Genetically engineered foods: is this a problem you can afford to ignore?

For most of us, genetically engineered foods are just one thing too many to worry about. If we haven’t researched the topic specifically we might even believe that there is nothing new in these foods and they may be perfectly safe.

Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Jeffrey Smith, who researched the topic and wrote two books about it, is spending his time crisscrossing the planet speaking to groups of health-conscious individuals to raise awareness of the issue. As he puts it, one Al Gore documentary or one Oprah Winfrey show could kill this burgeoning industry.

When the technology to remove genes from bacteria and place them in plants was first developed, companies like Monsanto saw a unique opportunity for windfall profits. For the first time in history seeds could be patented and sold for profit, and there was the idea that these new crops would give the US a huge competitive edge leading to booming international sales.

There was pressure to gain rapid FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approval with as little research requirement as possible. Actually, the FDA surpassed even the most optimistic industry expectations when it gave these foods blanket approval, ruling that no research was required because there was no reason to believe that foods derived from these processes presented any new risks.
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Trans fat-free margarine found to cause diabetes

If there is one thing I learned a long time ago it is to beware of products advertised as being free of one ingredient or the other. Every time such a product comes out the first question I ask is: what did they use as a replacement? It may take years to find out, but invariably we discover that the replacement was worse than what it replaced!

It was this way with fat-free foods that turned out to be loaded with sugar, sugar-free drinks laced with harmful aspartame, and cholesterol-free margarines containing trans-fats later found to cause heart disease and, quite possibly, cancer.
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Interesting books: first in a series of articles

I always find it very rewarding when people I see share my passion for reading and learning about health and healing. Recently, I was asked to make a presentation at a conference on autism, and afterwards a number of people were asking me for names of books they should read. A mother even told me she had printed and read more than seventy pages from my newsletter archives! Clearly people have figured out they have to find their own answers.

With this piece I plan to start a series of short articles in which I will review a book or a couple of related books that have in some fashion influenced my thinking about diet or health in general.

The first one of these is more of a booklet than an actual book, but the information in it is fundamental to my way of looking at health. It is entitled “Pottenger’s Cats” and describes experiments carried out by Dr. Francis Pottenger on cats in the 1940’s.
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What does “100% Natural” mean?

If you are anything like our family, you struggle constantly with the cost of organic food. You know you should do it, but sometimes you just can’t afford it. It is usually possible to find organic fruits and vegetables on sale when they are in season. Or you can join different local co-ops for produce. But when it comes to organic meat, it is way out of my price range, and when it comes down to choosing therapy and supplements versus organic meat. Well, quite simply, the meat loses.

So then comes the challenge of finding what is the next best. And you see all the labels in their glory “Pilgrim’s Pride 100% Natural Chickens” or Sanderson Farms declares its hormone-free chicken meat as “all-natural” and “100 Percent Chicken. Naturally.” Clever billboards declare, “Our ingredient list: chicken.”

So what does this word natural mean?
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My two cents on the recent E. coli outbreak

By the time you receive this newsletter this will be old and almost forgotten news, but many who read about the recent E.coli scare in the papers or heard about it on the news might have ended up with the idea that E.coli is some sort of deadly bug.

People like me who focus on intestinal health know very well that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the presence of E.coli in a person’s intestinal tract is a marker of good health, while its absence is a clear indication that something is amiss.

Not only that, but if you can think back to a time preceding the current wave of “synthetic” farming, you may remember that cow manure was once a primary form or fertilization. This may not sound too appetizing, but it still reflects our history. I would bet that cow manure contained many billions of E.coli organisms per cubic inch, and yet people were not dropping dead left and right.
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Soy is not good for you!

