My pet peeve Sugar

Staying with my family in Germany shows me how lucky I am to be surrounded by like minded Moms back home, where most watch carefully the sugar intake of their children. Here the day starts with juice, sweetened yogurt or white bread with marmalade. Then there is ice-cream, cake and other treats being passed out during the day. Not to forget more juice during lunchtime…

It is not that my kids are deprived of everything considered yummy or sweet, but it is important to me that their little bodies get what they need. That the amount of sugar is watched. I feel it is my responsibility to help their bodies grow into healthy adults. That I teach their palate to appreciate many different flavors and not just crave sweet. I wish people would see or understand that they really aren’t doing these kids any favors!

Many times I gently tried to advocate against a sweet diet to just receive eye rolls and feel like the most annoying guest one could possibly host. So I now zip it and try to damage control what goes into my kids mouth.

I am surprised that the knowledge of how damaging sugar is isn’t common or well received here. Not more than 5% of our daily calories should come from added sugars (and this number is high). However, a recent UK survey showed that kids are getting almost 12-16% of their daily calories from added sugar.

According to Health Services at Columbia University, when you eat 100 grams of sugar (as you find in only 1 liter of soda), your white blood cells are 40 % less effective at killing germs. This can hinder your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating the sugar!

White blood cells need Vitamin C to destroy bacteria and viruses. Sugar and Vitamin C are very similar in their chemical structure. So when you eat sugar, it directly competes for space in your immune cells with Vitamin C! The more sugar in your system, the less Vitamin C can get into your white blood cells.

And certainly not all sugars are created equal. Fruits or veggies, which contain sugar too, also deliver vitamins and fiber (to name two) for digestion. But when you take corn and strip it of all vitamins and minerals to make high fructose corn syrup, your body has to take nutrients from your bones, skin and vital systems to break down the highly processed sweetener. The kidneys will have to stimulate more urine production to water down the sugar, which is dehydrating and speeds up signs of aging and disease.

Knowing that …

  1. Sugar is highly addictive because of its massive dopamine release in the brain;
  2. That fructose intake taxes/overloads your liver which forces it to turn sugars into fat. (And due to its effects on hormones and the brain, sugar has more than one fat-promoting effect)
  3. Sugar can cause Insulin Resistance which may lead to Metabolic Syndrome and/or Diabetes
  4. Many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of higher sugar consumption) can contribute to Cancer since sugar feeds cancer cells
  5. Sugar is a leading contributor to Obesity in kids and adults

And last but not least …

  1. SUGAR raises your Cholesterol and can promote Heart Disease (…and not good fats, as you find in grass-fed butter, as previously thought and taught.)

…so WHY poison your kids?…

Again, I am not advocating for kids to live in abstinence of sugar, but to pay attention to the amounts.

Once sugar is taken out of your diet or cut down, it takes the body a week to adjust and the cravings subside.

 

Because we can????

Evaluating one’s own moral code, I don’t know anyone around me who wouldn’t consider themselves humane. Looking at the words exact definition:

hu·mane  –adjective  1. characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed: humane treatment of horses.

Having read the definition, who can still apply the word humane as a character trait once our treatment towards animals was taken into consideration? Which brings me to the reason for this blog and my dilemma…

We, and with “we” I am referring to the people in my life, the people that pass me by, the people that live abundant Western lives with choices available to them; people that have a roof over their head and food on their plate. People that have the luxury to go shopping in big supermarkets in which they can find thousands of items to purchase to then prepare their dinner. Many of the items that can be purchased haven’t caused anyone any physical harm. 

So I have to ask: with all these options available and not having to starve otherwise, why do most of you choose products that had living creatures vegetate (you can’t call it live) in pain and suffering?

Most people I know are very aware of what is going on in animal factory farms; they have at least seen some of the tapes and news footage that leaked out. They can hardly bare to look at these images, turn their heads away and feel sadness and disgust.

But once back in the supermarket or at a restaurants table, these images mean nothing anymore. The items that endured tons of suffering are purchased like the images one saw never existed. You may even compliment yourself on the good deal you got on these steaks, are happy that your gallon of milk is half the price compared to the free range one…. Forgetting or ignoring that what you pay less the cow already paid on top.

And I have to ask, how can one not care??  How can it be the same to you that there are living creatures, that experience pain like we do, are treated so atrociously that many of them die or have to live medicated until they make it onto your plate?

Do you consider yourself an animal lover? Do you own pets? How are they treated? Differently? Why? Because they were lucky enough to end up with you on the couch and not on a vivisection table at Cedar Sinai?

