Foot Zone Center Training Program

Class Photo cropped

Mission Statement

Foot Zone Center provides the opportunity for students to become knowledgeable and competent foot zone practitioners.

We provide a challenging and enriching learning experience through interactive class instruction, excellent course materials, valuable demonstrations, homework assignments, and practical experience which maximizes the learning potential of every student and prepares them to succeed.

We provide this opportunity for those who are serious about learning this modality in order to help themselves, family, and others.

We value the worth of knowledge and are committed to help students gain a better understanding of health and how the body, mind, and spirit work together.

We encourage continuous growth and learning by inspiring students to continually grow in mental, physical, emotional, and spirituals understanding, and apply these things in their own life so they are prepared to help others.

Vision Statement

We intend to provide our students with the best learning experience possible from beginning to end so that each may use their unique gifts to bring hope and healing to the world.

Code of Ethics

  1. Maintain high standards of professional conduct.
  2. Honor and uphold the reputation of the foot zone profession.
  3. Conduct business and professional activities with integrity, honesty, accuracy, courtesy and respect.
  4. Give high priority to the health and welfare of those with whom service is being provided.
  5. Be courteous and respectful of other foot zone associates and health care professionals.
  6. Be mindful of and respect the inherent worth, privacy, and confidentiality of all individuals.

Standards of Practice

  1. Conduct self and business in a highly and appropriate professional manner.
  2. Foot zone practitioners are not medical professionals and do not diagnose or prescribe for specific conditions. Observations found in the signal system of the feet refer to the signal of the specified part, organ or system and must be referred to as such.
  3. Do not diagnose, prescribe, or knowingly interfere with any ongoing therapy being received by a client.
  4. Practice within the professional boundaries of the training by performing only those services for which there is qualification.
  5. Represent education, certifications, credentials, experience, training, professional affiliations, and other qualifications accurately.
  6. Operate in an environment where cleanliness and safety are of the highest priority for both the client and the practitioner.
  7. Maintain and support own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health in order to facilitate clients in the best manner possible.
  8. Abide by applicable local, state, and national laws not limited to, and including.
    1. Honor copyright laws.
    2. Obtain required business licensing.
    3. No zoning of minors without parent or guardians written consent.
  9. Strive to be current in the field of foot zoning and continually seek to expand insight and effectiveness.
  10. Provide a written disclaimer defining services.
  11. Charge fair and ethical fees for service being given.
  12. Keep appropriate records of sessions with clients.

 What is Foot Zoning?

Foot Zoning uses specific techniques with the hands to trigger signals on the feet that correspond to parts, organs and systems of the body. We follow a detailed map to reach each signal in a specified order and treat the entire body through the electromagnetic system as it is mapped on the foot with each session. Each treatment is basically the same for every person, although each person is unique and responds differently depending upon their current state of health. This is a holistic approach that recognizes that the body’s parts, organs, and systems work together. We believe that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself when given the proper care, and find that the triggering of these signals can be of great benefit physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Certification Requirements

Certification requirements include 175 hours of education, testing and practice. This includes:

1. A minimum of 125 hours of in-class instruction to include:

  1. Instruction and demonstration in the foot zone technique
  2. Instruction in basic anatomy and physiology
  3. Instruction in supplementary health information
  4. Instruction in Foot Zone Center standards and ethics
  5. Supervised practical application of the foot zone technique

2. Completion of monthly homework assignments due at the beginning of each class.

3. Demonstrating a complete and correct zone to an instructor.

4. Completion of 50 foot zones.

5. Passing a comprehensive exam to show understanding in the foot zone technique and basic anatomy and physiology.

This training program, if completed will qualify students to practice in the trade of Foot Zoning.  A “Certificate of Completion” will be awarded at the end of the training when the student has met all of the graduation requirements.

Favorite Herbs

Herbs improve general health and body’s ability to heal itself. Worldwide they are the number one source people go to for healing purposes. The following herbs are some of the favorites!

Alfalfa: Wide variety of vitamins and minerals, high in chlorophyll, Vitamin K, contains eight essential amino acids,

Angelica: improves circulation, warms body, eases spasms in stomach or intestinal tract, eases pain of arthritis and other muscle spasms, excellent expectorant, promotes normal menstrual flow, contains hormone balancing properties, fibrocystic breasts,

Ashwaganda: Supports adrenal function

Bee Pollen: Nutrients include 22 amino acids, all of the vitamins, folic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids, enzyme, and trace minerals, considered a super food, major antioxidant, helps with allergies from pollens, (This is not considered an herb).

