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All About Eggs Infographic

Egg Nutrition Facts: A Guide on Selecting Healthy, High-Quality Eggs

They’ve been demonized and vilified for so many years, and are even touted to be a “risk factor” for heart attacks – it’s a shame, because eggs are actually among the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, I believe that eggs are so good for you that eating a dozen per week is a simple and cost-effective way to get the valuable nutrients you need.

Egg Nutritional Information: Why This Food Should Be a Regular Part of Your Diet

Eggs have been part of the human diet ever since ancient times, when early civilizations, such as Egyptians started domesticating wild fowls. Now, eggs are a mainstay in many people’s meals due to their outstanding nutritional content.

The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein found in any food. Eggs also contain essential nutrients like vitamin B12, eye health-promoting antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, cancer-fighting amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, and choline, which aids in fetal brain development.  

But before you start hoarding eggs from your local supermarket, consider this: are you 100 percent sure that the ones you’re selecting can truly provide you with all these wholesome nutrients?

Be Warned: Not All Eggs Are Equally Nutritious

The fact is that a lot of the seemingly healthy egg varieties you see in supermarkets are actually nothing more than an advertising trick.

One example is omega-3 eggs, or “nutrient-enhanced eggs,” which actually come from chickens that are given poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. They also perish much faster than non-omega-3 eggs.

In order to ensure the quality of your eggs, I urge you to keep an eye out for organic, pastured varieties from local farmers who allow their hens to forage freely outdoors.

Free-Range, Pasteurized, Cage-Free Organic… Do These Words Mean Anything?

You may have spotted these words on some egg cartons, which seem to convince and assure consumers that the products come from reliable, high-quality sources.

But in reality, these terms DO NOT guarantee the conditions in which the chickens are raised. For example, some “cage-free” hens are allowed to forage, but only in unpleasant environments, such as barren lots. Or they may have been fed an unnatural diet of grains and synthetic additives.

You may have also been enticed to buy eggs with smooth white shells, but this actually has no effect on the eggs’ nutrition value. In fact, if you want to find out the real nutritional value of your egg, I advise you to check the yolk. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign that the eggs are produced by caged hens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and were not allowed to forage for their natural diet.

The Alarming Truth About CAFO Chickens and Eggs

The US is now the largest producer of eggs, the majority of which are produced in CAFOs. These confined establishments are not only filthy and disease-ridden, but they also treat egg-laying hens despicably. The poor animals are crammed into very tiny quarters, fed growth hormones to increase egg production, and even have their beaks painfully removed to minimize cannibalism, a trait that is highly intensified in overcrowded CAFOs.

What’s worse, these confined operations promote the spread of dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella – which can be passed on to you.

This is exactly why you need to be very stringent when selecting healthful eggs for you and your family. Don’t worry – here’s a guide to help you out.

Discover More Useful Egg Nutritional Information from This Infographic

You will find the important facts you need to know about eggs in this infographic, “Everything You Need to Know About Eggs.” This comprehensive guide can help you select the freshest, highest-quality eggs that can provide you and your loved ones with optimal nutrition. In this infographic, you will learn:

  • Valuable nuggets of information on egg nutrition – Discover the best way to cook eggs to maximize its nutritional content.
  • How to define and differentiate free-range, cage-free, pastured, and organic eggs – Are any of these the truly highest quality eggs you seek?
  • How eggs are graded and sized, and how you can distinguish good ones from bad ones – You’ll also learn why “clean,” white eggs are not as healthy as they seem. 

Don’t miss out on this valuable egg nutrition information – check out this infographic now.

Discover the nutritional wealth that eggs offer and why you should be stringent in choosing safe, high-quality eggs.

I advise you to share it with your family and friends, so they too will learn the tips and tricks in selecting high-quality, nutritious eggs.


Egg Nutrition Facts

Courtesy of

This content is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.


All About Eggs


I grew up eating my grandmother’s free range eggs. One of my fondest memories of her country house is when late in the afternoon we would go feed the chickens and collect the eggs from their nests.  This was often followed by my grandmother beating up one of the yolks with sugar, to prepare me a soft, sweet and creamy zabaione like no one else could.


As a child, whenever my dad was going to have fried eggs, my sister and I would gather around him and share the honor of breaking into the juicy yolks of his ‘sunny side up’ eggs making it a mouthful with a fragrant piece of bread.    



Most school mornings, all through my teen years, mother would wake me up with one of those same grandma’s yolks. She prepared it just like an oyster, on the half shell with lemon. Half asleep, with my head barely off the pillow, I would just open my mouth, and she would literally drop it down my throat. A shot of expresso was always to follow.

For outings or day trips, mother would often prepare meals with our favorite sandwich stuffed with some homemade frittata.

I still love eggs and I am glad that they are back in my pantheon of healthy food choices. Eggs are among the most nutritious food on the planet. A large egg at 77 calories contains:

  • 5 grams of good fat: yolks contain essential fatty acids like omega-3 DHA. Egg yolks, especially those from pastured chickens, have an excellent omega 3:6 ratio, too.
  • 6 grams of protein, including all 9 essential amino acids.
  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 5% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
  • Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
  • 113 mg of Choline – which is a very important nutrient for the brain, among other things. A study revealed that 90% of Americans may not get enough choline in their diet (1)
  • Egg yolks have one of the highest concentrations of biotin found in nature
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that are highly protective for the eyes
  • Egg yolks are also a great source of lecithin, good for liver and skin
  • Eggs also contain decent amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc (2)


A few studies showed that eating eggs is a great way to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Eating the whole egg is essential to get the full effect of a lipidic profile improvement.  In one study, 2 eggs per day for 6 weeks increased HDL levels by 10% diet (3)


If you decide to include eggs in your diet (and you should) then make sure to eat pastured eggs. depending on what the hens ate, the nutritional value of the eggs can differ greatly.

In 2007 Mother Earth Magazine performed an independent, third party verified test using 14 flocks around the country. They found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:


  • 1/3 less cholesterol

  • 1/4 less saturated fat

  • 2/3 more vitamin A

  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids

  • 3 times more vitamin E

  • 7 times more beta carotene (4)


In his popular blog Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends consuming eggs raw, provided they come from a trusted source (organic, free range hens). Two raw egg yolks have antioxidant properties equivalent to half a serving of cranberries (25 grams) and almost twice as many as an apple. Raw eggs have twice the nutritional value of cooked eggs, and the eggs from pastured hens besides being more nutritious than conventional eggs,  are at lower risk for salmonella. (5)



Cooking changes the nature of animal proteins. When eggs are consumed raw the proteins and enzymes are still intact, allowing you to ingest more usable nutrients. No authoritative scientific proof supports this claim, but there is also no evidence that raw eggs are bad for you. Aside from the dangers of salmonella in unpasteurized eggs, eating raw eggs can be a relatively worry-free endeavor. (6)



According to Dr. Mercola, as long as eggs are pastured and organic, eating them raw is completely safe. The salmonella risk (7) is increased when hens are raised in unsanitary conditions, which is extremely rare for small organic farms where the chickens are raised in clean, spacious coops, have access to sunlight, and forage for their natural food.


Conventional eggs, making up the vast majority of eggs in typical grocery stores, have an increased risk for salmonella, that’s why he advise against eating conventional eggs raw. One study by the British government found that 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella,
(8) compared to just over 4 percent in organic flocks and 6.5 percent in free-range flocks.


According to Rami Nagel, of Natural News regularly consuming raw eggs will benefit your health as the raw egg yolk and white helps your body eliminate stored toxins. Body builder’s have long known that a great way to build healthy muscle without the extra fat is to eat raw eggs regularly.



