Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Name Change News - And Plans for the Road Ahead

Name Change News - And Plans for the Road Ahead
by Rich Carson

Virtually everyone knows that ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ is a horrible name that harms patients by making light of their suffering. It is a name that has inflicted unimaginable harm and it has lasted too long.

How could people with such a weak sounding disease be as dreadfully sick as cancer patients on chemotherapy? How could they be suffering as much as someone with multiple sclerosis, COPD, or in the end stages of AIDS or kidney disease? Yet according to research occurring around the world, that is exactly how bad CFS really is.

Everybody experiences fatigue from time to time. However, the fatigue of CFS is extreme and pervasive - more importantly, it is only one of many symptoms of the illness. The term ‘chronic FATIGUE syndrome’ trivializes the seriousness of our disease and damages patients every minute of every day. Imagine calling Parkinson’s disease ‘chronic shakiness disease’! Or calling Alzheimer’s disease ‘chronic forgetfulness disease’! It would be reprehensible - a shameful travesty.

The Campaign for a Fair Name is providing an effective vehicle for patients to take control of their destiny by removing the name chronic fatigue syndrome once and for all. The Campaign is gaining ground on several fronts and momentum is building. Here’s what’s happening:
New Advisory Board Resolution

The Name Change Advisory Board (NCAB) approved a resolution this week to amend their earlier recommendation for the new name from ‘myalgic encephalopathy/CFS’ to the acronym ME/CFS. (See "ME/CFS Gets the Nod.") There has been disagreement within the patient community about which ‘E’ in ME is better - encephalomyelitis or encephalopathy. There are good arguments on both sides, but no argument is strong enough that it should cause the name change effort to fail. Recognizing this was an issue, the Board eliminated the argument altogether by proposing the use of the acronym.

As in the NCAB’s original recommendation, ‘CFS’ is included in the proposed acronym for both transitional and logistical reasons - primarily to prevent harming patients involved in disability and medical insurance issues, and to provide continuity in the research area. Over time, the CFS portion of the acronym will be eliminated.

It should be noted that this does not set a precedent, as the largest organization of CFS healthcare professionals in the world changed its name earlier this year to IACFS/ME - without differentiation or discrimination as to which form of ME is better.

The Road Ahead – Making It Happen
The Campaign is still in the education and advocacy phase, and lots of things are happening behind the scenes. Perhaps the most important effort at this time is the formation of the NNIC - the New Name Implementation Committee. The NNIC is a highly dedicated and respected group of patient leaders and advocates, doctors, celebrities, and other VIP’s, founded with one goal in mind: to change the name. The Committee’s membership presently stands at 22, and I think you will be impressed to see the names on the roster. These are the people who can make this thing happen.

Although the Committee may eventually choose to work on another important goal - refining the Fukuda case definition of CFS now used in the U.S. to make it consistent with the better, more stringent ME definition used in other countries such as Canada (where the disease is also now called ME/CFS) - the Committee’s first and most important job is to change the name.

Name Change Website – Campaign Central
Campaign for a Fair Name will launch its own website on January 1, 2008 - and the site will be the name change effort’s center of action; all news and information will be posted and updated there regularly for all to see. The site will promote the use of ME/CFS, but patients will have the final word in a vote to accept or reject ME/CFS that will be held in May 2008. Patients did not have a chance to have their voices heard when the disease was named in 1988, so it is imperative that their voices be heard now. I believe this is the most critical part of the Campaign.

Enlisting Patient Volunteers and Support
There is much work ahead: contacting over 450 volunteers who asked to participate in the Campaign; establishing voting procedures; finding an independent company to handle the vote (such as Harris Polls); establishing a petition to gather signatures of name change proponents - just to name a few. But you can mark my words: we are well on our way to losing the taint of ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ and erasing it from use forever.

One last thing - and this is important: The Campaign needs your support. Without it, patients will continue to be disparaged and belittled by ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’. Please volunteer a little of your time to help us make this thing a reality. E-mail us at Working together, we can accomplish anything.

Wishing you the dignity of a fair name,
Rich CarsonPatient advocate

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Toxic chemical triclosan commonly found in anti-bacterial soaps, toothpaste products

October 29 2007
Toxic chemical triclosan commonly found in anti-bacterial soaps, toothpaste products: by Mike Adams of

A chemical called triclosan poses a health risk, as it is a toxic compound which can promote cancer. The most shocking thing is that triclosan is commonly found in everyday consumer goods such as antibacterial soaps, deodorants, body washes, creams, lotions, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, detergents, dishwashing liquids, and yes, mouthwash and toothpaste.

Toothpaste is supposed to help clean your teeth, but what it actually does just might horrify you. When tap water meets toothpaste, the triclosan reacts freely with the chlorine in the tap water to become chloroform (a chlorinated aromatic) and is similar to the dioxins found in the compound Agent Orange. It's a chemical reaction occurring right in your mouth while you brush your teeth. And don't think you are safe once you rinse it all out of your mouth: research shows that it can remain in your mouth after brushing for up to 12 hours, and can be easily absorbed into the tongue and through mucus into the body. (Children are at the greatest risk, as they tend to swallow their toothpaste more while brushing their teeth.)

