Sunday, October 14, 2018

Common Household Cleaners Could be Altering Children's Microbiome

Razi Berry

The chemicals we use to clean our home may be detrimental to our children's microbiome. Because of the known links to weight gain, as well as metabolic changes and the gut microbiome, it is possible that these chemicals are contributing to the obesity epidemic seen in children. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looks at this topic.1

Study looked at the gastrointestinal flora (gut microbiome) of 757 infants

The study looked at the gastrointestinal flora (gut microbiome) of 757 infants from the general public (age 3-4 months). The weight of the children were measured at 1 and 3 years. Their exposure to disinfectants, detergents, and eco-friendly products used in the home were assessed.

Altered gut flora in 3-4 month old babies exposed to frequent use of disinfectants

Altered gut flora was most strongly associated in the 3-4 month old babies who were exposed to frequent use of disinfectants. They showed lower levels of Haemophilus and Clostridium bacteria but higher levels of Lachnospiraceae. An increase in Lachnospiraceae was also seen with increases in disinfectant use. The same associations were not seen with detergents and eco-friendly cleaners.


Disinfectants being used only weekly were seen to correlate with higher levels of Lachnospiraceae at age 3-4 months, as well as a body mass index that was higher than children not exposed. Babies in households using eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiomes than other children and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers.

"Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae. However, we found no evidence that these gut microbiome changes caused the reduced obesity risk," the researchers said.

Use of eco-friendly products may be a byproduct of an overall healthy way of living

The use of eco-friendly products may merely be a byproduct of an overall healthy way of living, including diet and more playful activities that would also affect healthy gut flora as well as weight of children.

'Study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition'

"Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight," write the authors. "Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population."


  1. Moira K. Differding, Noel T. Mueller. Are household disinfectants microbially mediated obesogens? Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2018; 190 (37): E1095 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.181134

Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review  that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath.  She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at  Love is Medicine  to explore the convergence of love and health.

The post Common Household Cleaners Could be Altering Children's Microbiome appeared first on NaturalPath.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Virgin Cherry Moscow Mules

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to see what that means!

In order to support our blogging activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types or remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

That being said, we only promote authors, products, and services that we wholeheartedly stand by!


Whether you're new to the AIP or have been navigating your special diet for a while, it can be disheartening to have to face the holiday season without being able to drink. Everyone else is loosening up, having fun, and you feel stuck on the sidelines.

But, in my experience, indulging in an adult beverage has never been worth the pain it causes my body. With cramping, migraines, and nausea on the table… well, alcohol starts to look a lot less appealing. But that's what mocktails are for!

With the addition of cherries and sparkling water instead of vodka, these Virgin Cherry Moscow Mules will slake your thirst and make it look like you're part of the party… without any of the nasty side effects. To your health!

Virgin Cherry Moscow Mules
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 serving
  • 6 sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 3 ounces sparkling water
  • 6 ounces ginger beer
  1. In a glass, muddle the cherries with the lime juice.
  2. Stir in the sparkling water.
  3. Fill a copper mug with ice.
  4. Pour the cherry mixture into the mug, then top off with ginger beer.
I recommend making your ginger beer at home as few store-bought brands are AIP compliant. Here is my ginger beer recipe. A great alternative is ginger kombucha.


The post Virgin Cherry Moscow Mules appeared first on Autoimmune Wellness.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Children Taking Multiple Drugs May Be at Risk for Drug-Drug Interactions

Razi Berry

A recent research study from the University of Illinois at Chicago estimates that 20 percent of children regularly use a prescription medication, and that one in 12 of those children are at risk of a harmful drug-drug interaction (DDI).1 Adolescent girls are at the highest risk of these adverse events.

Researchers looked at medication use patterns of more than 23,000 children and teens living in the U.S.

Researchers retrospectively looked at medication use patterns of more than 23,000 children and teens living in the U.S. based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2003 and 2014.

Almost 20 percent of children had used at least one prescription medication

It was noted that almost 20 percent of children had used at least one prescription medication, and nearly 14 percent used routine medications for chronic problems. 7 percent used acute medications.  Chronic medication use was defined as taking at least one prescription medication for more than 30 days and acute medication as taking at least one for medication for less than 30 days.

Medication use seemed to increase with age, from 14 percent in children younger than 5 years to 22 percent in adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 years.

Psych meds such as these commonly contain black box warnings for adverse effects

The most common prescription drugs used were respiratory medications – bronchodilators and leukotriene inhibitors used in for asthma – and psychotherapeutic drugs – CNS stimulants and antidepressants. Psych meds such as these commonly contain black box warnings for adverse effects like suicidal thoughts, serotonin syndrome and even sudden death.

Lead author Dima M. Qato, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the UIC College of Pharmacy, says the findings not only provide valuable insight on how many young people in the U.S. regularly use prescription medication, but more importantly show that polypharmacy - the use of multiple medications simultaneously - is also common and comes with a potential risk.

7.5 percent of children were seen to use multiple medications simultaneously

Approximately 7.5 percent of children were seen to use multiple medications simultaneously, and 1 in 12 of them were at risk for a major DDI based on the medications being taken. Among adolescent girls, this number increased to 1 in 5 being at risk for a DDI.

Majority of these potential risks involved antidepressants

The majority of these potential risks involved antidepressants. The most common potential DDI was an increase QT interval, which is an abnormal cardiac rhythm that can actually cause sudden death in otherwise healthy children. Increases in QT interval is often asymptomatic.

Difference in gender largely due to a higher concurrent use of antidepressants with acute medications

The difference in gender was largely due to a higher concurrent use of antidepressants with acute medications, such as NSAIDS, anti-emetics, and macrolide antibiotics.

Study noted that it was very common for medications used to be associated with an increase risk in suicide

Additionally, the study noted that it was very common for medications used to be associated with an increase risk in suicide, and they are often used in combination. An example of this was that more than half of teen girls taking antidepressants also were using at least 2 other psychotropic medications or birth control.

This is worrisome considering leading cause of death in older children is suicide

This is worrisome considering that the leading cause of death in older children is suicide. And suicidality was noted in the article to not be a potential DDI that is considered in current drug interaction software. This means that healthcare practitioners may not be aware of the potential suicide risks in using these medications.


Dima M. Qato, G. Caleb Alexander, Jenny S. Guadamuz, Stacy Tessler Lindau. Prescription Medication Use Among Children and Adolescents in the United States. Pediatrics, 2018; e20181042 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2018-1042

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review  that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath.  She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at  Love is Medicine  to explore the convergence of love and health.

The post Children Taking Multiple Drugs May Be at Risk for Drug-Drug Interactions appeared first on NaturalPath.

