Zooming along the dusty red country lanes of Cambodia every morning on her little moped headed towards the children’s village that she founded and runs, retired school teacher Sue Wiggans cuts a formidable figure. “I’m a Hell’s Angel biker granny” she jokes, and yet as the children rush out to greet her with hugs, kisses and such palpably genuine love and excitement, she seems more like the warm loving matriarch of a big, beautiful family of children who, thanks entirely to her dedication, commitment and efforts, are being given a chance at a better childhood and a brighter future. Here Sue tells us in her own words how she came to swap her comfortable life on the Isle of Wight for the rural outskirts of Siem Reap.
When did you first visit Cambodia and what was it that inspired you to found Honour Village?
I first visited Cambodia in February 2009. I asked my guide to arrange a visit to a children’s project. Whilst there, a child tried to say something to me, but I was unable to understand him until my guide came over and told me the child wanted to say: “best wishes all the time.”
I returned the following winter to volunteer. I taught the children for seven weeks, and loved the experience. During the year, I had responded to a plea for funding to buy land for a permanent home for the children. Sadly, right at the end of my stay I discovered, quite by chance, that the project was being mismanaged.
I returned after a month to try to sort out this sorry state of affairs and help the director to put his house in order. It soon emerged that he had no intention of doing anything to mend his ways. We discovered that the money I had sent had not been used to buy land. On closer investigation half of the children, turned out to be family members or friends of the director, and the others were brought in from the villages for the benefit of visiting tourists.
At this point of despair a truly astonishing chain of coincidences happened. If any one of the links in the chain had not been there, then I would not now be living in Cambodia. As a Christian, I believe that coincidences are sometimes God-incidences, and I still stand in awe at what has happened in the last four years. I was invited to meet with H.E. Seang Nam, the Member of Parliament for Siem Reap. He listened to my story and offered to give land and that if I came and founded a project, he would put his name on the land. Within a couple of days, I knew I would come to live in Cambodia.
How many children do you look after, how do they come to you and what are your criteria for taking in a new child?
For the last year, we have had a residential family of 53 children. We have also been blessed with a highly experienced consultant social worker from the UK, who has been working with us for six months. A colleague joined her for two months, and they both plan to return on a regular basis, to help Honour Village and other NGOs in the vital work of reintegration. Some of the children may be able to return to their villages in the future, and others will live with us until they are ready for independence, having been supported through further education and a period of transition. During this time they will learn life skills and have regular visits from our social work team, which is set to expand very soon.
Can you give us any case studies regarding some of the children that you have with you at present? (Names and ages have been altered to protect identity)
Q., 22 months, was brought to us by his father, who was at the time very ill with both HIV and TB. At the time he was the sole carer and the situation was very urgent. Q. settled happily with a dedicated housemother as his care-giver, and grew into a happy and highly intelligent little boy. His father recovered and found work and visited whenever he could. Each time his father visited it was clear that there was a strong and loving bond between them. Eventually, Q. was able to return home when an aunt offered to look after him while his father was at work.
J., 11 years, will continue to live as a member of our resident family because his only care-giver, unrelated, is not only unable to give care, but is also violent and addicted to rice wine. It would not be safe for J. to return back to his village, but he will visit a friend in the village in the company of one of our social workers three times a year, and spend the holidays with a staff family.
Can you talk us through an average day at Honour Village?
Honour Village began as a residential home for children who were unable to remain in their villages because of extreme poverty together with family problems such as addiction and domestic violence. Our main project is now Honour Village School. We provide Khmer (Cambodian language), English, maths and computer classes freely to all local children in our commune. Our English (with maths) classes are taught by a Khmer teacher and a group of volunteers, both Khmer and western.
We have 350 children on roll, although irregular attendance is still a problem in a rural community where rice is planted and harvested and other chores and local ceremonies take place. We also serve a simple snack both morning and afternoon to the children.
On Sundays, boys and girls go into town if they wish to play or cheer on the football teams in inter-NGO matches arranged by Globalteer.
How do you ensure the growth, development and welfare of the resident children?
