Monday, November 7, 2011

Orange Juice - Health Food or Junk Food?

Have you ever heard of someone having an orange juice addiction?

I'm sure many people would laugh at this, but have you heard people say how much they love Tropicana (or other brand name) orange juice?

We grew up thinking that "not from concentrate" orange juice was healthy. We were told to drink some everyday for its vitamin C content, as well as other added nutrients.

But, what if I told you that orange juice isn't the health food we once thought it to be? Most of this is because of the process in which it is made . . .

Companies like Tropicana make "fresh squeezed orange juice" by putting in whole oranges (that have been sprayed with chemical pesticides) and squeezing the juice out. The juice is then stored in giant holding tanks and brought through a process of de-oxygenation. These companies need to make a profit, so if their orange juice goes bad in a few days (like it should), they would lose millions of dollars. The de-oxygenation process allows the juice to stay for a year without spoiling. [Yikes, can you imagine an orange staying fresh for one year in your fridge?]

This process takes most of the flavor and taste away. Orange juice companies then add FLAVOR PACKS to make the substance taste better. These packs are not listed on the ingredient label because they are derived from oranges, however, are so chemically altered that they have become toxic. Big orange juice companies in the United States add ethyl butyrate to our orange juice because Americans "prefer" its flavor. Ethyl butyrate is considered to be a toxic and harmful substance. It must be disposed of properly, and if it comes in contact with your skin, you must wash immediately. There are also risks if swallowed or inhaled. The flavor packs also contain perfume and essential oils that come from companies like Calvin Klein and Dior. Does it sound to you like the flavor packs could be healthy?

Have you ever thought about why all Tropicana tastes the same? Does this put warning bells in your head? Have you squeezed fresh orange juice at home? It NEVER tastes the same! It all depends on what kind or oranges you have and how fresh they are.

In conclusion -commercial orange juice is junk food. On top of the additives, oranges are one of the heaviest sprayed crops - making them toxic from pesticides. If you are looking for vitamin C, kiwis and spinach have more vitamin C than orange juice does. Oranges are also acidic and contribute to an acidic environment, when we are trying to maintain a more alkaline environment in our body for health.

I used to enjoy a good glass of orange juice, but I will never look at a glass of Tropicana the same!

**Update- January 10, 2012:
There is now a lawsuit going on against Tropicana for deceptive labeling and false description of product. Tropicana orange juice claims there are 16-fresh squeezed oranges in a carton of orange juice - when this is not the case. There are many flavors and oils added to the product to make it taste the way it does - some not so natural. If you are interested in learning more about this lawsuit, the case is Lewis v. Tropicana Products Inc, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, No. 12-00049.


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Natural Skin Lotion : Calendula & Rose Hips Coconut Oil

When I shop at the local health food store, I am often very disappointed in what they have to offer in their beauty department. Many of the products contain toxic products, like sodium lauryl sulfate, alcohol, fragrance (parfum) and others.

If I am going to put something on my skin, I want the product to also be food grade - I don't want to put anything on my skin that I wouldn't eat! I know, this may sound weird for some of you, however, our body absorbs whatever we put on our skin and has to process whatever chemicals it contains.

Today I decided to make my own natural lotion (I was getting a little bored with plain old coconut oil). Two weeks ago, I began infusing rose hips and calendula in olive oil. Rose hips works wonders for the skin and contains many vital nutrients (many cultures use it as a super food). This wonder herb works on scars, dry eczema, skin burns (including sunburn), dry skin, damaged skin, wrinkles, and aging skin. I consider rose hips infused oil to be a skin super hero!

Calendula also works wonders on the skin, and has, perhaps, the longest use of any herb in skin care. Calendula is best for chapped and dry skin (especially in the coming winter months), stubborn wounds that won't heal, eczema/psoriasis, and skin regeneration.

Directions to make this salve:

Rose Hips (dried or fresh)
Calendula (dried of fresh)
Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil
Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
*Raw Honey (optional)

Take the rose hips and calendula and place them in enough olive oil to cover them. Let this sit in a dry, dark place for at least two weeks.