Got Kidney Stones? A Roller-Coaster Ride May Help

By Dr. Mercola

Can a roller-coaster ride hasten the passage of kidney stones? While the pairing of an agonizingly painful health condition with an amusement ride may seem too outlandish to believe, research out of Michigan State University (MSU) has been recognized with a 2018 Ig® Nobel Prize for showing that it's possible.1

Keep in mind the Ig (for ignoble) is a spoof of the real Nobel Prize. Since 1991, it has been awarded every fall at a ceremony held at Harvard University. Organized by the scientific humor magazine The Annals of Improbable Research, the Ig acknowledges 10 unusual or trivial scientific research projects that "[make] people laugh and then think."2

Lest you assume human clinical trials were used to demonstrate the potential of roller coasters to facilitate the passing of kidney stones, you should know the outcomes were based only on anecdotal evidence and experiments with a silicon model.

Now that the Ig award has shed some light on an unusual treatment for kidney stones, let's take a closer look at how these stones form and what you can do more practically to prevent and treat them.

Spoof Nobel Prize Awarded for Using Roller Coasters to Bust up Kidney Stones

As discussed in the featured video, researchers from MSU teamed up to prove that fast-paced, looping roller coaster rides can be useful to help dislodge kidney stones. Their results, published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in 2016,3 validate the effectiveness of a roller-coaster ride to ease the passage of small kidney stones through a silicon urinary tract.

In a pilot study, Dr. David Wartinger, Professor Emeritus in MSU's department of osteopathic surgical specialties, used a backpack to transport a validated, synthetic 3D model of a hollow kidney on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The model, which was held at kidney level, contained urine and a number of kidney stones.

He analyzed 20 rides using variables such as kidney stone volume, the silicone model's placement on the roller coaster and the frequency of simulated stone passage. After partnering with Dr. Marc Mitchell, urologist with The Doctors Clinic in Poulsbo, Washington, Wartinger went on to analyze 60 roller coaster rides involving various kidney models.

They discovered sitting in the back of the coaster yielded the best passage rates, with 23 of 36 stones being successfully expelled. They also concluded stones located in the upper chamber of the kidney showed a 100 percent passage rate. About their research, Wartinger said:4

"In all, we used 174 kidney stones of varying shapes, sizes and weights to see if each model worked on the same ride and on two other roller coasters. Big Thunder Mountain was the only one that worked. We tried Space Mountain and Aerosmith's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and both failed."

What's the Best Type of Roller-Coaster Ride to Release Kidney Stones?

Based on his experience with different types of roller coasters, Wartinger told MSU Today that "some roller coaster rides are too fast and too violent with a G-force that pins the stone into the kidney and doesn't allow it to pass."

The ideal ride, he noted, is "rough and quick with some twists and turns."5 The best results were realized when riding a moderate-intensity roller coaster that did not involve any upside down or inverted movements.

Wartinger, who has since retired from MSU, does not think the research will extend to human trials because no one has expressed interest in continuing the work.6

Interestingly, the idea to pursue this research came about after a number of patients treated by the researchers reported passing kidney stones spontaneously after riding the same roller coaster in Disney's Magic Kingdom. About this anecdotal evidence, Mitchell and Wartinger stated:7

"The number of stone passages was sufficient to raise suspicions of a possible link between riding a roller coaster and passing [kidney stones]. One patient reported passing [kidney stones] after each of three consecutive rides on the roller coaster.

Many patients reported passing [kidney stones] within hours of leaving the amusement park, and all of them rode the same rollercoaster during their visit."

Based on his experience with different sizes of stones, Wartinger told Newsweek the benefits of roller coaster rides might apply only to small stones (up to 0.5 centimeters in diameter).8 Riding a roller coaster may not be beneficial for everyone with a kidney stone.

"You need to heed the warnings before going on a roller coaster," Wartinger advised. "If you have a kidney stone, but are otherwise healthy and meet the requirements of the ride, patients should try it. It's definitely a lower-cost alternative to health care."9

Another option, Wartinger says, is to take annual maintenance rides to reduce your chance of future issues. Roller coaster rides might also be beneficial to flush out remnants that are sometimes left behind after lithotripsy - a procedure used to break apart kidney stones deemed too large to pass naturally.

"The problem though is lithotripsy can leave remnants in the kidney which can result in another stone," Wartinger said. "The best way to potentially eliminate this from happening is to try going on a roller coaster after a treatment when the remnants are still small."10

Important Facts About Your Kidneys

Because your kidneys are only about the size of your fist and are safely tucked inside your body in your lower back, you may not pay much attention to them. That said, these bean-shaped organs are vital to your well-being and they stay plenty busy around the clock. According to the National Kidney Foundation, your kidneys have five top jobs, including:11

  • Balancing your pH levels - Your kidneys help maintain a healthy balance of the chemicals that control your body's acid levels by either removing or adjusting acid levels and buffering agents
  • Controlling your blood pressure - Because your kidneys need pressure to work properly, they play a role in raising or lowering your blood pressure through fluid levels and the making of a hormone that causes your blood vessels to constrict
  • Keeping your bones healthy - Your kidneys make an active form of vitamin D and also balance your calcium and phosphorus levels, which are necessary to make your bones strong
  • Making red blood cells - A hormone called erythropoietin is made by your kidneys and it tells your bone marrow to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to supply your body's energy needs
  • Removing wastes and extra fluid - Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood daily that results in about 1 to 2 quarts of urine (containing extra fluid and waste products), which is sent to your bladder for removal from your body

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones (renal calculi) are hard deposits made of chemicals, minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. They are just one of several conditions known to contribute to chronic kidney disease. Your kidneys are also affected by diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as by congenital or genetic conditions like polycystic kidney disease.

Most often, kidney stones result when your urine contains too little liquid and too much waste. Stones can begin as crystals, which in turn attract other elements to create a solid object that will continue to increase in size unless it is passed out of your body in urine. A few of the kidney stone-forming chemicals in your body are: calcium, cystine, oxalate, phosphate, urate and xanthine.12

Once formed, a stone may remain in your kidney or travel down your urinary tract into your ureter. Smaller stones may pass out of your body in urine without too much pain. Bigger stones that do not move often cause a backup of urine in your kidney, ureter, bladder or urethra, which can be extremely painful. With respect to kidney stones, the National Kidney Foundation estimates:13

  • More than half a million people visit the emergency room annually for issues related to kidney stones
  • The average person has a 10 percent chance of experiencing a kidney stone in his/her lifetime
  • The lifetime risk of having a stone is roughly 19 percent in men and 9 percent in women
  • In men, the first episode often occurs after age 30, but could be earlier
  • Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity may increase your risk of kidney stones

Symptoms of a Kidney Stone

The sizes and shapes of kidney stones vary as much as the people who have them. Some are as small as a grain of sand, while others are pebble size. In rare cases, kidney stones can be as large as a golf ball! When stones are too large to pass, doctors act to remove the stones or break them into smaller pieces that potentially can be passed out of your body.

