Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Amazing Zucchini Pasta

A few days ago, one of my roommates said to me, "You eat some pretty weird stuff Flo!". At the time I replied "Well, yeah I know, but I feel all the better for it." But as I thought about it later on it occurred to me, that I am not the one eating the weird stuff! And this isn't so much about my roommate as it is about the majority of people in our society. There is so much food that really isn't food but just looks like it and is genetically and chemically designed to be tasty! I am talking about things like twinkies (for the record, my roommate eats healthier than that).

But you don't really need to go to the extremes of junk food to point out that there is a lot that isn't right with our food supply. If you eat non-organic meat, you are drugging yourself with antibiotics every time. I have already talked about the fact that cows are now feed mostly corn, which makes beef incredibly high in omega-6 fatty acids that cause coagulation of the blood, are inflammatory and cell growth stimulating. I have also talked about the chemical pesticides that get dumped on our food and the fact that our soil has been depleted of essential nutrients.

But I am the one putting weird stuff into my body! ;-)

Anyway, I decided to share a recipe with you today. It is absolutely amazing, one of our favorites and fairly quick and easy. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pasta
Makes: 4 servings

2 zucchini, sliced into thin strips (think thin french fries)
1 cup cherry toms
1 cup snap peas
5 green onions
3/4 cup mushrooms, MARINATED
1/2 cup sundried toms
1/2 cup Cashew Nuts
1 1/2 cups of broth
2 tbsp soy sauce or Bragg
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves


To marinate mushrooms: cut the mushroom into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Toss with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic and some herbs (you can get creative here) and let sit for at least 1/2 hour. In a blender grind cashews, then add the broth and blend more to make a cashew milk. It helps if the broth is hot and if you only add half, then blend and then add the other half before blending some more.

Sauté the mushrooms for a few min. and then add the zucchini, cherry tomatoes (halved), sun dried tomatoes, snap peas and the sauce. You only need to bring the sauce to a light boil for it to thicken up and this recipe is originally a raw food recipe so you don't have to cook it for more than few minutes.


Ps: next time I make it I will add pictures here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So, yesterday I got into this rant about sunscreens and all the carcinogens and gender bending estrogenic compounds they contain. I talked about the fact that using them blocks your body's ability to produce vitamin d and how vitamin d deficiency is linked to osteoporosis and cancer. As I was writing I was careful not to make statements that I couldn't back up with facts and research. So in the meantime I did some more digging around and I came across this study.
This research paper was published in the British Journal of Cancer in 1992 by J. Moan and A. Dahlback. These researchers looked at the occurrence of skin cancers in Norway between 1957 and 1984. Here is what they found: during this time the occurrence of skin cancer went up 350% for men and for women it went up 440%. The Ozone Layer, however, did not suffer any depletion over Norway during this time period. Therefore they concluded that an increase in ultra violet radiation was not responsible for the increase in skin cancer occurrence. If you want to check out the study, here is the link for it:

Food for thought. Now here are some tips for avoiding both skin cancer and carcinogenic sunscreen:

- Ease into the summer. Slowly increase your exposure to sunlight so that you develop a natural tan without burning.

- Limit your exposure at the hight of the day, between 11 and 2 when the sun is highest in the sky and most intense.

- Cover up naturally. There are natural sunscreens as well as light long sleeve clothing options that can help protect you.

-Wear a hat.

All these measures go toward one goal: not allowing your skin to burn!

Getting sun is healthy, burning is not.

You can check out the Good Guide at to help you find sunscreen products that are rated according health, environment and society. The last two categories obviously have to do more with the company's practices than the product itself.

Alright, enjoy what's left of the summer and stay safe!

PS: You may have noticed that I changed the design of this blog a bit. I felt that the black background was a bit hard on the eyes. I have also started to add labels to my entries, which will allow readers to search for entries in certain categories such as recipes. Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vitamin D and Sunscreen

Thanks to modern technology I am sitting outside while fulfilling my daily commitment of writing. I have been writing about vitamins and minerals, how our soil has been depleted over several decades and why we need higher amounts of anti-oxidants to support our body's cells. There is another vitamin that most people are deficient in. It's Vitamin D, which is made by our bodies when we are exposed to the sun. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a lot of health problems. Because the body needs Vitamin D to properly use calcium, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to bone related diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets. The vitamin is also crucial for cell regulation functions and therefore is key in preventing cancer.

So, what are some of the reasons why you might not get enough of this Vitamin? Well, how much time do you spend outside? Of the time you spend outside, how much time do you wear sunscreen? You see, we've been told that ultra violet light is bad and causes skin cancer. But it's clearly not all bad, because we desperately need it to produce Vitamin D. Of course our use of certain greenhouse gases has diminished the ozone layer and we are now exposed to more ultra violet radiation than we used to. I don't mean to suggest that we all go out and get crazy red sun burns, but know that every time you apply sunscreen, you are not allowing your body to produce a vitamin essential to your health. Also, I think it's worth noting that chemical sunscreens contain chemical compounds that are known carcinogens. They generate free-radical activity, which as we've learned damages cells and can lead to cancer. They also have estrogenic properties that affect sexual development and have other ill health effects.

