Thursday, February 25, 2016

Refined Sugar vs Natural Sugars Like Honey & Fruit

Refined Sugar and Singing the Health Food Store Blues
by Steven Horne

I heard Dr. Antonio Jimenez from the Hope4Cancer clinics in Mexico speak. He mentioned that there may be a difference in the molecular spin of refined sugar versus the natural sugars in foods. Light bulbs went off in my brain because I've long suspected that there is a vast difference in the way the body reacts to natural sugars (like those found in fruits and honey) and refined sugar. The one acts like a food creating a sense of satisfaction, while the other acts like an addictive drug.

I recalled that there was a time in my life when I didn't eat any refined sugar at all. I did have cookies, cakes and other goodies, but they were all made at home using honey as the main sweetener. Although chemists have told me that honey and refined sugar are 99% the same, I had more energy, had a clearer mind and a really strong immune system when I was only using honey and other natural sugars and wasn't consuming any table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

As I was listening to him speak, I realized that I had let sugar creep back into my life in the form of supposed "health foods," from the health food store. So, when I got home I began to look at labels and realized how much refined sugars where in some of these health food store foods. So I decided to do again what I did over 20 years ago and go "cold turkey" off of all refined sugars.

I know I'll go through withdrawals. (I've often told people that if you don't believe sugar is a drug, just try eliminating it from your diet. I never had empathy for addicts until I gave up sugar.) However, I know it will be worth it. In honor of my commitment to myself, I updated an article I wrote in 2008 called Singing the Health Food Store Blues about having to carefully read labels when I'm shopping at the health food store because everything there isn't necessarily healthy. You might also want to read my article Breaking the Addiction to Sugar. (It's got three pages, so be sure to read the whole thing.)

I'll be talking about my experiences in getting off of sugar again on my FaceBook page. So, if you're interested in hearing about my progress (and perhaps joining me in kicking the sugar habit) be sure to follow me on FaceBook.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Natural Repellent Developed For Deadly Viruses

Note from Donna:
We've been using essential oils for many years.  Originally, we bought them to make our own cleaning supplies.  Then we discovered how their antimicrobial super power worked well with the immune system ... and from there off we went to study more about these amazing creations from God.  I love when I find these kinds of research and development articles.  When there's no hope for a drug or vaccine ... God still provides us with solutions from Nature.  

The special process they use with the oils is not a piece of magic ... the oils themselves do what they do.  But if one needs to get a patent and "own" a formula, they need to do something more than just use essential oils that anybody can purchase at any time.  Be sure you get the right species of oil and that they are authentic and 100% pure oil, no dilutions.  Pure essential oils are not cheap.  It takes a lot of raw materials to make a bottle of pure and authentic oil.  Get more info.

From Mexico News Daily
Students at a university in Oaxaca say they have developed an ecologically friendly repellent that is effective against the mosquito that carries the Zika virus as well as chikungunya and dengue.

They claim that their totally natural product is an economic means of combating those ailments, and once available on the market will be 60% cheaper than traditional repellents.

It consists of essential oils combined with alcohol, distilled water and glycerine and causes no allergic reactions in the skin because it employs all-natural products.  Read the entire article.

More Resources
On January 22, 2016, CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to respond to outbreaks of Zika [Virus] occurring in the Americas and increased reports of birth defects and Guillain-Barré syndrome in areas affected by Zika. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) because of clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by Zika. On February 8, 2016, CDC elevated its EOC activation to a Level 1, the highest level.

In 2015, Chikungunya Virus Disease became a nationally notifiable condition. Cases are reported to CDC by state and local health departments using standard case definitions. As of January 12, 2016, a total of 679 chikungunya virus disease cases with illness onset in 2015 have been reported to ArboNET from 44 U.S. states. All reported cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas. No locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states.  Read more.

Dengue Fever Makes Inroads into the U.S.

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Burning Stones in Drought-filled Times of Life

Burning Stones in Drought-filled Times of Life
by Donna L. Watkins

Remember the story in I Kings 18 about Elijah asking the children of Israel to choose between Baal and the Lord? He told them to take a bullock for sacrifice and place it on the wood with no fire under it. The idea was that Elijah would call upon his God and they upon their gods. He gives Baal a chance first and has quite a bit of mockery as they get nowhere and are even cutting themselves for blood to gush out.

