News

Dragon Dictate

Like the popular Dreamworks animation ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, one must be patient befriending a Dragon—but once properly trained, you have a powerful ally under your command.

Dragon’s Advocate

As applications go, Nuance Dragon Dictate has its critics and devotees, but more the latter with this latest release.

Unlike some software, which seems poised for greatness but that fall’s short of it’s full potential through lack of adaptation, Dragon Dictate has become more versatile, and accurate with each version.

Even training your Dragon has become more refined, requiring only 90 seconds of voice recording to create your speakers profile.

The developers clearly resonate the same attention to listening as their application, and with v4 have made improvements based on customer feedback.

As such, the new Dragon comes fully equipped to interpret, transcribe and respond to all manner of commands. Lending well to professions of copious paperwork, digital communications, research and as I have found editorial direction.

Lets take a look at some of the improvements…

- Transcribe from many different formats, including .mp3 .aif .aiff .wav .mp4 .m4a .m4v.

- Transcribe a single speaker’s voice from podcasts or pre-recorded audio files.

- Create transcription-only profiles based on recorded sources instead of a live source.

- Expanded profile capability to allow multiple transcription sources per profile.

- Mix and match voice transcription from a smartphone or portable voice recorder.

- Keep your customisation and vocabulary without switching to a different profile.

And here’s where it gets handsfree…

- Compose and reply to emails in Gmail™ doing dictation and editing natively without having to transfer any text.

- In via Safari® and Firefox® use voice commands to control your Gmail inbox.

- Use your voice to open any visible link or email.

- Mix talking and typing with Full Text Control in Apple® Pages® 4.3

Enter the ‘new’ Dragon…

- Higher performance with drastically reduced latency and faster editing.

- Pure 64- bit application with improved memory management.

- Improved accuracy over version 3.x.

- Optimised for the latest speech recognition technology.

- Best Match V technology.

Dragon of Many Trades

Academic, medical, media and more, it seems Dragon is an application with benefit to many fields. For this review I explored it’s potential as an aid to creative workflow and research, both in and out of the field.

The enhancements outlined above add notable versatility to the application, primarily in its diverse format capabilities—working exceptionally well with one’s smartphone. Journalists and field researchers will appreciate the ability to make notes on their footage for later reference. Upon retuning to the office Dragon makes quick work of transcribing the audio into text, which makes story layout, data cataloguing or photo sequencing a doodle. Like the captain of the enterprise, you can then begin emailing, and editing your work using simple voice commands. With the ability to flow from one format, profile or application to another with seamless efficiency, correlating and confirming data, researching a subject, and archiving photos in expedited fashion.

In a world where news is only relative in the moment it happens, and creative talents fiercely compete for editorial or photographic presence—one must streamline their workflow in order to outrun any rivals. Dragon Dictate provides advantages beyond its initial intention, it also aids researchers and documentarians in the field to fast-track assignments, collaborate, collate and categorise their data quickly.

Dragon Dictate for Mac v4 is available from Nuance Australia starting at $199.95 AU

For more information or to purchase a copy of the software visit: http://australia.nuance.com/index.htm

Nutrince - Calton Nutrition

Packaged and processed foods offer a convenient source of sustenance for outdoor pursuits, but what of their nutritional value? Busy lifestyles also lend preference to convenience items, to which we typically address any potential nutritional deficiencies with a multi-vitamin. But is this enough?

Joining our panel of experts exploring natural health, Mira Calton, CN and Jayson Calton, PhD. Here to offer insights on the correlation between nutrient absorption and nutritional deficiency.

Our ancestors survived and thrived by simply eating the foods nature provided and allowing nature, in her infinite wisdom, to nourish and sustain them. We would like nothing more than to be able to share research indicating
sustained or increased levels of essential micronutrients in our food. We would love to be the ones to reveal
to you that a typical modern diet alone could provide
your body with even the minimum RDI of each essential micronutrient. Instead, we must face the fact that
for a large majority of people everywhere, the reality of achieving essential micronutrient sufficiency through
food alone is all but impossible.

So why are over 90% of the people living on the planet suffering from deficiencies in their micronutrients, or essential vitamins and minerals?

