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What About Chocolate?


Are you feeling guilty about your love of chocolate? Wondering if you need to forsake your habit? Perhaps there's a way to "have your cake and eat it too"—with raw cacao!

Where does chocolate come from?

Chocolate is derived from the Theobrama cacao tree. Literally "food of the gods," the Theobrama tree grows exclusively in locations 20 degrees north or south of the equator, making it a key trade commodity. There are 1.5 million farms in West Africa alone!

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The Holidays and Your Health

How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays

It's easy to put off our vow to eat healthier until the New Year. "I'll just make it through Thanksgiving and Christmas and then worry about it," we say to ourselves. The cultural current of expectation that runs rampant this time of year often yields a sense of powerlessness, making it easy to relinquish our sense of control over our food choices.

Wondering what you can do to fight the urge to abandon healthy eating during the holidays?

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Gut-Restorative Diets

Fresh VegetablesYeasts, bacteria, and other microbes exist in abundance in every individual's digestive tract. The gut lining consists of both beneficial and harmful varieties. When the balance shifts in favor the pathogenic microbes, our immune system suffers.

Symptoms of bacterial and fungal overgrowth include fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, headaches, sugar cravings, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), skin and nail fungal infections, dizziness, and much more. Antibiotics, environmental toxins, a highly processed diet, stress, and the aging process all contribute to microbial imbalance.

There are a myriad of options for those seeking to boost their immune system through diet. In this article we compare and contrast five popular diets designed to restore or maintain health.

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Managing Our Microbes

AntibacterialsWalk into a grocery store and you'll see spinach that has been triple washed and foods wrapped tightly in plastic, as well as cleaning products that "kill 99.9% of bacteria."

Before you step into the store you'll wipe your hands with an antibacterial wipe. In all likelihood this wipe will contain a strong antimicrobial agent such as triclosan, first introduced to America as a pesticide in 1969.

We are indeed the Super-Sanitized Generation.

Our obsession with hygiene is understandable. Bad things happen when people don't wash their hands or dispose of fecal waste in a responsible manner.

But has the pendulum swung too far? Are all microbes bad? Are we missing some key information that might help us turn the tide on increasing instances of allergies, chronic disease, and autoimmune conditions?

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Better Food, Better Mood

Holiday Chess MatchEver wonder why little Jimmy is bouncing off the walls after a holiday meal? Or Uncle Henry is more argumentative than ever? How about those underlying conflicts that seem to escalate during the holiday season?

We know the shorter days, the consumption of alcohol, the high expectations, and other underlying issues contribute to holiday stress, but rarely do we consider the "food factor."

At one time in our history, holiday fare consisted of real food: Our buffets were full of fresh, organic vegetables, pastured and grass-fed meats, and good, healthy fats. Today our "traditional" meal offers a smorgasbord of chemically altered, sugary, starchy, processed foods.

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"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

This site is dedicated to a true friend and mother — Barbara Dell Kessel (1929-2009)