What is the difference between regular and organic processed foods?


I shop in regular grocery stores and our local organic Co-op regularly, and can’t help but notice a few things. There isn’t much difference between regular and ‘organic’ grocery stores and their customers. The shelves of both are filled with processed dead 'food'. I watch people check out with mostly bags of chips, boxes of mac and cheese, cheese crackers, cereal, energy bars, cookies, flavored yogurt, peanut butter, meals in a box, processed meats, and lots of bottled water, but very few fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. The kind of whole foods you can actually identify as being a chicken, cow, fish, apple, potato or grain. The word 'organic' on the label simply means it costs 3x more. I hate to think what their grocery bill is for all this organic, processed ‘dead’ food, and how much 'more beneficial nutrition' they could afford if they switched to whole foods!

I will bag-iStock_000008308699XSmall

Comparing processed foods:

Regular Mac & Cheese
Enriched macaroni product (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid, cheese sauce mix (whey, milk fat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, contains less than 2% of citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, yellow 5, yellow 6, cheese culture, enzymes). CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK.

Organic Mac & Cheese
Wheat Macaroni (enriched), Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Non-Animal Enzymes), Whey, Nonfat Milk, Butter, Salt, Cultured Whole Milk, Sodium Phosphate, Annatto Extract For Color.

Synthetic vitamins may cause nutritional deficiencies, and gastrointestinal distress; not adequately tested
FD&C Yellow 5 - may cause hay fever, gastrointestinal distress, skin rashes; avoid if aspirin sensitive; may be carcinogenic.
FD&C Yellow 6 - causes tumors in lab animals; contaminated with carcinogens.
Sodium Tripolyphosphate is a preservative, emulsifier and used to retain moisture in processed foods.
Sodium Phosphate is used as an emulsifier in processed cheese.

  • Salts of polyphosphate anions are moderately irritating to skin and mucous membranes because they are mildly alkaline. They can cause digestive distress.
  • Phosphates form deposits in joints and are linked to heel and joint pain. High phosphate foods include processed meats, carbonated beverages, processed grain products like cereals, breads and pastas. To eliminate phosphate, the body takes calcium from bones and magnesium to neutralize it. This dissolves bones. Unneutralized phosphate in the body is very acidic and can burn delicate kidneys. In this way, people get hardened arteries, joint disease, calcified tissues that no longer have flexibility and kidney crystals that become stones. This is aging. All of these deposits invite bacteria to live in and on them, setting the stage for pain.

Organic food may not have been grown with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, or made to include artificial color, flavor and preservatives, but they do list chemicals on the label that are not friendly to the GI tract, like xanthin gum, maltodextrin, and others. Nutritionally speaking, processed organic food is fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals, refined and nutritionally bankrupt empty calories, just like regular processed foods.

Processing plant

The FDA requires all food manufacturers to clean the food handling equipment with the same chemicals, whether making organic or non-organic products, so solvent residues end up in the food and we ingest them, which is cumulative.

  • Let me give you a real life example. I have to take my food with me when I travel and every evening I have half a grapefruit. I thought it would be easier for me to pack if I took a carton of grapefruit juice, instead of whole grapefruits. Weeks before the trip, I carefully selected 3 brands of organic grapefruit juice. Solvents give me nightmares that make a Steven King movie look like a comedy. I had an 8 oz serving each brand of grapefruit juice 3 days apart, and ate half a grapefruit the two evenings between them, so I could get very clear feedback from my body. Every one of them gave me such a terrible night sleep that I couldn't finish the juices, much less take them on my trip. I ended up packing whole, organic grapefruit. The same thing happens with 98% of the processed foods I have eaten. The exceptions, or that 2%, are items like - Pacific organic Cream of Mushroom soup, Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin in a paper carton, LePain des fliers organic quinoa crisp bread, Redwood Hills Farm goat milk, plain yogurt, plain kefir, Blue Bonnet supplements, and a few other things. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity has turned out to be a blessing, because if there is anything harmful in a product, my body will let me know without a doubt. I am a guinea-pig and like the canary in a cage to alert miners (people) of lethal, unseen hazards. Solvents attack the brain, so why do we keep exposing ourselves to these things?

When we separate whole food constituents, we separate the synergy and cofactors, making it dead food. When we eat food as close to the way God made it as we can get it, we benefit from the interaction of substances that produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects and substances whose presence is essential for the activity of enzymes. God built things into the food we are designed to grow, maintain and heal our bodies with, that we have yet to discover or understand, and we need those things that enable our bodies to use the nutrients they contain. Otherwise, it's dead food. In this respect, organic processed food and conventional processed food are identical. It's a false positive that gives people a false sense of security, because they think they are 'eating better,' when in reality they may, or may not be, just avoiding a few nasty chemicals. Also, parents are teaching their children by example, so they have no idea what real food looks like or how to cook it. What we don't know we don't know can hurt us in ways we can't begin to imagine.

I'm not saying it is bad to occasionally partake of processed foods. When I travel, about once or twice a year, I purchase some "survival food" for my husband to prepare in my absence. So, in that case you will see in my grocery cart the healthiest version of frozen pizza, mac & cheese, onion rings and yes, ice cream, but those are the exception, not a regular thing. People would benefit greatly from regularly consuming as much nutrition and hydration from natural sources as possible. For those who have immune issues and health challenges, eating organic whole foods, prepared with minimal heat to preserve nutrition and consumed in such a way as to obtain optimum nutritional value is essential to regaining health and maintaining it.

If you'd like some assistance transitioning to, planning and preparing meals from whole foods, I am here for you. Email johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com to ask a question or schedule a free introductory phone consultation. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

Chemicals in Coffee


Humans are the only life forms on Earth that seek out and consume caffeine for both its stimulatory and psychological effects. All other life forms know caffeine as a potent toxin capable of sterilization, phytotoxicity and anti-fungal properties. Caffeines intensely bitter taste has evolved as a primitive defense mechanism to discourage anything that would consume it, ensuring that coffee would survive for thousands of years in the wild, but for some reason, many humans desire the taste other creatures avoid.

There are more than 1,500 chemical compounds in finished coffee.

300 heterocyclic compounds contribute to flavor and are responsible for producing the sweet/caramel/earthy- like aromas commonly found in coffee. There are over 550 additional compounds after roasting. The increase is almost three fold. For example, during coffee’s roasting process undesirable compounds such as Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and benzene are formed and later transferred to the brew. Their molecular and physiological effects, and interactions between compounds are areas of research that interest me most. Many aromatic compounds are carcinogens that increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses.

Finished coffee contains 60 Aromatic benzenoid compounds. Of all pollutants, Benzene is widespread in extremely small amounts and does the most harm. When benzopyrene are added, the total is entirely too much for the liver to detoxify and these solvents accumulate in the thymus, where they ruin the immune system. If benzene is present in the body, the intestinal flatworm uses the thymus for its secondary host, setting the stage for AIDS. Benzene is a notorious cause of bone marrow abnormalities and failure. Substantial quantities of epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory data link benzene to aplastic anemia and acute leukemia. Other major sources of benzene exposure are tobacco smoke, automobile service stations, exhaust from motor vehicles, and industrial emissions; however, ingestion of benzene can also occur by consuming grilled or smoked foods, contaminated water, and commercially prepared beverages like coffee, soda, and tea. Benzopyrene is made in food that is exposed to direct flame or extremely high heat, like roasting coffee at nearly 500 degrees. Human exposure to benzene and benzopyrene is a global health problem. These solvents target liver, kidney, lungs, heart and the brain, and can cause DNA strand breaks and chromosomal damage.

23 Thiophens are in finished coffee. Thiophene was discovered as a contaminant in benzene. The thiophens are known to have a meaty aroma and are produced from a chemical reaction between sulfur containing amino acids and reducing sugars in the presence of heat, producing a form of non-enzymatic browning. Thiophenes are important heterocyclic compounds (whose molecule contains a ring of atoms of at least two elements - one of which is generally carbon) widely used as building blocks in many agro-chemicals and pharmaceuticals, i.e. NSAID non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Thiophenones are an active ingredient in medications used in the control of Staphylococcus epidermidis Infections by inhibiting biofilm formation.

Coffee contains 10 Quinoxalines, also called a benzopyrazine, in organic chemistry, which is a heterocyclic compound containing made up of a benzene ring and a pyrazine ring (see below). Quinoxaline derivatives are used as dyes, pharmaceuticals, and antibiotics such as olaquindox, carbadox, echinomycin, levomycin and actinoleutin. It has anti-tumor effects.

3 Indoles & 2 Quinolines - heteroaromatic compound (an organic compound with a ring structure that is both heterocyclic and aromatic) with fused benzene and pyrrole (see below).

Your cup of java contains 20 Alicyclic aromatic compounds. Of these, Xylenes are produced by the methylation of toluene and benzene, and is related to benzene. Xylene is in coffee, but also in carbonated beverages. Xylene and toluene are common brain solvents always seen in Multiple Sclerosis cases, which is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. Any of the four common fluke parasites and Shigella bacteria are also responsible. When an organ contains solvents, it allows parasites to multiply there. Parasites bring with them their own entourage of bacteria and viruses. This is how disease takes hold in the body. Xylene is a skin irritant and strips the skin of its oils, making it more permeable to other chemicals. This contributes to the development of or exacerbates Leaky gut. p-Xylene is the principal precursor to terephthalic acid and dimethyl terephthalate, both monomers used in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and polyester clothing. 98% of p-xylene production, and half of all xylenes produced are consumed in this manner. Xylene is used as a solvent. Areas of application include the printing, and leather industries. It is a common component of ink, rubber, adhesives, paint thinners and varnishes. Similarly it is a cleaning agent, i.e., for steel, silicon wafers, and integrated circuits. In dentistry, xylene can be used to dissolve gutta percha, a material used for root canal treatments. In the petroleum industry, xylene is a frequent component of paraffin solvents, and it is the active ingredient in ear wax removal products. The main effect of xylene is depression of the central nervous system, with symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Long-term exposure to low levels of xylene may lead to migraine headaches, irritability, depression, insomnia, agitation, extreme tiredness, tremors, impaired concentration, short-term memory, a decrease in balance, coordination, and reaction times. This condition is sometimes generally referred to as "organic solvent syndrome". If xylene is present in the body it invites any of four fluke parasites to use the brain as a secondary host.

9 Pyridines are in finished coffee. 60% of the initial trigonelline (an alkaloid) in coffee decomposes during roasting, leading to the formation of carbon dioxide, water and the development of a large class of aromatic compounds called pyridines. Pyridine is a basic heterocyclic organic compound that is structurally related to benzene. Pyridines are components of volatile organic compounds that are produced in roasting coffee, as well as frying chicken, potato chips and bacon. Cigarette smoke contains pyridine. It can be synthesized from acetaldehyde and ammonia. Pyridine is used as a precursor to agro-chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and is also an important solvent and reagent. It is used in the synthesis of sulfapyridine (a drug against bacterial and viral infections), antihistaminic drugs, as well as water repellents, bactericides, and herbicides. Pyridine easily dissolves in water and harms both animals and plants in aquatic systems. Imagine what pyridine will do to the friendly flora in your intestines. Pyridine is harmful if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Effects of acute pyridine intoxication include dizziness, headache, lack of coordination, nausea, salivation, and loss of appetite. They may progress into abdominal pain, pulmonary congestion and unconsciousness. Pyridine may also have minor neurotoxic, genotoxic, and clastogenic effects. Neurotoxin is a poison that acts on the nervous system. Genotoxic describes a poisonous substance which harms an organism by damaging its DNA. Clastogen can cause breaks in chromosomes that result in the gain, loss, or rearrangements of chromosomal segments and sister chromatid strand exchanges during DNA replication.

28 Thiazoles and 28 Oxazoles are aromatic compounds and as members of the azoles, they have anti-fungal properties and are part of medications you may recognize the name of like Fluconazole. Anti-fungal medications cause Candida to mutate and dive deeper into the body, where it waits in stealth mode for you to discontinue the medication and then comes back at you with a vengeance. Candida adapts to anti-fungals and renders the medication useless as a future Candida fighting strategy. Also, the process I just explained advances Systemic Candidiasis into the next stage. Thifluzamide, Tricyclazole, and Thiabendazole are marketed for control of various agricultural pests. Another widely used thiazole derivative is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Meloxicam. Oxazole is a volatile liquid with weak basic properties that serves as the basis of a number of medicinal drugs. Thiazoles are formed via sugar degradation.

70 Pyrazines - are the second most abundant class of aromatic compounds and contribute to the roasted, walnut, cereal, cracker, or toast-like flavors in coffee. Along with thiazoles, pyrazines have the lowest odor threshold and therefore significantly contribute to coffee aroma.

37 Pyrroles - Pyrrole is a volatile aromatic heterocycle, like furan (see below) and thiophene. Pyrrole compounds possess a nutty odor and red color, responsible for some of the sweet, caramel-like, and mushroom-like aromas in coffee. Pyrrole is a precursor to the drug tolmetin and also in several drugs, including atorvastatin, ketorolac, and sunitinib. Pyrroles are classed as 'nerve poisons' and as such can cause damage to nerves, nerve cells and tissue, and they can interrupt messages being sent along your nerves especially within your brain, predisposing to ADD/ADHD and autism, learning disabilities, bi-polar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, criminal behavior, and substance abuse. Pyrrole disorder is a biochemical imbalance involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis that can be acquired through environmental and emotional stress, the over use of antibiotics, and especially from ‘leaky gut syndrome’.

74 Furans - Furan is found in heat-treated commercial foods and is produced through thermal degradation of natural food constituents, including roasted coffee, instant coffee, and processed baby foods. Furan is highly volatile and listed as toxic and a possible human carcinogen.

