Monday, December 28, 2009

Make This Your New Year's Resolution!

I just rented the movie Food Inc. last week. I didn't see it in the theaters because I had read the all the books by Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food) and felt that the movie was going to be more of the same. However, I did blog about the movie when it came out in theaters, urging everyone to go out and see it because, frankly, its easier than reading all the books.

Now its on DVD and one random night in December when all my chores were done, kids were in bed and presents were wrapped, I decided to sit down and watch it. I wasn't surprised to see what topics they were touching upon. It followed the Omnivore's Dilemma pretty closely. In fact, they even had the owner of Polyface Farms in the movie. That was actually nice to see (to put a face to the personality). What I wasn't prepared for was the actual sickness that I felt brewing in my stomach. Halfway through the movie, I had to remove myself from the TV and was sick for the next 15 minutes. I never thought a movie could revolt in such a way. I am not a normally queasy person. Blood and guts don't freak me out so why would some benign slaughterhouses have this effect on me?

It wasn't the blood and guts that sickened me per see, it was the entire process of how our food is grown, stuffed with poison and processed. The living conditions, the storage facilities, the enormity of it all and the ubiquity of it all. It seems to me that if you are not aware of what you are eating, you will just continue to consume until your body becomes diseased (prematurely of course). Most people will choose this course of action. That is what truly sickened me.

I turned to my husband and he was reading my thoughts, "thank the Lord that we are able to afford to buy our food from a farm". I feel so much better knowing that my meat is being fed what its SUPPOSED to eat by nature. I feel better knowing its raised in a humane environment by farmers that actually CARE. I am so glad its free from toxins, chemicals and medicine. But what still makes me uneasy is the thought that most Americans can not afford or do not have access to farm raised/grass fed meat. These people are burdened with decisions such as, "do I pay for my diabetes meds or do I buy food for dinner?". Its a vicious cycle because if they never ate the un-nutritious food in the first place, they may have not gotten Diabetes.

America's lower socioeconomic classes are suffering from diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes at ALARMING rates and its only getting worse. Our food supply is tainted and the government is only making it harder to obtain healthy food.

This movie is a wake up call. Everyone should see it. Don't turn a blind eye to what you consume. You only have one body and one life (not to sound like Sally Feilds in the Boniva commercial) and you shouldn't waste it by contaminating yourself with garbage.

Our food supply wasn't always like this. As recent as the 1970's there were over 1,000 meat packers in the nation, corn wasn't being subsidized the way it is today and antibiotics weren't needed to kill bacteria in the animal's rumens. Food production has changed DRAMATICALLY in such a short period of time that its actually mind boggling. Now there are as few as 13 meat packers that handle ALL of the meat coming from the CAFO's. A package of meat that you buy at your local grocer may contain ground pieces from over 100 different cows. Its scary. Not to mention the risk of food borne illnesses and we have all seen how rampant that has become in recent years.

I won't give away all the details about Food Inc. I will let you watch it and decide for yourself. But take the time to actually rent it and watch it. It would be the best New Year's Resolution that you could do for yourself. Get educated and take control of your health. Don't leave it in the hands of government because they are all getting THEIR meat from grass fed farms (I would put money on it!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Going Green This Christmas

Do you realize how much paper we waste this time of the year? Between all the holidays cards, the plastic packaging and wrapping paper we must be destroying our forests at an amazing rate and filling our landfills with even more non biodegradable material. It pains me to think of all the waste that is completely accepted by our society this time of year. Its a holiday tradition of course!!

Why not do your part and buy eco friendly products from a sustainable company such as PaperCulture. They offer a wide array of stationary, greeting cards, invitations and announcements that are ALL eco friendly. The company itself is carbon neutral, the products are 100% post consumer recycled and the packages that the stationary comes in are all made from recycled paper with no plastic shrink wrapping. Their style is unique, simple and classy. I love their card designs and plan to use them for all of my invitation, announcement needs. I especially love the rounded edges that they offer on their cards, it really adds to the presentation!

Here is a quick blurb from PaperCulture about their Christmas cards: "What sets Paper Culture's cards apart is the 100% exclusive modern designs, your personal professional designer who works with you on every order, the unique services like our Mail & Message service where we will mail your cards for you for only the cost of the actual stamp and the fact that we do all of this, while using ultra premium 100% recycled paper."

This company has the right idea and more businesses should follow their model. As consumers, we should be making mindful choices about our purchases, thinking about the environment and our planet as well as ourselves. Its a new way of thinking and it takes some training but if we all do out part we can really catch up as a nation to some of our more eco friendly countries. America is one of the worst culprits when it comes to our contribution of carbon in the atmosphere.

Ordering from PaperCulture is an easy and fun first step! To make it even easier, their stationary is being offered at a 50% reduction on this amazing website called

Jasmere has one hot deal a day on some amazing products (clothing, home goods, toys, etc) and the more people that buy the bigger the discount on the item. When the offering closes for the day, everyone that bought will get the lowest price. You really can't beat that can you!! Right now Jasmere has a PaperCulture $50 gift card for only $23 and it may wind up costing you even less if more people buy it in the next 10 hours!! So hurry and also check out everyday for their next big deal.

Our culture has become one of waste. Its time to remove what is not necessary and use only what we need. Lets all enjoy an eco friendly holiday season!!!

The image above was a sample card from

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why Saturated Fats Are Good For You

Low Fat Diet: Saturated With Lies
Beef. Chicken. Eggs. Butter. Coconut oil. Do these saturated-filled words sound like weapons of health destruction? According to current nutritional guidelines, I’m supposed to limit these foods because they’ll either lead to obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes or some form of suffering for the rest of my life. Many of you are nodding your heads in agreement right now.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that this is simply not true.
When I became a fast food drop out in my early 20’s, I turned to a low fat diet. I trimmed fat any which way I could and didn’t feel guilty when I broke down and ate low fat junk food.
I learned that low-fat junk food is still junk food, and a low-fat diet is still an unhealthy diet.

Why Are Saturated Fats So Bad For You?
Men’s Health published an excellent article that explained how saturated fats became known to be so bad. The credit goes to a physiologist named Ancel Keys, Ph.D., who published a highly influential paper titled “Atherosclerosis, a Problem in Newer Public Health.” Keys wrote that while the total death rate in the United States was declining, the number of deaths due to heart disease was steadily climbing. And to explain why, he presented a comparison of fat intake and heart disease mortality in six countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Italy, and Japan.

The Americans ate the most fat and had the greatest number of deaths from heart disease; the Japanese ate the least fat and had the fewest deaths from heart disease. The other countries fell neatly in between. The higher the fat intake, according to national diet surveys, the higher the rate of heart disease. And vice versa. Keys called this correlation a “remarkable relationship” and began to publicly hypothesize that consumption of fat causes heart disease. This became known as the diet-heart hypothesis.

