WASHINGTON, DC — Alarming reports have surfaced alleging that a leak containing information from 47 hard drives and 600 million pages has been passed along to US officials.
The leak is said to indicate systemic criminal spying on 156 judges and even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In addition to this, as many as four other whistleblowers may have come forward or are in the process of coming forward, and more are expected to follow suit. The additional leaks could potentially contain information involving human trafficking, drug running, and organ harvesting.
Yesterday’s leak to House Intel Committee Chair Nunes, which is the latest leak we know of, pertains to systemic spying of a criminal nature.
According to reports summarizing the content of the leak, spying was performed illegally by functionaries within the apparatus of the State that is not subject to the formal political process expressed by the consent of the governed.
(What many call the “deep state.”)
According to a letter drafted by former federal prosecutor Larry Klayman, the leak was first attempted nearly two years ago, but it was buried and the public never found out.
Thus the whistleblower decided to deliver it directly to US officials involved in the current hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael S. Rogers, which resumes Tuesday (March 28th).
Now, pausing for a moment and thinking critically about this, it’s always possible that this whistleblower is pulling an elaborate hoax and lying about the information he has with the intention to make those who believe it appear unreliable.
Larry Klayman and House Intel Committee Chair Nunes apparently have grounds for believing the whistleblower is telling the truth, however, and they are thought to have passed along the data to President Trump himself.
Klayman released an alert summarizing the nature of the content. (He has added separately that this is just “the tip of the iceberg.”)
One of the highlights is as follows:
“[Whistleblower] left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and 600 million pages of information, much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional committees, to expose that the agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, again including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump…”
Here is the document drafted by Larry Klaman in its entirety:
Aside from the leak Klayman describes, more whistleblowers are thought to be coming forward with potentially incriminating information involving drug running, organ harvesting, and human trafficking.
As many as four whistleblowers may have mobilized since yesterday’s leak to Nunes, by some estimates.
George Webb, a seasoned investigator and analyst with well placed sources, states that actions and events in connection with the Awan brothers are “accumulating like a tidal wave.”
In coordination with yesterday’s events and others he has called upon all remaining whistleblowers to now come forward.
In the video below he explains that the traditional legal channels for whistleblowers have been compromised and all leaks should be made directly to the White House hereafter. (Start around the 7:00 mark if you want to cut to the part about whistleblowers.)
On 13 March 2017, the House of Commons voted by 172 to 142 in favour of a second reading for the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill. The bill, introduced by Diana Johnson MP, would decriminalise abortion until the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, meaning that abortion could be performed until the end of the 24th week of pregnancy without the need to satisfy any statutory grounds, or to obtain two doctors’ authorisation. Many campaigners see this bill as a first step toward the longer-term goal of fully decriminalising abortion. 
The prospect of decriminalisation raises a number of interesting and important issues, including an issue which has been neglected in the debates over decriminalisation so far, namely what any change in the law might mean for the right of health professionals to withdraw from participation in abortion on grounds of conscience, under section 4 of the Abortion Act 1967.
In the case of Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan,  the UK Supreme Court decided that section 4 only covered “direct” participation in the course of action which “begins with the administration of the drugs designed to induce labour and normally ends with the ending of the pregnancy by delivery of the foetus, placenta and membrane.”  Speculating about what “must” have been in Parliament’s contemplation at the time of the passing of the Act, the court held that there is no right to opt out of “indirect” participation (such as “delegation, supervision and support” in relation to abortion) on grounds of conscience. It also confirmed that the statutory conscience right offers no protection to general practitioners; what legal protection they have, they have under the terms of the GP contract with the NHS. Although this means that GPs conscience rights will be unaffected by any decriminalisation process, it also means that they have no statutory conscience rights at all and could be left without any protection were the terms of the GP contract to change.
There is ongoing academic debate about whether individual conscience should be accommodated at all in the healthcare context.  When the law does decide to provide for it, however (as it does in the case of abortion), the provision should be interpreted in a manner consistent with its purpose. The purpose of a conscience clause is to protect individuals from sharing in moral responsibility for an outcome that they regard as seriously immoral. Those who help to arrange for something to happen, or who support and facilitate it in necessary but “indirect” ways, share in the responsibility (credit or blame, depending on one’s view) for the outcome. Thus, a fit-for-purpose conscience clause must protect those who regard abortion as serious wrongdoing from participating in it indirectly (so it must cover senior midwives and GPs); restricting protection to those immediately involved defeats the purpose.
Weakened as it is by the Supreme Court’s decision, section 4 remains a vital lifeline for those whose roles it doescover. Moves to decriminalise abortion have the potential to restrict conscience rights much more severely, however. Section 4 provides that “no person shall be under any duty…to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection” (my emphasis). In Doogan, the court held that “treatment authorised by this Act” means treatment “made lawful by” the Act.  If abortion were decriminalised, the 1967 Act would no longer be “making abortion lawful” (either at all, or until the end of the 24th week, depending on the scale of the decriminalisation), and it could be argued, following the reasoning in Doogan, that the section 4 conscience right no longer applied to recently-decriminalised abortion. If that argument succeeded, individual professionals could no longer rely on the protection of section 4 in the overwhelming majority of abortions (and perhaps even all abortions).
Influential supporters of decriminalisation, like Ann Furedi (CEO of Bpas) and Professor Sally Sheldon, have indicated their support for accommodating conscientious objection. [6,7] To ensure that any liberalisation of abortion law does not have the unintended side effect of depriving professionals of their conscience rights, it is imperative that a meaningful conscience provision be added to Johnson’s Bill if it progresses beyond the second reading, and to any subsequent bill seeking to decriminalise abortion. In my view, such a clause ought also to put GPs’ protection on a statutory footing.
Mary Neal is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, researching and teaching medical law and ethics with a particular focus on beginning and end of life issues and rights of conscientious objection. She is a current member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee.
 For a range of views, see the following special issues: Bioethics (Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2014); Medical Law Review (Volume 23 Issue 2, May 2015); Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (Volume 26 Issue 1, January 2017); and Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 43 Issue 4, April 2017).
 Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan  UKSC 68, paragraph 38
Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is suing Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, claiming 11 of the listed 40 ingredients in its organic infant formula are synthetic substances that are not permitted in organic products
OCA is also suing Hain Celestial Group over false labeling and violating the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The products specified include Earth’s Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula
Commercial infant formulas have many drawbacks and potentially hazardous ingredients. If you’re unable to breastfeed and cannot find a safe source of breast milk, your next best bet is to make your own formula
Whom can you trust when it comes to feeding your baby right? Beyond breast milk, making the right choice can be more than a little tricky. Even some organic brands of infant formula have been found to peddle less than ideal products.
Most recently, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) sued The Honest Company, co-founded by popular actress Jessica Alba in 2012, claiming 11 of the listed 40 ingredients in its organic infant formula are synthetic substances that are not permitted in organic products.”1,2,3,4,5
Other unapproved ingredients are ascorbyl palmitate, choline bitartrate, synthetic beta-carotene, biotin, dl-alpha tocopherol, inositol and phytonadione.
Honest Company Not So Honest?
According to the OCA’s lawsuit, these 11 ingredients are not included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National List of Allowed Substances for organics,6 and violate the California Organic Products Act of 2003.
The organization also notes that while several of these ingredients have never been assessed for safety in human foods or infant formula, some are even “federally regulated as hazardous compounds.”
According to The Honest Company, the allegations are “without merit,” noting its formula has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meets all safety and nutritional standards, and has been certified USDA Organic by an independent third party in accordance with the National Organic Program.
It’s worth noting though that while infant formulas must meet federal nutrient requirements, the FDA does not actually approve infant formulas before they’re marketed.7 In fact, no agency is tasked with this responsibility. The assurance of safety comes from the manufacturer alone.