16 Phenols - Phenolic compounds are volatile and mildly acidic with disinfectant properties, and a propensity to cause chemical burns. Phenol is a versatile precursor to a large collection of drugs, most notably aspirin but also many herbicides and pharmaceutical drugs. Phenols, also known as carbolic acid, is an aromatic organic compound with antiseptic properties, is used as a preservative in some vaccines and was once widely used as an antiseptic. Its corrosive effect can cause damage to mucous membranes due to a protein-degenerating effect. The herbicidal properties kill beneficial bacterial populations. Phenol may have harmful effects on the central nervous system and heart, resulting in dysrhythmia, seizures, and coma. Long-term or repeated exposure to the substance may have harmful effects on the liver and kidneys.

10 Hydrofurans, 9 Sulfur containing compounds and 150 Aliphatic non-aromatic compounds

56 Carbonyl compounds - ketones, aldehydes, ester and amides.
  • 10 Ketones - Ketones are naturally occurring in coffee, but also generated from carbohydrates, fatty acids, and amino acids in the blood (ketosis) after fasting, including a night of sleep; in both blood and urine in starvation; in hypoglycemia, due to causes other than hyperinsulinism, in ketoacidosis (usually due to diabetes mellitus), in various inborn errors of metabolism, and intentionally induced via the Candida diet and ketogenic diet.
  • Aldehyde - Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde are naturally occurring aldehydes in coffee as part of its chemical makeup. Formaldehyde and Acetaldehyde are carcinogens. Acetaldehyde is also produced by the partial oxidation of ethanol by the liver enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase and may be a contributing factor to hangovers from alcohol consumption. Acetaldehyde is produced by Candida yeast as a byproduct of their digestion of glucose in the human host. This wreaks havoc on the liver. Some people have a deficiency of the enzyme responsible for the conversion of acetaldehyde into acetic acid, or nutritional deficiency that prevents this process and acetaldehyde builds up in the body.
  • Esters are responsible for the aroma of fruits and other plants. Lactones contribute to the aroma of butter, cheese and various foods and fruits. Of all plant constituents, coffee has one of the highest concentrations of chlorogenic acids. When roasting coffee, some of these are transformed into chlorogenic acid lactones The reactions of lactones are similar to those of esters. Chlorogenic acid lactones, which include about 10 different chemicals in coffee, are the dominant source of bitterness in light to medium roast brews. Phenylindanes, which are the chemical breakdown products of chlorogenic acid lactones, are found at higher levels in dark roasted coffee, including espresso, and their bitterness is harsher than that of the chlorogenic acid lactones – explaining the bitterness of espresso coffee.
  • Acrylamide in food is both carcinogenic (cancer causing) and genotoxic (can damage the genetic material of cells) and is a substance that forms when coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures. The darker the roast, the higher the levels of acrylamide are likely to be. In fact, coffee has been shown to be one of the major sources of this dangerous chemical in American diets. This toxic chemical has been found in cigarette smoke, along with dozens of other toxic chemicals. Acrylamide is a toxic substance that forms when foods containing simple carbohydrates and the amino acid asparagine are cooked together at high temperatures. Homemade or processed foods that have been fried, grilled, toasted or baked, like potato chips, french fries, burnt toast and baked, grilled or roasted carbohydrate foods are the most likely to contain acrylamide. The longer the cooking time and the higher the temperature, the more potential for acrylamide to form. Levels increase the more cooked and burnt the food is. The darker the toast, fries, chips, cookies etc, the worse it may be for exposure to this potentially dangerous compound. Small amounts of acrylamide are also used in water treatment, but the levels of this chemical in our drinking water are said to be strictly monitored and regulated. However, acrymlamide levels in common foods are significantly higher (sometimes as much as 500 times higher). When you consider that many these foods, with all the simple carbohydrates, sugar, salt and hydrogenated fats, are known to be unhealthy in their own right, acrylamide just adds further harm. This makes the case that much stronger for eating higher quality foods that are clean and nutritious in their most natural whole food form.​ Replace fried, roasted, baked at high temperatures, and processed foods with better alternatives, like lightly steamed vegetables, sprouted seeds and nuts and low sugar/high fiber whole fruits for snacks.

Coffee contains alcohols - ethanol and methanol, as solvents, possess denaturing (proteins lose structure, resulting in disruption of cell activity and premature cell death) properties, leading to their use as anti-microbial agents in medicine, pharmacy, perfumes, and industry as reagents, preservatives or solvents.
  • Ethanol is used as an antiseptic in soaps and hand sanitizers to disinfect, but do not require drying due to the volatility of the compound. Ethanol's toxicity is largely caused by its primary metabolite, acetaldehyde, which is oxidized to formaldehyde and then to the poisonous formic acid (antibacterial) by alcohol dehydrogenase in the liver, in an attempt to create a less toxic or poisonous substance. Studies have shown increased cancer risk from consumption or the presence of ethanol. Ethanol occurs naturally as a byproduct of the metabolic process of yeast and is present in any yeast habitat.
  • Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, denatured alcohol and wood alcohol, is highly toxic and unfit for human consumption. It is used in antifreeze, solvent and fuel production. Methanol is toxic by two mechanisms. First, whether it enters the body by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin, methanol can be fatal due to its central nervous system depressant properties in the same manner as ethanol poisoning. Second, in the detoxification process, methanol is metabolized first to formaldehyde and then to formic acid or formate salts. Formate is toxic because it inhibits mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase, causing oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) at the cellular level, and metabolic acidosis, among a variety of other metabolic disturbances. These are poisonous to the central nervous system and may cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve, coma, and death. Additionally, if wood alcohol is present in the body, it invites pancreatic fluids to use the pancreas as a secondary host, leading to pancreatic dysfunction and diabetes.

Acetic acid and formic acid are metabolized and eliminated by the body, if certain dietary requirements are available, but they have specific toxic effects, including nerve damage, kidney damage, and is mutagenic causing genetic mutations in bacteria, and carcinogenic. These acids are corrosive and can cause tissue damage. Formic acid and acetic acid are responsible for the perceived acidity of coffee. The perceived acidity of coffee results from the proton donation of acids to receptors on the human tongue. The pH of a coffee has been found to correlate with the perceived acidity in coffee. Formic acid is 10x stronger than acetic acid (vinegar) and is the component of stings by fire ants, bees, wasps, hornets and nettles.

Acid anhydrides
Nitrogenous compounds and Amines are formally derivatives of ammonia.
Water, Minerals, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids

Waxes & Oils - There are hundreds of oils in coffee, and although very important to flavor and aroma, they are some of the less studied chemicals to date. Oils are one of the few chemicals in coffee that change over time during storage of the green coffee beans, and Arabica has over 50% more oils than Robusta, which is thought to contribute to aroma as well as taste differences. The majority of oils in a coffee bean are in the inner endosperm, not the waxy outer covering of the bean.

Alkaloids are any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin that have pronounced physiological actions on humans. Nitrogenous organic compounds include many drugs (morphine, quinine) and poisons (atropine, strychnine). Caffeine is an alkaloid. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant of the methylxanthine class. Coffee is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug, which is why the world produces more than 16 billion pounds of coffee beans per year. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. There are several known mechanisms of action to explain the effects of caffeine. The most prominent is that it blocks the action of adenosine on its receptor and prevents the onset of drowsiness induced by adenosine. Caffeine also stimulates certain portions of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic effects of regular caffeine use include increased blood pressure and heart rate. Caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, increased heart and breathing rate, headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats, increase total cholesterol, increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and increased triglycerides. This can increase the risk of developing hypertension/high blood pressure, and also raises the level of homocysteine, all of which are associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Some research suggests an association between heart attacks and drinking coffee. The most important change you can make to reverse high blood pressure is to stop consuming caffeine, as in coffee (even decaf), tea, energy drinks, Vivarin or carbonated beverages. Try Chaga or dandelion root tea! Blood pressure is mainly controlled by the adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys. Whatever affects the kidneys is going to affect the adrenals too. Caffeine raises cortisol, insulin, blood pressure and heart rate. If you add sugar or a doughnut, the effect is intensified. Using artificial sweetener adds insult to injury. Caffeine increases urine output and can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. This can weaken bones and lead to osteoporosis. Caffeine makes tissues more permeable, allowing parasites, viruses and bacteria in the body to spread more easily and invade other systems. Caffeine can produce a mild form of drug dependence – associated with withdrawal symptoms such as sleepiness, headache, and irritability – when an individual stops using caffeine after repeated daily intake. Coffee is harmful when given rectally as an enema. Coffee enemas have been linked to cases of severe side effects including death. The purpose of caffeine for the plant is defensive, because as insects attack the coffee cherry, they are deterred by the bitter taste of caffeine and simply move on to other crops.

chronic fatigue

Fatigue will drive us to try quick fix methods, extreme measures and ineffective strategies that often times cause the same effect we are trying to remedy. It makes sense that people will go for caffeine, because it appears to give energy. Caffeine is the primary drug of choice for a world that is moving at a fast pace. We are wired and tired. Caffeine pulls the body away from its natural metabolism and causes fatigue or makes it worse. We either turned more and more to caffeine to get more energy or increased caffeine led us to fatigue. When a fatigued person uses caffeine, it slows down the healing process. Coffee is one of those ways that people try to avoid fatigue by artificially stimulating themselves. Caffeine provides a false sense of energy, by keeping cortisol levels up and that further stresses the body. It's like driving a car and keeping the RPM's of the engine unnaturally high. People fear fatigue, because they fear lack of $ = a lack of security in life. If they can’t work due to fatigue, they can’t make $. We keep pushing and stimulating ourselves with caffeine and sugar, which will eventually crash us. This is why we’ve got to welcome fatigue. Stop fearing, fighting and attacking it, and making it the enemy. Fatigue is a symptom that’s telling us the way we are doing life doesn’t work for us anymore. Fatigue is our friend, because it insists that we rest and take care of ourselves. Stimulants are creating the effect we are trying to remedy, so to get different results, we must change our strategy, stop the cycle and do those things that promote healing = relaxation. Then natural energy will be restored.

Sympathetic nervous system dominance (the stress response) is the opposite state of where healing of nervous system and body tissue happens. To heal fatigue, we need to increase parasympathetic nervous system dominance, because that’s what the body is insisting by going into fatigue. Caffeine may not be the cause of your fatigue, but if you are trying to manage your fatigue with caffeine, it will keep pushing you away from the healing process. The most extreme example of this is sleep deprivation. If you want to ruin the health and emotional state of a human being, don’t let them sleep for 4 days. They will go insane, become anxious, depressed, show every kind of mental instability and have immune issues. Lack of sleep is the same as lack of parasympathetic nervous system dominance (the relaxation response) which is where the body rejuvenates, recharges and repairs itself. All life forms and systems have periods of activity and periods of dormancy. There are no exceptions!

Of the over 1,500 compounds in coffee, less than 30 have been subjected to thorough research to determine their adverse health effects, including their potential carcinogenic classification. On the other hand, physiological effects are well documented, especially the stimulant effects of caffeine. Health claims for individual chemicals, or compound synergies are speculative and unproven, and research to reveal any negative effects have been avoided.

Benefit claims:

Coffee may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, gallstones and kidney stones. You’ve already read how coffee may cause kidney damage, but the oxalic acid in coffee is one of the ingredients in kidney and gallbladder stones. You may have noticed that Quinoxalines is said to have anti-tumor effects. That pales in comparison to the fact that coffee contains an overwhelming number of cancer causing compounds. Coffee is said to be a source of antioxidants like chlorogenic acid that may help with weight loss and Green Coffee Bean Extract, particularly high in this antioxidant, are the latest popular supplement for body fat reduction. Your coffee has zero calories, fat, carbs, etc. What it does have is solvents, which are detrimental to health and gut flora. Gut flora have a profound impact on metabolism and weight loss or weight gain. In the longer term it has been associated with an increased risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. In fact, despite some potential longer term benefits, for many people coffee consumption may be having some very negative effects on our health in the present, particularly on our digestive system and stress levels.

If coffee had to get FDA approval today, it would be classified as a DRUG. You've read how many of the chemical components in coffee are also used to make pharmaceuticals. Seriously - what's the difference? There isn't any! This chemical cocktail is wreaking havoc on the systems of the body so slowly that people are oblivious to it and they are so addicted that they refuse to face fact.

coffee cherry borer.Hi_.Rez_

Coffee is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops in the world.

Here are just some of the more common pesticide chemicals used on coffee farms to control major pests and pathogens. Even though many chemicals that have been found to be harmful to the environment have been banned or are strictly regulated in the U.S. and Europe, they remain legal to use in less-developed countries, including many countries that grow coffee.
  • Endosulfan (brand name Thiodan) is used against the coffee cherry borer beetle. Though slated to be banned globally in 2011, Endosulfan has continued to be used around the world and it may take years to completely break down in the soil. Its breakdown products are more persistent than the parent compounds, making it toxic to mammals, birds, and fish. It effects the central nervous system, and causes kidney, testes, and liver damage. It has caused hundreds of poisonings and many deaths among workers in Columbia.
  • Chlorpyrifos (brand name Dursban). A broad spectrum organophosphate used against the coffee cherry borer and coffee leaf miner. In 2000, the U.S. EPA banned most household uses. It is a contact poison that has caused human deaths, and has been linked to birth defects. It is extremely toxic to birds, freshwater and marine organisms, bees, and other wildlife. It can bioaccumulate and effect reproduction.
  • Diazinon (brand name Basudin) is used against the coffee borer. It is highly toxic to wildlife and beneficial insects, and acutely toxic to birds. In the U.S. where it is still commonly used on turf grass, diazinon has caused the second largest number of total known incidents of bird mortality of any pesticide.
  • Disulfoton is a systemic organophosphate insecticide used against the leaf miner. In the U.S., its use is restricted due to its high toxicity to mammals by all routes of exposure. It is also highly toxic to birds and fish. It is delivered in granular form, which poses the threat of runoff and contamination of other crops when applied on slopes, on which coffee is often grown. It degrades or is metabolized by plants into harmful compounds that are very persistent in the environment. It is classified as “Class 1a,” extremely hazardous (highest toxicity) by the World Health Organization.
  • Methyl parathion (a.k.a. ethyl parathion, parathion) is a organophosphate used against the leaf miner. It is one of the most toxic pesticides, highly restricted in U.S. It is highly toxic to birds, animals and fish. Persistent in soil and will bioaccumulate. The Pesticide Action Network reports that there is evidence that methyl parathion is not used safely in Central America and is regularly misused in developing countries. It is classified as “Class 1a,” extremely hazardous (highest toxicity) by the World Health Organization.
  • Triadimefon (brand name Bayleton) is a copper-based fungicide used against coffee rust. Only slightly toxic to birds, little is known about its effect on humans, but it is suspected that there is potential for reproductive problems with chronic exposure. It has been found to induce hyperactivity in rats. The major concern is that long-term use will result in copper accumulation in soils, such as been found in coffee farms in Kenya and in Costa Rica, where copper toxicity has been found in other crops grown in these soils, and copper impacts other biochemical and biological processes in soil. Little is known about the long-term effects in tropical ecosystems.
  • Cypermethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid used against the coffee cherry borer. Birds that ingest contaminated insects die. It is extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

My point is, everything that comes in contact with what you ingest, especially during the growing phase, becomes part of the food and then part of you. Everything that comes in contact with the earth, especially the worlds water cycle, ends up in you. What ends up in you, gets recycled back into the ecosystem. Everything profoundly affects everything else.