At the time, plenty of scientists were skeptical of Keys’s assertions. One such critic was Jacob Yerushalmy, Ph.D., founder of the biostatistics graduate program at the University of California at Berkeley. In a 1957 paper, Yerushalmy pointed out that while data from the six countries Keys examined seemed to support the diet-heart hypothesis, statistics were actually available for 22 countries. And when all 22 were analyzed, the apparent link between fat consumption and heart disease disappeared. For example, the death rate from heart disease in Finland was 24 times that of Mexico, even though fat-consumption rates in the two nations were similar.
The other salient criticism of Keys’s study was that he had observed only a correlation between two phenomena, not a clear causative link. This left open the possibility that something else — unmeasured or unimagined — was leading to heart disease. After all, Americans did eat more fat than the Japanese, but perhaps they also consumed more sugar and white bread, and watched more television.

The seven-countries study, published in 1970, is considered Ancel Keys’s landmark achievement. It seemed to lend further credence to the diet-heart hypothesis. In this study, Keys reported that in the seven countries he selected — the United States, Japan, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, and the Netherlands — animal-fat intake was a strong predictor of heart attacks over a 5-year period. Just as important, he noted an association between TOTAL cholesterol and heart-disease mortality. This prompted him to conclude that the saturated fats in animal foods — and not other types of fat — raise cholesterol and ultimately lead to heart disease.[1]

What about Margarine and Hydrogenated Fats?
Margarine and hydrogenated fats were the result of a food shortage in World War II. Butter became scarce and chemists experimented to find an alternative. They found that liquid vegetable oils could be turned into solid fat through a process called hydrogenation.
During this process, hydrogen gas is bubbled into the oil, which is heated to a high temperature. Nickel is then added to speed up the reaction. These hydrogenated fats are what make up margarine and shortening. Synthetic dyes are added to turn the whitish-colored hydrogenated fats into margarine. They were promoted as “low in cholesterol and saturated fats.” This is true. However, they are high in unnatural, harmful fats and cancer causing chemicals.[2]

Why Are Processed Fats So Bad?
If you are getting the wrong kinds of fats in your diet, beware. No doubt, your body needs a certain amount of fat every day, but it needs the “good” fats. If all you get is the processed kind, your body has no choice but to make use of them. Processed fats, especially the hydrogenated variety, confuse the body because their chemical structure is different than the naturally occurring fats normally recognized and utilized by the body.

Once the “bad” fats are absorbed, they are taken to the liver where they are stored or converted into energy. The chemistry of these fats is abnormal so the liver has hard time trying to figure out what to do with them. When a cell is damaged and needs fatty acids for repair or other purposes, these abnormal fats will be made available to the cell, especially if there is a lack of natural, essential fats. The cell will attempt to place the abnormal fat into its membrane, resulting in a weakened, malfunctioning cell.

While hydrogenated fats may not become rancid on the shelf, they induce all sorts of rancidity problems within the body. They waste antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium, which function to prevent fats from becoming rancid.

When you eat too much GOOD saturated fat, the body converts it to monounsaturated fat—the main fat in olive oil, which lowers cholesterol. Some saturated fats, such as coconut oil, raise the beneficial cholesterol carrier HDL, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Ironically, the fat around the heart muscle itself is saturated.

What about Cholesterol?
By itself, cholesterol can be a good thing. Cholesterol is used to make all hormones and functions as an antioxidant – it naturally increases as we age.
Kevin Brown, author of The Liberation Diet, points out that the more cholesterol we eat, the less the body makes; the less we eat, the more the body makes. High cholesterol is a sign of something else failing to work properly in the body, not a disease that needs to be treated.

Bottom Line
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.

Humans have eaten animal products for most of their existence on earth and therefore, they have consumed saturated fats for most of that time. If saturated fats were of no value or were harmful to you, why would breast milk produce saturated fats like butyric, caproic, caprylic, capric, lauric, myristic, palmitic and stearic acids, which provide a naturally perfected source of nourishment to ensure the growth, development and survival of your infants?

However, There IS Still a Link Between Fat and Heart Disease!
Now, it is clear that there is some association between fat and heart disease. The problem lies in the fact that most studies make no effort to differentiate between saturated fat and trans fat.

[1] Teicholz, Nina. (2007 Dec 13). What if bad fat isn’t so bad?
[2] Extracted from “Eat Right or Die Young” by Dr. Cass Igram who is a physician, healer, and expert in nutritional therapy. He received his B.S. degree at the University of Northern Iowa in biology and chemistry. He received his degree at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, Des Moines, Iowa. Dr Igram is a respected lecturer and educator. He specializes in teaching both doctors and the public about nutritional treatments.

This post was taken from

Monday, November 30, 2009

An Ancient Tradition is also a Modern Day Remedy

The holiday season is a perfect time to talk about an ancient sap that we have all heard of but really know little about. Frankincense is best known by its mention in the Bible.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

The Three Wise Men: The traditional telling of the Christmas story includes a key moment where Wise men from the East arrive and present the Christ child with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This brief mention of frankincense is usually the first and most common encounter that most people have with this special substance. Few people know much about it, or its wider significance in the establishment of trade routes between Europe and Asia.
Frankincense is an aromatic, congealed, resinous sap from a specific variety of trees in the genus Boswelia. Most of the trees in the Boswelia genus are aromatic, and many of them produce a scented resinous sap, but only one tree, Boswelia sacra, produces the highest grade of frankincense, also known as “true” or “commercial” incense.

The aromatic qualities of frankincense have been used in a variety of ways over the centuries.
To release its scent the frankincense is either burned or smoldered over hot coals. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Israelites and numerous other cultures used frankincense as part of their religious ceremonies. Frankincense was extensively used in burial rituals as an embalming material, an offering to the departed, and a means to cover the odor of the dead body.
The Roman emperor Nero once burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense at the funeral of his favorite mistress. The smoke from burning frankincense is effective for driving away mosquitoes and other pests, thereby reducing incidences of malaria. Finally, frankincense can be used as a medicine to treat ailments such as nausea, indigestion, chest coughs, hypertension, and post-childbirth recovery.

I hope this brief history of frankincense has given you an idea of how potent and special this substance is. In modern times, it continues to maintain its relevance. I use frankincense essential oil on my children and on myself every single day. For my boys, when put on their 3rd eye (between their eyebrows) it can stimulate the pineal gland which releases growth hormone to help them grow. My boys are not going to be basketball players to begin with but I think a little extra help won't harm them. I also put a drop on their brain stem (base of head) to relieve any sensory issues and give them the focus they need. Frankincense also helps with respiratory issues and works when applied to the chest. It relieves congestion/cough and helps with breathing. When diluted in a warm bath, it can help lessen menstrual discomfort as well. I use it in combination with other essential oils that I own.

If I were just starting out with essential oils and wanted to sample only a few, frankincense would be #1 on my list. Its truly perfect for the season in keeping with ancient traditions. I will diffuse it in my house so we can all breathe it in and together with the fresh pine from the Christmas tree a magnificent blend of aromas will waft through my house.