I have to say, as I am writing this I am realizing that I need to write a bit more about sunscreen. But I want to read a little more and make sure I have some good sources. So in the meantime, try to get some sunlight on your skin, without sunscreen, I am not talking six hours of sun tanning here, just a little. And think about taking Vitamin D this fall, winter and spring when your body is probably not able to produce adequate amounts.

I hope you are still drinking lots of water too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oxidative Stress

I am not quite done with vitamins. There is another big reason why I believe it's important to take vitamins and that has to do with oxidative stress. You've probably heard of free radicals and anti-oxidants but chances are you may not know exactly what one or both of them are.

Free radicals occur naturally in the body. They are chemical compounds that are very reactive and will steel electrons from other molecules. When this occurs, the molecules who have just given up an electron then become more reactive and turn into free radicals themselves. We have a chain reaction and the result is oxidation. If you cut an apple or an avocado in half and leave it exposed to the air, it turns brown. This is oxidation.

In our bodies, it's the cells that take the hit. They get damaged by oxidation and this is referred to as oxidative stress. The cells are the building block of your body, healthy cells build healthy bodies. The body protect's itself from this oxidative stress with anti-oxidants, which are compounds and molecules that are able to donate an extra electron to free radicals thus stopping that chain reaction. Where do we get these anti-oxidants from? Fruits and Vegetables for example. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, in fact if you take that apple or the avocado from the earlier example and squeeze some lemon juice on it, it won't turn brown. That's because the Vitamin C is protecting the exposed fruit cells from oxidation (see right side of the apple).

The same applies to our body's cells, the get their protection from anti-oxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables. So far this should make pretty good sense, if you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables your more likely to be healthy. Oxidation is a natural process and anti-oxidants help the body deal with it. So why would anyone be concerned with getting more anti-oxidants? The answer is that just as the mineral content of our farming soil has dramatically decreased since the 1940, the amount of oxidative stress has increased. What are some of the sources of this increased Oxidative Stress? Toxins in our environment, which are either in the air we breathe or in the food we eat, have increased astronomical since the 40s.

David Servan-Schreiber writes about this in his book Anticancer: "The annual production of synthetic chemicals has risen from a million tons in 1930 to two hundred million tons today"! The chemical industry has released well over one hundred thousand chemical compounds since the 1940s, the vast majority of which remain unstudied in terms of their ability to cause cancer for example. One argument that chemical companies always make is that humans generally are exposed to only one hundredth of the amount toxic to animals of the chemical in question. However, we are regularly exposed to 3,750-7,500 carcinogens of which one hundredth is still thirty-seven to seventy-five times the dose considered toxic to animals. And of course there is the 'cocktail effect' of being exposed to a vast combination of environmental toxins, of which no one has a clue what the effect is on the human body.

One thing is certain, we have been getting sicker and bigger. This coming generation may actually be the first in history to be outlived by their parents. I for one am committed to limiting my exposure by eating as much organic, fresh and local as I can. And I am also comforted to know that my body is getting protection and all the help it needs to repair itself from the Vitamins, Anti-oxidants and Minerals I take.

Stay healthy friends, live long and prosper!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nutritional Crisis

Yesterday I talked about the mineral depletion of our soil over the last several decades. Because trace minerals are rarely added back to the soil, their concentrations have decreased dramatically in vegetables since the 1940s. Therefore, assuming you eat a very healthy diet full of fresh wholesome foods, your body does not get enough of the essential trace minerals and nutrients it needs to maintain optimal health. That is one of the reasons why I believe it is important to take supplements.

I don't, however, want to suggest that taking vitamins alone is enough or disregard the importance of real food. I think eating organic and locally grown fresh food is something we should all strive for. I think organic farming is the only sustainable kind of farming in the long run and in the face of the climate challenge we need to change the way food travels. The food in your shopping cart may well have travelled collectively tens of thousands of kilometers depending on what's in your cart. Kiwis and lamb from New Zealand, apples and oranges from California, atlantic salmon that was shipped to China to be processed and then shipped to North America to be sold. You get the idea, but I want to write more about nutrition than about the environment today. I just wanted to make the point that eating local and organic foods is important for many reasons. And I know that eating all organic comes with a steep price tag, which many cannot afford. I don't eat 100% organic, but it's something I strive for. You can look up lists online about which foods are most contaminated in terms of pesticides and other chemicals and that can help you get started. Eventually organic foods will become affordable as more and more people choose them.

Now it's time for me to walk the talk and go down to the Farmer's Market to get some locally grown organic vegetables...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Take Vitamins

I am going to present my case for why you should take vitamins. This is obviously a bit self serving as I am in the business of selling vitamins, but hopefully I can back up my reasons with facts and research well enough to make it clear that I care about your health more than my wealth.
I used to take vitamin and mineral supplements fairly intermittently. Basically, whenever I got sick and the odd time my mom would urge me to take them because of my active and physically demanding lifestyle. As a broke student I really only took them when I got them from my mom.

