Archive for August, 2009

Dr. Christopher Plague Tonic

Dr. Christopher’s Plague Tonic

The kids are going back to school next week and that usually starts the cold and flu season around here.  We made this a few years ago and for those simple colds/flu’s that don’t need a trip to the Doctors office, it works wonders.  Our family doctor even gave it the thumbs up.  At the first sign of a cold we take this and lots of vitamin C too.

Here’s the recipe:

Take equal amounts –  everything organic if possible –

about one handful or a third of a cup of each:

Coarsely chopped onion 



Hot Peppers – I like to take the seeds out first

Horseradish root – the real stuff, not the jarred kind.

Chop coarsely and put into a blender. Add enough Organic Apple

Cider Vinegar to cover and process. Blend fairly well. It doesn’t have to be

smooth. Pour in a glass jar. Put wax paper under the lid, so no metal can come

into contact with mixture, or use a plastic mason jar lid. After it settles down, there should be about 3/4 inch of vinegar covering the pulp. Sit in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.

Take 1 – 3 tablespoons per day. If you cannot take that much, start with less and work up to it. The more you take, the more you will build up your hot tolerance.

You can use it daily, up to two tablespoons a day as an immune booster or take more if you’re not feeling well.

Disclaimer: Here at Moms for safe food, we’re moms, not health professionals. We believe in everyone making and being responsible for their own lifestyle choices by doing research and consulting with your family and other trusted advisors. And, if it is a medical opinion you seek, call your doctor.

Read more great, Real Food Wednesday posts here,

The Healthiest Foods on Earth

The Healthiest Foods On Earth

by Jonny Bowden

The most important consideration in constructing a healthy diet: Eat whole food with minimal processing. These 12 foods do the trick.

What is the best diet for human beings?

Vegetarian? Vegan? High-protein? Low-fat? Dairy-Free?

Hold on to your shopping carts: There is no perfect diet for human beings. At least not one that’s based on how much protein, fat or carbohydrates you eat.

People have lived and thrived on high-protein, high-fat diets (the Inuit of Greenland); on low-protein, high-carb diets (the indigenous peoples of southern Africa); on diets high in raw milk and cream (the people of the Loetschental Valley in Switzerland); diets high in saturated fat (the Trobriand Islanders) and even on diets in which animal blood is considered a staple (the Massai of Kenya and Tanzania). And folks have thrived on these diets without the ravages of degenerative diseases that are so epidemic in modern life–heart disease, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis and cancer.

In Depth: The Healthiest Foods On Earth

The only thing these diets have in common is that they’re all based on whole foods with minimum processing. Nuts, berries, beans, raw milk, grass-fed meat. Whole, real, unprocessed food is almost always healthy, regardless of how many grams of carbs, protein or fat it contains.

All these healthy diets have in common the fact that they are absent foods with bar codes. They are also extremely low in sugar. In fact, the number of modern or ancient societies known for health and longevity that have consumed a diet high in sugar would be … let’s see … zero.

Truth be told, what you eat probably matters less than how much processing it’s undergone. Real food–whole food with minimal processing–contains a virtual pharmacy of nutrients, phytochemicals, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and healthful fats, and can easily keep you alive and thriving into your 10th decade.

Berries, for example, are phenomenally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with plant compounds that improve memory and help fight cancer. Studies have consistently shown that nut-eaters have lower rates of heart disease. Beans are notorious for their high fiber content and are a part of the diet of people–from almost every corner of the globe–who live long and well.

Protein–the word comes from a Greek word meaning “of prime importance”–is a feature of every healthy diet ever studied. Meat , contrary to its terrible reputation, can be a health food if–and this is a big if–the meat comes from animals that have been raised on pasture land, have never seen the inside of a feedlot farm and have never been shot full of antibiotics and hormones.

Ditto for raw milk, generally believed to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet by countless devotees who often go to great expense and inconvenience to obtain it from small, sustainable farms. Wild salmon, whose omega-3 content is consistently higher than its less-fortunate farm-raised brethren, gets its red color from a powerful antioxidant called astaxathin. The combination of protein, omega-3s and antioxidants makes wild salmon a contender for anyone’s list of great foods.

