By Dr. Mercola

Modern industrial farming, deforestation, overfishing, and other unsustainable practices are exhausting Earth's resources at an alarming rate. More than a billion people have no access to safe drinking water, while 70 percent of the world's fresh water is going to agriculture.

One organization putting forth a valiant effort to turn this around is the Permaculture Association,1 a national charity whose mission is to promote permaculture across the globe.

Every year, the Permaculture Association holds an International Permaculture Convergence (IPC), where experts from dozens of countries unite with the common goal of preparing for and mitigating our looming ecological crisis.

Their primary goal is clear: creating sustainability through self-reliance. The film "Permaculture A Quiet Revolution" covers the eighth IPC (IPC8), spanning across rural and urban Brazil.

The film illustrates permaculture's basic design principles, centering on the concept of zones, and the proper placement of elements in a way that ensures maximal output for minimal input.

What Is Permaculture?

Permaculture epitomizes sustainability by harnessing mutually beneficial relationships to create synergistic, self-supporting ecosystems. Its principles incorporate the best of organic, biodynamic, and regenerative agriculture.

According to the Permaculture Institute:2

"Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor.

It teaches us how to design natural homes and abundant food production systems, regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems, develop ethical economies and communities, and much more."

Permaculture is an agricultural system in which the parts of the system are all interconnected, working with nature as opposed to against it. The word "permaculture" derives from "permanent agriculture" or "permanent culture."

The focus is not on any one element of the system but on the relationships among them — animals, plants, insects, microorganisms, water, soil, and habitat — and how to use these relationships to create self-supporting ecosystems.

According to an article in Rodales's Organic Life,3 the ultimate purpose of permaculture is to "develop a site until it meets all the needs of its inhabitants, including food, water, shelter, fuel, and entertainment."

Every part of the system plays multiple roles. Permaculture is based on design — it's not just organic. If the design element isn't there, it may be green, it may be organic and environmentally sound, but it isn't permaculture.

Designing by Zone

According to the Permaculture Association, permaculture design is defined as "a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.

It seeks to provide a sustainable and secure place for living things on this earth. The system that accomplishes this is called "zoning," as illustrated in the following diagram.

Permaculture is much more than a garden or landscape. At its center are you and your house, but its outermost zone is untamed wilderness. Zones are organized in a way that maximizes energy efficiency — activities are sorted by frequency of use, tending, visits, etc.

Without making the colloquial value judgment here — you are "high maintenance!" Meaning, you require the most energy input and cultivation, so you're the center of the zones, but permaculture unites you with the entire ecological system around you.

Working the Zones Maximizes Efficiency

The film illustrates examples of how permaculture can be used in each of these zones, which are organized as concentric rings progressing outward.

The activities for Zone 0 would include things such as energy efficiency for your home, biological sanitation, rainwater collection, solar panels, and heliotherapy (natural sunlight therapy). If you need moisture or temperature regulation, you could implement additional measures such as attaching a greenhouse or a "glass house" to your dwelling.

The next is Zone 1, reserved for your frequently visited, relatively high maintenance garden essentials such as vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants. The documentary emphasizes that medicinal gardens are a key component of the Brazilian lifestyle, as they don't rely on Western medicine — their garden IS their medicine.

Crops in Zone 2 are slightly less intensively cultivated, including foods for home consumption as well as foods going to market. The permaculture model encourages the sharing and selling of goods to your local community, which helps promote sustainability. Zones 2 and 3 include orchards, food forests, pastured poultry, and livestock.

A major focus of permaculture is composting and recycling, with the concept being "composting with nature rather than imposing on nature." Both plant and animal waste are recycled.

Pigs Gone Wild

Zones 2 and 3 are marked by a masterfully designed system that integrates food forests with livestock and poultry. As an example, pigs can be raised to sustain their own food forests. They roam through land planted with their favorite foods, such as sweet potatoes, daikon radish, and pumpkins, which they may or may not choose to share with their humans. Once they've cleaned off one plot, they're moved to the next.

When piglets are born, they live in little pig huts until they're old enough to roam freely, until eventually they're slaughtered for meat. Pig waste is biodigested by algae and certain weeds grown specifically for this purpose, in pools that supply water for irrigation. The pigs feast on these weeds as well.

The pigs are also allowed to forage into Zone 4, a semi-wild area requiring very little input but yielding wild foods for pig foraging as well as timber for harvest, which helps preserve native forests. Zone 5 is pure wilderness. It's a region of non-interference where highly evolved systems naturally operate and can be observed by humankind. Zone 5 teaches us what processes to replicate and how to organize the system.

Implement Permaculture in Stages, Keeping Basic Principles in Mind

While it's rare the urban gardener can implement all of the principles of permaculture, you can implement some of them to create a new way of living based on purpose and efficiency. Beware of allowing your burst of enthusiasm to result in biting off more than you can chew — start slowly.

In the above video, permaculture expert David Holmgren4 recommends easing into permaculture in small steps, as opposed to massive projects that can end in "disaster." He lists 12 basic principles and strategies to keep in mind when adopting a permaculture model, which are outlined in the table that follows. Two great ideas are discussed in the final sections of this article: chickens and wood chips.

1. Observe and interact 2. Catch and store energy
3. Obtain a yield 4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback
5. Use and value renewable resources and services 6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details 8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small and slow solutions 10. Use and value diversity
11. Use edges and value the marginal 12. Creatively use and respond to change

Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture

If a drove of foraging pigs is not practical for you, consider chickens! Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, an innovator in the field of regenerative agriculture, has developed an ingenious blueprint for a system that has the potential for transforming food production around the world. Reginaldo believes sustainable agriculture needs to be centered around livestock in order to be optimized, and he's revolutionized a system with the use of chickens for "poultry-centered regenerative agriculture."

Poultry connects nearly every community across the globe. The meat and eggs are a valuable source of animal protein and can be a solid economic platform to deal with poverty and hunger. Poultry is also very accessible to small-scale farmers, who produce the majority of the world's food.

In Reginaldo's system, chickens are completely cage-free and free ranging with access to grasses and sprouts as they are rotated between paddocks. This system significantly reduces the amount of labor involved, compared with other models such as mobile chicken pens. The minute you start moving a shelter for an animal, it becomes a labor-intensive process, and automating water and feeding becomes impossible. Pens are also not a natural habitat for chickens.

If you want more information about this innovative system, please refer to my prior article about poultry-centered regenerative agriculture, which includes my interview with Reginaldo.

Wood Chips Instead of Compost

Using wood chips as ground cover instead of compost, or to reduce your reliance on compost, is a cost-effective strategy for immensely improving your growing of nutrient-dense food. Building your soil with wood chips helps decrease your dependence on commercial products.

Several months after putting down a deep layer of wood chips, you'll end up with lush fertile soil beneath the chips that will support whatever you choose to grow. Using wood chips has many benefits, from promoting soil fertility and earthworms that create vermicompost, to eliminating the need for irrigation and the use of fertilizer.

Most tree trimming companies will drop a truckload (or more) of wood chips right on your property, for free. You just lay down uncomposted wood chips on top of your garden using whatever is available locally — typically a combination of leaves, twigs, and branches. The chips break down gradually and are digested and redigested by a wide variety of soil organisms, which is exactly what happens in nature.

I have personally put down more than 300,000 pounds of woodchips on my residential property to create a high quality soil. For more information about wood chips, listen to my interview with Paul Gautschi.

These are just a few suggestions about what you can do to move yourself in the direction of a permaculture lifestyle. Regardless of your resources or the size and style of your living space, there are many things you can do to boost your health and happiness while at the same time preserving the viability of our planet.

When it comes to human ingenuity, the sky's the limit, so with some boldness and tenacity, your adventure into the world of permaculture will surely bring health and abundance to your life!

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 Comments (65)

By Dr. Mercola

Growing your own food is an important aspect of achieving optimal health, and to really succeed in that endeavor, you need healthy soil. Composting various household waste is an excellent way to achieve this end.

In her book, "Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living", New York City native Rebecca Louie reveals how to create compost even in the smallest of spaces.

She also provides valuable tips on how to network and identify local resources to help you generate high-quality top soil, which is crucial to growing nutrient-dense food.

"I grew up in New York City, in Queens... So, I didn't have the benefit of growing up in areas where yards, backyards, and playing in grass were a common thing," she says.

"In my early adulthood, I was a journalist, an entertainment writer... In that world, there's not so much of an intersection with natural living with plants. I was more into the red carpet versus the green carpet.

Then, in my late 20s, the industry started shifting. I started doing that soul searching thing that happen to a lot of people. I took some time off. The moment I took that time off, I started to hear the world around me...

I started to observe [and think] "Wow, I'm part of the community." And with that came an awareness of the food I was eating. I started cooking more. I started trying to grow things...

As this happened, [the transition to composting] came very organically... I'm eating all these foods, I'm cooking, and growing all these plants, but where am I putting the resulting scraps? Where does that go?"

When at First You Don't Succeed

Rebecca's initial ventures into composting using a worm bin ended in disaster. All the worms died. But the failure spurred her on to learn how to do it right. Like many other cities around the US, New York City offers a free Master Composter certification program, so she signed up and took it at the Queens Botanical Garden.

"In that course, I really learned about soil system, the value of returning organic matter to the soil, both for the environment at large and for the plants that live in it," she says.

"As a plus, and something that I'm really excited about now, is the potential for building community around things like composting. You have a community garden but with that can come a community composting effort.

Suddenly, people are networking, making friends, sharing activities together, and getting outside. It's a really transformative moment that's happening right now."

Composting 101

Composting is a more controlled version of what happens naturally on the forest floor. Leaves fall down and decompose, providing shelter and nourishment for a network of micro and macro organisms, from fungi and bacteria to larger creatures like worms.

Many of them ingest and break apart this biomass, returning to the soil organic matter that feeds the plants growing in the soil. Composting mimics this cycle in a more controlled setting.

Two essential components to make composting work well are:

  • Green material: Nitrogen- and water-rich materials such as food scraps and grass clippings contribute nitrogen to the composting cycle. They also contribute water, which is another important element that must be tempered as you build your compost system.
  • Brown material: Carbon-rich dry materials like leaves, woodchips, and even shredded paper, (non-glossy) junk mail, newspapers, corrugated cardboard, and egg cartons.
  • Besides being rich in carbon, they also provide a dry material that absorbs some of the water from the nitrogen-rich greens. Just be sure to remove any plastic tape if you use cardboard boxes, as it will not compost well.

The real magic of composting and doing it right is finding the right balance of ingredients. "You want compost to feel like a wrung out sponge," Rebecca notes. This means you've achieved the right moisture balance.

If your compost pile is too soggy, you need to add more dry carbon-rich materials. If it's too dry, microbial activity will be impaired, so you'll need to mix in some water.

"Once you achieve the balance that you want, you just maintain it. You constantly do those little adjustments to make sure that you have the kind of compost pile that you want."

How to Set Up a Worm Farm

Composting can be done at virtually any scale. If you live in a city or suburb, there are many small systems available. The principles of composting—finding the balance between carbon, nitrogen, water and air—remain the same.

For example, you can use a 5- or 10-gallon bucket or storage tote to create worm compost. According to Rebecca, vermiculture is becoming quite popular among city dwellers who are short on space, and it's probably one of the finest composts you can possibly get.

You're basically creating an ecosystem from scratch, so balance is important. First, drill holes in the bucket for ventilation and drainage. Next, fill your bucket with carbon material. This will serve as the bedding source. As it breaks down, the worms will consume it. The carbon material also serves as a biofilter, eliminating unpleasant odors and pests like fruit flies.

Next, dampen—do not soak—the bedding material with water until you get that wrung-out sponge consistency. You want it to be moist but not wet. Then you add the worms, and a small amount of kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels. Be sure to avoid citrus, as both the acidity and oils can be harmful to worms.

"I'm a really big fan of portion control. You have to get to know your worms. How fast they eat. If you're in a colder climate and temperatures are lower, they'll be less active. These are things you have to get to know.

Maybe start with one and a half cups [of food scraps] if you have a pound [of worms]. Freeze it first because that will kill any pests on the surface of the scraps. You thaw the scraps afterwards, which will speed up the decomposition rate. But also, it will help leach out a lot of excess liquid because we don't want it to get too wet. You can always add moisture but it's more difficult to take it away.

Then, once you've drained that liquid, you dump in the scraps, and you watch. How long does it take for my pound of worms to eat this? Check in after a couple of days and see how they're doing. Once that food is almost gone, you're like, 'All right, that took 'x' amount of days. Good to know.' And then feed them another portion [of kitchen scraps]...

[The worms] create this beautiful, amazing, very coveted compost: black gold worm poop. The reason that what they produce is so rich is that their guts are lined with a lot of bacteria that the soil needs. As they consume organic matter and poop it out the other end, that little casting that comes out is not just decomposed organic matter; it is that plus this beautiful microcosm of exciting microorganisms that help plants be healthy."

Compost Tumblers Produce Excellent Results with Minimal Effort

Another option is to purchase a compost tumbler. Rebecca's book, "Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living", goes into detailed instructions on a number of different composting systems. It's really one of the best resources I've seen on how to engage in this process. Reading her book also reminded me of the importance of balancing the greens and the browns. The normal tendency is to compost mostly greens, but that makes it too wet.

Dr. Mercola Uses Compost Tumblers

Now, I'm a big fan of woodchips and I've got a big pile in my yard,  When my compost starts to get too wet, I just add some woodchips to it. That works just magnificently. The key is to balance the carbon and the nitrogen. I use two compost tumblers—one is in active process and the other is more mature. This allows me to have a pretty continuous supply of healthy compost. With a tumbler, you can get finished compost in just a few weeks with very minimal effort.

Composting Saves Money in Several Ways

One benefit many might not consider when approaching the idea of composting is that it can also reduce the amount of trash you have to send to the landfill. All that non-glossy junk mail paper can be used in your composting, along with all those cardboard boxes, newspapers, and shredded paperwork.

"If you live in an area where you have to pay per pound for your trash pick-up or if you're trying to build a garden and can't necessarily afford to or don't want to pay for soil, you can make your own," Rebecca says. "You're using a free resource coming out of your own waste stream and transforming it, and the cost-savings really making a difference."

Composting will also help you conserve water, as returning organic matter to the soil significantly improves water retention. The key to that is the carbon component, the brown component. That's what forms the humates and the glomalin, which have great water retention abilities.

A group of New York City moms proved composting can be a particularly sensible solution when you go large-scale. They created a composting program for their children's school, which has since been adopted by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and some hundreds schools across the city. But to start, they had to prove to the school system that it would make sense from a financial standpoint.

"By crunching the numbers and setting up this small pilot program, they did something that's now revolutionizing how the school system in New York City is dealing with waste," Rebecca says. "It's fabulous. If you think about your household, you'll say, 'OK, I saved five bucks this week on not having to bring one extra bag to the dump.' If you multiply that times a whole city or community, suddenly, it's mind blowing. People like thinking green but really, what talks is the green of money."

The Importance of Ground Cover

One way to grow your own food is to start converting your ornamental landscape, including lawns, to edible landscaping. An important aspect of that process is to use waste biomass not to compost, but to cover the bare soil. I'm passionate about woodchips, so I add about a foot and a half to two feet worth of wood chips to my landscape, which lasts a few years. If you add just a few inches, you'll have to re-apply it annually.

Covering bare soil with biomass mulch helps retain moisture, significantly reducing your need for irrigation. It can also cut down weed growth by about 90 percent, and virtually eliminates the need for fertilizing too. Eventually, this ground cover will decompose, which helps build up your topsoil. Wood chips also radically increase the earthworm concentration, and once you have enough, they essentially create the compost for you.

"All my window boxes get full sun all day. As we know, with container gardening, you're going to lose a lot of moisture. You can water your plants in the morning and if it's a warm day, by the end of the day, that soil will be bone dry. So something that I've done is taking that shredded paper, that junk mail, that secret document with my social security number, shredding it and creating a top layer that mulches over and holds the water underneath.

Basically, what happen is the sun will land on this very reflective white surface. The heat won't go down into the soil; thus conserving the water in there from evaporation. Really, it's about using resources at hand to protect the soil," Rebecca notes.

Alternative Composing Resources: Urine and Manure

Alternative composting resources include urine and feces—including your own. It's particularly easy for men to collect urine into a container, dilute it, and spread it on the plants as a form of nitrogen. You can also use human manure, although it's a bit more difficult to work with.

"If you think about it, it's the obvious thing to do. We are similar to a gigantic earthworm. We break down the organic matters we eat and what results are wastes, which are largely decomposed and microbially rich. And in theory, it could go right back in to the soil.

Why not? One thing that people are concerned about with omnivore or carnivore manures, where you have meat-eating animals pooping (your dogs, and let's say people), is that there could be pathogens in that feces. So, what is recommended as best practice is to use a hot composting method."

Hot composting involves building a large compost pile, ideally a mound around 3x3x3 feet. Those are the optimum dimensions to create a home for thermophilic, i.e. heat-making, bacteria. When you think of a steaming compost pile, the heat rising off the top is produced by these bacteria. The heat inside this compost pile will reach about 133 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended temperature to kill off pathogens in compost.

One caveat is cat poop. It can carry pathogens like toxoplasmosis, which is very dangerous for pregnant women as it can be passed on to their children. It's also hazardous for people with weak immune systems. So, as a general rule, it's best to avoid cat poop when composting.

"In terms of animal manures, if you have a bunny or chickens, these are all great animals, prolific poopers. What people can do is harness their bedding, which is often full of urine as well, and their poop and put it in something like a worm bin.

Create a passive pile, which is what it sounds like: it is a pile of browns and greens. Let it just sit there and let time and microbes do their thing. You can turn it occasionally to mix up the microbial populations in there, to check the center of it, to see if it's moist enough or it needs a little more of this or a little less of that. That breaks down into really amazing stuff."

How to Compost Meats and Cooked Foods

In regular composting you cannot include cooked foods or meat scraps. It must be fruits, vegetable scraps and yard waste only. However, there is a way to compost meats and cooked foods as well. A method called Bokashi fermentation allows such food scraps to be fermented in an airtight container, inoculated with special anaerobic microbes. Once the food scraps have been pickled, you bury them in soil. Eventually, the acidity goes away, leaving the soil usable and very rich in microbial life.

You Can Have Major Impact In Your Community

People living in urban areas have a great opportunity to build networks to tap available resources of potential composting materials that will otherwise end up in a landfill. There's plenty of waste out there. For example, you could ask your local coffee shop for their coffee grounds, or ask a juice bar for their spent pulp. You can also turn to your neighbors, who may or may not be interested in composting themselves, but have plenty of food scraps, leaves, and cardboard.

"Similarly, things like buckets. Again, I'm a huge fan of bucket compost system because they're space-efficient and they're free. Look around and see who might be donating them. Call a restaurant. Go to your favorite deli and say, 'Hey, that pickle bucket, what do you do with it?'

A lot of these places just throw them out. Rather than sending them to the landfill, give them another life. You can grow things in buckets, decorate them, paint them, and plant your beautiful tomato in there and harvest it few months later.

What I love about New York City is the amazing volunteer spirit. There's a group I've volunteered with called Earth Matter that has a compost project on Governors Island. It's already kind of magical. They have animals there and they're recipients of some of the scraps that are collected at the Greenmarkets.  

Residential food scrap collection at farmers markets started with a group called The Lower East Side Ecology Center. Decades ago, they needed some soil for their community garden and couldn't afford to buy tons of it. So, they just started asking people, "Hey, do you want to bring us your scraps?"

Then, the Union Square Greenmarket gave them permission to collect there. Now, that program has ballooned into this huge amazing system where people in green markets across the city bring their scraps. The collected scraps are brought to places or organizations such as Earth Matter, which processes them.

The point is that the resources are there. The help is there. The knowledge is there. Most cities have amazing Master Gardener Programs and Master Composter Programs. There's the Cooperative Extension Offices across the country that have huge amazing resources.

Once you start looking around and finding people to help you, bring it to a classroom. Let 20 kids in a class take care of a thousand worms, and they'll treat them like their pets. They'll love them. They'll want them to thrive. And then, you'll start building communities."

Rebecca has an obvious passion for this topic, which shines through in her book, which is available online and in bookstores everywhere. For anyone with an interest in composting and reducing waste, it's a must-read.

I think it will inspire you to action to help create a healthier life and a cleaner environment at the same time, so you won't want to miss it. You can also read more about composting and using ground cover to optimize your soil under the related articles' listing.

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  The Rise of Organic Gardening

  “SOS: Save Our Soil” Shows Innovative Approaches to Sustainable Agriculture

 Comments (14)

By Dr. Mercola

Americans discard 34 million tons of food every year — that's like tossing a quarter of your groceries into the trash. Nearly half of all food grown in 2013 was thrown away, while 49 million Americans experienced "food insecurity" and hunger.1

The food waste problem is not limited to America's home kitchens but also occurs in restaurants, grocery stores, and on farms.

A 2013 report entitled "Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not"2 by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) found that more than 2 billion tons of food are wasted annually.

It reports that up to 30 percent of perfectly good vegetables are not harvested simply because they aren't pretty. Thirty to 50 percent of the 4 billion tons of food produced around the world each year never reaches a human mouth.

Food Forward TV episode "Make Food, Not Waste" explores this massive problem of food waste and features a few innovative individuals and organizations who are transforming organic scraps into an ecological goldmine.

Food Waste Reaches Epic Proportions

According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC),3 Americans waste 20 pounds of food per person per month — and generate more than 7 pounds of total garbage every day.

Most communities spend more to deal with trash than on schoolbooks, fire protection, libraries, and parks.

When you add up wasted food from all sources (households, restaurants, markets, farms, and food that never makes it to market due to spoilage or contamination from mold or pests), the figure for year 2010 is 133 billion pounds of food — which amounts to 31 percent of the total food supply.4

To put this into perspective, this amount of food would fill the Empire State Building 91 times!

But there are also related costs that may be less obvious. Water and fuel are required to dispose of food waste, as well food scraps taking up precious landfill space. Organic waste is the second highest component of American landfills.

Landfill waste is the largest source of methane emission, which is 23 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2.5

Cheap Food Seems to Encourage Wastefulness

According to United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), in developing nations, food waste/losses occur mainly at early stages in the food chain and can be traced back to "financial, managerial, and technical constraints in harvesting techniques, as well as storage and cooling facilities."

Therefore, changes are needed in the infrastructure of the entire global food system, beginning with how food is farmed, packaged, and distributed.

UNEP stresses the importance of raising awareness of the food waste problem among industries, retailers, and consumers, as well as finding new and innovative uses for food that's currently being discarded.

Americans have a "cheaper" food supply than most other countries, and cheap food does not motivate consumers to place much value on what they've purchased. For example, the average American wastes 10 times more food than the average consumer in Southeast Asia.

One Example of Massive Waste: The Big Washington Apple Dump

Excess apples are dumped every year in Washington State, and rotting food can create a boatload of problems. Case in point: in early 2015, nearly $100 million worth of perfectly good apples were dumped onto fields in Central Washington.

Piles of millions of apples were left to rot in the hot sun, which created a massive infestation of fruit flies for local residents — not to mention the stench generated by mountains of rotting fruit.

This was the worst apple dump in Washington's history, in part due to overproduction, but also from shipping delays related to the labor dispute that temporarily shut down West Coast ports.6,7 This is a prime example of how our current food system creates massive waste at both ends and in the middle — from producer to distributor to consumer.

Fortunately, some trailbreakers are determined to do things differently.

People Feeding People Instead of Landfills

Part of the food waste problem is distribution — getting "surplus food" to those who need it. One growing nonprofit rescues and redistributes produce rejected at the US border.8 More than half of the produce grown in Mexico comes through the Nogales border crossing, but a significant amount gets rejected. Borderlands Food Bank redirects this produce to families in need across the nation.

Borderlands rescued nearly 40 million pounds of fresh produce in 2014. CEO Yolanda Soto says, "Letting this food go to waste while hundreds of thousands go hungry is just crazy." Farther west, award-winning chef Charles Phan of the Slanted Door9 views every scrap of food as a valuable resource. The self-proclaimed "Compost Nazi" is not only one of America's top chefs but also one of San Francisco's top recyclers.

Every single scrap of food from Chef Phan's restaurant gets wheeled down to a special compost room and run through a large compactor. Phan's composting food scraps — along with 600 tons of others — are trucked to the most modern compost facility in North America – Jepson Prairie Organics.

Jepson processes hundreds of thousands of tons of food scraps from hotels, restaurants, markets, and coffee shops in the Bay Area. The compost plant is certified organic and operates virtually emissions-free. They sort, grind, and compost food scraps, then transport the final product to Bay Area farms and vineyards.10 Farmers report that Jepson compost is some of the richest they've ever used.

Don't Be Trashy — Bokashi!

As shown in the film, Bokashi is a Japanese method of fermenting (or pickling) food scraps using bran inoculated with beneficial bacteria and molasses.11 The Bokashi method is an excellent way to transform your kitchen waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Vandra Thorburn runs a Bokashi business, collecting Bokashi buckets weekly from about 50 customers in and around Brooklyn.

Thorburn is making it her personal mission to get Bokashi composting programs into cities around the country, arguing that this unobtrusive method produces soil that could fill community gardens or revitalize worn or contaminated urban soils. Bokashi composting has the added advantage of not attracting rodents because they dislike the smell of the alcohol produced by the fermenting organic matter.

But for humans, Bokashi is almost odorless because the bacteria prevent the food from rotting. You can view detailed instructions about how to set up your own Bokashi bucket on The Compost Gardener's website.12

A Dozen Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

Other tools and strategies for reducing your food waste are outlined in the following table. To learn more about proper food storage and tips for keeping your food fresh, please also refer to our previous article.

1. Shop Wisely Plan meals, use shopping lists, and avoid impulse buys and "buy one, get one free" deals, unless you're certain you'll eat it.
2. Buy Local Locally produced foods are fresher and keep longer, as well as having a smaller ecological footprint.
3. Buy Funny-Looking Fruits and Veggies Buying the "ugly ducklings" of the produce section makes use of food that might otherwise go to waste.
4. Learn When Food Goes Bad Use-by and best-by dates are only manufacturer suggestions and may cause you to discard food when it is still safe and consumable.

Many foods are safe and consumable well after their use-by date. Become familiar with how to properly deal with moldy food items.
5. Use Your Freezer Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you won't have a chance to eat them before they go bad. Near-spoiling fruit can be frozen and later made into homemade sorbet.
6. Vacuum Pack One of my all-time favorite tricks, which works for most produce, is to create a "vacuum pack" to help protect food from oxygen and airborne microbes that will accelerate its decay.

Leave the produce in the bag it came in from the grocery store, place it against your chest, and use your arm to squeeze the excess air out of the bag. Then seal it with a twist tie. Or use an automatic vacuum sealer like the FoodSaver.
7. Start Juicing Juicing is an excellent way to use up aging produce while improving your health at the same time. Vegetable juicing also helps with weight management and is a great adjunct to home gardening. You can also compost the pulp.
8. Request Smaller Portions Restaurants will often provide half-portions upon request at reduced prices.
9. Eat Leftovers Only about half of Americans taking leftovers home from restaurants will actually consume them.
10. Compost Food Scraps Composting food scraps returns nutrients to the soil, as well as reducing organic waste in landfills. Try a Bokashi bucket! (See previous section.)
11. Grow Your Own Food Start your own vegetable garden! With square foot gardening13 and container gardening, even apartment dwellers can learn a simple technique for growing veggies on a small patio.
12. Donate Food Donate excess food and garden produce to food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, shelters — and to your friends and neighbors.

Be Part of the Solution

Food waste is a serious issue — not just in the U.S. but globally. There are several strategies you can implement to reduce your own food waste, but the greater problem must be addressed system-wide, with an overhaul of our inefficient, unhealthy, and unsustainable food system.

Startups such as Food Cowboy, CropMobster, and Feeding the 5000 are finding clever ways to reduce food waste, such as diverting edible food from dumpsters to food banks, and otherwise rerouting extra food to those in need.14,15 I encourage your support of these and similar organizations. Please also support ecologically sound waste management measures in your community, and take a leadership role with your company, school, and neighborhood.

As a culture, if we don't begin doing things differently, this problem will only worsen with continued population growth. Be innovative! If you have a great idea, share it. Your capacity to come up with smarter designs and creative ideas is limitless, and many heads are better than one. Innovations move us toward a more sustainable world.

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By Dr. Mercola

Science tells us that people who are thankful for what they have are happier and reach their goals with greater ease, and Thanksgiving is an American holiday that reminds us to take stock of all the things we're grateful for.

As noted in a previous article on this topic published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter:1

"Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.

In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power."

Gratitude is also associated with improved health, both physical and emotional. Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of Biologic Psychology at Duke University Medical Center once stated that:2

"If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system."

Being Thankful for Your Health — Every Day

While there are as many reasons to be thankful as there are people in the world, one facet of life that many often forget to be thankful for (until it is too late) is their health. We tend to take our health for granted until we're suddenly in the throes of pain or debilitating illness.

As noted by Mark Sisson:3

"What does it mean to be thankful for your health?... At its most basic level it can be a 'There but by the grace of God go I' feeling we get when someone we know dies of a heart attack or gets cancer. The news jolts us into awareness of our mortality, health being what keeps us on the other side.

Being thankful for our health, however, means more than gratitude for being alive itself.

On yet another level, it means appreciating the capacities allowed by our health – the cognitive ability to practice our profession and remember our children's names, the physical ability to walk up six flights of stairs when the elevator is being serviced...

It's about confidence that we have the strength to move most of our own stuff when need arises and take care of our children, tend to our property, and still have energy to enjoy something of everyday life..."

It goes back to the old adage that it's really the little things that matter most, and if you cultivate gratitude for the little things — such as being able to lift an overstuffed turkey out of the oven and remembering the names of all your friends and relatives around the table — it will foster a more deep-seated sense of happiness.

After all, a lot of misery is rooted in a perceived sense of lack. But if you have good health and all your mental faculties intact, you also have the prerequisite basics for doing something about your situation.

Science and Practice of Gratitude

Four years ago, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California,4 in collaboration with the University of California, launched a project called "Cultivating Gratitude in a Consumerist Society." This $5.6 million project aims to:

  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal, and relational well-being, and developmental science
  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes, and communities, and in so doing…
  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

The organization has a number of resources you can peruse at your leisure, including The Science of Happiness blog and newsletter,5 and a Digital Gratitude Journal,6 where you can record and share the things you're grateful for year-round.

Gratitude Pays Many Health Dividends

Keeping a gratitude journal is a practice recommended by many psychologists, and it can have far-reaching consequences. In one study,7,8 people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more and logged fewer doctor's visits compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation. More specifically, gratitude has been linked to:

  • Improved sleep9
  • Reduced stress10
  • Enhanced sense of well-being11
  • Improved heart health,12 reducing the likelihood of sudden death in patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease

While such results may sound too good to be true, studies13 have shown that gratitude actually produces a number of beneficial and measurable effects on several systems in your body, including:

Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine) Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)
Reproductive hormones (testosterone) Stress hormones (cortisol)
Social bonding hormones (oxytocin) Blood pressure, cardiac, and EEG rhythms
Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine) Blood sugar

The Benefits of Saying Grace

Many people, even those who normally do not say grace before every meal, will join hands with their loved ones and count their blessings before digging into their Thanksgiving dinner. As previously noted in The Huffington Post,14 expressing gratitude before eating is an ancient and truly universal practice. It's not restricted to any one group, race, or religious affiliation:

"According to theologist Laurel Schneider, historically... blessings were... an expression of gratitude to various gods and a recognition that the food 'is not ours to begin with, but loaned to us,' Schneider told Spirituality & Health magazine...

'Food is a necessity for life, and centuries ago... if you were starving and got something to eat, you were mighty thankful,' [Adrian] Butash [author of Bless Your Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Around the World] says. 'Today, we don't think about it that much, but when you think of food as life and death, then you can see how serious it became in the consciousness of the people.'"

Saying grace can be a great way to foster a closer and deeper connection to the food you eat, allowing for a moment to reflect on all the things that went into its creation, from the sowing of the seed, to the harvest, and the cooking. Indeed a lot of work, both by nature and man, went into creating the food before you, which will now provide you with nourishment and sustenance.

A break anywhere along the food chain can easily render food scarce, so there really is a lot to be thankful for when you have a full plate of food in front of you. And, as noted in the featured article,15 saying grace before eating is a way to flex your gratitude muscle on a daily basis:

"Often, practicing gratitude isn't an activity that we make time for. Sometimes it can even feel like a chore. But by pairing a brief gratitude exercise with an activity that we enjoy and make time for each day (like eating) can help us to make gratitude a more regular part of our lives... [leading] us to associate giving thanks with the pleasure we derive from food."

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude Year-Round

Your future health and happiness depends largely on the thoughts you think today. So each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn your thinking around, thereby helping or hindering your ability to think and feel more positively in the very next moment. Starting and/or ending each day by thinking of something you're grateful for is one way to keep your mind on the right track.

Most experts agree that there are no shortcuts to happiness. Even generally happy people do not experience joy 24 hours a day. But, a happy person can have a bad day and still find pleasure in the small things in life. So be thankful for what you have.

By focusing on what's good right now, in the present moment, you become more open to receive greater abundance in the future. Remember to say "thank you" — to yourself, the Universe, and others. And with that, I want to say THANK YOU to you, my readers, for your continued support throughout the year, and I wish you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

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By Dr. Mercola

Most of you reading this are fortunate enough to have lived all or most of your life in a world with access to antibiotics.

For all of their downfalls and risks, having access to effective antibiotics can save your life – preventing a minor wound from spreading a life-threatening infection, for instance, and allowing for potentially life-threatening conditions, like pneumonia, to be effectively treated.

The problem is that antibiotic's primary target – bacteria – is smart. Even under the best circumstances, bacteria can eventually adapt to resist and overpower once-effective antibiotics.

In recent decades, however, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has greatly sped up this process, and we're now seeing what it's like to live in a post-antibiotic era. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):1

"WHO's 2014 report on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance revealed that antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future; it is happening right now, across the world, and is putting at risk the ability to treat common infections in the community and hospitals.

Without urgent, coordinated action, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill."

Treating Superbugs With Antibiotics May Make People Sicker

In the U.S., at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, and at least 23,000 die as a result.2 This is already a staggering number, but the problem is slated to get worse.

A 2015 report commissioned by UK Prime Minister David Cameron estimated that by 2050, antibiotic resistance will have killed 300 million people, with the annual global death toll reaching 10 million, and the global cost for treatment reaching $100 trillion.

A mere 15 years from now, in the year 2030, antibiotic-resistant disease — if left to spiral out of control — is expected to have killed 100 million.3 One of the most common, and formidable, antibiotic-resistant pathogens in the US is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

MRSA is a cause of skin infections that can spiral out of control, leading to bloodstream infections, pneumonia, infections at surgical sites, and even death. In the US, more than 80,000 invasive infections and 11,000 deaths are caused by MRSA each year.

Current national guidelines set by the Infectious Diseases Society of America call for antimicrobial treatment of MRSA, but this only highlights how little is actually known about how to treat resistant superbugs.

New research published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe revealed that commonly prescribed antibiotics may actually make MRSA infections worse.4

In the study, beta-lactam antibiotics (similar to methicillin) caused the MRSA bacteria in treated mice to build inflammatory cell walls leading to tissue damage.

In typical staph infections, such antibiotics work by neutralizing enzymes that build cell walls.One of the enzymes, PBP2A, was not neutralized by the antibiotics, however, and enabled MRSA to continue building cell walls. MRSA also had an altered cell wall structure that allowed it to spread.5

The researchers found that overall, when MRSA-infected mice were treated with the antibiotics, they became even sicker.

Superbugs Leading to Increased Deaths From Surgery, Chemotherapy

With the effectiveness of many common antibiotics growing more questionable by the day, researchers estimated that tens of thousands of Americans may be vulnerable to life-threatening infections following surgery or chemotherapy.

The study, a review of previously published research, estimated that up to 50 percent of pathogens that cause surgical site infections, and 25 percent of those that cause infections following chemotherapy, are already resistant to common antibiotics.6

If antibiotic effectiveness drops by even another 10 percent, it could result in 40,000 more infections and 2,100 additional deaths following surgery and chemotherapy each year.

A 30 percent drop in effectiveness could mean another 120,000 infections and 6,300 deaths annually, the researchers concluded.7 Worse still, if antibiotic effectiveness declines by 70 percent, the US could see 280,000 more infections and 15,000 more deaths as a result.

The study focused on surgeries and chemotherapies that often involve prophylactic antibiotics, such as hip fracture surgery, cesarean section, colorectal surgery, and transrectal prostate biopsy, and chemotherapy for the treatment of blood cancers.

Joshua Wolf, an infectious disease researcher at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, told Reuters:

"As antibiotic resistance rates rise, it is inevitable that prophylaxis will become less effective… It is very likely that surgical procedures will become less safe for patients… Treatment for cancer would also become more challenging as antibiotic resistant bacteria become more prevalent."

Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea on the Rise

Gonorrhea is increasingly becoming resistant to available drug treatments, and as such may soon pose a major public health threat. Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea first emerged when I was in medical school in the late 1970s. By the 1980s, the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline were no longer effective against it.

Next, gonorrhea resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics emerged, leaving only one class of antibiotic drugs, cephalosporins, left to treat it. Now, as you might suspect, gonorrhea is fast becoming resistant to cephalosporins – the last available antibiotics to treat it.

In 2013, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about one-third of gonorrhea cases were resistant to at least one antibiotic. They updated treatment guidelines to include a dose of the antibiotic ceftriaxone along with a second antibiotic.

The two-pronged treatment appeared to be working, pushing resistance rates from 1.4 percent in 2011 to 0.4 percent in 2013. However, according to the latest CDC data, published in JAMA, "improvements in susceptibility may be short-lived."8,9

From 2013 to 2014, cases of resistant gonorrhea doubled, with rates reaching 0.8 percent. WHO already recognizes drug-resistant gonorrheaas "an emergency," with several countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, experiencing increasing infections.

Antibiotics Increase Sudden Cardiac Death Risks

Part of the problem with antibiotics overuse and misuse is that some people, including even some physicians, assume it can't hurt to take a course just in case. But many people aren't aware that antibiotics have a risk of serious side effects.

Macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin [Zithromax], clarithromycin [Biaxin], quinolone, and erythromycin), for instance, increase your risk of sudden cardiac death. In a meta-analysis of nearly 21 million people, the drugs were linked to a small but significant increase in the heart risk.

For every 1 million treatment courses, the use of macrolide antibiotics resulted in an additional 36 sudden cardiac deaths.10 Macrolides are widely used in the treatment of bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Past research has also highlighted their risk of side effects. Azithromycin, for instance, increases your chances of dying from a cardiovascular event by a whopping 250 percent within the first five days of usage compared to taking amoxicillin.11

One Course of Antibiotics May Disrupt Your Microbiome for a Year

The impact of antibiotic usage on our microbiome is one of the most important considerations yet has received little attention. Antibiotics are indiscriminate bactericidal agents, meaning they kill all bacteria, both beneficial and pathologic, and many of the immediate and long-term side effects are related to this fact.

By killing off the bacteria in your gut, antibiotics have a detrimental effect on your overall immune system, as about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gastrointestinal tract. In fact, research published in MBio found just one course of antibiotics negatively alters your microbiome for up to a year.12 According to the researchers:

"We followed the oral and gut microbiomes in 66 individuals from before, immediately after, and up to 12 months after exposure to different antibiotic classes. The salivary [oral] microbiome recovered quickly and was surprisingly robust toward antibiotic-induced disturbance.

The fecal microbiome was severely affected by most antibiotics: for months, health-associated butyrate-producing species became strongly underrepresented. Additionally, there was an enrichment of genes associated with antibiotic resistance.

Clearly, even a single antibiotic treatment in healthy individuals contributes to the risk of resistance development and leads to long-lasting detrimental shifts in the gut microbiome."

This is precisely why it's crucial to only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary. And when you do use them, be sure to "reseed" your gut with beneficial bacteria, either in the form of a probiotics supplement or fermented foods. If you don't, your immune function, and more, can remain compromised for some time.

Evidence Lacking for Use of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

Fluoroquinolones, such as Cipro and Avelox, are among the most dangerous drugs on the market. Despite their dangers, they're the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics in the United States. In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally issued a warning that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, taken by mouth or injection, carry a risk for permanent peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage in the arms and/or legs, characterized by "pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, or a change in sensation to light touch, pain, or temperature, or sense of body position."

Fluoroquinolones have fluoride as a central part of the drug, which is part of what makes them so dangerous. Fluoride is a known neurotoxin, and drugs with an attached fluoride molecule are able to penetrate into very sensitive tissues, including your brain.

The ability to cross the blood-brain barrier is what makes fluoride such a potent neurotoxin. Fluoride also disrupts collagen synthesis, and can damage your immune system by depleting energy reserves and inhibiting antibody formation in your blood.

In 2015, the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee also voted that evidence to support some uses of fluoroquinolones is lacking. Specifically, the panel voted data does not support the use of these antibiotics for:

  • Acute bacterial sinusitis
  • Acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections

While the FDA does not have to accept the recommendations of its committees, the vote may trigger the FDA to require new label language or even revoke approval for these indications. The panel also received notice that the FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS) had received 178 reports of a "constellation of symptoms" leading to disability associated with the drugs.

The emerging cases of fluoroquinolone-associated disability (FQAD) could indicate that the drugs are causing harm through an unknown mechanism that goes beyond the generally known adverse effects.13

The Antibiotics in Your Food May Also Promote Resistance

Antibiotic overuse and inappropriate use in humans bear a heavy responsibility for creating the superbug crisis we are facing today. But, the pervasive misuse of antibiotics by the agriculture industry also plays a very significant role. Agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the US. Compare this to the 6 million pounds of antibiotics that are used for every man, woman, and child in the US combined.

CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), in particular, are hotbeds for breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria because of the continuous feeding of low doses of antibiotics to the animals, which allows pathogens to survive, adapt, and eventually, thrive.

According to the CDC, 22 percent of antibiotic-resistant illness in humans is in fact linked to food,14 but a more accurate statement might be linked to food from CAFOs. Take Klebsiella pneumonia, a bacteria that can lead to pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound and surgical site infections, and meningitis. Klebsiellaare often found in the human intestinal tract, where they are normally harmless.

But, if your immune system is compromised and you get exposed to an especially virulent drug-resistant form of Klebsiella, the consequences to you can be deadly. It wasn't thought to be transmitted via food… until now. Research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that turkey, chicken, and pork sold in US grocery stores may contain klebsiella pneumonia.15

How to Avoid Becoming Another Victim to Antibiotic-Resistant Disease

You can help yourself and your community by only purchasing antibiotic-free meats and other foods and using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. This is an important step that I urge everyone to take, even though ultimately the problem of antibiotic-resistance needs to be stemmed on a global level. That said, your lifestyle choices are the most critical factors in determining the health of your immune system, which determines your ability to resist infections.

The stronger your immune defenses, the less chance a microbe – antibiotic-resistant or otherwise -- will have of gaining a foothold in some part of your body. Below are some basic strategies for supercharging your immune system. You may also want to download my free special report about how to protect yourself from super germs.

  • Optimize your diet. Avoid foods that tax your immune system such as synthetic trans fats, fried foods, processed foods, sugar, and grains; reduce carbohydrates (sugar, grains, and fructose) and protein, replacing them with high-quality fats. Fifty to 70 percent of your total intake should be fat.
  • Most of your diet should be fresh, whole foods, like organic vegetables, grass-pastured meats and dairy, and beneficial fats, such as butter and fermented dairy from grass-pastured animals, cheese, egg yolks, and avocados.

    A great portion of your immune system resides in your GI tract, which depends on a healthy, balanced gut flora. One of the best ways to support this is by incorporating naturally fermented foods into your diet, working up to four to 6 ounces per day.

    One large serving of several ounces of fermented foods can supply you with around 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, which is about 10 percent of the population of your gut. You can take a high-quality probiotic supplement, but the actual fermented foods offer the greatest benefit.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and eliminating pathogens in your body. Make sure your fitness plan incorporates weight training, high-intensity exercises, stretching, and core work.
  • Get plenty of restorative sleep. Recent research shows sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or disease, which is why you may feel ill after a sleepless night.
  • Have good stress-busting outlets. High levels of stress hormones can diminish your immunity, so be sure you're implementing some sort of stress management. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are all excellent strategies for managing stress, but you'll have to find what works best for you.
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Studies have shown that inadequate vitamin D can increase your risk for MRSA and other infections, which can likely be extended to other superbugs. Your best source of vitamin D is through exposing your skin to the sun or using a safe tanning bed. Monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm they're in the therapeutic range, 50 to 70 ng/ml. If you can't get UV exposure, consider taking an oral vitamin D supplement.

In addition to the basic lifestyle measures listed above, there are natural agents that science has shown to be naturally antibacterial. The following deserve special mention.

  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C's role in preventing and treating infectious disease is well established. Intravenous vitamin C is an option, but if you don't have access to a practitioner who can administer it, liposomal vitamin C is the most potent oral form. For more information on vitamin C, listen to my interview with Dr. Ronald Hunninghake, an internationally recognized vitamin C expert. If you choose to use supplement vitamin C, liposomal C seems to be the best form to use.
  • Garlic. Garlic is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It can stimulate your immune system, help wounds heal, and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria (including MRSA and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis), plus has shown more than 100 other health promoting properties.16 For highest potency, the garlic should be eaten fresh and raw (chopped or smashed.)
  • Olive leaf extract. In vitro studies show olive leaf extract is effective against Klebsiella, a gram-negative bacteria, inhibiting its replication, in addition to being toxic to other pathogenic microbes.
  • Manuka honey. Manuka honey, made from the flowers and pollen of the Manuka bush, has been shown to be more effective than antibiotics in the treatment of serious, hard-to-heal skin infections. Clinical trials have found Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as MRSA.
  • Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic proven to kill many bacterial strains (including MRSA).17
  • Colloidal silver. Colloidal silver has been regarded as an effective natural antibiotic for centuries, and recent research shows it can even help eradicate antibiotic-resistant pathogens. If you are interested in this treatment, make sure you read the latest guidelines for safe usage of colloidal silver as there are risks with using it improperly.
  • Copper. Replacing fixtures with certain copper alloys can help kill bacteria, even superbugs. Installing copper faucets, light switches, toilet seats, and push plates in germ-infested areas such as hospitals and nursing homes could potentially save thousands of lives each year.


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