If you think that soy-derived foods are good for you or your child you may want to read the book “The Whole Soy Story” (see One study showed that feeding soy to pregnant rats increased the risk of breast cancer in their offspring. I know we’re not rats, but when it comes to breast cancer we may want to take note (Oncol Rep. 1999 Sep-Oct; 6 (5): 1089-95). Another more recent rat study showed that giving genistein, which is found in all soy products, to female baby rats caused changes in mammary development and hormone receptors, while higher doses permanently affected development. See

Confirmed: organic foods are healthier

Two new studies are confirming what common sense told us years ago: that eating an organic diet leads to better health. A research team from Emory University analyzed the urine of children aged three to 11 who ate a fully organic diet and found that it did not contain any traces of common pesticides. However, as soon as these children returned to eating conventionally grown foods, levels of pesticides in their urine climbed dramatically. In the meantime, a new British study revealed that the mineral content of common foods has declined as much as 70% over the past 70 years. Find more at and

Is it TV that causes criminal behavior in children (or is it what they eat in front of it)?

The debate over whether watching crime shows on TV instigates crime will probably never end. Supporters of this theory hold that impressionable youths copy behaviors they see on TV.

An article recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests that the link between TV and crime may have a different cause: junk food. Yes, because as it turns out children who watch a lot of TV also consume vastly more junk food than their peers, possibly because of ads they see or maybe just because they just sit around all the time.

Is this just a wild theory designed for the joy and comfort of nutritionists like myself? Not so, at least if you pay any attention to the dozens of studies that link junk food diets with violent and antisocial behaviors.

In one of the studies researchers looked at jailed chronic offenders aged 13 to 17. After analyzing their diets researchers found that they consumed on average 63% of the iron, 42% of the magnesium, 39% of the zinc, 39% of the vitamin B12, and 34% of the folic acid recommended by the US government.

The researchers then gave half the subjects a supplement containing the vitamins and minerals they were missing and the other half a placebo. They also counseled all the all the youths about the importance of healthy diet and then made healthier meals available to all.

Sure enough, all those who heeded the advice and changed their diets experienced a drop in violent episodes. Those who changed their diets while receiving a placebo experienced a 50% drop – which seems pretty amazing to me – but the ones who were given the vitamin and mineral supplement in addition to changing their diets experienced an 80% drop in violent events. Of course no change was observed among inmates who did not change their diets.

Not only did the number of violent incidents drop, researchers also recorded brainwave patterns through EEG and found marked improvements after 13 weeks on supplements.

Read more about this at:,,1765619,00.html and at (scroll down to “Feeding Crime”).

Changing your child’s diet – a mother’s perspective

Food is at the center of almost everything we do in our society. We don’t just use food to nourish our bodies; it has become the pinnacle of parties, celebrations, and holidays. It has simply become the single most important part of our lives. It’s not just enjoying the day at the beach; it is the giant ice cream cone from the boardwalk. It’s not just the trip to Grandma’s to enjoy the company of family, it is the home cooked feast and homemade pies for dessert. With this in mind, and with food being so hooked to our psyche, it is no wonder that parents are sent reeling when it comes to changing our child’s diet. Food is comfort to so many, and quite simply the worse the food is for our body, the more comforting it is to us (ice cream, cookies, bread, pasta, etc). When parents are asked to remove these foods that mean comfort to them, it is like asking them to throw away the child’s favorite stuffed animal. Sometimes I think we are convinced that it will be so hard on the child; that we give up before we have even started.

I am not able to offer any foolproof method, but I can share some of my experiences and experiences of parents with whom I have met.

1. Know yourself. If you are the type of person who likes to take everything on all at once, then the idea of taking things out gradually may not work at all for you. On the other hand, if you are a person who likes to prioritize and complete each task one at a time, then saying I am going to eliminate everything all at once may just be setting yourself up for failure. So most important is to know yourself, and trust yourself that the way everyone else is approaching diet may not be the way for you or your family.