Another great food: eggs–one of nature’s most perfect creations, especially if you don’t throw out the all-important yolk. (Remember “whole” foods means exactly that–foods in their original form. Our robust ancestors did not eat “low-fat” caribou; we don’t need to eat “egg-white” omelets.)

There are really no “bad” vegetables, but some of them are superstars. Any vegetable from the Brassica genus–broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale–is loaded with plant chemicals called indoles, which help reduce the risk of cancer.

In the fruit kingdom, apples totally deserve their reputation as doctor-repellants: they’re loaded with fiber, minerals (like bone-building boron) and phytochemicals (like quercetin, which is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and to have anti-cancer properties). Some exciting new research suggests that pomegranate juice slows the progression of certain cancers. Other research shows it lowers blood pressure and may even act as a “natural Viagra.”

Tea deserves special mention on any list of the world’s healthiest foods. The second most widely consumed beverage in the world (after water), all forms of tea (black, oolong, white, green and the newer Yerba Matte) are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Some types (green tea, for example) contain plant chemicals called catechins which have decided anti-cancer activity

Finally, let’s not forget members of the Alliaceae family of plants–onions, garlic and shallots. Garlic has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties; hundreds of published studies support its antimicrobial effects as well as its ability to lower the risk of heart disease. A number of studies have shown an inverse relationship between onion consumption and certain types of cancer.

A healthy diet doesn’t have to contain every one of the “healthiest foods on earth,” but you can’t go wrong putting as many of the above mentioned foods in heavy rotation on your personal eating plan.

Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, is a board-certified nutritionist and the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy and The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.

In Depth: The Healthiest Foods On Earth

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Homemade Granola

We usually eat steel cut oats for breakfast, soaked overnight with water, a little kefir and raisins but when we went to Portland on vacation we tried something different.  We decided to buy some granola and a local health food store. They had a lot of different varieties, but it was so hard to find one without canola oil.  We don’t use canola oil anymore, partly because most of it’s genetically modified and secondly because it’s not good for you.  See this article by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD,

So we ended up buying an organic oil free variety, we also bought shredded coconut, fresh cherries and blueberries and a wonderful plain, whole milk, grass fed yogurt we’d never tried before from Traders Point Creamery – It was delicious! –  link below.

We had the best breakfast each morning our trip!  The cherries and blueberries were organic, and just picked and with the granola, coconut and yogurt it kept us going all day.  I decided to make a treat for the family and make some of our own, adapting a recipe from The Coconut Oil Miracle by Dr. Bruce Fife – link below.

Homemade Granola Recipe

6 cups organic rolled oats

2 tsps. Cinnamon

4 cups shredded, unsweetened organic coconut

3 cups mixed organic seeds and nuts, whole or chopped (I used whole almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts)

1 cup organic, extra virgin coconut oil

1 cup organic maple syrup or you could use honey

1 tlb. vanilla extract

1 cup organic raisins

In a large bowl mix together oats, cinnamon, coconut, nuts and seeds. 

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until just melted (or in the microwave for 30 seconds).

Mix coconut oil with maple syrup and vanilla and pour over the oat/nut mixture and stir until mixed.

Pour into two 9×13” baking dishes and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until oats are golden brown.

Stir occasionally while cooking for even browning.  Remove from oven and cool.  Add raisins.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy with yogurt, kefir, or milk and fresh fruit!  It would also be delicious sprinkled over vanilla ice cream.

Read more great Real Food Wednesday posts here,

55 Facts About Homeopathy

To me part of eating real food has also been using traditional medicine, wherever possible.  I have used homeopathy with my kids since they were born and have had great success for many illnesses for our family, including winter flu’s.

For some specific info see our blog post from last Febuary,

To learn more about homeopathy or find referrals to a Classical Homeopath see,



55 Facts About Homeopathy

— Louise Mclean, LCCH MHMA

How Homeopathy Works

FACT 1: Hippocrates ‘The Father of Medicine’ of Ancient Greece said there were two Laws of Healing: The Law of Opposites and the Law of Similars. Homeopathy treats the patient with medicines using the Law of Similars, while orthodox medicine uses the Law of Opposites, e.g. antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-convulsants, anti-hypertensives, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics etc.