Don’t all animals deserve the same courtesy from us humans who got the power to play their God? Shouldn’t we extend the same kindness to the animals that feed us like to the ones that give us love and share our lives? These farm animals serve your needs, I believe a little gratitude is due. But we repay them with suffering, pain and ignorance in the name of saving a few dollars….

Now you might tell me that the footage we all have seen on these abuse cases are exceptions to the rule, that  for example most dairy and meat farms are indeed humanely run. HA! Is that why they are trying to pass a new law to make it illegal to go undercover and document it? Like they did with vivisection? Anyhow…

Maybe now you start grasping my dilemma… I am so torn by this subject and what I see around me that I had to write about it. Torn because I have a hard time tolerating the ignorance and carelessness I find in my fellow human beings. It is pretty much impossible for me to respect that they choose to turn a blind eye towards such atrocities. Especially when it is sooooo easy to make a difference. Your purchase speaks every time!! And I am not against eating meat, please, enjoy!!! I grew up with it too. I just truly believe that every being on this planet, from a fly to an elephant to us, has the SAME right to a peaceful and pain free life as we do…

So please….

it all could be so nice IF YOU WANTED IT TO…

updated meat and dairy list

Farmers’ Markets

– check for them in your local area. But here more info on two that you can find in my neighborhood – one is  in Santa Monica  on Arizona and 3rd street – Saturday between 8 am to 1 pm

Greg Nauta from “Rocky Canyon Farms” sells his meat there. Nauta’s cattle graze on 200 leased acres of pasture in central California. 3 times a week Nauta drives to the Hollywood FM on Sundays and Santa Monica FM on Wed. and Sat.  #805-461-5754

Another  is the Hollywood farmers market (validated parking at the Arclight).

 these vendors are to be found at the Hollywood Farmers Market too:

Spring Hill Jersey Cheese!

We love their cheese and Quark!!  Their Cheese is made from organic  milk. The cows are grass fed and pasture raised at their dairy on Spring Hill Road in Petaluma, CA. They are also proud to announce that they have been one of the few dairies to be humane certified.

Lindner Bison

100% grassded, free range, all natural. Humane, sustainable, earth friendly and ethical. We tried and approved 🙂

Deck Family Farm
Deck Family Farm is family owned and operated. We offer clean (no pesticides, herbicides, nitrogen fertilizer, hormones or antibiotics) pasture raised meats. Our products include grass fed and finished beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken (meat and egg), turkey, goat and lamb.
Location: Junction City, OR

Pine Mountain Ranch
We raise pastured buffalo, yak, beef, elk, chicken, turkey and other exotic meats. New this year is poultry including fresh eggs.
Location: Bend, OR

Wild Oregon
Wild Oregon seafoods caught just before each market; condiments: wild huckleberry & marionberry spreads, and cranberry chutney (all sweetened with grape juice); smoked fish, recipes & instructions.
Location: Portland, OR
Phone: 503-591-7795

Jacobs Creamery
Jacobs Creamery is home to the award-winning ricotta pies and much sought after pudding. In addition to these specialty comfort foods we provide a wide selection of fresh handmade cheeses and dairy products. Included in our list is a velvety ricotta, cream cheese, and a hard churned european style butter!
Location: Crabtree, OR
 

A supermarket, which I communicated with, is called:

Henry’s Farmers Market. I asked them about their meat suppliers and this is the answer I got:

“Our grass fed beef are raised by small, independent ranchers and never housed in a feedlot. The primarily Angus cattle graze on approximately 5,000 acres of lush green pastures and are never given any antibiotics, growth hormones, feed additives or animal by-products. Our supplier, Pacific Pastures, is dedicated to raising cattle in a traditional and sustainable manner, and because they maintain a smaller operation overall, you will only find Pacific Pastures Natural Grass Fed Beef sold by smaller retailers, like Henry’s / Sun Harvest, who share in their commitment to sustainable land use, animal welfare, efficient energy usage and conservation of wildlife and the environment.”

They are located in the valley. Check their website for more info.

Who Really Is to Blame

This is the first joint post by Dmitri and Nadine since this is a subject we’re both becoming more and more passionate / pissed off about.

Everywhere people are appalled by the oil spill, and rightfully so.  BP’s stupidity, greed, carelessness, etc is unbelievable.  They certainly are to blame, but there’s SO much more to it.

