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Resistant bacteria found in pork

By Ann C Wooledge
on March 19, 2013


Raw ground pork and pork chops were tested by Consumer Reports. Their analysis of pork found very high rates of the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica. This bacteria can be dangerous, particularly to children, and can cause fever with other G.I. upset such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Currently the USDA's inspectors spot test for a limited number of pathogens and Y. enterocolitica isn't even one of them. They also found bacterial contamination in approximately two-thirds of the 198 pork samples they tested! Equally concerning, and perhaps MORE concerning, the Consumer Reports analysis revealed that those bacteria were also resistant to antibiotics. (See chart below)

Along with this startlingly and scary discovery, they found in one-fifth of the samples low levels of ractopamine, which is banned in China, Taiwan, and Europe for safety reasons. Ractopamine has played a big part in the recent trade controversies with these countries since they ask that U.S. meat imports to be pigs not fed ractopamine. According to Consumer Reports, "The European Food Safety Authority, which advises the European Union on food policy, concluded that it couldn’t establish a safe level for ractopamine in food after reviewing the only study of its effect on humans (involving just six men). But it noted that drugs like ractopamine can cause restlessness, anxiety, a fast heart rate, and other conditions." FDA documents show that it increases the risk of injury and lameness in pigs.This drug is routinely used as a growth promoter and is approved for use in the USA. Consumer Reports believes that the discovery of ractopamine is a concern and they stated, "No drugs, including ractopamine and antibiotics, should be fed routinely to healthy animals for growth promotion and to prevent disease." 

Sample Results:


Number Tested

Number Contaminated & resistant to one or more antibiotics




Staphylococcus aureus









Yersinia enterocolitica



One sample was found to contain MRSA. Ground pork was more likely to contain bacteria than pork chops. 

Growth Promoters:

It is no secret that approximately 80% of ALL antibiotics sold in the USA are for animals as growth promoters, not to treat infections. It is also not a secret that this practice is accelerating the proliferation of drug resistant superbugs.

When I was growing up trichinosis (a parasite) was the main risk factor with eating pork. That risk is now apparently not an issue and has been reduced by changing some industry practices and some additional legislation. Hopefully, the attention given this study will bring about more changes.

What can you do?

Aside from cutting out pork altogether, and I know that becomes even more difficult for you rib lovers in the summer time, there are things you can do to reduce your risks of consuming contaminated meat. As with any raw meat, but particularly with pork, wash your hands at least long enough to sing happy birthday to yourself at once. Use separate cutting boards for meat and wash them thoroughly with soap and water or clean them in the dishwasher. Use a meat thermometer to assure the pork is done with an internal temperature of 145 degrees and 160 degrees for ground pork. These temperatures should kill any harmful bacteria. 

Buy "certified organic" whenever possible, or buy locally from a farmer you know uses good practices and no antibiotics. Other signs to look for include "Animal Welfare Approved" or "Certified Humane". If you see, and we have often, the terms "Natural" or "No Hormones Used" labels, know that these are meaningless and misleading terms since we know that "natural" has nothing to do with whether the animal received antibiotics and/or was raised humanely. Hormones are not an issue since they are barred in any pork production.

You can also feel safer purchasing your pork from some food companies who say they don't sell any meat from pigs raised with ractopamine, such as Niman Ranch, Whole Foods and Chipotle. And by the way, Trader Joe’s does sell meat given antibiotics, even though a lot of their employees didn’t know that. See here: http://notinmyfood.org/posts/3617-trader-joes-employees-offer-misleading-claims-about-their-meat. There are two websites where you can find additional information as to restaurants in your particular area who use pork without these additives. And finally, Consumer Reports' own website devoted to food safety - notinmyfood.org.

You can find the original report here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/01/what-s-in-that-pork/index.htm

Do you eat pork? Will knowing this change that in any way?

Thanks for listening!



Gluten-free, Sugar-free Raspberry Muffins

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on November 29, 2012



We’ve been experimenting with quite a few sugar free, gluten-free, yeast-free breads and desserts. We have had some victories and a few disappointments, but I wanted to share them with you. This is an adaptation to our Blueberry Muffin recipe posted last week – see here. For anyone with yeast overgrowth or even just some yeast issues, these will help starve that yeast and get it eliminated from your body. Often times we don’t even realize we have yeast and the possibility that they might have taken control of our intestinal flora. Do you have lots of bloating after eating? Probably yeast. Can’t lose weight even though you’re starving yourself? Probably yeast. We have to starve it by eliminating ALL sugar and yeast from our diets. Other things need to be eliminated too, but these are the main culprits. To say it's difficult to find a sugar-free, gluten-free, and YEAST-free bread is an understatement. Let me know if you do. We've experimented with a few recipes and found some we really liked. I will be posting those recipes very soon.