If you are interested in learning more or trying this oil, please contact me through the blog, through facebook or visit

May Peace and Health follow you through the season!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Change Up Your Holiday Table with Some Greens that Prevent Cancer

Aren't you sick of the same old veggies year after year at your Thanksgiving table? Green beans, steamed broccoli, creamed corn, buttered carrots and on and on. Why not change it up a bit this year and surprise some veggie hating guests with this delicious dish. I tried it last year and it was a hit! The great thing about it is that the vegetable in question (Kale) has amazing cancer defense properties. Read below to find out just how healthy this leafy green vegetable really is. It may just become your new favorite!

"Kale is absolutely rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in Vitamin C not to mention the much needed fiber so lacking in the daily diet of processed food eating Americans. The "Icing on the Kale" are the natural occurring all important phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles which research suggests may protect against cancer. Let's not forget the all important antioxidant Vitamin E. Rest assured kale spares nothing in providing one with much needed nutrients and associated health benefits.

The naturally rich sulfur content of kale deserves a bit more discussion. Science has discovered that sulforaphane, helps boost the body's detoxification enzymes, possibly by altering gene expression. This is turn is purported to help clear carcinogenic substances in a timely manner. Sulforaphane is formed when cruciferous vegetables like kale are chopped or chewed. This somehow triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer causing chemicals, of which we all are exposed on daily basis. A recently new study in the Journal of Nutrition (2004) demonstrates that sulforaphane helps stop breast cancer cell proliferation."

The recipe is for Roasted Kale and Red Onions. The sweet red onions cooked with balsamic vinegar offset the naturally bitter taste of the kale and make for a delightful pairing on your palate. Here is how to make it:

3 large red onions (cut in wedges)
6 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp butter
2 bunches (about 1 1/4lb) Kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line large roasting pan with foil, set aside. In bowl toss onion with 1 tsp of the oil, 1/4 tsp of the salt, 1/4 tsp of the pepper, set aside.

2. Heat 1Tbsp of the oil in a large skillet, add onion mixture. Cook over med-high heat 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown. Reduce to heat medium-low. Add broth and vinegar. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until onions are tender. Add butter and increase heat to high. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, shaking pan occasionally or until onions are glazed. (you will look professional doing this :)

3. Meanwhile, add kale to roasting pan. Toss with remaining oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast uncovered 15 mins, tossing 3 times.

4. Gently toss kale and onions together and serve.

Here is to a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vitamin D And An Easy Way To Get It!

We are all hearing more and more about Vitamin D and how it may be able to help protect us from the flu. Medical doctors will shrug this off but the facts are proving them wrong. Vitamin D is a very important component to our immune health and our diets are not providing enough of it. Sunlight is a wonderful source of Vitamin D (and you can not overdose on it) but right now the Northern Hemisphere will not be receiving optimal amounts of it. Definitely get outside when you can and bask in the rays but also keep in mind some foods and supplements that will increase your overall Vitamin D level.

Salmon, sardines and mackerel are good sources of Vitamin D as is pure cod liver oil. We use Nordic Naturals in our home and that delivers about 400IUs of Vitamin D per day (1tsp). However about 1000IUs are needed daily to protect ourselves from the flu (this is based on new scientific data - old data only recommended about 400IUs per day). Also, Vitamin D needs to come in the form of D3 otherwise the body will not absorb it. This is something to consider when you are purchasing a supplement. That is why I just bought Dr. Mercola's Vitamin D spray. Its in the form of D3 and its so easy to use. Three sprays on the tongue 3 times a day and BAM! 1000IUs delivered like nothing. I take it and I will also be giving it to my kids to supplement the Vitamin D they get from their cod liver oil. I will not give them the full 1000IUs because they already are getting 400IUs so I will only spray them 2x a day.

So far they have gotten a common cold virus from preschool. It lasted 7 days which was not fun but their symptoms were pretty mild. Low grade fever for a day or 2, runny noses and a cough. No ear infections or respiratory infections. They are back on their game right now and we are working on building back their immune systems in case more sickness should arise at their preschool.

The great thing about Dr. Mercola's spray is that its so easy to use and it tastes like spearmint gum. I am sure the boys will handle it well (as long as its not given during meal time). Please visit to purchase the spray or read more about it.

Here is an excerpt of an article that discusses the additional health benefits of Vitamin D. Its not just to protect agaisnt the flu, it can actually help prolong life.

"A recent review article published by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing concluded that adequate intake of vitamin D may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and reduce complications for those who have already been diagnosed. These findings appeared in the latest issue of Diabetes Educator.

"Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases in particular," said Sue Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., study co-author and professor, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. "This article further substantiates the role of this nutrient in the prevention and management of glucose intolerance and diabetes."

Many of the 23 million Americans with diabetes have low vitamin D levels. Evidence suggests that vitamin D plays an integral role in insulin sensitivity and secretion. Vitamin D deficiency results in part from poor nutrition, which is one of the most challenging issues for people with diabetes. Another culprit is reduced exposure to sunlight, which is common during cold weather months when days are shorter and more time is spent indoors.

One study examined for this review article evaluated 3,000 people with type 1 diabetes and found a decreased risk in disease for people who took vitamin D supplements. Observational studies of people with type 2 diabetes also revealed that supplementation may be important in the prevention of this disease.

"Management of vitamin D deficiency may be a simple and cost-effective method to improve blood sugar control and prevent the serious complications associated with diabetes," said Joanne Kouba, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., study co-author and clinical assistant professor of dietetics, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Diet alone may not be sufficient to manage vitamin D levels. A combination of adequate dietary intake of vitamin D, exposure to sunlight, and treatment with vitamin D2 or D3 supplements can decrease the risk of diabetes and related health concerns. The preferred range in the body is 30 - 60 ng/mL of 25(OH) vitamin D.

"People at risk for diabetes should be screened for low vitamin D levels," said Mary Ann Emanuele, M.D., F.A.C.P., study co-author and professor of medicine, division of endocrinology and metabolism, Loyola University Health System. "This will allow health care professionals to identify a nutrient deficiency early on and intervene to improve the long term health of these individuals."

Vitamin D deficiency also may be associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, hypertension and heart disease. In fact, Penckofer recently published another study in Circulation that reported on the role of chronic vitamin D deficiency in heart disease."

More health tips to come, stay tuned....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chiropractors, Kids and Maintaining Health

The Chiropractic profession has been controversial since it became recognized as part of the medical profession. Many MD's today refuse to acknowledge the medical benefits of Chiropractic. Granted, there are some Chiropractors who don't really know what they are doing. However the same can be said for MD's. I have had first hand experience with both.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I went to a Chiropractor who knew the Webster Technique. This was supposed to align my bones such that my babies would turn head down. At the time, they were breech and transverse. Any chiro who knows the Webster technique can successfully turn a baby in a couple of visits. The key word here is BABY. I had two babies. Not much is known about whether the Webster technique would work on twins that were both facing the wrong direction. But I gave it a shot. It only took 3 sessions for Jake to turn head down. I was amazed. I had planned on continuing my sessions until I got too big to go but nature had its own plans. I started having contractions at about 26 weeks. No one knew they were harmless so I was put on bedrest and stopped visiting my Chiropractor. Within 2 weeks Jake turned back to breech and my OB planned my C section . This was a sad day for me because I felt like my pregnancy was once again out of my control. I had hoped and wished to have a vaginal delivery of my children but it just was not in the cards for me. I am thankful for modern medicine in this case because without a C section, I would have died along with my babies.