Bilberry: cataracts, macular degeneration, eye fatigue, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids, helps inflammation in nose and throat, arthritis, gout, stabilizes blood sugar, high in chromium

Black Cohosh: Eases muscle tension, excellent for labor, prepares uterus for birthing process, relieves headaches, muscle spasms, asthma spasms, and menstrual cramps, lowers blood pressure, highly anti-inflammatory, eases menopause symptoms

Blessed Thistle: Balances hormones, helps menstrual difficulties, aids digestive tract, strengthens immune system, hinders formation of abnormal cells,

Brigham Tea: offsets fatigue, stimulates immune system, reduces allergy symptoms, mild decongestant

Calendula (Marigold Flowers): Strengthens the respiratory and urinary system, and helps with skin irritations (make a compress)

Catnip: Soothes nerves and muscles, halts convulsion caused by fever, calming, relieves aches and pains accompanying illness, excellent for colic,

Cayenne: Stimulates the circulatory system, rebuilds and removes plaque from veins, stops bleeding, reduces blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, prevents blood clots, high in vitamin A, vitamin C, rutin, iron, calcium, and potassium, proven effective in event of stroke or heart attack

Chamomile: Antibacterial, mild sedative, insomnia, infant colic, ulcers, and indigestion, high in calcium and magnesium,

Chaparral: contains powerful antioxidant enzyme SOD, blood purifier, dries up mucous in lungs and intestines, tea used in treatment of skin diseases, bruises, herpes, and eczema, very strong, choose something else unless fighting cancer

Chasteberry (Vitex): Stimulates pituitary gland especially in relation to female hormones, helps PMS, irregular or painful periods, heavy bleeding, fibroids, menopausal problems, stimulates milk production, calm and relaxing,

Comfrey: Used for healing of wounds and broken bones, stimulates new cell growth, stops hemorrhaging, and soothes coughs

Dandelion Root: Removes obstructions from liver, spleen pancreas, gall bladder, bladder and kidneys, diuretic, high in vitamin A, increases flow of bile, helps hypoglycemia and diabetes,

Echinacea: Protects against virus, combats strep and staph, acts as blood purifier which aids in treatment of chemical poisons, fungal infections, ulcers and clearing the lymph glands

Elderberry (flower): Use in acute afflictions such as colds, flu, hay fever, detoxes body at cellular level, promotes sweating, acts as sedative, pain reliever, and expectorant, cleanses body of toxic wastes, anti-inflammatory,

Elecampane: Aids coughs and respiratory functions rarely used alone, great expectorant, antiseptic, natural source of insulin, cleanses liver, and strengthens heart muscle.

Fennel: Increases production of breast milk (#1 choice), soothes colic and digestion problems of baby, regulates menstrual cycle, helps cramping, increases appetite, stimulates production of digestive enzymes, increases absorption of nutrients, relaxes spasms in digestive tract, relieves gas pains, relieves heartburn and constipation, excellent diuretic, useful for kidney and bladder infections, kidney stones and gout

Fenugreek: Helps estrogen related imbalances, menopause, increases milk supply, lowers cholesterol levels, lowers risk of heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal inflammation, heartburn, acid reflux, remedy for skin inflammation, contains, protein, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, diosgenin (similar to estrogen), alkaloids, lysine, L-tryptophan,

Garlic: Nature’s most effective antibiotic, sore throats, colds, and flu, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents blood clots, strengthens veins and arteries, reduces blood pressure, protected against bacterial and fungal infections, prevents cancer, decongestant, improves digestion, increases production of insulin, powerful antioxidant,

Gingko Biloba: Helps electrical transmission of nerves, and supplies oxygen and nutrition to brain cells, protect against free radical damage, aid enzyme regulation,

Goldenseal: Antibacterial (strong antibiotic), increases blood supply to spleen, enhances immune function, contra-indicated for those with pancreatic problems,

Korean Ginseng (Panax or Chinese): Restores yang qualities and balances female Yin, helps estrogen levels that are too high, slows onset of physical and mental fatigue, aid mental alertness, treatment of diabetes, reproductive tonic, immune stimulant, strengthens liver function and cardiovascular system, protects cells against radiation, rebuilds damaged cells after radiation, anti-cancer properties,

Hawthorne: Lowers blood pressure, reduces angina attacks, and serum cholesterol levels, increases ability of heart to function in low oxygen conditions, improves circulation to organs, improves fatigue and endurance, relieves difficult breathing, lowers triglyceride levels, and calms central nervous system,

Horehound:Used to treat bronchitis, asthma, decreasing congestion and reducing mucus, chest coughs and colds, as well as whooping cough. For the digestive system it is used for support in liver and gall disorders, indigestion, dyspepsia, as well as flatulence.

Horseradish Root: Supports sinuses and lungs, detoxifies liver, anti-parasitic

Horsetail: High in silica, helps nails and hair, helps prevent formation of gall stones and kidney stones, diuretic, increases acidity in urine killing bacteria, curtails excessive menstrual bleeding or bleeding from passage of kidney stones.

Hyssop: Lungs, expectorant (mucous), asthma, HIV

Lavender: Relaxing, reduces hay fever and allergies, helps sunburns and insect bites

Licorice Root: Expectorant, heals and soothes inflamed tissues, source of estrogen, contra-indicated for heart conditions

Lobelia: Strongest relaxant and sedative herb known, removes obstructions and congestion, carrier for other herbs, antispasmodic, earaches, cramps, asthma, good in blends,

Marshmallow: Soothes inflamed tissues of urinary tract, diuretic, helps gout, soothes sore throats, aids indigestion, reduces inflammation, and lessens muscular pain,

Melissa (Lemon Balm): Helps sore throats, ear aches, high in minerals,

Mullein: Anti-inflammatory and soothing, protects urinary tissues, affinity for respiratory organs, calms and quiets inflamed and irritated nerves, is both an astringent and soothing,

Myrrh: Protects liver from chemical toxins, antiseptic, aids balance of acid and alkaline in the blood, repairs mucous membranes, strengthens digestive system

Nettles: Leaves used internally for anemia, hemorrhage (especially of the uterus), heavy menstrual bleeding, hemorrhoids, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, allergies and skin complaints – especially for eczema. Roots are used for allergies and to reduce prostate enlargement

Oregano: Antiviral, anti-parasitic, insect repellant, menstrual irregularities

Oregon Grape: Broad spectrum of antibiotic activity, prevents adherence of strep and staph bacteria to host cells, helps liver disorders, depressed white blood cell counts, boosts sluggish glandular system

Parsley: Loaded with vitamins and minerals, good for bad breath

Peppermint: Digestive aid, common cold, gall bladder issues

Red Clover: Improves immune function, cleanses blood, rebuilds cartilage in damaged knees or backs,

Red Raspberry Leaf: Gently contracts and tones reproductive system, helps diarrhea, constipation, stomach and intestinal upset, hemorrhoids, stabilizes pancreas, sore mouths, sore throats, and spongy gums,

Rhodioloa: Boosts energy, helps mental fatigue, balances stress response system, Adaptogen that strengthens the body’s response to physical, mental, and emotional stressors. Use for infertility, lack of ovulation, irregular menses, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, mild depression, exercise recovery, menopause.

 Rosemary: Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, can induce labor

 Saw Palmetto: Prostate and accompanying urinary disorders,

Schisandra Berry: Cleans up xeno estrogens, adaptogenic, decreases fatigue, enhances physical performance, promotes endurance, reduces levels of stress hormones in the blood, improves concentration, protects liver and helps hepatitis

Shepherd’s Purse:  Aids water retention due to kidney problems, helps any internal bleeding problem

Skullcap: Insomnia, hysteria, nervous headache, convulsions,

Slipper Elm: Neutralizes stomach acid, aids digestion, aids digestion of dairy proteins, soothes mucous membranes in stomach, intestinal tract, urinary tract, gall bladder, reproductive organs, and respiratory system, removes mucous fast and gently

St. John’s Wort: Used internally for anxiety, mild to moderate depression, nervous tension, insomnia, menopausal disturbances, premenstrual syndrome, shingles, sciatica and fibrosis.  It is also used to treat inflammation of the stomach and intestines and against internal worms.  Not to be taken by people suffering from severe depression.  It is also used in homeopathy for pain relief and to combat inflammation caused by nerve damage.

Sweet Basil: colds and influenza, poor digestion, nausea, abdominal cramps, gastro-enteritis, migraine, insomnia, when our spirits are low, anxiety, exhaustion, helps constipation, diabetes, reconnects DNA code,

Usnea: Long-standing kidney/bladder damage

Valerian: Sedative for most people, gently stimulating and very soothing to the nervous system, slows action of heart while increasing its force, aids erratic heart beats, palpitations, heart muscle weakness, has been used as a tranquilizer of sleep aid

White Willow Bark: Strongly anti-inflammatory, fever reducer, pain killer, contains salicin

Witch Hazel: Astringent, useful for lungs, stomach, nose, rectum, uterus, and kidneys, influences veins and capillaries, helping varicose veins, bruises, insect bites, wounds and external bleeding

Yarrow: Helps to rebuild the blood, amenorrhea (absence of periods), colic, crone’s disease, ulcerative colitis. When taken as a hot tea it will raise heat of body, stimulate circulation and product perspiration, opens pores and regulates function of liver, tones mucous membranes of stomach and bowels, aids, glandular system, clears catarrh from the lungs and nasal passages, contains vitamins A, C, E, F, & K, manganese, copper, potassium iodine, and iron. Regulates function of liver and glandular system, tones membranes of stomach and bowels, cleanses blood by opening pores for elimination of toxins relieving the kidneys, triggers dumping of gall stones and kidney stones, brings tissues together of cuts and wounds and seals them.

Avoid during Pregnancy

These are herbs that should be avoided during pregnancy because they have hormonal properties:

Angelica,Black and Blue Cohosh, Motherwort, Yarrow, Mugwort, Nutmeg, Pennyroyal, Rue, Dong Quai,

Use with Caution if Pregnant

Goldenseal, Horsetail, Licorice Root, Shepherd’s Purse, Mistletoe, Uva Ursi

Always consult a doctor if you have any questions or concerns!

Resources: Dave Card “daveshealth.com”, LaRee Westover “butterflyexpressions.net”

Bone Broth

Bone Broth

Bone Broth Benefits

The benefits of bone broths are numerous and extensive. Their many properties are valuable and healing in a variety of ways. Some of the things that research has shown bone broths to help with include:

Boosts the Immune System: A study of chicken soup (broth) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion.  Also, research is proving it can also boost the immune system and heal disorders like allergies, asthma, and arthritis.

Helps to Heal the Gut, and Promote Healthy Digestion: The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin. Collagen protects and soothes the lining of the digestive tract and can aid in healing IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux. It also helps with food allergies and sensitivities including cow’s milk and gluten. It also promotes the growth of probiotics. Because gelatin helps break down proteins and soothes the gut lining, it may prove useful for leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune disorders that accompany it.

Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation: Chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage stimulate the growth of new collagen, repair damaged joints and reduce pain and inflammation. Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis (whole-body inflammation).

Promotes Strong, Healthy Bones: Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation

Promotes Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails: Consuming collagen-rich bone broth can reduce cellulite and tighten your skin making you look younger. Cellulite comes from a lack of connective tissues. Smooth skin is high in connective tissues. Gelatin supports hair growth and helps nails to be strong.

Promotes Sleep and Calms the Mind: The amino acid glycine found in bone broth can be very calming.

Reduces Cellulite: Increased collagen reduces the appearance of wrinkles and banishes cellulite

Reduces Toxins: The glycine in bone broth can detoxify your cells from chemicals and improve brain function.

 How to Make Bone Broth

There are a few important basics to consider when making good stock.  You can make bone broth with animal components alone but in his chicken soup study, Dr. Rennard found that the combination of animal products and vegetables seemed to have synergistic effects, working together to be more beneficial than either alone.

Sally Fallon with the Weston A. Price foundation says that it’s important to use body parts that aren’t commonly found in the meat department of your grocery store, things like chicken feet and neck. You’ll also want to buy animal products that you know are pasture-fed and free of antibiotics and hormones.

Fallon describes the essentials as bones, fat, meat, vegetables and water. If you’re making beef broth or lamb broth, you should brown the meat before putting it into a stock pot.  Fish and poultry are fine to put in a pot without browning first.  Add a bit of apple cider vinegar to your pot to help draw the minerals from the bones.

  1.  Place bones into a large stock pot and cover with water.
  2. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking. This helps to pull out important nutrients from the bones.
  3. Fill stock pot with filtered water.  Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
  4. Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least six hours.  Remove scum as it arises.
  5. Cook slow and at low heat. Chicken bones can cook for 24 hours. Beef bones can cook for 48 hours. A low and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around bone.
  6. You can also add in vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, and celery for added nutrient value.
  7. The “skin” that forms on the top is the best part. It contains valuable nutrients, such as sulfur, along with healthful fats, so just stir it back into the broth.
  8. Store excess broth in the freezer and use at a later time.

Veggies: Raw, Juiced, or Cooked?

Veggies: Raw, Juiced, or Cooked?

Vegetables play a vital role in our diets, as they support the normal functioning of the different body systems. They do so by providing our cells with vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential oils and phytonutrients. While eating cooked vegetables is healthy for you, in certain instances it is advantageous to eat raw vegetables. This is because cooking destroys essential nutrients such as vitamin C and folate, and also kills vital enzymes that help your body to digest such foods.

Eating live, raw foods makes sense. Heating over 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys much of the nutrients in your food. The cooking process diminishes the natural life energy in the food. Eating raw also helps you to maintain the natural enzymes in foods which cooking destroys. Eating at least 50% of your food raw and alive can be very beneficial to your health. Many people have found that eating 80% raw is even better.

Juicing is a fabulous way to get many nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Start by juicing only vegetables that you enjoy the taste of. The juice should be pleasant to the taste, not make you feel nauseous. . Raw vegetable juice made from veggies that are safe to consume uncooked is a wonderful way to get a fast infusion of easy to digest, colloidal minerals.  It is also highly alkalizing to the body and a proven way to gently detox the gut. It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating.

Buying your vegetables from a local organic source is the ideal way to ensure that your vegetables are both fresh and high-quality. Avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt, they lose much of their nutritional value. In fact, wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthful than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables.

But do not despair, eating vegetables whether they are raw or cooked is more important than worrying about what is the best way to consume them. For instance raw broccoli is high in an enzyme called myrosinase that helps cleanse the liver of carcinogens. But, broccoli also contains goitrogens (see more below) which are reduced when it is cooked.

Some vegetables contain a chemical called oxalic acid. This substance is very irritating to the mouth and intestinal tract. It also blocks mineral absorption, especially iron and calcium and may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. The good news is that oxalic acid is great reduced by light steaming or cooking and discarding the water. Vegetables that contain oxalic acid include:

Vegetables Which Contain Oxalic Acid

  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Purslane
  • Beet Greens

Some people believe that cooking cruciferous vegetables is also better because they contain chemicals (goitrogens) that block the production of thyroid hormone. Although studies have not been done to verify that eating these vegetables raw is hard on the thyroid, cooking these vegetables reduces the goitrogenic substances by about 65%. If you are concerned about this, these are the vegetables that may also be better for you cooked:

Vegetables Which Contain Goitrogens

  •  Arugul
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Turnip
  • Collard Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Watercress

 Other raw vegetables you may want to avoid include:

  •  Raw Potatoes: contain hem agglutinins that disrupt red blood cell function
  • Raw Sweet Potatoes: may cause gas and bloating in some people
  • Raw Edible Mushrooms: contain toxic substances such as agaritine, a suspected carcinogen.   These substances are heat sensitive and are neutralized by cooking.
  • Alfalfa Sprouts: Mildly toxic and inhibit the immune system.