Now, just a short note about these recipes. They are adapted from a book called "The Joy of Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking" and I highly recommend the book. However, I suddenly realized with my last two recipe attempts, the authors are WEIGHING their dry ingredients. For instance, one recipe says 1 cup (4 oz/113 grams)! Well, I've been baking since I was a kid and one cup to me is 8 ounces in a dry measuring cup - so totally NOT 4 oz! So I decided to actually weigh the flour this time at 85 grams and I think they turned out better than the last batch. Which, really if you think about it, each "flour" has a different weight - it's a bit different than using all purpose flour which stays the same. The almond flour I purchased and is available in most grocery stores, but for the pecan flour, I simply ground up raw organic pecans in the spice grinder. And seriously? If you don't have yeast issues or aren't worried about the glycemic load, you could use sugar in these recipes. Hmmm - and did you notice? There are NO oils or fats added? The fats are naturally derived from the nuts - and they are the healthy fats!


¾ cups (3 oz/85 grams) pecan flour
¾ cup (3 oz/85 grams almond flour
½ cup Stevia in the Raw Extract (we were able to find this at Russ's! One of our least health-oriented grocery stores.)
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup organic dried coconut
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs (approximately 3.5 oz/99 grams)
½ cup (4 oz/113 grams) unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 packet NuStevia
½ to 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (I put them in still frozen)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9 to 10 muffin cups with paper liners. I like to spray them with olive oil spray (optional). Mix the pecan flour, almond flour, Stevia in the Raw, hemp seeds, coconut, baking powder and salt until well blended. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and NuStevia until well blended.  Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. I’ve found that this is an important step to get the correct consistency of the batter. I even set my timer for 2 minutes after I pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture but I’m a little OCD-ish. Fold the raspberries into the batter – gently of course. Again, no need to thaw them out first - easy and fast.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and the cups should be just about full. They don’t rise much if at all.  Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Test them with a toothpick and if it comes out clean, they’re ready. I like to then set them out on a wire rack for cooling. Well, truthfully, I like to pull a really hot one out and slather it with butter and eat it right then - my reward.

We liked these a lot and Warren took a few to work with him today.  I will do a nutritional analysis, but just knowing that I’m using nut “flour” (and we use organic raw nuts), NO sugar, and coconut milk – the amount of fiber and protein has to be high. The raspberries of course were not sweetened – so more goodness for you.

Let me know if you try these and how they turned out. If you have any questions, let me know!

Thanks for listening!

Ann McIntire Wooledge, RN, CCAP

Blueberry-Hazelnut Muffins - Gluten-free, Sugar-Free

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on October 22, 2012
1 comment

Blueberry-Hazelnut Muffins - Gluten-free, Sugar-Free


One of the biggest issues for us this past year has been following a totally gluten-free, sugar-free, yeast-free, soy-free eating plan. This was needed due to a very serious yeast overgrowth issue in our family. It's been a life-changing difficult path, but we've learned a lot and we are thankful we've learned to eat a more healthy diet. I was very excited when I found the cookbook from which this recipe was taken (see below). Finding ANY bread, cake or muffin that has no yeast, no sugar or no gluten is impossible. Or I thought it was until I found this cookbook.

¾ cup hazelnut flour
¾ cup almond flour
½ cup Stevia Extract in the Raw or ¼ cup New Roots Stevia Sugar
1/3 cup almonds or hazelnuts, chopped
1 TBSP baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup unsweetened soy milk (or other milk)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp liquid stevia
½ to 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 muffin cups with paper or foil liners, then lightly mist them with spray oil (or omit the liners and generously mist the muffin cups with spray oil).

In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnut flour, almond flour, stevia extract, almonds, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well mixed. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and liquid stevia together until thoroughly blended. Add the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minutes to make a smooth, sticky batter (see page 27). Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly among them; the muffin cups should be just about full.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake for 20 more minutes, until golden brown and firm and springy when pressed in the center.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.

Taken from “The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking”, by Peter Reinhart & Denene Wallace

Let me know if you try these!

Thanks for listening!


Vegetarian Moussaka - Meatless Monday, October 15, 2012

By Ann C Wooledge
on October 15, 2012
1 comment

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian Moussaka


My recipe records show that I first tried this recipe on July 7th, 2008, and that it was “really good!!” The recipe was adapted from “The Best Ever Vegetarian” published by Parragon Publishing, copyright 2003. I say all that because I don’t see authors listed which is interesting, and there are several other cookbooks with the same name. It is spiral bound, which I particularly like, and I have found this to be a useful guide. I like to scan the recipes and then I can write notes on the printed pages and put it in our family book of recipes.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be “meatless” and you can substitute approximately 12 oz of lamb to make it a truly traditional moussaka. The original recipe called for a 10-1/2 oz can of green lentils. I didn’t use the lentils and if I had, I would have cooked my own since they are so easy. It would, of course, add some protein and make it an even healthier meal.


