Dr. Mercola Articles
Market Rejection of GMOs Grows — Four-Year Plan to Topple Toxic Agriculture
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 05:00:00 GMT

By Dr. Mercola

Our annual GMO Awareness Week is upon us, and in this interview, Ronnie Cummins, founder of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) details the current state of the opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We first met about six years ago, when we collaborated to create the direct ballot initiative to label GMOs in California.

A lot has happened since then, including the passing of what's colloquially known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, ironically misnamed "The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" — this despite a full 90 percent of consumers supporting mandatory labeling.

The Trump administration has also selected or appointed notorious cheerleaders for GMOs and factory farms to his cabinet — Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA, Sonny Perdue as USDA Secretary, and Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.

Meanwhile, his Tea Party allies in Congress have called for the abolition of the entire National Organic Program!1

On the upside, in 2016 we saw, for the first time in nearly 20 years, a decrease in the amount of genetically engineered (GE) crops grown around the world, in terms of acreage.

As noted by Cummins, "This represents the fact that this technology is failing, in the sense of superweeds and superpests are popping up all over the world." In the U.S., three-quarters of farmers growing GE crops like soybeans, corn or canola are having problems with these herbicide- and pesticide-resistant pests.

Market Rejection of GMOs Has Grown

Even more importantly, consumers around the world have become aware of the many problems associated with GE crops and the toxic herbicides and pesticides used on them, and do not want any of it on their plates.

In other words, the market has started rejecting GMOs, and that's what we've been fighting for all along. Nothing can or will change unless consumers apply pressure in the form of refusing to buy GMOs.

In the European Union (EU), which is the biggest agriculture market in the world, few if any GMOs are found on supermarket shelves.

In the U.S. — despite industry spending hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate market preference — about 40 percent of Americans still believe GE foods and GE ingredients are dangerous. Another 20 percent are unsure whether GMOs are dangerous or not.

"This combination of consumer rejection and, basically, Mother Nature's resistance, has caused a drop-off," Cummins says. "I think this is the beginning of the end of at least this generation, the first generation, of GMO crops.

Now, industry is saying, 'Don't worry about the fact that we're using more and more toxic pesticides and herbicides … Don't worry about these pests spreading across the fields. We've got a new generation of GMO crops where we can just do gene editing.

We don't have to pull some DNA from a foreign species and haphazardly splice it into a corn or a soybean crop.'

But the bottom line is that this gene-splicing and this so-called new gene editing are unnatural processes that disrupt the genetic structure, the natural workings of living organisms. These aren't going to work either."

Organics and Grassfed Are Increasing in Popularity

Worldwide, we're also seeing strong growth in organics and grassfed farming and ranching. In the U.S., the organic sector grew 11.5 percent in 2016. Grassfed grew about 50 percent. In France, organics grew by 20 percent.

"This is because people understand this public health crisis has now spread worldwide, and this environmental crisis and its relationship to the climate crisis are all due to an out-of-control, industrial, chemical-intensive GMO agriculture. People are turning away," Cummins says.

In the U.S., we now also have a brand new grassfed certification by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which is the highest certification you can get for dairy, beef and poultry, including chickens, sheep and goats.

In short, we're seeing a massive demand for healthier foods. A lot more people now know about the drawbacks of factory farmed beef and dairy, for example, and are aware that when herbivores are grazed naturally, without hormones, antibiotics and other drugs, you end up with a far healthier product.

"What's been driving the growth of the grassfed beef and dairy industry are health concerns," Cummins says. "But also, people have become aware over the years that the factory farm system … is not right. You don't have to be an ethical vegan to have feeling for animals.

Animals are sentient beings … Industry says if you want cheap food, you've got to go with factory farms. But I think more and more consumers are saying, 'I don't want cheap food if it means it's going to harm my health and the environment, and if you have to be that cruel to animals.'

I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the factory farm model, which actually has only existed [for] 40 years or so. Most animals used to be raised naturally …

It's this wonderful coming together in the United States of the American Grassfed Association, merging in the dairy sector with dairy farmers who are already organic, to produce a higher quality 100 percent grassfed dairy.

In the beef industry, there has been a tremendous growth in the demand for 100 percent grassfed, grass-finished beef. Unfortunately, most other grassfed beef in the United States is still coming from overseas, from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil …

We still don't have the infrastructure in the United States that we had 50 years ago with processing plants in every region of the country and so on, but we're catching up."

Challenges Involved in Organic Grassfed Beef Production

Indeed, the lack of processing plants is really slowing down the reversal of the system. While American farmers have the capacity to provide an ample supply of grassfed cattle, the problem is there aren't enough processing plants to accommodate a massive increase.

In all, the U.S. has about 500,000 ranchers raising livestock, but there are only three or four major buyers. Ranchers may raise the animals on pasture and treat them well, but after a year and a half or so, they must be sold.

The cattle are sold at auction, and the buyers, such as JBS (a Brazilian firm that has bought out a large part of the beef industry in the U.S.), Cargill and Tyson Foods, will offer you the lowest possible price, regardless of how much you spent on the cattle's health and wellbeing.

This cartel-like system effectively prevents farmers from recouping what they've invested, and slows down the pace at which a farmer can possibly make positive changes that require greater expenses.

Once sold, the animals are transported to gigantic feedlots — basically animal factories — where they're placed in tiny pens. GMO grains and drugs are routinely used to fatten the animals up as quickly as possible. However, in doing so, the animals' health and wellbeing suffer. For example, E. coli 0157H, a virulent pathogen, can thrive in the animals' intestines under these conditions.

"The reason why it's illegal for journalists or concerned citizens to go in and film in these giant feedlots is because the industry … don't want you to see the filth and the cruelty involved," Cummins says.

Factory Farmed Meat Is No Bargain

Next, the animals are sent off to mega slaughterhouses, of which there are only a few dozen in the entire country. As in the feedlots, these are hellish places where photographs and video taping is often illegal. As noted by Cummins:

"The workers are immigrant workers typically, who don't have citizenship papers. Why is this? Because U.S. citizens will not take this kind of job. They would not work under these conditions … They have terrible health problems, terrible psychological problems. They're underpaid and overworked.

What comes out on the other end is meat that might appear to be cheap … but it's not cheap in terms of what it does to your health … It clogs up your veins. You're ingesting pesticide and hormone residues. You end up supersizing yourself … Yeah, you've got your cheap burger. You've got your cheap steak. But you have damaged your health. That's going to be very costly over time.

You also contributed to massive supply chain damage to the environment. The GMO corn and soybeans that make up the bulk of the feed in the feedlots, they have been sprayed with a horrendous amount of chemicals. These factory farms are the No. 1 contributors to water pollution …  You're part of a long chain of animal cruelty, exploitation of workers, destruction of the environment …

This paradigm is going to end. But we need more awareness [among] consumers, and we need more ranchers to be able to directly come into contact with consumers who want to buy their products so they can cut out the cartel middlemen …"

Via Organica Paves Way for Organic Chicken and Egg Production

Mercola.com and OCA are both founding members of an international network called Regeneration International, which is seeking to replace, among other things, the outdated factory farm system with a natural humane system, whereby herbivores are raised on perennial grasses under a system of holistic management.

The same problems exist in poultry and pig farming, yet innovative farmers like Cummins and many others have proven there are far better ways of raising chickens and pigs on a larger scale as well.

Cummins' farm, Via Organica, located in the high desert of Central Mexico, uses a system based on the traditional raising of poultry. In the first phase of the project, they installed a couple of thousand laying hens, which live outside all day in a 2.5-acre paddock filled with 400 olive trees and other crops. While the trees offer protection against predators from above, chicken poop acts as a natural fertilizer for the trees, making additional fertilizer use unnecessary.

By eating the insects, they also eliminate pests that might otherwise pose a threat to the trees and other crops. "If you're a small farmer, it's very difficult to make a living off just your eggs. But if you've got another cash crop in the paddock where the chickens roam, you're going to be bringing in twice as much money over time," Cummins says.

The chickens roam free all day, pecking in the dirt for worms, insects and other foraged foods. At sunset, they come into the chicken house, which is where they roost and lay their eggs. The feed provided in the chicken coop, given as a supplement to their foraged diet, is grown by local farmers using traditional, non-GMO seeds and regenerative methods.

"We have a special plow developed in Australia that's now spreading all across the world," Cummins explains. "It's called a Keyline plow. It doesn't disturb the earth the way that traditional plows do. It creates an environment in your field to where when it rains, there's a built-in filtration of the rain into the soil. It turns the soil into a sponge …

There are no chemical fertilizers. We work with the farmers to be able to have natural compost … [I]f you look at our eggs, one thing you notice is the yolk is bright orange. They taste really good. If you do a nutritional analysis of these eggs and compare them to the factory farmed eggs in the grocery store, there's a world of difference. If animals can live outside or live in a natural environment and exercise their natural behaviors, it ends up being a superior product."

Why Vegetarianism May Not Be the Most Environmentally Conscious Choice

Quite a few people have embraced veganism or vegetarianism as a way of bowing out of the factory farm system that abuses animals for per-pound profit.  Cummins was a vegetarian for 40 years for this reason.

"I was a vegetarian between 1970 and 2010 … until I had some ranchers in New Mexico explain to me this whole system of holistic management and rotational grazing, 100 percent grassfed … [T]hey said, 'Hey, you're an environmentalist, right? You're an animal welfare proponent, right? … You're not any of those things. You're a hypocrite, Ronnie.'

Because conscious consuming of a moderate level of meat and animal products — where the animals have been raised humanely, where they've been raised naturally, where the end product, the food, is good for your health — is [also] good for the environment. Yes, that last instant of their life, when they're sacrificed for our food, that's not a good moment [for these animals]. But we're all going to have a bad moment at the end of our lives. We're going to physically die.

When we're in the ground, guess what's going to happen? The little animals eventually are going to eat us. It's all part of this great chain of being. It's natural. There are vegans starting to understand, like David Bronner [CEO of Dr. Bronner's] … David's been a vegan for many years, but he's coined this term — instead of vegetarian — "regenetarian."

Why Become a Regenetarian?

A regenetarian is a person who never, ever eats factory farmed meat or dairy products, just like a vegan. A regenetarian will however consume grassfed beef, grassfed dairy and other grassfed animal products.

"We're talking about fish here, too. Most of the fish in the world are now coming from these factory farm fish operations — horrible industrial trawlers in the oceans that are ripping up everything and killing everything in sight … A conscious consumer who wants to preserve their health, but also knows that we want to preserve the health of the planet — we want regular rainfall. We want climate to be normal again — we have to become regenetarians," Cummins says.

"I never eat meat or animal products in a restaurant unless that restaurant has on the menu, and has a convincing story, that this is grassfed or genuinely pastured. As soon as enough people start doing that, this system is going to change."

The average American spends a mere 10 percent of their income on food, which is ridiculously low when you consider what the highest quality, most nutritious food would cost. You cannot expect to get the highest quality at this rock-bottom price. At that level, all you're getting is cheap corn-based meals. As Cummins says, it would be reasonable to spend twice as much on food.

To pay for it, you may have to consider cutting down on other wasteful spending, such as the trend of treating clothing as single-use, disposable items. Organic foods cost more, and must cost more, because doing it right and not cutting corners costs money. It's the cost-saving measures that have resulted in hormone-laced milk and pesticide-ridden produce. It's cost-saving measures that have turned beef into a metabolic wrecker. Cheap food is cheap for a reason.

Current State of GMO Movement in the US

Last August, the so-called "DARK Act" was passed. And while many have placed their hopes on President Trump making sweeping changes, we're not likely to see any difference under Trump when it comes to GMO labeling. As before, the U.S. Congress doesn't seem to care that 90 percent of Americans want to know whether their food has been genetically engineered or not, or contains GMO ingredients.

To summarize last year's events, on July 1, 2016, Vermont's state law for mandatory GMO labeling took effect, forcing major food companies to start labeling their wares. Alas, the food industry basically bought Congress, sweeping a 100-year tradition of states' rights to implement food safety rules at the state level under the carpet. That's what the DARK Act did. It revoked states' right to impose mandatory labeling of GMOs, and with that, the Vermont law was made null and void.

In its place, the federal law replaced clear GMO labeling with quick response (QR) codes which, when scanned with your smartphone will bring you to the company's website, where you may or may not find information about the presence of GE ingredients.

"The only difference under Trump, looks like that we're not even going to have these QR codes, which were ridiculous anyway," Cummins says. Where does this leave us as consumers? I think there's a growing recognition among conscious consumers in this country that right now, we can't count on Congress.

We can't count on regulatory agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or the Federal Trade Commission.

These people are in the pockets of the 1 percent. They do what their financial backers tell them to do. We're left with our power in the marketplace. That is, they can't pass a law that tells you what to do when you pull out your wallet. We still have free choice to choose organic or grassfed foods or non-GMO foods in the marketplace …

At the rate we're going now, most food in the United States will be organic within three decades. It's taken us three decades to get to the 5 to 10 percent range. Most of the food will be organic and grassfed within 30 years. However, when you look at our public health crisis and our climate crisis and all these other things that the economic crisis in rural areas, we can't wait 30 years."

New Goal: Double Organic Sales in Four Years

The consumer revolution platform now is an ambitious one — double organic sales in the next four years. At current rates of growth, we could expect it to increase by about 50 percent. Instead, we need to quadruple sales of organic and grass-fed. As noted by Cummins, by speeding up the rate at which we reach the tipping point where 15 percent of our food supply is organic or grassfed, the acceleration will multiply exponentially thereafter.

"That's our answer to the gridlock in Washington, to the failure of federal government," he says. "Let's get active in the local and state level where we have more power, [and] intensify our impact in the marketplace where no one can tell us what to do. We're going to bring about our revolution in health and nutrition in the marketplace if they won't let us do it with public policy."

It's time to launch a #ConsumerRevolution boycott that is larger and more powerful than ever. And at the same time, we apparently have no choice but to launch a #PoliticalRevolution, especially at the local and state level, that will "throw the bums out" from Main Street to Washington D.C. — those politicians and the army of lobbyists and PR gunslingers who continue to represent the corporate and financial elite, the "1 percent," instead of the rest of us.

In order to carry out this "Resist and Regenerate" strategy, the OCA and its closest allies have come up with an Action platform called Consumer Revolution/Political Revolution 2017-2020, which includes the following.

#Consumer Revolution 2017-2020

Overarching goal: Force corporations that sell consumer products, including food, clothing, drugs and personal care products, to respond to consumer demand for truthfully labeled products that have a positive impact on human health and are produced using regenerative processes and practices that not only prevent harm to human health and the environment, but also measurably improve soils and combat global warming.

  1. Move toward making organic, 100 percent grassfed and regenerative food and farming the norm, not just the 5 percent alternative in the marketplace, by doubling sales of organic to $80 billion by 2020, and by increasing sales of U.S. grassfed meat and dairy, and organic and pastured poultry and pork by at least 400 percent by 2020.
  2. Achieve a 50 percent reduction in sales of GMO food and animal feed by 2020, with the aim of driving GMO animal feed off the market.

  3. Force major food brands and companies that fraudulently label their products as "natural," "organic" or "GMO-free" to remove misleading labels and/or transition their products and production methods to organic and/or regenerative practices.
  4. Increase market share for clothing made from organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers through a high-profile "Care What You Wear" campaign that encourages consumers to boycott GMO cotton and synthetic fibers.

#PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020

Overarching goal: Reform the current political process to create a democracy that works for all people, not just wealthy corporations and the 1 percent, by uniting the food, climate, economic and social justice, natural health and peace movements in a coordinated effort to support candidates, elected public officials and policies at the local, state and federal levels, that support our common goals.

1. Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support OCA's #ConsumerRevolution platform

2. Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support the "Our Revolution" platform, with the addition of:

On food: a focus on food policy that supports consumer health and consumer right to know, and acknowledges the role food production plays in environmental and climate policy

On health care: a focus on "Medicare for all" that includes coverage for preventive, natural and alternative health care solutions, and health freedom on vaccines and all medical treatments

On living wage: a focus on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour so that lower-income Americans can afford organic food and natural health products and practitioners

On climate: a focus on regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration as a global warming solution, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy

3. Organize local grassroots meet-ups and coalitions to run candidates, for local and state offices, who support our issues

4. Oppose any candidates or policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and all forms of discrimination, whenever and wherever they arise

5. Oppose any laws or illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters

6. Support the decriminalization of drug use, including the legalization of marijuana, and oppose the war on drugs

7. Promote candidates and policies that advance regenerative food, farming and land use, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy

Biodynamics — The Highest Organic Standard

Biodynamic farming, which originated with Rudolf Steiner in the early 1920s, is also starting to gain recognition, and might even change or modify the organic standard. There are actually two different types of organic certification in the U.S.

There's the USDA Organic label standards, which are decent but still allow producers to meet only minimum requirements, and then there are the biodynamic standards, which have always been the highest in terms of organic certification. The biodynamic organic certification is indicated with a Demeter sign.2 "What you need to realize is this is absolutely grade A+ organic," Cummins says.


Many didn't understand the implications of 100 percent grassfed until very recently. Fortunately, we're now starting to see a merger of the Biodynamic Demeter certification and the AGA's grassfed certification. Many farmers, even those certified organic by the USDA, are now stepping it up to the next level by implementing biodynamic or regenerative methods, which in terms of cattle and other herbivores is the 100 percent grassfed way of doing things.

"I think biodynamic and regenerative are the wave of the future. We need to still seek out organic products, but more and more conscious consumers are realizing that if you're buying a bottle of wine, look for the organic label on it, because that means it doesn't have any added sulfides.

It means that the farmer was really conscientious in the way they raised those grapes. But look for the biodynamic label as well. In OCA … we're really happy to be working with the next stage of organics, which is biodynamic and grassfed."

Routing Out GMOs by Expanding the Net

Over the past two decades, the majority of the anti-GMO movement was focused on GMOs found in processed foods and a small number of whole GE foods.

Yet that's only 20 percent of the GMOs in the human food chain. Twice as much (40 percent) goes into the making of animal feed for factory farms. The only way to change that trend is by not buying factory farmed animal products, be it poultry (including eggs), pork or beef.

Another 40 percent of GMOs grown are used to make ethanol, "which is this crazed idea that it's environmentally sound … to produce an additive for gasoline from GMO corn," Cummins says. In essence, Monsanto makes money every time you drive your car, unless you're buying premium gas, which doesn't have ethanol in it. So, the less gas you use, the less money Monsanto makes. Cutting off your contributions to Monsanto is yet another reason for buying an electric vehicle.

Most also forget (or failed to understand in the first place) that 95 percent of non-organic cotton clothing is made from Monsanto's GE cotton. You may be boycotting Monsanto's food, but if you buy clothes without thinking about what it's made from, you're still feeding the beast. In short, we have to significantly widen the net and consider all the different ways GE crops sneak their way into our lives.

"My T-shirt's organic. My jeans are organic. My underwear is organic. My socks are organic. I'm trying to consciously fight against Monsanto with everything I do, not just what I eat," Cummins says. "We've got to expand into the full realm of GMOs. Even more importantly, we need to stop talking about GMOs as if it's some abstract technology that poses this kind of really-hard-to-understand danger, gene splicing, disruption of the genome and all that …

There is no GMO crop that isn't sprayed with large amounts of poisonous chemicals … Or else it's impregnated with a poison, like the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) toxin in the plant that expresses itself in every cell of the plant. When we're talking about pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, we're talking about GMO plants. There's no way to fight against GMOs unless we fight at the same time against chemical-intensive, energy-intensive agriculture and factory farms."

Many Legislative Changes Are Needed

We also need to continue fighting for legislative changes that help and support organic farmers. The reason France was able to grow the organic sector by 20 percent last year, compared to 11.5 percent in the U.S. was because the French government started paying farmers who quit using pesticides and use compost instead of chemical fertilizers.

In a nutshell, France decided to pay farmers to do the right thing, whereas the U.S. rewards farmers who agree to do the wrong thing. France also passed a law that at least 40 percent of food for schools must be organic and purchased from local farmers.

"I mean what kind of rules do we have regarding [this]? We have the worst school lunch programs in the entire industrialized world. Our food stamp program for poor people is basically junk food that the companies would have disposed of, but they get a tax break for giving us their factory-farmed cheese and milk, and so on.

We do need to change policies as well as the marketplace. But looking at the federal government, our best way to influence public policy is to get involved at the local level — city council, county board, state legislature, our school boards. We have some power there."

Become Active in Local Government and Expand Alliances

OCA is also calling for people of different stripes to start working together more — people in the local food movement, the slow food movement, the natural health movement, the environmental movement, the animal welfare movement, even church and spiritual movements. If you're involved in any of these, consider setting up joint meetings with other groups to discuss what you're doing, how and where your concerns intersect and how you may help each other.

To volunteer to set up or attend a Regenerative House Party or Community Meet-up in your local area this spring with other organic consumers or natural health activists, contact OCA at campaigns@organicconsumers.org.

Big corporations are trying to stamp out organic, grassfed, natural health, alternative therapies, environmental protections — you name it. As long as we remain divided, they can conquer. By banding together, by connecting the dots between all of our crucial issues, we will prevail.

"If the food movement united with these other movements, they couldn't have passed the DARK Act even at the federal level. But because it was just the 30, 40 million people who were most conscientious about what they buy, that wasn't enough to scare the hell out of the politicians to do the right thing," Cummins says.

"If we're going to get involved politically, and I do think we have to, let's get involved where it makes a difference right now, which is the local level. Let's understand that what we do in the marketplace, whether it's the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, these people are not determining your food choices. These people are not forcing you to consume dangerous Big Pharma drugs.

Get educated. Take control of your health. Take control of your diet. Meet up with the people in your local community who feel the same way. We can have, down the road, the kind of democracy that people have dreamed about for hundreds of years. We've never had it but it doesn't mean that we can't get it down the road."

Take Control of Your Health by Making Wiser Choices 

For the first time in two decades, the average lifespan in the U.S. has decreased, and the U.S. is the only country in the developed world where this is happening. I for one am convinced our emphasis on factory farmed foods play a major role in this decline. Moreover, if we persist with this industrial farming model, we will eventually run out of topsoil and potable water, and that day is approaching at a rapid clip. Some estimates suggest we have less than 60 years of topsoil left if we keep going as we have been.3

We're causing potentially irreparable environmental damage. If we destroy this infrastructure for future generations, how can they possibly grow food? This is a serious issue and I'm glad so many of you are beginning to appreciate the enormity of the problem — and are embracing the solutions. As Cummins says, your greatest power lies in your choice of spending.

By avoiding food not grown in accordance with regenerative measures, non-organic cotton clothing, and ethanol-infused fuel, you help cut off the lifeblood of corporations that are destroying your children and grandchildren's chance of a healthy future. When it comes to food, choose organic produce, ideally biodynamic certified organics, and look for the AGA's grassfed certification for animal products.

The goal of the AGA is to promote the grassfed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education. Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.

Also, seriously consider making a generous donation to the OCA. Your previous support has been instrumental in catalyzing major changes in the organic and health world. And, please remember that I will match your contributions dollar for dollar.

Easy Bell Pepper Egg Bake Recipe
Sun, 26 Mar 2017 05:00:00 GMT

Scrumptiously Easy Bell Pepper Egg Bake Recipe


When you think of breakfast food, the egg is probably one of the first things that will come to mind. Eggs are extremely versatile when it comes to the culinary world — they can be hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried or poached. Some people even eat them raw just to make sure that they get the full array of nutritional components they have to offer. (It should be noted, however, that organic eggs should be the only eggs that you eat raw to make sure that you’re not exposing yourself to potential disease-causing bacteria.)


Because eggs have been part of the breakfast scene for a long time, it’s not surprising that people have managed to come up with creative ways to enjoy this poultry produce. One example that you’ll surely love is the bell pepper egg bake.


This recipe mixes the concept of stuffed bell peppers and the baked egg, combining the health benefits and flavors of these two ingredients. Try this quick and easy recipe and enjoy this new appetizing and healthy take on this breakfast mainstay.



Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serving: 3



3 small organic bell peppers

3 large organic pastured eggs

Fresh herbs of your choice (basil, thyme, parsley, chives, etc.)

Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt, to taste

Freshly cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Put peppers in a small round baking dish. Crack 1 egg into each pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still a little runny, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs of your choice.

You’ll Be Impressed by the Benefits You Can Get From This Simple Recipe

Aside from the fact that this recipe yields a rather beautiful dish, it also boasts the combination of all the nutritional components of its ingredients. Here are some of the health benefits that you can get from each individual ingredient:


  • Bell pepper. This vegetable contains a considerable amount of thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium and copper. The high concentration of these minerals contributes to its ability to aid in the prevention of diabetes, scurvy, cardiovascular diseases and cholesterol buildup.


    The consumption of bell peppers has also been observed to help in the maintenance of eye health, preventing both macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. This is mainly because of the high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in this colorful vegetable.


    Bell pepper also helps in the prevention of anemia, which is the reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Aside from the fact that bell pepper contains a considerable amount of iron, it’s also rich in vitamin C, which helps in increasing the gut’s ability to absorb iron.[1]


  • Eggs. If you’re a fan of eggs, you’ve probably heard all about the campaign against the consumption of egg yolks. This is because of the numerous health claims that say that it poses negative effects on the body. This belief has led to the public’s preference for eating egg white omelets and other egg recipes that exclude the yolk.


    What people usually overlook is the fact that when you throw out the egg yolk, you’re also throwing out numerous vitamins and minerals that come with it. Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E and K, omega-3 fats, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, niacin and folate. These vitamins and minerals help you maintain optimal body processes, such as vision, gastrointestinal function and neurological function (memory and muscle control).


  • Fresh herbs. Aside from adding a boost in flavors, using fresh herbs also gives you various nutritional benefits. Various herbs and spices have been observed to assist in the prevention of diseases, cardiovascular conditions and premature aging.


    Some herbs that can be incorporated into this recipe are cloves, oregano, thyme and sage, which all give the dish a savory and earthy flavor.

    How Can You Handpick the Best Ingredients for This Recipe?

    To ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money, here are a few tips to remember when buying the main ingredients for this recipe:


  • For eggs, keep in mind that the eggs in the market are not at all equal. Organic eggs will always be superior to eggs produced by hens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO farms).


    To make sure that you’re getting the most nutritional value from eggs, purchase organic, free-range or “pastured” varieties from a local farmer. By buying these kinds of eggs, you’re also minimizing your exposure to disease-causing bacteria like salmonella.


  • For bell peppers, the first thing you should check is their firmness. Fresh bell peppers are usually firm and have a wrinkle-free texture.[2]


It is also important that you go for bell peppers grown in organic farms. Bell peppers are part of EWG’s 2016 Dirty Dozen list, which means that conventionally grown varieties of this produce contain high amounts of harmful chemicals from pesticides and herbicides.


By choosing organically grown bell peppers, you’re minimizing the risk of accidentally ingesting chemical residues, which can alter essential body processes and even lead to damaging diseases.


Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome
Sat, 25 Mar 2017 05:00:00 GMT

By Dr. Mercola

In 2013, Elizabeth Williams, a California mother of two, did something you’ve probably done many times yourself: visited a hair salon for a cut and routine wash. Several days later, she began experiencing strange symptoms indicative of stroke, including weakness on her left side.

Doctors ultimately diagnosed her with a relatively rare condition called vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck,1 otherwise known as beauty parlor stroke syndrome.

The act of extending her neck over the shampoo bowl was deemed to be the culprit, although it’s unclear if the condition resulted solely from a kink in the neck or in combination with a certain head movement caused by the stylist.2

Smith, who subsequently filed a lawsuit against the salon, conducted an informal poll of her friends’ stylists and found 80 percent were familiar with the possibility that you could have a stroke while getting your hair washed.3

What Causes Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome?

When your neck is hyperextended over the edge of a shampoo bowl, the pressure and/or whiplash-like motions on your neck can lead to a tear in the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to your brain. Dr. Steven R. Zeiler, head of stroke research at Johns Hopkins, told BuzzFeed:4

“When one of those cervical arteries is damaged in some sort of way, you can get what’s called a dissection, which is damage of the inside of the blood vessel, leading to abnormal flow and clotting, and then those clots can shoot north into the brain and cause a stroke.”

Having your hair washed is not the only act that can cause this — far from it — although it’s very rare, even when all potential causes are considered.

In a conversation with The Atlantic, Dr. Richard Bernstein, medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, explained that the phenomenon can occur due to innocent stretching, sneezing or even getting out of bed wrong in the morning, noting, “It is so rare that it’s a waste of time to worry about it. It’s so unlikely, and there’s really nothing you can do to prevent it.”5

Other Confirmed Cases of Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome

Beauty parlor stroke syndrome is not unheard of in the medical literature, and some studies even dispute the phenomenon’s supposed rarity.

In the International Journal of Stroke, for instance, a 2016 study found that hairdresser-related ischemic cerebrovascular events (HICE) “occur frequently in females without a predilection for the posterior circulation.”6

The researchers noted that while some cases may occur by chance, in other cases hairdresser visits may have a causal role.

A 2006 case study also relates the case of a 63-year-old woman who developed sudden dizziness, nausea and vomiting while having her hair shampooed at a beauty parlor. She was diagnosed with beauty parlor stroke syndrome with the researchers noting:

“Taken together, hyperextension combined with hanging the head backwards in a hair washbasin can be seen as a risk factor for posterior circulation ischemia. It probably occurs more often than assumed ...”7

Case in point: In December 2016 a U.K. man was awarded a more than $100,000 settlement from a hair salon after suffering a stroke two days after having his hair washed. The Daily Mail also reported another British woman who suffered a stroke in 2000 after having her hair washed at a salon.8

Cervical Support Reduced Dizziness and Other Symptoms During Hair Washing

Another study, this one published in 2002, examined symptoms of beauty parlor stroke syndrome among 25 volunteers who had previously reported dizziness during salon shampoos.

Among this population, significant dizziness, neck pain and carotid blood flow were reported while extending their necks over a salon sink, but the symptoms were significantly reduced when additional cervical support was used.

“Individuals with a history of such symptoms should probably exercise caution when deciding whether to receive a salon sink shampoo,” the researchers concluded.9

Yet another study in 2000 linked the hyperextended neck position during salon shampoos to cerebellum vascular insufficiency and recommended that “public education should lead to avoidance of this position during hair shampoo treatment at hair dressing salons.”10

While the risk of being injured during a salon shampoo is generally minimal, if you have experienced dizziness or other symptoms while having your hair washed previously, you may want to forgo the risk and wash your hair at home instead.

At the very least, some have suggested that adding a thick layer of towels to support your neck and reduce hyperextension may help.

Are There Risks to Getting Your Nails Done?

Hair washing is not the only potential risk at the beauty salon, particularly if you plan on getting your nails done. Nail salon services are big business in the U.S., amounting to $8.54 billion in spending in 2014.11

The fumes released by nail care products (and other beauty care products) is one concern, particularly for salon workers; however, the nail treatments themselves can also cause damage or infection to your nails.

Writing in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, researchers identified nail disorders that are induced by nail cosmetics via procedures meant to beautify the nail.12 On the contrary, many may lead to poor nail appearance and other risks.

“Known risks of traditional manicures include procedure-related infections (bacterial, fungal, mycobacterial and viral, including human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus).

Inadequately sterilized instruments, such as clippers, blades, abrasive files, electric drills and footbaths, may harbor and abet the growth of micro-organisms.

Micro and macro-traumas may be induced through the cleaning, filing and trimming of cuticles, thus allowing the infiltration of micro-organisms.

Materials, such as nail polish and nail enhancers, contain certain chemicals that can serve as contact sensitizers when accidentally applied to periungual skin [skin around the nail].

Chemicals, including acrylates, formaldehyde and toluene sulphonamide-formaldehyde resin, may lead to contact dermatitis and chronic paronychia [an inflammatory disorder of the nail folds]. Primers and polish removers, which are largely solvents, can dry nails and contribute to brittleness.”13

Less common disorders that can be caused by a trip to the nail salon include:14

Mycobacterial infection, which can particularly occur from pedicure footbaths using equipment that is not properly sterilized or maintained with regular filter changes.

Peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that is a rare complication of acrylic nails, possibly due to methacrylates that are sometimes used in artificial nail products.

Nail thinning, weakness, brittleness, pseudo leukonychia (white spots), and onychoschizia lamellina (nail splitting), which may occur due to the removal of gel polish.

Worn down or overfilled nails, which is due to the mechanical trauma that occurs when acrylic nails are removed.

Traumatic onycholysis, the separation of the nail plate from the bed, is very common in people with acrylic nails.

It’s caused by inserting thin sharp objects in order to clean under the nails. According to the study, “These patients usually wear very long nails, and adhesion of the acrylic nail to the nail plate is stronger than adhesion of the nail plate to the nail bed.”

What Else Can Cause Vertebral Artery Dissection From Hyperextension of the Neck?

As mentioned, having your hair washed is only one precipitating factor. Dr. Wouter I. Schievink of the Cedars-Sinai Neurological Institute in Los Angeles suggested that every year 1 to 1.5 per 100,000 people may suffer from spontaneous vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck and may account for up to one-quarter of nonhemorrhagic strokes in young and middle-aged adults.15

Aside from having your hair washed in a beauty salon, other possible causes include chiropractic spinal manipulation, lifting heavy objects or even drinking a shot of alcohol (which is known as “bottoms-up dissection,” according to The New York Times).16

In the case of chiropractic manipulation, it’s thought that up to one-fourth of people who suffer an arterial dissection may have an underlying disorder or defect that predisposes them to the dissection, and related pain may be what prompts them to seek chiropractic care in the first place. The Times continued:17

“A champion swimmer developed a dissected carotid from doing too much backstroke. Dr. Schievink also lists precipitating events associated with hyperextension of the neck, including '’practicing yoga, painting a ceiling, coughing, vomiting and sneezing,' as well as medical procedures like receiving anesthesia or being resuscitated and traumatic causes like motor vehicle accidents or sports injuries.

… There may also be an infectious factor in some cases, since the occurrence of carotid and vertebral artery dissections with no apparent cause peaks in the fall, when respiratory infections are most common.”

Writing in the Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society, it’s suggested that many events associated with hyperextension or rotation of the neck may result in artery dissection. “Such neck movements, particularly when they are sudden, may injure the artery as a result of mechanical stretching,” the researchers noted.18 The symptoms of arterial dissection depend on which artery is affected and may include the following:19

Pain on one side of your head, face or neck

Paralysis of one eye

Constant headache on one side of your head

Pain behind an eye

Impaired ability to taste


Visual loss

Temporary loss of awareness

Should You Avoid Having Your Hair Washed at the Salon?

There are many potential causes of arterial dissections, so you shouldn’t single out having your hair washed at a salon as a particularly serious risk. That being said, if you experience any discomfort or dizziness when in a position that requires over-extending your neck or looking upward for an extended period of time, you should take it seriously, change the position and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

If you are concerned, talk to your hair dresser and ask for extra neck support during washing. Ideally, the chair and neck support should be adjustable so you can avoid hyperextending your neck. You can also forgo the process entirely and wash your hair at home. Ultimately, the risk of suffering from beauty parlor stroke syndrome is rare, but it does happen.