Elijah builds an altar of stone and puts a trench around it, places wood and the sacrifice on it and then tells them to fill 4 barrels of water 3 times and to pour over it and fill the trench. One resource says the trench was 3 feet wide. They were in a severe drought of 3-1/2 years, one that Elijah had prayed down according to James 5:17. This says that people had super high respect for Elijah not to question him or disobey.

By evening those who worshipped Baal had no success in their god accepting their sacrifice by bringing fire to it. So at the evening sacrifice Elijah prayed and verse 38-39 says, "Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. "

Notice it says the fire consumed the stones and the dirt and licked up the water in the trench. Stones and dirt! I didn't know stones could burn, but did a bit of research and found that they can at extremely high temperatures with different types of stone being less than others. It must've left a crater there. I find it incredible how God went above and beyond what Elijah asked for, which was to bring fire to burn the sacrifice. Isn't our God an extravagant God!? Awesome. Can you imagine seeing this happen?!

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Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Conservatory Garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
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After the event Elijah told Ahab to go eat and drink for he heard an abundance of rain coming. Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel to worship and pray. He instructed his servant to go up and look to the sea but there was nothing.

Elijah had him do this 7 times. He had the faith it was going to happen and he was looking for proof of it. On the 7th trip the servant said there was a cloud the size of a small hand. Not much on a horizon view of the sea, but a small cloud is all he needed to know it was coming down. And it came to pass that there was a great rain. Confident expectation of his prayer becoming his reality. That's real hope!

There's hope for your drought also. Our problem is we look for a sign before we believe. We have to be so filled with God's unconditional and extravagant love for us that we know He will do this for us.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

He desires to do over and above all that we ask or think. But do you notice how He does this? It says according to the power that is at work in us. We have the power that God gives to those who believe. The same power that God used to raise Christ from the dead.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms ... " (Ephesians 1:18-20)

Grab your Bible, you Hebrew/Greek concordance, and sit back and ponder this. We have the power to bring things to pass if we can only truly believe it's within us.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

Are We Addicted to Facebook or to Ourselves?

Are We Addicted to Facebook, or Are We Just Addicted to Ourselves?
Dr. Judson Brewer

Why is Facebook like crack cocaine? Here's a little quiz: Do you find yourself on Facebook longer or more often than planned? Have you given up or reduced your involvement in social, occupational or recreational activities due to Facebook? Have you made a conscious but unsuccessful effort to reduce your Facebook "use"? So to what, exactly, are we addicted?

Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell at Harvard performed a simple study: They put people in their fMRI scanner and gave them a choice to (1) report their own opinions and attitudes, (2) judge the attitudes of another person, or (3) answer a trivia question, while they measured the participants' brain activity. The catch was that each choice was associated with a monetary payoff, which allowed the scientists to test if individuals were basically willing to give up money to self-disclose. And they were.

On average, participants lost an average of 17 percent of potential earnings to think and talk about themselves! Why would anyone give up good money to do this? Not dissimilar to individuals who forgo job and family responsibilities due to various drug problems, during self-disclosure, these participants activated their Nucleus Accumbens -- the very brain region that lights up when someone takes cocaine or other drugs and is important in the development of addictions. Read the rest of the story.

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A Natural Alternative Heartworm Success Story

Editor's Note:  
I'm so grateful that there is a natural alternative for this horrible disease.  A friend of mine had a dog named Bandit that was diagnosed with this and the vet said it was too bad a case and too old a dog to do the regular treatment. She was left without hope.  But that didn't stop Robin.  With her knowledge of dogs we came up with a program and tracked every moment along the way.  

After Bandit tested negative for heartworms, Robin went on to help hundreds and hundreds of heartworm dogs and we are blessed she has given us all the information needed so can continue to provide a natural heartworm program, even though she has now retired to other avenues of working with dogs; volunteering and training therapy dogs and providing puppy and adult training classes. 