Our resident family is cared for by seven Khmer housemothers. There are currently three homes for boys and one for girls. Very soon we plan to partition one home so that siblings can live together as a family.
Every resident child eats three good meals a day, and their improved health and energy are a result. They receive free care at the Angkor Children’s Hospital and we take them to a private dentist once a year. Our social workers have now been trained in direct work with children – using a small playhouse and people, Khmer style furniture and accessories. This work is in its initial stages, but already the children are asking to have a turn with the house, and to come back for a further session. Direct work enables a child to look at previously hidden feelings and memories and to express emotions that have been repressed. It also enables the social worker to understand more about the child’s wishes and dreams of bonding and family relationships.
Cambodia is a largely Buddhist nation, what elements of the local and Buddhist culture do you encourage at Honour Village and how do you feel it benefits the children?
For almost three years we had meditation as a family every weekday, now I have introduced a one-minute meditation before each kindergarten class begins. It is amazing how these small children come into class and immediately sit with their hands upturned on their knees, waiting for our meditation bell to sound. All of our children are Buddhist, and meditation is part of the Buddhist tradition. Not only does meditation lead a child further into his/her birth tradition and philosophy; it also is good for self-discipline and can enable greater self-awareness.
Our resident children live in as similar a way as we can provide to match that of their home in the village. By keeping our life style as local as possible, we are looking to the future when our children will return to a local setting; so we guard against western influence as far as we can so that the transition will be easier. There would be no benefit, even if we had the funding, in providing facilities that only the best paid employees could ever attain to; the reality is that there are never enough highly paid jobs for those who would like them. For any of our children who do well in life, it will be a step up; for most of them, there will not be a step down if we do things the local way.
What paths can the children take once they have reached the age where they should move on from Honour Village and how are you facilitating this transition?
During the next three or four years we plan to provide at least one opportunity for vocational training on site, and we are already liaising with other NGOs and the youth employment service so that we have other links ready for when our oldest children leave school. They may decide to study until they are older than normal school leaving age (18 years) as they are almost all behind with their studies, having had disrupted schooling, or having been promoted beyond their understanding in their former schools. Any student who passes Grade 12 and wants to go to university will be sponsored for a course of their choice.
Why did you choose the name Honour Village?
The name Honour Village seemed a good name for a project that had sprung out of corruption, because of the gift of land. This gift enables us to build permanent structures, which is not recommended on rented land. We are very blessed indeed to have it. Our motto is Truth – Transparency – Integrity. Our vision is to provide communities with opportunities for change through education. Our logo is an open lotus flower, which again symbolizes purity and truth, as well as being a symbol of Buddhism.
How can people get involved in the work you are doing at Honour Village Cambodia?
People can help to spread awareness of our work. They can arrange donations which can be put through the Virgin Giving page on our website. www.honourvillage.org
We welcome volunteers for a minimum of two months, to work in our school either as assistant teachers or as play-leaders. We do not accept casual visitors, but if a sponsor or potential sponsor is in town, then we are very happy to welcome them for discussion and a brief look around the village. Visitors might consider bringing good used laptops, books, jigsaw puzzles, educational toys or cotton clothing in their luggage.
You mentioned corruption in small privately run orphanages or charities. How can people ensure their time or money is going to worthy, credible and trustworthy causes?
If you want to give either your time as a volunteer, or your money as a sponsor, I think you need to look for the following things:
- Transparency and a willingness to answer any questions you may have on any subject.
- A good Child Protection Policy that must be read, understood and signed by anyone who is on site for more than a short visit. Visitors must be accompanied at all times by a member of staff or volunteer.
- All volunteers should have had background checks, carry current police checks, and provide evidence of these.
- No volunteer should be doing work that could be done by a local employee. Do not agree to work in a residential project where you are asked to do child care work that should be given by local women employed and trained as housemothers. If you and others give children basic care on a short-term basis, this may affect the children’s abilities to make lasting relationships. The best volunteering positions are those in which the volunteer is enabling local staff to increase their skills and autonomy.
- There should be accounts that are available for you to look through without feeling rushed. Preferably accounts should be audited.
- Be wary if a project appears very poor and short of funding. Be very wary if a director tells you there is no money. Sadly, many small projects deliberately keep their children looking poor and badly dressed in order to win sympathy. It is tempting to choose a seemingly underfunded project over a better-presented one, thinking that your money will do more good. It is very unlikely that you will be the only person moved to help a poor project, and you need to ask yourself what benefits the children have been receiving from other peoples’ funding. If you become a regular sponsor, then expect to see the difference your funding has made on your next visit, or photographic evidence. Gifts such as school notebooks may be used for the children, or they may be returned to the market. This applies to any saleable items.
- Ask to see some old photos of the project’s children, and see how many you can identify – sometimes children are brought in from the villages especially for the tourists, and their stay is temporary, during the high season. However, if there is a no-photo policy, it is probably a good sign.
- Notice what sort of transport the director uses. If he drives a Lexus, ask yourself what salary he is paying himself! Is this reflected in the accounts?
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future of Honour Village Cambodia?
To increase the skills and abilities of the Khmer staff and assistants in teaching, child care, social work and a range of other areas; to encourage a sustainable model and provide excellent, safe and loving care in our homes and excellent education in our school; to enable as many children as possible to re-enter their families or home villages on a safe and successful basis; to ensure that the children continue their development, and have vocational training opportunities, or a university education, followed by employment; to provide adult education as local people desire, probably in sustainable agriculture and fish rearing.
How does founding Honour Village and its subsequent growth make you feel?
Honored, privileged, awed, excited, tired, relieved, busy and quietly confident for the future.
As someone who is embodying the ‘Be the Change you Hope to See in the World’ motto, what advice would you give to others aspiring to live by this principle?
We cannot change the world, but we can change ourselves in many ways. Our strengths and weaknesses affect other people. I like to try to live with an open heart and mind, so that I am available to change even when it feels uncomfortable.
Thank you so much for your time and for being an inspiration to others.
Research Reveals How Sugar CAUSES Cancer
- The Facts:
This article was written by Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com where it first originally appeared. Posted here with permission.
- Reflect On:
The average American consumes their body weight annually in this cancer-causing substance, and yet hospitals freely feed it to their cancer patients, seemingly oblivious to the harm it does.
Hospitals feed cancer patients sugar and high carbohydrate diets for a simple reason: they are abysmally ignorant of the role of nutrition in health and disease — hence their burgeoning growth, packed rooms, and ‘return customers.’
Even though the science itself shows – at least since the mid-20’s with Otto Warburg’s cancer hypothesis — that tumors prefer to utilize sugar fermentation to produce energy rather than the much more efficient oxygen-based phosphorylation* – hospitals have actually invited corporations like McDonald’s to move into their facilities to ‘enhance’ their patient’s gustatory experience, presumably to provide comfort and take the edge off of the painful surgery, radiation and chemo treatments erroneously proffered to them as the only reasonable ‘standard of care.’
But the times are changing, with new research requiring these medical institutions to reform their dietary strategies, at least if they wish to claim that their interventions are in fact ‘evidence-based,’ as they so often claim.
Study Reveals Sugar Doesn’t Just Feed But Causes Cancer
A groundbreaking study, uncovered by one of our volunteer researchers at Greenmedinfo, is the first of its kind to identify sugar, not only as fuel source for an already existing cancer, but as a primary driver in oncogenesis – i.e. the initiation of cancerous characteristics (phenotype) within previously healthy cells.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and titled, Increased sugar uptake promotes oncogenesis via EPAC/RAP1 and O-GlcNAc pathways, researchers addressed a common perception (or misperception) in the cancer research community regarding sugar’s relationship to cancer: namely, “increased glycolysis [sugar based metabolism] is frequently viewed as a consequence of oncogenic events that drive malignant cell growth and survival.”
Contrary to this conventional view, the new study “provide[s] evidence that increased glycolytic activation itself can be an oncogenic event.” That is to say, the activation of sugar-based metabolism in a cell – driven by both the presence of increased quantities of glucose and the increase glucose receptors on the cell membrane surface (i.e. “overexpression of a glucose transporter”) – drives cancer initiation.
