Clips of family fun in the snow, of the major production I directed (specifically featuring the parts where my 2 kiddos had solos!), and some ballet and soccer times.
This recipe is one of the many amazing creations you can find in
the new e-book Nuts Over Nuts! which contains 50 raw vegetarian recipes created by V
anessa Nowitzky (student of Victoria Boutenko).
KALE CHIPS Recipe
These chips are so fabulous you will never need regular chips again. Dried kale is surprisingly filling-- these nutritious and rich chips are a meal unto themselves.
Each of the following recipes uses about 1 head of green kale. Ruffles have ridges- therefore curly kale holds the flavor best. Wash the leaves well; do not use a leaf if it has those little bugs that like to stick to the backs of the leaves. Don't use the woody stems. Tear large bite-sized pieces of the leaves into a large bowl and pour a sauce (recipes below) over the kale, massaging with your fingers until the kale is thoroughly saturated.
Spread saturated kale pieces onto dehydrator trays with teflon sheets and dehydrate at 105° for 12- 15 hours. The leaves shrink and should emerge crispy.
No dip needed for these chips, but a side of cherry tomatoes or sliced cucumbers helps wet the whistle.
Hummus Kale Chips
Sesame Kale Chips
Fat Free Kale Chips
From what you may have read, you might think that the swine flu vaccine is the answer to swine flu. Unfortunately this is not true and until we know that the vaccine is safe, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to most of my patients.
From the outset, let me say, I am not anti all vaccinations, rather I am pro vaccine safety and freedom of choice.
This is why am I not recommending the swine flu vaccine
1) At this stage, for the most part the swine flu seems benign.
Over a million people in the US have already come down with swine flu, many of them without even knowing that they had it. The vast majority of people who get the swine flu recover after a week or so of high fever, aches, and respiratory distress. It's not pleasant, but except in rare circumstances, it is not fatal. Most people who've been infected by swine flu think so little of it, they believe they just had a really bad cold or a regular flu. So unless the swine flu evolves to a much more virulent form, there's no need for mass vaccination.
2) We don't know if the vaccine will be effective.
Vaccines are only useful against the specific viral strain that was available at the time of their manufacture. But influenza viruses mutate quickly, and as the WHO has already said, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the Fall, creating a new strain that will of course be immune to all available vaccines.
3) We don't know if the vaccine is safe.
The FDA has authorized an expedited approval process for the swine flu vaccine but we don't know yet if it is safe. Even GlaxoSmithKline, one of the vaccine manufacturers has said, "The total population studied in clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible. Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available."
In other words, the only thing that is safe, is to say that no one knows. Since it's never been used before and they have not had time to conduct any sufficient human testing, by getting vaccinated you are being a human guinea pig.
4) Vaccine manufacturers have been insulated from liability by the government.
The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has granted legal immunity not only to the makers of the 2 drugs being used to treat swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, but also to the swine flu vaccine makers, for damages due to their use against swine flu. By effectively manipulating the legal system, the Pharmaceutical Industry through their powerful lobbyists have acquired almost complete and total insulation from any liability for their vaccines and adjuvants, which are additives added to generate a stronger immune response. It is believed that it is these adjuvants which often cause the problems. The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu was in 1976. Thousands filed claims for side effects such as paralysis caused by the vaccine and a number of people died. I am sure that the researchers know more now than they did last time and no one can say for certain that bad things will happen again or that you will suffer dire consequences if you get vaccinated. But this time you have no legal recourse even though this vaccine involves new factors, which makes it therefore experimental and unpredictable.
By shielding the manufacturers from any responsibility for any harm caused, the pharmaceutical firms have no financial incentive to make the safest product. In fact, they have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct.
Instead I advise my patients to build up and strengthen their immune systems to prevent viral infections.
Here are my top 10 recommendations:
1) Optimize your vit D level
Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function optimally. Unfortunately there are no significant dietary sources of Vitamin D, most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. If you live far from the equator, you simply don't get enough sun through Fall and Winter to make all the vitamin D you need. So unless you supplement during this period, your innate immunity will be compromised. Vitamin D plays such a crucial role in so many aspects of your body's functioning, that supplementing with it makes sense whether you decide to get the flu shot or not.
We know that influenza always gets worse during the winter months. Now there is good evidence to suggest that this is because as sunlight hours lessen during the winter, the people living in the northern hemisphere become vitamin D deficient and are susceptible to influenza infections of all kinds. Here's a great article available at NIH pertaining to this topic.
There is also some evidence that supplementation with a sufficient amount of vitamin D can help to prevent the onset of a flu or cold.
The current recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine: from 200 to 600 IU/day depending on one's age, are way too low. These values were originally chosen because they were found to prevent osteomalacia (bone softening) and rickets. It is now recognized that vitamin D has many additional physiological functions, for which these levels are totally inadequate. A number of scientists are therefore calling for the Food and Nutrition Board in the U.S. and its counterparts abroad to reassess their current recommendations.