First of all, this is far from the first time this has happened.  Terrible oil spills are a regular occurrence in Africa, South America and the Middle East.  We just never hear about them because they are far from us, and it’s usually American companies that are responsible.  (BTW they typically don’t clean up their mess or pay damages). 

Murphy’s Law clearly states “If you drill for oil, it will spill”.  It has to happen.  Certainly you can minimize the risk (which BP didn’t do to save money), but it would happen eventually.  Same applies to nuclear meltdowns, and wind turbine breakdowns (in which case it just stops spinning).  The oil industry has caused a lot of pain on this planet, and it’s only growing.

We read this article a few days ago and kept on thinking that this man nailed it. Finally, someone says it like it is.

Friedman doesn’t blame BP or anyone for what happened in the Gulf, he blames himself and his lifestyle. He blames himself for not seeing the light after the events of 9/11, of still buying his wife a SUV. Of not thinking twice that his actions have implications that may result in something like we got now.

Most ancient religions (from Buddhism to Islam to Christianity) have a key insight: whatever you see wrong in others also exists in yourself.  If you’re pissed at someone stupidity – look at yourself, you have it too.  If you’re pissed at someone’s greed – you have it too.  Most people agree Hitler was incredibly evil, and they have none of his qualities.  But how often do we express prejudice towards a group of people because of their name, religion, skin color or disability?  This doesn’t equate us to Hitler, but we do have some of his qualities.  (However, as a side note, if you look at how we treat animals, especially in factory farms, we are EXACTLY like Hitler. But that’s subject for another post.)

The same applies to the oil spill.  You can blame BP for screwing up our environment – but look at yourself first.  Do you drive an SUV?  Then shut the f*** up about BP!  Do you think a Prius looks stupid and prefer a cooler looking ride?  Shut the f*** up!  (BTW, lots of VERY rich celebrities drive Priuses and other Hybrids, so your ego doesn’t have anything to fear – it’s cool now. Plus it comes with the benefit of others not being able to estimate your income! A hybrid or electric car is more of a statement of what you stand for than just a status symbol.)

Of course there are exceptions (i.e. can’t afford a smart choice or need it for work) but we need to understand that we are all responsible.  This is what it all comes down to – all of our actions and choices have implications somewhere somehow.

A friend reminded us of a simple truth which we haven’t heard in a long time: “with freedom comes responsibility, choose wisely. Most of us have forgotten this responsibility”.  

And further, most of us haven’t taken responsibility for ourselves and actions in a long long time. Every time you go to a gas station and fill up your car that gets less than 30 miles a gallon in the city and not on the freeway!, you send a statement. If you bought this car why should the car industry not take the check the oil industries offer them?  Since centuries they got the patents for much more efficient cars but it wasn’t in the big guys best interest.

Humans show such tunnel vision. We complain about others greed and stupidity but we allow our own greed, need for status symbols and ego to be of more value than the place we inhabit. Killing the hand that feeds us, literally.

Another friend of ours, Chris Paine, the director of “who killed the electric car”, said something very smart: “We simply must tax fossil fuels to cover their true costs – spills, pollution, health issues – if we ever want to break the habit and let alternatives compete one on one…” 

Is this the only thing that will get us to stop?  Money?

 To finish this blog on a more positive note,  please join tomorrow, June 26th : http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/

 

My search for a steak in Los Angeles….

… turned out to be Mission Impossible…

Last year I vowed to never eat meat again unless I can verify and approve of the source. My criteria are simple,

I want to eat an animal that lived happily and was treated humanely. Also, I want it to have eaten what it would have chosen naturally (cows being corn-fed, for example, is something I don’t approve of.)

Since I had an anniversary coming up and a close friend’s birthday party to plan, I made it my mission to find a place for us like-minded ones, where we could enjoy a piece of meat without a guilty conscience 🙂 . I started with calling the obvious choices: LA’s best steak houses. The result was depressing. Neither Mastro’s nor Cut nor Boa offer pasture raised organic beef. Worse, at Mastro’s they told me it is corn-fed and not even organic. Yum… (What do people pay their horrendous prices for? It is not quality food as I learned now).

Then I thought of all these little places that popped up, claiming to pay attention to where the food comes from, claiming, that they support the local farmers etc…  I spent hours in front of Google search pulling them up and calling one after the other. One source of meat I heard mentioned a lot was “Niman Ranch”, and restaurants seemed proud that this place was their supplier. So I checked into them with high hopes and was disappointed again. As great as the word Ranch sounds, it has nothing to do with the image that comes to mind when you think of it. When the animals are young they seem to spend time grazing outside to then move to feedlots until they are transported to the slaughterhouse. Also, they are fed corn when they are moved away from the pastures, I guess so they fatten up faster and to get a certain marble in the meat… Their claim to fame is that they don’t use antibiotics or hormones. Thank you! But they are not organic and I am affraid that their corn is GMO modified.

