World A.S. Day May 4, 2013

World-AS-Day-2013-The-Positive-PearWorld A.S. Day is today May 4, 2013. The goal is to help draw awareness to Ankylosing Spondylitis which is a physically debilitating disease affecting over 2 million men, women & children. In spite of chronic pain, crippling symptoms & incredible discomfort, many thrive while living with this autoimmune disease. The Positive Pear offers comfort, support and helpful tools one would need to continue thriving while living with A.S. Sending love & hugs to all those thriving & surviving!! ♥ Read more about Ankylosing Spondylitis: https://thepositivepear.com/invisible-chronic-illness/ankylosing-spondylitis/

Are You Eating Real Food? Allergies, Inflammation & Cancer 3 Reasons to Go Organic!

Are You Eating Real Food? For those heavily involved in a holistic, natural and organic lifestyle this is a very familiar topic, but for many this might be your first exposure.  When the subject of healthy eating comes up in discussion, many often feel this is a non-issue because they refrain from eating “junk food,” without knowing that what they’re eating may not be considered healthy or even considered real food.  You’ll soon discover that what you choose to eat may not only make you sick, but it can also exacerbate symptoms of chronic conditions and with a weakened immune system it might also make you more susceptible to other conditions and diseases.

I find it very interesting that word “food” does not represent what we think it does.  We now have to use the term “real food” when referring to foods that have not been modified or tampered with in some way.  Over the last several years I’ve often wondered about the increase in the number of peanut allergies and not only gluten allergies, but gluten sensitivities, food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowl disease and the increase in “new” allergens. The most logical explanation that I could come up with for the increased number of peanut allergies was overexposure.  Since at one point you could find traces of peanuts as an ingredient or filler in many food products.  The same for gluten, its an ingredient in toothpaste, shampoo, make-up, gum, lotions, medications, sauces, gravies and all wheat products.  While we’re on the subject of wheat, this is one grain that you’ll want to keep your eye on, because it’s one of the next grains soon to be effected by what you read below.  Why is it that we have such high cases of food allergies and high levels of food intolerance IBS and IBDs, especially now when compared to 15 or 20 years ago? What happens to the GI Tract after it’s been exposed to toxic chemicals over long periods of time? You’ll discover the answers to many of these questions as you read on.  Once you begin to take a closer look at what we’ve been exposed to, you’ll quickly realize that overexposure is only a small glimpse into a much larger issue. To really understand where we are today, we’d have to travel back to the mid 90’s when we stopped eating real food.

 In 1996 the food industry changed and not necessarily for the good. New proteins were engineered into our food supply to maximize profitability in the food industry.  This was after synthetic protein hormones were injected directly into cows with adverse reactions in 1994, so the government had to find another way,which was adding the synthetic protein directly to the livestock food supply. While the US allowed the use of GMO proteins because it had not been proven dangerous, Canada, Australia, the UK, and 27 other European countries did not allow its use, because there were no studies available to show how these chemicals effected the livestock much less the effects on human health after consumption. When you hear the term “synthetic protein hormone” you have to wonder about both the long-term and short-term effects of exposure to elevated hormone levels on humans and if there’s a link to breast, prostate, colon cancer and other types of cancers.  In 2008 Dr. Leonard Hardell and Dr. Mikael Eriksson of Sweden, revealed clear links between one of the world’s biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup, marketed by Monsanto), to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. Keep this in mind as you read along.  According to Livestrong and American Cancer Society, the US has the highest rates of cancer than any other country in the world. If you move to the US from another country your chances of developing cancer increase exponentially. According to cancer research studies 1 out of 2 american men and 1 out of 3 american women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime.  1 out of 8 american women will develop breast cancer and out this group only 1 in 10 is genetic.  This means that 9 out of 10 of these cases are environmentally triggered.  These chemicals which cause allergic reactions, and trigger the inflammatory response in the body are also responsible for the increased incidents of certain types of cancer.

During the time that our milk supply was being engineered with a new synthetic protein there was an increase in the number of allergies, especially those dairy related. As dairy allergies were on the rise, so were other types of allergies. Since dairy is one of the top 8 allergens, you would not have to venture far to identify the next genetically modified food.  To no surprise soy was also engineered by scientist, with increased profits as the motivator,  especially since the primary use of soy was to fatten livestock. Scientists were able to modify the soybean, by taking genes from bacteria and forcing it into DNA of the soybean plant, causing it to produce a protein that would allow it to withstand increasing amounts of Monsanto Roundup Herbicide by absorbing its main ingredient glyphosate.  Soy is known as the first Roundup Ready crop, and was produced at Monsanto’s Agracetus in 1991.  In 1996 the US incorporated this newly modified bean into our food source. If this isn’t enough to make you cringe, just wait to hear what scientist were able to do with corn. There was an increasing concern of insecticide being sprayed over cornfields, so scientist were able to genetically modify corn by engineering this very insecticide into the DNA of a corn seed, so that as the corn plant grew it released its own insecticide.  As a result, corn was then regulated by the EPA as an insecticide. So in essence, when we eat GMO corn we are essentially eating an insecticide.

Those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions and auto-immune disease want to be especially mindful of these facts, because these same harmful chemicals can also exacerbate these conditions and make those of us with weakened immune systems even more susceptible. Symptoms such as inflamed irritated stomachs, discoloration of stomach lining, leakage of intestines, as well as behavioral symptoms of irritability and anti-social behavior have been associated with animals who consume glyphosate. Inflammatory bowel disease in humans has risen 40 percent since 1992, though the consumption of GMO foods and IBD have not been scientifically linked, there are many scientist who suspect a connection. Don Huber, Emeritus Professor at Purdue University and senior scientist on USDA’s National Plant Disease Recovery System, a plant physiologist and pathologist for over 40 years. Addressed many of his concerns in a  letter to the US Secretary of State Tom Vilsak which was leaked in February 2011. He speaks about a pathogen “new to science” in glyphosate-tolerant GM crops and its negative physiological effects on plants, crops, animals and humans.  If you have doubts on the effects of ingesting GMO foods simply read the warning label of any herbicide or pesticide.

You might wonder how these foods were introduced into our food supply without human trials.  Well, thanks to a term known as “substantial equivalence”, a conceptual tool used by the tobacco industry to facilitate the approval process of something for which no human trials had been conducted, we were exposed without our consent. Its was in 1997 that legalization of Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing was enacted by the Food and Drug Administration, approximately one year after GMO foods were introduced into our food supply. Timely, and a great opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on the many sick people who GMO foods would soon create.

The FDA has very strict food labeling regulations, even the organic food industry has to meet a rigid criteria before food products can carry the USDA Organic label.  Despite the fact that mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods in the United States has been proposed, there has been no law passed requiring it.  At least 35 other countries have adopted mandatory labelling for any product that has been genetically modified. The European Parliament passed laws in July 2003 on products containing GMO foods, lifting the seven-year ban on the introduction of new biotech products. As of April 18, 2004, all products containing an ingredient that contains more than 0.9 per cent of GMOs must be labelled. Animal feed containing GMOs will also must be labelled. One way to protect ourselves here in the US is to grow our own organic foods and when you must purchase foods, buy organic or look for foods labeled Non-GMO project verified. Keep in mind that all livestock has been exposed to genetically modified foods so this effects, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, milk, soy, corn, and all products carrying these ingredients,which are countless.  In the mid to late 90’s when I became aware that we were being exposed to GMO foods, I made the decision to go 100% organic. In spite of this effort I know there were many times that I or my family members were exposed to GMO foods and that was anytime we weren’t eating at home.  Though I’m grateful that I was able to make the decision to purchase organic foods, some people can not afford to make this same choice.  It’s frustrating to know that our tax resources have gone to subsidize the growth of the crops with chemicals and GMO foods. While organic food farmers who grow foods without harmful chemicals are charged absorbent fees, which they in turn to pass on to us.  Plus, they are not privy to the same  insurance and marketing that GMO food farmers have. Even conventional farmers are adversely effected, now having to pay royalties on these newly engineered seeds or risk being sued.

