Category Archives: Health

Mary’s Winter Immune Boosting Regimen, Part 3

Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 3 from Beeyoutiful.com

Today I’m sharing the last of the steps that I use to support my family’s health during the cooler months. I have led you on the same path that I take when encouraging and supporting my family’s health, and tried to share ideas on how I use each category of tools. Take a look back at Parts One and Two to see what we’ve covered together so far.

Sometimes, I’ll selectively use one or two to relieve a symptom, such as a particularly nasty sore throat or a fever that’s spiked higher than is comfortable.

I’ve learned over the years the remedies that I’m comfortable and confident in applying on my own, and what’s the most safe in our specific circumstances. Your own family’s health situation is unique, so of course, we always advise seeing your family healthcare provider to ensure you are caring for yourself and your family properly, especially in the case of worsening illness.

Here is how I use the strongest category of tools with my family to help decrease illness and boost health.

9. Herbal Tinctures – Whether they’re extracts I have purchased or made at home, tinctures are a great way to stop illnesses in their tracks! We use a variety of tinctures in our home to help support the liver and digestive and respiratory systems, and to aid the body when suffering specific symptoms or discomforts.

Try some of our family’s favorites.

  • Elderberry Tincture – Sometimes it can be hard to get larger amounts of elderberry syrup in your little ones, and concentrated tinctures are a great way to get the benefits without the larger volume.
  • Milk Thistle Tincture –  This helps to support the liver and aid the body when suffering from illness.
  • Wormwood – Not the best tasting, but a great way to help decrease candida infections.
  • Red Raspberry Tincture – Soothing and a great boost to the immune system with a large amount of vitamins and minerals.
  • Mullein – Soothing and calming, and supports glandular health.
  • Lobelia – Very good for the respiratory system, and can also be used externally to help decrease coughs.
  • Barberry – We have found this is not only incredible for liver support, but will also stop a cold in its tracks!

How to make a simple tincture

Vodka or Brandy (you may also use vinegar or vegetable glycerin)
Dried or Fresh Herbs
A clean jar

Select the herb and liquid combination. If using fresh herbs, your ratio of herb to liquid should be 1:2; with dried herbs, the ratio is 1:4. Add your herb to the jar, and then cover with the appropriate amount of liquid. Put the lid on and give a thorough mixing by shaking gently.

Let the jar sit on a windowsill or countertop for 2-4 weeks, occasionally giving it a gentle shake. When it has steeped sufficiently, strain out the herbs and pour the infused liquid into a dark glass container. I use bottles with dropper tops to easily dispense my tinctures.

Based on these steeping ratios, the dosage for an adult is usually considered two droppers full, and for a child 1/2 to 1 dropper. I always start with a smaller dose and work up as needed.

10. Colloidal Silver and Grapefruit Seed Extract – Sometimes despite our best efforts, it seems like we need a little extra oomph in our game plan. This is when I begin doses of Colloidal Silver or Grapefruit Seed Extract.

I use them with the knowledge that they are extremely potent and have the potential to damage gut flora. I make sure to replenish with good fermented foods and probiotics to build up a healthy diversity of gut bacteria once again.

Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 3 from Beeyoutiful.com11. Finally, I increase my use of Essential Oils. We do regularly run our diffuser and apply diluted essential oils to the bottom of our feet and spines, and while I use essential oils moderately throughout times of illness, I usually reserve aggressive use (such as hourly massages, soaks in the bath, or steam treatments) for the very end of my arsenal.

We use the Bath Salt Refill Kit to make our own bath salt soaks specific to our needs. We’ll add a drop of Lemongrass and Tea Tree to the salt and then soak during a fever, or use a drop of Ginger and Orange oils when our tummy wants to rumble.

We also like to give and receive massages to help stimulate the lymph system, as well as support the body systems affected. This is great for help when the illness is causing symptoms that are otherwise bothersome and unpleasant.

For this list of our favorite essential oils for massage, I have decided to focus on the oils that are considered kid friendly, but there are a lot of other oils that could be used. (Always check with a qualified aromatherapist or a reliable reference book to see if a specific oil should be used in your situation!)

Respiratory: Frankincense, Lavender, Tea Tree, most of the Citrus Oils (be careful to avoid sunlight for twelve hours following application due to increased photosensitivity), Chamomile and Pine.

Digestive: Ginger, Spearmint, Chamomile, and Orange

Soothing and Calming: Black Pepper, Marjoram, Lavender, and Chamomile

You can find dilution ratios in the product descriptions on each Beeyoutiful essential oil product description, or reference The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for precise instructions on how to dilute and apply essential oils when massaging.

For a list of additional oil recipes for children, head over to our Kid-Friendly Essential Oil Zone.

No matter how much we hope to avoid illness, with kids in the house the likelihood that we totally escape the sniffles or rumbly tummy is slim. So being ready and armed to fight off the monster bugs while making our families feel their best is a priority.

Assembling your arsenal and having a game plan in advance will help you better engage the enemy and come out the winner!

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Mary’s Winter Immune Boosting Regimen, Part 2

Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 2 from Beeyoutiful.com

Two weeks ago, I shared with you the first four steps I take to protect and boost my family’s health during the cooler months of the year when monster bugs tend to want to make their way into our lives. Something as simple as a slight cold can keep our family on quarantine for over two weeks as it works it way through the ranks, so letting down my guard isn’t an option!

If you missed the last post, take a few moments to read the first four steps here. You’ll want to have them in mind as you think about preventing illness this winter.

The next four steps are typically reserved for when we know we’ve been exposed to something nasty, we’re exhibiting signs of illness, or we’re already waving white flags of surrender because sickness has found us!

Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 2 from Beeyoutiful.com

5. Herbal Teas

While we already use some herbal teas to help decrease our likelihood of getting sick in the first place, I ramp up our doses when we’re facing an increased assault. We cut out most solid foods when we are first feeling down, and replace them with herbal teas and rich bone broths.

I use Red Raspberry Leaf blended with Hibiscus and Rosehips to make gallons of that I sweeten slightly with some local raw honey. This is encouraged generously as the main drink throughout the day to supply both vitamins and minerals to my little “patients.”

Other teas you may consider for general immune boosting are Herbal Immuni-Tea, Lemongrass, Lemon BalmElderberry, Nettles and Alfalfa.

If we have sore or tickly throats, I use Marshmallow Leaf, Mullein, or Slippery Elm as well.

For upset tummies, I make sure to use Chamomile, Ginger, Peppermint, or Red Raspberry Leaf.

6. Set up a chart.

I usually set up a chart of what to take each hour and start plugging in different nutritional supplements throughout the day. Here are a few of my favorite protocols.

  • Tummy Tuneup – Probiotics help boost the gut flora. Since as much as 80% of the immune system is located in the gut, healthy flora is a great support during illness.
  • Vitamin D3 – Based on research I’ve read and the recommendation of the Vitamin D Council, we increase our Vitamin D3 intake for a day or two to between 500-1000 IU per pound of body weight. (These high levels should not be sustained, but are a great way of getting Vitamin D levels to where your body needs them to fight off a temporary illness.)
  • Vitamin C – We use either Rosehip C or ChewC and take hourly to bowel tolerance. (Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough!) I find that this can often shorten an illness or decrease its severity, and Vitamin C is a must when there’s a cough involved.
  • Berry Well – We use Berry Well as needed all day long.

7. Herbal Infusions

I make strong infusions for both internal and external use. Allowing your herbs to steep for an extended period of time helps to release the nutrients even further for a fomentation or even a strong herbal tea. I have included several examples of how we use infusions.

Mullein Garlic Oil recipe from Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 2 from Beeyoutiful.comGarlic and Mullein Oil are great both for ear aches and for gently massaging the lymph nodes to encourage proper drainage.

Mullein Garlic Oil
1 head Fresh Raw Garlic
1 oz dried mullein leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Peel and chop up the garlic and place in a small jar with the mullein leaves. Cover with olive oil and cap the jar tightly. Leave in a window for 2-4 weeks to allow to infuse.

If you need the infused oil more quickly, you can use a double boiler to gently and slowly warm it for about two hours on the stovetop. Cool before placing in a jar.

This infusion will last for three months in a cool dark cabinet, and over six months in the refrigerator. Strain out the garlic and herbs before use.

Garlic Poultices: When we have fevers or upper respiratory infections, I will make a garlic poultice and apply to the feet and chest. This often will bring relief and help boost the immune system and eliminate the cause of the fever. Watch this short video to see exactly how to use a garlic poultice.

Sore Throat Love recipe from Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 2 from Beeyoutiful.comI use Lobelia and Mullein for sore throats and coughs.

Sore Throat Love
3 Tbs Mullein
3 Tbs Lobelia
1/2 cup freshly boiled water

In a glass bowl, add herbs and freshly boiled water. Stir to incorporate the herbs in the water, adding more water if needed. Allow to brew for 20-30 minutes. Strain out herbs and reserve the brewed liquid.

Thoroughly saturate a clean cotton cloth in the herbal liquid, then wring out until it is damp but not dripping. Apply the cloth to the neck and wrap gently around the neck. To keep it in place, I use a piece of PUL fabric and lightly wrap it over the fomentation and around the neck as well.

We use this remedy at the first sign of a sore throat, even sleeping overnight with the fomentation on the throat. This promotes health, soothes irritation, and encourages the lymph system to drain.

  • Sage and Thyme Decoction – While it’s not the tastiest tea in the world, this strong tea is great for when breathing has become a chore. We suggest using 2 Tablespoons each of Sage and Thyme in 2 cups of freshly boiled water. Steep for 20-30 minutes and then give by the spoonful as tolerated. You can add to a small amount of bone broth to make more palatable.

8. More Herbs

The last step we’ll cover today is dried, ground, or encapsulated herbs. These can give your body small, concentrated punches of nutrients with easy doses. They can be added to smoothies or taken in capsules.

In addition to taking it as a tea, I also recommend using Red Raspberry Leaf capsules when you do not have access to the tea or simply need extra. It is high in Vitamins A, B, C, and E. It also has an impressive mineral content with potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and more. This is a handy way to use it when you’re out of town or just away from the house.

Other herbs we use encapsulated or dried are Slippery Elm in smoothies for sore throats, Cayenne to boost health and help with digestion, Plantain for digestive problems, and Ginger for stomach problems. We use Turmeric in soups and golden milk, or encapsulate it for ease of use.

In my next post, I will wrap up our series with the last three steps and the other supportive measures we use. We would love to hear what you use with your family! Tell us in the comments about your favorite tips!

Mary’s Winter Immune Boosting Regimen, Part 1

Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 1 from Beeyoutiful.com

As a seasoned mom of five, I have come to expect that starting around October we may have some occasional challenges to our family’s health during the next 4-5 months. I hate it, I detest it, I even beg my husband to move us to the Florida Keys or a Caribbean Island where we don’t have to deal with cold weather at all… but since that hasn’t happened yet, I have my winter arsenal ready.

Early this year, Stephanie shared a chart that shows the Risks of Adverse Affects of various health treatments. It shows the progression in side effects from minimal to higher through a variety of treatment options. It surprised me to realize that over the years, this has also become my progression in how I treat our family when we are either run down or struggling to fight something off.

Today, I’m starting a series to share with you some of my favorite ways to treat our family, using the same chart and progressing through it.

Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 1 from Beeyoutiful.com1. At the first sign of illness, we start by both increasing whole and nutrient-dense foods, and eliminating all empty calories (such as processed foods, sugars, and white flours). This time of year is full of get-togethers around bonfires or for holidays; it can be hard to withstand the onslaught of treats, but we have learned that it is best for our health to avoid as much sugar as possible.

I’ve noticed that, in general, the times we have gotten the sickest were when we were often indulging in sweets. Using healthy fats and keeping a supply of different flavors in our kitchen helps us feel satisfied and not even crave the sweets! This step is primarily preventative, but should definitely be implemented if you are sick or have been exposed to illness.

2. Secondly, and also in the category of preventative, I increase the amount of culinary herbs used in our foods and add as much bone broth as we can into daily use. This gives us an extra helping of these natural immune boosters and good nutrients that help nourish and repair the body. We also add a heaping spoonful of gelatin powder to our soups to support gut health.

Some of our family favorite herbs are Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Marjoram, Garlic, and Turmeric.

Herbal Broth recipe from Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 1 Beeyoutiful.comI also make an herbal “broth” that I use as a base when cooking rice or potatoes.

Herbal Broth

Gently simmer all ingredients in 3 cups of water for 1-2 hours. Strain and reserve broth for soup bases or to cook rice, potatoes, or noodles. Or make this broth in larger quantities and freeze portions for ease of use during the winter.

3. While not on the lower steps of the chart, I also take some precautionary measures when going out in public. With the regular use of over-the-counter medications that mask the symptoms of illness, it seems nowadays that no one stays home when they’re sick. Sometimes it is hard to even realize you’re sick when you’re propped up by medicine, so boosting immunity when out and about is a great idea.

  • Berry Well – We take a dose of Berry Well Classic before going out. If you need to avoid echinacea, use Berry Well Spice or Berry Well Jr.
  • Herbal Immuni-Tea – We either enjoy a cup of warm tea with breakfast, or take it along cold in our water bottles to sip on throughout the day.
  • Immuni-T Essential Oil Blend – For children under the age of 10, I put Kid’s Immuni-T rollerball on feet and spine. I’ve also made a great blend for wipes that I carry with us when we’re out.Sanitizing Solution recipe from Mary's Winter Immune-Boosting Regimen Pt 1 Beeyoutiful.comSanitizing Solution for Cloth Wipes40 drops of undiluted Immuni-T
    1 Tbs of Real Witch Hazel
    8 Ounces Aloe Vera Gel
    1/2 tsp Vitamin E OilMix thoroughly and add to a small spray bottle. I spray this on several cloth wipes and carry in a small repurposed wipes container in my diaper bag. Use to wipe hands while you’re away from home.

4. Another step we take as a preventative, or when we’ve just begun feeling unwell, is using some Whole Food Supplements such as Cod Liver Oil, Butter Oil, Liquid Chlorophyll, and Floradix to help boost our nutrients and hopefully allow the body’s defenses to naturally keep us healthy.

Click here for Part 2 where I share with you the next four steps we take to guard our family’s health!

Phyll’er Up! Taking the Gag Factor Out of Green Supplements

Phyll'er Up! Taking the Gag Factor Out of Green Supplements from Beeyoutiful.com

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Summer 2008 catalog

I would guess my family isn’t the only one that recognizes the importance of eating greens. How many families (and women in particular) have spent part of their days choking down a glass of green grit that tastes as though it was just scooped out of the ocean? You know what I’m talking about: that green stuff made from barley. (Or, as my father calls it, barf-ley.)

The health benefits of green powders may be great, but it used to embarrass me when my 3-year-old sister had to count “1-2-3” to get Mommy to chug it each morning.

So I say, “Can’t we have a green supplement with all the same benefits, or maybe even better, in a drink that’s actually palatable?” Well, it turns out that Beeyoutiful’s Liquid Chlorophyll fits the bill!

But exactly what is so marvelous about chlorophyll?

Cheer for the Red, White, and Green

Chlorophyll is every green plant’s blood, and it’s remarkably similar to our own blood. The difference is found in only one metallic molecule. The central element in chlorophyll is magnesium, while the core element in human blood is iron. And this differing component, magnesium, is one our bodies can easily convert to iron.Phyll'er Up! Taking the Gag Factor Out of Green Supplements from Beeyoutiful.com

Chlorophyll such as Beeyoutiful’s is usually extracted from alfalfa, which has more vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll than almost any other plant. Not only are you getting the green energy, but also a lot of calcium and trace minerals necessary for good health along with it.

Chlorophyll can support good health, minimizing a variety of conditions such as anemia, low energy, hypoglycemia, and digestive disorders, and it’s known for detoxifying the body (especially the liver). It deodorizes the body naturally by stopping the growth of harmful bacteria, boosting the immune system, and promoting overall wellbeing.

And if detoxifying and supporting our blood cells isn’t enough of a contribution, chlorophyll is also rich in calcium, which makes it great for menstruating women, since we lose so much calcium through menstruation. The high calcium levels also make it helpful for joint and bone problems, especially hip joint conditions.

Green and Bear It

Using chlorophyll can be fun, and not something you have to endure! Beeyoutiful’s Liquid Chlorophyll is one of the most pleasant-tasting options I’ve found.

It’s so gentle at cleansing the system that it is good for people and children of all ages, and is considered safe during pregnancy. In my midwifery practice, I recommend chlorophyll for pregnant women who are really tired and have low iron levels.

Phyll'er Up: Taking the Gag Factor Out of Green Supplements from Beeyoutiful.comSometimes if their hemoglobin is particularly low, I have moms combine chlorophyll with Yellow Dock and a tea of Red Raspberry Leaves and Nettle to really give them a boost (in some cases, Yellow Dock can cause diarrhea, so if that happens, I stick with just the chlorophyll). Chlorophyll is high in vitamin K, which helps build healthy blood that clots well.

One benefit of using natural options such as herbs and chlorophyll is that our bodies can so readily assimilate the nutrients they need. Traditional iron pills, by contrast, have a horrible reputation for not absorbing and causing all kinds of problems. But when you’re using whole herbs, your body can assimilate what it needs and simply excrete the excess.

The pleasant mint flavor of Beeyoutiful’s chlorophyll makes it easy to take straight or diluted in a glass of water. I’ve never known anyone yet to mind the taste! It’s great to have on hand during labor to sip on to help boost energy, and if a woman hemorrhages after delivery, chlorophyll is usually the first thing I give her afterward to rebuild red blood cells and her overall blood volume. You can’t overdose on it, and when someone has bled a lot, chlorophyll is like giving your body a transfusion since it’s so similar to our own blood.

Good for Baby, Too

In addition to being good for rebuilding blood loss, chlorophyll is also great for lactating mothers. Not only should it help support milk production, it’s also believed to increase the iron levels in breast milk. I recently saw a mom for a six week post-natal checkup, and she mentioned that, since she went back on chlorophyll, she noticed her baby wasn’t so fussy. (A lot of you who have had colicky babies might want to give it a try for that reason alone!)
I put one mother on chlorophyll while pregnant with her sixth baby because her iron level was low. It brought her count up to a much better level, and also boosted her energy. She stopped taking it after her son was born, but it wasn’t long before she came to me saying how exhausted she was.

I checked her hemoglobin again, and sure enough, it was low. I told her to go back on the chlorophyll and just stay on it. When her baby was only eight months old, to her surprise she conceived again, but could hardly believe she was pregnant because she still felt so good. She didn’t experience the usual nausea, nor was she as wiped out. Now I hear her singing the praises of chlorophyll to other tired, anemic, pregnant women!

One thing that was pointed out to me recently is that some other popular chlorophyll supplements contain parabens, a chemical preservative. Beeyoutiful’s all-natural chlorophyll, as you might guess, doesn’t have it any such additives.

As a midwife, I tend to focus on the benefits of chlorophyll for pregnant women, but you should know that its healthfulness is good for everyone. I believe chlorophyll should be in all refrigerators! It has no known side effects or toxicity levels, delivers many great nutrients, and offers a pleasing taste and more health benefits than that obnoxious glass of barf-ley!

written by Amy Leiter Brewer

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Beeyoutiful’s Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

It’s been a little over a month since our previous post on the Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) upheaval. I promised then that we would wait to see how Green Pasture Products (GPP) and the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) addressed the major issues that have come to light, and then we’d respond again.

In the interim, GPP has released quite a bit of information, including laboratory test results. WAPF issued a long Q&A, and some bloggers and researchers connected to WAPF also posted responses. So, it’s time now for our update.

second fclo update bars

I’m going to do this backwards and start with the summary, since some might not want to wade through the nitty-gritty details. If you’re interested in just the highlights and my takeaway, read this section and then scroll on down to the bottom for my conclusion.

As it stands now, we have stopped carrying Green Pasture Products at Beeyoutiful. There are just too many unknowns about the product. We’d still like to know:  Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

  • What’s the source of the trans fats in FCLO?
  • Why is there D2 in an animal product?
  • What about the many reports of health issues that are now coming to light?

In my opinion, both GPP and WAPF have acted as though they are more concerned about losing consumer confidence than they are in openly and honestly addressing these and many other issues.

We have had a personal membership with WAPF for many years, attending conferences as a participant, a vendor, and a sponsor, and have directed many people to their site for information on healthy living. Sadly, we can no longer recommend the Weston A. Price Foundation as a reliable, trustworthy resource for health advice. 

And, based on the way they have treated others who have said anything negative about GPP’s fermented cod liver oil, they probably wouldn’t have us as a vendor again anyway. We have seen enough information coming out of WAPF as this situation has unfolded that we know to be untrue, that it calls into question the accuracy of other information that they have published and endorsed.

I’m still holding out some hope that out of this turmoil some good changes will come about in GPP and WAPF, and that we might be able to renew these business relationships in the future. My hope wavers, though, when I think that rebuilding trust is going to require a much higher level of honesty and transparency than we’ve seen thus far.

I do not mean to imply that everything GPP and WAPF are saying is untrue. Sometimes what is not said is as important, and sometimes more important, than what is said. For example, you might ask someone, “How is that cool car of yours? Is it still running?” And they reply that yes, it purrs like a kitten, and they detailed it just the other day and how wonderful it is to own a car like that. It is easy to infer from this that all is well, nay, even fantastic with the hot car, and that the owner cruises around in it regularly, just feeling the wind in his hair.

But that’s not actually what was said. Some pertinent information that wasn’t revealed might be that the tires are bald, the brakes are squishy, and they hydroplaned in it on a rainy day, crashing into a median, bending the axel and tearing off the front quarter panel, and this glorious car isn’t even drivable at the moment. What was actually said is still absolutely true, but at the same time also completely misleading.

Both WAPF and GPP have been doing similar things with the information they publish, and have been for years. This is why people believed that the fish in FCLO was Atlantic Cod and that it was sourced from the Atlantic and Arctic regions like most other high quality CLOs. We were led en masse to believe these things, because of both what was and was not communicated by GPP and WAPF, even though they never said these things specifically. There is now evidence that they knew this is what people were believing and they did nothing to correct these misconceptions.

For Beeyoutiful to have a relationship with WAPF and GPP in the future, we must feel confident that it won’t require reading between the lines to figure out what’s not being said in order to have a correct understanding of where a product is sourced, how it’s made, and what ingredients it contains.

Now for detailed questions and answers for those of you who are interested. (Everyone else, skip to the important part at the bottom.)

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil1) Question: Does Green Pasture FCLO contain the levels of vitamins claimed in their literature?

Our previous answer: “Well, it seems like probably not. In his rebuttal blog post, Wetzel didn’t even argue that point. However, he said that the amount of vitamins is less important than the bio-activity of the vitamins. He says their bio-activity is very high.”

Update: “Probably not” still seems accurate, based on the updated information that we have. GPP did post information that one scientist said that the only way to properly measure Vitamin D is to do a rat bioassay. (Feed the rats the product in question, then kill the rats and test the tissue and blood for the component that interests you.) GPP also posted a rat bioassay from 2009 that apparently showed good levels of vitamin D.

Other information has come out, though, that indicates that taking FCLO does not raise blood serum Vitamin D levels in some people, and at least one person reported that it actually suppressed the level. This is something that WAPF said bears further investigation.

Also, GPP is reporting that most of the vitamin D in FCLO is D2, and most of the vitamin D in other premium CLOs is D3. Possible explanations are that the fermenting process converts D3 to D2, or that the test results from that lab are simply not accurate. Vitamin D2 is generally considered a lesser vitamin, being far less active and much more potentially toxic than D3. (I’ll address Vitamin D in more detail later.)

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil2) Question: Is Green Pasture FCLO actually fermented, or is it rancid?
Answer: One of the questions that has arisen out of this controversy is a simple one: can meat be fermented? This person, who seems to know a bit about fermenting, says no, but that it can be cured.

I consulted Sandor Katz, the author of “The Art of Fermentation” and he said that yes, meat could be fermented, in hundreds or maybe thousands of ways, but that he didn’t know enough about the GPP process to comment on it specifically. He did reference a passage from an old book that spoke about cod liver oil extraction through putrefaction (the same passage GPP references as a model for their process). In answer to my follow up question of whether putrefaction and fermentation were the same thing, he said that “putrefaction is often occurring alongside fermentation and is responsible for some of the ‘edgier’ flavors.”

So, is the cod liver oil fermented? Is it putrefied? Is it both? I don’t know. Short of having a whole panel of fermentation experts intimately review the entire process, I’m not sure we’ll ever know. I seriously doubt GPP is willing to open up their entire process to that level of scrutiny.

In the past few weeks, I have learned more about oils, lipids, and rancidity than I will probably ever find useful in any other context! I learned is that there are three types of rancidity:
  • Hydrolytic rancidity – results in Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) which are susceptible to oxidation and salts of FFAs, and has a bad odor
  • Oxidative rancidity – results in aldehydes, ketones, and other substances which can be toxic and create a bad odor
  • Microbial rancidity – results in a bad odor

I cannot find any information that specifically says that hydrolytic or microbial rancidity can result in anything other than bad odor. It is readily apparent to me that the product is rancid, almost certainly experiencing hydrolytic rancidity, and maybe microbial.

The scientists that GPP and WAPF have trotted out have been very careful to speak only about oxidation and to say that the product is low in primary and secondary indicators of oxidation. Not one of them has said that the product is not rancid, although GPP and WAPF themselves have both stated unequivocally that FCLO it is not rancid.

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

3) Question: Is Green Pasture FCLO safe to use?

Answer: Most people think this hinges on the issue of rancidity. As stated before, the product does not have the markers of oxidation and does not seem to contain toxic byproducts of oxidation. I can’t find any information that says that hydrolytic or microbial rancidity are dangerous in and of themselves, but they seem to usually go hand in hand with oxidation, so there really isn’t much information on them alone.

However, there have been rumors and reports of people not doing well while using FCLO. There have been claims of heart conditions, including heart failure, that have cleared up after stopping daily FCLO supplementation. I have seen at least one person whose CRP (a blood test for inflammation in the body) numbers went down significantly after one month of no FCLO, when they had stayed at a steady elevated level for the previous 5-6 years while on the FCLO.

There are numerous reports from people that say that they couldn’t tolerate the FCLO, but they did fine on other non-fermented cod liver oils. There are reports of burning throats when taking the FCLO, with one person reporting that it was like her throat was on fire.

And then there is the issue of trans fats. Trans fats are not “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, and manufacturers have until 2018 to get them out of foods (or get an exception). Trans fats are believed to be one of the biggest contributors to heart disease. GPP posted a number of test results recently and most of them had trans fats levels near or above 1%. One of the tests from the report from Dr. Kaayla Daniel showed levels over 3%.

This is a huge problem because in the real food movement, trans fats are a huge no-no, no matter the amount. If it has detectable levels of trans fats, it is simply not considered a good product. Trans fats are a problem about which GPP and WAPF have remained very quiet.

Now, there are things that aren’t good that we eat in our diets all the time and our bodies filter them out. I’m sure the same would be true of trans fats in small amounts. The problem now is that it is in high quantities in many foods, and the effect of trans fats is cumulative.

If you know your diet to be otherwise free of trans fats, this might not be an issue for you. Trans fats are required to be listed on the label of all foods, but dietary supplement labeling is different. Because the serving size of FCLO is so small, there could be over 20% trans fats in the product and they would not be allowed by the FDA to put that on the label. (2)

Dr. Weston A. Price warned decades ago that cod liver oil had some toxins in it, and to use it in small amounts. He also said that because of the synergistic effects of using it with high vitamin butter oil, the same effects could be achieved with much smaller doses.

Green Pasture touts their product as wholly unique and is very up front that “this product is not for everyone”. Whether this unique product is any more dangerous than other CLOs, and the issues listed above are simply from overdosing, I do not know.

WAPF basically blamed Dr. Ron’s heart failure on FCLO overdose, implying irresponsibility on his part. That would mean that too much FCLO is dangerous, but how much is too much? For years, WAPF recommended 6-12 times the dosage that GPP now has on its website and labels. Thankfully, those references have now been removed and they are only recommending a dosage a little more than 2 times the GPP recommendation.

They still recommend putting FCLO into baby formula and the dosage is very high, because it is based on their previous recommendations and hasn’t been updated. I would recommend not putting any cod liver oil in homemade baby formula, but if you think you need it, I would advocate that you use a different one until more is known about this issue and its safety.

It is certainly possible that this unique product may have unique beneficial properties as they say, and it may also be unique in its detrimental properties. Since it is unique, all of the studies that have been done on CLO toxicity, safety, and benefit do not necessarily apply to FCLO.

I think the takeaway from all of this is that Cod Liver Oil, in any form, is not a whole and complete food. It is an extracted, highly concentrated product, and it should be used with care, perhaps treated as carefully as a medicine (which seems to be how Dr. Price employed it).

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

4) Question: Is Green Pastures FCLO diluted with a vegetable oil?

Answer: I have not been able to confirm yes or no. A very prominent marine oil scientist thinks that it is. Initially, I thought that the trans fats present in that one test by Dr. Daniel were compelling evidence as to the presence of a vegetable oil, but that it could have been just one batch.

Now we see that there are levels of trans fats in all recently tested batches. Chris Masterjohn in his response said that dilution with a veggie oil was certainly the easiest explanation, but that it could also be a result of microbial activity. Since GPP are “fermenting” and “adding a starter”, you would definitely think there would be microbial activity, but there is not evidence pointing to that as a source.

David Wetzel says that they don’t even have vegetable oil in their kitchen, much less in their plant. He has also said that they don’t use or add vegetable oil in their process. What he has not said is that the trans fats are NOT from vegetable oil. This could be significant, or not. It could be that the cod livers are put in vegetable oil before being frozen. It could be something else in the way that they are handled before they even get to GPP. Or there could be no vegetable oil at all, from catch to bottle, and the trans fats are from something else entirely.

Without more transparency, it’s simply impossible for us to know. If the trans fats are coming from a veggie oil, that is something that can probably be fixed in GPP’s production process. That some microbial activity could be creating a harmful substance is not a happy thought, and I don’t know how they could fix that.

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

5) Question: Is Green Pasture FCLO actually from cod livers?

Answer: “Yes.” And “No.” And “Yes” again. And “No” again.

I’ll explain. First it was reported by people close to GPP that they “only” used 10% Pollock livers, and that they would have put that on the label if only they had been asked or had known that it was important to people.

Then, WAPF said in their Q&A that GPP “uses mostly Pacific Cod but also some Alaskan Pollock”. It took more than a month before we heard from GPP that in the past they have used Pollock, but this season they are using Pacific Cod. They did not mention a quantity of Pollock or whether it was seasonal, whether all batches were a certain percentage, or some a high percentage and some low or none.

We also got confirmation from them that all of their fish is sourced from the Pacific and none from the Atlantic or the Arctic, as many of us had been led to believe by statements such as, “The fish used in our Fermented Cod Liver oil and Skate Liver oil are exclusively wild caught in and around the Arctic region.”

So “Yes” FCLO is actually from Pacific Cod livers. But “No” it seems that Pollock livers were also used. But then “Yes”. Turns out that Alaska Pollock was reclassified about 18 months ago to be in the same genus as several other codfish and is scientifically considered to be the closest relative to the Atlantic Cod. But alas, “No”. The FDA does not allow Pollock to be marketed as Cod at this point in time. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. (1)

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

6) Question: What about the High Vitamin Butter Oil?

Answer: There has been no update on HVBO from GPP. It has not been mentioned. No mention of rancidity or not, no testing of it, no mention of sourcing or handling. Nothing. We did get confirmation from WAPF of it being sourced from Argentina, but no other information and no response directly from GPP. The last references of “Great Plains” sourcing were also removed from the GPP website.

7) Question: Where is the WAPF in all of this?

Answer: Here, to me, is the saddest part about this whole giant mess: WAPF seems incapable of objectivity with regards to Green Pasture Products. Some have speculated that this is so because of some secret financial arrangement or a family tie. I don’t think so, but the truth is that there is a special relationship between WAPF and GPP that does not exist with any other vendor.

Whether it’s nepotism, cronyism, or some other “-ism”, there is something going on there besides just the vendor-organization relationship that WAPF has tried to present. They have said they would act the same way with any other vendor, yet,  they have actually behaved in opposite ways to other vendors of cod liver oil products in the past.

There are numerous articles written by David Wetzel and others on the WAPF website that are solely for the promotion of Green Pasture Products. No other vendor has enjoyed that benefit. WAPF is acting as though they are a marketing and PR firm for Green Pasture products, and has for years. They could not be working for them any harder if they were paid to do it.

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil

As WAPF members and vendors, we expected them to be the gatekeepers, to research and review and thoroughly vet products for us in an objective manner. And they appear to have no capacity to be impartial when it comes to Green Pasture Products. Instead, they have banned a vendor and featured speaker at their conferences who attributed his heart failure to FCLO. They say this is their policy, and it has been enforced before, but only ever in regards to GPP, to my knowledge.

We’ve even heard that The Weston A. Price Foundation is threatening to expel local chapter leaders for saying anything negative about Green Pasture Products. Reportedly, they are coaching chapter leaders in how to talk their concerned members through this GPP issue. They are patrolling WAPF-branded Facebook chapter sites and demanding that links to anything but pro-GPP info be removed, and threatening lawsuits if they are not removed. They have canceled the Santa Cruz chapter for linking to a blog that is reporting the other side of the story. They are removing chapter leaders from their private Yahoo group if they say anything negative about GPP, question GPP, or question the way that this situation is being handled. WAPF has completely lost its objectivity and integrity in how it is handling this situation.

Sally Fallon Morrell tells a story that is a perfect example of how completely screwy this has gotten:

“When David Wetzel, the owner of Green Pasture, first began making the fermented cod liver oil, he sent it to NDI laboratories in Canada (associated with Guelph University) for Vitamin D testing. He was surprised when these tests came back showing Vitamin D2, with very little or no D3. Mr. Wetzel immediately communicated this to us. He then sent the oil to the University of Wisconsin for a rat assay test to see whether the oil had Vitamin D activity—and the answer came back yes.  Mr. Wetzel has shared all this on his website. The rat assay is considered the gold standard of Vitamin D testing. The University of Wisconsin then recommended UBE Laboratories in Fullerton, California for further testing, and these labs found mostly Vitamin D2 as well.

The prevailing view at that time—one that we repeated at WAPF—was that Vitamin D2 is ineffective and possibly toxic.  Of course, these discoveries led us to reconsider this view—after all, cod liver oil cures rickets.  This is something we are looking into further and will be sharing with our members in Wise Traditions. There are hundreds of Vitamin D metabolites, so the probable explanation is that the natural D2 metabolites in cod liver oil have different effects from the synthetic D2 added to vegetarian foods, used in vitamin drops, etc.  We encourage product manufacturers like Mr. Wetzel to share information like this to help advance knowledge about nutrition.” (5)

So, to recap, GPP was expecting D3 in the product. They found only D2 so this was reported to WAPF immediately because it was unexpected. They sent it to another lab, just to confirm that it was really D2 in the product, and it was. Nobody has said that D2 is not effective, just that it is not as effective as D3, and that it can be toxic. Natural D2 is found in plants. Natural D3 is found in animals. Cod liver does not have significant D2, but is high in D3. And good CLO that doesn’t strip out vitamins and add them back in or add back synthetic vitamins also has D3. Tests showed that GPP has D2. There are two possibilities I can think of.

  • The fermentation process is converting D2 to D3.
  • The lab results were wrong. Twice. Sending to a marine biology/chemistry lab to triple-check seems like a no-brainer, but it wasn’t done. Why not?

Considering all of the research on D2 vs D3, and WAPF’s acceptance of all of that information (one would assume after examining the studies, their methods, and conclusions), and perpetuation of that information, we should find it interesting that they were willing to abandon it all because D2 was found in FCLO. This was at the beginning, when FCLO was first made. There was no research, no studies, no anecdotal evidence, no human trials or testimonials. There was nothing. Yet, because D2 was shown to be in this product, they completely changed their minds about D2’s value.

On the one hand, there is decades of research into vitamins with tons of studies by reputable scientists. On the other hand, a guy uses an ancient putrefaction method for cod liver oil extraction, adds some bacteria to the process, and calls it fermented. Now suddenly, oh, D2 isn’t so bad! (WHAT?!) They determined in their minds beforehand that FCLO was best and therefore anything CONTAINED in FCLO was best, and they were and are willing to abandon actual research, ignore health complaints, put the best possible spin on test results, bury information, make up new narratives, put out false information, fail to disclose negative test results, suppress free discussion of the issue in their circles, and to the extent that they can, punish anybody that counters (or even just questions!) this PR campaign.

WAPF is the organization that we were trusting to give us good information about health and food. That’s not to say that they haven’t put out good information. The problem now is that we have to sift through that information and question all​ of it, because we don’t know what’s legitimately good and what’s been compromised by some preconceived ideology.

It seems reasonable to me to expect that when WAPF drastically lowered their recommended daily dosage of FCLO, they would have announced it. I mean, why would they change it? More FCLO means more nutrients, right? So taking more is good, right? But they did change it, and changed it to a much lower dosage.

Can you think of any reason that they would do this other than health concerns, that perhaps too much might be toxic? I cannot. And if that is the case, then wouldn’t it be responsible to announce that you are lowering your recommendations so that people could lower their dosages? Unless, of course, people started asking questions and you had to explain that you were doing so over toxicity concerns, but that would certainly undermine public trust in the product.

And it’s interesting to me that the WAPF didn’t just change the dosage. They are acting like they never ever recommended any OTHER dosage, and that anybody that took “too much” was not following their recommendations. I can only think that they are trying to protect GPP and themselves from litigation, protect GPP sales, and perhaps there is an element of pride involved as well.

Beeyoutiful's Second Response to the Controversy: the Weston A. Price Foundation & Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver OilThere is a lot more, but it makes me weary just to think about writing even more about it, so what I’ve covered here will suffice. Except for this all-important thing that I need to say. At Beeyoutiful, we’re completely committed to being a full disclosure company. If we know an ingredient is in the product, we put it on the label. Period. We have an established process that we put any companies and products through before we use or carry them, and one of the steps of this process is to verify that they too are full disclosure.

To our chagrin and shame, we realized that we had never put Green Pasture through the normal process we do with every other vendor. We trusted the Weston A. Price Foundation endorsement of both the product and company so explicitly that we didn’t put Green Pasture Products through our normal checklist. With the way WAPF went on about them, this had to be pretty much the best product EVER, right? (What’s the old adage about when something seems to good to be true…?!)

