Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Different Kind of Green for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, the day where everyone is Irish, anyone can wear green, and everything is dyed green.

But this St. Patty's Day, let me urge you to put down the green-tinted beer and any other food unnaturally dyed green and exchange it for something really "green."

Eat naturally green foods.
You can't get more Irish in America than Guiness, so drink it as is, rather than tinted green.
Make traditional Irish foods rather than American junk food dyed green.

So, why should we avoid all that green dye:

  • Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue)

    An unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice. What it's in: Baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs, and other products.

  • Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)

    Causes a statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. What it's in: Colored beverages, candies, pet food, & other food and drugs.

  • Green #3 (Fast Green)

    Caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. What it's in: Drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products except in eye area, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet; ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics.

  • Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)

    Yellow 5 causes sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. What it's in: Pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

  • Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)

    Caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. What it's in: Color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.

    For the entire article, and dangers of Red dyes, please click HERE.

    And one more article for HERE.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unplug That Microwave!

Who doesn't have a microwave? They're in college dorms, kitchens, offices and bachelor pads all over the United States! We can't seem to live without them. We've lost the skill of reheating food in a conventional oven or stove top. We yell at them to hurry up as the seconds tick down. Really, we should be throwing them out the window!

It is pretty much common knowledge now that bottles of formula or breast milk should not be 'nuked. It even says so on formula cans. The general consensus is that it unevenly warms the fluid and can cause burns to baby. However, there's the added researched concern that "Heating the bottle in a microwave can cause slight changes in the milk. In infant formulas, there may be a loss of some vitamins. In expressed breast milk, some protective properties may be destroyed." <Young Families, the Minnesota Extension Service of the University of Minnesota, 1989 radio announcement.>

If that happens to baby formula heated for mere seconds, what does it do to food overall?

In 1991, Norma Levitt was killed during a blood transfusion when the nurse warmed her blood in the microwave oven! The microwaves altered the blood and caused her body to be unable to accept it and use it! (Reference 1 and 2)

Hans Hertel and Bernard Blanc worked together to study the dangers of microwaves. In a controlled study, they found that those who consumed microwaved food had
Significant changes were discovered in the blood of the volunteers who consumed foods cooked in the microwave oven. These changes included a decrease in all hemoglobin values and cholesterol values, especially the HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) values and ratio." (Reference 1 and 2) It also harmed the immune system by decreased white blood cells!

In short, microwaving denatures food. Microwaves work by heating food through friction in the cellular structure of the food....from the inside out rather than conventionally from the outside in. (Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon). This causes deformation within the molecular structures of the food, thus altering fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc etc etc. Some are rendered useless while others are altered and unable to be full assimilated or used within our bodies. Microwaving also breaks down the cells making them more susceptable to dangerous micro-organisms. (Reference 1)

The website: Global Healing Center features a very in-depth article on the dangers of microwave cooking. In it, they list these 10 reasons to toss out your microwave.

Ten Reasons to Throw out your Microwave Oven

From the conclusions of the Swiss, Russian and German scientific clinical studies, we can no longer ignore the microwave oven sitting in our kitchens. Based on this research, we will conclude this article with the following:

  1. Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term - permanent - brain damage by "shorting out" electrical impulses in the brain [de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue].
  2. The human body cannot metabolize [break down] the unknown by-products created in microwaved food.
  3. Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods.
  4. The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual [long term, permanent] within the human body.
  5. Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.
  6. The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.
  7. Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths [tumors]. This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in America.
  8. The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.
  9. Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.
  10. Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence.
Ok, so I admit, some of the research presented seems out-dated and some of the history seems more like propoganda to try to add fuel to the fire with emotion-based "facts," but we need to look at the research, the studies, the trials and tests.

Again, microwaves denature food and that denaturing process can cause any number of harmful effects on our bodies. Add that to the processed, chemical garbage present in most microwavable meals and you have double the trouble. And should you choose to use a microwave in a pinch, avoid using any and all plastics within at all costs, even "microwave safe" plastics. (Reference 3)

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Diverse Community of Healthy Living

Those who strive for a healthier life and lifestyle are as diverse as any other entity. It's a beautiful thing to see all these various focuses come together to make the world a better, healthier place. There's plenty of overlap, but when someone makes something their focus, and if we listen, we can learn a lot and gain much.

