Tips For Using Writing For Self-Healing

By Guest Writer Chloe M. Bennet,

Just like the old suggestion that, if you are ever feeling angry about a situation, you write a letter and then throw it away, writing can be an incredibly therapeutic tool. Expressing yourself on paper has a range of benefits, including allowing you to organize your thoughts on a topic, potentially allowing you to spot solutions, expressing something you’ve never been able to tell anyone, the list goes on. The important thing to recognize is that it certainly can’t do you any harm, and there’s a good chance that devoting a bit of time to using writing to heal some of your mental wounds will make you a whole lot happier.

Develop A Schedule

The deeper the trauma or injury that you’re dealing with mentally is, the longer it will take to heal. In most cases, aside perhaps from the above scenario of writing to express singular anger, you will need to write across a period of time, potentially days, maybe months, to unpack whatever it is you are dealing with. “One thing I always recommend is trying to develop a habit of your writing, building it into your schedule in a way that acts almost like daily medication to fight a long term illness”, says Martha Kim, health writer at BoomEssays and Sociology Essays. It may seem daunting at first but, once you get going, you should find that it becomes something you look forward to, a chance to deal with anything weighing on your mind through an average day.

Ignore Formalities

You don’t need to have headings, or dates (though you might choose to), you don’t even need to have good spelling or grammar. The point is to just write. Often, writing stream of consciousness style can actually be the most therapeutic method, since there’s no barrier between the thoughts in your head and the page before you. Whatever you end up doing, don’t wait on formalities. In all likelihood no-one will ever read what you are writing so just let it flow and concentrate more on delivering truth and arriving at healing than at making sure your punctuation is all in order.

Notice The Change

Sometimes change can be so gradual over time that you don’t even notice it happening. And then one day you just think to yourself that you feel a lot better. This is great but connecting the change to the writing can help you identify what aspect to the writing, or what topics are making the difference in your journey towards reaching a happier, healthier mindset. This can be tough but, combined with daily written check-ins, you ought to be able to see how your mindset is evolving over time.

Be Patient

You can’t expect to get results from this instantly. “For some people, they sit down, write one page and suddenly their mind is able to see clearly where their sadness or anxiety is coming from and how they can go about solving that problem. For most it will take significantly longer than one session. For a few it could take years”, notes Helena Parker, lifestyle blogger at Nursing Essay Writing and Academized. Patience means not expecting results. Not expecting results is actually far more likely to make for a result which actually helps you, since you take the pressure off the writing and it becomes about self-expression, not a means to an ends.

Force Yourself To Write, No Matter Your Mood

It can be easy to think to yourself that, since you’re particularly annoyed about something, or stressed or bored or whatever it might be, you can’t really bring yourself to write. This is the wrong attitude. The point of the writing is to express yourself no matter how you feel. Even if you feel in a great mood, that ought to be chronicled and put down on paper to really give yourself the most complete picture of your mindset that you possibly can.

Conclusion

Overall, writing can be a wonderfully therapeutic thing to do and can, with determination, be used to heal all sorts of wounds. It takes work though, and you’ll need to commit to it. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you to get into the right mindset to find success.

 

About the author:

Chloe Bennet is a health writer at Paper Fellows and Assignment Service. She writes about yoga, meditation and self-help. Also, Chloe teaches editing and grammar at OX Essays portal.

 

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition triggered by a systemic infection, ultimately affecting the function of your vital organs. The infection is sometimes referred to as “blood poisoning” by the public. According to a study tracking data in two different hospital cohorts, 34.7% to 55.9% of American patients who died in hospitals between 2010 and 2012 had sepsis at the time of their death, depending on which inpatient cohort they were in.1

The condition does not discriminate and affects all age groups, socioeconomic groups and genders. A successful outcome relies on early detection and rapid treatment.

Experts are calling for recognition2 of sepsis as a distinct cause of death, hoping this will result in better clinical practice guidelines, stressing awareness in the community and the ER, which may reduce the overall number of deaths.

Infections that progress to sepsis in the hospital may increase risk of death. Researchers found the death rate of patients with sepsis was 10% compared to 1% among patients without sepsis.3 In fact, the same study found half of all in-hospital deaths were related to sepsis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,4 each year 1.7 million adults in the U.S. will develop sepsis and nearly 270,000 will die as a result. In a study5 published in 2016, researchers found sepsis was the most expensive condition treated in the U.S., costing $23.6 billion each year.6

The study discovered total hospital care costs had remained stable but spending for sepsis rose by 19% from 2011 to 2013.7 Data showed sepsis was responsible for 6.2% of all hospital costs across the U.S. and hospitalization for sepsis was 70% more expensive than the average stay. Learning to recognize the symptoms to seek early care may improve the potential for a successful outcome.

Mother recognized sepsis symptoms and sought medical care

One mother in the U.K. made the decision to take her son to the emergency room after he scraped his arm at the zoo the week before. Alexandra Ruddy shared with Yahoo Lifestyle the story of how her son fell at the zoo and scraped his arm.8 Once home she cleaned the wound and cautioned him to continue to wash his hands and take care of the injury throughout the week.

Although the wound didn’t look infected to her, she noticed it had gotten bigger. On the way to the beach over the weekend, she noticed red track marks on his arm. She brought her son to urgent care where the physician commended her for bringing her son in quickly, as9 “It isn’t something you can ‘leave’ until Monday when the doctors are back in the office.”

Luckily, early recognition and treatment contributed to her son’s recovery. She credits knowing about what to look for from information she received from a friend two years earlier. But, sepsis may not always present after an injury or scrape.

Psychotherapist Dean Rosen thought he had the flu when he woke up with a fever.10 Less than 12 hours later, after his wife had driven him to the hospital, the emergency room physician told him he was septic and going into shock. Rosen’s blood pressure plummeted, and his kidneys shut down.

To save him, hospital staff put a port into his neck and pumped in vasoconstrictors and antibiotics. In Rosen’s case, scar tissue from Crohn’s disease had created a blockage in his intestines, resulting in an infection. Rosen was on medication for his Crohn’s disease that weakened his immune system and increased his risk.11

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection already present in your body.12 The result is a medical emergency from a life-threatening chain reaction. According to the Sepsis Alliance,13 80% of cases start in the community and not in the hospital.

The most common types of infection triggering sepsis and/or septic shock are respiratory or urinary tract infections.14 However, sepsis may also develop with an infected cut or scrape as it did for Ruddy’s son, or strep throat, just to name a few scenarios.

Like Rosen, you may not even be aware that you have an infection, although most typically are.15 The definition of sepsis is a16 “life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection.” As explained by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences:17

“Sepsis … is caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. The body releases immune chemicals into the blood to combat the infection. Those chemicals trigger widespread inflammation, which leads to blood clots and leaky blood vessels. As a result, blood flow is impaired, and that deprives organs of nutrients and oxygen and leads to organ damage.

In severe cases, one or more organs fail. In the worst cases, blood pressure drops, the heart weakens, and the patient spirals toward septic shock. Once this happens, multiple organs — lungs, kidneys, liver — may quickly fail, and the patient can die.”

Symptoms of sepsis may look like something else

One of the most important steps you can take to protect your health is to recognize the symptoms of sepsis and seek immediate medical attention if you suspect sepsis.

It is important not to make a diagnosis at home, but instead communicate your concerns with a medical professional who may begin immediate treatment. The signs of sepsis may be subtle and could be mistaken for other conditions. However, sepsis often produces:18,19,20

A high fever with chills and shivering

Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)

Rapid breathing (tachypnea)

Unusual level of sweating (diaphoresis)

Dizziness

Confusion or disorientation

Slurred speech

Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting

Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath

Severe muscle pain

Low urine output

Cold and clammy skin

Skin rash

Many of these symptoms may be confused with a bad cold or the flu. However, they tend to develop quicker than you would normally expect. The Sepsis Alliance recommends using the acronym TIME to remember some of the more common symptoms:21

  • T — Temperature higher or lower than normal?
  • I — Have you now or recently had any signs of an infection?
  • M — Are there any changes in mental status, such as confusion or excessive sleepiness?
  • E — Are you experiencing any extreme pain or illness; do you have a “feeling you may die?”

Know the causes and risk factors of sepsis

While viruses, fungi and parasites may all trigger sepsis, bacterial infections are currently the most common cause. However, research22 has demonstrated the number of fungal-induced sepsis infections is on the rise. There are several conditions that may raise your risk of developing sepsis, including:23,24

Diabetes

Cancer and chemotherapy

HIV infection

Corticosteroids

Chronic illness

Urinary tract infections

Advanced age

Premature infants

Spleen removal

The rising number of antibiotic-resistant infections is also cause for concern as these infections are capable of triggering sepsis. The most commonly known antibiotic-resistant bacteria are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which was first discovered in 1961.25 Over the years, newer drugs treated MRSA for a short time until the bacteria again became resistant.

The growth of antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health worldwide, and a primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the misuse of antibiotics.26 Your exposure to antibiotic overuse is not just from prescriptions in the doctor’s office but also in food production.

Agricultural use accounts for 80% of all antibiotics used in the U.S.,27 which ultimately affects those who eat the meat from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations. The antibiotics alter the gut microbiome in the animal, making some antibiotic-resistant. These pass into the environment through the manure or contaminate the meat during slaughter or processing.

Post sepsis syndrome

While some will recover fully from sepsis, for many the problems do not end at discharge from the hospital. Survivors may suffer physical, psychological and/or neurological consequences for the rest of their lives. The combination of symptoms is called post sepsis syndrome and usually last between six and 18 months. Symptoms of post sepsis syndrome may include:28,29

Lethargy (excessive tiredness)

Changes in peripheral sensation

Repeated infections at the original site or a new infection

Poor mobility

Muscle weakness

Shortness of breath

Chest pains

Swollen limbs

Joint and muscle pains

Insomnia

Hair loss

Dry flaking skin and nails

Taste changes

Poor appetite

Changes in vision

Difficulty swallowing

Reduced kidney function

Feeling cold

Excessive sweating

Depression

Flashbacks

Nightmares

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Poor concentration

Short-term memory loss

Mood swings

Clouded thinking

Anxiety

Sadness

Currently, there is no specific treatment for post sepsis syndrome, but most get better over time. The U.K. Sepsis Trust30 recommends managing individual symptoms and supporting optimal health as you’re recovering. They encourage survivors to talk with friends and family and not to suffer with their symptoms in silence, as this helps to get through the difficult time.

Not all medical professionals are aware of post sepsis syndrome, so it may be helpful to talk about your symptoms and ask for a referral to someone who may help manage your mental, physical and emotional challenges. Some survivors find their immune system is not as effective as long as a year following their recovery, resulting in one infection after another, including coughs and colds.

Vitamin C — A game changer in sepsis treatment


Unfortunately, treatment for sepsis is a considerable challenge, and becoming more so as antibiotic-resistant infections become more prevalent. In the video above, Dr. Paul Marik, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia, discusses a successful treatment protocol he developed.

Marik’s first patient, a 48-year-old woman with a severe case of sepsis, presented in January 2016. Marik describes her condition, saying, “Her kidneys weren’t working. Her lungs weren’t working. She was going to die.”

Having read a study by researchers who had experienced moderate success treating individuals with sepsis using intravenous vitamin C, he decided to give it a try and added hydrocortisone to the infusion. Marik expected his patient would not survive the night, and was surprised to find her well on the road to recovery the next morning.

For the first two or three patients, only vitamin C and hydrocortisone were used. Marik then decided to add thiamine, for several reasons. Importantly, it’s required for metabolism of some of the metabolites of vitamin C, it protects the kidneys from failure common in sepsis,31 and many presenting with sepsis are thiamine deficient.32

Marik’s retrospective before-after clinical study published in the journal Chest,33 showed giving patients intravenous vitamin C with hydrocortisone and thiamine (vitamin B1) for two days reduced mortality nearly fivefold, from 40.4% in the control group receiving standard treatment, to 8.5% in the experimental group.

Developing an effective treatment could reap billions of dollars. However, in this case, profit is not the motive as the cost of ingredients for the protocol are as little as a single dose of antibiotics.

Consider these strategies to reduce your risk of sepsis

Part of what makes sepsis so deadly is people typically do not suspect it, and the longer you wait to treat it, the deadlier it gets.34 If you develop an infection, stay alert to symptoms of sepsis and seek immediate medical attention if they appear. Even health care workers can miss the signs and delay treatment. You may lower your own risk by:

Supporting your immune system — Sleep, nutrition, exercise and optimizing your gut microbiome are foundational pillars of health. You’ll find simple strategies to support those systems in the following articles:

Caring for any chronic illness affecting your risk of sepsis — Research has found illnesses that increase your risk may include chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.35

Promptly treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) — UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, diagnosed in 150 million people each year worldwide,36 and one of the common reasons for the development of sepsis.37

Conventional treatment typically involves antibiotics, but research shows that UTIs caused by E. coli — which comprise38 90% of all UTIs — can be successfully treated with D-Mannose,39 a naturally occurring sugar that’s closely related to glucose. To learn more, see “D-Mannose for UTI prevention validated in a clinical trial.”

Properly cleaning skin wounds — Always take the time to properly clean and care for wounds and scrapes. Wash the open area with mild soap and water to and cover with a sterile bandage. Diabetics should follow good foot care to avoid dangerous foot infections.

Avoiding infections in hospitals — When visiting a health care facility, be sure to wash your own hands, and remind doctors and nurses to wash theirs (and/or change gloves) before touching you or any equipment being used on you.

Stopping nail biting — One study found 46.9% of the participants participated in nail biting (onychophagia).40 Exposure of the delicate skin underneath the nail, transferred from your mouth or acquired from the environment, increases the risk of infection.

How potassium iodide may help protect against radiation

Have you ever been curious as to why table salt is sometimes labeled “iodized?” This is because of potassium iodide, a white crystalline, granular or powdered solid with a strong, bitter and salty taste often added to table salt.1,2

Potassium iodide is also available in supplement form, and can be purchased over-the-counter and on health websites. It has gained popularity because of its ability to protect against the effects of radiation. Keep reading to learn more about potassium iodide’s potential health benefits and what the research has to say about its efficiency.

What is potassium iodide?

Potassium iodide (KI) is a salt of stable and nonradioactive iodine. It appears as transparent or white crystals and is composed of 76% iodine and 23% potassium.3 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it helps inhibit radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland — this is the body part that’s highly sensitive to potassium iodide.4

Once a person takes potassium iodide, the thyroid absorbs the stable iodine in the supplement or solution. The excessive amount of stable iodine in the supplement maxes the thyroid gland’s capacity to hold more iodine and, as a result, it will not be able to absorb any form of iodine, whether radioactive or stable, for the next 24 hours.

Take note, however, that potassium iodide doesn’t promise full protection against radioactive iodine. Factors such as time after contamination, absorption and how much radioactive iodine the person has been exposed to can all play a part in how much protection you can get from this supplement.5 Potassium iodide may be administered intravenously to a fluid-restricted patient by a medical professional.6 Otherwise it is orally ingested, and comes in these forms:7

  • Oral solution or syrup
  • Uncoated tablet
  • Enteric-coated delayed release tablet (Note that the delayed release tablet generally isn’t recommended because it can cause serious side effects)

If you take potassium chloride as a supplement, it’s important to remember to always take it with a glass of water and with a meal, or immediately following a meal.8

Potassium iodide’s health benefits

Numerous health benefits have been attributed to potassium iodide, such as:

Helping protect against the effects of radiation — As mentioned, potassium iodide can be used to block the damaging effects of radioactive iodine. It was one of the solutions used to counteract the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986 (a liquid solution was used by Poland),9 and in the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

According to one study, “Potassium Iodide prophylaxis can be administered in order to prevent an increase in the incidence of thyroid cancers in the population of an area affected by a nuclear disaster.”10

Helping ease respiratory issues — It can be used against infectious respiratory tract diseases as well as pulmonary diseases like emphysema and cystic fibrosis. When taken as a syrup, potassium iodide “acts as an ‘irritating’ expectorant whose mechanism of action will occur by direct irritation of the glands of the respiratory mucosa.”11

Helping treat dermatological problems — Potassium iodide is an old remedy for various types of skin-related conditions, like basidiobolomycosis,12 sporotrichosis, nodular vasculitis and Sweet’s syndrome, to name a few.13

Helping correct thyroid issues — One animal study found that goitrogenic rats who were given potassium iodide had improved levels of thyroid hormones.14 However, prolonged intake of this compound can also result in hypothyroidism,15,16 so caution is greatly advised.

Studies on potassium iodide confirm its other uses

Over the years, studies were conducted regarding the effectiveness of potassium iodide for certain conditions, such as:

  • Rhinofacial conidiobolomycosis (RFC) — According to a 2016 International Journal of Dermatology study, a combination of potassium iodide and itraconazole can be an effective treatment modality for this disease, which causes facial deformity. The study notes that this combination “has a relatively faster onset of action, low relapse and minimal adverse effects,” making it ideal for primary treatment for RFC patients.17
  • Palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) and pustulotic arthro-osteitis (PAO) — Published in the International Journal of Dermatology in 2017, a study showed that using a potassium iodide formula combined with tetracycline can be utilized to address these conditions.18
  • Reduction of lead accumulation — A 2017 International Journal of Occupation Medicine and Environmental Health study revealed that a formula of potassium iodide and chlorophyll, when used as food additives, had the same effects as meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) in inhibiting lead accumulation among male rats.19
  • Graves’ disease — In a study published in the American Journal of Surgery in 2017, potassium iodide given before an operation helped Graves’ disease patients in reducing blood loss during a thyroidectomy. Traditionally, potassium iodide was utilized to prepare patients of the disease before a thyroidectomy.20

Before you consider taking potassium supplements, however, you need to be aware that there are studies that show that potassium iodide may also cause negative effects, especially when taken in incorrect dosages. For example, a 2013 Thyroid Research article showed that potassium iodide, when used in the highest concentrations, increased lipid peroxidation in a concentration-dependent manner.21

This is one reason why taking the right potassium iodide dosage is crucial to avoiding its negative side effects. In fact, the World Health Organization has provided a table of recommended iodine dosage for nuclear or radiological emergencies, depending on age.22

Always consult your physician for the correct dosage, and do not self-medicate. Caution is also advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women,23 as well as people with health problems who are taking medications — more information below.

Side effects of potassium iodide

The Mayo Clinic notes that diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and stomach pain are some side effects that may occur if you take potassium iodide, although they may not require a doctor’s visit, and will go away once your body acclimates to the supplement. However, there are side effects, that may need a physician’s consult immediately, such as:24

  • Hives
  • Joint pain
  • Swelling of the arms, face, legs, lips, tongue and/or throat
  • Swelling of lymph glands

Additionally, sometimes long-term use of potassium iodide supplement can trigger side effects such as:

  • Burning of the mouth or throat
  • Increased watering of the mouth
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in the hands or feet
  • Weakness or heaviness of the legs
  • Sores on the skin
  • Soreness of teeth and gums
  • Symptoms of head cold
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion

Potassium iodide’s contraindications

If you’re taking medications for certain health conditions you should not use this supplement without precise instructions and careful watch by your doctor. Avoid taking potassium iodide supplements alongside the following medicines because of possible interactions:25

  • Acenocoumarol
  • Anisindione
  • Dicumarol
  • Phenindione
  • Phenprocoumon
  • Warfarin

You have any of the following conditions you should use potassium iodide supplements with caution because of potential reactions:26,27,28

  • You are on a low-potassium diet
  • You have multinodular goiter
  • You have Graves’ disease
  • You have autoimmune thyroiditis
  • You have hyperkalemia (high blood levels of potassium)
  • You have Myotonia congenita

On the other hand, if you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid taking potassium iodide:29,30

  • Iodine sensitivity
  • People with dermatitis herpetiformis and hypocomplementemic vasculitis — these extremely rare conditions are linked to an increased risk of iodine hypersensitivity
  • Nodular thyroid with heart disease
  • Tuberculosis — potassium iodide can worsen this condition
  • Kidney disease — potassium iodide can increase the amount of potassium in the blood
  • An overactive thyroid — Unless you are taking potassium iodide for this medical problem, prolonged use can harm your thyroid gland

Avoid alcohol or tobacco when taking potassium iodide supplements because this can lead to adverse reactions.31 Lastly, avoid using table salt or food as a substitute for potassium iodide and dietary supplements that contain iodine. These can be harmful and nonefficacious.32

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about potassium iodide

Q: Is potassium iodide an electrolyte?

A: Yes, potassium iodide is an electrolyte.33

Q: Is potassium iodide ionic or covalent?

A: Potassium iodide is considered an ionic bond.34

Q: Is potassium iodide soluble in water?

A: Yes. According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information, potassium iodide is an odorless white solid that sinks and mixes with water.35

Q: Where can you buy potassium iodide?

A: Potassium iodide supplements can be bought over-the-counter or through websites.36

Q: How much potassium iodide should you take daily?