When one starts to dig for the answers it is essential that they start digging were the story begins—the soil. Mineral deficiency begins in the soil. If minerals are not available in the soil, then they won’t be available in the food we eat—and over the past 100 years the level of minerals in soil through-out the world has been on the decline. At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, it was revealed in the Earth Summit Report that in the past 100 years, farmlands in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia have become mineral depleted on an alarming scale. While Australia’s farms showed the least depletion, with a 55 percent reduction in mineral content, America’s farm and rangeland showed the greatest amount, with a startling average mineral depletion of 85 percent. Crops grown in soils stripped of essential minerals produce foods that are also stripped of essential micronutrients.

Essentially, when our soil is naked, our food is naked. Which ultimately means the calories we consume are ‘naked calories’.

We are not suggesting a conspiracy theory that farmers or government agencies are purposely depleting our soil in order to make us sick. This is not what we believe. What we do know is that farmers are being paid to produce maximum yield per acre, not maximum nutritional value. That’s why in the 1930s, corn yields of 50 bushels an acre were considered quite good, but today, some farmers are pushing their land and are producing corn yields greater than 200 bushels an acre. Farmers are forced, for economic reasons, to grow crops faster and are not financially rewarded for increasing a crop’s micronutrient value. As an example, in 1914 an apple would have contained 13.5 mgs of calcium, 28.9 mg of magnesium, and 4.6 mg of iron. However, according to the measurements taken by the USDA back in 1992, our depleted soil only yielded apples to contain 7 mg of calcium (48.15% less), 5 mg of magnesium (82.7% less) and .18 mg of iron (96% less). And that was back in 1992. If we consider it has been over 20 years since those measurements our apple today, if depletion kept at the same rates, would now have lost 61% of its calcium, 100% of its magnesium, and 100% of its iron.

It is clear that even the “healthiest” of foods will not keep the doctor at bay any longer.

But the soil is just the beginning. On average, that already depleted apple must travel over 1700 miles to your kitchen, and every minute or every mile that your food travels it loses micronutrients. It is not only the likely heat the food endures during transport that robs foods of their micronutrients; exposure to light (UVs) and exposure to air (oxidation) are also culprits. Food transportation is only one way our food becomes stripped. Additionally factory farming, which raises our animals with unnatural feed and environment, takes its toll as well. Wild fish can have up to 380 percent more omega-3 than factory-farmed fish.

Additionally, the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is far less health-promoting in factory-farmed fish. For instance, while the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in wild Coho salmon is 15.3 to 1 (optimal), the farm-raised Coho salmon has been shown to have a far less optimal 3 to 1 ratio. Grass-fed beef is loaded with more than 400 percent more vitamin A and vitamin E. It supplies higher levels of the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin. It has greater amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Grass-fed beef is two to four times richer in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Like wild salmon, grass-fed beef that consumes a diet natural to its species has a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.  Grass-fed beef is higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a potential cancer fighter and fat metabolizer. Cattle that graze on grass have 300 to 400 percent more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Pasteurization, irradiation, and food processing further deplete the amount of micronutrients delivered.

From the farm to the fork, our food supply is not that of our ancestors.

Our food supplies us with inadequate micronutrients and then our modern lives begin to work through them at faster rates then ever before. The water-soluble micronutrients such as the B vitamins, vitamin C, and all of the minerals are generally excreted at a faster rate during periods of stress, and because they are not stored to any great extent, deficiencies can develop rather fast. According to a 2010 report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, one-half of Americans take at least one prescription medication and one out of every five children and nine out of every ten adults age sixty and over take at least one prescription drug that leach micronutrients from the body. In the last twenty years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. from 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar per person per year unaware that the sugar itself can cause chromium and copper deficiencies and blocks the absorption of calcium and magnesium as well as vitamin C. The world around us, unlike that of our ancestors, is filled with toxin, pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals, and to detoxify from these assailants your body to utilize micronutrients as well.

The human being living today begins with a malnourished diet that simply cannot supply the vitamins and minerals needed to be protective of its modern environment.

So to fill in the gaps between where you diet leaves off and micronutrient sufficiency is achieved – supplementation is the key. However, here too our multivitamins may not be delivering the nutrition we think they are. In fact, there have been quite a few major articles as of late that are calling for the end of multivitamins, claiming that they don’t work and that there use is unjustified and should be avoided.