Moreover, the study found that “Conversely, forced reduction of glucose uptake by breast cancer cells led to phenotypic reversion.” In other words, interfering with sugar availability and uptake to the cell causes the cancer cell to REGRESS towards its pre-cancer structure-function (phenotype).
What Are The Implications of This Research to the Diet?
What this new research indicates is that sugar – of which Americans consume an astounding 160 lbs annually (imagine: 31 five-pound bags for each of us!) – is one of the primary causes of metabolic cell changes in the body consistent with the initiation and promotion of cancer. And, the research indicates that removing it from the diet, and depriving the cells of it, could REVERSE cancer. Why is this so surprising? It’s because Americans have been lead like lambs to the slaughter to think of “prevention” as “early detection,” focusing not on identifying and removing the well known nutritional and environmental causes of cancer, rather, to spend their time, energy, and money on cause-marketing campaigns focused on “finding a cure” — as if one didn’t already exist right in front of our noses, or more aptly, on the end of our forks.
Hidden Sugar, Crouching Cancer
It has been estimated by the USDA that the average American consumes 200 lbs of grain products annually. Why is this relevant to the question of sugar in the diet? Because refined carbohydrate products – e.g. crackers, bread, pasta, cereal – are actually ‘hidden’ forms of sugar. In fact, puffed rice causes your blood to become sweeter (and presumably feeds more cancer cells sugar) than white sugar, as it is higher on the glycemic index. Adding the two figures together – annual per capita consumption of sugar and grain-based products – we get a jaw dropping 360 lbs of sugar (both overt (table sugar/high fructose corn syrup) and covert (grain carbs) annually – all of which may contribute to promoting the ideal metabolic situation of cancer cells: aerobic glycolysis.
This is one reason why the ketogenic diet – that is, a fat- and protein-focused diet devoid of carbohydrate, both in simple (sugar) and complex (grain product) form – has been found so useful in the most aggressive of cancers: including brain cancer. Once you ‘pull the rug out’ from under the sugar/carb-craving cancer cells, they are forced to either undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis) or re-differentiate back into non-cancerous phenotypes.
If It’s So Bad For Us, Why Do We Eat So Much?
One of the primary reasons why we eat sugar and carbohydrate rich diets is because they are addictive. Within minutes of consuming sugar/carbs our body goes through a neuroendocrine roller coaster. Your brain can not survive very long without glucose, the fundamental energy unit of the cell, and will ‘freak out’ if deprived of a steady stream of this ‘nutrient’ within only 2-3 minutes. The endocrine system, on the other hand, perceives the danger of high sugar – namely, glycation associated damage to protein and lipid structures within the cells of our body; think: blood caramelizing, getting sticky, and gumming up the finely tuned works – and will release hormones such as insulin, adrenaline and cortisol, in order to try to get the elevated sugar in the blood and tissues under control. Insulin forces the sugar into storage within the cell, both as glycogen and as fat, but often does its job too well, causing available glucose levels in the brain to be depleted – setting off a vicious cycle of ’emergency signals’ telling the body to release more cortisol and adrenaline to increase the levels of glucose in the blood. This, of course, will result in additional insulin production and release, causing the same cycle to be repeated over and over again.
This seemingly endless vicious cycle is responsible for the insatiable cravings a high carb/sugar diet generates – not to mention the fructose-based hedonic effects generated in the brain that modulate both opioid and dopamine receptors in the nervous system (not unlike alcohol), and the pharmacologically active peptides in many gluten-containing grains, which also drive addictive behaviors and an almost psychotic fixation on getting carbs at each meal.