Approximately ½ cup olive oil

1 onion chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

14 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Pinch of cinnamon and paprika

Salt and pepper

1 large fresh eggplant, sliced


2 tbsp butter

2-1/2  tbsp brown rice flour

1-1/4 cup organic milk or milk substitute

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup (divided into ½ cup each) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degree. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in skillet and add the onion and cook until softened. Add the celery, garlic, the tomatoes and juice from the tomatoes, and the chopped parsley. Add the lentils here if you use them. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover this mixture and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until thickened.

2.  Meanwhile, heat a little of the remaining oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the eggplant slices, in batches, if necessary, and cook until golden brown on both sides, adding more oil as necessary. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Eggplant has a tendency to soak up a lot of oil, so be sure to drain these well. Layer an ovenproof dish with the tomato mixture and the eggplant slices, ending up with a layer of eggplant. I actually used a 9 x 13 inch pan and was able to place one layer of the eggplant and one layer of the tomatoes. So – the size of your pan obviously will determine how many layers you will end up with. There is a cook’s tip that says to prevent the eggplant from absorbing too much oil during cooking, salt it first. Place the slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let stand for 20 minutes to let them dry out. In the “olden days” we would salt eggplant to prevent bitterness, but the newer varieties are without that bitterness.

3.  Topping: To make the topping, put the butter, flour, and milk into a pan and bring to a boil over low heat, whisking constantly. Season to taste with nutmeg, ½ cup cheese, salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, then beat in the egg. Pour the sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup parmesan cheese, and bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

This evening I’m thinking about using zucchini rather than eggplant, which of course, will make it something entirely different than a moussaka, but I think it will still taste good. I also think I'll add the lentils this time - red ones probably because that's what I have the most of. Let me know if you try this!


Thanks for listening!



Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health and nutrition. Ann is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.


Coffee blocks inflammation-induced Alzheimer's

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on October 10, 2012

Caffeine blocks inflammation-induced Alzheimer’s


Let me just start off saying I am addicted to coffee. My name is Ann and I am a coffeeaholic. I am in no way making fun of that very familiar phrase, but I just wanted to add that bit of information because that admission may influence my bias about any articles I read and/or post about caffeine. The fact my mother and grandfather had Alzheimer’s also adds to my bias to find ways to prevent this from happening to me or one of my siblings, children or grandchildren. So – when I find what to me seems to be yet another reason to justify my coffee-drinking habit and at the same time prevent the onset of Alzheimer's,  I’m happy to share that information. The fact is, however, I do limit the amount of coffee I drink every day to no more than 2 cups and often I don’t finish that 2nd cup. I do think I NEED that coffee though and there is little argument that caffeine is addictive – and so is sugar.

This study adds to the evidence that caffeine blocks the inflammation that contributes to brain cell damage, memory loss and ultimately Alzheimer’s Disease.  According to Gregory Freund from the University of Illinois’s Division of Nutritional Sciences: “We have discovered a novel signal that activates the brain-based inflammation associated with neurodegenerative diseases, and caffeine appears to block its activity. This discovery may eventually lead to drugs that could reverse or inhibit mild cognitive impairment."(1)

This study took a look at the how caffeine affected memory formation in mice with one group being given caffeine and the other group receiving none. Both groups of mice were then subjected to a simulation of interruption of blood flow to the brain and then allowed to recover. Having worked in a critical care unit for many years, I know firsthand how loss of even a short period of blood flow to the brain, as in cardiac arrest, can affect short-term and long-term memory as well as overall brain health. Loss of oxygen to the brain does, in fact, kill brain cells. Interestingly, in this study those mice given the caffeine were able to recover new memory formation 33% faster than the group not given caffeine. The authors of this study suggest that caffeine has the ability to block the inflammation associated with many neurodegenerative diseases.

Without going into a long discourse as to all the negative assumptions and cautions about caffeine, let me just say that as with anything, moderation is always the most important consideration with anything that is potentially addictive. So – for those of us who are already addicted, most studies and nutritionists agree that IF you drink coffee, keep your consumption to 2 cups a day or less. If you don’t already drink coffee, there’s no reason to add another potentially addictive substance to your already complicated life.

Thanks for listening!