So, decaf is better - right? Actually, its worse.

Millions of Americans drink decaf coffee to get that perfectly bitter taste without all the jitters, but decaf does have caffeine. In order for coffee to qualify as decaffeinated, FDA regulations specify that it must have at least 97 percent of its caffeine removed. What does that amount to? An eight-ounce cup of decaf coffee would have no more than five or fewer milligrams (mg) of caffeine (compared to the range of 40 to 180 mg typically found in one eight-ounce cup of brewed, dripped, or percolated java. While 97 percent of the caffeine must be removed, the caffeine content of the more “robust” Robusta species is almost double that of the more delicate Arabica, so the Robusta bean will have more caffeine left over than the Arabica bean after the decaffeination process is completed, which can lead to a lot of variance among brands. Coffee in America generally contains one or a blend of two bean types – the hardy Robusta bean and the sweeter, delicate Arabica bean. Robusta beans harsh taste is often considered inferior. Instant coffee brands like Folgers and Maxwell House tend to be Robusta blends, while coffee houses like Caribou and Starbucks pride themselves on their pure Arabica beans. There is no such thing as coffee with zero caffeine in it or caffeine-free. Beverages should only be considered ‘caffeine-free’ if there was never any caffeine in the ingredients to begin with. Coffee and non-herbal teas should not be labeled caffeine-free. Decaf coffee goes stale almost twice as fast as regular coffee.

Coffee beans are decaffeinated by softening the beans with water and using a substance to extract the caffeine. Water alone cannot be used because it strips away too much of the flavor. The goal is to extract the caffeine with minimal loss of flavor. Substances used to remove the caffeine may directly or indirectly come in contact with the beans, and so the processes are referred to as direct or indirect decaffeination.

The first decaffeination method was developed in the early 1900s, which used a repetitive rinsing process aided by the chemical benzene, which is no longer used because it is a known cancer-causing agent. Benzene is still in the finished product due to the roasting process, so nothing’s really changed. Of course, the F.D.A. is okay with benzene also being in soft drinks in remarkably high amounts, and in all microwaved foods.

Other early decaffeination efforts were abruptly terminated because the toxic solvent chloroform was used in the process. Another solvent, trichloroethylene, was used in the 1970s and then found to be carcinogenic, so it is no longer used. The industry then switched to dichloromethane. It became the solvent of choice in the early 1970's, because of its 'lower toxicity,' but it soon became public knowledge that dichoromethane was carcinogenic too, and its use came to a rapid halt. Methylene chloride, is not often used any longer, because it is alleged to cause cancer in humans.

The indirect decaffeination method.
  • Indirect decaffeination process - coffee beans are soaked in water to soften them and dissolve the caffeine. The water containing the caffeine (and the flavor from the beans) is treated with a solvent, heated to remove the solvent and caffeine, and then returned to the beans. The flavors in the water are reabsorbed by the beans, which are then dried. This beans never touch the solvent themselves.
  • Another indirect method soaks the beans in water to soften them and remove the caffeine, and then runs the liquid through activated charcoal or carbon filters to decaffeinate it. The flavor containing fluid is then returned to the beans to be dried. This charcoal or carbon process is often called "Swiss water process". This coffee is labeled naturally decaffeinated or Swiss water processed.

The common solvents used on the coffee beans include methylene chloride (aka methyl chloride and chloromethane), ethyl acetate, and highly pressurized carbon dioxide.
  • Today, many brands use the Direct Process, which involves the chemical methyl chloride, aka chloromethane (a poison called by a different name is still a poison). Methyl chloride has the least affect on taste because of the way the chemical bonds with the alkaloids in caffeine. It leaves the other organic material alone, resulting in a superior tasting coffee. Methyl chloride, is listed as a carcinogen by the National Cancer Institute, but FDA regulations consider up to 10 parts per million (ppm) to be safe for consumption. Trace amounts of the chemical have been found in decaf coffee brews, but most blends are said to have a concentration at or below 1 ppm. A small amount of poison is still poison, which consumed daily has cumulative effects. It is a constituent of tobacco smoke. As a gas, methyl chloride produces central nervous system effects similar to drug intoxication. Exposure may cause drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, difficulty breathing, walking or speaking. At higher concentrations, paralysis, seizures, and coma can result. Ingestion causes nausea and vomiting. Chronic exposure to chloromethane (Methyl chloride) has been linked to birth defects in mice. In humans, exposure to chloromethane during pregnancy may cause the fetus' lower spinal column, pelvis, and legs to form incorrectly.
  • The most widely used solvent today is ethyl acetate, a substance found in many fruits. Ethyl acetate is the most common ester in wine, being the product of volatile organic acetic acid and the ethyl alcohol generated during fermentation. When your coffee label states that the beans are "naturally decaffeinated," it is referring to this process, specifically using ethyl acetate. Although it really isn’t a natural process, it can be labeled “Natural Process" because the solvent occurs in nature. Ethyl acetate may be a natural substance found in fruits, but there is a difference between the naturally occurring Ethyl acetate in fruit and the chemical copy produced by industry. The industrial version is ethyl acetate ester of ethanol and acetic acid, which is manufactured or synthesized on a large scale for use as a solvent by combining ethanol and acetic acid or by combining two equivalents of acetaldehyde in the presence of an alkoxide catalyst. Ethyl acetate is a colorless liquid with a characteristic sweet smell and is used in glues, nail polish removers, decaffeinating coffee and tea, and as an additive in cigarettes. It is a carcinogen and one of the most frequently found toxins in cancer cases. Ethyl acetate is used primarily as a solvent and diluent, being favored because of its low cost, low toxicity, and agreeable odor. For example, it is commonly used to clean circuit boards. It is also used in paints as an activator or hardener. In perfumes, it evaporates quickly, leaving only the scent of the perfume on the skin.
  • The coffee beans are soaked in compressed carbon dioxide at 250 - 300 times normal atmospheric pressure. It is a very effective solvent at extremely high pressures, so the caffeine dissolves into the solvent. The solvent containing the extracted caffeine is said to evaporate when the beans return to room temperature. This is technically another chemical method of decaffeination.

After the green beans are moistened, they are immersed into the chosen solvent. After the solvent performs its chemical reaction, the beans are rinsed with water. The final decaffeination phase is steaming the beans. Proponents of this decaffeination process tell us the rinsing and steaming processes remove all of the chemicals. If that were so, then why was it previously necessary to switch from benzene, chloroform and other toxins, which were also supposedly steamed-out? Inadequate labeling makes it difficult to choose coffee based on the method used to decaffeinate it. You must decide if trace amounts of these chemical solvents should be taken into your body via coffee and allowed to bioaccumulate.

11 Side Effects of Drinking Coffee

1. Hydrochloric Acid
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid (HCI), which should only be produced to digest meals. If your body has to make HCl more often in response to regular cups of coffee, it will have difficulty producing enough to deal with a meal.

In particular, protein digestion is profoundly adversely affected by a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, causing protein foods to pass into the small intestine before being properly broken down. Undigested protein is associated in a variety of health problems, from food allergies, bloating and gas to IBS, diverticulitis, colon cancer and dozens of other health issues. Health and disease begins in the gut, so it's important to eliminate anything that interferes with its proper functioning.

2. Heartburn Problems
Coffee relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter contributing to the development of acid reflux and heartburn. This small muscle should remain tightly closed once you've eaten to prevent the contents of your stomach from coming back into the esophagus and burning its delicate lining with hydrochloric acid. Even decaf regularly causes heartburn problems for some people and researchers think other compounds in coffee can also contribute to acid reflux problems.

3. Ulcers, IBS and Acidity
Many of the compounds in coffee, including caffeine and the various acids found in coffee beans can irritate your stomach and the lining of your small intestine. It’s known to be a problem for those suffering from ulcers, gastritis, IBS, Crohn's and Leaky gut, and I advise clients with these conditions to avoid coffee and all sources of caffeine completely. I believe coffee consumption contributes to the development of these health issues, in the first place?

Ulcers are caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, but the acidic effect coffee on the stomach weakens the stomach lining making it easy for H. pylori to take hold initially.

Drinking coffee also irritates the lining of the small intestine, potentially leading to abdominal spasms, cramps and elimination problems, often alternating between constipation and diarrhea. This condition is known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and which is being diagnosed for frequently in recent decades.

4. Coffee as a Laxative
People who consume refined, processed foods have difficulty with elimination and may be dependent on caffeine, which stimulates bile, which then stimulates peristalsis; the process in the digestive tract that moves its contents toward the exit and makes us head for the bathroom. So, they need that first cup of coffee in the morning to have a bowel movement. Some people use coffee enemas as a laxative, but there’s a problem with this. By stimulating peristalsis, coffee also promotes increased gastric emptying, whereby the stomach's contents are quickly passed into the small intestines, often before the digesting food has been properly broken down.

Partially digested food is much more difficult for the absorption of nutrients, feeds pathogenic bacteria which produces gas, and slows motility, contributing to more constipation. It also increases the chances of irritation and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. Decaffeinated coffee has also been shown to have laxative and gastric emptying properties so it seems caffeine alone is not to blame.

5. Mineral Absorption and Kidneys
People are pushing their adrenal glands, the chemistry of their central nervous system and their body. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and the cost for excess caffeine use in the body varies. The blood stream, liver and bones need to give up minerals to manage the amount of caffeine that’s in the system. Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium (macro minerals) and zinc, boron, chromium (micro minerals) to help metabolize caffeine. To help caffeine give the body the hit that it wants to produce. This causes mineral deficiencies. Caffeine will burn water soluble vitamins - B & C. Coffee drinkers may have difficulty getting enough minerals in their diet, even if they eat mineral rich foods or take supplements. This is due to the way coffee affects iron absorption in your stomach and particularly your kidneys ability to retain calcium, zinc, magnesium and other important minerals. This predisposes to osteoporosis. Minerals are vital for good health, so anything that interferes with mineral absorption, especially the absorption of magnesium which is necessary to maintain bowel regularity, needs to be eliminated.

7. Stress and Tension
Drinking any amount of coffee will promote the release of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These chemicals increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and puts you into a state of physiologic stress – the old ‘fight or flight’ response.

8. Diabetes
Chronically elevated insulin deregulates blood glucose levels and predisposes the body to insulin resistance.

9. Obesity
Caffeine will mimic the stress response, putting the body into sympathetic nervous system dominance which leads to increased cortisol and increased insulin, which signals the body to store fat and not build muscle.

10. Hypertension
Many people drink coffee to give them energy, but it goes further than just energy and turns into a kind of jittery tension that makes it difficult to relax. If you need something to push you to get your work done or stay awake, this is a symptom pointing to a life lesson that needs to be learned, a lifestyle change that needs to be made, and long-term - the health implications if this kind of ongoing stress is not stopped.

Turning on the stress hormones with a cup of coffee when you’ve eaten interferes with the digestive process. When your body is in a physiological state of chronic physiologic stress, it will divert its resources away from the digestive organs to the brain for quick thinking and to the limbs to be ready for a potential threat. Digestion shuts down as a result. This also contributes to malabsorption of nutrients, indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn.

11. Mood
Finally, the caffeine in coffee is known to interfere with GABA metabolism. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood and stress levels. GABA also has a calming effect on the gastrointestinal tract. The chemicals in coffee cause intestinal inflammation and kill beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Gut bacteria (good and bad) manipulate your genetics, influence metabolism and mood via the gut-brain axis. As you can see, your mood and your digestive system are intimately connected. The caffeine and other chemicals in coffee can negatively affect both mind and metabolism.

Many people are very protective of their coffee and probably won’t like to hear about all of the health problems associated with it. But if you've read this far, perhaps you feel there could be some truth to this and see the value of rethinking your beverage choices and eliminating coffee altogether.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or conditions mentioned in this article, or you need help getting away from coffee, I can assist you to create and carry out a plan to replace coffee with healthy alternatives, as well as a simple ways to reduce caffeine withdrawal problems when you make the switch. Decaf can be used as a way to taper down, but not as a substitute, because it does contain caffeine and the chemicals used to remove caffeine are harmful. You will go through withdraw and experience headaches for about 3 days, but it is imperative that you go through detox as this will allow their system to re-regulate. I help you to wean yourself off of caffeine slowly, unless you can go cold-turkey. Black tea has much less actual caffeine and it has other caffeine-like substances like Theobromine, so it’s a great substitute while you are trying to get off coffee. Green tea is another alternative while reducing caffeine consumption. The goal is to get you off of as much caffeine as possible, because caffeine slows down the healing process. If it can't be 100% off coffee right now, take baby steps and work to reduce coffee consumption to no more than 1- 8 oz cup per day and then less. You want your body to reclaim its natural energy.

Knowledge is not power. Acting on knowledge is power. Information + awareness + decision + action = outcome.

What you need to know about high blood pressure

What is 'high blood pressure'?