The FDA does conduct yearly inspections of infant formula manufacturers, and conducts sample testing, but only if the FDA decides a formula poses a risk to health will they step in to demand a product recall. So the whole “FDA approved” notion doesn’t really amount to much.
Two Other Lawsuits Pending Against The Honest Company
The Honest Company has become a $1.7 billion success, selling a variety of “green” products. Alas, this is not the first time the company’s all natural and organic wares have come under fire for being less than honest.
Two other lawsuits have been filed over the past year, accusing the company of using synthetic and toxic ingredients in its all natural cleaning products, soaps, and diapers, and selling a 30 SPF sunscreen that doesn’t work.8,9
A recent Wall Street Journal investigation10 also revealed that one of Honest Co’s laundry detergents contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) — a chemical the company has pledged to avoid.
Other Organic Formulas That Aren’t
The OCA has also filed suit against Hain Celestial Group over false labeling and violating the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The products specified in the lawsuit include Earth’s Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula.
In addition to sodium selenite, many of Earth’s Best organic products also contain nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine, ascorbyl palmitate, synthetic beta-carotene, and lutein.
According to the complaint, all of these ingredients were rejected for use in organic infant formula by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). In an OCA press release, international director Ronnie Cummins states:
“As consumers, these mothers must rely on truthful labeling in order to make the best choices for feeding their infants and toddlers.
Our job as a consumer advocacy group is to call out and hold accountable companies like The Honest Co. and Hain Celestial when they knowingly and intentionally mislead consumers.
OCA has long been a defender of organic standards, which means also defending the organic label. Our goal with this lawsuit is to force these companies to either comply with USDA organic standards or stop calling their products ‘organic.'”
Infant Formulas Are Poor Substitutes for Breast Milk
Make no mistake: the best baby food is breast milk from a healthy mother. However, there are babies in situations where a good substitute is called for: adopted and orphaned babies, babies born to mothers with serious health problems, and babies whose mothers do not produce enough milk (a rare but real problem).
Contrary to popular belief (which has been created through decades of advertising), commercial infant formulas leave a lot to be desired, and is by no means an ideal substitute to breast milk. As noted by the Weston A. Price Foundation, infant formula:11
•Lacks many key substances for healthy growth and development, such as cholesterol and lipase (enzymes that break down and digest fats).
As noted in the article: “Breast milk is not just food but ‘represents a most sophisticated signaling system of mammalian evolution promoting a regulatory network for species-specific, postnatal growth and metabolic programming.’
Scientists studying the ‘message’ in mother’s milk see it as nothing less than a program for life.”
•Primarily consists of sugar (typically corn syrup) or lactose, dried skim milk, and refined vegetable oils (which may be genetically engineered unless labeled 100 percent USDA organic). According to GMOinside.org, Similac, Enfamil, and Nestle all use GMO ingredients in their infant formulas.12
•Is very calorie-dense, and contains twice as much protein as breast milk, which may promote insulin resistance and obesity. In fact, many infant formulas have as much sugar as a can of soda.
This fructose has none of the benefits of the natural sugars found in breast milk (see below). Rather it comes with a long list of adverse metabolic effects, raising your child’s risk for obesity, diabetes,13 and related health problems, both in the short and long term.14
•Has been found to be contaminated with a number of hazardous components, including but not limited to perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel), phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA, a known endocrine disrupter), melamine, dioxin, heavy metals, and arsenic. One 2012 study15 found that 2 of 17 infant formulas tested that listed organic brown rice syrup on the label contained elevated levels of arsenic.
One had an arsenic concentration six times higher than the U.S. federal limit of 10 parts per billion for drinking water. Over 20 infant formula recalls have occurred since 1980 involving unsafe ingredients, pathogenic contaminations, foreign substances such as glass, insufficient nutrient content, and more.
•Can contain a number of problematic additives, including iron, synthetic omega-3/omega-6 oils DHA/ARA, carrageenan, and synthetic folic acid.
Other Drawbacks of Infant Formula
When using infant formula you also have to be especially concerned about the quality of the water you use to mix with the formula. Many if not most areas across the U.S. has some level of water contamination, and the contaminants can range from pesticides and flame retardants to drugs and heavy metals, just to name a few. Installing a high quality water filter is a prudent investment, especially if you have young children.
Also be sure to avoid using fluoridated water in the formula. And NEVER feed your baby soy based formula, as it can contain dangerously high concentrations of manganese and estrogenic compounds. As noted by Weston A. Price:16
“‘Formula-fed babies are sicker, sick more often, and are more likely to die in infancy or childhood… [B]ottle-fed infants were fourteen times more likely to be hospitalized than breast-fed infants. Compared to breastfed babies, formula-fed babies have a doubled overall infant death risk, and four-fold risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Bottle-fed infants and children have more frequent and more severe upper respiratory infections…They have more diarrhea, more gastrointestinal infections and constipation. Formula-fed babies suffer more jaw misalignment and are more likely to need orthodontic work as they get older.
Speech problems are more likely to develop because of weak facial muscles and tongue thrust problems which develop among bottle-fed babies. Formula-fed babies tend to become mouth breathers who snore and develop sleep apnea. Formula-fed infants also tend to have more dental decay — so-called “baby bottle caries” when habitually put to bed with a bottle — along with periodontal disease and TMJ problems.”
The article goes into great depth on the many problems associated with commercial infant formula, and the broad gulf of difference between formula and breast milk. So what’s the answer if you cannot breastfeed? While some may be anxious about the prospect of making homemade infant formula, it may actually be your safest option, as you’ll know exactly what you put in there. Here’s one recipe for homemade formula created by the Weston Price Foundation, which I believe is sound.
Breast Milk Is a Complete Food
Breast milk from a healthy mother contains hundreds of substances, some that cannot be imitated, and over 100 different types of fats alone. A woman’s breast milk also goes through a number of changes over time, providing the child with highly personalized nutrition. Colostrum, a highly nutritious special milk which is expressed for the first couple of days after giving birth, is quickly and easily digestible, whereas more mature breast milk contains a long list of vitamins and minerals, and higher amounts of fat.
And, while breast milk does contain sugars, they bear no resemblance to processed corn syrup! For example, breast milk contains about 150 different oligosaccharides; complex chains of sugars that are completely unique to human milk.
These sugars are not actually digested; rather, they feed healthy microbes in the baby’s digestive system. We now know that gut health plays an enormous role in overall health, and breast milk really “primes” your baby’s gut and promotes the colonization of a healthy microbiome.
Breast milk also contains a variety of nutrient growth factors17 and antibodies (immune molecules), which provide the baby with natural immunity to illnesses to which the mother is immune. This is why breastfed babies tend to have far fewer colds than formula fed babies.
Moreover, when a newborn is exposed to a pathogen, he or she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. The mother will then make antibodies to that particular germ and transfer them back to the baby at the next feeding, thereby speeding up the recovery process and promoting future immunity toward the organism, should it be encountered again.
Breastfeeding Benefits Mom Too
In the short-term, nursing helps a woman shed that extra “baby weight” she put on during pregnancy. That alone is reason enough to breastfeed for many women, but the benefits go far beyond that. For example, recent research18,19 suggests breastfeeding may reduce a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.
Of the women who lactated for one month or less, 17 percent had atherosclerotic plaques two decades later. Among those who breastfed for 10 months or longer, less than 11 percent were found to have such plaques 20 years later. One reason for this is because pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s cardiovascular system, raising the risk for cardiovascular disease, but lactation helps restore a mother’s biological systems to a pre-pregnancy state. Other studies20 have also shown breastfeeding benefits the mother by:
Enhancing maternal behavior through increased release of oxytocin, a hormone referred to as the “love hormone,” or “bonding hormone”
Acting as a natural birth control, as it suppresses ovulation, making pregnancy less likely
Reducing diabetic mothers’ need for insulin, as lactation lowers glucose levels naturally
Reducing the risk of women with gestational diabetes from becoming lifelong diabetics.