According to the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NCAMP), "Manufacturers of a number of triclosan-containing toothpaste and soap products claim that the active ingredient continues to work for as long as 12 hours after use. Thus, consumers are exposed to tricolosan for much longer than the 20 seconds it takes to wash their hands or brush their teeth."

These products produce low levels of chloroform, but that adds up over time. The amount of gas formed is very low but I think the key thing is that we just don't know what the effects are. However, manufacturers do have to list triclosan on their ingredients, so if consumers are worried the best advice is to avoid products with the chemical," said Giles Watson, a toxicology expert.

Triclosan is officially a probably human carcinogen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union currently regulate triclosan, and the Environmental Protection Agency classifies this substance as a probable human carcinogen.

Toothpaste manufacturers claim that triclosan is used because it helps to reduce plaque and kill bacteria, but it actually aids in gum damage and can cause mouth ulcers, say some health experts.

These companies like the chemical because it allows them to state the product is a "99.9% bacteria killer" and make claims about the product being a "medicated formula."

According to the chemical creator's website, Ciba Specialty Chemicals "invented triclosan more than 35 years ago and in this long time of application without any adverse effects it has proven itself as the 'aspirin' of the antibacterial actives -- helpful without side effects.

"The popularity of triclosan is a reflection of its unique combination of efficacy against almost all types of bacteria and safety to man and nature which with the currently known substances used cannot be surmounted.

"The toothpaste manufacturers haven't done any substantial studies that reach a decision on whether to take triclosan out of their products. They continue to say that it is safe and only harmful if ingested. Even then, they say it only affects the nervous system (as if that's something very minor to have harmed).

No good science supporting safety of triclosanAccording to the American Medical Association: "Despite their recent proliferation in consumer products, the use of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan in consumer products has not been studied extensively. No data exist to support their efficacy when used in such products or any need for them…it may be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products." The chemical company states: "Ciba supports the use of triclosan only if there is a benefit to human beings."So, what if it is shown to offer no benefit to humans? Will they pull it off the shelves now that evidence points to its danger from exposure?

Also found in toys, bedding, clothing and moreTriclosan is also used in plastics and fabrics, where it goes under the trade names Microban and Biofresh respectively. It is infused into or used as an additive in a number of consumer products like toys, bedding, trash bags, socks, kitchen utensils, textiles and plastics.

"Over 95% of the uses of triclosan are in consumer products that are disposed of in residential drains. In a U.S. Geological Survey study of 95 different organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, triclosan was one of the most frequently detected compounds, and in some of the highest concentrations," according to the NCAMP.

According to Worldwatch Institute: "In the United States, 75% of liquid soaps and nearly 30% of bar soaps now contain triclosan and other germ-fighting compounds whose prevalence can foster the growth of bacterial resistance.

"The widespread use of triclosan is now known to create the risk of breeding new, resistant superbugs that may be far more dangerous to human health than the original germs killed by triclosan in the first place. My advice to consumers is to avoid all products containing triclosan.

Action items
• Avoid all products that make "antibacterial" claims (unless they are using herbs to accomplish it).
• Be aware of the harmful environmental impact of consuming products containing triclosan. The ingredient is not only unhealthy for humans, it's also unhealthy for the environment.
Read the ingredients labels of all consumer products in order to make sure they do not contain triclosan.

Healthy Toothpaste, Liquid Soap,Concentrated Household cleaner: (
Homemade Soap without toxic chemicals: (

Monday, October 29, 2007

Damp Moldy Conditions Got You Down?

Damp Moldy Conditions Got You Down?
by Laura Weldon (NewsTarget)

You may notice mold in your home by its musty smell or those unsightly spreading blotches on shower curtains, ceilings or walls. What you might not associate with mold is an emotional problem. But an article in the October issue of American Journal of Public Health makes that connection. It reports on a study that has found a link between mold in the home and an increased incidence of depression.

This association between mold and mood disorder was found by questioning six thousand adults from Germany, Italy, Switzerland and five other countries. They were asked about health and living conditions. Then their homes were visually assessed for prevalence of mold. Even when issues typically associated with depression such as overcrowding and unemployment were factored in, researchers still found more depression among those who lived in moldy homes.

In fact, the study found that among those who lived in moldy surroundings the risk for depression went up approximately 40 percent.

Lead study author Edmond D. Shenassa of Brown University School of Medicine in Rhode Island indicates that it isn’t clear whether the moldy conditions led to the development of depression, or whether people who are already depressed are less likely to combat mold in the home. He’s ready to do more work to pinpoint cause and effect.

Molds are fungi found everywhere as a natural part of the environment. To grow, mold requires water. When a home has excessive moisture these fungi can reproduce rapidly, producing millions of microscopic spores that can become airborne and cause allergies and other health problems. Vulnerable individuals, such as people with preexisting illnesses, are particularly at risk.

A study published in the September issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that a dilute household bleach solution (1:16 bleach to water) effectively kills common mold. Researchers at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center say that dead mold can still precipitate allergic reactions, but they found the bleach solution neutralizes the mold allergens that caused reactions in their test subjects.

