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Positive, Proactive – Let’s Go Shopping!

7 Sep

I am becoming more and more sensitive to the media and the types of information that are sent out to people in our communities and country.

It makes me re-think what I watch, what I listen to, and how I process information.  When it comes to what I do every day, it is reminding me that I, myself, am empowered and can make my own choices to live a lifestyle that is FREE and that creates positive feelings and results.

Coming back from an event this weekend – the Chile Chili Festival at Rock Ledge Ranch, which our company That’s Natural! puts on – I am reminded of the power of doing something positive and proactive.

Each of us works in order to be able to pay our bills, create our lifestyle, and hopefully have a little bit of disposable income left over to do something fun – like purchase roasted green chile or other neat products that are available during this season of harvest.  When we purchase products from local vendors, we support their llivelihood and lifestyle – and when there are taxes that are collected on these items – we support public services and public goods.

Commerce is an awesome way to create community, it is also a great way to do good things for our environment, and help local non-profits like the Living History Association (LHA), which our event benefited last Saturday.  It is a positive and proactive way to participate in doing great things.

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WATER – What it is and what it is not.

4 Jul

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water, with our brains being made up of about 70% water.  So, just from a statistical standpoint, making sure that we have good, clean water is smart.  As a matter of fact, it is crucial that we have clean and ‘healthy’ drinking water.

WATER IS A WAY FOR OUR BODIES TO PURIFY THEMSELVES OF TOXINS – WATER IS NOT A VEHICLE FOR POISONS TO BE DELIVERED INTO OUR ECOSYSTEMS AND BODIES.

Not too long ago, clean water sounded very simple.  In the 20th century, however, with increased development, we are relying on public water systems to store and clean our water.  In addition to this, more and more people are a part of our ecosystem – meaning more and more water is needed, consumed, and excreted.  And there are more and more substances (pollutants and otherwise) entering our ecosystems and water systems.

Recent additions and developments to our water supply include chlorine, fluoride, and nanoparticles coming from pharmaceutical drugs.  The “experts” will give you all of the reasons in the world why X amount of particulates in the water is safe for consumption.  I, Tisha Casida, as consumer and bearer of multiple chemical sensitives (MCS), will tell you that those chemicals are not that good nor safe for our consumption.  It just isn’t natural – at all – and the repercussions from drinking those particulates for X number of years, in addition to combining those particulates within a human body with a myriad of other inputs and chemicals, can simply not be tested for accuracy and effect.  It is impossible.  The only sure bet is to drink water that is clean and does not have any type of modern industrial chemical in it.  Now, this is near impossible to do, but we can take baby steps.

First step?  Try and get some type of filtration system for the water that you drink at home.  There are a bunch of them – do your research and find one that fits into your budget.

Second step?  Drink water that is of extremely high-quality a couple times a week.  Splurge and purchase some spring water, some Penta, or some other type of water that you can trust.

Next step?  Start supplementing additional nutrients into your water and overall diet that will help build up your immune system.  I found a wonderful product called Cell Food, which you can put into your water or other beverages – it is an oxygen plus nutrient (minerals, enzymes, amino acids) supplement.

Our water supply is a big deal.  It is a monumental task to get public water systems to evaluate and change how they “create” drinking water, but we can take our own steps to maintain our own health.  Start with your water that you put into your body – it has everything to do with how we feel.

If We Are Eating this $#**, then Can We At Least Have it Labeled?

12 Jun

Trans-fats, artificial chemical sugars, and genetically modified foods are three of my least favorite components of our food supply.  The reason is that, in my opinion, they are not real food and are therefore subject to special labeling requirements so as to warn consumers that they are a part of what one is consuming.  By special, I mean that there should be indication that they are actually there.

As I have talked about before, trans-fats are now required to be labeled, but they allow “.5 grams or less” per serving to be equivalent to “zero grams per serving”.  This is incredibly deceptive – and should not be allowed.  If there are “.5 grams” or “.47 grams”, then, tell people that.  Is that asking too much?

Artificial chemical sugars are continually touted as “safe” by various lobbying groups and governmental agencies.  I believe that other evidence begs to differ, and it seems like slowly but surely more people, scientists, and medical professionals are starting to see an unfortunate correlation between diet sodas and severe health problems.  Thankfully, at least we can see these sugars on most labels.  Sans various bubblegum brands (WHICH OUR KIDS EAT), that now have “Phenylketonurics” in them – but you would never think that.  Take a look – this substance is labeled as being in there, but would you ever think to look in the first place?  Again, this is incredibly deceptive to the consumer.

