Waking Times » admin http://www.wakingtimes.com Entering a Time of Natural Health, Elevated Consciousness, Sustainable Living and Total Freedom. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Top 10 Healthiest Seeds on Earth http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/11/16/the-top-10-healthiest-seeds-on-earth/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/11/16/the-top-10-healthiest-seeds-on-earth/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 16:05:48 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=19167 John Summerly - A seed is life. It is a living food. It is impossible to eat a raw seed and not derive nutrition.

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John Summerly, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

They come in all different sizes, shapes and colours. The seed is an embryonic plant itself and the origin of nutrition. A plant goes to great lengths to produce each seed and fill it with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils and dormant enzymes. If you’re looking for a high quality, nutritious and filling snack, seeds are tough to beat. Let’s look at the ten healthiest seeds on Earth and how to consume them.

A seed is life. It is a living food. It is impossible to eat a raw seed and not derive nutrition. Many seeds are edible and the majority of human calories comes from seeds, especially from legumes and nuts. Seeds also provide most cooking oils, many beverages and spices and some important food additives. In different seeds the seed embryo or the endosperm dominates and provides most of the nutrients. The storage proteins of the embryo and endosperm differ in their amino acid content and physical properties.

How to Eat Seeds

There is only one way to derive nutrition from seeds and that is to eat them raw. Once they are exposed to heat, they produce toxic substances and the vitamin, mineral and essential oil profiles are denatured. By roasting a seed, its classification moves from a living food to a dead food. There is no seed on earth that can withstand roasting or heating without breaking down its nutritional components. Always remember, eat seeds naturally…eat them raw. This also means they can be soaked, ground or mashed (i.e. tahini), especially if a seed’s shell or coat is to difficult to pierce with the teeth.

– Choose raw and unsalted seeds
– Avoid coated or roasted seeds
– Avoid sugar coated seeds

The 10 Healthiest Seeds on Earth


Consider these facts about Chia seeds:
– 2.5 times more protein than kidney beans
– 3 times the antioxidant strength of blueberries
– 3 times more iron than spinach
– 6 times more calcium than milk
– 7 times more vitamin C than oranges
– 8 times more omega-3 than salmon
– 10 times more fiber than rice
– 15 times more magnesium than broccoli

The seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals, are an excellent source of fibre, protein and antioxidants, and are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Consumption of chia seeds could help reduce joint pain, aid in weight loss, deliver an energy boost and protect against serious ailments such as diabetes and heart disease.

The seeds are gluten-free, which also makes them appealing to people with celiac disease or an aversion to gluten.

Consumption of chia seeds may increase blood levels of the long chain omega-3 EPA by 30%, says a new study from the Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina.

Chia seeds are a source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of “short-chain” omega-3 fatty acid, whereas fish is a source of the “long-chain” fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While growing research has linked consumption of EPA and DHA to heart health, improved brain function and possible other health benefits such as improvement in depression or rheumatoid arthritis, studies are now suggesting that ALA may bring about redistribution associated with heart and liver protection.

Consumption of chia seeds as a source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) may bring about redistribution associated with heart and liver protection.

The top benefits of chia seeds
are far reaching and as far as superfoods go, this is undeniably one of the top ten.



More people are discovering the nutritional benefits of hemp seed, nut and oil.

Hemp contains:

– All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
– A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
– Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.3
– Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
– A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid — for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
– A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
– A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
– The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.

According to the hemp growers industry, industrial hemp grown for food, fuel and natural fibers contains virtually no THC (less than .3%).

In fact, when hemp is processed into hemp seed oil and hemp seed milk, for example, it further reduces the minute amount of THC in hemp.

And yet, there’s still a stigma due to the long-standing idea that hemp and marijuana are one in the same. Hemp is actually categorized with marijuana as part of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and is therefore illegal to grow in the US.

The best way to insure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edistin, and also includes quantities of albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seeds gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health, and provides the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. Eating hemp seeds could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed was used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.



Pomegranates are a rich source of antioxidants. Therefore, it helps to protect your body’s cells from free radicals, which cause premature aging.

In simple words, pomegranate juice pumps the level of oxygen in your blood. The antioxidants fight free radicals and prevents blood clots. This eventually helps the blood to flow freely in your body in turn improving the oxygen levels in your blood.

Pomegranates are especially high in polyphenols, a form of antioxidant purported to help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. In fact, pomegranate juice, which contains health-boosting tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, has higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine.

The pomegranate, with its edible seeds inside juicy sacs, is high in vitamin C and potassium, low in calories (80 per serving, which is just under one-third of a medium fruit), and a good source of fibre.

The antioxidant properties of a pomegranate prevent low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from oxidizing. This essentially means that pomegranates prevent the hardening of the artery walls with excess fat, leaving your arteries fat free and pumping with antioxidants.

“Mice that drank pomegranate juice were able to significantly reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, [by] at least 30 percent,” said study co-author Dr. Claudio Napoli, a professor of medicine and clinical pathology at the University of Naples School of Medicine in Italy.

Pomegranate health benefits run bone deep; it can reduce the damage on the cartilage for those hit with arthritis. This fruit has the ability to lessen the inflammation and fights the enzymes that destroy the cartilage.



Dietary fiber from flaxseed suppresses rises in blood levels of lipids after a meal and modulate appetite.

University of Copenhagen researchers report that flax fiber suppresses appetite and helps support weight loss.

Flax has been cultivated for centuries and has been celebrated for its usefulness all over the world. Hippocrates wrote about using flax for the relief of abdominal pains, and the French Emperor Charlemagne favored flax seed so much that he passed laws requiring its consumption!

The main health benefits of flax seed are due to its rich content of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), dietary fiber, and lignans.

The essential fatty acid ALA is a powerful anti-inflammatory, decreasing the production of agents that promote inflammation and lowering blood levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation. Through the actions of the ALA and lignans, flax has been shown to block tumor growth in animals and may help reduce cancer risk in humans.

Lignans are phytoestrogens, plant compounds that have estrogen-like effects and antioxidant properties. Phytoestrogens help to stabilize hormonal levels, reducing the symptoms of PMS and menopause, and potentially reducing the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer.

The fiber in flax seed promotes healthy bowel function. One tablespoon of whole flax seed contains as much fiber as half a cup of cooked oat bran. Flax’s soluble fibers can lower blood cholesterol levels, helping reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Ground flax seed provides more nutritional benefits than does the whole seed. Grind the seeds at home using a coffee grinder or blender, and add them to cereals, baked goods and smoothies.



They are the only seed that is alkaline-forming in this world of highly acidic diets.

Add pumpkin seeds to your list of foods rich in protein. 100 grams of seeds on a daily basis provide 54 percent of the daily requirement in terms of protein.

Most of us pop pills to replenish deficiency of vitamin B-complex, try pumpkin seeds next time. Pumpkin seeds are a good source for vitamin B like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates.

For those who are down in the dumps, pumpkin seeds can help fight through depression. The chemical component L-tryptophan is the secret ingredient to boost your mood.

Did you know that pumpkin seeds can prevent kidney stones? Studies suggest that pumpkin seeds can help prevent certain kidney stone formations like calcium oxalate kidney stone.

Pumpkin seeds even hold the secret to fighting parasites, especially tapeworms.


apricot seeds

Apricot kernels are, like most nuts and seeds, very nutritious. Among the nutrients they contain is one called amygdalin, which is also known as vitamin B17. This attacks cancer cells, and thus can help prevent cancer from breaking out in our bodies.

Amygdalin (vitamin B17) is contained in many hundreds of foods, but ones that are particularly rich in amygdalin have disappeared to a large extent from our Western diet. Peoples throughout the world who still eat a traditional diet, have been found to be largely free from cancer. These diets are rich in foods containing amygdalin.

Apart from apricot kernels, examples of other amygdalin rich foods are bitter almonds (amygdalin tastes bitter – sweet almonds do not contain it, and apricot kernels that are not bitter do not contain it). Other foods containing amygdalin are apple pips, grape seeds, millet, broad beans, most berries, cassava and many other seeds, beans, pulses and grains – but not ones that have been highly hybridized.

For prevention, however, Dr Ernst T Krebs Jr., the biochemist who first produced laetrile (concentrated amygdalin) in the 1950s, recommended that if a person would eat ten to twelve apricot kernels a day for life, then barring the equivalent of Chernobyl, he is likely to be cancer free.



Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man. They are highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity.

Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.



Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol.

Sesame seeds have some of the highest total phytosterol content of seeds. Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.

Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.



Cumin is a seed that has been used since antiquity. This traditional herb is known for its health benefits and medicinal uses for hundreds of years.

Cumin is useful for digestive disorders and even as an antiseptic. The seeds themselves are rich in iron and help boost the power of the liver.

Cumin also helps relieve symptoms of common cold. If you have a sore throat, try adding some dry ginger to cumin water, to help soothe it.

Cumin juice makes for a great tonic for the body even if you don’t have a specific ailment. It is said to increase the heat in the body thus making metabolism more efficient.

It is also considered to be a powerful kidney and liver herb which can help boost the immune system. It’s also believed that black cumin seeds can treat asthma and arthritis.



Grape seeds have a great concentration of vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid and polyphenols.

Grape seed extract may prevent heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. By limiting lipid oxdation, phenolics in grape seeds may reduce risk of heart disease, such as by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing inflammation.

A study published in the journal Carcinogenesis shows that grape seed extract (GSE) kills squamous cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Grape seeds may even reduce the infectivity of Norovirus surrogates according to research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Seeds anyone?

About the Author

John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.


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The Mechanics of Prayer http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/11/30/the-mechanics-of-prayer/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/11/30/the-mechanics-of-prayer/#comments Sat, 30 Nov 2013 14:15:08 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=4955 Prayers are more than just reciting words and chants, it is to be done with feeling, with purpose, and with intent. The combination and arrangement of words isn’t what makes prayer powerful, but what comes from our hearts. By feeling and making a vibration, we send that wave out to influence the infinite probabilities and possibilities in the universe.

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Adam Lanka, Contributing Writer
Waking Times

Prayer means many different things to many different people.  It is something that is so pervasive in our lives that it permeates fully through our societies and cultures.  All cultures and religious traditions have their own practices when it comes to prayer, but let us acknowledge the similar theme.  People all over the world right now are praying, to influence their world and the universe in myriad ways.  But what factors determine the effectiveness of prayer, what is the fundamental basis of its function?  How does it work to influence our daily lives and shape our world?

Prayer is our divine and innate connection with the fabric of reality, the way that we write our free will upon the world.  To completely examine the nature of prayer we must look at it through various lenses and perspectives, involving spirituality and science, to find the common factors that describe this ancient tradition.

To better understand the mechanics of prayer, let us view it through the Quantum lens.  A crucial part of Quantum physics, Warner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle dictates that we can only measure where a particle is, or how fast it is moving.  The act of measuring one of these quantities actually increases uncertainty in the other.  What this means is that energy exists as a wave when unobserved, and as a particle when we measure observe it in a location.  Observation is the action that separates a particle into either state.  But what is the particle when it is not being observed?

Waves in Quantum are actually waves of probability, where everything exists as a formless potentia throughout which any possible outcome can arise.  Consciousness interacts with the infinite potentia to create and collapse the world around us into what we call our reality.  But our true reality lies within the infinite, as parts of the all connected unitive consciousness of energy.  Every particle and atom in the universe is born from the same infinite miasma, and as such, absolutely everything in the universe is one.

The focus of prayer does not need to be directed outward to an external source, it needs to be directed inwards, into our own personal connection with the source.  By actively focusing our consciousness, we collapse the wave function of energies, and we consciously create the universe around us.  We have stumbled through Quantum theory to finally come to the conclusion that its fundamental function works exactly as prayer does.  But with this new foundation in mind, let us examine prayer in its current state.

But to focus our energy is more than just naming the new reality or possibility, it requires complementing it with thought, feeling, and belief.  To influence the fabric of existence, we must consciously create with our intent.  Prayers are more than just reciting words and chants, it is to be done with feeling, with purpose, and with intent.  The combination and arrangement of words isn’t what makes prayer powerful, but what comes from our hearts.  By feeling and making a vibration, we send that wave out to influence the infinite probabilities and possibilities in the universe.