FACT 2: Homeopathic theories are based on fixed principles of the Laws of Nature – unlike medical theories which are constantly changing!

FACT 3: Homeopathy is an evidence-based, empirical medicine.

FACT 4: Homeopathy is both an art and a science.

FACT 5: The Homeopathic PROVINGS of medicines are a more scientific method of testing than the orthodox model of RCTs or double blind trials.

FACT 6: Homeopathic medicine awakens and stimulates the body’s own curative powers. The potentised remedy acts as a catalyst to set healing into motion.

FACT 7: Homeopathic medicines work by communicating a current/pattern/frequency of energy via the whole human body to jump start the body’s own inherent healing mechanisms.

FACT 8: Homeopathy assists the body to heal itself, to overcome an illness which brings the patient to a HIGHER level of health. Orthodox medicine suppresses the illness, bringing the patient to a lower level of health.

FACT 9: The homeopathic practitioner endevors to search for and treat the CAUSE of the disease in order to heal the EFFECT.

FACT 10: Outcomes of homeopathic treatment are measured by the LONG TERM curative effects of prescribing and complete eradication of the disease state.

FACT 11: The homeopathic practitioner treats the WHOLE PERSON, believing all symptoms are interrelated and seeks to select a medicine which most closely covers them all.

FACT 12: Homeopathy works FAST in acute illnesses, slower in chronic illness.

FACT 13: Homeopathic medicine has been proven extremely effective in Epidemics such as cholera, typhoid, diptheria, yellow fever, polio and influenza and were used extensively in 19th century.

Homeopathic Medicines

FACT 14: Homeopathic remedies are cheap.

FACT 15. Pharmaceutical medicines are expensive.

FACT 16: Homeopathy is the 2nd most popular and widely used medicine in the world.

FACT 17: There are more than 4,000 homeopathic medicines.

FACT 18: Homeopathic medicines have no toxic side-effects.

FACT 19: Homeopathic medicines are NON-ADDICTIVE.

FACT 20: In 200 years, there has never been a single homeopathic medicine recalled, unlike pharmaceutical medicines.

FACT 21: Every true homeopathic medicine is made using ONE SUBSTANCE – whether plant, mineral, metal, etc. The exact substance is known, unlike most modern drugs where we are rarely informed of the ingredients.

FACT 22: Any remedy lower than a 12c or a 24x potency still contains some original molecules of the substance according to Avogadro’s number.

FACT 23: Every Patient is Unique so homeopathic medicines are individualized.

FACT 24: Homeopaths treat genetic illness, tracing its origins to 6 main genetic causes or ‘miasms’: Tuberculosis, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Psora (scabies), Cancer, Leprosy.

FACT 25: High fevers will drop within minutes after taking the homeopathic medicine Belladonna and Aconite.

FACT 26: There are thousands of homeopathic books, available at specialist outlets, not sold in the high street.

Homeopathic Hospitals

FACT 27: There are 5 homeopathic hospitals in the UK. In London, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow. They cost the NHS under £10 million a year compared to the £100 billion for the total annual NHS budget for 2008!

FACT 28: At one of the earliest debates on the NHS Act of 1948 the Government pledged that homoeopathy would continue to be available on the NHS, as long as there were “patients wishing to receive it and doctors willing to provide it”.

FACT 29: There is a campaign by certain UK Professors to oust homeopathy completely from the NHS and in 2007 they organized a document on NHS stationery to be sent to all Primary Care Trusts telling managers not to refer patients to the homeopathic hospitals.

FACT 30: The Homeopathic Hospitals are clean, with friendly, well informed staff. The patients are generally pleased with their treatment unlike those in many orthodox National Health Service hospitals.

FACT 31: The chance of contracting MRSA or C. Difficile at a Homeopathic Hospital is extremely rare.

FACT 32: Unlike orthodox medicine, where the cost of side-effects of pharmaceutical medicines negligence claims can run into millions, one UK leading insurance company reported only ‘a couple’ of claims against homeopaths in a ten year period! Hence insurance cover for homeopathy is cheap, reflecting low risk.

Orthodox Medicine Opposing Homeopathy

FACT 33: In the United States in the early 1900s there were 22 homeopathic medical schools and over 100 homeopathic hospitals, 60 orphanages and old people’s homes and 1,000+ homeopathic pharmacies.