Lets fast forward to now. You may have heard that chiropractic can be practiced on children of all ages. This may scare you as it did when I first heard about it. But I learned a lot more about it talking to my good friend who happens to be certified in pediatric chiropractic. He told me that chiropractic can be used as preventative medicine in children, helping their immune system strengthen. It can also help relieve stress on the nervous system and allow for new neuropathways to develop. This is especially important in the little ones who do not have a fully developed nervous system. The nervous system is not complete until about 2 years old. So during that fragile time, chiropractic can help restore any blocked pathways and put the child back on the road to positive neurological health.

This hit home to me as one of my boys is having some sensory issues. They are mostly confined to the oral motor department (i.e won't eat certain textures of food such as fruits and veggies). Now you may be thinking, oh, the kid doesn't like fruits and veggies, who does? But if I puree those same fruits and veggies, he has no problem eating them, so we know its not the taste. I decided to look into chiropractic care for him and I stumbled up on and old friend of mine from undergrad. His name is Brian Knight. He now lives in Atlanta and is certified in pediatric chiropractic. Ansley Chiropractics. I brought Cole to him and he checked out his bones. Apparently, Cole's atlas bone and pelvic bone were completely out of line. The craziest part was how much sense that made to me. Cole was diagnosed as having weak trunk strength and was also diagnosed with slight torticollis at birth. Torticollis is common in twins especially when room gets tight in the uterus. I was able to use some therapy techniques when Cole was 2 months old to reverse the torticollis, at least in his muscles. But the bones didn't move and its no coincidence that his cervical spine and atlas bone would be all out of whack. I also believe that the pelvic bone's misalignment could be affecting his trunk strength as well. So Brian gave Cole some adjustments and he was such a trooper. The kid let him do whatever he had to do. There was minimal protesting and right after the adjustments he was running around just like his normal happy self!

The amazing things started to happen in the following week. Cole started babbling more and using more consonants than he ever did. His mouth began working in new ways. He still was not eating any whole fruits or veggies but I could tell that he was making more connections in his oral motor skills. Once those bones were shifted back to their proper positions, it allowed the neurons in his spine to generate new pathways and thus strengthen his nervous system. We will continue to see Brian for a while as long as it continues to help Cole. I think chiropractic is a great compliment to any sort of sensory/occupational or speech therapy.

I will continue this post as I see more results. Its just the beginning but I believe in this type of care and attitude is half the battle! So for everyone who thought Chiropractors just cracked your back and gave temporary relief, there is much more that you don't know about the practice. Its truly an overall wellness plan that can target many systems in the body to create healing and health.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Change of Season Ailments

So I haven't posted in a while but things have been a little crazy around here. I thought I would let you all know how I successfully got rid of Jake's croup within 2 days. Maybe my story will inspire you to go out and experience the power of Young Living essential oils.

About 3 days ago, Jake woke up from his nap choking. He couldn't breathe and was turning purple. I was panicked to say the least but something took hold of me and suddenly I was able to focus. I took my little Jake, gasping for air and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on him. Within seconds I was able to loosen some phlegm that must have been lodged in his airway. He swallowed the phlegm and was finally breathing. What followed was a loud and seal like cough that made him cry. I was still scared to death so I grabbed both Jake and his brother and raced to the pediatrician. They didn't even have socks on but I didn't care!

Once we got into the office, the doctor listened to Jake's lungs and determined that they were clear but noticed his honking cough and immediately diagnosed it as the croup. I was relieved to know that he didn't swallow or aspirate anything to make him choke but also wondered why his airways could close up that tight? Apparently with the croup, the pharynx becomes inflamed making breathing more difficult in certain cases. The doctor prescribed Jake a steroid which I knew I was not going to use. My mind was already jumping ahead to all the oils I have at home and which ones I would put on Jake that evening.

A quick phone call to my good friend helped me figure out which oils to use and where to apply them on his body. Here is what I did:

Immupower on his spine
Raven on his back
RC on his chest
Theives on his feet
Melrose to inhale

I did this for 2 nights. His cough is gone. He never even got a fever or a runny nose. He had 2 pretty nasty poops (sorry for the graphics) and then the virus was gone. Amazing stuff right? I am even amazed at how quickly he recovered from something that plagues young children this time of year. These poor kids can't seem to get rid of this cough and can have it for weeks.

I have also learned that peppermint essential oil is great for fevers and any swelling in the throat or pharynx. So I could have applied peppermint on his throat as well or diffused it overnight for him to breathe in. Next time I will try that.

For any of you out there who would like to experience an immune system boost, especially in this scary flu season, contact me for information. Or just go to and check out their products. I can answer any questions you may have and recommend the proper oils to use for specific ailments.

To Good Health!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What the Doctors Won't Admit

So I took my boys a while back for their 18 month well check. The pediatrician (not my normal Dr. - a fill in) was busy educating an intern throughout our entire appointment and I really didn't get many of my questions answered. However, I did get a great lecture on swine flu and all other flu's. I was told that my boys will be in severe danger if they do not receive these vaccines. They are at risk of DYING!!! Wow! those are harsh words since only a small amount of children in the US have actually died from the swine flu.

I don't appreciate the scare tactics at all. I told this pediatrician that people who are most susceptible to the flu are ones who have a vitamin D deficiency. He laughed out loud at me, "Not proven". Apparently he does not believe in any link between the flu and a lack of vitamin D. I was about to rattle off all the research I had done on the topic but something inside of me told me to just be quiet and get the heck out of there as fast as I could! So I refused a fight with this doctor and gently declined the flu shot. I also mentioned that I would not be getting the H1N1 shot and either would my children. I received another lecture on how irresponsible I was being and blah blah blah because at that point I was packing my kids up and tuning out this misinformed man. Whew! We made it out alive! Funny huh?

So just today I am reading some information on Dr. Mercola's website about a CDC study on the H1N1 virus. Apparently, out of the 36 children that did die from this flu, two thirds of them had certain predispositions such as: epilepsy, cerebral palsy and other neurodevelopmental conditions like mental retardation. Well according to what we know, neurological conditions such as these are almost always linked to childhood vitamin D deficiencies and the drugs that many of these children take for their conditions deplete their vitamin D even further. Do you think there is a link now? Are you convinced yet? I think the evidence is glaring.

