Do Flowers Hold the Secret to Universal Intelligence?

Since modern man and woman walked the earth with the capability to question and comprehend the world and its universal laws, flowers have been the topic of much philosophizing. They are the epitome of beauty, the most celebrated of gifts, the subject of great poems and works of art, and metaphors for revealing our natural inner essence.

Consider this: Have you ever seen an ugly flower? Even a simple daisy is beautiful, and somehow perfect, in its design.

So, what is it that makes flowers universally pleasing to the human eye? Mathematicians, botanists, artists, astronomers, architects and even our own intuition may hold the answers.

In 1202, Italian mathematician Leonardo Pisano, better known by the name Fibonacci, wrote about a sequence of numbers that occurs when a number is equal to the addition of the two numbers prior––for instance, 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on.

The Fibonacci sequence correlates to the discovery of this pattern and similar patterns throughout history, dating back to about 300 B.C. It has been called by many names: The Golden Mean, The Golden Ratio, The Divine Proportion and, in more recent centuries, by the mathematically divided ratios of these sequential numbers that equals 1.618, named phi, after the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

This sequence and this number are said to have the proportions that human beings consider to be aesthetically pleasing. Science has found phi more than anywhere in nature––in pinecones and pineapples, in cacti and conifers, in hurricanes and galaxies, in the branching of trees, in the spiral of nautilus seashells and, yes, in many flowers.

Botanists determine that a flower opens its petals to absorb the greatest amount of sunlight—and quite often the number of petals follows the Fibonacci sequence, having 3, 5 or 8 petals, for instance. Oftentimes, the head of a sunflower has this divine pattern in its number of seeds and the proportional formation in which the seeds spiral. The Golden Ratio can be found throughout nature, including in many of our fruits and vegetables––in the spiraling head of a cauliflower, in the pattern of an apple cut in half.

This mathematical equation can also be found in much of art and architecture, as it creates a sense of beautiful proportion and balance in the design. Another Leonardo––namely, da Vinci––is the artist most known for using this proportional ratio in his works and may have even intentionally incorporated it when creating “The Last Supper” and the famous “Mona Lisa.” Whether he intended it or intuited it, the Divine Proportion is there.

But its appearance throughout nature is what has scientists pondering its universal intelligence, its cosmic wisdom. You can even see the patterns in the human body. We have five fingers on each hand, three sections to our arms, and if you divide the length of the forearm by the length of a hand, it equals––you guessed it––about 1.618. Recent discoveries have gynecologists amazed that the most fertile uterus is one that has proportions correlating to 1.618.

Clearly, this mathematical intelligence is a part of our natural world. Though not all things in nature follow this pattern, there are enough examples of it that mankind has taken notice and has been contemplating it for millennia.

A fascinating question: Is there something within us as human beings that resonates with nature, in that we recognize its beauty, balance and cosmic intelligence? Those in the fields of science, math and art will continue to ponder this naturally occurring mystery.

And we will, too.

When we at Vitanova were deciding on the symbol that would best represent our company, we unanimously selected an eight-petaled flower, one that just happened to follow the Fibonacci sequence. We did not choose to incorporate the Golden Ratio into our logo, but that particular flower resonated with us because of its beauty and harmony. We also recognized that a flower is a metaphor for the blossoming of the human essence, a symbol of awakening and rebirth.

It wasn’t until later that we discovered its multi-faceted perfection: the balance, the beauty, the science, the botanical wisdom, and the power of those elements combined. Behold, the flower—that speaks to us of its universal secrets.