No wonder we have an epidemic of cancer in a world where the Westernized diet prevails. Certainly, we do not mean to indicate that a sugar/carb-rich diet is the only cause of cancer. There are many other factors that contribute to cancer initiation and promotion, such as:
- Chemical exposure
- Radiation exposure
- Chronic stress that suppresses the immune system
- Vaccines containing hidden retroviruses and cancer causing viruses
- Natural infection with bacteria and viruses that are cancer causing
- Lack of sleep
- Insufficient nutrients (lack of methyl donors such as B12, folate, and B6 will prevent the body from ‘turning off’ (methylating) cancer-promoting genes
Even though cancer is a complex, multi-factorial phenomena, with variables we can not always control, one thing we can do is control what goes into our mouth. Sugar, for instance, does not belong there if we truly want to prevent and/or treat cancer. And don’t forget, carbohydrates that don’t taste sweet on the front end – bread, crackers, cereal – certainly convert to sugar in the body within minutes post-consumption.
In a nutshell, if you are concerned about cancer, have cancer, or would like to prevent recurrence, removing sugar and excess carbohydrates is a must. Not only is it common sense, but it is now validated by experimental research.
Note: another recent study found that Candida albicans (yeast) also contributes to cancer initiation and promotion. C. albicans thrives on sugar, lending additional support to the notion that sugar (consumed excessively) may be a primary driver of the cancer epidemic in those consuming the modern Western diet. For information on sugar alternatives that are not synthetic toxicants like Splenda (sucralose), read my latest article on the topic: 4 Sugar Alternatives That Won’t Poison You.
*Note: Cancer cells prefer to ferment sugar as a form of energy even when there is sufficient oxygen available to the cells to do so; hence Warburg’s description of cancer metabolism as ‘aerobic glycolysis’ or the so-called ‘Warburg effect’
Originally published: 2017-12-04
Article udpated: 2019-07-19
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The Hard Truth About Psychedelics We Must Consider While Ayahuasca Continues To Go Mainstream
- The Facts:
Psychedelics can be a useful tool in helping people to work through a number of serious challenges like addiction and extreme trauma. These practices are best done guided and with expertise involved.
- Reflect On:
Is the popularization of psychedelics marginalize what they can do? Do psychedelics actually change you? Or do they show you what you need to change about yourself?
This may be controversial in some perceptions, but authentic truth is so important to me that I had to share this for deeper reflection. It’s especially important in a time where psychedelic substances like mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote and so forth are becoming quite popular. I believe we are losing sight of what they actually do and what their true purpose is to some extent.
There is no such thing as a shortcut to enlightenment. We might think that because we gain insight during an experience, that the journey is done. The reason why this is not the case is because it’s what you do with that insight that makes all the difference. You will see this sentiment further explained by Graham Hancock below.
My main calling in life is to help expand consciousness and possibility. This is what I have been doing since founding CE 9 years ago and what I see myself doing until my heart makes it clear a new path is turning up. Given that, I am all for anything that helps expand consciousness. I’m not for nor against any of these substances we call psychedelics. I am “If you are drawn to it authentically in your heart, do it.”
Side note: I recorded a podcast with my friend Mark DeNicola you can listen to here on this subject.
I feel it’s important to spend time getting in tune with your heart and finding out what direction it is guiding you. Unfortunately, I feel we are spending more time trying things all over the place from the space of the mind because we are afraid to quiet our minds.
With various consciousness expanding methods available to us, you may get a glimpse of what it is like beyond the mind, but if we do not practice being in the heart, we are not going to change from the experience and challenges we have with any of these substances, or any other methods for that matter.
Finally, I’m writing this because I feel the full story is often not shared. Many people claim all the crazy experiences and benefits they had, but rarely talk about the fact nothing changed the first 3 or 5 times they did it. Also because all too often we hear ‘the coolest stories of all time without asking the big question:’
“I was out of my body and seeing all these colors and beings and I saw the trees breathing etc etc.”
This sounds cool, you expanded beyond daily reality which is great. I have also seen these things. But I know that just as one can see these things through meditation, what does that do to help create a lasting change in your life and evolve beyond the struggles you experience on a daily basis?
I’ve always been quiet about talking about the ‘fascinating’ things or beings I see etc. The reason is I find it distracts people immensely from why they want to do something and it makes them focus on the trip itself. One can have, and I have had, a full out of body experience through 20 minutes of breathwork, but is that why one would do breathwork? Is that going to help us clear out the emotional challenges we face?
That’s for each one of us to reflect on and decide within ourselves.
Ultimately, what is the reason we do them? To have a trip? To work through our emotional blockages?
An Overuse Crisis?
I’ve not heard this from just myself, but from the spirit of the plants themselves and from many others who have come across the same conclusions. We are in a period where overuse of these substances is extreme. Anytime we want clarity we turn to them. Anytime we think someone should shift their consciousness we tell them to do it. We use them 1, 3, 7 or even 10 times per year. In many cases, we are acting with these plants EXACTLY the way we do in the pharmaceutical world. We’re looking for that quick fix. And we have tossed self-mastery and daily care and practice aside.
We keep saying, “but nature is here to help us!” But to that I ask us to reflect: we already know we have challenges, right? So we know we have to be active in making changes in our everyday life, right? So we need to then develop a practice and self-mastery to make that happen daily, right? So why are we viewing what nature provided as a means to justify our lack of commitment to practice and instead want a quick fix? Herbs are here on this planet to help heal our bodies if we get sick. But they aren’t here so we can use them every time we get sick due to the fact we still want to smoke, drink alcohol, eat processed foods, etc. all day long. Nature is here to support us, not awaken us.
Psychedelics were used back in a time when the level of consciousness of the planet was not as high, which helped give insight to shamans so they could share it with their communities. It was meant for use in extreme cases where heavy trauma or addictions existed and people could not use other ways to work through their emotional challenges. Here in present time, we use them in a western fashion as THE GO TO for moving through all of our challenges. I’m here to remind you that you have so much power and ability as a being that in most cases, you don’t need any of these things to evolve. I’m not suggesting don’t do it, I’m simply saying truly ask your heart what you want, and don’t get caught up in the grand allure and peer pressure.
I made it a point to prove to myself that it was possible to quickly and easily create noticeable shifts within people and give them a practice to continue with. I developed a 5 day challenge using concepts I’ve learned and developed over 8 years of practice. I’ve put 180,000 people through these 5 days and most people have reported very powerful emotional shifts and life changes in these 5 days alone. This is great news. But did they last? That is something that is never up to the method or the plant, but up to the person, and this is my point. While I have heard a number of amazing stories of lasting changes from this challenge, I have no idea how many lasted for a long time. What I do know is the challenge was designed around self mastery and practice, giving us the tools to carry forth long after it was complete from within ourselves.
One misconception we have to begin to explore is that taking these substances don’t suddenly reveal to us all the secrets of the universe. They do precisely what other altered states do – they provide insight into what the space of awareness is beyond your mind. In some cases, they also tap you into the astral field, which isn’t the source of grand truth even though we sometimes see it that way.
Like masters, yogis and meditators of our past, we know we can achieve deep states of consciousness and tap into truth quite easily while sober, it just takes some time to do so. How much? Depends on what you are doing, but one can achieve a silent mind in just 20 minutes of breathing.
Regardless, it doesn’t matter whether you are a master meditator, veteran psychedelic user, a yogi master or whatever other method we may use sober or not, none of it matters if we are not actively doing what it takes to change our lives on a daily basis based on what we see during our experiences.
People have sometimes assumed that when I share what I share about self-mastery I am stating that only psychedelic users bypass the work they need to do, but this isn’t true at all. I do know some people who have chosen the psychedelic path and have made incredible changes within their first session, and I have known people who have chosen breath work paths who’ve done the same in the first session. I’ve also known people from both categories who have a great trip/experience but deal with the same challenges for many years to come because there is a lack of integration and self empowerment.
An Incredible Story
Many of my friends have experienced psychedelics, and I have had the pleasure to hear so many people’s stories in the 10 years that I have been in the consciousness exploration space. I have noticed a ton of common trends and specifically have seen that there is an unbalanced perspective being spread quite a bit that I feel requires some grounding.
I decided to jump on a podcast with my friend Mark DeNicola who shares a very insightful story about his journey using mushrooms and ayahuasca.
He shares his take aways from his experiences and what mama ayahuasca told him about ayahuasca use in the modern world. He also shares how you can explore if the journey is right for you.