Check with the Environmental Protection Agency for information on mold prevention and clean up .

Friday, October 26, 2007

7 Effective Ways to Deal with Criticism

Nobody likes being criticised but, unfortunately it is a fact of life. To be able to respond to criticism with nobility and detachment is an important life skill, which few people have. If we respond to criticism without careful consideration, it can easily lead to unnecessary suffering.

1. What Can I Learn from Criticism?
Most criticism is probably based, at least in part, on some truths. Criticism may appear negative. But, through criticism we have the opportunity to learn and improve from their suggestions.

2. Respond to the suggestions not the tone of the criticism.
The problem is that people may make valuable critical suggestions. However, there tone and style of criticism means that we respond not to the suggestions but remember there confrontational manner. In this respect we need to separate the criticism from the style of criticism. Even if people speak in a tone of anger, we should try to detach their emotion from the useful suggestions which lie underneath.

3. Value criticism.
The problems is that quite often, we only value praise. When people speak kind words we feel happy. When people criticise we feel miserable. However, if we only received insincere praise and false flattery, how would we ever make progress? If we wish to improve and develop we should invite constructive criticism and appreciate their suggestions.

4. Don’t take it personally.
This is often the biggest problem which occurs with regard to criticism. If I criticise my Mother’s cooking, she feels personally offended. But, it is a mistake to identify ourselves with an apple pie. Somebody may find good reasons why our cooking is bad; but, this does not mean they are criticising ourselves. When people criticise us directly, we should feel they are not criticising our real self; but, just an unillumined aspect of ourselves. When we criticise others, we are perhaps criticising their pride or jealousy; but, the jealousy is a mere passing emotion, it is not the real person.

5. Ignore False Criticism.
Sometimes we are criticised with no justification. This is a painful experience. But, potentially we can deal with it more easily than criticism which is justified. One option is to remain aloof and ignore it completely. We should feel that false criticism is as insignificant as an ant trying to harm an elephant. If we remain silent and detached the criticism is given no energy. If we feel the necessity of fighting it - in a way, we give it more importance than it deserves. By remaining silent we maintain a dignity that others will come to respect.

6. Don’t Respond Immediately
It is best to wait a little before responding. If we respond with feelings of anger or injured pride we will soon regret it. If we wait patiently it can enable us to reflect in a calmer way.

7. Smile
Smiling, even a false smile, can helps us to relax more. It creates a more positive vibration and smoothes the situation. It will definitely help psychologically. Smiling will motivate the other person to moderate their approach.

Tejvan Pettinger works as a teacher in Oxford. In his spare time he enjoys writing on topics of self-improvement, meditation and productivity.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Information For Women About Testing Triglycerides

October 16 2007
New Information For Women About Testing Triglycerides
by Dr Emily A Kane (NewsTarget)

Abnormal lipids (fats) in the blood are considered one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of premature death. Conventional wisdom has been to evaluate blood lipids after abstaining from food for 12 hours. Most people will get their blood drawn for a "cardiovascular panel" first thing in the morning before breakfast, when they have been fasting for 12 hours. One of the fats measured in a cardiovascular panel is triglycerides.

Triglycerides literally means three glycerol molecules; this is the storage form of sugar. When you eat carbs that are burned as fuel right away, the energy (calories) gets stored as fat. Having high triglycerides typically corresponds with eating too many refined carbs (anything made with white sugar or white flour, and alcohol). I can usually look at a patient and tell they have high triglycerides: the tell-tale "apple" shape. Also known as beer gut.

The main problem with packing on the triglycerides, however, isn't cosmetic. It is much more than skin deep. This kind of fat lays down under the muscular layers of the abdomen, and no amount of crunches will burn this off. You need to dip into those deep energy reserves by working out and practicing light calorie restriction several times a day. You don't have to go hungry, but you need to eat lightly, and frequently. You need to exercise hard enough to burn through the readily available carbs from recent meals, and start dipping into your reserves.

A few grams of L-carnitine daily will also help convert fat to muscle. In the past few years, a new, quick tool for doctors in performing an annual physical exam has come into vogue. This is a simple waist measurement, now considered more important (and quicker to figure out) than a hip to waist ratio. For women, aim to keep your waistlines below 34 inches. For men, no more than 38 inches.

The topic at hand, however, is how to accurately evaluate triglycerides. Two recent studies suggest that nonfasting triglyceride levels were much more highly correlated with risk for imminent cardiovascular events (such as stroke or heart attack). One study looked at nearly 14,000 Danish folk for over 25 years and found that the women with the highest nonfasting triglycerides were five times more likely to die from a cardiac event than women with the lowest nonfasting triglycerides.Another study involving over 25,000 women, conducted by Harvard researchers, also found that nonfasting triglyceride levels predicted heart attacks and strokes better than fasting levels. This means that, even tickling out variables such as smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance, women with high nonfasting triglycerides were much more likely to suffer serious cardiac events in the near future, compared to women with high fasting triglycerides.