 1. G. S. Chiu, D. Chatterjee, P. T. Darmody, J. P. Walsh, D. D. Meling, R. W. Johnson, G. G. Freund. Hypoxia/Reoxygenation Impairs Memory Formation via Adenosine-Dependent Activation of Caspase 1. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012; 32 (40): 13945 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0704-12.2012


Red Lentil Artichoke Stew - Meatless Monday

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on October 08, 2012
1 comment

Meatless Monday - October 8, 2012

Red Lentil Artichoke Stew



1-1/2 cups water
2 medium sized yellow onions, diced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin (we always use more cumin than called for in everything – so use more if you want!)
1 tsp ground coriander (take the whole ones and grind them up with a mortal and pestle – no comparison to ground spices in the bottle at the grocery store)
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp fresh organic lemon juice (I use organic cold-pressed essential oil if I don’t have the organic lemons, just a couple drops)
1 can (24 oz) chopped tomatoes undrained
1 can (15 oz) drained artichoke hearts
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté onions until transparent. I like a little brown on them as it sweetens and mellows out the flavors but I also sometimes get distracted and they brown to the point of bitter, so just keep an eye on them. Add the garlic until just warm and you can smell it, then add the spices. Blend this just until the fragrance rises from the pan. Add the water, lentils, bay leaf, lemon juice, tomatoes with liquid, artichoke hearts and red pepper flakes (we don’t always do this, but we’re wimps when it comes to “heat”.) Bring this to a boil. Lower the heat to just a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Now I have to admit that I’ve been writing down recipes since I was 16 yrs old (or younger), so I wasn’t sure where this one came from, but I googled it and apparently I wrote this one down during one of our afternoons at Barnes & Noble since I don’t have the book or at least can’t find it right now, but I have way too many cook books – or so my family would tell me. I’m not sure you can EVER have too many. It apparently was “adapted” from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I’m much more careful now when I write down a recipe to make sure I also make note of the original author.

Let me know if you try it, how you liked it, or how you would improve it. I have never ever followed a recipe that I didn’t change it somewhat and then change it again the next time I cook it. Which is why I make a photocopy of each recipe and then note the date I first try it, who was there, what was the occasion, and how did we like it. It gives me great joy to go back through some of my recipes and remember some of the family occasions where we first tried them. 

I've posted another artichoke recipe that is one of our favorites - here - and also why we think artichokes are one of nutrition's super hero's here.   AND - three more nutritional reasons to try this recipe - here.

Thanks for listening!



Pumpkin Hummus?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on October 06, 2012

Pumpkin Hummus?


Now – I’m sort of doing this backwards. I just made some regular old hummus and found this old recipe in my stack of OLD recipes, so I don’t know where I got it from or I’d give credit where credit belongs. I am posting this because I thought it looked really good and let’s face it – we’re all wanting to do something with pumpkin now at the beginning of fall.

So – my questions would be – has anyone tried anything like this? Did you like it and/or would you make it again. I’d also like to hear if anyone else thinks this looks really good or not so good. Obviously, I am a little undecided or I would have just gone ahead and made it. Now - this has to be one of the healthiest snacks I can possibly think of what with the raw garlic and the garbanzo beans - than add pumpkin puree to that!


1-1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp water or olive oil to thin to the consistency you like
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cumin

Place everything in your food processor blend until you have the consistency you like best.

I posted a blog a year or two ago about how to make raw hummus and why that's a good idea, but to be honest, I've been so busy (or translate that as lazy) that I've been using canned garbanzo's. I really am going to go back to soaking and cooking dried beans - really!

Thanks for listening!


Arnica montana oil for arthritic pain

By Ann C Wooledge
on September 20, 2012

Organic Arnica oil for arthritic pain and inflammation

Arnica montana organic flowers 

Arnica (Arnica montana) is a well-known and well-established herbal cure for anyone who has ever experienced the debilitating  pain and inflammation of arthritis, broken bones, sprains, gout, pulled muscles or torn ligaments. We began infusing (also commonly referred to as macerating) our own Arnica oil several years ago when we realized that some of the most important constituents in this amazing herb can be lost if processed at high temperatures. This herb has also been referred to as Arnica chamissonis, leopard's bane and mountain tobacco. The product we use is from the flowers of Arnica montana that are collected at the end of the summer and dried for medicinal use. We are diligently looking for local growers and our dream, of course, is to have land of our own to grow and dry our own plants. In the meantime, we carefully source our herbs from a company who is extremely concerned about the environment and tests for pesticides and heavy metals. We receive fresh herbs that still have their natural color and brightness intact, as you can see from the picture. If not used immediately, we store our herbs in dark glass in dark closed cabinets.