Intent and strong feeling are the ways that we create our vibration, and manage the frequency of our wave.   Every feeling, mindset, emotion, and thought has a corresponding coherent wave pattern that propagates outward into the fabric of the universe.  As it moves through the infinite potential energy, it creates further waves and ripples, and influences all of the energy it comes into contact with.  When praying, our intent and pure emotion are the catalysts that actually shape the universe around us, that collapse all of the waves into existence, into reality.  We create and shape the world around us with simple, natural, human feelings.

But the caveat from Heisenberg again is that we can influence the wave with our energy, but when we observe it collapses.  In prayer, if we are so tied up and entangled with our intent, trying to observe our reality and call it into existence at the same time, we make the energy collapse.  Intent fails if we are attached to the outcome of our prayers, for the energy cannot occupy both states; we can know it as wave/vibration or as particle/location due to uncertainty.  The most important part of effective prayer and manifesting is to be free of attachment to the outcomes, so that your vibration and intent are not interfered with by observation.

The ego mind plays the biggest role in attaching to the outcomes, as it is focused upon controlling the ‘how’ of the universe, or the particular way and pattern the energy expresses itself.  But we cannot bend the universe to our will; we can work with it to influence and shape the expression of its energy.  Instead of wishing, hoping for something to come to pass, we must instead be and feel the vibration that we wish to experience, that we wish to send out and influence the rest of the universe.  One must feel, completely and wholly, that an intent or outcome already exists in the universe, is already happening.  By surrounding ourselves with our new reality, our present reality grows to encompass the new vibration.

With this new glimpse at the mechanics of prayer, we see people all around the world, whether knowingly or unknowingly, constantly shape their daily existence.  The universe is made of energy, and to better understand and interact with it, we need to only speak in its language; emotion. Prayer molds the medium, and paints the picture of the world around us. We simply need to be the vibration, be the wave, and be the change in the world that we want to see.  We aren’t waiting for the world to change, it is already happening, right now, in each moment. As we all consciously focus our awareness, intent, and emotion to call forth the vibrations and the energy we wish to experience in our universe.

About the Author

Adam Lanka, originally from North Carolina, is a traveling philosopher, energetic arts healer, and physicist. His passion and interest are in bridging the gaps in the dominant paradigm, uniting science and spirituality into one journey of consciousness, and elevating the vibration of humanity. To learn more about Adam, please visit his personal blog, The Wanderlust. Find him on Facebook at Gateway Explorations.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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Plant Medicine Masters & Guaria De Osa Retreats: A Talk with Jonathon Miller Weisberger http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/11/02/guaria-de-osa-retreats-a-talk-with-jonathon-miller-weisberger/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/11/02/guaria-de-osa-retreats-a-talk-with-jonathon-miller-weisberger/#comments Sat, 02 Nov 2013 14:20:01 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=13978 Terra Celeste Waking Times Editor’s Note: Jonathon Miller-Weisberger is the author of Rainforest Medicine. He offers sacred plant medicine retreats at his remote eco-lodge in the jungles of Costa Rica guided by elder master-shaman of the Secoya tribe from Ecuador. You can find out more about his upcoming transformational events, here.  The Secoya elders, legendary […]

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Terra Celeste
Waking Times

Editor’s Note: Jonathon Miller-Weisberger is the author of Rainforest Medicine. He offers sacred plant medicine retreats at his remote eco-lodge in the jungles of Costa Rica guided by elder master-shaman of the Secoya tribe from Ecuador. You can find out more about his upcoming transformational events, here

The Secoya elders, legendary plant masters from the Upper Napo Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, an ethnic minority, whose name, Secoya, means “people from the multi-colored river,” will be present at Guaria de Osa Ecolodge, gathering in Council three times, offering teachings this Winter (Dec 2012 – Jan 2013) to facilitate boundless healing, personal transformation and renewal.

Jonathon Miller Weisberger (aka Sparrow), Founder and Steward of Guaria De Osa, is an ethno-botanist and student of traditional Chinese and indigenous medicine, a naturalist and rainforest guide. He has 10 years of ground level experience and over 20 years experience working with indigenous peoples and communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon region. He has studied Tui Na therapeutic massage, Tai Chi, Chigong, Feng Shui and I Ching with Dr. Huang Cheng Jin of the Tai Chi Kong Fa Chino Academy in Ecuador. Jonathon has three certificates in Ecological Design from the Permaculture Institute and currently lives in his garden on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.

In the short time that I’ve had to walk and speak with Jonathon, I’ve found he commits to his work with a rare dedication, giving attention and activism to the preservation and perseverance of the Earth and all her offerings.  In each way that Jonathon acts, he propels a number of personal and community-based projects individually and cooperatively designed to work with a flourishing and well-balanced ecosystem. His work strikes the balance, being beneficial for the community that stewards and interacts with the land and resources being protected.  Through models developed by Jonathon, such as Guaria de Osa Ecolodge, conservation occurs as a natural rhythm of life. This rhythm is experienced and taught through the work of developed programs and workshops supported by local staff as well as student and volunteer involvement. Jonathon also teaches as a communicator of the rainforest, understanding the lessons, nutrients and medicines of these diversified plants and animals.

Terra Celeste: You have an extensive understanding, not just of the plants and animals of the rainforest, but how they fit together as an ecology. The gardens at Guaria de Osa, a rehabilitated rainforest intentionally planted with your landscape design, includes hand-painted signs with the names of plants, integrating this knowledge into the experience of the land.  

I see much of your work as a translation – you are communicating to us the story, meaning and spirit of the rainforest. From simple introductions, such as name signs for plants in the Guaria de Osa gardens, you also communicate an understanding of the cohesive whole – an intuitive knowledge of how each plant and animal resonates and contributes as part of the Rainforest and even more broadly, the Rainforest as a vital part of our Earth.

When did you fall in love with the rainforest?  Have you always known that you would be an ethnobotanist ?

Jonathon: When I was nine and then again at age 11, I was sent to accompany a friend of my family who was studying the qualities of the rainforest plants. I was his assistant and helped him press botanical specimens. I remember vividly many of the adventures and this awoke a deep admiration and love for tropical nature, and especially an interest for medicinal plants.

Jonathon Weisberger with Elder Master Don Augustine “Tin Tin”

The Secoya are an indigenous ethnic minority, a genuine Amazonian people, they number today approx. 700 individuals; half the tribe live in Ecuador and the other half in Peru. Until recently they were separated by the conflict between these two countries but now the boarder issues have been resolved and the families are starting to reunite after a 50 years separation. The Secoya elders are torchbearers of an ancient spiritual tradition, of healing and wellness through the use of different plant medicines and association with different spiritual realities. I was fortunate to spend 5 quality years living among and working among them, between 1995-2000. My main efforts were dedicated towards assistance in recuperating a large tract of rainforest lands on the Ecuadorian and Peruvian boarder and area called Lagartococha (black caiman lakes). We organized a dozen or more exodus style voyages there, upon request of course by the elders. Since the turn of the century, the Secoya have lost 95% of their population and 98% of the ancestral homelands, mainly from the introduction illness they had no immunities too. With the indigenous Sequoya no longer populating the land, arriving settlers were able to move in.

The Sequoya are a people of the lakes, this remote wilderness area is filled with stories and legends.  It’s amazing to see how well they know the area, from the stories of the elders, each lake, each bend in the river had an account from the days of their ancestors. Eventually through many visits to the Ecuadorian government and organizing visits of the leaders and leaders to Quito, we were successful in assisting the Sequoya in the recuperation of this region. This was the dream of the late Fernando Payaguaje, who aspired his people return to this region, where the traditional way of life can be upheld.  His life story and accounts are written up in the book, The Yage Drinker. [A PDF of this tremendous book can be found here: http://www.maps.org/freebooks/yagedrinker/portada-the_yage_drinker.pdf]

My time among them was also spent documenting their culture and traditions and I was able to produce several works for the community, a book on the use of the medicinal herbs in both Spanish and their native tongue, Pai Coca, a cosmology wall calendar and a small book on the Secoya cultural migrations. These works were drafted with the help of the elders and the school teacher, Celestino Piaguaje as well as my good friend, interpreter and guide Alfredo Payaguaje, the grandson of the late Don Fernando and distributed among the Secoya village. In order to fund these projects I organized tours to their village, two a year. Here is when Daniel Pinchbeck joined us and this adventure is written up in his epic book Breaking Open the Head. We were able to accomplish many other works of solidarity among the Secoya, such as the purchase of a canoe and motor for the Secoya woman’s organization, an outboard motor for the Sehuaya village as well as a radio communication system, among other acts of solidarity.

In response to your question pertaining to the importance of the Secoya people’s ancient traditions, a few things are clear. Their central belief is of merging with the energy of celestial immortal beings, the Wiñapai, the Ever-new-ones. They are beings in a constant state of self renewal – they are always new. The way the Secoya dress in the ceremonies is due to the fact that this is how these celestial immortals dress, with cross necklaces, in multicolored tunics, crowns with red on the front, yellow on the sides and a band of azure blue. To the wiñapai each moment is like a new life. It is believed that for those who abide in this way of life, deep spiritual realization is a result. The elders are ever humble and service oriented, they truly uphold, in all grace the “universal culture of service.”

The Secoya are original torchbearers of an ancient traditional plant, the science of yagé. Also known as ayahuasca, a richly alkaline brew of two plants, it is a purge, a tonic and an entheogen. Today, people worldwide are interested in the indigenous plant science of the Amazon. This has been opening new avenues for healing on a core and deep level of many complex imbalances. For this reason the Secoya people’s ancient healing and wellness tradition becomes like a rudder steering the cosmic yagé medicine boat towards a noble and auspicious destination.

Indeed during these times many ancient traditions will reappear to awaken and enliven the lives of many people worldwide.  Understanding the science of plants and medicines from the Amazon and cultures, such as the Sequoya who’ve been practicing with these medicines for generations is a vital part of the global transformation, ever so necessary in these transition times.  To make the change necessary, one has to be vibrant and active. We can pretty much bank on the passive and sluggish to not participate as part of the solution. These traditions and ceremonies of renewal help people to reconnect with their ecological self, their authentic self, it gives energy, focus and awareness of ones higher goals. Through understanding the yage, we can each reach towards fulfillment for ourselves and for others. In this way many people working worldwide, together become part of the global solution for planetary peace among all species.

Guaria is the purple orchid, a symbol for the newness of nature, and to assist others in touching this “newness” is the basic concept, to assist many in achieving spiritual and physical renewal through intimate contact with great nature!

You carry a rare and intuitive sense of what it is to build, working with the Earth to find natural harmonies in the use of land and balance of space.  This sense is reflected in the design and architecture of the Guaria de Osa Retreat Center located in what you refer to as a people friendly rainforest and ocean wilderness setting, south of Drake Bay on Costa Rica’s remote Osa peninsula.

What is your source of inspiration when creating these retreat and educational spaces?  How would you describe your philosophy of architectural and landscape design?  Is your focus on sustainability?  Comfort?

My inspiration come from nature, from wildlife and from sincere good hearted people who are dedicated to what they do in a whole hearted and absolute way. As for architectural design, I was fortunate to study Feng Shui with Dr. Huang in Ecuador. Feng Shui means Wind and Lake, it is the study of motion and stillness, and how this relates to human habitation. I would accompany him on house calls, and I was able to see many sick people dying of many types of illness. Dr. Huang would always point out the flaws in the Feng Shui of their homes and correlate how it related to the patients illness. For example, at one man’s home who had stomach cancer, his dining area protruded out, below there was no support. Structurally it was sturdy but not integral according to the principals of Feng Shui. And many other cases we were able to see. There are many aspects to architecture and landscape design. The most basic is that the design must be arranged in such a way that allows energy to flow where it needs to flow, and to settle where it the energy can accumulate, allowing for harmony, auspicious growth and good health. Not the inverse, which causes stagnation, loss of vitality and illness. For example, the back of a stair case should be covered so as not to lose the auspicious energy created by people walking up and down the stairs. The side of a home should not be too smooth, so that auspicious energy can accumulate in the grooves, and there should not be a doorway directly opposite an entrance way so that the energy being brought into the house does not leak out. The roof edges can be raised so that there are no sharp points, edges, pointing to where people may pass. These are just some examples.

As for landscape design, again I believe in following a few basic principal of nature. The first is that stability is created through fertility that is created through diversity, and this is a cycle. The second being, complementary opposites, like a shadow that’s cast from its object, and the third, that where two opposites meet there is an overlapping area of increased abundance. These three basic principals are at the root of sustainability. As for comfort, my personal philosophy, I believe, is that less is more, and more is less.