Your heart is a pump, blood vessels are like pipes and blood is like water going through those pipes. Blood pressure is the degree of force as water travels through the pipes. That is a simple analogy, but the circulatory system is much more complicated than that. Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood on inner walls of the arteries, relative to the elasticity and diameter of the vessels and the force of the heartbeat. As blood is pushed by every beat of the heart, the blood in turn pushes against the sides of blood vessels. Blood vessels are flexible and can widen or constrict as needed to adjust the flow of blood, and thereby keep the blood pressure normal and blood flowing well. High blood pressure is when your blood pushes too hard against the walls of blood vessels.


Who decides the criteria used to determine at what level a person’s blood pressure should be considered "high"?

The top number of your pressure is Systolic – when the heart contracts, pushing blood through circulation. The bottom number is Diastolic, when the heart is between contractions. The heart can tolerate a higher top number better than a high bottom number, and a high diastolic blood pressure can cause more damage than a high systolic pressure. If either the systolic is high, or the diastolic is high, or both, these findings result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure.

Prior to 1970, normal BP was 170/98. For the last several decades it has been 140/80. New normals now exist at even lower levels of 120/80, which puts an increasing number of people within the medication range, who otherwise wouldn’t be medicated. It is now recommended that children should have their blood pressure checked regularly starting at 3 years of age. It is primarily the Pharmaceutical industry who benefit from these ‘new normals’.
• Is blood pressure "high" when it reaches a level that corresponds to significantly elevated risk for heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure? Sadly, the majority of people who die of heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure have either "normal" or "mildly high" blood pressure.
• Is blood pressure considered "high" only when it reaches a level that can be effectively manipulated by drug therapy? This causes physicians to believe that the current definition of "high" blood pressure is the same level of blood pressure at which drug treatments are worthwhile.

Doctors say blood pressure increases as you get older and is an "inevitable consequence of aging”. This would suggest that the systolic blood pressure of a 70-year-old individual equals 100 plus their age, or 170, so older adults should be medicated to bring their systolic blood pressure down below 150. My 95 year old great-grandmother had the same blood pressure as me, so when I heard this I knew it couldn’t be correct.

What causes high blood pressure?

It is said, ‘high blood pressure’, can cause arteries to become stiff over time and that hypertension does progressive damage to blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs in your body, resulting in heart disease and stroke. The appropriate question to ask is “What caused the high blood pressure?” The predominant theory circulating these days is that consuming a diet consisting of excessive fats, cholesterol, and animal proteins, causes people to develop atherosclerosis; a condition of fatty deposits in the cardiovascular system. This is thought to be one of the main causes of high blood pressure, and why high blood pressure tends to become more prevalent as people age. This is only partly true. Read my article “What you need to know about cholesterol”.


The currently prevailing theory that salt will increase your blood pressure is based on osmotic pressure. Osmosis is a process by which molecules of a solvent (in this case water) tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane (like cell walls) from a less concentrated solution (in this case salt) into a more concentrated one, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side of the membrane.
  • It is thought if the bloodstream has more sodium in it than the surrounding areas of our body, this causes the water in those areas to be pulled into the bloodstream. Just because we can make this process of salt pulling water through membranes happen in the lab, doesn’t mean this actually happens inside the body, nor does this actually cause high blood pressure.
  • It is thought that the increase in water within the arteries and veins causes an increase in the pressure within those arteries and veins, because moving greater volumes of blood makes the heart pump harder.
  • The salt itself also acts like an irritant within the arteries causing them to constrict. This too is thought to increase your blood pressure.

The body intelligently knows how to regulate the concentrations of everything so there is balance; not too high or too low. The concentration of sodium in the blood is maintained by water. The kidneys maintain this concentration by excreting excess salt into urine along with water to flush it out or holding on to water to maintain concentrations. As we consume salt and the kidneys do their job, blood pressure increases slightly. This has led people to believe that reducing salt will lower blood pressure. However, reducing salt intake has a minimal effect on lowering blood pressure and is not enough to resolve chronically high blood pressure.

All major health organizations promote low sodium diets as a means of controlling high blood pressure, despite the fact there are published studies that consistently show low sodium diets are not healthy, particularly with regard to cardiovascular health and many studies exist that show no connection between salt and hypertension. In fact, studies showed that a low salt diet increased the risk of developing heart disease and reduced salt intake increased the risk of death in patients who already have heart disease.

The age old rule of “moderation” serves us well, because in most cases, “the dose makes the poison”. However, another rule applies, “It’s not how much you eat, but what you eat that is most important.” The smallest amount of a known poison is still poison.

Sea salt is composed of 40% sodium and chloride and the rest is trace minerals. Sea salt is not white because it is not bleached and should not be ground. The mineral content of sea salt is identical to that of blood. We can’t live without sodium and chloride because they play vital roles in nerve conduction, muscle contraction (including the heart), digestion and blood pressure. However, white table salt is refined (the trace minerals are removed) making it pure sodium chloride, which when separated from salt’s cofactors and synergy, it is a poison. Table salt is bleached to make it appear ‘clean,’ mixed with anti-caking chemicals like aluminum which make it easier to sift and pour, but it is not real salt which is larger, cubic, gray, wet granules. Even ‘low sodium’ processed foods are high in sodium chloride. The underlying mechanism of high blood pressure involves sodium chloride poisoning, not excess salt intake.

Before the invention of refrigeration, foods were preserved and cured in salt. Salt’s ability to preserve food was a foundation of civilization. Cultures throughout the world have known about the healing properties of salt water for thousands of years, which is possibly be a reason why many people are drawn to the ocean. Consider that an intravenous solution of salt water is the first thing given to ER patients. Not getting enough can have adverse health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the very conditions we’re told are related to too much salt. In Roman times, soldiers were paid in salt. Historically, humans have gone to great lengths to secure salt. Empires have risen and fallen due to salt trade routes and salt production. Contrary to popular belief, salt consumption has dramatically decreased in our diet since WWII.

Read "The Two Types of Salt" on the
For Its Benefits page.


Making refined sugar from sugar cane was a long and laborious process, and the sugar industry used slave labor. Initially, only wealthy Europeans could afford it and they were the first people to develop diabetes. Historically, sugar was viewed as a treat, a delicacy, such as ice cream or other dessert, enjoyed only on rare and special occasions. In the 19th century, industry took over for slave labor and made sugar manufacturing more efficient and less expensive, so it was more plentiful and affordable.

Throughout the 20th century, sugar consumption increased as the food industry put it in everything; processed non-junk food such as pasta sauce, salad dressing, crackers, fruit juices, yogurt, processed meats, energy drinks and many other foods and beverages which are marketed as being ‘healthy’. Sugar is stealthily hidden in 74% of processed foods, under more than 60 different names. We are so accustomed to it in our diet that we don’t realize it is a very recent change in our dietary evolution and a radical change from hundreds of previous generations who ate whole grains, fruits in season and very rarely wild honey.

The evolution of the American diet in the last 150 years and the rise of refined carbohydrates in the diet corresponds with the rise of chronic diseases in all industrialized countries. As I said in my article about
cholesterol, the average American consumes 23.5 teaspoons of sugar per day (almost one every hour), which adds up to approximately 150 pounds of refined sugar per year. Refined carbs have no nutrients because the nutrients are stripped out during the refining process. It would be very easy to consume a tremendous amount of sugar in just one bowl of cereal, yogurt and fruit juice for breakfast.

Sugar in its natural form is not inherently damaging if it is consumed in moderation and metabolic processes are able to burn it as fuel, instead of storing it. Table sugar is ‘sucrose’. It consists of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Fructose is a natural sugar found in honey and fruit, but today ‘high fructose corn syrup’ is in most processed foods.

Sugar raises blood pressure more than salt. Refined carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the body and too much sugar in the blood is dangerous. Sugar causes inflammation, which is implicated in atherosclerosis. Eating too much sugar can predispose to obesity, and weight gain can contribute to high blood pressure, but sugar can affect blood pressure independent of its effect on weight. Sugar impacts blood pressure by affecting an area of the brain called the hypothalamus which causes the heart to beat faster and blood pressure to rise. Salt is blamed for this, but it is sugar that causes chronically elevated blood pressure, not salt. And it causes the body to produce more insulin, a hormone, which may also increase heart rate.

Sugar breaks down into uric acid, which inhibits nitric oxide in blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels remain elastic. It is said that hypertension causes hardened arteries…. Nope, it is the other way around. Hardened arteries cause hypertension and sugar is to blame.

Sugar causes pressure variability, rapid heart rate, elevated Insulin and eventually Insulin Resistance, and weight gain. Metabolic Syndrome is behind many cases of hypertension. Insulin stores Magnesium, but if you’ve become Insulin Resistant you cannot hold Magnesium, a mineral well-known to relax arteries and muscles. You can take supplemental magnesium but the real answer is to get your Insulin under control with a whole food diet that includes freshly prepared whole grains, consuming low glycemic whole fruits, restoring the gut micro biome and digestive function. High fructose corn syrup is directly linked to hypertension for this reason as well as for causing Insulin Resistance.

Excess sugar consumption is associated with reduced learning capacity in children, depression, antisocial behavior and emotional instability, most likely because sugar is feeding Candida yeast, which when it digests sugar, produces toxic neurochemicals that cause neurological symptoms. The effects of eating a high sugar diet include the following symptoms: mood swings, the typical ‘sugar high’ accompanied by feelings of alertness and even euphoria, feeling aloof, distracted, unable to concentrate, spontaneous and even manic-like bursts of laughter, then ‘crash,’ with severe feelings of lethargy. This sounds like ADD/ADHD, and other learning disabilities.

Sugar feeds cancer and Candida yeast. Sugar kills beneficial bacteria and feeds pathogenic microorganisms, predisposing to or exacerbating Leaky Gut. Systemic Candidiasis and Leaky Gut are the beginning of disease and the root cause of nearly every chronic symptom and disease condition that plagues us in this century.

Sugar depresses the immune system, contributes to the development of gout, blocked arteries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, diminished brainpower, heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure and shorter lifespan.

Hypertension is a condition of industrialized societies. There is a direct correlation between the introduction of refined salt and sugar filled processed foods and beverages to the American diet and the steep decline in health. Countless researchers, including Dr. Winston A. Price, have not found hypertension in non-industrialized societies who liberally consume salt in the form of sea salt, sea vegetables and foods preserved with sea salt, but do not consume much sugar. Forget about the research promoted by the media and study it in yourself. If you have hypertension, reduce your salt intake for two weeks and don’t change anything else. See if your blood pressure decreases significantly. Then eliminate all refined sugar and carbs for two weeks and see what happens. If you continue to consume these things, you can expect your overall health to deteriorate, develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, become pre-type 2 diabetic, and develop heart disease.


When refined sugar and processed carbs are consumed, like pastas and baked goods, the body produces a lot of glucose. Insulin is released to deal with the sugar, proportionately. While insulin is doing its job, the body holds onto fat and the fat-burning process shuts down. The body processes fructose by activating the enzyme fructokinase, which metabolizes excess sugar in the same way it processes alcohol, producing a particularly pernicious effect by rapidly turning into fat in the liver, increasing the risk of insulin resistance. Once the fat is released into your bloodstream as triglycerides, it increases the risk of obesity. Sugar consumption is the root cause of obesity as the body stores excess sugar as fat. You can eat the healthiest whole food diet, but if you supplement it with refined sugar, expect to gain weight no matter how much exercise you do. Refined sugar consumption is the reason we have hypertension, obesity, heart disease and type II diabetes epidemic (chronically elevated blood sugar), the so called diseases of civilization.

The most important change you can make is to stop consuming caffeine, as in coffee (even decaf), tea, energy drinks, Vivarin or carbonated beverages. Try Chaga! Blood pressure is mainly controlled by the adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys. Whatever affects the kidneys is going to affect the adrenals too. Caffeine raises cortisol, insulin, blood pressure and heart rate. If you add sugar, the effect is intensified. Using artificial sweetener adds insult to injury.

Cholesterol is blamed for causing plaque on artery walls, but Trans Fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils) are the true cause of hardening arteries.

Cadminium is used to make the pink color in dentures! Cadminium is in drinking water (a solvent) from galvanized metal pipes, and it is 5x more toxic than lead, and is strongly linked to high blood pressure. The connection between cadminium and high blood pressure has been known for a long time, but doctors aren't going to tell you about it. High BP can be remedied easily by eliminating cadmium and other pollutants, followed by a kidney cleanse. Change every inch of galvanized plumbing to PVC plastic. Copper pipes lead to leukemia, schizophrenia and fertility problems.

T-2 Toxin is a mold found in dried peas, lentils and beans, and is implicated in high blood pressure and all cases of serious kidney disease show a build up of T-2 toxin. Rinse legumes and throw away shriveled ones. Soaking legumes in water with powdered vitamin C added, and also to the cooking water will detoxify molds. Be extra careful to avoid moldy foods - potatoes, jelly, breads, crackers, cereals, cookies, pasta, nuts, coffee, tea and moldy fruit. You can't always see or smell mold.


Although many studies connect chronically elevated blood pressure with strokes, heart damage and heart failure, actual pressure may not be the issue at all. What comes before high blood pressure and thick, stiff artery walls (arteriosclerosis), is malnutrition and deficiencies. Vitamin K2 deficiency causes the heart to pump harder. Magnesium, potassium, vitamins D and A are essential for heart health also. Vitamins D and K2’s job is to place calcium where it should go (bones, teeth, nerves), not where it shouldn’t go (joints, arteries, breast calcification) and maintain arterial elasticity. If calcium lines your arteries they get smaller in diameter and less elastic. Supplemental K2 and D should be taken together.

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) plan includes eating a plant based (vegan), low fat diet with less salt, but they do not mention reducing sugar. The DASH plan causes nutritional deficiencies that lead to malnutrition, which is the cause of hypertension to begin with. Telling patients to lower their salt intake or take diuretics that force the kidneys to excrete fluid is not the answer. Salt is not simply salt, any more than all fats are the same. Eating the right kind of fat, prepared properly at lower temperatures to protect nutrients and real salt that contains minerals with its synergy and cofactors, providing a wonderful supply of trace minerals which the body needs for so many biochemical processes is the key to a healthy circulatory system. Do not grill foods or cook using high temperatures.

