Thursday, August 28, 2008

Radiation Exposure and Heart Disease

Most of us receive exposure to radiation on a daily basis. But did you know that exposure actually increases the risk for heart disease as well? This is among people exposed to low-dose radiation for long term or high dose for short-term according to a study published in the March issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The study examined the health of 65,000 workers working between the years of 1946 and 2002 at 4 separate nuclear plants operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc and its predecessors.
This study, conducted by Steve Jones and collegues at Westlakes Scientific Consulting looked at non-cancer death rates and cumulative radiation exposure using the worker's personal dosimeter badges. Findings revealed that those exposed to relatively higher doses were at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

The effects of radiation on heart disease should not be a surprise to anyone who has followed reports and studies done about the effects of radiation on the body.
Another finding by John Gofman, a famous nuclear physician discovered that 75 percent of breast cancers are connected to exposure to medical x-ray (which includes mammograms), also stated years ago that radiation causes damage to arteries and blood vessels, which perpetuates heart disease. Breast cancer radiation also raises the risk of heart disease as well, as reported by BMC Cancer.

The bottom line is, living a healthy lifestyle is critical to avoid both the need for medical procedures which use radiation and avoiding other unnecessary exposure to radiation. Things to avoid include x-rays, mammograms, CT scans, and reduce the amount you use or are exposed to devices which emit radiation such as microwaves, cell phones, televisions, wireless devices, and other related equiment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Orange Juice Healthy?

What could be better than a glass of orange juice at breakfast? We have been led to believe for many years that orange juice is one of the foundations of health in our daily diets and this popular beverage is served in many environments to be included with a "healthy breakfast". Did you know that not only is orange juice really just sugar in disguise, but unless it comes from an organic source that in many cases it also contains toxins that cause illness and disease? Let's find out why.

The following excerpt is from the annual conference of Consumer Health of Canada, 2002. At this conference, Sally Fallon, well-known author and educator gave a lecture about the food processing industry. Ms. Fallon is also known for her work with the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit group whose mission is to "disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated non-industrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets" through education, research, and activism.

"In the processing, the whole orange is put into the machine. Enzymes are added to get as much oil as possible out of the skin. Oranges are a very heavily sprayed crop. These sprays are cholinesterase inhibitors, which are real neurotoxins. When they put the oranges in the vats and squeeze them, all those pesticides go into the juice.

What about the orange peel used for cattle feed? The dried left-over citrus peel is processed into cakes which are still loaded with cholinesterase inhibitors and organophosphates. Mark Purdey in England has shown these neurotoxins are correlated with "Mad Cow Disease" (Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis or BSE). The use of organophosphates either as a spray on the cows or in their feed is one of the causes of the degeneration of the brain and nervous system in the cow and if these components are doing this to the nervous system of the cow, there's a possibility they are doing this to you also. In fact, a study carried out in Hawaii found that consumption of fruit and fruit juices was the number one dietary factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers speculated that the real culprit was the pesticides used in fruit—and concentrated in the juices due to modern processing techniques."

Still think orange juice is healthy? Consider this: because the majority of orange juice on the market comes from conventional sources that rely heavily on chemical processes and pesticides, you are much more likely to encounter this variety of juice than the pure type from organic sources. Even if you do drink organic orange juice regularly, just contemplate the empty calories going into your body and the sky-high amounts of sugar your pancreas must deal with - and remember, it takes an average of 10 oranges to make an 8 ounce glass of juice. You are getting all of the sugar and none of the fiber, pulp or nutrients (or in the case of juice with "pulp", you are not getting very much). How many people do you know who will sit down and eat 10 oranges at a time? Next time instead of drinking the juice, opt for a whole, organically-grown orange. Your body will thank you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vitamin Supplements

Do you take supplements or vitamins? Know the facts before you take any supplement:
  • Many supplements are not standardized or high quality. Choose supplements that are good quality and have good ingredients. The majority of what is available in most grocery and food stores, and some health food stores is not considered good quality, so use caution. Professional grade products are the best choice.
  • The best method of choosing supplements that are right for you is through a knowledgeable health care practitioner. Traditional doctors do not typically know a great deal about nutritional supplements, and trying to decide on your own may cause health problems to occur and you will likely end up wasting money. For best results, seek the advice of a qualified practitioner well-versed in nutrition such as a certified nutritional therapist or naturopathic physician.
  • In general, whole-food, organic compounds with phyto-nutrients and co-factors are the best choices.
  • Make certain you are choosing supplements that take care of the following dietary requirements: essential fatty acids (Omega 3s), mineral balance (such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, chromium, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, and other important minerals), fiber (for regularity and toxin removal), digestion (such as digestive enzymes), and probiotics (friendly bacteria that help populate your intestinal tract and keep your immune system functioning).
For more information about making the right choice in nutritional supplements, visit Merchant Circle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Save Electricity and Money

