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There are a lot of complaints about young people these days, including that they’re lazy, entitled, and in strange way, naïve, in that many of them don’t understand how the world actually works, and worse, don’t seem all that interested in learning. There is some substance to these descriptions, but there are also- as always- many, many exceptions, young people who are out in the world being good citizens, contributing to our society, and in the cliché of our time, “changing the world.” There is one young woman in particular who is doing all this and more: Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, the revolutionary health care company that has the potential to change not only  the way medicine is practiced here in the United States, but around the entire world, bringing improved health and diagnostic capabilities to billions of people all over the planet.

Holmes’ company, Theranos, grew out of an idea she developed as a 19-year-old second-year college student at Stanford.  As a child in Washington D.C. and Houston, Texas, she had hated shots and blood tests, and as she got older she wondered if getting very specific with the chemical processes used to assay blood, and then writing software to rationalize and optimize the procedures of each test could make a test that would lessen the physical impact of a blood test, and more importantly, speed up the turn around time for results of the tests. Theranos can get run-of-the-mill tests result in the time that current labs can only do the most urgent emergencies, and then, because the process uses so little blood, they can them do follow-on tests that a doctor might request just as quickly. And, Theranos can do this for fifty to ninety percent less cost than current laboratories. The implications of this for Medicare alone are staggering.

But Holmes’s vision is even bigger than that- while she hopes that her technology can provide her fellow Americans with faster, cheaper and more reliable medical tests, the core of her vision involves maximizing the potential of Theranos by improving (sometimes providing for the first time) reliable medical testing all over the world. Therano’s smaller equipment, faster turnaround, and ability to do multiple tests with a small amount of drawn blood help simplify the issues for clinical situations in the developing world, and promise a revolution in health care that could be as significant to global society as the introduction of the personal computer and everything that has happened since. Not bad for someone who just entered her 30s.

As Holmes told Fortune magazine“This is about being able to do good. And it’s about being able to change the health care system through what we believe this country does so well, which is innovation and creativity and the ability to conceive of technology that can help solve policy challenges.” It will be fascinating and exciting to watch Elizabeth Holmes develop as a person and a CEO over the next 30-40 years, and it is deeply encouraging to consider all the good that is yet to be done.



A LINK to Fortune’s profile of Elizabeth Holmes:

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Be sure to try the recipes!



Last week we talked about apple cider vinegar, a super food that is inexpensive and versatile. This week I’d like to introduce you (or remind you if you’re already in the know) to another great food that Americans are just becoming aware of, one that comes from the ocean, has great variety, and is loaded with nutrients, vitamins, fiber and anti-oxidants.


Though they might seem exotic to many Americans, edible seaweeds are a common food around the world, particularly in coastal cultures. Seaweed has been eaten in Japan, China and Korea throughout human history, and is enjoyed in Iceland, Norway, France, Ireland, Wales, England, New Zealand, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.


It’s hard to imagine another food with as much nutritional value as seaweed. It contains high amounts of iodine, potassium (a nutrient we’re learning is especially useful to men as the age), iron, calcium, magnesium, chromium and vitamins A, B, B6, B12, and C.


Seaweed may help prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. It is also detoxifying, and helps cleanse the digestive system. It has heart-healthy fats, is especially rich in omega-3s, and its large fiber content helps with the regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol (particularly beneficial in the fight against Type 2 diabetes).


Seaweed can be an acquired taste, but many of us eat it already with sushi, and in any event it is a taste worth acquiring: of the ocean, a little like fish, a little like shrimp, a bit salty, and once you get used to it, very good.



The most common varieties:


Agar –             Jelly-like, used to thicken aspics and gelatin-type desserts, used in                                         seaweed salads. High in iodine. Comes in flakes or bar form.


Arame –           Good source of potassium, iodine,  calcium and vitamin A. Used in

vegetable dishes because of its mildly sweet flavor.


Dulse –            Burgundy-colored, and when dry-roasted in a skillet has a smoky flavor.

Rich in potassium and Vitamins B6 and B12, and about four times the                                  amount of iron than that in spinach.