Some are dedicated to fitness and the benefits of exercise: Fitness2aT Shannon DelSavio Beachbody Coach CrossFit Jaguar

Some are dedicated to reducing waste and over consumption: Zero Waste Home Tiny House Blog Life Without Plastic

Some are dedicated to nutrition and natural healing: The Healthy Home Economist Bulk Herb Store Food Renegade

Some are dedicated to sustainable farming and farming rights: Polyface Farm Raw Milk Oasis Camel Dairy

Some are dedicated to child care and nutrition: Food For Kids' Health

What is your passion? Do you have a blog or website you'd like to share? If so, please leave a comment!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Raw Camel Milk for Autism and More?!

Mark Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" at America's First Camel Dairy
Oasis Camel Dairy

Hmmm.....if I were to have a camel dairy, I'd name is Drom-e-Dairy! Haha! Get it? Never mind.

All joking aside, twice this week I've come across information online about how beneficial raw camel milk is to people, especially for treating those with Autism. Oasis Camel Dairy lists the benefits on their website. Here are other online links touting the benefits of camel milk:

Camel Milk USA (Promotion for camel milk sales in USA) Includes articles on benefits of camel milk for diabetics and children with food allergies!

Unfortunately, camel milk, especially raw camel milk (pasteurization may ruin the benefits of the milk) is unavailable in the USA unless you raise and train your own camels. I look forward to the day when we will be able to have these nutritional options available to us. They can dump aspartame and MSG in hundreds of "food" products for us to consume, but we cannot get God-created, natural foods so easily. It's sad, especially when people, especially children, could benefit so greatly from them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Killer Cosmetics

Baby steps. Baby steps. That's what I keep telling myself, because this is one issue I'm having a hard time with. I am having a hard time ditching my cosmetics, particularly my make-up and nail polish. I've already done away with commerical soaps, shampoos and shaving creams. I use my homemade soap. I've done away with commerical creams, lotions and moisturizers, too. I use coconut oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil or rose hip oil. But, I'm not there yet when it comes to make-up.

In the 18th century, vanity prevailed as men and women powdered their faced with a lead-based powder to achieve the pale-faced look of the era. We shake our heads at their vanity, but are we really so far behind?

On the tail of my post, "Are Your Cosmetics Keeping You From Losing Weight" I offer more information, including an article on the lead content of popular make-up brands, especially L'Oreal Lipstick!

I'm also linking up to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which has a searchable database to find out about your favorite cosmetics and how good or bad they really are.

A simple google search can help you find sources for organic cosmetics, including hair dyes, nail polish, and make-up.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Saving AG. Is it up to us ladies?

During World War Two, so many British men were taken or volunteered into service that there were few men left to run the great agriculture of the Kingdom. Women stepped into many roles during that time, including the service of Land Girls (as seen in the photo above).

Is it time for the Land Girls to put on the muck boots and step forward again?

I think so.

Agriculture doesn't pay. Did it ever? I'm not sure. But in today's day and age, it really doesn't pay. There are far too many subsidies for GMO's and other questionable AG practices and higher costs for organic farmers. However, I'm sure we can all agree that quality, sustainable farming is VERY important and must be preserved. So, where do we ladies come in?

Farming used to generally be a male occupation. The strappy little wife would contribute more than given credit for and give birth to plenty of little farm hands. Today, though, according to the USDA census, female farm ownership is up 30% from 2002-2007! My own husband and I hope to add to this statistic in the near future.

In order to continue farming and make it work, farming seems to have become a second income for families. At least in our future case, hubby will continue with his career while I take on the ownership and management of our small farm. It'll be my career, our second income. Another scenario to help make farms work is the man owns and runs the farm while the wife carries a second income in the outside work force. Still, I can't help but be interested in the rise in female farmers and applaud the men who support her endeavors.

Magazines and books are catering to this new growth. Resources abound with a simple google search. Even equipment manufacturers are creating tools and machinery more suitable to the strength, nature, design and interest of women.

As an aside, women farmers are taking the world by storm all over the globe! There are funds and charities and ministries to help these women who often face family care alone due to the lack of male support, or the loss of male support in more traditional cultures. Check this out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Compromise? I don't think so!

Ok, I'll be honest and up front here. I do compromise some on my food choices. Homemade cookies and commercial cold cereals are weaknesses. Currently, my kids and husband eat Bimbo bread, although I'd love for them to eat my homemade bread. My bread baking skills aren't up to snuff, yet. My kiddos get juice once in a blue moon. Daddy likes to treat them to donut holes and Grandpa likes to give them several skittles when they visit. But these are mostly TREATS, not regularly consumed.