If diet and lifestyle changes don’t make medication obsolete, something is being missed. Dig deeper in search of an overlooked cause, because hypertension (being ‘hyper’ and ‘tense’) is not normal. Stress can raise blood pressure, and chronic stress raises blood pressure on a more consistent basis. Years of living a hectic, survival mode, never enough time lifestyle eventually catches up with most people because they don’t take time to properly nourish themselves, rest and get quality sleep. The body doesn’t just malfunction for no reason. Hypertension is a symptom, not the problem. Symptoms are the language of the body communicating that there is a problem and symptoms point to the problem. The body is saying, "What you're doing isn't working for me. STOP IT!" Treating symptoms tells the body to “shut-up” while the true cause continues to create other malfunctions in the body.


Hyper & Tension - Those two words don't sound relaxing do they? No. They sound like stress. Stress causes the body to self produce some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and stress causes damage to arterial walls. Blood pressure does change throughout the day, depending on the level of activity being performed. Your blood pressure may be higher because you are chronically stressed, moving as if being chased by a lion, tense, fearful, anxious or angry.

Racing to arrive for your appointment on time, fuming over wait time and chatting with the nurse guarantee an elevated reading. Chronic stress makes it all worse as we automatically increase cholesterol, cortisol, glucose and blood pressure in response to a hectic lifestyle.

Doctors refer to high blood pressure, or hypertension, as a silent killer because they say is an “asymptomatic disease” that rarely produces warning signs, however, the list of symptoms for high blood pressure include headache, chest heaviness, sweating, breathlessness, fatigue, or simply a feeling of being unwell. Those symptoms can be caused by any number of other things, including Systemic Candidiasis and Leaky Gut, so this frightens people, causing them to visit the doctor out of fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown in itself can raise blood pressure during a check-up, leading to treatment with medication.

BP is taken incorrectly

Your blood pressure may be higher because it is taken incorrectly. The correct way to take your blood pressure is to sit without talking for 3 to 5 minutes, apply the correctly sized cuff to your arm, hold your arm across heart level and keep your body relaxed and don’t talk. Having learned to take blood pressure as part of my job working with clients, I know how easy it is to get a false high reading. My husband says his blood pressure is always higher at the doctors office, especially if he goes to his appointment after a full day at work and a 45 minute commute on one of the most congested highways near Washington D.C.


A doctor will tell you that high blood pressure can be a lifelong issue and that blood pressure medication is the treatment of choice, but in their mind, medication is the only viable treatment option for high blood pressure and patients with high blood pressure must take their medications for the rest of their lives. It is also common for a doctor to prescribe more than one drug to control high blood pressure, making blood pressure drugs the number one prescribed medication in the United States. Doctors say that eating healthy and exercise can help, but may not be enough to control high blood pressure or high cholesterol. In effect, they are minimizing in the mind of the patient the importance and tremendous benefits or value of nutrition, when that is exactly what the patient needs more than anything. Doctors also believe that high blood pressure medications are "safe and effective.

Medications used to treat high blood pressure include:
Diuretics to reduce the amount of fluid in your blood by helping your body rid itself of extra sodium.
ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, and calcium channel blockers to help keep your blood vessels from tightening.
Beta-blockers slow heart rate and decreasing blood pressure by preventing your body from making the hormone adrenaline; adrenaline is a stress hormone that makes your heart beat harder and faster and it also makes your blood vessels tighten. All of this causes increased blood pressure.

The American Heart Association reports “Fewer Americans are dying from heart disease and stroke, but deaths caused by high blood pressure are on the rise,” according to new statistics.

High blood pressure is not ‘a cause of death’. Heart disease is said to be the No. 1 cause of death and it is associated with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can eventually ‘predispose to’ stroke, which is reported as a ‘leading cause of death’. Stated more correctly by the American Medical Group, “Every day, nearly 1,000 people in the U.S. die on average from a condition for which high blood pressure was a contributing factor. This includes stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure and end-stage kidney disease.”

High blood pressure is neither a disease nor an illness in and of itself. It’s merely a symptom that points to an imbalance in the body and shows us what needs to be done to reduce risk factors for developing other health problems. Hypertension is a symptom that develops and intensifies over years and predisposes to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and several other things.

The AHA says, “Hypertension is often under-treated because patients do not always take their blood pressure medications as prescribed, and even if they do, doctor’s orders sometimes are not enough. It usually takes more than one medication to get blood pressure under control. The AHA report noted “a mere 10 percent increase in hypertension treatment would prevent about 14,000 deaths every year.”

The prestigious British Medical Research Council conducted one of the largest clinical trials ever performed and concluded that hypertensive patients in these studies died at about the same rate whether they took medication or not. Researchers have found that while drug treatments for mild hypertension may be effective at lowering blood pressure, they were not effective in reducing overall mortality.

The British Medical Research Council concluded by saying, "The 'side effects' caused by taking high blood pressure drugs are so significant that they cancel out any positive effects of reducing mild to high blood pressure in this artificial manner. In fact, medications are so toxic that their side effects range from mildly unpleasant (fatigue, gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, impotence, depression) to lethal (congestive heart failure)."

Yet, doctors are telling their patients that high blood pressure medications are "safe and effective.

So, follow my thought all the way through. A doctor prescribes high blood pressure medications, giving the patient a false sense of security (placebo effect). The patient follows the doctors nutritional advice and reduces nutrients in the diet that are needed for the optimal circulatory system function and body as a whole. They continue to consume refined sodium chloride, just less of it, but they don't get the minerals that are disparately needed from real salt, causing further malnutrition. They continue to consume processed foods and beverages loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which is wreaking havoc on every system in the body. The person doesn't die from high blood pressure, but from malnutrition and poisoning.

boo-boo office body

There are powerful diet and lifestyle changes that safely and effectively reduce high blood pressure by taking advantage of the body’s built-in-healing mechanisms, but don’t expect your doctor to tell you about them. Doctors receive 30 minutes of nutrition education in all their years of medical school, so they don’t know what they don’t know about nutrition, digestion and how the body works. Some of them know just enough to be dangerous.

The good news is that this and many other conditions are reversible with dietary and lifestyle modifications, because it was diet and lifestyle that caused the problems in the first place. Such modifications directly address the causes of high blood pressure; atherosclerosis and inflammation, as well as a long list of other symptoms and diseases.

Contrary to what many people have been led to believe, high blood pressure is not a condition that requires patients to take drugs for the rest of their lives. Since high blood pressure has several underlying causes and can be prevented, it can be cured. The more we are aware and understand what happens inside the body and mind when we eat certain foods, the more quickly we can begin to make healthier choices, recover health and live the life we were meant to have.

There needs to be balance between protein, fat and carbohydrates. The ratio of each depends on your biochemistry and what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily apply to you or someone else. Each of us is biochemically unique.

If you suffer from high blood pressure or any other symptoms, start taking effective actions today. There are many things you can do to assist your body in regaining a healthy blood pressure. In particular, the first and most important thing to do is replace a diet consisting of refined, processed foods and fast food with whole, natural foods.

  1. Avoid eating nutritionally bankrupt, processed foods loaded with hydrogenated oils, refined white table salt (pure sodium chloride), high fructose corn syrup and other forms of refined sugar which cause inflammation and plaque to develop in arteries. Avoid consuming things with labels, but it you must, then read labels and know what is in the fruit juice concentrate, yogurt, cheese, butter, milk, ice cream, maple syrup, canned fish or other packaged product.
  2. Avoid fluoride and chlorine in drinking water, bathing, swimming pools, etc.
  3. Avoid refined carbohydrates, including products made from grains, and make those foods at home yourself. Buy whole grains, grind them and make your own cookies, cakes and breads. Freeze what you make and thaw as needed. This ensures you are getting the nutrition you are paying for and not getting anything that doesn’t serve your highest goal - optimal health and vitality.
  4. Eat a healthy diet of nutrient dense, whole foods, healthy oils, nuts and seeds, legumes, real salt and natural sugars found in whole fruits will be your medicine. Fruits are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, but they also naturally contain fructose, so overconsumption may worsen insulin sensitivity and raise uric acid levels. Eat lean organic meats, poultry, eggs and plenty of wild caught cold water fish on a regular basis to get your DHA and EPA.
  5. Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke.
  6. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times per week to keep muscles strong so they hold bones in their proper positions and the internal pumps of the body keep the bowels and other systems moving.
  7. Don’t ‘manage’ stress but move through it in a way that serves your highest goals and then let it go. Hormones (neurological and endocrine), increase your heart rate and reduce the compliance and elasticity of blood vessels. This makes blood pressure higher. The body self produces some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet in response to stress, which ages the body faster.
  8. High blood pressure tends to occur in people who are overweight, so it would make sense that losing and/or maintaining a healthy weight would be part of the solution, but that should happen naturally as you make the changes I have listed above. If that’s not happening for you, I am here to help. As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I have tools, skills and knowledge to share with you that will rock your metabolic and emotional worlds.

When faithfully practiced as a lifestyle, this combined strategy is very effective. This strategy is also helpful to reverse atherosclerosis.

Knowledge is not power, but knowing about the harmful effects of sodium chloride, sugar and processed foods is useless unless you act on what you have learned and make changes. I am here to coach you on your journey through illness to wellness. It is my passion and purpose to help you restore your health, so you can start living the life you were meant to live going forward. I want my clients to get to a place where they don't need me anymore, so I can help more people and not just the same people.

johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com or call 301-293-1500 to schedule your free introductory consultation. There is no obligation and I will not use your email for marketing purposes, because I don't do business that way. I depend on referrals from happy clients. I look forward to meeting you and having the opportunity to serve you.

Johnna Wheeler
Owner - Certified Eating Psychology Coach
I am uniquely trained and successful in working with the most common eating and health challenges of our times.
Whole Family Health and Nutrition, LLC
47 E. All Saints Street, Frederick, MD. 21701

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is not direct medical advice for your specific situation, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical attention, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this article.

Sources and Dangers of Benzene and Benzopyrene

grilling food

Grilling season is almost here! There is something important I think you should know before you start roasting marshmallows and hot dogs over a campfire or fire up that grill.

Grilled food develops benzopyrenes that are very toxic. Benzopyrene is naturally emitted by forest fires and volcanic eruptions, and can also be found in coal tar, wood smoke, and is the major carcinogen present in cigarette smoke and evidence exists that links benzopyrene to the formation of lung cancer. Benzopyrene is in burnt foods such as coffee. Fumes that develop from fat dripping on blistering charcoal are rich in benzopyrene, which can condense on grilled foods. Benzopyrene is also made when food is toasted and smoked or cooked using direct flame heat. Hot dogs and lunch meats with "smoked flavor" have benzopyrene. It doesn't matter what kind of fuel is used, the benzopyrene develop due to lack of shielding between the food and the high heat source. A metal wall shields food from the heat. Aluminum foil is not a healthy option, because aluminum is a heavy metal that goes to the brain. Never bake or brown above 425 degrees. Temperatures are much higher in a microwave oven and can produce benzopyrenes.

Benzopyrene is harmful because it forms carcinogenic and mutagenic metabolites which insert into DNA and interfere with genetic information, represented by a sequence of DNA nucleotides, being copied into newly synthesized molecules of RNA, with the DNA serving as a template. The mechanism of action of benzopyrene-related DNA modification has been investigated extensively and relates to the activity of cytochrome P450.

Numerous medications, nutrients, and herbal therapies are metabolized through the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzyme system. In the intestine, not the liver, the CYP1A1 detoxification mechanism depends on TOLL-like receptor 2 (TLR2) that plays a role in the immune system. TLR2 is expressed by intestinal epithelial cells and subsets of lamina propria mononuclear cells (located under the basement membrane of the intestinal villi, between the columnar epithelial cells and lymphoid nodules embedded in the gut wall and Peyer’s patches) in the gastrointestinal tract and recognizes pathogens (bacteria, fungus, viruses), human waste products and foreign substances, passing appropriate signals to the innate immune system. The permeable intestinal lining selectively lets into the body the nutrients and chemicals it needs, while keeping out what is toxic.

Leaky gut occurs when the spaces between the intestinal epithelial cells separate, allowing the waste products of digestion, pathogens large and small, heavy metals and other toxic substances to pass through the spaces in the gut wall, directly into the blood stream. This very common problem occurs in a wide variety of clinical situations and is the reason for an incredibly high incidence of chronic symptoms and diseases today, because it is the beginning of disease. With the high incidence of leaky gut syndrome in chronic diseases, it seems logical to test for intestinal permeability in patients first, before making a diagnosis, prescribing medications or a diet.

In healthy intestines, the first phase of detoxification, which involves the cytochrome P450 oxidative enzyme system, converts some of the toxic load into substances that have free radical activity as well as carcinogenic properties. TLR2 regulates the expression of CYP1A1, which is a key enzyme in the detoxification of carcinogenic hydrocarbons, such as benzopyrene. The hydroxylation of benzopyrene by CYP1A1 catalyzes it into epoxide and further oxidizes it to form dihydrodiol, which is then catalyzed to form the ultimate carcinogen. CYP1A1 metabolism of various foreign agents to carcinogens has been implicated in the formation of various types of human cancer.

Phase 1 of the CYP1A1 system can be inhibited or induced by drugs. Drugs that induce CPY450 can increase the rate of another drug’s metabolism 2-3 fold. Drugs are chemicals, not any different in their metabolism than other chemicals. A medication that inhibits CYP450 metabolism can increase and possibly result in a harmful or adverse effect. Once altered, CYP1A1 can be clinically significant in the development of drug-drug interactions that may cause unanticipated adverse reactions or therapeutic failures. The deterioration of the intestinal epithelium into a condition known as Leaky Gut would also affect the function of this system. The chemical cocktail that leaks into the blood stream becomes a nightmare for the liver.

