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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to Recycle Your Used Electronics

How to Recycle Your Used Electronics

From Apple iPhones to HP ink-jet printer cartridges, recycling e-waste is easy.

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By Brian Clark Howard

Most people love getting new gadgets for the holidays, whether they are tech-savvy professionals or folks who never figured out how to program their VCRs or set up a Facebook page.
But the burgeoning market of electronics and accelerating pace of technology have meant increased environmental impact. This is perhaps never more true than after the holidays, when people clean out their old gear in favor of the new shiny toys and appliances they have just received, or purchased through gifts, bonuses or seasonal sales. With the 2009 change in TV transmissions around the corner, even more e-waste is being generated. Plus, consider that the average cell phone user changes handsets every 18 months.
The good news is awareness of the potential ecological impact is also rising, and there are ways to make a difference, especially at the end of your product's life.
It's no small step, considering that 20 to 50 million tons of electronics waste (often called e-waste) is discarded globally every year, according to Greenpeace. If all that e-rubbish were put into containers on a train it would go once around the world! E-waste is the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream, and currently makes up five percent of all municipal solid waste.
In the past, no one thought of recycling computers and other electronics. The only option was tossing them on the curb. But these days engineers have taken notice that electronics usually contain a wealth of valuable materials. Plus, recycling almost always means lower net carbon emissions, which is something everyone is now paying closer attention to because of global warming. Finally, electronics are made with a sizable amount of lead, cadmium, brominated fire retardants and plastics that can leach toxic breakdown products — that's stuff no one wants in their water supply!
The Consumer Electronics Association, which represents electronics manufacturers, encourages people to recycle their e-waste, and has set up a handy Website to make the process simple. Log on to, where you can search for local recycling drop-off points by zip code and product category. You'll also find tips and info on electronics recycling, and a cool energy calculator that will show you how much juice each product uses.
How to Recycle E-Waste, by Brand

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Drink the Water At Your Own Risk

31 cities’ tap water has cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, study says

By Brett Michael Dykes
The Environmental Working Group released a report Monday indicating that millions of Americans are regularly drinking hexavalent chromium, made famous in the film "Erin Brockovich" as a carcinogen, through their tap water.
The group -- whose study was first reported in a story Sunday by the Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton -- tested water from 35 U.S. cities and found that samples from 31 cities contained hexavalent chromium. The highest concentrations were found in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu; and Riverside, Calif. The substance had been a widely used industrial chemical for decades and has evidently leached into the groundwater in many areas.
The EWG report states:
"Despite mounting evidence of the contaminant's toxic effects, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not set a legal limit for chromium-6 in tap water and does not require water utilities to test for it. Hexavalent chromium is commonly discharged from steel and pulp mills as well as metal-plating and leather-tanning facilities. It can also pollute water through erosion of natural deposits.
"The authoritative National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said that chromium-6 in drinking water shows 'clear evidence of carcinogenic activity' in laboratory animals, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal tumors. Just last October, a draft review by the EPA similarly found that ingesting the chemical in tap water is 'likely to be carcinogenic to humans.' Other health risks associated with exposure include liver and kidney damage, anemia and ulcers."
Drinking-water supplies all over the country are increasingly tainted by chemicals used in natural gas drilling. And Erin Brockovich, for her part, told the EWG that she's rather astonished to find that hexavalent chromium is still a prospective health threat in so many communities.
"It is sometimes difficult to understand why I still have to warn the public about the presence of hexavalent chromium in drinking water 23 years after my colleagues and I first sounded the alarm," Brockovich told the EWG. "This report underscores, in fairly stark terms, the health risks that millions of Americans still face because of water contamination."
The list of cities found to have hexavalent chromium in the municipal water supplies are as follows:
• Honolulu, HI
• Bend, OR
• Sacramento, CA
• San Jose, CA
• Los Angeles, CA
• Riverside, CA
• Las Vegas, NV
• Salt Lake City, UT
• Scottsdale, AZ
• Phoenix, AZ
• Albuquerque, NM
• Norman, OK
• Omaha, NE
• Madison, WI
• Milwaukee, WI
• Chicago, IL
• Ann Arbor, MI
• Louisville, KY
• Cincinnati, OH
• Buffalo, NY
• Syracuse, NY
• Pittsburgh, PA
• Villanova, PA
• Boston, MA
• New Haven, CT
• New York, NY
• Bethesda, MD
• Washington, DC
• Atlanta, GA
• Tallahassee, FL
• Miami, FL
(Photo: AP/Bob Child)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chemicals in Butter?