Some Nutrients in Vegetables are increased when Cooked:

  •  Asparagus: Steaming ignites its cancer fighting potential
  • Mushrooms: Cooking increases potassium
  • Tomatoes: Cooking increases cancer fighting lycopene
  • Sweet Potatoes: Beta carotene is increased

To ensure the highest retention of nutrients during cooking the three keys are water, temperature and time.

As temperature, cooking time, and water volume go up, so too do nutrient losses. If you can, steam rather than boil as this cuts down on nutrient leeching. Cook at lower temperatures where possible, or use a higher temperature for a shorter period of time. Keep the size of vegetable pieces as large as possible to minimize oxidation losses, and don’t overcook your vegetables. In most cases you still want them firm and colorful.

Other interesting information is found in Dr. Weston A. Price’s research. He found that the bulkiness (fiber of raw vegetables interfered with the body’s ability to extract the minerals from them in the digestive process. He however found that cooking your vegetables in butter enhanced the availability of the minerals as the fat in the butter permitted greater absorption.

So, in summary, if you have concerns about how you should eat your veggies, hopefully the above information can be helpful. But most importantly, just eat your veggies!

Yogurt

Yogurt

 Health Benefits of Yogurt

Yogurt comes from milk. So you get a good source animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains valuable probiotics which are “friendly bacteria” that are naturally present in the digestive system. Live strains of these “good bacteria” can help boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract.

It doesn’t contain all the same beneficial bacteria as kefir, nor are there as many. But you can’t beat it for a great substitute for sour cream; and frozen yogurt is a yummy substitute for ice cream. Sweetened with a little honey or Stevia, and an addition of your favorite fruit, makes it a great snack. It’s even great with a few chopped nuts sprinkled on top.

Make Your Own Yogurt

Making your own yogurt is more economical than buying it, plus you get the added benefit of culturing longer which increases the probiotics content. If at all possible I like making my yogurt from raw milk which comes from free grazing grass fed dairy cows.

There are several ways to make yogurt, but using a crock pot is my favorite method. It takes less of my time. (You may also warm milk up in a stainless steel pan until it reaches 185 degrees and then continue as directed below).

First you will need:

  •  1 crock pot (one that has a separate bowl from the heating mechanism)
  • 1 gallon of milk (it can be any kind but I prefer raw)
  • 1 carton of your favorite plain yogurt with “live cultures”
  • Candy thermometer
  • Whisk

Directions:

Pour 1 gallon of milk into your crock pot. Turn on high setting.

  •  In about 4 hours the temperature will reach 185 degrees. Check this with your candy thermometer.
  • Once it reaches this temperature, take the bowl of yogurt out of the heating mechanism and place it in the sink filled with ice water. Take the lid off and stir occasionally until the temperature reaches 110 to 115 degrees.
  •  When it reaches this perfect temperature add the carton of plain yogurt and whisk.
  •  Put the lid back on your bowl of milk and yogurt and place in a warm spot. I like to warm up my oven to 170 degrees and then turn it off to give it a good place to start culturing.
  •  Keep the yogurt in this warm environment for 24 hours. Generally, yogurt doesn’t like to be disturbed while it is culturing, so leave it alone and try not to move it around.
  •  When your yogurt is cultured you can then choose to do many things with it. Add Stevia or honey to sweeten it if you like. Add fruit or nuts. Make a batch of frozen yogurt with it. Use it for sour cream in your favorite recipes, etc.
  •  If you want Greek yogurt you can strain it through a strainer covered in cheese cloth. The only difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt is this process.
  •  If you strain it even longer you can make yogurt cheese. Add your favorite seasonings and/or use it like cream cheese.

Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt:

Low lactose levels:  Greek yogurt has lower lactose levels than regular yogurt, making it a better choice for lactose intolerant individuals.  The incubating process also creates bacterial cultures which provide enzymes that contribute to better digestion of lactose.

Higher protein content:   On average a cup of Greek yogurt has 20 grams of protein and only 8 grams of carbohydrate compared to plain, low-fat yogurt at 12 grams protein and 7 grams of carbohydrate.

Weight loss:  Studies have indicated that eating yogurt will help with weight loss.  Because of the higher protein content of Greek yogurt you can eat less and feel fuller longer making it an even better choice if you’re watching what you eat.

Kefir

Kefir

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated centuries ago in the Caucasus Mountains which is a region at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. It is believed that the term kefir comes from the Turkish work “keif” which means “good feeling”. Some cultures have long believed kefir to have healing powers, but kefir has only recently become the subject of scientific research to determine its true therapeutic value. It can be made from the milk of cows, goats, or sheep. It has a slightly sour taste due to the fermentation process. Kefir grains which are a symbiotic culture of yeasts and bacteria are used to culture the milk. Its constituents may be somewhat different depending on what it is fermented in. This super food is a great source of vitamins, minerals, probiotic’s, and a variety of other unique compounds that can greatly contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.

Nutritional Value of Kefir

Kefir contains up to 42 different strains of friendly bacteria and yeast which are extremely valuable to the gut. Homemade kefir contains billions of friendly organisms per milliliter making it one of the most potent probiotic’s available. The complete proteins in Kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Kefir contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and enzymes.

