attention Deficit Disorder

Should you give your children ADD & ADHD Pharmaceutical Medicine?

Currently, there are somewhere between 5 and 7 million children in America diagnosed with ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder. Some of them have been fed small doses of amphetamine since they were four or five years old.

I will be transparent with you today and reveal that I’ve suffered from ADD myself. I believe this condition comes from deeper core issues within the person. These underlying issues are important to look at in order to make an effort to resolve them.


The medications on the market will certainly improve your focus and productivity. When you take the pill in the morning, it starts to kick in around an hour after. Once it takes effect, you get a stimulating boost. These boosts can feel good, yet at times overwhelming as you get a high feeling similar to recreational drugs such as Ecstasy and Speed. I am familiar with this feeling having experienced recreational drugs in my youth. The reaction is so similar that ADD medication is even sought out on the street, illegally.

I had to write this article and share this information with you because I think it’s important that parents are aware of this before deciding to put their children on these medications. I was on them for around a year when I lived in Miami. They helped me get my work done efficiently but when the “high” wears off, you crash. The crash involves feelings of isolation, coldness and a feeling of disconnection from the world. If you are self-aware, you can clearly sense that your body and spirit not responding well. This crash can continue for hours and wears off slowly. The next day comes, and you basically experience this same pattern every day that you take a pill.

It is always important to get into the habit of listening to what your body is telling you. The above symptoms are serious signs that your body isn’t approving of the medication.

For me, when it started to wear off around 5 o’clock, I would start to shiver. My house was warm, but I would freeze no matter how high the heat was cranked up. This is not the case for everyone. Everybody reacts differently to the chemicals. My coldness was a sign that my blood was not flowing properly. As soon as I stopped the medication, I no longer felt this side effect.

There’s a lot of information out there saying you shouldn’t just stop the meds suddenly. I don’t encouraging people to stop suddenly simply because I don’t know enough about this process. There are reported cases where people didn’t do well after stopping abruptly. I can only speak from my experience. Eliminating them from my life cold turkey felt great. I had no regrets and I didn’t look back.

I would rather have slightly less focus and more passion in my life than have daily crashes, anti-social tendencies and toxic chemicals damaging my body.

Having said that, it was hard for me to make the decision to stop taking the pills. I tried them again this year because my intense passion and desire to do so many things, often leads me in a million different directions. Trying to do everything at once and getting nothing done perfectly. It’s hard for me to focus for long periods, and I would get so much more accomplished when I took a pill. A task that would take me 4 hours, I could achieve in half the time.

How do I feel after cutting them out? MUCH BETTER! I’ve been managing just fine without them and it’s actually been empowering! I feel grounded and nurtured through my own true efforts and not by the quick fix of a pill.

Everyone experiences some level of stress from living in a world where we are, in many ways, enslaved by a corrupt system. There are a lot of us-even the best of us that are becoming rather zombielike.

We all need to wake up and make a change. We need to all take part in fixing these problems and take charge of creating better solutions. Solutions such as growing our own fruits, vegetables, and herbal medicines; learning to be free in our minds; as well as finding solutions to problems and acting on them. Building the lives we dream of and deserve are why we are here.

Children, teens and adolescents are part of this as they are our future. The earlier you teach them sustainable inner practices, the better you equip them for what is ahead and show them how to be meaningful participants in the world.

If I could go back and do one thing, it would be gardening daily with my daughter from the time she was a baby. This intimate connection to our earth is what will ultimately bring truer fulfillment and happiness. Healthy habits are more easily formed in the earlier stages of your child’s life.

Giving a child a pill to cure certain things runs the risk of a lifetime habit of taking pills for healing and thus avoiding facing any deeply rooted issues.

We all carry within us, wounds. Some wounds possibly from past lives, but most certainly from this present one. These deeper wounds prevent us from focusing more sharply and play a role in our self-love & compassion-or lack of it. We are all truly amazing souls, and often our untreated wounds will keep us from realizing our true potential. Both adults and children must address those deeper core issues. In doing so, we live more spirited, purposeful and healthy lives.

When we take care of ourselves and face those core issues, we can heal naturally without toxic chemicals. A much truer route to healing.

The pharmaceutical pills used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder will often just mask the core issues. It does not cure them.

I admit it is not an easy task, and it takes a lifetime of dedication.

Isn’t being true worth the effort?

You can sweep the dust under the couch, and it may look cleaner, but that dust is still there, building up with each passing day. In the back of your mind you know it’s there. At one point if you truly want a clean home, you will have to move the couch and do a big clean up.

Investigating what those deeper issues are within yourself or your child and making a commitment to rise above them, is a great beginning. Everybody’s wounded soul conflicts are unique and can change through time. Unresolved traumas can travel with us through lifetimes.

Changing diet, toxic habits that are draining you, poisonous relationships and negative thought patterns can help develop a greater acceptance and ability to surrendering gracefully to change. After all, change is a congruent part of life and rather inevitable.

Make peace with it and learn to flow with the waves. Attaching yourself to anything too tightly leads to suffering. Learn the art of letting go at each moment, each day. Be a creator and keep turning the page.

I’ve tried nearly all the varieties of ADD medicine. And they all more or less have the side effects I mentioned earlier. After my experience, I feel it’s important to share with others and warn people. I find it most alarming that children are taking them. I can’t imagine how pure little bodies are meant to tolerate such harsh chemicals or suffer from any of these serious side effects.

I’m not justifying by any means that it’s better for adults to take the pills but at least they have some life experience and can be conscious of the reactions to the medication. They are able to take a mature step back and recognize that some of the symptoms they are experiencing are not normal or healthy. Children, especially the younger ones, don’t really have this option.

Both children and adults can easily grow accustomed to the side effects and often tolerate them.

They learn to live with the crashes-desperate to keep the desired focus, productivity and stimulation. Not everyone recognizes that feelings such as depression or withdrawal are often being triggered or enhanced by the drugs. It especially goes unnoticed with children for they don’t fully understand what it is they’re experiencing.

The question that lies ahead now is, how can we treat this naturally without resorting to unhealthy chemicals?

I believe a combination of natural plant medicine, a healthy diet and commitment to caring for one’s soul can help heal on a much deeper level than pharmaceuticals. Living with purpose, truth, freedom, dreams, courage and self-love are all integral parts of healing.

Standing up for justice, world peace, our planet earth, and not supporting corrupt businesses that don’t have the peoples’ best interests at heart are also, believe it or not, connected to healing. Universally, we all face a form of illness by inhabiting a planet with corrupt leaders, large pharmaceutical industries and corporations that are running much of the show.