Sources:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/math-concepts/fibonacci-nature1.htm

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/5/160091

http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=111

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578919

http://jwilson.coe.uga.edu/emat6680/parveen/fib_nature.htm

http://www.livescience.com/37470-fibonacci-sequence.html

http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/hosted-sites/R.Knott/Fibonacci/fibnat.html

http://www.medicaldaily.com/golden-ratio-womans-uterus-linked-her-fertility-241942

Ashwagandha: Keep calm and be awesome

 

If you ever feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list of modern life, there’s one herb you should know about: ashwagandha. The root of this well-studied herb has a long history of use in Ayurveda—the ancient Indian system of medicine—for restoring vigor and strength after the body has been depleted by stress.*

 

A premier adaptogenic herb

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. This remarkable class of herbs actually increases an individual’s ability to maintain homeostasis, even when under physical, mental, or emotional stress.*

Unlike most herbs, which work in one direction, adaptogens work in all directions. Ephedra, for example, is a stimulant. No matter who takes ephedra, the herb will have a stimulating effect similar to caffeine. Its direction, in other words, is always up.

Adaptogens, however, can turn the dial up or down as needed. Like a thermostat that heats or cools the air to maintain a consistent temperature, adaptogens increase or decrease bodily activity to maintain homeostasis.* Their direction changes depending on the person.*

As an adaptogen, ashwagandha reads what your body needs and then fine tunes your system in response. If you feel fatigued, it will energize you.* If you are stressed out, it will calm you down.* If you need to concentrate, it will help you focus.* If you need to rest, it will relax you.* Sound too good to be true? Check out the research!

 

Researched benefits of ashwagandha

Several human clinical trials published over the past two decades provide scientific evidence that ashwagandha is effective for the relief of occasional stress.*

In 2000, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that after six weeks of treatment with 500mg of ashwagandha per day, 88.2 percent of participants felt relief from occasional stress, while only 50 percent of those taking the placebo did.* (In other words, it was almost twice as effective!)

Another double-blind study published in 2009 and lasting 12 weeks compared two different protocols for occasional stress. One group of participants received counseling about diet, learned deep-breathing exercises, and took a multivitamin plus 600 mg of ashwagandha per day. The other group received psychotherapy, learned the same breathing exercises, and took a placebo. At the end of the study, the ashwagandha group experienced a 56.5 percent reduction in stress, while the psychotherapy group experienced just a 30.5 percent decline.* (Again, ashwagandha was nearly two times as effective!) The folks taking ashwagandha also experienced more marked improvements in concentration, energy, social functioning, and overall quality of life.*

 

How ashwagandha works

The active constituents of ashwagandha are called withanolides. They work by decreasing levels of cortisol, a hormone released during stress, and increasing levels of DHEA, a hormone that supports a positive mood.*

These mechanisms of action were illustrated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2008 that compared stress symptoms and hormone levels among people taking either 125, 250, or 500 mg of Sensoril® (a standardized extract of ashwagandha) or a placebo. Sensoril® not only helped reduce feelings of occasional stress—as well as sleeplessness, forgetfulness, and irritability—it also reduced cortisol while increasing DHEA.*

Ashwagandha root extract is sold in capsules or tablets, or as a powder or tincture. The withanolide content is often standardized and indicated on the label and can vary from 1.5 percent to 10 percent.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958355/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718255

https://blog.priceplow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/withania_review.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/

Collagen: Bring firmness back to your skin

By Sara Lovelady

One hallmark of youthful skin is firmness. When you’re young, your skin is naturally taut. As your skin ages, though, it loses its firmness and starts to sag. Ideally, you want to take steps to prevent your skin from sagging in the first place. But if you’re past that point, is there anything you can do? The answer is yes, in the form of collagen.

Beauty from the inside out

Collagen is a structural protein and the main component of connective tissue. It makes up 30 percent of the protein in your body and an amazing 70 percent of the protein in your skin.

Think of collagen as the scaffolding of a building. It provides the structure that supports and binds the other tissues of your body, including your tendons, muscles, cartilage, skin, and bones.* Unfortunately, several factors—including chronological aging, sun exposure, pollution, and smoke—break down the collagen in your skin, causing it to droop and wrinkle.

The good news is that collagen supplementation can help. In fact, a human clinical study found that when 26 women took 1 gram daily of a combination of type II collagen, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid for 6 weeks, the collagen content of their skin increased significantly.* At the end of the 12-week study, the participants experienced visible skin health benefits, too, including significant reductions in facial lines and wrinkles, dryness, and skin scaling.*

How does collagen work?