2. Be willing to make the changes in your own diet also. No child is going to understand why he or she can’t have something when their own parent is eating it right in front of them. Save the chocolate chip cookies until they are well tucked into bed. But in all honesty, if you want to see the importance of diet, and believe in it as a way of life for your whole family, all you need to do is get rid of these foods altogether. You will be amazed by the increase in energy, decrease in anxiety, and increase in mental clarity that eating a healthy diet can have on your own body. Once you believe in good food as the way you should nourish your body, you will start to cringe at the thought of your child eating preservatives, dyes, and tons of refined sugar. And once you get that in your head, the diet will become a mission for the well being of your children, and not just the one who has the issues you are trying to address.

3. So now the problem will be getting your child to even try new things. Many parents feel cruel if a child skips a meal because they didn’t eat what was given to them. Look at hunger as an opportunity. I remember my little Nathan going to bed hungry because all he wanted was Cheerios and cheese to eat. For breakfast the next morning I fixed him steamed cauliflower covered in ghee and spices. He gobbled it up to my surprise, and since then it has been one of his favorite foods. It became his comfort food. If your child fights you on every new food, enlist the help of friends and family. I know that friends of mine who say that their child is very picky will eat the whole dinner I serve them at my house as long as the parent is not there, including the steamed broccoli. I learned this from my own daughter when she went to a preschool in England and the children had to eat the lunch that was served at the school. I never thought that my daughter would eat lamb stew, but she did, just like all the other kids did.

4. Find your own favorite new recipes, and start them as a new family tradition. I remember making cookies with my Mom every Christmas. I cannot make the old family favorites, but I have a chance to start a new tradition with new family holiday baking. On that same token, volunteer at the school to provide snacks when possible. Then your child won’t be the odd one out. Also, provide recipes and ingredients to the teacher if they are making foods in the classroom.

5. Finally, believe in yourself. Don’t listen to the well-meaning grandparent or friend who thinks that depriving the cookies and candies is somehow cruel. If you have made it this far in looking for a healthier diet to help your child, you are being a caring and responsible parent. Things won’t always be easy, and slip-ups will be made, but every step you make is important to you and your family. Don’t make food so important, instead reward them with time and attention, and if that doesn’t work reward them with a favorite toy or video. My biggest piece of advice is to love yourself and then your child, and the rest will come.

News briefs and interesting links

Could it be that the very test used to screen for breast cancer “mammography” might increase your risk of getting the disease? This seems to be the conclusion reached in a recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that lists radiation exposure from medical screening tests as a risk factor.

Thermography, a radiation-free imaging procedure, seems to increasingly be a valid alternative as new technologies develop. Unfortunately it not endorsed by mainstream medicine but you can read about it at (This site requires nominal fee for subscription. If you are a patient ask to see the article when stopping by my office).

I have said it for years: Ritalin and other ADD drugs are another huge medical crisis waiting to happen. These drugs are classified as amphetamines, or are cocaine-like substances, and we know the harmful effects that both of these can have. Why would the ADD drugs be spared these same problems? Now, after identifying 51 deaths from these medications, the FDA is requiring a warning on these medications regarding possible cardiovascular effects. You can find detailed information at
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How to choose a Defeat Autism Now! practitioner for your child and what to do while you are waiting for your first appointment

This piece is meant as a resource for families of autistic children who are faced with controversy and difficult choices when trying to find effective help. However, readers not connected with autism may also find that this article contains interesting pieces of information.

In reality autism is not really that unique or different from many other conditions. It is what happens when vulnerable infants experience an overwhelming exposure to toxins at critical stages of development. Their vulnerability is probably a result of several factors including an immature immune system, genetic predisposition, and nutritional deficiencies, some of which could be inherited. Research has shown that deficiencies of critically important vitamins or other nutrients can build up from one generation to the next, leading each successive generation to be more vulnerable to environmental insults.

Today, there are a growing number of toxin-induced disorders, including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and a long list of neurological disorders. All of these are at or near epidemic levels and it is important to understand that autism is not unique in this respect and many of the same interventions can benefit all of these seemingly unrelated conditions.

