Category Archives: Vitality

Epigenetics: The New Paradigm

DNA associates with histone proteins to form chromatin. Translation: You are in charge of your physical destiny.

You know the nature vs. nurture debate. And, until recently, nature seemed to be winning. That is to say, the dominant paradigm suggested that our health or illness was largely a function of our DNA. You got cancer? You must have been genetically predisposed. Uncle had a heart attack? It runs in the family. You get the idea.

In fact, the much-ballyhooed Human Genome Project was supposed to pave the way for any number of magic bullet treatments to correct our defective genes which, purportedly, were the source of our ills.

Enter the new paradigm, epigenetics: “the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence.” (There’s a great epigenics page on Wikipedia.)

In plain speak, this means our genes can express themselves in various ways, depending on the environment. And environment is another way of saying nurture. That means we can shape our health depending on our lifestyle. Continue reading

Love the Sun

Wilhelm Simmler: A sunny day at the beach, 1900.

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. We’ve been told for decades that sun exposure causes skin cancer, wrinkles, and cataracts. But sun exposure is not only pleasurable, it also has health benefits that probably exceed any health risks.

In fact, a recent article by the Institute for Natural Healing suggests that sun exposure reduces ones risk of skin cancer. Furthermore, chemical sunscreens (about 95% of all sunscreens) are probably carcinogenic, and some sunscreens contain nanoparticles, which can penetrate into your very cells with unknown health impacts. That’s right: Sunscreen – which is supposed to protect you from cancer – causes cancer. Continue reading

Bill McKibben on Food, Oil and Politics

Bill McKibben spoke at the Food Revolution Summit, hosted by John and Ocean Robbins.

By Scott Mielke

At the Food Revolution Summit this week, author and environmental activist Bill McKibben dramatically framed the effects of global climate change—resulting in part from industrial food production. He said the species-extinction rates that the world is now witnessing have happened before in the Earths’ history—only when the planet was hit by an asteroid.

“In this case, of course, the asteroid is us,” McKibben said. “And the frustrating part is we don’t need to do it. We know much of what we need to know to avert this. We are just not doing it because it is in the strong financial interest of a small group of human beings to keep us in our present course.” Continue reading

Food Revolution Summit

John and Ocean Robbins

I remember reading John Robbins’ Diet for a New America in college and feeling exhilarated at the idea of radically improving my health and our food system through my food choices. In Diet for a New America, which became an international bestseller and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Robbins extolled the virtues of a plant-based diet, and influenced millions.

Now, two decades later, food issues are even more important as people’s health and the health of planet earth are both in critical condition. In response, John Robbins and his son Ocean Robbins—who, among other claims to fame, founded Youth for Environmental Sanity, created the Food Revolution Summit. Continue reading

How to Make Dairyless Kefir

Dairyless kefir is easy to make, good for you, and delicious.

Pop quiz: What is Tibicos? If you guessed an island nation in the Caribbean, or a new organic hot sauce, excellent; but you’re wrong.

Tibicos, often referred to as water kefir grains, is a symbiotic mix of beneficial bacteria and yeast that can be used to create a probiotic- and enzyme-rich raw beverage with impressive health benefits. A friend of mine even claims she cured notoriously-stubborn toenail fungus by consuming homemade water kefir!

Someone I met at a party a couple of weeks ago gave me some kefir grains, and I’ve been making and drinking about 16-plus ounces a day since.

I‘ve tried making other home-brew probiotic beverages (kombucha, jun, dairy kefir)—tibicos is easier and cheaper to make than any of them.

Put about four ounces (by volume) of tibicos grains in a one-quart glass jar with about one quarter Continue reading

What’s NSA?

I met Network Chiropractor Dr. Peg one night during the First Friday Art Tour here in Santa Cruz. I had experienced Network Chiropractic before but it was years ago. I followed my intuition and made an appointment.

The first visit involved a formal analysis of my posture and spine. That meant a bunch of digital photos of me against a grid backdrop in her downtown Santa Cruz office. I also completed an extensive physical and emotional health questionnaire, along with an interview. Then we did the first “entrainment” (the name for an NSA treatment).

I’ve been “opening up” ever since. What does that mean?  Read on … Continue reading

Karsten Tries Colon Therapy

Colonic hydrotherapy is like chiropractics for your belly.

My gallbladder/liver flush was, well, amazing (like the title of the book The Amazing Gallbladder and Liver Flush.  And, yes, I did pass dozens of gall/liver stones. I plan to do more of these flushes since Andreas Moritz says most of us have hundreds of these stones clogging our liver and gallbladder.

Anyway, as part of my gallblader and liver flush, I did two colonics—one the afternoon of the flush, and another two days after the flush. We’re lucky enough to have many great places to receive colon hydrotherapy here in Santa Cruz. I did mine at the Ivy Wellness Center.

It turns out that humans have been practicing colon therapy for thousands of years. According to Dr. Thomas Dorman: “There are indications from ancient documents that the Egyptians and Greeks practiced colon irrigation therapeutically.” Continue reading

The Slow Fast

I’m nearing the end of a six-day fast as part of a gallbladder / liver flush. They should call it this a “slow”, ‘cause when you’re fasting, everything seems to slow down.  I mean, you slow down physically and mentally, and it seems like it’s going to be forever before you can eat again.

I also find my senses are intensified while fasting—especially my sense of smell. Case in point: Yesterday, while biking home, I noticed a strange, sweet, honey-like smell as I reached the bottom of my driveway.  I glanced left and saw the beehives on my neighbor’s land, about 35 feet away. I had passed those hives hundreds of times before, but only after not eating for days could I smell the honey they contained—from 35 feet away while biking by at 10 mph.      Continue reading

Why Cleanse?

I’m passionate about health and always taking it to the next level. But … why cleanse? I mean, much of my health regime is based on modeling my behaviors after our ancestors, and our ancestors didn’t buy $250-$300 cleansing kits with names like Arise and Shine, Blessed Herbs or Ejuva, did they?

The basic theory behind cleansing is that our diets are imperfect and that over the years our digestive system can become “congested” with “mucoid plaque” (yuck!) and gallstones (which can also clog the liver). Most cleanses target the stomach, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Some cleanses also attempt to address the kidneys, bladder, lungs, lymph and skin.

When I realize that I floss and brush regularly (and have my teeth cleaned annually), cleansing my innards makes a certain amount of sense. What I can’t see could really hurt me.

Continue reading