S.O.S. -Sources of Stress- Seminars (New Dates tba below)



Don’t miss this opportunity to join Alla Marinow (Holistic Nutritionist) & James Waite (Transformational Living Coach) of  BE WELL! Natural Health and Well-Being and hosted by Earth Circles Counseling Center – 4 part evening seminars exploring hidden BODY, SPIRIT and CHANGE based Sources Of Stress.

We will explore a variety of health & mindfulness topics and solutions including:

  • WHAT’S MAKING ME SICK AND TIRED? Brain fog, fatigue, energy crashes, aches
  • DEPRESSION/MOOD CHANGES: Good / Bad mood foods & effects on the brain.
  • OMG/GMO! BPA/MSG/FLAVORINGS! Chemical effects on the body & brain!
  • WHAT’S HAPPENED TO MY WAISTLINE? Diets??!! Why can’t I lose weight?
  • FOOD LABELS : Reading labels simplified – what is true and what is false
  • MINDFULNESS & HEALTH- the role of habits and resistance in healing
  • WHAT REALLY, ACTUALLY MAKES US HAPPY?- the nature of success
  • RELATIONSHIPS & REALITY – what do we know about real love & living
  • NATURAL WELL-BEING- Self knowledge & the ease of being our self

Where? EARTH CIRCLES • 66 Santa Clara Ave, Suite 205 • Oakland
When? Monday Nights: POSTPONED DUE TO FAMILY EMERGENCY New dates tba; more info: www.bewelltlc@gmail.com
Time? 6:30- 8:30 pm
Cost?   suggested donation $10  (or ability based)
Advance Registration: (seating is limited)

RSVP: email: bewelltlc@gmail.com    -OR-   call/text 530-701-5323

More Info: www.bewelltlc.comwww.earthcirclescenter.com



From Franken-wheat to Franken-fish. What next?

Well, we have come a long way in establishing a new all-time low in the world of food as to what is safe or unsafe to eat!                                                                                                                                                                                                               The FDA has just announced approval (Nov 19, 2015) of the new genetically modified salmon – Franken-fish (ref 1).

When the new norm benchmark for food safety is at the bottom rung, such as  food products produced in laboratories that appeal to our taste buds but have little nutritional value,   round-up ready (Monsanto) crops deemed to be safe for us , factory raised animals raised on round-up ready GMO grains, packaged foods preserved and enhanced with chemicals we can’t pronounce and grains and crops such as wheat, soy, corn, barley, rye and potatoes that have been GMO’d and substantially altered through enhanced hybridization causing a variety of diseases and damage to our organs, ….it only stands to reason that the next step would be Franken-fish.  

It is curious that the FDA have deemed the new Franken-fish (the new species of genetically modified salmon) considered not less ‘safe’ than farmed fish. Hmmm …. Perhaps they are right ………….. Let’s take a look at that.

First, let’s understand if ‘farmed salmon’ is safe or healthy for us (after all – we have been told to eat more salmon for the Omega’s 3’s- right)?  Here are some facts on ‘farmed salmon’:

  • Industrial (farmed) salmon is usually a grayish-white in color. Since market researchers determined that consumers buy with their eyes, artificial coloring is used to turn the factory farmed salmon from grey to pink by adding a dye called canthaxanthin which has been linked to human eye defects and retinal damage. However, the good news is- the FDA requires companies selling farmed fish to indicate that dye has been added! Thank you FDA.
  • Farmed salmon operations use a number of other chemicals to raise marketable fish. All of these pose known and potential risks to human health. These substances include oxytetracycline, an antibiotic that may lead to antibiotic resistance. Similar to the controversial use of antibiotics by the poultry and livestock industries, factory salmon farms must prevent fish from infecting one another with diseases since they are farmed in high density pens. Because of the high prevalence of drugs on salmon farms, unwary consumers may ingest untold amounts of antibiotics.             (ref 2).
  • Malachite green,” a fungicide, was banned internationally in the 1990s, but still illegally used in some salmon hatcheries and for juvenile fish. Scientists have found that exposure to malachite green may raise the risk of cancer, cause genetic mutations, and harm the human reproductive system ( ref 2)
  • Levels of critical omega-3 fats may be reduced by about 50 percent in farmed salmon, compared to wild salmon, due to increasing amounts of grain and legume (e.g. soy) feed. Farmed salmon, for example, is much fattier than wild salmon, but it contains FAR LESS healthful omega-3 fats and less protein. Factory farmed fish can be as high as 27 percent fat and contain 15 percent less protein. ( ref 3)
  • Despite efforts by governments and international agencies to limit antibiotics, harmful chemicals, and toxic substances in farmed salmon, the danger persists. Millions of fish—raised in close confinement, eating an unvaried artificial diet, and constantly exposed to their own wastes—mean inevitable exposure to harmful chemicals. These compounds accumulate in the tissues of salmon and are passed on to humans. People who regularly eat farmed salmon face a higher, though still poorly understood, risk of retinal damage, cancer, resistance to antibiotics, and harm to reproductive and other organs. (ref 4)

Now back to the salmon Franken-fish.