Collagen appears to work in a number of different ways to support youthful skin.* First, test-tube research has shown that collagen stimulates chondrocytes (cartilage cells) to produce type II collagen and proteoglycans—both important components of connective tissue.* Second, human research has documented that collagen supplementation may help the body synthesize hyaluronic acid (HA).* Because HA holds water molecules in the skin, it contributes to skin firmness.* And third, animal research has found that collagen ingestion enhances the number of fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) in the body and protects against UV damage to the skin.*

All collagen is not the same

Importantly, there are several different kinds of collagen:

  • Type I collagen is present in the skin, tendons, blood vessels, organs, and bone
  • Type II collagen is present in the cartilage
  • Type III collagen is present in the reticular fibers of connective tissue
  • Type IV collagen is present in the basal lamina, a layer of the extracellular matrix
  • Type V collagen is present in the cell surfaces, hair, and placenta

A combination of various types of collagen may be more effective for supporting youthful skin than one type alone.*

* This statement has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426261/

How fermentation can enhance nutrition. Hint: think sauerkraut and vitamins.

Sauerkraut has made a comeback with a new generation of foodies––healthy foodies. That’s because fermentation makes this centuries-old European cabbage dish a good-for-you choice, and Millennials have re-discovered its benefits. According to Chelsea Krost, Millennial lifestyle expert, younger generations are “obsessed” with fermented foods because the active cultures make them “good for intestinal health and digestion.” Essentially, they’re a delicious way to get your probiotics.

Fermented foods may be one of the latest culinary trends, but many of these recipes have been around for thousands of years since fermentation is one of the oldest-known ways to preserve foods. Fermented foods have played a role in cultures across the globe throughout history, including: Latin America, India, Russia, Europe, China, Japan and Korea. Other well-known, fermented foods include kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, and tempeh.

So, how does fermentation occur? Yeasts and lactic acid bacteria are two types of microorganisms that foster fermentation—and in the process, common foods such as milk, cabbage and soy are transformed into substances with far more nutritional value. And, not only do they become more vitamin-rich, but the nutrients are also more bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb the nutrients better.

Science-Based Medicine, an organization that explores the scientific perspective of alternative medicine and treatments, did their own research and drew the same conclusions: “The fermentation process enhances the nutritional quality of food by contributing beneficial compounds such as vitamins and by increasing the bioavailability of minerals,” writes Lucy Shewell, author of the Science-Based Medicine article. She goes on to say, “Probiotics, including those found in kimchi, have a range of positive effects on health.” These include supporting a healthy inflammation response, positively impacting the immune system, managing weight, and altering the composition of the gut microbiome.*

Here’s a fascinating fact: Did you know that your vitamins can be produced with fermentation, benefiting your intestinal flora and making the nutrients more bioavailable? It’s an important development in nutrition.

Vitanova™ is one of the only multivitamin brands in the world to use a fermentation process to enhance the nutrition of their supplements. They start with the organic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and then add in their wide array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, omega fatty acids, organic superfoods and enzymes from tropical fruits. Vitanova then adds three strains of beneficial probiotics: L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, and L. rhamnosus. Under low heat, the fermentation process continues and the cell walls of the substances break down, thereby increasing the bioavailability of the nutrients. In the end, the process creates a living, whole-food complex from which the supplements are made.

So, go ahead, eat your sauerkraut, yogurt and kimchi—and take your vitamins. Who knows? Maybe you just discovered the secret to staying younger, longer.

Sources:

10 Food Trends Millennials are Obsessed With

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/fermentation.aspx

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070112p32.shtml

Everything you always wanted to know about fermented foods 

The Hero’s Journey

The hero’s journey. You know the story. The main character is shaken by something external or internal—death, injury, financial crisis, disease, or maybe just struggling with the complexities of life—and has to find his or her way out of the turmoil. We follow along hoping for the best for our hero because we’ve all been there at various points in our own lives. We feel we share a cosmic tie and we’re invested in the outcome. We have to know our hero can do it because we know we may face another challenge along our path to bliss, happiness, contentment, peace.

The hero’s journey has been epitomized countless times in literature, plays, and movies—Lancelot, James T. Kirk, The Hero’s Journey, Homer’s Odyssey, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. They all take us on that journey to find a new life or a way out of whatever the hero is facing, and we’re living vicariously through them.

Who doesn’t know the story of Dorothy and Toto? We want to know that she escapes the wicked witch and finds the Wizard who can help her return home. Instead, she finds that she had Oz with her the whole time—in Kansas—within herself. She didn’t need Oz. This is what we strive for in our own journey. We want to know that Uncle Henry and Auntie Em will be waiting around the corner for us with a gentle hug and maybe some apple pie. We want to find the answers we seek.

While those stories are often outlandish tales of good versus evil, our own lives are examples of the hero’s journey. We want to see our hero make it. We need to see our hero make it because it gives us hope—hope that we can make it, too.

We’ve gone from our own depths of hell— tests and travails, allies and enemies—just as Dorothy did. We’ve learned lessons along the way: avoid the wicked witch; stay with Glinda, the good witch; be careful whom you trust. Maybe we’ve gotten our own ruby slippers, or maybe we’re still on our yellow brick road. We must find our own answers to whatever path we’re on, but knowing that someone else has triumphed gives us hope that we will be victorious.

There are many real-life examples of people who have overcome tremendous obstacles and have seemingly won their battles: J.K. Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert, Marco Polo. The woman who has four children and has no idea how to pay the bills and develops an idea for a product that makes millions. The man who decides he needs to completely rewrite his life and takes off for a trip around the world. The couple who gets rid of all their stuff and finds they’re content just to live a life of adventure. We all want to find our nirvana—the life that has meaning and purpose.

This fall, Vitanova will be touring the country looking for people with stories to tell of their own journeys—and how they overcame their demons, fought their battles, won their wars, or are still on their path to finding the answers to life’s questions.

We’ll let you know when that journey begins so you can follow us and possibly even tell us your story.

Botanical Wisdom: Why Vitanova Uses Ginger.

Most of us have heard at least something about ginger, either as a spice or for our health, but most probably don’t know why or how we should be using it.

Ginger has been on record for more than 5,000 years and was one of the first recorded spices. Native to south Asia and brought to the Romans and Greeks by Arab traders, ginger was once considered a luxury costing the equivalent of an entire sheep in the Middle Ages. Belonging to the Zingiberaceae family (along with turmeric and cardamom), ginger (zingiber officinale) is best known as a spice used for adding a warming feeling to the stomach and a pungent taste to many food dishes, but it also has many medicinal uses and health benefits, as well.

In Ayurveda, ginger is used for a variety of health issues including stimulating digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, relieving menstrual cramps, and for easing the pain of sprains or strains and increasing joint comfort and flexibility.* Chinese medicine recommends dried ginger to support respiratory health.* And, modern clinical research indicates that ginger is an excellent tonic for nausea, occasional indigestion, gas, and possibly even motion sickness.* Ginger is one of the most studied spices for improving health.*

Can a spice also help you lose weight? Ginger’s high fiber content means that foods ingested will be processed more efficiently and move through the gastrointestinal system and out of the body more quickly. In addition, ginger improves digestion by increasing the pH of the stomach, which can stimulate digestive enzymes. But, the big piece of ginger’s helpful weight loss properties lies in its ability to rev up the body’s burners resulting from its thermogenic effect. This increases metabolism, which translates to fat burning.

Not only is ginger a proven fat burner, it’s also effective for curbing the appetite. A study in the journal Metabolism from 2012 showed that giving study participants (men) a tea with 2 grams of dried ginger powder helped with feelings of satiety. The men were given ginger tea with breakfast on alternating days, and hunger was recorded hourly. The study showed that ginger had a significant effect on the feeling of hunger after eating.

Ginger comes in a variety of forms: tinctures, powders, whole rhizome (root), essential oils, pickled, and in supplement form (pills or capsules), and the FDA has registered the spice as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Since it also has the ability to reduce blood platelet build-up as effectively as aspirin, speak with your doctor before adding ginger to your stable of natural remedies if you take medications for blood thinning or other maladies.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21849094

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/zingiber-officinale-ginger

Ginger Root In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine

http://www.progressivehealth.com/ginger-for-weight-loss.htm

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART00366

http://www.herballegacy.com/Whitney_History.html

http://www.metabolismjournal.com/article/S0026-0495(12)00118-7/fulltext

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/zingiber-officinale-ginger

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277626/

http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/foodadditivesingredients/ucm091048.htm

GMOs: What’s the debate about?

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are living organisms in which the DNA has been altered with the genetic material of another species. Most GMOs are plants that have been modified to withstand the application of herbicides; the weeds die and the farmers’ crops survive. In one odd instance, to study human-genetic disorders, Chinese geneticists took the bioluminescence DNA from jellyfish and inserted it into the genes of pig embryos, creating piglets that glow in the dark when put under a black light.

So, why, if GMOs offer benefits to farmers and medical studies, are more and more consumers becoming alarmed? Because today, more than 90% of all soy and corn sold in the United States has been genetically modified, along with sugar beets and canola oil. Not only are these commodity crops our staples, but they’re also common ingredients in many processed foods. In fact, 80% of the food in the U.S. contains some GMOs, and while Big Food, chemical companies, many biotech scientists and world organizations insist GMOs are safe, critics claim genetically modified foods raise serious health concerns.

According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.”

And, although some attempts at genetic engineering have been done to increase nutritional value, The Institute for Responsible Technology states that the two most engineered traits are “herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These results have no health benefit, only economic benefit.”

Even worse, not only have GMO crops become tolerant to herbicides, so have weeds, creating “super-weeds” which require even heavier applications of most toxic chemicals such as glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup. Scientific American recently reported that the World Health Organization declared “glyphosate a probable carcinogen.”

Unfortunately for Americans, the United States has the loosest restrictions worldwide. According to the United States Library of Congress, “Compared to other countries, regulation of GMOs in the U.S. is relatively favorable to their development…the U.S. is the world’s leading producer of genetically modified (GM) crops.”

Currently the debate has moved into the spotlight on the political stage. Since the federal government won’t pass more stringent laws regarding GMO use, states have taken matters into their own hands. In 2014, Governor Pete Shumlin of Vermont passed one of the nation’s first mandatory labeling laws for GMOs, which requires all foods that are genetically modified or have genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2016, and legislation currently in Congress and backed by the Big Food lobby is trying to stop the law from taking effect, arguing that state-by-state labeling requirements would make it challenging for the food industry to comply.

Many consumers nowadays want to be informed about the GMOs in their foods. Until laws mandate that the food industry tells us which foods contain GMOs, we can only rely on those responsible companies that can assure us no GMOs have been used. Look for the label “non-GMO” or “no GMOs” to be sure.

 

Sources:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/vermont-invades-your-kitchen-1457308283

http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education/

http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education/health-risks/

http://www.aaemonline.org/gmo.php

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/11/vermont-lawsuit-a-test-case-for-gmo-labeling-laws-and-the-first-amendment

http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-in-organic-products/

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/truth-about-gmos

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

http://www.livescience.com/40895-gmo-facts.html

Scientists Create Glow-in-the-Dark Pigs Just in Time for Your Next Rave

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-gmo-food-labeling-0313-biz-20160311-story.html

Eleuthero Helps us Adapt to Daily Stress

Stressed out on high adrenaline? Wiped out from too much on your to-do list? Modern living can have many of us feeling that rollercoaster of energy levels––the highs, the lows, the sharp turns––when what we’re trying to achieve in our lives is balance.

Luckily, we can look to the past to help with contemporary life. Siberian ginseng, more recently referred to by its scientific name Eleutherococcus senticosus (or eleuthero, for short), is one of the five most important herbal adaptogens. Functionally, when we’re too revved up with stress, or too slowed down with fatigue, adaptogens help our bodies adapt and rebalance, regardless of which rollercoaster loop we’re on.

Eleuthero’s use dates back 2,000 years in Chinese medicine. Not to be confused with Chinese or Korean ginseng, eleuthero produces somewhat different effects on the human body. Pronounced eh-LOO-thero, it is one of the most widely researched herbs in the world, proving its efficacy not only through scientific studies but also through the empirical evidence of thousands of years of application.

So, how does an adaptogen work?

According to an article by Jill Stansbury, ND, in the Journal of Restorative Medicine, “Adaptogens are plant-derived compounds that normalize endocrine function and promote adaptation to environmental stress. Adaptogenic herbs modulate stress responses, enhancing energy production and sleep quality and improving immune function.”

The Natural Medicine Journal includes, “Siberian ginseng is used to invigorate qi; strengthen the spleen; nourish the kidney; provide energy and vitality… In traditional Russian medicine, Siberian ginseng is used to stimulate the immune system. Siberian ginseng is among the five adaptogens most commonly used by Western herbalists.” Siberian ginseng also maintains blood pressure already within normal limits, promotes a healthy inflammation response, and supports respiratory, heart, and liver health.*

In my own experience, having used eleuthero on and off for more than a decade, I can attest to my body’s response when taking this particular adaptogen. When I’ve been pushing too hard, I’ll find myself recovering in a deep sleep. When I’m dragging, it seems to revitalize me.

HerbWisdom.com says, “Unlike many herbs with a medicinal use, it [eleuthero] is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill health. Research has shown that it stimulates resistance to stress and so it is now widely used as a tonic in times of stress and pressure.”*

Can anyone out there in the modern age not relate to this?

Sources:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aarm/jrm/2012/00000001/00000001/art00008

http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2012-03/siberian-ginseng-review-literature

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginseng-russian.html

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/REM00049/Eleuthero-or-Siberian-Ginseng-Dr-Weils-Herbal-Remedies.html

Respect – Powering Communities Around the World

Too many of us live as though our lives are already scripted for us. We don’t realize that we are the agents of our own rebirth. When Ibrahim was startled out of passively playing his role, his real, purpose-driven life began. Now, he’s changing the world. 

I remember a day in middle school when our religion teacher said that he would tell us a story of the good woman and the bad woman. He started to describe his version of a bad woman: a sovereign, independent woman with her own dreams and aspirations who doesn’t necessarily cover every inch of her body, who chooses to express herself in her own style, and who doesn’t spend every ounce of energy on her family.

As he spoke, I thought of my mother, who has the most integrity and kindness of anyone I know. The fact that he put her in this category of a bad person jolted me into the awareness that not every narrative that children inherit from adults is true or right. It was a pivotal moment, when I realized that I could apply my own filter to every conversation and decide what works for me and what doesn’t.

Before that day, I would inherit conversations and perpetuate them, conversations that had continued from one generation to the next. That was the moment when I developed the kind of critical thinking that changed the trajectory of my life. I am thankful to that teacher for his perspective; because of him, I allowed my own perspective to enter the equation and guide my decisions. I determined to use my own judgment in my decisions from that point forward.

In the early 2000s, I had built a successful career in general technology investing. I could see the great damage that humanity was doing to the environment in California and around the world. I wondered how we could sustain this path of destruction of the earth without destroying ourselves. When a gentleman pitched the idea of investing in a new subdivision outside of Los Angeles, my partner and I saw the path ahead: buying a lot of land, cutting down a lot of trees, and contributing to urban sprawl, leading to more burning of fossil fuels for people to go to and from work.

The safe financial choice was clear, and we rejected it, just as I had rejected the narrative my religion teacher prescribed for me years ago. We chose, instead, to pursue a path that will help save the earth and invested heavily into waste energy. Humanity generates a lot of garbage, and even after recycling what’s recyclable, there’s still a lot of waste left—waste that can be turned into a fuel. We don’t need to bury it in the ground or throw it into the ocean, destroying so much of our world and its ecosystems! We can turn it into clean, consistent energy that can fuel five, if not ten, percent of our energy needs.

For the last decade, we’ve successfully only invested in socially and environmentally sustainable enterprises. Watching the world begin to reject the old, dirty ways of generating energy and replace them with sustainable solutions has been rewarding from not just a financial perspective but also a humanitarian and environmental one. It feels fulfilling to be part of that.

When we are young, we think we live forever. I wake up now with just enough awareness of how short a human life is. My awareness propels me to move quickly to make a difference because I know we don’t have as much time as we think we do. That’s why I wake up every day feeling happy to be alive and able to do more of what I love. My life is purpose-driven. Living a purpose-driven life is really natural, but we don’t know that until we choose to live it and have the courage to pursue it. I consciously choose to embrace my purpose every day through my morning ritual of oral hygiene, vitamins, and exercise before I start on my work. I love the planet, I love people, and I want to contribute my gifts to creating a world that sustains everyone.

Ibrahim AlHusseini is a partner in the Full Cycle Energy Fund, created to finance and own projects that revolutionize our relationship with waste by converting a costly environmental problem into clean, valuable fuel that can be used to power communities around the world.

Why Choose an Organic Whole-Food Supplement?

As you stroll through the produce section of your local market, amidst the many choices, ask yourself, “Why am I choosing organic carrots over conventionally grown? What makes me go with the organic blueberries rather than non-organic?”

We often choose organic because we know what’s not involved in the farming methods, such as synthetic, chemical herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. But did you know that organically grown foods are loaded with all sorts of disease-preventing, vitalizing nutrition called phytonutrients? “Phyto” means “plant” in Greek, so these are literally plant nutrients.

The research is gaining acceptance. According to Medical Mews Today, an international team of experts led by Newcastle University in the UK recently undertook a 4-year study, the largest of its kind, to compare the compositional differences of organic and conventionally grown fruit and vegetables.

They found that “concentrations of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were between 18-69% higher in organically grown crops.” Study leader Carlo Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, says that the evidence is “overwhelming,” and the study shows that by switching to organically grown crop foods, and foods made from them, people would consume additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between one and two extra portions of fruit and vegetables per day.”*

Phytonutrients have been in our plants since agriculture began 10,000 years ago in the fertile soils of Mesopotamia. It wasn’t until after WWII that synthetic chemicals, originally used in the war, began to be used as insecticides for farming. A chemical boom ensued in the industry, destroying the natural nutrition in our foods for decades. The recent renaissance of organic farming has unlocked the botanical secrets that plants have held for millennia.

It’s these phytonutrients that have been proven to prevent some of our generation’s most insidious and prevalent diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Now, that’s true plant wisdom.

Take a moment to imagine those phytonutrients concentrated in your daily supplement. Every day would be a regenerating, revitalizing experience. Unfortunately, many supplements are synthetically made in a laboratory to mimic naturally sourced nutrients, and these so-called “natural” vitamins are not made from phytonutrient-rich, organic, whole foods.

What if the secrets to longevity and a healthier life are contained not in a lab, but in botanical wisdom? It seems that every day we’re learning more from scientists around the world who test and retest these theories to discover just that. Every plant contains its own unique properties, many of them medicinal. Organically grown plants seem to be extra potent in their life-enhancing properties.

Companies such as Vitanova, that create supplements made from organic, whole foods and herbs rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as tomatoes, carrots, garlic, spinach, beets, blueberries and other plant foods are dedicated to making a difference.

* http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279564.php

Other sources:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/phytonutrients-faq

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-organic-foods-more-nutritious/

http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/aboutdavidwessels.html

http://www.livescience.com/52541-phytonutrients.html

http://agrochemicals.iupac.org/index.php?option=com_sobi2&sobi2Task=sobi2Details&catid=3&sobi2Id=31

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