As you may imagine, the larger the stone, the more noticeable your symptoms and the greater the likelihood of pain, which some have suggested can be as intense as childbirth. You can recognize a kidney stone according to the following symptoms:14

Blood in your urine

Fever and chills

Nausea or vomiting

Severe pain on either side of your lower back

Stomachache that persists or other pain that doesn't go away

Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy

Types of Kidney Stones

Two of the most common types of kidney stones are calcium oxalate and uric acid stones. Less common varieties are cystine stones, which reoccur and have a genetic link, and struvite stones, which are caused by an infection in your upper urinary tract. Here's a little more detail about the two common types:

  • Calcium oxalate - Your body typically creates this type of stone due to inadequate calcium and fluid intake, but other conditions may cause their formation. As the name implies, these stones are formed when calcium combines with oxalate in your urine.
  • Uric acid - A diet high in purines, a natural chemical compound found in foods such as organ meats and shellfish, contributes to a higher production of monosodium urate in your body. Given the right conditions, higher levels of urate can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Uric acid kidney stones tend to run in families.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Certain factors influence your risk of developing kidney stones. As a general rule, if you drink too little water, you put yourself at increased risk of stones because your kidneys need plenty of water to flush out waste products. Below are some of the other possible causes of kidney stones:15

Dehydration from not drinking enough liquids

Diet too high in oxalate, protein, salt or sugar (including high fructose corn syrup)

Digestive diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

Infections or obstructions

Exercise (too little or too much)

Family history and genetics


Weight-loss surgery

Your risk of kidney stones increases if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or have undergone weight-loss surgery. With respect to these conditions, the National Kidney Foundation states:16

"It is important to know that kidney stones are more common if you have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These conditions affect your body's ability to absorb fats properly. When fat is not absorbed the right way, the fat binds to calcium and leaves oxalate behind. The oxalate is then absorbed and taken to the kidney, where it can form stones.

Similarly, following gastric bypass surgery, your body absorbs less calcium from your digestive system. Because of this, higher levels of oxalate are found in the urinary tract. The buildup of oxalate can form crystals, which can form kidney stones."

Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones

Because a lack of fluid is a common cause of kidney stones, drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways you can prevent their development. If you are dealing with a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones.

Given the link between kidney stones and a diet high in purines, I recommend you limit your protein intake to one-half gram per pound of lean body mass. Most people need just 40 to 70 grams of protein daily, which is much less than you may be eating, particularly if you are consuming the standard American diet.

If you're prone to kidney stones, excess amounts of red meat can be particularly problematic because they decrease your body's levels of citrate, which is the chemical in your urine responsible for helping to prevent kidney stones from forming in the first place.

Most Americans consume far more protein than they need, which can heighten your risk of kidney stones. When you consume more protein than your body needs it has to remove even more nitrogen waste products from your blood, which stresses your kidneys. This predisposes you to chronic dehydration.

If you are prone to kidney stones or at increased risk, you would be wise to avoid the following foods, which contain high amounts of oxalate:






Swiss chard



Keep in mind you need sufficient amounts of magnesium because it helps prevent calcium from blending with oxalate to create the most common type of kidney stone. Magnesium, if you get enough, is a mineral that has the capacity to actually help prevent kidney stones.

Beyond your kidneys, your body also needs magnesium for the healthy function of most cells, including your heart and muscles. Unfortunately, most Americans suffer from magnesium deficiency.

Safe and Effective Ways to Treat Kidney Stones

In case you are not keen on riding a roller coaster as a possible treatment for kidney stones, you may want to check out my article How to Get Rid of Kidney Stones Effectively as well as the one titled How to Prevent and Treat Kidney Problems With Food.

In these writeups I share a lengthy list of natural remedies and foods to help you dissolve stones and encourage them to pass through your system.

Whatever you do, I advise against taking prescription drugs (including opioids) and over-the-counter (OTC) diuretics and pain relievers unless absolutely necessary. These medications are often accompanied by harsh potential side effects that may further damage your health and derail your recovery.

If the stones have still not released after trying one or more of the natural methods, or if you have a stone that is too big to pass on its own, you may need to consider a removal procedure.

Some of the recommended treatments include: shockwave lithotripsy (SWL), ureteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) or open surgery. That said, make sure you exhaust the natural options before electing surgery, and make sure you're familiar with the effects of these procedures.

As a potential last resort before surgery, assuming you have a smaller stone and are in good health, you may want to consider taking your kidney stone out to an amusement park. You just might be one of the lucky people who is able to pass a kidney stone after being bounced around at top speed on your favorite roller-coaster ride. While it sounds a bit crazy, you just might find relief.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Beet and Blueberry Chop Salad

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to see what that means!

In order to support our blogging activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types or remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

That being said, we only promote authors, products, and services that we wholeheartedly stand by!


Chop salads aren't really a new thing. They've been a trend for at least five years now, but I love them (and I don't give two shakes about food fads anyway, I do what I like by golly… you know like become an AIP early adopter!), 'cause you get a little of everything in one bite!

Even when I make a traditionally "pretty" salad, I actually chop it like crazy before I eat so I can enjoy all those flavors and textures in every bite, not hunt and peck with my fork. In order to clearly show our lovely readers all the veggie goodness in this recipe I photographed it arranged like a typical salad, but note when you make yours it will all be tossed and jumbled together. I particularly like this salad as a batch cooked salad for weekday lunches with a grilled chicken thigh.

Oh! One other thing, I know there's probably going to be some iceberg lettuce haters out there, but stop the hate. Iceberg is the lightest of the green, leafy veggies, but it is high in fiber and has Vitamin A and K in it, so it's not as devoid of nutrients as the bad rap it gets. Plus, it's going to make this salad extra crunchy! Yes, please!

Beet and Blueberry Chop Salad
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 4 large radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1¼ cups blueberries, divided
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  1. In a very large, preferably shallow bowl, throw in spinach and iceberg lettuce.
  2. Use the grating attachment on food processor, grate beet. Sprinkle over greens.
  3. Layer in cucumber, radish, and 1 cup blueberries.
  4. In a blender or food processor, pulse remaining ¼ cup blueberries, vinegar, olive oil, water, and salt until you have a emulsified dressing.
  5. Drizzle ¼ cup of the dressing over the salad. Store the remaining dressing in a jar in the refrigerator.
  6. Take two sharp knives and slice across each blade throughout the salad, chopping and mixing all ingredients until you have roughly bite-size pieces.
  7. Serve immediately with or without protein of your choice.
Photographs were taken to emphasize each ingredient in the salad, but the chopped salad will actually have all ingredients well mixed unlike the photos.


