8 Easy Ways to Incorporate Those Vital Veggies

by admin

When was the last time you ate a vegetable? No, french fries don’t count.

You want your daily diet jam-packed with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Like little goodie grenades for your cells, vegetables are vital. Here are some easy ways to incorporate vegetables, every which way, every day. More

Fresh Fish vs. Farm Raised Fish: How to Choose the Healthiest Source

by admin

Old MacDonald’s farm did NOT have a fish here nor there!!!

There has been a lot of talk about industrially raised beef versus grass-fed cows, but what is also getting some press recently is farm-raised fish.  Overfishing has been an issue in some areas, and these farms have been popping up to help with the shortage of fish as well as to control the supply.  Is this really a good thing, though?

First let’s look at practices – how could someone actually farm fish?  Well, this is usually done with cages in the ocean, lakes, ponds and even rivers.  There have been some concerns that when any living thing is forced to live and grow unnaturally that there are consequences.  It is the same with fish.  When these fish are raised in such close quarters, they are said to be “so confined that they’re essentially stewing in their own feces,” says Don Coleman, 42, from Berkeley, Calif., a volunteer from the nonprofit Friends of the River.

As well as often being fed an unnatural diet of…any guesses?  Soy and corn!  “But wait,” you may be thinking, “I don’t think fish eat corn…I’ve never seen corn growing in the ocean!”  Sadly that is often a large part of what they’re being fed because government subsidies make corn and soy cheap.

Just as with cows who are fed an unnatural diet and kept in unnaturally close quarters, these fish have chronically suppressed immune systems, and therefore are sick often.  Industrial farming has treatments for symptoms, not corrections for causes.  They also have antibiotics and pesticides to keep the fish alive long enough to reach market size.  Then they are shipped off to restaurants and grocery stores, and end up feeding your children.  Keep in mind:  when you eat sick things, you get sick.

So how do you navigate these murky waters when dining on seafood?  There are a few things to remember that will help you make informed and healthy decisions for you and your family:

  • Always avoid farmed salmon and shrimp unless they are organically farmed.
  • Not all farmed fish are raised inhumanely, nor do they all produce sick fish.  Certain types are grown inland; with enough room to be healthy, tilapia (for example) is a fish that is farmed but still okay to eat.
  • Watch out for big fish such as albacore tuna and swordfish – they usually contain bio-accumulated mercury.


Want more info?  Here are two great guides that you can print out to put in your wallet or purse, showing you exactly what types of fish are good, just okay, and bad for you and the environment.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Pocket Guides

Food and Water Watch

Micronutrients vs. Macronutrients: The Secret to Understanding Food Breakdown

by admin

Grandma was right:  you are what you eat.  Literally.  Your body has the amazing ability to take the foods you eat and turn them into you.  How incredible is that?  Whether you eat an apple, a steak or a kale salad, your amazing body is able to break that food down into its chemical parts and reassemble those parts into your cells and the energy you use all day.  That is miraculous.  Outside the plant and animal kingdom, there is nothing else that can do that!

Here is the catch:  your body is only as amazing as the material it has to work with.  The quality of the food you put into your amazing body has a huge impact on your health.  An apple is not just an apple, nor is a steak just a steak.  As stated above, your body is able to break those foods down into their chemical parts, like macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the structural and energy-giving caloric components of our foods that most of us are familiar with.  They include carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health.

The quantity and quality of these nutrients vary greatly, depending on not only what types of food you eat, but also the quality of those foods.  Processed foods tend to have more macronutrients than natural foods at the expense of micronutrients.  This is because processing food strips the foods of many of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals and gives the food a longer shelf life.  So cereal grains, breads, candy and sweets, dairy products, much of fast foods and other processed foods give you tons of calories without much micronutrient content – and that type of eating is responsible for many of the lifestyle diseases that are killing 75% of Americans.  At Bonfire Health, we recommend eating a natural diet, packed with micronutrients similar to our hunter gatherer ancestors.  So, switch to eating high-quality, natural foods from the earth.  Skip the stuff that comes in packages that can sit in your pantry for months and not spoil.  Eat lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and meat.