Mainstream medicine is still stubbornly denying that mercury in the preservative thimerosal used in vaccines could have contributed to the autism epidemic. For a long time the official position was a flat denial that such an epidemic even existed. As the numbers continued to grow and became impossible to ignore, the position shifted to holding that the cause is unknown and nothing can be done other than therapy, while millions of dollars are – in my opinion – wasted on genetic research that so far has failed to produce any glimmer of hope.
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Diet, Supplements and ADHD: A Video Testimony

I have been preaching this for years but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So if you have a few minutes and the topic interests you, click on this link and watch a video of a child and his parents taped at his school:

High protein diets curb excessive appetite

Excessive or uncontrolled appetite may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in our country more that anyone seems willing to recognize. Try telling someone who is hungry all the time that he or she should eat less and exercise more. What do you think is likely to happen?

Realistically, what can you do if you never feel like you had enough to eat? How should you deal with your child who constantly asks for more food even a few minutes after a full meal?

To understand what is going on in these situations, it is important to realize that satiety – or the feeling that we have had enough to eat – does not come from the stomach being full. In fact the stomach will stretch almost endlessly! Instead, satiety comes from a series of hormonal events that send signals to the brain when we are full.

It is common knowledge in physiology that the hormones leading to satiety are triggered only when there is enough protein in a meal or snack. If you are not convinced of this, experiment on yourself. Try having a pure carbohydrate snack when you are hungry, for example chips or even a “healthy” snack such as a bowl of fruit, and see what happens to your appetite. Another time try having an egg or two and observe the difference. Also take note of how long it takes each time before youíre hungry again.

Another way to look at this is to ask yourselves when was the last time you saw someone bingeing on hard-boiled eggs. By comparison, how many times have you seen people binge on chips or popcorn, the ultimate high-carb foods?

Scientists have found that many common diets such as the Atkins diet, The Zone, and the South Beach Diet lead to an increase in protein consumption from the common 10-20% in the average American diet to 30-40% of total calories. Recent research indicates that it is this increase in protein that leads to the dietsí success in inducing weight loss, in spite of no overall caloric restriction (Lancet 2004; 364: 897-9).

What happens is that by increasing protein the satiety mechanism starts to work as it should and people just naturally eat less. Although the diets focus primarily on carbohydrate restriction, it seems to be the higher protein content that is responsible for the weight loss benefit.

Scientists recently tested this hypothesis by concocting a diet that increased protein by cutting fat, while leaving carbs unchanged. This enabled people to start out the diet consuming the same amount of calories they had been accustomed to previously. However, the higher protein content of the diet made them feel more easily satisfied and they spontaneously reduced their overall calorie intake, leading them to lose a significant amount of weight (Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 82: 41-8).

From a practical standpoint this implies that if you are having trouble with the idea of giving up some of your favorite carbohydrates, you may want to focus instead on increasing the protein content of every meal and snack you eat. The additional protein will help you feel satisfied sooner and eat less overall.

When “Dogtor J” talks, smart people listen!

Just a few weeks ago, as I was searching for specific information relating to gluten, I came across a different kind of website by a vet who calls himself “Dogtor J.” The address is

The design of this website is intriguing, with the top of every page showing an attractive picture of a dog – quite a treat for a dog lover like myself! It took me a while to understand why this site would even have come up on a Google search for amino acid content of gluten, but then I realized that it was no mistake because the site is actually full of pertinent information.

It’s easy to get lost in the site as there are pages upon pages of information on a broad range of pet and human conditions linked to food intolerance, and other philosophical dissertations on diet and the history of food. Since I was about to leave town to attend a conference in Boston I decided to print a few pages and read them on the way. I ended up printing more than fifty pages, but they made for great airplane reading!
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True yogurt: is it the missing link to optimal health?

When discussing yogurt, we must first realize that virtually everything that is sold as yogurt in retail stores is far from the real thing. Commercial yogurts are loaded with sugar, dyes, and other additives to enhance taste and consistency, and are never fully fermented in order to avoid a taste people might think is too sour.