The main function of triglycerides in the body is to move and store fat. Triglycerides that remain elevated after a meal are speculated to be a special sub-type which may lodge in artery walls and thus contribute to cardiovascular disease. Conventional doctors have determined that triglyceride levels should be under 150 mg/dL. As a naturopathic physician, I prefer to have my patients' trigs under 100 mg/dL.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How To Make a Difference in Your Marriage and Your Health

Do you believe that frequent fighting, or the topics of your fights, can influence your physical health? Wrong, says new research. Turns out it’s really how you fight, and how you react to and resolve conflict, that matters. And, the impact on your physical health varies dramatically, depending on whether you’re a man or a woman.

One fighting style in particular garnered special attention. So-called “self-silencing” – keeping quiet during a fight – is especially damaging to women’s health, whereas bottling it up did not have a measurable impact on the physiology of men.

A study of nearly 4,000 men and women from Framingham, Mass. revealed that 32 percent of men, and 23 percent of women typically kept their feelings bottled up during marital spats. Women who didn’t speak their minds in those fights were four times more likely to die during the 10-year study period as women who always spoke their minds.

In fact, self-silencing takes a surprising physical toll on women. Other studies have linked the trait to numerous psychological and physical health risks, including:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Heart disease

Additionally, the way you interact during marital arguments is as important a heart risk factor as whether you smoke or have high cholesterol, says Timothy W. Smith, a psychology professor at the University of Utah.

For women, whether a husband’s arguing style is warm or hostile had the biggest impact on her heart health. Interestingly, the level of warmth or hostility had no impact on men’s heart health. Instead, the men’s heart risk increased if disagreements with his wife involved a battle for control – regardless of whether he, or his wife, was the one vying for control.
Psychosomatic Medicine July 18, 2007; 69(6):509-13

Monday, October 15, 2007

Is Gluten From Grains Making You Sick?
Published October 15 2007 by Leslee Dru Browning

Gluten Intolerance, also known as Celiac Disease, was once thought to be a rare genetic disorder until 2003 when it was discovered that it is, indeed, quite common. Where once gluten intolerance was thought to affect 1 in 4000 people it is now thought to affect 1 in 133 and researchers expect that number to drop even lower. Yet, even with this new discovery many people in America are going undiagnosed.

Celiac disease is an inherited disease of the digestive system that damages the villi in the small intestine causing chronic inflammation rendering it unable to digest foods. The villi enables food digestion. The damage to the villi is caused by the protein gluten found in the following grains: wheat, rye, barely. Some gluten intolerant people are also sensitive to oats and millet. Many with gluten sensitivity are also allergic to milk.

When people with celiac disease eat grains that contain gluten their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine which, over time, causes malnutrition due to malabsorption of nutrients. Malabsorption can cause someone to appear anorexic, but also, obese. I found that many of my patients who were obese and complained of hunger were actually hungry. Once they embarked on a gluten-free diet to heal the small intestine their hunger cravings subsided and they lost their excess weight. Being too thin or too heavy is just one of many reasons to be tested for gluten-intolerance.

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance:
Gluten Intolerance can cause an array of symptoms. It affects each person differently.
  • Common complaints are behavioral changes
  • bone or joint pain
  • fatigue
  • pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • inability to gain weight
  • muscle cramps and muscle weakness
  • stomach problems
  • tingling and numbness in legs from nerve damage.

Reviews of celiac disease in the world's leading independent general medical journal Lancet lists the following known problems associated to gluten when celiac disease is not diagnosed:Lancet 1997:349:1755Lancet 2003:362:383·:

Alopecia (abnormal hair loss)· Anemia· Mouth sores· Arthritis· Autoimmune diseases, glandular disorders or attacks on any organs are 10X more common in people with celiac· Cancers (especially of the small bowel, lymphomas, esophageal)· Dermatitis herpetiformis (a itchy skin rash)· Elevated liver enzymes tests· Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)· Gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation)· Infertility or miscarriage· Irritable bowel syndrome· Lactose intolerance· Liver disease of unknown origin· Malabsorption of nutrients & nutritional deficiency such as iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and fat soluble vitamins· Neurological symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, epilepsy, cognitive dysfunction.· Osteoporosis or osteopenia, check vitamin D level for malabsorption·

PsoriasisDisease Linked to Celiac Disease:People with celiac disease tend to have other autoimmune diseases. These diseases include epilepsy, thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosis, type 1 diabetes, vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome. A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has sometimes been given when in fact the person had celiac disease. Gluten may be the underlying causes of these autoimmune disorders.

How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed? Years ago the only way to diagnose celiac disease was with a small bowel biopsy but today it can be diagnosed with simple blood tests that measure antibodies to gluten. Antibodies are proteins that react against the body. Those with celiac disease have high levels of antibodies to gluten in their blood. For the test to be accurate you must continue to eat grains containing gluten until you are tested. If not, the test results may be negative even if have celiac disease.

What is the Treatment? The treatment does not involve medication. Instead, you simply must follow a gluten-free diet.For most people, following a gluten-free diet, will stop symptoms and heal intestinal damage. It will also prevent further damage. Noticeable improvements usually begin within a week of starting the diet but the small intestine may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months in mild cases and up to 2 years in severe cases to completely heal so that villi that can absorb nutrients from food into the bloodstream.

