Health & Wellness


America's deadly love affair with bottled water has to end

© Shutterstock
Of the billions of plastic water bottles sold each year, the majority don’t end up being recycled. Those single-serving bottles, also known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles because of the kind of resin they’re made with, are recycled at a rate of about 31 percent in the U.S. The other 69 percent end up in landfills or as litter.
This spring, as California withered in its fourth year of drought and mandatory water restrictions were enacted for the first time in the state's history, a news story broke revealing that Nestlé Waters North America was tapping springs in the San Bernardino National Forest in southern California using a permit that expired 27 years ago.

And when the company's CEO Tim Brown was asked on a radio program if Nestlé would stop bottling water in the Golden State, he replied, "Absolutely not. In fact, if I could increase it, I would." That's because bottled water is big business, even in a country where most people have clean, safe tap water readily and cheaply available. (Although it should be noted that Starbucks agreed to stop sourcing and manufacturing their Ethos brand water in California after being drought-shamed.)

Profits made by the industry are much to the chagrin of nonprofits like Corporate Accountability International (CAI), a corporate watchdog and Food & Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group, both of which have waged campaigns against the bottled water industry for years. But representatives from both organizations say they've won key fights against the industry in the last 10 years and have helped shift people's consciousness on the issue.

Comment: Ditch Bottled Water and watchTapped, a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

Red Flag

Artificial sweetner Splenda downgraded to 'caution' after Leukemia found in mice

Splenda (sucralose) was downgraded from "safe" to "caution" in 2013 after an Italian animal study linked sucralose to a higher risk of developing leukemia. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said at the time that it was awaiting the Italian study's review before deciding what long-term safety grade to assign to Splenda in its Chemical Cuisine guide to food additives. As of early 2015 this study review has not yet been published.

Hundreds of millions of people globally use artificial sweeteners, which are commonly found in a wide range of food and drinks, including food for diabetes, cakes, milkshakes, soft drinks, and even medications.

The steadily growing problem of obesity and type 2 diabetes in developed and middle income countries has led to rising demand for reduced-calorie foods and drinks. However, the growth of the artificial-sweetener market has brought with it concerns among consumers regarding the potential health consequences

Comment: The bitter truth about Splenda:


The best way to prepare tofu -- chuck it in the garbage

It's promoted as natural, gluten-free, low-calorie, no cholesterol and an excellent source of protein, iron and calcium. It's also one of the most common sources of protein for those who pursue plant-based diets. But let's be honest and bring tofu back to where it the trash.

As early as 1963, tofu was regarded as a dependable source of vegetable protein. Unfortunately, today 99% of soy is genetically modified and sources labeled organic or non-GMO are often exposed to the same problems as conventional soy. In 2011, the USDA uncovered a plot to import fraudulent organic certificates produced by an uncertified supplier in China. These types of things are happening every year and only a fraction are being discovered. Even domestically sourced organic soybean crops are now being investigated for having GMO origins. Organic soy also does not change the toxicity of unfermented sources so abundant in the food supply.

Comment: As if the above were not enough, tofu consumption has also been associated with brain degeneration.


Scents and essential oils that can help relieve stress

Jasmine tea
Ever wonder why some scents make you feel relaxed or energized? It's no coincidence and we have our olfactory system to thank for its intimate relationship with the brain, which affects both our memory and mood. Here are 10 scents which will enhance this system with just one whiff.

1) Lemon
Promotes concentration and allows the mind to calm especially when angry, anxious or very exhausted. Lemon boosts the body's immune system, improving circulation and is known to reduce anxiety and depression.

2) Cinnamon
The stimulating properties in cinnamon can help fight mental fatigue and improve concentration and focus. Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University studied participants and found that those who took a whiff of cinnamon improved in cognitive functions like visual-motor response, working memory and attention span.


Another synthetic sugar, Allulose soon to be used in processed foods

© Unknown
Over the years we have seen all types of sugar substitutes and synthetics produced, and used, in the hopes of dealing with consumers' sugar cravings while supposedly not increasing weight gain. However, there's a "new kid" coming to the sugar neighborhood; it's "allulose," which will be marketed under the trade name DOLCIA PRIMA® Allulose. Another name for it is D-Psicose. The prime market is not "direct-to-consumers" but to food processors who will use it as an ingredient in all sorts of processed foods.