Tell the FDA that we have a right to know what’s in our food

What about the manufacturers who use GMOs in their food products? Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg, Coke, Pepsi, Heinz and Walmart meet the demands of their consumers in other countries by using non-GMO foods in their products that they distribute outside of the US. Ironically these same companies have jumped on the “organic” money train by offering organic products or purchasing long-standing organic brands. (We’ll question the integrity of these organic products in another post.) If these companies can make these non-GMO food exceptions for other countries, certainly they can distribute these affordable products here in the US, giving us the ability to choose as consumers. Of course, costs become an issue when GMO has become the industry standard, but it is possible as a corporation to thrive in a non-GMO environment. Take the Pro-Terra Foundation for example, who announced that since 1996 it has distributed 4.8 million tonnes per year of traceable and verified socially responsible, environmentally stable, non-GM soy and in a bid to encourage more food manufacturers to switch to non-GM soy, cereals and grains, plus they’ve introduced a new not-for-profit organization consumer orientated logo which has been set up around the established ProTerra standard.

You have to also wonder about the impact that being exposed to these high toxicity levels has had on our healthcare dollars, not just us individually but also a country.  The US spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, 16% of our gross domestic product or (GDP) goes to managing disease. Companies spend more money on healthcare for their employees then they do on the products they actually sell or promote. This not only affects us individually but it affects our country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

We’ve been exposed to genetically modified foods for the past 16 years, this is enough time to learn of  it’s harmful effects. Most recently there have been studies which show an increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood leukemia, breast cancer, while also causing cardiovascular, nerve, respiratory, kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal damage. As well as reproductive damage resulting in infertility, sterility, birth defects, infant mortality relating to the consumption of GMO Soy and the ingredient glyphosate. A great quote to ponder from health advocate Dr. Mercola “I strongly believe that one of the most obvious clues about the danger of GMO foods are that just about EVERY species of animal that is offered a GMO food versus a non-GMO food will avoid the GMO one. Many times they will do this to the point of starvation, as they have an intuitive sense of the danger of this food.” What can we do when our own government can not see the error in its ways?  Well, we can’t afford to wait for legislature or regulation, we need to continue driving awareness and begin making the needed changes regarding our own individual health, whether we’re considered healthy or afflicted, and the health of our families by choosing to purchase, eat and grow real, natural and organic foods. This will in turn influence our communities and corporations while ultimately effecting the economy. Once we begin to take on this personal responsibility, combined with determination and passion, in the words of Robin O’Brien “we have the ability to effect remarkable change.”

Soy first Roundup Ready CropStatus of GMO Wheat, Herbicide Tolerance,” New Study Links Monsanto’s Roundup to cancer,” – June 2001,  GMO Soy Linked to Infant Mortality in Rats,  The Pesticide Education CenterThe Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN)The Unhealthy Truth, Pro-Terra StandardSeeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods,

Can Organic Juicing “Cure” Disease…Specifically Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Organic juicing can provide the most amazing healing benefits, including cleansing the body of free radicals and toxins, while offering anti-inflammatory benefits, and in the process stave off the effects of aging and degenerative diseases.  I juice regularly and I strongly believe in the healing power of fruits and vegetables. I’ve also been asked a number times if I believe that juicing itself, or if certain freeze-dried juices promoted by various companies can cure specific diseases such as cancer, arthritis and most recently AS.  In my humble opinion, the answer is “no” and here’s why.

“Cure” defined by Wikipedia, means: “the end of a medical condition; the substance or procedure that ends the medical condition, such as a medication, a surgical operation, a change in lifestyle, or even a philosophical mindset that helps a person suffer. It may also refer to the state of being healed, or cured.”  According to my definition, as someone living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a cure would mean waking up to no further, pain, inflammation, fatigue or symptoms relating to AS, or any companion diseases falling under the category of spondyloarthropathies.  Although juicing can not cure auto-immune disease, the addition of juicing to one’s daily health regimen, combined with a healthy lifestyle can do wonders.

What exactly does juicing offer?