The solvent that does the most harm is benzene, which is classed as a hydrocarbon and the byproduct of the incomplete combustion of a variety of materials. The major sources of benzene exposure are tobacco smoke, automobile service stations, exhaust from motor vehicles, and industrial emissions, but also from ingestion and dermal absorption. Benzene is found in extremely allergic people. Benzene in an intermediate used to make other chemicals. The horrors of manufactured products is that they are especially toxic because of the solvents used to extract flavors and colors. Also, traces of solvents used to sterilize equipment are picked up and become part of the final product during the manufacturing process. Benzene is widespread in extremely small amounts. However, when benzopyrenes are added to a system with benzene, the total is entirely too much for the liver and benzene begins to accumulate in the thymus.

As long as the second phase of detoxification can quickly metabolize this load of free radicals and carcinogens by their chemical conjugation with glycine, glutathione, glucuronide, or sulfate by a healthy liver, there is no problem. These inert conjugated products are simply secreted into the bile, which then pass into the stool, and are excreted from the body. However, when the reserve capacity of this phase two system is exhausted, the liver cannot keep up with the task of metabolizing the high amount of free radicals and carcinogens. They overflow and cause damage locally, but also leak into general circulation, where they travel systemically through out the body and create profound biochemical damage in distant organs.

Parasites are all around us and we pick them up daily. Humans hold no superior status in the animal world and parasites view us as weak prey to feed on. All the organisms that predispose to disease are already in us. They have accumulated over a lifetime. Just like with other animals, parasites are kept in check by an ever vigilant immune system. However, when the intestinal wall and system fails, these invaders travel to their favorite organs, set up house and cause disease. Parasites are doing abnormal things in the presence of solvents, like benzene.

The thymus is extremely sensitive to benzene and with so much it in our products and foods, benzene will accumulate there. Benzene invites the intestinal fluke to use the thymus as its secondary host, ruins the immune system and sets the stage for AIDS. Benzene is found in 100% of HIV cases with reproduction of intestinal fluke stages in the thymus. Without benzene and the intestinal fluke in your body, you can't get HIV / AIDS.

Benzene exposure increases the risk of cancer and other illnesses, and is also a notorious cause of bone marrow failure. Many epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory tests link benzene to aplastic anemia, acute leukemia, and bone marrow abnormalities. Benzene goes to the bone marrow where T-cells are made, and to the thymus where T-cells are programmed, which are two huge blows to the immune system. As the thymus deteriorates from its benzene burden so does immunity. Benzene also targets liver, kidney, lung, heart and the brain and can cause DNA strand breaks, chromosomal damage, etc.

The US Department of Health and Human Services classifies benzene as a human carcinogen, “It is generally considered that the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero.” There is no safe exposure level and even tiny amounts can cause harm. Long-term exposure to levels that exceed 1 ppm of benzene in the air causes leukemia, a potentially fatal cancer of the blood-forming organs. IARC rated benzene as "known to be carcinogenic to humans". The specific malignancies that benzene is associated with include: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (ANLL), aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

With so many polluted items, the detoxification capacity of the liver is easily maxed-out. Niacin or Niacin-amide and Vitamin B2 help the liver detoxify benzene and benzopyrene.

People trying to recover their health cannot afford any future solvent intake. Avoiding benzene and benzopyrene, as well as all other toxins and solvents, and cleansing the body of parasites helps the thymus recover and immunity returns.

Products that contain benzene include:

  • Flavored foods, yogurt, JELL-O, candies, throat lozenges, store bought cookies, cakes
  • Cooking oil and shortening (not olive oil, butter and lard)
  • Commercial beverages, bottled water, fruit juice
  • Toothpaste, including health brands
  • Cold cereal, including health brands
  • Ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • Hand cream, skin cream, moisturizers
  • Chewing gum
  • Vaseline products, chapstick, hand cleaners
  • Vitamins and health supplements
  • Personal lubricant, including condoms
  • Rubber cement, a component of gasoline due to its high octane number, pesticides, drugs, detergents, dyes
  • Tea Tree oil (except Thursday Plantation brand)

Other immune-lowering toxins include:
  • Alfa toxins and Mycotoxins from molds in food
  • Acetone in carbonated beverages and paint
  • Carbon tetrachloride in store bought drinking water
  • Decane in health foods and beverages
  • Hexanes and Pentane in decafs
  • Hexanedione and Isophorone in flavored foods
  • Isopropyl or propyl alcohol in bottled water, commercial fruit juices and beverages, shampoo
  • Methyl butyl ketone and Methyl ethyl ketone in flavored foods
  • Methylene chloride in fruit juice
  • Toluene and Xylene in carbonated beverages
  • Trichloroethane (TCE) and TC Ethylene in flavored foods
  • Wood alcohol (methanol) in carbonated drinks, diet beverages, herb tea blends, store-bought water and infant formula

Looking beyond the obvious takes time, energy, insight and fortitude, yet that is what I am passionate about and called to do. When the subject of health and disease comes up, most people run the other way or just ignore the conversation all together. I am a tireless researcher. The answers to many health and disease questions are clear and simple, but the modern medical model looks for the complex and mysterious, which rarely ever reveals the true causes of disease.

If you have questions, I am here for you. Call 301-293-1500 or email
johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com to schedule your free introductory consultation.

I look forward to serving you.
Johnna Wheeler
Certified Eating Psychology Coach

Why I don't like Plexus products

My Facebook feed has been flooded these past few years with comments about how “wonderful” Plexus is! I have been asked to give my opinion of their products several times by various people. This prompted me to look into it and what I found upset me for numerous reasons. I strongly dislike Plexus products for the same reasons I don’t recommend the products offered by many other companies. The following information is based on my careful research of the ingredients, conversations I have had with previous users of Plexus products and my previous personal experience with individual ingredients.

Plexus Worldwide claims that their supplements are solely made from natural ingredients and allude to the idea that testing is not required, however the ingredients have been tested. People assume that, since the ingredients are "natural," they don't have any harmful chemical additives, and because Plexus and many customer reviews maintain that they have yet to experience any ill effects from the use of these products, then any dangers must be minimal. I have zero confidence in any claims about the safety of any product that has used after just for a few weeks, months or even years?

Plexus Slim

Garcinia cambogia, also known as Citrin K. People in Asian countries, such as Pakistan and India were the first to use this fruit for culinary purposes as a condiment and flavoring agent.
  • The extraction of hydroxycitric acid (a harsh corrosive) from the dried rind is used to make a drug that suppresses appetite and general food cravings, resulting in weight loss. Supposedly, the best quality product contains 95% HCA (hydroxycitric acid), but this concentration is rare to come across in supplements. The majority of products contain 50-80% and some less, which are low-grade and not sufficient to get real weight loss results. Plexus Slim doesn’t indicate anything about this on its label. Taking calcium with G. cambogia can work against your body being able to fully absorb the HCA.
  • Caution is advised for patients being treated for pain, or any psychiatric condition due to a potential serotonergic effect (pertaining to or affecting serotonin).
  • G. cambogia may lower blood sugar levels.
  • It contains iron, which may adversely react with medications for anemia. Patients taking medications for heart disease, high blood pressure or arrhythmia should use caution while supplementing with any product containing this herb. Fatal liver failure has been documented in patients taking Singulair and a supplement containing G. cambogia.
  • Rhabdomyolysisis (a condition of damaged skeletal muscle rapid break down) is documented in patients taking a Statin drug while taking a combination herbal medicine containing G. cambogia.
  • Clinical studies on HCA documented adverse reactions including dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, GI complaints, and headache.
  • Toxicology studies indicate that severe or even fatal hepatotoxicity may occur in patients taking supplements containing G. cambogia. So this supplement may be closely associated with liver problems, which could probably be one of Plexus Slim’s dangers.

It is one thing to eat a natural whole food, with its cofactors and synergy intact, as a condiment, and another thing entirely to isolate one chemical component from that food and consume it in a concentrated amount, not to mention adding it to other concentrated chemical extracts forming combinations that don’t occur together the same way in nature. I must also mention that the chemicals used to extract these compounds end up as residues in the final product.

Alpha lipoic
  • May lower blood sugar, and taking it when there is a shortage of Thiamine may cause serious health problems.
  • Taking Alpha-lipoic acid might interfere with treatments for under-active or over-active thyroid.

Chromium (200 mcg) is used for body conditioning, to increase muscle and decrease body fat, improve athletic performance, increase energy, and to prevent age-related mental decline.
  • The major concern with chromium is that it is very reactive, especially with people who have low levels of blood sugars.
  • A lower blood sugar level often translates to an increased rate of metabolism, which also means a less energetic person. While the people who take this product may attribute reduced energy to consuming smaller portions of food, it is actually caused by the accumulation of chromium.
  • May lower blood sugar levels too much if taken along with diabetic medications.
  • Kidney and liver damage have been linked to chromium supplements.
  • Some individuals may develop chronic conditions such as diabetes and low blood pressure after taking Chromium for a while.
  • May affect brain chemistry and make behavioral or psychiatric conditions worse.
  • Some people experience side effects such as skin irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, mood changes and impaired thinking, judgment, and coordination.
  • High doses have been linked to more serious side effects including blood disorders, liver or kidney damage, and other problems.

So, follow my train of thought here. Plexus Slim contains Alpha lipoid acid, G. cambogia, and Chromium, all of which can lower blood sugar levels, plus Chromium is very reactive in people who have low blood sugar. Does that sound like a good combination?

Green coffee bean extract (containing an unknown, unlisted amount of chlorogenic acid and less than 2 percent natural caffeine). This derivative of chlorogenic acid from green coffee extract is Plexus Slim’s primary active ingredient.
  • The chemicals used in the process of removing the nutrient from its natural form and manufacturing processes have been known to add contaminants, which in turn can cause liver problems.
  • Randomized clinical trials examined the efficacy of green coffee extract supplements for weight loss, but green coffee extract was used for short periods of time (less than 16 weeks) and the studies did not look comprehensively at the subjects’ blood and urine for signs of adverse effects, such as kidney or liver damage, or elevated biomarkers for cardiovascular disease.
  • While we don’t know exactly how much Chlorogenic acid (a harsh corrosive) is in Plexus Slim, because the company chooses not to disclose that information, we do know that an earlier study found that a daily dose of 2,000 mg Chlorogenic acid caused significant increases in subjects’ homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine levels increase the risk of heart disease. However, it is possible that even lower levels of Chlorogenic acid could have negative effects on homocysteine levels and thus potentially raise the risk of heart disease in some individuals.
  • It is important to understand that green coffee contains caffeine, similar to regular coffee, even though the maker of Plexus slim claims it has no caffeine. Therefore, green coffee can cause caffeine-related side effects just like coffee including insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate and respiration, adrenal exhaustion, long term stress related physical issues, headache, anxiety, agitation, bleeding disorders, ringing in the ears, increased pressure inside the eye increasing the risk of Glaucoma, irregular heartbeats, changes the way people with diabetes process sugar and other side effects. Caffeine allows for the spread of bacteria in the body by making tissues more permeable. Caffeine increases insulin and cortisol. insulin lowers blood sugar. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Sustained or chronically elevated cortisol levels are associated with suppressed immunity, hypertension, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, carbohydrate cravings, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, reduced libido, bone loss due to calcium excretion and non-caloric weight gain with fat deposits on the face, neck, and belly. If Caffeine had to get FDA approval today, it would be classified as a ‘drug’.

Guar Gum causes gas, diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, narrowing or blockage of the esophagus or intestine, lower blood sugar levels, low blood pressure.

So, you’ve got Alpha lipoid acid, G. cambogia, Chromium and Guar Gum pulling blood sugar down while Cortisol is shoving it back up. That sounds like an internal struggle to me, not healing or homeostasis. Add caffeine and I picture someone who’s wired and tired. Has anyone ever studied the combined effects of all these substances? Not that I am aware of.

Polydextrose is a synthetic sugar made in a lab. It passes undigested into the colon where it promotes the growth of pathogenic bacteria. May cause intestinal gas, bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea as the bad bacteria digest the sugar.

Citric acid may be corn based, and GMO.

Natural flavors can be another dangerous ingredient. The FDA permits MSG to be called "natural flavor". Mono Sodium Glutimate is a neurotoxin.

Plexus Slim contains some ingredients that may be extremely dangerous in the long term. This is a DRUG! Like so many drugs, it may have side effects.
  • Side effects include stomach pain, increase blood pressure, shakiness, elevated heart rate, intestinal and digestive problems such as severe constipation, nausea, vomiting and issues ranging from problems digesting specific foods to a complete shutdown of the digestive tract have occurred. An increasing number of users have reported chronic diarrhea with excess gas and dehydration.
  • Continued use of Plexus slim, may cause the development of liver problems. While some of the problems can be treated, their have also been cases of permanent damage. When a new client tells me they have been using plexus slim, I am immediately concerned about their liver function.
  • This product is extremely addictive and some users have reported being unable to stop the use of this drug. Those who do succeed in stopping the use of Plexus Slim, discovered the results experienced while they were taking the drug were than nullified. Weight gain is predictable, and even greater and much harder to manage once the drug is stopped. You have to keep taking it if you want to “stay slim” and they are addictive, so isn’t that a clever way to create life long customers and a consistent revenue stream!
  • Although many of the symptoms may not seem “serious” to most people, continued use may lead to serious health problems and chronic illness.
  • If you drink two shakes every day for one month is will cost $160. If you want Plexus Accelerator, add another $30 to that.

Plexus TriPlex = Plexus Slim, ProBio 5 & Bio Cleanse
The FDA has sent a warning letter to the owners of Plexus dated July 30, 2014, stating their concerns, “Your Fast Relief, ProBio5 and BioCleanse are not generally recognized as safe and effective…”


Formulated to empty the gastrointestinal tract, which is supposed to relieve occasional constipation, gas, bloating and discomfort, and remove harmful microbes and substances.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) May not be all natural vitamin C, but a cheaply made synthetic made from GMO corn added to stretch more expensive natural vitamin C from citrus ingredients.
Magnesium hydroxide (380 mg)
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

There is nothing special about this product. If you take enough Magnesium Oxide and/or vitamin C, it will do the exact same thing and cost a lot less.