In one recent study,21 a woman’s risk of progressing from gestational diabetes to type-2 diabetes was inversely associated with length and intensity of breastfeeding
Reducing your risk of endometrial-, ovarian- and breast cancers, including hormone receptor negative tumors,22which are a very aggressive form of breast cancer
Reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome
Infant Nutrition Sets the Stage for Long-Term Health
The food you feed your baby during those first years can have a tremendous impact on your child’s development and long-term health, and I strongly encourage all mothers to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months or longer. The shaming of breastfeeding mothers is an absolute travesty, as we’re talking about crucial nutrition here. It’s a bizarre and unnatural mindset, and I hope women everywhere will stand up for their rights to breastfeed.
Begin nursing as soon after birth as possible, as your baby’s sucking instinct will be very strong at that time, giving you the best chance of success. Nursing moms also need to drink plenty of water and seek optimal nutrition while nursing. Newborns need to nurse at least once every two hours, for about 15 minutes or so on each side, but most do not adhere to any kind of strict schedule and feedings can vary in length.
It is this frequent nursing that stimulates your breasts to produce increasing amounts of milk to keep up with demand. (This is also why supplementing with formula can be detrimental to your milk supply.)
It can be a good idea to begin planning for successful breastfeeding before your baby is even born. La Leche League23 is a fantastic resource to contact for help whether you want to prepare beforehand or find you’re having trouble breastfeeding once your baby is born. Also find out whether your hospital of choice offers breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants who can help you. If it doesn’t, you may want to select a hospital that offers greater support.
If for whatever reason you’re unable to breastfeed, or you have adopted your newborn, you may want to consider using donated breast milk. Like the Weston A. Price Foundation, I do not recommend using human milk banks though, as the milk has to undergo pasteurization. An alternative may be to work with a physician or pediatrician who is willing to help you find a safe milk donor, and who will be involved in a screening process to ensure the milk is safe.
If you’re unable to breastfeed or find a safe source of breast milk, your next best bet is to make your own infant formula. I recommend avoiding commercial infant formulas as much as possible, including organic brands. Most are simply too high in refined sugar for optimal health, and lack many vital immune-boosting nutrients.
Last year, ice cream from Blue Bell Creamery sickened 10 people with listeria; three died as a result. The price for causing three deaths? A mere $175,000 fine
Use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers on corn for cow feed on Vermont dairy farms nearly doubled between 2002 and 2012. These chemicals pose a threat to the environment, water supplies and human health
Up to 80 percent of herbicides used on Vermont dairy farms are atrazine-based — a chemical associated with estrogen overproduction, the feminizing of males, reproductive problems, several cancers and birth defects
By Dr. Mercola
I’ve written extensively about the differences between raw grass-fed milk and dairy from cows raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), explaining the many health and environmental benefits of the former and the risks associated with the latter.
Contrary to popular belief, pasteurized CAFO milk is NOT safer than raw milk from a healthy, grass-fed cow raised according to organic standards. Data shows that illnesses linked to raw milk are minimal, and far lower than those from pasteurized CAFO milk.
The reason for this has to do with the abnormal diet fed to CAFO cows. Grass is a cow’s natural food. Corn (nearly always GMO) and other grains, which are routinely fed to CAFO livestock, are not.
When cows eat grains, their body composition is altered and so is their milk, resulting in an inferior nutritional profile. Pasteurization also destroys many valuable nutrients — many of which have notable benefits for your digestion and immune function.1
Interestingly, cows, like humans, fed a high-grain diet will die prematurely. Many times a grain-fed cow’s life expectancy will be decreased by more than 50 percent. This is not typically an issue however, as the animals are sacrificed long before that time.
Pasteurized CAFO Dairy Far More Likely to Cause Disease Than Raw Milk
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) frequently cites raw milk as a leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks and deaths. However, if you look at the actual data, you will not find ANY deaths linked to raw milk in the U.S.
Meanwhile, just last year, ice cream from Blue Bell Creamery — the third-largest ice cream maker in the U.S. — sickened 10 people with listeria; three died as a result. The price for causing three deaths? A mere $175,000 fine.3
Raw dairy farmers have been put out of business for mere suspicion of contamination. Even in the absence of a complaint of contamination, farmers and consumers are often harassed over the buying and selling of raw milk.
Such is the case in Harris County, Texas, where the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and raw milk consumers claim they’re being threatened by public health officials even though they’re not doing anything illegal. As reported by YourHoustonNews.com:4
“Raids have taken place at raw milk drop points to stop consumers from picking up raw milk. The raw milk consumers and producers are in fear of being shut down or fined by authorities.
‘Generally, when the health department has a concern about a business, they will talk to that business and they will go through the concerns.
What’s been happening is that they have been showing up in Katy with the sheriff’s deputies and in Austin they showed up with the police,’ said Judith McGeary, executive director of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. ‘This isn’t how food inspections are handled typically. It is very out of line.'”
Clearly, the attack on raw milk is aimed at controlling the dairy industry, NOT to save you from yourself, should you be convinced that raw milk is a healthy food and choose to go out of your way to obtain and drink it!
Ongoing Listeria Contamination Found at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
In 2013, Chobani Greek yogurt was recalled following reports of gastrointestinal illness.5 The yogurt, which is pasteurized and not raw, was found to be contaminated with a fungus called Murcor circinelloides.
Listeria bacteria was also recently found in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ Columbus, Ohio, facility, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning letter to the company.
The same strain of listeria was found in samples collected in April 2015, suggesting the company is struggling with an ongoing contamination problem.6
As a rule, CAFOs are hotbeds for disease-causing bacteria that can easily end up in the final product, be it milk, cheese, yogurt or ice cream. Pasteurization is thought to kill off all of these bacteria, but reality tells a different story. Part of the problem is the sheer volume of food being processed.
All you need is for one portion of the processing plant to be contaminated in order for massive amounts of food to be contaminated — and it doesn’t matter if it’s been pasteurized or not. In the case of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, the source of the 2015 contamination was traced to a contaminated spout on one of its machines.
CAFOs also promote antibiotic-resistant disease that kills an estimated 23,000 Americans each year, courtesy of the routine use of antibiotics to keep livestock healthy enough while crammed together in unsanitary conditions.
But there’s yet another major difference between organic grass-fed dairy farming and CAFOs, and it has to do with the amount of pesticides used on cattle feed. Not only does it contribute to environmental devastation, but the end product may also contain herbicide residues that could affect your health.
Use of Agricultural Chemicals Has Skyrocketed
Pesticide-producing giants like Monsanto, Dow and Syngenta promised their genetically engineered (GE) seeds (also referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMO) would allow farmers to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used on their crops, leading to a greener, more environmentally-friendly agriculture.
The idea that chemical technology companies would act against their own self-interests by selling seeds requiring less of the chemicals that are the backbone of their profit centers should have been identified as a lie from the start, but many bought the sales pitch hook, line and sinker.
Today, with data showing the truth in black and white, it is high time everyone realizes that GE crops DRIVE the ever-increasing use of toxic chemicals on our food supply, making not only our food but also our soil and water more toxic — a fact that, ultimately, has serious ramifications for human health and all other life on Earth.
According to a recent report by the organic advocacy group Regeneration Vermont, use of herbicides and synthetic fertilizers on Vermont dairy farms nearly DOUBLED between 2002 and 2012.7
In 2002, Vermont farmers used 1.54 pounds of herbicide per acre. In 2012, they used an average of 3.01 pounds per acre.