Some of the more prominent vitamins and minerals include:

Calcium: approx. 300 mg per cup that can be easily absorbed

Phosphorus: Helps body to utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.

Magnesium: Aid muscle contraction and relaxation, production and transfer of energy, purges body tissues of impurities

Vitamin K: Plays a key role in calcium metabolism, where it is used to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues and the arteries.

Vitamin A: Promotes a healthy immune system, helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes and healthy skin

Vitamin C: Supports immune system, aids wound healing, helps body absorb iron, and aids brain function

Vitamin D: Needed for absorption of calcium

B Vitamins: Including B1(Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate-important for normal brain and nerve function), B7 (biotin-which aids the absorption of other B vitamins), B9 (Folic Acid) and B12 (Cobalamin-feel tired all the time if low in B12).

 Amino Acids: are essential building blocks for the body that are essential for the repair, growth, and maintenance of cells. Kefir is high in amino acids one of which is tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin which is a feel good hormone that regulates mood and sleep and has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, which helps anxiety. The complete proteins available in Kefir are partially digested through the fermentation process and are more easily utilized by the body.

 Beneficial Bacteria:

These bacteria are vital to healthy gut flora. The gut is responsible for 80% of our immune system. Beneficial bacteria are the housekeepers of the gut and fulfill a myriad of vital functions in the body. They provide a natural barrier and protect us against all sorts of invaders such as bacteria, parasites, fungus, viruses, and toxins. They reduce pH near the wall of the gut making it uninhabitable for the “bad” bacteria to colonize. Kefir is beneficial in preventing many gastrointestinal disorders. Various medical reports have shown that Kefir has been helpful in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, allergies, migraines, gout, rheumatic arthritic conditions, inflammation, Candida, and colitis. The World Health Organization has reported that Kefir has been effective in treating tuberculosis and typhoid fever.

Making Kefir

Making kefir from raw dairy products is ideal, but if you don’t have access to raw dairy, you can use organic full-fat dairy, preferably from a grass-fed animal. Using pasteurized homogenized milk is better than no kefir at all. For those who cannot tolerate any form of dairy, kefir can be made from coconut milk, coconut water and even just sweetened water or fruit juice, which will provide many of the benefits found in dairy kefir. Depending on the liquid being fermented, kefir will change in size and appearance.

Making the fermented kefir drink:

  •  Place kefir “grains” in glass jar and add about 1cup of milk per tablespoon of kefir “grain”.
  • Cover the jar with a breathable lid such as a coffee filter and secure it with a canning ring or rubber band.
  • Leave kefir on the counter or put in a cupboard to ferment. Stirring the kefir occasionally will help the fermentation process. The amount of time to ferment kefir will be different depending on the ratio of kefir to milk and how warm the room is. Generally 24 hours is about right. When the liquid starts to thicken, or separate and tastes a little bit sour it is done. Kefir fermented for 12 to24 hours has a mild laxative effect, fermented for 48 hours is balancing, and longer fermentation of about 70 hours has a very mild constipating effect.

Once kefir is sufficiently fermented:

  •  Place mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the kefir liquid as you strain it.
  • Pour the kefir through the strainer. You may need to stir to force the liquid through the strainer.
  • Store the kefir (liquid) in the refrigerator.
  • Clean out the original jar, place kefir grains back in the jar, add milk and repeat.

Hibernating Kefir Grains:

 It sometimes becomes necessary to temporarily postpone the fermentation of more kefir drink. Just add the grains to a fresh batch of milk or cream (it tends to hibernate better in cream rather than milk) and put in a sealed jar in the fridge. The cool temperature will allow the grains to feed much more slowly but not indefinitely. The longer you are gone the more milk they will need. I have found I can leave 1 Tablespoon of Kefir Grain in 1 cup of cream or milk in the refrigerator for 10 days to 2 weeks without any adverse affects. For long storage it is recommended to change the milk every few weeks to feed the grains and keep them fully active. When you are ready you simply need to ‘wake’ them back up by adding some fresh milk and possibly going through 1-2 rounds of fermentation. The first batch may not taste to your liking. You may want to strain after 12 hours and start again with a fresh batch of milk.

Sharing Kefir Grains:

You will find that your kefir grains will grow as they ferment. They can easily be shared just the way they are or they can be dried and sent in the mail. Wake them up the same way you would kefir grains that have been hibernating. Some have even put fresh grains in a little milk and mailed them with good results. Kefir grains have an indefinite life span and will live forever if properly cared for.

Note: Store bought kefir is not the same as homemade kefir. Most of the time it is not made with real kefir grains or fermented long enough to be beneficial.

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine Disruptors

http://www.rodalenews.com/endocrine-disruptors-list

Worst Chemicals Ever?

When the United Nations comes out with a report calling something a “global health threat,” we should probably be more than a little concerned. And that’s exactly what happened in early 2013 when the World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme applied the term to a class of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors. The reason: A growing body of research is linking these potent chemicals, which interfere with the endocrine system that regulates your hormones, to global rates of chronic disease and infertility.

“Never has there been a time in history that the disease burden of the human population is predominantly chronic disease, not communicable or infectious disease,” Thomas Zoeller, PhD, professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a coauthor of the report, told us at the time. “We can’t prove that this is related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, but we can’t continue to deny their impact.”