We have oodles of success stories that people had sent to Robin and they are now on the website along with a lot of detailed information on the programs (there's also a prevention program which eliminates the poison alternatives normally used). Lots of FAQs that Robin has provided. 

We wanted to share this wonderful detailed story from a pet Dad that considers himself an "over thinker" but asked that we publish all the comments and updates for any who are like him that may benefit from his overall experience .... and so we have.

Here's Buddy's Story

Buddy is a lovable mutt that we took off the streets. He appears to be part yellow Lab and likely part sneaky neighbor's dog. Buddy decided to be ours in November of 2002. Living in the country we have the unfortunate experience of seeing lots of pets "dumped" and Buddy came to us in sad shape, but after a few months of healthy living and a roof over his head he was lookin’ good. An absolute Wonder Dog in terms of obedience and house manners. The vet estimated him to be 4 or maybe 5 years old. He took to living with us like he had been ours forever.

We thought we did everything right with Buddy, but a very brief lapse in his routine heartworm treatment was all it took. We missed ONE DOSE and in Mid-July of 2004 we got the sad news from the vet during a routine check-up that Buddy had a full blown case of heartworms.  The vet went on to voice concerns over his heart, saying that it "didn’t sound too good." Having tested positive for heartworms on the "blood drop test" our vet immediately drew some blood for a lab analysis and prepared a slide to look for signs of the microfilaria that adult worms produce. Our vet office is small, and we could overhear him call an assistant over to look at the blood sample under a microscope where he said, "look – you can see tons of microfilaria." As expected, the lab work came back positive for heartworms.

Having had bad experiences of early pet mortality with 2 prior pets I immediately decided to investigate alternative methods to address Buddy’s condition. A search brought me in short order to Bandit's Heartworm Program site.

I started to read the information. It appeared to be sound information, but I had concerns over Robin’s apparent tie to Nature's Sunshine. I didn’t want to think this could possibly be a scam, but it is, after all, the Internet and there are plenty of examples of dubious behavior to draw upon.  I decided to contact Robin directly and voice my concerns and ask the myriad of questions I had already.

We exchanged emails & Robin put me in touch with a couple of "Bandit’s Buddies" from the past. We eventually spoke on the phone and I started to see what a great lady Robin is. Within the week we had Buddy on the program as outlined by Robin. Robin continued to send me links to information on just what heartworm is all about.

I ordered from Nature's Sunshine and was impressed with the way they ran their business. So much so that after a couple of months I tried some stuff for myself with good results! Their products are high quality and very consistent. Reading their literature made me understand why Robin chose them.

Until we learned that Buddy had this parasite (and my investigation of what it means for a pet to have heartworms) we had no reason to think Buddy was ill, but after reading about the progress of the "worm lifecycle" we came to realize that Buddy was starting to exhibit classic patterns – tired all the time, no pep when we took him outside, and the initial signs of some issues with his respiratory system.

Buddy took to the regimen well.  We had one or two initial incidents where he vomited after taking the capsules, but we attribute that more to him eating like a rabid wolverine than anything. Once we developed a system for "dosing" we had no issues for the rest of the course we followed for the next months. We learned a few tricks along the way as Buddy really did not like to take pills directly and the dosage schedule meant that we had to administer pills in the morning before going to work when our time was something of a premium. I hope that doesn’t sound too callous, but it was important to us that we had a regime that was something we could faithfully follow as part of a daily plan. I knew that routine was a critical factor for success.

Robin had some great suggestions (like cheese), but we found that a spoonful of wet dog food was something of a treat to Buddy and we could easily bury 3 capsules at a time and he was happy to take them. Further, after a few issues of capsules sticking to his gums, we found that if we dropped the caps into a small cup of water for 10 or 15 seconds prior to jamming them into the wet food we had a 100% success rate on "pilling" Buddy in a matter of a minute or two. He’d get his Artemisia Combination when we woke up, then just before we left for work he’d "go walkabout" and then come in to his morning meal and the HS II/CoQ10.

