Tag Archives: health

The Placenta Cookbook

For a growing number of new mothers, there’s no better nutritional snack after childbirth than the fruit of their own labor.

By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian 

Published Aug 21, 2011 

A fresh placenta simmers with ginger, lemon, and a jalapeño pepper.

(Photo: Kathryn Parker Almanas )

 

Jennifer Hughes’s placenta was delivered ten minutes after her first child, just before midnight on March 31. It was on the large side, with a liverish texture and a bluish tinge; it measured nine inches in diameter and weighed a pound and a half. Placentas are considered biohazardous waste by the medical Establishment and are usually disposed of accordingly. Some hospitals send the afterbirth in formaldehyde to a pathology lab for analysis before it is carted off by a tissue-disposal service; others toss it out with bloody miscellany in special containers.

 

 

But in the birth plan that Hughes brought with her to Beth Israel Medical Center, she specified that she wanted to keep her placenta, for cultural reasons. Complying with New York State health regulations, which says that hospitals “may, at the request of a patient or patient’s representative, return a healthy placenta for disposition by the patient,” the hospital allowed her to take it home, and even packed it up for her.

In some cultures, it is customary to bury the placenta and plant a tree over it.

Hughes had other plans. She was going to eat it.

Early the next morning, a 28-year-old woman named Jennifer Mayer is driving a Subaru from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge with an opaque takeout container in the passenger seat. Inside the container is a gallon-size Ziploc bag, and inside the bag is Jennifer Hughes’s placenta.

Mayer—an upbeat, blue-eyed blonde from upstate New York—is a professional placenta-preparer. Her job is to transform placentas into supplements that are said to alleviate postpartum depression, aid in breastmilk production and lactation, act as a uterine tonic, and replenish nutrients lost during pregnancy. Her clients are mostly middle-class, like Hughes and her husband, Doug, who are college-educated, in their thirties, and live on a gentrifying street in Crown Heights. On this dreary April morning, Mayer is driving the afterbirth to their apartment to begin preparing it.

 

“It’s the freshest placenta I’ve ever worked with!” she says, glancing over at the container as the car lurches through traffic. Mayer speaks about the organ in tones most women reserve for newborns: “perfect,” “beautiful,” “precious.”

 

Her enthusiasm isn’t unfounded. The placenta feeds the baby until birth, filtering toxins while letting in vitamins, minerals, oxygen, and other nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream. It even helps reduce the risk of transmitting viruses, including HIV, from mother to child.

Mayer, who also works as a massage therapist and doula, first became interested in placentas as a student at the University of Colorado. After reading up on the purported benefits of consuming one’s afterbirth and learning that a client was planning to try it, Mayer decided that she wanted to offer her customers placenta capsules: dried, ground afterbirth packaged into a clear pill no bigger than a regular vitamin supplement.

The technique, called encapsulation, was not widely practiced in Colorado and, until quite recently, was practically unknown on the East Coast. But Mayer found a doula who conducted training sessions with donated placentas, and started her business, Brooklyn Placenta Services, shortly thereafter.

“They’re happy pills,” Mayer says. “They’re made by your body, for your body. Why wouldn’t you want to try?”

 

In 1930, the researchers Otto Tinklepaugh and Carl Hartman described a female macaque monkey eating her placenta. “After licking the afterbirth, she begins the grueling task … of consuming this tough fibrous mass,” they wrote. “Holding the organ in her hands, she bites and tears at it with her teeth.” Tinklepaugh and Hartman could not determine the precise reason why macaques—and virtually every other land mammal—eat their own placenta. To this day, the reasons remain unclear.

Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo, is the country’s leading (and quite possibly only) authority on placentophagia, the practice of placenta consumption. He has been researching the phenomenon for twenty years, and concludes that it must offer “a fundamental biological advantage” to all mammals. What this advantage is, he writes in one of his papers, “is still a mystery … in fact, a double mystery. We are not sure either of the immediate causes … nor are we sure of the consequences of the behavior.” But placentas have carried a special spiritual significance in some cultures. In ancient Egypt, it had its own hieroglyph, and the Ibo tribe in Nigeria and Ghana treats the placenta like a child’s dead twin. In traditional Chinese medicine, small doses of human placenta are sometimes dried, mixed with herbs, and ingested to alleviate, among other things, impotence and lactation conditions. And in modern medicine, doctors often bank umbilical-cord blood to treat genetic diseases with harvested stem cells.

According to Kristal, the first recorded placentophagia movement in America began in the seventies, when people residing in communes would cook up a placenta stew and share it among themselves. “It’s a New Age phenomenon,” he explains. “Every ten or twenty years people say, ‘We should do this because it’s natural and animals do it.’ But it’s not based on science. It’s a fad.”

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Intro to Chakra Energy

Everyday we stimulate our chakra centers in one way or another, for example, through the different thoughts we have or physically through our senses. Daily we energize our centers, consciously or unconsciously, through various methods. Below is one basic interpretation of the Chakras.
Root or Base Chakra
Colour Association Red
Sanskit Name Muladhara
Location Base of spine, coccyx
Lesson Survival–The right to exist. Deals with tasks related to the material and physical world. Ability to stand up for oneself and security issues.
Imbalances Anemia, fatigue, lower back pain, sciatica, depression. Frequent colds or cold hands and cold feet.
Root Stimulants Physical exercise and restful sleeps, gardening, pottery and clay. Red food & drink. Red gemstones, red clothing, bathing in red, etc. Using red oils such as ylang ylang or sandalwood essential oils.
Spleen Chakra
Colour Association Orange
Sanskit Name Svadisthana
Location Below navel, lower abdomen
Lesson Feelings—The right to feel. Connected to our sensing abilities and issues related to feelings. Ability to be social and intimacy issues.
Imbalances Eating disorders. Alcohol and drug abuse. Depression. Low back pain. Asthma or allergies. Candida & yeast infections. Urinary problems. Sensuality issues as well as impotency and frigidity.
Spleen Stimulants Hot aromatic baths, water aerobics, massage.Embracing sensation (such as different food tastes). Orange food & drink. Orange gemstones and orange clothing. Using orange oils such as melissa or orange essential oils.
Solar Plexus Chakra
Colour Association Yellow
Sanskit Name Manipura
Location Above the navel, stomach area
Lesson Personal power–The right to think. Balance of intellect, self-confidence and ego power. Ability to have self-control and humor.
Imbalances Digestive problems, ulcers, diabetes, hypoglycemia, constipation. Nervousness, toxicity, parasites, colitis, poor memory.
Solar Plexus Stimulants Taking classes, reading informative books, doing mind puzzles. Sunshine. Detoxication programs. Yellow food & drink. Yellow gemstones and yellow clothing. Using yellow oils such as lemon or rosemary essential oils.
Heart Chakra
Colour Association Green
Sanskit Name Anahata
Location Center of chest
Lesson Relationships–The right to love. Love, forgiveness, compassion. Ability to have self-control. Acceptance of oneself.
Imbalances Heart and breathing disorders. Heart and breast cancer. Chest pain. High blood pressure. Passivity. Immune system problems. Muscular tension.
Heart Stimulants Nature walks, time spent with family or friends. Green food & drink. Green gemstones and green clothing. Using green oils such as eucalyptus or pine essential oils.
Throat Chakra
Colour Association Blue
Sanskit Name Visuddha
Location Throat region
Lesson Relationships–The right to speak. Learning to express oneself and one’s beliefs (truthful expression). Ability to trust. Loyalty. Organization and planning.
Imbalances Thyroid imbalances, swollen glands. Fevers and flu. Infections. Mouth, jaw, tongue, neck and shoulders problems. Hyperactivity. Hormonal disorders such as PMS, mood swings, bloating and menopause.
Throat Stimulants Singing (in the shower), poetry, stamp or art collecting. Meaningful conversations. Blue food & drink. Blue gemstones and blue clothing. Using blue oils such as chamomile or geranium essential oils.
Brow or Third Eye Chakra
Colour Association Indigo
Sanskit Name Anja
Location Forehead, in between the eyes.
Lesson Intuition–The right to “see.” Trusting one’s intuition and insights. Developing one’s psychic abilities. Self-realization. Releasing hidden and repressed negative thoughts.
Imbalances Learning disabilities, co-ordination problems, sleep disorders.
Depression Thyroid imbalances, swollen glands. Fevers and flu. Infections. Mouth, jaw, tongue, neck and shoulders problems. Hyperactivity. Hormonal disorders such as PMS, mood swings, bloating and menopause.
Brow Stimulants Star gazing. Mediation Indigo food & drink. Indigo gemstones and indigo clothing. Using indigo oils such as patchouli or frankincense essential oils.
Crown Chakra
Colour Association Violet
Sanskit Name Sahasrara
Location Top of head
Lesson Knowingness–The right to aspire. Dedication to the divine consciousness and trusting the universe. Learning about one’s spirituality. Our connection to the concept of “God” or a higher intelligence. Integrating one’s consciousness and subconsciousness into the superconsciousness.
Imbalances Headaches. Photosensitivity. Mental illness. Neuralgia.Senility. Right/left brain disorders and coordination problems. Epilepsy. Varicose veins and blood vessel problems. Skin Rashes.
Crown Stimulants Focusing on dreams. Writing down one’s visions and inventions. Violet food & drink. Violet gemstones and violet clothing. Using violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils.