ProBio 5

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) See above.
Protease breaks down carbohydrates
Cellulase breaks down cellulose
Serrapeptase (from the silkworm) breaks down protein.
  • It may interfere with blood clotting and make bleeding disorders worse. It seems to be safe when taken up to 4 weeks, but long-term safety is unknown.
Chitosanase is a genetically-engineered enzyme designed to degrade key structural polymers, known as ‘Chitin,” which is found in the cell walls of fungus.
  • This causes Candida to mutate, because it is able to manipulate the Chitin content of its cell wall.
Lactobacillus acidophilus helps to ease occasional digestive discomfort, providing relief from occasional diarrhea, cramping and gas.
Lactobacillus plantarum is known for its ability to produce hydrogen peroxide. The body uses hydrogen peroxide as a defense against bacteria consumed in food, as well as other microorganisms.
Bacillus coagulans like other lactic acid–producing bacteria, produces enzymes that assist in the digestion of lactose. It also improves the body’s ability to use calcium, phosphorus, and iron, and stimulates both gastric juices and gastric motility.
B. long is one of the more common strains of Bifidobacteria found in the GI tract. Its digestive benefits stem from its ability to break down carbohydrates, and to scavenge and neutralize natural toxins found in the gut. The antioxidant properties of this probiotic strain include the chelation of metal ions—especially copper—and the scavenging of free radicals.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast). It is used as a medicine to treat diarrhea caused by bad bacteria and general digestive problems.
Grape seed extract is a very weak anti-fungal.

Combining digestive enzymes with probiotic is ridiculous, in my opinion. Probiotic are "plants" and the enzymes break down the cell walls of plants. A “shelf stable” and “formulated to deliver 2 billion CFU per capsule + at time of manufacture” and to be "taken with a meal,” can not be effective, because heat from being on a shelf at room temperature and hydrochloric acid kills beneficial bacteria so they are not able to deliver live beneficial bacteria to the intestines in tact. My opinion, based on 30 years of repeated trial and error with similar products, is that this is a waste of money, at best.

Plexus Accelerator

Yerba mate leaf extract contains caffeine and is an appetite suppressant.
Higenamine hydrochloride has recently shown up in products promoted for weight loss. Higenamine is a stimulant found in several plants including aconite, Annona squamosa, Nandina domestica (sacred bamboo), and others.
  • The purified or extracted chemical Higenamine has not been studied in people.
  • Officially, its safety is not clear and it is labeled “possibly unsafe,” but it is important to note that Higenamine is one of the main chemicals in a plant called Aconite. Aconite has been shown to cause serious heart-related side effects including arrhythmias and even death. These side effects from aconite ingestions may very likely be caused by the Higenamine.
  • Higenamine works like a stimulant. In some parts of the body it relaxes tissues and in other parts of the body, such as the heart, it causes tissues to contract. It increases heart contractions, speeding up heart rate, working the heart harder and harder, which ages the body faster.
Chromium (150 mg) (see above)
Titanium dioxide is on the label of many supplements on the market today.
  • A toxic substance that collects in the brain, especially the inflamed seizure control center of people with a convulsive disorder.
  • It has been classified as possibly carcinogenic.
The University of British Columbia published a paper in 1999 stating “We found that ultra-fine particles of the anatase form of titanium dioxide, which are less than 0.1 microns, are disease causing.” Titanium is known to cause lung cancer in the workers who breathe in the dust, so is it an acceptable thing to keep supporting the demand for products that necessitate the workers, who are at some point involved in processing this ingredient, to face this risk? I don’t think so.

Plexus Edge

Will likely put you on the edge with an amount of caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee.

Plexus Ease

New Zealand green lipped mussel powder is POSSIBLY SAFE.
  • Can cause diarrhea, nausea, and intestinal gas.
  • May cause liver problems.
  • There is not enough reliable information about its safety.
  • Possible reaction for people allergic to shellfish and certain blood types (A) who should avoid mussels.
  • May contain lectins that are harmful to people with type A blood. Lectins agglutinate and cause inflammation in the body.

Plexus Blocker

Contains ingredients to block the absorption of up to 48% of carbs and sugars from your meal.
Chromium (200 mcg) (see above)
White kidney bean - Phaseolus vulgaris extract blocks the digestion of long-chain carbohydrates by inhibiting amylase, interfering with the breakdown of simple to complex carbs and absorbable sugars by limiting their immediate gastrointestinal absorption. It also suppresses appetite similar to chlorogenic acid.
  • This puts the body into a dangerous state of ketosis. Read more.
  • Contains lectins that are harmful to people with type O, A, & AB blood. Lectins agglutinate and cause inflammation in the body.
Ascophyllum nodosum contains compounds called Phlorotannins, which may inhibit starch and lipid absorption, but this effect is very unreliable, as two human studies reported opposite effects. It also contains a compound called Ascophyllan, which may stimulate the immune system.
  • It may contain concentrated toxic heavy metals, such as arsenic, from the water in which is grows.
  • There is no evidence to support its usefulness and more research is needed to determine the practical significance of this ingredient in supplements.
Commercial harvesting of this seaweed negatively impacts intertidal zone communities and the over 100 marine species that live there, including commercially important fish, benthic invertebrates and wild shore and sea birds.
Fucus vesiculosus - Bladderwrack
  • Is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin, but it is not safe to take by mouth.
  • Its high iodine concentrations may cause or worsen some thyroid problems, cause goiter and increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
  • It may contain concentrated toxic heavy metals, such as arsenic, from the water in which is grows.
  • It may slow blood clotting, increase bruising or bleeding, cause infertility in women, cause an allergic reaction in people who are iodine sensitive.

Plexus X Factor

Aloe vera
  • Contains a substance called anthraquinone which can cause diarrhea, pain, cramps and dehydration.
  • May cause adverse reactions when consumed with medicines or inhibit the absorption of some drugs.
  • Can lower blood sugar levels by decreasing insulin resistance in the body and potassium levels in the body, cause irregular heartbeats, weakness and soft muscles.
  • Side effects include skin rash, hives, swollen skin, difficulty breathing, chest pain and throat irritation.
  • Aloe contains latex and may be problematic for people with a latex allergy.
  • It may aggravate health problems like colitis, IBS, IBD, Crohn’s, appendicitis, diverticulosis, intestinal obstruction, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, can cause hepatitis in people with liver problems.
  • May cause the body to produce excess adrenaline, which can harm people with heart conditions.
  • Consuming Aloe vera for more than one year may cause pseodomelanosis coli, a condition which increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Its purgative and irritant qualities can stimulate contractions, leading to miscarriage and birth defects.
  • It is considered unsafe for some people, the elderly and children under 12 years of age.
New Zealand black current extract
  • May lower blood pressure, slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
Guar Gum (see above)

Plexus Nerve

Horse chestnut extract
  • Contains a substance that thins the blood.
  • Not for long term use.
  • May cause dizziness, headache, stomach upset, slow blood clotting, bruising, bleeding, low blood sugar, GI tract irritation, liver injury, kidney problems, inflammation, and itching.
  • Not enough is known about the safety of using horse chestnut seed extract from which the poisonous esculin has been removed. Best to avoid if you have a latex allergy.
  • Lithium interacts with horse chestnut, as does medications for diabetes and anticoagulant medications.
  • Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Butchers broom is a laxative and diuretic that increases urine output.
  • May blood vessels to narrow or constrict, stomach upset and nausea.
  • May speed up the nervous system, increase blood pressure, increase heart rate.
  • Do not use for more than 3 months.
  • Not enough reliable information is known about the safety of butcher’s broom when used long term.
  • Interactions with medications for high blood pressure and stimulant medications including pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, others), ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, and others.
Quercetin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
  • Possibly safe taken by mouth short-term, less than 12 weeks. The safety of long-term use or larger amounts are unknown.
  • May cause headache, tingling of arms and legs.
  • May cause kidney damage at high doses.
  • May decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics by preventing the medication from killing bacteria. This raises concern for me, because it may also sabotage the efforts of parasite cleansing herbs and homeopathic remedies.
  • May decrease how quickly Cyclosporin (Neoral, Sandimmune) are broken down by the liver, increasing the effects and side effects of this medication.
Alpha lipoid acid See above.
Titanium dioxide See above.

Plexus MegaX

Buglossoides arvensis seed oil (Ahiflower) is a refined, edible oil obtained from this herbaceous plant. The use of this “novel food ingredient” was blocked by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) until 2013 because the plant itself contains active substances such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which have been linked to antigonadotrophic activity; affecting hormones. Refining processed reduce these below the maximum limits set by the EU. Also Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and eruct acid, came within safe limits for this carcinogen. The other undesirable substances in this oil were not mentioned.
Avocado oil

  • Contains lectins that are harmful to people with type O, B, & AB blood. Lectins agglutinate and cause inflammation in the body.
Sea buckthorn berry oil
  • Research shows it does not reduce body weight.
  • Not enough reliable information about safety.
  • May slow blood clotting.
  • May increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
  • May lower blood pressure.
Pomegranate seed oil
  • Contains lectins that are harmful to people with type B & AB blood. Lectins agglutinate and cause inflammation in the body.
  • May lower blood pressure slightly.
  • Some people are allergic to pomegranate.

Plexus Family Multi

Dextrose is corn based, GMO. Causes weight gain for people with type O blood.
Xylitol is an alcohol sugar.
  • May feed Candida and other pathogenic microorganisms in the gut.
  • May cause diarrhea and intestinal gas.
Malic acid is an alfa hydroxy acid that is highly corrosive.
  • May cause GI tract distress, including inflammation of the epithelial layer of the intestines.
Maltodextrin is an artificial sweetener made from corn (GMO). It is used in supplements designed to boost energy.
  • May spike blood sugar.
  • May promote the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
  • May damage beneficial bacteria populations that live in the intestine.
  • May contribute to leaky gut.
  • May increase the risk of inflammatory disease.
  • May cause unexplained weight gain.
  • Other symptoms may include bloating, flatulence, allergic reactions - rash, asthma, itching, difficulty breathing.
Beta cyclodextrin is a synthetic sugar.
  • Long term use may cause kidney and liver problems with obstruction of renal tubules and single cell necrosis in the liver.
Dicalcium phosphate is a synthetic calcium supplement.
  • When taken in conjunction with other medications, can have negative consequences.
  • Calcium decreases the absorption and effectiveness of the anti-epileptic drug Phenytion, and the antibiotics Quinolone and Tetracycline. Taken with Verapamil may cause symptoms similar to calcium overdose, which can include kidney stones, fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, changes in heart rate, confusion, constipation or diarrhea, headaches and coma.
  • Symptoms of gastrointestinal problems including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, stomach pain, thirst, dry mouth and increased urination have been reported.
  • May increase the severity of symptoms in people who are already experiencing diarrhea, parathyroid disease, lung disease, kidney stones or other stomach-related problems.
  • Prolonged use of phosphate salts may upset the balance of phosphates and other chemicals in the body.
  • Can interact with anti-epileptic medication and antibiotics, by decreasing the absorption of the drugs. Taking with Verapamil may cause calcium overdose, which can include kidney stones, fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, changes in heart rate, confusion, constipation or diarrhea, headaches and coma.
  • Topically, it may cause skin irritation (dermatitis, redness, swelling, itching), so it can damage the internal skin (GI tract) when taken internally. Prolonged use may lead to dry or chapped skin. This reaction may spread to areas that have not been in contact with it.
  • Pain can be caused by deposits of uric acid and various phosphates (mono calcium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate and dicalcium phosphate), which become a breeding ground for bacteria. Phosphates give the deposits a rigid structure that is difficult to dissolve (like heel spurs). Other phosphate sources include carbonated beverages, processed meats and grain products. The body neutralizes and eliminates phosphate by combining it with calcium and magnesium. Magnesium is often in very short supply since it comes from green vegetables and is not stored by the body. The body pulls calcium from teeth and bones to accomplish this, which dissolves bone structure and washes out with the urine. So, if you are deficient, unneutralized phosphate is very acidic and will burn the delicate kidneys.
Cyanocobalamin (B12) is a cheap, synthetic version of B12 vitamin made in a laboratory.
  • This vitamin in bound to a toxic, poisonous cyanide. The body converts Cyanocobalamin into the physiological forms, Methylcobalamin and Adenosylcobalamin, leaving behind the cyanide. The Cyanide molecule must be removed from the body by the liver. To do this, the liver must steal methyl groups from your body, which uses up Glutathione, which is in short supply anyway, potentially worsening your overall health rather than helping it.
Guar Gum See above.

