Monthly Archives: October 2014

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: How they develop and how to put them in remission









Autoimmune diseases develop when the body’s immune system produces an inappropriate immune response against its own tissues. Because the vast majority of our immune system is located in the composition of our gut microbiome, this is where we need to focus to understand how we come to develop an autoimmune disease (probably more than one) and also how to reverse these types of diseases.
When the immune system stops recognizing as “self” something that’s a normal constituent of the body, it starts producing auto-antibodies that attack the body’s own cells, tissues, and/or organs. This produces chronic inflammation that damages these body parts and leads to autoimmune disorders.
Autoimmune diseases are generally classified as systemic (those that damage more than one organ or part of the body) or localized (those that damage a single organ or type of tissue). This distinction is somewhat artificial since localized autoimmune disorders often extend beyond the targeted tissues, indirectly affecting other organs and systems. (American Association for Clinical Chemistry, 2014)






In a scientific literature review article entitled The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system, the authors examined articles on atopic* diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases and treatment of these conditions with probiotics. They  concluded that the evidence strongly points to the intestinal microflora’s having important “protective, metabolic, trophic** and immunological functions” and that the micro-organisms comprising the gut microbiome are “able to establish a ‘cross-talk’ with the immune component of mucosal immunity…. When one or more steps in this fine interaction fail, autoimmune or auto-inflammatory diseases may occur. Furthermore, it results from the data that probiotics, used for the treatment of the diseases caused by the dysregulation of the immune system, can have a beneficial effect.” (Purchiaroni et al, 2013)
* Atopic: A predisposition toward developing certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions
** Trophic: Of or relating to nutrition; promoting cellular growth, differentiation, and survival





Here’s my short hand version of the process:
Chronic unbalance in the content of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) –> leaky gut –> chronic inflammation, which eventually –> one or more autoimmune diseases.
Some examples of autoimmune diseases:
  •  Acne
  •  Allergies
  •  Asthma
  •  Cardiac myopathy
  •  Celiac disease
  •  Chronic inflammatory liver disease (autoimmune hepatitis)
  •  Eczema
  •  Lupus
  •  Lyme disease, chronic
  •  Multiple sclerosis
  •  Peripheral neuropathy
  •  Psoriasis
  •  Psoriatic arthritis
  •  Raynaud’s phenomenon
  •  Rheumatic fever
  •  Rheumatoid arthritis
  •  Rosacea
  •  Scleroderma
  •  Ulcerative colitis
  •  Vitiligo
See AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS for a more complete list of the autoimmune disorders and more information about them.







In talking about how to prevent autoimmune diseases disorders and how to reverse them if you’re already suffering with one or more, I’m going to focus on the work of a very smart scientist, writer and mother, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne in this discussion. As you read on, you’ll see why.



Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (Source:



Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, earned a doctorate in medical biophysics at the age of 26 and then spent the next four years doing research on innate immunity and inflammation before becoming a stay-at-home mom. After the birth of her second child, she began experimenting with the Paleo lifestyle – which greatly improved her health.
Over time, she healed herself of a long list of autoimmune conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, and Lichen Planus (an inflammatory skin condition).
Inspired by this success, Dr. Ballantyne created the popular health blog and became co-host of a top-rated podcast, The Paleo View.
Ballantyne is passionate about providing straightforward explanations of the science behind her diet and lifestyle recommendations for managing autoimmune disease. A lover of food and cooking, the next logical step for her was to write a book called The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body. (Ballantyne, 2014b) This was soon followed by a companion book called The Paleo Approach Cookbook: A Detailed Guide to Heal Your Body and Nourish Your Soul (Ballantyne, 2014c)








(Source: )




From’s description of The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body:

An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease. If you’re among them, you may know all too well how little modern medicine can do to alleviate your condition. But that’s no reason to give up hope. In this groundbreaking book, Sarah D. Ballantyne, Ph.D., draws upon current medical research and her own battle with an autoimmune disorder to show you how you can become completely symptom-free—the natural way.

The Paleo Approach is the first book ever to explain how to adapt the Paleo diet and lifestyle to bring about a full recovery. Read it to learn why foods marketed as “healthy”—such as whole grains, soy, and low-fat dairy—can contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions. Discover what you can eat to calm your immune system, reduce inflammation, and help your body heal itself. Find out which simple lifestyle changes—along with changes in diet—will make the biggest difference for your health….

Simple strategies for lifestyle adjustments, including small steps that can make a huge difference, guide you through the most important changes to support healing.

Do you have a complicated condition that requires medical intervention, medication, or supplements? Dr. Ballantyne also walks you through the most useful medical tests, treatments, and supplements (as well as the most counterproductive ones) to help you open a dialogue with your physician.






This comment about Ballantyne’s first book on its page struck me as summing up the battle against autoimmune diseases – and sound advice on how to live a satisfying life in general. The writer describes how she used Ballantyne’s guidelines to make her autoimmune diseases go into remission and get her life back on track. The comment is long but I think very much worth reading:


How The Paleo Approach Saved My Health (after years of low-carb paleo)

By Stacy & Matt, the Paleo Parents on January 28, 2014




While you all have waited patiently for years as Dr. Sarah Ballantyne wrote The Paleo Approach, I was lucky enough to begin following her protocol well before it was available to the public. I started my journey on healing when Practical Paleo first came out and I started with the methodologies Diane put forth for autoimmune conditions (autoimmune protocol: AIP).

Problem was, after following the AIP for nearly 3 months I wasn’t seeing healing. Some of the super negative symptoms were alleviated, like adrenal fatigue, clumps of hair falling out and terrible acne, but when I reintroduced foods I would get flares again. I distinctly remember it being SO. HARD. Like, temper tantrums in the car hard because everything, EVERYTHING I was used to eating had eggs or nightshades and I was overwhelmed at the idea of living the rest of my life that way. All of which contributed to my ongoing struggles with depression – the obsession with food was beginning to overwhelm me, it was starting to cause disordered eating again, as I looked for ways to “get around” the AIP.

I was so frustrated, I began talking with Sarah about what her thoughts and recommendations were. It was at this time that Sarah was hundreds of thousands of words deep into writing The Paleo Approach (no, seriously, it’s a tome). There were a few things she shared with me about what she found in the scientific literature about recommendations she was going to make, versus things I’d read in Practical Paleo and other resources.

And so it began, in 2013 I started following The Paleo Approach. Mostly this meant that I focused more on what to add to my diet instead of what to remove from it. Sarah and I talked every week on The Paleo View and nearly each episode each one of us would get more and more geeked out on nutrient-density, our new favorite word. We began exploring healing foods; Matt and I became so inspired that we wrote the nose-to-tail cookbook, Beyond Bacon – almost every recipe of which includes bone stock and/or lard (high in Vitamin D and easy for me to digest).