Ways to Energize Your Chakras

Everyday we stimulate our chakra centers in one way or another, for example, through the different thoughts we have or physically through our senses. Daily we energize our centers, consciously or unconsciously, through various methods. Following is a list of common ways we charge our chakra centers:

Thoughts
Thought is an energy form. Science has proven a positive thought allows our energy to flow freely and unrestricted. Whereas, negative thoughts decrease energy within our body. Every thought (whether mental or emotional) is connected to a chakra. For example, a passionate thought is a red energy stimulant, but an angry thought decreases one’s positive red energy flow. This means that continual angry thoughts will lower your root chakra’s energy.

The Sun
This is our most important energy source. Through light all the seven color energies flow from the sun’s rays to the earth. People, animals, plants, minerals, water and our chakras receive energy from the sun’s light. (If you are not able to enjoy the sun for a few hours daily, add a quality full spectrum light bulb to alight source in your work area or in a lamp at home.)

Food
When the sun’s rays bless all plant life, it gives the plant life/energy. Once the plant absorbs energy, the color energy that remains is the energy of that fruit, vegetable or flower. Without this energy our body could not assimilate the nutritional value of the food. Balance your chakras daily by eating foods that contain each of the seven color energies (that’s why the doctor always said to eat a plate of different colored foods… for the color value!).

Visualization
Meditation & Breathing (Yoga). Since thought is an energy form you can stimulate your chakra centers through meditation, visualization or breathing energy into your various chakra centers. By adding the color intention adds additional power from a chakra’s vibration.

Gems/Minerals
Gemstones and minerals are also energy forms. For example, crystals contain a similar crystalline structure as the human body. Crystals amplify energy and can be programmed (e.g. computer chips and watches). Wearing gemstone jewelry or placing gemstones and minerals in your environment is a simple way to absorb the stone or mineral’s healing vibrations.

Color Bathing
(One of my favorites!) Water is a conductor of energy and color is an energy. While lying in the colored water your body absorbs the vibrational frequency from the color. Take the time to give back to your body and soul! While bathing, balance that chakra by thinking about what you would like to achieve from that specific energy and maybe add the correlating aromatherapy oil. Do not use chemical food coloring to dye your water. I recommend Colour Bath™ by Colour Energy Corporation, as it is totally organic and therefore safe to use.