Plexus Ease Cream

Alcohol (SDA 40) - Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Is associated in 100% of cancer cases with reproduction of intestinal fluke parasite stages in a variety of organs, causing cancer in these organs.
  • It strips away the skin's natural acid layer which protects it from bacteria, molds and viruses. It is made from a petroleum bi-product called Propylene, which may promote brown spots and age the skin prematurely.
  • May act as a central nervous system depressant. Poisoning can occur from skin absorption causing flushing, headache, dizziness, nausea, CNS depression, vomiting, anesthesia, hypothermia, hypotension, shock, respiratory depression, and coma.
  • This solvent may cause intestinal flukes (flatworm) and other parasite eggs to hatch before being evacuated. The larvae pass through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream where they travel to the weakest parts of the body and cause disease.
New Zealand green lipped mussel (see above)
Polysorbate 80 can be found in just about everything from chewing gum, food shortening, gelatin, ice cream and continents to vitamins, soap, shampoo, skin creams, medicine and cosmetics. On ingredient lists, it is also called Alkest, Cancel and Tween. It is also an ingredient in some vaccines.
  • The material safety data sheet states this potentially toxic substance is highly irritating to the skin, reproductive effects, cause cancer and has a mutagenic effect.
  • Cosmetic grade is more likely to contain impurities, like ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which pose a high hazard (8/10 and 10/10). Half of products containing ethoxylated surfactants also contain 1,4-dioxane, which is listed as a carcinogen and causes cancer. Effects include skin irritant, central nervous system depressant, kidney and liver damage. It may aggravate existing blood, liver, kidney, central nervous system and skin conditions.
  • Food grade may cause gastrointestinal distress.
  • It may induce low grade inflammation, and obesity/metabolic syndrome and robust colitis.
  • It has been linked to Crohn’s, increased risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, hear failure, tumor growth and recurrence in patients with certain types of cancer.
Your skin is the largest organ of the body and is as absorbent as a sponge, taking in everything you put on it, as if eaten. That’s why medication patches work.
Potassium sorbate
  • Can cause skin and eye irritation, including contact urticaria.
  • It is used to prevent the growth of mold, fungi and yeast. In foods, it can also kill beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
  • When consumed regularly, it may cause long-term side effects which can be harmful, like diarrhea which can cause depletion of the nutrient value in their system.
  • Potassium overwhelming the system can cause nausea.
  • In skin care and cosmetic products, it can cause rashes and irritation with overexposure. In extreme cases, can lead to kidney problems and serious damage over time. To avoid overexposure, opt out of using canned and preprocessed foods, fruits and vegetables that are coated in a wax that contains Potassium sorbate to protect them from contaminants in the store, hygiene products and makeup listing this ingredient.
Phenoxyethanole is created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an alkaline medium. It fights bacteria, which can easily grow in the natural oils and botanical ingredients in the product.
  • It is an Ethoxylated compound that may be contaminated with carcinogenic toxin 1,4-Dioxane.
  • Animal studies show it affects the brain and nervous system, caused DNA mutations, and an endocrine disruptor that also caused damage to bladder and acute pulmonary edema. It has not been tested on humans.
  • It causes skin irritation, is classified as an irritant in the EU and its use is restricted in Japan. Deemed ‘perfectly safe’ in the US and UK, it is permitted in cosmetics as a preservative in concentrations up to 1% (a 200 ml bottle contains 1 teaspoon).
  • May cause skin irritation, possibly damage and is known to cause dermatitis.
Titanium dioxide See above.
Aloe vera See above.

Plexus Body Cream
Cetearyl Alcohol is a skin irritant
Glyceryl Stearate SE is a mild irritant that may cause allergic reactions.
Sodium Stearyl Lactylate is a mild irritant
Guar Gum See above.
Potassium Sorbate See above.
Aloe vera See above.

My conclusion

Plexus Worldwide started out making products for people with type 2 diabetes, but when they found out that their customers were using their products to lose weight, they shifted their entire product line to make much more profit marketing to the weight conscious consumer. Now, they don't talk about diabetes! That tells me they care more about profits than helping people. This makes me suspicious in other areas and question everything about their products.

I feel the company is manipulative. The Plexus Ambassador (merchant) program is multi level marketing scheme that gives its participants money in exchange for raving about their products. This creates biased reviews about the products, when in reality it is all about getting some free products, a price break for themselves or making a little income. Maybe these ambassadors are misguided, haven’t been thorough in their research and want to believe the hype? The majority of Plexus Worldwide reviews online label it a "scam". To find true reviews, you have to search. My focus is on the health and safety of people, not exposing fraud. I consider the use of these products as just another dangerous fad, but I believe it’s worse than that. The ingredients in these supplements can be addictive and may be harmful or extremely dangerous long term, and I view the ambassadors as ‘drug pushers.’

Have there been any animal or laboratory toxicity studies done on Plexus Slim? Has Plexus Slim been tested in human studies for safety? This level of research does not exist for Plexus Slim, even though the company website makes the claim, “Its effectiveness has been clinically proven.” However, the company does not reference this claim and does not provide any additional information on its website to support it. Ideally, it would be best for Plexus products to undergo testing in humans, which includes a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which both safety and efficacy are evaluated over several consecutive years, not weeks, and the results published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Supplement companies, who take quality assurance and manufacturing practices very seriously, test all raw materials and finished products for purity and potency using scientifically valid test methods. Their supplements are manufactured in FDA-inspected facilities and/or in facilities that exceed the FDA’s good manufacturing practices. They also disclose the amounts of each ingredient or the total amount of a propriety blend. Even with all of that, keep this in mind.

‘Natural’ substances cannot be patented. Without a patented product, companies can’t make a profit. So, the ingredients in supplements have been fractionated, at best, or synthetically manufactured in a lab, but are not usable by the body because the synergy and cofactors have been removed or the body doesn’t identify the synthetic chemical copy as the real thing, which nature in its wisdom has provided. To survive, the body will try to utilize the closest approximate thing, but in doing so, it consumes itself by stealing nutrients from itself to make a processed, man-made product of any use whatsoever. Ultimately, what you end up with is more deficiency than if you didn’t supplement, and faster aging.

Plexus Worldwide provides very little information about its quality assurance protocols or manufacturing practices, leaving questions about whether Plexus Slim is tainted or contaminated. Can the company prove with independent lab testing that Plexus Slim does not contain contaminants or adulterants? For example, Sibutramine and Phenolphthalein. Sibutramine is a controlled substance and the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Meridia, an approved prescription drug to treat obesity. Some of the tainted products tested by the FDA recommend taking more than three times the recommended daily dosage of Sibutramine, putting consumers at risk of serious adverse effects such as increased blood pressure, tachycardia, palpitations, and seizure. Phenolphthalein is a laxative drug banned by the FDA in 1999 for potential cancer risks. FDA laboratory tests have revealed the presence of contamination and adulteration in a number of tainted weight loss products being sold over the counter, however, the FDA’s tally contains only a tiny fraction of products on the market. Plexus Slim has not been identified on the FDA’s list. Because of these issues and more, it is not easy to definitively know whether Plexus Slim is safe or not.

Supplements are intense, compact sources of information that the body has not evolved with. When taken in a food based form for a few weeks or months, they can be incredibly effective tools for health and wellness, but our organs can only handle so much, and wisdom is required. It is best not to guess or take chances on supplements without guidance from someone who is experienced in these things. Avoid supplements that do not disclose the basic information about ingredient sources, their amounts, quality control, and manufacturing practices.

The weight loss industry has grown by leaps and bounds for the past decade, because people with the exceedingly busy schedules which leave no time for proper exercise, or meal planning, shopping and preparation, force individuals to look for alternative, fast and easy ways to lose weight. The problem isn’t excess weight but EXCESS, period. I’m not talking about excess food, but a lifestyle of 'too much' that doesn’t work with the biochemistry of the body and how it was built to function.

You can reduce body fat by natural methods, which are not addictive, don’t force the body to do unnatural functions, doesn’t cost a fortune and have sustainable results. More importantly, you will understand that your external transformation needs to be more than skin deep. To have a body you can love, you must first love yourself, inside and out. Excess weight reveals the need for internal transformation, concerns deep matters of the soul and begs us to learn the life lessons we try so hard to avoid, but can’t face and resolve without help. Weight loss is no guarantee of happiness. You can have the body you like in the mirror and not be happy. Either you will continue to look at your reflection with a critical eye or you will be afraid of the gaining weight back again.

Wouldn’t you prefer to use products that you don’t have to worry about??? All choices have consequences, and even not making a choice - is a choice. Thoroughly research the important facts about all products before making a choice.

I am a Certified Eating Psychology Coach who has been trained to help people transform their emotional and physical body while addressing many common chronic symptoms and helping the body return to homeostasis. I am here for you. Please reach out to me in an
email or call 301-293-1500 and lets schedule your free introductory consultation to talk about how I can be of service to you. Johnna Wheeler

Prebiotic Foods

A prebiotic is defined as “nondigestible food compounds that are indigestible by humans but are digestible by intestinal bacteria and thus serve as an energy source for beneficial bacteria that live in the human intestine. The human intestine contains about 300-500 different species of bacteria that can be divided into health-promoting ones, like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and into harmful ones such as some types of Clostridia. Prebiotics help to stimulate the growth of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, cultivate healthy bowel flora, particularly bifidobacteria, that beneficially affects the host and thus improves the host's health”. Increasing bifidobacteria has been associated with a wide array of health benefits ranging from decreases in insulin to improved mental health.

Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are short chains of variable length made up of the sugars galactose and glucose. GOS are considered prebiotics, which support the most favorable growth of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. GOS have numerous purported beneficial effects. GOS stimulates calcium absorption and the absorption of magnesium can be improved as well. GOS can offer relief to constipation by increasing the frequency of defecation, soften the stools and improve stool consistency.

GOS are believed to mimic the oligosaccharides found naturally in human breast milk and may contribute to the known health benefits of breastfeeding. Infant formulas in Europe have been supplemented with GOS since 2001, and numerous studies support the safety and prebiotic effects of GOS supplementation in infants. In Europe, formulas containing up to eight grams of GOS per liter are considered safe for infants, and a prebiotic mixture of 10% long-chain inulin and 90% GOS has been added to infant formulas since 2001.

Oligosaccharides are generally considered to be safe when consumed as part of normal diet. In several studies, a lack of adverse effects was observed. The side effects of galactooligosaccharides (GOS) intake are mild laxative effects and gas. Symptoms may be more severe if consumed by sensitive individuals or if large quantities are consumed. The GOS-rich foods are legumes that contain amylopectin, which has the potential to affect blood sugar, and lectins, which are indigestible and potentially inflammatory in some people depending on blood type, and phytates that bind calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc and make them unavailable for absorption. Some people also advocate extended soaking to reduce phytate content, but this also reduces the GOS content by around 25%, as well. Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) may interact with alcohol, caffeine, calcium salts, foods containing calcium, drugs that weaken the immune system, laxatives, mineral oil, foods containing phytic acid, foods containing other prebiotics, foods containing vitamin D and herbs.

To increase GOS, there are expensive nutritional supplements you can buy that contain beta glucan sources from oats. Commercial preparations of GOS (Bi2muno®) may contain up to 25% lactose in liquid form and up to 30% lactose in powder form. I recommend that you obtain nutrients from real, whole foods, the way Nature’s wisdom provides. Small portions are ideal. Maximum benefits and tolerability of GOS fibers occurs at an intake in the neighborhood of 5 grams per day. (naturally in human and bovine milk).

The fermentation by of galacto-oligosaccharides and isomaltooligosaccharides by specific beneficial bacteria produces the least volume of gas when compared to other prebiotic oligosaccharides. However, fructans and alpha-linked galactose-containing oligosaccharides, such as those found in various legumes and beans, can be fermentationed by a number of other colonic bacteria that do produce more gas; (lentils, chickpeas/hummus, green peas, Lima beans, kidney beans).

Isomaltulose is a disaccharide carbohydrate composed of glucose and fructose; (honey, sugarcane juice, and black-strap molasses).

Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants. Industrially inulin is most often extracted from chicory. The inulins belong to a class of dietary fibers known as fructans. Inulin is used by some plants as a means of storing energy and is typically found in roots or rhizomes. Most plants that synthesize and store inulin do not store other forms of carbohydrate such as starch. Due to its resistance to digestive enzymes, inulin remains in tact until it reaches the large intestine, where it is converted by colonic bacteria to a gel known as a prebiotic that is highly nourishing to gut microflora; (banana/plantain, chicory, dandelion, garlic, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke (pictured below), jicama, onion).

jerusalem artichoke raw
Jerusalem Artichokes have a delicate nutty flavor that you don't want to miss. I cook them in a skillet with butter and salt. They are excellent for increased intestinal motility!

Isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO) is a mixture of short-chain carbohydrates that naturally occur as a plant-based dietary fiber, which resist digestion-resistant and has a prebiotic effect, soluble, and low-glycemic; (rice miso, fermented soy sauce, honey).

Raffinose oligosaccharides is a trisaccharide composed of galactose, glucose, and fructose; (beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, other vegetables, and whole grains).

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are oligosaccharides that occur naturally in plants; (asparagus, beet, garlic, chicory, onion, Jerusalem artichoke, honey, banana, barley, tomato, and rye). Also Heather’s Tummy Fibers and sprouted wheat (sprouted spelt flour, Sprouted Spelt bread & Ezekiel bread).

Heathers soluble fiber IBS constipation

Xylooligosaccharides (XOS) are sugar oligomers made up of xylose units. Avoid supplementation if you have a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lactose; (bamboo shoots, fruits, vegetables, milk, and honey).

Cultivate variety in your diet
No single prebiotic fiber will fully cultivate wide species diversity of healthy different beneficial microbial species because each “prefers” different fibers, based on their ability to metabolize them. While some prefer GOS, others prefer FOS, inulin or other fibers. To cultivate species diversity in beneficial bacteria species, your prebiotic fiber routine should include a variety of prebiotic fiber in your diet every day. Fiber-rich sources are just one ingredient in the overall effort toward optimal health.

Primitive cultures who have not been exposed to antibiotics, processed foods, additives, solvents, chlorinated water, plastics, pesticides, herbicides, hybridized grains and all the other factors that disrupt bowel flora composition, have a wide diversity of microbial species, as compared to the narrower range of species in people of industrialized, modern cultures.

Prebiotics differ from probiotics
Probiotics are bacteria (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) often taken as supplements to promote the establishment of beneficial gut bacteria.

Every day I have beet, globe artichoke, dandelion (in season), Heather's Tummy Fibers, onion and garlic in my salad. I have broccoli, asparagus and Brussel sprouts, each once a week, as part of my weekly vegetable rotation. Daily, I have a ‘Prebiotic Patty’ with my vegetables at lunch every day. See Recipe blog - "What's for lunch?"

If you are interested in obtaining the beneficial effects of prebiotic fibers, note that these are strategies that should only be pursued if you do not have dysbiosis. (Prebiotic fibers will make dysbiosis worse, as indicated by abdominal pain, excessive bloating and gas, and diarrhea, since they feed undesirable microbial species as well as desirable.)

If you have been told or suspect you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Small intestinal Fungal Overgrowth (SIFO), Food or environmental allergies or intolerance, Leaky Gut, Candida Yeast Overgrowth or Systemic Candidiasis, please reach out to me via email to schedule your free introductory consultation. I can help you get your health and your life back on track.