The post Beet and Blueberry Chop Salad appeared first on Autoimmune Wellness.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Spicy Chicken and Cauliflower Curry Recipe

Curry is a noteworthy dish from Indian cuisine. According to BBC Food, the word originates from the Tamil word "kari," which means spiced sauce, and was originally a "thin, soup-like, spiced dressing served in southern India, amongst many other stew-like dressings for meat and vegetables."
Today, curry is loved and appreciated around the world, with many countries having their own version of how to cook this dish. Singaporeans, for example, mix curry in their noodles, while the Dutch add it to their ketchup to dip their fries in. In the U.S., chicken is a popular ingredient used when cooking curry, as shown in this recipe by employee, Rachel Saenz.
It doesn't make sense at first to cook spicy food especially in the summer heat. But did you know that it actually may help cool you on a hot day? An article from the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) of Australia reports that eating hot food may lower body temperatures by releasing the heat inside your body. With that in mind, curry is perhaps one of the tastiest ways to keep yourself cool during this warm season.


  • 4 pieces organic free-range chicken of your choice (breast, thighs or drumsticks)
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 serrano, minced
  • 1 tablespoon monk fruit
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped


  • Coat the chicken generously with coconut oil and then sprinkle paprika, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of curry all over the chicken.
  • Coat the pan with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and lightly brown the chicken.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano to the pan. Cook until the onion softens, about five minutes.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of curry powder and cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and chicken broth, then stir in the monk fruit.
  • Add the chicken back to the pot and cook for one hour or until done.
  • Add chopped cauliflower and let it cook an additional 10 minutes.


This is the perfect dish for leftovers. The sauce gets very flavorful and thickens when stored in the refrigerator overnight.

Curry Contains a Mixture of Healthy Spices That Can Promote Wellness


Curry powder is a cooking ingredient that is made by blending together various spices, and the amount of each constituent differs depending on who made it, or how much you want (if you make your own homemade curry powder). Furthermore, the spices in curry powder can be added or removed, leading to varying degrees of taste and spiciness. At any rate, curry powder constitutes a combination of these spices:










Black, red and white pepper

Each spice has its own unique set of nutrients that can potentially benefit your health. For example:

  • Turmeric: This yellow spice contains the active ingredient curcumin. Studies have shown that it may help manage inflammation, as it can prevent the activation of inflammatory genes. , In other studies, the curcumin found in turmeric can help fight free radicals, thus boosting your antioxidant capabilities. ,
  • Cinnamon: Researchers have discovered that consumption of cinnamon may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, while simultaneously maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Diabetics may benefit from cinnamon as well, as it has been found to help improve insulin resistance. ,
  • Fenugreek: According to a study published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, fenugreek has a hypoglycemic effect. Participants who consumed fenugreek powder were able to lower their blood sugar levels by 13.4 percent four hours after intake.
  • Cardamom: In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, cardamom exhibited chemopreventive results in chemically induced skin cancer in mice subjects. This finding suggests that the spice may have a beneficial application in preventing skin tumor growth in humans.
  • Ginger: The main active compound in ginger is gingerol, which has been found to have effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In one example, participants who consumed 2 grams of ginger for 11 days had reduced muscle pain.

Use Free-Range Chicken for Healthy Protein Intake

Chicken is a great source of healthy protein, which is essential for maintaining proper biological functions. For example, it can help reduce spikes in your blood glucose levels by slowing down the digestion of sugar. Protein can also help maintain muscle mass and boost recovery, which is beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders.
However, be aware of your protein consumption, as too much of it can have drawbacks to your health. Excessive protein intake can activate your mTOR pathway, which may increase your risk of cancer. To stay on the safe side, I suggest that your intake should be limited to one-half gram per pound of lean body mass per day. A 1-ounce serving of chicken typically contains 6 to 9 grams of protein, so use this benchmark to compute how much chicken you need to cook for this dish.
Don't forget to choose free-range chicken as well, as it can reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance, as well as foodborne illnesses.

Coconut Milk Adds Healthy Fats to Round Out the Dish

A curry dish isn't complete without coconut milk. This delicious liquid is made by soaking coconut flesh in hot water. From there, the liquid is pushed through a cheesecloth to create the milk, and the process is repeated to create a smoother viscosity. This is generally ideal for curried meats and soups.
Since coconut milk is made from the flesh, you get all of its healthy nutrients, minus the fiber. Research has shown that coconut can benefit your health in varied ways, such as:

  • Promoting healthy cardiovascular system: Various studies have noted that coconuts can benefit your blood circulation, such as lowered LDL cholesterol levels. , ,
  • Protecting your digestive system: The fat found in coconut milk may help fight stomach ulcers. One study notes that coconut milk reduced the size of ulcers in rats by as much as 54 percent.
  • Fighting microbes: Coconut has been found to be an effective agent against disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including the ones in your mouth. ,

Add Excitement to Your Meals by Eating Curried Meals

Those who are into spicy dishes will definitely love the taste of this chicken curry recipe. It's probably one of the healthiest dishes you can eat, as it also contains cauliflower, a vegetable that contains sulforaphane and other compounds. Research has shown that sulforaphane may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition the glucosinolate in cauliflower may help reduce the risk of cancer. If you haven't tried curry before, now's the best time to hop on that train.

HPV Vaccine May Cause Sterility in 25%

Razi Berry

A recent research study has suggested that girls who have received the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine have a 25% chance of becoming sterile.1

'A lowered probability of pregnancy'

This information comes from a study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health in June 2018. The study is titled, "A lowered probability of pregnancy in females in the USA aged 25–29 who received a human papillomavirus vaccine injection."

Research looked at 8 million women in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 29 years

The research looked at 8 million women in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 29 years. 75 percent of married women who had never been vaccinated with the vaccine had at least one child. Among married women who had been vaccinated, the number who had at least one child was 50 percent. The same percentage gap was seen between unmarried women; about 25 percent fewer women had children.

Statistical relevance of the study notes that if all 8 million women had been vaccinated, approximately 2 million fewer babies would have been born

The authors of the study comment that the statistical relevance of the study is that if all 8 million women in the study had been vaccinated that approximately 2 million fewer babies would have been born.

"Primary ovarian failure" is a reported complaint of many teens and young women

The study also comments that "primary ovarian failure" is a reported complaint of many teens and young women – which essentially is a triggering of menopause during fertile years. There is a strong suggestion that this occurrence can be triggered by the HPV vaccine.

Multiple states have made the HPV vaccine mandatory

Multiple states have made the HPV vaccine mandatory for girls, with others considering it. The question of the HPV vaccine is a far different question than of other vaccinations for diseases that cause life threatening or debilitating conditions. HPV is also not contagious to the general public.

Risk/benefit to consider

HPV causes genital warts, but only in some carriers. According to the CDC, most people who contract HPV will never show any symptoms – however, this is somewhat misleading, because HPV is a known risk factor for cervical cancer, so there is a risk/benefit to consider. It is estimated that out of every 5,575 women who contract HPV, one will die from cancer complications.

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, which means large portions of the population are not at risk at all for contracting it. The question that this research seems to raise is not a pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine stance, but rather an informed consent question. Because, for some portions of the populations, this vaccine may be a good idea, but they should be able to make that choice.