We need to get our kids some vitamin D. This will protect them from ALL flu's not just H1N1. I have mentioned it before and I will do so again. Give your kids their vitamin D in a way their body will most likely absorb it (whole foods based). I give my boys cod liver oil. It comes in a fruity flavor and they take it like champs. It is a great source of vitamin D. Also, fatty fish like Salmon and sardines are abundant in vitamin D. Get your kids out in the sun and let them drink fresh raw milk! These are all ways you can help protect them from the upcoming flu season without having to inject them with harmful mercury and squalene (two ingredients in the H1N1 vaccine that will potentially cause neurological damage).

I am glad I walked out of that office because I know I am doing my best at protecting my kids. I just wish the medical community did as much research as I did. I wish they would stop being puppets of the pharmaceutical industry. As it turns out, I do not think the H1N1 will be offered to children under 2 years of age so my kids wouldn't qualify anyway but many of their little friends will.

Please read the following link that talks about the CDC findings on H1N1:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Alzheimer's Cases to Double

I just heard on CNN today that the reported cases of Alzheimer's Disease are expected to double in the next 20 years. This is not just in the United States either. This is a worldwide epidemic that is getting more prevalent. One of the reasons they give for the increase in Alzheimer's is the longer life spans that humans are achieving but I don't buy it. One hundred Years ago Alzheimer's was virtually unheard of. It may be because it wasn't discovered and doctors just called it dementia but we all know that Alzheimer's is a neurological disease and we are seeing a rise in neurological diseases and disorders across the board (in children, adults and seniors). I truly believe that these diseases are a direct result of our poor diets and toxins that are present in the products and medications we use.

Our diets lack vital antioxidants and enzymes because the food we eat is processed and stripped of its vital nutrients. The vitamins that the vast majority of people take are synthetic and do not come from their food. Synthetic vitamins are just as good as taking nothing. The body does not absorb synthetic vitamins the way it does from enzyme rich, raw food. A diet of raw food, fermented food, and fish liver oil can help keep the nervous system healthy. Foods that are rich in antioxidants will help detox and cleanse the body of heavy metals and other chemicals that lead to nerve degeneration. The removal of all processed foods and foods containing nitrates is beneficial to overall health and can also prevent diseases of the nervous system.

The products we use everyday (personal care, cleaning, household) contain hundreds of synthetic chemicals that interact with each other in ways that have not and will never be tested by the FDA or any other regulatory body. We roll the dice every time we use these toxic chemicals and absorb them into our bloodstream and skin. I used the example of antiperspirant in a previous post. All antiperspirants contain aluminum which is a heavy metal. This is applied directly to broken skin (post shaving) every time a woman applies it to her underarms. The aluminum goes directly into the bloodstream and builds up in the body potentially leading to neurological damage down the road. This is just one example of the thousands of products we use on a weekly basis. This is why I did a complete inventory of all the consumer products I used and literally threw them all away. I started buying brands like Nature's Gate, Naturally Fresh, Young Living*, Mrs. Meyers, Shi Kai, and California Baby. Those brands are just a few of the products I switched to, please email me to get more complete information on how I saved our family from toxic chemicals.

The health care community will try to attack this disease by creating more pharmaceutical drugs and therapies that will cost Americans millions of dollars. Big pharma sees dollar signs when it hears the report of Alzheimer's on the rise. But we can prevent this from happening. We can take control of our health and avoid taking these harmful drugs. Its easy to say that Alzheimer's cases are growing because more of the population is aging but we need to take a look at the percentage of people over the age of 70 suffering from Alzheimer's and compare that to the percentage from 30 or 40 years ago. I am sure the percentage has increased because right now about 1 out of every 7 people over the age of 70 suffers from dementia (Alzheimer's being the main cause of dementia). This is a huge number to me. Much higher than the rate of Autism in boys (1 out of 99)!!

There are ways to prevent this from happening to you. Drink an antioxidant drink such as NingXia Red (Young Living's proprietary nutritional supplement) everyday. Take cod liver oil for brain health. Eat foods that are raw or as close to raw as possible. Remove nitrates and processed food from your diet. Clean out your medicine cabinets and pantries. Get rid of toxic products and opt for healthier versions. I can help you if you need direction. It will be a liberating experience and one that will benefit you for years to come. Don't become another statistic, lets change the trajectory of Alzheimer's for good.

The following link is a recent study of nitrates and their possible link to Alzheimer's:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Essential Oils in Action!

I have been meaning to share an essential oil success a story but the end of summer got away from me as we spent a week by the shore. Yesterday I sent my twin boys off to their 1st day of preschool which also took some preparation and blogging just fell off my priority list. But I am back!

As I learn more about the power of essential oils, I am amazed. These little oils have healing powers and truly do some incredible things. A good friend of mine has been suffering from an autoimmune disease that came about in her late 20's. The side effects from the strong medication she takes have had detrimental effects on her body. Unfortunately, a lot of autoimmune diseases are treated with steroids to stop inflammation but there are many other side effects that result from taking steroids such as osteoporosis, skin problems, hair loss, etc. These steroids are not meant to be taken long term but some people just do not respond well to any other type of therapy. In my personal opinion, western medication is not doing a good job at getting to the source of the problem with autoimmune diseases. Its just treating symptoms with medications that can cause a host of other problems and/or diseases. We as a society need to become more focused on prevention and preventing autoimmune disease starts from diet and the removal of toxins from the body and environment. But I digress....

In my friend's case, she had been taking the steroids for a while and had started to see some alopaecia (hairloss). This was frustrating and embarrassing for her as a beautiful woman in the prime of her youth. She read about essential oils and their healing effects on the body, specifically for hair regrowth. She contacted me with some questions and I gave her the following recipe:

4 drops Rosemary - promotes new hair growth
4 drops Thyme
4 drops Lavendar
4 drops Cedarwood

This makes a blend. Then draw up the blend in a tiny syringe and drop 5 drops of the blend in with 20 drops of olive, grape seed or fractionated coconut oil. Its the 20:80 dilution method. Once you have it combined properly, massage into your head before bed. Do it every night.

At first she was not religious with her application of the oils but as time went on she became more diligent. A quote from her latest correspondence with me: "I am pretty religious about using them almost everyday and I have definitely noticed a difference, my hair is much much thicker than it was, there is a lot of regrowth." It has been only 2 months since she started using the oils and the obvious effects are there. I was overjoyed to hear this news and especially delighted because she got the oils from my company Young Living. Young Living harvests the purest most efficacious essential oils that you can find. These are pharmaceutical grade oils, safe enough to ingest and use undiluted in most cases. Think about the market for hair regrowth products like Rogaine and Propecia. Companies are making so much money on synthetic and toxic treatments that don't even work. Why waste money on that when you can use natural plant extracts that are 100% safe and actually WORK!

There are hundreds of oils that work on different parts of the body and in conjunction can heal most ailments. I am still learning about how they all work (by themselves or as blends) and I use many of them myself as a daily regimen. On my children, I use them to boost immunity and so far it has worked as my kids have never needed antibiotics and they are 20 months. Preschool and the germs that live there will now be the true test to prove how powerful these oils truly are but I think my friend's success story is just the tip of the iceberg and I am confident I can keep my kids antibiotic free for as long as possible!