As it turns out that there are 4 formulation flaws that affect most supplements (and almost every multivitamin) that block the ability of the individual micronutrients from delivering their optimal benefits. The 4 flaws are Absorption, Beneficial quantities and forms, Competition and synergy. We decided to formulate our own multivitamin (nutreince) that would fix each of the 4 flaws in order to reverse Mira’s advanced osteoporosis.

We started with absorption. The truth is that if your multivitamin does not disintegrate it cannot be absorbed. This seems like a pretty basic concept, but when 3rd party evaluations were done on over 100 of todays most popular multivitamins 51% of them did not disintegrate leaving their contained vitamins and minerals useless to the person who had taken them. We overcame that problem by making nutreince a powered multivitamin, free of excipients, binders, fillers, and sugar that is put into water so it can be fully absorbed.

Second, we evaluated the quantities and forms of the micronutrients most multivitamins provide. We were not impressed. Mira needed calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and many other essential micronutrients to rebuild her bones – yet – in multivitamin after multivitamin these micronutrients were offered in low quantities or in forms that were not beneficial. We made beneficial quantities and forms a must with nutreince. Today, we provide 600 mg of calcium and 400 mg of magnesium, both in a highly absorbable ionic citrate form. We provide 2000 IU of vitamin D3 (the kind the body can use) and all three forms of vitamin K (vitamin K1, and vitamin K2 (both MK-4 & MK-7). And its not just he bone building micronutrients, nutreince also contains all 8 forms of natural vitamin E (alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms of both the tocopherols and the tocotrienols), 6 mg of lutein, 5- MTHF the most absorbable form of folate (B9), 425 mg of choline and much more. There is not another multivitamin that we know of that includes all of these.

Third, and perhaps most important, is competition. Did you know that more than 80% of the vitamins and minerals in the typical multivitamin compete with one another for absorption and utilization? Its true, and it is one of the main reasons why research often finds benefits of individual micronutrients, such as vitamin D or selenium, but can not reproduce the benefits of these same micronutrients when they are delivered with others in a multivitamin. We spent 6 years cataloging and mapping out as many micronutrient competitions as we could find so that we could separate the vitamins and minerals Mira was taking to avoid these known competitions. After 2 years of proper diet, exercise and supplementation using our now patented Anti-Competition Technology (ACT) Mira got the good news that we had completely reversed her osteoporosis, and we believe it was mainly due to overcoming the micronutrient competitions.

Nutreince is the first only multivitamin formulated with anti-competition technology.

And lastly we learnt that just like many micronutrients compete with one another there are also micronutrients that are synergistic with one another often times enhancing the absorption or utilization of the one or both. The problem is that unless each micronutrients competition is eliminated with their synergies are never realized. Nutreince is formulated to eliminate over 48 benefit-robbing competitions and includes 86 benefit-enhancing micronutrient synergies.

We believe that micronutrient deficiency is the most widespread and dangerous health condition of the 21st century due to a lifestyle that is far different from that of our ancestors, but you can protect yourself by becoming micronutrient sufficient. By focusing on RICH FOOD, becoming aware of your micronutrient depleting lifestyle habits and taking a properly formulated multivitamin you can achieve micronutrient sufficiency and create an environment where you body and health can thrive!

For more information visit: www.caltonnutrition.com

Running Outdoors for Inner Peace

As part of our natural health series, we introduce our second guest: Grahak Cunningham, ultra-runner and motivational speaker.

Grahak inspires others through his actions, and here deepens our wisdom with his words. Sharing insights on inner peace, making use of natures tempering ambience as a means of meditation.

We have all come home from a run and felt the benefits, both physical and mental of a run. Sweating out the problems of the day, we can feel pleased with ourselves and leave the worries and problems of everyday life behind. Something about it invokes a clarity in our mind and hearts. So what is the connection between heading outdoors for a run and feeling good, between the physical and the spiritual?

Firstly let’s look at situations where things aren’t going well. Think back to a time when you have been lying in bed unable to sleep. An endless stream of meaningless banter and thoughts make you agitated and restless. As a result you toss and turn and cannot rest. The mind will do this 24/7 unless you learn to invoke silence, to access a deeper part of yourself. It is the same when running, any doubts or negativities directly affect our mood and performance.

