Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Ride of Silence tonight

Here is my awesome hubby on this morning's news talking about the Ride of Silence that he has helped organize for the 2nd year here in Arizona. It is a slow, silent ride to show solidarity among riders who share the road with vehicles. Too many cyclists are struck and either injured or killed while legally sharing our roads. As drivers, we need to be more aware of cyclists and make sure we are allowing them room designated by law in those bike lanes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

7 foods farmers won't eat!

As a follow up to the article I just posted, here is more info on some things to avoid. Remember, Eden Foods carries a line of BPA free cans and that includes tomatoes! I prefer to make my own spaghetti sauce and just about died when I found out about BPA. So there is an alternative if you can find Eden Foods tomatoes.

7 Foods So Unsafe Even Farmers Won't Eat Them
Grocery stores may sell them, but experts won't touch them; what you should know about your food.
By Laurel House | Mon Jan 25, 2010 17:55

Dick Luria/Getty Images

Green Home | Pollution | Vegan | Vegetarian | Water

Smoking was proven to be cancer-causing, tanning beds were shown to be on par with arsenic, but what about canned tomatoes, corn-fed beef, conventionally grown potatoes? What would it take to convince you to clean out your pantry and change your eating habits? Scientists, doctors, even simple farmers were asked what foods they refuse to eat. The responses had nothing to do with things like donuts due to fat content, or white bread because of the concentration of empty carbs. We're talking seemingly healthy things like tomatoes, beef, popcorn, potatoes, salmon, milk, and apples. For them, it's all about how they are produced and packaged.

7 experts in fields pertaining to both food and the environment answered one simple question: "What foods do you avoid?." Their answers, published in an article entitled "7 Foods the Experts Won't Eat" on Yahoo! Shine, will make you re-think food. When it comes to food and its affect on your health and the health of this planet, this is what they answered:

1. Canned Tomatoes

The Expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A.
The Reason: Tin cans are lined with a resin that contains the synthetic estrogen bisphenol-A, which has been linked to a slew of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, reproductive problems, and obesity. But that's not the biggest problem. The acid in tomatoes breaks down that bisphenol-A, leaching it into the food, and not just in insignificant amounts. According to the article, Saal comments that "you can get 50 mcg of BCA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young." That's why he's not touching the stuff.
The Solution: If you lo0ve the taste of "canned" tomatoes but prefer to skip the bisphenol-A, select glass bottles instead.

2. Corn-Fed Beef

The Expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming.
The Reason: Cattle are naturally grass eaters... not grain eaters. In order to fatten the animals (and profit margins), farmers feed them corn and soybeans. And while the farmers are beefing up their earnings, they are minimizing the nutritional benefits. The article mentions the findings from a recent USDA-conducted study comparing corn-fed beef and grass-fed beef showing that grass-fed beef is "higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease."
The Solution: Pretty straight forward: Opt for grass-fed beef instead.

WATCH VIDEO: Why Grass-Fed Beef? Emeril Answers

3.Microwave Popcorn

The Expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.
The Reason: It's not the popcorn itself, but the chemically-saturated lining of the bag including a compound called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that, according to a recent study from UCLA, may be linked to infertility. Microwaving vaporizes the chemicals as they move from coating the bag to lining the popcorn. But it's not like this fact is un-acknowledged. In fact the article points out that DuPont, as well as other manufacturers, have "promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then."
The Solution: Pop your own popcorn the way they did it in the olden days--in a pot.

4. Conventionally Grown (Not Organic) Potatoes

The Expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board.
The Reason: Herbicides and pesticides may not be sprayed directly on root vegetables (since they're underground), but they absorb the chemicals through the soil and water. Because potatoes are considered the nation's most popular vegetable, producing a healthy crop is essential to keep up with demand. In order to maintain their health, the article exposes the scary fact that "they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting." But here's the scary thing, Moyer says that he's talked to potato growers "who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals."
The Solution: Another no-brainer— Only buy organic potatoes.

5. Farmed Salmon

The Expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.
The Reason: When salmon is crammed into pens, fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers (obviously an unnatural environment for the up-stream swimmers), they're levels of healthy vitamin D lowers as the contaminants increases. Those contaminants include carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides (like DDT). The article points out that DDT has been linked to both diabetes and obesity, quoting Carpenter in saying that "You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer... It's that bad."
The Solution: Avoid farmed salmon and instead select wild-caught Alaskan salmon. But make sure the packaging reads "wild." If it just says "fresh Atlantic," according to the article, "it's farmed."

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

The Expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.
The Reason: Unlike in the olden days when fresh milk was some of the purest nutrients you could get, dairy cows today are fed growth hormones like rBGH and rBST to increase milk production. Problem is, while they may be making more milk, they are also increasing their chances of udder infections (which can lead to pus in the milk). More than that, the article points out that high levels of IGF-1 from the rBGH may play a role in the development of breast, prostate, and colon cancers... which is why North says that "it's banned in most industrialized countries."
The Solution: Read the labels and be sure that your milk doesn't contain rBGH or rBST and that it is labeled organic or "produced without artificial hormones."

7. Conventional Apples

The Expert: Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods
The Reason: Apples are the recipient of the most pesticides of all Fall fruits. Chemical producers swear that the residue is not harmful for human consumption, but the Yahoo! Article goes on to quote Kastel in saying that "Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers."
The Solution: Buy organic apples where available or at least thoroughly wash and peel apples before eating them.

Related Content on Eco-Friendly Food:
Trust Stella McCartney: Meat-Free Mondays are Hip, not Hippie!
The EPA, Keeping Chemicals Secret Since 1976
The Eco-Friendly Fisherman

Chemicals in our world

It seems like a chemical kind of week. Everywhere I turn there seem to be articles out there talking about really nasty chemicals that are polluting our world and our bodies. After my first DAN! conference, my head was spinning after the "Defending your child from a toxic world" talk that Dr. Stuart Freedenfeld gave. Bleak was how I felt but then I got mobilized. From dumping the teflon pans to re-packaging my meat from those disgusting foam filled trays to looking at water filters for my home, my conscious mind was now on ways to protect my family.

The DAN! conference also showed me (in a very elaborate, organic chemistry sort of way) the detox pathways that we are born with and just how broken they have become in our kiddos with Autism (and probably a great many others without it). I also heard the stats of what hazardous toxins are found each day in the cord blood of newborn babies. It seems un-avoidable. We all are exposed to toxins. When I walk through the lush grass of our HOA I know I am picking up fertilizers and pesticides, another reason why I don't let my kids lay on the common area grass or wear shoes inside. I know the schools use pesticides and herbicides, as do all the malls, stores, etc. We cannot live in a bubble, but what I always encourage is for people to make the biggest impact where they get the most exposure.

For most of us that is in our food supply and what we use to clean our homes. We can make a BIG impact just eating organic with the "dirty dozen", for example strawberries have some of the highest residue amounts so always go organic on the strawberries. Things with thick peels are ok not to get organic. Peel your veggies and fruit unless it is organic. Small steps do add up to big changes in our exposure. Dump the bleach. One byproduct of bleach is dioxin, one of the most hazardous chemicals out there. You can have a clean house without bleach, I promise.

I used to think it was just the hippie freakos who were afraid of stuff like BPA. Now maybe I am one of those hippie freakos. If so, I embrace it because I do know (and have the lab tests to prove it!) that we are healthier than before. I applaud Feinstein's efforts to ban BPA, it should NOT be lining our canned goods, baby bottles and other plastics. If you are eating anything out of a can then you are ingesting BPA, unless you are eating out of a can from Eden Foods. They are committed to providing non-GMO products and spend a great deal of money to provide a BPA-free can. I support them as much as possible. I am sorry, I just don't have time in the day to make my own refried beans right now (especially since I am the main one that eats them). So, a little convenience is always appreciated and Eden Foods' refried beans are yummy and BPA free! There's my plug for them.

So read below a great article from Care2's website on possible changes this government is making. I sure would love to see some actual regulations on what chemicals are allowed into our foods, used on the crops and injected into the animals we eat. We need to continue to put pressure on regulation of these chemicals and how they can be used. And we all need to be educated in what really goes on. We do need to take charge of our health and the health of our families and that means learning about the bad stuff so we can make changes as much as possible. And of course all of these chemicals are impacting our rates of cancer, DUH! But, one word about that, an alkaline environment is not cancer friendly. Learning about the PH of the body and eating and drinking things that promote alkalinity as opposed to acidity will greatly benefit you when it comes to disease, especially cancer! More on alkalinity at a later date.

For everyone who thought BPA-paranoid moms were just control freaks, and the people scrubbing their bathrooms with homemade cleaning solutions were just silly tree huggers, brace yourselves. Because the President's Cancer Panel just joined forces with those hippies.

The Panel, established in 1971 and consisting of three medical experts who report directly to the president, released a report today warning that lax chemical regulations could be negatively affecting our health -- especially when it comes to cancer.

Chemicals have crept into almost every aspect of our lives -- from water and food, to even the air we breathe. Chemicals like BPA, which California Senator Dianne Feinstein is pushing to ban, and those found in household products like cleaning supplies and cosmetics have been getting some attention recently through legislation like Feinstein's, and movements like the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Hexane, a carcinogenic neurotoxin, was recently discovered in veggie burgers. The report recognizes there is a regulatory (and cultural) presumption that chemicals are safe, and this helps keep possibly dangerous products in the mainstream. Most people will swipe on that paraben-laden eyeshadow without ever batting an...eye.

The Panel blames this assumption that chemicals are safe, as well as weak laws, derelict enforcement, and disunited authority, for the lack of chemical regulation. According to the report, only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in America have been tested for safety, and a number of suspected or even known carcinogens remain unregulated.

The report is especially important because of an increase in cancers, particularly among children, which experts suspect could be due to environmental factors. Stomach cancer in young white adults is also on the rise. Pregnant mothers should be exceptionally cautious about chemicals: 300 contaminants have been found in the cord blood of newborn babies, suggesting that children are being born 'pre-polluted.'

To help reduce your chemical exposure, the Panel gives suggestions such as filtering your drinking water, checking radon levels in your home, choosing pesticide-, chemical fertilzer-, and growth-hormone-free foods, and using databases to research the safety of common household products and cosmetics.

You can also sign this petition to Strengthen America's Toxic Chemical Standards.

And read up on what our friends over at Healthy & Green Living have to say about the report, too!

Read more: cancer, safety, chemicals, cosmetics, BPA, health policy, presidents cancer panel

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pesticides and ADHD and cross post about Azure Standard

I have blogged before about pesticides and the "dirty dozen" list of products that you should always buy organic. As I read yet another story about the link between these neurotoxins we use to kill the crickets and roaches around our house and neuro-developmental disorders, I was also checking on my co-op order from Azure Standard. I always, always, ALWAYS get organic strawberries. I buy them frozen, in bulk from Azure Standard. They are frequently used for smoothies and popsicles in this house. So, I reviewed my order to see what actually shipped and will be arriving tomorrow and was shocked to see I ordered NON organic strawberries. It always happens that way. I read about something bad and find out that it was exactly what I just ordered a boat load of. We often take a break from the co-op during the summer months because so many people go out of town. You guessed it, I ordered a 3 month supply of non organic strawberries. Eeeek! OK so I grab the phone and call them to ask about the growing practices. I give them the item number and ask "I'd like to know about the pesticide use of the grower of this product". I get a kind of stunned answer "It is none or we would not be carrying it". SAY WHAT? So I reiterate "so even though these are not organic strawberries, you require little or no pesticide use or you don't carry their product". "Yes, we require that of our growers". WOW!! As if this company did not already have enough gold stars from me, add another one. If you don't know about Azure Standard, you should. Their customer service is bar none and they truly CARE about the products they stock. They are not just another wholesale distributor getting their cut. They investigate the products they carry. Now, I still advocate reading labels and all, what may be important to one person may not be important to another. But, I am so shocked to hear about standards like Azure Standard has. So, please support them, check out if there is a drop point near you! Once a month they truck down your shipment, good prices, wide variety of products, and great customer service. So there is my cross-post about pesticides and Azure Standard. So check out their website HERE.

Click HERE to read the full story on the link between pesticide use and ADHD. It will give you yet another reason to start your own garden or look for more organic produce while shopping. We get so focused on keeping those nasty bugs out, that we have lost sight of what we are using to get rid of those critters. Our little ones are often running around barefoot, putting toys in their mouths that have been laying on the ground and we have to be conscious of what we spray around that our kids are crawling and walking through. And, this is a good reason to leave shoes at the door. Not only are these hazardous chemicals tracked in on our shoes but if we don't remove our shoes, they are tracked onto the carpets that our kids roll around on. I hate bugs just as much as the next person, weeds too, but speaking from experience, I hate trying to heal my child's neurological problems more. And given that our kiddos with Autism already have impaired detox mechanisms, getting this crap out of their systems is even harder. So, hopefully this story will make you look for alternative ways to kill bugs and weeds. Vinegar is a great alternative for weeds, I have blogged on that before as well. It also makes a great cleaner/disinfectant in lieu of the toxic chemical cleaners. And beware the "all natural" label, it means very little these days.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More information on the dangers of soy

Once you mention that you or your family member does not eat or drink any dairy, the next thing that people say is "oh, so you use soy milk instead.". Or, I hear other people who say that they cannot drink dairy but instead use soy (which then makes me want to ask them if they still suffer from some of the same problems since many people find soy problematic because of their similar protein structures). We have avoided soy for a long time, I knew first hand what a thyroid dysrupter it could be when my friend (and own personal food guru) suffered thyroid issues as a result of soy intake. It can be especially problematic for children, and when you add the fact that most soy is genetically modified (GMO), it adds to the overall ICK factor I have with soy. If you don't know by now, genetically modified ingredients add to inflammation in the body. Inflammation is prevalent in many, many disorders we see today. Auto-immunity and inflammation are what I believe to be the heart of MOST disorders, including Autism as we have seen for my son. So, reducing inflammation and auto-immunity is key for us, and what I promote to friends and family suffering from things like diabetes, arthritis, etc. So when my Facebook friend Anne shared this link, I had to blog about it. Here is another article discussing yet another reason to avoid soy. Processing soy using a Hexane bath would not be my first inclination. We try and keep toxins out of our bodies, especially for my kiddo on the spectrum who has problems detoxing the way we are meant to. The link is below and you can scroll to the bottom and either read the full report or the summary, your choice. But, it highlights other soy products out (including the ever popular veggie burgers) that are processed with this chemical. And this reinforces my encouragement to all of you, to be sure about what you are eating, MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD! There are some fabulous veggie burger recipes on the web. They are chock full of protein, taste great and are SOY FREE! And if you can, start your own garden, no matter how small. Not only will you gain satisfaction out of it, you will know exactly where your food comes from and what (or what NOT) was used on the plants. And the Town of Gilbert will give you a free compost bin. So, now you can reduce your trash waste, give back to the environment and make your own nutrients to help nourish that garden. But in the meantime, you may want to check those labels again and just educate yourself on soy and how it may be processed!

Click HERE

Friday, May 14, 2010

Homemade popsicles

Do you want to give your kids some cool treats this summer but none of the guilt? So many premade (and I daresay even the ones marked "all natural") popsicles and treats have lots of sugar or corn syrup, colors and preservatives that many of us want to keep out of our kids' diets. There is an easier way! Fruit smoothies are a great way to get veggies and fruits into your kids without them knowing! These are kid tested (and mom approved).

In a blender combine:

8 ounces of water
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 handful spinach (optional but your kids will not know it is in there!)
3 scoops of KAL brand stevia (use the tiny scooper they provide in the container - add more or less depending on how sweet you want it)

Blend then pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Your kids will be getting whole fruit, and if you add spinach, veggies too and the best part? They will LOVE it. My kids beg for these, yes even my 12 year old step-daughter who has had commercial popsicles before. She wanted to take the recipe back home with her after the first summer I made these. I get flak from people who say "sure, you get your kids to eat healthy because that's all they know, it is harder when they have eaten the other stuff with corn syrup, etc.". Yes it CAN be more challenging but eating healthy does NOT have to taste bad. Many of the raw food desserts and snacks I make are devoured by my step-daughter who is not used to raw foods at all. It can be done, with a little imagination anyone can eat healthier and like it. And this recipe can be modified to fit your tastes by switching the fruits. Spinach is so mild tasting raw that it makes a good addition. A few summers ago I used the green super foods powder, almond or coconut milk and a frozen banana and strawberries and called it "shrek ice cream" because it was green from the green super foods powder. The texture of the frozen banana is similar to ice cream and the kids LOVED it. And, I could feed my kids "ice cream" in the morning with NO guilt. What kind of cool mom was I??? :) So as the heat approaches, you can find cool ways to feed your kids healthy!! So go ahead, let your kids eat ice cream or popsicles for breakfast, because with these recipes, you know they are getting whole food nutrition at the same time, and YOU get major brownie points!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tylenol and Autism, is there a connection?

Sorry blog followers, it has been a busy month so far and I have not had much time for blogging. But, I got to see my rockstar, kick butt friend (and former therapist) Dawn Winkelmann last night when she spoke at the ABC meeting. She touched on a topic about guilt. She says when she speaks she usually sees at least one parent crying at the discovery of an issue that may be a biggie for their child, and could be impeding their ability to speak and/or eat. She says that you can't have guilt over what you didn't know. Guilt, guilt, is what I struggle with as well. I daresay most Autism moms and dads face this too. From the dawn of this disorder it seems we are intent on placing blame, many times on us moms. First it was the refridgerator mom theory, we are cold, unloving people and therefore our children do not know how to relate to others. Then it was old eggs, yeah that's it. Or living in toxic environments, old homes, new homes, etc. It becomes hard to keep up. So I just read a new article discussing the possible link between Tylenol use and Autism. My son was fussy, and I mean colicky fussy, we never knew what was pain and what wasn't and no parent wants to see their child in pain, even though I also did not like giving pain medications, we were told Tylenol was safe. We were also told by our doctor to give Tylenol before immunizations, so we did. I look back now and see how many little bottles of infant Tylenol we went through because I thought it was "safe". I didn't know then what I do now. I didn't know how Tylenol is certainly not good for ANYONE with sulfation issues (all you arthritis sufferes out there, drop that Tylenol bottle!). So I gave my son Tylenol, and lots of it (now we only give ibuprofen and very sparingly!). So although I want to share this article, because I do think it is important to raise awareness and maybe share with our fellow mommies so they can skip the Tylenol, especially if they choose to immunize their children, I want everyone to leave the guilt at the door. It is a good reminder anyways, we do the best we can with the information we have today. If we learn something new, we apply it asap, but no guilt about the past, it is done, all we can do is keep moving forward. And if you see me out and about, remind me of this too, I am just as "guilty" as most.....


Some observational evidence has suggested that use of Tylenol in pregnant women and young children may increase risk of pediatric autism.

One study of 83 children with autism and 80 children without the condition released in Jan 2009 in Autism showed that use of acetaminophen or Tylenol after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination was associated with much greater risk of autism.

Stephen Schultz and colleagues from the University of California San Diego found among children aged younger than 5 years, those who used Tylenol after MMR vaccination were 6 times as likely to develop autism as those who did not.

Among children with regression in development, those who used Tylenol were 4 times as likely to suffer autism as those without.

Among children who had post-vaccination sequelae, those who received Tylenol were 8 times as likely to have autism as those who did not.

On the other hand, the researchers found Ibuprofen use after MMR was not associated with autism.

They concluded that the preliminary study suggested that Tylenol after MMR was associated with autism.

Torres A. R from Utah State University in Logan Utah published an article in Sept 2003 in BMC Prediatrics saying that the etiology of autism involves infections of the pregnant mother or of a young child.

Infections often lead to fever for which Tylenol is often used.

Torres explained that use of Tylenol inhibits processes that evolved over millions of years to protect against microbial attack and interferes with normal immunological development in the brain leading to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.

David Liu

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Barro's gluten free pizza!

So I have to tell you about our new ritual. We see our chiropractor in Queen Creek once a week and we drive by Barro's pizza on Power and Queen Creek on the way home. I have had the privilege to meet a member of the Barro's family and let me tell you, she is fabulous! And I know how committed they are to offering a gluten and dairy free pizza option. So, in many of their locations now, you can get a gluten and dairy free pizza. My son is gun shy after years of cheese substitutes so he just eats the regular gluten free crust with sauce. That version is GFCF. Their location at Power and Queen Creek also has a little kids area, about half the restaurant with a pretend kitchen, play food, tables and chairs for kids and a big flat screen with cartoons on. Too cool! There are booths and tables for parents and it makes a dinner out very, very enjoyable, especially since we ALL get to eat the same food! So if you are local, I would highly recommend Barro's pizza, they use the Gluten Free Creations crusts!

Monday, May 3, 2010

TACA real help now conference

What another great TACA event! This past weeked TACA held their Real Help Now conference in Foothill Ranch, Ca. It was very well attended and had phenomenal speakers. My husband was able to come with me which was so cool. We sat in on about 20 minutes of Dr. Kartzinel's talk and that was about it. My throat was so sore from talking and my feet beat from standing. I always love talking to other parents about Autism and their journey. Many of the parents were just starting biomed and so we got to share our story and our son's success with biomed. There were biomed "veterens" there too and I always come back with new knowledge from speaking with them. I wish I could have heard Dr. Usman's talk on biofilms. She stopped by our booth so I spoke with her about several things, including homeopathy which she uses in her practice. And as always it was SO great to see the TACA members, they are always so welcoming, so supportive and so awesome!! So, if you haven't been to a TACA event, check your local area for a group. Or if you live in Southern California, you must hook up with the chapters there. TACA's next even is their family picnic in June, I hear that is a blast.