Here are some tips for saving electricity:
  • Unplug appliances and devices when not in use.
  • Turn off any lights and or plug-in devices when not in use such as toasters, microwaves, blenders, televisions, coffee makers, stereo systems, and computers.
  • Use candles instead of lights when possible, but be certain to monitor their use closely to prevent the risk of fire.
  • Choose a few nights a week to hand-wash dishes. Use cold water whenever possible.
  • Use cold water in your washing for clothes.
  • Hang your clothes out to dry in your bathroom, on chairs in your living room or dining room, or outside on a clothes line.
  • Tighten your house's thermal envelope by improving on various areas in your house that separate the home from the outside such as walls, windows, weatherstripping, roof, doors, areas where you have caulking.
  • Close curtains and shades in parts of the house that receive the most sunlight during warmer weather months: north, morning and south, evening.
  • Move furniture away from air registers to allow air flow efficiency.
  • Change the filter regularly in your air conditioner system or air system.
  • When appropriate, Replace older, less efficient appliances and devices with higher-level, energy efficient ones.
  • Turn your heat down a couple of degrees in the winter and bundle up. Turn your air conditioner up as well during summer, and turn on fans and open the windows. Consider installing ceiling fans in your house to help move air through and save money.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Eat Your Fish!

Fish oil and protein is an important source of nutrients for health. Try to eat these foods twice weekly. According to the Washington State Department of Health, here are the selections which are lowest in mercury:
  • Anchovies
  • Butterfish (Silver Pomfret)
  • Catfish
  • Clams
  • Cod (Pacific)
  • Crab (King, Snow, Mid-Atlantic - U.S. and Canada)
  • Crayfish
  • Flounder/Sole (Pacific)
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Oysters
  • Salmon (fresh, Alaskan)
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp (U.S.)
  • Squid/Calamari
  • Tilapia (U.S., Central America)
  • Trout (farmed)
  • Tuna
Eat no more than 3-4 times per month:
  • Blue Sea Bass
  • Chilean Sea Bass
  • Chinook Salmon (Puget Sound)
  • Croaker (white, Pacific)
  • Halibut (Pacific)
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Rockfish/Red Snapper
  • Sablefish
  • Tuna (canned white albacore - WA, OR, CA troll caught)
  • Mackerel (King)
  • Shark
  • Swordfish or Marlin
  • Tuna Steaks
  • Tilefish
Overall, eat smaller fish as they contain fewer contaminants. Larger fish live longer and thus have had a longer life span in which to accumulate mercury and other toxins. Avoid eating fatty parts of fish and stick to the fillet. Grill, broil, or bake your fish with real butter or grapeseed oil, and use spices such as rosemary, dill, tarragon, and thyme. Garlic is also tasty, as well as pesto and certain types of tomato sauces for a unique change.

Visit the Monterey Aquarium site for more information about safe fish choices and to download a pocket guide of safe fish to keep in your wallet.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Get the Facts Straight!

Much conflicting information exists about what is healthy and not healthy to eat. Here are some "facts" about growing and eating food:

Proponents of anti-meat rhetoric report the following:
  • Livestock production uses more than 50 percent of all water in the U.S.
  • It takes 25 gallons of water usage to grow one pound of wheat.
  • It takes 2,500 gallons of water to grow one pound of meat.
  • Livestock in the U.S. consume enough grain and soybeans to feed over five times the entire human population.
What is not discussed in these "facts" are the following:
  • Most meat consumption in the U.S. is from meat originating from factory or industrial environments. Factory farms produce enormous amounts of meat never paralleled before in history. Their bottom line is high production and yield, therefore they will need enormous amounts of water to keep their cattle alive.
  • Wheat is consumed much more now than ever before in history. Just look at the packages of many products you purchase in the store. Many of them contain wheat or wheat flour. Wheat allergies (and other food allergies) are becoming one of the most prevalent cause of illness and disease. The more your body is exposed to something, especially something processed such as wheat, the more likely it will be that you will develop an allergy.
  • Soy beans and grains are not healthy substances for animals to consume. When animals that are slaughtered for meat consume these grains, there is an increased requirement for antibiotics because the animals are more susceptible to disease. The health of the animal goes downhill from there and what results is an unhealthy meat product which, when consumed, causes among other things -- heart disease, diabetes and many other disorders.
  • Soy beans, in their whole state, are fine for human consumption in moderation. We are consuming soy and soy products at a higher rate than ever before in history. Soy products are unhealthy to consume, as they are generally processed and should be avoided. Most wheat as well, in mass quantities as we consume in this country, is also unhealthy to consume. Encouraging people to drop their consumption of meat and take up soy and wheat is by these standards, folly. If you are going to eat industrial meat and wheat and soy products, health problems will most certainly ensue.
Here are more "facts" from so-called health experts that do not take any of the above information into consideration:
  • The average American child's diet contains unnecessary amounts of protein, exceeding the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) established by the National Research Council.
  • Diabetes has increased six-fold in the last 40 years from 1.6 million people in 1958 to 10 million diagnosed cases in 1997. Another 6 million people are estimated to have Diabetes but have not been diagnosed.
  • Sixty percent of Cancers are caused by diet according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Reducing your consumption of meats, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken can reduce your risk disease by over fifty percent.
It is interesting to note: the first item mentions that children consume too much protein, and yet the second item states that Diabetes has increased six-fold in the last 40 years (both "facts" are from the same source). Why is this, really? Pay close attention - the reason for this is due to the fact that our demand for meat has increased by at least that much or more, and the majority of what we are consuming comes from none other than -- factory farms. What did we say about factory farms again? Oh right, those facilities feed their animals soy, corn, and grains (carbohydrates), and also administer chemicals, steroids, and growth hormones. These methods do nothing to promote health or well-being in animals nor the people who consume the meat from those animals. So yes, if you continue consuming meat, dairy, and eggs produced by factory farms, by all means, you will develop heart disease and other health problems. But not if you consistently eat healthy, organic, grass-fed varieties of meat and meat products.

Now is it clear why so many people and an increasing number of children in particular have Diabetes and are heading for Cancer and heart disease? So actually, when the American Cancer Society reports that sixty percent of Cancers are caused by diet, they are actually reinforcing all the data we have discussed here -- that factory farm environments produce meats and dairy products that contribute to disease and illness.

Organic, sustainable farms that grass-fed their animals to produce meats and dairy products are the viable solution. These products represent the culmination of health which supports natural living and the environment, produces far less waste, and works in harmony with the Earth. When you consume these products, you are feeding your body the correct, natural, and balanced portion of food it needs to be healthy. Factory farms cannot make the same claim about their products. Obesity, heart disease, and other disorders do not stand a chance in a body which eats the proper types of food for health.

Be very cautious when you consider believing any philosophy which advocates less meat consumption but encourages eating more soy, corn, and grains. Use your brain and think about the chain of events that causes things to happen. Your health and the planet will thank you for it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Keep Children Away from Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals

Pesticides, herbicides, and toxic chemicals are found everywhere. They are dangerous to be exposed to for all human beings, but are particularly risky for children and infants. Their lower weight and higher metabolisms cause them to be particularly vulnerable to toxic substances. "More than 1 million children between the ages of 1 and 5 ingest at least 15 pesticides every day from fruits and vegetables. More than 600,000 of these children eat a dose of organophosphate insecticides that the federal government considers unsafe, and 61,000 eat doses that exceed benchmark levels by a factor of 10 or more"(Source: Environmental Working Group, "Overexposed: Organophosphate Insecticides in Children’s Food," 1998, pp. 1-3.).

"Our children are born with a deposit of pesticides and other foreign chemicals in their bodies, caused by a shift of maternal pesticide ‘body burden’ through the placenta; after birth, children ‘inherit’ further load through breastfeeding. Pesticides have a cumulative multigenerational destructive impact on human health -- especially on behavior. Pesticides are a serious threat to the physical, emotional and mental development of children and future generations," according to a report from the Environmental Illness Society of Canada.

By admission on their web site, the EPA has stated that pesticides are harmful chemicals: "By their very nature, most pesticides create some risk of harm. Pesticides can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms". In view of this information, it is beyond critical to take any action necessary to protect children from toxic chemicals.