A: It’s best to check with your doctor to know how much potassium iodide you should be taking.


How do different eggs stack up in terms of flavor, nutrition and animal welfare?

Eggs are among the healthiest foods out there, but not all eggs are created equal, and sorting through the egg labels to identify the highest quality eggs can be a confusing affair.

Health conscious consumers know to look for designations like “organic,” “free-range,” “pastured” and “cage-free,”1 but while you may think many of these are interchangeable, they’re actually not. In some ways, these labels are little more than creative advertising.

The featured video, “Egg Crackdown,” a CBC Marketplace report by investigative reporter Asha Tomlinson, investigates the marketing of supermarket eggs and visits egg producers to get a firsthand look at what the company’s label actually means.

There is a confusing array of egg labels

Unfortunately, while the Humane Farm Animal Care, a nonprofit certification agency, has set standards for free-range and pastured poultry for products bearing its Certified Humane label,2 there’s no legal definition of these terms in the U.S.

The “free-range” definition established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture applies to chickens only,3 not their eggs. As a result, the commercial egg industry is able to run industrial farm egg laying operations while still calling them “free-range” eggs, despite the fact that the birds’ foraging conditions are far from natural.

Confusing matters further, while organic poultry and eggs are guaranteed to be free-range, as required by organic standards, free-range poultry are not required to be organic.4 Importantly, the organic label is also the only way to ensure you’re getting eggs from chickens that have not been fed antibiotics for growth purposes, as this is not allowed under the organic standards.

For chickens, the USDA’s definition of free-range does not specify the amount of time the hens must spend outdoors or the amount of outdoor space each hen must have access to. Nor do they indicate that the hen must have access to a pasture diet.

True free-range eggs, now typically referred to as “pasture raised” as a way to differentiate them, come from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects and worms.

Large commercial egg facilities typically house tens of thousands of hens and can even go up to hundreds of thousands of hens. Obviously, they cannot allow all of them to forage freely. However, they can still be called “cage-free” or “free-range” as long as they’re not confined to an individual cage.

Overall, the cage-free and free-range labels say little to nothing about the conditions in which the chickens are raised, and more often than not, they’re still deplorable. So, for the best quality eggs, from the most humanely-raised hens, the label you’re looking for is “pastured.”

Putting eggs to the test

In the featured video, CBC Marketplace also conducts a taste test to see how the different farming methods translate into flavor. Included in the taste test are conventional battery caged eggs, free-range, organic and pastured eggs. The two conventional brands tested were Burnbrae and Gray Ridge.

In terms of flavor, the conventional eggs were deemed “bland,” and some of the testers expressed concerns about animal welfare being one of the reasons they avoid conventional eggs. Tomlinson visits a CAFO in Ontario to investigate the conditions in which these egg-layers are raised.

The facility houses 20,000 chickens, and operations are automated. Each cage houses six chickens, the space being just tall and wide enough for the chickens to fit with minimal space to move. The eggs drop through an opening onto a conveyer belt.

Next up in the taste test were Small Flock’s Delight’s brown eggs “from hens on grass,” a Canadian free-range brand, the label of which states: “Back to the old way, small flocks of happy hens picking and scratching through soil and green plants.” Some taste testers said these eggs had a much more robust flavor and aroma, while others guessed they were conventional.

Enriched colony, nest laid eggs are CAFO

Next, Tomlinson visits a CAFO with “enriched housing” facilities. Eggs such as these cost about 50 cents Canadian more than conventional eggs and are marketed as being more ethical. But are they? The hens raised in enriched housing facilities get double the square inch of space given conventional chickens, and each cage has a scratch pad and perch rail.

They also have a darkened “privacy quarter” in which they can lay their eggs, as scientists claim hens prefer to lay eggs in a dark, private area. Other than that, the facilities and methods are identical to those of a regular CAFO. Eggs such as these are typically labeled as “enriched colony,” “enriched coup” or “nest laid.”

Pastured eggs — A superior choice in terms of flavor and nutrition

As noted in the featured video, while “free run,” “free-range” and “pastured” may sound like interchangeable terms, they’re not. And the reality behind these terms isn’t necessarily what you might expect:

“Free run” eggs are from chickens that are not confined to battery cages, but they’re still cooped up indoors, in a giant factory-style building, without access to the outside.

“Free-range,” is basically the same, but with access to the outdoors — at least in theory: Pictures from some free-range farms have a conspicuous absence of chickens in their outdoor areas.

Then there’s pastured. CBC visits Organic Meadows, a farmer-owned cooperative that raises “pastured” chickens and eggs. Each day, the barn is opened up and the birds migrate outdoors.

“Fresh air and sunshine, that does a lot of good to an animal,” the farmer says. The hens are fed organic feed, and the eggs are hand-gathered. Thus, they command a markedly higher retail price.

While everyone might not be able to afford pastured eggs, “the consumer can feel confident they’re getting their money’s worth,” the farmer says. As for taste, “creamy” and “delicious” were some of the comments given after tasting Organic Meadow’s pastured eggs.

As noted in the video, the diet of the chicken can impact not only the taste of the egg, but also its nutritional value. CBC Marketplace had the different types of eggs tested for their nutritional content, and the differences were significant.

Organic Meadow’s pastured eggs received the highest nutritional rating, having three to five times more vitamin E, twice as much omega-3 fat and significantly higher amounts of vitamins A and D than the other eggs.

When it came to taste, Burnbrae’s conventional eggs came in last place, with none of the taste testers selecting it as their favorite. The free run eggs came in fifth place, followed by the free-range brand (Small Flock’s Delight) and Burnbrae’s Organic. Interestingly, the win was a tie between Gray Ridge’s conventional and Organic Meadow’s pastured eggs.

Pastured eggs less likely to carry pathogenic contamination

While not discussed in this CBC Marketplace report, pastured eggs are also far less likely to be contaminated with disease-causing pathogens. CAFOs are known to be hotbeds for Salmonella infection.5

Eggs can become contaminated while they are being formed if the Salmonella bacteria exist inside a chicken’s ovaries. As noted in the report,6,7 “Food Safety and Cage Egg Production” by the Humane Society, published in 2011:

All 16 scientific studies published in the last five years comparing Salmonella contamination between caged and cage-free operations found that those confining hens in cages had higher rates of Salmonella, the leading cause of food poisoning-related death in the United States.”

Today, we also have antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella to contend with, which makes potential contamination even more worrisome. While there’s no way to guarantee 100% safety at all times, the benefits of free-range poultry are becoming more well-recognized, and reduced disease risk is definitely part of that benefits package.

Eggs are an important part of a healthy diet

As mentioned, eggs are one of the healthiest foods around, loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals, including selenium, vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B7 (biotin) and B12, high-quality protein, iodine, vitamin D, zinc, omega-3 fats and more.8

Eggs are also an important source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants known to play a role in healthy vision and the prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, and are one of the best sources of choline available, providing 430 milligrams of choline per 100 grams.9

Choline helps keep your cell membranes functioning properly, plays a role in nerve communications and prevents the buildup of homocysteine in your blood, which is good because elevated levels are linked to heart disease.

Choline also helps reduce chronic inflammation and has been shown to lower your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, in part due to its role in phosphatidyl choline and transporting fats out of your liver,10 and part due to the fact that it’s an important part of the mitochondrial membrane, and mitochondrial dysfunction is a central mechanism in the pathogenesis of NAFLD.11

Choline deficiency is thought to play a major role in NAFLD because it disturbs mitochondrial bioenergetics12 and fatty acid oxidation.13 Choline also enables your body to make the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is involved in storing memories. In pregnant women, choline helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida, while also playing a role in your baby’s brain development.

According to a study14 published in the journal Nutrients, only 8.03 to 0.56% of U.S. adults are getting enough choline — including only 8.51 to 2.89% of pregnant women. Among egg consumers, however, 57.3% meet the adequate intake levels for choline.

Based on the outcomes, the study authors concluded that “it is extremely difficult to achieve the adequate intake for choline without consuming eggs or taking a dietary supplement.”15

Some of the symptoms associated with low choline levels include lethargy, memory problems and persistent brain fog. Because your body can only synthesize small amounts of this nutrient, you must get it from your diet on a regular basis.

Where and how to find organic pastured eggs

So to summarize, what you’re really looking for is eggs that are both certified organic and true pasture-raised. Barring organic certification, which is cost-prohibitive for many small farmers, you could just make sure the farmer raises his chickens according to organic, free-range standards, allowing his flock to forage freely for their natural diet, and doesn’t feed them antibiotics, corn or soy.

If you live in an urban area, visiting a local health food store is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality local egg sources. Your local farmers market is another source for fresh organic pasture-raised eggs, and is a great way to meet the people who produce your food.

With face-to-face contact, you can get your questions answered and know exactly what you’re buying. Better yet, visit the farm and ask for a tour. Your egg farmer should be paying attention to proper nutrition, clean water, adequate housing space and good ventilation to reduce stress on the hens and support their immunity.

To get an idea of what you’re looking for in a superior egg producer, take a look at Joel Salatin’s Polyface farm operation below. He’s truly one of the pioneers in sustainable agriculture, and you can take a virtual tour through his chicken farm operation in the following video.

As a general rule, you can tell the eggs are pastured by the color of the egg yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs from caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet.

For store-bought eggs, be sure to check out Cornucopia’s organic egg scorecard that rates 136 egg producers based on 28 organic criteria. According to Cornucopia, their report “showcases ethical family farms and their brands, and exposes factory farm producers and brands in grocery store coolers that threaten to take over organic livestock agriculture.”


Another alternative: Raise your own backyard chickens

This is the choice I have actually taken. I had a chicken coop built for 20 chickens and I now have 14 chickens and will likely get more soon. Eggs are my primary protein source as I eat about six eggs every day. Seemed to be the best strategy to get the highest quality eggs.

As noted in the featured Marketplace report, backyard chickens are making a comeback, as more homeowners are adding free-roaming chickens to their gardens. If you are so inclined, it’s by far your best egg sourcing option.

As you can see in the Polyfarm video above, raising chickens is not very difficult. If you are interested in the possibility of raising a few chickens yourself, a good place to begin is by asking yourself a few questions (see below). You can also visit Joel’s Polyface Farm Web site for more details on raising chickens.

  1. Can I dedicate some time each day? — You can expect to devote about 10 minutes a day, an hour per month and a few hours twice a year to the care and maintenance of your brood.
  2. Do I have enough space? — They will need a minimum of 10 square feet per bird to roam, preferably more. The more foraging they can do, the healthier and happier they’ll be and the better their eggs will be.
  3. What are the chicken regulations in my town? — You will want to research this before jumping in because some places have zoning restrictions and even noise regulations (which especially applies if you have a rooster).
  4. Are my neighbors on board with the idea? — It’s a good idea to see if they have any concerns early on.
  5. Can I afford a flock? — There are plenty of benefits to growing your own eggs, but saving money isn’t one of them. There are significant upfront costs to getting a co-op set up, plus ongoing expenses for supplies.

The Making of a Monster: We’re All Lab Rats in the Government’s Secret Experiments

“But these weren’t the kind of monsters that had tentacles and rotting skin, the kind a seven-year-old might be able to wrap his mind around — they were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep, so banal you don't recognize them for what they are until it's too late.” — Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

The U.S. government, in its pursuit of so-called monsters, has itself become a monster.

This is not a new development, nor is it a revelation.

This is a government that has in recent decades unleashed untold horrors upon the world — including its own citizenry — in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.

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This Laser Destroys Cancer Cells Circulating in the Blood

by Sarah Biren

A new cancer treatment is on the horizon: a laser beam device that can detect and kills cancer cells circulating in our blood on the spot.

In a study published by Science Translational Medicine, researchers developed technology able to track cancer cells with more precision than conventional methods. They beamed lasers onto the skin of the patient and found cancer cells using heat and sound waves.

Most conventional methods of detecting cancer are limited when it comes to diagnosing cancer in its early — and most treatable — stages.

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Blood Sacrifice, Then and Now

As the meme below asks, why would ancient artists depict this gruesome scene? Why is this murderous scene depicted as such an organized activity? Why does this activity look so much like ancient ritual animal sacrifice?

Why are they collecting the blood of these children they are sacrificing? Why are there both men and women present, and casual conversation occuring in the background? Why are the facial expressions of the perpetrators so blasé?

With what we know today about the Luciferian elites ritually sacrificing children and enhancing their life experience by drinking the sacrificial blood, the below image jumps off the page. It says that this has been a secret activity among the elite for thousands of years. In other words it is part of an inter-generational conspiracy.

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