Hiziki –           There is 10 times more calcium in a cup of cooked Hiziki than in a glass

of milk. Cook it in apple juice with sweet vegetables, and the seaweed’s

volume expands when soaked.


Kelp –             A good source of calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, potassium and                                          magnesium. Eat in soups and stews.


Kombu –         Has a great flavor in broths and stews, and is a wonderful source of

calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin C.


Wakame –       High levels of iodine, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and B.                                    Used in miso soup and seaweed salad.







Toasted Dulse With Baby Arugula Salad


Prep Time: 20 Minutes


Cook Time: 2 Minutes


Yield: 4 Servings





½ cup loosely packed dulse


4 cups baby arugula greens


1 ½ cups finely sliced green cabbage


5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar


1 tablespoon minced shallot


1 pinch sea salt


1 pinch black pepper


8 ½ slices of goat cheese log (optional)





1.         Heat a small skillet over low heat for 30 seconds. Tear dulse into bite-sized pieces    and place in the skillet. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until dulse turns brown,

about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.


2.         Place arugula and cabbage in a salad bowl and toss.


3.         To make the dressing: in a small bowl,  whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, sea                      salt and pepper. Toss dressing with salad to taste.


4.         Divide arugula and cabbage salad among four serving plates and top with dulse,        adding two slices of goat cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.




Arame with Tofu and Soba


Prep Time: 60 Minutes


Cook Time: 45 Minutes


Yield: 5 Servings





½ pound extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes


1 cup water


4 cloves garlic, minced


2 tablespoons ginger juice


4 ½  tablespoons maple syrup, divided


3 tablespoons tamari, divided


6 ounces soba noodles


½ cup lightly packed arame


4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil


3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar


1 ½ tablespoons stone-ground mustard


¼ teaspoon sea salt


½ yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-by3-inch strips


½ red bell pepper, cut into ¼-by3-inch strips


4 scallions, sliced thin





1.         Place tofu in a medium bowl. Add the water, garlic, ginger juice, 3 tablespoons of      the maple syrup, and one teaspoon of the tamari. Marinate for 30 minutes.


2.         Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add soba. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Drain and set aside.


3.         Place arame in a bowl fill with cool water. Gently stir, then drain. Refill bowl             with fresh water, drain after 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of tamari and   set aside.


4.         Place tofu with marinade in a skillet. Boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add arame.         Cook until liquid has evaporated.


5.         In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, remaining maple syrup,        mustard and sea salt. Set aside.


6.         Add bell peppers and scallions to skillet and stir. Place on top of noodles and add     dressing. Mix well and stir.








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We hear talk everyday about “superfoods”: things we can eat and drink (and rub on our skin, and wash our hair with and brush our teeth with and all kinds of other uses) that are so good for us that we might wonder why we eat, drink or use anything else. Wheatgrass, Goji berries, kale, Swiss chard, salmon, flax seed, and quinoa are just a few of the dozens of special foodstuffs that promise added nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, among other benefits for health and well-being.

One of the most super of the superfoods is the easily obtained and relatively inexpensive- a 32 oz bottle can be purchased for under $10- apple cider vinegar, which is exactly what it sounds like, an extraordinarily useful vinegar made from apple cider or apple must (freshly squeezed apple juice that contains the skin, seeds, and stem).  Apple cider vinegar can be employed as a natural antibiotic, a cure for hiccups, an anti-acne application, a supplement to shampoo in the fight against dandruff, a mouth wash, a teeth whitener, palliative to ease sunburns, energy booster, cramp fighter and anti-glycemic aid to lower blood sugar. And those are just some of the many applications we’re reasonably sure of- with time and research it may be that this superfood can also help lower cholesterol naturally,  help with heart health and help with weight loss, though the studies are not yet finished.