Our biggest "issue" as part of the outlined routine was around Buddy eating, or rather his schedule of eating. He’s never been a "big eater". Initially his appetite was not great (here again the wet stuff really helped) and then he was always an "I’ll eat when I wanna eat" kinda guy. So there may have been the occasional night when he didn’t get all of his Black Walnut (he is amazingly adept at eating around things) but overall it always worked out.

I would take a moment to say that, again based on information from Robin, we chose to feed Buddy a high-quality dog food as part of his new plan for health and  fitness.  I initially balked at the cost – but now that we’re 4 bags into it we’ve found that the food is so nutritionally dense that bags of food are lasting much, much longer. We started at monthly delivery and are now on a 90 day schedule! It is at least break-even when compared with his old food, perhaps even cheaper! And there’s nothing like having someone else carry the 50# bag to my front door! But I digress……

After about a month we started to notice that Buddy was giving the occasional cough. Not anything serious, but again a classic (and subtle) sign of the worms, and what we hoped were indicators that the worms were finding his system inhospitable. Being hyper-sensitive at this point, I contacted Robin who again had to tell me to just chill and keep doing things as we were.  But, at the same time we also noted that Buddy was starting to get a bit of spring back into his step.  While I never really checked all the time, once Buddy was positive for worms I started to become aware that his nose was hot & dry all the time; however, after the first month or so of following Bandit’s path we started to find that Buddy was having more and more "cold nose days" – a trend that would continue as his time on this path progressed.

Around November of 2004 it was getting really hard to continue without some kind of concrete proof that the heartworms were dying off. My attitude was not so much doubt in the "program" as it was my desire for an "immediate solution." It was hard to argue with the fact that Buddy was exhibiting far more energy than he had in the months prior and that his cold-nosed days were finally exceeding his warm-nosed days, but I am a fairly "black & white" person and I  wanted some kind of tangible proof.  Sometimes you can’t always get what you want, and a routine trip to the vet showed little new info – there was still clear evidence of microfilaria in his blood, and according to the vet there wasn’t a real gauge for that. They’re either present or they’re not. However, at this time the vet promised to dig out a more precise filtration test kit he had and we would use that test in the spring at Buddy’s next scheduled check-up (nail trim).

One great thing about this particular visit to the vet – when Buddy first was found to be worm positive I had spoken to our vet about the information Robin was offering and asked what he thought. He had heard some things, but had done no real investigation on his own. Well, on this visit he told us that he wanted us to continue the holistic/herbal approach until Spring. He assured us that Buddy was doing fine as he was and a few more months would not have any affect on our ability to resort to traditional chemical therapies should we choose to do so.  He wanted us to continue with the herbs. This was great news for me to hear – our vet was willing to consider the value of holistic treatment based on information he had gathered.

I sent an e-mail to Robin telling her there was no change – and she shot me more information on the life cycle of the microfilaria to help me understand that they can be around for quite some time even with a pet in recovery. I learned a little more about the bugs and knew that we just had to hang in there a little longer.

Fast-forward to March 19, 2005. Buddy had just the past week run low on some of the herbs, and the vet's office had also called to tell us he was due for blood work. He again needed his nails trimmed, so we did a "drop-in" for that (this is a small town vet and they welcome that kind of thing). We were shocked to find that the vet wanted us to do a full visit and get other things done – he had found the filtration kit as promised without us even asking and wanted us to do some testing while we were there. We felt bad about just dropping in, but we weren’t going to refuse the added service.

After a quick blood draw and a couple tests, the Doctor came back in and said, "Well, I don’t really know what to say, but there isn’t a trace of microfilaria in his blood."  He got down on his knee and listened to Buddy’s heart (who is a TOTAL SPAZ when it comes to being at the vet and his heart rate hits about 200bpm). The Doc said it sounded "absolutely excellent." We were floored. The vet was understandably cautious, stating that it looked good, but urged us to get the $9 lab work done to test for the adult worms. He said it was clear the microfilaria were gone, but that adults could still be present, just that it could be multiple male or multiple female worms (i.e. unable to breed additional microfilaria).