Atrazine Dominates on Vermont Dairy Farms
One of the most commonly used weed killers on Vermont dairy farms is Syngenta’s Lumax, the active ingredients of which are atrazine and metolachlor.
According to the report, as much as 80 percent of all the herbicides used in the state are atrazine-based. I recently wrote about the serious health hazards associated with atrazine, which include:
Estrogen overproduction, which can contribute to the feminizing of males, reproductive problems and estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer
Ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and thyroid cancer
Birth defects, including abdominal defects such as gastroschisis, in which the baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body
Atrazine also causes serious reproductive harm to amphibians, fish, birds and mammals, and has been shown to depress immune function in wildlife and laboratory rodents.
Herbicides May Pose Serious Threat to Our Children
While atrazine is the most commonly found herbicide contaminant in the U.S. water supply, many other weed killers are also associated with water contamination and pose very similar health risks. As reported by VTdigger.org:8
“Seven of the active ingredients in use — atrazine, simazine, acetachlor, alachlor, metolachlor, pendimethalin and glyphsate — have been linked to birth defects, developmental defects and contaminated drinking water … Five of the chemicals have been banned by the European Union.”
On June 6, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new risk assessment for atrazine,9 concluding the herbicide cannot be used safely even at lower concentrations.10 It is currently up for public comment and is not expected to be finalized until 2017, but it may well lead to tighter regulatory limits and possibly even an eventual ban, based on the level of concern found.
The report, “Vermont’s GMO Legacy: Pesticides, Polluted Water and Climate Destruction,”11,12 notes that the use of nitrogen fertilizer in Vermont has nearly doubled as well, rising from 8.9 million pounds in 2002 to 16.5 million pounds in 2012, applied to a total of about 92,000 acres of farmland.
Impact of GE-Fed Dairy Cows
While there are many problems with CAFOs, the use of GE feed makes everything worse. As noted by Will Allen, one of the founders of Regeneration Vermont and author of the report, “There is no reason to use GMO corn.” Indeed, dairy farmers could opt for conventional corn or, even better, organic.
The cows would still suffer health problems since corn is not a natural food for them, but at least this would reduce (or eliminate in the case of organic corn) the amount of toxic herbicides contaminating the environment and ending up in the milk supply. Allen points out that the dramatic increase in herbicides, combined with GE seeds that are pre-treated with pesticides against pests that aren’t even a problem, is really irresponsible.
“Allen also criticizes what he describes as the state’s hypocritical stance on GMO labeling,” VTdigger.org writes.13 “While state politicians have defended Vermont’s GMO food labeling law against attacks … they have done little to effect policy that would help dairy farmers shift to organic methods …14
Vermont’s GMO labeling law has left a false impression that it ‘solved’ the GMO problem in the state. ‘Nothing could be further from the truth,’ Allen writes. ‘While we are forcing the labeling of Cheetos and Spaghettios, the state turns a blind eye to GMO corn used to feed cows that produce milk for Agri-Mark and Ben & Jerry’s. GMOs are about more than a (consumer’s) right to know. It’s also about the GMO impact on the environment and the monopolization of the food supply.”
Dairy Advertising Versus Reality
A recent commentary written by Allen and Regeneration Vermont co-founders Michael Colby and Kate Duesterberg focuses on the false front the CAFO dairy industry presents to the public:15
“The great divide between the well-marketed image of Vermont dairy farming and its stark and toxic realities is becoming harder and harder to ignore. The marketing shows healthy cows grazing on lush pastures. But the reality is cows on concrete, being fed a diet of GMO-corn and the toxic residues from the hundreds of thousands of pounds of herbicides sprayed annually on the corn and hay fields …
Regeneration Vermont is in the process of trying to wake up consumers, the corporate dairy suppliers and the regulators that these dangerous toxins are probably in our milk, ice cream, cheese, butter and yogurt, and are definitely in our drinking and recreational waters. We believe that, in order to truly protect the Vermont brand by putting some reality behind it, an immediate transition to regenerative organic dairying needs to be fast-tracked.”
More than 200 (about 20 percent) of the dairy farms in Vermont have already made the transition to organic farming. This is a good start, but hundreds more need to follow suit. Also, these problems are hardly restricted to Vermont. Dairy farms across the U.S. are contributing to the destruction of our environment and human health.
Organic Farming Pays
Nationwide there are about 2,200 organic dairy farms, most of which have fewer than 200 cows. The “get big or get out” mentality has reduced the number of dairy farms in the U.S. by 60 percent over the past two decades.16 Despite that decline, the total milk production has increased by one-third — a feat attributed to CAFOs, which often house more than 15,000 cows and often use drugs to promote abnormal increases in milk production.
At that scale, you simply cannot raise cows according to organic, grass-fed standards. However, family dairy farms that decide to go organic often end up profiting. As reported by Epoch Times:17
“The pricing of organic milk is separate from the conventional milk market … [O]rganic prices have so far offered much greater stability … Organic Valley is the largest organic dairy cooperative in the country by far, with 1,800 family farm members. The price Organic Valley farmers earn includes a good profit …
The Buck family [in Goodhue, Minnesota] used to farm conventionally, but made the transition to organic in order to avoid spraying chemicals on the farm … [Ruth Buck] explained that the farm has the right number of cows (120) for the land (100 acres). ‘Everything balances out, and you don’t need to push the cows,’ she said.”
According to Darin Von Ruden, an organic dairy farmer and president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, organic dairy farmers typically have a profit margin of 5 to 10 percent when first starting out. Once established, they can make anywhere from 15 to 20 percent profit.
This is in stark contrast to conventional farms, which typically have a profit margin of 1 or 2 percent; a particularly good year might yield a 7 to 8 percent profit margin. The reason CAFOs are still so profitable is their sheer scale. But as just discussed, all this cheap milk comes at a terrible price.
Organic Watchdog Group Calls for Organic Merger Block
Many well-known organic brands are actually owned by multinational junk food purveyors — many of which have lobbied to prevent GMO labeling and otherwise fought against cleaner, safer food systems. Most recently, the French dairy company Groupe Danone announced it may acquire WhiteWave Foods at a price tag of about $10 billion.
If this deal goes through, Danone-owned Stonyfield would merge with the Wallaby yogurt brand. Danone would also end up controlling Horizon, the largest organic milk brand in the U.S. As noted by The Cornucopia Institute,18 this merger is a cause for great concern — so much so, Cornucopia is calling for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block the merger.
There’s already little competition in the organic dairy market, and this merger could easily result in price fixing and other problems associated with monopolization. As noted by Cornucopia:19
“Horizon already procures a large percentage of their milk from industrial-scale dairies managing thousands of cows each. The Stonyfield brand has always depended on family-scale farmers. That could all change after the merger.
You need to let the DOJ and the FTC know that they must scrutinize the Danone-WhiteWave acquisition closely for anti-competitive concerns in the organic dairy market and act to protect consumers, independent businesses and farmers alike from monopoly control of the market.”
Can Raw Milk Help Prevent Asthma?
As a result of the animals’ diet and standard of living (being outdoors, exposed to natural sunlight, free to roam at will without the stressors of confinement and crowding etc.), high-quality raw milk has many health benefits that pasteurized milk lacks. For example, grass-fed raw milk contains:
Healthy bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal (GI) tract
More than 60 digestive enzymes, growth factors and immunoglobulins (antibodies)
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Beneficial raw fats, amino acids and proteins in a highly bioavailable form, all 100 percent digestible
Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K in highly bioavailable forms, and a very balanced blend of minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron), the absorption of which is enhanced by live lactobacilli
Research has shown raw milk exposure in early childhood increases the number of regulatory T-cells (Treg cells; immunosuppressive cells that modulate your immune system), resulting in a lower risk for asthma and allergies. According to the authors:20
“Farm milk exposure was associated with increased Treg cell numbers on stimulation in 4.5-year-old children and might induce a regulatory phenotype early in life, potentially contributing to a protective effect for the development of childhood allergic diseases.”
In another study,21 published last year, nearly 1,000 infants from rural areas in Austria, Finland, France, Germany and Switzerland were followed for the first year of life. Their consumption of different types of cow’s milk was analyzed, along with rates of common respiratory infections. Children who drank raw milk had a 30 percent lower risk of respiratory infections and fever compared to those who did not drink raw milk.
Milk that was boiled at the farm had a diminished protective effect, and milk that was ultra-pasteurized, which is heated to about 135 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few seconds, showed no protective effect, likely because the protective compounds are killed or otherwise damaged by the heat.
Kids who drank fresh, raw milk also had significantly lower incidence of head colds and middle-ear inflammation compared to those who drank ultra-pasteurized milk. The researchers concluded that the public health impact of minimally processed raw milk might be “enormous, given the high prevalence of respiratory infections in the first year of life and the associated direct and indirect costs.”
Where to Find Raw Milk and Healthy Yogurt
Getting your raw milk from a local organic farm is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting high-quality milk. If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area.
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund22 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.23 California residents can find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.
Yogurt is another dairy product that can do more harm than good if you stray from raw grass-fed dairy as the base. To identify the best commercial yogurts available, refer to The Cornucopia Institute’s Yogurt Report and score card. Their investigation found many products being sold as yogurt do not even meet the standards for real yogurt!
Top-rated yogurts are generally VAT pasteurized at relatively low temperatures and are made from raw milk rather than previously pasteurized milk. While not as advantageous as making yogurt from raw milk in your own home, it’s certainly better than most commercial yogurt. As a general rule, you’ll want to seek out organic yogurt made from 100 percent grass-fed milk. Also make sure it’s made from whole (full fat) milk, not low-fat or skim.
There’s some complex science behind a simple water splash, but scientists now think they’re closer than ever to understanding what happens during a splash at the microscopic level.
A new mathematical model shows how incredibly thin layers of air on surfaces can cause upward splashes from water droplets thousands of times larger, with air pressure and viscosity also affecting the chances of a splash.
In fact, these air layers are so thin, they’re the equivalent of a 1 cm-thick (0.39 inch) layer of air stopping a tsunami wave as it hits a beach, according to mathematician James Sprittles from the University of Warwick in the UK.
The model suggests that a microscopic layer of air just 1 micron in size – 50 times smaller than the width of a human hair – is enough to get in the way of a 1-millimetre (0.039-inch) water droplet and cause it to splash up, rather than spread out evenly across a surface.
“The air layer’s width is so small that it is similar to the distance air molecules travel between collisions, so that traditional models are inaccurate and a microscopic theory is required,” explains Sprittles.
Animation showing the model in action.
While the idea of air layers affecting splashes has been suggested before, the new model goes into greater detail to explain what’s happening at the smallest scale as the air and liquid interact under different circumstances.
One such circumstance is at the top of mountains, where air pressure is lower and splashes are less likely to occur, because the air can more easily escape from under the liquid.
But the benefits of this kind of research go way beyond helping mountaineers predict whether their split drinks are going to cause splashback.
Understanding how and why splashes occur could benefit researchers in everything from analysing blood spatter at a crime scene to knowing exactly what speed to spray fertiliser on plants to avoid splash-back.
“Most promisingly, the new theory should have applications to a wide range of related phenomena, such as in climate science,” says Sprittles, “to understand how water drops collide during the formation of clouds or to estimate the quantity of gas being dragged into our oceans by rainfall.”
As previous research has shown, even the temperature of water can change how it splashes around, and Sprittles says combining his new hypothesis with existing models shouldn’t be too difficult.
The next step is to build more complex models on top of this basic framework, and then we’ll have an even better ability to predict what kind of splashes will occur in different kinds of circumstances.
“You would never expect a seemingly simple everyday event to exhibit such complexity,” Sprittles says.
You probably have at least one box of baking soda in your home right now. If you’re like many Americans, you might have a box in your pantry for baking, one in your refrigerator to absorb odors and another under your kitchen sink to use for cleaning.
Baking soda can be used to remove plaque and odors from your teeth and also promotes whitening
Use baking soda for minor injuries, including insect bites, bee stings, poison ivy, splinters, and sunburn
Baking soda can be used as a natural deodorant, foot soak, detox bath, and exfoliator
A mixture of baking soda and water is often effective for relieving heartburn, indigestion, and ulcer pain
What you might not have considered is that baking soda can be used for health purposes, too, so you might want to stash another box in your medicine cabinet.
What Exactly Is Baking Soda?
It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods. When mixed with an acid, baking soda reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes dough to rise. Anecdotal reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.
In its natural form, baking soda is known as nahcolite, which is part of the natural mineral natron. Natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, has been used since ancient times. And no, you don’t need to get aluminum-free baking soda (you are confusing that with baking powder), as baking soda is already aluminum free.…
For instance, the Egyptians used natron as a soap for cleansing purposes. However, it wasn’t until 1846 that Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began to manufacture and sell the compound we know as baking soda today. By the 1860s, baking soda was featured in published cookbooks but was still primarily known as a cooking additive.1 By the 1920s, however, its versatility was expanded on and by the 1930s it was widely advertised as a “proven medical agent.”
11 Ways to Use Baking Soda for Your Health
You can purchase a box of baking soda for under $1, making it one of the least expensive home remedies to keep on hand. In addition to using it for minor accidents and injuries, baking soda can become a part of your regular hygiene routine.
If you want to avoid the parabens and aluminum found in many deodorants and antiperspirants, try a pinch of baking soda mixed with water instead. This simple paste makes an effective and simple natural deodorant. You can also simply brush some dry baking soda under your arms.
2.Insect Bites and Poison Ivy
Apply a paste made of baking soda and water to insect bites to help relieve itching. You can also try rubbing the dry powder onto your skin. This is also effective for itchy rashes and poison ivy. Baking soda helps to relieve minor skin irritation and itching by neutralizing toxins and irritants on your skin’s surface.2
3.Heartburn, Indigestion, and Ulcer Pain
Most over-the-counter antacids contain some form of bicarbonate. Baking soda works by immediately neutralizing stomach acid, helping to relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain. I have personally recommended this to many, including family members, and have been surprised how remarkably effective it is.
Dosing is typically ½ teaspoon fully dissolved in a half a glass of water, taken every two hours (do not take more than seven ½ teaspoons in 24 hours, or three ½ teaspoons if you’re over 60).3
This should only be used as an occasional (not chronic) treatment, however, and be careful not to consume excessive amounts, which can cause serious electrolyte and acid/base imbalances.4
4.Foot Soak and Exfoliator
Add three tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water for an invigorating foot soak. You can scrub your feet with a baking soda paste for additional exfoliation. A paste made from three parts of baking soda combined with one part water can be used as an exfoliator for your face and body, too. It’s natural, inexpensive and gentle enough to use every day.
Baking soda and apple cider make a wonderful spa-like bath for soaking. It also cleans the tub and the drain, as a bonus!
Mix three parts baking soda with one part of water to make a natural hand cleanser that will scrub away dirt and neutralize odors.
Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a small glass of water, then soak the affected area twice a day. Many splinters will come out on their own after a couple of days using this treatment.
Add ½ cup of baking soda to lukewarm bathwater, then soak in the tub for natural relief. When you get out, let your skin air dry, rather than toweling off the excess baking soda, for extra relief. You can also add a mixture of baking soda and water to a cool compress and apply it to the sunburn directly.
9.Enhanced Sports Performance
Distance runners have long engaged in a practice known as “soda doping” — or taking baking soda capsules — before races to enhance performance, a measure that’s thought to work similarly to carbohydrate loading. It’s also been shown to improve speed among swimmers.5 While I don’t suggest you try this at home, it’s another example of baking soda benefits. Researchers noted:6
“Essentially, sodium bicarbonate is an alkali substance that increases the pH of the blood. This seems to reduce and offset the acidity produced in the muscles during intense, anaerobic exercise that produces lactic acid most quickly, such as fast running or swimming.”
10.Tooth and Gum Paste
Baking soda has a mild abrasive action that helps to remove plaque and polish, clean, and deodorize your teeth.7 One review of data from five controlled clinical studies found that toothpaste containing baking soda “enhanced plaque removal effectiveness of tooth brushing to a significantly greater extent” than brushing with a non-baking soda toothpaste.8
Baking soda also has antibacterial activity and has been found to kill Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay.9 For an incredibly effective tooth and gum paste, use a mixture of six parts of baking soda to one part of sea salt.
Place them in a blender and mix for 30 seconds, then place in a container to use. Wet the tip of your index finger and place a small amount of the salt and soda mixture on your gums.
Starting with the upper outside gums and then the inside of the upper, followed by the lower outside of the gums then the lower inside, rub the mixture onto your teeth and gums. Spit out the excess. After 15 minutes rinse your mouth. This mixture is incredibly effective at killing bacteria.10
You need to exert some caution in this area though as many believe baking soda can be too abrasive on your enamel, and Dr. Curatola believes that killing the oral microbiome may be highly counterproductive.
For a natural way to whiten your teeth, crush one ripe strawberry and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Spread the mixture onto your teeth and leave on for five minutes. Then brush your teeth and rinse. This method should be used no more than once a week, as excessive use could potentially damage your tooth enamel.
How to Use Baking Soda as a Natural Cleanser
If you find it hard to believe that something as simple and inexpensive as baking soda could really clean your home, consider this: baking soda was used to clean and restore the inner copper walls of the Statute of Liberty during its 1986 restoration. It effectively removed grime without damaging the copper11 – so think it might work around your home, too? Here are some of baking soda’s top uses for cleaning:
Baking soda is great to scrub your bath and kitchen with. Put it in a glass grated cheese container with a stainless steel top that has holes in it, and just sprinkle the baking soda on the surfaces and scrub. You may add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to this. Lavender and tea tree oil have potent anti-bacterial qualities.
Baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar is a bubbly combination that has many uses. As a drain cleaner, sprinkle baking soda down the drain, then add apple cider vinegar and let it bubble for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. This is a safer alternative to dangerous drain cleaners.
Soak pots and pans in hot water and baking soda for 15 minutes to easily wipe away baked-on food.
Use baking soda to scrub your barbecue grill.
Clean baby toys in a mixture of 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of water.
Baking soda can also be used as a fabric softener in your laundry, or to get your clothes whither and brighter (add one cup to your laundry load).
Baking soda is a natural carpet cleaner. Sprinkle it onto carpets, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up.
To polish silver without using toxic silver polish, fill your kitchen sink with hot water, add a sheet of aluminum foil and baking soda, and let the silver pieces soak until clean. It is an easy and fun way to clean silver.
Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes for a natural deodorizer.
In the event of a minor grease fire in your kitchen, use baking soda to help smother out the flames.
Sprinkle baking soda on a vegetable brush to help remove dirt and residue from fruits and veggies.
Make a paste of baking soda and water and use it to scrub away grime from your shower and bath.
The recent changes in Washington do not seem to bode well for fact-driven, scientific points of view on many issues. But there are already a number of sensitive areas of science where important research is stalling due to outside pressures or serious questions asked by the scientists themselves.
A yearly conference organized by the MIT Media Lab tackles “forbidden research”, the science that is constrained by ethical, cultural and institutional restrictions. The purpose of the conference is to give scientists a forum to consider these ideas and questions and to discuss the viability and necessity of studying topics like the rights of AI and machines, genetic engineering, climate change and others.
Edward Snowden, who appeared remotely at the 2016 conference, summarized its “theme” as “law is no substitute for conscience.“ Pointing to his work against pervasive digital surveillance, he reiterated that “the legality of a thing is quite distinct from the morality of it.”
The major “forbidden” topics discussed at the conference were, unsurprisingly, wrought with political implications –
1. Messing with Nature
How much should we mess with nature? We now have an opportunity to potentially greatly advance our abilities and eradicate diseases with genetic engineering. But how much interference with the way nature designed us is ok? Who should decide how much is ok?
It is possible to use “gene” drives” to gene-edit an entire species, like, for instance, to get rid of mosquitoes. Not many would miss the pesky insects, but spreading the modified genetic traits throughout their population could have unintended consequences, not to mention the effect on the food chain.
Still, these concerns do not necessarily outweigh the possibility that gene-editing them could be extremely beneficial to us. The questions of how gene-editing can be safely incorporated into our lives will continue to persist as technology keeps improving.
“Some things are forbidden and arguably shouldn’t be, but other things perhaps we need some more barriers,” says Kevin Esvelt, a synthetic biologist with the Media Lab.
2. Engineering the Climate
One way to help address climate change is via solar engineering. This involves releasing sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to reflect some of the sunlight away from Earth. Doing this could tamp down rising temperatures, possibly bringing them back to pre-industrial levels.
This approach is certainly open to significant challenges. Atmospheric testing is necessary to see whether doing this could damage the ozone layer while adding more pollutants to the atmosphere. Yet, it’s something that to could work and address global warming. Without a serious discussion, which starts by agreeing that global warming is a real issue, we are just doing nothing while the problem potentially grows worse and worse.
“We have collectively decided we prefer ignorance. We need a serious, open, no-nonsense international research program, and we don’t have one. That is political cowardice,” said Harvard professor David Keith.
3. Robot Ethics
As robotic technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds, the questions of where the lines between the robots and humans will be drawn abound. For example, there is potential to protect children from sexual deviance by creating sex robots for pedophiles. This kind of research is nearly impossible, however, due to the ethical and legal restrictions in the field.
“I want to know [if] we can use robots therapeutically to help,” said robot ethicist Kate Darling from MIT’a Media Lab. “We have no idea if we can, and we can’t research it because of the huge social stigma.”
MIT Media Lab’s “Forbidden Research” conference 2016.
4. Secure Communication Technology
It’s a real challenge to create communication tech that is not being spied on by somebody, from corporations to the government. This was stressed by Edward Snowden and hacker and engineer Andrew Huang, who appeared at the conference.
Snowden elaborated on the distinction between the moral and legal in these examples:
“Our investigation regards countering what we’re calling lawful abuses of digital surveillance. Lawful abuse, right, what is that, doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Seems like it might be a contradiction in terms. (…) But if you think about it for just a moment it might seem to be a little bit more clear. After all, the legality of a thing is quite distinct from the morality of it. Segregation, slavery, genocides, these have all been perpetuated under frameworks that said they were lawful, as long as you abided by the regulations that were sort of managing those activities,” said Snowden.
5. Universal Access to Science
Should all publicly-funded research be available to everyone on Earth? This was the inspiration for SciHub, a Russian science that featured 55 million scientific papers for free. Many of them were pirated and pulled from behind paywalls.
Kazakh student Alexandra Elbakyan, who created the site, said at the conference that she can’t travel to the U.S. or Europe because she might be arrested. On the other hand, because the site has been resilient and not taken down, she thinks “the only thing now is to make it legal”.