Raw eggs are used in few homemade recipes. Real mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce are made with uncooked eggs, as well as Caesar salad dressing, eggnog, cookie dough, ice cream. Some popular Italian desserts like gelato, tiramisu, zabaione, chocolate salami, most semifreddi and Sicilian cassata require raw eggs. These kind of foods when served in food estabilishments, must follow FDA code mandate to use pastorized eggs. (9)


If you decide raw eggs are for you, I suggest you get to know how they are sourced. Join a CSA, get to know your farmer and farming practices. In recent years, people have been raising chickens in their city backyard to ensure freshness, not realizing that the eggs usually end up being leaden with heavy contaminants, especially lead. (10)


The easiest way to eat uncooked eggs is by mixing them into a smoothie. My favorite way to eat a raw yolk, remains my mother’s oyster style recipe. The whites can be whipped into a chantilly cream and consumed with berries and chocolate. Last summer, after quite a few years, I indulged in eating raw eggs again. I stayed at the Nantahala organic farm in North Carolina that has free range chickens and ducks. Most mornings I would enjoy a fresh yolk stirred into homemade goat yogurt. 


The American Pregnancy Association advises you to be especially mindful of potential salmonella exposure during pregnancy. When consuming foods made with uncooked eggs, the Mayo Clinic web page on salmonella urges you to eat only foods with pasteurized raw eggs.


 What is difference between organic, free range, vegetarian, pasture or omega-3? what do this definitions really mean? To better understand the difference check out this infographic.

Don’t forget to save the shells, as they are the perfect calcium supplement. Egg shell mineral composition is very similar to our teeth and studies in both the Netherlands and Japan showed hey have positive effects bone mineral density. (11)
Grind the egg shells using a coffee grinder, and make your calcium citrate by simply adding some fresh lemon juice.



Read this article by Bee Wilder in the online Nourished Magazine to learn the many ways you can use egg shells to make your very own calcium supplements, much safer and less costlier than the ones you buy

For even more creative ways to use egg shells check out this posting by Jill Winger in The Prairie Homestead where she lists 30 different uses for egg shells.







Helen H Jensen, S Patricia Batres-Marquez, Alicia Carriquiry and Kevin L Schalinske – Choline in the diets of the US population: NHANES, 2003–2004 –Iowa State University


Kris Gunnars – Why Eggs Are Good for

Elizabeth Walling – Why I eat Raw Eggs Every Day – The Nurished Life


Mutungi G, Ratliff J, Puglisi M, Torres-Gonzalez M, Vaishnav U, Leite JO, Quann E, Volek JS, Fernandez ML – Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Increases Plasma HDL Cholesterol in Overweight Men Consuming a Carbohydrate-Restricted DietUniversity of Connecticut

Blesso CN, Andersen CJ, Barona J, Volek JS, Fernandez ML – Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome – University of Connecticut

Schnohr P, Thomsen OO, Riis Hansen P, Boberg-Ans G, Lawaetz H, Weeke T. – Egg consumption and high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol – Loegernes Test Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark


Tabitha Alterman – More Great News About Free-Range Eggs,  February/March 2009 Mother Earth News


Joseph Mercola – Another Reason to Ignore the Warnings About Eggs, Sept.


Rob Callahan- Can You Safely Eat Raw Eggs?


Joseph Mercola – Salmonella Outbreaks Spur Nationwide Egg Recall, Aug. 2010 –


Joseph Mercola – Most Grocery Store Eggs Far More Likely to Be Infected, Feb. 2008- 

 Joseph Mercola – Important Update on Eating Raw Eggs –


FDA – Guidance RegulationRetail Food Protection Code 


Julie Scelfo – High Lead Found in City-Sourced Eggs, Oct 2012 – The New York Times


Chaafsma A, van Doormaal JJ, Muskiet FA, Hofstede GJ, Pakan I, van der Veer E – Positive effects of a chicken eggshell powder-enriched vitamin-mineral supplement on femoral neck bone mineral density in healthy late post-menopausal Dutch women, 2002 – Department of Research & Development Leeuwarden, Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods, The Netherlands

Hirasawa T, Omi N, Ezawa I – Effect of 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 and egg-shell calcium on bone metabolism in ovariectomized osteoporotic model rats, 2001. Department of Food and Nutrition – Japan Women’s University, Tokyo.


This content is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.


Of Meat and Eggs

 Egg yolk closeup - Public Domain Picture

Since the late 1990s’, when I left my vegan years behind, I have embraced the notion that eggs are goods for you.  Lately I was looking into some research on the subject, and I was left in doubt. There is an ongoing disagreement, in fact controversy ensues.
All of us have become familiar with the issue of nutritional cholesterol. Since high cholesterol levels are linked to cardiovascular disease, the argument for years has been over the fact that consuming foods high in cholesterol raises the concentration of LDL (the bad cholesterol). It was following this reasoning that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol from foods be limited to 300 milligrams per day.


A vast number of dietary research studies have shown this notion to be erroneous. Already in the 1990s a decade of epidemiological studies indicated that eggs and dietary cholesterol are not a significant factors in heart disease risk.
More recently, in 2013, Tuft University published a systematic review of all studies from 2003 or after. Most of them, taking into account a controlled background diet, found that altering cholesterol consumption had no effect on the concentration of blood LDL cholesterol.  Few of the studies could detect differences only in small subgroups of people with certain genes or a predisposition to problems.

In this new light, last February the DGAC issued its more than 500-page scientific report,  where this year’s most dramatic change was the removal of that 300 milligrams per day limit recommendation. The committee general consensus was that “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Seems like good news for egg lovers like myself, who can once again enjoy eggs for breakfast without the lingering doubt of increasing their cholesterol level, right? Not so fast.    

In March Dr. Dean Ornish was all over the news after the New York Times published his article ‘The Myth of High-Protein Diets’ on their opinion pages.  According to Dr Ornish, ‘eggs and bacon are not healthy foods.’

The article was critical about the real impact that the DGAC dietary recommendations have been having on the general American public, while at the same time attempting to scientifically debunk the high protein dietary approach.  He made his point by reporting recent research that showed how animal protein may significantly increase the risk of premature mortality from all causes.

“Low-carb, high animal protein diets promote heart disease”…

Considering that recently I re-introduced gass-fed beef – red meat – into my diet as well, I felt compelled to look further into the matter.
As a teenager I became convinced that meat is bad for you, mostly because I felt it was unnatural to breed animals as our food supply. Over the years I realized how my determination of being a vegetarian at heart, was mainly a ‘mind thing,’ my body was just dragging along,  barely putting up with it. I then started to eat some meat but always randomly.
After the cancer diagnosis, I felt compelled to go back to a strict vegetarian diet.  Going through chemo and radiation, left me 35 pounds lighter and I realized that once again I was doing poorly on a vegetarian approach. I started experiencing red meat cravings like never before.
That’s when I became aware of the succesful work of the ‘grandfather of naturopathy’ the late Dr. James D’Adamo who for decades helped many people heal through a dietary approach and developed the blood type diet. I realized  that probably due to the fact that I am a type ‘O’, I would benefit from gradually reintroduce some good meat into my diet. I started having meat Mondays, and I currently consume small amounts of meat several times a week. Now, reading this article by Dr. Ornish, a renowned nutrition expert and writer, the notion that eating red meat and eggs is bad for you, was up in my face once again.
Studies out of the Cleveland Clinic, the base for Dr. Ornish argument, were published in 2013. Researchers found that after consuming red meat and eggs, which contain high amounts of choline and carnitine, these get metabolized by the gut bacterias and then transferred to the liver that produces TMAO, which is the new villain responsible for the arterial clogging and blockages. So, down on egg yolks and red meat as once again they appear to significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.  When the study was published Dr. Ameht Oz felt compelled to apologize to his audience for promoting L-Carnitine as an aid in weight loss and physical performance. Even if, as he stated, “carnitine supplementation does not seem to be an issue with vegetarians.”

I have started supplementing with carnitine myself when I found out that studies supported its use for cancer patients with persisting neurotoxicity. All these considerations on red meat, eggs, and carnitine seemed to be hitting home.
Then, I found out that while the Clevelad Clinic deemeded the carnitine-microbial connection dangerous for heart health, a systematic review published by the Mayo Clinic said that L-Carnitine can reduce mortality, abnormal heart rhythms and angina development in patients experiencing a heart attack. As for choline, studies have shown how it is a necessary part of the human diet. Choline is important in making membranes for all the cells in the body, and for making chemicals that are responsible for nerve function. Studies have also shown that choline improves memory.