Since the onset of the lodge, despite debts and high overhead expenses for maintenance, significant proceeds (10-25%) from visitors tuition have been channeled to upkeep and maintain several ongoing rainforest conservation, restoration and cultural heritage validation efforts in both Ecuador and Costa Rica. Guaria is the purple orchid, an elegant symbol for the “newness” or “freshness” of nature, and to assist others in touching this “newness” is the basic concept, to assist many in achieving spiritual and physical renewal through intimate contact with great nature is the goal!

For years I lived with no hot water and slept on a folded blanket on a wood floor. Simplicity truly is the key to comfort, ok some cushions why not, but truly we do not need all the things we may think we need, and often times hidden in the cushions is the deadly needle. I always marvel at how little known, yet simultaneously how important is the architectural work of Arakawa and Gins, not that we followed any of their concepts, but more for the idea of overcoming comforts as a way to attain good health. I would say our lodge follows more the design and comfort principals of two ancient architectural styles, from the traditions of Tao and from the Amazon malocas, and of course with the modern conveniences of orthopedic mattress’s and seat cushions. High ceilings allow hot air to rise keeping the rooms cool, and ceiling fans always help too!

A life of balance and harmony is deeply valued and integrated at Guaria de Osa Eco lodge with dedicated space for yoga (designed by Jonathon and a friend Bruce Harlow). This space was created using the repurposed, reclaimed wood of trees that were felled over 50 years back to create the pastures in the nearby settlement of Los Planes, along with trees naturally felled,  blown over in windstorms. Incredibly, the wood used for building Guaria de Osa was all hauled in by oxen teams and horses and all supplies were brought in by boat, as there is no road access to Guaria de Osa.

Please share more about the healing and wellness spaces of Guaria de Osa…

Most people live in small spaces with low ceilings, at Guaria de Osa people can enjoy the expansive design of our main lodge, the Lapa Lapa lodge that allows for ones imagination to wander. Einstein said, ‘imagination is more important than knowledge’ and all good things, I believe, come form a right attitude towards life. This of course is a very personal matter and one that each person, must decide for themselves.

The first building to go up was the main lodge, it is a stone’s throw distance form the ocean, surrounded by winding paths and flowering gardens, fruiting trees and palms. It is an amazing feat of architecture, three stories high and made entirely of reclaimed tropical hardwoods! The lodge is a combination of Taoist temple architecture with its three stories representing the three principal energy centers of the body (the three tan-dien) and raised roof eaves, rounding off the edges to allow for a feeling of peace and harmony with nature. Some elements of Amazonian malocas are present as well, such as the fanned rafters and the open uninhibited space, representing the vastness of the universe. The first floor is called the Dharma Hall, a great place for gathering during the heat of the summer day, its high roof, 13 foot high ceiling allows hot air to rise and its 35 x 50 foot (1750 square feet) tile floor is a great space for group gatherings, for arts and crafts making and resting in the hammocks.

Here one finds tiled mosaics, one of the purple orchids and another of the integration of east and west. The lodge being close to both the pacific and Atlantic oceans at a balance point between north and south America is a great place for eastern and western spiritual philosophies to merge, as well as the harmonization between the right and left hemispheres of the brain! Here we have held epic ceremonies with the Secoya elders from Ecuador, visiting the Lodge to assist us in hosting our native retreats called Rainforest Council Gatherings. Many incredible accounts of healing and personal renewal have taken place here.

The second floor has a huge hard wood yoga space. My partner Monica and I took ten days to polish it by hand and we like to keep it shimmering clean! On this floor we have two guest rooms and an elegant bathroom as well. A stair case leads one to the observatory cupula where one gets breathtaking ocean views and can enjoy a supreme sunset that daily we are gifted with.

At Guaria we also have a quaint outdoor eating area as well as several cottages and ocean view bungalows for our guests all elegantly located among the gardens and fruit trees. The island is an area surrounded by a small creek that runs through the property, here we hold sunrise renewal ceremonies, with alkaline rich rainforest plant medicines. Currently we have room to accommodate 30 visiting guests.

Jonathon, you’re the primary designer of the landscape and architecture of Guaria de Osa, can you speak to the nature of living as an integrated part of the rainforest – creating comfortable human habitats while also supporting the surrounding ecologies?  How does this sense of balance translate into other parts of life?  For those who don’t live in the rainforest, what kind of skills or knowledge might they obtain, attending a workshop or meditation offered, or even just spending time at Guaria de Osa?

We are a part of nature, and we must not drift far form her. I think any rational and somewhat conscious human can just look around to see that not only have we drifted far form nature. Quite possible it may a soon coming global disaster!  We must live in harmony with nature, otherwise, sooner or later we court disaster. When we are in harmony with nature, we are in harmony with ourselves and with others, ultimately, true happiness is the result! This does not mean it is always easy, quite on the contrary it can be a great challenge, but it is one ever worth the while!

A newly made friend participated on a yoga retreat at Guaria de Osa with a California based Yoga teacher who has been returning consistently each year. After almost a year I saw him again and he could not thank me more for his stay at Guaria de Osa. He says still he can hear the soothing sound of the waves and feel the warm air on his skin, the lush scents on his nose. He assured me that the experience has been a source of inspiration and renewal and has been something that has lasted much longer than the week spent there. We both agreed that the experience served for him as a long lasting experience in self renewal, one that in turn has aided him in so many aspects of daily life. With this in mind one week at Guaria can offer a life time of renewal and can be like a reference point that allows one to continually tap into the “freshness” the “newness” of nature.

Does every stay with Guaria de Osa include the opportunity for hands on experience?  What are the volunteer opportunities like?  What is the level of involvement each volunteer / participant should expect in coming to Guaria de Osa?

Guest have the option to take tours into the rainforest, to be as active or as relaxed as they choose, it is their experience to do with as they please, and to be pampered, enjoy the grounds the food and the entire experience! Often times, to do less is to do more. Some want to trek, visit the goddess Jacuzzi and nearby waterfalls, hike to the Corcovado National park and others wish to just lounge, read, lay on the beach and catch up with much needed rest and relaxation, maybe even catch up on lost sleep with a long mid day nap! A significant percentage of guests’ tuition directly benefits our non profit conservation efforts, just as our slogan states, “saving the rainforest one vacation at a time”. Nightly rates start from $75 – $125 per night, including three meals and indoor lodging in either beach bungalows or cottages. The main lodge has two really nice rooms with high ceilings overlooking the gardens!

Volunteers on the other hand are obliged to work a minimum of 6 hours a day, at times up to 8, depending on what is going on. Volunteering posts are available on our marine turtle conservation projects that take place form July to December, as well as on gardening projects and many other aspects of running and maintaining the lodge. Volunteering can also take place related to many aspects of our rainforest conservation efforts that are ongoing processes, such as grant writing, and updating information, communications and networking, as well as ground level hands on involvement on projects. We try to place volunteers based on their skills so they feel valuable and know their time is being well invested while they are growing and learning. Volunteers must fill out a form and submit and letter of intention, not all volunteers are accepted only the ones that meet our criteria, that is in essence, being ready to serve in a selfless way, complete the daily hours and sustain and optimistic and positive attitude, get along well with the group, etc. Volunteer rates run at $15 for interns who stay a month or more, and $35 daily for those who stay two weeks to a month.

What about groups or individuals who are just seeking a peaceful respite?  Can you please explain the concept of an intentional vacation?

If you come as a guest, it is your time to do as you please, to do less can be to do more, while some want to stay active, there is plenty to do and see such as visiting the nearby Corcovado National Park, scuba and snorkeling, horseback riding, surfing, and or visiting the Caño Island oceanic reserve that can be seen form the lodge. An intentional vacation or a vacation with a purpose, can be seen from different perspectives. One is that as mentioned by participating you are directly supporting our conservation efforts talking place both on the Osa Peninsula as well as in Ecuador. The other is for example when the Secoya elders visit, for our annual council gatherings, Here participants have the opportunity for truly significant personal renewal and transformation, towards wellness and healing, by participating in timeless traditional ceremonies that affect deeply in a positive manner one’s health, vitality, and so to say reconnection with nature, allowing one to regain one’s sense of purpose and or simply strengthen one’s connection to life! Is this not an intentional vacation? Sounds so, and many participants have been deeply moved.

Here are some testimonials from previous vistors to Guaria de Osa:

SCOTT from Belize,

 “I feel eternally honored for this superlative Costa Rican experience; it is exactly what I requested to present itself in the linear beginnings of this poignant 2012-year leading into the transition of the upcoming world era renewal.”

VICTORIA from Australia, “

What an amazing week! Probably the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life, with the most amazing people. Lots of highs and some great adventures. I will definitely be back to what is an incredibly inspiring place. Jonathon, I wish you the best of luck with all your projects and thank you for your hospitality this week. Lots of love.”

ROB from Canada

, “Thank you for creating such an amazing space where so many can come and reconnect with the source. For the first time since I was a child I am feeling with my whole heart and soul. Thank you, thank you!”

DANNY from Utah,

 “What a beautiful honor!!! I will carry this experience and these lessons throughout my life … off the magical charts!! Thank you for the guidance, protection, and healing. So much love.”

AMELIA MAE from Northern California, “

Jonathon, wow! Thank you so much for all the love and wisdom. All the best with your projects and I will help you to achieve your goal! Cheers.”

DUNCAN from Amsterdam, “

This Retreat was Greatly Beneficial to balancing out my health and getting my body back on track. It is not perfect by any means yet I have recognized the value of real food, proper nutrition, and laughter. My Guaria de Osa experience opened my eyes to simplistic living, harmony and new respect for all things in my life. Thank you for providing this opportunity to all of us. I feel great and will be more conscious about the relationship between my body and soul forever. Thank you so much.”

Please share more about the Secoya elders who will be gathered in council for the upcoming Winter Retreats.  

Essentially even the shamans need a vacation! In Costa Rica they meet the council gathering participants who respect their vocation and tradition, they have an amazing time, a fun time, they can renew themselves. In Ecuador they live frugal lives spending their earnings from the gatherings wisely on food expenses and making it last through the year. From percentages of tuition funds and some small donations we have been able to help further village projects. Recently we channeled a donation that helped the Secoya built an ancestral lodge at Sehuaya village. We have built these last traditional elders modest homes, and have hired people to built them fiber glass canoes, help with dental and medical expenses, cataract operation on the woman, all this has been done thanks to the selfless efforts of our good ally and friend Rodrigo who is the guide and caretaker of the elders when they come to Costa Rica. He lives in Ecuador and makes periodic visits to the community.

In 2007 a sad occurrence took place. A dear friend, one of the elders Taita Esteban Lucitante, who was a Kofán married to the Secoya a tremendous drinker of yagé, completely devoted to service and healing, was ruthlessly assassinated. He was called upriver to heal a young girl who was ill, but it was a trap, these drunken thugs were waiting for him and when he tied up his canoe, he was clubbed to death with his own oar.  This entire incident had me deeply perplexed, oil companies thrashing the area,  timber companies, they weren’t being paid by anyone. The only thing I can logically think of is that the light of these leaders shamans is too bright, the destruction of the rainforest realms too dark. These crazed insane youth just seemed to think that there cant be room for selfless being in this world no longer. They took it on their own to make sure they no longer walk this earth. They also killed the last healer of their own village. Even sadder to think these healers living in remote areas attended many people’s health issues at any hour of the day or night, selflessly, in places where doctors rarely reach. All who knew him were deeply affected by this terribly disturbing incident. After this we decided to bring the elders to Costa Rica so they can have an opportunity to get away from the turmoil of life on the colonization frontier and to be able to share their knowledge, their healing energy with people worldwide who are interested to learn.

Thank you, Jonathon, for taking time for this interview.  Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to invite any interested participants to join us on our upcoming council gathering at Guaria de Osa Ecolodge, through your visit so many amazing things are made possible and guaranteed, we have one darn good time! I also want to thank Daniel Pinchbeck for helping us promote these events, he will be participating in the second event from the January 18th to the 28th, 2013. Thank you Terra for your time and interest in making this interview! Here is the link to our next events; check the web site for our updated list of guest facilitators: http://www.guariadeosa.com/events/council-gathering-2013January.html

Jonathon founded and now directs the CCBD — Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity (known in Latin America as Fundación OSA) sustaining various rainforest conservation, restoration and cultural heritage validation projects in Ecuador and Costa Rica. He has been making periodic visits back to the Ecuadorian Amazon since the year 2000. He has worked on rainforest conservation and cultural heritage revival projects among 5 indigenous communities since 1990. Jonathon’s passion is sharing nature and culture with others so they too may be inspired as he has been.  He has successfully guided over 750 visitors into remote rainforest regions for the past 22 years.