I’d been following a low-fat, low-carb version of paleo for years. Turns out, it made me sick. It affected my adrenals, thyroid function, and ability for my body to heal itself. I was nutrient-poor, despite eating what I thought was the best diet possible. Perhaps for some people eating that way is healthy for them, but for me as a busy woman with no gallbladder and previous metabolic syndrome, it ended up as a disaster long-term. Turns out, a high protein diet (especially when the protein is mostly poultry) wasn’t doing what I thought it was for my health. I got over my fear of fat and incorporated more nutrient-dense healing fats, specifically lard, coconut oil and ghee/butter (I was shocked how well I tolerated ghee and butter after a lifetime of being dairy intolerant). I switched my proteins to a majority of grass-fed red meat and pastured pork, added seafood and incorporated the true superfoods: organ meat and bone broth.

One of the things I learned from Sarah is the importance of vegetables. I’ve popularized #morevegetablesthanavegetarian in social media – but it was Sarah’s focus on the importance of vegetables – specifically a variety of colorful ones – that really made me focus on them. For a while, I’d actually reduced the types of vegetables I was eating because I wanted to stay away from foods high in insoluble fiber – which I personally let affect the quantity of veggies I was eating. When Sarah told me she had research that greens rich in insoluble fiber, even cruciferous ones, showed to be positive healing foods from her research it was a big change in how I approached nourishing myself. As I started adding in much more vegetables, especially leafy greens, it was amazing how much it affected my digestion and how I felt.

From the prior AIP protocol I was already consuming fermented foods rich in probiotics, which is another big important factor in helping to heal the gut through food. So then I turned to lifestyle factors.

I learned to love myself and let things go. I know… it’s hokey. And intangible. And something I can’t possibly define for you to replicate… although I’ve tried to articulate it a zillion times on The Paleo View. Stress Management was defined and something I began when I first started Practical Paleo`s AIP. But it’s not something one can fix overnight. Over time, and through Sarah’s repeated reminders of the scientific backing behind stress being a leading causes of health deterioration, I learned how to slay the stress monster.

First, I gave myself permission to do something(s) for me. Without guilt or remorse. It was really hard in the beginning to know I was missing out on time I could (or as I thought, should) be doing: helping with dinner, spending time with the kids, staying later at the office, etc. But then I realized I deserve to take care of the only body I’ll have to carry me through this life. My children deserve a role model to show them that sometimes it’s OK to stop and put the gas mask on yourself before helping others – I learned to take care of myself first before putting others ahead of me. This, was huge.

I learned to breathe. There was a point at which my stress levels had caused an eye twitch I couldn’t get rid of for months. And I had begun grinding my teeth and experiencing frequent headaches from it. I even had about a 6 week period of time where I was experiencing frequent anxiety attacks in crossfit, unable to breathe when something ended up being harder than I anticipated. It made me want to quit, and I’ve never been a quitter. It was at this time Sarah talked to me about relaxation techniques she highly encouraged. It was so bizarre for this scientist to be telling me to do some hokey-pokey-crunchy-granola-meditation… but she was right. My body was overwhelmed and needed a break. So several times a day I intentionally stood up and walked around the office, finding someone to smile with and change my environment while activating happy hormones. During crossfit I learned to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth with deep, intentional breaths. Soon, the twitching and anxiety attacks just went away!

I learned to let things go. This was the hardest for me and is something I’m still actively working on. I talk out loud about what I can or cannot do. It’s about acknowledgement, doing what you’re able the best you can, and then forgiveness. What a concept… all backed by science to help you be healthier!

Be positive! No, really. Of course not everything’s great. But almost everything has something positive about it. So I learned to frame things to myself positively and it helped me have an overall positive outlook and attitude.

Sarah goes over LOTS more stuff in The Paleo Approach but these are the things that I personally applied to my own life.

The results?

I’ve resolved ALL of the autoimmune related health issues I experienced in 2011 and 2012.

Let me restate that, because I want to make sure it’s heard. I no longer have symptoms of autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue, micro-nutrient deficiencies, skin breakouts or depression (at all). My body has not only recovered fully from the autoimmune flare, but I’ve actually been able to heal my body even further – now able to consume foods like high quality heavy cream and cheeses without distress! And when accidentally exposed to gluten or intentionally eat things I know my body has a difficult time with (like nightshades or grains) I find each and every time my body responds better than the time before. I have successfully reintroduced nuts, seeds, chocolate, egg yolks and seed spices (all in moderation) but have found that egg whites and nightshade vegetables (except peeled white potatoes) are something I can not (yet) tolerate.

I plan to continue my healing journey and hope to be a role model for those out there with autoimmune conditions. Keeping in mind that 2 years ago I was depressed with barely enough energy to slog through the day (thyroid and adrenal issues), I now am a fully charged woman who manages this blog, a podcast, writing books, a full-time job, raising 3 boys AND am training for a StrongMan competition in just a few months. I’m happy to report that The Paleo Approach quite literally gave me my life back.



(Source: The Paleo Mom)
(Source: The Paleo Mom)



On her own  blog,, Sarah Ballantyne says this about how  autoimmune diseases develop and how to put them into remission (Ballantyne, 2014a):

Autoimmune disease is caused by the immune system losing the ability to differentiate proteins belonging to your own body with proteins belonging to a foreign invader (like a bacteria, virus or parasite). What causes symptoms is the build up of damage to cells, tissues and/or organs in the body–damage caused by your own immune system attacking those cells. Which proteins/cells are attacked is what separates once disease from another. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is attacked. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the tissues of your joints are attacked. In psoriasis, proteins within the layers of cells that make up your skin are attacked. However, the root cause is the same.

Genetic predisposition to autoimmunity makes up about one third of your risk of developing an autoimmune disease. The other two thirds of your risk come from environmental factors, which include: diet, lifestyle, infections (both prior and persistent) exposure to toxins, hormones, weight, etc. While you cannot control your genetics or whether or not you had mono as a kid, you do have an immense amount of control over your diet and lifestyle (and the extent that these affect hormones and weight and even toxin exposure). By removing the foods that contribute to a leaky gut, gut dysbiosis (the wrong numbers, relative quantities, or types of microorganisms typically growing in the wrong locations in your gut), hormone imbalance, and that stimulate inflammation and the immune system, you can create the opportunity for your body to heal. By addressing important lifestyle factors and changing your focus to eating nutrient-dense foods that support optimal gut health (and optimal health of your gut microorganisms), that restore levels of important nutrients and provide all of the building blocks that your body needs to heal and properly regulate the immune system, that help resolve inflammation and support organ function, you create an environment in your body conducive to healing.

This is not a cure (once your body learns to attack itself, it can never un-learn this), but you can put your disease into remission, often permanently.