The Gluten-free DietA gluten-free diet means not eating foods that contain wheat (including spelt, triticale, teff, and kamut), rye, barley and oats. The foods and products made from these grains are also not allowed therefore food label reading is a must. Hidden sources of gluten include food additives such as modified food starch, preservatives, and stabilizers along with medicines, anti-acids, vitamins, supplements and beverages. People with celiac disease can eat rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, potato, or bean flour instead of wheat flour.

Grocery and health food stores now offer gluten-free bread, pasta, and other products. Gluten-free products are available on-line from many sources.In order to stay healthy people with celiac disease must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives. Eating any gluten, no matter how minute an amount, can damage the small intestine.

Web References:Excellent site for information on celiac disease. What to eat and where to purchase gluten- free foods:Celiac Disease and Gluten-free Diet Information at Foods that are safe for celiacs to eat and those that are not are listed at Information on the FDA’s new position on gluten-labeling can be found at Food Navigator:

Book Reference: Living Gluten-Free for DUMMIES by Danna Korn

About the author: Leslee Dru Browning is a 6th generation Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist from the ancestral line of Patty Bartlett Sessions; Pioneer Mid-Wife & Herbalist. Leslee practiced Medical Herbalism and Nutritional Healing for over 25 years and specialized in Cancer Wellness along with Chronic Illness. She now devotes her career to teaching people, through her writing, about Natural Healing from An Herbal Perspective.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Safe Natural Alternative to Commercial Laundry Detergents
May 30 2007
Revolutionary laundry soap product grows on trees, replaces laundry detergent with eco-friendly solution by Mike Adams. I've discovered an amazing new product that replaces commercial laundry detergents with a natural soap that literally grows on trees!

This is a very big deal because the laundry room is one of the most toxic rooms in the home of a typical consumer. Commercial laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain alarmingly high levels of toxic chemicals well known to cause cancer, liver disorders, neurological disturbances and hormone disruption. I still haven't figured out why so many people actually wash their clothes in these dangerous chemicals and then wear them around all day, allowing the chemicals in the clothes to penetrate their skin and enter their bloodstream where they cause serious harm.

Even worse, all those toxic chemicals get flushed downstream where they contribute to the mass killing of fish and ocean ecosystems, including all the various life forms that depend on the fish (such as birds). We're offering a rediscovered natural product -- "Soap Nuts!" -- right now at

What if there were a natural laundry soap that actually grew on trees and could replace commercial detergents for good?It sounds too good to be true, but in fact, it's real. For the past two months, I've been washing all my own clothes with this simple, natural laundry soap that's been used in India for centuries, and I've never felt happier (or more environmentally conscious) about my laundry.Here's the story about the natural laundry detergent that literally grows on trees.

The soap that grows on trees across the jungles of India and Indonesia, a surprisingly practical tree called sapindus mukorrosi grows a small fruit surrounded by a firm outer shell, much like a lychee or rambutan. This tree, also called the Chinese Soapberry Tree, is unique in the fact that it synthesizes its own natural soap-like saponins that coat the shell of the fruit. When the fruits ripen and fall from the tree, local families harvest the windfall, then remove the inner fruit from the outer shell. The shell is then dried in the sun, using absolutely no chemical processing or manufacturing processes. In fact, the whole process uses no fossil fuels either, except in the transportation of the product to the western world (which is efficiently accomplished by ship).It is this outer shell -- rich in natural saponins which act as water surfactants -- that the native families in India have used for centuries to wash their own clothes. They toss 2-3 shells into a small burlap bag and work it in with their laundry (which is usually washed by hand, by the way).

The soap nuts, as they're now called (even though they have no relation to actual nuts), absorb water and release their saponins which circulate as a natural surfactant in the wash water, reducing the surface tension of the water and freeing dirt, grime and oils from the clothing. When the clothes are rinsed, the soap nut saponins are washed downstream where they remain harmless to the environment. No synthetic chemicals, no fragrance chemicals, no foaming agents or other toxins. Just nut shells grown by nature.

Soap nuts can replace all brand-name detergents. Even though these soap nuts have been used for hundreds of years in India and Indonesia, they're barely known in the western world where brand-name chemical detergents are heavily marketed to consumers through advertising, coupons and in-store displays. Packed in eye-catching boxes and scented with artificial fragrance chemicals, these synthetic detergents are literally scooped up by tens of millions of consumers who have no idea they're bathing their clothes in cancer-causing chemicals while destroying the environment by flushing dangerous chemicals downstream.

Until now, there have been few options for eco-conscious consumers. While an increasing number of eco-friendly manufactured laundry products now exist in the marketplace (such as Seventh Generation and Biokleen brands), no natural laundry product has appeared in the western world that is 100% manufactured directly by nature. And many of the so-called "natural" laundry products are still made with fragrance chemicals, anyway. When I first saw these soap nuts, I got really excited about the possibility of publicizing an eco-friendly solution that could replace all the manufactured laundry products currently being bought by consumers.