Now I take not only vitamin and mineral supplements, but also other nutritional supplements such as fish oil and specific plant based extracts. I have learned why it is important to take nutritional supplements and why I won't get what I need by just eating healthy. But I have also experienced what has happened to my body when I started to give it everything it needs. When I experienced a recurrence of testicular cancer late last year it was bit like wild fire, growing and spreading. Before a surgery in January it had spread to some lymph nodes in my abdomen and consecutive CT Scans showed that those nodes were growing. After drastic lifestyle changes, which to list them would require a blog entry of its own, I experienced significant results.

I had gone to the Naturopath and done some intravenous therapies there, Vitamin C and Sodium Bicarbonate. I went on a near vegan diet, got my body ph into the alkaline range and began taking supplements. CT Scans since have shown that those lymph nodes have shrunk. I went from wildfire to tumors getting smaller. I am not trying to make any claims about having cured myself. As of now I still have enlarged lymph nodes and elevated tumor markers (levels of certain substances in the blood). But things are far from the out of control situation last winter.

But enough about my personal journey, I promised to write about why it is important to take Vitamins and why we don't get enough of essential nutrients just by eating healthy. First of all, you probably don't eat as healthy as you think. If you took an honest account of what goes into your body, kept track of it for a week and then looked at it, you would most likely have to admit to yourself that there is a fair bit of less-than-healthy food that you eat. But even if you ate as much fresh vegetables as you should and you ate mostly unprocessed foods, whole healthy meals, I am saying that you're not getting enough of certain vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. And here is why:

Some things have changed over the last couple of decades and I am going to begin with the changes in how our food is grown. As the world's population has increased, farming has become more and more an industrial food production. Most crops are grown in monocultures, which require large amounts of fertilizer and as a result the soil has become devoid of many essential minerals. If it isn't in the soil, it won't be in the plant! The following are two charts that show the level of mineral depletion in the soil here in North America and specifically the depletion of certain minerals in vegetables. The last graph shows a strong correlation between the depletion on minerals in the soil and mineral deficiency related diseases.

So, I will let you ponder this and continue with more on this topic in my next entry. I have to eat some lunch and take some vitamins....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jack's Letter

I was in Williams Lake, BC on Monday teaching a Swiftwater Rescue Course when Jack Layton died. He wrote a letter to Canadians two days before he passed. I wish to honor him by posting his words here. Maybe some of you have not taken the time to read his letter yet and will do so now. I don't feel adequate to comment on his life or legacy and wish only to express my gratitude for his words and the values he fought for.

August 20, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.
I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.
I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don't be discouraged that my own journey hasn't gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don't let them tell you it can't be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,
Jack Layton

The Big Bold Goal really is Big and Bold!

Two weeks into my blogging career, I am very much aware how big and bold my goal of writing every day to 90 days is! I was in Williams Lake, BC these last couple of days, teaching a Swiftwater Rescue Course. The nature of these courses is such that the days are long and without any breaks. The alarm goes off somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 and I don't think I ate dinner before 9 pm any of the nights I was up there. I am not trying to make excuses for not writing the last two nights, I am just realizing that when I set my goal, I did not think about these kinds of days. But I am sticking to it, at the end of my 90 day goal I will have 91 blog entries. So I will have to do some catching up.
The course I taught is called Swift Water Rescue Technician. I have taught a variety of students on such courses. When I work for Thompson Rivers University the students tend to be in their 20's and from all across Canada and the world. Sometimes the students are Firefighters or Search and Rescue volunteers. This particular course had students who, all but one, belonged to a First Nations Band and were working as fisher-men and women.

Of course there are general differences in teaching at the University and teaching outside of an academic institution. In both situations I strive to provide the students with an opportunity to learn to most. In the private sector, however, there is also a strong emphasis on customer service. Don't get me wrong, both student groups fill out course evaluations and I strive toward professionalism at all times. Maybe this example will highlight the difference in teaching styles. When TRU students drag their feet a little and maybe don't clean up after themselves as much as would seem prudent, I yell at them (sort of). Or better yet, I watch my friend and colleague Sharman deliver his legendary "I'm not yo momma' talk. And every course, I learn and I am inspired. Often it happens near the end, when all of a sudden a little magic happens that makes it all worthwhile. I had some challenges on this course, specifically in finding the right places to teach. After finishing the first day of teaching drove 100 km (one way) just to scout the next day's location. But on on the last day there was magic! I had several young guys in my class, guys in their late teens. On the last day I saw them swimming in the river and coming out with smiles on their faces and a certain glint in the eyes that told me that they got it. They got why fell in love with rivers in the first place. There was a spark that I managed to ignite, which I can only hope will grow into a passion for rivers

Monday, August 22, 2011

Random thoughts

I committed writing everyday, so here I am, it's eleven at night and I have been going since five thirty this morning. I am teaching a Swift Water Rescue course and it seems there is always things that need to be figured out, changed, adjusted or improvised. After finishing the class at five I drove 100 km to tomorrow's location to scout teaching sites and then back 100 km. So here, I am sitting on the bed in the hotel... Glad that my buddy Sharman is here to help out on the course. I feel good about what I accomplished today and I am so ready to hit the sack.