We are all entitled to a little food compromise, I think. I have no problem with people choosing to eat garbage foods, so long as they aren't doing so ignorantly, or worse yet, under deception (like margarine is so NOT a health food!)

However, I will not, cannot cave to convenience foods for long term just because it's easier on my current condition. I caved during my bad morning sickness weeks. My kids lived easy processed foods. I felt horrible giving them the garbage, but I literally could not even walk into my kitchen without heaving. Hubby was working 5 hours away at the time, so he couldn't help.

Now, I face "limited mobility" for my pregnancy due to some complications. It isn't strict bedrest, thank God, but I can't do a lot of things I normally used to. One of the first bits of well-meaning advice I got was, "bulk up on pasta and easy to make foods." I very unthankfully did that snotty 1990's teenage gesture of sticking my finger in my mouth and pretending to gag.

That is something I can't do anymore. I simply can't. We were all so sickly after my morning sickness bout from eating that junky food! Besides, it doesn't even TASTE good to me anymore. Sure, we eat a little pasta, but not every day of the week! Microwave it?! No way! Casseroles, canned products, frozen meals....if I have to stay in bed all day and let my toilet grow a new species so I am able to cook decent meals, then I will.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Helping Your Fellow Man

Oftentimes, in the spirit of wanting to help, I've noticed that people, including myself, are quick to give advice, to admonish, to suggest, etc, but slow to act. It's easy to tell someone to stop buying factory meats and conventional produce and go local organic instead, but to them it may be a daunting step, not to mention an expense they may not be prepared to take on.

I'm an advocate of small steps towards the greater good when it comes to healthy eating, but sometimes even those small steps need a crutch, a helping hand, an usher in the right direction. Perhaps you know those who are completely lost in the world of processed foods. Perhaps you know those who WANT to eat better, but their income levels prevent it, even with cutting back every expense possible. Whatever the reason or excuse, advice is good, but action is better.

How do you help your fellow man eat better?

You could:

1. Offer to go shopping with them or take them to the farmer's market.
2. Share your bounty, whether or CSA bounty, farm find, or your own garden's harvest.
3. Cook them healthful meals on occasion.
4. If they are willing, respectfully go through their pantry and grocery budget and help them get the most nutritional bang for their buck.

What would you do if you were faced with a sudden crash in income but still wanted to maintain your better eating choices? Let's face it, organic can be expensive at times when placed against conventional choices.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are Your Cosmetics Keeping You From Losing Weight?

The society of healthy eating is growing by leaps and bounds as people realize how dangerous chemicals in foods are. Many realize that such chemicals can keep you from losing weight.

For me, in light of reading certain testimonials about sick individuals who increased their healing by eliminating external chemicals as well got me thinking. Could external chemicals keep us from losing weight, too? Why is it that men tend to drop weight more quickly than women? Yes, it has to do with them being men, but why does the gender gap seem so wide? Wider than it was before? Could it be because women like to lather and slather themselves more often than men? Could it be because we cover nearly every pore of our bodies with some sort of commercial spray, lotion, make-up, or ointment while men are content to suds up, rinse off, smear the deodorant and go?

Apparently, my thoughts have merit:

It's not just the phthalates and parabens, but it could also be the BPA in the plastic bottles.

Judging by these articles, if you have any sort of hormonal imbalance, even if you can keep the weight off you should avoid cosmetics. I'm getting rid of my Dove shampoo (the smell gives me a headache anyway). I'm going to be more careful about the kind of make-up I buy, too. Giving up make-up is hard on many women. I already cut back on how often I wear make-up. Being a stay-at-home mom gives me liberty to go days naked-faced, but I like to cake-up on the couple of days I actually venture beyond my deeded boundary. I've also developed a love for lipstick, which I discovered is LOADED with parabens. Yuck!

As a side note, there apparently is an episode of "Dirtiest Jobs" where Mark goes to a pig farm outside of Las Vegas. The farmer feeds his pigs a swill made from discarded food from the Vegas strip. The food is poured into a vat to make the swill and the fat from all the food is removed and sold to cosmetic companies. Makes my stomach churn just thinking about it!

Now, I'm not going to leave you hanging with wet hair and nothing to put in it. This blog will feature posts about better-for-you cosmetics and natural and organic options, like I did in the Coconut Oil post below.

