Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nature Lecture at Mushroom Club

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer weather!

There is an event coming up Tuesday night that we thought some of you may be interested in: the monthly meeting of the Western PA Mushroom Club is featuring long-time naturalist Esther Allen (I've never heard her...but I've heard of her. She's in her 90's and has a wealth of knowledge about nature!) will be speaking. The details are below and for more information visit the Mushroom Club's website.

Monthly Meeting: June 15th
Title: What Fungi Do and How They Do It

Speaker(s): Esther Allen, Long-time Area Naturalist

Summary: Esther Allen has developed this new program which, rather than focus on identification or edibility, presents the essential role that fungi fill in the natural cycle of life. This is a timely topic which looks at how mushrooms function in our ecological systems. As always, she will share wonderful photographs and her phenomena wealth of knowledge of nature. A real treat.

Hope to see you there!

Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

Licensed Acupuncturist
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Warning: Protein Powders Contain High Levels of Heavy Metals

The latest issue of Consumer Reports (July, 2010) published a study in which they tested 15 popular brands of protein powders or ready-made protein drinks and found detectable (and sometimes very high!) levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and/or mercury in every single one!

Solgar had the lowest, with just a detectable amount of just one metal. Muscle Milk Chocolate was the highest, with significant levels of all four metals. Here is my full article, originally published in Natural News:

Many common brands of protein powders and protein drinks contain high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury according to the most recent issue of Consumer Reports magazine. All fifteen different powders and drinks tested contained measurable amounts, some quite high. Consumer Reports also argued that most people in the United States including athletes get ample protein in their diets. Heavy metal toxicity and excess protein consumption are both dangerous for one's health.

Proteins, whether from plants or animals, are broken down by the body into amino acids which are then used to form our cells and tissues. In the United States it is almost impossible to get too little protein.

Protein requirements set out by the World Health Organization range from a minimum of 0.45 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight to 0.8 grams protein per kilogram. It may increase 1 gram for endurance athletes. One pound equals 0.45 kilograms, so a 150 pound person would weigh about 68 kilograms. Excess protein can cause severe health issues such as dehydration and kidney failure.

Good vegetarian sources of protein include beans, grains such as quinoa, eggs, seeds such as hemp seeds, and even leafy green vegetables; they can give substantial amounts of protein when eaten in high enough amounts. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 14 grams of protein. One egg contains about 6 grams of protein and one cup of raw spinach contains 1 gram of protein.

Whereas protein deficiency is not a common problem in this country, lead and other heavy metal poisoning is. Heavy metals get into tissues including the brain, heart and kidneys and are extremely difficult for the body to eliminate. Children are especially prone to heavy metal poisoning but everyone is at risk. Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include fatigue, nausea, depression, decreased thyroid and adrenal function, and even seizures.

Blending hemp seeds, green leafy vegetables or cooked grains like quinoa into a home-made smoothie of fresh and frozen fruit and water is a much healthier way to get protein than supplementing with questionable store-bought powders and drinks.

For more specifics, browse through the July 2010 issue Consumer Reports, which is available at bookstores and libraries. It has a chart with all the findings. You can also visit Consumer Reports and find a detailed summary.

An alternative (and safer) way to get good vegetarian protein supplementation is Hemp Seeds. We make Hemp Seed Milk (recipe below), and add hemp seeds to smoothies, sprinkle on salads and other dishes. We use Nutiva Shelled Hempseed, which is 30% protein and 9% Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid. We buy whole hemp seeds, not hemp protein powder. You can find this at a health food store, or online at iherb (where we often get ours.)

We found iherb to have great selection and great prices. They also have free shipping on orders of $40 or more. To get $5 off your first order with iherb, use code MEL526 at checkout.

Vanilla Cinnamon Hemp Seed Milk

1 cup raw hemp seeds
4 cups water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar, or about 5 pitted dates)

Blend well. You don't need to strain this nutmilk; the hemp seeds are soft and will be pulverized completely.

Enjoy!

Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

Licensed Acupuncturist
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Powerful Medicinal Mushrooms Grow Wild Across North America

Here's my latest article which was recently published in Natural News magazine: Powerful Medicinal Mushrooms Grow Wild Across North America...

(Natural News) The West is catching on to what the East has known for thousands of years: mushrooms are beneficial to health. They increase immunity, provide vital nutrients, and have been shown to fight cancer. Many of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and Maitake grow wild right all around North America and are easy to find once one knows what to look for. (Read the rest of the article)

And these are only a few of the medicinal mushrooms which grow wild!

If you are in Western PA and interested in identifying mushrooms, check out The Western PA Mushroom Club. They now have chapters in Allegheny, Indiana and Washington/Greene counties!

Much love,

Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

Licensed Acupuncturist
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!