True yogurt is the result of a fermentation process whereby different strains of bacteria collectively known as lactic acid bacteria (LAB) convert the lactose in milk to lactic acid. A review article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71: 861-72) discusses the health benefits of yogurt and the research supporting them.

During the fermentation process, LAB also put out enzymes that break down the protein and fat in milk. Therefore, fully fermented yogurt does not contain lactose and the proteins and fats it does contain are partly to fully digested. This makes them much easier to assimilate than those in milk and less likely to cause allergic reactions, even in very sensitive individuals.

The proteins in fully fermented yogurt are rich in sulfur-containing amino acids that help support detoxification. In addition, the lactic acid itself helps promote intestinal health because the bacteria in yogurt have been shown to support normal digestion and immunity.

I have often recommended the yogurt from White Egret Farm near Austin in Texas (see The benefits I perceive are that the farm produces yogurt the right way, allowing it to ferment for thirty hours at the correct temperature, using a broad variety of beneficial LAB strains and their own goat’s milk. The benefits of goat’s milk are that it is even easier to digest and less likely to cause reactions than cow’s milk. Unfortunately, since it is a small family-run operation they are sometimes out of yogurt for extended periods.

So I recently started using and recommending a type of yogurt starter produced by Klaire Laboratories, a top-quality supplement company with great expertise in the area of probiotic bacteria. This product is called Culturaid.

To make great yogurt at home, you don’t need to buy a yogurt maker because over time you’ll find it to be mostly a hindrance. All you need is a good ceramic pot and a kitchen thermometer. If your oven has a warming light, that could provide all the heat required.

First, fill the pot with water and see if your oven will keep it at a steady temperature ranging between 90 and 110 F. If your oven won’t do this, another option is to buy a warming tray. In my experience most warming trays generate too much heat, even at the lowest setting. To achieve the right temperature I put a couple of trivets over the warming tray and the pot on top of the trivets. This separates the pot slightly from the heat source. Remember that achieving the right temperature is important because too much heat will kill the bacteria and too little will prevent it from growing properly.

It might take you a while to determine how to maintain the right temperature, but once you figure it out, all you have to do is to repeat the same procedure every time. I recommend that you use whole goat’s milk from Whole Foods because it is not homogenized and will make better yogurt than any milk that has been homogenized. If you don’t like the taste of goat’s milk, you can use cow’s milk and still get acceptable results. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a source for non-homogenized cow’s milk in Houston. If you know of one, please let me know.

Next, slowly bring the milk to a boil and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes. Then let it cool to about 100 F, stir in the Culturaid as directed on the label, cover and keep at the desired temperature for a minimum of 24 hours or, for even better results, up to 36 hours. Then stir, transfer to glass jars you can close tightly and refrigerate. Homemade yogurt stays fresh in the fridge for at least a month.

No Carb Lasagna

1 lb ground beef or ostrich, buffalo, turkey or other meat)
1 clove minced garlic or diced onion to taste
3 tablespoons minced dry parsley
1 tablespoon minced dry basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 16 oz can undrained tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste (use 2 cans for more tomato flavor, if desired)
1 5 oz package baby spinach or equivalent amount of fresh cabbage leaves, torn into small pieces
2 12 oz cartons cottage cheese or two 8 oz goat chevre
2 beaten eggs
1 lb sliced mozzarella, shredded or Alta Dena goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional)
1/2 c parmesan or shredded Alta Dena goat cheese

Brown meat in a skillet (no oil needed, but you can use a little olive oil if you want) and drain. Add garlic, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, basil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, tomatoes, tomato paste. Simmer 30 minutes with top off, until thick. Combine cottage cheese, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and parmesan. Spread half of the meat sauce in a 13x 9x 2 baking dish, then a layer of spinach, then the cheese mixture, then the mozzarella. Repeat layers. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Carb-free comfort

‘Carb-Free Comfort’ is a collection of recipes compiled by Elizabeth Caldwell to help those challenged with cutting carbs from their diet. Elizabeth was put on a diet free of all simple carbs but could not stay on it until she started adapting familiar ‘comfort food’ recipes that she missed. In this way she was successful in avoiding simple carbs and staying on the diet, and in the process regained her health.