And that's all I have to say about that! No words of wisdom about health today, I just don't have it in me.

Oh, by the way, if in yesterday's post (which I just posted now) I sounded a bit angry it's because I was. I get upset about that topic. Without going into it further I want to just say that, as someone who is reading my ramblings about health, you clearly have taken an interest in your own health. So, my hat's off to you, I commend you. It's a start and that's very important. For me going to the Naturopath was a start. There are many different ways to go about it and I am glad you are here.

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Body Is Not A Car!

When something on my car breaks, I take it to a mechanic to get it fixed. Other than dropping it off, picking it up and paying for the bill there is nothing required of me. And that's fine, because we are talking about my car here. But why are we applying the same passive attitude to our bodies when it comes to health care? I am tired of being treated by doctors and oncologist like a car. All that is required of me is that I drop off my body for tests, they diagnose and then I submit my body for treatment. They take out a part, replace it with a spare and all along nothing else is required of me.

But it isn't just that doctors don't see me as a whole person (and of course some do), but we as a society have adopted this blind faith in medicine and have given up responsibility. Wake up people! It's ok to question the status quo and it is certainly ok to question the health care system! You have to realize that sickness is a resource as lucrative as any other. And there is financial incentive, if not pressure, for the pharmaceutical industry to come up with new lucrative solutions to health problems or in turn health problems to their patented solutions. So when a child has a hard time focusing in school and can't ever calm down we could could look at some possible causes for this behavior. Maybe it has something to do constant stimulus of computers, video games, cell phones and the five hours of TV a day? Maybe we could look at the incredible amount of sugar and high fructose corn syrup combined with the utter lack of nutritional value the food this child is receiving? Maybe we could look at the family situation and look for sources of conflict, emotional pain etc.
But if we think of our bodies as cars, with faulty parts that need to be fixed, then it makes perfect sense to give this behavior a name and purchase a solution. The child gets drugged with Ritalin and no one has to change.

Maybe it's time we start evaluating our own attitudes toward our health and begin taking proactive action. Just a thought...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Masaro Emoto - Modern Water Research Pioneer

Yesterday I wrote Viktor Schauberger, who was a pioneer and the father of water research. Today I want to highlight the work of another pioneer, Masaro Emoto. In his book 'The Hidden Messages in Water' he showed his work, which had yielded amazing results. He had taken water samples and flash froze droplets in order to take pictures of the crystals that would form. He then began influencing the water, prior to freezing it, using different vibrations such as music. He explored the difference between more harmonious music such as Mozart and more aggressive music like death metal. The pictures speak for themselves.

Top left: Mozart's Symphony No. 40, top right: Bach's Goldberg Variations, bottom left: Japanese Pop song, bottom right Heavy Metal Music.

He then started to test finer more subtle vibrations, such as human emotion. These were his results:

The caption incorrectly identifies the top two images as 'molecules' when they really are crystals.

If this at all sparks your interest, you should watch 'What the bleep to we know' it's a great movie and you'll be able to find it on YouTube. Following that, you might want to check out the film 'Water - The Great Mystery' another amazing film and you can watch it on my website at

That's it for me for today. I am off to do some floating down the river with friends....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Viktor Schauberger

I thought about where go next in my discussion about water and I decided to start with Viktor Schauberger. He was a pioneer of many things, one of them is the field of water research and the practice of water vitalization. Many books have been written about him and I cannot give justice to the wealth of knowledge and discovery that is his legacy. My blog will have to serve, merely as an inspiration for readers to learn more about him and the legacy he left behind.

Viktor Schauberger lived from 1885 - 1958 in Austria and was a Forrester. He made a name for himself through his unmatched skill in designing log flumes. Log flumes were used to transport logs down valleys from where they were logged to sawmills, using water. His keen astute observations of creeks and rivers allowed him design flumes, which could transport bigger logs and also wood that is denser than water such as beech and fir. He did this by incorporating natural water movements that created vortices, which would in turn spin the logs. He also knew that colder water was denser and made sure that the water in the flumes was continually replenished and remained cold.

He was fascinated by fish, specifically those in creeks. He was intrigued by the fact that trout could effortlessly remain in one spot in incredibly strong currents. These observations sparked several ideas and theories. His theory of implosion was inspired by these observations, however I have not adequately studied it to explore it here. One of the observations he made was about the natural movements of water and how these movements are such stark contrast to the path water takes once we get a hold of it. In nature, water always meanders and particularly in mountain streams it bounces and falls, it stalls and swirls. One phenomenon he noticed particularly was the vortex.