For me, I'm sticking with my homemade soap for washing my hair and body and for shaving. I'm sticking with my homemade deodorant, which I LOVE and works better than any commercial deodorant I've tried. My toner is either witch hazel or rose water. My moisturizer is either sweet almond oil, rose hip oil or Bulk Herb Store's Eden Salve. Make-up, I'm going to be moving to organic mineral make-up and search for better options for lipstick and nail polish. Watch out for perfume, too if you are a daily user of it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Must Watch Video

Click on the photo above to watch this must-see video
(The link is working now....I just tried it myself and it works.)

Why do so many children have food allergies these days?
What's up with genetically modified crops?
Why is organic food so expensive?

Robyn answers these questions and more.
Watch and share...this must go viral!

Berkey Water Filters

For several years now I've wanted a Berkey Water Filter. My idea is to collect rain water and run it through the Berkey for drinking and cooking. You see, we have a lot of iron in our water. So, it either comes out of the tap orange (heavy iron isn't good for the Berkey), or we use the water softener. Softened water isn't good for the Berkey, either.

Berkey Water Filters claim to be able to clean water from just about any source, like a pond, spring, lake, old well, river or stream. That would make a Berkey a good thing to have in power outages, too!

Do any of my readers have a Berkey? Please tell us about it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Health Nut Journey

I encourage baby steps. It can be daunting for someone to completely change their lifestyle overnight. Baby steps are good! I didn't become a health nut (food snob?) overnight! I'm still learning! I'm still growing! I'm still *gasp* compromising.

The old ways always drew me near even as a child. My dad cultivated a love of history and old things in me. He would talk of his days on the farm in Ohio with no electricity or indoor plumbing. He would take me to local historical sites. He would let me tag along as he ventured to old homesteads (with permission) to metal detect. He had me work in the garden and help with the chickens and goats that we hand. All this and more set the wheels in my mind turning towards traditional foods and herbal healing.

Despite all that, I grew up on a traditional American large family diet heavy on processed carbs and koolaid and low on much of anything else, but we (my brothers and sister and I) were all skinny kids, so we didn't think much of it.

Puberty hit with a vengeance. I joined the ranks of my older brothers nose to nose in the mirror examining our terrible acne. Around that time, my father took us to The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY where I fell in LOVE with the farmstead, herb garden and apothecary shop. My dad purchased a book on herbs that I devoured. It was overwhelming for me, and I tried a couple of acne remedies with no avail. Still, I wondered at how the whole herbal thing worked.

As the pressure of high school and later a job at a fashion store grew, I became more aware of my health by way of making sure I fit in a tiny sizes. This expanded my dietary journey into the late 90's world of fat-free. It didn't matter if you ate crap, just so long as it was fat free. To this day, I remember watching Richard Simmons holding the microphone in the face of a morbidly obese woman of color who repeated his mantra of, "Calories don't make you fat. Fat makes you fat." It wasn't until 10 years later that I realized just how wrong that is!

So, I battled with my self-image and the continued unhealthy eating and lack of fats and vitamins and minerals wreaked havoc on me farther still. My skin was heavily scarred by acne that would not quit. My menstrual cycle was long, heavy and extremely painful. I could lose or gain weight, but no matter what my body always looked unfit. I couldn't advance in any fitness or sport because my body lacked the proper fuels it needed. I suffered depression and fatigue. By college, I was sleeping up to 18 hours a day. I couldn't concentrate on much.

This continued into my early married years. I hated feeling so tired, unfocused and depressed. I searched for answers, but not many came. Taking chemical birth control didn't help, either. I gained weight, my lack on concentration increased, and I suffered from leg pains. Yet, somehow, I thought I had it all figured out and put hubby on my low-fat, fat-free diet. I cringe at what we ate those first few years of marriage. It harmed both of us. We were both tired, irritable, unhealthy, and fed up.

Then, through a blog, I discovered "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon, and it made sense to me! I read some of it to hubby and he said, "That's what I've been trying to tell you all these years!" It was after the birth of our oldest son. I had hit a weight loss plateau that would not budge. It was a leap of faith to give up the only "healthy" lifestyle I knew of fat-free and jump right into full fat traditional foods, but I did. Within a short period of time, I went from my pre-baby weight of 130 lbs to my fittest ever 123 lbs. I was strong, lean, muscular, but more importantly, HEALTHY!

Growth continued from that springboard to where I am now. I still have a long way to go and a few other bumps in the road to overcome, including my daughter's extreme picky eating habits and irritable bowels. The road also included making my own homemade infant formula when my breast milk dried up before my 3rd baby was a year old.

It is all baby steps. Education. Practice. Commitment.