Now the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Keep a Breast Foundation are sounding alarm bells about the health threat of these chemicals. Of the roughly 80,000 chemicals used in everyday goods, 1,300 or so are considered endocrine disruptors, also called hormone disruptors. The nonprofits just released a report outlining the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of endocrine disruptors that highlights the worst of the worst—and the ones you’re most likely exposed to every day. Here’s how to avoid them:

Bisphenol A, or BPA

What it does: Perhaps the most widely studied endocrine disruptor on the market, BPA actually started out in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen given to women. So it’s no surprise that this hormonal chemical has been found to act like estrogen, with current exposure levels leading to things like decreased sperm production in men, early puberty in girls, and fertility problems in both genders, or that animal studies have linked it to greater chances of miscarriage. BPA also interferes with metabolic hormones and plays a role in heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Where it’s found: BPA is found in the linings of food cans, and it’s used as a coating on receipts. The chemical is still used in some plastic products and as a flame retardant, as well, but thanks to the lack of laws requiring companies to disclose how BPA is being used, it’s impossible to know all the places where the nearly 3 billion pounds of the chemical produced each year wind up.

Easiest way to avoid it: Opt for fresh, frozen, or homemade versions of your favorite canned foods. You can also limit additional exposures by rejecting unnecessary receipts when shopping.

Dioxins

What they do: Dioxins and dioxinlike compounds like PCBs and the pesticide DDT are known to cause cancer, but they’re also considered one of the most toxic classes of chemicals known to man. Among their hormone-related effects: decreased fertility, diabetes, endometriosis, immune system problems, lowered testosterone levels, miscarriages, and reduced sperm counts and quality.

Where they’re found: Municipal waste incineration produces large quantities, but chemical bleaching of paper and wood pulp accounts for huge quantities in the air and water. Dioxins build up in the fatty tissues of animals and are very widespread in the food supply.

Easiest way to avoid them: Reduce your consumption of fatty meat and dairy products.

Atrazine

What it does: Most of the research on atrazine’s hormone-mimicking effects has been conducted in fish and frogs. Like a freaky science-fiction plot, the chemical causes male fish and frogs to turn into females. Research into humans, however, has shown that the pesticide increases the activity of genes that cause infertility.

Where it’s found: Atrazine is the second most widely used herbicide in the United States (behind glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and 86 percent of it is applied to corn.

Easiest way to avoid it: Go organic! Organic farmers are prohibited from using toxic synthetic herbicides like atrazine. And eat less meat. Despite corn’s reputation as serving as the building block for numerous processed-food ingredients, 80 percent of U.S.-grown corn is sold both domestically and internationally as animal feed, according to the National Corn Growers Association. Eating tons of factory-farmed meat simply increases the demand for atrazine among corn growers.

Phthalates

What they do: Like BPA, phthalates have come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years, after studies revealed that boys born of women with high phthalate exposures suffered from abnormalities in their genitals. The chemicals interfere with testosterone and estradiol, a hormone that affects breast development. Studies have found that women who develop breast cancer have higher levels of certain types of phthalates than women who are cancer free.

Where they’re found: Phthalates are used in a vast number of consumer products: flooring, shower curtains, synthetic leather, and other products made with PVC vinyl, where phthalates are used to keep the plastic flexible; in any product with a synthetic fragrance, where phthalates are used to keep the scent from dissipating; and nail polishes, paints, and furniture finishes, where phthalates keep the materials from chipping. They’ve also been detected in some plastic cling wraps and food containers, as well as pesticides.

Easiest ways to avoid them: Avoid anything with a synthetic fragrance, say “NO!” to vinyl products, and always store your food in glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers.

Perchlorate

What it does: Perchlorate can interfere with your thyroid, the gland that regulates the hormones that regulate your metabolism. The chemical, a component of rocket fuel, impairs your thyroid’s ability to take up iodine, which the gland needs to function properly.

Where it’s found: Perchlorate contamination exists anywhere rockets were tested, made, or taken apart, and it’s used in fireworks and safety flares. It washes out of soil and gets into groundwater, but no one knows how long this persistent toxic chemical takes to break down. You’re most likely exposed to perchlorate through food; eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables contain the highest levels. Water is another source of exposure for people living in certain areas. The EPA estimates that 20 million Americans live in areas with excessive levels of the contaminant in their drinking water.

Easiest way to avoid it: The chemical is nearly impossible to avoid in food, and the water filters that remove it are expensive. EWG recommends getting good amounts of iodine, which can boost your thyroid function even in the presence of perchlorate. Iodized salt is a good source, as are seafood, kelp, and grass-fed dairy products.

Flame Retardants

What they do: These toxic, ubiquitous chemicals are most known for their impact on the thyroid and on female infertility. Because thyroid hormones also have an impact on your brain, one class of flame retardants, known as PBDEs, is thought to affect the IQ levels in children, which is why many chemicals in this class have been banned or are being gradually phased out. However, the replacements being used are just as toxic and exhibit the same biological activity as organophosphate pesticides.