It is able to do all of these good things largely to presence of acetic acid, which has antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties, and which can also help restore and maintain the proper pH balance in the body. In the correct dosage (I recommend between 1 teaspoon and one tablespoon a day, perhaps diluted with water), apple cider vinegar is completely safe, and is a simple, inexpensive and natural way to gain health benefits without exposing ourselves to many of the side effects and unknown long-term risks of conventional pharmaceuticals. Oh, and I almost forgot: there’s one more reason to have it around: it tastes really good on a salad, and that can be reason enough to have it in the pantry.



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It seems like every few months the term “GMO” – short for genetically modified organisms- pops up in the news, creating a fresh controversy, and focusing our attention on the issue. This time two events, a confrontation between television’s Dr. Oz, and a decision by high-end fast food purveyor Chipotle, are driving the news cycle and discussion.

Dr. Oz, who has been a long-time and persistent skeptic concerning GMO technology, was attacked in an open letter signed by ten other professors. They accused him of “repeatedly show[ing] disdain for science and for evidenced-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops.” Oz responded by pointing out his accusers relationships with GMO companies, and their connections to right wing pro-corporate think tanks and funding institutions. The contretemps ended in a sort of stalemate, but the fight played out at a very high profile in the news media.

Then, almost as if on cue, rising and extremely popular food giant Chipotle announced that they will phase out use of all GMO-related foods as soon as possible. This has been portrayed in the media as grandstanding, but another way of seeing it is that Chipotle, whose brand screams “fresh,” and “trustworthy” is reacting to the views and desires of its customers. What remains to be seen is whether other fast food giants will join them, and if such a cascade might lead to a change in the supply chain that would actually affect the use of GMOs.

Part of the problem as the problem is debated is that the average American truly does not understand what GMO means, that it involves scientists entering the DNA of plants and altering or adding to it in order to enhance or eliminate various traits.  There are strong arguments on both sides, but as is usual now when activists and corporations oppose each other, the facts become lost in a fog of doublespeak and recrimination, and it becomes hard to ascertain the true facts, and the most reliable research that might shed some light for the average person.

Until we evolve an ability to have serious conversations about serious issues in our society, perhaps it would be best to follow the lead of the state of Vermont, and label any food containing GMO ingredients and allow the consumer to decide whether on not to buy and eat.

Aside from the disputed science there are other hugely troubling issues: Large corporations will own more and more of our food  supply– literally own it. After thousands of years of humans using and sharing seeds, of seeds being sort of a common and widely shared good, suddenly private companies are increasing able to “fence off” foodstuffs. Plus, if their seeds cross-pollinate with yours, they own the plants that result. The only word for this is “scary.”

Finally, GMOs in agriculture have opened the door for genetic modifications in animals and humans- this past week, doctors in China announced that they had performed an experiment on a human fetus, altering its DNA to try and cure a blood disease in utero. Whether or not this is good science, or an advance in medicine that will alleviate human suffering, it feels like things are moving too fast, and that there hasn’t been nearly enough discussion.

Is this what we want for our future? Shouldn’t all of this be thoroughly debated in public, and by the public through our elected representatives before we go down these roads?


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1. Reclaim your mailboxes – think of how much unwanted paper, plastic, stuff – junk- enters your home every week: through your physical mailbox with its magazines, catalogues and solicitations and your e-mail, with its spam, unwanted messages and updates from people and companies you’ve done business with one time.

Take a bit of time to unsubscribe from mailing lists, cancel subscriptions, and just make a habit of throwing out. It will make a tremendous difference in space, lightness and freedom from clutter throughout your space, physical and psychic.


2. Purge your files, clean out your drawers and in general de-clutter - Recycle or throw away papers that you no longer need, and be rigorous with the idea of “need.”

For peace of mind, separate out and put your important documents in a fireproof box at home or a safety deposit box in a bank.

Then, once a week, take a grocery bag and pick up anything around your house you no longer need- clothes, toys, books, magazines, mail- and either toss it, recycle, or give it to charity.


3. Simplify your finances.  Clean out that wallet.

File or get rid of receipts, business cards, phone numbers, and notes that you’ve been carrying around for months. Then go deeper: How can you really simplify your money life? Think about how much easier it would be if you kept only one main credit card and a single back up.  Consider consolidating your banking at one institution.  For recurring charges on utilities and other similar bills, think about change to automatic billing linked to your checking account or a credit card.