He currently lives in a remote setting on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica where he stewards Guaria de Osa Ecolodge, a rainforest and ocean discovery and education center.  He is also the facilitator for the annual gatherings that occur there with the Secoya Elders, called the Council Gatherings.

Editor’s Note: Jonathon Miller-Weisberger is the author of Rainforest Medicine. He offers sacred plant medicine retreats at his remote eco-lodge in the jungles of Cost Rica guided by elder master-shaman of the Secoya tribe from Ecuador. You can find out more about his upcoming transformational events, here

Space is limited / Registration is open, visit Guaria de Osa or contact puravida@guariadeosa.com

Additional information on the Rainforest Conservation projects of the Council for Cultural and Biological Diversity http://www.rainforestconservationprojects.org/

Check out Jonathon in action and learn about Marine Turtle Activism  and other OSA Foundation projects including protection of the Napo-Galeras National Park in Ecuador. www.4BioDiversity.net

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Psychoactive Mushrooms – Mycologist Paul Stamets on Nature’s Little Teachers http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/11/02/psychoactive-mushrooms-mycologist-paul-stamets-on-natures-little-teachers/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/11/02/psychoactive-mushrooms-mycologist-paul-stamets-on-natures-little-teachers/#comments Sat, 02 Nov 2013 14:11:43 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=8110 Waking Times Will mushrooms have a pivotal impact on whether or not we survive into the next millennium? Is it possible that those of us who have been exposed to the cosmic properties of psychoactive mushrooms were chosen by nature to be vehicles for receiving communications between plants and humans? Mycologist and author Paul Stamets […]

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Waking Times

Will mushrooms have a pivotal impact on whether or not we survive into the next millennium? Is it possible that those of us who have been exposed to the cosmic properties of psychoactive mushrooms were chosen by nature to be vehicles for receiving communications between plants and humans?

Mycologist and author Paul Stamets is an outspoken champion for the use of mushrooms to remediate natural and manmade disasters, to achieve optimal health, and for their role as the natural neural network of planet Earth. In this eye-opening presentation given by Paul in 1999 in Amsterdam, he talks about psychoactive mushrooms, their history, role in personal transformation and their cultivation.

The story of the Psilocybin active mushrooms is fascinating. Beginning with the old growth forests, one of the few places on Earth where the fungal genome is largely undisturbed, Paul discusses the grand scheme of the mushroom world and how it might not be an accident that mushroom mycelium is found everywhere that life is found.

Examining the Mycelial network on the planet, Paul demonstrates how Mycelium is the Earth’s natural Internet allowing for communication between plant species. In fact, it acts as the neural network of the planet, as a sentient organism with the consciousness to respond to natural disasters and external events. Fungi is the foundation of our eco-system, excreting the enzymes that break down dead plant and animal material, and without it plants would all die.

Paul discusses how mushrooms use humans as vehicles for carrying and distributing spores leading to ironically located concentrations of psychoactive mushrooms outside courthouses and police stations in America. And due to the nature of spore propagation, it may be evident that psychoactive mushrooms intentionally grow in areas of deforestation as an ecological response to manmade destruction. In this way, mushrooms attempt to communicate with humans to remind us of our connection to nature.

In heavy trips from psychoactive mushrooms, a common message is that the Earth is in trouble and that the mushrooms are sending we humans a call to arms to help out, to take responsibility for what is happening to our world and to try to repair the damage already done.

From ancient cave art and the Guatemalan Mushroom stones, to paying off college tuition, to meteors that seem to have brought alien Mycelium from other worlds, this fascinating explanation of the psychoactive mushroom kingdom is a must see.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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Is DNA the Next Internet? http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/10/03/is-dna-the-next-internet/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/10/03/is-dna-the-next-internet/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 22:00:53 +0000 http://wakingtimes.com/?p=2362 It is well known from biological laboratory experiments that if you blast a cell with UV light so that 99 per cent of the cell, including its DNA, is destroyed, you can almost entirely repair the damage in a single day just by illuminating the cell with the same wavelength at a much weaker intensity. To this day, scientists don't understand this phenomenon, called photorepair, but no one has disputed it.

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Wiki Image

Dan Eden, View Zone

Are humans really beings of light?

I get lots of suggestions for stories, and I really appreciate them. But some of them are too good to be true. An example of this was a story of a giant human skeleton — maybe 40 feet tall — that was discovered by a Russian archaeological team. The story had photos and links accompanying it and looked promising. But when the links were researched they went in a circle. Each link used the other link as the source. Finally the elements of the photos turned up and we recognized a good Photoshop job had fooled everyone.

I had this same experience this week when I was sent an article where a Russian (again) scientist, Pjotr Garjajev, had managed to intercept communication from a DNA molecule in the form of ultraviolet photons — light! What’s more, he claimed to have captured this communication from one organism (a frog embryo) with a laser beam and then transmitted it to another organisms DNA (a salamander embryo), causing the latter embryo to develop into a frog!

But this was just the beginning….

Read this fascinating article in full at ViewZone, by clicking here!

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52 Wild Plants You Can Eat – Updated http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/08/03/52-wild-plants-you-can-eat/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/08/03/52-wild-plants-you-can-eat/#comments Sat, 03 Aug 2013 21:00:40 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=22304 Waking Times Editor’s Note: This list is originally from Suntactics, however, Waking Times has added important addendums to this information and has corrected some errors. If you have any additional insight to share, please do so in the comments section below, and we can assemble another version of this article once more input is taken.  In addition […]

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Waking Times

Editor’s Note: This list is originally from Suntactics, however, Waking Times has added important addendums to this information and has corrected some errors. If you have any additional insight to share, please do so in the comments section below, and we can assemble another version of this article once more input is taken. 

In addition to using the list below as a resource, consider the importance of properly educating yourself before consuming wild plants. Below are some resources to consider:

Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Stalking The Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons

Edible Wild Plants by John Kallas Ph.D.

Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods and The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide by Linda Runyon

We all know which vegetables and fruits are safe to eat, but what about other wild edibles? Here are a few common North American goodies that are safe to eat if you find yourself stuck in the wild:

Blackberries – Rubus fruticosus

Many wild berries are not safe to eat, it’s best to stay away from them. But wild blackberries are 100% safe to eat and easy to recognize. They have red branches that have long thorns similar to a rose, the green leaves are wide and jagged. They are best to find in the spring when their white flowers bloom, they are clustered all around the bush and their flowers have 5 points. The berries ripen around August to September.

Dandelions – Taraxacum officinale

The easiest to recognize if the dandelion, in the spring they show their bright yellow buds. You can eat the entire thing raw or cook them to take away the bitterness, usually in the spring they are less bitter. They are packed with Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and beta carotene.

Asparagus – Asparagus officinalis


The vegetable that makes your pee smell funny grows in the wild in most of Europe and parts of North Africa, West Asia, and North America. Wild asparagus has a much thinner stalk than the grocery-store variety. It’s a great source of source of vitamin C, thiamine, potassium and vitamin B6. Eat it raw or boil it like you would your asparagus at home.

Elderberries – Sambucus

An elderberry shrub can grow easily grow about 10 feet and yield tons of food, their leaf structure is usually 7 main leaves on a long stretched out stem, the leaves are long and round and the leaves themselves have jagged edges. These are easiest to identify in the spring as they blossom white clustered flowers that resembles an umbrella. Mark the spot and harvest the berries when they’re ripe around September.

Elderberries are known for their flu and cold healing properties, you can make jelly from them and are very sweet and delicious. Yet, be aware that elderberries can be toxic if not properly prepared.

Gooseberries – Ribes uva-crispa

These are also common in the woods in northern Missouri, the branches are grey and have long red thorns, and the leaves are bright green and have 5 points. They have rounded edges and look similar to the shape of a maple leaf. The flowers in the spring are very odd looking, they are bright red and hang down, the berries ripen around late May early June.

Mulberries – Morus

Mulberry leaves have two types, one spade shape and a 5 fingered leaf. Both have pointed edges. The ripe fruit is edible and is widely used in pies, tarts, wines, cordials and tea.

Pine – Pinus

There are over a hundred different species of pine. Not only can the food be used as a supply of nourishment but, also can be used for medicinal purposes. Simmer a bowl of water and add some pine needles to make tea. Native americans used to ground up pine to cure skurvy, its rich in vitamin C.

Kudzu – Pueraria lobata

Pretty much the entire plant is edible and is also known for medicinal values, such as being an anti-inflammatory and helping in treating headaches and migraines. In developed areas, these plants are often sprayed with herbicides. We were blessed to find this great patch of Kudzu surrounded by Blackberries. The leaves can be eaten raw, steam or boiled. The root can be eaten as well.

Daylily – Hemerocallis

You can find this plant in many parts of the country, they have bright orange flowers and foliage that comes straight up from the ground, no stem. You can eat the flower buds before they open, just cook it like a vegetable.

Pecans – Carya illinoinensis

The trees mature around 20-30 ft, some can grow up to 100 ft tall. The leaves are bright green and long, smooth edges and the pecans themselves are grown in green pods and when ripe the pods open and the seeds fall to the ground. The pecan is a species of hickory, native to south-central North America. Pecans, if grown commercially have some of the highest nutrients per acre of any crop.

Hazelnuts – Corylus

Hazelnut trees are short and tend to be around 12-20 ft tall, the leaves are bright green and have pointed edges, and the hazelnuts themselves grow in long strands of pods and generally ripen by September and October. They are also known as cobnut or filberts.

Walnuts – Juglans regia

Walnut trees are the most recognisable and the tallest nut tree in North America, they can range from 30-130 feet tall. The leaf structure is very similar to the peacan, the leaves are spear like and grow on a long stem 6-8 leaves on both sides. The leaves edges are smooth and green. The walnuts tend to grow in clusters and ripen in the fall.

Acorns – Quercus

Acorns, also known as oak nuts, can tend to be bitter, they are highly recognisable. They should be eaten cooked and a limited amount.

Hickory Nuts – Carya

Hickory nut trees can grow about 50-60 ft tall, their green leaves are spear like and can grow very large, they have pointed edges. The hickory nut is round and ten to ripen in September or October.

Clovers – Trifolium repens


Clovers are everywhere if you’re lucky *pun*, and edible! If you find grass you will most likely see this sprouting everywhere, their distinctive trifoil leafs and white flowers are easy to spot, you can eat them raw but they taste better boiled. 

Red Clovers – Trifolium pratense

Blossoms can be eaten fresh or steeped in hot water for tea. And you can toss both the green leaves and blossoms into a salad.

Chicory – Cichorium intybus


You can find these in Europe, North America and Australia. The entire plant can be eaten along with it bright blue flowers, which can also be white or pink. Chicory is well known for its toxicity to internal parasites.

Coltsfoot – Tussilago farfara

Edible parts: Flowers and young leaves can be eaten. Flowers can be eaten raw and mixed into a salad adding a wonderful aromatic flavor. Use the flower head and place them into a glass jar adding raw honey and storing it for a few weeks for its strength; this makes a great home remedy to help calm a cough, or just add some of this coltsfoot honey into your tea. You may dry the flower heads and use them as tea or in cooking/baking recipes. Young leaves are bitter but better after boiled them and then in salads, stews, or just add lemon, extra virgin olive oil and seasoning.

Although coltsfoot is well documented as a natural cough and sore throat remedy, it may be best to avoid prolonged use of the plant or to ensure the supplement you buy is certified and labeled as hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid free (PA-free). Hepatotoxic PAs might be carcinogenic and mutagenic and may also increase blood pressure. Certain studies have shown that Coltsfoot tea causes liver problems in infants and pregnant women.

Creeping Charlie – Glechoma hederacea

Edible parts: Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves have a mild bitter flavor with a aromatic tang great for salads or jucing. You can cook these young leaves like spinach, or add to soups, stews, and omelet. Tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. This wild edible has been known to be added to beer in much the same way as hops, for flavor and clarity. This plant is also known as ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, and run-away-robin.