The cookbook also contains tips for using organic ingredients and substitution ideas for those with allergies. It has 39 dessert recipes made with acceptable sweeteners.

Elizabeth has shared two of her recipes, below. If you are interested in the cookbook, call her at 512.567.1075, email her at or visit the website at

Poor nutrition and the environment

Health conditions can be inherited without being genetic, but this important distinction is often overlooked. People say: I have this problem, my father or mother has it, my child has it; therefore, it must be genetic. But this is not necessarily so.

The point is clearly demonstrated in nutritional research dating back to the 1940’s and outlined in the landmark book ‘Pottenger’s Cats’ by Francis Pottenger, MD. When Dr. Pottenger deliberately fed some of his cats impoverished diets, their health deteriorated progressively as nutrient reserves were depleted over successive generations. By the fourth generation, cats had a very high rate of allergies and reproductive disorders; some even exhibited behaviors reminiscent of autism or ADHD.

Another clear illustration comes from omega-3 research described in Andrew Stoll’s book ‘The Omega-3 Connection.’ Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for many aspects of health,
including mental health; however, they are severely deficient in the modern American diet. In his book, Dr. Stoll explains how the body goes to great lengths to conserve these fats when it doesn’t get enough of them from food. To some extent omega-3 fats are passed on from one generation to the next during fetal development and through breast milk, so the full impact of dietary depletion only appears after several generations.

Many of us would agree that the standard American diet has become increasingly dependent on highly processed and packaged foods over the past several decades. Another equally significant aspect is that food itself is not as nutritious as it used to be. More evidence of this comes from a new study performed at the University of Texas. Using as a benchmark nutrients that were documented in crops 50 years ago, researchers found that six out of 13 nutrients had shown reliable declines (from a press release. The study will be in the December edition of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Find the press release at ).

The common practice of applying toxic industrial sludge to farmland by labeling it as ‘fertilizer’ gives us an idea of how we have been progressively impoverishing our soil and food, while at the same time poisoning them both. This disturbing practice has been reported in various news outlets as well as a previous issue of this newsletter (1).

This raises another question: what happens when nutrient-depleted children (or adults) are exposed to environmental poisons such as mercury, lead, pesticides or other chemicals? A new study authored by Dr. Jill James (see but registration is required) reveals that autistic children are deficient in a protein called glutathione and are therefore unable to excrete heavy metals like mercury and lead. The study also shows that providing these children with enough vitamin B12 and folic acid helps re-establish this protein and leads to improvements. We can therefore conclude that the lack of this protein is caused by vitamin deficiencies and is not genetic, as in this latter case the vitamin supplements would not make any difference. Evidence that children and adults alike are exposed to toxic metals and chemicals in the environment is certainly not lacking. After repeatedly denying that mercury used as a preservative in vaccines could be harmful, the Centers for Disease Control reported that as many as one in six women of childbearin g age have enough mercury in their blood to cause permanent damage to the nervous system of developing fetuses (2).

Studies that have looked for chemicals stored in blood or human tissues have never failed to find them, often at levels known to potentially cause cancer or neurological damage. One of these was reported some time ago on this newsletter (3).

A more recent study gives us an idea of how insidious this problem can become. The results showed that minute amounts of a chemical called methylisothiazolinone (MIT) –
commonly found in shampoos and skin lotions – could impair early development of the nervous system (see Although this was an in-vitro study and its findings cannot be considered definitive, the amounts found to be damaging are so minute that they could be easily absorbed through skin.