The question of whether there is a moral imperative to spread scientific knowledge is tempered by political and business realities. But if science finds the verifiable truth, is there not an inherent obligation for it to be available for all?
You can see the full 2016 “Forbidden Research” conference here.
Plyometrics are a form of bodyweight exercise that requires no equipment and involve quick, explosive types of movement
Plyometric exercises help improve leg strength, muscle power, acceleration, balance, agility, and vertical jumps
Because plyometric exercises are so intense, you should only do 2-3 sessions a week
Plyometrics are quick, explosive types of movement that can help you burn large amounts of calories in minimal time while also strengthening your muscles.
As a form of body-weight exercise that requires no equipment (other than your own body), plyometric movements have been around virtually forever, although they didn’t start out as “exercise.”
The explosive movements involved in plyometrics, such as vertical jumps, were certainly invaluable to the survival of ancient humans. And such movements were later coveted by athletes at the first Olympics.
As the American Council on Exercise (ACE) put it, plyometric exercise has been in use “since the first Olympians in Greece donned white robes and grape leaf crowns.”1 Later, plyometrics were valued by Eastern European Olympians during the 1970s, who used the moves to build strength and power.2
What Makes Plyometrics Such a Good Workout?
When done properly, plyometric exercises have been shown to improve leg strength, muscle power, acceleration, balance, agility, and vertical jumps.3 There’s also evidence that they may help build bone density, particularly in younger adults, while also helping with weight control and lower the risk of sports-related injuries.4
While once thought of as an exercise strictly for adults, plyometrics can be safely performed by adolescents and children, too. As the American College of Sports Medicine noted, “plyometrics are a natural part of most movements, as evidenced by the jumping, hopping, and skipping seen on any school playground.”5
Many of the benefits of plyometrics come from the muscles’ cycle of lengthening and shortening, which increases muscle power.6 ACE explained:7
“The premise behind using plyometric exercise to improve reactivity and power output comes from what’s called the ‘stretch shortening cycle.’ This term refers to the change a muscle goes through when being eccentrically loaded and then concentrically contracted.
What is actually being trained while doing plyometics is the very short period in between the eccentric (lengthening) and concentric (shortening) phases of this muscle contraction.
This is called the ‘amortization phase’ and it is a very quick moment in time when the muscle goes from being eccentrically contracted, or stretched while under load, to concentrically contracted, which is what we normally think of as flexing a muscle.
When plyometrics are done quickly, as intended, the amortization phase should last less than one-quarter of a second… The shorter the amortization phase, the quicker a muscle goes from a long muscle to short muscle, which allows for increased force production.”
Four Simple Plyometric Moves
Many familiar exercises can become plyometric movements if you add an explosive burst. To do a plyometric push-up, for instance, once your sternum touches the floor hold your position and breathe for about three seconds, then perform an explosivepush upward. You can also try jump squats or jumping on and off a small box.
If you’re looking for something different to try, fitness and nutrition coach Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body, shared four simple plyometric moves with Yahoo Health.8 These are appropriate for most fitness levels.
“…standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out wide, and arms lifted in front of you. Press your knees out over your toes, then explode straight up and land softly.”
“…come into a squat position, drop your hands to the floor, shoot your feet back, and complete one push-up. Hop your feet forward, lift your chest, and repeat.”
“…start at the top of a push-up position and step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Keeping your core tight, explosively switch feet.”
“…starting on your butt with your hands and feet flat on the floor. Press hips up and kick up your left foot as you swing your right hand up and over. Alternate sides.”
Plyometrics for Your Upper Body and Trunk
Plyometrics are often thought of as a lower-body workout, but they can be used for your upper body, and even your trunk, too. Jacque Crockford, MS, CSCS, an ACE certified personal trainer and an ACE exercise physiologist, shared the following plyometric exercises:9
Supine Vertical Chest Toss (Upper Body)
“Lie supine on a mat with your arms extended upward (shoulders at approximately 90 degrees of flexion). Have a partner stand on top of a box and hold a 2- to 8-lb (1- to 3.5-kg) medicine ball above the exerciser’s arms. When the partner drops the ball, catch the ball using both arms and immediately toss the ball back up to the partner.”
Lateral Med Ball Wall Throw and Catch(Trunk)
“Grasp a medicine ball and stand sideways about 2 to 3 feet away from a wall. Using the hip as a starting point, rotate the body and throw the ball toward the wall, catching it back at the hip while returning to the starting position.”
More Is Not Better with Plyometrics – Be Careful to Avoid Injury
Because plyometric exercises are so intense, you should only do two to three sessions a week to give your body time for adequate rest and recovery. And as you exercise, pay attention to proper form and quality of movement over quantity. Certain plyometric movements, such as depth jumping and drop jumping, can exert a force of up to seven times your own bodyweight.
In short, plyometrics can be dangerous if not correctly, and they may even pose a higher risk of injury than other forms of exercise. For instance, it’s not unusual for ankle or other injuries to occur during plyometric jumps. As ACE reported:10
“If you are considering plyometrics, proceed with caution. A sports medicine physician or therapist can advise you on whether this training technique is suitable for you, and may even help you get started or recommend someone who can. But, if improving athletic performance is not a high priority, the additional risk associated with this activity may not be worth the potential benefits.”
So it’s important to start out gradually and, ideally, under the supervision of a personal trainer, at least for your first few sessions. Listen to your body and do the exercises you feel comfortable with – avoid pushing yourself too much at the start of a plyometrics workout, as it takes time to build coordination and strength. You can lower your risk of injury when performing plyometrics by following some simple ground rules from ACE:11
Only do jumps from ground level, ideally onto soft grass or a padded gym mat
Use safe-landing techniques, such as from toe to heel when doing vertical jumps
Landing on your entire foot (as a rocker) helps dissipate landing forces over a greater surface area
Picture yourself landing “light as a feather” and “recoiling like a spring” after impact to help reduce the landing forces
Avoid excessive side-to-side motion of the your knees when landing; according to ACE, “Landing forces can be absorbed through the muscles that help support and protect the knee joint (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius) more effectively when the knee is bending primarily in only one plane of motion.”
Plyometrics Won’t Produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
One reason why exercise is sometimes regarded as a real-life fountain of youth is because, when done intensely, it boosts your body’s natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), a synergistic, foundational biochemical that addresses the serious muscle loss and atrophy that typically occurs with aging. However, not all types of exercise boost its production. Your body has three different types of muscle fibers:
Slow (red, oxygen-rich muscle)
Fast (also red muscle that oxygenates quickly, but is five times faster than the slow fibers)
Super-fast (white muscle fibers that contain far less blood and mitochondria)
The super-fast muscle fibers are the only muscle fibers that have any major impact on your production of HGH. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people, including many athletes such as marathon runners, only train using their slow muscle fibers, which can actually cause the super-fast fibers to decrease or atrophy.
It’s important to understand that neither traditionally performed aerobic cardio nor conventional strength training will work anything but your slow muscles. Power training with plyometrics will engage your fast muscle fibers, but still will not affect HGH production to any great degree.
Generally, the higher your levels of HGH, the healthier and stronger you will be. So in addition to plyometrics, be sure you are also engaging in high-intensity interval training. This is especially important once you hit the age of 30, which is when you enter what’s called “somatopause.”
At this point your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically. This decline of HGH is part of what drives your aging process, so maintaining your HGH levels gets increasingly important with age. Whether you seek to optimize your athletic performance or health and longevity, incorporating one to three sessions of high-intensity exercises per week will help you achieve your aims by significantly boosting HGH production. In addition to Peak Fitness, super slow weight training is another form of high-intensity exercise that will significantly boost your HGH production.