I feel like we were misled and fooled, but that’s on us. We should have done more research. We should have asked more questions. Regardless of how this situation eventually turns out, or what facts come to light, we endorsed both the company and products without adequate research.

We didn’t know sourcing. We didn’t know vitamin content. We didn’t know a lot of things. I’m so sorry. We messed up. I can imagine some reading this might feel disappointed in us. Indeed, we’re disappointed in ourselves. We have definitely learned a painful, yet valuable lesson through this.

I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive us. 

Please post your comments or questions below, and I will try to address them to the best of my abilities.

Dig deeper: 

How To Tuesday: Five Ways to Get Better Sleep WITHOUT Powerful Medications

#HowToTuesday- Five Ways to Get Better Sleep from Beeyoutiful.com

Sleep has long been accepted as one of the most important steps toward supporting health. The first thing I usually do when I feel like I might be coming down with something is to take a long Epsom Salt bath and then sleep as much as I can (or as much as a mother of five can!).

Lately I’ve felt that the majority of my slight colds or feeling “off” is due more to lack of sleep than anything else.

Studies have shown that lack of sleep or disrupted circadian rhythms can impact the amount of fatty acid in the liver, which then impact health. Symptoms of high fatty acid can be headaches, allergy or sinus problems, sluggishness and fatigue, weight gain, nausea, food allergies, depression, and anxiety.

I am a classic example of the effects of shift work; working overnight changed my body, and then I had children which further messed up my sleep schedule. I’ve had to work to retrain my body to cooperate with a circadian rhythm that wants to be asleep at night.

I have noticed the benefits of sleep on my own health: fewer colds, the ability to lose weight and keep it off, more energy and less depression. It’s amazing how simply encouraging healthy sleep patterns can help your overall health.

Here are a few tools I’ve utilized to rebuild optimal sleep patterns and get my body (and health!) back on track.

#HowToTuesday- Five Ways to Get Better Sleep from Beeyoutiful.com1. Epsom Salt baths. At least twice a week, I take a long evening soak in a warm salty bath. I add a tablespoon or two of carrier oil (such as Jojoba) to the salt, and then drip in either Lavender, Cedarwood, Catnip, Chamomile, Bergamot, or Marjoram and mix it all up before adding the salt blend to my bath.

2. Magnesium. I’ll either supplement orally or use Magnesium Oil externally before bed to help calm and relax.

3. Catch-a-Dream Herbal Tea. Mmm… there are few more delicious ways for me to drift to sleep than after sipping a nice honey-sweetened cup of herbal tea.

4. Dreamland Awaits Essential Oil Blend. Apply this ready-to-use rollerball to your feet, spine, back of the neck and shoulders to help support restful sleep. The oils are specifically chosen to work together well to help encourage you to both fall asleep and stay asleep.

5. Diffuse your Favorite Sleep-Encouraging Oils. Lavender, Cedarwood, Catnip, Chamomile, Bergamot, or Marjoram are all known to promote relaxation and support sleep. Diffusing these in the evening can help the body find calm and wind down in time to get started on your eight hours.

Who do you know who could benefit from a better night’s sleep? Share this information with them!

What are your favorite ways to get a good night’s sleep, naturally? We’d love to know your tips, so please share your ideas in the comments below or on our Facebook page

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9 Easy Ways to Support Liver Health

Your liver is responsible for filtering every drop of blood that comes from the digestive tract, and then it metabolizes and eliminates the toxins and chemicals that it encounters. It’s also responsible for secreting bile, an aid in the digestive process.

A sluggish liver that’s not operating optimally will affect the health of your whole body. The toxins the liver usually removes can stay in the body, causing damage and making you feel unwell. Thankfully, there are several simple things you can do that can have a positive impact on your liver!
9 Easy Ways to Support Liver Health from Beeyoutiful.com1. Eat liver-happy foods. These include garlic, leafy greens, grapefruit, green tea, and grains, along with apples and avocados. These foods are known to help support and nourish the liver, while not overburdening it.

2. When your liver needs a little love, avoid processed foods, alcohol, and foods high in sodium and sugar.

3. Stay hydrated. Drinking the right amount of liquids helps the body to flush toxins out of the liver and increase optimum health.

4. Do gentle liver-stimulating exercises. One simple exercise you can do is to sit crosslegged on the floor with your back straight. Simply turn slightly to the right and then to the left. This helps stimulate and increase blood flow to the area without putting undue strain on the body. Start with 10 repetitions, then gradually increase to 100 per day. Moderate exercise also can be beneficial as it helps to decrease insulin resistance and fatty deposits in the liver.

5. Avoid unnecessary medications. Ask your doctor which of your medications are metabolized through your liver and if there are alternatives you could use instead. Replacing some popular pain reducers with alternatives such as Arnica Homeopathics can decrease the burden on your liver.

6. Love your gut. Some studies have shown that liver health is directly impacted by gut health and poor gut flora. Using fermented foods or a daily probiotic can help to both increase and diversify the population of gut flora.

7. Sip some tea. Several herbs have historically been used to help support the liver. Dandelion, Turmeric, Peppermint, Milk Thistle, Barberry, and Rosemary are the most well known.

8. Use spices and herbs in cooking. Garlic, Turmeric, Rosemary, Oregano, and Thyme are encouraging to the liver and can be used regularly in cooking to provide ongoing support.

9. Take your liver-happy supplements. Silymarin Liver Support, Digestive Enzymes and Digest Best, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Vitamin C (Gentle C, Rosehip C, and ChewC) can all contribute to the liver’s wellbeing.

Dig deeper! Learn about choosing probioticsimproving gut health, and creating herbal tea blends and brewing tea

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