And a little humor to close:













American Association for Clinical Chemistry. (2014). Autoimmune disorders. Lab Tests Online. See:

Ballantyne, S. (2014a). The Autoimmune Protocol. See:

Ballantyne, S. (2014b). The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body. See:

Ballantyne, S. (2014c). The Paleo Approach Cookbook: A Detailed Guide to Heal Your Body and Nourish Your Soul. See:

Ballantyne, S. (2014d). The Paleo View Podcasts. See:

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Autoimmune Disorders. See:

Purchiaroni, F. et al. (2013). The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 17:3, 323-33. See:




© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


The Battle for Toxics and Chemical Reform – the Environmental Working Group






Last week the Environmental Protection Agency announced its final decision to give the go ahead to Dow Chemical Company’s toxic weed killer, Enlist Duo – despite  strong warnings from 50 members of Congress,  35 doctors and scientists, and tens of thousands of activists.
Enlist Duo combines Dow’s widely used toxic herbicide 2,4-D and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s own deadly herbicide, Roundup. This new product will be sprayed on millions of acres of genetically engineered crops across the US. The USDA projects the use of 2,4-D will TRIPLE by 2020. This will expose people, animals, the soil and bodies of water near the sprayed crop fields to EIGHT TIMES more chemicals than they’re exposed to today.
Dow’s 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid is a common systemic herbicide used in the control of broad leaf weeds. It is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world and is the third most commonly used herbicide in North America.   (Wikipedia, 9/20/2014). Among these consequences: 2,4-D has been linked to increased risks of Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, suppressed immune function and other serious health problems. (Environmental Working Group, 2014)
Glyphosate is an antibiotic, chelator and endocrine disruptor known to weaken the immune system and cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as birth defects. It also wreaks havoc on the soil microbiome, the health of our water supplies, and the health of the environment in general. (MomsAcrossAmerica, 2014).
The EPA’s unfortunate decision will have dire consequences for public health.




The Environmental Working Group (EWG) fought against this recent approval and lost the battle.
Now the EWG is preparing to fight the bigger war – for TOXICS AND CHEMICAL REFORM.

Please give EWG whatever support you can to accomplish this work.

Donate now to EWG’s rapid response team to provide them the resources they need to fight back against Big Ag’s flagrant disregard for the safety of our food supply, human and animal health, and the health of our planet.


Click here right now to rush $25, $45 or more to EWG before midnight tonight so they can fight back against Big Ag!



The Environmental Working Group is an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability.
Here’s other work the EWG is engaged in to keep us safe from pesticides: EWG and pesticide safety. (Environmental Working Group, 2014)





Somehow, after all the reading I’ve done about pesticides and other toxic chemicals pronounced safe by the US EPA, I don’t feel very protected by them.




If you wish to read more about the dire consequences of EPA and USDA approved genetically engineered crops and Monsanto’s Roundup, developed as an herbicide to use on the company’s GE crops, here are some other posts on this blog:

Moms to EPA: Recall Monsanto’s Roundup

Genetically Modified Organisms – Our Food

The Soil’s Microbiome



Environmental Working Group. (2014). Pesticides. See:

Moms Across America. (2014). Glyphosate Testing Full Report: Findings in American Mothers’ Breast Milk, Urine and Water. See:

Wikipedia. (9/20/2014). 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. See:,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic_acid





© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.



THE SACRED SCIENCE – a natural medicine quest into the Amazon rainforest







If you’re fascinated by ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin’s work with the shamans in the Amazon Rain Forest to learn about and preserve their age old indigenous cures, you’ll also be interested in this award-winning documentary, THE SACRED SCIENCE.

In this 2011 documentary, eight people afflicted with serious illnesses (Parkinson’s, breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, depression, prostate cancer, a rare neuro-endocrine cancer,  alcohol addiction) leave everything behind for 30 days and embark on a natural medicine quest into the heart of the Amazon jungle.  Working with indigenous healers, each participant uses a combination of time-tested plant medicines and intense spiritual ceremonies to restore their health.

Five of them will return with real results, two will return disappointed, and one won’t come back at all.

In THE SACRED SCIENCE, Nicholas J. Polizzi and his team take their brave group of patients straight to the source of this ancient plant wisdom.

Here’s the film’s trailer:

Click below to watch the whole film online at NO COST. The offer runs until October 23rd.


If you don’t know them already, I also highly recommend ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin’s 1993 book TALES OF A SHAMAN’S APPRENTICE: An ethnobotanist searches for new medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest.



and the 2001 award winning film about his work, THE SHAMAN’S APPRENTICE.



Plotkin has become an expert on rainforest ecosystems. He is an advocate for tropical rainforest conservation, working in partnership with indigenous people and The Amazon Conservation Team to protect the Amazon, its people and plants.




Miranda Productions.(2001). The Shaman’s Apprentice. Documentary film. See:

Plotkin, M.J. (1993). Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An ethnobotanist searches for new medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest.  See:

Polizzi, N. J. (2011). The Sacred Science. Documentary film.  See:

The Amazon Conservation Team. See:



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.




“23 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?” – Dr. Mike Evans

Dr. Mike Evans
Mike Evans, MD

Dr. Michael F. Evans is a Family Medicine physician, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, and Director of the Health Design Lab at St. Michael’s Hospital. In December 2011 he launched a media lab he calls Dr. Mike Evans’ Whiteboard Med School with this inaugural YouTube video:  23 and 1/2 Hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

The video is charming, easy to watch and to the point. I think you’ll enjoy it. It may change your life.

His other equally informative and enjoyable videos can be seen on YouTube and his own website.

Thanks to Integrative Medicine family physician Stephen Dahmer, MD, for bringing this great video to my attention.


Evans, M. (2014). Dr Mike Evans’ Health Lab. See:

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Wisdom from Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine






Hippocrates of Kos was a Greek physician, philosopher and naturalist. He was born in Kos, Greece in 460 BC and died in Larissa, Greece in 370 BC. His wise observations are the basis of the Hippocratic Oath physician’s pledge to uphold.
Read the modern version of the Oath and see if you think your physicians are upholding it.
  • Are they focusing on prevention?
  • Are they knowledgeable about nutrition?
  • Are they over treating?
  • Are they engaging in therapeutic nihilism
  • Are they attempting to play God?



Hippocratic Oath – Modern Version

Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long
experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.



I find it interesting that Hippocrates’ injunction to DO NO HARM has been omitted from the modern version.
























© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

THE TRUTH ABOUT CANCER – Documentary Series





Wow! Here’s an excellent opportunity to learn the truth about cancer. This 11-episode documentary runs online from October 13 – 24, 2014.

The documentary presents information from 28 doctors, 11 scientists, 9 survivors and 1 FDA dragon slaying attorney who break the ‘Code Of Silence’ and expose the TRUTH about cancer and how to prevent, treat and beat it 100% naturally.
Ty Bollinger asks doctors: What is cancer? What causes cancer? How to reduce your risk of getting cancer? Bollinger is a health freedom advocate, cancer researcher, talk radio host, and best-selling author. His book is Cancer: Step Outside the Box.




I’ve watched Episode 1: Modern Medicine & the Cancer Pandemic and highly recommend you watch it and educate yourself.
You can watch all 11 Episodes here – they’re free.
The episode topics are:
  • Episode 1: Modern Medicine & The Cancer Pandemic
  • Episode 2: Your First Line Of Defense … (Airs Tuesday October 14th 9PM Eastern US Time)
  • Episode 3: Eliminate These “Dirty Dozen” To Prevent Cancer (Airs Wednesday October 15th)
  • Episode 4: Your Secret Fountain of Youth (Airs Thursday October 16th)
  • Episode 5: Nature’s Pharmacy (Airs Friday October 17th)
  • Episode 6: Clean Foods & The Cancer-Free Diet (Airs Saturday October 18th)
  • Episode 7: Diagnostic “Do’s & Don’ts” – Proven Treatment Protocols Part 1 (Airs Sunday October 19th)
  • Episode 8: Proven Treatment Protocols Part 2 (Airs Monday October 20th)
  • Episode 9: Proven Treatment Protocols Part 3 (Airs Tuesday October 21st)
  • Episode 10: Doctor’s Orders (Airs Wednesday October 22nd)
  • Episode 11: How to Survive and Thrive (Airs Thursday October 23rd)
When you sign up for this free series, you’ll receive the following information emailed from Ty Bollinger:

Thank you for registering to watch “The Quest for The Cures…Continues.”

You will receive private and exclusive access to each episode (on the date it airs) absolutely free.

TQTCC started airing live on October 13th and runs through Oct 24th. Each episode will be available for 23 hours (8PM the following night) so be sure to mark your calendars so that you don’t miss any of them.

We will notify you by email with the private links to access each of the shows. So, be sure to keep an eye out for emails coming from us (The Truth About Cancer) and if you don’t see anything within the next 24 hours, be sure to check and make sure that your SPAM folder didn’t eat it 🙂 and add us to your address book or safe senders list.

Thanks again… and trust me, this will be one of the most powerful shows you’ve ever seen – I promise.

And if you feel inspired, we would love it if you supported our mission by telling your friends and family about it on Facebook, Twitter and email – just send them to so they can get exclusive access too.


The first episode is running now. Please make the time to watch it – and the whole series. You won’t be sorry.





Many thanks to Suzette Lawrence for letting me know about about this series!


NOTE:  After watching Episode 1 today, unsuccessfully trying to access Episode 2, not having time to watch the current Episode (3), and knowing I won’t have time to continue watching an episode a day through next Thursday, I discovered it’s possible to purchase downloads of the whole series for $47 so I ordered it and will watch them as I can. 




Bollinger, T.M. Cancer: Step Outside the Box. See:


© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Fighting Off A Virus





Since we’re well into the flu and colds season, I thought it might be useful to describe how I ward off becoming ill when I feel the first inkling that something viral is trying to take hold in my body – a scratchy throat, a slight fever spike, and lethargy are my early warning symptoms.
These are the steps I take, in the order I do them:





I take two Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills right away. They’re made of herbs and contain no pharmaceuticals, dyes, animal products,  preservatives or unlisted ingredients. They’re intended for use at the first sign of a cold or flu.
One or two doses usually dispatch my symptoms. If any of the symptoms return, I take two more Yin Chiao an hour later and every hour until they’re gone. This has never required more than four hourly doses. Last winter, when a rather virulent flu was going around and I was exposed to many people who were sick but nevertheless felt compelled to be out and about (and in my office), my symptoms returned every few days for about a week so I repeated the dosing until my immune system had successfully fought off the virus.


From the Dr. Shen website:

This formula was first published in a Chinese herbal text by Dr. Wu Ju Tong in the year 1798.

Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling.


  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera flos) Jin Yin Hua
  • Forsythia (Forsythia Suspensa Fructus) Lian Qiao
  • Balloon Flower (Platycodi Grandiflori Radix) Jie Geng
  • Peppermint (Menthe Herba) Bo He
  • Edible Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Niu Bang Zi
  • Crested Grass (Lophatheri Gracilis) Dan Zhu Ye
  • Schizonepeta (Schizonepeta Tenuifolia) Jing Jie
  • Fermented Soy Bean (Sojae Praeparatum Semen) Dan Dou Qi
  • Chinese Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Uranelsis Radix) Gan Cao


Take six pills immediately, then four every four hours for the rest of the day. Continue to take four every four hours. Beyond the second day, switch to Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling.


Keep a dozen tablets in your car, purse, or pocket. Take promptly.
Use for immune support at home.


Unlike some Yin Chiao imported from China, Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao contains no drugs, dyes, pharmaceuticals, animal products, or unlisted ingredients. Each tablet contains a generous amount (750 mgs.) of premium grade wildcrafted herbs. Each tablet is also coated with natural food glaze and shaped for easy swallowing.

Though Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao is considered a Wind Heat formula, it is traditionally used, and effective for, both Wind Heat and Wind Cold patterns. However, using this formula to support normal patterns can require the addition of herbs or formulas such as Er Chen Wan to dry dampness and leech dampness from the tissue.

For Immune Enhancement: Take three tablets every four hours.

Some people have said they get diarrhea after taking Chinese herbs. This has not been a problem for me but I have noticed slightly more frequent BMs if I’ve had to dose myself three or four times in a single day.
I can get Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao at LifeThyme, my local health food store. It’s also available on Amazon. I’ve tried several other herbal remedies for this purpose but have had the best results with this product.



Our body’s lymphatic system is essentially its sewer system, removing toxins from the body. Like our blood system, it consists of millions of vessels – but it lacks a heart-like pump to keep the lymph moving.
This lack of a pump wasn’t a problem when we moved around a lot doing physical labor. Now that most of us sit at desks, in cars, and in front of TVs and computers much of the time, our lymph systems have become sluggish.  Lymph is moved along when we breathe and walk, and also by intestinal activity and muscle action. The lymph vessels are squeezed by tightening muscles, pushing the lymph along to be filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the heart. (Williams, 2014)
Exercise helps move the lymph efficiently. So do slant boards or inversions like head and hand stands. Lymphatic drainage can also be achieved manually.
Since I usually notice my body is fighting off a virus when I’m in the middle of a therapy session or am otherwise occupied in a public place and can’t conveniently do a Down Dog, I manually drain, or ‘milk’, the lymph glands just under my lower jaw, starting next to my ears. It’s quick and certainly not the weirdest thing I’ve seen people do in public.
This gets the stagnant, toxin-containing lymph out of those glands. While I find pressing on these glands a bit nauseating, draining them always leaves me feeling a whole lot better immediately afterwards.
I highly recommend doing this drainage whenever you start to feel a sore throat or have sinus congestion. It’ll also give you a nice burst of energy when you’re feeling tired and sluggish. And of course doing it prophylactically is an excellent idea.
It’s important to do the manual drainage in a downward motion, moving the lymph down toward the heart.
Here are two diagrams showing the lymph glands in the head and neck:



Lymph glands of the head and neck. (Source:




Lymph glands of the head and neck. (Source:


From the diagrams above, it looks like the glands I’m referring to are the parotid lymph glands.
If I have a little more time, I’ll also start under my jaw and milk down my throat on either side of my windpipe to drain those glands too – the anterior cervical.



I came across this in Dr. Williams’ article Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymph System but haven’t tried it yet – it looks wonderful. He says this manipulation alone is good for relieving headaches and neck tension:
Starting at the base of the skull with your thumbs just behind your ears, push under the skull, into the neck, with firm pressure slowly going down toward your collar bones. Continue doing this, each time moving your thumbs closer together toward the spinal column.





  • If you have Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins lymphoma, it’s not good to press on your lymph glands.
  • Regularly draining the lymph glands across the chest, from inside the armpits toward the breastbone in the center of the chest, is good for preventing breast cancer.









(The thymus gland under the sternum. Source:


The thymus gland, located under the sternum (breast bone), is a reflex point that helps stimulate lymphatic drainage in the upper body. Tapping it will also stimulate your immune system to kick in.
The gland sticks out on both sides of the sternum so tapping it vigorously with the finger tips of both hands or rubbing it vigorously for about two minutes helps get lymphatic drainage going. (Williams, 2014)
It will probably feel a little – or a lot – sore when you’re on the right spot.






I do this if I have time:
Use your knuckles to squeeze the stagnant lymph and toxins out of the line of lymph glands running across your chest in a line with your thymus gland. Be sure to start inside your arm pits and move toward the thymus gland so the lymph drains back to the heart.
I do this a few times a month, whether I feel viral or not.





  • Up my fluid intake
  • Avoid any foods I know are inflammatory
  • Do a little breath work (pranayama) to center myself
  • Avoid letting things upset me
  • Go to bed early if at all possible



The general idea is to get your immune system to kick in to overpower the virus.










Dr Shen’s Quality Chinese Herbs. (2014). Yin Chiao. See:

Williams, D. (2014).  Exercises to Help Drain Your Lymphatic System. See:



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Photographs Made by Immersing Film in Live Bacteria


Korean photographer Seung-Hwan Oh's facebook photo.  (Source:
Korean photographer Seung-Hwan Oh’s facebook photo.


Knowing I’m interested in bacteria, a photographer friend sent me an article on a most interesting use of bacteria:
Photographer Immerses His Film in Live Bacteria for Years to Create Unique Portraits
It’s about the photographic work of South Korean artist Seung-Hwan Oh, who fuses art with microbiology. He immerses his developed film portraits of people in various collections of microbes and lets them sit in this bath for weeks – sometimes months or years. The microbes slowly eat away at the silver halide particles in the medium format positive film’s emulsion, destabilizing the silver halides and causing the dyes to run and change color.
His images are copyrighted so I won’t reproduce the others here to tempt you but highly recommend you check out the article, Oh’s website and facebook pages.
The images are stunning!



Burget, G. (9/25/2014). Photographer Immerses His Film in Live Bacteria for Years to Create Unique Portraits. See:

Oh, S.H. (2014). Seung-Hwan OH’s facebook pages. See:

Oh, S.H. (2014). Seung-Hwan OH’s website. See:


© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

How Hand Sanitizers Are Bad for You and the Planet





I’ve written on the dangers of hand sanitizers here and there on this site but decided to devote a whole post to them after encountering a big wall dispenser of Purell above a sink in a lovely West Village church bathroom  yesterday – with no hand soap option. I’m sure the church believes they  made a sensible choice. This got me thinking about how thoughtful people have been seriously misled. So here’s the explanation of why Purell in a bathroom is a bad idea.



It’s important to understand how the heavy use of Purell and other hand sanitizers is doing harm to our health.
The prevalent obsession with germs, viewing all of them as harmful and in need of being killed, is based in ignorance and simply misguided. Without the billions of friendly micro-organisms living in and on our bodies, we wouldn’t be able to sustain life. When we ruthlessly kill them on our skin and inside our bodies, we are doing ourselves a great disservice and jeopardizing our health.
As Michael Pollan, a well known American author, journalist, activist and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, put it in his excellent article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

… as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.









The HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS offers an explanation of why it’s important to be exposed to a wide variety of germs in childhood:
A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic micro-organisms such as gut flora probiotics, and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic and other autoimmune diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. The lack of exposure leads to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance.
The Hygiene Hypothesis is also sometimes called the Biome Depletion Theory or the Lost Friends Theory.


1932 news item from Nov, 1932: POOR KIDS MORE IMMUNE TO GERMS ... An early observation consistent with the Hygiene Hypothesis .(Source: Modern Mechanix
Canadian news item from Nov, 1932: POOR KIDS MORE IMMUNE TO GERMS … An early observation consistent with the Hygiene Hypothesis (Source: Modern Mechanix


The result of providing too sanitary an environment for our children is that they aren’t able to build up a natural resistance to pathogens, making them more susceptible to developing allergies, asthma, skin conditions and a wide variety of other illnesses and diseases – including all the autoimmune conditions, heart disease and depression. Specifically, lack of exposure to pathogens is believed to lead to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance. (Hardin, 2014)
In Some of My Best Friends Are Germs, Pollan mentions the interesting finding that children who live with a dog at home are healthier overall, have fewer infectious respiratory problems, fewer ear infections and are less likely to require antibiotics. This is strong support for the Hygiene Hypothesis. Researchers found that the effect was greater if the dog spent fewer than six hours inside – the longer dogs are outdoors, the more dirt they bring inside with them so the children are exposed to more diverse micro-organisms from playing with and being licked by their dogs. (Pollan, 2013)
Isn’t this the perfect point to make to parents who tell their children they can’t have a dog because dogs are too dirty?


Many schools in the US now require children to carry and use bottles of hand sanitizers. And, at least in the US, there are Purell dispensers all over hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, airports, work places, grocery stores, bathrooms – and in people’s purses and pockets.
The widespread use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps is seen by many as an unwelcome epidemic harming individuals’ health and contributing to the rise of drug resistant bacteria, often referred to as super bugs. (Hardin, 12/22/2013)
For more information on the Hygiene Hypothesis and why it’s important to be exposed to diverse populations of microbes, see Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine.





Hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, and other products that “kill 99% of germs” likely contain triclosan. In 1969 triclosan was registered as a PESTICIDE  and is now widely used as a potent germicide in personal care products.
Do you think it’s a good idea to rub a pesticide on your skin?
As with antibiotics, triclosan doesn’t distinguish between useful microbes and pathogenic ones in destroying that 99%.  Among the harmful effects of using anything containing triclosan is evidence that it interferes with fetal development. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports evidence that triclosan disrupts the body’s endocrine system, altering hormone regulation. Bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics. It weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function. It is known to weaken skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength. It washes into sewage systems and pollutes our waters. And it has been found in the blood, urine and breast milk of most people. (Hardin, 9/6/2014)
Triclosan, originally used as a pesticide, is a hormone disruptor found in thousands of products like toothpaste, cutting boards, yoga mats, hand soap, and more. (Source:
Triclosan, originally used as a pesticide, is a hormone disruptor found in thousands of products like toothpaste, cutting boards, yoga mats, hand soap, and more. (Source:


At least Purell doesn’t contain triclosan.
For more information on triclosan, see my 9/6/2014 blog post Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System.




There is strong evidence that anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers containing triclosan contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as super bugs.
Ten years ago, in 2004, a research team at the University of Michigan exposed bacteria to triclosan and found increased activity in cellular pumps that the bacteria use to eliminate foreign substances. Stuart Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine, one of the study’s authors and a leading researcher on antibiotic resistance, pointed out that these overactive excretory systems “could act to pump out other antibiotics, as well.”




This is a serious problem. Pathogenic bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and pneumonia are already in the process of evolving defenses against currently used antibiotics and pharmaceutical companies aren’t developing many new antibiotics.
In the 15 years between 1999 and 2014, the FDA approved only 15 new antibiotics – compared to 40 in the previous 15 years. The World Health Organization currently regards antibiotic resistant super bugs as “a threat to global health security”. (Butler, 2014)








And then there’s my favorite bacterium: Clostridium difficile – the one you may not have even heard of but which has reached epidemic proportions, infecting 250,000 people and causing 14,000 deaths each year in the US alone. I had a nasty C. difficile infection in 2010 and fortunately didn’t die from it – though there were times I thought I was going to and felt so miserable I sometimes wished I would.
You can read here about how I vanquished my C. difficile infection without resorting to antibiotics – the usual Western treatment for it. It just didn’t make sense to me to take more antibiotics since it was frequent antibiotics that had weakened my gut microbiota to the point that a C. diff overrun took over.
The bottom line about C. difficile and hand sanitizers is that NO TYPE OF HAND SANITIZER  KILLS IT. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)










Educate yourself about friendly bacteria versus pathogenic ones, return to washing your hands the old fashioned way – with soap and water, use your “hand sanitizer” only for emergencies – and teach this to your children.
If you must, use a non-triclosan-containing hand sanitizer to clean surfaces on phones, keyboard and  laptops, and other high-touch surfaces. But clean your hands with good old soap and water.


Use the soap
Use the soap





Butler, K. (2014). Does Purell Breed Superbugs? The dirty truth (and the good news) on hand hygiene. Mother Jones. See:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Life-threatening germ poses threat across medical facilities. See:

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37.  See:

Hardin, J.R. (12/22/2013). Asthma. See:

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37.  See:

Hardin, J.R. (9/6/2014). Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System. See:

Hardin, J.R. (8/6/2014). Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine. See:

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Food Additives and Hyperactivity in Children





The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved OVER 70,000 FOOD ADDITIVES  –  from artificial ingredients to genetically modified ones, and from all natural to GRAS (generally recognized as safe). The situation is even worse with cosmetics and personal care products, with virtually no regulations on chemicals. Our skin absorbs whatever we put on it so those chemicals get into our bodies, where many of them do harm. (, 2014)
Does this alarm you?




Europe Bans Food Dyes due to ADHD & Cancer Links. (Source:
Europe Bans Food Dyes due to ADHD & Cancer Links – US FDA Continues to Allow Them. (Source:



When British researchers removed food additives from the diets of a group of hyperactive 3-year-olds, the children calmed down. When artificial food colorings and preservatives were introduced back into the children’s diets, their parents reported an increase in hyperactivity. Researchers estimate that if children were to eat additive-free, the number of them thought to have hyperactivity-related behavioral problems could be greatly reduced.  (, 2014)










The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) reviewed the food safety protection system managed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and concluded that Americans are consuming food laced with unsafe chemicals due to our federal government’s ongoing failure to oversee and adequately regulate food producers.

“Rules governing the chemicals that go into a tennis racket are more stringent than (rules for) the chemicals that go into our food. At least when you put a new chemical on the market, you have to notify the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). But there’s no requirement that you notify the FDA when you make a new food additive.”

– Thomas Nelter, J.D., Director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Food Additives Project

Mr Nelter is a Chemical Engineer, an Attorney, a Healthy Homes specialist, and a Fellow of the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.



Thomas Nelter, Head of the Pew Charitable Trust (Source:
Thomas Nelter, Director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Food Additives Project.  (Source:
Nelter’s project studied conflict of interest issues in food safety evaluations and found that, between 1997-2012, employees of food additive manufacturers wrote 1 of every 5 safety determinations the industry submitted to the US FDA.
Another 12% of the safety determinations were paid for by a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer. The rest of the safety reviews were conducted by expert panels chosen either by the manufacturer or by a consultant to the manufacturer.
According to an article published in the respected journal JAMA Internal Medicine, another 13% of the determinations were written by someone working for a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer and the remainder of the reviews were conducted by expert panels selected either by the manufacturer or a consultant to the manufacturer.
Hmm, this does not seem like a good way to protect the public
The Pew study employed conflict of interest criteria developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine to analyze 451generally recognized as safe, or GRAS, determinations that the food industry submitted to the US FDA over a 25 year period.
The Food Additives Amendment of 1958 authorizes MANUFACTURERS to make determinations of an additive’s safety (GRAS determinations) but doesn’t require them to notify the FDA about these determinations.









So many vibrantly colored products – I hesitate to call them foods – are available in the processed foods aisles we may not give their colors a second thought – yet we should because the FDA-approved food dyes used to achieve those colors present profound risks to our health. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)  published FOOD DYES; A RAINBOW OF RISKS, a comprehensive scientific report detailing the risks from nine dyes widely used in food products. The report was compiled by Molecular Toxicologist Sarah Kobylewski and Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
This report presents considerable evidence for risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children and allergies posed by food dyes.
THE US FOOD INDUSTRY POURS INTO OUR FOOD SUPPLY OVER 15 MILLION POUNDS OF THE NINE STUDIED DYES – PER YEAR. Three of these dyes contain known carcinogens. Four can cause serious allergic reactions. Other studies have found that seven of the nine contributed to cancer development in lab animals, including brain and testicular tumors, colon cancer, and mutations.


CSPI’s Executive Director, Michael F. Jacobson, said, “These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody.”
An Associate at the National Toxicology Program, James Huff,  commented, “Some dyes have caused cancers in animals, contain cancer-causing contaminants, or have been inadequately tested for cancer or other problems. Their continued use presents unnecessary risks to humans, especially young children. It’s disappointing that the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has not addressed the toxic threat posed by food dyes.”
A letter CSPI mailed to the FDA detailed reasons for banning food dyes in the US. to protect consumers.  CSPI charged that the FDA fails to enforce the law in the following ways:
  • Red 3 and Citrus Red 2 should be banned under the Delaney amendment, because they caused cancer in rats (some uses were banned in 1990), as should Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which are tainted with cancer-causing contaminants.
  • Evidence suggests, though does not prove, that Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40 and Yellow 6 cause cancer in animals. There is certainly not “convincing evidence” of safety.
  • Dyed foods should be considered adulterated under the law, because the dyes make a food “appear better or of greater value than it is” – typically by masking the absence of fruit, vegetable or other more costly ingredient.”
CSPI charged that the FDA has been aware of  the health risks posed by these dyes but has not acted to protect consumers.
As of 2010, when the CSPI report was issued, over 200,000 pounds of Red 3 was added to  processed food products each year, including ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine frozen meals and Betty Crocker’s Fruit Roll-Ups. (I don’t know the statistics for the years after 2010.)
If food manufacturers wish to attract consumers with food colors, they have choices other than synthetic, petroleum-based dyes: Blueberry juice concentrate, carrot juice, paprika, grape skin extract, beet juice, purple sweet potato, corn, and red cabbage are just a few of the many non-chemical dyes available – and used in other countries.
Fanta Orange Soda manufactured in Britain is colored with pumpkin and carrot extract while the US version is dyed with Red 40 and Yellow 6. Kellogg Strawberry NutriGrain Bars are colored with Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 in the US but with beetroot, annatto and paprika extract in Britain. McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes are colored Red dye 40 in America but with strawberries in Britain.
American consumer advocacy groups have called on the FDA to enact similar policies in the this country.
A British law went into effect on July 20th 2010 requiring companies to put this notice on each dyed product sold in Europe:  “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”







The images below show coloring agents used in Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars made in the US vs in Britain.  In Britain, lawmakers believe potentially harmful ingredients should be banned from foods until they’re proven safe. In the US, our FDA takes the position that these ingredients can be left in until they have been proven to be harmful. From my research, it seems even when they’ve been scientifically determined to be harmful, the FDA often refuses to ban them. GMO foods are a case in point.








Here’s a list of nine food additives that could aggravate attention problems (Gardner, 2014):


BLUE NO.1: A food coloring (AKA Brilliant Blue)

Found in:

Frito-Lay Sun Chips French Onion and other Frito-Lay products; some Yoplait products; some JELL-O dessert products; Fruity Cheerios; Trix; Froot-Loops; Apple Jacks; Quaker Cap’N Crunch’s Crunch Berries; some Pop-Tarts products; some Oscar Mayer Lunchables; Duncan Hines Whipped Frosting Chocolate; Edy’s ice cream products; Skittles candies; Jolly Ranchers Screaming Sours Soft & Chew Candy; Eclipse gum; Fanta Grape

Some products containing FDA-approved Blue 1
Some products containing FDA-approved Blue No. 1




Blue No. 2: A food coloring (AKA Indigotine)

Found in:
Froot-Loops; Post Fruity Pebbles; Pop-Tarts products; Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Strawberry Supreme Premium Cake Mix; Betty Crocker Frosting Rich & Creamy Cherry; M&M’s Milk Chocolate Candies; M&M’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Candies; Wonka Nerds Grape/Strawberry; pet foods


Some food products containing FDA-approved Blue No. 2
Some food products containing FDA-approved Blue No. 2




Green No.3: A food coloring, rarely used now

Found in:

Candy, beverages, ice cream, puddings


Example of food product containing FDA-approved Green No. 3
Example of food product containing FDA-approved Green No. 3




Orange B: A food coloring that used to added to sausage casings


FDA-approved Orange B in sausage casings
FDA-approved Orange B in sausage casings

Red No.3: A food coloring (AKA Carmoisine)

Found in:

Candy, cake icing, chewing gum


Examples of food products containing FDA-approved Red No. 3
Examples of food products containing FDA-approved Red No. 3



Sodium Benzoate: A food preservative

Found in:

Fruit juice, carbonated beverages, and pickles

Sodium benzoate is found in abundance in acidic foods. It is used to retard the growth of microorganisms, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).


Examples of foods containing FDA-approved sodium benzoate
Examples of foods containing FDA-approved sodium benzoate



Red No. 40: A food coloring (AKA Allura Red)

This food dye is the most widely used food dye in the US, exceeding both Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6.

Found in:

Some Frito-Lay products; some Yoplait products; JELL-O Gelatin desserts; Quaker Instant Oatmeal; Trix; Froot-Loops; Apple Jacks; some Pop-Tart products; Kid Cuisine Kung Fu Panda products; Oscar Mayer Lunchables products; Hostess Twinkies; some Pillsbury rolls and frostings; some Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines frostings; and more


Some food products containing FDA-approved food dye Red No. 40
Some food products containing FDA-approved food dye Red No. 40




Yellow No.5: A food coloring (AKA Tartrazine)

Yellow No. 5 is the only food dye that has been tested by itself, not as part of a mix of food dyes. These studies found a link to hyperactivity.

It is the second most commonly used food dye in the US.

Found in:

Nabisco Cheese Nips Four Cheese; Frito-Lay Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar and other Frito-Lay products; some Hunt’s Snack Pack Pudding products; Lucky Charms; Eggo waffles and other waffle products; some Pop-Tarts products; various Kraft macaroni and cheese products; Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper and other products


Some food products containing FDA-approved food dye Yellow No. 5
Some food products containing FDA-approved food dye Yellow No. 5

Yellow No.6: A food coloring (AKA Sunset Yellow)

This is the third most widely used food dye in the US.

Found in:

Frito-Lay Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and other Frito-Lay products; Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-ups; some JELL-O gelatin deserts and instant puddings; Fruity Cheerios; Trix; some Eggo waffle products; some Kid Cuisine Kung Fu Panda products; some Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners; some Betty Crocker frostings; some M&M’s and Skittles candies; Sunkist Orange Soda; Fanta Orange



Examples of food products containing FDA-approved food dye Yellow No. 6
Examples of food products containing FDA-approved food dye Yellow No. 6








The Food and Health program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has made an extensive investigation into what’s in our food.
You can use their comprehensive IATP Brain Food Selector: A Listing of Foods and the Food Coloring they Contain to find which artificial dyes are in your child’s (and your) favorite foods.
The chart is prefaced by this information:

Synthetic food dyes, made from petrochemicals, are common in manufactured foods that are widely consumed by children. Strong science implicates food dyes with increased hyperactivity in children. That research led the British government to ask companies to stop using most dyes by December 2009. And beginning in July 2010 most dyed foods marketed throughout the European Union are required to bear a warning notice. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSIP) has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban most food dyes in the United States. More recently, CSPI published a report, Rainbow of Risks, that discusses risks of cancer, genetic damage, and allergic reactions due to dyes.

Use IATP’s Brain Food Selector to find the dyes in your child’s (and your) favorite foods.

Note that Citrus Red 2 is approved only for use on the skins of oranges not used in processing, but consumers are almost never told of its presence. Orange B is permitted on sausage casings, but has not been used for years.


Also see the IATP’s Food and Health Program’s Smart Guide to Food Dyes: Buying Foods That Can Help Learning for information on health concerns posed by artificial food dyes for children and what to buy instead.
If you’re looking for citations of scientific studies, be sure to see Appendix One  on page 4 of the Smart Guide to Food Dyes (described just above) for a table of health concerns found to be caused by specific FD&C food dyes and citations of the specific research studies reporting these findings.







“The approach for your child’s overall health and nutrition is a diet that limits sugary and processed foods and is rich in fruits; vegetables; grains; and healthy fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds and other foods.”

– John E. Huxsahl, MD (, 2011)









REFERENCES (2014). Loopholes and Weak Enforcement Lead to Unapproved Chemicals Added to Foods. See:

Center for Science in the Public Interest. (undated). IATP Brain Food Selector: A Listing of Foods and the Food Coloring They Contain. See:

Curran, L. (2010).  Food Dyes Linked to Cancer, ADHD, Allergies. FOOD SAFETY NEWS. See:

Gardner, A. (2014). 9 Food Additives That May Affect ADHD. See:,,20439038_2,00.html (2014). 70,000 food additives approved by the FDA – What you don’t know will hurt you. See:

Huxsahl, J.E. (2011). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children: What does the research say about the relationship between food additives and ADHD? See:

IATP’s Food and Health Program. (2009).  Smart GuideTo Food Dyes: Buying foods that can help learning. See:

Kolylewski, S. & Jacobson, M. (2010). Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks (pdf.  See: (2014). Industry Influence Found In Food Additive Reports. See:

Thompson, D. (2013). Food Additive Safety Often Determined by Those With Food Industry Ties: Study. See:





DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


© Copyright 2013-2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

Egg Nutrition Facts and Information Infographics


There’s a whole lot of very interesting and useful information about eggs in this infographic from





Click on the link to the article, Everything You Need to Know About Eggs, to learn more about eggs.



Mercola, R. (2014). Everything You Need to Know About Eggs – Infographic. See:



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


ONLINE COURSE on the Gut Microbiome





The University of Colorado at Boulder is offering a fascinating free online course on the human microbiome called


This course is going to cover many of the topics I’ve written about on this Allergies and Your Gut site/blog – but you’ll get to hear it and much more from the horses’ mouths:  Prof. Rob Knight, Dr. Jessica Metcalf and Dr. Katherine Amato.
Rob Knight is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also works on the Human Microbiome Project.
Professor Rob Knight. (Source:
Professor Rob Knight. (Source:


Dr. Jessica Metcalf is an Evolutionary Biologist and Senior Research Associate at the BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder.


Dr. Jessica Metcalf
Dr. Jessica L. Metcalf


Dr. Katherine R. Amato is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology and part of the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She also contributes to the American Gut Project.


Dr. Katherine R. Amato
Dr. Katherine R. Amato
From the course’s website:

Imagine if there were an organ in your body that weighed as much as your brain, that affected your health, your weight, and even your behavior. Wouldn’t you want to know more about it? There is such an organ — the collection of microbes in and on your body, your human microbiome.

The human body harbors up to ten times as many microbial cells as human cells. What are these microbes and what are they doing? How can we study them to find out? What do they tell us about ourselves? Just as our human genome records traces of who we are and the conditions we have adapted to during evolutionary history, our microbial genomes may record traces of what we have eaten, where we have lived, and who we have been in contact with. The microbial ecosystems in different parts of our bodies, which differ radically from one another, also supply a wide range of functions that affect many aspects of human health.

Join us on a guided tour of the human gut and its microscopic inhabitants. We will first review what microbes are and how they get into our bodies. We will then discuss the methods we use to study microbial communities and briefly explore how gut microbiome data are analyzed. This information will provide us with a foundation to explore current microbiome research. We will cover topics such as the influence of the gut microbiota on our nutrition, health and behavior. Did you know that gut microbes may influence how sick we get or the way we feel? The course will culminate with an in-depth review of the American Gut Project, the world’s largest open-source, crowd-sourced science project, from how it works to what it’s taught us up until now.



Week 1: Introduction to microbes and the human microbiome

Meet Professor Rob Knight, Dr. Jessica Metcalf, and Dr. Katherine Amato as they introduce the human microbiome. Key topics this week are:

* What are microbes?

* The human microbiome

* Where do you get your microbes?

Week 2: How we study the microbiome

We will discuss the history of microbial research and review cutting-edge techniques used to examine microbial communities today. Key topics this week are:

* The history of studying microbes

* Basics of high-throughput DNA sequencing

* ‘Omics’ and other useful technologies

Week 3: Making sense out of microbial data

We will briefly review techniques used for analyzing microbiome data. This information will serve as a foundation for exploring recent discoveries in microbiome research later on. Key topics this week are:

* How do we identify a microbe?

* Basics of alpha-diversity

* Beta-diversity, and visualizing differences

Week 4: The human gut microbiome and your health

We will discuss major factors affecting the gut microbiome. We will also explore in detail what we currently know about diet, nutrition, health, and the gut microbiome. Key topics this week are:

* Impact of diet and age on the gut microbiota

* Obesity and the gut microbiota

* Human microbiome and gut disease

* Manipulating the microbiome through fecal transplants

Week 5: Gut microbe-host interactions: Beyond nutrition

We will talk about how the gut microbiome can affect your body outside of the gut, including interactions with the immune system and the brain. Key topics this week are:

* Gut microbiota interactions with the immune system

* Gut microbiota, autoimmune diseases, and allergies

* The gut-brain axis

* Post-mortem human microbiome

Week 6: What’s in the American Gut?

We will re-introduce the American Gut Project and describe results both at an individual and a population level. Key topics this week are:

* The American Gut Project and crowd-funding

* Collecting samples

* Michael Pollan vs. Jeff Leach: American Gut results explained

* Comparing the American Gut to other populations

Here’s the website for learning more about this free course & signing up for it:
The first 6-week session starts next Monday, October 6 2014 and runs through November 14 2014. You can also sign up to be notified when the next session will begin. They say it will involve 3-5 hours of work/week.





If you take the course, please let me know how you like it. I’m super busy this fall so am going to wait until the next time it’s offered.



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.