FACT 34: Members of the American Medical Association had great animosity towards homeopathy after its formation in 1847 and it was decided to purge all local medical societies of physicians who were homeopaths.

FACT 35: Big Pharma does not want the public to find out how well homeopathy works!

Scientific Studies

FACT 36: In 2005 World Health Organization brought out a draft report which showed homeopathy was beneficial, causing Big Pharma to panic and the Lancet to bring out an editorial entitled ‘The End of Homeopathy’.

FACT 37: In 2005 the Lancet tried to destroy homeopathy with a meta-analysis of 110 studies. But they secretly only used 8 carefully selected inconclusive trials. This was a fraudulent analysis.

“The meta-analysis at the centre of the controversy is based on 110 placebo-controlled clinical trials of homeopathy and 110 clinical trials of allopathy (conventional medicine), which are said to be matched. These were reduced to 21 trials of homeopathy and 9 of conventional medicine of ‘higher quality’ and further reduced to 8 and 6 trials, respectively, which were ‘larger, higher quality’. The final analysis which concluded that ‘the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects’ was based on just the eight ‘larger, higher quality’ clinical trials of homeopathy. The Lancet’s press release did not mention this, instead giving the impression that the conclusions were based on all 110 trials.”

FACT 38: There have been many clinical trials that prove homeopathy works. In the past 24 years there have been more than 180 controlled, and 118 randomized, trials into homeopathy, which were analyzed by four separate meta-analyses. In each case, the researchers concluded that the benefits of homeopathy went far beyond that which could be explained purely by the placebo effect.

FACT 39: The Bristol Homeopathic Hospital carried out a study published in November 2005 of 6500 patients receiving homeopathic treatment. There was an overall improvement in health of 70% of them.

FACT 40: Homeopathy can never be properly tested through double blind randomized trials because each prescription is individualized, since every patient is unique. Therefore 10 people with arthritis, for example, may all need a different homeopathic medicine.

FACT 41: Homeopathic medicines are not tested on animals.

FACT 42: Homeopathic medicines work even better on animals and babies than on adults, proving this cannot be placebo effect.

FACT 43: Homeopathy is safe for women to take while pregnant and safe for old people.

FACT 44: Scientists agree that if and when homeopathy is accepted by the scientific community it will turn established science on its head.

Homeopathic Practitioners

FACT 45: Homeopathic Practitioners train for 4 years in Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Pathology and Disease, Materia Medica, Homeopathic Philosophy and study of the Homeopathic Repertory.

FACT 46: Most homeopaths treat patients who have been referred to them by

word of mouth. Most patients seek out homeopathy because conventional treatment has not benefited them or because it poses too great a risk of side-effects.

FACT 47: The homeopathic community has thousands, even millions, of

written case notes that demonstrate the positive benefits of their treatment. Some homeopaths have video proof of their patients before and after treatment.

FACT 48: Homeopaths charge patients an average of £50 an hour. Specialist

Doctors can charge up to £200 or more.

Popularity of Homeopathy

FACT 49: The popularity of homeopathy has grown in the past 30 years, its revival entirely through word of mouth and estimated to be growing at more than 20% a year the world over!

FACT 50: Hundreds of famous people throughout the past 200 years have enjoyed the benefits of homeopathic medicine.

FACT 51: The aristocratic patronage of homeopathy in the UK extended well into the 1940’s and beyond as can be easily demonstrated. In the Homeopathic Medical Directories there are lists of patrons of the dispensaries and hospitals. They read like an extract from Burke’s or Debrett’s.

FACT 52: The Royal Families of Europe use homeopathic medicine and Queen Elizabeth II of England never travels anywhere without her homeopathic vials of medicine.

FACT 53: Homeopathy is practiced nowadays in countries all over the world. In India there are 100 homeopathic medical schools and around 250,000 homeopathic doctors!

FACT 54: In a recent Global TGI survey where people were asked whether they trust homeopathy the following percentages of people living in urban areas said YES: 62% in India, 58% Brazil, 53% Saudi Arabia, Chile 49%, United Arab Emirates 49%, France 40%, South Africa 35%, Russia 28%, Germany 27%, Argentina 25%, Hungary 25%, USA 18%, UK 15%.

