Dieting? Watch What You Eat – It Can Kill You

Odd title but there is truth to it.   What you eat, even if you think it’s healthy, can kill you.

The information I am about to share ranges from upsetting to frightening to life-changing.  I put this together for two friends who want to lose weight and eat healthier diets.  Although some of it appears to be “off tangent,” all of this information affects your ability to lose weight and keep it off; all of it is about what to avoid (like commercially produced milk or corn) if you want to get healthy.

If you want to change your diet quickly and start to see weight loss and better health, here’s the first step.

Processed Foods
Ditch the processed foods.  I confess that this was the hardest for me and my husband but it is necessary.  Get rid of all processed foods.  That means removing foods like these:

  1. Chips of any kind (yes even and especially corn chips as they contain GMO corn and are actually almost pure sugar to the body).
  2. Potatoes in any shape or variety – not baked, not mashed and really, really not fried or escalloped.
  3. Pasta – that’s a lot to ask but almost ALL pasta on the market is made with refined grains and eating it is a bit like injecting a syringe of “bad carbs” and sugar directly into your vein.
  4. Store-bought canned soup unless it’s organic and low sodium.
  5. Candy – it is sugar.
  6. Cookies – they are sugar, flour and fat (butter or margarine and of the two, margarine is a bit riskier).
  7. Cake – ditto what I said about cookies.
  8. ANYTHING fried – french fries, fried fish, fried chicken and yes, even fried pickles.

Artificially Sweetened Anything
This step starts for most people with getting rid of diet soda.  But, wait, you’re thinking, artificial sweeteners let me cut calories and still drink something sweet. Why should I cut out all artifical sweeteners?

Early research indicates that artificial sweeteners may “trick” the body and cause an increase in eating because the body expects sugar and doesn’t get it (my summary and certainly not all that scientific but Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine explains in more detail).

Meat
Protein from meat is not all bad but it can be if you don’t know where your meat has been before it came to your store or your dinner plate.

In this move to change what you eat, you need to be aware and wary of where your meat comes from.  The only meat I buy is organic and locally raised.  Cows get to graze, chickens get to free-range (literally) and pigs enjoy field time until the day they are picked up.  I visit the farm. I interview the farmer and I specifically ask about hormones, antibiotics and steroids — all not so secret ingredients in commercially produced meat.

Meat whose origins you are unsure of can be dangerous to you and your loved ones. How can I say this?

  1. Chickens, raised commercially, have exactly 6 inches of space to live in.  They are de-beaked because they are so over-crowded that they attack each other. They are fed arsenic to make them “healthier.”  Chickens raised commercially are so stressed that the campylobacter which used to reside in their intestinal tract is now showing up in the flesh of the bird making it necessary for us to raise the internal temp of chicken to a minimum of 160 degrees when baking to kill this bacteria. So I don’t eat commercially raised chicken for reasons of health and humanity.
  2. Breeding female pigs “farmed”by companies like Smithfield in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are held in severely restrictive gestation crates and are forced to stand, literally, for their entire breeding lives.  They cannot turn or lay down in these crates.  I refuse to support this type of cruelty to any animal let alone a pig, which is smarter than the smartest dog (which was a Border Collie with a documented vocabulary of more than 900 words).
  3. On average, 100,000 head of cattle are held in feedlots and fed….cornflakes….to bulk them up prior to slaughter.  Feedlots sound a whole lot nicer than what they really are.   Over-crowding, thigh high mud, and an unnatural diet for a ruminant cause many of the cattle to get bacterial infections.  Antibiotics are standard operating procedure for “managing” the potential for illness but the downside is that the antibiotics get in the beef, in the water and in our bodies.

Cows and pigs are both raised in CAFOs.  CAFOs are not new.  The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit studying and working for a healthy environment and a safer world. This group published a damning paper in 2008 about CAFOs, which focused not just on the horrendous treatment of the animals held/raised in these operations but in the huge risk due to unsanitary, overcrowded conditions  Also, drone footage of the Smithfield operation , which was recently released, shows just how terrible the conditions are in CAFOs and just how much waste the CAFOs produce.

If that information is not enough to have you looking for a local farmer, you should know that CAFOs have to use significantly larger amounts of antibiotics on their animals to try to overcome the hazardous conditions in which they raise the animals.  Last year, the CDC found a direct link to rising incidents of human infection with so-called super bugs like MRSA but also with the common bacteria like e-coli, salmonella, campylobacter and shigella (which causes shingles)   NOTE:  run off from these CAFOs affect fish, birds, bugs and….our drinking water.

Dairy
Last but not least on the list of foods to eliminate — for both your diet and your health are commercially produced dairy products.

I have been trying to move that way and now, because of a TED talk, I will be trying even harder.  According to the speaker, Robyn O’Brien, in 1994, a hormone was introduced to milk cows to increase milk production.It increased production but also caused mastoiditis and cysts in the cattle which required antibiotics which also ended up in our food.

O’Brien is a former food industry analyst and marketer and now the mother of 4 children. She speaks about what has changed all the foods we still think are healthy for us and why they are not. She’s not advocating an overthrow of the giant food companies; she is advocating that these companies start rethinking their strategies a bit as more people awaken to the fact that their health is on the line.

So, if you want to eat healthy and lose weight you have to put in a bit of work.  Rethink the proposition.  Read labels. Research. Know, for a fact, that many of the grains, milk and meat in our marketplace today are being “manufactured” by industry to get more of the product and more profit while basically sickening the people who use them.

It’s not the foods; it’s what the business has put in them.  But you can stop subsidizing these big comapanies.  And you can fight back by buying organic, buying local and growing some of your own.

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Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind | Talk Video | TED.com

If anyone had asked me if a TED talk on neural imaging of the brain would make me cry…I probably would have laughed.

But this TED talk by Nancy Kanwisher did just that.  In the last 2 or 3 minutes of this fascinating talk, Kanwisher popped some images on the screen and I cried, instantly, spontaneously.

I won’t spoil it for anyone who wants to watch this talk but, having lost both of my brothers to brain tumors, I found the information and the imaging absolutely brilliant.

And the final images stunned me.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind | Talk Video | TED.com.

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4 Tips for Safe, Effective Sunscreen Use

Every August since 1993, my small family has shared a house on the beach in North Carolina.  It’s only for 1 week but it is a wonderful week of boogey boarding, books and board games.

It is also one of the hotter months of the year, a time when the sun beats down on hot sand and warm ocean water, a time when sunburns and skin damage can really take their toll.

I have always loved my time in the sun; I was a beach bunny as a 20 something.  Today, I still ride the waves with my grandchildren and walk the beach with my daughter and husband.  I garden.  I ride horses.  I play Kan Jam.

But all that time in the sun came with a price which I am paying right now.  I was diagnosed with skin cancer – melanoma – in January of this year. I spent Valentine’s Day under a surgeon’s knife having a large portion of my left hip removed due to melanoma.

I’ll admit that this experience has made me a bit crazy about sunscreen, finding the right one, finding one I can afford and using it properly.

I’m not the only one who is confused by manufacturers’ claims about the sunscreens they sell.  But Earth Easy has cut through all the noise to share a short, clearly written article about what products work best and why.  4 Tips for Safe, Effective Sunscreen Use | Eartheasy Blog.

I found two products on Amazon that work for me – Elta MD Skincare makes both; both are broad spectrum and both are free of the chemicals Earth Easy warns against. The general sunscreen is a “sport” sunscreen meaning it doesn’t sweat off into your eyes or mouth.

Enjoy the dog days of August, play in the surf and loll on the sand but make sure you read up and buy the right sunscreen for you and for your family.

 

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Life After Working in Education

There is life after work.  Actually there is life after teaching for 30 years in our broken down, politically charged education system….and Ms. D proves it.

How I loved this post!

I’m not sure how she survived 30 years in education except it must have been for the kids.  I’m on my 3rd year (out of retirement) and I am stunned by the amount of energy given over to politics and the pettiness with so little time left for the students.

One of Ms. D’s comments just made me laugh out loud.  She is listing things she will NOT miss about her teaching career and this was my favorite – “Endure being told that I am blunt and intimidating because I have decades of experience and am not afraid to say what I think.”

I got that in corporate America with the added insult that my behavior didn’t go down well because, and I quote, “You are a woman.”  A-bloody-mazing.

I read then re-read this post of a woman who has and is reclaiming her life and herself and I was so impressed that I had to share it.  When I finished I sat in front of my laptop with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face knowing that Ms. D probably saved a whole lot of kids from the trash heap of their parents’ and neighborhoods’ lives, that she endured…despite the odds.

I hope you enjoy this.  The Year in Review « FARMHOUSE BY THE FALLS.

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Defy Gravity with Caroline Myss

I just finished reading Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason  by Caroline Myss but I don’t think I will ever be finished with this book.

Myss is a long-time practitioner of intuitive healing who is, also, well-respected within the traditional medical community.

Myss is also an amazing writer with an extraordinary talent for taking sometimes difficult and obscure teachings on self-healing and translating them into concepts that are clear and concise.

That doesn’t sound like much lot but it is.  In fact, it’s a huge accomplishment because it makes these otherwise arcane approaches and methods readily available to anyone who has 20 minutes a day to read Defy Gravity!

Teresa of Avila, Muhammad, Buddha, and Saint John of the Cross are all woven into this tapestry of intuitive understanding and healing.  Myss doesn’t espouse one spiritual approach over another; she moves through them, finds common ground within them and expands their sometimes parochial meanings into universal truths

Myss may well have found the path that Joseph Campbell spoke of when he said religions in the 20th century would NOT be able to help anyone until all religions found a way to bring their myths into the modern world — the world in which you and I live, work and try to get along.

There was so much to learn and think about and play with while I was reading this book that it’s hard for me to choose what to share but here are some of my favorites:

Forgiveness is NOT releasing the aggressor nor is it telling them that what they did was okay and all is forgiven.  Forgiveness takes place inside where my disappointed, abused, angry ego confronts my soul and releases its hold.  The goal of forgiveness is shattering the myth that maintains that suffering is deserving of recognition, reward and/or righteous vengeance.  Understanding the essence of forgiveness is one of the most deeply healing and liberating gifts you can give yourself.

Working in harmony with the universe influences all life; dominating just one life destroys you.

See clearly. Recognize illusion. You can visit your wounds now and again (like we all do), but you can no longer, mentally or emotionally reside in that place, continually processing wounds that are decades old.

Keep your soul intact at all times.  Look for God or the Universe in the smallest details of your life.

Stay where you belong, in the present moment.

This one is mine – born in the crucible of my own search for joy and peace:

All of the stories of my life – the ones I tell myself, my friends, my loved ones – are ingrained but….when I drop them I can see the beautiful world all around me – right in front of me – in the present moment.  And I can, literally, breathe in joy and peace.

Buy the book; borrow it, read it and just feel yourself opening up to the universe and all the potential for wonder, love and joy that are already inside you!

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Einstein in the 21st Century

There is a young man living in the Southwest who is too smart for college simply because they cannot teach him anything!

This 19-year-old is in process of changing how we use nuclear fusion. He has a vision of a pure fusion energy but is in process of building small reactors that will not fail and contaminate like the 50’s style currently in use.

Taylor Wilson built his first nuclear reactor at the age of 14 but if his mind finds a way for pure fusion, it may be our path way to the stars and beyond.

He is a prodigy. He’s working with a professor at a school for the exceptionally gifted who said, after working with the student for a while, that he “…has never encountered a smarter person than this kid. yet he is so down to earth.”

In this student, live mathematics and science and the vision to see and understand both.  He may just be our gateway to the unknown.  He may just open up a future where coal, oil, fracking and all the other ecologically destructive practices for grabbing and using energy are no longer needed.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/52207962#52207962

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Cancer Coming To Your Backyard! Soon!

Please read and if you agree, sign the petition to ban the large scale use of 2-4-D and it’s cousin, Agent Orange in the production of corn and soy beans!  This use is being considered, despite scientific evidence that 2-4-D and cancer and reproductive problems go hand-in-hand.

As a child, my 4 siblings and I were regularly exposed to 2-4-D and 2-4-5-T – two ingredients in Agent Orange.  All of us were charged with killing weeds, every week during the summer – bare feet and bare hands.

Both of my brothers died of brain tumors in their 67th year.  My older sister almost died 2 years ago of complications brought on by a massive ovarian tumor and she is still fighting kidney cancer.  She was 65.  At the age of 65, I have just been diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma on my hip.

Poisoning weeds means poisoning the soil, the water and, ultimately, the people exposed to the chemicals.  Increasing the sheer volume of poison simply means increasing the numbers of people who will die from the slow, sure and silent intrusion of 2-4-D into their food, into their lives and into their backyards, their families, their children. 

And there is absolutely no way to describe the vast and long-term devastation that the use of this substance will do to the life of all other inhabitants (animals, birds, fish, insects) and the overall ecology of this earth – our home.

Has everyone forgotten Silent Spring ? Rachel Carson?

STOP big business; STOP the use of 2-4-D. START using common sense, common courtesy and some of the inordinate amounts of money currently being poured into chemical and genetic modification of foods to understand how to live and work WITH our fellow inhabitants and WITH the environment, not in spite of them.

Visit the Food Revolution Network blog; click on the link and register your thoughts and feelings with the Federal Government.

Please.

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