Children with symptoms of hyper-excitability may have a history of exposure to environmental toxins combined with nutrient deficiencies, but the solution is often fairly simple. A new French study showed that children described as suffering from aggressive behaviors, instability, lack of attention in school, muscle tension and spasms, improved over a period of 1 to 6 months with nothing more than vitamin B6 and magnesium supplements. (J Am Coll Nutr 2004 Oct; 23 (5): 545S-8S).

(1) “EPA sanctions use of toxic waste to make fertilizer” January 2003, archived on the Newsletters page of my website under the Environmental Issues link
(2) “More news on mercury” March 2004, archived on the Newsletters page of my website under the Environmental Issues link
(3) “New website reports high levels of chemical in our bodies” March 2003, archived on the Newsletters page of my website under the Environmental Issues link

What you need to know about water

Nothing is as critical to life as water, and when scientists look for signs of life on a distant planet they look for water first. Our own bodies contain more water than any other substance, and the aging process has been described as one of gradual dehydration. The message is clear: drink water if you want to stay young!

Water is also known as the universal solvent, because it ionizes spontaneously generating weak electrical charges that dissolve almost everything. This is key to understanding why water is so critical for detoxification and health, and why it can easily become contaminated.

Much of the water that comes out of our taps today is surface water that has been exposed to endless contaminants and filtered by municipal systems that are rudimentary at best.

Even the purest underground water can become contaminated as pesticides and other chemicals slowly seep into the soil.

At-home water filtration can be problematic because many of the most sophisticated filtration systems on the market produce acidic water. To see this for yourself, buy an inexpensive water pH testing device called ‘Tetra Test pH’ that can be easily found and ordered on the Internet. Distilled and reverse osmosis (RO) water have a pH of about 5.2 (highly acidic, given that 7 is neutral). Water becomes acidic as it loses minerals through the purification process and absorbs carbon dioxide from ambient air. This is true, despite the fact that people have been taught in Chemistry 101 that distilled water has a perfectly neutral pH of 7.0!

Acid water is aggressive and readily dissolves a multitude of toxic chemicals from plastic containers, as well as metals from cooking utensils. This is why distilled water always tastes terrible, and RO water is about the same. Many types of purified water sold in health food stores, sometimes with claims of great health benefits, violate the most basic rule for clean water: they’re acidic and packaged in plastic. Avoid them!

Water testing can be expensive and is basically futile, since no known test can cover the full range of possible contaminants. However, a company called AquaMD ( provides a great deal of useful information. They have developed a huge database showing the specific problems with water from different parts of the country and they recommend targeted solutions. This can be important information for you and your family, even if you don’t drink the water from your tap.

When selecting a type of water to drink, look first for one that is slightly alkaline (with a pH of around 7.2) and is available in glass bottles or jugs. Next look for one with frequent and rigorous testing programs. Beyond this, there are types of oxygenated or ionized water that might provide additional health benefits, but reliable data on these is scant. If you feel inclined to research this you might begin by reading about ionized water at If you find something of interest let me know.

The cholesterol story: the French paradox, the Swiss paradox, the Russian paradox – where will it end?

When it comes to diet and health, one of my favorite books is “Life Without Bread.” If the title sounds too forbidding, you can relax (at least a bit); based on content, the book should really be named “Life With a Little Bread.”

I like this book because the authors call it as they see it, with no concern for marketing gimmicks or the politically correct. One of the two authors, Austrian physician Wolfgang Lutz, wrote this book after retiring from 40 years in practice. By contrast, many diet and health books today are nothing but self-promotional tools written by individuals with little actual experience to back them up.

Throughout his years in practice, Dr. Lutz meticulously charted the benefits of his carbohydrate-restricted diet on conditions ranging from hormone imbalances in women to digestive disorders and even cardiovascular disease. I am not saying that this diet is a cure-all, but I do think that Dr. Lutz and his co-author Dr. Allan know what theyíre talking about.
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