Archive for March, 2012

Spring Allergies

March 31, 2012

Seems like much of the country is experiencing a warm end of March. We’re at least a month ahead where I live. This warmth means earlier blooming, and allergies may be starting sooner….sigh. Here’s some helpful advice:

10 Foods That Fight Spring Allergies

The Daily Fix Newsletter
Is it a Virus or Allergies?
Should You Bother With Neti Pots?

Itchy eyes and runny noses—already? It’s true! Spring allergy season started historically early this year—during winter—rearing its ugly head in early February. Allergists and climate scientists have long warned that allergy seasons are going to be longer and more intense, so now is the perfect time to stock up on the top symptom-relieving foods, including citrus-rich foods and potent allergy-annihilating herbs. Stock up on stinging nettle and these other 9 allergy-fighting powerhouse foods

The Top 5 Allergy Fighters You’re Not Considering

30th Anniversary, etc.

March 23, 2012

This Sunday is Iris Herbal’s 30th anniversary. Back in 1982 I first visited New Mexico on a road trip…and part of that journey was “testing” a few salves and massage oils on the folks we visited. Good thing I got positive feedback!

In our ongoing discourse on epigenetics, I’ve been focusing on the importance of eating good, real food to positively affect gene expression. The flip side of this equation is getting rid of toxins, as well as lessening the intake of toxins, as they adversely affect gene expression. It really is that simple…and devilishly difficult to implement…mostly because of the ubiquity of GMO food in supermarkets, including ones we probably frequent. Anytime the label says “natural,” it may be anything but.

This whole GMO enterprise has only been the unwelcome guest since 1996; but in that short amount of time corn, soy, sugar beets, canola and a few other foods are now GMO if they aren’t certified organic. There is a huge movement to label GMO foods, so that consumers may make an informed choice. Here are a couple of great actions in which to participate:

Tell the EPA to ban glyphosphate

The California Right To Know GMO Food Act (and how to donate to help make this historic ballot measure win)

and here’s a great graphic from (and more info if you click on either link)  JUST LABEL IT and CITIZEN”S FOR HEALTH

Happy Spring!


Healthy Vegetarian Protein

March 13, 2012

As someone who has been trying to counter the anti-meat bias of many natural food connected nutritionists, let me say now: I was a vegetarian for 27 years. My problem was that I mostly ate too much soy, especially all those “fast-food” type products like tofu hot dogs. Hey, I was young, busy, didn’t like to cook, and worked long hours at physical labor. Whatever was the easiest. And if I had really known what I know now, I might still have been a vegetarian, but I would have done it differently.

 Too much soy can cause problems, one of which is a compromised thyroid. So although the link I’m featuring today is great info, I personally disagree with their caveat to keep soy consumption to one serving a day: if it’s tempeh or miso, fine. But tofu and soy milk are processed foods, and actually can be very hard to digest. So my nutrition advice is to keep tofu consumption to once a week, and skip the soy milk altogether. And absolutely: only organic. Otherwise you get more than you bargained for, in the form of GMO’s.

From is a great article on the healthiest vegetarian sources of protein. Go HERE to check them out.

Even as a meat eater, I do not sit down to a steak! I use small amounts of healthy meat, and eat all of the vegetarian sources of protein in the article cited except soy. There is actually some interesting research that says that eating both vegetarian and animal proteins together is healthier than just one or the other.

Raw Milk: Unsafe? Or Politically Unsafe?

March 10, 2012

I have been drinking raw milk and raw milk products (from both goats and cows) for over a dozen years. This is especially interesting since one of my first childhood memories is my pouring a glass of milk down the laundry room drain…and getting caught. My mom’s response was to give me Bosco ( a chocolate syrup) so I’d drink my milk…

The following is taken from an article by The Alliance for Natural Health:

To hear the media tell it, our lives are in jeopardy if we drink unpasteurized milk. But the facts tell the opposite story.

A new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declares that raw milk “cannot be considered safe under any circumstances,” and essentially advocates for stricter laws and enforcement against raw milk on the state level. The study claims that the rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk and products made from it was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.

However, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the CDC has manipulated and cherry-picked this data to make raw milk look dangerous—and it has dismissed the same dangers associated with pasteurized milk. If we really examine the raw data, we find that pasteurized milk products cause nearly twice as many illnesses as raw milk products, but illnesses from dairy products still constitute only 1.3% of the total, with raw dairy products coming in at less than half of a single percentage point. All of this is minor compared to the health risks of taking prescription drugs or even entering a hospital.

Even more importantly:  there has been not a single death from consuming raw milk in the 38 years the data has been collected—compared to over 80 deaths from pasteurized milk products during that same time period.

The time frame examined by the researchers dramatically skewed the results as well. The authors analyzed data from 1993 to 2006. Perhaps they chose that range because one year later, in 2007, 135 people became ill from pasteurized cheese contaminated with e. coli and three people died.

Another factor that is completely neglected is the source of the milk. Most food contamination products originate in large factory farms or CAFOs. Many people would consider unpasteurized milk from a family farm safer than pasteurized milk from a CAFO, but of course the government does not want to alienate Big Farma by getting into such qualitative distinctions.

To read the entire article, you can access it HERE.

Meanwhile, here is a great visual from Natural News:

 The isolated image shown below can also be accessed at:…

Learn more:

Routine Mammograms Carry Their Own Dangers

March 3, 2012

This crossed my desk today (gosh, is that a dated saying!) and I felt compelled to share: finally an official allopathic body of doctors is releasing the info that routine diagnostic mammograms are not quite as safe as they have been leading us to believe:

The Institute of Medicine is finally acknowledging the toxic effects of mammogram radiation as a significant factor in the development of breast cancer; just one mammogram can expose you to the radiation equivalent of 1,000 chest x-rays

  • Mammograms also carry an unacceptably high rate of false positives—up to six percent—which can lead to repeat screenings that expose you to even more radiation, as well as unnecessary medical procedures, including biopsies, surgery, and chemotherapy
  • A new study in the British Medical Journal highlights losses in quality of life related to the high rates of false positives and unnecessary treatment associated with breast cancer screening
  • Mammograms have been scientifically proven not to save women’s lives, and do not improve breast cancer survival rates over annual physical examination alone
  • Your immune system is your greatest weapon against breast cancer; research now shows that 30 percent of breast tumors go away on their own, because a healthy immune system is so adept at eradicating cancer

You can read this entire article HERE.

This is not to say that a mammogram has never helped a woman in her dealing with cancer; just a caveat that yearly routine mammograms with no physical evidence (like a felt lump) may not be so much “early detection” but a problem in itself of “unintended consequences.”

Bone Broths: Ancient Food Still Nutritious and Delicious

March 2, 2012

The first signs of spring are evident here in northern New Mexico: wind, mud, swelling buds, and the first bluebirds. But it is still cold, and folks are still battling illness. Bone broths are a very old remedy for colds and flu as well as recuperation from any illness, general debility, and digestive problems. There are many ways to make your own bone broths: here is my favorite, which can be done with any animal bones. The best are from free-range/organically raised animals that were humanely butchered.

First you need a big stainless steel soup pot.

Into that pot you put as many bones as will comfortably fit. If chicken, you can use just the backs or whole carcasses from which the meat has been imperfectly removed. If beef, a variety of soup bones is great, especially ones with lots of marrow.

Fill the pot with cold water; add a half cup of apple cider vinegar; and let sit for half an hour.

Simmer (that means about 175 to 185 degrees: you want tiny bubbles around the perimeter, but NOT a full boil) for at least 6 hours and if possible 12 hours (or anything in between). After the first hour or so, skim off any particles that float to the surface that look dubious. I often skip this step, as it is all going to be strained at the end.

About 2 hours before I’m finished I add a couple of bay leaves, an onion or 2 cut up into eighths, several carrots and sticks of celery cut into smallish pieces, and if you are feeling wild go ahead and add some cut up parsnips, rutabaga and/or your favorite greens (stems and all).

About half an hour before I’m finished I add a lot of garlic and maybe some thyme. The last 15 minutes dump in coarsely chopped parsley. All these amounts are to your taste, so please experiment. Each batch of broth will be a bit different and ALL will be scrumptious.

After the broth is done, let it cool for a bit; then fish the big stuff out with tongs. Last you will strain the liquid into canning jars (or whatever) and if you plan to freeze some, be sure to leave an inch of head room. Cool first in the  fridge before you freeze, and use wide-mouth jars. I, of course, speak from experience…

When the broth is fully chilled, you may find (and probably will) that the broth has “congealed.” This is not the fat (which some folks skim off from the top) but rather the gelatin from the bones, and is a very easily digested source of protein, colloids, polysaccharides, and other nutritional goodies.

The broth may be heated and eaten alone (and that is when I add salt and pepper) or better yet, add freshly cut vegetables, meat and rice or potatoes, and you have a home-made soup that makes your whole house smell good and tastes great. That soup can also be frozen and turned into healthy “fast food.”

Bon Appetite!