  1. Delong G. A lowered probability of pregnancy in females in the USA aged 25-29 who received a human papillomavirus vaccine injection. J Toxicol Environ Health Part A. 2018;81(14):661-674.
Image Copyright: petrunina / 123RF Stock Photo

Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of  the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review  that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath.  She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at  Love is Medicine  to explore the convergence of love and health.

The post HPV Vaccine May Cause Sterility in 25% appeared first on NaturalPath.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

How to Make an Essential Oil Blend for Black Eyes


Blend together well. Add this to 1 tablespoon ice cold water, mix well and soak cotton balls or cotton pads in it.

Close your eye and apply a ball or pad to the eyelid and surrounding area.

Get your herbs and oils at a place you can trust!

Starwest Botanicals not only utilizes their own milling and packaging operations for all organic herbs and bulk spices, they also conduct quality control testing on each and every product in their own laboratory.

With attention like that, you can be sure you will receive only the highest-quality organic herbs, dried herbs, organic spices, therapeutic essential oils and all natural products when you place an order with Starwest Botanicals.


Use coupon aha10off to get 10% off any course – even if you use a payment plan!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Calendula and Plantain Ointment Recipe

A good all around ointment to soothe irritated skin..

Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!


  • Place Herbs in glass bowl over simmering water (or double broiler), cover with oil.
  • Warm the oil stirring often for about 2 – 3 hours. Strain out the Herbs and discard.
  • Place herb oil back in bowl over steaming water and add enough Beeswax to create the desired consistency.
  • Pour into lip Balm jars.

Heal Your Skin Naturally

Skin Dr. temporarily relieves symptoms such as redness and itching of the skin.

* Promotes healthy cell renewal and routine shedding of old skin cells
* Maintains skin hydration and freshness through supported water balance
* Supports the skin's ability to purify itself
* Supports skin integrity

What is Skin Dr.?

Skin Dr. is a safe, non-addictive natural remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients formulated to temporarily relieve symptoms of minor skin irritations plus promote skin health and functioning. Skin Dr. supports integrity of all cells and layers of the skin.

Skin Dr. also helps to temporarily maintain the balance and hydration of the skin, as well as the supply of oxygen at a cellular level. In addition, routine removal of old skin cells and the natural regenerative processes of the skin are also supported.

Skin Dr. is taken internally and presented in small tablet form. It is easy to ingest and hassle-free with no artificial colors or preservatives.

All Native Remedies homeopathic products and biochemic tissue salts are manufactured in a FDA-registered and cGMP-compliant pharmaceutical facility under the supervision of qualified homeopaths and responsible pharmacists. Individual ingredients are listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).

For more than 200 years, homeopathy has been used to provide relief for a broad array of symptoms from a number of health conditions. It uses the premise of like-treats-like to help address specific symptoms, utilizing natural ingredients to provide temporary relief from the same symptoms that at full-strength they would cause.

Natural remedies such as Skin Dr. have an excellent record in the maintenance of skin and systemic health and are well worth exploring in a quest for skin support.

Learn more about Skin Dr. now.
Why do we promote this?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

By popular request: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars! I did a poll on Instagram last week asking which strawberry rhubarb dessert I should make. If you were one of the many that voted for crumble bars – you win! Well, actually, I … Go to the recipe...

The post Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars appeared first on Love and Lemons.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Fatherhood Rx: How a Dads Presence or Absence Affects Our Mind and Body


This is my third fatherless Father's Day.  

Though gone, my father still impacts who I am every day.

The example he set, the way he moved through the world wanting everyone he met to feel welcome and important, his sense of humor, the way he was always focusing on the possibilities………. and of course the years he walked through this world with me shaped who I am today.

These three years since my father's passing also marks the same period of time since my daughter's father and I divorced.

In dissimilar but profound ways, I have been witness to what a father's physical presence or absence means in various stages of a daughter's life.


How Fatherhood Influences Emotional and Physical Health


Of course, we know they are essential in any child's life, but do we understand how influential Father's really are?

Their role is more than just to provide food and shelter.

More than to protect their daughters and set an example for their sons.

So much more.

Research and focus on the significance of a Father's involvement is finally increasing our awareness on the positive outcomes on a child's emotional, cognitive, and academic development.

We are finally learning about a Father's role in multiple facets by asking the same types of questions we have been asking about mothers.

Do we understand how imperative it is that they are present to show their sons how to treat women and to maneuver through many of life's unknowns? How crucial they are in what their daughters will find acceptable and not acceptable in future relationships?


Father Involvement When Young


We are all familiar with the Father's stereotypical role of being the sole provider while Mothers are traditionally the caregiver. But, do these "roles" ever intertwine and connect? Do they switch places or sometimes take the place of the other? Is a single Dad just as capable of a single Mom?

In the past few decades, social changes and increase in the proportion of working mothers coupled with changes in paternity leave policies have resulted in a shift towards more direct parenting duties being shared by parents.

This is beneficial for the entire family.

According to research, the nature and extent of fathers' involvement in parenting may change over the course of a child's life.

"However, early paternal involvement is often associated with continuing engagement and may be a proxy measure of overall engagement. Early parenting can also affect outcomes later in life".

New Dad's should not be afraid to get their hands dirty and jump in from early on. Of course, a newborn's bond with their mother is irreplaceable but so is their bond with their father.

They are just important in different ways.

Researchers found that the children of fathers who had a positive emotional response to parenting and a sense of security in their role as a parent and partner early in the child's life were less likely to have behavioral problems in adolescence.

According to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), "Psychological and emotional aspects of paternal involvement in children's early upbringing, particularly how new fathers see themselves as parents and adjust to the role, rather than the quantity of direct involvement in childcare, is associated with positive behavioral outcomes in children. "

Positive parenting by fathers may contribute to good outcomes in children in a number of ways.

  1. Involved fathers may influence children indirectly by being a source of instrumental and emotional support to mothers
  2. The effect of this on mothers' well-being and parenting strategies often leads to better outcomes in children.
  3. There is evidence that fathers' involvement can also alleviate the impact of factors such as maternal depression which are known to increase children's risk of behavioral problems.
  4. More involvement often paves the way to a happy and cohesive family which has the potential to bring about better outcomes in children.

Understanding the nature and effect of fathers' involvement on the health and well-being of children will improve family psychological and health outcomes.


A Father's Absence & Effect on Behavior




Just as a Father's presence is pivotal, a father's absence can be devastating.

The relationship between parent and child can and does have detrimental effects on youth physiological development.

This goes for Fathers as well.

Although most studies have focused on the influence of maternal behaviors, with little attention to paternal influences, there is now an abundance of evidence showing us just how important a Father is.

They are important from an early age and their significance only grows greater through adolescence and into adulthood.

Research has proposed three pathways to explain links between father absence and elevated levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior.