Cattail – Typha latifolia 

Known as cattails or punks in North America and bullrush and reedmace in England, the typha genus of plants is usually found near the edges of freshwater wetlands. Cattails were a staple in the diet of many Native American tribes. Most of a cattail is edible. You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, or rhizomes, of the plant. The rootstock is usually found underground. Make sure to wash off all the mud. The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil or eat the stem raw. Boil the leaves like you would spinach. The corn dog-looking female flower spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing. It actually has a corn-like taste to it.

Garlic Mustard – Alliaria petiolata

Edible parts: Flowers, leaves, roots and seeds. Leaves can be eaten in any season, when the weather gets hot, the leaves will have a taste bitter. Flowers can be chopped and tossed into salads. The roots can be collected in early spring and again in late fall, when no flower stalks are present. Garlic mustard roots taste very spicy somewhat like horseradish…. yummy! In the fall the seed can be collected and eaten.

Chickweed – Stellaria media

These usually appear May and July, you can eat the leaves raw or boiled, they’re high in vitamins and minerals!

Hop Clover – Trifolium campestre

WIKI _ Hop Clover

Edible parts: The flowers, leaves and seeds are edible. All clover types are known to be part of the paleo diet of the First Nations people. Flowers can be put into teas. Seeds (in autumn) can be collected and eaten as is or roasted and can be ground into flour as well. Leaves can be tossed into salads, omelets, juicing, sandwiches, etc.

Herb Robert – Geranium Robertianum

WIKI-HerbRobert-Christer Johansson

Edible parts: The entire plant. Fresh leaves can be used in salads or to make tea. The flower, leaves and root can be dried and stored using it later as a tea or herbs as a nutrient booster. Rubbing fresh leaves on the skin is known to repel mosquitoes, and the entire plant repels rabbits and deer which would compliment and protect your garden. For more info about Herb Robert see HerbsAreSpecial.com.

Beach Lovage – Ligusticum scoticum hultenii

Use the leaves raw in salads or salsas, or cooked in soups, with rice, or in mixed cooked greens. Beach lovage can have a strong flavor and is best used as a seasoning, like parsley, rather than eaten on its own.  Beach lovage tastes best before flowers appear, and is also called Scotch lovage, sea lovage, wild celery, and petrushki.

Plantain – Plantago

Is another one of those plants that seems to thrive right on the edge of gardens and driveways, but it’s also edible. Pick the green, rippled leaves and leave the tall flower stems. Blanch the leaves and sauté with some butter and garlic just as you would with kale or any other tough green.

Wild Garlic – Allium vineale

WIKI-wild garlic-russavia

Wild Garlic (Allium vineale, crow garlic or garlic grass) is an herbal treat often found lurking in fields, pastures, forests and disturbed soil. It resembles cultivated garlic or spring onions, but the shoots are often very thin. Use it in sandwiches, salads, pesto or chopped on main courses like scallions.

Watercress – Nasturtium officinale

Cresses (Garden cress, water cress, rock cress, pepper cress) are leafy greens with bright white flowers that resemble the shape of a cross long and are cultivated in much of Northern Europe. They have a spicy tang and are great in salads, sandwiches, and soups. Since this is an aquatic plant, it should be washed carefully prior to consumption if it is collected from the wild. If the plant is collected from untreated water it may carry water-born microscopic parasites, such as the protozoan Giardia.

Lamb’s Quarters – Chenopodium album


Use the leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, in mixed cooked greens, or in any dish that calls for cooking greens. Lamb’s Quarters are susceptible to leaf miners; be careful to harvest plants that are not infested. Although Lamb’s Quarters are best before the flowers appear, if the fresh young tips are continuously harvested, lamb’s quarters can be eaten all summer. Lamb’s Quarters is also called Pigweed, Fat Hen, Goosefoot, and Wild Spinach. Note that some of our readers consider this plant to be a bit of pest.

Goosetongue – Plantago macrocarpa

Use the young leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, in mixed cooked greens, or in any dish that calls for cooking greens.  Goosetongue is best in spring and early summer, before the flowers appear.  Goosetongue can be confused with poisonous Arrowgrass, so careful identification is essential. Goosetongue is also called Seashore Plantain.

Joe Pye Weed – Eutrochium

Edible parts: The entire plant can be used including the root. The leaves and stems can be harvested in the summer before the flower buds open and can be dried and stored for later use. The roots are harvested in the autumn. Fresh flowers can be used to make an herbal tea.

Joe Pye weed is named after a legendary Indian healer who used a decoction of the plant to cure typhus fever in colonial America. Native tribes used gravel root as a healing tonic included relieving constipation, washing wounds with a strong tea made from the root to prevent infection.

Similar to coltsfoot, Joe Pye weed contains livertoxic PAs which might be carcinogenic.

Pigweed – Amaranthus palmeri

Edible parts: The whole plant – leaves, roots, stem, seeds. The Amarath seed is small and very nutritious and easy to harvest, the seed grain is used to make flour for baking uses. Roasting the seeds can enhance the flavor, also you can sprout the raw seeds using them in salads, and in sandwiches, etc. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach, sautéed, etc. Fresh or dried pigweed leaves can be used to make tea.

Fireweed – Chamerion angustifolium

This pretty little plant is found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. You can identify fireweed by its purple flower and the unique structure of the leaves’ veins; the veins are circular rather than terminating on the edges of the leaves. Several Native American tribes included fireweed in their diet. It’s best eaten young when the leaves are tender. Mature fireweed plants have tough and bitter tasting leaves. You can eat the stalk of the plant as well. The flowers and seeds have a peppery taste. Fireweed is a great source of vitamins A and C.

Monkey Flower – Mimulus

Use the leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, mixed cooked greens, or any dish that calls for cooking greens.  Monkey flower is best before the flowers appear, although the flowers are also edible and are good in salads or as a garnish.

Self-heal – Prunella vulgaris

Edible parts: the young leaves and stems can be eaten raw in salads; the whole plant can be boiled and eaten as a potherb; and the aerial parts of the plant can be powdered and brewed in a cold infusion to make a tasty beverage. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as flavonoids and rutin. Medicinally, the whole plant is poulticed onto wounds to promote healing. A mouthwash made from an infusion of the whole plant can be used to treat sore throats, thrush and gum infections. Internally, a tea can be used to treat diarrhea and internal bleeding.

Shepherd’s Purse – Capsella bursa-pastoris

Use the young leaves raw in salads, or cooked in soups, in mixed cooked greens or in any dish that calls for cooking greens.  Although the leaves may be eaten throughout the summer, the mature leaves have a peppery taste that does not appeal to all palates.

Common Mallow – Malva neglecta

Edible parts:All parts of the mallow plant are edible — the leaves, the stems, the flowers, the seeds, and the roots (it’s from the roots that cousin Althaea gives the sap that was used for marshmallows). Because it’s a weed that grows plentifully in neglected areas, mallows have been used throughout history as a survival food during times of crop failure or war. Mallows are high in mucilage, a sticky substance that gives them a slightly slimy texture, similar to okra, great in soups. Mallow has a nice pleasant nutty flavor. One of the most popular uses of mallows is as a salad green.

Miner’s Lettuce – Claytonia perfoliata

Parts: Flowers, Leaves, Root. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. A fairly bland flavor with a mucilaginous texture, it is quite nice in a salad. The young leaves are best, older leaves can turn bitter especially in the summer and if the plant is growing in a hot dry position. Although individual leaves are fairly small, they are produced in abundance and are easily picked. Stalks and flowers can be eaten raw. A nice addition to the salad bowl. Bulb also can be eaten raw. Although very small and labor-intensive to harvest, the boiled and peeled root has the flavor of chestnuts. Another report says that the plant has a fibrous root system so this report seems to be erroneous.

Field Pennycress – Thlaspi arvense

WIKI-FieldPennycress-H. Zell

Field Pennycress is a weed found in most parts of the world. Its growing season is early spring to late winter. You can eat the seeds and leaves of field pennycress raw or boiled. The only caveat with field pennycress is not to eat it if it’s growing in contaminated soil. Pennycress is a hyperaccumulator of minerals, meaning it sucks up any and all minerals around it. General rule is don’t eat pennycress if it’s growing by the side of the road or is near a Superfund site.

Sweet Rocket – Hesperis matronalis

This plant is often mistaken for Phlox. Phlox has five petals, Dame’s Rocket has just four. The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, and sometimes pink to white. The plant is part of the mustard family, which also includes radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and, mustard. The plant and flowers are edible, but fairly bitter. The flowers are attractive added to green salads. The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens (for culinary purposes, the leaves should be picked before the plant flowers). The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads. NOTE: It is not the same variety as the herb commonly called Rocket, which is used as a green in salads.

Wild Bee Balm – Monarda fistulosa

Edible parts: Leaves boiled for tea, used for seasoning, chewed raw or dried; flowers edible. Wild bee balm tastes like oregano and mint. The taste of bee balm is reminiscent of citrus with soft mingling of lemon and orange. The red flowers have a minty flavor. Any place you use oregano, you can use bee balm blossoms. The leaves and flower petals can also be used in both fruit and regular salads. The leaves taste like the main ingredient in Earl Gray Tea and can be used as a substitute.

Mallow - Malvaceae

WIKI-mallow-Forest & Kim Starr

Mallow is a soft tasty leaf good in fresh salads. Use it like lettuce and other leafy greens. You may find the smaller younger leaves a tad more tender. Toss in salads, or cook as you would other tender greens like spinach. The larger leave can be used for stuffing, like grape leaves. The seed pods are also edible while green and soft before they harden, later turning woody and brown. I hear they can be cooked like a vegetable. I’ve harvested and eaten them raw, and want to try steaming, pickling, fermenting, and preparing like ocra.

Pineapple Weed – Matricaria discoidea

WIKI-pineappleweed-H. Zell

Edible parts: Pineapple weed flowers and leaves are a tasty finger food while hiking or toss in salads. Flowers can also be dried out and crushed so that it can be used as flour. As with chamomile, pineapple weed is very good as a tea. Native Americans used a leaf infusion (medicine prepared by steeping flower or leaves in a liquid without boiling) for stomach gas pains and as a laxative.

Milk Thistle – Silybum marianum


Milk thistle is most commonly sought for its medicial properties of preventing and repairing liver damage. But most parts of the plants are also edible and tasty. Until recently, it was commonly cultivated in Eurpoean vegetable gardens. Leaves can be de-spined for use as salad greens or sautéed like collard greens; water-soaked stems prepared like asparugus; roots boiled or baked; flower pods used like artichoke heads.

Prickly Pear Cactus – Opuntia


Found in the deserts of North America, the prickly pear cactus is a very tasty and nutritional plant that can help you survive the next time you’re stranded in the desert. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus looks like a red or purplish pear. Hence the name. Before eating the plant, carefully remove the small spines on the outer skin or else it will feel like you’re swallowing a porcupine. You can also eat the young stem of the prickly pear cactus. It’s best to boil the stems before eating.

Common Mullein – Verbascum thapsus

Edible parts: Leaves and flowers. The flowers are fragrant and taste sweet, the leaves are not fragrant and taste slightly bitter. This plant is best known for a good cup of tea and can be consumed as a regular beverage. Containing vitamins B2, B5, B12, and D, choline, hesperidin, para amino benzoic acid, magnesium, and sulfur, but mullein tea is primarily valued as an effective treatment for coughs and lung disorders.

Wild Grape Vine – Ampelocissus acetosa

Edible parts: Grapes and leaves. The ripe grape can be eaten but tastes better after the first frost. Juicing the grapes or making wine is most common. The leaves are also edible. A nutritional mediterranean dish called “dolmades”, made from grape leaves are stuffed with rice, meat and spices. The leaves can be blanched and frozen for use throughout the winter months.

Yellow Rocket – Barbarea

It tends to grow in damp places such as hedges, stream banks and waysides and comes into flower from May to August. Yellow Rocket was cultivated in England as an early salad vegetable. It makes a wonderful salad green when young and the greens are also an excellent vegetable if treated kindly. Lightly steam or gently sweat in butter until just wilted. The unopened inflorescences can also be picked and steamed like broccoli.

Purslane – Portulaca oleracea 

While considered an obnoxious weed in the United States, purslane can provide much needed vitamins and minerals in a wilderness survival situation. Ghandi actually numbered purslane among his favorite foods. It’s a small plant with smooth fat leaves that have a refreshingly sour taste. Purslane grows from the beginning of summer to the start of fall. You can eat purslane raw or boiled. If you’d like to remove the sour taste, boil the leaves before eating.

