Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our Children's Future; Taking Back Our Food!

On July 19, 2014, The CT NOFA Conference, A Summer Gatheing, took place at the beautiful Winvian Resort in Morris Connecticut.

It was humbling to be a keynote speaker with three incredible people, including Taylor Cocalis Suarez, Joan Dye Gussow, and Richard McCarthy.  

 Taylor, founder of the website, spoke about how her life, education, and career plans led her to create a website which now has 55,000 followers and helps thousands of people find jobs in the food industry, particularly the wholesome/healthy/real food industry. Her website, to date, has posted 15,000 jobs.

Joan Dye Gussow, an 86 year old professor, author, food policy expert, environmentalist and gardener, has been called the "matriarch of the eat-locally-think-globally food movement." One thing that she mentioned that really impacted the audience was how truly terrible water bottles are for our world.  She described plastic boulders accumulating on the ocean's floor, destroying our world as we know it.

Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA, 
described the core values of the Slow Food global organization – that everyone has the right to good, clean and fair food. He described how American conversation about food is changing and must include topics like childhood obesity, dwindling farm communities and inadequate food safety.  

The final talk (mine) is detailed here:

Activism, Glyphosate, and GMOs 

Native American Women/MOTHERS chose their leaders, monitored their leaders’ performance, and removed leaders that weren't working for their people.  This is a quote from the National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C.: "Democracy or representative government was a hallmark of some Native societies. The 50 chiefs of the Haudenosaunee Grand Council continue to be chosen by clan MOTHERS who also retain the power to remove leaders based on their performance."   (Thanks to Zen Honeycutt, from Moms Across America for sharing this.)  

The point is: PARENTS need to take our government back.  The American Government is supposed to be for and by the PEOPLE - NOT Corporations. Using our fierce protective instinct and love for our children, we need to take back our government and our food. Seeds should not be owned and sold by chemical companies, period. If we use our voices with intelligence, integrity, and intuition, we can heal the world, one step at a time. 

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round Up, is used on 160 foods as a dessicant - to ripen or dry out - things like tea, wheat, sugar, beans and potatoes. To avoid GMOs, sugar, listed on the label, must be "100% cane sugar.” To avoid glyphosate, 100% cane sugar must be “organic.” Avoid tea that is not organic. Bread, and other wheat containing products should be organic. Unfortunately, organic food is an expensive suggestion, and this is not fair. But as more people demand chemical free food, manufacturers will start to provide it, and purchasing organic may not be as necessary. (Organic food is what our grandparents called “Food.”)  Progress will be going back to growing food without dangerous chemicals.

In May, 2014, the EPA - employees paid with our tax dollars- doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed on/in our food. They were petitioned by big ag and big biotech to increase allowable levels, and they did. Now soybean oil can contain 40 parts per million of glyphosate. Recently, a scientist named Monika Krueger, from Lustig University, did a study which showed that 
1/10 of 1 part per million of glyphosate can destroy beneficial gut bacteria. (Glyphosate is a patented antibiotic, too.) This means that something like soybean oil is now allowed to contain 4000 times the known limit at which glyphosate may impact health. 

Promoting biotechnology has been more important than the health of US Citizens since George H. W. Bush.  President Obama has appointed many people connected with the biotech industry into high level government positions. These include Michael Taylor, second in command at the FDA, in charge of Food Safety, who previously served as Monsanto’s Vice President and before that Monsanto’s attorney.  Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture (leader of the USDA,) also has ties to biotechnology.

Are GMOs going to save the world and its growing population? No. Better and more equitable distribution will. We throw away approximately 1/3 of the food produced in the United States. There is not a food shortage; there is a distribution problem. This is not something that can be fixed by genetically modifying every food seed.   We don’t need food made in a laboratory, and made to withstand chemical contamination to feed the world.  We need to figure out a way to stop letting real food go to waste.
 Readily available and inexpensive processed food is contributing substantially to the obesity epidemic. EVERY FAMILY SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO CLEAN, HEALTHY, SAFE FOOD. Not just those who can afford organic. This economic discrepancy is a human rights issue; it is wrong.