Before you become too alarmed (no pun intended here), read the entire article.  Yes, we do have something to be worried about when we see that there is a flame retardant in our food but without more information, we really need to research.  

My first thought about this article was, "OMG, now I have to worry about one more thing that I eat!"  Well, that is true that I should always be conscience about what ingredients are in my food but also to read the entire article before making rash judgements.  Yes, the flame retardant in the paper could seep into our food, but it's not in all packaging, that we know of, and it's not an ingredient.  

Lesson learned, read to the end and keep shopping organic and local as much as possible.  That way, at least, I know where my food is packaged so that if there is a problem, I can go to the source.  Also, big corporations are going to take the least expensive route so I'm sticking with my tried and true local dairy!   

Pants On Fire? Put Them Out With...Butter?

butterThe next time you're looking to fireproof something forget trekking down to the hardware store, instead check the fridge and grab a stick of butter. Researchers have found varied amounts of flame retardant in sticks of butter.
Polybrominated dphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, are a class of chemicals commonly used in furniture and electronic manufacturing as flame-retardants. When digested these chemicals have been known to stop hormone function and increase cancer risk. "Flame retardants were not made to be eaten," said Arnold Schecter, one of the researchers. "They're made to slow down the smoke in fires. They're not a food component. They don't belong there." Just in case that was unclear. They have also been associated with reproductive, developmental and neurological problems. This is the first documented case of PBDEs being found in food in the US.
U.S. researchers tested a selection of ten kinds of butter sourced from Dallas grocery stores. Nine of the samples showed small amounts of the contaminant, which is consistent with the results of previous studies as PBDEs can enter foods through soil, water and air. But one sample had levels of PBDEs that were 135 times that of the others. The source of the contaminants was traced to the wrapper. Though Shecter will not release the name of the company whose butter contained such high levels of the chemicals, he believes that the issue could be due to an electrical incident. If there was a fire in one of the machines or overheating, the chemicals could have leaked into the paper and then later into the butter.
Currently, there are no federal agencies tracking levels of chemicals like PBDEs in food so there is no way to know how widespread this sort of contamination is. The newly Senate-approved Food Modernization Safety Act would not be able to help as it focuses on bacteria rather than chemicals. Though it is unlikely that the sample with high levels of PBDEs is the only contaminated stick out there, it is also unlikely that there is a large quantity of the sticks. (If you feel like doing a little detective work to find out the exact brand of butter, Schecter says that the company's headquarters are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area). These types of chemicals are also nothing new to our systems. "We basically have all of these chemicals in our bodies just from being in an indoor environment and from eating," Schecter said. "You're certainly not going to be able to control that by being careful about what kind of butter you buy." Schecter and the other researchers believe that their research emphasizes the need for a government-regulated program to test foods for contaminants like PBDEs.
How do you feel about these findings? Are you going to switch to Country Crock? Or will you throw caution into the wind and continue to give yourself a little pat of butter?
Photo Credits: jessicafm / flickr, jessicafm / flickr

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Contaminates In Bath Products?

Contaminants in Bath Products

Does baby shampoo need to contain cancer-causing chemicals? No – but it often does. Product tests released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in March 2009 found two known carcinogens, 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, in dozens of bath products for babies and kids, including Sesame Street character brands and even the iconic "pure and gentle" Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo.
This report followed up on test results released in February 2007, which found the chemical 1,4-dioxane in 18 popular baby soaps, bubble baths and shampoos. None of the products tested in either round listed 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde on the label.

What's Wrong with These Chemicals?
Both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known animal carcinogens and probable human carcinogens, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Formaldehyde can also cause skin rashes in sensitive children.
As with many chemicals of concern used in cosmetics, the companies that make these products argue that it's "just a little bit" of 1,4-dioxane in the baby shampoo. Unfortunately, the same baby may be exposed to 1,4-dioxane from the bubble bath, the shampoo, the body wash and many other sources in the same day.

Why Do Products Contain These Chemicals?
1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethyoxylation, which involves using ethylene oxide (a known breast carcinogen) to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. For example, sodium laurel sulfate – notoriously harsh on the skin – is often converted to the gentler chemical sodium laureth sulfate by processing it with ethylene oxide (the "eth" denotes ethoxylation), which can result in 1,4-dioxane contamination.