Juicing gives the body a well needed break from digestion, so energy can be directed toward healing. During this time your cells receive well needed recovery through the rejuvenation process of detoxifying and repairing themselves.  Juicing allows us the opportunity to load the body full of valuable nutrients, minerals & enzymes.  Enzymes are very special proteins found in a all living cells, which act as catalysts in the metabolic process.  They are indispensable and essential actions for the chemical reactions that make life possible and without them, life simply would not be. Enzymes are found in all living things, including humans, plants and animals.  When foods are cooked, the enzyme content is reduced considerably.  This is why it is important to consume  as many servings of fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.  Drinking freshly squeezed juices allows us this opportunity, without the burden of eating and digesting such large quantities of food.  Consuming minerals & enzymes offer amazing healing benefits and the most powerful way to multiply our intake of these powerful nutrients is to consume green drinks.  Green drinks consists of green leafy vegetables, often combined with certain fruits to make the drink more palate pleasing. Many green leafy vegetables also offer many anti-inflammatory benefits such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens & turnip greens. Many fruits also offer anti-inflammatory benefits such as: lemons, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries & kiwi.  The proper combinations of these fruits and vegetables are crucial in reaping the healing benefits of juicing, without doing harm to the body such as raising your blood sugar levels, or effecting symptoms of reactive arthritis such as IBS.

What you juice is just as important as what you eat.  How much you consume of certain foods, is just as important as what you consume of foods in their full form ie; a diabetic juicing fruit.  Combining  the proper foods when  juicing can yield amazing healing benefits for just about anyone.  However, juicing should be done so with caution for Gout sufferers, needing to avoid purine-rich foods & autoimmune arthritis & IBS sufferers choosing to refrain from consuming large amounts of sugars & starches.  Juicing can offer incredible healing benefits for many, especially those living with chronic inflammatory diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis.

What can juicing offer to those living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, and other inflammatory conditions?

In addition to newly found energy, a clearer complexion and mental clarity, juicing and drinking green leafy vegetables can offer amazing anti-inflammatory benefits.  Reducing inflammation without question has a positive impact on a the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylisits, as well as other inflammatory conditions; such as eczema and asthma.  As someone who lives with AS, who has also used juicing for many years, I can attest to the positive impact that juicing  the proper combinations of foods can have on autoimmune arthritis related inflammation. The consumption of freshly squeezed green drinks, from vegetables high in anti-inflammatory properties reduces the inflammatory response of Ankylosing Spondylitis..at least in my case and it might also work for you.

When it comes to such beneficial remedies as juicing, it’s imperative to choose the proper terminology when describing its effects on specific conditions. In terms of healing, there is both physiological healing and wound healing.  Research has shown that both fruits and vegetables have physiological healing properties, so its safe to say that juicing offers the same healing benefits.  Consuming higher amounts of enzyme rich foods via juicing, without the burden of digestion can be instrumental in staving off degenerative, age related diseases contributing to inflammation, such as heart disease, along with certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis, as the foods these juices are derived from offer these very benefits.  However, once a person has a disease, especially an incurable autoimmune disease, going so far as to suggest juicing as stand alone cure, is a stretch.  Promoting juicing as a “cure” immediately puts it into the category of snake oil remedies, thus invalidating  the importance of  its use.

The Positive Pear recommends juicing daily with the proper food combinations. Buy Non-GMO, local and organic whenever possible, especially when eating for the purpose of healing or controlling inflammation.  Using lots of dark green leafy vegetables and when adding fruit, make sure its simply enough to lighten the flavor. If you’re on a Low-Starch Diet, be sure to remain true to the diet even when juicing or the symptoms that you’re eating to control might return. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods and you just might be successful in controlling your AS inflammation via juicing as I have. What do you have to lose? Give it a shot.

Click here to view our “Kale, Cucumber, Lemon & Ginger Fresh Juice Recipe”

Dr Oz on juicing, Dr Oz has his favorite juice daily. Definition of enzymes & healing according to Wikipedia.  Positive Pear Article: The Best Medicine for Stress is an Inner & Outer Smile regarding controlling stress & inflammation. Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods & Recipes here on The Positive Pear. Green leafy vegetables considered cancer fighting foods according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

(All rights reserved.  Please feel free to share this article in its entirety, excerpts or links to the article provided full & clear credit is given to The Positive Pear Blog)

The Best Medicine for Stress is an Inner & Outer Smile

Controlling your anxiety and stress levels might be helpful in controlling inflammation, as well as ward off aging related chronic illnesses.  When we are in a constant state of worry relating to daily life such as work, school, finances, family etc; our bodies begin to recognize this continued exposure as a threat. Thus Immediately activating the stress response by switching the body’s systems to “fight or flight” mode, a physiological response normally reserved for dangerous situations. The hypothalamus gland in the brain sets the response in motion by triggering the nervous system,  which in turn alerts the adrenal glands to release a huge surge of stress hormones known as epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and cortisol directly into the bloodstream which causes several physical changes in the body.  Including increasing the heart rate, elevating blood pressure and boosting our energy supply. Cortisol the primary stress hormone, also increases our levels of glucose in the bloodstream and enhances the brain’s use of glucose, which allows us to think faster to plan an escape.  The release of cortisol also minimizes the use of crucial functions of the body. Functions such as the immune system, digestive system and reproductive system, rendering them temporarily useless, which would allow us to flee a truly dangerous situation much more quickly. Because several areas of the brain are alerted, this physiological state also effects our mood among other things. In a real life emergency these responses would be beneficial, but imagine what’s happening to the body each time you are under mental, physical or emotional stress. Being exposed frequently to stressful situations creates a constant release of these hormones and over long periods of time can be incredibly be harmful to the immune system.

In a real “fight or flight” situation the body completely returns to normal after the perceived threat has been removed.  Stress hormone levels  decrease, cortisol levels drop, heart rate returns to normal, blood pressure returns to its original level and body functions such as, the immune, digestive and reproduction systems resume their normal routines. However, with the continued exposure to stress, the body remains in constant “fight or flight” mode with the inability to regulate itself. The continued release of these stress hormones can lead to an impaired immune system.  Thus breaking down the body’s ability to discern allies from helpers. As a result, the body begins to view everything as a threat causing immune malfunctions such as chronic inflammation.  Which is the number one contributing factor to aging related diseases and major symptoms and conditions such as allergies, chronic headaches, obesity, diabetes, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, heart disease, strokes, insomnia, digestive issues, depression and memory impairment.  It can also trigger the inflammatory response in the body, which would naturally effect chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints (arthritis) and skin (eczema). Imagine what the continued exposure to stressful situations can do to someone battling an autoimmune disease and chronic inflammatory conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, or a syndrome such a Fibromyalgia which is directly effected by stress.

We are living in very stressful times, but stress does not have to dominate your life. If you learn to master healthy stress reducing techniques now, you can limit your risk of chronic illness, aging related disease or the risk of exacerbating symptoms associated with diseases or conditions that you may already have. There is one technique that we can employ at anytime allowing us to reap immediate positive health benefits, while allowing us to regain control of our minds & bodies and that would be to adapt both an inner & outer smile.  It sounds far too simple to actually work, but you can have confidence in knowing that by putting on an immediate outer smile, in spite of whatever stressful situation that you might be experiencing, it forces an inward shift.  Which then becomes an inner smile or a positive mental attitude. This chain reaction then tells the body that everything is going to be ok.  This causes the body to then immediately stop releasing stress hormones, which returns the blood pressure to normal, while also allowing the immune and digestive systems to regain their normal functions.  It also releases endorphins which is a natural pain killer and serotonin which is a mood enhancer.  By simply utilizing this little technique we can immediately create a positive mental attitude, which not only allows us to problem solve more effectively, but when used regularly combined with a healthy lifestyle can also extend our lives.  Remember when you are under stress, remove yourself from the situation, close your eyes, take a deep cleansing breath and immediately adapt both an inner & outer smile. Have several each day and share a few with friends. Wishing you many beautiful and stress free days ahead “The Positive Pear” Blog:)

Other natural stress management techniques here on the positive pear.

(All rights reserved.  Please feel free to share this article in its entirety, excerpts or links provided full & clear credit is given to The Positive Pear Blog)