When you purchase these soap nuts and put them to use, you're not only protecting your health and the environment, you're also supporting the families in India and Indonesia that sustainably harvest these nuts as a way of life.

This is the "miracle" laundry product made by Mother Nature that I've been looking for. It's made by a tree, with absolutely nothing added or taken away (except the fruit, of course). It's natural through and through. No other laundry product even comes close. Maggie's Soap Nuts replace both laundry detergent and fabric softener, by the way. They leave your clothes clean, unscented and feeling cozy soft. It's the first laundry product I've ever found that I was truly happy with. This is what I'm now washing all my clothes with.

But do the soap nuts really work? Of course, any skeptical consumer would be asking one question right now: "Do these soap nuts really work?"I was skeptical, too, that a soap nut grown by a tree in India could really replace my high-tech eco-friendly laundry soap made in America. So I bought a box of Maggie's Soap Nuts and tried them myself. I took 3 soap nuts and dropped them into the small cotton bag that comes in each box of Maggie's Soap Nuts, then I tossed them into my laundry and avoided using any other detergents or laundry products. I set the temperature on warm and gave it a normal wash cycle, then I hit the start button and walked away. An hour later, I returned and examined the finished load. They sure smelled clean. Over the next few days, I continued washing more loads with the soap nuts. Every load came out clean, yet unscented (just the way I like it). I washed grimy socks, workout pants, hiking shorts and sweaty underwear, and everything was cleaned to my satisfaction.

In other words, Maggie's Soap Nuts really clean your clothes just as good as commercial soap products! I remain convinced that these tree-grown soap nuts are just as good as any other soap products on the market. One thing I did learn in all this, however, was that you probably shouldn't wash bedsheets with these soap nuts. What happened? In my wash, the small cotton bag holding the soap nuts got wrapped up in the sheet, and the soap nuts soaked the sheet with a slight soap nut color (sort of rust colored). This color came out in the next wash, because it's not a permanent stain or anything, but it taught me that for the soap nuts to be really effective, they needed to be able to circulate freely in the laundry and not get caught in a large bedsheet. Aside from the bedsheet incident, everything else came out of the wash sqeaky clean!

How soap nuts clean your laundry? The process by which soap nuts clean your clothes is naturally quite simple. The soap nut shell contains a natural saponin that works as a surfactant, making your water "wetter" and allowing it to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, working away the dirt and grime that makes clothes dirty. The surfactant then holds on to the dirt, keeping it in suspension in the water until it's drained away, taking the dirt with it. What's left is a load of clean clothes and nothing else! That's the way laundry should be. Much like clean water, clean laundry should NOT contain toxic chemical residues. In fact, it's more important to consider what laundry products do NOT contain than to look at what they do contain.

What Maggie's Soap Nuts do NOT contain include:• Foaming chemicals that fool consumers into thinking their clothes are cleaner because there are "suds" in the wash. TRUTH: Suds have nothing to do with cleaning. They are chemical additives used to create the illusion of cleaning action. (Silly consumers actually expect suds, so the manufacturers add them in.)• Fragrance chemicals that make laundry "smell" clean.

Most commercial laundry products use toxic, synthetic fragrance chemicals that are, in fact, well known to promote cancer and liver disorders. Laundry products are not really regulated by any single government agency, and there is currently no law banning the use of known cancer-causing chemicals in laundry products (much like with cosmetics).• Filler ingredients. Nearly all commercial laundry products are made with at least 50% filler ingredients to "bulk them up" and make them appear to deliver more value for the price. Consumers are mostly just buying the illusion of detergent, made mostly with filler.

You won't find filler or toxic chemicals in Maggie's Soap Nuts. Just pure, natural saponins grown by a tree and engineered by nature. In my opinion, that's where more of our products should ultimately come from. Wouldn't it be great if shampoo also grew on trees? Actually, it does.
more than just laundry soap. The natural saponins found in Maggie's Soap Nuts are universal cleaning agents. Sure, they work great in the laundry, but did you know they are also traditionally used to clean skin and hair? In fact, the soap nut saponins work on everything from pets and children to washing fruits and vegetables.

In ancient India, jewelers even used the soap to shine their precious metals and stones, giving them a beautiful natural luster. By the way, all children's clothes should be washed in these soap nuts to avoid exposing infants and children to the toxic chemicals found in commercial laundry products. And while you're at it, why not save yourself from that exposure, too, by washing your own clothes with nature's laundry soap?

Using Maggie's Soap Nuts, you can make your own ultra-pure multipurpose cleaner. Here's the recipe: Simmer 1 cup of soap nuts in 4 cups of water on your stove, then allow the liquid to cool. Mash the soap nuts by hand (squish them around to get out all the saponins), then drain the resulting liquid through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag. Voila! You've got a concentrated cleaner made by nature! Use it around the kitchen, in the shower, washing the dog... it's all good. You can even use it to wash your dishes.Remember: This natural soap isn't going to foam up like phoney cleaning products made by chemical companies, and it sure doesn't smell like fragrance chemicals. So don't expect it to look or smell like the products you might have been using. However, soap nuts get things really clean.