Check out the oils at and contact me if you are interested in learning more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teflon and Microwaves

Ahhh, the joys of easy cooking. Since my kids don't really eat that much and I am also no wizard in the kitchen, we tend to rely on the microwave to heat things up. Its not used for cooking per see but more for melting cheese or heating up leftovers. I always wondered why they told me to stay away from the microwave when I was pregnant. Is it a form of radiation? Does it cause cancer over time with prolonged use? And what about when I'm not pregnant, is it still unsafe to linger by eagerly waiting for my delicious leftovers?

Here are some factoids that I just learned about the microwave that may change your mind about using it to cook or even heat up your food. Microwaves are electromagnetic radiation. Its not nuclear radiation but it still has the ability to change the molecular make up of what is being "microwaved". We were all taught that microwaves just energize the atoms in the food and make them go faster thus heating it up. In a way that is true, but its more than that. In the process of making the atoms energize, they also get pulled and stretched and can "ionize" which means electrons can become free radicals and the molecular make up of the food is essentially different. This happens even more dramatically when the power is set to high. But who really lowers the power on a microwave? I certainly don't unless I am defrosting. Usually I just hit start and the default setting is high. Well, the high setting has much more of a destructive effect on the food that is cooking. Most of the nutrients will be destroyed as well as any enzymes. The food will be completely dead and do nothing to nourish your body once eaten. This is sad news to me since I do rely on the microwave quite heavily but I have some ideas to limit my usage.

1) I will put all the items I want to defrost outside in the heat (at least in the summer this works nicely)

2) I am going out this week to purchase a high quality toaster/broiler/convection oven

I am going to get one that will work quickly, maybe not as quickly as a microwave but at least I know I won't be ionizing my food. Free radicals are not something you want in your body. Back when I lived in NYC in my tiny apartment, I did not have a microwave. I look back and think, "how did I survive?" The answer is easy, I ate out every night!!

So I am not saying to toss your microwave out the window immediately, but I am saying to try and limit your use. We all know that cooking destroys nutrients in food and that the best way to get those nutrients is to eat food raw. Well, the microwave does even more damage to the food than traditional cooking does. So keep that in mind when you think about your food. Plan ahead for a slower cooking method. It will pay off in the end.

Speaking of cooking methods, how about those wonderful non-stick pots and pans that you spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on. Names like calphalon or circulon or whatever. They all have a coating of teflon on them that is absolutely toxic. The teflon, when heated, leaches into your food and can cause toxicity or disease. This is especially true if the teflon is scratched and then cooked on but it still happens if the teflon is unscarred. Heating teflon above 200F will cause it to release toxic gases that can cause flu-like symptoms in humans. The chemical compound used to make teflon (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a known carcinogen and Dupont (the makers of teflon) settled for $300 million in a 2004 lawsuit filed by residents near its manufacturing plant in Ohio and West Virginia based on groundwater pollution from this chemical. Currently this chemical is not regulated by the EPA. So how does this nonstick substance still make its way onto our cooking tools? I am really not sure why its still being used but all I can say is that Dupont is a huge company with deep pockets and they fund the studies that say teflon is safe. So there, it must be safe.

I personally threw out ALL my nonstick pots and pans. I did not donate them, or give them to a friend. I threw them out. I guess they will wind up on a landfill somewhere (probably not a good thing) but I had no choice. I will not cook on that substance ever again. Instead, I bought stainless steel pots and pans (All-Clad). I don't think steel is the answer either but I couldn't afford cast iron nor did I want to go through all the trouble of seasoning those things. There are pots and pans made from ceramic which seems much safer and I plan to look into those types as well. For now, I am sticking with All-Clad and making sure my baking tins are also free from teflon.

I know it seems overwhelming even daunting to think about all the toxins that bombard us everyday. They are in our cleaning products, personal products, cooking tools, food, fabrics, furniture, our water and in our air. Its impossible to rid yourself completely of all of them. You would have to go back in time before the industrial revolution and live like a peasant farmer. Obviously this is not possible so our options are to try a little at a time. Remove what you can afford to remove. Change comes in baby steps and over time you will begin to see the difference. These are expensive endeavors at times but think of all the money you will save in doctor bills!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pesticides in Our Drinking Water

Atrazine is a very popular weed control herbicide that is used by a majority of farmers in the mid west as well as some farmers on the east coast. The big monoculture farms of corn and soy use this herbicide during the summer months and its also popular on golf courses to keep nasty weeds at bay. However, it is proven to run off into rivers and streams and contaminate our water supply. Its effects on humans to date are inconclusive (probably because any study that says its harmful has been burned or kept from the public) but we know that it has detrimental hormonal effects on wildlife. Some male frogs exposed to atrazine were later seen to lay eggs. There are other examples of this hormonal change on aquatic life in the DC area but the EPA does not seemed concerned because atrazine hasn't done any damage to far as we know.

This story reminds me of the movie Erin Brokovich. A story from the Huffington Post reads:

[One of the nation's most widely-used herbicides has been found to exceed federal safety limits in drinking water in four states, but water customers have not been told and the Environmental Protection Agency has not published the results. Records that tracked the amount of the weed-killer atrazine in about 150 watersheds from 2003 through 2008 were obtained by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund under the Freedom of Information Act. An analysis found that yearly average levels of atrazine in drinking water violated the federal standard at least ten times in communities in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas, all states where farmers rely heavily on the herbicide.

In addition, more than 40 water systems in those states showed spikes in atrazine levels that normally would have triggered automatic notification of customers. In none of those cases were residents alerted. In interviews, EPA officials did not dispute the data but said they do not consider atrazine a health hazard and said they did not believe the agency or state authorities had failed to properly inform the public. "We have concluded that atrazine does not cause adverse effects to humans or the environment," said Steve Bradbury, deputy office director of the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs.]

Essentially, the EPA has not been forthcoming with its information. This is putting the general public at risk. We should all know what is in our drinking water. And if we decide its not safe then we have the right to choose other sources for our drinking water.

In Europe, atrazine is banned because of the potential risks to the human population. What does Europe know that we don't? NOTHING. America just chooses to put money above public safety. The company that manufactures atrazine [Syngenta] has conducted scientific studies that show atrazine exposure contributing to prostate cancer in humans. In fact, employees of Syngenta that actually handle the herbicide have elevated levels of prostate cancer (3.5x higher than the Louisiana state average). Do you think there is a link here?? But why isn't the EPA getting involved? One word.... Pharma. Syngenta is a merger between two major pharma companies and they have deep pockets and a large lobby in Washington. Sometimes I feel like I am repeating myself but the patterns I am pointing out are no coincidence. Money and greed are at the root of all of this and we are paying the price with our health.

So the EPA did not publish the elevated levels of atrazine in the water supply of 4 states and those people were drinking that water over a period of 5 years. Who knows what the health ramifications were and if those people could do anything about it even if they were to draw a link back to atrazine.