At the end of two weeks, strain out the rose hips and calendula.

Place into a stainless steel bowl and put on top of a pan that has hot water (like a double boiler system). Add a bit of coconut oil (and honey if you would like). Make sure the water isn't boiling too high - you don't want to destroy heat sensitive nutrients in your blend. Cut up some beeswax and put into the stainless steel pot. The amount varies for this and you will have to experiment with the amount you like. If you have a small bar of beeswax (like the one shown in the picture below), you can just slice off a few small pieces to start. For salves (or harder creams) you will want to use more beeswax. For a loose lotion you will want less beeswax. If you find your lotion to be too loose when you are finished, just reheat and put a little more beeswax in. If it is too hard, reheat and add more coconut oil.

Heat until the beeswax melts and immediately poor into a glass container. You can find these containers at some health food stores, online, or recycled containers that you keep. I put mine in an old glass garlic container.

I'm so excited to start using this cream! It is totally natural and, if I really wanted to, I could eat it!


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alternative Therapies for Cancer and Treatment Side Effects

 by Allison Brooks

The use of alternative treatments for various health problems has become popular in recent years.
More and more, people are turning to natural methods to treat things like colds, headaches and skin problems. Some are even beginning to use them for cancer, and with much success. It has often been said that the natural world contains everything needed to treat and prevent illness. Nature’s interaction with the body surpasses that of doctor’s so there is truth to that statement. Emerging research and personal accounts provide evidence to validate this claim.

To give some examples and to spike people’s curiosity, I have provided a list of a few common natural remedies to treat certain cancer treatment symptoms. It should also be noted that many doctors encourage these complimentary therapies for patients with aggressive forms of cancer, such pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma, or higher-stages of breast cancer.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a prominent feature in almost anything spicy. Many people recognize it primarily from Mexican and Indian cuisines. However, they don't recognize cayenne's little secret: It kills cancer cells, and does a good job at it. Moreover, it also improves blood flow throughout the body. Cancer has been shown to develop more often in areas of the body where circulation is poor.

This amazing pepper is also quite adept at reducing pain, which is a common side effect of both cancer and its modern treatments. Simply consuming cayenne could decrease dependency on prescription painkillers. This could potentially help the sufferer save money. Cayenne pepper is inexpensive, but modern treatments are so very costly.

Reishi Mushroom

Ganoderma lucidum, or the Reishi mushroom, has been used in Ancient Chinese Medicine for over four thousand years, where it was used as a chemotherapy agent among other things. This simple bracket fungus is thought to reduce the invasiveness of cancer cells, particularly those of the breast and prostate.

It also aids in minimizing or protecting against the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy and radiation such as nausea, hair loss, fatigue and pain, and reduces the physical damage wrought by such treatments.


This humble spice is known for its bright orange-yellow hue, and is responsible for the color of foods like of mustard, yellow rice and curry. It contains a chemical called curcumin, which has been proven to destroy cancerous cells and prevent them from spreading. One study from the University of Chicago found that this chemical killed Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that is responsible for ulcers, and has been liked to digestive and colon cancers.

Though these are only a few examples of the vast realm of natural cancer remedies, it is a good sample of what is out there. These natural treatments, promote life and health in a more enjoyable sense. Step out of the conventional patterns, and see what nature has always offered you.

Allison Brooks is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Anthropology and has continued her research to work towards a complete ethnography. She mainly focuses on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but also branches off into other fields of anthropology.

Welcome to our New Guest Blogger!!!

We are so excited and pleased to introduce our new guest blogger.

Allison Brooks is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Anthropology and has continued her research to work towards a complete ethnography. She mainly focuses on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but also branches off into other fields of anthropology.

Allison is also a "holistic health nut" and is very passionate about enlightening people about the benefits that natural therapies can have on multiple diseases and illnesses. 

We are thrilled to have her as part of our Sacred Healing Traditions team! Welcome Allison!