It was to be 2 days of pins-n-needles waiting for the phone call and trying to keep from emailing Robin before I had a full story from the vet. Well, a few short hours ago I got a call from the vet himself, telling me that BUDDY HAS NO SIGNS OF HEARTWORM! None. Nada. Zip. He was incredibly pleased - I know this because it’s his day off - and urged me to gather the information I had on Bandit’s Heartworm Program and bring it to his office. I of course had to let Robin know immediately and asked her if I could share Buddy’s story. I started typing right away!

It was very hard to put faith into a relative stranger and a "non-traditional" means of approaching a problem (traditionally considered as somewhat grave) when it comes to a potential life threatening issue with your pet, but I am so very happy to say that my dog’s life is another one that Bandit’s program helped maintain (dare I say save). As Robin will state, it’s up to you to decide what steps you are willing to take, but I have 100% faith in what Robin has put together here, and I am so very pleased to say that Buddy is yet another success story to be added to these pages.

I, of course, want to send my warmest thanks to Robin for her selfless devotion to helping others over any other motivation and I also want to send "mad props" to Dr. Nokes and the staff at Middlefield Veterinary Clinic! Should anyone wish to ask me anything about the course of events in Buddy’s "winter of discontent," feel free to ask Robin to pass your contact information my way, and I’d be glad to give you a call. Sadly, lawyers and the internet preclude me from using the verbiage I’d prefer around this issue and it’s important that Robin continues to be able to provide this information, so I’d be happy to speak with you one to one. -- Don Vanco, Middlefield, Ohio

Update September 1, 2006 on Buddy:  He is doing absolutely phenomenal. He still acts like a dog half his age. His last checkup, which was about two months ago, he was still negative and the vet could not detect the murmur he had for so long. After he tested negative, we continued him on the COQ10 and the HS II for a while longer to support his heart. The vet was generally really pleased to see the condition that Buddy was in – he’s really healthy. I gotta tell you that I really think the food is making a HUGE difference – his coat and nails are exceptional, his digestion is totally predictable, and he’s just never been sick. We were worried that after the neutering he’d get fat or lazy, but not at all – he’s simply filled in a little more like he should be (maybe and extra 2 or 3 pounds) and he still has 2 "states" -  either sleeping comfortably or in full-on berserker mode. He’s now on Bandit’s Preventive or Maintenance Program. He has not had any fleas or ticks AT ALL this year and only an occasional mosquito bite. Keep in mind that is a MAJOR feat as I live in a swamp. He’s still on the Life’s Abundance food mix I talked about in his story - we will not be changing that at all. -- Don Vanco

Update February 17, 2007 on Buddy:  We got hammered with snow this week, so Buddy is in heaven! I think he was a very happy sled dog in a past life. Here he is having a ball (his tongue is hanging out because he is constantly shoveling snow into his mouth). -- Don Vanco

Update March 14, 2008 on Buddy:  Well, another update following yet another unbelievable weather week here in Ohio. I never mentioned in past updates that one of the changes Buddy went through in 2006 was to get neutered. It was absolutely the best thing for him for several reasons, but as a guy it was really hard to send him in for "the snip." Plus, I’d heard tales of deep behavioral changes and massive weight gain in some dogs and I didn’t want to see either of those in Buddy. However, I am happy to report that he’s the same old dog he’s always been – his demeanor did not change one bit and his weight has stayed at a near-perfect level. He eats right and gets out at least 4 times a day for several minutes of "crazy time" and that seems to be all it takes.

Last summer was a tough one for the Budster – on May 24th, when leaping about on the rear deck one morning he let out a sudden yelp, and long story short he had a broken toe on his front right paw. And in the worst possible location – imagine a break between the fingernail and first joint of your pinkie finger. The vet warned of a long heal time because of the lack of blood flow in that location and sadly 4 different hard plastic casts would prove no match for Buddy's boundless need to be a spaz (he split one of them in half). After 6 weeks of trying to battle with hard casts, we decided to try a very thick soft cast and after 2+ months of walking a dog with a plastic bag on his leg, Buddy finally healed well enough to be set loose on all fours. But we still had to keep him sedated for weeks. Happily he’s fully recovered!