Here are some tips for protecting your children from these lethal substances:
  • Store food and trash in closed containers to keep pests from coming into your home.
  • For extermination of pests in your home, use baits and traps when you can instead of toxic sprays; place baits and traps where children cannot reach them
  • Avoid keeping pesticides and toxic chemicals in your home. If you do have these substances, store them where kids can't reach them - never put them in other containers that kids can mistake for food or drink.
  • Keep children, toys, and pets away when pesticides are applied.
  • If you must eat conventional produce, wash under running water before eating - peel them before eating, when possible.
  • Allow spiders to remain in your yard as they serve as natural pest control.
  • Encourage birds, bats, and natural wildlife in your yard which also control pests. For example -- build a bat house in your yard or hang a bird house in a tree, and put out a bird feeder to attract birds.
  • Use natural methods to keep pests out of your yard. Visit Common Sense Gardening for ideas.
  • Pull weeds with your children.
  • Douse weeds with boiling water to kill them instead of using weed killer.
  • Soap weeds to death by doing the following: mix 5 tablespoons of liquid soap such as environmentally safe dish-washing liquid with 4 cups of water (1 quart) in a spray bottle. Coat weeds with soapy water. This method works best in hot weather.
  • Purchase and eat organic produce. Diets rich in organic vegetables significantly lower children's exposure to toxic chemicals. Eating conventional or industrial meats is also unsafe because pesticide residues collect in the fats of animals who consume pesticide treated feed.
  • Do not use dangerous insect repellents on the market, many of which contain DEET. Instead, make your own home-made insect repellent.
  • Check with your school district to find out their policy on using pesticides. If they're not using true Integrated Pest Management and least-toxic methods, start a campaign to insist that they do.
  • Check with local garden and nursery stores who often sell organic and natural products to help control pests and weeds in your yard.
  • Contact local legislature and find out about changing laws for the use of pesticides and toxic chemicals. Start a campaign with other concerned individuals in your area.
For more information about children and pesticide exposure, visit the following web sites:

The Green Guide

Westchester County Pest Management Committee

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Horrors of Premarin

Do people shoot horses? Sure they do, but horses are also used for the pharmaceutical industry in ways many would never imagine. A popular drug on the market used by doctors called Premarin is used for hormone or estrogen replacement. In order to collect the substance, urine, used for Premarin, pregnant mares are kept in dastardly conditions where horses receive not only sub-standard care but are grossly neglected.

Great bodies of research exist which have clearly linked the connection between pharmaceutical use of drugs like Premarin with increased risk of breast and other cancers. Read this report by the National Cancer Institute for a detailed look at this phenomenon, and another study prepared by Medicine Net.

Alternatives to HRT or hormone replacement therapy are vast and useful, as compared to the choice of taking pharmaceuticals and contributing to the widespread abuse of horses. Natural diet, a healthy lifestyle, herbs, and homeopathy are great alternatives to getting a prescription for this drug, which has yet to show benefits over risks to health. Through natural means, women can and do balance out their bodies for the better and overcome the difficulties of menopausal and other related health issues. Many women in developed or Western countries experience exaggerated symptoms of pre-menopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal effects, while those in less developed countries which rely on fewer drugs and have natural lifestyles experience those symptoms to a much lesser degree or not at all.

If you are suffering from PMS, menopausal issues, don't give in to the pharmaceutical trap! There is a better way. For more information about Premarin, visit Premarin (.org) and Premarin Facts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Are CT Scans Safe?

CT scans have come under the radar as being a possible cause of cancer. Although many sources say radiation levels are low, CT scan exposure can emit waves of radiation into the body. When considering cancer, it is important to remember that radiation is cumulative in the body. The more you are exposed, the higher the risk of cancer. In 2004, a study in The Journal of Radiology concluded that full-body CT scans increase the risk of cancer while trying to detect it. Each time you receive a scan, say once yearly after the age of 45, your risk goes up from 1 in 1200 to 1 in 50.

In the earlier half of this year, cancer risk to women having coronary angiography procedure became a topic of discussion. Since then, using CT scans in children was again brought to the attention of health communities, and it has been revealed that now as many as 2 percent of all cancers may be related to CT scans. Although such tests save lives, careful consideration is needed. If your healthcare provider suggests using this technology, discuss the risks and benefits and find out whether not having the procedure done is more of a risk than doing it.

For more information on the safety of CT scans, visit The Annie Appleseed Project and Science Daily.

For more information about the effects of radiation in the body, visit Good Health Info.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Are you consuming excitotoxins? These substances are found in many of the processed and packaged foods and drinks people consume every day. Some of the most common ingredients which are excitotoxins are aspartame and MSG or monosodium glutamate. According to Dr. Russell L. Blaylock M.D. (a neurosurgeon)- on a fundamental level, excitotoxins increase the risk of cancer growth and metastastis. Excitotoxins belong to a family of substances known as glutamates - which are some of the most plentiful amino acids found in the brain.

Glutamates are a naturally occurring substance in the body, but when you introduce them into the body from outside sources, such as what you will find in processed foods, you are just asking for trouble. The blood-brain barrier is not meant to deal with such high levels of glutamate in the body. "So, when you're consuming MSG, the level of glutamate in the blood can rise as high as 20-fold. You get very high glutamate levels in the blood after eating a meal containing MSG. You're stimulating all of the glutamate receptors." Dr. Blaylock said. Because too many glutamates cause the body to have to deal with much higher levels of glutamates than it would ever naturally be accustomed to, what has been created is an upset in the chemical balance that is a ripe environment for disease and illness to develop.

Where will you find excitotoxins? In millions of products! Here is a short list: breads, cereals, salad dressings, crackers, soy products, soda pop, "juices", "energy drinks", sauce mixes, cocoa mixes, drink mixes, desserts, candies, pop tarts, "fruit" snacks, "food" bars, and many others.

Aspartame (also known chemically as aspartate) is the substance found in many beverages and sweeteners used as an alternative to sugar. Both glutamate and aspartate are considered major excitatory transmitters, and aspartate has been found to activate neurons in place of glutamate (from James South, MA, Excitotoxins, The Ultimate Brainslayer). Besides causing sugar cravings and tumors, aspartate may also be responsible for major brain damage.

MSG has actually been found to cause IBS, diarrhea, and may even explain the rise in incidences of sudden cardiac death. In fact, research shows that MSG is a major source of cardiac irritability, and people with these disorders should entirely avoid anything with MSG in it or greatly promote their risk of sudden death. Studies show that animals exposed to MSG prefer carbohydrate and sugar-laden foods over the protein rich variety.

Soy products have been found to have some of the highest glutamate levels of any processed foods. If you read soy labels, you will find in many instances that they contain hydrolyzed matter (hydrolyzed soy protein is the common wording used), and when something is hydrolyzed, it releases glutamate. Many people who consume soy complain of migraine headaches. When they stop eating soy, headaches go away. We've now been shown that not only are soy products dangerous to endocrine and reproductive systems, but also to the nervous system as well.

So Beware! Even if a packaged item reads, "100% all natural ingredients", you could still be purchasing a food containing glutamates. Food labels are very deceptive and are designed to sell products. Remember, if something is processed, in all likelihood it will be responsible for causing health problems.

For more information, read the latest article on Agriculture Society. Also, check out these other resources:

Applied Health Journal

Dr. Risley (chiropractic doctor)

Complete Wellness Center

Suggested reading: Excitotoxins, The Taste That Kills - Dr. Russell L. Blaylock.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Green Hotels

Have you ever stayed at a "green" hotel? "Green" hotels are environmentally-friendly establishments where the management have implemented practices which save water, energy, and reduce solid waste (which also saves money) to help protect the Earth. The following is a list of hotels across the United States which qualify as "green":
  • AmericInns
  • Adam's Mark
  • AmeriSuites
  • Amhsa Hotels
  • Aston
  • Best Inn & Suites
  • Best Western
  • Canadian Pacific
  • Choice Hotels
  • Clarion Inn
  • Comfort Inn
  • Country Inn & Suites
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Days Inn
  • Doubletree
  • Dunphy Hotels
  • Econo Lodge
  • Embassy Suites
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Family Inns
  • Forte Hotels
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Guest Quarters
  • Hampton Inn
  • Hawthorn Inn
  • Hilton
  • Holiday Inn
  • Homewood Suites
  • Hospitality Inns
  • Howard Johnson
  • Hyatt
  • Inter-Continental
  • Kimpton Group
  • Lexington suites
  • Loews
  • Marriott
  • Hoteles Marta
  • Microtel Inn & Suites
  • Omni Hotel
  • PAHIO Resorts
  • Park Inn Intl.
  • Presidente
  • Quality Hotels
  • Radisson
  • Ramada
  • Red Lion
  • Red Roof Inns
  • Regal Hotels
  • Renaissance
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Sheraton
  • Shoney's Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Hotel Sofitel
  • Sonesta Resorts
  • Stouffer Hotels
  • SuperClubs
  • Super 8 Lodge
  • Susse Chalet
  • ThriftLodge
  • TraveLodge
  • Vagabond Inns
  • Wellesley Inns
  • Westin Hotels
  • WestCoast
  • Wyndham
  • Xanterra Resorts
The next time you plan a trip, consider making a reservation at one of these hotels. For more infromation, visit the Green Hotels Association web site.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Landscaping Your Lawn

Tired of spending a lot of money watering your lawn? Do you feel no matter how much you water your grass, it still looks brown and crispy? Maybe it's time to rethink your lawn. Here are some ideas for implementing a technique known as Xericscaping - a way to garden that requires little water and energy to maintain:
  • Test your soil. When necessary, add organic matter to your soil if it is performing poorly. You can take compost from your own pile or purchase organic compost and/or fertilizer from a local nursery or garden store.
  • Group plants by watering requirements. Place high-need plants in areas that naturally receive more water from rain or the sprinkler, or where you can hand-water easily and conveniently.
  • Plant native species. These varieties are more accustomed to the weather and soil conditions in the area which you live, will have a better chance of thriving, and won't require extra water as those imported from other areas.
  • Reduce grass space. Grass tends to require a lot of water, so limit grass areas and plant varieties of flowers, shrubs, bushes, and plants that require minimal amounts of water.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch! Spread plant beds with grass shavings from the mower and fallen leaves to help retain as much moisture as possible.
The benefits of Xeriscaping include:
  • Avoiding use of pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals
  • Improves the value of your property by offsetting costs of expensive landscaping
  • Saves water
  • Provides a natural habitat for local wildlife
  • Reduces pollution of soil, air, and water

For more information on Xeriscaping, visit the Landscape Design Site.
Less maintenance and time invested is necessary

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Support Fair Trade

Have you ever purchased a product that reads "fair trade" on the label? In a global economy where profits rule all, smaller merchants, craftsman, farmers, and artisans are often left in a vulnerable position with no resources or ability to look toward a positive future for themselves or their communities.

Fair trade rules include the following:
  • Producers receive a fair profit for their goods or services
  • Forced labor and child labor is not allowed
  • Buyers and producers develop and maintain long-term relationships
  • Producers have access to financial and technical assistance
  • Sustainable production techniques are encouraged
  • Safe and healthy working conditions exist for workers
  • Equal employment opportunity is provided for all
  • All aspects of trade and production are open to public accountability
Some of the products you can purchase that display the Fair Trade label include the following:
  • coffee
  • sugar
  • teas
  • herbs
  • rice
  • vanilla
  • fresh fruit
  • cocoa and chocolate
  • arts and crafts
Fair trade helps people who have previously been exploited and impoverished to create goods and services to make a living and regain their traditional way of life.

Check in your local community for Fair Trade products. For more information about Fair Trade practices and how you can get involved, visit the following sites:

Ten Thousand Villages



Equal Exchange

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Consuming Natures

How much do you consume? If you could measure and keep track of it, do you think it would make a difference in your regular consumption levels? In our culture of mass consumption, we are so accustomed to buying products and having products around for our "convenience", we seldom stop to think just how much we are consuming and how much waste we are producing as a result of that overconsumption.

Stop and think: do you really need to consume everything that you do? Challenge yourself to consume less of everything for one week. Keep a journal of the things you are doing without and ask yourself if you can do without those things permanently. At the end of the week, compare your reductions in consumption with your previous levels of consumption. Here are some ideas for reducing levels of consumption:
  1. Ride your bike or walk to work, the store, or to a friend's house. I've even heard stories of people riding their horses - don't it, if you can!
  2. When you do have to drive somewhere, combine trips to various locations that are in nearby locations. Instead of driving every day of the week, cut back your driving to 3 or 4 days a week.
  3. Use items over and over. Whenever you have containers, devices, or utilitarian items that can be used more than once, store them for later use to use again and again. This includes glass, paper, canvas, wood, metal, or tin foil.
  4. Replace plastic with paper, wood, canvas, cotton, glass, metal, ceramic, tin foil, or wax paper.
  5. Stop buying dryer sheets. Hang your clothes in the backyard to dry on a clothes line. If you do use a clothes dryer, dry them without anything at all. I have been doing this for years with no adverse effects to my clothes, and I am saving my family the hazards of toxic chemicals in dryer sheets (as well as $$).
  6. Wash your clothes all in cold water.
  7. Make your own clothing detergent.
  8. Make your own toothpaste.
  9. Use bar soaps for everything in your house including the shower and all the sinks. Stop buying liquid pump soaps. They are bad for you and the environment.
  10. Make your own shampoo and wash your hair less. When you wash your hair less, you find the need to condition your hair less frequently or not at all, thus saving your health and your pocketbook.
  11. Make your own cleaners, air fresheners, and deodorizers for home use.
  12. Stop using personal care products such as lotions, moisturizers, hand creams, and other similar items. Pay more attention to eating natural foods with whole, natural fats in them to supplement your health and support healthy skin, hair, and nails. Supplement your diet with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) such as raw butter, raw cheese, raw milk, raw nuts, leafy green vegetables, grass-fed meats, and fresh fish and fish oils from safe, deep-sea sources. If you must moisturize your skin, use fresh, real oils like coconut, grapeseed, sweet almond oil, and apricot kernel oil.
  13. Buy as many whole foods as possible, and less packaged and processed foods. You will save $$, your health, and the environment.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Corn Fed Meat?

Do you eat corn-fed meat? If you are a meat-eater, there is a high probability that you do consume a good amount of this substance. When animals consume corn and are slaughtered for meat, the meat becomes what is considered "obese" and causes many health problems. Consumption of corn-fed meats is one of the leading causes of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other problems that are plaguing people at younger and younger ages.

Corn-fed animals make up a majority of meat products consumed in developed countries because it is cheap and easy to grow. But did you know that corn and eating corn-fed meat is probably one of the worst things you can do for your health and the environment?

To learn more about this health issue and how you can make important changes, visit Agriculture Society and read our latest article.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Natural Insect Repellent...Use It!

It's insect season; are you prepared? Protect yourself and your family from insects like mosquitoes. Avoid using commercial products which contain DEET and other toxins - in the long run, they will cause health issues and can harm the environment.

Here is a good recipe for homemade insect repellent:

  • 20 drops Eucalyptus oil
  • 20 drops Cedarwood oil
  • 10 drops Tea Tree oil
  • 10 drops Geranium oil
  • 2 oz. carrier oil ( such as Jojoba )

Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed and avoid eye areas. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin for sensitivities. Experiment with different percentages of essential oil.

Also try Annie's Remedy for other ideas about homemade insect applications.

If you are unable to make your own insect repellent, here are some good brands to consider purchasing from your natural market:

Bite Blocker
Buzz Away
Burt's Bees Insect Repellent

During peak insect hours (early morning and late evening), avoid going outside. If you must be outdoors, wear protective clothing to cover up and use safe, natural insect repellent. Make certain to take special care with children, who are more vulnerable to insect bites. Keep applications out of children's eyes, nose, and mouth, and allow to dry before allowing young children to be free to move around.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Where Do Our Nutrients Come From?

Do you know where your nutrients come from? Here are some fruits and vegetables that provide the highest amounts of various nutrients:

Sources of vitamin A (carotenoids)

  • Orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, turnip greens
  • Orange fruits like mango, cantaloupe, apricots
  • Tomatoes

Sources of vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits and juices, kiwi fruit, strawberries, cantaloupe
  • Broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes
  • Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, turnip greens, spinach

Sources of folate

  • Cooked dry beans and peas
  • Oranges
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and mustard greens, romaine lettuce,green peas

Sources of potassium

  • White or sweet potato, cooked greens (such as spinach), winter squash
  • Bananas, plantains, dried fruits such as apricots and prunes
  • Cooked dry beans (such as baked beans) and lentils
For better health, eat at least 2 - 3 servings of fruits and 4-5 servings of vegetables each day. Avoid processed foods and junk. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are purported to keep health problems away.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Best Bets for Healthy Oils

Do you consume enough healthy oils? The best way to eat oils is in their natural, raw forms - as in salad dressing mixtures with vinegar. You should have some of them each day. Here are the healthiest choices for oils:
  • Extra-virgin, cold pressed olive oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Extra-virgin coconut Oil
  • Flax oil
If you must cook oils, the best ones for this purpose are grapeseed and coconut oil, as they have higher smoke points than most other oils and remain stable at higher heat temperatures. Avoid cooking olive oil at very high temperatures, and flax oil should not be consumed heated at all.

The following are not safe for consumption:
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Flax oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
What's the problem with vegetable oils? Vegetable oils are full of polyunsaturated fats (long-chain fatty acids) that are fragile and unstable. "The unsaturated oils inn some cooked foods become rancid in just a few hours even when refrigerated," states Ray Peat, Ph. D. a physiologist who has studied hormones and dietary fats since 1968. "And that's responsible for the stale taste in leftover foods. Eating slightly stale food with polyunsaturated oils isn't more harmful than eating the same oils when fresh, since the oils oxidize at a much higher rate once they are in the body. As soon as a polyunsaturated vegetable oil enters the body, it is exposed to temperatures high enough to cause its toxic decomposition, especially when combined with a continuous supply of oxygen and catalysts such as iron." These oils are purported to be one of the root causes of serious human health issues like heart disease, premature aging, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, and immune system disorders.

Among vegetable oils, the safest is considered olive oil. However, Peat cautions that consumption of olive oil should occur in moderation. Olive oil's content of polyunsaturated fats (approximately 8 to 12 percent) is several times higher than that of coconut oil (roughly 1 to 2 percent), and means that use of olive oil should be less in comparison with coconut.

Vegetable oils are also often genetically-modified. Consumption of genetically-modified organisms carry a list of health risks. For more information, visit Seeds of Deception.

For more information about the reasons for consuming healthy oils and fats, visit The Scream Online and also the web site of Chet Day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Replace Your Plastics!

Do you have a lot of plastic in your environment? Your house, your place of work? Here are some ways to remove plastics from your life and prevent them from causing toxic damage to your health and the environment:
  • Replace plastic cutting boards with glass, ceramic, bamboo, or wood. You can cut and prepare foods such as meats and cheese on glass so that any bacteria can easily be washed off and does not absorb. Clean your wood or bamboo cutting boards sparingly to prevent softening and cracking of materials, and use a small amount of mineral oil on your boards if they start to dry out or crack after washing.
  • Replace plastic wraps, bags, and other similar items in your kitchen to as large an extent as possible with paper, tin foil, or wax/parchment paper. Organize your vegetables in the pull-out drawer in your refrigerator so that you have a sheet of tin foil on the bottom of your drawer, and just place your vegetables on top of one another in the drawer without plastic bags. You'll find that vegetables keep longer, don't develop condensation nearly as quickly, and won't absorb dangerous toxins from the plastic. Make certain to remove any moldy or rotting vegetables that might be on the bottom of your pile and clean out your drawer by washing with soap and water. Dry with a clean kitchen towel and replace your sheet of tin foil with a new one. Place smaller items like baby carrots or radishes in small glass bowls in your vegetable drawer on top of stacked vegetables to keep separated.
  • Use paper, cotton, or canvas bags for carrying or storing instead of plastic.
  • Recycle glass bottles and jars for drinking beverages and stop purchasing and drinking beverages sold in plastic bottles. The smaller varieties in which ice teas and juice are sold are ideal for packing lunches, taking on picnics, walks, bike rides, or to work.
  • Store your foods in the refrigerator on or in glass, wood, ceramic, or other non-toxic containers. Cover your foods with tin foil.
  • Reconsider your need for piles and piles of plastic toys for children. Discard plastic toys and other similar items and replace with wooden toys. Children are particularly vulnerable to absorbing toxins through their skin from plastic toys because their bodies are still developing and growing. These toxins can adversely affect endocrine, nervous, and reproductive function.
  • Replace all and everything used for babies that is plastic (if possible) with something metal, glass, or wood. Although convenient, plastic used in baby bottles, dishes, and other items are especially dangerous for infants due to the reasons discussed above and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Reduce or eliminate the amount of products you purchase in plastic containers around your house such as household cleaners and personal care products. Consider making your own cleaners and personal care items from ingredients you have in your home. Store in glass containers with pumps for easy use.
Think about all the things you use in your daily life and ask yourself whether or not you can replace those made of plastic with a safer alternative. In many cases, wood, metal, and glass are outstanding alternatives. Try to make these replacements over time instead of all at once to cut down on expenses. If you take good care of your household items that you've used to replace the plastic ones, you should not find yourself replacing them too often.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Change Your Shaving Habits!

Do you use a harsh, chemical-laden product when shaving? Over time, these products will irritate your skin and you will absorb many toxic substances through your skin that will cause health problems. Many mainstream shaving products, as well as so-called "natural" and "organic" ones contain ingredients that clog pores and dry out skin, and will seep into the cells of your body which can contribute to diseases such as cancer.

A good alternative is a natural body scrub such as Bee Crow Bee. The ingredients are few and completely natural. See for yourself: sugar, shea butter, sweet almond oil and apricot oils, essential oils. This body scrub is fabulous on your skin and prevents nicks and cuts due to its high moisture volume from real oils. The motion of the sugar moving on your skin is a good stimulant to help circulation and blood flow movement. Your skin will be soft and smooth, and you'll say goodbye to all those expensive, toxic shaving products you have used for years. Use care not to apply to broken or irritated skin; rather, wait until an affected area has healed before applying.

Bee Crow Bee uses packaging that is good for the environment as well because they use glass bottles for their body scrubs, which are brown-colored to protect the contents of their ingredients. These body scrubs are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way, which will also save you money.

Use a scoop or a spoon for your scrub. This will reduce contamination into your container from fingers and increase the shelf life of your scrub. Make certain to replace the cap of your body scrub immediately after use to keep steam and water from the bath or shower out of your container, which can cause decay of your product.