Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Eating organically on a Budget

Eating organically is more expensive, and the sticker shock can be painful.  Moreover, once you get used to it, (and once you know how unhealthy “conventional” food can be) it is impossible to go back.   There are lots of ways that people can eat organically, while saving a small amount of money, which can lead to significant savings over time.
  • My two favorite things to do, and to tell others to do, are to make lots of soup; and decrease portion sizes of meat, but choose the best quality – organic grass-fed or pasture-fed animal products.
  • Next, eat beans!! Filled with fiber (to satisfy hunger and keep you full for hours,) protein, and carbs for energy, these little gifts add small amounts of calcium, iron, B vitamins, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.  Dried beans should be organic, because they are one of the foods that the EPA allows to be sprayed with glyphosate, for quicker drying and ripening.  Glyphosate was recently classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization.  The healthiest way to eat beans is to soak them; it removes phytic acid – an anti-nutrient.
  • Buy what’s in season, and locally available.  Usually less expensive, local foods are a smarter and cheaper choice because they don’t need to be transported from far away.  If this intrigues you, read the book called Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s a true story about a family that lives off the land for a year.  Great read!
  • You can also join a CSA.  Here’s how to find one near you.
  • Make a rule in your house: If you want a treat, you have to make it yourself! Have all the ingredients in your house ready to make desserts.  Benefit: Your children will learn how to cook and bake.  There are so many wonderful recipes to discover. And almost any recipe can be transformed into a healthy one: by buying organic ingredients and cutting the sugar by 1/3.  If you replace the fat called for in the recipe with coconut oil, you can use ¼ less than what the original recipe calls for. (So if the recipe calls for a cup of oil, use ¾ of a cup of coconut oil.)
  • Grown herbs in pots on a windowsill or deck. Save them, dry them out in a dehydrator or convection oven and you can use them all year long.
  • Websites to discover:
  •  This delivery service brings bulk items to you once per month. It’s like a delivery from Whole Foods except at a much lower cost!
  • Find an organic farm that produces meat, dairy, and eggs the way nature intended at  Expensive meat can be stretched by making a stir-fry, instead of serving a portion of meat on each plate with vegetables on the side.
  • Set a budget and plan meals each week.  You will only buy the ingredients you need and eliminate the desire to buy extras or go out to eat. (This takes so much discipline!)  Recommended book to help you do this: Wildly Affordable Organic, by Linda Watson.
  • You don’t need to be completely organic!  Know what foods are GMO, what common foods are sprayed with glyphosate, and which are heavily sprayed with pesticides and will absorb a lot of those chemicals.
Some foods allowed to be sprayed with glyphosate include: oats, wheat, dried beans, sugar cane, and tea.
See for a list of the dirty dozen and the clean 15.
  • Join your favorite company’s social media pages for special coupons and deals.  Also, remember that most stores take each other’s coupons, so make sure to ask.
  • Did you know you can freeze butter?  When it is on sale, buy and freeze it until needed. Favorite: Organic Pastures Grass Fed Butter.
  • Double or triple recipes when cooking and freeze meals for the future. (Use glass, not plastic.)
  • Grind up bread ends in a blender and freeze to use for bread crumbs when called for in a recipe.
  • Be a vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, and feel entitled to spend more on the best quality animal products for dinner.
  • Use a whole chicken instead of buying parts separately. NEVER throw the carcass away. Put it in a pot or crock pot and make bone broth; a truly medicinal food. ( )
  • Pre-washed foods cost more and need to be washed anyway!
  • Be the last one to leave the farmer’s market; they often lower prices at the end, so that they don’t have to bring things back to the farm.
  • Look the farmer in the eye and ask about their spraying practices and use of GMO seeds. Some farmers don’t use pesticides or grow GMOs, but also don’t seek the USDA label because it is so expensive. The paperwork and bureaucracy required to use the label aren’t worth it to many farmers. As long as you are satisfied with the farmer’s answer, you can buy produce that is not labeled organic.
  • Grow your own food!  It doesn’t matter how little property you have. Here is a guide to help you get started:
  • Bring your own food while traveling.  (You can check a cooler!)
  • Keep organic tea bags in your wallet and ask for hot water when traveling, instead of buying a cup of tea for $4-$6.
  • When you buy berries, soak them in water with a little vinegar. It removes the mold spores and the berries will last much longer.
  • Line refrigerator drawers with paper towels to absorb moisture, so produce will last longer.
  • Save the pulp from juicing to put into soups and stews.
  • Splurge on the best quality coffee and tea and make it yourself in the morning.  Sometimes you can find great options at Marshalls and TJ Maxx!
  • We own several Zero Water Filters – approximately $30 on Amazon or at Target.  This filter is an inexpensive way to get the bleach, arsenic, lawn pesticides and fluoride out of your water. (They don’t market it as an effective way to remove fluoride, but if you call the company, they will tell you that it removes 95% of it).
  • Sites that give coupons on the internet include:
Online shopping:
While many think that eating healthfully and organically is beyond their means, it is quite possible with a little extra effort.  If you follow these suggestions, and take the process slowly; eventually it will become second nature.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Just because you have been told your blood pressure is high, doesn't mean you must go on medication.  Here are some suggestions that will help to lower blood pressure naturally and holistically:

Hibiscus Tea     

Studies show that consuming the leaves and flowers of the hibiscus plant can lower blood pressure as well as some medications.  Compounds in the plant may act similarly to anti hypertension medications called ACE inhibitors.There are a variety of reasons why this tea may lower blood pressure. It can open the arteries, it acts as a diuretic, and may slow the release of hormones that make blood vessels constrict. 

 I recommend 1-3 cups of "Hibiscus sabdariffa" per day to control blood pressure (Most studies used three cups.)  Source    Also, please use ORGANIC tea of any kind, since most conventional tea is sprayed with glyphosate, to dry it out. (Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, as classified by the World Health Organization in April, 2015). Let it steep for 5 -10 minutes.  When the weather is warm, try making iced hibiscus tea, and add grated fresh ginger and honey.

Co Q 10 Supplementation  

     Co Q 10 increases energy to the heart muscle. Source  Levels decrease as we age and are depleted by cholesterol lowering drugs including statins and red rice yeast.  60-100 mg per day may improve diastolic function and support blood pressure.  If you are on a statin drug, (or red rice yeast) you may want to take a higher dose of Co Q 10, but it is a good idea to consult a naturopathic physician who is familiar with this supplement.

     Foods that contain Co Q 10 include beef, fish, poultry, peanuts, and sesame.  I recommend grass fed beef and pasture raised poultry, wild caught fish (preferably not from the Pacific, since the Fukishima radiation leak) and ORGANIC peanuts.

Fish Oil Supplementation

     Fish oil  is high in omega 3 fatty acids, and may help to   decrease  blood pressure. It can also help to reduce blood fats called triglycerides, which may curtail the development of plaque in the artery walls. 
Other benefits of fish oil supplementation include a lower chance of developing an abnormal heart rhythm, decreased likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack, and less chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease  Source

     I recommend 1/2 teaspoon -1 teaspoon of liquid fish oil, flavored with lemon, daily. (Most research indicates 3 grams/day is an adequate dosage. There are 5 grams in a teaspoon.) Make sure it is extremely clean – from a reputable company that tests for mercury and other toxic metals and doesn't add any genetically engineered oils.  It should also be sourced from wild caught cold water fish.

Magnesium Supplementation

      Magnesium levels have been found to be consistently low in individuals with hypertension. Source  Foods high in magnesium include: coffee, fish sauce, leafy greens, cocoa, nuts and seeds, avocado, dark chocolate, dairy products. (Except for avocado, with its thick skin, organic sources are recommended.) 

     Best sources include bananas, oranges, tomatoes, and potatoes. (Organic sources are recommended.)


     Best sources include dairy products, sardines, and dark green leafies. (Organic sources are recommended.)
     Note: Himalayan pink salt contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and iodine, as well as sodium, and is a much healthier alternative than common table salt to enhance food’s flavors. Remember that most processed foods are very high in cheap quality salt that has been stripped of most trace minerals and bleached.

     Other supplements that may improve blood pressure include D- ribose and L-carnitine, grape seed extract, hawthorn berry, and resveratrol,  according to Dr. Steven Sinatra, an integrative cardiologist.Source

A Low Carbohydrate, Anti-inflammatory Diet

     Avoid sugar, and limit foods that convert to sugar, like flour (even whole grain!) pasta, potatoes, and rice.  100% fruit juice should be watered down. (i.e. 1 -2 tablespoons of juice to 1 cup purified seltzer water.)

     I recommend a diet that includes lots of healthy fats to keep you satisfied and control blood sugar. Healthy fats include avocados, avocado oil,  olives, olive oil, nuts, coconut, coconut oil, pasture-raised, organic butter, and full fat organic, grass-fed dairy and meat.  Also, include LOTS of vegetables and fruits. Any whole grains should be eaten in VERY small quantities, as they cause an increase in insulin production which causes weight gain, inflammation, and insulin resistance.