Lastly, and this is the real kicker – genetically modified substances have been and will continue to be a part of our food supply.  Oh, wait, you didn’t want that?  Well, too late – the people “watching out for us” have already allowed copious amounts of these products into the food supply and into agricultural lands.  I am confidant that the majority of people would not want to consume food where its genetic structure has been altered or spliced with genetic components of other foods, animals, even bacteria.   But, how about we put this to the test – how about we allow people TO CHOOSE for themselves?  How about we label products that have genetically-modified components?  Then if people wanted to eat them they could, and if they didn’t want to, they could CHOOSE NOT TO.

I don’t want to stop these industries and lobbying organizations from doing business and continuing to create products that harm or potentially harm the nation’s food supply – let them try.  What I do want is for people to have the ability to choose for themselves what they are putting into their bodies – and that means labeling and truth in labeling.  Isn’t that a win-win?  Let the big businesses continue to create these awful things, and let people choose whether they want it or not – that is the whole theory of a free market – where the consumer has information to decide for himself or herself what they put into their body, can make their purchase, and can show the market what they like or don’t like.  Or perhaps better yet, show which companies they like or don’t like.

It’s the American way – all I am asking for is a little bit of that thing called “the truth”.

JOIN AN ORGANIZATION FIGHTING BACK FOR REAL FOOD!

Transparency, Accountability, Responsibility

8 Apr

With the various problems persisting at the federal government, and watching the impact of the economy upon producers and small business owners, I believe that it is time that we acknowledge that we must take steps towards transparency, accountability, and responsibility.

The budget battle which is far from over, has to do with choices that men and women in Congress and the Senate made.  Our representatives, whether they were Republican, Democrat, or Independent – made choices that affected how we got here today.   They were and are in the People’s House – and should be doing our business for us.  That business is to protect the Constitution of the United States and our natural and individual rights.  We are far from that now, but we can certainly get back.

Being an advocate for sustainable farming and a prosperous/healthy food supply, the current issue of genetic modification of seeds (that becomes the products that we consume) has me concerned.  The static nature of the federal agencies that are supposedly “protecting” us, has already allowed these substances into our food supply, without our consent, and without our knowledge.  Since there is no way to really know or test the products because of the amount of time it would take, WE are in fact the guinea pigs.  This is unnerving and enraging.  Transparency – we should know what we are eating.  Accountability: The federal agencies that are set up to put a check on what enters our food supply and environment should be doing their job or out of business.  Responsibility: Our representatives that represent us in a constitutional republic (not a democracy), should be doing the people’s business.

Being an advocate for a sustainable fiscal and monetary policy as well as a sound currency, the existence of the Federal Reserve’s power and actions is of grave concern.  Conspicuously in existence for 98 years, their “control” of the money supply is arguably the reason that we are in the economic conundrum that we are in.  Their names for creating inflationary situations (QE2), not to mention complete lack of over-sight, creates confusion and false actions in the marketplace.  No one really knows what to expect because no one really knows what is going on.  Or maybe we do, and if we do, it is scary how much of a bad situation that we are in.  Transparency – we should know what the Federal Reserve is doing – if it is conducting actions that affect the American people as ordered by Congress and the federal government.  Accountability: We should not have an entity that causes inflation supposedly fixing inflation.  Responsibility: Our representatives that represent our interests as the American people should be making sure that upon the renewal of this entity’s charter, that the people’s business is taken care of and that the interests of the people’s currency is protected against internal and external threats.

We must do each of these things ourselves, and to find actionable solutions, we must face up to the positions that each of us are in.  Sometimes that is difficult and painful, however, each of us must take a stand and use our own personal responsibility to create an environment where we can once again have prosperity, liberty, and peace.

Farmers Fighting Back – Family Farms Vs. Monsanto

1 Apr

On March 30th, a lawsuit was filed by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), representing 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations.  This was to challenge Monsanto’s patent on genetically-modified (GM)seed.

 

In an effort to protect themselves, farmers are suing Monsanto over the patents on GM seed because historically Monsanto has actually sued farmers in the United States and Canada when the patented genetically-modified (GM) materially inadvertently contaminates the farmers’ crops.  Yes, read that one more time – Monsanto sues the farmers whose crops get contaminated from Monsanto’s GM seed.

 

The question is whether Monsanto has the right to sue farmers for “patent-infringement” when the non-genetically-modified crops get contaminated with Monsanto’s GM seed.  In a world with common sense, we would certainly hope that the courts find that Monsanto has no such right.

 

What angers me, is that there has not been significant testing of the impacts of GM seeds or product on either the environment or consumers.  In addition to this, people have the right to know what they are putting into their bodies, so at the very least, GM-products should be labeled so consumers can make an educated choice.

The stringent guidelines for producing organic crops are hampered and devastated by the very existence of GM seeds.  Since GM seeds and crops are already increasingly prevalent in our country, now our only hope is to protect the farmers who are growing naturally/organically – NOT with genetically-modified substances.

God Bless the family farm and let’s hope that we can spread enough awareness to consumers so that we can protect the farmland that provides us (and provides the world) with a clean and bountiful food supply.

Tisha T. Casida

 

Right and Left – We All Want to Protect our Parts

1 Apr

Want to create positive change?  Find Common Ground.

There is a link between those testosterone-laden men (and women for that matter) and the normally-classified opposite of these types – the lovers of organic foods, kimchi, chia seeds, and cod-liver oil (also referred to as environmentalists, tree-huggers, and other not-so-nice terms).  The link is that toxins in our environment are bad.  Bad for one’s health, bad for the health of the creatures that roam the environment, and bad for us – you and me – as human beings.

Why should body-builders be concerned about plastic?  Because plastic has Bisphenol A (BPA) that acts like ESTROGEN to one’s body, only WORSE because it is completely foreign to the body and it is much more harmful than natural estrogen.  That’s right guys – those plastic water bottles aren’t just s#itty for the planets’ lakes, streams, and oceans, but they can also affect your reproductive parts.

Phthalates (a cousin to plastic) are found in most fragrances – that means perfumes, air fresheners, cosmetics, and other things that you may put on your body like shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.  Why should men and women be concerned about phthalates?   Because phthalates suppress testosterone and increase insulin resistance – both bad for muscle-building and normal homeostasis.  As the article from T-Nation says, guys, protect your balls.  Ladies, protect your health and well-being.   At the same time, you do great things for the environment and for humanity.  Weird.

You and I as consumers get to make choices about what we put in and on our body.  We should recognize, that it doesn’t matter what party you are from or what defines you as a person – we as human beings have things in common.  Our health is important, and when it comes to the issues and dangers of plastics – whether it is in our bodies or in the environment – we can agree to try our best to protect ourselves from the unfortunate consequences of over-exposure to these toxic chemicals.

Getting Rid of Little Bugs –– Big Business & Impending Legislation

2 Mar

Here’s an interesting conundrum – various environmental organizations are pushing for legislation to “wipe antimicrobial soaps from the shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets across the country” (Barr, 2011).

I have never been a fan of triclosan, the main ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps.  The reason is because of its effects on the environment (dioxins) and on the health of not only aquatic species, but also species that may drink the water (that would be us), or the species that puts the compound purposely on our bodies in an effort to avoid “germs” (that would also be us).

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that affect the normal homeostasis, reproduction, development, and/or behavior of a living being.  These compounds can be one of three types of endocrine disruptors – “estrogenic (that mimic or block natural estrogen), androgenic (compounds that mimic or block natural testosterone), and thyroidal (compounds with direct or indirect impacts to the thyroid” (Snyder, Westerhoff, Yoon, & Sedlak, 2003).

One can read up on the science of this, but with just a little background in the dangers of messing with one’s hormones (e.g. the effect on one’s body if they take steroids), it is easy to understand why groups would be pushing for a law to get these antibacterial products off of store shelves.

I, personally, have always had an instant negative reaction to putting antibacterial soaps and lotions on my skin, and therefore stopped using them several years ago.  I wash my hands with water and natural soap and supplement with something called Thieves oil, which is a combination of cinnamon, lemon, clove, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils.  All of these are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic.

Bacteria is not our enemy.  Granted, there is a place for anti-bacterial products (e.g. in a hospital), but not for every-day use.

There are many arguments for the dangerous effects of trying to constantly kill bacteria on one’s hands and body parts.  For example, we are actually creating super-bugs (e.g. methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA) that are almost impossible to “kill”; such a situation could result in a pandemic.

If we humans could understand that we were equipped with a pretty powerful bad-bacteria-fighting machine (THE IMMUNE SYSTEM), we would find ways to support that versus killing all bacteria.  Beneficial bacteria abound, and a healthy immune system lets good bacteria flourish while naturally getting rid of what’s bad.  Triclosan is not a sustainable nor healthy answer to sickness caused by “germs”.

So, here’s the real punch and point of this – we should not have legislation banning triclosan (since it was created in a semi-free-market).  We should be educating people why not to use it, and get rid of it via consumer choice.  Also, we could look on the books for federal and state laws that encourage the use of antibacterial soaps, and get those off the books, since they are creating an artificial market for a product that is harming people’s health and the environment at large.

Stop trying to legislate, and use all of that TIME and MONEY to educate the consumer about what the hell is going on.  If consumers decide, and if a free market is used to make decisions, THIS is the most sustainable means of creating a healthier environment and a healthier immune system.  It has to come from the people – legislating it will do no long-term good.

Idealistic?  Yes.  Impossible.  No.

By: Tisha Casida

References
Barr, B. (March, 2011). Antimicrobial crusade won’t wash. Politico. Retrieved on March 2, 2011 from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50418.html .

Snyder, S.A., Westerhoff, P., Yoon, Y., & Sedlak, D.L. (2003). Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products, and Endocrine Disruptors in Water: Implications for the Water Industry. Environmental Engineering Science, 20(5), 449-469. EES-review-2003.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50418.html#ixzz1FSJZgCgJ

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) – No Joke

5 Feb

Part of my frustration in the past ten years has been being the canary in the coal mine for my family and friends who just have no idea how dangerous certain chemicals are. After my over-exposure to pesticides/insecticides as a child, I have left my now 29-year-old body in a state that is super-sensitive to chemicals that I come in contact with.

Sometimes they are perfumes, sometimes cleaners, and sometimes other scents and antibacterial lotions/potions that are chock-full of chemicals that in small quantities can actually be dangerous. Small quantities become large quantities when you take into the equation all of the other chemicals that are raging in our food, air, water, etc.

Today the culprit is methyl nonyl ketone, which is in some strange pet-repellent that was sprayed in my parent’s home. Now, of course the MSDS sheet and other information says things like “Carcinogenic Effects: Not available”, “Mutagenic effects: Not available”, “Teratogenic Effects: Not available”, “Developmental Toxicty: Not available”. Nothing is known. Now, everyone would like you to think that the unknown is because there is no problem there – I, canary in the coal mine, can tell you that this chemical has some ill-effect on something because I can sense it. It sets off my senses and makes me feel ill.

Unfortunately in our society, such a warning is not enough. So, this is a battle cry. An opportunity to educate others – a cry out to others who have chemical sensitivities or MCS – that you are not alone. More and more people will become sensitive as our human bodies start to recognize that they are full-up of poison. Only then, will so many people change. But, it has to start somewhere, it has to be written, it has to be expressed.

We do that here – albeit the fate of a canary for anyone who recognizes the dangers of the pollutants that we fill our environment, our home, and our body with.

Beat Cancer – Prevent It!

22 Jan

Children getting cancer should prove to us that there is something very wrong within our environment and with the food that we are consuming.  A small case can be made for genetic dispositions and characteristics – the fact is that this should be a severe warning sign for us as a population.

In Canada, a four year old with breast cancer was recently treated with a double mastectomy .  The wonders of modern detection and treatment should be praised, however, what should be questioned is the lack of research determining the cause of this – why are four-year-olds getting cancer?

Cancer is when abnormal (sick) cells proliferate uncontrollably, sometimes just growing and sometimes spreading throughout one’s body.  What causes abnormal/sick cells?  Toxins in the environment that are able to enter our bodies, toxins in our food that are ingested.  There is probably even the case that emotional characteristics can cause cells stress that then make them sick or mutate.  In any of these three cases, we know what these toxins are, we know what stress is, hence, we know how to PREVENT (as much as we can) cancer from even starting.

After a bout of sickness in my youth, I was propelled to learn about the amazing amounts of poisons we put in the environment, as well as into our bodies.  Our centralized food supply is highly dependent upon chemicals that not only make toxins a necessary part of the growth of food, these chemicals also deplete the nutrient-dense soil that actually produces healthy food.  Add to this the toxins in our homes (cleaners, artificial fragrances, offgassing from home construction, etc.), and air quality in most urban networks that is questionable at best – and you have a toxic soup.

Solution?  We can control our environment as much as we possibly can, and we can also purchase foods that actually nourish our body and combat the creation of sick and abnormal cells.  We can get to know who actually produces our food – Know Your Farmer, Know Your Rancher.  We can seek out cleaners and other components of our household that do not have harsh and dangerous chemicals in them.  We can put on our body (lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics) items that do not have toxic ingredients.  Step by step, ingredient by ingredient, meal by meal – we can change what we do to prevent the many forms of cancer which plague our world, especially our children.

A four-year-old that has to have a double mastectomy is enough for me to do everything in my power to create a healthier world for my own kids and grand-kids, and I hope it does this for you as well.

Chemicals to Avoid, Part I – Bisphenol A (BPA)

31 May

By: Tisha Casida

They are everywhere.  The water you drink, the bed where you sleep, the clothing you wear, and in all parts of a modern household.  They are toxic.  Seeping into one’s skin, lungs, blood, and vital organs.  They are making people sick.  Cancer, sexual problems, and behavioral issues are a part of that list of sicknesses.

Five chemicals have been researched and evaluated for their effect on a human being.  These chemicals include:

–       Bisphenol A (BPA)

–       Phthalates

–       PFOA

–       Formaldehyde

–       Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs)

David S. Martin, a senior medical producer at CNN, summarized these in an article (Martin, 2010).  Since learning about the dangers of many chemicals in our food supply and general environment, I have been relatively aware of the potential dangers of these to the human body.  What is exciting, and equally frustrating, is that there is finally some body of research to back what should have been understood about these chemicals in the first place – before they became so rampant in our daily lives.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

This chemical is a component of a plastic called polycarbonate, and would be found in products like: water bottles, food storage containers (reusable plastic), and electronics.  Naturally, if we are consuming foods or handling these plastics, then we are being exposed to them.  This is especially important to remember for infants and toddlers, who put everything into their mouth.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found, when testing the urine of people for exposure, that 93% of those tested had some level of BPA in their system (Bucher & Shelby, 2010).  The folks at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) warranted “some concern” for adverse effects from BPA.  If you would like to see what “some concern” equates to, I encourage you to look at the actual report (see references below).

Potential adverse health risks that have been expressed but not proven (and will likely never will be because of the ties between industry and politics) include: reduced male sexual function, potential cancer risk (by mimicking estrogen and causing chemical reactions in the endocrine system), and negatively affecting the development of fetuses, infants, and young children.

Let me point out a small link here – BABY BOTTLES AND INFANT FEEDING CUPS – made out of plastic, will likely have BPA in them.

The Food and Drug Administration allows BPA in flexible food packaging (Martin, 2010).  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called for more rigorous testing of BPA and finds it a “chemical of concern” (EPA, 2010).

Tisha’s suggestions, which are not proven, peer-reviewed, or tested (except on myself of course) include:

  1. Do not drink water bottled in plastic, ESPECIALLY if that plastic has gotten hot – use glass bottles, or stainless steel bottles.
  2. Do not use reusable plastic containers – use glass.
  3. Do not EVER heat up food or water in plastic containers in the microwave
  4. DO NOT heat up baby bottles or ANY of baby’s food in plastic containers in the microwave.

You are what you eat.  Don’t make one of those things BPA, which is obviously having negative impacts on the health of our country and kids.

Next time, we will look at: Phthalates

References:

Bucher, J., Shelby, M. (2010). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/media/questions/sya-bpa.cfm

Martin, D.S. (2010, May 21). 5 toxics that are everywhere: protect yourself. CNN Health.  Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/31/chemical.dangers/index.html?hpt=Sbin

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). EPA to Scrutinize Environmental Impact of Bisphenol A. Retrieved on May 31, 2010 from http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/eeffe922a687433c85257359003f5340/78110048d7f696d1852576f50054241a!OpenDocument