What are the benefits of Arnica montana oil?:

Traditionally the benefits from this plant are obtained from the flowers and the roots. In countries where Arnica is indigenous it has been used as a popular remedy for pain, bruises, rheumatism, as well as many other inflammatory conditions. In North America the flower is what is used most frequently and this is in fact what we use in our organic Arnica infused oil - not to be confused with an essential oil.  Although due to its potential toxicity the internal use of Arnica is allowed only in homeopathic remedies - this caution does NOT apply to the external topical application. In fact, this particular plant is well-known as one of the best remedies for external local healing and can be used as a compress or included in a massage oil or cream. Which is why it is one of the main ingredients in our very popular Spicey Muscle Oil.

According to the most reliable authority, The Complete German Commission E Monographs, arnica contains helenalin, its most active sesquiterpene lactone, responsible for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects (1, 2), for those who are interested,  and 11,13-dihydrohelenalin. This plant also contains the flavanoids of isoquercitrin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and astragalin, the volatile oil (with thymol and its derivatives), phenol carbonic acid (chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid), and coumarins (umbelliferone, scopoletin). Arnica montana is known to contain 10 different constituents which have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits. According to the Aromatic Guide to the Use of Herbs by Kolbjorn Borseth, the essential oils of this plant "stimulates the mopping up and reabsorption of blood from the bruised tissue and hastened the replacement of damaged tissue with new cells.” According to Richo Cech in his classic book Making Plant Medicine, he indicates that "arnicated oil" is an excellent penetrating anti-inflammatory for treating traumatic injuries such as bruises, sprains and torn ligaments. He goes on to say that “Arnica resolves stuck blood.”  And in yet another herbal classic entitled "The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook" by James Green, he indicates that Arnica oil can also be blended into equal parts with infused calendula and infused St. John's Wort oils for soothing traumatic injuries including small to major ones. We are also offering these two infused oils on our website and, of course, they are the base for our previously mentioned Spicey Muscle Oil.

Our organic herbal tradition process:

While making our unique infused oil, we use only the certified organic flowers of Arnica montana and infuse these flowers in a certified organic high oleic sunflower oil. The sunflower oil alone has an amazing array of benefits the details of which can be found on our website. Research has shown that sunflower oil when used on premature infants actually increased their ability to survive. Use in soaps, creams, lotions and/or massage oils. As mentioned previously, we infuse these flowers for weeks at low temperatures to ensure that we are obtaining the maximum amount of healing constituents. We are now offering this infused oil to the public on our website in a one ounce treatment bottle, or 2 or 4 ounce glass amber bottle. The amber glass is used to protect these precious healing constituents from UV light. Our prices are extremely competitive as our overhead costs are substantially lower than larger operations. Additionally, in the best herbal tradition,  we do this process in small batches and fully believe that the energy of good will and purpose as we stir these oils daily will be reflected in the overall quality of the end product. Our final infused/macerated oils are stored in recycled wine bottles with vacuum pumps to insure no benefits are lost - and we store them in a refrigerated room to insure their freshness.


All herbalists agree that Arnica montana oil should not be applied to an opened wound. Repeated application to the skin can cause irritation. Do not apply to broken skin and this herb is not recommended while pregnant or nursing. 

Thanks for listening!

1. Lyss, G., T. J. Schmidt, I. Merfort, and H. L. Pahl. "Helenalin, an anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone from Arnica, selectively inhibits transcription factor NF-kappaB." Biological Chemistry 378.9 (1997): 951-61. Web.

2. Lyss, G., A. Knorre, T. J. Schmidt, H. L. Pahl, and I. Merfort. "The anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone helenalin inhibits the transcription factor NF-kappaB by directly targeting p65."  Biological Chemistry 273.50 (1988): 33508-16. Web.

Energy drinks - are they really bad for your teeth?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on September 10, 2012

Energy drinks cause tooth decay?


Do you still have pearly white teeth? And I'm sure you are aware that the health of your teeth is more valuable than gold? Energy drinks may sound like a good thing and obviously they are popular for different reasons for different people. But did you know they can cause serious damage to your teeth if you drink them often? A recent study which took a look at 22 different energy drinks, including Red Bull Sugar Free and Rockstar were acidic enough to harm tooth enamel. The Red Bull Sugar Free and Rockstar were the most acidic of the 22 tested. The authors of the study tested different brands of drinks for their effects on tooth enamel and found both energy drinks and sports drinks caused damage. Energy drinks, however, were twice as bad. Damaged tooth enamel cannot be fixed. Enamel is the hard outer layer of a tooth made mostly of minerals. Tooth decay is caused primarily by bacteria as they feed on the sugars in the food you eat - and they form acids. The acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. So by exposing your teeth to even more acid, you are speeding up the process. 