Where they’re found: Furniture, carpet padding, and even baby nursing pillows contain them. Assume that anything in your home—and your office and your car—that contains polyurethane foam also contains flame retardants. Other major exposure sources include electronics: TVs, computers, cellphones, and video game consoles.

Easiest way to avoid them: Dust and vacuum frequently. It’s nearly impossible to avoid flame retardants, given their widespread use, so cleaning is your best defense. Flame retardants bind to dust as the furniture, car-seat padding, and electronics in which they’re used break down.

Lead

What it does: Despite the long list of health problems already associated with lead, researchers are uncovering still more, including the fact that lead interferes with the hormones that regulate your stress levels, according to EWG.

Where it’s found: Lead-based paint remains the general public’s largest source of exposure to this toxic metal. But it also winds up in drinking water from old pipes and even new brass or chrome faucet filters (including, thanks to a sources-lead”>regulatory loophole, those labeled “lead free”). See 6 Sneaky Sources of Lead for other unexpected places this heavy metal lurks.

Easiest ways to avoid it: Get a lead-removing water filter and eat a healthy diet. According to EWG, research has shown that people who eat a healthy diet absorb less lead. But if you are renovating an older home, it’s imperative that you call a lead-remediation professional.

Arsenic

What it does: While arsenic is best known for its ability to cause cancers of the skin, bladder, and lung, there is no other element or chemical known to cause as many health problems as arsenic can, according to the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program, and those include endocrine problems. Arsenic has been found to interfere with receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, including hormones that regulate your metabolism and your immune system.

Where it’s found: The Centers for Disease Control says that food and water are your main exposure sources; arsenic was historically used in pesticides and it exists naturally in soil. Recent tests from Consumer Reports have found high levels of the metal in rice and apple and grape juices, and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health has found high levels in factory-farmed chicken. Though they’re gradually being phased out, arsenic-based drugs are added to chicken feed in nonorganic chicken houses.

Easiest ways to avoid it: Water filters certified to remove arsenic can get it out of your water. Avoiding it in food is harder, since there’s no way to know which foods contain high levels. Consumer Reports recommends limiting your rice consumption to two servings per week and varying your grains, along with eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices. And stick with organic chicken, which are raised on arsenic-free feed.

Mercury

What it does: Another metal that does double the damage, mercury is a potent neurotoxin that impairs children’s IQ levels. But EWG found that it also binds to a hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycles and ovulation, and it damages cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels.

Where it’s found: Primarily found in seafood, mercury winds up in the environment from industrial sources, the largest of which are coal-fired power plants.

Easiest way to avoid it: Stick with low-mercury seafood choices, such as wild Alaskan salmon and farmed trout, along with seafood that’s low on the food chain, such as sardines and anchovies. In general, the smaller the fish, the less contaminated it is.

Perfluorinated Chemicals, or PFCs

What they do: PFCs—which you’ll recognize through trade names as Teflon and Stainmaster—have been studied most for their impact on thyroid function and their links to hypothyroidism. The chemicals are also thought to cause infertility in both men and women. One possible reason for that, at least in women, comes from recent research in animals, which suggests that the chemicals inhibit a woman’s ovaries from producing eggs.

Where they’re found: PFCs are used to make your pots and pans nonstick and your clothes, upholstery fabric, carpets, backpacks, and coats water- and stain-repellent. The chemicals are also used to repel grease in food packaging like pizza boxes, fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and pet-food bags.

Easiest ways to avoid them: Avoid all of the above! Keep an eye out for anything that utilizes “Gore-Tex,” “Stainmaster,” or “Teflon,” all trademarks for chemical mixtures that contain PFCs. And call manufacturers to question them about their use of PFCs whenever they advertise products as water repellent; some have switched to polyurethane coatings, which pose fewer health problems.

Organophosphate Pesticides

What they do: Breakdown products of these neurotoxic insecticides have been associated with lower levels of testosterone and other sex hormones, according to the Pesticide Action Network North America. Mothers exposed to organophosphates while pregnant also experience increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which can increase the risks for miscarriage, preeclampsia, and developmental delays for the child.

Where they’re found: Organophosphates are one of the most commonly used classes of insecticides in the U.S. and are found on a wide variety of crops.

Easiest way to avoid them: Go organic! Organic farmers are prohibited from using synthetic pesticides like organophosphates on their fields.

Glycol Ethers

What they do: These chemicals are associated with numerous health problems, but with regard to hormones, they’re bad for guys’ swimmers. The chemicals cause low sperm motility.

Where they’re found: Glycol ethers are solvents used in a wide variety of industrial applications. But you’re most likely to encounter them via dry-cleaning services and in personal care products and cleaners.

Easiest ways to avoid them: Avoid having clothes dry-cleaned (most fabrics can just as easily be hand-washed) and make your own cleaning products. Also, search EWG’s Skin Deep Database to find personal care products free of these harmful ingredients.

Learn More

View the entire endocrine disruptors list at ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors.

The read more about what these chemicals are doing to you:
What is a “Hormone Disruptor” Anyway?
1,300-Plus Chemicals Are Messing with Your Hormones
• The 3 Biggest Sources of Chemicals in Your Home
Toxic Ripoffs: Prodcts That Cost You Money AND Make You Sick
9 Crazy Things Pesticides Are Doing to Your Body