Grounding The Subject
Since about 8 years ago I have been fascinated with observing the research coming out about psilocybin and watching others as they use psychedelics for spiritual development. I can tell you, it absolutely can be an effective path. But I have found this to be few and far between and I feel I know why. It truly comes down to the fact that no method in this world suddenly gets rid of all of your challenges. It takes time and a practice to authentically make it go. The trouble is, many are not willing to do that work.
As Mark mentioned in the podcast, he would ask people thinking about it “If you knew that the ceremony would not get rid of all your challenges you have now that you want gone, and that you would have to do work after to truly clear them, would you still want to do it?”
This of course is not a deterrent, but an authentic question around what the purpose of these substances are.
I wanted to bring up some common challenges I have noticed that just don’t seem to be talked about enough as many don’t share the full story of their journeys. I believe this misleads people. Again, these aren’t negative things, they are calls for us to take responsibility for our evolution within and truly ask “Is what we are doing to help change our lives truly working?”
- I’ve noticed some great changes in some, but in most cases I have not observed a lasting effect in users, simply because there is no self work after. (I can say the same about spiritual retreats in general)
- It appears common to feel incredible 1 to 3 weeks after, but go back to the same struggles. Again, because you don’t suddenly get rid of everything during any method, I believe this is due to a lack of practice and action.
- It’s common for people to state “I puked out all my demons and challenges, and now they are gone.” But that’s not what seems to be the case as in many cases the same challenges and patterns continue on for that person long after the ceremony. More on this on the podcast!
- Many people I have seen use Ayahuasca 15 – 30 times, seem to ‘get worse’ the more they do it. This of course doesn’t happen to all. Again, I feel this comes down to lack of self work and thinking the plant will do all the work.
- I don’t mean this in a negative way, but a ‘cult like’ mentality seems to form and many users aggressively try and convince everyone in the world this is the only path to enlightenment and that it will change the world if we all do it.
Check out the podcast here for the full story, some amazing insight and how to explore whether or not your path could include a journey like this.
I share once more because so many people ask me this question, there is no right or wrong here. We don’t need to feel that if we do them or don’t do them we are somehow wrong or missing out. You’re not on a more purposeful path one way or another. If you want to find out if any experience is right for you, look in your heart, develop that relationship.
My goal is to help others be TRULY empowered. I wrote this because I’m not seeing enough of that happen within others as we give the power to things outside ourselves. This is a reminder.
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Acetaminophen—Not Worth the Risk
Acetaminophen has been around for over a century and is the most widely used drug compound in the world. In the U.S., acetaminophen (also called paracetamol or APAP) is present as an active ingredient in over 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications marketed to relieve pain or reduce fever, including Tylenol. Every week, nearly one in four Americans takes an acetaminophen-containing medication, and pediatricians routinely recommend acetaminophen as the treatment of choice for fever in children.
Despite its ubiquity, acetaminophen also has many critics. These argue that the drug’s path to prominence has been littered with errors, false assumptions and undue complacency about risks. Documented problems include life-threatening liver damage in individuals who consume acetaminophen in “excess amounts”—something that is all too easy to do, given the drug’s different aliases and the sheer number of products in which it is present—as well as cardiovascular disease and renal injury risks associated with long-term use. In the critics’ view, these and other problems make acetaminophen “one of the most dangerous compounds in medical use.”
In the U.S., roughly 500 deaths are attributable to acetaminophen each year, as well as 100,000 poison control calls, 50,000 emergency room visits and 10,000 hospitalizations. Most acetaminophen-related emergency department visits are in young children (under age 5), adolescents or young adults. The problem of accidental (or intentional) overdoses is worrisome enough, but there are other reasons to be concerned about acetaminophen use in young people—notably, the drug’s association with asthma and developmental disorders such as autism. The research linking acetaminophen to these epidemic-level chronic conditions suggests that the drug’s automatic inclusion in the childhood medicine cabinet ought to be reconsidered.
… two different studies found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life predicted asthma at age three and at six to seven years of age, respectively.
Acetaminophen and atopic conditions
Numerous studies link acetaminophen use during pregnancy with increased asthma risks in offspring. Research also points to an association between use in infancy and asthma later on. For example, two different studies found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life predicted asthma at age three and at six to seven years of age, respectively.
The associations hold true not just for asthma but also for allergies and eczema. Polish researchers reported “a significant dose-dependent increase” in the risk of asthma, allergy and eczema symptoms in three age groups who used acetaminophen in the previous 12 months: children (ages 6-7), adolescents (ages 13-14) and adults (ages 20-44). A multi-center European study found that the drug was “strongly positively associated with asthma” in 20- to 45-year-old adults taking acetaminophen on a weekly basis, compared with less frequent users.
Taking stock of the size and consistency of the evidence, Spanish researchers—while stopping short of recommending an outright acetaminophen ban—have advocated for a significant rollback on its use:
“It is absolutely clear that the scientific literature is sending a large and consistent signal that challenges the traditional excellent safety profile of acetaminophen in children. […] A widespread, professional-based recommendation of limiting acetaminophen use to those cases in which ibuprofen cannot be administered would reduce the childhood population exposure to a minimum and would provide a good opportunity to minimize the detrimental effect of acetaminophen.”
… the authors note that the long-term effects of acetaminophen exposure on neural development have never been evaluated in humans and point out that even at very low doses, acetaminophen triggers immune system activation and oxidative stress responses—both of which are hallmarks of autism.
Autism and developmental disorders
In addition to asthma, research has linked prenatal acetaminophen use to “lower performance intelligence quotient (IQ), …autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental problems (gross motor development, communication), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, poorer attention and executive function, and behavioral problems in childhood.”For example, a longitudinal study that looked at language development in two-and-a-half year-olds whose mothers had taken acetaminophen during the first trimester of pregnancy found a significant association between prenatal acetaminophen use and language delays, particularly in boys. The researchers concluded, “Given…the importance of language development, these findings…would suggest that pregnant women should limit their use of this analgesic during pregnancy.”
There is especially compelling research tying acetaminophen use to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a 2017 study (written by a “who’s who” of autism researchers at Duke, Harvard and the University of Colorado), the authors note that “the long-term effects of acetaminophen exposure on neural development have never been evaluated in humans” and point out that even at very low doses, acetaminophen “triggers immune system activation and oxidative stress responses”—both of which are hallmarks of autism. They also assemble evidence for both prenatal and postnatal associations between acetaminophen use and neurological problems in children, including mentioning a reported link between circumcision-related acetaminophen use and increased autism prevalence.
Many parents report witnessing the onset of regressive autism following their child’s concurrent receipt of acetaminophen and vaccines.
Studies published in 2018 propose that acetaminophen may function as an ASD risk factor in combination with other pharmaceutical and environmental toxins. For example, researchers speculate that acetaminophen magnifies the damage done by antibiotics and glyphosate because it impairs sulfate metabolism and depletes the master antioxidant—glutathione—that the body needs in order to engage in effective detoxification.
Many parents report witnessing the onset of regressive autism following their child’s concurrent receipt of acetaminophen and vaccines. However, researchers desirous of keeping the focus on acetaminophen tend to avoid discussing possible vaccine-related synergistic effects. This is somewhat puzzling, given vaccines’ aluminum content and aluminum’s capacity to impair detoxification in much the same way as acetaminophen. In fact, there are multiple mechanisms “whereby significant quantities of aluminium introduced via immunisation could produce chronic neuropathology in genetically susceptible children,” including oxidative stress, glutathione depletion and increased inflammation. The “synchronicity…between the onset of the autism epidemic and the surge in acetaminophen use” is undeniable, but so is the synchronicity between autism and the ever-expanding childhood vaccine schedule.
No more candy
For years, health providers and parents have handed out acetaminophen-containing products like candy, heedless of the compound’s documented toxicity. Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol and one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has been only too happy to continue encouraging perceptions of a “favorable safety profile”; however, recurrent lawsuits and recalls and the abundant literature describing toxic outcomes suggest that it may be time for acetaminophen’s glory days to come to a close.
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