     Helps the blood vessels to dilate/relax, which decreases blood pressure.


     Emotional stress causes oxidative damage and increases blood pressure. It is very important to learn how to give the mind a rest! Concentrated breathing and yoga  can decrease blood pressure considerably.

Walking Barefoot on Grass, Sand, and Concrete

     This is called grounding or earthing. Electrons enter the body through the feet and can decrease oxidative stress, limiting inflammation.  This can help to thin the blood and balance cortisol which is too high during times of stress. Source
 It is important that the grass is not sprayed with pesticides!


     Eat a diet high in fiber that is free of pesticides! Foods like cilantro and organic strawberries help to remove toxic metals from the body.  Sweating, from exercise or time spent in a sauna, helps to remove impurities from the body. Source

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act

Today, in support of Senator Richard Blumenthal’s federal bill to label genetically engineered organisms, we attended his press conference.  Senator Blumenthal has introduced a fair federal GMO labeling bill that would require mandatory labeling and would counter the "DARK Act" which would NOT require mandatory labeling and would pre-empt the states rights to require mandatory labeling.

90% of Americans want the right that 64 other countries give their citizens, TRANSPARENCY.  The opposition to GMO labeling is counting on congress to do its dirty work.  What has become known as the “DARK Act” (Deny Americans Right to Know), looks like an industry wish list: pre-emption of current and future state GMO labeling laws and codifying the failed voluntary labeling system that has been in existence since 2001. It also gives more power to the FDA (aka Michael Taylor from Monsanto) to insure the “safety” of our food…  If the "DARK Act" passes, the CT GMO labeling law will become obsolete.  Also, foods that are genetically engineered will be legally allowed to be labeled as “natural.”

Senator Blumenthal’s bill, The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to label GE food and foods containing GE ingredients. This bill is modeled after CT’s law. Senator Blumenthal is fighting for our right to know at the federal level, but if the opposition succeeds in passing the "DARK Act", it will shut down his efforts.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cilantro Pesto!!!

Last week, we had a family party and served “make your own soft tacos,” (or “taco salad” for those who avoid wheat/carbs.)  It was a big hit for everyone, from Nanny (grandma) to baby cousin, Tommy.

But, we forgot to serve the cilantro L Luckily, I discovered it before it went bad, and decided to make some pesto with it.  It is so delicious; I am eating it by the spoonful, but will be serving it this weekend over fish or on black bean pasta. It will be a good spread on bread, instead of mayonnaise, in a turkey sandwich too.

My favorite thing about cilantro is that it is a chelator. It binds with metals and escorts them out of the body.  So it is a great thing to have with large fish, like tuna, sword fish, or sea bass, because it will chelate with the mercury from the fish and remove it from you!


Big bunch of cilantro, leaves and stems

¼ cup olive oil (make sure it is REAL 100% olive oil. I get non gmo project verified or organic to be safe.)

½ tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 cup toasted pine nuts

You can include cheese, like parmesan; I didn’t because I thought I would freeze the pesto…. but there is no way it will last long enough to bother freezing!

Whirl it in a blender or food processor, until it is a smooth paste. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Some interesting Facts about FLUORIDE that you might not know:

This essay was written and compiled by the ConnFACT board of directors.
ConnFACT (Connecticut Families Against Chemical Trespass) is advocating to have the mandate to fluoridate water lifted, so that towns can choose for themselves if they want to fluoridate the water.

1)  Fluoride is the ONLY chemical added to our water for the purpose of medical treatment.  Fluoride is NOT an essential nutrient.  

2)  The dose cannot be controlled as fluoride goes to everyone regardless of age, health or vulnerability with no warnings.  Infants, young children and people with kidney issues & thyroid issues are at much higher risk than others. ,

3)  The level of fluoride in a mother's breast milk is very low.  Essentially a bottle fed baby consuming fluoridated water can get up to 200 - 300 times more fluoride than one who is breast-fed. In 2011, NY State Health Dept warned mothers against using fluoridated water for bottle fed babies.   

4)  The fluoride added to our water is a toxic waste product (pollution) that we are buying from the phosphate fertilizer industry, not the pharmaceutical grade fluoride that is in other dental products.  These companies would actually have to pay to dispose of this waste, if water companies were not purchasing it.