The study:

Poonam Jain, BDS, MPH, associate professor and director of community dentistry at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and her associates tested 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks for acidity. They tested six drinks for their effects on tooth enamel and found both types caused damage. Energy drinks, however, were twice as bad. The study is published in the journal General Dentistry. (1)

Those who don't agree:

As would be expected, the industry itself has made various comments attempting to refute the results of this study. I don’t think any one questions that acidity damages the enamel on teeth, so it would probably depend on how many energy/sports drinks you drink a day and how long your teeth are exposed to the acid in your particular choice of drink.  I am working on a blog about energy drinks in general and they aren’t good for you for many reasons, this being only one of them. However, if you want to continue drinking your energy drinks/sports drinks, my suggestion would be to use some xylitol chewing gum immediately after and drinking water to dilute the acid levels. Xylitol has been found to kill bacteria in your mouth. We've found a NOW brand of xylitol in a local health food store and use it as one of our sugar free replacements and in our homemade toothpaste. The authors of the study suggested that brushing your teeth immediately after drinking the energy drink is not a good idea as it will spread the acid further. Their suggestion was to wait approximately one hour afterwards and then brush your teeth.

My suggestion, of course, would be to JUICE your own energy juice using real organic vegetables and fruits.

Thanks for listening!

1.  Academy of General Dentistry. "Sports and energy drinks responsible for irreversible damage to teeth." ScienceDaily, 1 May 2012. Web. 10 Sep. 2012.

For further reading and information on this subject:




The Powerful Potential of Pink Grapefruit

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 31, 2012

The Powerful Potential of Pink Grapefruit



I’m talking about the pure essential oil, undiluted and unadulterated. This particular essential oil has many well proven beneficial and healing properties not the least of which includes animal and human studies showing its potential to prevent several types of cancer. In this article I present some of the most compelling research available including well-controlled studies as well as anecdotal evidence and information from some of the more reliable aromatherapy texts on the market. I purposefully avoided reading or considering information listed on the various aromatherapy websites. Some of them have very good, accurate and researched information. However, many of them are simply copied and pasted from either aromatherapy texts or other websites throughout the Internet, which simply leads to confusion and contradiction.

Citrus paradisi is known to be native to Asia and the West Indies however there are many different cultivars being developed and grown in other countries including the USA and Israel. From the information I read, the grapefruit is a recent hybrid. The essential oil is obtained from the cold-pressed peel.


Kurt Schnaubelt, a well-known authority and author on the practice of aromatherapy and the use of pure essential oils said in a brochure for a 2009 conference in San Francisco: "The idea of dominating nature with chemicals and drugs is losing some of its luster. In aromatherapy this is reflected by an increase in research and empirical knowledge about essential oils in the context of serious disease. It is also reflected in conventional medicine. As pharmacology has been reduced to an adjunct of the corporate profit motive; biology is moving center stage."

The therapeutic value of an individual essential oil is related to its composition, which represents a complex make-up of many chemical components each with different biological activities. These varied compositions show wide variations that depend on their source. However, that being said, much of the research available to us today is being done with isolated components of individual essential oils. The influence of trace components on the therapeutic effect of essential oils has not been studied sufficiently. It is believed that these minor components probably contribute significantly to not just the odor of the oil but to the combined synergistic effect of all the components in order to appreciate the full healing potential of any given oil. In fact, grapefruit oil supposedly receives its olfactory character almost entirely from its minor components. I’ll first give you a short overview of what the popular aromatherapy texts say, and then I will delineate some of the current research available concerning this essential oil and/or constituent.


Out of all the texts most of them agree that grapefruit essential oil has the following benefits and properties:

Cleansing, detoxifying, energizing, uplifting, stimulates the lymphatic system, increases circulation, stimulates liver and gallbladder function, mental stimulant, antidepressant, useful as a room deodorizer, antiseptic, antiviral, diuretic, anti-cellulite, astringent, immune stimulant, tones the skin and tissues. As with all pure essential oils, and unlike pharmaceutical drugs, one oil can provide many proven and non-related benefits. 

What I've chosen to do with this article is point out and give proof to some of the more compelling beneficial properties of this particular essential oil. To do this most of the research refers to the main chemical constituent (sometimes referred to as component) of this oil which is made up of over 90% d-limonene.


 1.  Skin penetration enhancer: In two separate studies that I found, d-limonene was found to affect the skin barrier in such a way that it was shown to enhance the transcutaneous penetration of other substances. This is useful information both for medical applications in skin patches and for cosmetic formulators such as myself (1, 2).