4. Write down the 3-5 things in the world that are most important to you – Contemplate and decide what really matters, to you: Your family? Your career? Your religious or spiritual life? Your romantic partner? Your fitness? Your hobbies?

Read the list at least once every day. Focus on it for a moment, and ask yourself quietly: how am I working on this today?

Knowing what you value most in life will enable you to clarify your goals and know what kind of action steps you need to take to move them forward.  The clearer your goals are,  the simpler you make them, and the more deeply you understand them, the easier it will be to move toward them.


5. Chunk your time - Designate specific times and specific days to get tasks done.

For example, do all of your grocery shopping on Saturday mornings, and stick to that, no matter what (excepting, for example, special foods for young children).

Reserve Sundays for church, the recreation you most enjoy, family time, or time with your spouse or romantic partner.

Decide to only meet clients Tuesdays through Thursdays. Reserve Mondays for research and new business.  Complete administrative tasks every Friday morning.

And learn to think of your evenings the same way- maybe one evening you watch a favorite television show (or two or three), on another evening you fold laundry. But make that plan, and stick to it.

By chunking your time, you are prioritizing those things that matter most, you are accepting the true limits of our busy schedules, and you are creating more time for the activities that truly inspire you.


6. Just say “no” - Value your time. If you don’t, no one else will.

Respect your goals, obligations and commitments, but acknowledge how much of your time is already spoken for.  Say “yes!”  joyfully, to the new opportunities that are in line with your vision,  but give a firm and polite “No” to the “opportunities,” projects and tasks that aren’t in line with your goals, that will be distractions, or that people (including your kids, can do themselves as well as.

Claim your time and declare your respect for yourself.


7. Clean out your car - What would it feel like if your main mode of transportation was clean, relaxing and welcoming?

This is something we so often overlook, don’t even think about, as our cars quietly become repositories of junk and even filth. It just takes a minute to throw away papers, food wrapping, old coffee cups- and only a little more time to stop and vacuum the inside, spray a little Armor All, even roll through the car wash.

Start and end your day in a clutter free car, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.

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I have many areas of concern regarding the scientific burger “breakthrough,” including the way in which in the last 50-60 years our society has moved further and further away from REAL FOOD and the importance of the old grandmotherly wisdom of “you are what you eat.”

Every day we have more and more scientific, medical and experiential proof that what’s at the end of your fork has more power to improve your health and sense of well-being than synthetically made or enhanced food “products” and pharmaceuticals. REAL FOOD isn’t altered and doesn’t need to have dyes, sweeteners, nutrients, fats or anything else added to make it taste good and look appetizing. It doesn’t need engineered molecules to help your health.

With the increased diagnoses of cancer, diabetes, ADHD, depression, and allergies -just to name a few – we Americans need to pause, take a look at what’s on our plates, and take the time to think about how much of a part food plays in our health.

One of the reasons cited for spending hundreds of thousand of dollars to “grow” hamburger meat in the lab was its environmental benefit: more people could eat better and with more pleasure once the technique is perfected. But we already have tasty, effective, efficient and responsibly sustainable alternatives for food production that will also dramatically help with carbon emissions (livestock play a surprisingly huge role in greenhouse gases), and which also improve the lives and experiences of our animals. The state of North Carolina recently passed a law restricting whistle blowers on factory farms; think about that: what is it that we can’t see, and should we being eating anything that is grown “in the dark”?

I heartily recommend the documentary Forks over Knives. It’s a wonderful film and a quick way to understand some of these issues, and to learn that you don’t have to become a vegetarian to help address these issues, but that incorporating a more plant-based diet will help with how you feel, your health care costs, the health of our planet and our animals, and the world we leave our children, in other words, the benefits of REAL FOOD.

Here’s an interesting article that made me think about our current eating habits and sustaining ourselves into the future:

Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals?

Christina Chodos