Last September, a very twenty-first-century type of story appeared on the company blog of the ride-sharing app Lyft. “Long-time Lyft driver and mentor, Mary, was nine months pregnant when she picked up a passenger the night of July 21st,” the post began. “About a week away from her due date, Mary decided to drive for a few hours after a day of mentoring.” You can guess what happened next.
Mary, who was driving in Chicago, picked up a few riders, and then started having contractions. “Since she was still a week away from her due date,” Lyft wrote, “she assumed they were simply a false alarm and continued driving.” As the contractions continued, Mary decided to drive to the hospital. “Since she didn’t believe she was going into labor yet,” Lyft went on, “she stayed in driver mode, and sure enough—ping!— she received a ride request en route to the hospital.”
Fiverr, an online freelance marketplace that promotes itself as being for “the lean entrepreneur,” recently attracted ire for an ad campaign called “In Doers We Trust.”
“Luckily,” as Lyft put it, the passenger requested a short trip. After completing it, Mary went to the hospital, where she was informed that she was in labor. She gave birth to a daughter, whose picture appears in the post. (She’s wearing a “Little Miss Lyft” onesie.) The post concludes with a call for similar stories: “Do you have an exciting Lyft story you’d love to share? Tweet us your story at @lyft_CHI!”
Mary’s story looks different to different people. Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication—the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit—taking ride requests while she was in labor!—is an “exciting” example of how seamless and flexible app-based employment can be. Look at that hustle! You can make a quick buck with Lyft anytime, even when your cervix is dilating.
Lyft does not provide its drivers paid maternity leave or health insurance. (It offers to connect drivers with an insurance broker, and helpfully notes that “the Affordable Care Act offers many choices to make sure you’re covered.”) A third-party platform called SherpaShare, which some drivers use to track their earnings, found, in 2015, that Lyft drivers in Chicago net about eleven dollars per trip. Perhaps, as Lyft suggests, Mary kept accepting riders while experiencing contractions because “she was still a week away from her due date,” or “she didn’t believe she was going into labor yet.” Or maybe Mary kept accepting riders because the gig economy has further normalized the circumstances in which earning an extra eleven dollars can feel more important than seeking out the urgent medical care that these quasi-employers do not sponsor. In the other version of Mary’s story, she’s an unprotected worker in precarious circumstances. “I can’t pretend to know Mary’s economic situation,” Bryan Menegus at Gizmodo wrote, when the story first appeared. “Maybe she’s an heiress who happens to love the freedom of chauffeuring strangers from place to place on her own schedule. But that Lyft, for some reason, thought that this would reflect kindly on them is perhaps the most horrifying part.”
It does require a fairly dystopian strain of doublethink for a company to celebrate how hard and how constantly its employees must work to make a living, given that these companies are themselves setting the terms. And yet this type of faux-inspirational tale has been appearing more lately, both in corporate advertising and in the news. Fiverr, an online freelance marketplace that promotes itself as being for “the lean entrepreneur”—as its name suggests, services advertised on Fiverr can be purchased for as low as five dollars—recently attracted ire for an ad campaign called “In Doers We Trust.” One ad, prominently displayed on some New York City subway cars, features a woman staring at the camera with a look of blank determination. “You eat a coffee for lunch,” the ad proclaims. “You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.”
Fiverr, which had raised a hundred and ten million dollars in venture capital by November, 2015, has more about the “In Doers We Trust” campaign on its Web site. In one video, a peppy female voice-over urges “doers” to “always be available,” to think about beating “the trust-fund kids,” and to pitch themselves to everyone they see, including their dentist. A Fiverr press release about “In Doers We Trust” states, “The campaign positions Fiverr to seize today’s emerging zeitgeist of entrepreneurial flexibility, rapid experimentation, and doing more with less. It pushes against bureaucratic overthinking, analysis-paralysis, and excessive whiteboarding.” This is the jargon through which the essentially cannibalistic nature of the gig economy is dressed up as an aesthetic. No one wants to eat coffee for lunch or go on a bender of sleep deprivation—or answer a call from a client while having sex, as recommended in the video. It’s a stretch to feel cheerful at all about the Fiverr marketplace, perusing the thousands of listings of people who will record any song, make any happy-birthday video, or design any book cover for five dollars. I’d guess that plenty of the people who advertise services on Fiverr would accept some “whiteboarding” in exchange for employer-sponsored health insurance.
At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system. The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear. Human-interest stories about the beauty of some person standing up to the punishments of late capitalism are regular features in the news, too. I’ve come to detest the local-news set piece about the man who walks ten or eleven or twelve miles to work—a story that’s been filed from Oxford, Alabama; from Detroit, Michigan; from Plano, Texas. The story is always written as a tearjerker, with praise for the person’s uncomplaining attitude; a car is usually donated to the subject in the end. Never mentioned or even implied is the shamefulness of a job that doesn’t permit a worker to afford his own commute.
There’s a painful distance between the chipper narratives surrounding labor and success in America and the lived experience of workers. A similar conflict drove Nathanael West, in 1934, to publish the novel “A Cool Million,” which satirized the Horatio Alger bootstrap fables that remained popular into the Great Depression. “Alger is to America what Homer was to the Greeks,” West once wrote. His protagonist in “A Cool Million,” Lemuel Pitkin, is an innocent, energetic striver, tasked with saving his mother’s house from foreclosure. A series of Alger-esque plot twists ensue. But Pitkin, rather than triumphing, ends up losing his teeth, his eye, his leg, his scalp, and finally his thumb. Morris Dickstein, in his book “Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression,” notes, “The novel ends with Lem as a vaudeville clown being beaten nightly until he simply falls apart.” A former President named Shagpoke Whipple gives a speech valorizing Pitkin’s fate, extolling “the right of every American boy to go into the world and . . . make his fortune by industry.” Whipple describes Pitkin’s dismemberment—“lovingly,” Dickstein adds—and tells his audience that, through Pitkin’s hard work and enthusiastic martyrdom, “America became again American.”
When you have a headache and the pill you need isn’t at hand, the situation seems hopeless. But it isn’t so. There’s a scientific way to get rid of a headache called acupressure.
Today Bright Side will tell you about this technique which removes a headache effectively and quickly.
Acupressure is a kind of massage, the effectiveness of which is confirmed by numerous scientific studies. By its nature, it’s a form of acupuncture and reflexotherapy, but it doesn’t require special medical knowledge.
How to massage acupressure points
First, take a comfortable position and relax. The massage doesn’t take much time: from 30 seconds to 1 minute on average.
Massage a point with light pressing or circular movements. Usually, the headache disappears during the massage or 5-10 minutes after it.
There are 6 main points to get rid of a headache
The point of the third eye, or Yintang, is situated between the eyebrows in the place where the bridge of the nose passes into the forehead. This point is also responsible for eye fatigue removal.
These symmetrical points are located at the base of the inner edge of the eyebrows. Massage of this area also relieves a runny nose and improves visual acuity. Massage for 1 minute by pressing or circular movements.
These points are located on both sides of the nostrils in line with the eyes. To find them, feel a dimple in the bottom of the cheekbones. It helps to open sinuses, reduce headache and toothache, and relieve stress.
The points are located in the back of the head in the middle, between the ear and the beginning of the spine. Massaging these points helps to relieve nasal congestion, pain in the eyes and ears, severe headache, and migraine.
The Shuai gu points are situated 2-3 cm from the beginning of the hairline in the temple area. Feel a small dimple to find this point. Pressure applied to this area relieves pain in the temporal region and eye fatigue.
These symmetrical points are located on the back of the hand between the thumb and forefinger. Pressure applied to this area also relieves back pain, toothache, and tension in the neck muscles.