Aromatherapy
Essential oils are the pure essence of the plant or flower. Every oil has a vibration that correlates to a color. Oils contain the healing properties of herbs, flowers or plants. Use only therapeutic quality oils (inexpensive oils may contain toxins). Also never apply oils directly on your skin (dilute with a carrier oil or in a bath).

Music & Dance
Music effects us in a positive or negative way. Every musical note corresponds to a color and chakra center. Certain sounds can stimulate an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual response. E.g. Listening or dancing to primal music, such as the beating of drums, can energize your physical body and stimulate your root chakra.

Toning & Sounds
We can vocally make sounds to vibrate at the same frequency as various organs in our body. Regular toning can help keep our body’s organs functioning properly. Noise pollution can be very disturbing to our environment. Surround yourself with sounds, which make you happy and productive!

Color Tonations
By shining of light through various color filters directly onto the body, the vibration of the color will be absorbed through your skin effecting the designated area.

Solarized Water
Charge water by filling a colored glass with water or by placing a colored filter in front of a glass of water and let the sun’s rays kiss the water with color energy. Make sure the glass is not leaded and of a clean color hue.

Syntonics
Is the use of color through the eyes. Via our eyes color stimulates our pituitary gland, which in turn releases hormones connected to the correlating organ of the same frequency. Therapeutic eye glasses that are manufactured with various colored filters can be simply worn whenever you need a boost of a certain color or chakra energy. Make sure the color eyeglasses are 100% UVA & UVB coated if wearing outdoors and again the exact color tint of the lens is very, very important. Note: Unless the color glass manufacturer or distributor is aware of color therapy, chances are their colored lenses are not made for healing purposes.

Decor
Use colors consciously in your home or work environment to give you more positive and productive energy. Paint a room or add different colored pillows, artwork, carpets, etc.

Clothing
What we wear will influence our mood, mind and energy level. Light penetrates through our clothing amplifying the color energy we are wearing. The more vibrant the clothing the better the energy transfer.

Art & Color
Art and color can be used as an outlet to either express or stimulate. Surround yourself with the colors, which are suitable for what you need to accomplish in that area. Use calming colors in your bedroom and mentally stimulating colors in your workspace.


Sunshine and Happiness

Before you  read the following graphs, consider this:

What is Happiness?

hap•pi•ness \’ha-pē-nis\

1. State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

[happy about]: having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with

[happy with]: satisfied with the quality or standard of

 

 

(click image to see larger)

 

 


A different kind of awareness

This past week I took a trip to see both my brother and sorority graduate; one from high school, the other from law school.  Because I waited last minute, my form of transportation was by bus.  But if you know me, you know I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason.

While en route to DC, a met a wonderful woman who had many connections and was very experienced in life.  We talked about many subjects as if we had been acquaintances for ages.  She was a little older than my mother, so I naturally looked up to her, but she took a particular interest in me and my life of work (educator, anthropologist), and promised to connect me with some of her friends in my industry doing impressive work.  We talked about everything, from her short haircut, to the failing education system.  We started chatting about natural beauty/body and the importance of awareness in today’s sickening society.  I began ramble about ingredients, and how we as women in particular should stay away from harsh ingredients including parabens and the key ingredient found in anti-perspirant– aluminum.  What she said to me after this rant was disheartening, and I felt completely ignorant for the next five minutes as I listened to her:

“I am battling breast cancer.”

I was shocked, saddened, impressed, amazed, and confused all at the same time.  Here was the beautiful middle-aged woman with so much personality, a confidence that intrigues, and a bad ass haircut that only a woman who knows herself could rock.  How could she have breast cancer? I shortly found out that she had been diagnosed, healed, and later made aware that her cancer had come back, and now spread to her lungs.  I felt for her.  Until that moment, cancer hadn’t affected anyone that I knew personally, and even though I had just met this woman (we had been friends by this point for about 3 hours), I felt like it hit close to home.

She said two things to me that stood out, and are the reasons I am writing this blog.  I’ll admit I was suspicious and doubtful at first, but I’m starting to believe that she may be correct…

1.) If breast cancer affected more men, we would already have a cure and

2.) Cancer could be caused by anything, so just live…

The latter comment she made was in response to my purports about ingredients, so naturally I was doubtful and honestly, still believe that we should eliminate unnatural chemicals and activities from our lives that can knowingly harm us.  But she was completely accurate in that carcinogens could be everywhere and that sometimes we can’t avoid them– and I’m probably being exposed as I’m typing this blog…

As for the cure for breast and other types of cancer, I am saddened by this comment, but find it to be eye opening.  Men (as well as women) are capable of inventing, creating, discovering, building, and destroying all types of things that affect them.  But women endure the consequences.  Perhaps it’s in our biology; we’re delicate creatures that should be revered and cared for, but maybe because we’ve fought so hard to be equal, our bodies are now trying to show us otherwise.  This is not to say that women who get breast cancer or any other illness are in someway feminist warriors who’ve reaped what they’ve sown, but that our modern-day society has overlooked sex and “gender” (socially created roles) in the most significant and simple way possible:  that we are not created equal for a purpose.

There are many mistakes that we as humans have made all throughout history.  Most of them are related to defying nature.  Sure, we have qualities that set us a part from other earthlings including our free will and ingenuity, and we are the designers of countless great and even inexplicable works of art and architecture.  But unfortunately, we’ve also outdone ourselves in many ways, and hurt the planet along the way.  The combination of our imagination, self-determination, and ignorance have created both unimaginable accomplishments and fatal consequences.   It’s time we start taking responsibility and action and thinking simply.

I am so grateful to have met such an insightful and strong being this past weekend.  Who knew that I would be touched in this way?  We exchanged contact info, and have spoken via e-mail.  Because of who she is, I know she will not leave this earth before she has served her purpose, which may be a long time from now.  I’m just thankful for the wisdom of the Universe, and for my place and consciousness within it.


How Quality Gym Facilities Help You Stick To Your Routine

Original post by HEAD HEALTH NUTTER 

For some people, a gym membership is the best way for them to start and maintain a regular fitness routine. And as we all know, healthy living is ALL about routine! Today’s guest blogger, James Harper, explains why it’s important to look for quality when joining a gym.

Now I’m not referring to a gym that is kitted out with every luxury facility under the sun – as nice as a swimming pool and sauna might be, they aren’t necessary in order to achieve results, and they won’t help us stick to our routine.

What I’m talking about is the quality of the facilities within the gym – that means clean, functional and reliable equipment, pleasant changing rooms that offer everything you need such as lockers and changing cubicles as well as helpful staff who make it part of their job to boost the gyms environment as much as possible.

It isn’t uncommon for gyms, fitness centres or health clubs (or whatever glossy name you choose to attach to them) to let standards slide; allowing equipment to get increasingly dirty and slowly fall into disrepair. Even bad management can drastically affect the chances that you will stick to your routine and achieve results.

For example, often gyms become oversubscribed and have a vast amount of members all descend on the equipment at the same time (usually between the times of 5 and 7). However, proper management techniques can ensure the system in place is fair and that everyone is able to get use of the machines that they wish to. Yet the sad thing is that many gyms don’t have the knowledge or skills (or simply don’t care enough) to ensure that this happens, meaning that people fail to stick to their routine simply because when they arrive at the gym, it is near impossible for them to use the relevant equipment.

Additionally, the changing rooms can play a huge part in our ability to stick to our exercise routines. Attending the gym takes up time, therefore we need changing facilities that will allow us to finish our workouts, quickly shower and get on our way the next stage of our day.

If there are not sufficient changing cubicles or shower cubicles, we may have to wait in order to freshen up after a workout. Alternatively should the shower or changing cubicles be dirty or ill-maintained, we may even not wish to use them for their given purpose, thereby reducing the user-friendliness of our gyms and reducing the chances that we will keep returning.

A gym should also supply a sufficient number of lockers for use by their members. And once again, the lockers needs to be well maintained and of a high quality, in order to reduce the chance of thefts occurring. While security may see insignificant to our fitness success, it is in fact vital. If there are an insufficient number of lockers, or lockers that appear insecure, then we may need to place our belongings at another location within the gym – causing not only an inconvenience but also added concern that they may become lost, stolen or damaged.

However, the quality of the facilities in essence, falls into insignificance if the members of staff simply don’t care. While some people are experienced gym users and can succeed fine without any outside help, the majority of us are not, and will need assistance in order to ensure we are using the equipment safely and correctly, and that we are doing the right things to get the results that we’re after.

Yet many gyms fail to see the importance of this, and choose to hire young, inexperienced, unqualified and generally negligent staff to look after the gym and its members. Without proper guidance, it is very difficult to achieve the results you’re after. If staff members of a gym facility are unable to give this guidance, it is almost a given that most members will cease to make use of their membership after a relatively short time.

About the Author

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Prospec, expert manufacturers and suppliers of gym cubicles and gym lockers. James writes on many subjects including health and fitness.

Do you belong to a specific gym facility? Does it offer quality equipment, storage and service?


Infographic: School Cafeteria Food vs. Prison Food

GOOD, Infographic, School lunch, Prison lunch, Column Five Media, transparency, Spending
Hopefully you haven’t gotten the chance to taste jailhouse cuisine, but if you’re a product of the American school system, you probably have childhood memories of standing in line for grey mashed potatoes, half-thawed mystery meat, and slimy canned peaches. How do the trays measure up?

A collaboration between GOOD and Column Five Media


Genital Mutilation: American Edition

There are a lot of societal pressures placed on women out there these days, but this one takes the cake:  Hymenoplasty!  If you are confused, just think about what is said to happen to virgins the first time they have sex.  Get it now?  What about the term “cherry”, or the bursting of it rather…  Well there’s a new trend out there, a way to rebuild that little flap of skin called the hymen characteristic of a virgin woman.  All I can think about is how dare we ever judge another group of people for the way they treat a vagina, when it seems our reverence thereof is just as incomprehensible…

Check out this blog post–The love below: obsessing over the perfect vagina— and learn about hymenoplasty and how women have come to view one of their most precious gifts.  The choice is yours.


Cultured Almond milk?

So… I’m working to ween myself of of animal products and by-products gradually.  A few days ago I discovered that you can purchase non-dairy yogurt (aside from the soy yogurt that has been out for a while) and I was super excited! Yogurt has been a part of my daily mourning breakfast routine since 2008 (before that I hated yogurt!  And anything else white and creamy…think what you will lol), when I learned the benefits it has for digestive and vaginal health:-)  But when I decided to embark on a new lifestyle that includes less of the animal stuff and more of the raw, fruity and leafy stuff, I was kind of devastated…

Now I learned of a couple other options to take the place of the dairy yogurt I had grown to love: cultured almond milk and cultured coconut milk!  I bought some of the cultured almond milk, and umm.. I can’t get with it.  Now it was my first time today, so I shouldn’t rule it completely out, but I do NOT like the way it feels.  The consistency is like gelatin, but it’s creamy and opaque (not a good combination).  I haven’t tried the cultured coconut milk yet, and probably will next, but does anyone know of a yogurt alternative (besides soy yogurt) that is vegan but has the same consistency as regular yogurt and all the above noted benefits?  Perhaps it’s just the brand I purchased? (Amande – you have to scroll down a bit to find it).

Please help!!


ADHD is a “fictitious epidemic.”

ADHD is a “fictitious epidemic.”

Check out this entry (with video) by Dimitri Snowden about an epidemic that’s “plaguing” our nation!


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