FACT 55: The media as a whole has been unwilling to air a defence of the efficacy of homeopathy and the validity of this 250 year old profession.


Louise Mclean

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Don’t Let Obama Put GMO Boosters in Charge of Food Safety!

* By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq.

      Organic Consumers Association

      Straight to the Source

Genetically modified foods are not safe. The only reason they’re in our food supply is because government bureaucrats with ties to industry suppressed or manipulated scientific research and deprived consumers of the information they need to make informed choices about whether or not to eat genetically modified foods.

Now, the Obama Administration is putting two notorious biotech bullies in charge of food safety! Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor has been appointed as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety. And, rBGH-using dairy farmer and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff is rumored to be President Obama’s choice for Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety. Wolfe spearheaded anti-consumer legislation in Pennsylvania that would have taken away the rights of consumers to know whether their milk and dairy products were contaminated with Monsanto’s (now Eli Lilly’s) genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

Please click here to send a message to President Obama, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (oversees FDA) demanding Michael Taylor’s resignation, and letting them know that you oppose Dennis Wolff’s appointment.

About Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is a lawyer who has spent the last few decades moving through the revolving door between the employ of GMO-seed giant Monsanto and the FDA and USDA. Taylor is widely credited with ushering Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) through the FDA regulatory process and into the milk supply — unlabeled. A Government Accounting Office (GAO) investigated whether Taylor had a conflict of interest and or had engaged in ethical misconduct in the approval of rBGH. The report’s conclusion that there was no wrongdoing conflicted with the 30 pages of evidence that Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) described as proof that “the FDA allowed corporate influence to run rampant in its approval” of the drug.

Taylor is also responsible for the FDA’s decision to treat genetically modified organisms as “substantially equivalent” to natural foods and therefore not require any safety studies. The “substantially equivalent” rule allowed the FDA to ignore evidence that genetically engineered foods, including soy, are in fact very different from natural foods and pose specific health risks.

In November 2008, Tom Philpott reported that Taylor was among President-Elect Obama’s “team members” looking at energy and natural resources agencies, including USDA. In March 2009, President Obama announced the creation of a White House Food Safety Working Group to improve and coordinate the government’s approach to the nationwide food safety crisis. Agri-Pulse reported that Taylor was “the leading candidate to staff the White House [food safety] working group.” While anti-GMO activists, including the Organic Consumers Association, protested — OCA members sent 13,435 letters to USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack, who co-chairs the Food Safety Working Group with HHS Sec. Sebelius — Taylor laid low. He was nowhere to be found at the White House Food Safety Working Group’s May 13th Listening Session. But, the rumor proved true. On July 7, 2009, the FDA announced that Taylor had joined the agency as senior adviser to the commissioner.

As Philpott describes in a July 8th article, Taylor’s food safety agenda is to “shift much more of the burden for funding food-safety operations to the state and local level” and to promote HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) systems where the points in a process that pose the most risk are identified and “fixed” with remedies like ammonia washes and irradiation. Taylor’s approach — putting a few bandaids on an industrialized food system gone wrong — is in direct conflict with organic practices and is likely to unduly burden small producers.

Taylor has long been hostile to real food safety. While working as a lobbyist, Taylor authored more than a dozen articles critical of the Delaney Clause, a 1958 federal law prohibiting the introduction of known carcinogens into processed foods, which had long been opposed by Monsanto and other chemical and pesticide companies. When Taylor rejoined the federal government, he continued advocating that Delaney should be overturned. This was finally done when President Clinton signed the so-called Food Quality Protection Act on the eve of the 1996 elections.

Taylor is featured in the documentary,  The World According to Monsanto, which you can watch on OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto page.

About Dennis Wolff

Dennis Wolff is the Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Pennsylvania. Wolff also is a dairy farmer and owns Pen-Col Farms, a 600-acre dairy cattle operation. Wolff has championed agribusiness interests as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture, including banning local dairies from marketing their products as free of Monsanto’s rBGH. Wolff is a member of the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO has been largely credited with forcing so-called “free trade” on farmers and consumers around the globe, undermining national sovereignty and food safety. Finally, Wolff  was a strong proponent of the “ACRE” initiative (Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment), which gives the Pennsylvania state attorney general’s office the authority to sue municipalities over local farm ordinances deemed to exceed state law, depriving communities the right to ban toxic sewage sludge, factory farms, and GMOs.