  1. Socialization theory suggests that father absence influences adolescent behavior through adverse behavioral modeling. Specifically, father absence, and the parental conflict that follows may expose children to maladaptive emotional coping strategies or impulsive behaviors that they emulate in adolescence
  2. Children may act out in response to the emotional disruption brought out by high levels of conflict that can both precede and succeed a union dissolution. They also struggle with the disruption of family life and exposure to parental distress resulting in internalizing or acting out behavior.
  3. In families with nonresident fathers, youth may experience reduced parental supervision, providing youth with greater opportunity to engage in risky or delinquent behavior.


Both strategies in the studies have revealed a link between a father's absence and adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior.

"For example, regression analyses using rich covariate information identified strong links between marital dissolution and psychological distress and problem behavior (Amato, 1991; Morrison & Coiro, 1999; Sun, 2001). Growth curve strategies, which examine within-child changes in behavior, have shown that although behavior problems exist prior to divorce, children who experience divorce along with separation from either parent report even higher levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior after marital dissolution.

Research also highlights the fact that fathers play a very distinct role, one that is different than a mother, in children's development of social skills. For example, a U.S study of parental involvement during childhood and adolescence found that time spent with fathers in the presence of others was strongly linked with increased social competence. The same effect was not observed for mothers.


A Father Shapes his Daughter and Son Differently



Fathers strongly influence our character but also our relationships.

It varies widely from person to person, family to family, and also from girls and boys.

Research has shown that factors such as a father's presence, closeness, and communication of affection are found to be predictive variables of positive relationships and set the tone for greater levels of spousal marital satisfaction as well. 

Research also shows that daughter's self-appraisal and self-perceptions represent distinct features of father-daughter relationships

Girls gain essential benefits from having a close father-daughter bond. According to research from Vanderbilt University, "girls who had close, positive relationships with their fathers during the first five years of life tended to reach puberty later than girls who had more distant relationships." In addition, the University of Oxford researchers found girls who had more involved fathers were less likely to face mental health problems later in life.

Recognition and approval from their father can lead girls towards developing into independent and confident women.

Researchers at the University of Oxford report that boys who have involved fathers are less likely to get in trouble with the police as they get older. A positive father or father figure can be a role model for boys and help them to adopt a healthy identity as well as an awareness of their feelings and emotions.

Their behavior and treatment in a child's life will impact what a daughter looks for in her partner.

It will model the way in which his son learns to treat women and his mindset towards them.


Parental Relationship & Effects on Health



The relationships formed with both parents can not only affect mental and social outcomes, it can significantly affect a child's physical development.

Several studies have shown individuals raised in high-risk or negative family environments are at an increased lifetime risk for a range of not only behavioral issues but had physical health-related outcomes as well.

Examples of physical effects include: sleep disturbances, obesity, alcoholism, smoking initiation, sexual disorders, chronic pain disorders, diabetes, asthma, autoimmune disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

How does our relationship with our parents affect our physical health?

The physical and mental health symptoms from both Mother and Father negative relationships are thought to be outcomes of a common underlying biological process called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

  • The HPA axis is a neuroendocrine stress response system that produces the stress hormone cortisol when set off by negative or challenging events in the environment.
  • Over time, neglectful, abusive, or negative parenting can result in a disruption in the HPA system, seen in exaggerated or blunted cortisol levels.
  • Disturbance in HPA activity is associated with a range of pathologies including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and depression. In contrast, it has also linked positive behaviors from parents with more adaptive HPA activity in response to stress.


A lifelong negative or unhealthy relationship with either parent does not have to mean physical or verbal abuse while it certainly includes that.

It does not have to be extreme to have a lasting impact on health.

In the past, researchers have focused many of their studies on childhood sexual abuse or other forms of severe maltreatment.

But, current studies are finding that cortisol dysregulation is associated with less severe childhood family adversity. "In fact, the impact of negative relationships within the family of origin on cortisol remained after controlling for self-reported sexual or physical abuse, and after removing from analysis any participants reporting above average experiences of abuse. These exploratory analyses suggest that exposure to childhood family adversity does not have to be severe in magnitude to affect long-term cortisol regulation."

The current findings suggest that uncovering those components that are the most stressful and the most troubling from growing up in an adverse family environment impact can provide options for intervention. Reflecting and facing these issues that might stem from parents have long-term benefits for the physical and mental health of children who might be at risk.


A Father's Shared Vision Can Influence Success


My dad inspired me to visualize my dreams and create. I was blessed to celebrate 42 father's days with such a loving man.


His voice was full of life and vigor and it vibrated through me like a hug.


He taught me what growth meant. Facing change with determination and anticipation of great success.


Social cognitive theory proposes that our own personal evaluation process is the foundation of human agency.


Results from current research suggest the transformational qualities of shared vision between fathers and daughters are substantial.

It not only molds daughters into successors but encourages them to overcome any gender barriers along the way.

Self-efficacy refers to a self-evaluative process that links reasoning to conduct and a daughter's evaluation of her own ability to achieve success as a leader in the family business or in starting her own.

It's a judgment of skill and competence to execute activities required to meet goals.

"It's also domain specific since a general sense of self-efficacy may have little or no relevance to functioning in the family business (DeNoble et al., 2007)."

For example, a daughter might have firm beliefs in her ability to achieve in school, sports, or social causes, but may not believe she can lead the family business or build one for herself.

A fathers' judgments of daughter's efficacy may inform choices and link reasoning to conduct.

"As leaders of the family business and selectors of successors, fathers' assessments of daughters' capabilities to execute tasks to achieve desired goals may influence fathers' decisions to appoint daughters as successors. The construct, "perceived daughter efficacy," in the study reflects fathers' self-reported perceptions of daughters' efficacy as leaders of family businesses."


The idea is unless you believe your children can achieve desired goals, they will lack the motivation to bring forth the necessary effort or persevere in the face of difficulties. Believing in children influences their ambition, choices, vulnerability to stress and depression, and performance accomplishments.


As a female entrepreneur, the delicate balance is to retain your feminine creativity and still be a powerful force.

Maintaining healthy boundaries and using your intuition are secrets to my success.

Another secret is having an incredible role model in my own Father who shared a vision of success with me.

And for me.


Father's Come in Many Forms



It is also important to know there are many children who don't have their biological father in their life.

Some have lost their father, or do not live with their biological father. Some may have a complicated relationship or no relationship at all.

The best thing in these situations is to ensure a child has the support and the love from a father figure.

This could be a step-parent, a grandparent, an uncle, or a family friend.

It's time we examine a fathers influence and their role in the family and in child development just as closely as we have Mothers.

To shine a light on them and make sure they aren't left in the dark.

To leave a father in the dark, without good reason, is to leave a child in the dark.


A child needs support and love from both mother and father for their well-being. Their physical, mental, and social development depends upon both parents to shine the light and guide the way.


Every child grows into an adult that needs the same things they needed early on.


Every child needs love to shine. To thrive. To heal.

Both mentally and physically.

#Loveismedicine and parents give the first dose.