I went for a jog the other day and just couldn’t get in the zone. There was no flow. I got every single traffic light on the way to the trails, everything ached and I wanted to walk. Mentally I kept telling myself how torturous this particular run was and the best thing about it was finishing. It happens to us all. When we hit the wall our bodies have reached tipping point and our minds will chime in with it’s It two cents worth. It’s funny though, most of us will keep going with the task at hand. It would be much simpler to quit, easier to catch a bus home and sit on the couch, but we don’t. Something inside us won’t give up and we keep moving forward trying to reach the goal.

To do well in sport (or anything for that matter) you need focus, clarity and concentration; skills that can be learnt through formal practice. “Only with positive thoughts,” says ultra-runner Sri Chinmoy, who was perhaps the most famous exponent of combining meditation with exercise, “can we bring light into our mind-cave.”

The beauty about distance running is in its simplicity. It forces you to be focused and positive. If your thoughts intrude it is very noticeable and you have a tough run, as I did.

Fortunately the majority of times we motivate ourselves to get outside for a run, we have positive experiences. The fresh air, the repetitive movement and regular breathing helps induce a calm and reflective mind and allows us to be more in our hearts. We are outdoors, under the vast sky, with the earth under our feet. Connecting with nature brings with it inner peace and a positive meditative power. I have been 2000 kilometres into an ultra and sometimes felt like I had the strength of ten men coursing through my body.

If you have never tried meditation formally it is probably not that foreign to you. Everyone has done it sometime or another. Being under a canopy of stars, the simple smile of a child, the immensity of the ocean, the power of a mountain, they stir something inside us and make us feel uplifted. It is the same with distance running. It is strenuous exercise but it’s certainly possible to maintain clarity and peace while participating or competing. Nature helps carry you. Your mind and body feel purified. Running longer distances pushes us to take that extra step, to move forward despite obstacles, to transcend ourselves, to make progress. In general the further or faster you go, the deeper you have to dig.

It makes sense to combine meditation and sport on a more formal level. Many great sportsmen talk about moments of absolute conviction before a major victory or event. They feel at peace with the race, game or task ahead. Nothing is forced and as a result, victory or achievement just flows. Professional golfers have outstanding visualisation skills. Tennis players have fantastic concentration, just watch them about to receive serve. Nine time Olympic track and field gold medallist Carl Lewis meditated before his big events. “I would just go quiet and try to listen for the farthest sound away…just having my peace, where it all stops and you’re just aware of where you need to be,” he once commented. “Every record I set, I knew it was a record because it was the easiest race I ran.”

Running is a vehicle for self-improvement. When you can get outdoors for a run, your outlook on the entire day gets better. When you mix it with meditation your whole outlook on life improves.

A Relaxation Exercise

* Do this exercise sitting upright in a chair

* It is advisable to practice with your eyes open so when you get proficient you can use it while running, at work or exercising.

* Chose a quality like peace.

* Breathe in this quality into the mind and body, relaxing all your muscles.

* Breathe out the opposite, in this case anything that takes away your peace such as stress, restlessness and intruding thoughts.

* Try the same thing while exercising and try other positive qualities such as power, joy or strength.

* Practice every morning and join a regular meditation group for maximum benefits. There are plenty of free classes and groups around.

From outdoor pursuits to boardroom disputes, Grahak’s wisdoms can help motive you. To learn more visit: www.grahakcunningham.com

Personalising Paleo 2

The first instalment of this three part series by guest expert Nell Stephenson, introduced the concept of Paleo and how to tailor its principles to an individual.

In this article we presented Nell with a challenging case study, asking her to explore the practical applications of Paleo and its adaptability. Over to you Nell…

After a client completes the food log analysis, the next step is for me to review the challenges each client has and help them in setting up goals that are reasonable and measurable. Also factored in are current fitness regime, sleep habits, stress levels and any supplements or prescriptions they may be taking.

A common theme amongst my clients is an interest in adapting a Paleo diet, the one similarity between everyone is that there is an implementation period to be expected. Some opt to transition gradually, while others prefer a complete overhaul in one shot. I present the latter during the time in which we work together, in order to allow for more support and success for each client.

Following the analysis, the client might continue with monthly custom Paleo nutritional counseling, or an hourly consult on a regular basis to provide accountability.

Goals: 
Boost Energy, Mental Focus, Stamina, Flexibility.
Hurdles: Vegetarian but will eat fish in small portions.
Fitness Regime: Crossfit, Plyometrics, Sprints, Endurance Cardio.
Supplements: Whey, MCT, Glutathione.