Aside from having absolutely no experience in meat inspection, the chief food safety responsibility of the USDA, Dennis Wolff should be rejected for any post within the Obama Administration for the hostile position he has taken, as Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Secretary, against consumers’ right to know what is in our food. According to the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Wolff:

* Tried to ban all labeling of dairy products that didn’t use genetically engineered growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). This was an outright violation of freedom of speech of the dairy processors and the farmers who supplied them.

* Said that consumers were “concerned or confused” about the labeling and said his department received “many calls” about it. Yet when a New York Times reporter asked him about this, Wolff couldn’t provide any surveys showing consumers were confused and could not come up with the name of ONE CONSUMER who had complained.

* Held one meeting of the so-called Food Labeling Advisory Committee and said they recommended the labeling ban. Yet the committee never voted on anything and never made any recommendations specific to dairy. Moreover, the group most affected by the rules and most opposed to them, the PA Association of Milk Dealers, was never even invited to the meeting.

Read more great Real Food Wednesday posts here,

Michael Pollan’s latest thoughts on the White House Kitchen Garden

Michael Pollan first called for an edible landscape at the White House way back in 1991, during the Bush I era.

    Imagine an 18-acre victory garden on the grounds of the White House, managed according to the highest organic principles. This garden, which need not contain any broccoli, would stand as a paradigm of environmental responsibility.

    The White House has enough land to become self-sufficient in food — a model of Jeffersonian independence and thrift. Alternatively, a White House garden could help supply food for Washington’s poor. Depending which party is in power, a few elephants or donkeys should be maintained for the purpose of fertilization.

    Earlier this week, he was interviewed on Fresh Air, mainly about his new piece in The New York Times Magazine, Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch: How American cooking became a spectator sport, and what we lost along the way.

At the end of the interview, guest host Dave Davies and Michael Pollan had this exchange :

    DAVIES: You know, last October, you wrote a piece in the Times Magazine called “Farmer in Chief,” which was an open letter to the next president – the election was still going on then. And you essentially argued that changing the way we grow and process food was critical to energy policy and, thus, a matter of national security – you know, the way we grow and process food at an industrial scale and transport it thousands of miles drains energy, pollutes the environment and harms our health. And you said that it’s really important for the next president to take a lead in changing things. How would you rate President Obama on the challenge of rebuilding the food culture?

    Mr. POLLAN: Well, I think Obama’s taken some very encouraging steps. I think that Obama has shown that he recognized the links between the way we grow food and feed ourselves and the health-care crisis on the one side and the climate-change and energy crisis on the other.

    So I’m encouraged by some of the rhetoric. I’m encouraged by some of the appointments. There are some progressive people in the USDA, the Department of Agriculture. And there has been the new agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, has spoken in, you know, very encouraging terms about the importance of local food systems, the importance of farmers’ markets, the importance of organic food.

    So all that is very encouraging, I think. But, you know, frankly, the most important thing that’s happened has been the garden that Michelle Obama planted, which has had a galvanizing effect around the world.

    There’s now a garden in Buckingham Palace. People are planting gardens all over America. You can’t find seeds in garden centers, there’s such a run on gardening. I think that’s a very encouraging thing. I don’t think it is merely symbolic. And by the way, I think it’s very deliberate on the part of the Obamas. I think they understand that before you can begin to change this food system, you need to raise consciousness about it because for a lot of people, the food system works just fine.

    There’s plenty of cheap and abundant food. The fact that it makes people sick, the fact that it takes an enormous toll on the environment, on animals, on workers, isn’t really clear to everybody so that there’s a kind of raising of consciousness that needs to happen. And I think that Michelle Obama is playing a very important role in that. And then you can follow, one hopes, with a different kind of farm bill that would encourage the kind of fresh, local food that Michelle Obama has been extolling.

    So, you know, I’m encouraged. I don’t see any evidence that they’re willing to take on agribusiness in any significant way yet. I think what’s more likely to happen is that this administration will take steps to educate people on the value of real food and cooking and that they will also do things to promote local food economies.