Sheep Sorrel – Rumex acetosella

Sheep sorrel is native to Europe and Asia but has been naturalized in North America. It’s a common weed in fields, grasslands, and woodlands. It flourishes in highly acidic soil. Sheep sorrel has a tall, reddish stem and can reach heights of 18 inches. Sheep sorrel contains oxalates and shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities. You can eat the leaves raw. They have a nice tart, almost lemony flavor.

Wild Mustard – Brassica campestris

Wild mustard is found in the wild in many parts of the world. It blooms between February and March. You can eat all parts of the plant- seeds, flowers, and leaves.

Wood Sorrel – Oxalis

You’ll find wood sorrel in all parts of the world; species diversity is particularly rich in South America. Humans have used wood sorrel for food and medicine for millennia. The Kiowa Indians chewed on wood sorrel to alleviate thirst, and the Cherokee ate the plant to cure mouth sores. The leaves are a great source of vitamin C. The roots of the wood sorrel can be boiled. They’re starchy and taste a bit like a potato.

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Zen and the Art of Chinese Medicine http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/31/zen-and-the-art-of-chinese-medicine/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/31/zen-and-the-art-of-chinese-medicine/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 17:04:51 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=27789 Steven Alpern, Guest Waking Times The scroll of Zen Buddhist monk Sengai (1750-1838) entitled Circle, Triangle, and Square is a concise symbolic expression of classical (Neijing style) Chinese medical thinking. While this brush painting may not be language in the conventional sense, it articulates Sengai’s intention with clarity and power. Practitioners raised and educated in […]

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sengaiSteven Alpern, Guest
Waking Times

The scroll of Zen Buddhist monk Sengai (1750-1838) entitled Circle, Triangle, and Square is a concise symbolic expression of classical (Neijing style) Chinese medical thinking. While this brush painting may not be language in the conventional sense, it articulates Sengai’s intention with clarity and power. Practitioners raised and educated in the modern world can benefit from his creative inspiration. We liberate ourselves most effectively from the confines of modern thought, when we grow more conscious of the divergence between our scientific conceptual models and classical oriental thinking.

Each of the three simple geometric figures represents a basic orientation toward being and knowing. Their relation to each other on the scroll presents Sengai’s observation concerning the relationships among their respective modes of thought. Throughout eastern Asia the square signifies Earth, the circle refers to Heaven, and the triangle is the potential of Humankind to stand on the Earth and reach toward Heaven – both physically and metaphorically.

The physical thinking represented by the square is static and structured. The square is the most diffuse among the three figures, thus the least invested as real by Sengai. Physical thinking is governed by the naïve perception that objects displace each other in space. That is, two objects do not occur in the same place at the same time. This principle is then generalized to apply to all qualities and characteristics. It becomes the “principle of the excluded middle” in common logic (formally known as Aristotelian Logic), which creates a world of objects with fixed attributes and qualities. This structured thinking forms the basis of modern scientific thought, and its investigation of nature. Scientific thinking provides a stable cognitive structure (determined by the rules of material implication) that individuals can use to project point of view, and control limited aspects of their environment.

The circle represents the undifferentiated whole that abides either before individuals establish separate points of view or after they transcend them. While the undifferentiated embodied spirit is always present, it is commonly covered over by the individual’s personality. Living in the circle resolves the conflicts that are necessarily engendered by individuality. The circle does not touch the square, and has no stable base from which to project individual point of view. Unconscious projection of interpretations and judgments leads individuals to have attachments that obscure the subtle nature of the world, and their interactions with it. The circle represents instead the ideal of knowing the world separate from point of view, as a dynamic flux of constantly evolving and transforming inter-dependent influences. It allows every perspective because any assertion (or even expression) is understood as merely the projection of individual point of view. Within the “mind of Dao” (the circle) there is no point of view. There is only being and presence.

The triangle represents the embodied spirit’s potential to dynamically transcend the limitations of the square, and progressively approximate the circle. Sengai presents the triangle as barely touching the most diffuse side of the square – the less obvious implications of physical thinking – indicating that it is not embedded within the point of view expressed by the square. The horizontal side of the triangle emerges from the square, and is parallel with its base. This side represents the distilled veracity of the physical point of view supporting the square. The other side touching the square departs in another direction; it represents those aspects of experience not expressed in the square, thus highlighting its limitations in comprehending the fluid dynamic nature of life.

The third side of the triangle (not touching the square) represents the resolution of these diverging points of view. Each is represented by an equally bold stroke (strong investment), but when its extent is realized and the corner is turned toward the other, Sengai withdrew the brush somewhat from the scroll, leaving only a narrow meeting between the two bold ends. His brush painting suggests that resolving diverging points of view is accomplished through perspective – by distancing from both in order to allow the common thread joining them to emerge. This narrow bridge symbolically represents the capacity to resolve opposing points of view by recognizing the contextual validity of each. Individuals can approach knowledge of just what’s so about the point touching the square, and consequently the square itself, by releasing the limitations of individual point of view.

Much of the single stroke of the circle is the most bold and dark of all three figures – to Sengai it is the most real. It begins at the base of the triangle, then immediately includes this bridge within its arc. The circle eventually returns to the base of the triangle, where the stroke becomes somewhat more diffuse. While the loop closes into a circle, it does so without being strictly defined for human perception. The circle interlinks with the triangle around the narrow bridge, which becomes the individual’s point of access into its holistic thinking. The “mind of Dao” cannot reside in any fixed conceptual framework concerning nature. It can only be pursued through an ongoing process of resolving divergent points of view – working the triangle to approach the circle.

Modern science has developed very complex and sophisticated theories of the physical world. Scientists delineate and measure myriad physical parameters, especially with the aid of various sense-enhancing technologies. While this socially agreed upon investigation provides a measure of security, scientific investigations typically fail to discern truths beyond the limits of their physical models. Perhaps Einstein is so widely revered because he stepped outside the conceptual model of his time, and explored genuinely new ways of seeing and understanding phenomena. This is indeed rare in the scientific world!

Scientists generally eliminate experiential phenomena as subjective, and give precedence to “objective” measurements. They remain focused on statements of physical status, rather than discerning the fluid dynamics of evolving process, which is based in individual responsiveness rather than uniform movements. The physical bias of scientific thinking seeks direct, predictable, and reproducible relationships between causes and effects. It reduces the complexity of systems by focusing only on parameters that can be physically defined and measured. This process results in mechanistic models of physical reality that prioritize single (proximal) causes and the material implications they engender, rather than exploring the variety of contributing causes that generate individual variations.

The “experimental method” for investigating the world falls short of being truly empirical, because it projects the physical perspective of the square. Only the circle, which accepts all possibilities, is truly empirical. Yet, the physical theories of the square appeal to many because they provide conceptual models that explain (and can predict) certain phenomena. While this may be an expedient method for controlling a limited scope of the environment (in space and/or time), investment in the mechanistic model blocks a deeper understanding of the complex web of causation that characterizes individual situations.

Physical theories typically evolve in response to conflicting data. Gradually, scientists recognize the limitations and/or inaccuracies introduced by both their explicit assumptions and unconscious projections. Integrating certain considerations from the other side of the triangle can refine the conceptual model projected by the individual’s point of view. But, a box remains a box. The increased sensitivity of the model may help one control certain aspects of the environment, but it does not capture the potential of individually differentiating the blocks to vital process that create distress, and the embodied spirit’s need to express symptoms.

The application of scientific thinking to issues of health has pervasive implications. It impacts both how doctors understand the nature of various diseases, and the practical (clinical) approaches developed to address them. Scientific medicine absorbed its purpose from the common emotional urge to see disease and suffering as afflictions, rather than a natural result of life. This bias has created a theory of external (physical) etiology, which relieves individuals of responsibility for both the development and resolution of disease. The clinical emphasis of modern medicine is controlling the expression of disease, rather than resolving the roots of its dynamic process within each individual’s life (which cannot be standardized into protocols). Focus narrows to controlling symptoms (often through suppression), rather than discerning and disentangling the factors creating and sustaining the individual’s blocks.

There are many specific topics within the various scientific fields related to health care that demonstrate the implications of physical bias, especially in clinical implementation. Relative to:

* Nutrition and Herbs: There is far more emphasis among most experts on the amounts of specific nutrients and “active ingredients” (easily measurable and external), rather than on the individual’s ability to utilize them (internal and not easily quantified or measured). Within the scientific model, attempts to understand and evaluate life as a vital process led to the refinement of overly simplistic chemical models into more sensitive biochemical ones. This led to the idea of “bio-available nutrients,” which represents a significant improvement over the earlier standard. Yet, it remains a uniform (external) measure rather than one that differentiates individual (internal) capacity to utilize nutrients and “active ingredients.” The Chinese medical ideas of food, qi and blood stagnation address some of an individual’s specific blocks in resolving material that has been internalized. Individuals may struggle with many different blocks and/or insufficiencies that undermine their ability to process physical and experiential inputs into smoothly flowing qi and blood. They may need a wide variety of therapies to stimulate them to release, transform, dissolve, or vaporize their impacted attachments. The effects of neither foods nor herbs can be analyzed down to nutrients or “active ingredients.” Rather, the impact of their qi on an individual person’s qi is generally discussed in experiential terms: flavor, nature (temperature), and channels resonance. Such metrics help practitioners individualize treatments to stimulate and facilitate a patient’s intrinsic responsiveness rather than attempting to generically control disease expression.

* Infectious Disease: There is nearly exclusive emphasis upon various microbes as the (proximal, physical, and measurable) causative factors, and nearly none on the individual’s internal ecology as a terrain for the particular microbes. This idea includes but is not limited to the effectiveness of immune response. Therapeutic focus is directed toward immobilizing the reproduction of microbes (physically measurable), without considering the vitality and effectiveness of the individual mechanisms that expel them and/or impede their penetration (not measurable). Therapy is directed toward measurably controlling the external environment, and considered complete when the proliferation of microbes is rendered inert. Little attention is focused on the impact therapy has had upon the terrain – the integrity of the individual’s physiological homeostasis (which is difficult to measure), unless it has been sufficiently deranged to support another infestation, such as candida in the gut. The Wen Bing (Warm Diseases) School of Chinese medicine differentiates three terrains, each with its distinctive nature, typical paths of development within individuals, and characteristic paths of expulsion and resolution. It provides guidance for therapeutic intervention in people struggling with chronic or recurrent viral (wind-cold), bacterial (wind-heat), or fungal (wind-damp) infections.

* Osteo-arthritis: There is nearly exclusive emphasis upon inflammation as the (proximal) cause of pain and the growth of osteophytes. There is little discourse concerning either habituated muscle contractures, which provide a stable platform for the growth of osteophytes, or as a contributing cause to strain, which precipitates inflammation. Neither is there much discussion of nutrition, and even emotional patterns, as contributing causes of a biochemical terrain supporting the growth of osteophytes and/or a particularly strong (or poorly controlled) inflammatory response. The medical approach to clinical management of people with osteo-arthritis is directed toward controlling the inflammation and pain, rather than stimulating the individual to change his or her (internal and individual) factors supporting habituated contractures. While many physicians suggest exercise for patients with osteoarthritis, there is little emphasis upon the quality of movement. Specifically, there is little focus on devising and teaching movements to release the individual’s habituated contractures, which precipitate and sustain the development of osteophytes. There are many such systems of therapeutic movement (Qigong, T’ai Chi, and Daoyin) inspired by Chinese medical theories, which facilitate movement and can eliminate or dramatically reduce pain and physical restrictions. There are several other systems of exercise that are equally valuable in stimulating the flow of qi, which derive from other medical traditions such as yoga from Ayurveda.

While the historical and philosophical roots of classical Chinese medicine lay deep in the shadows of ancient China, the thinking process of the triangle – working the triangle to approach the circle – remains vitally important. One can work ideas rooted in modern science with that thinking process to discover pervasive physical bias. Individuals can learn to observe and discriminate the unconscious projection of point of view, and release their rigid models for understanding the physical world, which each person must develop to survive. We can learn to release how we analyze what we know, and accept fluid interpretations of what we sense. This can help practitioners develop true intuition, which is based in calm and quiet acceptance of circumstances, events, and reactions.

The language of modern science can make many subtle differentiations, if those using it remain sensitive to its inherent physical bias. People with any disease process can be examined with a focus on the internal factors that generate and support dysfunction, rather than simply focusing on precise physical descriptions. Patients who learn to disentangle from the conflicts that generate their blocks can reduce their dependence on reactive attempts to control symptomatic expression.