Sodium laureth sulfate is just one common example. More than 56 cosmetic ingredients are associated with the contaminant 1,4-dioxane.
Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives release formaldehyde over time in the container. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.
Advocacy Efforts

In May 2009, we delivered a letter to Johnson & Johnson asking for safe products, which was signed by 40 groups representing more than a million nurses, moms, physicians and environmental advocates.
An August 2008 lawsuit was filed by the California Attorney General's office against several companies for making products with toxic levels of 1,4-dioxane.
The Good News
Yes, there's good news! Many companies in the natural products industry are quitting the ethoxylation habit. New standards such as the Whole Foods Premium Body Care Seal do not allow ethoxylation, and many companies have been quietly reformulating to replace chemicals such as sodium laureth sulfate that are associated with 1,4-dioxane.
Testing by author David Steinman released in March 2009 found lower levels of 1,4-dioxane than previously found in an array of products – proof that it's possible to make products without this contaminant.
What You Can Do
Avoid using products that list ingredients that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, including sodium myreth sulfate, PEG compounds and chemicals that include the clauses "xynol," "ceteareth" and "oleth." Similarly, avoid products that contain formaldehye-releasing preservatives, including quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea. To search for products without these marker chemicals, use the advanced search in EWG's Skin Deep database and check the "Contamination concerns" box.

In the long run, however, we need laws that protect us from nasty contaminants. Write to your elected officials and ask them to clean up cosmetics.

More Information

Report: "No More Toxic Tub"

Skin Deep: Products that may contain 1,4-dioxane

Science: 1,4-dioxane
FAQs: 1,4-dioxane in personal care products
Fact sheet: Avoiding formaldehyde allergic reactions in children
Press release: Parents, Doctors, Nurses to Johnson & Johnson: Make Safer Baby Products (May 26, 2009)
Press release: Cancer-causing chemical found in children's bath products (Feb. 7, 2007)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Misleading Green Claims on 95% of Home and Family Products

Misleading Green Claims on 95% of Home and Family Products

Healthy Child
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
via TerraChoice:
More than 95 per cent of consumer products claiming to be green are committing at least one of the “sins” of greenwashing, according to The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition, released yesterday by TerraChoice, a leading North American environmental marketing company and part of Underwriters Laboratories’ global network.
The study also finds big box retailers stock more “green” products and more products that provide legitimate environmental certifications than smaller “green” boutique-style stores.
Greenwashing is defined as the act of misleading consumers about the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
The 2010 study reveals that greenwashing has declined slightly since 2009, with 4.5 per cent of products now “sin-free”, compared to only 2 per cent in 2009. The proportion of “sin- free” products is five times greater in “mature” categories like building, construction and office products than in “immature” categories like toys and baby products.
“We found 73 per cent more ‘green’ products on the market today than in 2009,” said Scott McDougall, President, TerraChoice. “This is great news and it shows that consumers are changing the world by demanding greener goods, and that marketers and manufacturers are taking note.”
The TerraChoice study, the third since 2007, surveyed 5,296 products in the U.S. and Canada that make an environmental claim.
“The increase from just 2 per cent to 4.5 per cent may seem small, but we see it as early evidence of a positive and long lasting trend,” said McDougall. “We are also pleased with the finding that those home and family product categories that are more mature have less greenwashing and more reliable green certification.”
Product categories studied in the 2010 report include baby care products, toys, office products, building and construction products, cleaning products, housewares, health and beauty products, and consumer electronics.
Additional highlights from The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition:
  • 100 hundred per cent of toys and 99.2 per cent of baby products surveyed are guilty of some form of greenwashing.
  • BPA-free claims are up by 577 per cent since the 2009 Sins of Greenwashing study, appearing more frequently among toys and baby products than any other category studied.
  • Phthalate-free claims increased 2,550 per cent since 2009.
  • Good eco-labeling helps prevent (but does not eliminate) greenwashing
  • of the products certified by a recognized third-party certification, more than 30 per cent are sin-free.
The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition provides tips to consumers, marketers, and manufacturers about how to identify and prevent greenwashing and the website has games, tools, and an action kit.

For more information on healthy products for your home go to and request information.  We can help you find items that will be safe for your family and your home.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ignoring the Link Between Toxins and Cancer

Ignoring the Link Between Toxins and Cancer

by Vic Shayne, PhD
Worldwide, more than 7 million people die from cancer every year, and the numbers increase annually. Generally, high-fat diets are blamed for increasing the risk, while plant-based diets, high in fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and minimally processed starchy foods, are said to help prevent cancer.
And, if we look a little closer, we discover that there are very specific foods and herbs that are powerful "detoxifiers" and thus play a major role in prevention of cancer and other diseases. But even as we attempt to control cancer risk by our food choices, we always have to realize that diet is just one of the lifestyle factors that influence the development of cancer.

With all of the cancer information and disinformation broadcasted continually through the major news media, rarely do we hear a mention of the greatest threat to our health – and the most prevalent cause of cancer: toxins. Toxins (poisons) are ubiquitous in our modern world. Although those cancer researchers and foundations making the news headlines, mostly funded by pharmaceutical corporations and chemical manufacturers, seem to be obsessed with finding a cancer virus or genetic predispositions to the disease, as a society we are not being given the whole truth that toxins cause most cancers.
Independent researchers (e.g., read Cancer-Gate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War, by Samuel Epstein, MD) understand that toxins cause disruptions in cellular function, cellular differentiation, cellular protection, and immune system function. Such poisons also place great stress on the eliminatory system that tries, often in vain, to rid our bodies of a toxic overload; this includes the kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system, lungs, bowels and skin. Toxins are known to rob our bodies of oxygen and cause free radical damage to cellular structures; they also are cumulative, leading to illness and symptoms now and into the future.

"With all of the cancer information and disinformation broadcasted continually through the major news media, rarely do we hear a mention of the greatest threat to our health – and the most prevalent cause of cancer: toxins."

The natural question is, where do these toxins come from and how do they get into our bodies? The answer is that toxins hail from a wide array of sources, including artificial food ingredients, prescription drugs, topical ointments, household sprays, fumes, automobile and truck exhaust, incinerators, factories, plastic off-gassing, construction materials, carpeting, bug sprays, fluoridated water, hair sprays, fast foods, pesticides, herbicides, chemical spills and dumping, perfumes and more. You can see how, entering our bodies from so many sources, the toxic overload is inevitable unless we make a concerted effort to monitor what we eat and how we live our lives. But if we wander around in a state of paranoia over slanted media reports about bad genes and invisible viruses, we'll never see the real threat right before our eyes.
What Are You Eating?
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends that people should eat more plant-based foods and states that as much as 20 percent of lung cancer, 33 percent of breast cancer, and 66 percent of colon cancer could be prevented by appropriate diet choices, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Add this to not smoking and moderate consumption of alcohol, and the AICRF believes that 60 percent to 70 percent of all cancers are preventable.1 Yet, even with this information, major associations such as cancer and heart institutes, who must ride the political line in an effort not to alienate the chemical industry, fail to tell us that organic foods are safer than nonorganic; that prescription medications can be dangerous; that there are too many chemicals in our lives; and that eating more plant-based foods is vague advice. As a rather alarming and bothersome side note, it is clear to anyone who has researched the cancer-toxin connection that some of the largest companies contributing to cancer rates by manufacturing poisonous chemicals are the same companies that influence and fund scientific research that ends up on the nightly news, producing the drugs to "fight" cancer.
Why Is Cancer Winning the Battle?
Thanks to the power and greed of industry, the public is kept in the dark about many of the causes of cancer. Instead we are fed news reports about genetic connections, viruses and early screenings. Biologically speaking, as human beings, our bodies are not equipped to handle the onslaught (or combinations) of toxic overload that exists in our modern world. Until we realize that synthetic chemicals are causing most cancers, we cannot begin to stem the tide of disease and suffering.
"Most epidemiologists and cancer researchers would agree that the relative contribution from the environment toward cancer risk is about 80-90 percent," said Aaron Blair, PhD, chief of the Occupational Epidemiology Branch in the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. "There is very solid evidence that environmental factors are the major cause of cancer."4

1.       Axmaker L. Eat Right to Prevent Cancer. Vanderbilt Faculty & Staff Wellness Program, Vanderbilt University Web site, November 2005. Click to view it online.
2.       Slavin J. Mechanisms for the impact of whole grain foods on cancer risk. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2000;19(90003):300S-307S.
3.       Kanofsky DL. The case for organic produce. Daytona Beach News-Journal 2005.
4.       Environmental Factors the Major Cause of Cancer. Environment News Service, 2004.
Other Resources
§                  The Diet & Cancer Link. American Institute for Cancer Research, 2000.
§                  Potter J. Leading Scientist Hails Progress Made To Date in Field of Diet and Cancer Research. Press Release from American Institute for Cancer Research, 2000.
§                  Mediterranean Diet May Lower Cancer Risk. American Cancer Society, 2000. Click to view it online.
Vic Shayne, PhD, a 1978 graduate of the University of Florida, is a food science researcher and writer. His books include Illness Isn't Caused by a Drug Deficiency!, Man Cannot Live on Vitamins Alone, and Evil Genius in the Garden of Eden (a study on food-borne and environmental toxins and their toll on human health). Dr. Shayne's work stresses the value of whole-food nutrition over vitamins and other isolated supplements. He is a key contributor of the research Web site


Monday, September 06, 2010

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate, That Is the Question (here's something to consider)

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate, That Is the Question (here's something to consider)

Controversy has surrounded Childhood Vaccines for several years now.  The high incidence of children with Autism among other health issues has led moms to take a closer look at exactly what the vaccines contain and what the possible outcome of vaccination may be causing their children.  

In her article, The 6 Do's and Don'ts of Childhood Vaccines, Deidre Imus gives parents a clear and concise checklist to follow when considering vaccinations.  Although it is ultimately up to each family, vaccinations are still an important factor to consider.  While we don't want to hurt our children and subject them to more illness, if we consider some of the options below, it just may give parents more ease of mind when looking at the vaccination option.  

The 6 Do's and Don'ts of Childhood Vaccines

How to keepy your child (and the public) safe from preventable diseases, and avoid vaccine side effects.

In 1983, the CDC vaccination schedule from birth to six years totaled 18 vaccines. Today, it's 50.
Your baby's first, and perhaps most important, medical intervention is vaccinations. Starting from birth, parents can help ensure that the vaccines their children receive, and when they receive them, are as safe as possible. If you are preparing to immunize your child, consider the following:
Discuss with your doctor which vaccines are necessary for your child.
After all, one size doesn't fit all.
Avoid immunizing when your child is sick or recently recovered from an illness.
Do not give your child a vaccine containing thimerosal.
Insist on thimerosal-free vaccines. Those on the CDC routine immunization schedule should be thimerosal-free. Those not on the routine schedule, including the flu shot, typically contain thimerosal. If you give the flu shot, a thimerosal-free version may need to be special-ordered by your pediatrician.
Always ask for and review the vaccine's package insert.
Read the section on ingredients so you know what is in the vaccine and have the opportunity to ask the doctor any questions. Check for the following potentially harmful ingredients which are called adjuvants:
  • aluminum
  • antibiotics
  • formaldehyde
In addition, if you are aware that your child is allergic to monosodium glutamate (MSG) or eggs, let your doctor know, and check the package insert for these ingredients. Note that all flu vaccines and the MMR vaccine contain egg protein. If you have questions, do not be intimidated: Ask your doctor.
Only get one vaccine per visit.
This may require multiple office visits, but giving one at a time (such as one vaccine per month) reduces any complications from the interaction of multiple vaccines. It will also allow you to know precisely which vaccine caused a problem if there are any adverse reactions. We still don't know the unique vulnerabilities of each individual, which may cause complications from even one vaccine, because research hasn't been done yet to identify those biological markers that would tell us if a child has a pre-existing disposition.
Ask the doctor to check for titers.
Via a simple blood test, the doctor can check to see if your child is already immune to a specific disease via previous exposure or vaccine. If the titer shows your child is immune, further vaccination (boosters) for that specific disease may not be necessary.
The Deirdre Imus Center for Pediatric Oncology offers information on a safer vaccination schedule, adverse vaccine reactions and a list of helpful resources For more tips about keeping your child healthy and safe, sign up for the newsletter.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Head Lice Treatments That Are Safe and NON TOXIC

Use Nontoxic Head Lice Treatments

Most head lice treatments use pesticides that have been linked to neurological damage, drug-resistant bugs and other problems. Try these alternatives instead.

hairbrush Photo credit: Istock
6–12 million people in the U.S. are infected with head lice each year.
Nobody wants head lice, and outbreaks can menace schools. But pesticides in most head lice treatments have been linked to neurological and other health problems, especially in children.
Head lice, or Pediculus humanus capitis, cause an estimated 6 to 12 million infestations per year in the U.S., most commonly affecting children 3 to 11 years of age. Despite common perceptions, head lice crawl, and cannot hop or fly. For this reason, transmission occurs most often by human head-to-head contact, and much less commonly by the sharing of personal items such as hats, coats, combs, or towels. Because head lice feed on human blood, they cannot live on pets and are only viable 1-2 days on surfaces other than the human head.
Head lice affect all socio-economic groups. Infestations spread regardless of the cleanliness of a home or school, or of personal hygiene. The most common symptoms are itching, but those affected are commonly asymptomatic as well. Head lice are most commonly found close to the scalp, usually behind the ears and near the nape of the neck. Despite perceptions otherwise, infestations are not a public health hazard, as they are not responsible for spreading any disease. Diagnosis occurs most often by the school nurse, who routinely conducts lice screenings and recommends treatment, which is most commonly carried out by a parent or guardian. In most cases, only when a first treatment is unsuccessful would a pediatrician's visit be sought.
The most common treatments are pesticide-based, over-the-counter remedies of permethrin (1%), or pyrethrin-based products. Approved prescription-only options are permethrin (5%), malathion (0.5%), or lindane (1%). Non-pesticide-based "home" remedies include mayonnaise, olive oil, Cetaphil lotion and essential oil blends.
Pesticide-based treatments are coming under increasing scrutiny, as superbugs and pesticide resistance grows. Repeat treatments of traditional pesticide-based products, especially on immune-compromised children has been anecdotally linked to A.L.L. (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and even death. With the decreasing efficacy of traditional treatments on the rise, there is increasing need for effective and safe pesticide-free treatments.
Look to the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology for additional information about nontoxic head lice treatments. For more tips, sign up for the center's Greening Your Life newsletter.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh Nuts!

After years of staying away from nuts, among other foods, now nutritionists are telling us we should eat them.  As recent as 5 years ago, nuts were bad for your health because of the high fat content.  That was back in the day when we were supposed to eat low fat foods.  Now we read and hear that nuts are good for us and help keep our arteries clear.  With all this conflicting information, do you ever wonder if "they" really know what is right or not?

It may have been about 20 years ago that we were told to eat a low fat diet for our overall health, especially our heart health.  So, being someone who wants to be healthy, hence the name of the blog, of  course I wanted to make sure that my family was fed the lowest fat diet.  We had low fat cheese, low fat sauces, cakes, cookies and on an on.  I stopped using butter because that was too high in fat.  Eggs, well you could only use the whites because the yolk was pure cholesterol!  We went for years eating this way.  I even went so far as to completely cut some foods out of our diet because they were too high in fat.  Nuts being one of them.

Except for peanuts all other nuts were off limits.  Somehow, peanuts were okay.  Although still high in fat, peanuts were from the ground so they were better for us.  With all this confusing information I finally said enough.  I took it upon myself to find out what should we really eat?

With the help of my daughter, who learned about veganism*. (no not some form of weird cult group) and my brother, who had been a vegan before the word was coined I think, I went about finding out as much as I could about food.

*According to Wikipedia a vegan is:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Simple example of possible vegan lunchor dinner option: pumpkin seed-crusted lentilpatties with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and salad.
Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.[1][2]Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind.[3] The most common reasons for becoming a vegan are human health, ethical commitment or moral conviction concerning animal rights or welfare, the environment, and spiritual or religious concerns.[2][4][5] Of particular concern to many vegans are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources for animal farming.
Properly planned vegan diets are healthful and have been found to satisfy nutritional needs, and offer protection against heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.[6][7] 

Once my daughter related the information she had learned about a vegan diet, I started to look into the information further.  Not only did I find out that nuts were good for you, but there was a plethora of foods that I could eat without guilt.  Oh to enjoy the taste of food again!  But will this new information soon be found to be unhealthy as well?  Does anyone really know what the "right" or "healthy" diet is for today?  Suffice it to say that any diet with pure fruits, vegetables, legumes and NUTS, can't be bad for you!  

Growing up, my mom would always have a bowl of nuts on the table.  After dinner, especially on holidays, everyone would sit at the table and talk as they cracked open the nuts.  It was a family ritual that we all knew and looked forward to after the meal.  It also kept us all at the table as we listened to family conversation, stories, and jokes.  Then, all of a sudden, the nuts were no longer at the table!  Word spread that nuts were bad for you.  Among other foods, nuts were on the outs.  No matter where you went, if nuts were included in the meal they were left on the side.  

As we moved into the 21st century, the information gathered was changed and re-evaluated.  Thank goodness someone has the sense to get the word out before we all continued on that tasteless road of bland, fat free food for life!  I, for one, am grateful to my daughter and my brother for opening my eyes to another way of enjoying my food and learning that there is more to health than fat free.

Today, it's comforting to know that nuts are back on the table and a part of the meal again!  So go enjoy those nuts and maybe a few conversations around the table while cracking some of those nuts as well!

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