To optimize your vit D levels, you will need to
Although the current normal range is between 20 and 50ng/ml, this is much too low for optimal health. You want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu!! It may require a number of months taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vit D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor's supervision, to optimize your blood level. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every 3 months until you are in the optimal range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.
2) Get adequate sleep, this is an indispensable requirement for a strong immune system.
3) Get adequate exercise, this keeps you robust.
4) Take actions to lower your stress levels
Do breathing exercises, meditate, practice yoga, spend time doing something that makes you happy. Feeling spent, overwhelmed, and/or mentally run down has a causal relationship to your physical health.
5) Wash your hands frequently but not excessively
It decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap because of the risk of creating resistant bacteria. Rather use a simple chemical-free soap.
6) Avoid sugar and processed foods as they decrease your immune function dramatically.
7) Eat phytonutrient rich meals (lots of colorful salads and dark greens)
8) Eat lots of garlic, it works as a broad spectrum antibiotic.
9) Take a probiotic daily (look for one with 10-20 billion organisms).
A strong immune system relies heavily on having a strong foundation in the gut.
10) Keep a supply of antiviral herbal supplements on hand.
As opposed to antiviral drugs, antiviral herbs do not cause resistant strains because they are multifaceted and contain literally thousands of different medicinal compounds. Thus they are able to attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances. Andrographis, Olive leaf extract, Grapefruit seed extract and Elderberry extract, all have antiviral properties. Use one or a combination of some of them as a prophylactic measure, for ex.whenever you travel (airports) or enter a potentially compromised environment such as a large office, auditorium, stadium, theater etc.
And if you really want to go all out, here are 4 more tips:
11) Take 1-2 grams of fish oils daily, its beneficial for immune function.
12) Take 2 grams of Vitamin C daily, yes it does help.
13) Stock your home pharmacy with an immune building formula.
Look for one that contains Cordyceps and Astragulus. Take it throughout the flu season.
14) Keep homeopathic Oscillococcinum on hand
Take it at the earliest sign of a cold or flu. Early intervention is essential. If you are exposed to someone with the flu directly, you can take one dose twice a day for two days. You can also take one vial once a week throughout the winter, and two or three times a week during flu season, as a preventative measure.
Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC a center whose emphasis is on preventive health care and patient education. His personal blend of Western and Eastern Medicine combined with the many other complimentary modalities he has studied, has helped thousands of people recover their energy and zest for life. He is the author of the recent SPENT: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again (2009) and Total Renewal; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).
As most of you probably know, influenza is a contagious viral respiratory infection. Symptoms include:
Typically, the condition will improve after two to three days of bed rest, although some symptoms may persist for about a week.
What many people do NOT know, however, is that death caused directly by the flu virus is very rare. The vast majority of so-called “flu deaths” are in fact due to bacterial pneumonia – a potential complication of the flu if your immune system is too weak.
Other complications can include ear- or sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic health conditions.
The elderly and people with other pre existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, are at higher risk of developing pneumonia after a bout of the flu.
The Flu Vaccine Does Not Prevent the Flu, nor Protect Against the Vast Majority of Flu-Related Deaths
The conventional treatment for bacterial pneumonia is an antibiotic, not a viral flu drug, so to think that taking a flu vaccine will prevent death from pneumonia doesn’t really make sense.
“But the vaccine will prevent the flu, which will prevent the possibility of developing pneumonia,” some might say.
That sounds good in theory, but the statistics simply do not support this assertion.
Because study after study, and master studies that compile the results from several studies to get a more objective result, keep coming to the same conclusion: Flu vaccines DO NOT WORK, and in many cases do more harm than good.
In fact, one shocking statistic brought to light in this video is that BEFORE the CDC advocated vaccinating children under the age of five, the number of children dying from the flu was very low, and on the decline.
Then, in 2003, just after children aged five and under started getting vaccinated, the number of flu deaths SKYROCKETED. The death toll was enormous compared to the previous year, when the flu vaccine was not administered en masse to that age group!
How anyone can consider a strategy that yields a higher death toll to be a “success” is a mystery to me.
The Problem with Flu Death Statistics
However, as frightening as much of this may sound, it’s important to keep things in perspective. According to the statistics shown in the video above, more Americans die from asthma, and even malnutrition each year, than the flu.
Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grossly distort the facts about flu deaths, making the flu virus seem far more dangerous than is warranted. On the CDC’s main flu page, they state that about 36,000 people die from the flu in the United States each year.
But if you search a little harder, you can find the actual number of people who died from the flu in 2005 (this is the most recent data that’s available) was 1,806. The remainder was caused by pneumonia. In 2004, there were just 1,100 actual flu deaths.
The statistics the CDC gives are skewed partly because they classify those dying from pneumonia as dying from the flu, which is inaccurate.
How is the Flu Vaccine Made?
This is another area that many people do not understand or take into consideration before getting a seasonal flu shot.
In January or February of each year, health authorities travel to Asia to determine which strains of the flu are currently active. Based on their findings in Asia, they assume that the same strains of viruses will spread to the U.S. by fall.