It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference in the quality of those foods as well.  Earlier it was stated that an apple is not just an apple and a steak is not just a steak.  Depending on where your food was grown, or how your meat was raised, the quality of its macro and micro nutrients can be incredibly different.  Focusing on local foods ensures that you will get the most bang for your buck in terms of fruits and veggies loaded with micronutrients.  Focusing on eating healthfully-raised animals like grass-fed cows and free range chickens will ensure that the meat you feed your family was ethically raised. It will have fewer antibiotics and hormones, it is better for the planet, and it ensures that you and your family are building your bodies with the best possible components.  If you are interested in thriving and not simply surviving, the types and amounts of these nutrients are critical.


Mindful Eating: Understand the Mind-Body Connection and Take Control of the Way You Eat!

by admin

If you were given a container of popcorn to eat during a movie, do you think you would eat more popcorn if the container was bigger?  Or do you think you’d eat only however much you were hungry for?  Researcher Brain Wansink tells us that you do, in fact, eat more if the container is bigger.  In fact, he has done numerous studies on how much popcorn people eat in a movie theater.  He has even made sure that the popcorn was stale and tasteless.  Guess what happened?  People still eat lots of popcorn, always much more than they think they are eating.  They eat even more of it if it’s in a gigantic container.  And they eat it even if it doesn’t taste very good. More

Short Interval, High Intensity Exercise

by admin

Move Slowly, Don’t Stop, and Carry A Big Stick
Humans evolved over the millennia being physical – survival meant performing consistently varied, relatively low intensity endurance activities such as gathering food, building shelter, tracking animals, and simply moving with the seasons (this was 40,000 years before agriculture appeared).  This means that humans developed the physiological need for moving at a low level of exertion for several hours a day.

Occasionally, short-duration outputs of peak power during fights and sprints were required (to chase or flee from an opponent or animal).  Rarely, if ever, did man spend any long periods of time with his heart rate significantly elevated as a distance runner might today – just as we can look to those genetic ancestors of ours for answers to our dietary needs (eat plants and animals; do not eat grains or dairy), today we can and should take note of our ancestors’ movement patterns for the exercise component of optimal health. More

Your Circle of Influence- How to Effectively Influence the World Around You

by admin

We can consider our Circle of Influence the collection of things in life that we have the ability to directly impact through our decisions and our actions.  Our Circle of Concern is the collection of everything we are aware of, whether we will ever be able to impact it or not.  The first of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to Be Proactive.  Stephen Covey advises us to spend our energy on the things we can impact, rather than those that our attention will be wasted on. More

Best Practices and Vital Behaviors

by admin

One of the terms used extensively throughout the Bonfire Health Experience, Best Practices refers to the concepts or strategies common to successful results or consequences.  When researchers look for the road map to success (hence the old adage “success leaves clues”), they study “positive deviants” - those characteristics or behaviors that are more likely to result in a successful outcome.  For example, within the area of personal finance, there is the known successful strategy (i.e. best practice) of saving 10-15% of your income.  But, knowing what the Best Practice is and doing the best practice often requires identifying and employing another action step or tool – a Vital Behavior.

Vital Behavior is defined as a high leverage action step or trigger that leads directly to the desired outcome.  In the saving money example above, the Vital Behavior would be to set up a regularly scheduled (i.e. weekly or monthly) Electronic Funds Transfer that transfers money into an account, which is difficult for you to access.

Adverse Effects Of Drugs: Side Effects Are Toxic Effects

by admin

The harm resulting from the adverse effects of drugs, while receiving more and more attention, has been growing at an alarming rate over the past decade.  A key reason for this is that people ingesting drugs do not fully understand the harm that these drugs may do to their body.  While much more attention is on the important fight against illegal drugs, the harm caused by adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to legal drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, is in fact much greater.  A systematic review of the effects of adverse drug reactions showed that 7% of all hospital admissions were the result of harm done by adverse reactions to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.  Some estimates have shown that there are over 100,000 deaths related to ADRs in the U.S. per year.

supplements fish oil health healthy

The adverse effects of drugs come from two sources.  The first is the direct harm the drug causes to your body.  The second is the harm done to your body by ignoring the cause of the problem that the drug is treating.  The vast majority of drug use is to treat the effects of unhealthy lifestyle choices.  While they are necessary at times, as in acute injury and crisis, the use of drugs as a lifestyle is a major factor in this country’s health crisis.  Use the best practices in the Bonfire Program to get healthy and keep yourself healthy, to keep you out of harm’s way.

Let’s look at the various types of adverse effects caused by drugs:

Over-the-Counter Drugs
The most commonly used and most overlooked harm from drugs is the use of over-the-counter medications (OTC).  The most commonly used OTC drugs are known as NSAIDs, the painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs that include aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.  While millions of Americans use these drugs every year, some with regularity, few people realize the harmful effects they have.

In fact, they have so many harmful effects that the American Geriatrics Society, as described in this NY Times article, says these drugs “should be considered ‘rarely’ in the population of frail elderly people, and used ‘with extreme caution’ and then only in ‘highly selected individuals.’”

Acetominophen, the ingredient found in Tylenol and other common over-the-counter drugs, is the number one cause of acute liver failure.  Even twice the dosage on the package taken for regular intervals has been found to cause severe liver damage, according to the journal, Hepatology.  People with pre-existing liver issues can be harmed by even the recommended dosage for other people.  These toxicity issues have researchers calling for an end to over-the-counter status for acetaminophen.

Acid reflux medication harms your body’s ability to absorb minerals such as calcium, something that was first noticed when regular users of acid reflux medications experienced greater fracture rates than others.  An estimated one third of migraine headaches are caused by regular usage of painkillersAntibiotics usage results in 20% of hospitalizations stemming from adverse drug reactions, with the highest incidence being children under the age of five.

Prescription Drugs
The list of major harm done by prescription drugs is a lengthy one.  The COX-2 inhibitors, a class of pain killers touted as safer than earlier medications, were found to create cardiovascular complications such as heart attack and stroke.  As a result, in 2004 Vioxx was pulled from the market, having already been taken by 84 million people.

This story has repeated over and over again over the past few decades.  Just two years earlier, a Woman’s Health Initiative Study was halted due to concerns regarding female Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT.  HRT was prescribed for post-menopausal symptoms and has been implicated in large numbers of cases of breast cancer.

Multiple reports have recently detailed that drugs given to treat osteoporosis actually cause problems with bones.  Not only do they create osteonecrosis of the jaw (bone death), they promote femur fractures in some people.  Now reports have drugs showing they are causing the very problems they are attempting to prevent.

Fines and Penalties
While the majority of doctors prescribing drugs have their patients’ best interests at heart, their practice habits are influenced by pharmaceutical companies.  Giant pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, have had their motives questioned again and again.  Despite massive fines, such as drug-maker AstraZeneca’s $520 million settlement and Pfizer’s (producer of Lipitor) $2.3 billion fine with the Justice Department, safety appears to still take a back seat to profits.  Ten percent of approved drugs are subsequently taken off the market, or have additional safety labels applied to them, after they have been promoted heavily to medical doctors and the public.

Drug-Drug Interactions
To make matters worse, it becomes impossible to predict what the outcome will be when multiple medications are given to a single individual.  Scientific trials are performed with specific age groups, being tested for safety and efficacy of a single treatment.  However, drugs are not typically given in isolation.  The average senior citizen is on seven pharmaceutical drugs.  This type of poly-pharmacy creates the potential for drug interactions where the presence of more than one type of drug creates unpredictable adverse effects.  And again, over-the-counter medications can interact with prescribed drugs to create toxicity and injury.

There has been a growing outcry from the public and health care professionals over this level of iatrogenic injury.  Even members of the medical profession have created a growing niche criticizing the focus on drugs, rather than health.  Here is an ever-growing list of publications brought about by the people involved, exposing the current practices of the medical profession.

  • Dr. John Abraham, distinguished practice medical doctor from Hamilton, MA, and his bestseller Overdosed America
  • Peter Rost, former Marketing Vice President of Pfizer, and his book, The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman
  • Jerome P. Kassirer, former Editor-In-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and his book, On The Take:  How Medicine’s Complicity With Big Business Can Endanger Your Health