While his muzzle and coat are starting to show a little more white in all that gold, Buddy continues to thrive and be the perfect companion to us. We’re looking forward to summer already – even got our bottle of Bandit’s Mosquito Repellent ready by the door. Think it’s too soon? I was out chipping ice in the gutters during a thaw 2 weeks ago – and saw not one, but TWO mosquitoes in flight (yes, I’m sure because I killed one of ‘em). All they need is a little warm sun, but we’re ready for ‘em! We owe Buddy a lot of walks near the lake this year, because he didn’t get a single one last year. Until next time, Buddy says, "Woof!" -- Don Vanco

Update Summer of 2010 on Buddy:  In June we had Buddy in to the vet for his semi-annual check-up. His overall physical health remains excellent. The Doctor again commenting on how great his heart sounds, and how his general health is excellent. And yes – his blood test showed him to still be free of heartworm!

But even the vet is noticing that Buddy is transitioning to an older dog, commenting that his age is starting to show in his face. And it’s true – Buddy is getting a bit gray in the face (well, white
really) and is starting to slow down a bit (which is actually a good thing). He also developed a wax plug in one of his ears, and that’s been some fun extra maintenance for him, but we were easily able to take care of it with an ear wash solution. With amount of goop in there I’m amazed he could hear at all in one ear!

As he’s been getting older Buddy seems to be developing some mental issues – odd "fearful" behaviors, mostly around separation. He’s suddenly a 75# lapdog. While we’re trying to understand why this is happening, it is likely that it’s just some behavioral changes associated with his age. And, of course, he loves his dad! When he was at the vet he had an hour of poking, prodding, balance, hearing, and visions tests – and everything seems to be as expected.

We decided to try a specialty food designed for dogs dealing with cognitive changes, but it hasn’t proven to be of any benefit other than the cash flow at the vet. Buddy is still on the Life’s Abundance diet, and in my opinion that food is nearly impossible to beat. So, we’re just making some adjustments to how we interact with him and hope it’s not a sign of anything more serious.

However, we’ve also decided to start to give Buddy some supplementation. Robin suggested this a couple times, and the vet agreed that it’s a key part of keeping a healthy dog healthy.

And – this old dog has learned a new trick. If you’ve read about Buddy you know he’s a "country dumper" – and he came with some issues from being abandoned. One of the things that he NEVER did was to roll over (and if you ever tried to MAKE him roll over you’d better be prepared for a fight). Suddenly this year when out in the yard he decided that wriggling on his back is his new favorite thing. No, he’s not rolling in poop or on a tasty crushed frog, he just seems to love wiggling in the grass, flopping back and forth on his back.

Unfortunately for us he also doesn’t care if there’s dew on the grounds, so he frequently starts the day with a morning rinse compliments of Mother Nature. I can’t tell you how heartwarming it is to see this simple act of doggy joy. Mosquito and deer fly season have been brutal this year, but thanks to Buddy’s general state of health his coat is generally too thick for them to penetrate. However, they’re smart, and they know to aim for his face. We still spritz him with essential oils and water, just making sure to cover his eyes, and he’s good to go. We’ve been lucky to only have a few bug bites this year.

We take Buddy with us all over the place – he owns the back seat of my Mercury Sable (don’t take my word for it – the skid marks on his blanket should convince you). We haven’t taken him anywhere exotic, but then he gets as much thrill from a ride to the local McDonald’s as he did from our trip to North Carolina last year. He knows his dad is bound to cut loose with a french fry or two. We’re just grateful that he’s still around to be a travelin’ dog!

The attached photo is from just a couple of weeks ago – this is Buddy in his "hydrangea hideaway" – this is his idea of helping with the yard work! -- Don Vanco

The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of individual contributors. This web site does not obtain verification of the claims of contributing writers. The success stories and information on this site are not meant to diagnose or prescribe for you or your pet. The ideas and information on the success stories pages have not been endorsed or approved by the FDA.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/15/16

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The Nature In Us Newsletter
February 15, 2016
By Donna L. Watkins

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hello Dear Friends!