2.   Immune stimulant: This is a particularly exciting property of d-limonene and has been proven in both animal and human studies.  Animal studies have shown that this happens in various ways. The immune system is complex. White blood cells are soldiers and defend our bodies against infectious disease and foreign materials. They are found in the blood, in the lymphatic system as well as other body systems. White blood cells are divided into five types and each type has its own particular assignment with each one often assisting the other. For instance, while in nursing school the characteristic of the macrophage that performs what is referred to as phagocytosis reminded me of Pac-Man and that's how I remembered its purpose and method of operation. If you remember Pac-Man then you'll understand what I mean. The reason I go into these details is to give you a better understanding of why d-limonene is of great importance in enhancing your immune system and increasing your ability to resist and fight bacteria, fungus, viruses and even cancer. In the many studies that I found it has been shown that d-limonene can increase white blood cell count, increase natural killer cell activity, increase the number and activity of macrophages and stimulate antibody production (3, 4, 5). Not directly related to its immune enhancing properties, pink grapefruit oil has been shown also to reduce stress which would also enhance immune function. And finally d-limonene has been used successfully in randomized clinical trials in a combination with other constituents that proved to produce better results than antibiotics and all treatments were more effective than placebo for acute bronchitis (6).

3.   Lipolysis and/or weight reduction: Probably one of the most talked about and misunderstood benefits of this component regard its ability to cause decreased appetite and weight loss. The major study that looked at these properties was actually related to olfactory stimulation (the inhaled essence of grapefruit oil) rather than internal intake. There are many websites on the Internet now that are copied and pasted endlessly from one to the other that refer back to a particular multilevel marketing product where one is encouraged to take "eight drops to a glass of water and drink in between your meals during the day to help you manage hunger and overcome cravings." In actuality the main study that I found was done on chronic olfactory stimulation (inhaled); i.e., 15 minutes per day three days a week for six weeks which did in fact result in a "significant decrease in caloric intake and body weight" (7).

Currently, professional aromatherapy organizations do not allow their members to advocate the internal use of essential oils and their insurance does not cover this activity. Essential oils suggested for digestive issues can be applied to the abdomen in a carrier oil or lotion and massaged in a clockwise direction. The entire discussion concerning the oral use of essential oils is greatly debated but most everyone in the professional arena agrees this should not be done without guidance and direction from a professionally educated aromatherapist who has an in-depth understanding of the risks, benefits and pathophysiology.  And let me add, this is not accomplished in a 10-day course and should result in an internationally recognized certification.

A professional aromatherapist might suggest that this discussion, specifically concerning d-limonene, revolves around a well-known book written by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, translated from French and edited by Robert Tisserand. In this book, Gattefosse states that “taken internally terpenes (which would include d-limonene) dissolve mucus, damage the stomach lining, cause auto digestion, alterations and painful irritation.” However Robert Tisserand made an editorial comment in that book, page 142, and also replied on a LinkedIn aromatherapy group discussion that “indeed terpenes are very useful for dissolving mucus; however, they do not cause the problems that the author list here unless perhaps if taken in abnormally high doses.”  He goes on to state that “everything depends on concentration -- any essential oil used in flavoring will be very dilute and will not cause the G.I. tract irritation. Any essential oil -- of whatever composition -- should be properly dispersed before ingestion. It is inadvisable to ingest essential oils undiluted or in water." This of course only makes common sense since essential oils are lipophilic (not soluble in water) and would simply sit on top of a glass of water. One wonders why this is recommended for this particular company's blend.  Essential oil molecules are very small and regardless of how the oil is introduced, either by rubbing them into the skin or by inhalation, these routes are in many cases more effective than internal ingestion. According to a study done at the University of Nottingham's school of health, a consideration and caution concerning the ingestion of essential oils such as those containing d-limonene, since it is able to inhibit a broad spectrum of organisms, the d-limonene could also potentially cause an imbalance in beneficial gut microflora.

All of that being said, however, d-limonene has been shown in laboratory studies to increase the metabolism of adipose (fatty) tissue and more recently has been shown to be helpful in alleviating insulin resistance (8). It has also been proven in studies that d-limonene deposits and accumulates mostly in adipose tissue. This particular attribute is one of the reasons it is thought to be effective against breast cancer. See cancer discussion below.

4.   Anticancer/anti-tumoral:  One study shows clearly that rats with stable mammary tumors when given a 10% d-limonene diet had an 87% regression of tumors. It also showed those fed d-limonene have significantly increased survival time. In other animal studies d-limonene showed antitumoral action in cancers of the breast, liver, pancreas and stomach (9, 10, 11, 12). These results were believed to have been mainly due to the metabolites of d-limonene. On the assumption that d-limonene is a lipid soluble bioactive food component found in citrus peel, a study in the Tucson metropolitan area was done comparing citrus and black tea intake and its effects on non-melanoma skin cancer. The total combined citrus peel and black tea intake was associated with a 78% decreased risk. Black tea alone was associated with a 40% decreased risk but was not considered significant. However citrus peel intake was associated with a 70% decreased risk.  It was believed that this study gives evidence in humans that biologically active components exist in the peel of citrus that may have a protective effect against select cancers, and especially those cancers related to adipose (fatty) tissue such as skin and breast.

