Monday, November 30, 2009

Scientist Jeopardizes Career by Publishing Paper Criticizing GMOs

* By Ken Roseboro, ed.
The Organic and Non-GMO Report, November 2009
Straight to the Source

To Subscribe to the Non-GMO Report call 1-800-854-0586 or visit

Agro-ecologist Don Lotter published a paper titled "The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science" in the 2009 edition of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food.

The paper makes a damning case against genetically modified foods, saying the technology is based on obsolete science, that biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have too much influence on government regulators and "public" universities, and that university scientists are ignoring the health and environmental risks of GM crops. Lotter calls the introduction of GM foods the "largest diet experiment in history."

Lotter has a Ph.D. in agro-ecology from the University of California, Davis, and a master of professional studies in international agricultural and rural development from Cornell University. He has taught environmental science, soil science, plant science, entomology, and vegetable crop production for Santa Monica College, Imperial Valley College, and UC-Davis.

Lotter does not have a tenured position and is currently working on an agricultural project in Tanzania. He half-jokingly describes his paper as "career destroying" because he says it will be difficult to find a position at a US university due to the general recognition at most US universities that GM foods are safe and will help "feed the world."

If you thought publishing the paper would jeopardize your prospects for finding a position, why did you write the paper?

DL: I'm proud of the paper. This topic should be taught at universities. There is an enormous gap in public knowledge about this issue.

The science of genetic engineering is based on the one gene-one protein doctrine. Please describe this and why you think it is flawed.

DL: When they discovered the technology there was a simplified view that genes were in charge of the production of proteins. It is the entire basis for going forward with genetic engineering technology.

Then the Human Genome Project showed that humans have fewer genes than simple organisms, but we also have one to two million proteins. This discovery put an end to the one gene-one protein doctrine.

But by then there had been a massive investment in transgenics. The industry moved ahead with all their PR of "feeding the world" without any scientific basis for their technology. The doctrine has crumbled away, yet the industry has gone on.

In your paper you say that the process of genetically engineering foods is also deeply flawed. Can you give some examples of why that is the case?

DL: The promoter gene used in genetically engineered crops, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is a powerful promoter of inter-species gene exchange. Scientists thought it would be denatured in our digestive system, but it's not. It has been shown to promote the transfer of transgenes from GM foods to the bacteria within our digestive system, which are responsible for 80% of our immune system function; they are enormously important. This is a huge flaw, but not even the biggest in crop transgenics.

The process of splicing genes into plant genomes, transgenics, causes serious genetic damage-mutations, multiple copies of the transgenic DNA, gene silencing. The ramifications of this damage, incredibly, have never been elucidated or even explored for that matter.

Do you think the increase in food allergies we are seeing may be due to GM foods?

DL: Yes, there is evidence pointing to it. The industry is powerful enough to stop any labeling legislation. Without labeling they can't track these problems. We know that after the introduction of GM soy in Britain, there was an increase of soy allergies there.

In your paper, you write that the lack of oversight of GM foods has been a major failure of US science leadership. What makes you believe this?

DL: In the early 1980s, the biotech companies were successful in getting to oversee the regulation of GM foods. The scientific community should have stepped in, and said this is a radical technology, but it didn't.

There has also been a restructuring of the relationship between industry and universities. The Bayh-Dole Act (which gives universities intellectual property control of their inventions) made universities more dependent on industry.

Universities saw transgenics as a big money source, and scientists who objected were harassed or pushed out.

Do you think any US university would fund studies on GM food safety?

DL: No, they are not doing that. Anyone who tries to conduct research looking at GM food safety is given trouble.

Universities should have a mandate to find problems with GM foods.

We need federal money to look at non-proprietary solutions, such as organic farming systems, to the world's problems, and we should see whether proprietary approaches (i.e. GM foods) cause problems.

Unfortunately, non-proprietary solutions don't get funding.

We can show that organic farming systems promote drought resistance; the Rodale Institute did this research. But if a GM crop had been found to resist drought, there would have been major news headlines saying that it will save the world.

Is the safety of GM food considered a given at US universities?

DL: Absolutely. The debate is not there. US scientists have abdicated their responsibility on this issue. They know problems exist but they don't want to talk about them. Most scientists say we need GM foods to feed the world.

Some social scientists are saying there are problems (with GM foods).

I think undergraduate groups will bring the debate over GM foods to universities.

What type of agricultural approaches do you think will solve the world's food production challenges?

DL: The IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development) report said that we can produce food using agro-ecological methods and successful green revolution methods. The report didn't include transgenics.

The report was signed by 60 countries, but the US didn't sign it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scientists 'grow' meat in laboratory

The move towards artificially engineered foods has taken a step forward after scientists grew a form of meat in a laboratory for the first time.

Researchers in the Netherlands have created what was described as soggy pork and are now investigating ways to improve the muscle tissue in the hope that people will one day want to eat it.

No one has yet tasted the product, but it is believed the artificial meat could be on sale within five years.

Vegetarian groups welcomed the news, saying there was “no ethical objection” if meat was not a piece of a dead animal.

Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University, said: “What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue. We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there.

“This product will be good for the environment and will reduce animal suffering. If it feels and tastes like meat, people will buy it.

“You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals.”

The scientists extracted cells from the muscle of a live pig and then put them in a broth of other animal products. The cells then multiplied and created muscle tissue. They believe that it can be turned into something like steak if they can find a way to artificially "exercise" the muscle.

The project is backed by the Dutch government and a sausage maker and comes following the creation of artificial fish fillets from goldfish muscle cells.

Meat produced in a laboratory could reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with real animals.

Meat and dairy consumption is predicted to double by 2050 and methane from livestock is said to currently produce about 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

It was supported by animal rights campaigners. A spokesman for Peta said: “As far as we’re concerned, if meat is no longer a piece of a dead animal there’s no ethical objection.”

However the Vegetarian Society said: “The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered.

“It would be very difficult to label and identify in a way that people would trust.”

The advent of meat grown for consumers could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals and help meet the United Nation’s predictions that meat and dairy consumption will double by 2050.

However, the latest breakthrough is certain to cause concern amongst the anti-GM lobby.

Last week Prince Charles, a fierce opponent of GM food, warned that people were creating problems by “treating food as an easy commodity rather than a precious gift from nature”.

His comments came as the results of a survey commissioned by the Food Standards Agency revealed concerns about long-term health and environmental impacts of genetically modified products.

It showed shoppers want to be told when meat and milk from cows is genetically modified through clear labelling.

GM supporters say they are aware of risks associated with "engineered" food but believe it benefits the Third World.

Nick Britten
The Telegraph

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How To Read Food Labels-Including UPC Codes on Produce-Tell The Difference Between Organic and GMO

The ingredients on food labels are the most important items you will read on a product. Some are so small you can barely read without glasses.

Reading labels are confusing and very misleading. It’s no wonder most people don’t read the small print. Most people don't read food labels, just the large front labels, exactly what manufacturing and food industry wants you to read.

Here are just some examples of what you see on the front labels: fortified with calcium, nutritional, help reduces cholesterol, no fat, low sodium, no artificial coloring and the list goes on.

You need to understand and interpret these ingredients and nutrition information on food labels before going shopping. You need to know if the products have any added ingredients such as Food Additives.If the list of ingredients is long, the product will have no doubt food additives in the product, and you're risking your health by eating it. When you read a label and see “spices”, “no artificial ingredients”, “no preservatives”, “all natural ingredients” and “real fruit flavors” -- BEWARE!!

Statements like this DO NOT mean there are no harmful ingredients in the product. The manufacturer hopes you'll think there are no harmful ingredients, but as you will see from the following example, it's not true.

Soup example: A well-known soup company has these ingredients in their chicken noodle soup. I typed this right off the label:

Chicken Stock, cooked chicken meat, carrots, enriched egg noodles (wheat flour, egg white solids, whole egg solids, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), celery, water, contains less than 2% of the following ingredients: Modified wheat starch, salt, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate (MSG), modified food starch, sugar, soy protein concentrate, onion powder, flavoring, sodium phosphates, spice extract, dehydrated parsley, chicken flavor (contains chicken stock, chicken powder, chicken fat), dehydrated garlic, spice, beta carotene for color.

Phew!!! 3 mins later.

Here is my chicken noodle soup:

* Organic chicken breast
* Organic Carrots
* Organic Celery
* Onion
* Oregano
* Basil
* Pepper
* Sea Salt
* Whole Wheat Extra Wide Noodles

My ingredients in my soup took only 30 seconds to type and the ingredients of the can soup took over 3 mins.
This soup label has a long list of unwanted food additives, that don’t belong in your soup. Here are few explanations of some of the ingredients in this soup:

* Thiamine mononitrate (synthetic Vit. B1) – false sense of nutritional value
* MSG – flavor enhancer
* Modified food starch – a thickening agent
* Soy protein concentrate – a filler
* Sodium phosphates - buffer

Here is another example of food labels:

In this pizza, the list shows that the two biggest ingredients are wheat flour and water. For the other main ingredients, the company gives a percentage (%). The product is 7% tomato, 6% cheese, 5% ham, 5% Pepperoni, 4% Monterey Jack cheese, 3% spicy beef and 2% bacon.

Percentages can sometimes be quite hard to imagine. So here's what they look like in a picture. The long orange rectangle represents all the ingredients in the pizza (the full 100%). The colored bars on the left show you the proportion of the total pizza made up by each type of meat - ham is 5%, Pepperoni is 4%, beef is 3% and bacon is 2%.

UPC Codes on Produce

Do you know what it all means?
Have you ever notice the food labels on your produce – fruit and vegetables? Produce now carry a sticker called “price look-up codes (PLUs). This tells the clerk the price, but not only that, it can help YOU. These stickers tell you how fruits and vegetables were grown. There are more than 1,300 PLU codes currently assigned to produce. Here is what they mean:

You would have either a 4 or 5 digit codes. Below is a chart that will help you identify how produce is grown.

5 digits
Starting w/ no. 9

4 digits
Starting w/ no. 3 or 4

Genetically Modified
5 digits
Starting w/ no. 8

i.e. A conventionally grown banana has a PLU of 4011, an organic banana is 94011 and GM banana is 84011.

To see a database of PLU codes, go to,

The Healthy Eating Guide

Also, check out our friends at The Healthy Eating Guide for more information on how to read food labels, and also some great easy healthy recipes and other healthy eating guidelines and tips.

As you look for healthier foods, you can easily find the right products just by reading nutrition food labels. Here is a summary of reading a nutrition fact label.

* A serving size is a measured amount of food or drink, such as 2 to 3 ounces of meat or 1 cup of milk.

* Serving sizes are standardized so that nutrient levels in each serving are comparable. Consumers and dietitians may use serving sizes to determine how much of the recommended daily levels of certain substances (vitamins, minerals, fats, calories, cholesterol) a particular food represents.

* Serving sizes may vary depending on how certain foods are prepared (e.g., raw, cooked, canned).

* Serving sizes should not be confused with portion sizes or helpings of food, which are the amounts of food typically served or eaten during a meal or snack.

* Portions can vary from meal to meal or person to person. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, serving sizes are usually much smaller than portion sizes.

* Most foods are sold and consumed in larger portions than is recommended by government standards. For example, the average bagel consists of two serving sizes, pasta is almost five servings and a steak may be two and a quarter servings.

Source and read more:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Article in the Mail Online says'Healthy' School Lunchs Have as much Sugar as 10 Donuts

Interested, as I pack school lunches 5 days out of the week, I wanted to know what 'seemingly healthy' choices were duping me into thinking they were good for my kids but in reality laden with sugar. As I read the Mail's article I realized that my definition of healthy and the consumer watchdog surveyor are very different.

The five items in the snapshot include Robinson's Fruit Shoot orange juice. If a 'consumer watchdog' can't differentiate between fruit juice and fruit drink, we are all in trouble nutritionally. Second, the fruit strings, which I will assume as equivalent to our fruit rollups and not considered a fruit source in my books. In my books fruit strings or rollups are considered candy.
The third item I had to google because I didn't have a clue as to what a Munch Bunch Double Up fromage frais was. Again, the food item is not even close to a healthy choice just because the packaging says 'calcium' on it.

The writer of this article calls the Dairylea Lunchables Ham 'n' Cheese Crackers the saviour of the choices. With a chemical ingredients list as long as my arm, I don't see it as a health saviour at all.
And finally the last sample item, Kellogg's Frosties cereal bars. Kellogg's says it's a healthy choice because it's a low fat alternative to chocolate.
I think I'll stick to my definition of 'seemingly healthy.'
My snapshot lunch: 100% pure apple juice (Oasis), One organic yogurt, One container filled with cut up kiwi and strawberries, One whole wheat bagel with organic cream cheese, One container of cut up cucumbers with ranch dressing dip.

Read the article here:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Center For Micro-Farming Movement

Earth regenerating and socially just mini-farming. Full or part-time from urban lots to backyards to small acreage across the world.

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, 2008-05-01 (Thursday), Vanity Fair
Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany, the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses. The stranger came up to the counter and asked for him by name.

“Well, that’s me,” said Rinehart.

As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company’s patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him—or face the consequences.

Rinehart was incredulous, listening to the words as puzzled customers and employees looked on. Like many others in rural America, Rinehart knew of Monsanto’s fierce reputation for enforcing its patents and suing anyone who allegedly violated them. But Rinehart wasn’t a farmer. He wasn’t a seed dealer. He hadn’t planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small—a really small—country store in a town of 350 people. He was angry that somebody could just barge into the store and embarrass him in front of everyone. “It made me and my business look bad,” he says. Rinehart says he told the intruder, “You got the wrong guy.”

When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.”

Read More:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Serious Eats Original Video: Save the Honeybees

As most serious eaters know, the folks at Häagen-Dazs are putting their money where their spoons are this year with a dedicated marketing effort aimed at increasing awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious condition that has caused a dramatic increase in honeybee colony losses. Häagen-Dazs is even donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its new vanilla honeybee flavor ice cream to fund research to find out what exactly causes CCD.

As part of this extremely worthwhile endeavor Häagen-Dazs funded the first-ever Serious Eats-produced documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder, which I hope every serious eater will watch. For our little buzz-ementary we spent the day at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County, New York, where bees, farmers, and cooks work together to produce lots of seriously delicious food. So check out our Honeybee doc and start buzzing about Colony Collapse Disorder.

Gift Giving-Toffee Chocolate Shortbread Crunch

This picture is the closest I could find on the net of this recipe. The shortbread recipe is from allrecipes and the toffee crunch is from Longo's calender.

I'm calling this post 'gift giving' as a way to try and convince myself that I won't eat half the batch. I have made the shortbread cookies before and was not successful at resisting. But this toffee chocolate thing is something I haven't made before so there is no guarantee I won't lose it. They look so good!

The original recipes calls for store bought shortbread but I like doing everything from scratch so I'm including my recipe for shortbread first.


* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups cold butter (no substitutes)


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pat into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Prick all over with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees F for 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into small squares. Continue to cool to room temperature.

Toffee Chocolate Shortbread Crunch

38 All Butter Shortbread cookies
1 cup salted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz 43% Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup Skor toffee bits

Line 13x9 inch baking pan with foil and place shortbread cookies into single layer, set aside.

In saucepan, bring butter and sugar to a boil, stirring over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture evenly over shortbread, spreading as necessary. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove from oven and let stand for 2 minutes or until bubbles subside. Sprinkle with chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes to melt. Using small offset spatula, spread chocolate evenly over top. Sprinkle evenly with toffee bits and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for about an hour or until chocolate and caramel are set.

Remove from foil and cut into squares to serve.

Tip: Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 weeks, or freezer for up to 2 months.
Makes 40 pieces.

Mom's health-Continued

I'm still on the fence about how personal I make this blog but to follow up on my mom's diabetic issue, her knee gave out today at work so she will finally be going to the doctor about it tomorrow. I can't help but think it won't be good, I took extensive anatomy class and know a messed up knee is usually bad news. My optimistic side says, maybe she will finally understand that her health is really at risk and that diabetes and being overweight will cause real damage if left unchecked.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sourdough Chipotle Chicken Panini


* 2 slices sourdough bread
* 1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
* 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
* 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
* 1 tablespoon bacon bits
* 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, or to taste
* 2 tablespoons softened butter


1. Preheat a panini press for medium-high heat.
2. mix chile powder and caesar dressing in a small bowl.
3. Spread one side of each piece of bread with the Caesar dressing. Place the chicken on top of the bottom slice, sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and chipotle chile powder. Place the top piece of bread onto the sandwich, and butter the outsides with the softened butter.
3. Cook on the preheated grill until the bread is crispy and golden brown, and the inside of the sandwich is hot, about 5 minutes.

This awesome sandwich is so good, but as with all good things, there is bad. Not to be eaten by anyone who is trying to lose weight. It packs 1243 calories and a whopping 83 grams of fat according to the original version on allrecipes.

Corn-Syrup Free Granola Bars Sweetened with Apple Sauce

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup apple sauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan.

2. In large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, flax, cinnamon, flour, chocolate chips and salt. Make a well in the centre, pour in the honey, egg, applesauce and vanilla. Mix well. Pat the mixture evenly into the pan.

3. Bake for about 30 minutes, but watch the baking time. If you leave them in too long they’ll be dry. I like mine a bit chewier. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars or squares. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting or they will be too hard to cut.

chocolate chips can be substituted for raisins, dried fruit, nuts or seeds of various kinds.

Punjabi Samosa

Serves: 4
Cooking time (approx.): 20 minutes + to deep fry
Style: Indian Vegetarian

For the samosa stuffing:
½ cup(s) shelled green peas
2 tablespoon(s) oil
1 teaspoon(s) cumin seeds
2 green chillies chopped fine
1 teaspoon(s) finely chopped ginger
2 large potato(es) peeled and cubed
½ teaspoon(s) red chilli powder
salt to taste
½ teaspoon(s) dry mango powder (amchoor) or lemon juice
½ teaspoon(s) garam masala (hot spice mix)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

For the samosa pastry shell:
1 cup(s) plain flour (maida)
½ teaspoon(s) baking soda
½ teaspoon(s) baking powder
½ teaspoon(s) carom seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) / oil
salt to taste
water as required for kneading
oil to deep fry

1. Cook the peas in boiling salted water for about 10 minute(s) or till soft. Refresh in cold water and drain well.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Toss in the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the green chillies and ginger. Fry briefly. Add the potato cubes and mix well. Add the red chilli powder, salt, dry mango powder and garam masala powder. Toss well. Sprinkle some water. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes or till the potatoes are cooked. Mix in the cooked green peas and put off the heat. Let cool. Mix in the coriander leaves.
3. To make the samosa pastry shell, sieve together the plain flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix in the carom seeds and ghee / oil. Add water little by little whilst mixing with fingers to make a stiff dough, the consistency of a shortcrust pastry. Keep covered with a damp cloth for about 15 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 16 equal balls. Apply a little dry flour to each ball when rolling into a circle of 4" diameter. Cut each circle into two and lightly dampen the edges of each semicircle with water. Shape each semicircle onto a cone by pressing the cut edges together. Place a spoonful of the potato-pea filling into the cone and seal the edges well (apply some water on the edges if they do not seal well). Repeat this procedure with the rest of the balls. Deep fry in medium-hot oil in batches on medium flame till crisp and golden brown. Remove onto a paper towel.


* To save on time, potatoes can be pressure cooked and then cubed and tossed in spices.
* Carom seeds are also called as omum, caraway seeds, thyme seeds and ajwain.
* Chillies can be increased or decreased as desired.
* The samosa pastry shell can be made with plain flour without the baking soda and baking powder.
* Self raising flour can be used instead of plain flour, in which case omit the baking soda and baking powder.

Serve hot with: Green Chutney (Hari Chutney) / Tomato ketchup.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The War on Soy: Why the 'Miracle Food' May Be a Health Risk and Environmental Nightmare

Source: Alternet

These days, you can get soy versions of just about any meat -- from hot dogs to buffalo wings. If you're lactose-intolerant you can still enjoy soy ice-cream and soy milk on your cereal. If you're out for a hike and need a quick boost of energy, you can nibble on soy candy bars.

Soy is a lucrative industry. According to Soyfoods Association of North America, from 1992 to 2008, sales of soy foods have increased from $300 million to $4 billion. From sales numbers to medical endorsements, it would seem that soy has reached a kind of miracle food status.

In 2000 the American Heart Association gave soy the thumbs up and the FDA proclaimed: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease." Over the course of the last decade medical professionals have touted its benefits in fighting not just cardiovascular disease, but cancers, osteoporosis and diabetes.

But soy's glory days may be coming to an end. New research is questioning its health benefits and even pointing out some potential risks. Although definitive evidence may be many years down the road, the American Heart Association has quietly withdrawn its support. And some groups are waging an all-out war, warning that soy can lead to certain kinds of cancers, lowered testosterone levels, and early-onset puberty in girls.

Most of the soy eaten today is also genetically modified, which may pose another set of health risks. The environmental implications of soy production, including massive deforestation, increased use of pesticides and threats to water and soil, are providing more fodder for soy's detractors.

All of this has many people wondering if they should even be eating it at all. And you are most likely eating it. Even if you're not a vegetarian or an avid tofu fan, there is a good chance you're still eating soy. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved, explains that soy is now an ingredient in three-quarters of processed food on the market and just about everything you'd find in a fast food restaurant. It's used as filler in hamburgers, as vegetable oil and an emulsifier. It's in salad dressing, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets.

"Even if you read every label and avoid cardboard boxes, you are likely to find soy in your supplements and vitamins (look out for vitamin E derived from soy oil), in foods such as canned tuna, soups, sauces, breads, meats (injected under poultry skin), and chocolate, and in pet food and body-care products," wrote Mary Vance for Terrain Magazine. "It hides in tofu dogs under aliases such as textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and lecithin--which is troubling, since the processing required to hydrolyze soy protein into vegetable protein produces excitotoxins such as glutamate (think MSG) and aspartate (a component of aspartame), which cause brain-cell death."

Health Risks or Rewards?

"I grew up in Houston on po' boys and the Wall Street Journal," said Robyn O'Brien. "I trusted our food system." But all that changed when one of her kids developed a food allergy and O'Brien began doing research to find out what's actually in our food and the companies behind it.

Her work led to the book,The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It, and she's become an incredible crusader on multiple fronts when it comes to food. She's also been educating consumers about soy's double-edged sword.

To understand why, it helps to know a little history about soy. It's been cultivated, starting in China, for 3,000 years. While Asian diets have generally included soy it has been in small amounts eaten fermented -- primarily via miso, natto and tempeh. "Fermenting soy creates health-promoting probiotics, the good bacteria our bodies need to maintain digestive and overall wellness," wrote Vance. "By contrast, in the United States, processed soy food snacks or shakes can contain over 20 grams of nonfermented soy protein in one serving."

It's not that all soy is bad; in fact, eating it in small doses can be quite healthy, if it's fermented. But when it's not, that's where the problems begin. Soy is a legume, which contains high amounts of phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to minerals (like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc), interfering with the body's ability to absorb them (which is usually a bad thing). Soy is also known to contain "antinutrients," among them enzyme inhibitors that interfere with protein digestion. The Chinese figured out about 2,000 years ago that antinutrients and phytic acid could be deactivated during fermentation, but in the processed-food laden land of the West, we've chosen cultural ignorance in favor of quick and cheap. Most of the soy we eat is unfermented.

Another issue with soy is its high amounts of isoflavones, which can be good and bad (hence the double-edged sword). Isoflavones are a powerful antioxidant, writes Robyn O'Brien in her book, that can help boost immunity. They also impact estrogen levels and have been shown to have positive effects on easing symptoms of menopause. "But that plus can also be a minus," writes O'Brien, "because isoflavones' very ability to boost estrogen production can also pose hazards to our health. For example, the FDA scientists point out, during pregnancy, isoflavones could boost estrogen levels even higher, 'which could be a risk factor for abnormal brain and reproductive tract development.'" There is also a risk of breast and other reproductive cancers for women and the potential for testicular cancer and infertility in men.

While there was much news about the American Heart Association endorsing soy in 2000, there was little attention given when the AHA changed its mind and quietly withdrew its pro-soy claims in 2006, O'Brien points out. She also learned that they were not the only ones who expressed concerned about soy. A study in the British medical journal Lancet in 1996 warned of the effects of soy in infant formula. The study found babies had levels of isoflavones that were five to 10 times higher than women taking soy supplements for menopause. The effects in girls could be early-onset puberty, obesity, breast and reproductive cancers. Boys could face testicular cancer, undescended testicles and infertility. Additionally, O'Brien says, a 2003 British study conducted by Gideon Lack of St. Mary's Hospital at Imperial College London followed 14,000 children from the womb through age 6 and found that kids who had been given soy formula as infants seemed almost three times as likely to develop a peanut allergy later on.

As if all this weren't disturbing enough, there's also another reason to be alarmed -- most of the soy we eat is genetically modified to withstand increasing doses of weed-killing herbicides, and really, we have no idea what the long-term affects of that might be. So, what's a person to do? Stay away from soy as much as possible, which also means avoiding processed foods. And, even if we choose not to eat those things, some of us may end up getting them anyway. "There are different sales channels that these companies are using to sell soy with little regard for the cost to people down the road," said O'Brien. "Soy that is not used in grocery stores, in restaurants, or consumed by livestock, is disposed of in school lunch programs, hospitals, and prisons."

One organization, the Weston A. Price Foundation, is actually engaged in a lawsuit on behalf of Illinois state prisoners who say they're eating a diet made of largely soy protein. "In their letters, the prisoners have described deliberate indifference to a myriad of serious health problems caused by the large amounts of soy in the diet," the WAP Foundation writes. "Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract after consuming soy, passing out after soy-based meals, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and an enlarged thyroid gland."

While the soy industry has profited from the widespread adoption of its products here in the United States, other developed countries have taken a more precautionary approach and not allowed soy to become as pervasive in their food supplies in an effort to protect the health of their citizens, says O'Brien. But it's not just people who are at risk. The deleterious effects of soy can start with the seed.

Goodbye Rainforests, Hello Roundup

Glenn Beck recently chastised Al Gore about his meat eating, telling him that if he really cared about the planet he should put down his burger and pick up some Tofurkey. But unfortunately, it's not that simple. Increasing evidence is showing that soy production is also catastrophic for the environment. Just like a beef burger, a soy-based veggie patty may also be leading to deforestation, water depletion, and pesticide pollution. But it's also important to note that the vast majority of soy produced globally isn't used for tofu and veggie sausage -- it's actually used to fatten livestock and create biofuels (so, yeah, you may still want to put down the burger).

"Soy is a really sexy crop; it's fantastic. It's nitrogen fixing, it's full of protein; it's very rich and flexible," Raj Patel said in an interview with New America Media. "The tragedy is that the way we grow it today has turned a blessing into a curse because the way that soy agriculture works is monocultural, which means it takes over large parts of land. In Brazil, that means the Cerrado and the rainforest in the Amazon, and they are draining the water that is beneath that land. There are even some soy and biofuel plantations in Brazil where the International Labor Organization says there are 40,000 slaves working today. Slaves! In Brazil, producing biofuels and soy."

Brazil is one of the leading soy producers in the world, second only to the U.S. and poised to quickly move to the top spot. And overall, the growth of the world market is huge, with global production doubling over the past 20 years and 210 million tons produced a year.

But it has also led to problems. Countries across Latin America, including Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia, are experiencing environmental problems similar to Brazil's. Rainforests are cleared, carbon emissions increase, indigenous and small farmers are displaced, aquifers are sucked dry, roads are built through sensitive ecosystems, and heavy pesticide use threatens waterways, soils and the health of locals. And as with all industrial monocultural farming, the rich (Monsanto, Cargill, and Bunge) get richer and the poor get poorer.

"The soy 'gold rush' has attracted fierce competition for land, leading to violence and murder," Marianne Betterly summarized in Mariri Magazine. "Hundreds of acres of rainforest are being cleared everyday, often by slave 'debt' laborers, to make room for more soy plantations."

So, we may get our cheap burgers and a deluge of soy-infused foods, but at great cost.

Adding to all these environmental problems with soy is the fact that much of the world's soy (and 85 percent of the U.S crop) is genetically engineered. Since the early '90s farmers in the United States (and now across the world) have been using Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy that is genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup, which is liberally sprayed on the crop to kill weeds.

Much of the promise of GE crops was that they'd lead to the use of less pesticides and herbicides, which threaten both human and environmental health. But that hasn't actually panned out. "Because herbicide-tolerant crops are designed to withstand application of weed killers, farmers can apply large amounts of pesticides without fear of harming their crops. The U.S. has seen more than a 15-fold increase in the use of glyphosate, or Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, on major crops from 1994 to 2005," Co-Op America reported.

And more damning evidence has just been released. A new study that just came out this week funded by a coalition of non-governmental organizations including the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Food Safety, the Cornerstone Campaign, Californians for GE-Free Agriculture, Greenpeace International and Rural Advancement Fund International USA, found that GE corn, soybean and cotton crops have increased the use of weed-killing herbicides in the U.S. by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008.

The study will surely be accompanied by more alarms bells set off by small farmers, environmentalists and organic supporters. And it will be one more battle in the war against soy that's being fought on both health and environmental fronts. Perhaps it will make people think twice before eating soy products, processed food and even most meat.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Looking for answers to my Mom's diabetic Issues

I came across this site about anti-inflammation. It makes sense to me and she is interested in trying it. Will definitly follow up here if there is positive results.
As of right now, she is diabetic, high blood pressure, inflammation of the joints which include a very painful knee. Fingers crossed!

The Best and SO EASY broccoli Soup

One broccoli bunch
4 teaspoons butter
6 teaspoons flour
24 ounces cream
2 cups chicken broth
grated onion-optional (to taste)
salt to taste-optional (to taste)

Boil the broccoli until tender, drain and mash.
over medium heat melt butter, then stir in flour until you have a very thick paste.
Slowly add cream, stirring constantly.
Then stir in chicken broth.
Add broccoli and grated onion and salt.

This is the first time I have written out a recipe I use. My style is cook, don't measure, so I hope this is understandable. Enjoy! I Love Soup!

Hot Beverage Recipes

Winter is here and there is nothing like a hot drink to warm you back up after freezing your buns off. Enjoy!

Greenpeace Shopper's Guide TO GMO Free Food

Greenpeace shoppers guide to GMO-Free Food

Friday, November 20, 2009

Revealed... the 515 chemicals women put on their bodies every day

By Maureen Rice

Women and beauty products - it's a love affair that's been going on for centuries. And no wonder. There's nothing like a new lipstick or favourite perfume to make us look and feel good. Or so we thought...

In fact, according to a new report, most of our favourite cosmetics are cocktails of industrially produced and potentially dangerous chemicals that could damage our health and, in some cases, rather than delivering on their potent 'anti-ageing' promise, are causing us to age faster.

Research by Bionsen, a natural deodorant company, found that the average woman's daily grooming and make-up routine means she 'hosts' a staggering 515 different synthetic chemicals on her body every single day.

Many of those are also used in products such as household cleaners, and have been linked to a number of health problems from allergies and skin sensitivity to more serious hormonal disturbances, fertility problems and even cancer.

Parabens, for example, which are designed to preserve the shelf-life of your cosmetics, are one of the most widely used preservatives in the world, and are found in shampoos, hair gels, shaving gels and body lotions. But their use is becoming increasingly controversial - a range of different studies has linked them to serious health problems including breast cancer, as well as fertility issues in men.

Research from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine suggests that some parabens we had previously presumed to be safe, such as Methylparaben, may mutate and become toxic when exposed to sunlight, causing premature skin ageing and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Methylparabens are found in more than 16,000 products, including moisturisers and toothpastes. Cosmetic producers have always defended their use of parabens on the grounds that they can't be absorbed into the body.

But many leading researchers disagree, including Dr Barbara Olioso, an independent professional chemist, who says: 'Research shows that between 20 and 60 per cent of parabens may be absorbed into the body.'

There are a number of laws designed to protect us from dangerous chemicals in cosmetics, but researchers worry that they don't go far enough. For example, cosmetic manufacturers are required to list their ingredients, but they don't have to tell us about any impurities found in the raw materials or used in the manufacturing process, so long as they don't end up in the finished product.

The industry insists that our cosmetics are safe. The Cosmetic Toiletries and Perfumery Association said last night: 'Stringent laws require all cosmetics to be safe, and each product undergoes a rigorous safety assessment. The number of ingredients in a product, or whether it is natural or man-made, has no bearing on how safe it is.'

They also say that any chemicals are present in safe doses that can't harm us. While that may be true, there is some disagreement over what constitutes a 'safe' level - for young people and children, or sensitive adults, these levels may not be so safe at all.

And even if the relatively small amounts in individual products don't hurt us, there is growing concern over the number of products women use daily, and the cumulative effect of so many chemicals being used all over our bodies every day, for many years.

As Charlotte Smith, spokesperson for Bionsen, says: 'Women have never been more image-conscious and their beauty regimes have changed over the years, from a simple "wash & go" attitude, to daily fake-tan applications, regular manicures, false lashes and hair extensions.

'Lots of the high-tech, new generation cosmetics and beauty "wonder" treatments naturally contain more chemicals to achieve even better results, which, of course, means women apply more chemicals than ever before.'

If you want to protect yourself from chemical overload, reduce your overall cosmetics usage; switch to natural or organic products, and read the labels on your beauty and grooming products with care.

* The Women's Environmental network has more detailed information and advice about ingredients contained in beauty products: uk; The Cosmetics Database, a website which gives a 'hazard rating' for products: Or read Skin Deep: The Essential Guide To What's In The Toiletries And Cosmetics You Use (Rodale), by Pat Thomas.

Read more:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not in Harmony

Next July Ontario and British Columbia will implement a new tax that will apply to natural health products and a vast range of complementary and alternative therapies. Natural health advocates say the harmonized sales tax will punish people who practise and promote preventive well-being.

The harmonized sales tax (HST) will combine the provincial, or retail, sales tax (which is 7 percent in BC and 8 percent in Ontario) with the 5 percent federal goods and services tax (GST). This will result in an overall tax of 12 percent in BC and 13 percent in Ontario, respectively. The HST will apply to natural health-related goods and services previously covered by the GST but not the PST, including vitamins, supplements, and herbs. This means a potential 7 or 8 percent price increase at the retail level. Consumers are sure to feel the pinch.

The increase will also apply to certain complementary treatments such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, shiatsu, and homeopathy. Some health services, such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and psychological care are already GST exempt which means they will also be HST free.

A short-sighted approach

Peter Wood, president of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Association of British Columbia, says that preventive health care saves the health care system money in the long run.

“Preventive and holistic medicines such as TCM have been proven to save countless tax dollars in medical bills, hospitalizations, and sick days from work, not to mention their positive impact on people’s general sense of well-being,” Wood says.

“This HST would be a great step backward in our medical system’s goal of becoming sustainable. A system reliant solely on pharmaceuticals and surgeries simply does not have financial or medical integrity.”

Ron Rosenes, vice chair of the Canadian Treatment Action Council, which helps people living with HIV/AIDS, describes the move to tax health products as “counterproductive.” “I’m extremely unhappy about this going ahead at a time when we should be focusing on being proactive about our health. The HST only increases the cost of keeping people healthy, when the goal should be to encourage prevention,” says Rosenes.

A double standard

Prescription pharmaceutical drugs are not subject to the GST and will be HST exempt. Proponents of natural health argue that taxing goods and services that foster preventive well-being reflects the way complementary health has yet to be embraced by the medical establishment and the government.

Penny Marrett, president and CEO of the Canadian Health Food Association, says that the CHFA questions why natural health products are taxed at all.

“If natural health products are assisting people to stay as healthy as possible—and we know that’s true—why are we taxing them in the first place?” she asks.

For proof of the benefits of natural products, consider some of Health Canada’s own recommendations. The federal organization recommends that all women who could become pregnant should take folic acid daily to prevent neural tube defects, for instance, while adults over age 50 should take a daily vitamin D supplement to enhance bone health.

“Why are we in a position where these products are taxed?” Marrett says. “You also have to ask, isn’t the goal of the Public Health Agency of Canada to promote the importance of people keeping themselves as healthy as possible?”

Cost savings

HST supporters contend that the tax will save businesses money and increase their efficiency. Ottawa is offering billions of dollars in transition funds for governments that sign on. But while the government sees cost savings and efficiencies in tax collection, for consumers the jury is still out.

Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and Manitoba are considering switching to the HST but have expressed concerns about its effect on consumers.

Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick introduced the HST in 1997; however, the combined tax is said to have resulted in a lower overall tax rate.

To stop the HST, Marrett is urging people to contact both their Member of Parliament and their provincial government representative to voice opposition. (See below to find out how.)

“We need to tell [the government] why it needs to turn this around, that these [products and services] should not be taxed at a federal level and therefore not taxed at a provincial level.”

Stop the HST on natural health products

If you want to let the government know how you feel about the proposed HST, email your elected representative.

In Ontario
Contact your member of provincial Parliament (MPP) at:

Contact your member of the legislative assembly (MLA) at:

Contact your member of Parliament (MP) at:

Gail Johnson is a journalist who specializes in health matters.

In The News-Nanoparticles Used In Common Household Items Caused Genetic Damage In Mice

Source: Medical News Today

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, found in everything from cosmetics to sunscreen to paint to vitamins, caused systemic genetic damage in mice, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The TiO2 nanoparticles induced single- and double-strand DNA breaks and also caused chromosomal damage as well as inflammation, all of which increase the risk for cancer. The UCLA study is the first to show that the nanoparticles had such an effect, said Robert Schiestl, a professor of pathology, radiation oncology and environmental health sciences, a Jonsson Cancer Center scientist and the study's senior author.

Once in the system, the TiO2 nanoparticles accumulate in different organs because the body has no way to eliminate them. And because they are so small, they can go everywhere in the body, even through cells, and may interfere with sub-cellular mechanisms.

The study appears this week in the journal Cancer Research.

In the past, these TiO2 nanoparticles have been considered non-toxic in that they do not incite a chemical reaction. Instead, it is surface interactions that the nanoparticles have within their environment- in this case inside a mouse - that is causing the genetic damage, Schiestl said. They wander throughout the body causing oxidative stress, which can lead to cell death.

It is a novel mechanism of toxicity, a physicochemical reaction, these particles cause in comparison to regular chemical toxins, which are the usual subjects of toxicological research, Schiestl said.

"The novel principle is that titanium by itself is chemically inert. However, when the particles become progressively smaller, their surface, in turn, becomes progressively bigger and in the interaction of this surface with the environment oxidative stress is induced," he said. "This is the first comprehensive study of titanium dioxide nanoparticle-induced genotoxicity, possibly caused by a secondary mechanism associated with inflammation and/or oxidative stress. Given the growing use of these nanoparticles, these findings raise concern about potential health hazards associated with exposure."

The manufacture of TiO2 nanoparticles is a huge industry, Schiestl said, with production at about two million tons per year. In addition to paint, cosmetics, sunscreen and vitamins, the nanoparticles can be found in toothpaste, food colorants, nutritional supplements and hundreds of other personal care products.

"It could be that a certain portion of spontaneous cancers are due to this exposure," Schiestl said. "And some people could be more sensitive to nanoparticles exposure than others. "I believe the toxicity of these nanoparticles has not been studied enough."

Schiestl said the nanoparticles cannot go through skin, so he recommends using a lotion sunscreen. Spray-on sunscreens could potentially be inhaled and the nanoparticles can become lodged in the lungs.

The mice were exposed to the TiO2 nanoparticles in their drinking water and began showing genetic damage on the fifth day. The human equivalent is about 1.6 years of exposure to the nanoparticles in a manufacturing environment. However, Schiestl said, it's not clear if regular, everyday exposure in humans increases exponentially as continued contact with the nanoparticles occurs over time.

"These data suggest that we should be concerned about a potential risk of cancer or genetic disorders especially for people occupationally exposed to high concentrations of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, and that it might be prudent to limit their ingestion through non-essential drug additives, food colors, etc.," the study states.

Next, Schiestl and his team will study exposure to the nanoparticles in mice that are deficient in DNA repair, to perhaps help find a way to predict which people might be particularly sensitive to them.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Kim Irwin
University of California - Los Angeles

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In The News-Chemical in plastic bottles linked to impotence

Source: MSNBC

NEW YORK – Male factory workers in China who got very high doses of a chemical that’s been widely used in hard plastic bottles had high rates of sexual problems, researchers reported Wednesday.

Heavy exposure to BPA, or bisphenol A, on the job was linked to impotence and lower sexual desire and satisfaction, according to the study, which adds to concerns about BPA’s effects on most consumers.

The men in the study experienced BPA levels about 50 times higher than those faced by typical American men, said researcher Dr. De-Kun Li. “We don’t know” whether more typical doses have similar effects, he said.

People shouldn’t be alarmed by the finding, said Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s research division in Oakland, Calif. But he said it would be prudent to limit exposure to BPA while scientists look for any effects from lower doses.

The U.S. government recently announced new funding for research into BPA’s effects.

Li is lead author of the latest study, published online Wednesday by the journal Human Reproduction. The work was financed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

BPA is used in a wide variety of consumer products, including some hard plastic bottles and metal food or beverage cans. Several makers of baby bottles recently said they had stopped using the chemical. Some 90 percent of the U.S. population carries detectable levels in the urine.

Scientists are concerned that BPA exposure might harm the reproductive and nervous systems, and possibly promote prostate and breast cancers. Last year, a preliminary study linked BPA to possible risks for heart disease and diabetes.

The Food and Drug Administration concluded last year that trace amounts of BPA that leach out of bottles and food containers are not dangerous. But the FDA is now reviewing that stance after criticism from its scientific advisers.

For the new research, Li and colleagues studied 164 factory workers in China who were exposed to high levels of BPA on the job. They were compared to 386 other men in the same town who either worked at other factories or were married to factory workers.

The scientists measured BPA exposure through air sampling, and interviewed the workers about their sexual functioning.

Compared to the other workers, men with high BPA exposure were about four times as likely to report trouble achieving erections, about seven times as likely to say they had difficulty ejaculating, and about four times as likely to report low sex drive or low satisfaction with their sex lives.

The effects are dramatic and “pretty clearly related to the exposure,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who was not involved in the research.

The finding fits in with animal studies and should be followed up by research in the general population, she said. Her institute said last month it will spend more money on BPA-related research, bringing the total to $30 million over two years.

Steven Hentges, a BPA expert and official with the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, said the work is “probably not very relevant for consumers.”

For one thing, the reported 50-fold difference in exposure seems to be an underestimate because of how it was calculated, he said. In addition, he said, the workers inhaled BPA or got it on their skin. Consumers get it through diet instead, which lets the body detoxify it, Hentges said.

Li said the workers probably were exposed not only through inhalation and skin contamination but also by swallowing BPA powder that contaminated their food. He said he didn’t know which route was most prominent in the Chinese factories.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking two weeks ago thanks to coming down with the flu. It's been easier than I thought, the first five days I was in bed with a fever and headache so smoking didn't even cross my mind. Now I'm busy coughing up years of phlegm buildup which makes me really not want to smoke again. I never had smoker's cough until after I quit.
So I've been cruising different websites looking for suggestions to help clear out the lungs faster and this is what I've found:
Drink a lot of water to help flush out the toxins.
Eat healthy, increase fruits and veggies.
Vitamin A may be linked to healing the lungs after quitting smoking.
Avoid sugar. This one is tough because I am experiencing the blood sugar drops they say is a pretty standard side effect to quitting smoking.
My next Internet search: I think I'll look for some carrot cake recipes. A dose of vitamin A and a bit of sugar sounds good to me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In The News-Why Boys Are Turning Into Girls

Source: London Telegraph
Here's something rather rotten from the State of Denmark. Its government yesterday unveiled official research showing that two-year-old children are at risk from a bewildering array of gender-bending chemicals in such everyday items as waterproof clothes, rubber boots, bed linen, food, nappies, sunscreen lotion and moisturising cream.

The 326-page report, published by the environment protection agency, is the latest piece in an increasingly alarming jigsaw. A picture is emerging of ubiquitous chemical contamination driving down sperm counts and feminising male children all over the developed world. And anti-pollution measures and regulations are falling far short of getting to grips with it.

Sperm counts are falling so fast that young men are less fertile than their fathers and produce only a third as much, proportionately, as hamsters. And gender-bending chemicals are increasingly being blamed for the mystery of the "lost boys": babies who should normally be male who have been born as girls instead.

The Danish government set out to find out how much contamination from gender-bending chemicals a two-year-old child was exposed to every day. It concluded that a child could be "at critical risk" from just a few exposures to high levels of the substances, such as from rubber clogs, and imperilled by the amount it absorbed from sources ranging from food to sunscreens.

The results build on earlier studies showing that British children have higher levels of gender-bending chemicals in their blood than their parents or grandparents. Indeed WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund), which commissioned the older research, warned that the chemicals were so widespread that "there is very little, if anything, individuals can do to prevent contamination of themselves and their families." Prominent among them are dioxins, PVC, flame retardants, phthalates (extensively used to soften plastics) and the now largely banned PCBs, one and a half million tons of which were used in countless products from paints to electrical equipment.

Young boys, like those in the Danish study, could end up producing less sperm and developing feminised behaviour. Research at Rotterdam's Erasmus University found that boys whose mothers were exposed to PCBs and dioxins were more likely to play with dolls and tea sets and dress up in female clothes.

And it is in the womb that babies are most vulnerable; a study of umbilical cords from British mothers found that every one contained hazardous chemicals. Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York discovered that boys born to women exposed to phthalates had smaller penises and other feminisation of the genitals.

The contamination may also offer a clue to a mysterious shift in the sex of babies. Normally 106 boys are born for every 100 girls: it is thought to be nature's way of making up for the fact that men were more likely to be killed hunting or in conflict. But the proportion of females is rising, so much so that some 250,000 babies who statistically should have been boys have ended up as girls in Japan and the United States alone. In Britain, the discrepancy amounts to thousands of babies a year.

A Canadian Indian community living on ancestral lands at the eastern tip of Lake Huron, hemmed in by one of the biggest agglomerations of chemical factories on earth, gives birth to twice as many girls as boys. It's the same around Seveso in Italy, contaminated with dioxins from a notorious accident in the 1970s, and among Russian pesticide workers. And there's more evidence from places as far apart as Israel and Taiwan, Brazil and the Arctic.

Yet gender-benders are largely exempt from new EU regulations controlling hazardous chemicals. Britain, then under Tony Blair's premiership, was largely responsible for this – restricting their inclusion in the first draft of the legislation, and then causing even what was included to be watered down.Confidential documents show that it did so after pressure from George W Bush's administration, which protested that US exports "could be impacted".

Now the Danish government is planning to lobby to have the rules toughened up. It is particularly concerned by other studies which show that gender-bending chemicals acting together have far worse effects than the expected sum of their individual impacts. It wants this to be reflected in the regulations, citing its discovery of the many sources to which the two-year-olds are exposed – modern slings and arrows, as it were, of outrageous fortune.

In The News-Outrage as Doctors' Group Allows Coca-Cola to Sponsor Health Advice

Associated Press-
Advice about soft drinks and health from one of the nation's largest doctors groups will soon be brought to you by Coke.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has prompted outcry and lost members over its new six-figure alliance with the Coca-Cola Co. The deal will fund educational materials about soft drinks for the academy's consumer health and wellness Web site,

Academy CEO Dr. Douglas Henley said Wednesday that the deal won't influence the group's public health messages, and that the company will have no control over editorial content. He said the new online information will include research linking soft drinks with obesity and will focus on sugar-free alternatives.

But critics say the Coke deal will water down the advice.

"Coca-Cola, like other sodas, causes enormous suffering and premature death by increasing the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, gout, and cavities," Harvard University nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett said in an e-mail.

He said the academy "should be a loud critic of these products and practices, but by signing with Coke their voice has almost surely been muzzled."

Dr. Henry Blackburn, a University of Minnesota public health specialist, said the deal "will inevitably have a chilling effect on the focus of their message in regards to sweet drinks."

Coca-Cola spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante said that kind of criticism "misses the point of the partnership which is to provide education based on sound science."

Dr. William Walker, public health officer for Contra Costa County near San Francisco, likened the alliance with ads decades ago in which physicians said mild cigarettes are safe.

Walker has been a member of the academy for 25 years but quit last week. He said 20 other doctors who work with his local medical practice also quit because of the Coke deal.

In an announcement last month, the academy, based in Kansas, said the new Coca-Cola-funded educational material will be posted online in January.

The idea is "to develop educational materials to help consumers make informed decisions so they can include the products they love in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle," the academy's president-elect, Dr. Lori Heim, said at the time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics received similar criticism seven years ago when it allowed an infant formula maker's logo to appear on copies of that group's breast-feeding guide.

And the American Medical Association faced harsh reaction more than a decade ago with a plan to endorse Sunbeam appliances without testing them. Criticism forced the AMA to abandon that deal.

The Coke deal is not the only corporate alliance for the family physicians group. In 2005 it received funding from McDonalds for a fitness program. And its consumer Web site includes advertising for a variety of products, including deli meats and air freshener.

Henley said the Coke deal is worth six figures but he and a Coca-Cola spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

In a protest letter to Henley, 22 health specialists and activists questioned the safety of artificial sweeteners and urged the academy to abandon the deal and speak out against sugary drinks "in the strongest language."

Henley said the academy regrets the resignations and hopes other members will not "rush to judgment" before seeing the new content.

Coca-Cola is among several corporate contributors to the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, a separate philanthropic group. These contributors include many drug companies, McDonalds, PepsiCo and a beef industry group. Henley said the academy is in talks with other foundation contributors to fund other materials for the group, but he declined to say which ones.

The Best Chicken Pot Pie Ever!

Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
50 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 10 Min

* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
* 1 cup sliced carrots
* 1 cup frozen green peas
* 1/2 cup sliced celery
* 1/3 cup butter
* 1/3 cup chopped onion
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
* 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
* 2/3 cup milk
* 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

All Recipes-Robbie Rice

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gaining Ground Farm Donates All of Their Food
Not far from Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau lived and wrote Walden, Gaining Ground is one of the oldest farms in America. It’s been in constant cultivation since the town of Concord was chartered in 1635 and farmed by Native Americans for many years before European settlers arrived.
Throughout the harvest season, organic produce from Gaining Ground goes to shelters, food pantries, meal programs, and other hunger-relief programs throughout Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.

Eat better for less-Natural Health Magazine's definitive guide to buying & preparing the highest quality food on a shoestring

Like everyone else these days, I’m trying to cut costs where I can. My latest obsession is my food bill: How can I spend less and still enjoy organic produce and free-range meats?

“The secret to eating well on a budget is not to give up the high-quality foods you love, but to buy only what you need, then make sure you use everything you buy,” says Mollie Katzen, author of The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without (Hyperion, 2007).

With that in mind, here are ten expert tips on eating well for less, plus six recipes that range from 17 cents to $2 a serving. As a bonus, each recipe does double duty: You get a complete main dish, plus a convenient—and delicious—leftover suggestion.

1. Know your budget
EXPERT TIP: “Before you can start spending less, you have to know what your budget is,” says Katzen. Save receipts—grocery, farmers’ market, restaurants, takeout—for a month and determine what you’re really spending.
$$$ SAVED: $200 to $300 a month— if you cut nonessentials like snacks, takeout, and coffee to go.



2. Plan a menu for the week
EXPERT TIP: “Plan the week’s meals, including lunches and leftovers,” says Natural Health recipe developer Linda Monastra. “I start with two or three dishes, then come up with other recipes that need some of the same ingredients, so nothing gets wasted.”
$$$ SAVED: About $40—the cost of the grocery bill for our seven budget recipes and leftovers (starting on page 90). That’s half of what the average American spends in one week for food.

3. Shop around
EXPERT TIP: Comparison shopping is critical, says Judi Zucker, coauthor, with her sister Shari, of The Double Energy Diet (Book Publishing Company, 2008). But it’s not just comparing one store’s prices to another: You can also trade convenience—like precooked, pre-assembled foods—for bargains.
$$$ SAVED: Up to $2 per item—if you buy loose greens instead of pre-washed, and whole veggies instead of pre-sliced ones.


4. Find coupons online
EXPERT TIP: “There are more organic companies offering coupons today than ever before,” says Zucker. “And you don’t have to clip them out of the newspaper: Just go online and get them with a click.”
$$$ SAVED: $1 or more per package on items like organic yogurts, juices, and crackers—plus fair-trade coffee beans and eco cleaners. Check out to download coupons.

5. Go for nutrient density
EXPERT TIP: “To really get your money’s worth, buy foods that are high in nutrients,” says Katzen. To make that easier, many supermarkets, such as Stop & Shop, now let you compare prices and nutritional information online.
$$$ SAVED: Broccoli and celery are priced the same: But every dollar you spend on broccoli buys you much more vitamin C, iron, and fiber.


6. Cut down on meat
EXPERT TIP: “Build meals around something other than meat,” says Zucker, “and the savings skyrocket.” Even the cheapest cuts of meat—fatty chicken thighs and ground chuck—can cost $2 or $3 per pound.
$$$ SAVED: $2.50—if you replace meat with protein-rich barley and pinto, kidney, and black beans in soups and stews (a pound of beef costs nearly $4; a pound of dried beans is about $1.50).

Make it at home and save even more
Certain packaged foods like nut butters and granola are much cheaper when you make them yourself.

Nut butters. With nuts, a little canola oil, and a blender, you can prepare your own walnut, peanut, and almond butter free of sugar and added salt.

Breadcrumbs. Buy day-old bread (at most bakeries and markets) and leave it out overnight on a baking sheet or cooling rack. Pop it in the food processor for salt- and preservative-free crumbs you can store in the freezer.

Cooking oil. There’s no magic involved in manufactured cooking sprays—they just cost a lot more than homemade. Pour your favorite cooking oil into a BPA-free plastic or glass spray bottle.

Soup. For literally pennies, you can fill a simmering pot with vegetables, beans, and pasta and get a heavenly tasting, nutrient-dense soup in a few hours.

Granola. Rolled oats, honey, ground cinnamon, and condensed milk yields a better-tasting, fresher granola than anything prepackaged (try Natural Health’s recipe).

7. Choose seasonal produce
EXPERT TIP: “Buying what’s in season is the single best economic—and nutritional— decision you can make,” says Jeff Cox, author of The Organic Cook’s Bible (Wiley, 2006). “Organic produce from a farmers’ market has the most flavor and nutrients.”
$$$ SAVED: $4.50—if you buy extra farmers’ market strawberries in spring and summer (for about $2.50 per quart), then freeze or can them for the winter, when the price of imported strawberries climbs to $7 per quart.



8. Buy in bulk
EXPERT TIP: “Buy dried beans, grains, and spices in bulk—you can measure out and buy exactly what you need,” says Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of the upcoming Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For (Da Capo, June 2009).
$$$ SAVED: You’ll pay the same for ground Indonesian cinnamon at a spice store as you would for a supermarket brand, but it’ll be freshly ground and more aromatic—and you won’t waste any.

9. Join a warehouse store
EXPERT TIP: “Costco and Sam’s Club now have organic food sections where you can find great bargains,” says Zucker. For a yearly fee, club members find deals by buying several weeks’ worth of groceries.
$$$ SAVED: $4 per pound—on the shrimp for our Cumin-Lime Shrimp recipe (page 91).



10. Grow your own food
EXPERT TIP: “You don’t need a big backyard— or any yard at all—to grow fresh basil, parsley, heirloom tomatoes, and zucchini at home,” says Katzen. “When the weather turns brisk, pick your herbs and dry them for the winter.”
$$$ SAVED: $1 apiece—if you can heirloom tomatoes and use them in winter instead of buying imported vine-ripened tomatoes.


The foods we list—available at supermarkets, convenience stores, and in some cases even vending machines—contain vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and whole grains.
► V8 Low Sodium vegetable juice ($4.50 for 64 oz.). High in vitamins A, C, and E, plus potassium, V8 is actually a better source of nutrients than a multivitamin.
► Uncle Sam cereal ($3 for 10 oz.). This classic is having a resurgence because of its high fiber and flaxseed content and its star ranking on the glycemic index, which measures how quickly carbohydrates are turned into blood sugar.
► Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore tuna ($2 for 2.5 oz.). Precooked and ready to serve, these fillets are certified heart-healthy by the American Heart Association for their omega-3 content.
► Barilla Whole Grain pasta ($1 for 13 oz.). High in fiber and minerals, Barilla was ranked by America’s Test Kitchen as the best dried pasta available, beating out even Italian imports.
► Cracker Barrel Natural Reduced Fat 2% cheese ($4.50 for 10 oz.). This treat is high in calcium and digestive- aiding enzymes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shoppers Guide to Avoiding GE Foods

The Center for Food Safety has a free downloadable shoppers guide to avoid genetically modified foods.
(be sure to check out the rest of this awesome site!)

Food Additive Of The Day

FD&C Yellow No.5; known to provoke asthma attacks (though the US FDA do not recognise this) and urticaria (nettle rash) in children (the US FDA estimates 1:10 000); also linked to thyroid tumours, chromosomal damage, urticaria (hives) and hyperactivity; tartrazine sensitivity is also linked to aspirin sensitivity; used to color drinks, sweets, jams, cereals, snack foods, canned fish, packaged soups; banned in Norway and Austria

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fruit Producing Bonsai Makes A Great Gift

This bonsai produces tiny edible grapes.

Phytonutrients – Nature’s Natural Defense

Phytonutrients are natural compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and legumes. These plant compounds have beneficial effects working with other essential nutrients to promote good health.

“Phyto” means plant

* Phytonutient (pronounced fight-o-nutrient) literally means plant nutrient.
* There are hundreds of phytonutrients that are often referred to as phytochemicals also.
* Common phytonutrients include carotenoids such as lutein, flavonoids, coumarins, indoles, isoflavones, lignans, organosulfures and plant sterols.

Powerful antioxidants

* Many phytonutrients have antioxidant properties that help prevent damage to cells throughout the body.
* A number of phytonutrients have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
* Experts believe that eating plenty of phytonutrient-rich foods promotes healthy aging.

Other biological roles

* Phytonutrients may have other bioactive functions for promoting health.
* Some may have positive effects on the immune system and hormones.
* Phytonutrients may also act as antibacterial or antiviral agents.

Phytonutrient rich foods

* Red, orange and yellow vegetables and fruit (such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, peaches, mangos, melons, citrus fruits, and berries)
* Dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, bok choy, broccoli, Swiss chard, and romaine lettuce)
* Garlic, onions, chives and leeks
* Whole grain products (such as brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley, wheat berries, and whole wheat whole grain breads and whole grain cereals)
* Nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, almonds, sunflower, sesame and flax seeds)
* Legumes (such as dried beans, peas, lentils, soy beans and soy products)
* Tea and coffee (such as green tea, black tea and other herbal teas)
* Dark chocolate

Enjoy the rainbow

* Phytonutrients are responsible for the vibrant colours found in vegetables and fruit.
* For example the phytonutrient lycopene helps give tomatoes and watermelon their red color.
* By enjoying a rainbow of vegetables and fruit everyday, you can make the most of many of the phytonutrients nature has to offer.

Foods first

* No supplement can substitute for all of the benefits of healthy eating.
* The combination of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fibre in food is complex. It’s likely the interaction of these compounds found in whole foods that is responsible for their many health benefits.
* So eating a healthy variety of foods every day including plenty of phytonutrient-rich plant foods is best for your health.

Wise food choices

* Experts agree that the phytonutrients in plant based foods may help prevent disease and promote health.
* Aim to include a variety of plant based foods such as vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes in your meals and snacks every day.
* You can benefit from plenty of phytonutrient rich foods by Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide and making wise choices.

Try these phytonutrient-rich meal and snack ideas

* Breakfast: Muesli-type oat cereal with dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
* Lunch: A spinach salad with mandarin oranges and almonds.
* Dinner: Vegetarian bean chili with a crusty whole grain roll.
* Snack: A tall cold glass of orange, berry, banana smoothie.

Roasted and Curried Butternut Squash Soup


* 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
* 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
* 1 medium head garlic
* 6 cups vegetable broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 cup plain yogurt
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Place squash halves and onion onto the prepared baking sheet. Wrap garlic in foil and set with other vegetables.
3. Roast in the center of the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
4. Squeeze garlic cloves out of their skin like paste into a food processor. Scrape the flesh from the squash and place into the food processor along with the roasted onion. Puree until smooth. Add vegetable broth if necessary. Transfer the pureed mixture to a stockpot and stir in vegetable broth. Season with the bay leaf, brown sugar, curry powder, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.
5. Remove bay leaf and serve hot. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Serving Size 1/8 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 142
Calories from Fat 11
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1.2g 2 %
Saturated Fat 0.4g 2 %
Cholesterol 2mg < 1 %
Sodium 377mg 15 %
** Potassium 722mg 20 %
Total Carbohydrates 31.1g 10 %
Dietary Fiber 4.9g 20 %
Protein 4.9g 10 %
** Sugars 10.2g
Vitamin A 351 %
Vitamin C 68 %
Calcium 22 %
Iron 18 %
** Thiamin 20 %
** Niacin 21 %
** Vitamin B6 25 %
** Magnesium 24 %
** Folate 31 %

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

In The News

Kellogg Company Discontinues Immunity Statements On Kellogg's Rice Crispies Cereals.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Kellogg Company today
announced its decision to discontinue the immunity statements on Kellogg's
Rice Krispies cereals.

Last year, Kellogg Company started the development of adding antioxidants to
Rice Krispies cereals. This is one way the Company responded to parents
indicating their desire for more positive nutrition in kids' cereal.

While science shows that these antioxidants help support the immune system,
given the public attention on H1N1, the Company decided to make this change.
The communication will be on pack for the next few months as packaging flows
through store shelves. We will, however, continue to provide the increased
amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E (25% Daily Value) that the cereal offers.

We will continue to respond to the desire for improved nutrition, and we are
committed to communicating the importance of nutrition to our consumers.

SOURCE Kellogg Company

Kellogg Company, +1-269-961-3799,

Food Additive Of The Day

Did you know that L-cysteine, a common dough conditioner, flavor enhancer in human and pet foods, and precursor in some dietary supplements, is most often derived from human hair or duck feathers, and to a lesser extent from pigs' bristles and hooves? We reported the human and animal origins of L-cysteine in The Vegetarian Resource Group's Dictionary of Food Ingredients ten years ago. Then, the most common source was human hair found on the floors of Chinese barbershops. Today, it is derived from Chinese duck feathers approximately 80% of the time (estimation based on values given by several companies that manufacture and sell L-cysteine).

Read more at:

Source:Jeanne Yacoubou is Research Director for The Vegetarian Resource Group and holds master's degrees in philosophy, chemistry, and education. She wrote Is Your Sugar Vegan? An Update on Sugar Processing Practices for VJ Issue 4, 2007