Join us for more @ #LoveisMedicine












The post The Fatherhood Rx: How a Dads Presence or Absence Affects Our Mind and Body appeared first on NaturalPath.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Dorito Effect - The Surprising Truth About Food and Flavor

By Dr. Mercola

In his book "The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor," award-winning journalist and author, Mark Schatzker, investigates the introduction of flavor into the industrialized food supply. An investigative journalist by profession, Schatzker's curiosity about flavor led him to eventually write two books addressing this issue. The first, "Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef" was, as the title implies, about steak.

"I got deep into the science of flavor [and] the science of how we perceive flavor. But I also [asked a] question that we rarely ask, which is 'Why does food have flavor?' We think it's all very simple. We take for granted of the fact that apples taste like apples and steak tastes like steak. But then when you start to get inside it, it becomes very interesting," he says.

"I would visit a ranch and there would be a field of pregnant cows and a field of steers. The rancher would say, 'Oh, the pregnant cows are in a field of clover because they need a lot of protein [when] they're pregnant.' Cows don't even know what protein is, so how does a cow know what to eat?

The answer is flavor feedback. They seek out the flavors that bring their bodies what they need. It's something we are certainly very alienated from … We tend to think there's an inverse relationship between health and deliciousness. I set out to do that steak book thinking, 'It might be that the best steak I find is awful for the cow [and] horrible for the planet; it's like a heart attack on a plate.'

What I found, oddly, was that the most delicious steak was the best for the planet, nicest for the cow and the best for me. I thought, 'This is not what I expected. This is not what we were taught to expect. Is there something going on here?' … [I]n nature … delicious flavors guide animals to the foods they need. So, I asked what is a simple question with a very complex answer, which is, 'Does it work that way for humans?'"

The History of the Dorito

The story of the Dorito starts with the late Archibald Clark West, a marketing executive who, in the 1950s, worked on the Jell-O Pudding account. In 1960, the Frito company offered him the position of vice president of sales and marketing. (Shortly thereafter, Frito merged with the Lay's chip company to become Frito-Lay.) A chance stop at a Mexican food shack on the way back home from a visit with Lawrence Frank, the inventor of Lawry's seasoned salt, exposed West to the tortilla chip.

"He thought, 'This is going to be the next big thing for Frito-Lay' … He presented his idea to his fellow executives. They just sort of looked at him like he's a little funny because they thought, 'Why would we want to make tortilla chips when we already make Fritos, which are kind of the same thing? … But West was so confident in his idea that he actually funneled discretionary funds to an off-site facility to develop this concept.

He gave them a name, which, in a very bastardized Spanish, means 'little pieces of gold.' He brought it back to his fellow executives. He passed out samples of tortilla chips and said, 'Gentlemen, I give you Doritos.' I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, 'OK. This is when the world changed. This is where junk food was forever junkier and more addictive.'

But in fact, that's not what happened, because the Doritos that first went to market … were just … salted tortilla chips. People in the Southwest … where there was a Hispanic cultural influence, knew that you could dip them in salsa and so forth. But the rest of the country didn't really get it. The main complaint was that the snack sounds Mexican, [but] it doesn't taste Mexican."

The Dorito Effect

Undeterred, West had another epiphany: "Let's make them taste like taco." Up until that time, foods had their own intrinsic flavors and that was that. If you wanted the taste of raspberry or pineapple, you had to use real raspberries and real pineapple. But some speculate that West's friendship with Lawrence Frank (the inventor of Lawry's seasoned salt) gave him the insight that you could alter flavors through the use of chemicals.

"You could make whatever you wanted taste like whatever you wanted it to taste like. You could literally buy flavored chemicals and put a dusting on a triangular piece of fried cornmeal and, voila! It wouldn't taste exactly like a taco, but it would have that depth, that tang, that zest. Frito-Lay then brought out taco-flavored Doritos, and that changed everything.

Let's think about that for a second. We're talking about a high-fat, high-carb, high-salt snack that America basically wasn't interested in. With the addition of flavored chemicals, it turned into a snack people could not stop eating. Let's also think about this: Prior to taco-flavored Doritos, when people ate tortilla chips, they would dip them in things that are good for you, things like a bean dip or salsa made with tomatoes, made with hot peppers.

Now you didn't need that. Now you could just dust on the flavorings and they tasted good on their own. This, to me, is a very important moment in the history of our food culture, because it's when we mastered flavor. Up until that point, roughly speaking, flavor had been the domain of Mother Nature. Now, it was up to, literally, the folks who worked in marketing."

Artificial Flavor Technology Allowed for Massive Deterioration of Natural Food Quality

This flavor technology is ultimately what allowed for the radical deterioration of food quality, as you not only can easily mask the flavor of inferior quality ingredients, but impose a flavor that has no business being there - making foods taste like something that they are not, and literally imbue nutritionally empty foods with the "sheen" of nutrition.

This is important for processed foods manufacturers because, as modern agricultural methods have taken a toll on soil health, food has gotten increasingly bland, as the natural flavor and aroma of food is actually tied to its nutrient content. In other words, flavor is a marker for the nutritional density of the food.

Using flavored chemicals, you can now produce food that has virtually no nutritional value, or even negative nutritional value, yet the great taste and aroma fool consumers into thinking they're eating something wholesome. As noted by Schatzker:

"There's been a change in quality. When old-timers complain that food doesn't taste like it used to, it's not because they're [remembering] the past through rose-tinted lenses, it's because food really doesn't taste the way it used to. We have this ongoing debate in our culture about the importance of eating right. We tell people you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, you need to eat more whole foods, but what have we done?

We've made those whole foods blander, less delicious than ever, and we've made the processed foods more delicious than ever. This book is an attempt to understand what's gone wrong with food through the lens of flavor. We think we understand carbs and protein and vitamins, but what we all seek in every meal is flavor, and there's been a huge change in the way food tastes."

The Evolutionary Imperative of Taste and Smell

We think we experience the aroma of food when we smell it, but it's actually a bit more complex than that. When you bite into the food, the aroma goes into the back of your throat and through a small hole up into your nose. This is called retronasal olfaction, and is actually a more powerful form of smelling than normal smelling. This is what allows you to experience the richness and nuance of food.

Brain scans reveal the experience of flavor takes up more gray matter than any other sensory experience. Additionally, the largest portion of the human genome involves the creation of your nose. So, from an evolutionary perspective, this chemical-sensing ability appears to be particularly important.

Experiments by Utah State University scientist Fred Provenza proved that animals use flavors to obtain required nutrients, and it appears the same applies to humans, and that this is why this incredible chemical-sensing apparatus exists.

"For millions of years, it worked perfectly. It helped us balance our nutrition so that we could find the foods we need, get what we needed and not eat to excess," Schatzker says. "That all changed in the mid-1950s. The first gas chromatograph went on sale. What's important to remember is that before that, scientists had absolutely no idea where flavor came from. They knew a lot at this point about things like the macronutrients, protein, carbs and fat.