Here is what you can do. Buy a water filter. You can get a professional one installed on your faucet or you can get a simple carbon filtration system like Brita. The carbon will filter out an herbicide like atrazine. Bottled water is always an option but make sure its from a protected spring source and has been tested for contaminants. The only issue there is the plastic bottles it comes in. They are bad for the environment and build up in our landfills. Our choices are limited so the best option for you and the environment would be a water filter. I would go even further to say that fluoride should be filtered from your water as well because it is a contaminant too but I will save that discussion for another post. Here is a link to the NRDC's (Natural Resources Defense Council) article on atrazine. Its another eye opener, especially when you read about the hormonal effects it has on aquatic life!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fermentation of Our Foods

My last post focused on soy and why its consumption can be detrimental to our health. What I didn't discuss was the Japanese and Asian diets that are rich in soy. Why do these cultures have such long and healthy lifespans if they are eating so much soy? The answer is fermentation. I talked about Phytic Acid in soy and its anti-nutritive properties but once fermented, it actually has the opposite effect by boosting the nutrients and priobiotics that are naturally present in the soy but need to be "unlocked". Miso is a great example of fermented soy, as is soy sauce. Most of the soy in the American diet is not fermented and thus not good for you. The Japanese have a diet high in fish and fermented vegetables. They pickle many types of vegetables and add them to their meals. You have probably seen fermented vegetables at a sushi restaurant but chose not to eat it because of its outlandish color, texture or super intense flavor but these pickled delights pack a nutrient punch and help boost the immune system as well. The fermentation process is defined in a couple of ways. Pickling (letting a vegetable/meat sit in a salt bath until the enzymes work through the food) is one way. This method creates enzyme rich food as well as helps to preserve it and increase the flavor. Our ancestors pickled vegetables and meats in order to preserve them, but they were also getting the most out of their food as an added bonus. Other fermentation processes such as culturing use fungi and bacteria to predigest the food thus creating, cheese, yogurt or kefir. These foods are alive with active cultures that aid in digestion and boost the immune system. The pasteurization process can kill off a lot of the good bacteria in these products so its best to get raw when you can. Consuming alive bacteria is way more effective than consuming dead bacteria. Here are some of the health benefits that fermenting provides:

1. Unprocessed fermented foods boost the immune system by increasing antibodies that fight infectious disease.

2. The flora in living cultured foods form a "living shield" that covers the small intestine's inner lining and helps inhibit pathogenic organisms including E.coli, salmonella and an unhealthy overgrowth of candida (yeast).

3. Some ferments create antioxidants (glutathione and superoxide dismustase) that scavenge free radicals which are a cancer precursor.

4. Fermenting transforms hard-to-digest lactose from milk to the more easily digested lactic acid. It neutralizes the anti-nutrients found in many foods including the phytic acid found in all grains and the trypsin-inhibitors in soy.

5. Fermentation generates new nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, digestive aids and the trace mineral GTF chromium.

Many processed foods on the shelves of our grocery store claim to be fermented foods. Examples would be olives, pickles, roasted peppers or any anti pasta type food. The problem with these foods is that big business and over processing has once again stripped them of their natural nutritive properties. Some store bought olives are washed with a lye solution to remove bitterness and then packed in salt and canned. These types of olives are not fermented at all but you would not know that and lye is a poison in my book! No matter how you look at it, processed foods are not real, they are not alive and do nothing but take our health away from us.

If you want real fermented olives go to an olive bar in your health food store and see the process happening right before your eyes. Those olives are so delicious! Also, don't buy any of those commercial yogurts that come in 120 different flavors. There probably aren't any active cultures in them and the sugar content is through the roof. They are no different then pudding at this point. Its actually easy to make your own yogurt and then flavor it with your own fresh fruit. You will feel better knowing that what you are eating is real and alive. The flavor will be more potent and your immune system will thank you!

Future posts will be about making your own yogurt and pickling vegetables. I will try it on my own and blog about it so you all can see how easy and tasty it can be. I haven't done it yet because raising twin boys can be a time sucker but I do plan to undertake this experiment and taste the difference in my foods! Stay tuned!

Monday, August 17, 2009

10 Reasons Not to Ever Eat Soy Again

By now, you should feel pretty informed about commodity corn and how its ruining our environment and polluting our food supply. Well, guess what? Soy is essentially the same culprit. Many farms across the US are turning to monoculture to grow the soy bean. Its also a commodity and used in just as many processed foods as corn. Its grown with fertilizer just like corn and is processed into oils, fats, emulsifiers and preservatives just like corn. However, the American public has been taught to believe that soy is healthy for us. When we think of soy, at least traditionally, we think of the far east; tofu, edamame and healthy lifestyle. Many vegetarians and vegans turn to soy for their protein requirements. It has been given a positive association with health and diet over the years but nothing could be further from the truth. Soy is not good for you no matter how you look at it. Here are the reasons why:

1. High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.

2. Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.

3. Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.

4. Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

5.Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.

6. Soy foods increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.

7. Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.

8. Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.

9. Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.

10. Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

When I was a baby (back in 1974) my mother said I was not tolerant to cow's milk so she put me on soy formula. She didn't nurse so that wasn't an option. I drank the soy formula for over a year of my life. As an adult, I am now very short in stature. I realize that I do not come from a tall family, but even amongst the shorties, I am the shortest. I suffer from a hormone imbalance called PCOS which can cause infertility (thankfully in my case I was able to conceive). I believe in my heart that these issues were caused by my early intake of soy.

In my house there is as little soy as possible. I do realize that in some processed foods, even organic, soy is present. I don't think that the organic community realizes how dangerous soy is to the human body so they still use the ingredient abundantly. In fact, soy milk was considered for a long time to be much healthier than regular cows milk. But now you can know better.

There are so many diseases burdening our population these days. Autoimmune disease has become so much more prevalent even in the past 20 years or so. It seems I know almost 10 people with either Chrone's or Colitis or Rheumatoid Arthritis. I know there is a link to our diets and I think soy and corn are a big part of it. The good news is that we can begin to heal ourselves. To start, just remove the soy from your diet. You will see the results because your immune system will begin to get stronger. You may even get your thyroid to work better and find it easier to lose weight. Your thyroid is a very important gland in your body that controls your metabolism. When not working properly, the body can either become obese or extremely emaciated. Soy can cause the thyroid to slow down and make it extremely hard to lose weight. Sometimes I wonder why certain vegetarians I know look overweight and seem sickly (skin tone and overall appearance). I think its partly due to over consumption of soy. Just because you decide to not eat meat doesn't mean you will become skinny. In fact, grass fed animal fat has the opposite effect on your body because the animal does not contain any grain that was processed with corn or soy. Think about what you put into your body, think about soy and what I am saying. Do some research on your own but don't fall prey to the myth that soy is a healthy alternative to milk or meat (traditional proteins). There is nothing healthy about it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chemicals Chemicals... Everywhere!

