12. Glucosamine
  13. Turmeric
  14. Tea

Li also discusses how the foods almost miraculously and inexplicably work synergistically. Researchers tested the antiangiogenic properties “of three different types of tea to inhibit blood vessel growth. In this study, they determined that they all had anti-angiogenesis activity, however, of the three, Earl Grey appeared to be the most potent. The researchers then decided to combine the two weaker teas and test the anti-angiogenesis activity of the mixture. They discovered that the combination of the two weaker teas resulted in more inhibition of blood vessel growth than the stronger Earl Grey tea. According to Dr. Li, this shows the presence of what is called “Nutritional Synergy” meaning, smaller quantities of many different nutrients and phytochemicals is likely superior to high quantities of fewer nutrients.”

Food is medicine, and prevention is the key to longer, healthier lives.