Daily Breakdown

8am Crossfit/Body Weight Circuit
9am Coffee with MCT/Butter
1pm Cardio (Alt. Sprints/Endurance Sessions)
3pm Salad, Macadamias, Salmon, Coffee, Slippery Elm Porridge
6pm Same Salad with Pumpkin, Parsnip or Sweet Potato
8pm Grass-fed Whey and Flax Shake

Paleo Analysis

Fasted training is recommended for everyone; allows the body to become more efficient at being a fat burning machine (using fat as a substrate) which is useful for becoming more lean, steadier energy levels throughout the day and a decreased chance of making poor food choices later in the day as a result of blood sugar crashes, spikes and insulin surges. No food until 3pm is an extremely long period of time to go without eating. Since the client did not indicate that they’re trying to fast intermittently, I’d want to know if this was intentional or simply a result of forgetting to eat or not preparing adequately.

Coffee with MCT oil is a non-issue, but grass fed butter is not Paleo. 3pm caffeine is however likely to interfere with proper sleep.

The lack of protein throughout the day, as well as lack of fat is concerning. Maintaining the macro nutrient ratio of a ‘True Paleo’ regime is far more important than number of calories, and despite the fact that the client hasn’t eaten anything obviously unhealthy, it’s still too high in carbohydrate. Not eating chicken and meat doesn’t necessarily need to be a problem, although it is certainly less than ideal to omit them. However, eating a diet too low in protein is undesirable as it will not provide sufficient amino acids to allow the body to rebuild and repair. Far too little protein, and far too little leafy green vegetables—these should be present at every meal!

The client knows the importance of eating protein as evidenced by the inclusion of whey, however whey powder is far less desirable than actual protein for several reasons: Dairy is not Paleo. It’s one of the most acidic foods we can consume, creating a situation where the body must extract Calcium from the bones in order to buffer the pH back to alkalinity, leading to a compromised skeleton over time, then osteopenia and osteoporosis (Learn more from Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD in chapter 4 of his latest book, The Paleo Answer). Dairy contains a protein, casein, which is cross-reactive with gluten. In other words, one might omit gluten and still experience similar negative side effects from consuming casein. Dairy is linked to increased rates of diabetes, acne, bloating and sinus issues, amongst other undesirable and uncomfortable conditions.

Favourable to see the addition of a little bit of salmon to provide some fresh protein as well as a rich source of Omega 3s to balance out the Omega 6s in the seeds and nuts. Sweet Potato in the salads may be a bit too starchy given the lack of veggies, protein and the physical activity being on the more moderate side as compared to that of an endurance-training plan. Collectively, these will contribute to a feeling of decreased mental focus. By adding protein and good fat, the client is far more likely to experienced increased mental focus, due to a steady balanced energy flow resulting from real fresh food and the lack of sugar spikes, insulin surges and subsequent crashes.

As the client is not local, we are unable to meet for logistical reasons in terms of the fitness component and address any concerns. As such, client would be referred to local physio for analysis.

Paleo Application

* Better balance of Paleo Macro nutrient ratio.
* Increased meal frequency.
* Possible post workout meal with starchier carbohydrate (endurance specific).
* Significantly more vegetables-varied, seasonal, local, colorful.
* More fish (varied, seasonal), hopefully including a segue to other protein sources.

To be continued next month, when I’ll discuss a final review of the client’s experience, achievements, and changes to mind, body and spirit.

NHT2-PR

A Gift for Easter, from Earth Endeavours.

Last issue we released the first installment of our tribute to natural history, which explored innovating projects connecting people with nature through education and visual media.

In this issue we look more closely at the skills and motivation of content production. Creating content value, requires balancing the objectives of a cause or campaign, with the interests and engagement of the audience.

Methods of delivery are as diverse as the content covered, and media producers must adapt their skills to reflect new opportunities of engagement.

They seek to expand our knowledge of the natural world, and to inspire unified involvement towards the preservation of biodiversity through evolving mediums. Creative platforms such as applications, interactive publications, integrative media models which offer on and offline resources, documentaries, and many other developmental communications.

Join us in exploring the potential of tomorrows technology, and the creative pioneers helping engage new generations in the plight to preserve nature.