5)  There has never been a single randomized clinical trial to demonstrate fluoridation's effectiveness or safety.  Dentists along with the CDC make the claim that fluoridation is "one of the top public health achievements of the 20th century."  But ask them for the studies that PROVE this to be the case. A 2007 review in a British Medical Journal reveals that there is a lack of strong evidence showing the effectiveness of fluoride's benefits for dental caries 
Furthermore, a study that tracked fluoride exposure among 600 children in Iowa in 2009 showed there is no significant link between fluoride exposure and tooth decay.   

6)  In 1999, even the CDC acknowledged that the mechanism of fluoride's benefits is topical, not systemic.  So why are we all forced to drink fluoride in our water?  Do we ingest shampoo to clean our hair?  Here are some studies that indicate fluoride's main benefits are topical:

7)  Data from the World Health Organization shows that tooth decay is no lower in fluoridated communities versus non-fluoridated communities. 

8)  In 2010, the CDC reported that 41% of adolescents had dental fluorosis, a mottling of tooth enamel, which may be an indicator of wider systemic damage from children being over-exposed to fluoride. 

9) Fluoride may damage the brain – recent studies from China and a Harvard meta-analysis funded by the NIH conclude that water fluoridation significantly lowers IQ in children and should be considered a neurotoxin.  Very recently (in the spring of 2014), Dr. Philip Landigran, the Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mt. Sinai, and a Professor from Harvard, added fluoride to the list of top neurotoxins as noted here in a prestigious medical journal.  Here is an abstract of the study  And here it appears in The Lancet  There was a lot of press given to this finding.,

10)  There are plenty of risks with fluoride when ingested.  These risks include lowered thyroid function, skeletal fluorosis, bone damage and possible links to bone cancer.

11)  Low income families are penalized by fluoridation as their nutritional status may not equip them with the ability to handle fluoride like those with stronger nutritional status.  Furthermore, they are often unable to pay for filtration systems or bottled, purified water.  How are they to avoid fluoridated water when feeding bottle-fed babies?

12)  As key health studies have not been conducted, more scientists, doctors and dentists are questioning and opposing the practice of fluoridation.  So why aren't we using the precautionary principle with fluoridation?  This review article in The Scientific World Journal does a great job outlining the human health effects of fluoride. 

13)  More communities in North America and the world are opting to get the fluoride out of their water.  Since 2010 over 50 communities in North America have rejected water fluoridation.   Also, earlier this year, Israel banned fluoridation for the entire country.

14)  Dentists can certainly make the claim that people should come in for topical fluoride treatments and/or use fluoridated toothpaste IF the fluoride is removed from our municipal water.

15)  There are more dentists today who question the practice of fluoridating our municipal water although most still buy into the ADA's claim that water fluoridation is "the greatest public health achievement of the 20th century."  This is based on information from 60 years ago.  Here is an article written in a journal by a dentist and Principal Dental Officer who was a very strong advocate for fluoridation and had even published articles about the great benefits of fluoridation, who now admits that he was wrong.   Do the risks outweigh the benefits?  It is estimated that only 2% of our municipal water is used for drinking purposes and with that there is extremely limited topical exposure of the teeth…does it really make sense, and is it ethical, to fluoridate our municipal water?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What Lies Ahead as Biotech Prepares to Take Over the World's Food Supply

19 years ago, the biotechnology industry took control of the major US cash crops, including, corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets.  94% of those crops grown in the U.S. are now genetically engineered to be tolerant of Roundup (glyphosate), filled with Bt Toxin (which makes a worm's stomach explode) or both.

Recently, GE russet potatoes and apples were approved by the USDA - the agency that oversees agriculture in the United States, to keep our food "safe."

Now, more than ever, we need to get labeling laws passed.  The presence of these foods is expected to grow dramatically!

Here is a list of GMO crops being developed: apples, barley, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, chili peppers, coffee, cranberries, cucumber, flax, grapefruit, kiwi, lentils, lettuce, melons, mustard, oats, olives, onions, peanuts, pears, peas, persimmons, pineapple, popcorn, radishes, strawberries, sugar cane, sunflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, walnuts and watercress.(1)(2)

19 years ago, internal scientists in the FDA noted that genetic engineering may introduce new toxins and allergens. Their observations however, were suppressed by FDA administrators (2). Without labeling, it is impossible to track any possible impacts on human health, and once these breeds are out they can't be recalled. For these reasons and many more, it is imperative now, more than ever, that we demand GMO labeling. As more farmers hear these demands, and as consumers boycott GE food, we will stop the proliferation of these new "items" into our food supply by chemical companies. This experiment on our bodies and especially our children's bodies, will only stop if we demand labeling and push the market to respond to our preferences. Don't expect your federal government to do it for you; your health and best interests are not as important as corporate profits and the economy.

1) Dagoberto, Martin,  Citizens For GMO Labeling, "A Case for Urgent State Action on Food Labeling Transparency," March, 2015.
2)  Sesana, Laura, "EPA raises levels of glyphosate residue allowed in food,"  The Washington Times, July 5, 2013.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why GMOs in baby food and infant formula should be labeled

 Written/submitted Testimony In support of HB 6798 – An act requiring labeling of baby food and infant formula containing genetically engineered organisms.
February 24, 2015

Senator Bartolomeo, Representative Urban & Members of the Committee on Children: My name is Beth Beisel, and this is the fourth legislative session that I have come to testify in support of a GMO labeling bill, as a representative of GMO Free CT, a grassroots campaign that led CT to become the first state in the country to pass a GMO labeling law. This particular bill resonates with me because I am a mother, but as a nutrition professional, I know that infants and children are especially vulnerable to GMOs and the pesticides they contain.

Since 1996, when genetically modified foods were introduced into the food supply without our knowledge or consent, an entire generation has evolved.

Today’s children are the first to be raised on food that is started in the laboratory of a chemical company, and grown in a field where water, soil, sediment, air, and the very crops that go into most processed foods are contaminated with chemicals. These processed foods include infant formula, and baby food.

Most adults do not remember classmates having allergies to food, yet today there is barely a classroom in America that doesn't have at least one student with a food allergy, often a severe or potentially fatal food allergy.

According to the CDC, food allergies among children increased by 18% between 1997 and 2007. (Keep in mind that GMOs were first allowed on the market in 1996.) In addition, a study released by the CDC in 2013 claimed that food allergies among children increased by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.

Treating food allergies costs $25 billion per year in the US alone! (Gupta R, et al. The high economic burden of childhood food allergy in the United States. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol, 2012; 109: A1-A162.)

Evidence is anecdotal – we can’t prove that GMOs and their pesticides are the cause of food allergies, but once we have labeling, we will have a better shot at proving it.

Children are most vulnerable to GMOs and the pesticides they are contaminated with because their macro and micro nutrient needs are higher during infancy and childhood than at any other stage of development. During growth, rapid cell division requires much higher amounts of protein, calories, and nutrients. The average adult requires 25-30 grams per kilogram of body weight; a baby (1-3 years old) requires more than three times as much, and an infant requires four times as many calories per kilogram of body weight as an adult! This means that infants and children are consuming at least 1/3 –1/2 as many gmos and glyphosate as adults, in much smaller, developing bodies.

A multitude of health problems have been linked to glyphosate and/or Roundup. 
2) The Myths of Safe Pesticides. By Andre Leu, president of the International Federation of Agriculture Movements, 2014.

Infant formula is a chemically developed substance made primarily from derivatives of genetically engineered corn, and soy. This means that the first food many infants ingest comes from a plant that has its own pesticide number. Every kernel of genetically engineered corn is made to express a deadly toxin, which causes a rootworm’s stomach to explode. Each type of genetically engineered corn is registered with the EPA. Soy and sugar beets are genetically engineered to withstand the application of unprecedented levels of herbicides like Roundup which contains glyphosate and is genotoxic. (A toxic agent that damages DNA molecules in genes, causing mutations, tumors, etc.)

(Newer versions of these crops contain both Bt toxin, AND tolerate herbicide application.) Studies show that glyphosate, when combined with “inert” ingredients, like those used in formulating Roundup, becomes up to one thousand times more potent than glyphosate alone.

Major Pesticides Are More Toxic to Human Cells Than Their Declared Active Principles

Infants do not have a fully developed immune system, nor is their blood brain barrier established. In Canada, BT toxin – used in GE corn, was found in the blood of pregnant women and in their unborn babies.

Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

Peer reviewed medical literature demonstrates that animals exposed to genetically engineered foods develop smaller livers and brains, as well as infertility and cancerous tumors. The biotechnology industry claims that these foods are safe – but our government has NEVER proven them safe. Human safety testing has never been conducted. In fact, science is not part of the FDA approval process . Any ‘test’ summaries provided to the FDA are voluntary. The FDA's 1992 GE safety policy stands today, “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”[1]Yet Monsanto contends, “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” FDA Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties (GMO Policy) Federal Register, Volume 57, Page 129, 1992 2 - Phillip Angell, Monsanto’s Director of Corporate Communications,New York Times Magazine, October 25,1998

Despite what you will hear from the opposition today, no scientific consensus on GMO safety exists.


I strongly urge you to pass this bill and put babies before corporate profits.

Thank you!