    Whether they will also go after the large food companies, it may happen in the anti-trust realm. It might happen with the farm bill, but there is, you know, some huge obstacles to real reform at that level, beginning with the agriculture committees in Congress.

-Michael Pollan’s next book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma Young Readers Edition, hits bookstores in October.

-For more on the Buckingham Palace vegetable garden, see Obama Foodorama’s post, The ‘First Lady Factor’ In Action? A New Organic Vegetable Garden At Buckingham Palace.

-If the new Pollan article puts you in a cooking mood, perhaps as a service to military families, see Obama Foodorama’s post, Supporting Our Troops: The Michelle Obama Military Family Menu…With Recipes.

Oldschool photo of Michael Pollan gardening with his son Issac courtesy San Francisco Chronicle photo by Penni Gladstone.


Read more great, Fight Back Friday posts here,

Food Matters Review

We watched Food Matters for the second time this weekend. It’s a very informative movie about how food and nutrients can heal us from so many common and serious ailments and how important it is.

The movie has a number of well know and knowledgeable speakers including, Charlotte Gerson, Andrew Saul, David Wolfe, Philip Day, Dr. Dan Rodgers and more.  I have to say, I’ve been involved in alternative healing and nutrition for over 30 years and there were some new things I learned from this movie.

Here’s just a small sampling of information from the movie:

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the amount needed to prevent disease, not the amount needed for good health.

Medical professionals treat disease with medicine. They treat symptoms but don’t know a lot about curing disease.  Food and nutrition is about cures.

The drug companies don’t want nutrients and diet to be the cure it will put them out of business.  “Good health makes a lot of sense but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars”.

Our Society has long term malnutrition, that is leading to many health problems. Much of this has to do with the quality of our food; it being genetically modified, full of pesticides, our soil being depleted and our food not being fresh. Supermarket produce is on average at least a week old when you buy it. All these factors leads to deficiencies.

There’s also a lot of information about high dose vitamin therapy, such as vitamin C. Vitamin C as a cure for viruses, (swine flu?) have been documented by doctors since the 1940’s.  It’s an impressive and important body of knowledge that’s being ignored and pushed under the carpet by physicians and the drug companies. Less then 6% of M.D.’s have any nutrition education.

In the UK – and I would guess that the number are similar here – 3x more people are killed by adverse drug reaction, then by car accidents. And these are for people taking the drug as directed, not overdoses or accidents.

There are 2 dozen nutrients, that are responsible for countless thousands of chemical reactions in our body so vitamin deficiencies can cause many diseases.  “You nourish the body and the body heals”

One of my favorite quotes was by Andrew Saul, “What if they gave everyone in America free health care [which they should!], but nobody needed it?”

This movie has lots of information about teaching people for be healthy and responsible for their own health care. “Education not medication”

The movie contains lots of vital information, presented in an educational, yet entertaining way.

The filmmakers website is here,

Read more, great, Real Food Wednesday posts here:

Book review of Mom, Will This Chicken Give Me Man Boobs?

Book review of Mom, Will This Chicken Give Me Man Boobs? My Confused, Guilt-ridden, and Stressful Struggle to Raise A Green Family by Robyn Harding

As I’ve aged/”grown up”, I’ve been finding myself more and more aware of environmental issues. I’m becoming more conscious not only of my carbon footprint but I’m also gaining a greater understanding of how products I may be putting in or on my body (or in and on the bodies of my children) could be affecting our health and well-being. As I hear more about such things it just makes me want to know more. In a sense I’m finding that my learning more and doing more about environmental issues is just another way for me to be looking out for my children. My reading choices lately have been reflecting this growing interest and my latest read not only gave me some additional food for thought (and even more references to check out) but Mom, Will This Chicken Give Me Man Boobs? also gave me a down to earth picture of one woman’s quest to not only become more green herself but also to raise her family in a greener lifestyle.

I fully admit one of the things that caught my attention with this book was not the subject matter, but the title. The title hooked me and was an indicator that while getting a bit of an education, I would also be getting a dose of Robyn Harding’s sense of humour (something I’ve enjoyed in her fiction and was pleased to see present in her non-fiction work as well.) I know it’s a serious subject being dealt with, but for me, her use of humor and poking fun at herself just made it all so much more enjoyable to read and was balanced out with some great information.

Ms. Harding is currently living in Vancouver, BC (only an hour away from me) so I found some of her information even more relevant. Throughout her book Ms. Harding mentions various books and websites, which I’ll be checking out. She also makes general references to local businesses that I have made note of. As I was reading this book I found myself connecting with Ms. Harding, especially as she dealt with questions/concerns from her children. My daughter is at an age where she is becoming more aware of the world around her and has been picking up some basic ideas where she can do her part (ex. turning off lights, knowing what can be put in recycling, and wow, is she a watchdog when someone might be wasting water!) I love this awareness and I’m hoping it continues to grow as she does.

Reading this book, I was impressed by how much Ms. Harding does in her quest to be greener, and how guilty she feels when she knows she could do more – I swear she feels so much guilt, there’s enough for many, many people. There was so much I enjoyed with this book and I found myself reading passages aloud to my husband, some because they were funny, some because they reminded me of things that had happened to us, and some because there was just really good information. One of my favourite quotes from Ms. Harding’s book though was more a final conclusion, and it so perfectly summed up some of my feelings that I had to include it in this review.

Quote: So maybe I hadn’t become the deep-dark-green goddess I’d hoped to be. But still, I was going to do my best; I was going to bother. I would bother to do all the small things I could in my own life to be low impact, sustainable, and environmentally friendly… And the most important thing I would do for the environment was to raise two kids who cared about trees and animals and people and the earth. (pg. 207)

Book reviewed by Crystal  (Thanks Crystal, for this great review!)

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Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?

I was really happy to see this article in Scientific American.  It’s good news that the scientific community is speaking up too.

Scientists must ask corporations for permission before publishing ind-ependent research on genetically modified crops. That restriction must end

Advances in agricultural technology—including, but not limited to, the genetic modification of food crops—have made fields more productive than ever. Farmers grow more crops and feed more people using less land. They are able to use fewer pesticides and to reduce the amount of tilling that leads to erosion. And within the next two years, agritech com­panies plan to introduce advanced crops that are designed to survive heat waves and droughts, resilient characteristics that will become increasingly important in a world marked by a changing climate.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised. That is because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers.

To purchase genetically modified seeds, a customer must sign an agreement that limits what can be done with them. (If you have installed software recently, you will recognize the concept of the end-user agreement.) Agreements are considered necessary to protect a company’s intellectual property, and they justifiably preclude the replication of the genetic enhancements that make the seeds unique. But agritech companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta go further. For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.

Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering. “It is important to understand that it is not always simply a matter of blanket denial of all research requests, which is bad enough,” wrote Elson J. Shields, an entomologist at Cornell University, in a letter to an official at the Environmental Protection Agency (the body tasked with regulating the environmental consequences of genetically modified crops), “but selective denials and permissions based on industry perceptions of how ‘friendly’ or ‘hostile’ a particular scientist may be toward [seed-enhancement] technology.”

Shields is the spokesperson for a group of 24 corn insect scientists that opposes these practices. Because the scientists rely on the cooperation of the companies for their research—they must, after all, gain access to the seeds for studies—most have chosen to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. The group has submitted a statement to the EPA protesting that “as a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the tech­nol­ogy.”

It would be chilling enough if any other type of company were able to prevent independent researchers from testing its wares and reporting what they find—imagine car companies trying to quash head-to-head model comparisons done by Consumer Reports, for example. But when scientists are prevented from examining the raw ingredients in our nation’s food supply or from testing the plant material that covers a large portion of the country’s agricultural land, the restrictions on free inquiry become dangerous.

Although we appreciate the need to protect the intellectual property rights that have spurred the investments into research and development that have led to agritech’s successes, we also believe food safety and environmental protection depend on making plant products available to regular scientific scrutiny. Agricultural technology companies should therefore immediately remove the restriction on research from their end-user agreements. Going forward, the EPA should also require, as a condition of approving the sale of new seeds, that independent researchers have unfettered access to all products currently on the market. The agricultural revolution is too important to keep locked behind closed doors.

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