5.   Antifungal:  According to a study published in the Journal Food Chemistry the essential oils of lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and orange all exhibited antifungal activity and against common food molds. The researchers attributed this finding to the "monoterpene content of these essential oils", which would be d-limonene (13).

SAFETY & CAUTIONS:  Grapefruit essential oil due to its d-limonene content has a very high potential for oxidation when exposed to light, heat, moisture and air. If and when this should happen, the likelihood of skin irritation is also more likely. I recommend first of all purchasing only an organic essential oil and keeping it tightly closed in an amber or blue bottle and refrigerated. We refrigerate all of our citrus oils.  As are most other citrus oils that are cold-pressed (opposed to steam distilled), this oil is photo-sensitizing which means exposure to direct sunlight or a sunbed within the next 24 to 48 hours could result in severe burns or irritation. It is recommended to use this essential oil in dilutions of 1%. The regular cautions concerning medications and interactions with grapefruit juice would most likely apply to the use of the essential oil as well.

IN CONCLUSION: Athough there are many other studies available showing additional beneficial properties for this particular essential oil, due primarily to its high content of d-limonene, I have covered the ones that seem to have the greatest amount of recent research studies proving these properties. At some point I would like to go into more detail about the anticancer/antitumor possibilities of not just this essential oil but others as well. Another area of great interest is the use of pink grapefruit essential oil during pregnancy. Coming soon!

Thanks for listening!



  1.  Almirall M, et al (1996) Effect of d-limonene, α-pinene and cineole on the in vitro transdermal human skin penetration of chlorpromazine and haloperidol. Arzneimittel-Forschung 46:676-680
  2. McAdam B, Keimowitz RM, Maher M et al (1996) Transdermal modification of platelet function: an aspirin patch system results in marked suppression of platelet cyclooxygenase. Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics 277:559-564
  3. Del Toro-Arreola S, Flores-Torales E, Torres-Lozano (2005) Effect of d-limonene on immune response in BALB/c mice with lymphoma. International Immunopharmacology 5:829-838
  4. Hamada M, Uezu K, Matsushita J et al (2002) Distribution and immune responses resulting from oral administration of d-limonene in rats. Journal of Nutritional Science & Vitaminology (Tokyo) 48:155-160
  5. Manuele MG, Ferraro G, Anesini C (2008) Effect of Tilia x viridis flower extract on the proliferation of a lymphoma cell line and on normal murine lymphocytes: contribution of monoterpenes, especially limonene. Phytotherapy Research 22:1520-1526
  6. Matthys H, de Mey C, Carls C et al  (2000) Efficacy and tolerability of myrtol standardized in acute bronchitis. A multi-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group clinical trial vs. cefuroxime and ambroxol. Arzneimittelforschung 50:700-711
  7. Shen J, Niijima A, Tanida M et al (2005) Olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats. Neuroscience Letters 380:289-294
  8. Victor Antony Santiago J, Jayachitra J, Shenbagam M, Nalini N. (2012) Dietary d-limonene alleviates insulin resistance and oxidative stress-induced liver injury in high-fat diet and L-NAME-treated rats. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Feb;51(1):57-68
  9. Haag JD Lindstrom MJ, Gould MN (1992) Limonene-induced regression of mammary carcinomas. Cancer Research 52:4021-4026
  10. Lu XG, Zhan LB, Feng BA et al (2004) Inhibition of growth and metastasis of human gastric cancer implanted in nude mice by d-limonene. World Journal of Gastroenterology 10:2140-2144
  11. Nakaizumi A, Baba M, Uehara H et al (1997) d-Limonene inhibits N-nitrosobis(2-oxopropyl)amine induced hamster pancreatic carcinogenesis. Cancer Letters 117:99-103
  12. Uedo N, Tatsuta M, Iishi H et al (1999) Inhibition by d-limonene of gastric carcinogenesis induced by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine in Wistar rats. Cancer Letters 137:131-136
  13. M.Viuda-Martos, Y.Ruiz-Navajas, J.Fernandez-Lopez, J. Perez-Alvarez (2007) Antifungal activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.), mandarin (Citrus reticulate L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradise L.) and orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oils. Food Chemistry


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