So tell me people – how can it be that a city the size of Los Angeles doesn’t seem to offer any “politically correct” meat? It blows my mind away.

Does no one care? Or is it all of this misleading language out there, language that tries to assure the consumer that everything is peachy and that you and the animal are getting the best of the best… (great example here is: try to see if you can get pasture raised cow’s milk in your supermarket, or yoghurt/butter of the same origin… Good Luck!!!)

I don’t know who to complain to, but I hope that the government at least gets on top of product labeling laws to provide clear language. So everyone knows the story behind the product they are holding in their hands.

–     –     – 

Also, great language examples are:

 Cage free chicken – means nothing. They “upgraded” from a cage to a big darkened room where they all sit on the ground and can hardly move. Watch “Food,inc”, they show the differences. And the word organic; organic will always be better than conventional, no doubt. BUT… organic doesn’t mean that the animal was raised humanly. Or that the cow got grass or ever saw daylight. Organic simply implies here that the animal never got in contact with hormones or antibiotics unless under special circumstances, and that the corn it was fed wasn’t GMO modified but organic too…

Trash in Cambodia and World Wonders

It has always been of great interest to me to travel to the places most don’t make it to. This time we chose Cambodia. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap certainly put the country on the tourist map, but most of their tourists are from somewhere within Asia. The people I shared my travel plans with were surprised to hear our choice of destination, thinking it is still not that safe (which, by the way, is not true). It is as well functioning as any other 3rd world country.

Arriving in Phnom Penh, I cannot say anything too exciting about it. We saw the must sees, spent the night and the next morning left for Siem Reap to see what is called one of the World’s Wonders.

Leaving the city behind it was interesting to see how people lived outside of the main capital. Most are dirt-poor. Little wooden huts are all along the main road. Chickens, dogs and children running around. Cows live under the wooden huts on stilts.

All of this could have been considered very charming, but what amazed me were the amounts of trash EvErYwHeRe. No matter where I looked, there it was. On the road, in the pond, under the house, next to the car, the cow grazing around it…

And I contemplated what I saw… being in a third world country, the concept of trash is fairly new to these people and was imported by us, the “civilized” world.

Not too long ago these people were able to throw what they were finished with behind their house and either Mother Nature or some dog would take it in. It would disappear sooner than later.  Everything was biodegradable and recyclable by default. 

But now they got chips-bags, plastic bags, wrappers and all the other wonders of our processed and packaged food flying around. And when it is thrown behind the house… nothing happens, it wont disappear. 

Arriving in Siem Reap, which appeared cleaner then the villages we just passed, we could still see that they got problems with all the trash we, the tourists, bring with us.

When we asked around how they go about it, we learned that most of it is picked up and then burned outside of town. Wow, burned… That’s great news for our environment… Wherever we went from then on, my husband acted like the appointed trash collector. Picking up whatever he could get, especially around the tourist attractions which were not treated with the respect these places should see. 

Arriving at the famous temples of and around Angkor Wat, we were amazed at the beauty and the detailed artwork left behind nearly 1000 years ago. So much beauty and care! We were mesmerized. Here my favorite pic that I took:

And then I started to wonder…

Looking throughout history, there are so many things left behind for us, which we are now so proud of. Their beauty takes our breath away. Like the temples we just saw, or the Pyramids, to name only two here. The list is endless and people travel thousands of miles to look at them.

And now I want to ask, what are we leaving behind to our future generations to see or to travel great distances to?

The answer is not too exciting in my opinion. The buildings that were built over the last 50 to 100 years don’t take my breath away like the ones constructed over the last thousands of years.

I cannot see anyone walking up to a skyscraper in NY city 600 years from now saying “wow, look at that detail work, look at the effort they put into building this”, if that thing even survives that long. We definitely got a lot of great books written and made a lot of medical contributions. But we also raped Planet Earth in the name of convenience and profit.

The main heritage I think we give our decedents is PLASTIC.

Plastic everywhere. In landfills, in our oceans and wherever else you care to look.And it made me sad.

the Food revolution is finally here…

Or is it?

It is always a good sign when you see an issue being discussed on Oprah. To me it means that Middle America is getting a message from their “real President”.  Oprah watched the documentary “Food, Inc“(which was also Oscar nominated) and dedicated a whole episode of her show to it.

Oprah has paid her dues back in the day when she commented on conventionally raised and produced meat as something she would never eat, calling it disgusting – and because of this statement dealt with a major lawsuit by the meat industry for the next 6 years (which she ended up winning). This time around she was very careful to state her opinion on different foods, but nonetheless made it clear that every American should watch this documentary and decide for themselves, if they want to continue supporting what’s going on with what they are being fed.

Then you got the English man Jamie Oliver, who got a show on ABC, running from school to school trying to change what’s being fed to our children. It takes place in Huntington, West Virginia, statistically the fattest city in America. I watched the first two episodes and was shocked to see that some kids get pizza for breakfast. And that absolutely everything offered to them from the kitchen was processed. You might as well feed them plastic with sugar. Also, only some of the kids knew what a potato or a tomato were, which tells you a lot…

Jamie also visited a family in the area, in which every single one of its members was far beyond the average weight. It made me speechless to see what this mom fed her kids. No wonder these poor children are obese and got bad skin. Since Jamie couldn’t change much in this household since they still ordered pizza and didn’t cook what he provided; he took them to a doctor for a physical check up. And that’s where they got a warning that their son was facing to become diabetic and would die 30 years earlier if he would continue on his diet like this. The mom cries, the dad wants changes…

BUT… I am sorry, BUT… what did you expect??? Did you really think all this fatty things, all your golden colored foods, where nothing is green or resembles something alive would do you any good? Did you never wonder why your children are so obese? You never saw the statistics that child obesity leads to diabetes and other sicknesses? Did you never hear that there is a reason people should also eat veggies, salads and different fruits etc, – stuff you can’t really fry? To me this kind of treatment of children is also some form of neglect. What do you have parents for? To make the right decisions for their kids!

On Facebook there are more and more groups you can join that educate you on food and let you know what’s going on out there in regards to it.  To name the ones I joined so far: “Food,Inc”, “Grass Point Farms”, “Farm Fresh to you”, “Roots of change” …

There are also petitions about food. People finally demanding change to protect them – regulated by the government.

To tell a little about myself and our food journey…. Food, Inc was a life changing movie for me. Life changing in the sense that I knew I had to change things ever further then I already had. It didn’t tell me much that I didn’t know or guessed already, but they did a good job with connecting the dots and filling in many blanks. After seeing this film I felt like I was left with no excuses.

One example is having seen a chicken, a cage free chicken (and as I know now cage free doesn’t mean anything) that never gets to see daylight and can hardly walk, because by now their breast are so big that it can’t carry, support or balance them anymore, (that’s what happens when people only want to eat white meat and genetically manipulate chicken to grow their breasts…).

And if the chicken falls over it can barely get up and usually just lies there twitching… – – it made me sick and cured me of eating conventionally farmed chicken forever. There is something very wrong with us when living creatures just become things. And this film shows these animals are handled like they can’t feel pain and misery. But they do.

Anyhow…

I find myself left with no choice but being a vegetarian. I grew up in Germany in an area where animals were treated humanely. Cows, for example, grazed outside with lots of space when the season allowed it, wintertime they got hay. They had a fair amount of space in the barns too. Everything was nice. They also didn’t need antibiotics since their lifestyle was good for them and they were healthy … The farmers cared and took loving care of their livestock.

Knowing animals have been treated nicely and fair, allowing them a good life, I have no issue eating them. But what’s going on here with factory farming just makes me sick and it is an insult to everything I believe in. It is inhumane and unhealthy and environmentally very damaging. And I have a hard time dealing with people who don’t give a damn. Maybe I am too idealistic, but how can you not care when others are abused?! Evolved as we see ourselves, we owe animals that live to feed us more.

Regardless, it seems like we are moving into the right direction and I am excited about it.

I hope more and more people realize that there is a huge correlation between what you and your body look like and what you put into it. If you care to hear advice from someone who has made a living as a Model, – trust me when I tell you that what you eat is the number one thing that will show in how you look. From your skin to your hair, your nails, simply everything!

I don’t need to do diets because I don’t gain weight. And I don’t gain weight because I eat what my body recognizes as food and can use and break down. I stay away from processed foods and conventional dairy and meat products above all. And eating healthy doesn’t mean I get nothing but salads. I love my pasta and breads. But even these are organic. Or made from scratch. It makes all  the difference!

Women especially need to consider that all these hormones (which you find in conventional dairy and meat products) affect for one our mood and also a woman’s butt quite a bit  🙂

In short, eating healthy and paying attention to what you buy changes all:  your mood, looks, body and the environment.

See, it could all be so easy 😉

— a day after I posted my blog I saw this: http://www.fastcompany.com/1572302/eat-onomics-the-ten-most-inspiring-people-in-sustainable-food

Pesticides…

Pesticides and chemicals

I know a lot of people who don’t buy organic produce instead of conventionally grown ones.  Reasons given to me are for one that organic is more expensive; second, it doesn’t last as long in the fridge and third, it is often smaller and doesn’t look as appealing as the other since it is not polished up with waxes etc.

At first all of these explanations may make a lot of sense, but when you start digging for more information you will see that you are actually paying a high price for the convenience of only needing to go shop once a week since your food can last forever.

The main reasons that some food can go unspoiled for unnatural periods of time are additives and preservatives.  Some chemicals allow fruits to last up to one year if treated. So you wouldn’t even know if you are buying fresh produce… 

Since a lot of our food has to travel thousands of miles to get to your supermarket (so everything is available to us all year long); food producer can choose from 14,000 different and approved chemicals to make your food look better and last longer. And this is not the only time chemicals were applied to your food. Conventionally grown produce got chemical pesticides all over them.  (Organic doesn’t, which makes it better for you and the environment. If pesticides were used with organic food, they have to be natural and un-invading).

What do you think happens within you when there is a constant intake of chemicals/pesticides that were created and used to kill living organisms? 

More and more researches show that there are long term side-effects. And usually children are affected the hardest. It is now well established that pesticides pose a risk to vital organ systems that continue to grow and mature from conception throughout infancy and childhood. Main reason babies and children are so much more affected is that their systems are often less able to metabolize and inactivate toxic chemicals like grownups can. Also, look at their bodyweight compared to ours, percentage wise they are getting a much higher dosage than we do! Main areas that do get affected by pesticides are the nervous system, brain, reproductive organs, hormone system, skin, eyes and lungs. That same amount of toxin may cause no measurable harm to adults.

Also, when the produce is harvested long before it had a chance to begin to ripen, the amount of vitamins etc are minimal. So you won’t even get the full benefit of eating healthy things.

One way to avoid buying food that is totally contaminated is by choosing what is in season in your area. It will be cheaper too, even if organic, since it did not have to travel far.

Try to find local Farmers Markets.

Check if there are organic produce delivery services available to you. I found http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/ on the internet and I love my weekly delivery.  With this kind of service you support your local farmers and get to know veggies you would have never bought that taste fantastic. 🙂 (You find recipes of how to prepare them in the box too!!)

And if it all comes down to a question of money, make smart choices! There has been a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, showing which fruits and veggies are the most affected by the use of chemicals. In descending order, the most contaminated fruits and vegetables are:

1.Peaches,  2. Apples,  3. Sweet bell peppers,  4. Celery,  5. Nectarines,  6. Strawberries,  7. Cherries,  8. Kale,  9. Lettuce,  10. Grapes,  11. Carrots,  12. Pears

For the full list of all 47 fruits and veggies,

go here. http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php

 

Climate Change discussions

Lately it seems that more and more people target Al Gore and others that speak out about climate change. These “Al Gore’s”-, who try to protect our world and would benefit just as much as we all do, stand ridiculed and insulted for having nothing but the best intent.

But are they really wrong? Do they deserve the scrutiny?

The main arguments these “anti-global-warming” scientists make are for one that the way of measuring temperatures has become much more accurate. Next, that there is a correlation between changes in the solar activity (which is said to have picked up) and earth temperatures.

Some scientist do not believe that our CO2 emissions are causing global warming. I read they couldn’t observe an increase in atmospheric CO2. An author named Ian Plimer even believes that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere doubled and then came back to its previous amount over a few decades in the early 1900s. (I don’t know how he got to this conclusion or which kind of evidence supports this. But the way to measure things must have been even worse then.) I also read that he suggested we shouldn’t trust the data we selected in the last 50 years on temperatures, CO2 count etc… – to get a projection of the next 50 years which would be computer generated, just because it can’t predict the next decade in detail. You may simulate the effect of a change in the climate (like more CO2), but they can’t predict short term changes. Nonetheless, it gives us an idea what to expect in the big picture.

Then let’s not ignore Republicans ruled for the last 8 years. If someone was taking a stand against all scientific suggestions, it was their leader President Bush…  I think the lobbyist numbers $$$ interested him much more than numbers found in scientific data.

I want to make clear that I am not an expert on this subject nor a scientist. But I think of myself as quite a logical thinker. 1+1 will always equal 2.

Growing up in Germany, I remember hearing as a kid (which is nearly 2 decades ago…) the news that a so called “acid rain” is killing our forests … I remember hearing that we produce too much trash and chemical waste. That we are wasteful… I remember hearing that different animals are becoming extinct, that we are killing our rain-forests, which give us most of our oxygen. And most of all I remember hearing that if we don’t change our ways drastically, that we are exchanging an expanding future for ourselves to one that is getting shorter (meaning it moves towards us if you like to view time as a straight line).

Now let’s assume all these scientist that claim Global Warming is bogus – are right. Yeah??? !

I wish.

All scientific evidence put aside for a second – according to the USA Census Bureau we got 6,810,100,000 BILLION people on this earth as of right now. Imagine them! Just looking at this number – do you really think these people have no effect on this planet? We all drink, eat, USE and DISCARD of resources.

And that is just one “issue”.

Ever since we have become industrialized and treated making money as more important than anything else, we produce tons of chemical waste every day. Some of it is simply dumped in our oceans. Others sent to third world countries, where weak and greedy leaders take rich countries trash and cash in and ruin their own environment and the health of their people. And there is not only chemical waste. Have you thought of how much trash these 6,810,100,000 BILLION people produce every day? To be more exact: day after day, year after year, decade after decade. With no break in sight. (FYI: in the US they say it is about 4.6 pounds of trash per person per day!)

Don’t think that a high percentage of this trash gets recycled, less than one-quarter! So then where does all this trash go? We burn some of it, which creates more CO2 and eats oxygen away. (Not to mention what a waste of resources). A big percentage of our trash finds itself in landfills, which makes the surrounding area toxic and unable to live by, or we dump it, like the chemical waste, into the ocean.

 

To give you a better idea:

The Eastern Garbage Patch is located between Hawaii and California; its size two times bigger than Texas. The Western Garbage Patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. And there are more than just these two. But to my knowledge they are the biggest.

You think that won’t have any effect on our environment? You think the planet doesn’t care? Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one. That’s sad and crazy in my book.

So aside from that we are fishing our oceans empty, we use them like trashcans. Killing this humongous life form every day a little bit more, will have devastating effects on the balance of life overall.

 

I can go on for hours… and I am sure I will come back to this subject sooner than later…

But to sum it up for right now:  we all sit in the same boat called Planet Earth. This is all we got; this is what we will leave for our children. The past 2-3 generations have treated this planet very poorly, never truly thinking ahead and it was much more “take than give”. Convenience and getting it cheap seems more important to people than anything else – and it took over.

Now we need to back-paddle.

Especially if you want kids. What are you going to tell them when they will ask you “why didn’t you do anything? You knew…”

Around me I hear excuses along the lines of: ” I don’t want to buy a Hybrid, I don’t like their design”, or “is global warming real? Prove it!”, or “why shouldn’t I eat meat, I prefer to pretend not to know what goes on with factory farming and what it means to our environment…” …  it goes on and on.

The kind of nonsense people say to excuse selfish and unthoughtful behavior seems have no end.  And most of them want to have children (or have some already).  Ignorance in exchange for convenience. It saddens me.

I also hope that scientist will stop wasting time and energy on trying to discredit global warming, but use it all to come up with solutions of how to preserve what we got instead.

every day cosmetics

One thing I always used to be pretty adamant about was spending money on my cosmetics. I figured I get what I pay for. Paying top dollars for my sunscreens, moisturizers, lotions and make-up products made me feel good and safe. I considered it to be a straightforward investment into myself and expected high returns. Having worked in the fashion industry for many years, my skin and looks paid the bills.

All of this changed a few years back when I saw a report online talking about a 50% increase of skin cancer in women. Scientist tried to look into the question of why women were affected so drastically and not men.

In the end the answer was quite obvious: women use cosmetics, lots of it. And that on a daily basis. And the better these products make us smell the more we love them.

With looking at cosmetics as a possible cause, the people behind http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ did a comprehensive research on hundrets of name-brand sunscreens. And the outcomes was frightening. They found evidence that most products on the market are not safe nor effective, (one of every eight high-SPF sunscreens does not even protect from UVA radiation). On a more positive note they have also identified 136 products that offer very good sun protection with ingredients that present minimal health risks to users. So it is not like you are left without options.

(http://www.ewg.org/whichsunscreensarebest/2009report)

Once I got over the heart attack that all my expensive “sun-products” are trash,  I went into the bathroom and sat down there with my laptop to check on every single item it harbored. The outcome was even more dreadful. There was absolutely nothing there that was good, not even a fair to medium. Same applied to my husband’s products. All of them were pretty toxic and everything but beneficial for us. It made me so mad. What a waste of time, effort and above all MONEY.

Conducting further research into how this can be happening I discovered that there are no rules and regulations which any of these companies have to apply themselves to.Which is crazy… You would think the FDA is all over that one. But no…

And who of us actually did take a moment to check what we put onto our skin? (Which means that it will enter our bloodstream immediately.) At no point did I question what the labels of my expensive high end products promised me, I never figured that any of these products are actually harmful to me. Contain toxic ingredients.

And it doesn’t stop there. What if you are pregnant, then all of this chemicals will enter your baby’s system too. And once the child is born it will be exposed to cosmetics again which contain ingredients people shouldn’t come in contact with.

You might want to tell me now that the amounts of these chemicals are so minuscule that it will hardly make a difference. Fine. If used once or twice – I agree. But I am sure long-term  on a daily base you are simply asking for trouble. And the rising cancer rate is a clear indicator of that in my opinion.

Another problem is we already live in a pretty polluted environment where there are many things we don’t really have any control over; like the air we breathe, the water we drink and shower with. The food we eat and trust to be good… –  At least we can control what we put onto our skin or lips or what we wash our hair with. Easy.

Over the last years I have started to always to read the ingredient list of every single product I come across. No matter if it is a cream, toothpaste or cookies. (Did you know that it starts with what the product has most of and the less you got of it the further it is down the list)

Another thing I learned is that money and quality in cosmetics doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand. I order most of my products online now and considering that some of them are handmade, all natural and most even organic plus fair trade, I am still paying a fraction compared to what Clarins, Kiehl’s, Estee Lauder or Chanel charged me.

And one thing we have to remember is that the consumer is KING. Every single time we buy a cosmetic item, we give our vote! If you stop purchasing toxic products and demand cleaner and healthier ones, you won’t believe how quickly they will catch up!!

 

This is a countdown of do’s and don’t’s I took of the cosmeticsdatabase website:

  1. Use our What Not To Buy list to avoid especially problematic ingredients — like mercury, lead, and placenta — and the products that contain them.
  2. Use fewer products. Is there something you can cut from your daily routine, or a product you can use less often? By cutting down on the number of chemicals contacting your skin every day, you will reduce any potential health risks associated with your products.
  3. Use the “Advanced Search” feature of Skin Deep to find products that have fewer potential health issues. Choose a product category and exclude the hazardous ingredients — carcinogens and neurotoxins, for instance — and Skin Deep will generate a custom shopping list for you.
  4. Read labels. Marketing claims on personal care products are not defined under the law, and can mean anything or nothing at all, including claims like organic, natural, hypoallergenic, animal cruelty free, and fragrance free. Read the ingredient label carefully to find evidence that the claims are true.
  5. Use milder soaps. Soap removes dirt and grease from the surface of your skin, but also strips away your body’s own natural skin oils. Choosing a milder soap may reduce skin dryness and your need for moisturizers to replace oils your skin can provide naturally.
  6. Minimize your use of dark hair dyes. Many contain coal tar ingredients that have been linked to cancer in some studies.
  7. Cut down on your use of powders; avoid the use of baby powder on newborns and infants. A number of ingredients common in powder have been linked to cancer and other lung problems when they are inhaled. FDA warns that powders may cause lung damage if inhaled regularly.
  8. Choose products that are “fragrance”-free. Fragrances can cause allergic reactions. Products that claim to be “fragrance free” on the packaging may not be. They could contain masking fragrances that give off a neutral odor. Read the ingredient label — in products truly free of fragrance, the word “fragrance” will not appear there. Find “fragrance”-free products with our advanced search.
  9. Reduce your use of nail polish. It’s one of the few types of products that routinely contains ingredients linked to birth defects. Paint your toenails and skip the fingernails. Paint nails in a well-ventilated room, or outside, or avoid using nail polish altogether, particularly when you are pregnant. Browse our custom shopping guide for advice on nail polishes that contain fewer ingredients of concern.

Have a look! These are just some of the sites that are truly awesome:

http://www.purpleprairie.com/

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/


NadineMaren

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