The soap works so well that it's actually being studied right now as a way to decontaminate soils from exposure to toxic chemicals. How's that for a natural solution? Nature's soap can save the planet from man's soap.

The bottom line: Nature's replacement for manufactured soap products. How much do soap nuts cost? The price of using these soap nuts in your laundry is well under fifty cents a load (U.S.), making it quite comparable to other eco-friendly laundry products. It's not as cheap as dumping foaming chemicals into your laundry, but then again, if you're the kind of person reading this website, you're probably far more concerned about saving your health than saving a quarter on a load of toxic laundry. Isn't it good to know that you can protect your health and protect the planet as the same time?

Lead in Some Lipsticks

No Smiling Matter: There Really Is Lead in Some Lipstick

Toys made in China aren’t the only products laced with dangerous heavy metals: lipsticks manufactured in the United States and used daily by millions of American women also contain surprisingly high levels of lead, according to new product tests just released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory in September on lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis. More than half of the 33 brand-name lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm).

One-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the FDA guideline for lead in candy, 0.1 ppm, established to reduce lead exposure among children. Even though lipstick products, like candy, are directly ingested and absorbed into the body, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick. It’s part of a disturbing pattern of lax safety standards in the $50 billion personal care products industry.

Among the leading brands found to contain lead were:

• L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” – 0.65 ppm

• L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine” – 0.58 ppm

• Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” – 0.56 ppm

• Christian Dior Addict “Positive Red” – 0.21 ppm

Lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, reduced school performance and increased aggression. It has also been linked to infertility and miscarriage. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because lead easily crosses the placenta and can interfere with fetal brain development.

One-third of the lipsticks tested had no detectable amount of lead, so lead-free lipstick is possible. And, the amounts of lead in the lipsticks tested didn’t correlate with the price of the product, so we know that manufacturing lipstick without lead doesn’t break the bank.

Compact for Safe Cosmetics

Best Tummy-Soothing Teas

Mark A. Stengler, ND
La Jolla Whole Health Clinic

Herbal teas are great for digestive symptoms, but which tea is best for which symptoms?

Abdominal cramps and ulcers: Chamomile tea. Its essential oils are anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Chamomile calms the nervous system, so it is good for digestive symptoms linked to stress.

Gas (flatulence): Fennel tea. Use when gas occurs after meals. Interestingly, fennel was once used in the US as a drug for the treatment of indigestion.

Bloating: Gingerroot tea. It also can help with gas, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and morning sickness.

Irritable bowel syndrome (characterized by alternating constipation and diarrhea): Peppermint tea. It also can help with cramps, gas and bloating. Peppermint can aggravate heartburn (acid reflux) in some people, so go easy at first.

If you frequently have digestive upset: Try one-half to one cup of tea just before each meal or with meals. For occasional upset, drink a cup as needed to reduce the symptoms. Tea bags work as well as loose tea -- use organic, if possible.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Vicki’s Flash Pops" for hot flashes

"Vicki’s Flash Pops" are a deliciously soothing Ice Cold fruit beverage, designed specifically for women experiencing hot flashes during perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. Vicki’s Flash Pops are also helpful during menstrual cycles. There is a unique combination of Fruit, Black Cohosh, Vitex, and Stevia found in Vicki’s Flash Pops. The tasty beverage delivers immediate relief from hot flashes and over time decreases the intensity of hot flash occurrences.

Today over 51 million women each year enter the "change of life" cycle and 80-85% of them experience Hot Flashes. That means over 48 million American women suffer from these untimely and uncomfortable flashes. We are confident that you will be pleased with your individual results. The average age for women entering "Change of Life" is 48 years old. However, perimenopause may begin 10 years earlier.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sexual Desire

What if I just don't feel like it?
Our society puts tremendous pressure on us to be sexual.
Television and movies convince us that unless we have wild passionate rip-your-clothes-off sex in odd or unusual places at least weekly (preferably several times daily), we must have some sexual hang-up. Living with the Madison Avenue image of what is beautiful leaves most of us with some significant insecurity about our bodies. We doubt that anyone could find us desirable because we are not among the "beautiful people." The body changes, pain, and fatigue associated with illness can zap sexual desire further. Anxiety, depression or the medications used to control those conditions can decrease one's libido. Also, antihypertensives, ulcer medications, and others may have similar effects.

What if I just don't feel like it? What is normal sexual desire?
Daily sex is normal. Sex once a month is normal. So the concept of normal is not very important, or very helpful. The real issue is often a significant difference in basic sexual desire between two partners. While you may at times choose to accommodate your partner's greater desire out of love and caring, giving in when you really do not want to is likely to lead to increasing resentment which ultimately can sabotage the relationship. Sexual desire changes, from day to day and from year to year (remember the first year of any intimate relationship!). If your desire is lower now than previously, there are things you can do to change that.

So what can I do about it?
1. Address unresolved power struggles in your relationship.
When a lack of communication has left one or both partners with built up resentment, it is very difficult for them to have enough trust and security with one another that they are willing to risk being sexual together. Sex is simply communication, but it is the most intimate and complex form of communication. If the partners are not talking openly, negotiating needs, and resolving conflicts productively, there is no reason to expect that they can have a satisfying intimate relationship. Unexpressed feelings usually get expressed in the bedroom.