There are several things that happen in a vortex and Schauberger felt it was very much a self-cleansing process. There is oxygenation that happens in a vortex, but there is beauty in the structure of it as well. Below I have an image of one of the most breathtaking living sculptures ever created. It is a vortex and because the water pours over the edge of the class it seems as though it is a free-standing column of water. The water forms an incredible helix, very much like the double helix of the DNA.

Schauberger realized that once water is captured for human consumption it is put through kilometers of straight pipes, undergoes all kinds of a treatment and when it arrives at our homes it is dead. It has lost the vitality it possessed in the mountain stream.

He began designing mechanical devices that would vitalize this dead tap water. His motto: understand and copy nature. He designed pipes that caused the water to spiral though them.

The amazing thing about these pipes is that many years later, experiments were carried out at a university in Stuttgart, Germany. They found that at a certain water speed, the resistance began to decrease. In other words, because of the spiral movement of the water, at a specific speed, the water began to pull itself through the pipe!

He also designed a simple device to be installed in homes right at the faucet that would vitalize the water, simply by sending it into a vortex.

It is still sold today, and what's amazing is that it works! I watched a documentary and it featured a bakery in Europe that had been using this device since the 1980s. The baker said that he notices a difference in how the dough rises as well as that they have less mold problems.
So, fast forward to 2011 and for the past 11 days I have been watering sprouts on two different dishes, using two kinds of water. One gets Kamloops tap water, the other dish gets Kamloops tap water that is vitalized, using a device that is inspired by the work of Viktor Schauberger. The first one is the straight up tap water:

And the next one is watered with vitalized tap water using the EWO Balance (

Both dishes had the same amount of seeds in it, received the same amount of water at the same time and sat beside each other in the same place. You can clearly see a difference, and for the record similar experiments have been done in labs by people with PhD's.

There is more to this device than the physical swirling of the water. But the other processes deserve entries of their own. I hope haven't lost anyone yet. There is more to water than you know! Tomorrow, I'll continue on my journey with water, read on....

Now, go drink something...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Water - intermission.

I can't believe that there were times when, as a student, I did most of my work in the wee hours of the night. Now, I am sitting here at 10:30 and I am done! Sleep has become so much more important to me.
I have to be honest, this really is just a pathetic build-up to an excuse. I had a busy day preparing for a Health and Wellness event and I am not going to write more than a paragraph tonight. If you were reading my blog right from the start, you might remember how I talked about the fact that some days my entries might suck. Well, today is one of those days.
I have some plans for further discussion about water, but they will have to wait until tomorrow. As for tonight's Health event, it was about the Glycemic Index and I will write about that at some point as well.

Right now, however, I am going to get a healthy amount of sleep!

You should still go drink some water....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Water filtration continued...

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of drinking good, clean water. Water that is free of chlorine, medical residues, heavy metals, hormones and other contaminants. So before I move on to other aspects of water, I feel the need to share my opinion about some practical options available for getting good water.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge that we are blessed to have access to what is, in the grand scheme, very clean drinking water. There are too many people in this world, who do not have access to clean drinking water, or have to walk huge distances to get water. Therefore if you currently buy bottled water, I would like to suggest to you the following: Buy a water filter. There will be an initial investment but ultimately you'll be paying as little as $0.02 per liter (depending on the amount of particulates in the water, which determines how long the cartridge lasts). Then take the money you would have spent on bottled water and donate it to a charity that brings clean water to people who currently don't have it. You can find your own charity, but here is one to start with:

But back to my ramblings about options for clean water here. The reason I don't approve of bottled water is that it requires a bunch of energy. In the case of water coolers, you either by it yourself and do the heavy lifting, or you get it delivered to your house. Either way there is transportation involved. Also, the company that bottles the water is using more energy to process the water before it goes in the bottle. If you are drinking major brand bottled water in small bottles, not only are you paying more for water than you are for gas, but the transportation involved with this water is astronomical! Some of this water comes from the other end of the world! And of course it comes in plastic bottles which have to be made and recycled (if you recycle!). And all along you could have filled your stainless steel water bottle with filtered tap water before you leave the house! Simple!

I also want to address reverse osmosis filtration. Many major brands sell water that is reverse osmosis filtered and you can also install such a filter at home below the sink. Basically, a reverse osmosis filter pushes water through ever finer membranes, the final one being so fine that only water molecules fit through. Seems like a good idea, but the water inevitable ends up acidic. I've tested the water from a below-the-sink reverse osmosis filter and also some major brands' bottled water. The pH was usually around 5.8 as opposed to a neutral 7ish.

I am hoping to get into some of the more interesting, mysterious and wonderful aspects of water next, but today this will have to do. Let me leave you with this question: have you ever drank from a high mountain spring or stream? If you did, it probably tasted wonderful and refreshing. But would you say it was more 'alive' than the city tap water? I plan to explore the concept of living water vs. dead water over the next couple of days, so if you're out hiking in the pristine mountains and come across a spring or stream, have a sip and really pay attention to the experience.