I am so sick of trying to buy products that I think are healthy and throwing my hands up when I look at the ingredient list. We are essentially blind when we go to the store and reach for something that we think will enhance our beauty or make us smell better. We have no idea what these products contain and the effect they have on our bodies over time or in conjunction with one another. I added a link at the end of this post with some of the more common chemicals found in our personal and household care products and the list is pretty extensive. It does a good job of defining these chemicals and explaining how they affect the human body. We go shopping and buy personal and household care products everyday but do we ever take a look at the ingredients? I bet you have and then looked away because you couldn't even read what was written. What is the point of reading the ingredients on the bottle if none of it makes sense? Maybe if we knew what to look for then we could have an easier time navigating our way around the countless numbers of products containing harmful synthetic chemicals.

Synthetic chemicals number on the hundred of thousands at this point and they are in so many products its dizzying. They are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource whose extraction, refining and transportation can cause major environmental degradation. Manufacture of synthetics is also often an energy intensive process that may introduce a variety of toxic chemicals into air and water. Many do not readily biodegrade and thus bioaccumulate in the environment. But that is just the environmental impact. What about the human impact?

I first learned about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate back when I worked for a CPG company that makes personal care products. The chemical is found in toothpaste, bodywash, shampoos and soaps. In the cleaning industry SLS is used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car-wash soaps, etc. It is very corrosive and readily attacks greasy surfaces. It affects the body the same way by "degreasing" and stripping the skin of any natural oils that may be present. The chemical is also absorbed into the skin and liver and can react with ingredients in other skin care products forming nitrates which are potential cancer-causing carcinogens. Scary enough for you? Now check all your shampoos, soaps and toothpastes and look for SLS. It won't take you long to find it.

There are alternative products that do not contain this chemical but it may take you some time to get used to them. Once hooked on Pantene, one can never really appreciate a chemical free shampoo. You may feel like its not "lathering up" as much or its not getting your hair "squeaky clean". We are so programmed to equate these "cleansing cues" to health and cleanliness but in actuality we are contaminating ourselves. I have mentioned before that I use Shi Kai products. They have a line of soaps, shampoos, conditioners and creams without this harmful chemical and they WORK. We need to re-train ourselves to feel clean without absorbing SLS.

I won't go into detail about the plethora of other chemicals found in everyday products but here is a list of the more common ones. Print it out and find them in your products today. Get comfortable with what they do and how they can be harmful. Try to buy products not containing them at all. In fact, try to buy products with the least amount of ingredients as possible. I know this may be hard and even expensive, but if we weren't so obsessed with beauty in the first place, there wouldn't be a market for these kind of products. No one is monitoring how these chemicals interact with each other and that is the scariest reason of all not to use any product containing synthetic chemicals. I realize that its truly impossible to rid yourself completely of them, but by taking steps you can definitely reduce your intake. Baby steps.....

Here is a link to the LIST:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bioplastics: Is it Really the Right Way to Go?

Today I went to my local coffee shop, Library Coffee to get an iced Chai Tea Latte. It was 94 degrees out and the air was thick so I needed some relief. This deliciously cold and semi sweet concoction quenches the thirst like no other drink can (for me at least). It helped me pass the time at the park with the boys as well as hold back some of the sweat that was beginning to collect at the bottom of my neck and dampen my hair which would then turn it curly. But I digress... I learned today that the plastic cup holding my precious chai tea is made from corn and if held under hot water for a couple of minutes will disintegrate into a natural byproduct that will eventually degrade back into carbon. I thought it sounded pretty cool since most plastics found in packaging and server ware are made from fossil fuels (petroleum) that can not be replaced. These plastics also do not return to a degraded state, ever. In fact, far out in the Pacific Ocean there is a huge area that is growing at an alarming rate containing a gigantic tangle of our plastic garbage. This plastic jungle out in the middle of the ocean is killing aquatic life and poisoning the water. Bet you didn't know the extent to which our planet is being destroyed. But if we don't have landfills to dump our plastics in then where do you think they will wind up? I guess its too expensive to shoot it all into space. Just a thought.

This plastic cup that I drank my cold tea from is made of corn. The same raw material that finds its way into our food chain in such a plethera of ways. Its becoming more common and there are now a handful of packaging companies using corn as their main input. So now with plastics made from corn, we may be able to finally reduce some of that garbage that's made from finite resources and once discarded, never really goes away. Sounds great but I have 2 concerns: First being that the demand for these types of plastics is still small. Big CPG companies really need pressure from their consumers to become more environmentally conscious. Boycotting products made from non biodegradable packaging is a start and in numbers will make an impact. Government legislation can help with this as well. However, I think the market will be directing the switch to bio degradable plastics because the cost of petroleum is only going to increase as the fossil fuel becomes more scarce. The corn inputs for plastic are actually competitively priced and as more players get into the business the prices will fall even further. But my second concern has more to do with the corn than anything else. Once we move to using corn as the primary raw material for making plastic will the devastating effects on our environment continue but now only indirectly?

Here is what I mean. Corn is grown using fossil fuels. I speak about this in earlier posts but I will mention it again. America's farmers are abandoning what once was a profitable business and turning to monoculture to survive. They devote almost all their land to growing one crop - CORN. These farmers are barely making ends meet because government subsidies are just enough to cover the costs of growing the stuff but they are stuck. The corn being planted is a GMO (genetically modified) and is not edible. It needs to be processed and then goes into animal feed, processing plants to make sweeteners, thickeners and emulsifiers in processed foods, ethanol for cars and now as a raw material for plastic. This corn thing is really versatile. I wonder what else we can use it for - maybe medicine? Who knows? But I digress once again... The farmer, trying to maximize his corn crop and get the highest yield, does not use the sun to grow his corn. He uses fertilizer which is made of fossil fuel and runs off the land into our rivers, lakes and streams polluting our aquatic life. The land that the corn is grown on is being stripped of all its fertility and one day will not be able support life at all. This is the cycle we are creating. It seems to me that we are moving from one evil to another with the same original dependency on our finite resources. Both ways of making plastic are not sustainable to me. So yeah, it sounds so "green" to use plastic that will melt down into corn and go back into the ground and bio degrade. But at what cost? We are doing the same amount of damage to our environment as the non bio degradable plastic has done. Who do you think is behind the movement to use corn as a raw material for plastic - take one guess - CARGILL. Yes that is right, Cargill owns a company called NatureWorks that is leading the way forward in the corn based plastics movement. They are the creators of PLA a corn based polymer. So I do believe that if Cargill can find a way to make medicine out of corn they will do it. I do not trust Cargill and find that everthing they own or touch has a hand in destroying our planet in some way.

I think the moral of this story is to reuse, reuse, reuse. Take your canvas bags to the store. Use glass to drink out of. Ask for recycled paper cups for your coffee, limit your purchases of products that use an excessive amount of plastic packaging and buy wooden toys for your kids. We can not get out of this destructive cycle until we make the active decision to opt out. Try it for a day and see if you can avoid using or buying plastic. I bet it will be hard but maybe reducing your consumption is the first step.