Saturday, August 18, 2012

Read the Ingredients !!!!!!!

Several months ago I was buying a couple stickers for my kids from our local food co-op-- they love to put them on their bikes/helmets and skateboards. Avery got a funky tree of life, Ethan got one that said "Stop Wars" in the Star Wars emblem (he loved it) and I picked one up for myself that said "Read the Ingredients" (C'mon! Anyone that knows me knows I couldn't leave that sticker there!!!) It's not on my car it just floats around the house-- but it's what I want to shout from the rooftops everyday when I see people (many unknowingly) buying absolute food crap!! We were in the car on our way camping and I pulled out the stickers for the kids. Then I showed them mine- I held it up, let them read it, and Ethan immediately laughed and said, "Oh, Mom that is SOOOOOOOO you!!!" (In his 7 going on 14 yr old boy voice)

So here's the deal-- I'm keeping this post limited to chemicals/artificial ingredients and preservatives that you should absolutely A-VOID!!! And seriously, it's not that hard once you learn to shop differently. You may have to hit up 2 different stores and try brands you've never tried before. And you may also have to make the conscience effort to understand you will need to shift a small portion of money from say...oh, I don't know...getting your nails done, and extra dinner out, or a pair of new shoes on a monthly/bimonthly basis. You will not go's about shifting priorities. And NO, you cannot buy all your food from Costco (pre-made, packaged, or frozen food) and consider it health food. (although they do have some nice new additions of healthy food over the last couple years!)

Warning: You may experience some razzing by family and friends for viewing this as food OCD, and some might be afraid to feed your kids (or tell you what they are feeding your kids) but once you have made a name for yourself around town people will follow suit. Why? Because we should!!! Because the evidence is there proving these harmful!!! And because we have a choice--there are alternatives! So Goodbye Kellog's with BHT (Whad'you call me??)
and hello Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls with 6 ingredients and 5 grams of sugar!! (Thank you Katharine for telling me about Kellog's!!! I haven't bought a conventional Kellog's product in 7 years and had NO idea they are poisoning kids!)

So let's go- I'll start with the things you've probably heard of or seen and end with Chemistry 101. Just kidding...I'll keep it simple. What to look for and AVOID.

Preservatives/Additives are put into food for a few reasons- to prevent oxidation (using mostly synthetic antioxidants), prevent bacteria/molds/yeasts (using anti-microbials), to inhibit ripening, and increase their profits with colorful food to market to kids!! Common preservatives are nitrites, sulphites, benzoates and sorbates.

My list of absolutes:

Benzoates: BHT/BHA/TBHQ - VERY common. Can be found in cereal, chips, cookies, crackers even gum! It preserves the stability of a fat. It can even found in dog food,petroleum products, cosmetics, jet fuel, and embalming fluid!!!! For the love....seriously!!! This tumor inducing chemical is banned in Japan, Australia and Sweden (among other countries). Although in the 70's it was found to be "safe" in low levels, we need to logically think that it's so common and in so many foods it is pretty certain we are consuming well above the "safe" levels.

Food Coloring! (Red 3/40, Yellow 5/6, Blue 1/2, Green 3) Linked to cancer, a host of allergies and ADHD/ADD. Banned in the UK and most of Europe. (Yes, your Kraft Mac/cheese has yellow dye, but those Kraft boxes sold in Europe--nope, no Yellow #5/6-- see? it can be done on big scale) Remember in the 70's when red M&M's suddenly disappeared? That's because the red dye, amaranth was finally proven to be a carcinogen. Well, surprise!!! Red #3 is considered a carcinogen by the FDA-- but no ban-- not yet. Yellow #5 and Blue #2 are derived from the manufacturing of coal tars. Be on guard for sneaky, dirty tricks too... here's some of the AKA's they go by:

Allura Red AC (aka Red 40)
Erythrosine (aka Red 3)
Indigotine (aka Blue 2)
Tartrazine (aka Yellow 5)

Should be an obvious one, right? It just sounds baaaaaad. Like the name of a villain the superheros need to take out. It's found in lots of sugar free foods. Gum, soda etc. There has been much controversary over the years about this one-- cancer causing or not ? (brain tumors up for grabs!!!). I say why not err on the side of caution and not consume it!! Especially when it's side effects (all 92 of them) are serious enough without the potential for a tumor! In the FDA's words, side effects are listed as "headaches, dizziness, severe anxiety, extreme depression, decreased vision, memory loss, irritability, palpitations, tachycardia (high heart rate), nausea"... and the list goes on and on. OH!! And BTW-- MONSANTO uses a genetically modified bacteria to produce aspartame in their US plants. just gets better, don't it?!?! Anywho.... that's enough for me to listen to my logical voice-- hmmm...a lab created chemical 100 sweeter than sugar with all these potential side effects?!??!?! I'll stick with the real deal of unrefined, unbleached good ol' sugar in moderation, thank you very much.