Now, go have another glass of water! ;-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My buddy Steve came by today and we ended up having a longer conversation about water filters, particularly about one that I sell. I did a taste test with him and he was blown away by the difference between the filtered water and the tap water. Here in Kamloops, we have one of the most sophisticated water treatment facilities in the world. We also have an old delivery network and therefore the city adds generous amounts of chlorine to the water.
When I moved to Valemount, a small town amidst mountains, from a city of 120'000 in Switzerland back in 2002, I remember how surprised I was that the water was heavily chlorinated. It was something I was not used to at all. We always drank the tap water back in Basel, Switzerland and it did not have any chlorine in it. Luckily the property we lived on in Valemount had a well with fantastic water. In fact, Monashee Spring Water is a company, which takes water right out of the ground in Valemount and puts it in bottles to sell. I couldn't understand why the town had to add chlorine to it, it tasted like pool water!
Of course the general premise is that chlorine in drinking water is safe at the concentration it is present in our tap water. However, I can't get over the fact that chlorine kills things that are alive. It kills living things and it does not stop doing that when it enters our bodies. So that can't be good!
Also, most places do not have a state of the art water treatment facility and therefore the water has various other contaminants in it also. Modern farming practices involve a host of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides which end up in the ground water. Cattle are given antibiotics and other medication which not only end up in the meat we eat of course, but also in the ground water.
But it's not just cows that pee out medications they are given, we too secrete chemicals that have gone through our bodies. Anything from over the counter medications to highly toxic chemotherapy drugs, ultimately end up going down the drain and into the ground water. And of course you can find heavy metals in your water too. Things like lead which is a neurotoxin. All these are reasons why I prefer to filter my water before I drink it.
Water is so important for our health that I think it's critical that we both drink enough and drink good quality water, that is free of contaminants and impurities.

I am passionate about water, so settle in for a few days of water-themed entries. I'll continue with some basics tomorrow and then slowly take it to the astro-plane!

Now go have a glass of water!

Monday, August 15, 2011


When I was a young boy, about seven or eight years old, my dad would often meditate. He would lay on the ground or on a bed that served as a couch in the living room. Sometimes I would join him. We would lay next to each other, each with a hand on the other's belly noticing each other's breath and slowing it down. I remember that I was usually much better at slowing my breathing down.
Today sometimes I meditate and when I attempt to breathe evenly and slowly I begin to feel the sort of anxiety you get when you feel like you don't get enough oxygen. I ponder why it was that I could slow down my breathing so much and without the sense of anxiety when I was a kid. I thought maybe it was the innate innocence of childhood that let me relax so completely and trust myself in my breathing. I thought it was maybe because as a child I had less things to feel anxious about.
But that wasn't the case. At that time my parents had just recently divorced and so I had plenty of anxiety in my life. So maybe I was able to relax so freely and breathe so slowly and evenly because breathing together, you connect. And connecting with my father put me at ease, made me feel like everything was going to be just fine.
Whatever it was, the experience left a lasting impression. I remember something that I believe is part of the very essence of meditation: a very deep connection with yourself and your own body. Unless you stop and take five and actually pay attention you often notice very little of your own body. But set aside some time and focus only on your breathing and you can connect with yourself in a whole new way.
What's amazing, is that there have been several studies conducted, that show a direct effect on the immune system from meditation. Not only does meditation result in measurable increases in activity in areas of the brain that are associated with positive moods and optimism, but there many experiments that have shown meditation leads to improved immune system function and response.
So, give yourself a bit of time... to connect with yourself. It's good for you!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Value of Friends

A large scale study of nurses in the US found that women with breast cancer who could name ten friends had a four times higher chance of surviving than those who could not. It didn't matter if these friends were close by, it was simply the sense of connectedness that was important. A study done in Sweden on 736 men found that friendships had as strong an effect on health as being married, while the feelings of isolation and loneliness are matched in their adverse affect on health only by smoking.

To me this means we are all connected and this connection is vital to our survival. It means I must remember to reach out. I have had quite the journey over the last few years with cancer and I have also been blessed with incredible support from friends and my family. The experiences I have shared with the people around me deserve more than what I intend to write here tonight. Tonight I happen to be really full, because some wonderful friends took us out for dinner (Indian food! ;-) and now we going do play some games.

But I hope you think about your connection to the world and people close to you! If you're feeling strong, be a rock for someone who's having a hard time. When the time comes around and you feel like curling up in someone's arms and crying, then hopefully you'll have someone who will be your rock!

Peace and Love!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fighting Cancer With Curry

As I was sitting in the kitchen at 7 am, thinking about what to write about today, Jenna shared her excitement with me about the fact that the "The East-Indian Lady" might be at the Farmer's Market today. We don't know the east indian lady's name, but we are huge fans of her and the food she makes and sells. She comes to the Kamloops Farmer's Market every two weeks from Revelstoke a sells pakoras, samosas, chutney and a whole bunch of sauces and dips that you can take home.

So there we go, I have my topic for today: Turmeric! It is the most powerful anti-inflammatory food ingredient there is! It has been written about in medical texts in China, India, Tibet and the Middle-East for over two thousand years. The important molecule in terms of inhibiting cancer is curcumin. Beyond the anti-inflammatory effect, it has several other capabilities that affect different mechanisms of cancer growth. If you want a better understanding of some of these mechanisms or cancer in general, I recommend the book 'Anticancer - a new way of life' by David Servan-Schreiber M.D., Ph.D.
In India people consume, on average, 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric a day. They are generally exposed to more environmental carcinogens than us , yet here are some surprising stats from the Anticancer book: "...Indians have one eighth as many lung cancers as Westerners of the same age, one ninth as many colon cancers, one fifth as many breast cancers, one tenth as many kidney cancers, and one fiftieth (yes 1/50!) our rate of prostate cancer". Kudos to our brothers and sisters in India!
There was a study done in 2005 on mice who no longer responded to Chemotherapy with Taxol (while Taxol is considered effective against metastatic breast cancer, it actually works in less than 1/2 of cases). In the study, curcumin reduced the spread of metastases impressively and any micro tumors that could still be found did not grow and were therefore no longer a threat.
Here's the deal though: you are actually better off eating delicious indian food than taking capsules of only curcumin. Researchers in Taiwan found out that it's not absorbed by your intestines very well unless it is mixed with pepper or ginger. In fact pepper increases the body's absorption of turmeric by 2000 percent!
Ok, I say it's time for a stroll down to the Farmer's Market. I am ready for some delicious Indian food for breakfast!

The beautiful ladies at Pam's Curry stand at the Kamloops Farmer's Market.

My friend Will and I enjoying delicious pakoras and chutney. Yum!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Flo's Notoriously Delicious Salad Dressing

It's a busy day today, so I decided to finish my rant about essential fatty acids with a recipe. Also I was doing a bit more reading and there seems to be some evidence that omega-3s from fish have greater health benefits than plant-based ones. The plant based omega-3 fatty acids need to be converted by the body whereas the ones found in fish oil are already in the right form. You can get fish oil in bottles, they have lemon and orange flavors to help you get them down, or there are capsules as well (which yours truly sells).
At any rate, I hope to have instilled in you some interest in this and I hope you've learned a few things. The over consumption of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids creates a world of pain, literally.

So, on to my salad dressing. It's delicious and healthy so give it shot:

-Equal parts flaxseed and olive oil (you can also use a bit of grape seed oil)
-Dash of sesame oil
-Balsamic vinegar
-Generous dash of soy sauce or Bragg
-Garlic, crushed
-Dijon mustard, about 1 or 2 tsp (too much makes it bitter)
-Italian seasoning and any fresh herbs you might be growing such as basil, oregano, rosemary...

Here are a few extra tips to take a salad from mediocre to awesome:

Grow basil so you can add some dress to the salad, also I've been using some mint here and there and goes really well with summer!

Candied Walnuts. Walnuts are super healthy for you and when you wrap them in caramelized maple syrup.... Look out! The trick is to use low to medium heat and keep stirring until they have caramelized. Also add a little salt and pepper at the start.

Alright, off to work.... Thanks for reading and let me know how your salad turns out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Omega cont.

Yesterday I talked about the food chain and how what animals eat affects not only them but also the eggs and milk they produce. I mentioned that the omega fatty acids are essential, meaning the body can't make them. This is key because it means our intake of them directly reflects the ratio of them in our bodies and this continues down the food chain. So animals are fed diets high in omega-6s, which are inflammatory, cause coagulation of the blood and stimulate cell growth (be it fat cells or tumor cells). They then produce eggs, milk and meat that is high in omega-6s. Most people in North America eat a lot of meat, consume dairy products, eat a fair bit of eggs and on top of that we fry a lot of our food. Frying unfortunately damages omega-3 fatty acids and you lose the health benefits.
I hope you are beginning to see why this is worth talking about. Between 1970 and 2000 Americans lowered their fat consumption by about 11 percent and even lowered their total calorie intake by 4 percent. Meanwhile obesity went up 31 percent in the same time span. This is referred to as the American Paradox, which is no longer just affecting Americans, but Europeans also.
Another fact that underlines how the whole food chain is affected by our industrial animal feeding practices, is that the amount of fatty tissue in children under one doubled between 1970 and 1990. French biochemist and farming engineer Pierre Weill, who researched this phenomenon, said "Between 6 and 11 months of age, you can't blame McDonald's, snacking, TV and lack of physical exercise!".
So fat and calories alone are not the issue and if you are trying to loose weight but have high concentrations of inflammatory, cell growth promoting omega-6 fatty acids in your body, well it might feel like a bit of an uphill battle!
But enough of the ranting, time for some concrete tips on how to be healthy! Below is a picture taken from the Anticancer book ( again, which shows the Anticancer plate. Really it could be called the pro-health plate. It's a food guide that gives you the big picture of what might be a pretty healthy way to eat.

This gives a bit of guidance and maybe I'll leave you with a few concrete tips on increasing your omega-3 intake and decreasing the amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
1) The following are high in omega-3s: Flaxseeds and Flaxseed oil, Olive oil, Walnuts, Fish, Beans and Tofu.
You can take flaxseeds, grind them in a coffee grinder and add them to yogurt (preferably organic), a bowl of fruit or even a shake. Use flaxseed oil in your salad dressing but don't use it for frying and keep it refrigerated.
2) Toss out sunflower oil, choose to buy animal products like meat, eggs and dairy from organically raised, grass fed or flaxseed fed animals, don't use margarine (I might have to write a post just about this one).

Here is something I do, but admittedly it's a bit hard-core, I mix about 2 tbsp of flaxseed oil with almond milk, a bunch of Turmeric (has great Anticancer properties), a pinch of cayenne pepper and about 20 drops of cumin oil. I blend it using an electric milk frother and away I go... This might not be for everyone, but for someone with cancer, I think it's perfect.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Omega fatty acids

First off, I tried to come up with a better title! Something witty, smart, with a pun, but then I remembered that it's 5:30 I got dinner on the go and there is big box of apricots that either I will deal with or the fruit flies will. So I got stuff to get done and therefore you will just have to put up with a boring title today.
About six months ago, all I knew about omega fatty acids was that they put the number 3 ones in some eggs and it was implied that this was a good thing! I have since learned a bit more about them and I have come to two conclusions about this topic: 1. It is worth knowing about and 2. It's not all that complicated.
So if you want the skinny on the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, READ ON!
The omegas are essential fatty acids, meaning the body can't make them and we need them. There are omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and I'll focus on the 3s and 6s. Below is an image from the book Anticancer written by David Servan- Schreiber M.D., Ph.D. It gives you a good impression of the importance of the omega balance.

So omega-6s cause inflammation, coagulation and stimulation of cell growth. All bad news for healthy hearts, losing weight and not growing tumors. Omega-3s balance out these effects and since we need both of these essential fatty acids all is well if we keep the balance intact. In other words a 1 to 1 ratio of the two is perfect.
However, the average North American diet contains 20-30 times more omega-6s than omega-3s! And this is not just because of what we eat, it's also what is eaten by what we eat. Confused? Hang in there! A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that eggs from chickens that were fed a diet of corn, which is a universal practice today, contained twenty times more omega-6s than omega-3s. The same is true for cows, who are fed corn and soy vs. being grass fed, their milk and all subsequent milk products are high in omega-6s and of course their meat is as well. However, if cows are fed a diet that is supplemented with flaxseeds then their milk becomes balanced in terms of omega-3s and Omega-6s. So as it turns out, "what goes around comes around" applies to how we treat our food!
Ok, I think this topic might be suitable for a bit of a mini series. So stay tuned for some more info on this tomorrow. Don't worry I'll give lots of tips to help you get a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Big Bold Goal

I have had this blog for several months now and have done nothing with it. I decided that I wanted a blog, created it, wrote the first entry and told no one about it. Pretty safe, no knows, no one can tell me it sucks. So today I am writing my second entry and I am declaring my intention to write everyday for 90 days. That means in 90 days this blog will have 91 entries and it's safe to say that some may very well suck. But hopefully I will have found my voice and hopefully some of the readers have gained value in reading this blog or they have at the very least been entertained.
If you are reading this you probably want to know what I plan on writing about to decide if you are going to continue to read it. This blog is about Health first and foremost, so I will try to write mostly about that. I see myself creating categories and sharing information I have learned about healthy living. I may share some recipes, or write about a fascinating study on the effects of meditation on the immune system. I may share photos or videos that I take myself or ones I find elsewhere. I hope that in reading this blog you, the reader will find little nuggets of information that will help you live a little healthier.
I'd like to thank my friend Shawna for providing me with the encouragement I needed to get going. Thanks Shawna, you rock!

Here's a little health tip for today's entry: start your day with a lemon drink. Squeeze half a lemon (preferably organic) into a glass, grate some fresh ginger into it (we keep ours in the freezer, which keeps it fresh and makes it easier to grate), add a bit of cayenne pepper and fill up with warm water.
Why should you do this? Lemon is alkalizing (that's a good thing) and this drink will stimulate bile production. Think of it as the glow plug for your diesel engine stomach. My Naturopath Dr. Jones calls this "a quick and easy method to flush your liver each day as well as 'warm up' your digestive tract." You should have this drink about 15 to 20 min before you eat breakfast every morning. The reason the water needs to be warm is that cold water will cause the muscles in your digestive tract to contract and that is counterproductive to what your are trying to achieve.