Readers are encouraged to read the "Application in Action" sheet for DOLCIA PRIMA provided by the manufacturer Tate & Lyle, as it hopefully will be listed on every product ingredient label in which it is used.

According to Tate & Lyle's Technical Data sheet, "the caloric value of pure allulose is 0.2 kcal/gram."

Comment: Manufacturers are continually attempting to derive sugar substitutes which have often been approved with little oversight by the FDA. It's not until serious side effects show up in the general population that the truth emerges that these products are dangerous. Aspartame and Truvia are perfect examples:

Truvia: Chemically processed sugar substitute
GMO derived erythritol, the main ingredient in Truvia, found to be a potent insecticide
Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners? This Study Will Surprise You...
Aspartame: Putting the DIE into dieting since 1981


Pointless: Report finds flu shot worked in one in three cases in UK

Last winter's flu jab worked in 34% of cases, according to a final report by Public Health England.

At one stage early in the season, it was estimated that the vaccine was stopping only three out of every 100 immunised people developing symptoms.

But the report said there had been a "shift" in the dominant circulating strains during the rest of the winter.

Prof Paul Cosford, from Public Health England, said its effectiveness had been "slightly lower" than usual. Flu is a constantly shifting target making it difficult to develop a vaccine. It is why a new jab is needed each year. Officials are concerned that the drop in the vaccine's effectiveness may affect uptake this coming winter.

Comment: This shows how ridiculous it is when people get hysterical about being around unvaccinated people:

Arrow Down

Chinese still producing plastic rice which causes serious digestive issues and can be fatal

Natural Blaze note: when reports started surfacing several years ago about fake, plastic rice it shocked the world. Maybe everyone forgot because it didn't affect them and the reports of it settled on a few particular Chinese cities. However, the problem continues and it is insidious. For a poor Chinese family to unwittingly consume the equivalent of one plastic bag per three bowls of rice - this is cruel!

China has been producing fake rice for at least four years, and it is still on the market. Singapore media reported that this "rice" is produced with potatoes, sweet potatoes and - believe it or not - poisonous plastic. It is shaped like regular rice grains but remains hard after cooking and can cause serious health issues.

The rice in question China's Wuchang rice. The rice is very popular because the real Wuchang rice is famous for its smell, and it costs more for its quality (almost double the price), according to Blue Ocean Network (BON) TV report, a popular English Channel in China.

But many consumers still don't know what they're getting.

Comment: China has a history of food safety scandals, and they are not alone in using highly questionable ingredients and processes in foodstuffs. Food regulatory agencies are simply unable to keep up with the ingenuity of food manufacturers.

Blue Planet

What the world thinks of GMOs

Despite widespread protests, America has very lax policies toward allowing genetically modified food to be grown, packaged, and sold. Outside our borders, it's a different story all together.

There's been a lot of hubbub surrounding our domestic battles to mandate labels for genetically modified organisms, or GMO foods. So much din, in fact, that you might not have noticed other countries out there, wrestling with their own policies on the controversial products. In fact, Scotland just made history by opting out of growing all genetically modified crops. And it might set a precedent.

Comment: What the world thinks of GMOs? Increasing number of countries banning cancer causing glyphosate and GMO's

Take 2

'DocuSerial' - A new journalistic genre exposing Big Pharma corruption

Journalist and media entrepreneur Steve Brill on Tuesday unveils what he deems a new journalistic genre, the "DocuSerial."

Brill and Huffington Post are combining for a 58,000-word, 15-part Brill-reported series, "America's Most Admired Law Breaker." The unsparing investigation details how giant Johnson & Johnson violated FDA restrictions in its marketing and sale of a wildly successful anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal.

"My goal in doing this was to demonstrate that digital media can propel long-form substantive journalism rather than threaten it. And the best way to think of it is a different way to publish a nonfiction book, not just as a long magazine article that's not printed," Brill said Monday in a phone chat.

Comment: Additional information about how 'Johnson & Johnson, circumvented the FDA by cynically and successfully pushing the drug's use for very different maladies, notably in the treatment of children and the elderly':


30 studies looking at the health benefits of Tai Chi


Tai Chi: Gentle flowing movements boost balance, posture and muscle power
Tai Chi is a suitable exercise for older people with conditions like arthritis, a study has found.

The ancient Chinese art improves physical performance and enhances quality of life, say researchers.

Tai Chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements.

Comment: Additional studies on the benefits Tai Chi: