Natures Allies with Larry A. Nielson

Everyday Heroes Professor Larry Nielsen has chronicled the lives of the most inspirational conservationists the world has known. From accounts of a man who tied himself to a tree in a storm, just to see what the tree would feel, to the story of a woman in Kenya who caused 50 million trees to be […]

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The Urban Monk Show – Tech Cleanse

Show Summary: Are we too addicted to our tech? The answer is “yes and no”. Dr Gloria Mark is a professor at UCI and her studies show that people decompress with the use of social media. I didn’t expect that. Email on the other hand? Super stress inducing. I decided to run a little experiment. […]

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Living Naturally with David Wolfe

Wild is the way to go If you don’t know how to get food anywhere except the local supermarket, you may be fascinated to know that David Wolfe can find all kinds of food in wild nature.  Not only that but wild food has more energy and vitality so is better for your health.  Even […]

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Make Your Home Green!

Building Green What would it be worth to get advice on how to make smart purchases for your home; purchases that are not only good for your health, but good for the planet? What if that advice came from the ‘Father of the Green Building Movement”? You have the opportunity to get that with David Gottfried, […]

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Soil Is Our Savior

Soil, Carbon, and Climate Change Ryland Englehart, Molly Haviland, Jimmy Sinton, and Dr. Elaine Ingham, came together to discuss ways to save the soil and protect our climate. The burning of fossil fuels, the release of methane gas, and the increasing amount of CO2 in our atmosphere create the dangerous warming conditions that are driving […]

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Spectacular Whale Breach Caught on Video

Whale watchers in the Bay of Fundy off Novia Scotia were given quite a surprise by a humpback whale. The whale almost leapt completely out of the water in full view of all the onlookers. The amazing breach was caught on video by Sandy Seliga, who was on vacation and had “whale watching on her bucket list.” 

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Parody Commercial Highlights the Benefits of Being In Nature

We all know that’s it good for us to take a hike and get out into nature, but it’s not always so easy to get up the motivation to actually do it. With this dilemma in mind, Nature RX created a parody video that pokes fun at pharmaceutical companies and reminds us of the importance of getting outside at the same time. Complete with a long list of “side effects,” this video will have you smiling and might just get you motivated to take a nice long hike.

 

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A Fascinating Tale of Mushrooms – You’ll Want to Add Some to Your Diet After You Read This!

Mushrooms are one of the more fascinating organisms on the planet. The fungus has long been used by many cultures in cooking, as a medicine for its healing properties and as a spiritual tool in its psychoactive form. Recent studies have advanced our knowledge of what they’re capable of, beyond their role as a meal garnish.

The reishi mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine as a healing agent and immune booster; it is sometimes even referred to as the “immortality mushroom.” It’s often used by those looking to naturally help the body defend against the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome, bronchitis and other diseases that can arise from imbalances in the immune system. This study found that ganoderic acid, a triterpenoid that’s in reishi mushrooms, inhibits and helps prevent development of cancerous tumors. Another study demonstrated its lifespan-improving effects.

In a recent study, shiitake mushrooms taken daily for four weeks were shown to improve immunity. The participants had a 4 oz. mushroom every day and demonstrated reductions in inflammatory proteins in their bodies. Check out this recipe for sauteed shiitake to try for yourself.

The Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia found in a recent study that the turkey tail mushroom was 100 percent effective in a 20-week trial in preventing prostate tumors in mice. The researchers extracted the polysaccharide (PSP) compound from the mushroom and fed that to the mice. None of those who were fed the PSP developed prostate tumors, while some of the mice who weren’t fed the PSP developed the tumors. Although it would be a stretch to say these will definitely prevent prostate issues in humans, the findings are still significant.

The widely known psychoactive substance, psilocybin, found in “magic mushrooms” is anecdotally known to bring profound insights and spiritual connection to the natural environment. It’s also been known to be an agent in assisting with addiction. One Johns Hopkins University study showed an 80 percent success rate – 12 of 15 – in stopping chronic smokers from smoking after six months, after three sessions with the substance. Another study at Johns Hopkins showed significant improvement in openness and well-being, from participants who were given the substance, that lasted for over a year for many of the participants.

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Nature Can Make Us Healthy

For many of us urban livers, nature is one of those things we escape to every now and then, to “get away.” But according to Naturopathic Medical Doctor Alan Christianson, nature is as vital to us as water.

“Just being engaged in outdoor settings and being a part of that,” says  Christianson. “Our brain waits for those types of visual cues, for those environments to feel safe and to feel secure.”

On the other hand, our urban lifestyles are making us less healthy, and even fat. And it’s not just from eating junk food.

“In a fight-or-flight mode, we are pulling things into our bloodstream, and we’ve got to store a lot of that, our bodies do not feel safe,” he says. “We use some of that same stuff for hibernation, for famine also, and just trauma and crisis. Many stressors that we think of are obvious things: You’ve got the nasty boss or the guy who cut you off in traffic, but a lot of them are insidious. A lot of them are invisible pollutants or ways in which we’re under lights that are not quite the same as the sun. They make us go in this same storage mode, this same stress mode, and it is a part of the fight-or-flight response.”

So, the closer to nature you are – without the artificial lighting and angry boss – the less your body will feel like it’s under attack or that it needs to hibernate for winter, both of which will cause it to store fat. Plus when your body is out of balance from absorbing fluorescent lights all day, “hibernation mode” will also make you tired.

“They’ve done studies on runners who are in the woods versus runners on treadmills in gyms, and the way you move your body of course is the same, but the neurochemical response is measurably different,” Christianson says. “You can push yourself into this heightened state of stress and trauma, and a very different cortisol curve, by doing the same exact activity outside versus inside. I would encourage someone who’s sedentary that moving in any way is good and any step is helpful, but our bodies do need [nature]. It’s measurable that we have to be in these environments to really thrive and be at our best.”

 

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Commentary: 4 Scientific Ways We Can Learn from Nature

In our modern civilization of high-tech gadgets and instant gratification, it’s easy to miss the lessons nature can provide. Yes, even in the realm of science.

We forget that many things created in a lab were once first seen in nature. Here are some interesting examples of how nature continues to teach us every day:

Beavers Teach Scientists How to Improve Tooth Enamel
Beavers use their teeth for everything, and they don’t even need to brush or floss. And yet they’re known for their powerful chompers that don’t seem to decay. A new study has found iron as one of the key minerals that keeps a beaver’s teeth from rotting.

Enamel infused with iron is even more durable than enamel treated with fluoride, the study shows.

“Nanowires” are the main structure that makes up enamel, but researchers found out it’s the material which surrounds the nanowires that controls the enamel’s acid-resistance. This is where minerals rich in iron and magnesium reside that control the enamel acid-resistance. This study of beaver enamel could lead to better health practices for humans.

Enamel has been hard to research and this is the first study to really detail its physical structure. In experiments using rabbit, mouse, rat and beaver enamel, researchers were able to image the never-before-seen structure surrounding the nanowires.

Taking a look at how our furry friends naturally get by with perfect teeth could give humans a new perspective on their own dental care.

A Grizzly Diet
When it comes to wild animals, it’s tough for a doctor to put them on a weight-loss program – you try telling a mountain lion or grizzly that he needs more exercise. So when two Alaskan grizzlies at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo were obese, nutritionists got creative and put the bears on a regimen called “nature’s weight management plan.”

The basic ideas was to replace their existing food (including processed dog food and ground beef) with seasonal foods they were more likely to eat in the wild – whole animals like fish and rabbit. And they hid the food around their compound rather than placing it in their cage at a specific time. This made the bears move around and exercise more in finding their food. And guess what? The bears lost weight.

By dispersing the food, the bears could hoard less food in caches. Food caches are natural to all animals. Humans have their food caches stored at work, home, in purses and cars. Eliminating excess caches and shopping for food more regularly (rather than bulk buying) can help keep us from overeating when food takes a bit more work to get to.

We need to take a lesson from the bears and return a little more to our caveman roots in how we consume food.

Human and Animal Parents Have Similar Nervous Systems
Human and animal parenting share many nervous system mechanisms, according to a study from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Understanding this relationship could lead to improved social development for future generations of humans and animals to come.

Scientists viewed the biological mechanisms at work after [...]

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