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Yellow-rumped Warbler on Deck
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Since my last issue of this newsletter, we've seen two winter visitors that haven't been here so far this year.  The Yellow-rumped Warbler has visited for many years at various times.  It's a busy little bird.  The male you see seems to have a perky personality.  In case you're wondering about the yellow rump, here's another photo that shows you that bright yellow spot.

In winter and migration, Yellow-rumped Warblers are found foraging in quite large  flocks with their own species, but this one seems to be on its own.  They don't nest in our Central Virginia location so it's a real treat to enjoy them as a winter visitor.  Helps to put delight into the winter months too.

Insects are their main diet during the breeding season, but you won't find many of those here in winter, although they do look to uncover them in wintering-over locations like our tree stumps and such.  So they rely heavily on berries when insects are not available. Their small size and the ability to digest the wax on many berries is unique among the warblers.  Our other holly berry loving birds are much larger species.

The Hermit Thrush has a lovely, melancholy song that resonates through the forest.  It's melancholy and yet has a great peace about it.  Totally unusual song.  When you hear it you know it's a Thrush, although you may not recognize which species.

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Hermit Thrush at Heated Birdbath
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We have the Wood Thrush here also and they seem to always sing from the back part of the woods.  They like to be in understories of far northern woods in summer which is where they nest.

Last year was the first year I had the opportunity to get a picture of one.  Then this year one flew in on a Saturday but my

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dietary Supplements Now Has Office at FDA

From Whole Foods Magazine 
(not the Whole Foods Market)

The Dietary Supplement Programs has been elevated from a division to an office at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to an FDA statement, "Elevating the program’s position will raise the profile of dietary supplements within the agency, and will enhance the effectiveness of dietary supplement regulation by allowing ODSP to better compete for government resources and capabilities to regulate this rapidly expanding industry."

Several industry trade associations—the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association (NPA) and the United Natural Products Alliance—previously voiced their support for this move.

The groups stated the change not only underscores the tremendous growth of the industry since the division was established in 1994, but it will also help the agency take more aggressive enforcement action when needed and will elevate the visibility of dietary supplement safety and FDA compliance.  Read the entire article.

My Thoughts:
This can be seen as a very good thing.  Those companies who have been in alignment with the FDA, such as Nature's Sunshine, will be rewarded for their superior quality emphasizing potency and purity.  Too many companies have fudged their labeling and with the labeling laws as they are, it works for them.

Many of the testings now being done to find out the purity and potency of supplements are coming up empty-handed with some of them not even having some of the ingredients listed in the bottle at all.  What a waste of finances!  And if you were just "giving herbs a try" it certainly doesn't get much of a faith factor after it doesn't help.

Nature's Sunshine has always guaranteed potency and purity because they have the millions of dollars worth of equipment to test raw materials and to test the manufacturing process every step of the way.  There are 588 tests used to guarantee the quality standards that Nature's Sunshine insists on. View the video or read the article.

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We Can Transform Our Lives

It's Time To Get Rid of Your Stuff
By Clint Byars

We all need to make changes, we all want to make changes but unfortunately, too many of us have settled for our current struggles and emotional issues. But I have good news, you can change!

Each and every believer in Christ has become a new creature. We have been given a new heart, God has placed his spirit within us, he has translated us into his kingdom, he has sanctified and made us holy through the offering of the body and blood of Christ, he has made us joint-heirs with Jesus, he has raised us to a place of authority with Christ, he has hidden us with Christ in himself, and the list goes on...

Because of these truths we are spiritually complete. Now, the path for each believer is transformation. Transformation happens when we live from our spiritual identity in Christ in any given area.    

Read the entire article and/or watch the video.

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Who Owns Organic? Eggs and More!

Let's start off with egg production.  What's best?
Free Range? Organic? High Omega 3's? 

Understand more about specific egg categories with this article:
How to Shop for Eggs

What's become of all those organic and natural food companies that we've known over the years.  How exciting it was to see more and more coming out and then to see organic foods actually hit the supermarkets was divine, or so we thought.  The reality is that organic became a big consumer consideration and the "big guys" were losing sales and market share.  Corporations like General Mills, Pepsi, Kellogg's, Dannon, Coca-Cola, Post, M&M's and more.

The first wave of acquisitions of
 organic processors was concentrated between December, 1997 and October, 2002. This period coincides with the initial release of the draft USDA organic standards and its full implementation in October, 2002.

A second wave of acquisitions in the organic sector has been occurring since 2012. Surprisingly few major corporate agribusinesses note ownership ties on their acquisitions’ product labels.

The chart was updated in January 2016.  

View an enlarged chart when you read the entire article.

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2015 Top 10 Health, Cancer, and Science Breakthroughs

New Cancer Treatments Can Save a President–or a Baby

U.S. President Jimmy Carter drew attention to new advances in immunotherapy treatments when it cured his brain cancer in just four months.

Here’s how it works: The human immune system doesn’t always see cancer cells, so they can grow unchecked. Immunotherapy changes the equation, strengthening the body’s immune system to include killing cancer. Laboratories all over the world announced breakthroughs this year.

Scientists in the UK were able to inject an altered cold-sore virus into cancer cells, signaling the immune system to attack tumors — and to maintain a “memory” that created new antibodies to kill future cancer cells.

Researchers in Texas used a similar method to cause prostate cancer cells to effectively “self-destruct” by exposing themselves to a newly trained immune system. Coupled with traditional radiation treatment, it led to a 20% improvement in the number of patients surviving at least five years following treatment.

Read the entire article with photographs and 9 more health science breakthroughs.  Amazing what can happen in a year's time!

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Do Dogs Experience Guilt?

Whitey - Dad's Dog
We’ve all seen the dog-shaming photos on the web, with forlorn pups standing next to a pile of rubbish and a poster-board explaining their “crime.”

Pet parents are convinced that dogs express guilt, because we’ve seen it in their eyes! But how much of that look is based on something that they feel independently of your look of disappointment?

Canine behavior researchers took a look at this common belief, and the results just might surprise you! Don’t wait, read this illuminating post now!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/1/16

View This Post on The Website.

The Nature In Us Newsletter
February 1, 2016
By Donna L. Watkins

"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." ~ Kahlil Gibran"

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Hello Dear Friends!

Spiritual & Days Gone By
When I was growing up in the 50's there seemed to be days to do different aspects of housework.  Of course, most women stayed at home as mothers and homemakers.  I remember there being certain days for washing clothes, another day for all that ironing.  I never understood why you bother to iron sheets?!  But with the linen fabric they did wrinkle a lot.  Anybody remember the sprinkler bottle that you moistened clothes with before ironing?

Many people had needlework kitchen towels and we had a set of 7, one for each day, stating what was to be done on that day.  I thought that was pretty cool.  I actually have one of those towels.  My mom did needlework so I don't know if she did them or not.

Mending day ... I bet some younger folks would ask what that was.  These days if something gets a hole in it, it just gets tossed out and a new item purchased.  A very different lifestyle and thought process from 5 decades ago.  I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country so things may have stayed simpler there than many places in the country due to the influence of the Amish and Mennonites.

Birds -  The big Virginia snow storm brought a lot of birds in before, during and after.  Let me thank all of you who emailed concerned whether we were okay.  Sweet! :-) Flocks of Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, American Goldfinch and House Finches increased greatly. They love to catch what the birds drop from the feeder.  The goldfinches enjoy the thistle sock with thistle seed and just cover it with as many that can fit on. Yesterday a White-throated Sparrow took a bath in the bird bath on the deck.

View Enlarged Image
 Tufted Titmouse Looking Cute
View More Titmouse Photos
Our Carolina Wrens enjoy themselves without much social environment between other species.  They toss a lot of the seed on the ground from the feeders digging through to find a bug.  The White-breasted Nuthatch comes to grab some suet and seeds.  They are so much fun to watch since they always go down the tree from above, rather than moving up.  The Eastern Bluebird has been a frequent visitor to the suet feeders.  We usually put mealworms out, but as it was so warm through November and December I never got them ordered, so the suet is making them happy.

The Tufted Titmouse and Black-capped Chickadees continued their routine of grabbing

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