They knew a lot about vitamins. But flavor was a mystery, [in large part because] flavors exist in such minute amounts - we're talking parts per million, parts per billion … With the gas chromatograph, you could take a piece of food and literally turn it into a gas. You volatize it and send the gas through this big coil. The coil separates every compound out.

Out the other end comes each flavor chemical, and then they would analyze it. It didn't take long for them to analyze the flavors in things like fried chicken, tacos, tomatoes or cherries. Then they started making [the flavors] in flavor factories. They started putting them in foods … Junk food is high-calorie, nutritionally empty food, that is true. But here's the thing; we wouldn't eat that stuff if not for the flavor. That's what was added to make it irresistible."

The 'Natural Flavors' Scam

As the Center for Public Integrity points out, industries can basically decide for themselves what is safe for you to eat. Of the 10,000 food additives on the market, 95 to 99 percent have never been tested for safety when consumed in isolation, let alone been tested for synergistic toxicity that can occur when you combine several of them together. People have gotten savvier about this in recent years, and many are now trying to avoid artificial flavors and colors. Yet the food industry is still tricking most of us.

If you read food labels, you've likely seen the inclusion of "natural flavors." If this has led you to believe they were different from and healthier than artificial flavors, you've been soundly deceived. Originally, "natural flavors" referred to things like spices and spice extracts - flavors obtained through natural means. This changed when consumers began rejecting foods containing "artificial flavors." Schatzker explains:

"When consumers started getting frightened by the word 'artificial,' the flavor companies began to make the very same flavored chemicals using natural means … It's the same flavored chemicals, made through fermentation or evaporation, for example, and not through more chemically complex ways. The bottom line is, it's the same stuff … There is nothing more wholesome or more natural about these so-called 'natural' flavorings.

In fact, you could argue the artificial ones are better because they're purer. When they make these natural flavorings, they don't have full control over what they're getting in. They take these chemical extracts and they don't know exactly what's in there. The problem is you have mothers looking at things like yogurt tubes and granola bars; they see this word 'natural flavoring' or they see 'no artificial coloring or flavoring,' and they're being totally hoodwinked."

How Artificially Flavored Foods Are Driving the Obesity Epidemic

Most people eat too much these days, and more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese as a result. Processed, artificially flavored foods have a lot to do with this, as these chemicals make you eat food you normally would not want to eat, and eat more than you normally would. Remarkably, even whole foods like chicken and pork are now getting flavor enhancements, as the real thing has gotten so bland.

Again, this loss of flavor is a direct result of the way the animals are being raised. "We raise our livestock so quickly and so cheaply that it tastes like cardboard," Schatzker says. "So, it's not just Doritos and soda. It's everything. We might think we're making a healthy choice but, really, we're being fooled in the same way."

On a side note, there are even flavorings in cigarettes, and the reason they're there is because it would make teenagers like them more. "That's a testament to its effectiveness - getting consumers to do things they wouldn't ordinarily be inclined to do," he says.

Breeding Flavor Back Into Food

Unfortunately, while the junk food industry has top-notch flavor experts working for them, many fruit and vegetable producers fail to give any attention to flavor at all. Not only is this hurting the sales of whole foods, but more importantly, as mentioned earlier, flavor is a marker of nutritional density. While poor soil quality plays a significant role, plant breeding has also contributed to the blandness of many foods.

Take the tomato for example. Many older people will tell you today's tomatoes taste nothing like they used to. Schatzker spent time interviewing Harry Klee, Ph.D., a horticultural science professor at the University of Florida, who since the early 1990s has been trying to crack the mystery of what happened to tomatoes.

"The truth is we've genetically damaged tomatoes," Schatzker says. "They have literally forgotten how to be flavorful, because for so many years, we've been breeding tomatoes to produce a big crop, to have a long shelf-life, to be disease-resistant. It's amazing how much more productive tomato plants are than they were, say, 100 years ago. They're more than 10 times as productive. But we've paid for it in flavor … [I]f you don't select flavor, you lose flavor …

Knowing what we've done means we can take steps to undo the damage ... [Klee] found is that there are about 26 flavor compounds in tomatoes that really drive the experience of liking them … So, he thought, 'If I can figure out how the tomato makes each one of those, I can target it and I can breed for it. By ordinary, classic breeding, I can target those flavor pathways.'

What he found is that each of those 26 flavors is synthesized from an essential nutrient. This basically means that the flavor of a tomato is like a big chemical sign telling your brain there's good stuff in here. This is why we have noses. This is why we have this chemical sensing apparatus, because it leads us to the nutrients we need.

When you start to fix the flavor problem in the tomato, you improve the nutrition and you improve the chemical representation of that tomato, so that when you bite into it you go, 'Yes. That's a great tomato' … Klee has created a modern tomato that has the flavor of an heirloom, but it still has the yield and the disease resistance. It's not GMO. It's just a classically bred tomato. It really is the best of both worlds …

It works so beautifully in whole foods. But when you create a tomato flavoring in a factory and you put it on a potato chip or you put it in a sugary tomato sauce, you're creating this experience of tomato, but you're not delivering the nutrition. That, I think, is a really elegant illustration of just how things have gone off the rails."

You Can Trust Your Intuition When Eating Real Food

Your body was designed to identify the best foods for you in any given moment. The call of certain foods is really difficult to ignore. However, problems arise when your body is being tricked into craving foods that don't contain the nutrients promised by their smell and taste. The system does work, however, if you eat real food.

"My advice to people is to eat the most delicious food you can, but buy real foods," Schatzker says. "Don't be frightened of calories. Don't be frightened of food … The other thing I'd like to tell people is be aware of your own eating experience … I think there are two different kinds of delicious.

There's a delicious where you can't stop eating. This is what happens to me with flavored potato chips or Doritos. You have one and you just can't resist putting your hand back in the bag … These are experiences to be avoided …

Then there are other foods - dark chocolate is a great example; a great tomato is a really good example - where the point isn't to stuff as much into your mouth as fast as you can. The point is to sit in a kind of deep contemplation of this incredible flavor experience. That, to me, is a better kind of food experience to have. I don't think it's one that you need to be afraid of. I think it's one that will give back.

Also, be aware of how you feel after a meal. Try to integrate that into your perception of food. I've eaten some pretty low-end fried chicken that had that manic I-can't-stop-eating [sensation], and an hour later I felt dreadful. If you can remember that feeling, it makes you less inclined to go after that [unhealthy food] again in the future."

As discussed in many other articles, fruits and vegetables grown in healthy soils without toxic chemicals are a flavor sensation that is hard to beat. It certainly cannot be replicated with chemicals. Fortunately, Schatzker assures us horticultural scientists are now working on breeding flavor - and hence nutrients - back into a several foods, including strawberries and sweet corn.

While it may take time, there's certainly hope for the future. We just have to keep our eye on the goal, which is to bring real food back into the lives of everyone. To learn more about the impact food additives have on our food selections and health, be sure to pick up a copy of Schatzker's book, "The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor."