Health

March Against Monsanto-Denver

#MAMDenver

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Health, Science

What’s the deal with Monsanto, GMO’s and this #MarchAgainstMonsanto?

#MAMDenver #MarchAgainstMonsanto

CutThePlastic

#GMO, #Organic, #M25, #MAM #Monsanto and #Poison are just some of the tweets you may be seeing over the next few months as many are predicting that 2013 is the year of protests and marches against corporations that are proven to have track records that are not environmentally responsible.

Many people who read this may ask why.  It’s a valid question.  Is this something new?  No it’s now new.  Here’s the skinny –

Monsanto is a poison manufacturing company that has been making corn and soybean plants that survive to their poisons for over 20 years.  This began as an improvement over the types of poisons being used on farm fields before the EPA banned the use of DDT on Dec, 31 1972.   These plants are now part of our food stream and foods and animals like it are becoming commonplace without labeling and exposing the research that…

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Health, Science

Genetic Modification: What’s the big deal?

Read my latest guest post on farmfoodieandfitness.com, know what you are eating!

 

Farm, Foodie & Fitness

Genetically Modified Food: Should we be eating it?

Attempts to increase nutritional benefits and productivity of food crops with genetic modification have been made, but in reality the two main traits that have had widespread use to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. Herbicide tolerance lets the farmer spray weed-killer directly on the crop without killing it. Crops such as Bt cotton produce pesticides inside the plant. This kills or deters insects, in hopes of saving the farmer from having to spray pesticides. The plants themselves are toxic, and not just to insects. Farmers in India, who let their sheep graze on Bt cotton plants after harvest, saw thousands in their sheep herds die. These crops have resulted in great economic benefit to the companies that have now been allowed to put a patent on nature while farmers and the environment…

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Health

March Against Monsanto

May 25, 2013 activists around the world will unite in a worldwide March Against Monsanto!

Why do we march?

  • In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-lead research on the long-term effects of GMO products.
  • Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.
  • For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism. Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.
  • Monsanto’s GMO seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have caused colony collapse among the world’s bee population.

What are solutions we advocate?

  • Voting with your dollar by buying organic and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies that use GMOs in their products.
  • Labeling of GMOs so that consumers can make those informed decisions easier.
  • Repealing relevant provisions of the US’s “Monsanto Protection Act.”
  • Calling for further scientific research on the health effects of GMOs.
  • Holding Monsanto executives and Monsanto-supporting politicians accountable through direct communication, grassroots journalism, social media, etc.
  • Continuing to inform the public about Monsanto’s secrets.
  • Taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won’t take these injustices quietly.

We will not stand for cronyism. We will not stand for poison. That’s why we March Against Monsanto.

Join us! http://on.fb.me/ZUxe3o

Find cities already participating: http://bit.ly/ZTDsk8

Start your own: http://on.fb.me/16qw2r4

I am one of the organizers in Denver so if you have any questions or comments, please let me know! -Ellice

 

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Health

Natural Prescription: Stress

Stress

Stress (Photo credit: topgold)

When you’re stressed, regardless of the source of the stress, your body releases hormones that produce the stress response commonly known as the “fight-or-flight response. This response allows energy to flow to parts of the body that need to take action, like the muscles. However useful this response may be in the event of a life threatening situation, when the body remains in a stress state for a long time, emotional or physical damage can occur.

There are three types of stress: physical, psychological, and psychosocial. Physical stress involves stressors from the environment like noise or pollution. Psychological stress is the reaction to a perceived threat, whether real or imaginary. Psychosocial stress is stress resulting from interpersonal relationships, the conflicts of these relationships, or the lack of social interaction.

Long-term or chronic stress may actually weaken the body’s ability to fight off illness and makes it more vulnerable to serious disease. Additionally, chronic stress may result in recurrent headaches, stomach ache, and a shorter lifespan. Research into stress has found that it is not always the major life events that cause the most damage, but sometimes the mere accumulation of minor hassles, like the traffic jam on the way to work or the unexpected house guest, that can cause problems. Thankfully, attitude, perception, and the way that stressful events are handled, proves more important than the events themselves, and this resilience may help deflect the ill effects of stress.

In the past 30 years, there has been considerable interest in the relaxation response and how inducing this state may counteract the negative effects of stress. Research has focused primarily on illness and conditions in which stress may play a role either as the cause of the condition or as a factor that can make the condition worse, as has been found with asthma. Relaxation is more than a state of mind; it physically changes the way your body functions. When your body is relaxed breathing slows, blood pressure and oxygen consumption decrease, and some people report an increased sense of well-being. This is called the “relaxation response.” Being able to produce the relaxation response using relaxation techniques may counteract the effects of long-term stress, which may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including depression, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

Relaxation techniques often combine breathing and focused attention to calm the mind and the body. Most methods require only brief instruction from a book or experienced practitioner before they can be done without assistance. These techniques may be most effective when practiced regularly and combined with good nutrition, regular exercise, and a strong social support system. For further guidance on relaxation techniques, please visit, http://enlightenedlotuswellness.com/2012/07/11/pocket-guide-to-modern-stress-relief/

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Management

Biofeedback -assisted relaxation uses electronic devices to teach you how to consciously produce the relaxation response. Biofeedback is sometimes used to relieve conditions that are caused or worsened by stress. Please visit, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/biofeedback/MY01072 for additional information.

Deep breathing or breathing exercises. To relax using this method, you consciously slow your breathing and focus on taking regular and deep breaths.

Visualization. For this technique, you focus on pleasant images to replace negative or stressful feelings and relax. Visualization may be directed by you or a practitioner through storytelling or descriptions designed to suggest mental images.

Progressive relaxation. (Aka Jacobson’s progressive relaxation or progressive muscle relaxation). For this method, you focus on tightening and relaxing each muscle group. Progressive relaxation is often combined with guided imagery and breathing exercises.

Self-Hypnosis. In self-hypnosis you produce the relaxation response with a phrase or nonverbal cue. Self-hypnosis may be used to relieve pain as well as to treat anxiety and limiting beliefs. For free self-hypnosis MP3s visit, http://www.josephclough.com/

As with any complimentary or alternative therapy, do not use relaxation techniques as a replacement for conventional care or to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem.

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Health

Eating for Health

English: A close up of salt crystals.

A close up of salt crystals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Salt: How much is too much?

Salt has a bad reputation, many are aware that excessive salt intake can lead to the development of high blood pressure, but salt also plays a vital role in the physiology of our bodies. Sodium is so important to our bodies that we have a specific sensor on our tongues that can detect sodium. Salt is crucial for maintaining every cell in your system, it permeates the fluid between the cells, the extracellular fluid, while potassium exists inside the cells in the intracellular fluid. Sodium and potassium need to remain in dynamic balance so nutrients and waste can exchange across cell membranes. Without salt our bodies would cease to function properly.

So the human body needs salt, but how much? The average American’s salt intake is 2-3 teaspoons a day. While this may not sound like much, it provides 4,000-6,000 mg of sodium, double the FDA’s maximum RDA of 2,400 mg.  Salt is so prevalent in processed foods, getting salt out of your diet and controlling your intake isn’t as simple as passing up the salt shaker. Snacks like chips, crackers, and popcorn are obviously salted but so are foods like bread, cereal, and salad dressings. In order to really reduce your salt intake you have to read the labels of the foods you are eating. As a rule of thumb: focus on buying foods that have 140 mg of sodium or less per serving.

Refined salt, aka table salt, is two mineral salts, sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl) together with other chemicals like anti-caking agents, commonly, sodium aluminosilicate or alumino-calcium silicate. These anti-caking agents are sources of aluminum, a toxic metal that has been associated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Bleaches are often used in the refining process and more than 60 trace minerals and essential nutrients, except the sodium and chloride, are stripped out. None of these added chemicals work with our biochemistry and add additional problems with their use. When salt is isolated from its organic whole, excessive concentrations of sodium and chloride can cause mineral and fluid imbalances in the body and can lead to health problems like hypertension, and anemia. A low-salt or no salt diet can lead to accelerated aging, cellular degeneration, biochemical starvation, adrenal fatigue, heart attack (valves can tear and lacerate), and dehydration.

Reduce Salt Intake

Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Products that come in packages and cans are designed for long shelf-life and are the #1 source of salt in our diets. Additionally, these processed foods often contain sodium additives and preservatives, sugar, and hydrogenated fats, all of which are linked to common health problems. For your optimal health, your top priority should be removing these refined, processed, fake foods. Nature designed foods that are perfect for our bodies, low in sodium and filled with nutrients. Fresh plant foods and unprocessed animal foods fit this definition; all others do not. Therefore, choosing foods low in sodium is relatively easy: when in doubt, opt for the more natural choice, ideally organic.

Use unrefined sea salt instead of common table salt in your salt shaker. The kind of salt you use is just as important as the amount of salt you use. Common table salt is harmful; it does not dissolve in the body and tends to build up. Unrefined sea salt is “good” salt that the body can readily use for the many functions sodium is needed for in our bodies. Use only the amount of salt that is right for you. Sensitivity to salt, even the unrefined variety, is an individual response. Some can tolerate moderate amounts while others do better with very little. Always listen to your body.

Strive to eliminate or reduce the amount of salt used in cooking. Salt added during cooking accounts for 45% of the sodium we consume and is not tasted as well as salt added after cooking. Use natural salt at the table, but eliminate or reduce salt from your recipes. To add flavor to your recipes use salt-free seasonings like, garlic, herbs and spices. Use naturally salty, but still nutritious, foods like unprocessed cheese and tamari to add flavor while cooking. Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies each day. Fresh fruits and veggies are high in potassium, which helps to counteract too much salt in the diet.

There is a lot of information about nutrition and what is the best way to eat, but the single best thing you can do to reduce your sodium intake and eat a more nutritious diet is to eliminate as many processed foods as possible. Foods closest to their natural state are most nutritious.

©Ellice Campbell 2013

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Green Living, Health

Is Your Home Toxic?

The hazard symbol for toxic/highly toxic subst...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Does Your Cleaning Routine Produce Toxic Results?

The toxic chemicals found in everyday household products can be absorbed through the skin and may lead to liver toxicity, cancer or disorders of the nervous system. According to the National Research Council, of the chemicals used daily in American homes, 80% lack detailed toxic information, less than 20% have been tested for acute effects and surprisingly, less than 10% have been tested for chronic health damages and/or risks. Children may be the most vulnerable to these health risks since they often play on the floor and frequently touch their mouths and noses. Silent Spring Institute found concentrations of toxic chemicals in homes that have been linked to elevated cancer risk, 200 to 500 times higher than the concentrations found outside. The same study also found 55% higher breast cancer rates for women who worked inside the home rather than those who had jobs outside of the home.

Toxic Cleaning Products

Furniture Polish– contain petroleum distillates, which are highly flammable and can cause skin and lung cancer. They contain nitrobenzene, which is easily absorbed through the skin and extremely toxic.

Air Fresheners interfere with your ability to smell by releasing nerve-deadening agents or coating nasal passages with an oily film, usually methoxychlor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells. Known toxic chemicals found in an air freshener are formaldehyde, a highly toxic, known carcinogen, and phenol. When phenol touches your skin it can cause it to swell, burn, peel, and break out in hives.

Antibacterial products, including some hand sanitizers and cleaning products may contain triclosan, which is absorbed through the skin. Triclosan a chemical found in antibacterial & cosmetic products many people use daily, often multiple times.  Products like hand soaphand sanitizer, deodorant, and mouthwash all potentially contain it. A recent study conducted by UC Davis & the University of Colorado found that triclosan hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, which is potentially very dangerous for those who already have heart problems.  When tested on mice, researchers found that the mice had a 25% reduction in heart function within 20 minutes of being exposed to the chemical.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergents contain chlorine in a dry form that is highly concentrated. One of the top causes of household poisoning is dishwasher detergent. Many conventional dishwasher detergents contain coal tar-based colors, artificial fragrance and Qutemium-15 an eye and skin irritant which releases formaldehyde.

Oven cleaner is one of the most toxic products people use. They often contain lye and ammonia, which can eat away at the skin, and the fumes linger and affect the respiratory system. Then there is the residue that is intensified the next time you turn your oven on. Use vinegar, sea salt, and baking soda instead.

Mildew remover contains formaldehyde which is carcinogenic in addition to the other toxins found in phenol, kerosene, chlorine, and fungicides.

Laundry detergents contain phosphorus, enzymes, ammonia, naphthalene, phenol, and countless other chemicals. The residue left on clothes and linens may be absorbed through the skin and can cause rashes, itching, allergies, and respiratory problems.


Natural Alternatives

  • Vinegar- Cuts grease, removes mildew, can be mixed with water for an effective window cleaner. Can also replace toxic fabric softener.
  • Baking soda- is a natural deodorizer and a mild abrasive.
  • Olive oil-can be used for polishing furniture
  • Castile soap– an all-natural soap, without harsh chemicals that has many applications and is available in liquid or bar form
  • Hydrogen Peroxide– kills odor causing bacteria and can be used for stain removal.

For additional information and cleaning green product recipes laundry detergent, all-purpose deodorizer, and furniture polish, visit http:// enlightenedlotuswellness.com

©Ellice Campbell 2013

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