When we feel powerless, we will take whatever steps we know to take our control back. While most people see control as being demanding and forceful, the other powerful way of exerting control is to be passive and withholding. One striking way to do that is to withhold your sexuality from your partner. This often leaves the partner feeling inadequate and impotent. If you believe that expressing your anger may threaten your security, you may feel afraid to confront problems, which ultimately leads to increasing resentment. Withholding your sexuality is one powerful way to express your anger, without having to confront issues directly. The problem is that the real issues never get addressed nor resolved, and your partner is left feeling confused and inadequate.

2. Tend to your pain. Discuss your pain with your medical caretakers. Find out if there are any more effective medical treatments for your symptoms. If your are experiencing sexual side effects from your medications, don't just discontinue them. Discuss the problem with your medical professionals. Don't accept painful sex as normal. There are many potential causes which can be readily treated. If you experience problems with vaginal dryness, try one of the many lubricants on the market, with great names like Astro-Glide, Aqua Lube, Lubrin, or Replens (avoid sticky water-based products or petroleum-based products).

3. Open the lines of communication with your partner. Be open and direct. State your feelings and ask for what you want. Don't assume you know what your partner is feeling, even if you've been together for years. Listen actively, by paying attention, responding to comments, and asking questions for clarification. The best way to change your sexual relationship is to talk to one another about what you would like to see happen. Good sex takes two, and both of your needs and desires are important. But given that this is such a complex form of communication, you can get in trouble if you try to mind read. Contrary to what the movies lead us to believe, talking during sex is not only ok, it's generally necessary.

4. Plan ahead for good sex. If you use medications to control your pain, time them so that you are likely to feel better when you have sex. Likewise, time a hot bath or soak in the hot tub to maximize your relaxation, and minimize the level of pain. Make massage a part of your physical closeness. Make it a priority to spend time with your partner. If you don't plan it and schedule it, it is likely to be superseded by any of a dozen different obligations. Spontaneity is exciting, but not necessary for good sex. And if you continue to struggle with the intimate part of your relationship, seek help. Take a class on couples' communication, buy a book or video on relationship issues, or seek the help of a professional marriage counselor or psychologist.

5. Nurture yourself. It's easier to feel sexy if you feel attractive. Give yourself time and permission to pamper yourself and take care of your appearance. Shower, use lotion or scent, wear attractive clothing. Think of what things your partner does that please you, and try to do those for your partner. You can enhance your body image and your functioning by doing regular exercise to increase your strength, stamina, flexibility, and self-esteem.

6. Be creative. Sex is not an Olympic event. There are many wonderful ways to be sexual without actual intercourse. Touch and cuddling are a very important part of feeling close. Too often couples develop some conflict leading to difficulties with sex, and then they avoid cuddling for fear it will lead one person to believe it is a prelude to sex. It's important for women to know that a man's erection is a compliment...not a demand. And remember, one person declining sexual contact is not a rejection of their partner; it is a statement of what is going on with them at the time.

There are things that may increase desire levels. Sexual fantasy, or erotic stories, magazines, or movie scenes often trigger increased arousal. Sex in a new setting, a romantic atmosphere, new positions, oral sex, or use of vibrators may decrease boredom and stimulate arousal. Also, pay attention to times and situations when your desire is higher, and don't be afraid to experiment with what you've learned. But remember that good sex in a relationship takes two, and it's counterproductive to try to force someone to do something they just aren't comfortable with.

If you experience muscle pain or stiffness during intercourse, experiment with different positions. The Arthritis Foundation publishes a wonderful free leaflet called Living and Loving: Information About Sexuality and Intimacy which describes alternatives to traditional positions.
Also, let yourself consider alternatives for sexual intercourse. There are many ways to pleasure one another (or yourself) without intercourse. Manual and oral sex can be fulfilling alternatives. And there are times when you feel sexual and there is no partner around, or times when only one of you desires sex. Masturbation is a normal, healthy, and satisfying form of sexual activity. You can learn a lot about your body, what feels good, and what leads you to orgasm. It may increase the pleasure you experience during sex with a partner, and will help you put into words, or actions, what you would like your partner to do. Many people experience pleasure by using a vibrator specifically made for sexual stimulation (available in adult stores or by mail order). It's time to bring masturbation out of the bathroom and the back bedroom, and into healthy sexual relationships, with a partner or by yourself.

In summary: Building a solid relationship, which requires time together, caring, respect, and open communication, will be the most powerful tool to increase your level of sexual desire. Sex is the most intimate and most complex form of communication. Unfortunately, many of us were raised with very rigid and Victorian views of sexuality and what sexual behavior is acceptable. But those views were learned; and they can be unlearned. It takes time, open-mindedness, and a willingness to experiment with new behaviors. Good luck, and enjoy the journey.

By: Connie A. O'Reilly, Ph.D.Clinical Psychologist Oregon Fibromyalgia Team

After trying all of the commercial lubrications on the market, we have found Emu Oil to be our favorite and closest thing to natural.