Some modern practitioners of Chinese medicine seek the certainty of a fixed conceptual model. Rather than including the wide variety of historical theories and having to “work the triangle” to differentiate individual cases, modern Chinese medical doctrine provides a single explanation for many symptoms and signs. Practitioners are taught to classify the manifestations of dysfunction into symptom-sign complexes, and develop therapeutic strategies aimed directly at managing them. This clinical model is familiar to people trained in physical (scientific) thinking.

Rather than classifying the manifestations of imbalanced function, Neijing style practitioners seek to identify clearly the individual’s specific blocks, and his or her struggle to maintain life. The classic texts of Neijing (Suwen and Lingshu) use the dynamic interactions among the five sets of channels and vessels (sinews, luo, primaries, divergent/distinct, and extraordinary) to facilitate the embodied spirit’s intrinsic process, rather than just classifying their manifestations into syndromes of imbalance in the zangfu (vital and hollow organs) and trying to manage them with the primary channels alone.

For instance, modern TCM subscribes to the ideas of Chao Yuanfang concerning the source and generation of phlegm. Chao was an Imperial physician during the Sui Dynasty (581-618), who focused on the proximal cause of phlegm as inadequate transformation and transportation of food essence by the spleen/pancreas, which collects in the lungs according to the “normal” physiology of generating post-natal qi. While this is an important source of phlegm, many other ideas about it have been used and validated during the long history of Chinese medicine:

Liver qi stagnation, which allows for the stagnation of fluids and compresses them into phlegm; continued impulse (yang) generates heat (hot-phlegm), and can degenerate into wind (wind-phlegm). The etiology of these was first clearly delineated by Zhang Zihe (1150-1228).

De-vitalization of kidney essence (Kidney yang deficiency), which directly degenerates into phlegm. Blocking or withdrawal of impulse allows cold-phlegm to collect, and the individual’s failure to control fluids (generally exacerbated by diet) generates damp-phlegm. While these names would not be developed for several hundred years until Tang era (618-907) doctors focused on fluids and phlegm as primary pathogenic factors, Zhang Zhongjing certainly recognized the basic dynamic of these etiologies in herbal formulas such as Xiao Qing Long Tang (Minor Blue Dragon Decoction) in Shang Han Lun. Later authors, such as Zhang Jingyue (1563-1640), developed further the idea that “life is yang,” and focused on preserving it.

Exhaustion of kidney essence (Kidney yin deficiency), which generates phlegm as a distorted attempt to preserve essential yin – phlegm as a response. Zhu Danxi (1281-1358) focused on essential yin as the foundation of life.

Lack of willingness by the embodied spirit to see (Heart qi) its experience as it is, which the cognitive basis of denial. Denial is somatized into phlegm by the embodied spirit – to make it dormant. This allows the individual to internalize “new” inputs to process and thereby continue generating post-natal qi.

The clinical ideal of classical Chinese medicine considers each treatment a unique creative response to an individual patient. The immediate focus stimulates his or her intrinsic responsiveness (wei) and/or capacity to internalize experience (ying). The purpose of acupuncture (and other Chinese medical therapies) is facilitating the individual’s release of habituated holding patterns, which accumulate to restrict movement and create various distortions of the individual’s interaction with the environment. Eventually, these distorted interactions derange physiological process and create disease. Resolving these disturbances to vital process (qi) allows disease resolution, rather than having to settle for its management.

Instead of releasing their points of view and resolving recurrent conflicts and struggles, many individuals develop various adaptive and compensatory strategies to accommodate them. These can be probed with therapies, but regardless of how insightful the conception and implementation of a therapeutic strategy, the patient must be willing to release habituated patterns of interpretation and reaction. Therapy does not directly create healing, but it can stimulate profound transformations of vital process (qi), allowing individuals to grow out of the disease(s) they host through distorted physiological process.

A practitioner who uses the wide variety of historical ideas of Chinese medicine can enrich his or her contemporary practice with a rich framework for making differentiations, and determining therapeutic strategies. There is no limit to the variety of disease manifestations that have been discussed and treated during the history of Chinese medicine. While the modern world presents new stressors to challenge the embodied spirit, there are not new ways for it to be overwhelmed and fail to sustain individual life.

Therapeutic results beyond those predicted (or even accounted for) by the physical theories of “scientific medicine” are available when both the practitioner and “patient” are willing to go “outside the box” – the square – to engage the intrinsic wisdom of the embodied spirit. Many treatments stimulate the individual’s intrinsic responsiveness to expel stagnating factors, and thus liberate the “patient’s” vitality to focus on supporting life process. Treatment strategies are found by the practitioner listening to the embodied spirit’s expression of distress, and facilitating its intrinsic movement to live.

Therapeutic work inspired by the profound mysteries of life cannot be standardized into protocols. It arises from identifying and stimulating release of an individual’s blocks and impacted struggles. Healing ensues when “patients” allow their whole beings to engage experience in an open and focused way to support vital function. There is no limit to the awesome potential of the embodied spirit!

About the Author

Steven Alpern, LAc practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine as applied clinical philosophy. He has followed the inspired teachings of Jeffrey Yuen for more than fifteen years. Steven seeks to identify and locate blocks to flourishing health and stimulate their release, rather than classifying symptoms and signs as the manifestations of distress. His efforts to discern the nature and dynamics of an individual’s health struggles draw upon the classics of Chinese medicine and several historical traditions and specialties.

He focuses on discerning the various contributing causes of disease, rather than simply classifying manifest symptoms and signs according to a single clinical doctrine. Instead of trying to control the expression of pathologies, Steven seeks treatment strategies that stimulate profound and transformational healing by supporting the individual’s intrinsic process to expel stagnations. That quest has led Steven to focus on the Neijing (Inner Classic [of Medicine]) theory of the five systems of channels and vessels.

For more information and writings visit the www.ccmforheaaling.com.

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Soy Lecithin: How It Negatively Affects Your Health And Why You Need To Avoid It http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/30/soy-lecithin-how-it-negatively-affects-your-health-and-why-you-need-to-avoid-it/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/30/soy-lecithin-how-it-negatively-affects-your-health-and-why-you-need-to-avoid-it/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 14:08:49 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=27785 Prevent Disease Waking Times Soy Lecithin has been lingering around our food supply for over a century. It is an ingredient in literally hundreds of proceesed foods, and also sold as an over the counter health food supplement. Scientists claim it benefits our cardiovascular health, metabolism, memory, cognitive function, liver function, and even physical and […]

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Flickr - Soybeans - Kanko*Prevent Disease
Waking Times

Soy Lecithin has been lingering around our food supply for over a century. It is an ingredient in literally hundreds of proceesed foods, and also sold as an over the counter health food supplement. Scientists claim it benefits our cardiovascular health, metabolism, memory, cognitive function, liver function, and even physical and athletic perfomance. However, most people don’t realize what soy lecithin actually is, and why the dangers of ingesting this additive far exceed its benefits.

Lecithin is an emulsifying substance that is found in the cells of all living organisms. The French scientist Maurice Gobley discovered lecithin in 1805 and named it “lekithos” after the Greek word for “egg yolk.” Until it was recovered from the waste products of soybean processing in the 1930s, eggs were the primary source of commercial lecithin. Today lecithin is the generic name given to a whole class of fat-and-water soluble compounds called phospholipids. Levels of phospholipids in soybean oils range from 1.48 to 3.08 percent, which is considerably higher than the 0.5 percent typically found in vegetable oils, but far less than the 30 percent found in egg yolks.

Out of the Dumps

Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid. Before being bleached to a more appealing light yellow, the color of lecithin ranges from a dirty tan to reddish brown. The hexane extraction process commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today yields less lecithin than the older ethanol-benzol process, but produces a more marketable lecithin with better color, reduced odor and less bitter flavor.

Historian William Shurtleff reports that the expansion of the soybean crushing and soy oil refining industries in Europe after 1908 led to a problem disposing the increasing amounts of fermenting, foul-smelling sludge. German companies then decided to vacuum dry the sludge, patent the process and sell it as “soybean lecithin.” Scientists hired to find some use for the substance cooked up more than a thousand new uses by 1939.

Today lecithin is ubiquitous in the processed food supply. It is most commonly used as an emulsifier to keep water and fats from separating in foods such as margarine, peanut butter, chocolate candies, ice cream, coffee creamers and infant formulas. Lecithin also helps prevent product spoilage, extending shelf life in the marketplace. In industry kitchens, it is used to improve mixing, speed crystallization, prevent “weeping,” and stop spattering, lumping and sticking. Used in cosmetics, lecithin softens the skin and helps other ingredients penetrate the skin barrier. A more water-loving version known as “deoiled lecithin” reduces the time required to shut down and clean the extruders used in the manufacture of textured vegetable protein and other soy products.

In theory, lecithin manufacture eliminates all soy proteins, making it hypoallergenic. In reality, minute amounts of soy protein always remain in lecithin as well as in soy oil. Three components of soy protein have been identified in soy lecithin, including the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor, which has a track record of triggering severe allergic reactions even in the most minuscule quantities. The presence of lecithin in so many food and cosmetic products poses a special danger for people with soy allergies.

The Making of a Wonder Food

Lecithin has been touted for years as a wonder food capable of combating atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, liver cirrhosis, gall stones, psoriasis, eczema, scleroderma, anxiety, tremors and brain aging. Because it is well known that the human body uses phospholipids to build strong, flexible cell membranes and to facilitate nerve transmission, health claims have been made for soy lecithin since the 1920s. Dr. A. A. Horvath, a leading purveyor of soybean health claims at the time, thought it could be used in “nerve tonics” or to help alcoholics reduce the effects of intoxication and withdrawal. In 1934, an article entitled “A Comfortable and Spontaneous Cure for the Opium Habit by Means of Lecithin” was written by Chinese researchers and published in an English language medical journal.

Lecithin, though, did not capture the popular imagination until the 1960s and 1970s when the bestselling health authors Adelle Davis, Linda Clark and Mary Ann Crenshaw hyped lecithin in their many books, including Let’s Get Well, Secrets of Health and Beauty and The Natural Way to Super Beauty: Featuring the Amazing Lecithin, Apple Cider Vinegar, B-6 and Kelp Diet.

Lecithin did not become a star of the health food circuit by accident. Research took off during the early 1930s, right when lecithin production became commercially viable. In 1939, the American Lecithin Company began sponsoring research studies, and published the most promising in a 23-page booklet entitled Soybean Lecithin in 1944. The company, not coincidentally introduced a health food cookie with a lecithin filling known as the “Lexo Wafer” and a lecithin/wheat germ supplement called Granulestin. In the mid 1970s, Natterman, a lecithin marketing company based in Germany, hired scientists at various health clinics to experiment with lecithin and to write scientific articles about it. These “check book” scientists coined the term “essential phospholipids” an inaccurate term since a healthy body can produce its own phospholipids from phosphorous and lipids.

In September 2001, lecithin got a boost when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized products containing enough of it to bear labels such as “A good source of choline.” Producers of soy lecithin hope to find ways to help the new health claim lift demand for lecithin and increase prices in what has been a soft market. Eggs, milk and soy products are the leading dietary sources of choline, according to recent research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University.

Genetically Modified
One of the biggest problems associated with soy lecithin comes from the origin of the soy itself. The majority of soy sources in the world are now genetically modified (GM). Researchers have clearly identified GM foods as a threat to the environment, pollution of soils and a long-term threat to human health with links to of the world with unnatural genetic material that may have unknown long-term consequences with links to decreased fertility, immunological alterations in the gut and the exacerbation and creation of allergies.

Genetically engineered soy contains high concentrations of plant toxicants. The presence of high levels of toxicants in the GM soy represent thousands of plant biochemicals many of which have been shown to have toxic effects on animals.

Unfermented Soy Sources 

The manufacture of soy lecithin is also typically confined to unfermented sources because it is quicker and cheaper to make.Unfermented soy products are rich in enzyme inhibitors. Enzymes such as amylase lipase and protease are secreted into the digestive tract to help break down food and free nutrients for assimilation into the body. The high content of enzyme inhibitors in unfermented soybeans interferes with this process and makes carbohydrates and proteins from soybeans impossible to completely digest.

