From The Blog

By Sayer Ji • Originally posted on

Boosting testosterone has become all the rage today, but unless you activate your body’s innate ability to do it naturally you will have to face the possibility of serious side effects.

As men reach their mid-forties their testosterone levels begin to decline, with approximately 1% to 2% decrease in measurable blood levels annually, and then dropping off precipitously after age 60 into full blown “andro-pause.”  This ever-increasing decline can have a wide range of adverse effects, both physically and psychologically, ranging from muscle loss to insulin resistance, low libido to depression.

Today, an increasing number of aging men are opting for testosterone replacement therapy, some with dramatic results. But this approach, while often positive in the short term, can have some serious drawbacks in the long term, especially if the underlying and modifiable factors causing the deficiency are not addressed at their root.

First, testosterone replacement therapy often involves administering levels far higher than a normal physiologic dose, which increases the risks of serious side effects, including certain cancers.

Second, when testosterone is replaced, a negative endocrine feedback loop is activated sending a signal to the gonads to reduce its production further, ultimately feeding the original deficiency and even leading to testicular atrophy.

Third, when testosterone levels are suddenly increased through exogenous sources, there is often a concomitant increase in testosterone metabolites such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol, both which can lead to some particularly undesirable downstream effects, which include male pattern hair loss and excessive prostate growth.

Given these risks, the obvious alternative path is to support the body’s natural production of testosterone both by removing testosterone blocking chemicals and supporting one’s own body’s ability to produce more testosterone endogenously.

It has been several years since Jose Navarro, a federal poultry inspector died at the age of 37, a victim of increasingly noxious chemicals used in poultry and meat production. Chemicals like ammonia, chlorine and peracetic acid are frequently employed to kill aggressive bacteria in meat and poultry.

Navarro coughed up blood several months before his death, the Washington Post reported and died in November 2011 of lung and kidney failure, according to the autopsy report. An OSHA inspector during a subsequent investigation said “the combination of disinfectants and other chemicals” in addition to pathogens such as salmonella “could be causing significant health problems for processing-plant occupants,” reports the Post. The plant where Navarro worked and the chicken industry defend the chemicals as safe.

Consumers and food activists often criticize the sped up, barely-regulated operations at commercial slaughterhouses that harm workers and animals in the quest for cheaper meat. But increasingly federal meat inspectors themselves are speaking out about the broken system.

“My plant in Pennsylvania processed 1,800 cows a day, 220 per hour,” and veterinarians were pressured “to look the other way” when violations happened Lester Friedlander, DVM, a federal meat inspector told the Winnipeg Free Press. The reason? Stopping “the line” cost the plant about $5,000 a minute. Dr. Friedlander was a USDA veterinarian for 10 years and trained other federal veterinarians.

So July 4th is a BBQ day, right? Do you think hot dogs, hamburgers, and horrible warm pasta salad made with mayonnaise?

The Standard American Diet — SAD for short, and in no such coincidence — is never more pronounced than during the summer BBQ extravaganza.

But it doesn’t have to be like this! I will attend two days worth of these types of meals. For both, I will arm myself with some wonderful dishes to bring along.

I do this for several reasons.

  1. I want to be able to eat.
  2. I want my family to have good choices.
  3. I want a conversation to start about how someone could make these dishes.

I am a veggie ambassador. I bring forth good food, and I hope it will influence someone’s life. If nothing more, I want to share a few new recipes that aren’t made with animal-based foods.

By Sayer Ji • Originally posted on

Since biblical times, dates were believed to possess profound healing properties, but only now is science catching up to confirm our distant ancestors knew exactly what they were talking about. 

If you go by the Nutrition Facts panel of an ordinary package of dates, they look more like sugar bombs than a healthy snack. Check this one out:

But are they really as nutritionally vapid as these label claims make them seem?

Not by a long shot.