Trans Fat-
Now I'm sure this is not a foreign term for well, anyone these days. These are industrial created fats created by adding hydrogen to an unsaturated fat to make it more stable.(other words for it are "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated")It's usually made from palm oil or soybean oil. These fats contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease. There is no conflicting evidence on this... these fats are detrimental to your health. Enough said.

Potassium Nitrate-
Other wise known as nitrites or nitrates. These are added to most luncheon meats, hot dogs and the like to preserve color, flavor and freshness. They combine with chemicals in the stomach to produce nitrosamine-- a straight up carcinogen.

To quickly give you a list of a few other preservative offenders without going into gory detail here they are- (many go by numbers as well):

~Dimethyl Dicarbonate or 242
~Calcium Disodium or 385 (found in fish, canned soft drinks, salad dressing, sandwich spreads)
~Propylene glycol or 1520 It's obtained from petroleum and it can be in tooth paste, cosmetics, chocolates, pastry and chewing gum! It's neurotoxic and cardiotoxic (it will kill the brain and heart)

And lets throw in --
High fructose Corn Syrup-- Do not believe the commercials stating, "sugar is sugar". Nope, no it's not. (I mean the corn industry has just a tad of money and a small influence in our food market and government, no?) While it's true sugar in any form is not good for the body, for your health in general-- this highly processed, refined product is much more dangerous. It affects the liver by triggering it to produce fats (triglycerides and cholesterol) and it causes big spikes in insulin. It eventually leads to increases in appetite, diabetes, weight gain, heart disease and even cancer. Independent doctors and unbiased studies have proved HFCS unhealthy. If you're going have sugar have a small amount of the real deal!!!

Let's just end with
MSG (in lots of soup box mixes still!) It can affect the nervous system and cause migraines.
rBGH- genetically modified bovine growth hormone to stimulate milk production in cows. It's been linked to prostate, colon and breast cancer.

Let's also to remember to tap into our logical brain here. Some might argue some of these things haven't been proven to be harmful in the levels/doses in the particular product-- what we need to remember is that harmful chemicals act in a compounding and synergistic effect. Maybe a small dose of nitrates from a hot dog once month won't harm you. But if your kid (smaller body mass) is eating hot dogs or normal deli lunch meat (please NO Lunchables!) every day...on top of lots food coloring in various candy/treats/snacks and then throw in some rBGH hormone in their milk and some trans fats in their cookies at night and ,well, yeah...that's a recipe for disaster day in and day out for years!!!!

Like Oprah says, "When you know better, you do better."

For the COMPLETE, complete list of crap added to food, you can print this list!

Happy ingredient reading!

In Health~

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Clearly I'm NOT a Blogger... New Rules for my Computer Life

So, I tried... I did!!! I want to share all things green with you, I really do! I've realized that I (obviously) don't choose to spend my time doing this. I have the time and I can certainly fit in blogging, but when it comes down to it...there are other things I'd rather be doing! Realizing that sitting at this computer seems like a big fat time waster most days, I'm opting out. It's not full filling-- on the level that it doesn't provide one thing that 'sings to my soul' and besides- it bugs my eyes and my posture sucks when I sit here. So here it is-

New Rules: (which I can say I've been abiding by but still tweaking a bit for about a month now)

1. My "free" time is spent doing things I love or speak the language of love.
I love yoga, I love gardening, I don't love cooking-- but I do love my family eating healthy food- so there's love- one degree of separation. I don't love cleaning- But I do LOVE the way it feels when I've organized a closet or completely simplified my "stuff". There... more "love". I do not feel any love when I realize I've been surfing the net for 20 min in a deep "Uuuuhhhhhhh" blank stare. Lost in the computer = no love.