  • After five years of study, the FDA didn’t find any nutritional difference between the genetically modified salmon and conventional salmon, Durham said. The FDA isn’t aware of any information that foods from genetically engineered sources differ from their non-genetically engineered counterparts or are less safe, she added. ( ref 1)   In other words– they have not found any difference between the ‘farmed salmon’ (which already carries health risks) and the new Franken-fish.
  • Under FDA approval, AquaBounty Technologies cannot raise the salmon in the United States; it can only be raised on fish farms in Canada and Panama. Also, no other company is authorized to raise this type of fish for sale in the United States, the agency said.   Curious?  Now why is it being grown in Panama and Canada and not the USA?
  • The FDA said it’s convinced that measures will be put in place to prevent the genetically altered salmon from escaping from the farms and into the wild, so they wouldn’t affect the environment.   But some environmentalists point out to NPR that the company’s egg production facility, on Prince Edward Island, is near an estuary that feeds into the ocean and that the fish will be allowed to mature in a location in Panama that is located near a river, making escape a remote but nevertheless real possibility. (ref 5)
  • While AquaBounty’s president once told Reuters that AquAdvantage is “an Atlantic salmon in every measurable way,” studies by researchers who have compared genetically modified salmon to their wild counterparts have shown that the fish behave differently. The genetically altered fish tend to eat more to support their growthpromoting genes, and prefer spending time near the surface of the water alone, as opposed to swimming in groups. They also show some reduced immune functions.             (ref 5)

If we take the statement ‘we are what we eat, or we are what the animal eats’ … then it stands to reason that the growth hormones, chemicals and GMO will enter our body and affect our health and our children’s health in medium-long term.

Will we know which salmon is genetically modified and which are not? There is no regulation requiring that AquaAdvantage fish be labeled as being genetically altered fish. Any labeling would be voluntarily by the companies’. The FDA issued two recommendations asking manufacturers to voluntarily label their products, along with guidance about how to note the genetic changes. Even if a retailer chooses to label their GMO fish (which they probably will not as it may impact their sales), at the restaurant level you will not know what you are eating.

The good news is:  Several chain retailers have already stated that they will not carry the Franken-fish (Whole Foods, Trader Joes is among them). A coalition called the Campaign for Genetically Engineered Free Seafood consisting of approximately 2000 stores nationwide and consumer groups will not be buying or carrying the Franken-fish salmon.

To be completely on the safe side, buy only Wild Caught Alaska salmon. Frozen the price per pound @ Trader Joes and Costco comes down to between $9.00- $11.00 per pound (most Alaska salmon is flash frozen at source during peak season and then sold to retailers throughout the year- so apart from peak salmon season June-mid August all wild caught salmon purchased at the supermarket is previously frozen).

Of course the larger issue continues to plague the public and the lobbyists …… the labeling of GMO foods. A new film called  ‘ SECRET INGREDIENTS’ is being produced by Jeffery Smith  (author of Genetic Roulette) with a trailer than can be viewed on youtube addressing this issue.       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnXG3-Vt2Ps

References:                                                                                                                               1. http://news.health.com/2015/11/19/genetically-engineered-salmon-gets-fda-approval/                                                                                                                   2, 3, 4.   http://www.puresalmon.org/                                                                    3. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/21/9-farmed-fish-facts.aspx#_edn3                                                                                          5. http://news.health.com/2015/11/20/gmo-salmon/ 

The Perfect Storm: Auto-Immunity and other Diseases (Part I)

the perfect stormAn interesting thing happened the other day at the grocery check-out.

Peering into my vegetable laden grocery cart the attractive 40 something heavy set lady asked:     “was I going to eat all those vegetables or was I having a party?”  Her cart contained packages of dried and pre-prepared foods, cans, boxes and bags of low fat crackers, chips, sugar free and gluten free cookies, flavored yogurts, pastas and energy bars. The odd vegetable and fruit broke the surface of the sea of processed and refined products.

“I have diabetes” she quipped. “Just about everyone in my family has it so I have to be careful with my sugar intake. But, it’s just diabetes II. Apparently it’s genetic in our family – that’s what the doctor told me”.

Diabetes I (requires insulin shots) is an auto-immune disease when the insulin-producing cells are destroyed and is the result of B cells and other immune cells attacking the body’s own tissue.

Diabetes II is considered a metabolic disorder but is in the process of potentially being redefined as an auto-immune disease. In Diabetes II, the pancreas still makes insulin but due to the high glucose intake (in the form of sugars and refined carbohydrates) the cells cannot receive any more glucose and start to shut down – making the cell insulin resistant, further elevating  blood glucose levels.

There are over 80 auto-immune diseases that have been identified in the last 10 years with new ones being added annually. An auto-immunity develops when your own immune system (which normally defends the body against disease) decides your healthy body cells are foreign and attacks them. Depending on the auto-immunity it can direct this attack against cells, or organs. Of course this results in abnormal functioning of the organ or cell.

Reported auto-Immune diseases affect some 23.5 million Americans (according to AARDA.org it is believed the numbers are closer to 50 million). Some of the most common auto-immune diseases are:

  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • MS (multiple sclerosis)
  • Celiac
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Hashimotos/ Graves thyroid disease
  • Addisons Disease (adrenals)
  • IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
  • Psoriasis
  • Scleroderma
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Lupus
  • Vitilago
  • Sjogrens Syndrome

So……. what causes an auto-immunity to occur in what should be a normally healthy body? Theories abound … some are linked to bacteria or viruses, pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, chemicals, environmental irritants etc.

The one common thread that seems to be consistently agreed on by the medical, research and holistic community is that the body produces anti-bodies or an immune response against harmful invaders in your body – in other words it becomes hyper- responsive to an inflammatory condition in the body. When there is a foreign invader in the system such as :   an allergen, a toxin, an infection or a food, the body trying to defend itself against the intruder fails to differentiate between the harmful substance and the tissue or organ in the body and turns on the anti-bodies, literally, against itself- wreaking havoc on your own organ.

Why does this happen with some people and not others?

The answer is: it is never one thing. You need A PERFECT STORM to trigger a disease.

Metaphorically speaking The PERFECT STORM can be compared to a 4 legged stool that has several of its legs in a state of disrepair and subsequently cannot support itself.   So it is with our bodies.  The cycle of disease sets in when a number of factors are combined to trigger a metabolic breakdown – or The Perfect Storm.

  • Pre-Genetic Disposition (some say this accounts for 25% of the equation others say higher)
  • Environmental Factors ( toxins, chemicals or a viral/bacterial infection)
  • Nutrition or your dietary Intake ( SAD diet – standard American diet)
  • Lifestyle: i.e. Stress

If you have a pre-genetic disposition (a family history of a disease)    and

Take in your daily dose of toxins (Environmental Factors) such as household chemicals & cleaners, chemically laden make-up, commercial facial creams and fragrances, chlorinated and fluoridated water, and consume commercial (non- organic) fruit and vegetables and factory farmed hormone and drug enhanced meats and dairy products, or you may have travelled to foreign country or ate something toxic and picked up a bacterial infection or a virus    and

Eat a SAD (Standard American Diet) consisting of pre-packaged, nutrient depleted pre-cooked foods (frozen or otherwise), fast and junk foods, sugars in any form – cookies, cakes, breads etc, lots of bread and bread type products and pastries, pasta’s, restaurant take-outs, bad oils- soy, canola, vegetable, corn, lots of gluten products, vegetables, fruit and meat/dairy/egg products that are commercially grown or raised (non-organic)                                                          and

Lead a Lifestyle that is stressful with little or no time for yourself ( high stress job, child rearing, travel, only form of relaxation is 2-4 hours of TV at night, wired and perpetually tired, etc) …….

Then you are setting yourself up for THE PERFECT STORM – a susceptibility to a disease or an auto-immunity which may irreversible!  In fact it is believed and understood in the health community that even without a genetic pre-disposition a disease can take hold if the total load  (low nutrient dense foods, toxins, and other stressors) is too much and constant for the body to  handle.

Let’s go back to my check-out companion. Yes, she probably has a pre-disposition to an auto-immunity – in her case diabetes. However, there are 3 other missing bits to the equation. Did she help trigger the auto-immunity by combining a SAD diet (looking at her shopping cart- I would say probably -yes), taking in a daily dose of toxins, and leading a stressful life?  Without further investigation we cannot say – it was my turn at the check-out. I gave her my card and bid her good- bye. Knowledge is power. Once you know how to keep your body healthy, you can take responsibility for your long term health and deflect triggering genetic pre-disposition to a disease or to an auto-immunity or any disease for that matter.

What you need to do to keep yourself and your family healthy (Part II coming…)

For more reading on auto-immune diseases visit:

www.medicalnewstoday.com                                             www.womenshealth.com                                                                         www.aarda.org

What’s in Your Supplements?

Supplements pictureIn a  recent article from the New York Times (Feb 3, 2015) the New York  Attorney General’s Office accused 4 national retailers ( GNC, Target, Walgreens, Walmart)  of selling supplements that were fraudulent and in many cases contained unlisted ingredients and where even missing the main labeled ingredient the supplement was supposed to contain.

The analysis by the FDA  was conducted on 5 different supplements @ GNC, Target, Walgreens, Walmart   – in each case 4 out of 5 of these supplements had a  serious problem with the ingredients. The article goes on to say that the Attorney General’s office has requested that these companies cease and desist selling these products.

Of course, this immediately brings up the question:  if 4 out of 5 supplement products were a problem, what about the remaining 100’s of their brands that they continue to sell (what’s in them?).

Here are some things you should know about the supplements market in the USA:

  • While the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) regulates dietary supplement products they do so under different guidelines than those covering ‘conventional’ foods and drugs. Under the Dietary Supplement and Health & Education Act (1994):

‘Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded.  That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their own products before marketing (meeting GMP standards – Good Manufacturing Standards). regulations.

FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.’    US Food and Drug Administration

  • Essentially what we have is self-regulation by the company manufacturing the supplement. GMP standards means that the facility in which the product is produced only ‘requires cleanliness of facility and grounds’.
  • Many companies that manufacture under their own label have the supplements produced overseas where there is no governing body. This brings into question -what quality control/quality assurance standards are used by the retailer to ensure the ingredients & quantity on the label are actually in the supplement and do not contain any other problematic or carcinogenic items. Regardless, if these supplement companies are supposed to be ‘self-governing themselves under the FDA rules’ they should be testing the products (for quality assurance) before they are sold to the public. Many do not. The cheaper the supplement the more likely it is to contain lots of fillers ( some causing allergies), dyes, minimal amounts of the vitamin, mineral or herb , or, as in the cases cited in this article- they do not even contain the herb, vitamin or mineral.
  • BTW- binders are different from fillers- a binding agent is what keeps the pill or capsule together and should be hypo-allergenic. If there are more than 2- 4 items ( binders) under “other ingredients” you can rest assured that there are a lot more ‘fillers’ and a lot less supplement.

What can you do to protect yourself and family against fraudulent supplements?

  • Request a CoA ( Certificate of Analysis) from the company you are buying from. Serious supplement manufacturers go through a certification process (require all raw materials arrive with a Certificate of Analysis from the supplier for every lot sent. A Certificate of Analysis documents the identity of the material, as well as the material’s potency and purity).

Any company that says a CoA is not available, is most likely trying to hide something. While it may be too arduous a task to supply every person in the USA with a CoA, they should be willing and able to provide it through any professional health provider, such as your Nutritionist, Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor , Acupuncturist, Osteopath, health coach etc.                                                                                                                                         If a CoA (or equivalent) does not exist …. then you owe it to yourself and your family to change to a better brand.

  • You should be wary of buying ‘cheaper’ brands that are under private label ( Kirkland, Target, GNC, Walgreens, Walmart, Safeway , private pyramid companies and dozens of mail order as well as ‘on-line’ companies.) This does not suggest that all/ any of these companies are fraudulent or provide sub-standard products …… but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself why one brand charges higher prices for the so-called ‘same’ item while another is half the price or less.  Unfortunately, the rule of thumb in the unregulated or ‘self-regulated’ supplement market today is ….. you get what you pay for.
  • Yes, a good brand is a bit more expensive, but the ingredients are actually something that your body can and does use. At the end of the day – what is the point of paying good money for a poor quality supplement that will have minimal or no effect. Sounds like money down the drain.


Alla Marinow   B.A.  N.C.     

Super Simple Chunky Chile (gluten free)



Super Simple                           Chunky Chile                          ( with pastured beef or turkey)

Chock full of vitamins and anti-oxidants from all the vegetables (A, C, D, E, K, B) and a good balance of Omega 3/Omega 6.


Freeze in small containers for later in the week. But do save some for tomorrow—trust me, you’ll want it again! 


  • 1-2 lb pasture raised or organic ground beef (lean) or ground organic turkey (depending on whether you like it meatier)
  • 1 whole yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic ( crushed)
  • 1 can black beans ( organic /drained) or substitute winter squash cubes if you are bean sensitive
  • 2-3 carrots chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2-3 celery sticks chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 -2 cups or more chopped green beans (bite size pieces)
  • 1 head of dinosaur kale- (aka) lacinato kale ( leaves removed from stems & chopped)
  • 1 small can organic tomatoes drained( fresh tomatoes if in season)
  • Chili powder (to taste)- some like it hot, some not
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil ( 1-2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup beef stock or chicken stock ( organic)


Fry onions and garlic in olive oil until clear. Add beef or turkey and cook until done. (Note: turkey is lighter and easier to digest.) Add vegetables, tomatoes, chili powder, beans, and beef or chicken stock. Cook until veggies are done. If your spoon doesn’t stand straight up in the middle of the pot – you haven’t added enough veggies!

You can serve with a side salad or in combination over 1/4-1/2 cup brown or wild rice.. A great way to get 1-3 your servings of veggies for the day.