Are you confused yet? I was…  And there is more:
“Animal protein increases IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone, and chronic inflammation, an underlying factor in many chronic diseases.” presses on the opinion piece on the New York Times. On the contrary, a study published on ‘Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology‘  reports that IGF-1 Reduces Inflammatory Responses, Suppresses Oxidative Stress, and Decreases Atherosclerosis Progression…

One more attack on red meat involves a recent study done on Neu5Gc, is defined in the opinion article as ‘a tumor-forming sugar that is linked to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of cancer.’  The study on Neu5Gc, a sugar naturally found in most mammals but not in humans, was performed at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. The study was prompted by the circumstantial observation that people who eat a lot of red meat are known to be at higher risk for certain cancers, while other carnivores are not. Researchers, once again employed mice models. They themselves admit that will be extremely hard to obtain a final proof of their findings on humans.
‘If we really do want to know whether a food causes a problem’ explains Dr. Deborah Gordon ‘we have to subject it to a randomized, double blind, controlled trial, or a “RDBCT”. These are expensive and difficult to run, but they are our best attempt at clarifying issues of causation. Yet even RDBCT’s turn out to yield different results at different times. It is very difficult to determine true causation.’
Apart from Dr. Ornish opinion that persistently adhere to the now disproved notion that eggs and red meat are bad for human consumption, most of the problem here resides in the scientific methodology of the research itself.

The University of California study used genetically ingeneered and modified mice to create a ‘similar’ model to the human system where the Neu5Gc sugar is absent. They were also fed only the sugar, not the whole and nutritionally more complex piece of red meat.
Cleveland Clinic researchers were looking at specific mechanisms of action when eating certain specific type of foods. They use animal models employing germ-free mice. In preparing their subjects to determine the TMAO production, researchers apply antibiotics to clear the gut bacteria from unwanted strains.
In addition, the research study is lacking a comparison with TMAO production that might be induced when ingesting green vegetables, fruits, or fish.(1)
Only in recent years we  have begun to understand the role and importance of microbes not only living within our body, but being an integral part of our system.

According to Jeffrey Gordon, professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine,  there are 10 times more microbial cells on and in our bodies than there are human cells. That means that we’re 90 percent microbial and 10 percent human. There’s also an estimated 100 times more microbial genes than the genes in our human genome. Humans are really an amalgamation of microbial parts.

All of us have become too familiar with the havoc antibiotics create in the microbial balance within a body system.

In addition, Dr. Ornish and all these dietary studies do not seem to really make a distinction about the source and quality standard of the food consumed by their subjects. Are we talking about USDA prime meat and supermarket eggs? or organic? grass-fed and pastured?  


The issue with ordinary meat and dairy is their poor quality. Cattle, goats, sheeps are herbivorous, while chickens and ducks  are omnivorous. All of them, when not maintained in their natural habitat, eating grass and foraging under the sun, yield substandard, milk, eggs and meat.  Accoding to the Mayo Clinic, grass-fed beef may have some heart-health benefits that other types of beef don’t have. When compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef may have:

  • Less total fat
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E

Unfortunately when ruminants are fed large amounts of grains, it can cause their guts to become unnaturally acidic. This can result in an increased risk of disease and health issues.(2)
Their nutritional value is depleted just like their organisms, which are too easily subject to disease.  As a consequence their meat is often loaded with toxins from administered  drugs, hormones, chemical contamination, and antibiotics. It has been reported that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are for use on livestock and poultry.



The majority aren’t even given to animals that are sick. Instead, it’s normal practice in the meat industry to mix these drugs with livestock food and water day after day as a substitute for healthier living conditions and to make chickens, pigs, and cows grow faster.


What really causes heart problems and other diseases is the dietary balance shift of the past few decades where we are being induced by the food industries to consume increasingly more substandard mass produced meats, dairy and sugar leaden food-like products that offer little or no nutrition. Supermarket shelves and refrigerators are filled with poor quality items. Livestock and dairy have become high in omega-6 oils, which have been known for causing heart disease and the inflammation mentioned by Dr. Ornish. 




People following the regular American diet, or any diet for that matter, without any regard for where and how the food they put in their mouth was sourced, are most likely already feeding a stressed and depleted body system. Inflammation generally triggered by diet and environmental contaminants is increasingly being considered the underlying cause of all diseases. The organism is continuously striving to re-built a balance, and what it needs is good quality, nutritious foods to get better.


Every day we hear yet another argument, study or dietary report offering confusing and discording truths about nutritional dos and don’ts,  often demanding our attention and consideration because out of medical or scholarly research. The media obsession with offering information at all costs, associated with a constant body-image pressure, can very easely add to the confusion. At times we might feel intimidated to even lift a fork.
What are we supposed to do when it comes to decide what we are going to eat?



One truth I learned is that we are all different, and one person food might as well be another person’s poison.

Courtesy of Harpo Productions

Michael Pollan in this interview with Oprah Winfrey explain his terms for eating meat. He is the author of ‘The Omnivorous Dilemma,’ where he asks the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. Pollan has a simple advice when it comes to choosing what to eat. It is essentially simple and may represent the best way forward:

Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.

And I would add, always enjoy what you are eating. Even the most healthy and tasty food might turn toxic if consumed with the wrong state of mind.


A study In 1999, out of the University of Pennsylvania compared different attitudes among French and American about food and health, and their role in life. Generally, the group associating food mostly with health and the least with pleasure is the Americans, while the French are the group most food-pleasure-oriented and least food-health-oriented. Ironically, the Americans, who do the most to alter their diet in the service of health, are the least likely to classify themselves as healthy eaters. 


In conclusion, as the saying goes ‘we are what we eat’ but I have come to realize that this truth is only secondary, indeed corollary to the one that impacts our personal reality the most: first and foremost we are what we think.






Winger, Jill (2014-05-26). Natural Homestead: 40+ Recipes for Natural Critters & Crops



This content is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.


Understanding the Nutritional Value of Marine Phytoplankton

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea… we are going back from whence we came.” 

                                              — John F. Kennedy, 1962


Marine phytoplankton as supplement

My interest in phytoplankton supplementation came about just before I was to undergo chemo and radiation treatment.At the time, I was looking for a way easy-on-the-stomach to store up on micronutrients, especially trace minerals.
I was then drawn to the ongoing research focused on the harvesting of marinelife, in the likes of seaweed, krill and phytoplankton.  I found out how not only this is a highly sustainable source for our food supply, but also that, unlike fish farming, offers outstanding safety both from environmental pollutant and farming byproducts. 

Over the years, I have gotten used to the idea of eating seaweed, but I was completely new to phytoplankton. Even if far from sounding appetizing, there is an implicit leading edge concept that I thought worth of attention. That’s the notion of simply short-cutting right into to the web of fish food adopting the very source of their nutrition.

‘In short, we   indirectly eat phytoplankton when we eat fish in the same way that we indirectly eat vegetables when we eat meat.’’ write Rich Interdonato, and Glenn E. Richardson, in their introduction to a pilot study on marine phytoplankton conducted at the University of Utah. 

This implies the notion mentioned by J.F.K. in 1962, that ‘going back to the sea’ intended as life primordial ecosystem. It’s a return to our own biological origins, to that hypothesized complex ‘primordial soup’, the primal seawater where all spontaneous generation of life on earth had its very first start. The composition of human plasma itself, the fluid around the membranes of every cell, is similar in its composition to seawater. Salinity in our bodily fluids is indeed a reminder of that far ancestry.


But what is phytoplankton? Until then, I only had experience with the unique presence of fresh water phytoplankton  in the spring water of Saturnia, Italy.The rejuvenating effects of this spring water was very well known since ancient pre-Roman times. Personally, every time I had the pleasure to soak in those seemingly magic thermal waters, I felt renewed and happy. Years seem to shed off my body every time by simply dipping into the warm running water.

The term phytoplankton comes from the Greek words phyton, meaning “plant“, and planktos, meaning “wanderer” or “drifter.” Most of these organisms are microscopic in nature and cannot be seen individually with the naked eye. Phytoplankton represents the basic beginning of most aquatic food web: they are the foundation of the ocean food chain, besides contributing to the creation of a large portion of the oxygen earth supply.


 Phitoplankton as food

These microscopic organisms literally made life possible on our planet. Their dense nutrition content not only sustains life, but can provide optimal regeneration and energy to every cell of the human body. The attractiveness of phytoplankton as food is enhanced by several of its inherent qualities. Practically, with the exclusion of its compact cell walls, all of it is digestible, in contrast with higher plants, that contain a larger portion of cellulose (what gives structure and strength to the cell walls of all common vegetables and provides fiber in our diets) The protein content is higher than in field plants, it is of low molecular weight, and contains most of the required amino acids. Under controlled conditions, an excellent lipid yield can be achieved. Vitamins and minerals are present in abundance.

  Best of all, phytoplankton can be cultivated and almost always maintained at a maximal growing rate, whereas land crops utilize sunlight most efficiently only just before harvest.(I)


According to Dr Jerry Tennant, M.D. ‘phytoplanktonis one of those rare products thatFile:Haeckel Ctenophorae.jpg contains almost everything you need for life (and the rebuilding of a healthy life). It contains the nine amino acids that the body cannot make. The essential fatty acids are also present (Omega 3 and Omega 6). Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D and major and trace minerals are all present in marine phytoplankton.” 


What about its palatability? I have to admit my very first bottle of phytoplankton was a greysh murky looking liquid, with a definite aftertaste of fishy seawater.

To mitigate its strong flavor, I used to add it to juice or tea. My second attempt was on the opposite extreme: a clear liquid, with seemingly no flavor at all, so much so, that I started doubting of its content and efficacy. 


After these questionable experiences, I was finally introduced  to the Alpha 3 concentrated marine phytoplankton (Alpha 3CMP). ForeverGreen, a.k.a. FGXpress, patented a method of production that has the advantage of delivering an unadulterated open cell phytoplankton.


This process is what makes it bio-available: it maximises the body ability to absorb all of its rich nourishing content. In fact, the phytoplankton cell membranes are  made mainly of cellulose or silica that our digestive system is unable to break down. In the Alpha 3 CMP the cell walls have been naturally and gently ruptured without using any heat, freezing, or chemicals, allowing the essence of the phytoplankton to become bio-available for human consumption. This enables the dense nutrition content of this micoscopic organisms to get absorbed right into the human cells and feed them at a mitochondrial level – our cells powerhouse.


 Pilot study: phytoplankton makes you happy

Alpha 3CMP was the exact type of phytoplankton used by the team of researchers at the University of Utah for their pilot study.

This randomized placebo-control study was conducted with 41 volunteers in order to determine the effects of taking either a liquid or capsule marine phytoplankton food supplement on blood, body, and psychological measurements over a 90-day period.

 All of the body measurements were statistically similar across both groups, with the exception of the percentage of CD3 blood measurement in the phytoplankton group, which resulted significantly higher. (CD3 is an indicator of the presence of T-Lymphocytes, as it is required for their activation. T-Lymphocite are primarily responsible for the elimination of antigens such as viruses and bacteria in living tissue).

In addition, significant increases were observed in scores on the emotional subscale of the SF36, a health survey used to determine functional health and wellbeing. Other increase was also found in scores on the Authentic Happiness Inventory, an instrument developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Penn State University Positive Psychology Center. Inquires included good moods, feeling successful, ability to focus, filled with joy, pride, enthusiasm, and optimism.

Additional paired t-tests were performed to compare the values within each group across measurement sessions and revealed that the phytoplankton group’s blood measurements changed.


These findings seem to indicate that the consumption of   marine phytoplankton as food supplement may explain some physiologic changes and have impacted both the immune system as well as the self-reported emotional state of the participants.(II) Besides its benefial effects on the immune system, supplementation with phytoplankton  might also help relieve seasonal affective disorder. Upon placing my very first order for the ForeverGreen Alpha 3CMP, I was only vaguely aware of the phytoplankton effect on CD3 count. I figuered I would give it a try, especially considering the need for a jump-start to my depleted T-Lymph cell count, a major casualty of the mitomycin I was administered  for cancer chemotherapy.


My first time with Alpha 3CPM

The sensation I had when I first tried the Alpha 3CPM formulation was like nothing I remember ever ingesting before. As I gulped about half a teaspoon worth, I had the clear sensation of some kind of energy going down my throat, passing through the esophagus, and landing and spreading into my stomach lining.

Not comparable to any food or liquid. It was the sensation of gulping down just energy, rather than a substance. A higher vibration initiated an impromptu awakening by resonance of my energy centers lined up on its path down the digestive system.

Its slightly salty, creamy texture was just agreeable to the palate, but the energetic sensation coming from its ingestion was captivating. I felt like I was ingesting a blob of light. Later I found out that marine researcher in order to measure quantities of phytoplankton in a body of water, use the response of these photosynthetic organisms to a particular wavelength on the light spectrum, basically their bioluminescence impressed on photographic instruments.

Besides leaving me energized, this first experience is what sparked an interest in finding out more about the Alpha 3CMP and the full line of products offered by ForeverGreen.


PowerStrips™ technology

Shortly after trying the dropper version of Alpha 3CPM, I was introduced to the PowerStrips™. A friend description of her very first experience with them was comparable to the one I had myself with the drops.

This is a very innovative concept that delivers the benefits of the Alpha 3CMP through the dermis. The PowerStrips™ were developed by Dr. Minsu Kim, PhD., researcher at the Institute of Engineering and Technology of the Future at the University of Korea.

Dr. Kim cutting edge technology, based on quantum physics waveform energy is blended with the ancient wisdom of Asian herbal tradition. PowerStrips™ combine the benefits of the Alpha 3CMP with the power of herbs such as Korean ginseng and capsaicin, and the exceptional reflective properties of elemental germanium.

This Patented technology is designed to activate all surrounding cells of the human body for energy and relief. Their use relieves pain, and promotes body energy, vitality, and mental clarity. PowerStrips™ are a U.S. FDA-listed Class 1 medical device, which adheres to the skin to provide temporary relief of minor aches and pains while also promoting healthy skin.

Quantum Energy

Dr. Kim based his approach on David Bohms particle and wave and quantum theories. To create the PowerStrips™ he built a room where he was able to capture Quantum Energy. Dr. Kim developed a QE generating device and specialty film to radiate wave energy within the room.  The QE treatment room uses infrared light as sunlight, ultraviolet rays and solid-state lighting.

PowerStrips™ are treated with 50 different types of QE for 48-72 hours within the QE treating room. Whit each added layer to the strip more QE is added again. As Dr. Kim explains, every single component of the human body, DNA, muscles, bones, skin, organs and so on has an energy of it’s own. Not just our bodies but any kind of object or animal or plants has its own specific energy. Each body part has inherent QEs (or wave energies & frequencies). His team was able to make 25,000 specific wave energies (or frequencies) and code them.

When the PowerStrip™ is applied to a painful area the quantum energy actually subsides and alleviates any kind of pain, helps the blood circulate and calm the nerves. It helps the muscle system, nervous system and supports the immune system.


How they work 

Each PowerStrips™ is an ultra thin strip with a petroleum-free, water soluble adhesive for safe continuous daily use.

ELEMENTAL GERMANIUM is laced through the outer layer. 
The inner or adhesive layer contains the proprietary blend of FERMENTED KOREAN RED GINSENG


Grayish lustrous block with uneven cleaved surface

 Elemental Germanium exceptional reflective properties are used to create a Far Infrared Wave. The organic germanium, laced into each PowerStrips™, absorbs the body’s heat waves and refracts them back into the area as Far Infrared Rays. This process dilates the vessels to increasing oxygen and nutrient rich blood and allow the cells to export metabolic waste. Thus, creating an environment to relieve pain. 

The Far Infrared Rays spectrum of light is a subdivision of the electromagnetic spectrum that has been investigated for biological effects. FIR wavelength is too long to be perceived by the eyes, however, the body experiences its energy as a gentle radiant heat which can penetrate up to 1.5 inches (almost 4 cm) beneath the skin.

It has the ability to influence bonds forming the molecules (especially the water molecules) as well as resonate with cellular frequencies. Many therapeutic devices have been developed to increase or reflect FIR, like lamps, pads and garments.(III)


Far infrared is basically the ‘warm’ energy in humans, animal and plants. Its intensity constantly fluctuates. When its intensity is high we feel energized and healthy. When it starts to decline, we are subject to disease and premature aging. We can be exposed to FIR heat for extended periods of time without getting skin burns. It is completely safe and healthy. The sun emits FIR. The palms of our hands emit FIR. Palm healing has an ancient tradition in China. For 3,000 years healers used the healing power of the heat and energy radiating from their palms, same as Reiki healers do. It is used by Qi Gong masters and Yogis. Human use of thermal therapy has in fact been in existence for many centuries, its theraupetic properties were known and appreciated by many ancient civilization like the Romans, the Finns, and the American Indians. FIR energy promote health by increasing the ability of our bodies to fight various disease causing pathogens.


Red Korean Ginseng is the most effective ginseng available. It is also called “Panax Ginseng” which means, “cure all”.  It was given its name because of its diverse variety of healthy benefits. In Asian countries ginseng has been used for thousands of years.  There is evidence that its benefits include:

  • Improved thinking, concentration, memory and work efficiency, physical stamina, and athletic endurance.
  • Helps cope with stress and induces relaxation
  • Some people use it as a general tonic to improve well-being
  • It is said to stimulate the body’s immune system and protect healthy cells
  • Makes people feel calmer
  • It is widely used in China for the heart and blood vessels.
  • It is said to have Anti-Aging properties 
  • Improves Sexual Function
  • Has Anti-Fatigue Effects
  • Enhances Liver Function
  • Helps with cleansing and Detoxification
  • Stimulates Nitric Oxide synthesis
  • Mitigate, Manage and Relieve Pain(IV)


Capsaicin is the component that makes chilies hot. It gives an endorphin rush that makes it an effective remedy for pain and other medical conditions. The endorphins work to block the heat. The body produces them in response to the heat, which it senses as pain. Capsaicin is used to relieve neuralgia and helps to alleviate minor pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis or muscle sprains and strains. Capsaicin’s analgesic, anti-inflammatory effects are due to its capacity to mimic a burning sensation. The result is that nerves overwhelmed by calcium influx, become unable to report pain for an extended period of time. With chronic exposure to capsaicin, neurons are depleted of neurotransmitters, leading to reduction in sensation of pain and blockade of neurogenic inflammation. If capsaicin is removed, the neurons recover.


Advantages of dermal absorption

In the dermal absorption process chemicals are transported through the skin from its outer surface both into the skin itself and into the body systemic circulation. Chemicals pass through the seven cell layers of epidermis before entering the dermis where they enter the blood stream and lymphatic system to rapidly circulate to other areas of the body. Through the dermal absorption the body absorbs substances in a fast and efficient way.


By-passing the stomach with its gastric acids, all the beneficial elements compounded in the PowerStrips™ get absorbed unadulterated delivering their therapeutic effect directly  into the skin, blood and lymphatic systems. This explains the almost immediate beneficial effect I felt when soaking in the spring water at Saturnia. Even if that particular phytoplankton is not recommended for internal use, the body has no problem absorbing its beneficial nutrients through the skin, in an efficient, safe way. I am also reminded of the garlic-rub test. A clove of fresh garlic, cut and rubbed under the foot, brings a definite taste of garlic inside the mouth in just a few seconds.


I just recently started using the PowerStrips™ on myself. A few days ago, my ankles got unusually swollen. Looking at my feet, I could hardly see the fibula and tibia sticking out from the sides. I figured, it must have been the continuos use of croc shoes in this hot weather. So, I changed to a more fitting, arch supporting shoe option. In addition, I used two of the strips, one on each ankle. Last night, after two days of wearing different shoes, my ankles were still a bit swollen. But this morning, after applying the strips on them for just 2 nights, my fibula and tibia were visible again, and my anckles are now back to normal. 


In addition I have to report that my CD3 count on my latest blood test were off the chart, after just 4 months of taking the phytoplankton.

For a while I supported and became a reseller of Forever Green products, but to me, these here described are the only products that are natural and have have an effective nutritional and curative value. Unfortunately, the company is involved in producing and marketing other nutritional products that even if still retain high quality standards are nonetheless highly processed and refined.


‘The Role of Algae and Plankton in Medicine’ by Morton Schwimmer and David Schwimmer, pub. Grune & Strutton New York, 1955

 ‘Health Indicators of Alpha 3 Marine Phytoplankton Use Among Apparently Healthy Individuals’  A Pilot Study by:Rich Interdonato, M.S. and Doctoral Student Glenn E. Richardson, Ph.D., Professor Department of Health Promotion and Education University of Utah

Medline plus, ( (


This content is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.


Another year under the belt, but still like never, ever before…

This post has been in my mind for a while now: it has been a long time coming. New Year 2015 came and went in a swift. For me, it seems it has just started; in fact it starts anew everyday. On Valentine’s Day, a new birthday, and indeed the feeling is of re-birth. Today as everyday, this resilient heart renews its joyful will with the wonder of a life in perpetual expansion.

LightThis is meant from the heart, intended as a thank you note to the Universe, to the Infinite Divine Intelligence that is All There Is for bursting my consciousness open and attuning me to the wholeness of this human experience, to the essence and substance of the being that I really am.

Year 2014 now being over, I realize that never before I have lived more fully and consciously. I have been enjoying every moment, even through the challenges of chemo and radiation. I am thankful for the resilience of this body which is a blessing in its own right.

I am glancing back with joyful gratefulness to what might as well be the best and most intense time in my life.


The 45 days of therapy came and went, seems like in a blink of the eye. I witnessed my body shrivel, charging forth with itssuffering as only the density of the physical body in this dimension can be made suffer. I was enduring, taking it all in, like a punch bag that for the longest time already I unconsciously kicked and submitted to jabs and blows. For too long I thought this was part of the process of life, just beating myself up for anything at all.

Spirit was lovingly observing, still keeping my energy strong. I hovered through cold windy streets, commutes, buses, subways, and then car rides. Always back and forth, yielding to the daily routine of the radiation treatment. IMG_0493For months during the cold winter, I kept envisioning myself in luscious green locales. I would picture walking the dog immersed in nature: something to look forward to, in the midst of what I was enduring.


In the end, it all came to pass, as it always did and still does. As soon as I felt strong enough, I packed most of my kitchen and the dog and I left NYC. First, I headed north, to the wild strawberry filled mountain edges by Buffalo, NY.

In July, I packed the car again and I headed down south, to North Carolina, always with my dog and kitchen on tow. We spent almost a month in the Nantahala region, where I found myself picking wild blackberries for breakfast and where I re-discovering the exhilaration of cooling summer dips in the green reflecting lakes.

IMG_0966The following month we moved further south, first to Georgia and then Tennessee. I had never visited the rural South before. I really enjoyed every glimpse of the lush green settings by the other end of the Appalachian slopes, and the crystal clear waters of the rivers and lakes we encountered.

The original plan was to head back to NYC. In the back of my mind, still waiting for a Labor Day comeback. Then, an exciting thought started creeping in: what if…


The original plan was to head back to NYC. In the back of my mind, still waiting for a Labor Day comeback. Then, an exciting thought started creeping in: what if…

Soon enough I found myself driving further away from the NYC dot on the map, heading west instead. We followed Route 66 through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

We spent a few weeks up in the Sierra by Santa Fe’.  Those wild mushrooms eating days still make my mouth water. The colors spread off the canvas sunsets on the Midwest skies, while the sierra views all around awaken the notion of a vast land still filled with the energetic presence of the ancient Pueblo dwellers.


Following the road through Arizona, we arrived in Nevada by mid-September.  We spent about a month at an altitude of 5,600 feet, up a mountaintop about a twenty minutes drive west of Las Vegas.

Sunrise gazing became my daily zing. There was a thought buried deep into my mind, a concept from my teenage years: life is worth living when you can get to watch a sunset daily. Now I was finding out that sunrises might be even better.

In Henderson NV, I got to meet Mahendra Trivedi and to be around him daily for over two weeks. Being in his energy field increased my well being by simple mean of resonance. Just a few weeks earlier, loading my luggage in the car was still a challenge. Here, I found myself helping Guruji move into a new home. I even ventured into attending hot yoga classes for the first time in my life.

cropped-img_1510.jpgIMG_4383Then, at the end of October we left our mountain casita: California was calling. I kept moving through the desert, and into the Southern part of the sunny state. I never thought I would like living in the desert, but the idea was now starting to become very appealing. I yielded to the desire to spend the winter in a warmer setting than I have ever experienced for years. I was going for the water though. I need water: I was born and raised by a Mediterranean seashore.

I arrived in Desert Hot Springs, attracted by the ‘miracle waters.’ Here, without a second thought, I found myself renting a small mobile home in a Spa resort right in the middle of the desert.

Tall fan palms and nothing much around but sand and distant mountains, make it an oasis of sort.

IMG_1559I started soaking daily in the hot spring waters. I keep gazing at the rising sun and practice a daily yoga meditation, but most importantly, Bennie and I are enjoying walks in the desert during these warm sunny days.


Still challenges called my name, mostly in the doctor views of my health status seen through blood exams and in spite of my reassuring calls. The body responding and adjusting to healthy turns. The liver is getting better. Then, over a month ago, my doctor stopped all medications. First I was somewhat concerned, but then I felt better and better. I am a flower in the desert, now thriving more than ever while detoxifying from them chemicals and all.

It has been an amazing journey. From the unrelenting cold and the crowds of NYC, to the vast open spaces of this beautiful country. All along the way I have been working on restoring my body to a higher concept of health while developing a more direct, closer, tangible experience of the Divine. It has been an experience of consciousness expansion, rising to a higher state of vibration to encompass just the remote understanding of All There Is.  I am grateful to Infinite Intelligence for this expansion, to that which I can only call God, that is too great and loving to even be named. Thank you for opening up this dimension with this new vision and understanding of the self.

IMG_0849From the lakes and steep mountains of North Carolina, to the cool waters of Georgia’s rivers and Tennessee’s luscious trees; from desert landscapes of Texas and Arizona, to picture perfect sunsetsIMG_4350 on the mesa in New Mexico; through the lovingly desolation of nothingness in Southern Nevada, all the way to this windy, desert sands and hot spring waters of California, IMG_1553God has been manifesting the magnificence of Creation to me 24/7.

It is just the Divine artist, depicting, in a handful of powerful strokes, the manifold manifestation of abundance on this planet. Everything is thriving with life. All There Is, is indeed brilliantly, joyously alive.

Now February, and again a birthday: one of the many left behind with no remarkable notice. And yet, this one today got into a series of unfolding layers of meanings and notions of the self as it was being brought into this world, into the mystery of life at an exact time and place.

Even before getting a chance to the breath of life. Born into love from passion. That is exactly it! Passion is what got it all started. Conception was a matter of a rising sexual drive into the high spring season. This is the time when hormones run high in the air all around, when every bird singing, every bud opening up or butterfly wing flapping, is an invitation to love and procreation.IMG_1623

For many years, I always experienced this late spring rush shooting right into my veins. An awakening of the senses, a sexual rush just around mid May. This is when the season temperature has a turn for the warm and days get brighter leading into the full bloom of summer.

And love. Born in the day of love, from the quintessential loving mother. And yet, during gestation shame was felt all the way into the core, to be reprocessed later in life. As to be re-evaluated are my grandmother’s words to address the situation: ‘All new born creatures are Divine providence’ As the tale goes, the pregnancy was then brought to completion with that supreme blessing.  Only now, after so many years of listening to that which I thought a story of hardship, it is indeed a wonderful tale of blessings. I am blessed indeed,  with perfect love and perfect substance.IMG_0006

As I realize more and more the perfection of life, I attune to to my Divine essence, my intent is to get to the core of it all: the inner self, the  God within. Divine light shines brightly through me, the eternal life of God lives and breath through me, all around me, as me. I want to unleash my unbounded ocean of creativity from the kingdom of God within me. I want to align my experience with my true life purpose, with my true self daily, in this dimension of reality. God is already in my every thought and in everything I do, I am heading for a more and more tangible expansion of the experience. I am a channel for God’s creativity and I want my work, desires, love and just the wondrous beauty of being in this human experience to come to good. And so it is…

Picking Blackberries

While visiting North Carolina, I recently found myself picking blackberries right off the lush vegetation spreading along narrow mountain roads and trails. My rediscovered taste for berries, mainly stems from recently reading nutrition research articles that were raving about the health benefit of eating colorful berries, especially dark hued ones. In retrospect, I believe there is a nostalgic longing in my craving for blackberries. I am now able to discern a heart-warming desire to revisit Italian blackberry picking memories of a time long gone.

Blackberries Anti-Oxidants Content

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition among the berries, Blackberries ranked the ones richer of anti-oxidants: Blackberries 3.990, Cranberries 3.289, Raspberries 2.334, Strawberries 2.159, Blueberries 2.154 (mmol/100 g)[1]  In the same research blackberries were found to be at the top of the 50 foods with the highest antioxidant contents per serving size: Blackberries 5.746, followed by Walnuts at 3.721, and in third place are strawberries 3.584. [2]  The deep colored pigments of berries are produced by the flavonoid antioxidant molecules concentrated in the skins of the fruits known as anthocyanins. Flavonoids, anthocyanins included, are not merely antioxidants; but they are thought to have additional beneficial effects on our body that are unrelated to their antioxidant capacity.[3]

 Anti-Cancer Properties

Since the 1980s , all colorful berries have been know to have anti-cancer properties.  That’s because, like other fruits and vegetable, berries have ellagic acid.  In the following decades, researchers pointed out that that the amount of ellagic acid in berries is much higher. In addition, lots of phytochemical have been found in berries, especially a range of athocyanins with proved anticancer effects. [4]

In his book ‘Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide For Boosting your Body Immunity’, Dr. Joel Fuhrman states: ‘Adding blackberries to the diet lowers cancer rates… ‘ then he  goes on describing how laboratory rats with a chemical induced cancer, were fed dried blackberries and showed a transformation of the damaged genes back to near-normal.[5]  Of course I am thinking  ‘organic’, considering that strawberries for example are at the top of the ‘dirty dozen‘ list of contaminated produce retainig pesticides even after washing. The use of pesticides has been linked to many health problems, including cancer. In the U.S. commercial raspberry plants for example get routinely sprayed with 51 different kinds of pesticides. [6] Dr. Gary David Stoner of The Ohio State University, conducted a series of studies on dark berries using black raspberries and blueberries. Dr. Stoner states:  ‘ …The ability of berries to intervene at all stages of the carcinogenesis process is undoubtedly related to the fact that they contain multiple known chemo-preventive agents, including flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and phytosterols. Thus, berries and their components reduce oxidant and carcinogen-induced genetic damage and enhance DNA repair… …Investigations in animals indicate that dietary berry bio-actives are effective in preventing cancer in the oral cavity, esophagus and colon. Preliminary results suggest that they might also exhibit preventative effects in the human oral cavity, esophagus and colon…’ [7]

Brain Enhancing Properties

In March 2012 an article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists concluded that because of their high levels of antioxidants, which help protect cells from harmful free radicals, eating berries like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries can contribute to preserve memory sharpness and defends against mental decline.[8] Berries protective effect on the brain happens through a change of the way neurons communicate. The changes in signaling besides improving motor control cognition, it also prevents inflammation in the brain, that leads to neuronal damage. In previous studies, dated from August 2010, scientists found that eating berries may activate the brain’s natural housekeeper for healthy aging.  Polyphenolics found in berries play a key role in helping the brain’s microglia, remove and recycle damaging biochemical debris — a natural process that declines as we age.[9]

Preventing Heart Disease

Berries are a good source of polyphenols important micronutrients in our diet that act as anti-oxidants. As described before they are especially rich in anthocyanins, besides other micronutrients, and fiber. In epidemiological and clinical studies, these constituents have been associated with improved cardiovascular risk profiles. Benefits were seen in healthy subjects and in those with existing metabolic risk factors.[10] The health effects of polyphenols in general, depend on the amount consumed and on their bioavailability. However, even the consumption of moderate amounts of berries resulted in favorable changes in platelet function, HDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. The results indicate that regular consumption of berries may play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. [11]


Blackberry Picking on Memory Lane

There I was, taking the first walk with my dog in the Nantahala region of North Carolina, when I noticed these bright red to a deep black color berries. They were growing sparingly on thorny trailing canes, low down, almost on the ground. Blackberries I thought, but the ones I remembered from back home, grew on tall thorny bushes. That same day, while visiting Nantahala Farm & Garden, Nancy confirmed my hunch, that was indeed blackberries. ‘You can go pick them along the road just about everywhere around here” she said.


I started imagining Native Americans, like the Cherokee tribes that used to live in this region, picking berries at the edge of the forest. Whenever I visit or travel through the North American countryside, I wonder what must have looked like when the native tribes lived here. How different must have been before Europeans took over this land, and what happened to the ‘Indians’?


This same slopes in 1835 were unwilling witnesses of the rounding up for removal of the indigenous Cherokees. A fort was built not far from here, to momentarely hold the captured tribe members. A process that in 1838, with the Infamous Trail of Tears, relocated most of the Cherokee at gun point  into Oklahoma. Those few that fled hiding in the mountains, later on were allowed to stay, in the Qualla Land Trust located in the Jackson and Swain Counties.


According to the North Carolina State University,  Native Americans inhabiting these region, ate blackberries for thousands of years.  About 11 species of blackberries are either native to the state or were introduced very early by European settlers.

Blackberries are not technically berries in the botanical sense of the word, but they are termed aggregate fruits, composed of small drupelets. This plant scientific name is Rubus fruticosus and is part of the rose family of flowering plants, the same kind that produces fruits like apples, apricots, quinces, and so on.


Going back to my picking, all along I ran into quite a variety of shrubs and berry sizes.  Some of the canes were trailing at ground level, and to get to the berries I literally picked them up from under some other dense undergrowth and foliage. Several instead grew in a tangle of dense arching stems extending over the thick shrubs by the road side.

 A big mower stopped across from where I was daintily doing my picking. The young man was checking his smart phone reception. As customary around here, he sent a friendly wave my way, and in his charming southern drawl he said: “I saw them ripen dewberries hanging on both sides of the road all the way up” and pointed at the road that was ahead of me. “If I did not need to get back to work, I would certainly stop and pick me some.” He added before driving off.


Blackberries are locally referred to as dewberries, and the plants, are indeed defined as trailing. North Carolina had a thriving dewberry shipping industry from the 1939s through the 1950s. Today, cultivated blackberries are consumed locally and farming is mostly based on the pick-your-own system. Another interesting fact, is that the U.S.D.A. logo printed on meat, was made until not long ago with blackberry ink.

Fast racing clouds above were intermittently allowing the strong July sun to filter through. Rain had been following steadily since I had left New York. I was confident the approaching Summer storm would have allowed me to complete my picking. Following a few rolls in the grass, my unfettered four legged companion, was now lazily lying on the mowed grassy patch by the side of the road.  With her toungue dangling sideways, she seemed to be following my every move with a complacent demeanor.


I always find comfort in her familiar looks. I started thinking, when was it last time I ever engaged in such a delightfully monotonus activity?  I must have done it quite often while growing up, but the fondest memory goes back to my very first blackberry picking experience.

My father was an old school hunter. It goes without saying, he was a man proud of his rifle. As a child, I remember watching him for hours taking it apart to clean it and oil it. He even used to prepare his own hunting ammunitions from scratch. For him, hunting represented the pleasing allure of spending some time away from it all. This included, besides his 40+ hour a week job, a traditional homemaker wife, and four kids aged 5 to 20 at that particular time. I am sure that taking those long walks alone with his dog was his way to relax and recharge himself while immersed in nature. Back then, he did not need to go too far, as we had plenty of countryside and woods just around the apartment building where we use to live.

However, he hardly ever returned home with any game. More often than not, he would turn into an occasional gatherer, and show up at the house with the most diverse bounties of comestible goods.I must have been 4 or 5 years old when, for the first time, he decided to take me along in one of his hunting walks. I remember it was a sunny day. Early in the afternoon, and after much recommendations from my mother, we started out our hunting walk by the woods just around the house. Trekking under the tall, and back then lush, canopies of the umbrella shaped Mediterranean pines, we ended up trailing along canals, and walking on dirt roads. We walked and walked, my shorter legs proudly following and literally stepping in father’s footpaths.


Once out of the woods, far down one side,  we could see the river banks, while we crossed open fields with cows foraging in the distance. His occasional pointing out and naming of plants, trees or birds in flight fascinated me. In truth, being born the youngest of four, I was enjoying this rare occasion of having my dad’s undivided attention.

Soon enough, it was time to be heading back. Once again, he ended up not firing his rifle. On our way back, not too far from the house, we found a nice stretch of blackberry bushes. He handed me his hat and warning me to be careful of the thorny branches, started stretching his harms over the bushes picking the berries by the handful.

I could not resist, and put one into my mouth. With his vigilant eye he was watching me as I cringed for the unusual bitter aftertaste. Smiling he assured me that with a bit of sugar they would turn out to be just delicious.We filled up his big hat, and all the way back home, I walked as if I had been carrying a trophy with both hands. I was anticipating my sister surprise at such a bounty.

To my disappointment, when we got back in the house, no one was there. The sun was still high in the sky, it must have been still quite early in the afternoon. The unusual long walk had me famished, and I settled myself in the kitchen expecting some food. But with mother not being there, where was my afternoon snack going to come from? Back then, the kitchen and daily food preparation was mother’s domain.

To my surprise, my dad took out a huge bowl from the kitchen cabinet and proceeded to fill it with the freshly picked blackberries. Then he scooped a hefty amount of sugar on top of it all, and he passed the bowl to me. That was such an unusual food for me. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, I was watching that tall mount of sugar as I could hardly see the blackberries down at the bottom of the bowl. I must have had a puzzled look, because he proceded to mix it right under my nose. The dark juice from the blackberries was melting the sugar into a soupy dark syrup. What a sweet treat, all for my enjoyment! I also remember thinking how my mom would have never prepared or even allowed such an enormous amount of sugar before dinner. Best of all, I did not have to share it with my sister! I Ate it eagerly.

That day, I believe I experienced a sugar induced black out, because all I remembered after that late afternoon treat was white cotton sheets, just like the sugar, and waking up the next morning in my bed.


How to Dehydrate Blackberries

1. Wash and gently pat berries dry. The Farming and Gardening Survival Book by Nantahala Farm and Garden, suggests to add vitamin C or apple cider vinegar in the rinse  to protect the delicate berries during drying.
2. Remove stems from blackberries.
3. Dehydrate blackberries at 105 degrees (F) Depending on the power of your dehydrator, it takes approximately 12 hours. Dehydrate until brittle.
4. Store dried blackberries in a clean, dry, airtight container, in a cool dark location. (Light can cause discoloration.) To rehydrate, soak in hot water for 15 minutes.



[1] Mole (abbreviated as “mol”) is a unit of the amount of substance defined in the International System of Units (SI). One mole of any compound contains a number of molecules equal to Avogadro’s number, 6.022E23. “Mmol” stands for millimoles and the prefix “milli” indicates “one thousandth,” i.e. the magnitude of 0.001

Source :


[2] Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States 1,2,3

Bente L Halvorsen, Monica H Carlsen, Katherine M Phillips, Siv K Bøhn, Kari Holte, David R Jacobs Jr, Rune Blomhoff

Source: American Society for Clinical Nutrition

The study food table not only represents the amounts of antioxidants in foods, it also identifies those plant foods containing the highest concentrations of secondary plant metabolites. Some of the ambiguity in the interpretation of the values espressed in the table of antioxidant-rich foods relates to other potential stress-reducing effects of phytoalexins and phytoanticipins beyond those directly related to their ability to participate in redox reactions.

List of the total antioxidant content found in the analysis of 1120 food samples from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (NFNAP)*

BLACKBERRIES Amount Per 1 cup (144 g) % Daily Value*
Calories   62
Total Fat 0.7 g 1%  
Saturated fat 0 g 0%  
Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g    
Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g    
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%  
Sodium 1 mg 0%  
Potassium 233 mg 6%  
Total Carbohydrate 14 g 4%  
Dietary fiber 8 g 32%  
Sugar 7 g    
Protein 2 g 4%  
Vitamin A 6%  
Vitamin C 50%  
Calcium 4%  
Iron 4%  
Vitamin D 0%  
Vitamin B-6 0%  
Vitamin B-12 0%  
Magnesium 7%  

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

[3] Source: Dr.


[4] Distinct Molecular targets of blueberry and black raspberry in breast cancer.

Ravoori S, Kausar H, Aqil F, et al.

Cancer Research 2010; 70(8): S1


[5]  Carcinogen altered genes in Rat In the esophagus positively modulated to normal levels of espression by both blackberries and phenylethyl isothiocynate.

Source: Cancer Res 2008; 68(15): 6460-67


[6] Based on datas analysis by both U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drugs Administration, which performed tests on different foods to evaluate pesticide presence. These tests were performed 1,000 times in the period between 2000 and 2009.  


[7] Laboratory and clinical studies of cancer chemoprevention by antioxidants in berries

Gary David Stoner, Li-Shu Wang, and Bruce Cordell Casto

Source: Carcinogenesis. Sep 2008; 29(9): 1665–1674. Published online Jun 9, 2008. doi:  10.1093/carcin/bgn142

PMCID: PMC3246882


[8] Marshall G. Miller, Barbara Shukitt-Hale. Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2012; : 120203155528007 DOI: 10.1021/jf2036033

Source: Science Daily


[9] Shibu Poulose and James Joseph – U. S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston.

Source: Science Daily


[10] Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health

Arpita Basu, Michael Rhone, and Timothy J Lyons

Source: National Institute of Health


[11] Favorable effects of berry consumption on platelet function, blood pressure, and HDL cholesterol1,2,3 Iris Erlund, Raika Koli, Georg Alfthan, Jukka Marniemi, Pirjo Mustonen, Pirjo Mattila, Pauli Puukka,and Antti Jula

Source: The American Journal of Clnical Nutrition  



This content is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet.



About Volumetrics

The Volumetric Diet is the brainchild of nutritionist Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., and is based on her twenty years plus of studies on people dietary patterns and eating behavior. In her observations she took noticed of the fact that people over a few days tend to eat the same weight of food, without really knowing the amount of calories they ingest.

I use to believe in power meals, both dinners or lunches. Small, protein packed meals, in order to keep fit and mantain energy levels. Inevitably a few hours later, I would need to have more food, a snack – usually a sugar treat – in order to get to the next meal or to not fall asleep on my computer. Understanding volumetric theory is very helpful in changing the way we build meal habits, opting in favor of a sense of fullness with substantially nutriotious choices, rather than for unfulfilling meals that inevitably promote cravings.

In the Volumetric dietary system, in order to loose weight, a person needs to just lower the caloric value of the portions while maintaining the same amount of food.  The diet design is to make you full, because when given a choice, people choose to eat more.  Eat all you want, but think about the calorie density of food: people

fill more satisfied when eating more food with lower caloric content. People fill full not because the volume of food, but because of the amount of calories they ingest.

Eating the Volumetric way, while increasing water and fiber in the daily food intake, a person will feel full, but because of the lower intake of calories, weight loss will occur. The focus of this diet is on eating, rather than deprivation.

Calorie density is the number of calories per pound for each food. Notice that CD is lowest in unprocessed plant foods.

There no forbidden foods according to the Volumetrics diet, but the accent is on avoiding fatty foods, fried foods and sweets.  Another suggestion is to avoid

Research has shown that when people eat high-water content foods such as a green salad with a lot of vegetables or soup, they eat less food. By filling up with

dried food, such as crackers, pretzels or popcorn, because they are higher in calories and do not provide much satiety.  Specific tips are offered in Volumetrics on how to avoid high energy density food and lower caloric intake. For example, choosing a sweet snack, opt for grapes rather than raisins. Two cups of grapes, contains the equivalent amount of calories of a ¼ cup of raisins. Choosing grapes is a better Volumetrics choice, because a person would most likely feel full due to the amount of water contained in the grapes. In fact, according to Volumetrics, food containing more water and fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier because have a lower energy density, or number of calories for specific amount of food.  Food with high calorie density includes sugary and fatty foods, like potato chips and cookies.a plant-based diet, a person can balance blood sugar and avoid cravings. This method might help naturally “crowd out” less favorable food choices, thus helping to keep calorie consumption low to maintain a healthy weight.


Volumetrics offers detailed guidance on nutrient and fluid intake, as well as physical activity. In the 326-page publication ‘Volumetrics: Feel Full on Fewer Calories’, published in 2000, the authors make the following weight management recommendations:

-Calories (Energy): Reduce usual intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day, depending   on weight-loss goals. This practice should  lead to a healthy weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.

-Fat: Limit to 20 to 30% of total calories and look for foods reduced in fat and calories.

-Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates should comprise 55% or more of total calories; it’s preferable to choose carbohydrates from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits because they are more satiating.

-Fiber: Eat at least 20 to 30 grams per day from whole grains, fiber-rich breakfast cereals, and whole fruits and vegetables, as opposed to fruit juices. Fiber is key for lowering energy (calorie) density as well as increasing overall satiety.

-Sugar: Choose a diet moderate in added sugars. Dr. Rolls suggests lowering intake of sodas and other sugary drinks because these foods add calories without satiety. Use small amounts of sugar to make low-energy, nutritious foods tastier.

-Protein: About 15% of daily calories, or 0.4 grams per pound of body weight, should come from protein foods. Beans, low-fat fish, poultry without skin, and lean meats are recommended as the most satiating choices. Adequate amounts of protein are needed to prevent muscle loss and maintain metabolism.

-Water: Water consumption is a key component of the Volumetrics eating plan. It recommends women drink at least 9 cups daily, whereas men should consume 12 cups daily. Water can come from foods or beverages and should replace sugary drinks in the diet.

-Exercise: To manage weight, dieters should also get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Resistance training should be included twice a week. Dr. Rolls recommends walking at 3 to 4 miles per hour as an ideal choice for most people, even those who have substantial amounts of weight to lose. Dieters should also focus on reducing the overall amount of time they spend in sedentary pursuits, such as television watching, and increase physical activity by gardening, house cleaning, or other non-sedentary activities.*


Calorie density is also the same approach to dietary principles outlined in ‘The Pritikin Principle: The Calorie Density Solution’ by Robert Pritikin. The Volumetrics approach is in line with the Pritikin diet, developed in the 1960’s by Nathan Pritikin. The diet was quite radical for its time, but most of his principles have since been incorporated into advice given on how to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by mainstream organizations such as the American Heart Association.

The newest version of the Pritikin Plan calls for avoiding foods that are calorie dense. These are foods that pack a lot of calories into a small volume of food (e.g. oils, cookies, cream cheese). Instead, Plan followers are encouraged to choose low-calorie foods that provide a lot of bulk (e.g. broccoli, carrots, dried beans). This way, dieters can eat a lot of food and feel full without taking in a lot of calories. The plan does not limit the amount of healthy fruits and vegetables a person can eat, and it suggests to divide food intake among five or six smaller meals during the day.

In the Volumetrics diet though, guidelines for consumption of carbohydrates and protein are slightly lower in proportion to total calories than those in the principles of the Pritikin diet. In addition, the Volumetrics allows for more fat, in line with today’s dietary approaches. In contrast with Pritikin, Volumetrics also allows for more variety, with a more liberal allowance of lo-fat poultry and meat, which increases the likelihood to adherence to a diet that decreases caloric consumption.**

Energy Density = calories/pound

Calorie density is the number of calories in a given weight of food and the Pritikin Principle is based on calories per pound


Excerpted from The Pritikin Principle: The Calorie Density Solution by Robert Pritikin



**Nutritional and Clinical Management of Chronic Conditions and Diseases

      edited by Felix Bronne

***Integrative Nutrition