2. No computer after 8(ish) pm
It's not healthy for sleep patterns (or my marriage!). Zoning out on the computer does not foster conversation with my husband. Besides, I only have from 8-9 to talk to him (sans kids) since he falls asleep by 9 on the couch. After 9, I am learning to resist the temptation to "check" anything on the computer-- instead I watch one "good" TV show and/or read and hit the sack by 10:30-11 Waaaaaaay better for my soul.

3. Less quantity, deeper understanding
I am an information JUNKIE!! I admit it... I'll research the hell out of anything. I'll read any book put in front of me. I have many Cliff Claven useless facts taking up room in my brain. When I'm "learning" so many new tidbits of information via the net I can feel my brain get bogged down. As much as I LOVE it, I need to sloooooooow down and realize I can't learn and deeply understand all that I want to know in a 15 min (web) surf session. That sort of superficial information overload just seems to clog up the superhighway of neural connections. Deeper understanding, deeper meaning-- and storing into my long term memory is my goal.

4. One 24 hour period each week completely disconnecting
I admit... I've sent a text or two during this period. Geeesh...I said I was still tweaking things a bit. But I love this idea, I'm getting better and better at it. And it's truly amazing how much TIME you have when you disconnect.

So, I've decided for May, to keep me motivated as to not sink back into old computer patterns, to add a couple layers. To fill my computer-less time with more meaningful things. Now, I understand it's only May 3rd...but I'm 100% so far. :)
I'm putting it out there in writing, because now I'm accountable for it. Who knows maybe I'll blog about it at the end of May! (or not)

I'm doing two things everyday in May-

1- meditate- 5 min, 15 min--doesn't matter. I've gotten away from meditating and I see a huge difference in my mental chatter and bits of anxiety creeping in. 30 days of meditation to get back on the wagon- mentally.

2- one organizing/simplifying task each day. I love this. Today it's as simple as cleaning out the frig and pantry.

OK, I've maxed out my computer time. I'm out.

Do something you love today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Simply and Having Gratitude This Holiday Season

So, today I was at the mall-- yes, diving into consumerism-- I had a great coupon to the Gap and my husband needs his one new shirt or sweater to wear this year for the holidays. (I'm not kidding...I strive to live as simply as he does. Funny thing is, he really doesn't see it as living any particular way, he just doesn't need or want much) Anyhow, my son started to insist that he NEEDED a new pair of shoes. In his defense, he grows out of/wears out shoes in 3 seconds as most 7 year olds do, but I couldn't help but ask him, "Do you NEED them or want them?". He had no shame in clarifying, "I want them". I calmly explained to him he doesn't need them, we're not here for shoes, so there will be no new shoes. So this began the next 20 minutes in the mall with him on my heels, in my ear begging for shoes, any shoes- preferably "Skater sneakers", but he'll take any! I was so frustrated...who was this selfish kid? I mean, of course my kids ask for things. It's just that usually when I give them an answer they accept it- they get it.
Today, this kid was under the influence-- he had a mall buzz. We were sucked in amidst tons of shoppers, the bags of 'stuff', storefront displays, holiday music and he wanted something. (I think he picked shoes cause I might crack for shoes--he knew he'd have no luck with a toy)

Now I think I do a pretty good job teaching my kids about gratitude. I make note of tons of little things to be grateful for each day with them. We talk all the time about people who have less than us. They've told me they have friends that "brag" about what they have, how much bigger or better there whatever is...and they've said they wish they could have that or have this. That's when our discussion leans toward there are always going to be people who have more than us and people with less than us. I tell them our family makes choices about what we have based on what we need and what creates experiences and memories. This is not to say we don't have toys-- we have plenty. I would say we have too much. It's more about the 'wanting'. It's the newest finger nails on chalkboard sound to me, "I want...." I told my kids today-- after we went through the playroom and gave away a whole bunch-o-crap --that from starting now, every time they say, "I want" I'm going to ignore whatever it is they are asking for first off, and then respond with, "What will you give?". I said it can be anything, a helpful hand, a kind word-- just something immediate and positive from them. I told them, they will understand quickly how often they say, "I want". We already started tonight and when I said, "What will you give?", my daughter said, "A kiss?". I accepted.

Teaching kids about gratitude and living simply is not easy in our society. It takes commitment to live by example. I know right away when I'm in need of being put in check...if I'm not on the top of my parenting game and my kids are falling into the bottomless pit of wanting "stuff"...I can only look back at myself and what I am choosing, how I am living, shopping, and talking about "things". I'm happy I'm getting myself back on the wagon now, as I haven't even started shopping yet. My kids will get things...Santa will come, but my kids will also give back. I will give back, and I hope everyone does something this year to give back. It will all be just a little bit more simple this year...

I had already planned on giving home made granola this year (oh my gosh, that sounds so funny) for the little gifts for teachers, mail persons etc. See if you can just bake for someone instead of buying a "thing" for them.

When you are buying, see if you can skip Amazon and visit these few great sites to make shopping a touch more meaningful.
The Greater Good Network Stores give a portion of your purchase price to the cause of your choice-- hunger, animals, breast cancer, autism, rain forests, Veterans, child health, or literacy. Tons if gift ideas! You could find something for everyone here. There's an option to make a direct donation where 100% of your gift goes to your program of choice. ***** definitely my favorite this year ****
A sort of Groupon that works with carefully chosen companies that are committed to making the planet a better place. Each day you'll get an email with a compelling story of such a company with selected products from them at 30-90% off. The best part? You can opt to save a bit less and donate the difference to a selected non profit. 20% of customers chose to do this!
Helping women to develop work skills and self confidence to break the cycle of poverty. Based out of Denver CO. Help women and nourish your belly with yummy soups at the same time.

And of course my all time favorites that I continuously shop from/through/with.

There is something for everyone, trust me.
For direct charitable giving or volunteering check these out as well:

*Feeding America
*First Book - donate books to low income households
*The Humane Society of the United States
*Krochet Kids - providing fair wage crocheting jobs to women of Uganda
*Operation Warm - ensure every kids gets a coat this year
*Share Our Strength - hosting bake sales all over the US to end hunger

For local San Diegans consider:

*CCSA Adopt a Family
*San Diego Food Bank
*It's All About the Kids
*Father Joe's Villages
*Lions, Tigers and Bears
*San Diego Rescue Mission

Something here makes your heart sing, I know it. Listen to it and donate your time or money to it this holiday season.
Enjoy this holiday season and SPREAD your joy. Remember to smile at one another, speak kindly, respect one another and understand we all have a story and complex history.
Be compassionate to one other, to animals and to the earth.

Peace and Love

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pick Your Sunscreen

Well, well, well..... After a long hiatus, I'm chiming in again! The beginning of 2011 left me sort of busy with other things and for some reason this blog wasn't on my priority list. Scaling down, de-cluttering my life, meditating and yoga were taking precedence. Less "talk" and more listening, feeling, and observing served me better at that time. I'm still working this balance of course, but I definitely feel like talking again! I want to share lots about meditation, yoga, stopping your mental chatter and finding inner peace/happiness (or whatever you want to call it). However, it's summer and I need to talk about sunscreen ASAP!!!!!!

Shocking news-- Europe makes better sunscreens! They have more filters to choose from when making their sunscreens to protect from skin damaging, wrinkle causing, cancer causing UVA radiation. They also don't use dangerous hormone disrupting chemicals like we do.

Allow me to begin with why the heck you should care which sunscreen you choose. Let's consider your skin. It's your biggest organ, and although it's a very nice barrier and protective layer, it absorbs what we lather onto it via little capillaries into your bloodstream. You should really consider ingredients in skin products the same way you consider ingredients you ingest when eating. I'll also give my personal disclaimer that I certainly don't have a perfect record when it comes to some less than desirable things my body is exposed too....however, on a whole I make informed choices that tend to be kind to my body and the planet. To be honest, I care WAY more about decisions that affect our kids than us adults. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: kids are way more susceptible to toxins. Whether it be pesticides or sunscreen chemicals, when "safe levels" are being tested, they are not testing these levels based on a 40 lb 5 yr old, they are basing these doses and levels of exposure on the average 150 lb adult. This makes a huge difference. I can't help but be concerned when I think of potential cellular damage or genes being "turned on" by some of these environmental toxins, increasing their chances for autoimmune disorders, cancers, asthma, etc. In my non panic mode, I understand we can't protect them from every toxin or every potentially harmful chemical, so I really don't go crazy about it all. However, like Oprah says, "when you know better, you do better", and I know what chemicals to steer clear from for my children. We know the body has a difficult time removing non biological chemicals from the body-- The research is in, listen to it.

So here it is. I'll try to be concise here-- what you want and what you don't want in a sunscreen.

You absolutely do NOT want: (in order of avoidance)

Oxybenzone- This is my number one. It's a known hormone disruptor. It's linked to allergies and cellular damage. It actually enhances skin penetration, aiding in the absorption of other chemicals as well! Also look for these alternative names/chemicals causing estrogenic effects- Benzophenome, Homosalate, Octinoxate.

Vitamin A- Don't use a sunscreen with added Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that can slow skin aging and wrinkles. Great, right? Not so much. Unfortunately, it's now known that in the presence of sunlight is speeds the growth of skin lesions and tumors. According to the Environmental Working Group it's added to 30% of all sunscreens. Look for other names for Vit A-- Padimate O, Parsol 1789.

Parabens- These chemical preservatives are in everything! They are potential hormone disruptors.

What you DO want is a mineral sunscreen.

Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide- These are physical barriers, not absorbed into the skin with good protection from UVA rays. Some people don't like that it stays white on the skin. This brings about a slight problem with the new non white, absorb-able mineral sunscreens. Nanotechnology reduces the size of the particles so these sunscreens go on clear instead of white. The question remains if these nano-particles are now absorbed and if so, what are the health concerns if any? The Environmental Working Group states that 15 peer reviewed studies showed these particles did not absorb in healthy skin.

So, Nanomaterials or hormone disruptors??? Go old skool with white zinc oxide!!!
Second up is nanotechnology for sure. Definitely no sprays either, stick with lotion. (Convenience comes as a cost here.)

Look for Tinosorb S in future sunscreens. It's pending FDA approval. It's been used in Europe for years and has no hormone effects.

In the meantime, here's my favorite au naturel sunscreens--

* Eco Logical Skin Care ****my choice for this summer!***
No nanoparticles!
* California Baby (no fragrance)
* Badger Sunscreen (unscented) No nanoparticles!
* Kiss My Face Natural Sun Stick -comes in blue, pink and white! Mineral sunblock in fun colors! Best for noses and cheeks.
* Think Baby

You can buy any of them on Amazon!

Happy Summer!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tis the Season..... On a lighter note

Soooooooo....I definitely don't want this blog to be all "Debbie Downer-ish". I've tried to make it clear that this is a no guilt sort of small information blog. Just trying to get the good green word out there. However, I am fully aware that sometimes it might feel like you wanna just say, "Oh that's just TOO much. I can't save the world and I'm tired and stressed and I've got my own issues". Oh, wait, that was me today. Eh-hem... Anyhow, I fully realize there are countless shades of green and I would love for everyone to pick just one shade and live by it. I can't even buy pencils for my son's first grade school supply list without making sure they are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified (which ensures forest conservation while managing the environmental impact of logging among other things) Ok, so most people don't stand in Staples looking for the 'right' pencils to buy, but that's ok...they might just not know. That's where I come in, in a sort of "did you know?" sort of way.

I also am realizing location is huge too. My husband likes to say California made me who I am today. That just makes me laugh. But he has a point, and I think most of that has to do with access. I have 3 natural food stores within 2 square miles. I'm not kidding. I haven't stepped food in a regular grocery store in a very, very long time. My best friend Jody can attest to that. She's lived on both coasts for many years as an adult. We've talked about it simply being more difficult for her on the east coast to live the way she believes in.

So to keep this post light and since fall is my favorite season (oh how I MISS the leaves on the east coast) as we gear up for the holidays, I'm going to have something for everyone here. (Even for my friend Donna who just informed me she's not really on board with me :) ) Many of these ideas you can just browse, some you will be able to implement right away and others you can go all out, expend some energy and, WOW- will you feel damn good.

Lets start with a couple small ideas-- lots of these ideas have been used and shared among my friends.

* Purging and Donating- Thanksgiving Day weekend I go through my kids toys (with my kids) and tell them we need to give away 10 items each. I tell them since we are fortunate enough to have Santa come to our house we should give away some things to kids less fortunate. Kids who don't have as much during the rest of the year. Last year I brought them with me when we went to a woman's and children's shelter and donated them. To see where their old toys were going and know other children will love them and use them helped them to enjoy donating them.

* Halloween- As my kids get older and come home with more and more and more candy I have learned to strike a deal with them. First off I try to keep the house stocked with good treats that are less crappy during this time of year. Then I tell them they can pick out their favorite 10 or 15 pieces of candy and the rest they can trade in for a small toy of their choice. Now you may think I'm bribing my kids to not eat candy-- well, I am-- BUT-- they get to choose. They have autonomy here. They know they will only be allowed to eat 1 or maybe 2 pieces per day. Last year my son went with the toy and my daughter looked at me like I was crazy and kept her candy. By Thanksgiving the uneaten went in the trash, because she forgot all about it. I just can't stand having pounds of crap candy in the house, so we play lets make a deal.

* Holiday presents- Seriously, how many people do you buy for and have no idea what to get them, realize there is nothing they need, and just end up settling for some less than great gift just so they have something to open. I get it. I like presents too. I'm not saying stop completely, but there are better ways to spend your money if you're just going to buy to buy for someone who really doesn't need a thing.
Consider In short, these are gifts of livestock and training that help families all over the world improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. They have been around since 1974 and are truly a wonderful organization. One year we gave flocks of chicks to everyone for $20. Last year my great friend Catherine and her daughter, Simone, gave my kids a share in a llama and the book Beatrice's Goat (a great kids read explaining this charity). My kids got such a hoot of the printout of this llama that was given in their name to a family on the other side of the world to help their family!! This is a great idea for office gifts too-- get the whole office to create a theme and give charitable gifts this season. Do you really need another candle, body lotion or coffee mug?!?!
Consider The basis of this charitable organization is microfinance. Donate money for part of a loan for a woman to create a business. She pays the loan back and Kiva repays lenders. At that point you can donate it back to Kiva directly, re-lend it, or have it paid back via PayPal. I've watched my $25 be relent several times. It's also fun to see who and for what business your money is supporting.
For people searching for higher end gifts to give with a charitable undertone consider which supports Afghan, Kurdish and Pakistani women who have been widowed or disabled following decades of war in these countries. A gorgeous scarf made by an Afghan woman will cost about $125.

Other random ideas:

~ If you have paper grocery bags on hand (if you're not using reusable canvas ones yet!!), use them to wrap gifts!!! Don't buy wrapping paper! When we have them in the house we use them for all kids birthday party presents. Then my kids get to color, draw, and decorate the gifts and make them really personal and original. It's a great art and craft for 15 minutes of peace and quiet too.

~ Air freshener-- chemical free. Put 30 drops of pure lavender oil mixed with a few ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray anywhere for a non toxic fresh smell. Spray on sheets for a calming affect for babies and kids too.

~ Game exchange or book exchange. If your child is having a large birthday party and if you're like me and don't think any child needs 20+ presents to open in one sitting consider doing a book exchange or game exchange. Each child brings a book or board game wrapped. You can do the whole sit in a circle, play music and pass them around and around until the music stops. Every child leaves with a "gift" and you don't need to make or spend money on goody bags. I just remind my son that the party is his present. (He still gets a couple presents from us and close family)

~ Go to This is fun and addicting!! Test your vocabulary-- for every answer you get right rice is donated through the World Food Program to end world hunger. You may just get smarter doing it.

~ For anyone who wants to go green by going blue visit
Save our big blue and be sure to check out the sustainable fish lists. A must
for sushi lovers too.

~ And for my east coast peeps check out Free range, grass fed, humanely treated cows to give you a great burger. Coming soon to CA!!

~ Finally-- to just peruse and learn and shop. Check out

If you can't find a way (or 10 ways) to be green here....
then stop reading my blog.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Franken-Fish -- G.E. Salmon for dinner?

Genetically engineered food: It's becoming a heated debate and a dividing issue. Ok, maybe not to the masses, but for anyone interested in their health and the state of food production, it is. I fully plan on tackling this issue in a detailed post, but due to a lack of time on my part to write and the short time line we have to act on this most recent issue I'm just posting some information.

Here's some information from the non-profit, Food and Water Watch:

We Have 15 Days to Stop GE Salmon From Being Approved
Tell President Obama to Stop GE Salmon.

My stomach turns at the thought of eating something that's considered an animal drug, but that's exactly what could end up on my plate if genetically engineered (GE) salmon are approved. We've got 15 days to stop the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) from approving GE salmon. Can you ask President Obama to stop FDA's approval of genetically engineered salmon?

Franken-Fish have won the race to be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. The aquaculture industry has genetically engineered a fish that grows at twice the normal rate, so they can get it to market sooner and make more money.

The scary thing is, the FDA doesn't do its own testing of genetically engineered animals, it relies on information provided by the company that wants approval. And because GE salmon are being considered as a new animal drug, the process isn't focused on what happens to people who eat genetically engineered animals. So on top of the health concerns posed by raising salmon in crowded factory fish farms that rely on antibiotics and other chemicals, the FDA could be adding the unknown risks of GE salmon to the mix.

The FDA is the same agency that's in charge of overseeing the egg industry, and we see how well they've done that job. The FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food that is not genetically engineered, they certainly should not be in charge of allowing the first GE animal into our food supply.

We've got just 15 days until the FDA takes formal steps to approve GE salmon, so it's up to us to demand that President Obama direct the FDA to reject this request.

Take action to stop this mutant fish from reaching your plate:

Thanks for taking action,
Sarah Alexander
Outreach Director
Food & Water Watch

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School

As if there's not enough to think about when it's back to school time...I'm about to mention lunch boxes!!! Yes, lunch boxes. This is one of those topics that may be too green for some. I realize some people don't want to go there- to the extreme green, to the bottomless pit of green living. Every time you turn around there's something new to worry about or think about, and at times you wish for the uninformed you.

Hear me out here...

Those vinyl lunch boxes you get at any Target or Walmart are made of vinyl or PVC. Some manufactures use lead as a color stabilizer on these lunch boxes.
I'll stick to two topics here. Vinyl and lead.
I'm going to try to be brief here. Those who know me, understand how difficult this can be for me.

Lead, I don't think I need to go on too long about this. We all know lead consumption is dangerous, especially for babies and kids. High lead levels and lead poisoning can manifest anywhere from vague learning disabilities to kidney failure to death in it's extreme form. Lead was detected in lunch boxes over the last few years and in 2007 many states recalled lunch boxes because levels were so high. I understand it seems a bit panicky to think your child will get lead poisoning from this, but it was detected on the hands of people after handling the lunch boxes. Hands to face while eating lunch, right? Again, this may not be enough to be physically dangerous, but do we really want to take that chance with our spongy, developing child's brain?? I certainly don't.

Polyvinylchloride (PVC or 'vinyl') is used in tons of household products from pipes, and flooring to baby toys, electronics and shower curtains. You know that smell of a new vinyl shower curtain?- yeah, not so good for you. I seriously could create a short separate post just about the 14 dangerous toxins released after opening up that new shower curtain package! (Toluene- a developmental toxin is one!) Several hazardous chemicals (lead, mercury, phthalates, vinyl chloride, dioxins, ethylene dichloride, among others) are released in the manufacturing of PVC. These chemical plants, mostly located in low income, small communities, pollute the air and water and create numerous dangerous conditions for their workers as well. Mossville, Louisiana, surrounded by four vinyl production plants, was noted in a CNN special as having polluted air, water and citizens. People there have dioxin levels found in their bodies that correspond with the dioxins released from the production facilities. Most of the chemicals mentioned here are carcinogens and workers at these plants have been diagnosed with rare liver cancers, brain cancer, lung cancer and lymphomas at a high rate. The bottom line is you don't want to be inhaling the scent of your new plastic shower curtain, you don't want your 2 year old to be mouthing PVC made toys and you shouldn't want your kids carrying a PVC made lunch box.

I get that your child probably won't be licking the inside of his lunch box daily. (However, I wouldn't put it past my daughter to lick a bit of jelly that oozed out of her sandwich onto her lunch box!) But when we speak of healthy kids and a healthy planet...doesn't it make sense not to support these toxic chemical makers? For the sake of the children in Mossville that are breathing and drinking that water. We all have to take responsibility. So lets be sure our kids are protected from dangerous chemicals at least by our choices in lunch boxes!! At the same time we won't be supporting dangerous chemical makers when there are safer alternatives to PVC that are cost effective and available.

If you're wondering if a container or product is made of PVC look for a #3 inside the product or a "V" underneath the recycle symbol.

Here are some places to look for better lunch containers and lunch boxes.

Affordable and easy--

The gold standard--

I love Citizenpip.

Happy back to school!!!