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Interesting Information: “Denmark Plans To Be 100% Organic”

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Interesting Information:  January 11, 2015

Denmark Plans To Be 100% Organic

…and the government is putting money behind this effort.

Here’s a quote from Well Being Journal, November/December 2015, page 36–itself taken from Carola Traverso Salibante’s “The Great Denmark Plan to Become a 100% Organic Country, July 16, 2015, http://finedininglovers.com

The Danish government is investing more than 53 million Euros in 2015 to convert the country’s agriculture into organic farming. Denmark is the most developed country in regard to the trade of organic products  It will also soon become the first in the world to achieve 100 percent organic and sustainable agriculture production.  The export of Danish organic products has increased by 200 percent since 2007.

There is also a huge campaign to get organic food into schools, hospitals, the military and so forth.

Cool!

Written by louisaenright

January 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Interesting Information: The Gold Standard: Double-Blind Studies and Cough Syrup, Antibiotics for Ear Infections, and Knee Arthritis

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Interesting Information:  October 27, 2014

The Gold Standard:

Double-Blind Studies and Cough Syrup, Antibiotics for Ear Infections, and Knee Arthritis

 

I had a really, really bad ear infection this summer.

Friends kept asking me if I’d been to the doctor to get an antibiotic.

But, somewhere I had read that antibiotics don’t really help ear infections.  And I am SUPER antibiotic cautious anyway as they wipe out ALL your gut flora and fauna, which is increasingly being shown to be a really dumb thing to do.  And, sometimes one’s immune system needs some inflammation to strengthen itself.

I did some selected herbs and some homeopathic treatments, and eventually, the ear infection resolved itself.  (I will not be swimming without ear plugs in our wild water next summer though.)

So…

I’ve been catching up on back issues of various magazines in my read pile.  A sidebar in the November/December 2014 issue of Well Being Journal (7) caught my attention.  The sidebar referenced an article by Steven Bratman, MD, on the importance of using evidence-based medicine in the form of double-blind studies.  Here’s a quote.

The double-blind study has caused a revolution even in conventional medicine. Many old beliefs have been tossed out when double-blind studies were finally done. It’s been discovered, for example, that (as noted earlier) over-the-counter cough syrups don’t work,10 that immediate antibiotic treatment for ear infections is probably not necessary or even helpful in most cases,11-15, 30 and that cartilage scraping for knee arthritis is no better than placebo7.  (The numbers are footnotes).

The whole article can be read at the url below–and it’s a good article on why double-blind studies are so important.

So, now I’m asking myself WHY so much of what is practiced today in conventional medicine has NOT been proven via double-blind studies…

I hope you’re thinking about this issue, too, and asking for evidence of a double-blind study BEFORE you accept any drug, treatment, or so forth…

Double-Blind Studies.

Interesting Information: “Reverse Tooth Decay With Nutrition”

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Interesting Information:  October 15, 2014

“Reverse Tooth Decay With Nutrition”

 

Did you know you can reverse tooth decay?

You can.

What a novel thought…

 

I was in my dentist’s office about a year ago, and a father and son were talking to my dentist–the son, who looked to be about six years old, having just finished an exam that showed five or six cavities.

The conversation was about brushing more.

Food choices were not mentioned.

BUT, BUT, cavities are a sure sign of poor nutrition.

Here’s a statement by Laurel Blair, a nutritionist, from the January/February 2014 issue of Well Being Journal (33).

I had too much tooth decay.  When I studied nutritional research, I improved the nutrient-density of my diet and began taking high-vitamin cod liver oil.  It’s important the diet contains plenty of natural vitamins A, D, and K2.  At first I did not use butter oil, which is expensive but contains high amounts of vitamin K2; I just used cold liver oil and other nutrient-rich foods for their vitamin and mineral content, and it helped slow or stop the decay.  When I added the high-vitamin butter oil with its vitamin K2, which is essential for proper calcium use by the body, reduced the amount of grains in my diet (I soaked most of the grains I did eat to reduce the mineral-chelating phytic acid), and increased my intake of mineral-rich foods, including bone broth, raw and cultured dairy products, grass-fed meats, seafood, eggs, and organic vegetables, the decay began to reverse itself.  A month after I began taking both the cod liver oil and butter oil with other nutrients, I could actually see new white enamel growing in areas that were previously completely brown with decay!  The tooth now feels hard and mostly smooth, and there is no longer any crumbling of enamel in my teeth.

There are many such testimonials on the web.  And the Weston A. Price Foundation web site has solid information of how to heal teeth.

The best high-vitamin cod liver oil is FERMENTED Green Pastures.  It’s the ONLY cod liver oil that is not heated with man-made vitamins added back.  You can get it and the butter oil online.  Radiant Life is one source.

 

Interesting Information: Magnificent Magnesium Rescues The Heart

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Interesting Information:  June 9, 2014

Magnificent Magnesium Rescues The Heart

 

So many people I know are taking blood pressure medicines.

And many of them are having additional problems as well.

I am wondering if the additional problems are connected to the BP med and/or to the other meds that seem to accompany the decision to take the BP med?

 

I ran across an article in the July/August 2014 issue of Well Being Journal that offers some interesting information about my question:  “Magnesium Balances Calcium and Rescues the Heart” by Scott E. Miners.

Basically, the article is a review of Carolyn Dean, M.D.’s book THE MAGNESIUM MIRACLE.

I googled Dean and discovered that she is both an MD and a Naturopath Doctor–so she sits astride the chasm that often lies between allopathic (mainstream medicine) and alternative medicine.   In addition, she worked with magnesium expert Mildred Seelig, MD.

 

Disclaimer:      Since posting this review, with the help of PhD nutritionist Judith Valentine, I did more research on Carolyn Dean.  (See judithvalentine.com)  Dean is really riding the coat tails of Mildred Seelig’s very valid and published work on magnesium.  Take a look at Selig’s publishing record:  http://www.mgwater.com/seelig.shtml.  It turns out that Dean lost her Canadian MD license.  Yes, she is operating out of the medical norm and is critical of today’s doctors and that’s always a problem for the medical police, but having said that, there is just too much “off” about Dean herself.  I ordered Dean’s picometer magnesium, for sale on her web site.  Maybe it’s ok.  She owns the company, which is now based in Hawaii.  (It’s unclear if California has also revoked her medical license.)  I have to tell you that Dean’s liquid magnesium tastes TERRIBLE.  My body just hates it, for whatever that’s worth.  For also whatever it’s worth, I’ve had no more leg cramps and none of the diarrhea that  some forms of magnesium that hang around in the gut can cause.  I think there is enough evidence that what Dean is saying about magnesium deficiency in Americans and the tremendous downsides to getting caught up in three to five medicines is probably accurate–so I am leaving the post here–but putting in this disclaimer.  And I have no idea about the quality of her magnesium product.  I also think WELL BEING JOURNAL needs to review their info on Dean’s work.

Dean thinks that about 80 percent of Americans are magnesium deficient.

Magnesium is the mineral that “activates” nerves and muscles, “including,” writes Miners, “the muscle cells in the heart.”  Further, “magnesium is important for maintaining optimal heart rhythm, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and brain health.”  Signs of magnesium deficiency are “constipation and other digestive problems, irregularities in menstrual flow and reproductive health, muscle spasms, nocturnal leg cramps, and migraine headaches.”  And “loss of appetite, fatigue, numbness or tingling, and nausea.”

One idea I walked away with was the notion that blood tests don’t show magnesium deficiency because the body robs magnesium from other sites in the body to keep the blood level at about 1% magnesium.

Another idea was that one has to eat significant amounts of foods containing magnesium to get enough–and even then, the amount of magnesium in the foods can depend upon the soils in which the food grew.  With commercial farming, soil depletion is increasingly a problem.  The magnesium food list is seaweeds, leafy dark green vegetables like chard and kale, legumes, green beans, almonds, cashews, filberts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.

Dean says most magnesium supplements , especially magnesium oxide, are poorly absorbed.  Up to 96 percent stays in the digestive system, where it acts as a laxative, rather than getting to the cells where it is desperately needed.  Dean recommends picometer-sized forms of magnesium as that form can be totally absorbed at the cellular level.  Epsom salt soaking (magnesium sulfate) is another excellent way to get more magnesium into your system.  [And, more sulfur–see other blog posts on sulfur deficiency.]

DRUGS DEPLETE MAGNESIUM, says Dean–based on Seelig’s laboratory work with drugs and her own work since working with Seelig.  (Seelig tried to tell her drug company bosses that their drugs were depleting magnesium in bodies, but they “weren’t interested.”)

Dean details the following situation:   you are stressed when you see your doctor, so your BP might be high at that moment.  The doctor might put you on a diuretic–which drains your magnesium and potassium, which makes your blood pressure truly higher.  So now the doc will “worry that your calcium levels are going to rise, and will prescribe a calcium channel blocker.  Most doctors don’t know that magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker.”  And, they’ll put you on a third drug, an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.  So now you’re on three drugs.

But the tale continues:

After two or three months, you come back and have blood taken to make sure the drugs aren’t hurting your liver….But all of a sudden your cholesterol is elevated; your blood sugar is elevated….The doctor says, “Oh, we caught your cholesterol.  We just caught your blood sugar.  We can put you on medications.”  Dean goes on to say that they didn’t catch these conditions; they caused them.  The more you reduce your magnesium, the more your cholesterol will go out of control.  She notes magnesium is important to balance an enzyme used in the manufacture of cholesterol in the body; magnesium helps to stabilize cholesterol.

Further, Dean notes that Statin drugs destroy an enzyme that magnesium needs.   And, that a sign of diabetes is low magnesium.

Miners notes that Dean writes that “doctors only recognize drug side effects 4 percent of the time because they do not want to believe they are harming their patients via their prescriptions.  More, drug intake also causes inflammation.”

And, isn’t this situation the HUGE elephant in the medical room these days?  Doctors are caught in what I’ve been calling a “kool-aid loop” of information crafted by the drug industry AND by the “standards of care” they are expected to follow.  It’s the rare doctor these days who is researching this information for themselves and trying to understand what is really happening in bodies.  Dean appears to be one of the rare ones.

Here’s what Dean says to do:  keep taking magnesium:

Take it in the various sources:  the picometer-sized magnesium, Epsom salts, and so on.  Take an oxide if you’re constipated…you may need the magnesium oxide, but take the others as well.

I would note that magnesium and calcium are “paired”–one effects the other.  Too much magnesium can block calcium.  But, my thinking is that if you are eating dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk), nuts, seeds, homemade bone broth, and dark leafy vegetables, adding a quality source of magnesium to protect your heart might be a good idea.  I’m going to do it.

 

SO WHAT’S A GOOD BP TO HAVE?

I don’t have high blood pressure.  But I had always heard that 100 plus your age–over 90–was a reasonable BP, especially as you age.   Sherry A. Rogers, MD, an environmental doctor who has been a fairly prolific writer, has a book called THE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE HOAX.  She quite seriously supports the more modern BP figure of 120 over 70.  BUT she advocates trying to figure out why the BP is high and counsels treating with diet and other lifestyle changes.  You can read a Weston A. Price book review at the following url if you want more information on this subject of BP measurements.

http://www.westonaprice.org/book-reviews/the-high-blood-pressure-hoax-by-sherry-a-rogers/

Interesting Information: Scientific Studies Validate Sustainable Organic Agriculture

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Interesting Information:  March 28, 2014

“Scientific Studies Validate Sustainable Organic Agriculture”

Andre Leu

 

One of the big news stories of 2013 was the appearance in the media of the results of the 12-year study out of Iowa State University (ISU) showing that “organic systems can have equal to higher yields than conventional systems” (30).   This article , by Andre Leu, in Wellbeing Journal, January/February 2013, 27-34, lists and discusses many of the studies, including the 12-year ISU study, that show that organic systems are superior to commercial systems that deploy chemicals for both plant growth and weed control.  The studies Leu lists are both national and international–which forestalls the argument that commercial agriculture might be ok in the developing world.

Leu begins with studies from the mid-90s, and the reader begins to realize that the science for organic systems has been there for years, but that we aren’t reading about that science in our media in any sustained way.  For instance, the Iowa study ended in, I believe, 2011, but the story didn’t break in any major way until 2013.

Here’s Leu’s synopsis of the ISU study:

The results from the Long Term Agroecological Research (LTAR), a 12-year collaborative effort between producers and researchers led by Kathleen Delate of Iowa State University, shows that organic systems can have equal to higher yields than conventional systems

Consistent with several other studies, the data showed that while the organic systems had lower yields in the beginning, by the fourth year they started to exceed the conventional crops.

Across all rotations, organic corn harvests averaged 130 bu/ac while conventional corn yield was 112 bu/ac.  Similarly, organic soybean yield was 45 bu/ac compared to the conventional yield of 40 bu/ac in the fourth year.

On average, the organic crop revenue was twice that of conventional crops due to the savings from non-utilization of chemical fertilizers and pesticides (30).

Here’s another assessment of the Iowa Trials from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture:

LTAR’s findings concur with recently published results from the Rodale Institute’s 30-year Farming Systems Trial in Pennsylvania. The Rodale Institute also concluded that organic systems can provide similar yields and greater profits. In addition, they calculated that organic crops required 45 percent less energy, and contributed significantly less to greenhouse gas emissions. Organic corn proved especially profitable during drought years, when its yields jumped up to 31 percent higher than conventional.

http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/news/11-15-2011/long-running-experiment

So, the next time you read that, or someone says that, organic agriculture cannot “feed the world,” challenge that statement.  Here’s a quote from Leu:

Reputable studies by major universities are finding organic agriculture can feed the world.  A recent study by Badgley et al from the University of Michigan showed that organic farming can yield up to three times more food on individual farms in developing countries, as compared to conventional farms.  These findings refute the long-standing claim that organic farming methods cannot produce enough food to feed the global population (27).  (This study was done in 1995.)

Here’s another Leu quote:

Rick Welsh, PhD, of the Henry A. Wallace Institute reviewed numerous academic publications comparing organic production with conventional production systems in the U.S.  The data showed that the organic systems were more profitable.  This profit was not always due to premium prices but also due to lower production and input costs as well as more consistent yields.  Welsh’s study also showed that organic agriculture produced better yields than conventional agriculture in adverse weather events, such as droughts or higher than average rainfall.  (This assessment was done in 1996.)

Nicolas Parrott of Cardiff University, U.K., authored a report titled “The Real Green Revolution.”  He gives case studies that confirm the success of organic and agroecological farming techniques in the developing world.  (This report was done in 2002).

Leu’s article contains a valuable list of studies and an additional reading list.

So…..

Why is our food still swamped with deadly chemicals that are not needed and that are making way too many of us sick?

Follow the money…

Industry has a choke hold on our farmers.  Industry is selling them expensive patented seeds every year, selling them the tons of chemicals needed to grow these expensive seeds in the conventional system–more chemicals each year as the efficacy of these chemicals grows less effective–and selling the giant machinery needed in the conventional system.  Industry also funds most of the agricultural programs at the universities, and those folks, in turn, tell farmers how to farm with conventional methods. Farmers are caught in what I’m now calling a “kool aid loop” as the only information they are getting is from the agricultural university system (now also an industry) and from the chemical salesmen.  Plus, the government is incentivizing them to grow crops (soy and corn) for a food industry that is selling us tasty fake food that is also killing us.  THIS IS HOW UNFETTERED CAPITALISM COLONIZES A SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY and how all these colonized sectors become webbed together so that we are all caught in a giant spider web of trouble.

Nor are our small farmers who are trying to change getting government support to help back out of this industrial seed/chemical/big equipment/low prices madness.  No, in the recent Farm Bill, BIG, conventional farmers are getting almost all of the helpful money because the SYSTEM IS RIGGED in their favor.  Money begats money.

It’s a broken system…

And only we can change it…

Start by eating local, clean, nutrient-dense whole foods grown by farmers you know.

You aren’t going to find this food in your local grocery store chains.

 

Interesting Information: Red Palm Oil

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Interesting Information:  January 13, 2014

Red Palm Oil

I read a really interesting article on red palm oil a while back.  Sometimes it takes me a while to act on information, and it took me about an hour to refind the article!  I was shocked to realize I read it back in the spring–which shows you how backed up my blog information pile is.

“Red Palm Oil:  A Healthy Fat with a Daily Dose of Vitamins,” Bruce Fife, N.D., Well Being Journal, May/June 2013, 8-13.   (This journal has an url, but does not let you read articles for free.)

Anyway, a week or so ago, I bought a jar of the red palm oil.

IMG_0121

Turns out that the shopping booklet that the Weston A. Price Foundation sends me every year lists this Nutiva brand under its “best” category.

First I tried it instead of olive oil when roasting some cauliflower.   Hmmmmmm.  Pretty color on this white veggie.  Taste, and, Delicious!  Buttery and warm with an intriguing red/gold color.

Next I tried it instead of butter over the top of a roasting chicken.  Again, delicious!

So, what’s so good about this delicious, pretty fat besides the taste?

First, Fife writes that red palm oil has been a traditional part of the human diet in areas where oil palms have grown for “at least 5000 years.”  These oil palms started in tropical Africa, but now are an important crop in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and South America.

Besides being used in food preparation, red palm oil is used as medicine.  At the first sign of illness, one living where red palm oil is in the economy would down a cup of red palm oil.  And, red palm oil in these regions is “regarded as essential in the diet for pregnant and nursing women in order to assure good health for the mother and child.”

Red palm oil supplies essential fatty acids, yes, but it is also “packed with an assortment of vitamins, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients important for good health.”  The rich, deed red color comes from carotenes (like beta-carotene and lycopene)–which are also found in tomatoes and carrots.  But red palm oil has “15 times more provitamin A carotenes than carrots and 300 times more than tomatoes”–all of which makes it an excellent prevention for Vitamin A deficiency, which causes, Fife reminds, blindness, weakened bones, lowered immunity, and degraded learning abilities and mental functions.

Carotenes in fruits and vegetables, writes Fife, “can supply the needed vitamin A if an adequate amount of fat is also consumed.”  Voila!  Red palm oil is the whole package of nutrients and needed fat.  (And I would add that big strides have been made in the past two years towards recognizing how much humans need good fat sources to be healthy and towards restoring the role of good fats in recommended diets.  Good fats are NOT the highly processed vegetable oils which are devoid of nutrients and the fat-soluble vitamins.  Good fats are the animal fats, coconut and red palm oils, and properly processed olive oil.)

In addition to the carotenes, red palm oil “contains at least 20 other carotenes along with vitamin E, vitamin K, CoQ10, squalene, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and glycolipids.”  Red palm oil is so full of good nutrients and fats that it is being encapsulated and sold as a vitamin supplement.  Indeed, red palm oil is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin E.

Fife describes several studies–done with appropriate control groups–that show that red palm oil can stop heart disease and, for some, reverse it.

Fife writes that the antioxidants in red palm oil work to keep inflammation under control.  As such it helps lower blood pressure and may serve as a “potent anticancer food.”  It also protects “against neurological degeneration.”

Fife writes that red palm oil is excellent for cooking and baking–and my fledgling experiments begin to confirm its uses.  The label on the bottle I bought said it was good for medium heat, so I would not use it for high heat searing.  For that I use lard, tallow, or coconut oil.

So, I’m on board with adding this fat to my kitchen.

Besides, it’s just so darn pretty!

Written by louisaenright

January 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Interesting Information: What Causes Gallbladder Dysfunction?

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Interesting Information:  December 17, 2013

What Causes Gallbladder Dysfunction?

My father’s gallbladder blew up one day, nearly killing him.

Emergency surgery followed.

My dad had no choice, and he was lucky.

But removing the gallbladder is also a serious thing to do.  And this removal may have contributed to my father’s growing inability to absorb the nutrients from his food, particularly vitamin B12.

In my 40’s, I started having symptoms that I felt were signs that maybe my gallbladder was not so healthy either.  I was at that time “female, fat, and forty.”  (I’m still female, but not fat or forty.)

This episode may have been the start of my interest in healthy food for healthy bodies.  I tried to be a vegetarian, and while the gall bladder issues cleared up (probably because I ate a lot of cheese and olive oil), I set in motion a new set of more severe symptoms–hair loss, nail splitting, more weight gain, and a bunch of new cavities.  And, I think I caused the start of my leaky gut problems, which led, in turn, to the food allergies with which I live today.

So, what does cause the gallbladder to run amok?

Laurel Blair, N.T.P., takes on this issue in “A Nutritional Perspective on Gallbladder Health,” in Well Being Journal, July/August 2012.

The gallbladder is a “small storage organ that sits just below the liver.”  The liver produces bile, and the gallbladder stores the bile.  “Bile released from the gallbladder is an emulsifier that enables us to absorb dietary fats, as well as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and essential fatty acids such as omega 3’s.  Without bile, these nutrients pass through our bodies without being absorbed.”

And, I know from other research, that if the delicate balance of our bodies gets “off,” it begins to rob stored nutrients to try to make the whole system work or to, at least, make a particular part of it work.  Is that what happened to my dad?

So, modern medicine removes diseased gallbladders.  And in my dad’s case, he was lucky that his gallbladder blow out didn’t cause other tissues/organs, etc., to become diseased.

But, taking out a diseased gallbladder never deals with the cause of the gallbladder disease.  So now a person has no gallbladder AND still has the original problem that caused the disease in the first place.

What is the cause of gallbladder disease?  Here’s Blair’s answer:

What causes gallbladder dysfunction in the first place?  There are a number of factors that can play a role, including food allergies and obesity, but the two that seem to be the most important are low-fat diets and excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates.

The gallbladder is designed to empty several times per day in response to dietary fat and acidity, but it can continue to concentrate and store bile temporarily when food is scarce.  When you eat a meal that contains little or no fat, the gallbladder will not get the message to empty itself.  The liver, however, will continue to make more bile whether the gallbladder empties or not.  The gallbladder has the ability to concentrate the bile and save it for the next meal.  But if the next meal (and the next, and the next) is low in fat as well, the bile begins to become thick, sludgy,and congealed, a condition called biliary stasis.  Over long periods of time the thickened bile can crystallize into actual gallstones.  This is particularly true if the bile is supersaturated with cholesterol.  Refined carbohydrates have been shown to increase the cholesterol saturation of the bile.  Refined carbohydrates also deplete magnesium rapidly from the body, and magnesium deficiency is another factor that has been linked to gallstone formation.

Blair lists some ways to prevent gallbladder disease:

1.  Avoid refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar.  (An overload of these can cause the body to pull nutrients from body storage, one of which is, AHA, the B vitamin complex.)

2.  Eat plenty of healthy fats which include saturated fats from pasture-fed animals (butter, ghee, cream, tallow, lard, fatty meats, egg yolks, organ meats, etc.), tropical oils (palm and coconut), monounsaturated fats from extra virgin olive oil and avocados, and small amounts of polyunsaturated fat from nuts, seeds, and fish.  AVOID corn, soy, canola, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, other seed oils, and hydrogenated oils.

3.  Make sure your diet contains plenty of minerals–eat homemade bone broth, dairy products, organ meats, seafoods, and organic vegetables (especially leafy greens)

4.  Include taurine-rich foods as taurine is a major constituent of bile.  Taurine is an amino acid found in animal proteins, including meats, seafood, eggs, dairy products, and brewer’s yeast.

5.  Eat beets.  Beet root and stem are “natural bile thinners.”  Beet greens are high in magnesium–but, I’d add, also high in oxalates, which can cause kidney stones.

6.  Avoid rapid weight loss and very low-calorie diets–as this behavior can increase the risk of gallstones.  Lose only about two pounds a week.

Hang on to your gallbladders!

Feed them with good fats!

Written by louisaenright

December 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm