Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Parents, why are you still feeding your kids Cheerios?

I guess I can understand, at one time, how a cereal like Cheerios would have been considered ok to feed children... Based solely on a lesser of many evils that is.

I guess I can see why a parent at the time when homemade meals were beginning to be replaced with processed 'ready to eat' foods, would consider this a "go to meal" for children.  Or at a time when Saturday morning cartoons were beginning to dominate the air waves rotting children's minds, I can see why a parent might feel comfortable leaving their child to feed their face with a handful of these quick to dissolve relatively choke proof circles of empty calories, while their brains turned to mush much like the cereal in their mouths...

But with everything we now know about the harmful effects of consuming grains (especially gluten) and sugar as part of a regular diet, I find it tough to see why any parent would be so quick to make this their child's first solid food.

With everything we now know about the harmful effects of consuming GMO's, how could any parent give their child a food that has "modified corn starch, sugar" as two of the first three ingredients?  Especially when nearly all foods not labeled "100% Organic" that list corn as an ingredient, contain GMO corn.  And now with GMO sugar beets given the ok in the American market, you can bet that foods listing sugar as an ingredient contain this GMO as well.

And if for a second you have a hard time believing that this "wholesome heart healthy" food would contain such unhealthy ingredients, try asking the parent company 'General Mills' why they spent over 1 million dollars to fight proposition 37 which would have given consumers the right to know what's in their food by forcing companies to label all GMO ingredients?

Friday, November 30, 2012

The need for human stool transplants are on the rise

In case you've never heard of a fecal transplant, it's a fairly new procedure that was designed to treat those infected with a bacterium called Clostridium difficile which typically occurs in people within hospital settings who are taking antibiotics.

Unfortunately the problem with antibiotics, and the reason I am so against them, is they indiscriminately wipe out all bacteria (good and bad) within the gut.  For this very reason it is crucial that anyone taking antibiotics take a probiotic as well.  This goes for those who are on antibiotics both short and long term.  As you know the gut (intestines) is by all accounts your immune system, and your immune system cannot function properly without healthy gut flora.

Despite this fact doctors in this country continue to indiscriminately over prescribe antibiotics, so its no wonder this new treatment may soon become standard procedure.  As alarming as this may sound (and is), the fact that this procedure is becoming more popular due to antibiotic usage is not what disturbs me the most.  It's the increasing number of cases in children who are not taking antibiotics, but who suffer none the less from Clostridium difficile.  I truly think this only strengthens the argument that Americans, from a young age, have extremely poor diets.

There is a direct undisputed correlation between diet and a healthy gut.  That is without a healthy diet you cannot have a healthy gut.  And anytime unhealthy bacteria have any kind of edge in the battle over your gut, you lose!

So what can you do to insure you maintain a healthy gut (immune system)?

For starters, eat plenty of fermented foods.  Not the store bought pasteurized version, but rather the homemade organic non-pasteurized kind.  It's fun and easy, and there are many types of fermented foods that you can make.
  • My wife and I always have homemade sauerkraut on hand.  For those of you that don't know how sauerkraut is made, it is simply fermented cabbage; cabbage, salt, and patience.  Healthy bacteria do the rest.  
  • Another favorite of ours is kefir.  This is a fermented food/drink made from milk (cow, sheep, goat) or as we like to use fresh young coconut milk.  The hardest part of this one is getting into the coconut, but once you've mastered that there's nothing to it.  Just add some kefir culture starter to the coconut milk and let it ferment for a few days.  Once again it's the healthy bacteria that do all the hard work.
  • One type of fermented drink that my wife and I have yet to try (but plan to) is kombucha.  Kombucha is basically fermented tea but you can be creative and add your favorite fruit to add flavor.  This one requires a yeast culture called a SCOBY, but just like the other fermented foods nature does all the work.  Typical ingredients are usually black tea, although any caffeinated non-herbal tea will do the trick, sugar, your fruit of choice, and a SCOBY.  Although you can purchase a SCOBY online, I find something a little creepy about that which is why we are waiting for a friend of ours to accumulate some SCOBY babies that she can part with.  Yes these alien looking creatures reproduce, and it's the babies that allow you to have multiple batches of kombucha going at once.  Plus they make a tasty and healthy treat for your backyard free range chickens!  :-)
So the next time your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for you, ask for a probiotic as well!  And if he or she won't, go to your local health food store and pick one up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's our obsession with leaves?

Americans have this obsession with leaves, and it's not a good one.  Sure they're fine when they're sitting pretty up in the trees, but as soon as that first Autumn wind blows a few to the ground it's game on! I'm sure most states are the same, with each town having its own rules (or laws) regarding leaf pick-up depending on your area; rural, urban, suburban... whether bagged or simply blown to the curb though it's a tiresome seemingly losing battle.

The bigger question though is not which of the latest and greatest overpriced pieces of equipment should be used (leaf blower, leaf vacuum, leaf bagger, leaf shredder, etc.), but rather why do most people spend so much time trying to rid their yard of this excellent and FREE natural compost resource?

Decomposing leaves feed the soil.  That is the trillions of micro-organisms that live in healthy soil.  And yet Americans make it their fall mission, waging war on nature's mulch/fertilizer, and not resting until every last leaf has been exiled from their lawn.  As a society we'd rather spend hundreds of dollars a year per household putting chemicals down, in the form of weed killer, fertilizer, GMO seeds, or whatever "lawn food" the "experts" claim you need in order to get that perfect lawn.

This is a shameful ridiculous waste of time and resources!  In my neighborhood the rule is you blow them to the curb and the town will come pick them up.  You won't see any leaves at my curb though, and it's not because my part of the town doesn't have curbs... No, I see leaves as the valuable and precious natural resource that they are.  And for this reason I rake up and utilize the bulk of what my yard produces as well as my neighbor's yard (to the right and left of me).  Sure, they think I'm the nice helpful guy next door.  And a bit crazy I'm sure.  But the truth is pains me to see such wastefulness.

So what do I do with all these leaves you wonder (or not)?

I use them in the chicken's winter fenced in area as bedding.  Since I give the pasture part of my lawn a rest from the chickens over the winter, and without daily rotation, this smaller fenced in area becomes dirt quite quickly.  And bare uncovered dirt is, in any season, defenseless against the harshness of nature (sun, wind, and rain), which ultimately leads to infertile soil.  So in an effort to maintain healthy soil and encourage a good microorganism population, I add a nice thick layer of leaves and fall debris for compost and cover.  This helps maintain moisture and temperature while preventing the harsh effects of  winter; a mud pit when snowing/raining and a frozen desert during the dry spells.  This benefits the chickens by helping to maintain a vital food source (worms and insects), while benefiting the soil by providing food (decomposing organic matter and chicken poop) and cover.

So the next time you start to get that fall itch telling you to wage war on the fallen leaves, think twice about your actions.  You would be doing your lawn a favor by utilizing the leaves as fertilizer as well as mulch for flower and shrub beds.  You would also be doing your wallet a favor by saving money that would otherwise be spent on "lawn care".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heartburn, another result of factory farming!

A recent article in health news states that Heartburn is on the rise and scientists don't know why, but once again I see a clear connection between factory farming and chronic diseases and disorders such as heartburn.

In the natural healing world heartburn is treated in two ways; long term through diet and short term affects with acid.  Yes you heard correctly, contrary to popular western medical beliefs reducing the acid in the gut is often the exact opposite of what should be done.  Many times HCL pills and or an apple cider vinegar regimen will be prescribed by N.D.'s, which is an exact contradiction to the M.D. treatment consisting of pharmaceuticals, either prescription or over the counter antacid of some sort.

Why such polar opposite treatments?

As I've mentioned many times before our countries medical field is greatly influenced by those companies that run our factory farmed food industry, and conveniently enough have a great stake in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Heartburn is a direct result of the unbalanced and compromised (inflamed) gut of the typical unhealthy American consuming a factory farmed based diet of processed foods, soda and candy, grains and grain derived additives.  These foods cause inflammation, disrupt stomach pH, and inhibit instead of promote healthy gut flora. 

Whether you consider yourself a healthy eater or not, if your diet consists of more than 20% processed foods (ideally 10% or less) you are consuming large amounts of sugar (both artificial and refined) as well as grain based.  It's important to remember that to the human body grains are essentially glucose (sugar), and should be consumed in very limited quantities and all gluten free!  Just like the harmful artificial and refined sugars, grains despite their nutrient content will ultimately cause undesirable spikes in blood sugar.  Over time the body becomes insulin resistant resulting in type 2 and *type 3 diabetes (*Alzheimer's).

The mass production of these destructive annual monocrops ultimately affects every human that does not consciously and actively avoid this lifestyle.  And these negative harmful effects come at you from all sides whether obvious or not.
  1. These non-organic annual monocrops (corn, soy, wheat, etc.) require heavy doses of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers in order to grow in such nutrient depleted soil.  These deadly chemicals yield a nutrient lacking and toxic food for all those that consume it, and studies show high doses found in the end product and as a result within the body (human or animal).
  2. All factory farm based (grocery store bought) meats, eggs, and dairy come from unhealthy animals fed a diet consisting mainly of grains (and soy).  This is an omega-6 rich diet, as opposed to an omega-3 rich diet (grass), and promotes inflammation within the body.
  3. The overabundance in stock of these government subsidized crops results in the mass production of unhealthy toxic grain based food additives used to enhance flavor, add color, add synthetic nutrients, as isolated artificial sugars, and whatever else these creative scientists can come up with.
  4.  Pharmaceutical companies are tied to these same chemical companies that profit so heavily from factory farming; Monsanto, Dow Chemical, BASF, Bayer, etc.
  5. Current and future medical and biochemical research is heavily funded and influenced at the university level by these same chemical companies (Monsanto, Dow Chemical, BASF, Bayer, etc.).
  6. All government agencies with the purpose of regulating our food industry (FDA, Dept. of Agriculture, etc.) have had and continue to have an "open door policy" at the upper level with their high level employees.
So what can we do to prevent this?
  • Support your local organic sustainable farmers
  • Eat only organic pastured meats, eggs, and dairy
  • Limit the consumption of processed foods
  • Buy only Organic Non-GMO foods 
  • Find a reputable N.D. in your area 
  • Prevent disease with a healthy diet and lifestyle instead of relying heavily on the pharmaceutical industry
  • Stay educated and don't leave your health to someone who's ultimately tied to the very industry that is poisoning you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't believe "Heart Healthy" advertising!

I read an article in today's health news titled "Healthy hearts may still have disease risk" and I believe this only further supports the fact that American Heart Association's idea of a "heart health" diet is anything but!

Heart disease is not some naturally occurring inevitable disease that will eventually strike with age... No disease is!  Heart disease especially, like diabetes, Alzheimer's (which has been dubbed type 3 diabetes), or any chronic inflammatory disease, is diet dependent.  And unfortunately what is perceived as a healthy diet in fact causes inflammation and ultimately disease.

Sugar is of course a major culprit in the American diet, responsible for many many diseases, especially the simple refined and or artificial sugars that are so heavily a part of processed foods and soft drinks.  But typically there is a noticeable disparity between total sugar intake amongst those people that are perceived as "healthy" compared to those who are not. 

Grains however are big part of either diet, and one of the biggest disease causing culprits in the American diet. Grains are difficult for the body to properly digest, whether your consuming refined white flour or that labeled "whole grain".  They disrupt healthy gut flora causing inflammation throughout the body as well as severely compromising the intestinal walls (your immune system).  Possibly worst of all though are the effects grain consumption has on insulin receptors within the body.  It is important to realize that grains are essentially glucose (sugar) to the body and as you know diets high in sugar cause abnormal spikes in blood sugar levels.  The body releases insulin naturally, in response to blood sugar, and its these constant insulin overloads overtime that impair the body's normal insulin production ultimately leading to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes).

So why then do most health practitioners as well as nutritionists promote whole grains as part of a healthy diet? 

The answer simply brings us back to the same reoccurring theme; factory/industrial farming and those companies that support and depend upon it, control our countries food system, heavily influence our medical research and industry, and control the FDA's decision and policy making due to the "revolving door" between those that rule the food industry and those that are supposed to watch over and control it.

Knowledge is your best defense!  Keep yourself informed and take it upon yourself to change. 
Support your local organic sustainable farms as well as organic non-GMO!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Election day is upon us!

Election day is upon us.  Next Tuesday to be exact, and that means one very critical vote will be determined.  No, not who will become our country's next pawn to the industrialized factory-farmed food and pharmaceutical industries.  I am talking about "proposition 37"!  The vote that will determine whether consumers (California consumers to be precise) have the right to know what's in their food.  If passed it would require GMO and GE labeling on all food products, as well as forbid the labeling "natural ingredients" or "all natural" to be used on products that contain GMOs.  This legislation has failed to pass in its previous attempts (in both Vermont and Connecticut) but I say the 3rd time's a charm!

This is the only time in my life that I probably wished I lived in California... long enough to voice my opinion by ballot anyway.  The good thing is, if this passes in California it will surely spread amongst the other states. For now though the best we can do is patron our local organic sustainable farms as well as make sure all packaged store bought goods are organic non-GMO.  And make sure not to support companies that fund the opposition in this fight for food labeling!