At this point, U.S. vaccine manufacturers start making that season’s flu vaccine, which will contain the strains found in Asia. However, if the viral strains circulating in the U.S. that season are not identical to those in Asia, the vaccine you receive is a complete dud.
And to add insult to injury, you’ve just been injected with a laundry list of harmful ingredients.
What’s in the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?
The flu strains selected are cultivated in chick embryos for several weeks before being inactivated with formaldehyde, which is a known cancer-causing agent. Then they’re preserved with thimerosal, which is 49 percent mercury by weight.
Even many health care professionals are confused about this and are not aware that the preservative thimerosal is mercury. As a quick side note, one of my chief writers told me that, “the doctor’s office told me the vaccine does not contain mercury, just something called thimerosal.”
Please, don’t be fooled by this incredible ignorance. If you have carefully studied this issue there is a great possibility you may know more than your physician about this topic. Don’t back down if they tell you something you otherwise know to be true.
According to the CDC, the majority of flu vaccines contain thimerosal. Some contain as much as 25 mcg of mercury per dose. This means that it may contain more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.
By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.
In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:
Aluminum -- a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease
Triton X-100 -- a detergent
Phenol (carbolic acid)
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
Betapropiolactone - a disinfectant
Nonoxynol - used to kill or stop growth of STDs
Octoxinol 9 - a vaginal spermicide
How Safe is the Flu Vaccine?
Serious reactions to the flu vaccine include, but are not limited to:
Life-threatening allergies to various ingredients
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic disease that is fatal in about 1 in 20 cases)
Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
Thrombocytopenia (a serious blood disorder)
How Effective is the Flu Vaccine?
Remember that the potential effectiveness of a flu vaccine is dependent on the ASSUMPTION, made nearly a year in advance, that Asia’s viral strains will be the ones hitting the U.S. When they guess wrong, the vaccine is worthless from the very start.
But does that mean they withdraw the flu vaccine when they discover it contains the wrong strains? NO! They just keep giving it out anyway.
But even if they were to overcome that hurdle and actually select the correct strains, there’s still no evidence that it does anyone any good to get a flu vaccine.
Study after study comes back showing the same dismal results: the flu vaccines are not an effective method of prevention of the flu, and they do not save lives. As mentioned earlier, they may even be responsible for an increased death rate in some groups.
Sometimes determining efficacy is as easy as reading the information coming straight from the vaccine manufacturer.
How about this quote taken directly from the flu vaccine FLULAVAL’s package insert (which you likely never see when getting the flu shot) for the 2009-2010 formula:
" FLULAVAL is an influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of adults 18 years of age and older against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine. This indication is based on immune response elicited by FLULAVAL, and there have been no controlled trials demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.”
That’s right, NO controlled trials demonstrating ANY decrease in your risk of contracting the flu at all after vaccination! (It also states that each dose contains a total of 25 mcg of mercury.)
For those of you who are still unconvinced, know that there’s plenty of scientific evidence available to back up the recommendation to avoid flu vaccines. In addition to studies mentioned in the video, here are several other examples showing that flu vaccines do not work for any age group:
A study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.
The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.
A 2008 study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people.
This supports an earlier study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia in the elderly, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.
In 2007, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality,have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”
A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
Last but not least, I think it says a lot that 70 percent of doctors and nurses, and 62 percent of other health care workers do NOT get the yearly flu shot.
The reasons why they opted to not get vaccinated were:
They didn't believe the vaccine would work
They believed their immune systems were strong enough to withstand exposure to the flu
They were concerned about side effects
Might Influenza be Little More Than a Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.
Published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, the hypothesis presented by Dr. John Cannell and colleagues in the paper Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D raises the possibility that influenza is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.
At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:
A 2007 study suggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection than did control subjects.
A 2009 study on vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mother’s vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.
Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of developing ALRI, and since the child’s vitamin D level strongly correlates with its mother’s, the researchers recommend that all mothers’ optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their baby’s health.
A similar Indian study published in 2004 also reported that vitamin D deficiency in infants significantly raised their odds ratio for having severe ALRI.
A 2009 analysis of the Third National Health andNutrition Examination Survey examined the association between vitamin D levelsand recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in nearly 19,000 subjects over the age of 12.
Recent URTI was reported by:
17 percent of participants with vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or higher
20 percent of participants with vitamin D levels between 10-30 ng/ml.
24 percent of participants with vitamin D levels below 10ng/ml
The positive correlation between lower vitamin D levels and increased risk of URTI was even stronger in individuals with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Another 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. And that, based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.
How to Prevent the Flu without Getting a Flu Shot
For most people the flu shot does not make you healthy; it does just the opposite and weakens your immune system.
If you follow a healthy lifestyle, you will not have to worry about getting the flu. Take it from me -- I’ve never received a flu shot, and I haven’t missed a day of work due to illness in over 20 years. The key steps that I follow to stay flu-free, which I suggest you follow too, include:
Eat right for your nutritional type, including avoiding sugar
Get adequate sleep
Address emotional stress