Archive for July, 2011

If You Use Nutritional Supplements: Please Read!

July 26, 2011

The FDA is working towards further regulation of the US nutritional supplement industry in such a way that could easily make supplements both harder to purchase and more expensive. Please check out the following articles for more detailed info and action steps. Thank you!

Alliance For Health article here which talks about how the FDA is emulating Europe’s strategy of making herbs and supplements difficult to purchase and why, as well as 2 earlier articles which are linked, giving the political details (this all came down just before the 4th of July holiday).

An opinion piece by a respected health educator here which goes into the bigger picture and lots of detail. Both articles contain action steps that I recommend you take (and pass the word along) if you wish to continue purchasing and using nutritional supplements. We stopped the FDA in 1994 when they wanted to make nutritional supplements equal to drugs. Time for us to stop them once again as they try to limit out health freedom.

Some Interesting Tidbits That Hit My Radar

July 23, 2011

For the next few posts I’ll be talking about heavy metals: why we need to pay attention to them; how to detox from them; and strategies for keeping healthy in an increasingly toxic world. Until then, here are a few interesting articles that caught my attention this week:

Sleep is increasingly becoming a precious “commodity” in our lives….check out this article on sleep deprivation for some excellent reasons why it’s now time to put a good night’s sleep at the top of our “to do” list.

A client recently shared with me that her blood test showed that she was anemic. If you are having issues with iron absorption, here is a good article on anemia.  What the article does not say, however, is that iron from meat is sometimes more easily absorbed than iron from vegetarian and supplement sources. Some experimentation may be necessary before this condition is stabilized.

For those of us who are still eating dairy products, here is an article that will hopefully nudge you into the “organic only” column. The contamination of milk  is especially important to consider if you have children who are drinking milk as part of their diet.

Are you beginning to forget as you age? Here is a new study about Acetyl-L-Carnitine and how it helps stabilize brain structure and memory.

How Drought/Floods Are Affecting Food and Herbs

July 13, 2011

My intern, Irma, and I went for a walk yesterday. Where there were once lush wild grasses, a few naturalized yellow dock and milkweed plants, was now totally dry and crunchy underfoot. Dead cottonwoods, barely alive junipers (what everyone persists in calling cedar), and the saddest looking native chamisa and sagebrush…only the prickly pear cactus looked healthy, though small. This is drought in a high desert: the ground has NO moisture. Deer, rabbits, and all the smaller rodents are eating garden plants and flowers down to the ground. Many folks can’t keep their gardens watered enough…and even with drip irrigation the plants don’t get the nitrogen from rainwater, and hot dry winds desiccate the leaves. Our National Forests are closed because you could literally start a forest fire by holding a cigarette to a tree needle.

Meanwhile, in Europe around the Mediterranean, it has hardly stopped raining. I’m expecting essential oils from Armenia, and the distilling date just keeps being pushed forward. Whether the weather disturbances are totally caused by global warming (what I often call climate change) or a combination of various natural patterns  exacerbated by changes such as the increase of temperature and acidity of seawater, we can’t say with 100 % assurance….and yet, as I read the weather news, and talk to customers all over the continental US, everyone is reporting weird and unseasonable and record-breaking weather.

That fact means the farmers are having a harder time growing everything: vegetables, grains, fruits, herbs, flowers. First and last frost dates are changing. Warmer and wetter areas are getting warmer and wetter; drier and colder areas are getting drier…but not necessarily colder. Birds are changing where and when they arrive….and this can affect pollination just as surely as bee colony collapse or the white nose fungal disease is decimating bats.

We are living in a volatile time of change, and having adequate stores of dried food, herbs (especially tinctures that have a good shelf life) and drinking water is a good idea. If flood water can overrun a nuclear plant, if larger and more destructive tornadoes are showing up in places where tornadoes have historically been rare, emergency preparedness is not just a Girl Scout / Boy Scout slogan. Food prices and herb prices are already increasing due to shortages caused by weather disruptions ( late planting and late frosts), insect damage, higher fuel prices, and changing dietary patterns worldwide.

The social scientists have had a field day talking to each other about why the average person is having such a hard time wrapping their head around global climate change and its consequences. It’s not an easy or pretty picture. Those of us who farm, or work with plants, or bird watch: we are seeing the changes. it is not theoretical. As consumers, we can affect national policy and corporate policy primarily through how and where we spend our money. Supporting local agriculture, herbalists, and companies who are green in deed and not just spin is a worthwhile endeavor. So is bugging the hell out of all your Congresspeople.

Boycotting Fake Organics

July 5, 2011

When I was in my twenties I helped start a small town buying cooperative for those of us “hippie-types” who lived in the Appalachia/Big Stone Gap, VA area. We wanted food the local Piggly-Wiggley wouldn’t/maybe couldn’t offer. So 4 times a year all the “back to land folks” and the “urban political folks” gathered together and tried to mix a 5 gallon tub of peanut butter so that everyone got sorta the same consistency….you can imagine how that turned out. Bags of brown rice, lots of laughter, and everything organic…and grown by family farms or manufactured by family businesses,  as those were the only folks interested in the “weirdness”of organics back in the early 70ies.

When I left for the big city (Atlanta, GA) in 1977, I joined the local food co-op (Sevananda), and by early summer of 1979 was somehow its produce manager…talk about learning on the job! And what a great time to be getting up before dawn: driving the produce truck to the (genuine) Farmer’s Market, where, in the summer, one could buy 3 kinds of peaches and watermelons, corn, and lots of other fruits and veggies, so fresh the dew still sparkled on the green leaves….and though none was organic, at least it was from the farmer who grew it, or an independent agent who worked all night going from farm to farm picking up cases of delicious, ripe food.

As I learned my job, I found out a lot of people were asking for organics, and discovered that some of the hippie-type back to land folks in California were growing organic food on a scale that was, though still family farm (or cooperative farm), large enough to send me a one ton air freight container of fruits and vegetables every week. Since the Gerson Diet for cancer treatment was starting to become popular, I easily sold every morsel of that incredible food.

So that’s what I “grew up” considering organic; and sold it, purchased it, and ate it, despite the larger culture’s less than welcoming attitude…that is, until all us hippie types, in our innocence and idealism, launched what is now a juggernaut of profit so mind boggling that most of those family farms/manufactures have “sold out” to large multi-national corporations….who are hell-bent on cutting any and all corners to squeeze another ounce of profit…which means organic that isn’t really organic.

If you’d like to learn more, please check this out:

Organic Spies Strike Again: Exposing the Shocking Links Between the Biotech
Industry and the Organic Trade Association

After the success of “Organic
Spies Find Lies,”
the organic industry’s most diligent muckrakers,
the Organic Spies, are at it again with a new documentary, this time exposing
the connection between Horizon, Dean Foods, Land O’ Lakes and Monsanto.

Watch the
Video and Take Action

So it’s time to boycott the “fakes:” Horizon Dairy (with their imaginative spin on “free-range”) and all the other companies above. It’s time we consumers paid a wee bit more attention to what we are consuming…and from whom.