Unfermented soy has been linked to digestive distress, immune system breakdown, PMS, endometriosis, reproductive problems for men and women, allergies, ADD and ADHD, higher risk of heart disease and cancer, malnutrition, and loss of libido.

It is now widely recognized that the only soy fit for human consumption is fermented soy.

Phosphatidyl Choline (PC)

Because many lecithin products sold in health food stores contain less than 30 percent choline, many clinicians prefer to use the more potent Phosphatidylcholine (PC) or its even more powerful derivative drug Glyceryl-phosphorylcholine (GPC). Both are being used to prevent and reverse dementia, improve cognitive function, increase human growth hormone (hGH) release, and to treat brain disorders such as damage from stroke. PC and GPC may help build nerve cell membranes, facilitate electrical transmission in the brain, hold membrane proteins in place, and produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. However, studies on soy lecithin, PC, and brain aging have been inconsistent and contradictory ever since the 1920s. Generally, lecithin is regarded as safe except for people who are highly allergic to soy. However, the late Robert Atkins, MD, advised patients not to take large doses of supplemental lecithin without extra vitamin C to protect them from the nitrosamines formed from choline metabolism. Trimethylamine and dimethylamine, which are metabolized by bacteria in the intestines from choline, are important precurors to N-nitrosodimethylamine, a potent carcinogen in a wide variety of animal species.

Phosphatidyl Serine (PS)

Phosphatidyl serine (PS) — another popular phospholipid that improves brain function and mental acuity – nearly always comes from soy oil. Most of the scientific studies proving its efficacy, however, come from bovine sources, which also contain DHA as part of the structure. Plant oils never contain readymade DHA. Indeed, the entire fatty acid structure is different; bovine derived PS is rich in stearic and oleic acids, while soy PS is rich in linoleic and palmitic acids. Complicating matters further, the PS naturally formed in the human body consists of 37.5 percent stearic acid and 24.2 percent arachidonic acid. Yet soy-derived PS seems to help many people.

Russell Blaylock, MD, author of Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills, explains that the probable reason PS works is because its chemical structure is similar to that of L-glutamate, the trouble-making neurotransmitter, amino acid and excitotoxin that exists in high concentration in MSG (monosodium glutamate), HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) and “natural flavorings” and foods containing these soy derivatives. (See Chapter 11.) Because PS competes with glutamate, it may protect us from glutamate toxicity. Ironically, the expensive soy-derived supplement PS is being used to undo damage that may be caused in part by the cheap soy in processed foods

Lysophosphatidyl-ethanolamine (LPE)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved lysophosphatidyl-ethanolamine (LPE), another phosphatidyl substance commercially extracted from soybeans, for use as a fruit ripener and shelf-life extender. LPE – once called cephalin — is now being used to treat grapes, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, tomatoes, and cut flowers.

When applied to fruits that are nearly ripe – going into puberty, so to speak — LPE promotes ripening. When applied to picked fruit or cut flowers that are already ripe or blooming, however, it will “reduce senescence by inhibiting some of the enzymes involved in membrane breakdown.” This can dramatically extend shelf life. Whether the substance could also keep human bodies fresh for funeral home viewings has not yet been investigated.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Waking Times or its staff.

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How To Get More Cancer Protection From Your Broccoli http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/30/how-to-get-more-cancer-protection-from-your-broccoli/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/30/how-to-get-more-cancer-protection-from-your-broccoli/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:41:36 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=27779 Margie King, GreenMedInfo Waking Times Research has shown repeatedly that cruciferous vegetables fight cancer.  Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower contain a cancer-protective compound called sulforaphane.  This powerful compound improves the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and other toxins. In fact, broccoli has been shown to kill the stem cells that make cancer immortal. […]

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Flickr - Broccoli - jules-stonesoupMargie King, GreenMedInfo
Waking Times

Research has shown repeatedly that cruciferous vegetables fight cancer.  Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower contain a cancer-protective compound called sulforaphane.  This powerful compound improves the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and other toxins.

In fact, broccoli has been shown to kill the stem cells that make cancer immortal.

While broccoli is a rich source of sulphoraphane, sprouting broccoli boosts sulphoraphane content to superfood levels.

Three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain 10-100 times higher levels of sulforaphane than a mature head of broccoli.  Just one ounce of broccoli sprouts contains as much sulforaphane as one-and-a-half pounds of broccoli.  Broccoli sprouts been proven to be very effective in reducing breast cancer risks.

A University of Illinois study published in The British Journal of Nutrition suggests that combining broccoli with broccoli sprouts may make the vegetable’s anti-cancer effect almost twice as powerful.

According to Elizabeth Jeffery, a professor of nutrition at the University, it takes only three to five servings of broccoli per week to obtain the cancer prevention benefits.

But it’s important that the broccoli you eat still has a live enzyme called myrosinase.  This enzyme is needed to form the sulforaphane, its active cancer fighting substance.

The problem is that many people overcook their broccoli.  Cooking broccoli too long or at too high a heat will destroy the myrosinase.  One study showed that two minutes in a microwave or seven minutes of steaming will destroy myrosinase.

Jeffery recommends steaming broccoli for only two to four minutes to protect both the enzyme and the vegetable’s other nutrients.

Another way to make sure you’re getting myrosinase is to eat raw broccoli sprouts.  They have an abundant supply.

The researchers noted that some health-conscious consumers use broccoli powder supplements especially if they don’t like broccoli.  But taking supplements doesn’t always work if the supplements don’t contain the enzyme.  The researchers hypothesized that myrosinase combined with broccoli powder would increase the sulforaphane content.

The study was small.  Four healthy men ate broccoli sprouts alone, broccoli powder alone, or a combination of the two. Tests performed three hours after the meals showed an almost twofold increase in sulforaphane absorption when sprouts and powder were eaten together.

According to the researchers, this indicated that myrosinase from the broccoli sprouts produced sulforaphane not only from the sprouts but also from the broccoli powder.

The authors note that other sulforaphane containing foods, such as mustard, radishes, arugula, and wasabi, can be added to broccoli to boost its effects. For example, they suggest sprinkling broccoli sprouts on broccoli.  Or you could make a mustard or wasabi sauce to serve with broccoli.

Broccoli sprouts are becoming very popular.  Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a line of broccoli sprouts and sprout blends under the brand name BroccoSprouts. You can find them at health foods stores, Whole Foods Markets and many supermarkets.

Broccoli sprouts should be eaten raw.  They are great on sandwiches, in wraps or as a salad topping.

About the Author

Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. She is also a professional copywriter and prolific health and nutrition writer whose work appears as the National Nutrition Examiner. To contact Margie, visit www.NourishingMenopause.com.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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3 Reasons Why Darwinism Fails to Define Human Nature http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/29/3-reasons-why-darwinism-fails-to-define-human-nature/ http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/07/29/3-reasons-why-darwinism-fails-to-define-human-nature/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 03:20:29 +0000 http://www.wakingtimes.com/?p=27766 Christina Sarich, Staff Writer Waking Times  You’ve heard of ‘survival of the fittest’, the Darwinian paradigm that has shaped at least the last 1000 years or more of civilization? It turns out, that though Darwin had some interesting observations of the natural world, he was gravely mistaken about human nature, and its ability to evolve […]

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evolution_of_manChristina Sarich, Staff Writer
Waking Times 

You’ve heard of ‘survival of the fittest’, the Darwinian paradigm that has shaped at least the last 1000 years or more of civilization? It turns out, that though Darwin had some interesting observations of the natural world, he was gravely mistaken about human nature, and its ability to evolve in what is defined as an overly competitive world.

Since at least the 1850s Darwin created a world view that was based on concepts like transmutation of the species and an evolutionary construct detailed in his greatest work, On the Origin of Species, which included concepts on natural selection, the Weismann barrier (the principle that hereditary information moves only from genes to the body cells, and never in reverse) and dogmatic definitions of molecular biology. His concepts were against a ‘divine’ design, or the possibilities of other influences like extraterrestrial interference in our bloodlines and DNA.

Arguably, no one has a hard-and-fast grasp on the way life forms and is created and sustained in this world, but there are at least three solid reasons why Darwinism is an outdated, dusty paradigm which we can make a leap from in order to shape a better future.

1. We are a cooperative species.

In Darwinistic terms animals, especially human beings, will always act in their own best interest, as part of the ‘survival of the fittest’ impetus to propel biologically the genes that are fastest, smartest, and strongest. English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), who popularized Charles Darwin’s ideas of evolution, once said, “The animal world is about on a level of a gladiator’s show… whereby the strongest, the swiftest, and the cunningest (sic) live to fight another day.” Hollywood and the mass media has perpetuated these ideas. They give us the same plot lines, the same convoluted news about aggression and violence repeatedly, brainwashing us into believing it is our very nature to fight one another.

Conversely, there is mounting evidence that the biological world actually exists in altruism and cooperation instead. The theory of natural selection proposed that an ape, for example, would always look to gain his own reproductive advantage, and even steal food from his own mother if it meant he could outlive her. Darwin himself started to explore this interesting phenomenon – of animals and people actually putting the needs of others ahead of their own in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, but did not follow it to its logical conclusions. In 1902, the Russian zoologist, Peter Kroptokin, picked up where Darwin left off in his anarchist book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution.

“The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.” ~ Peter Kroptokin

In an argument against Darwinism, Robert Augros and George Stanciu, published The New Biology: Discovering the Wisdom of Nature, which points out that cooperation, not competition, is the norm in nature, because it is energy-efficient and because predators and their prey maintain a kind of balanced coexistence. They found that “nature uses extraordinarily ingenious techniques to avoid conflict and competition, and that cooperation is extraordinarily widespread throughout all of nature.”

Example in nature abound – and for some reason we have forgotten to look right under our noses for this evidence of cooperation instead of competition. Look at bees and flowers, and how they interact with the human food supply,  ant colonies and how they work together tirelessly to build a home, the long-eared owl and her blind-snake that acts as a housekeeper to keep away flies, ticks and other nuisances from baby owl chicks. There are literally thousands of demonstrations of our cooperative nature in Mother nature. Human beings are no different.

Some may ask if a truly selfless act exists, since it inherently boosts our own well-being when we help others – but this just might be the genius behind cooperation in evolution. When you do something for someone else, you can’t help but do something for yourself.

2. Darwinism can’t explain the presence of ‘human’ life-forms in ancient times even though archeological evidence is showing up all over the planet that extremely ancient intelligent civilizations existed.

There is evidence that humans were on this planet before, during and after the dinosaurs even. Darwin would say that evolution is the process of inherited characteristics of a biological set of parents over successive generations. This includes everything from human beings to DNA and proteins. He also argued that evolution happened via three primary processes: the more offspring that are created, the more that there is likelihood of some surviving, traits will vary among said offspring and vary future generations’ abilities to create more offspring, and all traits come from inheritable genes.

We now have multiple theories that human beings developed traits which their parents, and ancestors did not possess. We’ve experienced quantum leaps in evolution many times in our history. Our human DNA can ‘mutate’ at any time to become super human – spiritual beings, you could say – without any understandable reference to Darwinism. There are even documented cases of children being born now with three strands of DNA. Doctors can’t explain this, and Darwin certainly couldn’t. Medical science calls it a ‘faulty’ gene, but might not this toddler be an example of our greater capacity as a spiritually evolved species, and not animals fighting over a singular meal or mate?

3. Science is now proving we can change our genes with our diet, with sound, with light and with thoughts and feelings. 

We are not relegated to the singular set of genes our parents gives us. There is research in multiple countries which proves we can reprogram ourselves, and that 90% of our DNA is not ‘junk DNA’ at all.  A pioneer of this work is Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev who explored the DNA under vibrational frequency changes. He has basically proven what yogis and adepts, shaman and wise men from Indian tribes have known for millennia – that “Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means they can be programmed – at any point in their life cycle. Simply using things like affirmations, autogenous training, hypnosis, and positive sound energy can transmute gene sequences.

There are of course, multiple other reasons we need to shift from this erroneous thinking – that life is based on the survival of the fittest and that natural selection determines our lot in life and as a species. While the elite few running the mind games at the top of the pyramid would have us believe we are groveling, violent animals, they are dead wrong, and quite possibly delusional. We are infinite. We are cooperative, and evolution is a lot more fascinating than Darwin would have ever expected.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao TzuParamahansa YoganandaRob Brezny,  Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.

Additional references:

– Gilbert Gottlieb, Individual Development and Evolution: The Genesis of Novel Behavior (Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press, 2001).

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