The system influences and enslaves us all- much more than we are willing to see and admit. Sometimes, to escape from it, you must step outside of the box.

Think about McDonalds for a moment. The food was clearly proven to be unhealthy. Why would anyone want to keeping running a business that was poisonous to people? Money. You would imagine they would choose to invest in an alternative money-maker that maybe did something good for the planet. Or completely change the menu. Sadly, this hasn’t been the case. There is enough wealth and abundance to solve world hunger and yet the struggles on planet earth seem to continue.

We can knock the big guys and point the finger all we want but who is to blame? I’d say to some degree, us! The people. These corporations and corrupt institutions exist because we support them. They exist because they have a market!

Why have we become such zombies in our culture? I won’t get in to all the different conspiracy theories of why that could be but rather suggest that people, at the very least, think carefully before you invest a dollar in anything. Think twice to be sure you want to support that cause or not.

Be the change you wish to see in the World – Ghandi

I don’t have the miracle cure to treat ADD naturally.

You don’t need to have the perfect cure. What you need is the will to explore different natural alternatives and see what works for you.

Some days may be challenging. Other days, you might feel very blessed. Such is life. But at least you honor your sacred vessel when you try. When you make that commitment to take care of your body, mind and soul, the universe brings the perfect medicines that are meant for you.

If you are a parent contemplating giving your child ADD medication, my advice to you is to try taking the meds first yourself for a week.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but I’m confident that once you experience the intensity of the drugs for yourself you might have serious second thoughts. It’s good to know what you’re giving to someone. I never serve food without tasting it a little myself to make sure it’s good.

Now that I’ve committed to stopping the meds and treating myself naturally, I will begin exploring…

Natural Remedies that can improve the Symptoms People Experience with ADD. Remedies given to us by Mother Nature that help treat a person as whole.

I will share these discoveries and experiences in future articles. Stay tuned! I look forward to sharing the preparations that worked for me, in hopes that they work and help others too. Also coming up in future posts, my experience with Cannabis oil for Healing. The good and the bad.

If you are living in the Montreal area and looking for natural healing help from a professional holistic practitioner for yourself or a child, please feel free to be in touch or consult the Natural Healing section of the Back to Eden Healthy Living Directory

By: Shoshana Finn

Dirt is Better Antidepressant Than Prozac

There’s no denying that standing in the garden and picking your first summer tomato gives you a good feeling. Even in an urban environment a small pot of basil on the windowsill can brighten your day. But is there a scientific reason that getting our hands dirty makes us feel good?

In 2007, Christopher Lowry, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Center for Neuroscience at Universtiy of Colorado Boulder, and a team of researchers published an article in Neuroscience that had people wondering if dirt was the new Prozac. The study examined a specific soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, and its potential role in the regulation of emotional behavior. In other words: did the bacteria have antidepressant qualities?

“Soil, especially soil with abundant organic matter, contains saprophytic bacteria, meaning that they live off of dead and decaying organic matter, such as leaves,” says Lowry. “Humans coevolved with these bacteria over millennia and they have been shown to affect the immune system in a way that suppresses inflammation. This means that these bacteria may be helpful in preventing or treating diseases with excess inflammation.”

So what exactly are diseases with “inflammation?”

“This includes conditions like asthma, but also, perhaps, stress-related psychiatric disorders characterized by elevated inflammation, such as major depressive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder,” says Lowry.

It’s not so surprising that we may benefit from microorganisms in the soil, given that we need them to live.

The regulation of the immune system is indeed connected to the biodiversity of the natural environment. We benefit from being outdoors and exposed to things like soil and animals, because of the fact that we’re exposed to microorganisms.

“A human is not an individual. We are ecosystems. At least 90% of the cells in a human body are microbes, most of them living in the gut,” says Graham Rook, professor at the Centre for Clinical Microbiology at the University College London. ” These organisms constitute the ‘microbiota,’ and the microbiota should be regarded as an organ, just like your liver or your brain.”

While the organisms that make up that microbiota are inherited – like we inherit genes – there is a proportion of the organisms that come from elsewhere, and that’s where things get interesting.

“An unknown proportion of the organisms that constitute the microbiota come from the environment,” says Rock. “It now seems that the most likely explanation for the health benefits of exposure to farms, dogs in the home, and green space is that the natural environment (including the animals in it) is a resource that provides organisms as we need them.”

Just last year Rook published an article that explored those connections, concluding that the regulation of the immune system is indeed connected to the biodiversity of the natural environment. We benefit from being outdoors and exposed to things like soil and animals, because of the fact that we’re exposed to microorganisms.

The psychological benefit of nature has been well documented. When it comes to being happy or not, many studies show that psychiatric problems are more common in urban than in rural communities. That makes Lowry’s and Rook’s research interesting, as it gives us a better understanding of exactly why being outside, in a garden or on a farm, makes us feel good.

“People usually assume that the health benefits of exposure to green space are due to exercise. In fact two large studies now demonstrate that although exercise is definitely good for you, it does not explain the beneficial effect of green space,” says Rook. “Contact with microbial biodiversity is looking like the most probable explanation for the green space effect.”

So if microorganisms are good for you, how much exposure do you need to have in order to reap the benefits? How many days in the garden do you need to commit to?

That’s what’s still unclear.

“We don’t yet know how much exposure to environmental bacteria (for example, through activities that involve contact with the soil) is enough to confer health benefits,” says Lowry. “It is clear, however, that exposure through breathing or consuming specific types of environmental organisms has the capacity to reduce inflammation and confer health benefits.”

Which means that you now have another reason to go outside and get your hands dirty.

Ten Tips From A Shaolin Monk On How To Stay Young Forever

People always say health is the most important thing but how many people live by this belief? We need to start today. In order to help us stay on the path to health I have translated an extract from one of the Shaolin Classics. Written by a monk who was a great martial artist and scholar, here he gives advice to lay people as to how to stay young and healthy.

Ten Tips From A Shaolin Monk On How To Stay Young


Don’t think too much. Thinking takes energy. Thinking can make you look old.


Don’t talk too much. Most people either talk or don’t. Better to don’t.


When you work, work for 40 minutes then stop for 10 minutes. When you look at something all the time, it can damage your eyes and also your internal organs and peace.


When you are happy, you need to control your happiness, if you lose control then you damage your lung energy.


Don’t worry too much or get angry because this damages your liver and your intestines.


When you eat food don’t eat too much, always make sure you are not quite full as this can damage your spleen. When you feel a little hungry then eat a little.


When you do things, take your time, don’t hurry too much. Remember the saying “Hasten slowly you will soon arrive.”


If you only do physical exercise all the time and you never do Qigong this makes you lose your balance and you will become impatient. You lose the Yin of your body. Exercise & balances, the Yin and the Yang.


If you never exercise, just peace, meditation, soft training, Qigong, then you will loose your Yang energy.


Shaolin Gong Fu gives you everything. The purpose of our training is to balance our Yin and Yang. How many hours is not important. It’s down to knowing what your body needs.

About the Author

Shifu Yan Lei is a 34th generation Shaolin Gong Fu Master. Visit his blog here, and you can sign up to his newsletter, monthly training tips and archives. He also offers DVDs and meditative aids.

Image Credits: pxleys

Credits: By: Shifu Yan Lei

Medical Doctor Sells Practice, Opens Up “Farmacy” Using Food as Medicine

Dr. Robert Weiss believes that a change is coming about in the way we approach health and medicine, or rather a reconnection with knowledge that was shunned with the onset of big pharma.

He sold his practice in New York and built the first farm-based medical practice on a 348-acre farm in Long Valley, New Jersey. It can be called a “farmacy,” a place that explores and utilizes plant-based “food as medicine.”

“Plant-based whole foods are the most powerful disease-modifying tools available to practitioners – more powerful than any drugs or surgeries,” said Weiss, a doctor of 25 years in Hudson County.

Untold billions have been put into the production of synthetic chemicals to treat the symptoms of disease, yet the research of plant-based medicine has taken a back seat, despite its ancient history and already known potential.

The priority is prevention through proper diet, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans and seeds. It’s “paleo” plus the best parts of human agriculture before they were turned into processed foods. However, this strict diet regimen can also be used to treat those already afflicted with ailments.

“I am not saying if you fall down and break your ankle, I can fix it by putting a salve of mugwort on it. You need someone to fix your fracture,” Weiss said. “I am talking about treating and preventing chronic disease – the heart attacks, the strokes, the cardiovascular disease, the cancers … the illnesses that are taking our economy and our nation down.”

He says that the nutrients in fruits and vegetables prevent inflammation, which is believed to be the cause of many chronic diseases.

Dr. Weiss said the lunch that was prepared during the interview-“a salad of baby kale, radicchio, purple carrots, cucumbers, onions and cherry husk tomatoes tossed with a walnut vinaigrette, followed by eggplant rollatini with tofu instead of cheese, and dairy-free chocolate pudding garnished with raspberries”-contains many naturally occurring drugs.

The goal is to reduce the reliance on dangerous pharmaceuticals that bring on a host of negative side-effects, addiction, and overdose death. Also, he strives to avoid, where possible, unnecessary surgeries.

Dr. Weiss points to the case of 90-year-old Angelina Rotella of West New York as model success story. On the night before Christmas Eve, she came to his office in a wheelchair with congestive heart failure.

“I asked her, ‘Do you want me to call 911 and admit you to Palisades General? Or will you let me feed you sweet potatoes and kale?’ Amazingly enough, with the help of her daughter, she chose this,” Weiss said. “She doesn’t have diabetes anymore and chronic heart failure. She is cooking, sewing and walking around town. I’m not saying it’s easy, but she seized the opportunity and she is transformed.”

The prescription was a strict diet including “grains (such as whole-grain brown rice and sweet potatoes), steamed greens (including kale and spinach), fruit (a big serving of wild organic blueberries is a must) and water.” Her daughter, Angie Rotella-Suarez, calls it “more than a miracle,” saying her mother stopped taking her heart blood pressure medication within two weeks.

The plant-based diet was so effective that Rotella-Suarez and her sister took up the same diet and lost 40 pounds, and are no longer pre-diabetic.

The farmacy already has 90 families that pay a membership fee and volunteer time picking weeds and harvesting vegetables. Part of the mission is to get people more interested in their diet through being involved in the food production.

“Human health is directly related to the health of the environment, the production of food and how it is grown,” said Weiss, who earned an undergraduate degree in botany at Rutgers College of Arts in Science in Newark. “I see this farm as an opportunity for me to take everything I’ve done all my life, all the biology and chemistry of plants I have studied, and link them to the human biological system.”

Indeed, there are more benefits to the act of growing one’s food than the we may realize. According to a scientific study, working in the garden and making contact with soil bacteria can make you smarter and happier, by triggering the release of serotonin in the brains.

Dr. Weiss is truly following the advice given by Hippocrates so long ago – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Reversing Climate Change – Why Soil will Save the World

Can we do it? Is it already too late? Many of us are wondering how we can possibly turn the juggernaut of limited industrial profit-based materialism around. Time to stop wondering and worrying—yes it is possible—and we are already doing it.  Although the statement “the answer lies in the soil” seems too simplistic, this time …

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No, eating bacon is not the same as smoking cigarettes

The World Health Organization says that eating processed meat can cause cancer. But that doesn’t mean its as bad a smoking cigarettes.

The World Health Organization has declared that processed meat causes cancer, particularly colon cancer. The organization now places bacon, sausage, and hotdogs in a category of known carcinogens, a list that also includes cigarettes, diesel fumes and asbestos.

That doesn’t mean all the items in this category are equally likely to give you cancer. It just means that there’s sufficient evidence to support that these things can cause cancer, a conclusion that scientific study can only reach after much research.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the organization within the WHO responsible for reviewing cancer research, doesn’t rank the items on this list against one another. In other words, all the items on this list can cause cancer, but do not represent the same level of risk.

But unfortunately, many newspapers-or at least their headline writers-don’t seem to understand this. “Bacon, burgers and sausages DO cause cancer and are as big a threat as cigarettes, says World Health Organisation” declares one headline. “Bacon, Hot Dogs, and Processed Meats Pose as High a Cancer Risk as Cigarettes” claims another. As attention-grabbing as these headlines may be, they are shamefully misleading.

Although the WHO doesn’t rank these known carcinogens, their data does provide some information about relative risk. They estimate that 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are caused by eating a diet that’s high in processed meat. You can compare that number to the 200,000 deaths per year caused by air pollution, 600,000 per year caused by alcohol consumption and 1 million deaths per year caused by cigarettes according to the Global Burden of Disease Project, another WHO research body.

The WHO also placed red meat-beef, lamb and pork-in the next-to-highest cancer risk category. That means red meat is a “probable” carcinogen, but the organization said they still need further data to confirm this and that in limited quantities it may have some nutritional benefits.

Setting the misleading headlines aside, there’s still plenty of reasons to quit eating heavily processed industrial meat. Producing processed and red meat has a much heavier environmental burden than plant-based foods, requiring more water and land, and creating more pollution and greenhouse gases. If more people choose to eat less meat for personal health reasons, there could be a decrease in the amount of resources these meat products gobble up.

And much like smoking cigarettes, increasing your exposure to processed meat increases your risk of cancer, and may also put you at a higher risk for other health problems like heart disease and obesity.

So, even if starting your morning with a sausage breakfast isn’t as likely to kill you as starting your morning with a cigarette, neither is a good choice.

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Meditation and yoga make you less likely to need a doctor

A new study has found that relaxation techniques dramatically decreases the need for healthcare visits and interventions, which is a good reason to pull out the old yoga mat.

Healthcare practitioners have known for a long time that using relaxation techniques can improve health, but it’s hard to prescribe such treatments without scientific evidence. That’s why researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital decided to run a retrospective analysis, in which they analyzed the records of 4,000 patients between 2006 and 2014 who followed their doctors’ recommendations for relaxation techniques, and compared them to 13,000 other patients who did not use those same techniques.

The results were impressive. The use of “Relaxation Response and Resiliency Training,” as the study calls it, reduced the incidence of healthcare visits by 43 percent. By learning how to use the relaxation techniques, patients were better able to care for themselves and manage symptoms without needing a physician’s intervention.

Stress-related disorders are the third leading cause of healthcare expenditures in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. In 2012, the treatment of stress-related disorders, such as headaches, back pain, insomnia, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and chest pain, cost Americans more than $80 billion.

“Over 90 percent of people suffering from stress or stress-related problems seek help through primary care and tend to be frequent healthcare utilizers. These visits can comprise as much as 70 percent of physicians’ caseloads. In addition, more than 80 percent of patients presenting to general practice evidence lack of resiliency and psychological stress.”

Teaching patients how to use relaxation techniques is an excellent way to reduce physicians’ caseloads, lessen the overall burden on the healthcare system, save money, and provide non-interventional solutions to physical problems that are safe and effective.

“Our results indicate that mind body interventions can reduce individual disease burden as well as the utilization of healthcare resources and are well suited to the changing healthcare environment… Mind body interventions are inexpensive relative to the cost of an emergency room visit, a hospitalization, or even other complementary and alternative medicine therapies.”

Sounds like it’s time to dust off the old yoga mat or sign up for that class you’ve been meaning to take at the meditation center! You might as well start now, rather than waiting till your personal health reaches a crisis point.

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Consumer Reports Study Finds that Nearly All Ground Beef Sold in America Has Feces in It

The megalithic federal bureaucracy known as the U.S. Department of Agriculture is made up of 100,000 employees who are stationed at 4,500 locations across the country. Their mission statement, in part, reads “to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans.”

A recent study by Consumer Reports, however, shows that nourishing Americans consists of feeding them deadly superbugs, food poisoning pathogens, and feces.

meatball sandwich ground beef feces reports
A Meatball Sub, served with mozzarella, marinara and tasty feces.


While it’s not surprising to the readers of the Free Thought Project that the US government could fail so miserably in their stated mission, this recent study exhibits an unrivaled level of incompetence within this behemoth bureaucracy.

Consumer Reports tested several hundred packages of ground meat from stores across America, and their findings were shocking, to say the least.

According to the report,

New lab tests conducted by Consumer Reports found that of the 300 packages of ground beef purchased in stores across the country, almost all contained bacteria that signified fecal contamination.

More than 40 percent contained Staphylococcus aureus. Almost 20 percent contained Clostridium perfringens, which causes nearly 1 million cases of food poisoning annually, many related to beef.

A significant amount also contained superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics. A key reason is the overuse of antibiotics on cattle farms.

The irony here is that local organic farmers who have harmed no one, are being raided by SWAT teams for selling raw milk, eggs, or grass fed beef. Meanwhile, millions of people are getting sick and dying across the country by government-subsidized factory farms.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan points out how concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are dependent upon the cost of corn remaining low.

The government ensures these low corn prices by throwing billions of dollars a year the top 1 percent of corn farms in the United States. Since 1995, a whopping $85 billion has been taken from taxpayers and given to corn producers; all of this so you can have poop in your burger.

Aside from the horrific results of feeding corn to cows, there is also the apocalyptic problem of creating superbugs by massively dosing the factory farmed cattle with antibiotics to counter the horrendously dirty conditions in which they live.

“That practice (heavy use of antibiotics) can lead to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a major public health problem. If you get sick from these bugs, your infection can be difficult to treat,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of Food Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports.

The consumer reports study wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. When they tested the sustainably produced, antibiotic-free, grass-fed cattle, they found that these were far less likely to have any of the bacteria.

“This study is significant, because it’s among the largest scientific studies to show that sustainable methods of raising cattle can produce cleaner and safer ground beef,” Rangan said.

Of course, “big government beef” is upset and defensive about these findings. When consumer reports contacted the National Cattleman’s Beef Association for a statement, they received this single comment from Kansas State University professor Mike Apley:

If all cattle were grass-fed, we’d have less beef, and it would be less affordable. Since grass doesn’t grow on pasture year-round in many parts of the country, feed lots evolved to make the most efficient use of land, water, fuel, labor and feed.

Amazingly enough, however, farmers can sustainably raise organic cattle to meet the market demand, without using government subsidized corn. Instead of massive amounts of chemical and mechanical inputs, the organic farmers can plan for the harsh winter months by saving the surplus from summer months.

The good news is that the demand is shifting from factory farmed cattle to sustainable and humanely raised cattle. Despite the best attempts of the USDA to regulate sustainable farms to death, they are thriving as demand increases.

Even some fast food chains are adopting this sustainable method. In December, California-based quick-service chain Carl’s Jr. rolled out the All-Natural Burger, which sources solely grass-fed beef from Austrailia.

Besides Carl’s Jr., a grass-fed burger chain called Farm Burger, has begun to spring up from coast to coast.

Besides sustainable beef, there is also the option of no beef. One of the fastest growing categories in food choice happens to be vegetarian.

In the information age, ignorance is a choice, and it seems that it’s a choice more, and more people are avoiding. While this study shows that we still have an uphill battle when it comes to healthy, non-taxpayer subsidized food, it is only a matter of time before we reach critical mass.

Hemp For Human Consumption

Hi, my name is Hemp and I AM a Super-Food of the future… although I AM already here for your benefit today!! Before I explain how I literally save lives, let’s take a quick look at my general health benefits, and then further explore some profound truths that should shock you at the very least… that’s right: hemp is food 😉

I belong to the same family of plants as mulberry, and I easily survive in nearly every climate on Earth, therefore I AM a tough plant without the need for any pesticides or herbicides, making me not only an extremely useful and beneficial plant, but also extremely Gaia friendly… I look after the planet I live in and those that reside here.

I AM part of the oldest industry on the planet, going back 10,000 years and spanning all across the globe… from Columbia, to China, to North America, India, Sumeria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Central America, and of course Australia. I have been known by many names by different cultures, and there are even many towns named after me in reference to locations where I was once grown, and in many cases still do grow.

In the early 1930’s I was subject to one of the greatest media conspiracies of the 20th century, and still to this day, the humans and planet Earth are both suffering because of it… unnecessarily albeit. There is a lot that may be discussed about why “The New Billion Dollar Crop” promise of hemp was not fulfilled, although that is a discussion for another day as today we are talking about my almost too good to be true health benefits. If you are interested here is a quick video, please do bear in mind that the video discusses ‘ Marijuana‘ and ‘ Hemp ‘… two sides of the same coin really, as explained below.

Now back to non-psychoactive Hemp and all my wonderful health benefits: I naturally contain all Amino Acids and I AM the richest source of botanical polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (omega 3-6 in the correct proportion, including the rare Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Stearidonic Acid (SDA)). Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Foods rich in polyunsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Australians need more of. Foods rich in polyunsaturated fats also provide essential fats that your body needs but can’t produce itself. You must get essential fats through food. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are important for many bodily functions, and I AM the perfect food to provide you with all the essential fatty acids you need!

I AM high in vegetable protein (the building blocks of any living organisms).

I AM high in folate which is exceptional for women… in addition to helping create healthy fetuses; it also seems to prevent cervical cancer and can reduce osteoporosis. Folate is also great for both sexes, like many vitamins and nutrients, helps combat heart disease. It also releases serotonin, which makes it act as a mild antidepressant.

I AM high in chlorophyll, with the health benefits including strengthening of blood making organs, prevention of anemia and abundance of oxygen in the body. Loaded with antioxidant power, chlorophyll exerts beneficial effects towards various medical conditions such as cancer, insomnia, dental ailments, sinusitis, pancreatitis and kidney stones. Chlorophyll helps in normal blood clotting, wound healing, hormonal balance, deodorizing and detoxification of the body and promotes digestive health. It has healing effects on oxidation and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Chlorophyll has anti-aging and anti-microbial properties and helps strengthen the immune system. Be sure to read this article on chlorophyll health benefits.

I AM a rich source of phytonutrients (health-promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-health-promoting activities).

I contain over twenty trace minerals within the edible seed, and my leaves are also edible, containing a high percentage of silica which is useful for building strong bones and beautiful skin, hair and nails… what woman, man, or child would say no to that??!! I AM also rich in fiber, and when made into tea taste absolutely incredible, whilst being an amazing antimicrobial. I AM Hemp and as you can see: I AM For Human Consumption!!

All parts of me are useful, and I may be made into virtually anything that is currently made of cotton, timber or petroleum. I may be used to produce nearly every major category of commercial product including hemp body care which includes soaps and lotions and etc… hemp textiles such as clothing and fabrics which are stronger, more durable, more insulated, more mildew and mold resistant, and easier to produce than textiles made from cotton, with natural UV protection… hemp paper with higher yields in a fraction of the time which lasts longer and improves the environment… hemp rope which made sailing possible in the first place… hemp plastics which may easily replace all the toxic petrochemical products such as paints, solvents, and the like… hemp building materials such as fiberboard, insulation, carpet, fiberglass substitutes, cement blocks, concrete, stucco, mortar, medium density fiber (MDF) composite boards… hemp fuel and hemp vehicles… I think you’re starting to see the picture of just how awesome I AM… although we are here to discuss my many health benefits for children and adults.

Leading researchers and medical doctors consider hemp to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet… and as already mentioned, I AM one of the best sources of plant protein and fat as found in my seed. I contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. To call me a Super-Food is an understatement… it’s in your best interests to eat me. To learn more, just ask David Wolfe or any other health food expert. Hemp is a food and medicine of the future!

OK… so by now you are bound to understand that I AM Hemp and I AM an extremely nutritious Super-Food… as you may have noticed, I look extremely similar to ‘Marijuana… that’s because essentially we are the one and the same thing with our proper and more scientific name being “Cannabis Sativa”… it’s just that as a species we have hundreds of different subspecies varieties that vary in the chemical makeup of the plant, including the cannabinoid profile… it’s the cannabinoids (85+) found in us plants that really pack a health punch as you will further see… and we will be taking a closer look at Cannabidiol (CBD) as that is the secret sauce for treating a number of ailments… The best news is that it’s abundantly available through proper Hemp consumption!!

In Australia, if the THC component of the “Cannabis Sativa” plant is more than 1%… then the ‘authorities’ classify the plant as ‘Marijuana’… however if the THC component is less than 1% then the ‘authorities’ classify the plant as ‘Hemp’… so as you can see it’s the same species of plant, just different subspecies have different cannabinoid profiles… with THC and CBD being the two main cannabinoids found within the plant.

THC is considered psychoactive and has its own health benefits and medical uses, although since we are talking about Hemp, we will not be discussing those today. Just like THC may be increased or decreased in ‘Marijuana’ plants through cross breading, the same is possible for CBD in Hemp. So what exactly is Cannabidiol (CBD) and why is it one of the most important factors for human health in today’s day and age?

Natural CBD as found abundantly in certain subspecies of Hemp, such as ‘ Charlotte’s Web ‘, is being used in certain parts of the world as an appealing treatment option for patients seeking relief from a range of symptoms and ailments… such as Dravet’s Sydnrome. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ has been proclaimed as ‘Cannabis Oil’ although the ‘Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014’ clearly defines ‘Charlotte’s Web’ as Hemp as the THC component is less than 1%… it’s the medicinal CBD component that is high.

Scientific and clinical studies underscore CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions including (but not limiting to) arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, psychosis, schizophrenia, PTSD, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other disorders which may or may not be neurological. Cannabidiol (CBD) has demonstrated neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, with it’s anti-cancer properties continually being investigated at academic research centre’s in the United States of America, Israel, and abroad elsewhere. CBD is ‘THE’ dietary supplement and Super-Food of the future, available to ALL today!! I AM Hemp and I AM For Human Consumption… both as a SuperFood and a SuperMedicine!!

If you’ve read the above information and resonate with the message… then be sure to share this message and website with those that you love to help make this world we live in a better place for all… Other than tasty hemp milk for your smoothies, and fresh hemp bread for your morning toast, and hemp dressing for your afternoon salad… there are hundreds if not thousands of hemp products with the potential to positively impact the health and food industries. This final video showcases some more medicinal hemp products as being produced elsewhere, please do watch and then share this website with everyone you know… and have yourself the best day ever

10 Ways Healthy Eating Transforms Your Mind More Than Your Body

“We forget that, historically, people have eaten for a great many reasons other than biological necessity. Food is also about pleasure, about community, about family and spirituality, about our relationship to the natural world, and about expressing our identity.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

When people turn to healthy eating, they generally do it with one goal in mind: to become healthier and skinnier. My goal was to improve my health. I wanted to eliminate my gut problems, my skin problems, minimize the rate at which I got colds and flu, and feel amazing from the inside out. I was so excited by all the health benefits whole foods could empower me with that I began my quest of healing through food.

Of course it wasn’t so easy at first. I made a lot of mistakes. When I learned that I should quit refined sugar, I switched it for brown sugar. When I learned I shouldn’t eat added sugar at all, I bought juices sweetened with Splenda. When I learned packaged juices and artificial sweeteners are even worse for you, I threw out an entire package of the aforementioned juices. It was a rocky start, but I wasn’t giving up.

I began questioning everything I decided to buy and eat and I encouraged my family to do the same. My family wasn’t as amazed by these newly found benefits as I was. At first, I would get on my dad’s nerves when I suggested him to stop buying 2-litre sodas or when I explained that Welch’s grape juice contained high fructose corn syrup.

Switching to a wholesome diet and ditching unhealthy foods got me what I initially wanted: I stopped having gut problems, my skin clarified, and my colds and flu diminished at a dramatic rate. I was healthier, but I noticed that improving my diet not only benefited my body, it created a profound change in my mindset. I became more self-loving, happier, more mindful, and more grateful.

If you’re going through a healthy eating journey, or if you’re just thinking about taking a small step towards eating better, these are 10 ways eating well can transform your mindset in a positive way, beyond the physical benefits:

1. You welcome mindfulness into your life

Healthy eating by default turns your attention towards what you consume. It makes you contemplate what you buy, what you cook, and what you bite. You’re no longer mindlessly taking sugary cereal out of a box and calling it breakfast. You become aware that every meal is an opportunity to nurture yourself with healing, delicious, and nutritious food.

This is the main shift I noticed in myself. Every food decision became deliberate and I began to purposely nourish my body with the best possible choices. Becoming aware of what you eat connects you with the moment and snaps you out of autopilot.

2. You become the boss

Once you start making better choices, you shed old patterns and behaviors. You break the status quo. Change makes you question and reject the usual order of things. This good rebellion manifests when instead of grabbing dinner at Taco Bell’s drive-through you decide to use the vegetables sitting in your fridge to make a salad, or simply go out to a non-fast food restaurant.

Every decision you make different empowers you and breaks you free from the norm.

3. You seek improvement

Once you break the status quo, you become aware of the possibilities and often seek to upgrade bit by bit. The spark of change can grow to become a fire. Maybe you switched your fries with a side of salad one day, then you decided to order a healthier meal altogether, and weeks later you decided to cook a homemade dinner for your loved ones.

Seeking an alternative to sugar made me wonder what else I was eating that had a healthier counterpart, which lead me to switch to grass-fed butter, nut milk and whole-wheat bread.

4. You share and connect more

When you experience the benefits of eating well, you want to share it with your loved ones. You want to inspire positive change around you. This doesn’t mean you start nagging or become a health nut, it simply means you share what you know and offer your friends and family a way to eat in a more nourishing way.

Offering a healthy snack at work, inviting friends over for a homemade dinner, talking to your kids about the benefits of sipping that green smoothie, and trying to get your husband or wife on board with a cleaner diet are all ways to share positive information.

Once you start sharing, you also find like-minded people who enjoy a similar lifestyle. This gives you a stronger sense of belonging.

5. You boost your self-love

Once you are motivated to make better eating choices, you accept you’re worthy of better care. Eating habits are profoundly linked to self-esteem and your sense of self-worth. That’s why people with eating disorders also suffer from emotional problems.

Choosing healthy eating is a way of taking care of yourself, of acknowledging your body is sacred and valuable, and of accepting you deserve to feel your best from the inside out. Healthy eating sparked the wish to seek out other ways to nourish myself, like exercising more and taking time to unwind my mind and body through meditation and yoga.

6. You increase your confidence

Healthy eating can boost your confidence and happiness when you set health or weight goals. You feel accomplished because you didn’t cave to that soda, because you nailed a new healthy recipe, or because you could enjoy a delicious breakfast instead of being hungry all morning. In the long term, eating healthier will lead you to your ideal weight, which can improve your self-esteem as well.

I felt amazing a couple of days ago when I decided to cook quinoa hummus cakes for the first time instead of accepting a chicken hamburger.

7. You become more grateful

When you become aware of all of the nourishing foods you have access to, feeling grateful for it comes naturally. When I realized the many options I had to eat better and improve my health, I felt immensely thankful for the opportunity to do so. People living on food stamps and earning a minimum wage don’t often have a choice. Countries with food shortages, droughts, and wars are focused on their basic survival and healthy eating is a luxury.

Healthy eating is a privilege, and I see it as so, so I’m grateful. If you have access to abundant produce and healthy products, realize you have an invaluable source of nourishment and share it if you can.

8. You become an active learner

Just because you decide to eat better doesn’t mean you automatically know how to do it. When you turn to healthy eating, your mind opens to a new field of knowledge. How do you know which ingredients to avoid? Why does this food make you feel bad? Which vegetables are more nutritious? What is gluten exactly? Is sugar that bad? What are superfoods?

Once you start caring, you seek the answers to these questions and more. You research. You ask. You feed your mind new, useful, actionable information, and enjoy the learning process.

9. You spark your creativity

Even if the microwave is the only kitchen appliance you’ve ever used in your life, healthy eating will push you to cook and create. You have to ditch that noodle cup, and take spices, legumes, vegetables, and lean meats and create nutritious meals out of that. When you start browsing easy and healthy recipes that don’t take hours to make (these are of course my favorites), you find smoothies, salads, wraps and a tons of plant-based dishes that are delicious and surprisingly easy.

Taking this first step will make you more inventive in the kitchen and you’ll find yourself thinking about food combinations that will make you excited about preparing lunch. Like Julia Child said, “You learn to cook so that you don’t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.”

10. Your satisfaction increases

Because choosing to eat better to achieve weight or health goals is a challenging, difficult, and positive transformation, it will make you feel accomplished, satisfied, and proud of your hard work.

Seeing yourself go through the whole process, from the moment you take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle, right until you learn how to make better decisions, lose weight, learn cooking, cure your ailments or feel fantastic, will make you feel like a better version of yourself, and you’d be right. Is there a more rewarding feeling than knowing you accomplished a goal after a lot of willpower and hard work?

My journey so far in healthy eating has showed me the deep connection there is between mind and body. The way you nourish your body reflects in your mind, and anything you create in your mind will manifest in your body.

If you’re thinking about taking a step towards healthy living, or if you’re already in the process, know that it will profoundly affect your mood, self-esteem, motivation, and mentality. And it’s worth it.

How have your eating habits changed your mindset?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Homing In on the Source of Runner’s High

We’ve probably all heard someone exclaim, “Ah, my endorphins are kicking in!” at the end of a good run. Endorphins are famous for supposedly producing “runner’s high,” that fleeting sense of calm and euphoria that engulfs many of us after a satisfying workout.

But in fact, endorphins may be unfairly hogging the credit for making workouts enjoyable, according to an enlightening new experiment with animals. The findings suggest that endorphins have little to do with runner’s high. Instead, that euphoric feeling may be the product of a completely different but oddly familiar substance – the body’s own endocannabinoids, the chemicals that, like the cannabinoids in marijuana, lighten mood.

Endorphins first became a household word in the 1980s, when researchers found that blood levels increased after prolonged exercise. This finding made sense. Exercise can cause discomfort or pain, and endorphins are the body’s self-produced opiates, with pain-relieving properties much like morphine.

From that discovery, it was a short step to believing that endorphins must also produce the pleasurable mental sensations that many people feel after exercise.

But there is a substantial problem with that idea, and it involves the substantial-ness of endorphins. They are large molecules, too big to pass through the blood-brain barrier. They might staunch pain in the muscles, but they wouldn’t have effects directly inside the brain, where any high would originate.

So for the past decade or so, scientists have been looking for other substances that might be involved in making exercisers feel high, which led them, perhaps unsurprisingly, to endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are, essentially, internally produced marijuana, or cannabis. Cannabis contains cannabinoid molecules, which are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier and attach there to receptors, producing a floaty, hey-dude high.

In recent years, scientists have found that exercise raises the levels of endocannabinoids in the bloodstreams of people and animals, making these molecules good candidates to underlie the runner’s high.

But few studies have directly compared the effects of endorphins and endocannabinoids to determine which really makes exercise mildly intoxicating.

So for the new study, which was published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers with the Central Institute of Mental Health at the University of Heidelberg medical school in Mannheim, Germany, rounded up healthy lab mice, tested their anxiety levels by putting them in cages with pockets of darkness and light (anxious animals stick to the shadows), and then gave them running wheels.

Mice generally like running, engaging in the activity even when they are not being pursued. That suggests, researchers believe, that they gain some kind of mental satisfaction or reward from it, experiencing the mouse version of a runner’s high.

That possibility was borne out in an early portion of the new experiment, when the scientists noted elevated levels of both endorphins and endocannabinoids in the animals’ bloodstreams after running. The scientists also found that the animals were more tranquil after running, spending longer periods of time in lighted areas within their cages – something that anxious, twitchy animals won’t do – and that they were more pain tolerant when exposed to slight physical discomfort.

In general, these post-running mice were more chill than before.

But when the researchers used drugs to block the workings of some of the animals’ endocannabinoid system, so that receptors in the animals’ brains couldn’t take up the molecules, their post-run cool disappeared. The animals proved to be as anxious then after running as they had been before and very sensitive to pain.

Without a working endocannabinoid system, they developed no runner’s high.

However, when the researchers similarly blocked the animals’ response to endorphins, while leaving their endocannabinoid system unchanged, the mice enjoyed all of the soothing effects of running. They were calmer in their cages afterward and seemed to experience less sensitivity to pain.

Even without the ability to respond to endorphins, in other words, they experienced the rodent version of a runner’s high, strongly suggesting that endorphins do not contribute to the high, but endocannabinoids do.

The practical implications of these results are somewhat limited, of course, because they involve mice, not people, and tell us only what goes into creating a runner’s high and not how to ensure that we will feel that same post-run serenity.

One possible if slightly disheartening lesson of the study could be, in fact, that we may need to cover considerable mileage in order to experience a runner’s high; the mice in the study, small as they are, averaged more than three miles every day on their wheels.

More broadly encouraging, though, the results should remind us that, like mice, we were built through evolution to be in motion. Our ancestors ran to avoid danger and hunt food. For them, “reduced sensations of pain and less anxiety through long-distance running would have been a benefit,” says Johannes Fuss, now a professor at the University of Hamburg, who led the new study.

To survive as a species, we seem to have needed to run, and nature obligingly found ways to make this strenuous movement pleasurable by providing us with a runner’s high.

So the subtle upshot of the new study may be that we should run. And if we don’t feel a high, perhaps try running more, until eventually a gentle euphoria may settle in and we can turn to our running companion and say, “Ah, my endocannabinoids are kicking in at last!”


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Eating Organic Lowers Pesticide Levels in Children

Researchers have found that when children eat organic fruits and vegetables, the amount of pesticides in their bodies declines significantly.

Most organophosphorus pesticides have been phased out for residential use, but they are still widely used in agriculture. High doses in agricultural workers can be deadly.

The study, in the October issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, included 20 children living in Oakland, Calif., and 20 in the agricultural community of Salinas, about 100 miles south. The children ate a conventional diet for four days and an organic diet for seven days and then returned to conventional foods for five days.

About 72 percent of their urine samples, collected daily, contained evidence of pesticides. Of the six most frequently detected pesticides, two decreased by nearly 50 percent when children were on the organic diet, and levels of a common herbicide fell by 25 percent. Amounts of three other pesticides were not significantly lower on the organic diet. Levels were generally higher in the Salinas children than in the Oakland children.

“There’s evidence that diet is one route of exposure to pesticides, and you can reduce your exposure by choosing organic food,” said the lead author, Asa Bradman, associate director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley. “But I would never say that conventional fruits and vegetables are unsafe. They’re all healthy.”


Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder

Grille starts his talk at TEDX Pittwater. Robin Grille is a psychologist, author, educator and advocate for children who is not alone in his dream for a better world. For those interested, you will find that what he has to share is one of the most crucial keys to creating the future we aspire towards.

How do we unlock the peace code in the human brain and help it to find its’ full expression?

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Robin many years ago in promoting The Children’s Well-Being Manifesto, and his work continues to inspire great hope. For those in the UPLIFT community, the notion of creating a new story of healing is deeply entrenched and also backed by science as seen in the research of Bruce Lipton, PhD.

We literally have the ability to change the world we live in by addressing our core belief systems. This logic can be applied to our deeply held beliefs that human-beings are wired for violence, which the science of epigenetics refutes completely. Human behavior is much more a product of our environment and conditioning than it is dictated by genes. This points directly to child-rearing practices, and the ways that it affects the developing brain.

Harsh, punitive, and cold environments along with chronic stress cause the brain to release a neurotoxin known as cortisol. Cortisol literally destroys brain cells in the area of the brain connected to emotional regulation and impulse control causing the prefrontal lobes to atrophy. Whereas, loving supportive connection in a safe environment causes the brain to secrete oxytocin which developed these centers and cultivates the capacity for empathy, which is the neurological foundation for peace. The conclusion is that Violence is a Preventable Brain Disorder.

In his talk (below) Robin Grille also explores the fascinating historical and cultural roots of our story of violence along with a 7-step plan to re-write the code and create a peaceful planet where we are less violent to each other and towards our environment. In a recent uplift blog post titled, How to Stop the 6th Mass Extinction Bruce Lipton states:

…the realization that we can change the whole story right now. We don’t need to try to fight the old story. We simply need to walk outside the old story and build a new story. People will leave the old story when they see a new story working. Every individual who changes their own story, is changing the vibrational environment within which we live. We can have the spontaneous remission of the planet’s ills and we can change the environment by just changing who we are.

Clearly we are living in a potent time where science and spirituality give us the tools to change our ways of creating and interacting with the world around us. Please make some time in your day to watch this enlightening talk and share the inspiration with your networks. More importantly, make the effort to help that single-parent in your community and open your heart to embrace the children in your life with love, connection, support, and safety!

Antibiotic Overuse Might Lead To Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Heightened Allergies

Scientists have warned for decades that the overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, making it harder to fight infectious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drug resistant bacteria cause 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses each year.

But when we think of antibiotic overuse, we don’t generally think of allergies. Research is beginning to suggest that maybe we should.

Allergies are getting more and more common

In the last two to three decades, immunologists and allergists have noted a dramatic increase in the prevalence of allergies. The American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology reports that some 40%-50% of schoolchildren worldwide are sensitized to one or more allergens. The most common of these are skin allergies such as eczema (10%-17%), respiratory allergies such as asthma and rhinitis (~10%), and food allergies such as those to peanuts (~8%).

This isn’t just happening in the US. Other industrialized countries have seen increases as well.

This rise has mirrored the increased use of antibiotics, particularly in children for common viral infections such as colds and sore throats. Recent studies show that they may be connected.

Antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome

Why would antibiotics, which we use to fight harmful bacteria, wind up making someone more susceptible to an allergy? While antibiotics fight infections, they also reduce the normal bacteria in our gastrointestinal system, the so-called gut microbiome.

Because of the interplay between gut bacteria and the normal equilibrium of cells of the immune system, the gut microbiome plays an important role in the maturation of the immune response. When this interaction between bacteria and immune cells does not happen, the immune system responds inappropriately to innocuous substances such as food or components of dust. This can result in the development of potentially fatal allergies.

Exposure to the microbes at an early age is important for full maturation of our immune systems. Reducing those microbes may make us feel cleaner, but our immune systems may suffer.

Do more microbes means fewer allergies?

Research done in Europe has shown that children who grow up on farms have a wider diversity of microbes in their gut, and have up to 70% reduced prevalence of allergies and asthma compared to children who did not grow up on farms. This is because exposure to such a wide range of microbes allows our immune systems to undergo balanced maturation, thus providing protection against inappropriate immune responses.

In our attempts to prevent infections, we may be setting the stage for our children to developing life-threatening allergies and asthma.

For instance, a study from 2005 found that infants exposed to antibiotics in the first 4-6 months have a 1.3- to 5-fold higher risk of developing allergy. And infants with reduced bacterial diversity, which can occur with antibiotic use, have increased risk of developing eczema.

And it’s not the just the antibiotics kids take that can make a difference. It’s also the antibiotics their mothers take. The Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood Cohort, a major longitudinal study of infants born to asthmatic mothers in Denmark, reported that children whose mothers took antibiotics during pregnancy were almost twice as likely to develop asthma compared to children whose mothers did not take antibiotics during pregnancy.

Finally, in mice studies, offspring of mice treated with antibiotics were shown to have an increased likelihood of developing allergies and asthma.

Why are antibiotics overused?

Physicians and patients know that overusing antibiotics can cause big problems. It seems that a relatively small number of physicians are driving overprescription of antibiotics. A recent study of physician prescribing practices reported that 10% of physicians prescribed antibiotics to 95% of their patients with upper respiratory tract infections.

Health care professionals should not only be concerned about the development of antibiotic resistance, but also the fact that we may be creating another health problem in our patients, and possibly in their children too.

Parents should think carefully about asking physicians for antibiotics in an attempt to treat their children’s common colds and sore throats (or their own), which are often caused by viral infections that don’t respond to them anyway. And doctors should think twice about prescribing antibiotics to treat these illnesses, too.

As we develop new antibiotics, we need to address overuse

As resistant bacteria become a greater problem, we desperately need to develop new antibiotics. The development process for a new antibiotic takes a considerable amount of time (up to 10 years), and drug companies have previously neglected this area of drug development.

Congress has recognized that antibiotic overuse is a major problem and recently passed the 21st Century Cures bill. This bill includes provisions that would create payment incentives from Medicare for hospitals that use new antibiotics.

But this approach would have the perverse effect of increasing the use of any new antibiotics in our arsenal without regard for whether bacterial resistance has developed. This would not only exacerbate the problem of resistance, but potentially lead to more people developing allergies.

Congress should consider more than just supporting increased development of new antibiotics, but also address the core problem of overuse.

This may stave off the further development of antibiotic resistant bacteria and reduce the trend of increasing development of allergies.