Our tax dollars subsidize and support the huge factory farms, which treat their crops with chemicals and grow genetically engineered food. 

Organic farmers, on the other hand, can’t use GMOs and chemicals –yet they must PAY fees to label them as organic and PAY fees to prove that they are safe. This just seems so backwards.

Why don't we in the United States have the same rights as citizens in 64 other countries in the world do - where GMOs are either banned or labeled? Is it because illness is a commodity? We spend significantly more on healthcare in the US as they do in other countries. This is depressing for those of us who love our country. It is also depressing for anyone who gets sick. Do they wonder what caused the illness, and/or wonder if all the drugs they are prescribed will just make them sicker, while making the medical industry richer?

On a happy note, in 2013, CT passed the first GMO labeling law in the nation.  Then Maine passed a GMO labeling law. Vermont passed one with no trigger clauses. More are on the way, thanks to Citizens for GMO Labeling and a lot of hard working GMO labeling advocates. Our spending counts. Boycott GMOs and chemically contaminated foods. When our collective voices are heard, we will make a difference. We must own our planet, own our food, own our government, and protect future generations.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Everyone deserves transparency, and everyone deserves clean ice cream!

   Having spent most of my life going on vacation to the same beach, I have many memories of walking to the Dairy the afternoon when we had had enough sun and sea, or at night, after dinner. 
   It breaks my heart that I don't let my children go to DQ, like I did.  The ingredients,  which include high fructose corn syrup and milk from cows injected with growth hormone, make me uncomfortable and I work very hard to keep them out of my loved one's bodies.  However, having counseled children with eating disorders, I realize how important it is to not deprive children (or anyone) of certain foods, because it only makes them crave them more. 
   So grateful to have a fabulous alternative - Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream!  No sugar containing product is good for us, but in the real world, I would prefer to allow some sweets, made with "real food"  than have my children crave something that they can't have, and then overdo it.
   Jerry, of Ben and Jerry's came to CT last year and lobbied to help us pass the first GMO labeling law in the country. He is a hero and continues to work to get Americans the transparency they deserve.

Today, Ben & Jerry's co-founder, Jerry Greenfield, will deliver over 500,000 of your signatures to Capitol Hill urging Congress not to block GMO labeling laws!

Hi Beth—
It was hot out yesterday – or, as I like to call it, perfect ice cream weather. I came down from Vermont to deliver your signatures to Congress yesterday, and it was well worth the trip.
Firstly, I just want to thank you for organizing for a cause you believe in. It’s something Ben and I have a huge amount of respect for and have always aspired to, which is why we’re in the process of transitioning all of our euphoric Ben & Jerry’s to source only non-GMO ingredients.
Over half a million of you added your signatures telling Congress not to pass the DARK act, which gave us more than enough reason to celebrate. It was a really great vibe, complete with a giant pint to of Food Fight Fudge Brownie (what’s a political press conference without an oversized pint of ice cream?), some of our most inspiring Congressional reps—and, of course, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
You know what though, Beth? You were the star of yesterday’s event. Because without you, none of this would have happened in the first place.
Over 500,000 signatures is something Congress simply can’t ignore. I’m asking you to do just one more thing, and it only takes a click.
Here’s the link to get the word out about yesterday’s event:
You’re doing great work. Keep it up!
Jerry Greenfield
Ben & Jerry's

Monday, June 30, 2014

Because "friends don't let friends use toxic chemicals!"

Here is a weed killer.  It works and won't poison you.

1 Gallon vinegar
2 Cups Epsom Salts
1/4 cup Dawn Dish soap - blue original

Mix and spray on weeds in the morning.  They will be dead by nightfall.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Homemade Chicken Broth

Bones from 1-2 chickens  (after roasting chicken, remove most of the meat and save the bones)
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 T apple cider vinegar (This is important, because it leaches immunity and minerals from the bones into your broth)
Filtered water - enough to cover the bones
Sea Salt
Pepper - optional

1) Bring above to a boil.

2) If you have a crock pot, put contents into it and set crock pot to low.  If no crock pot, turn the boiling contents down and simmer, covered.

3) Contents should simmer for at least 4 hours, but preferably 12-24 hours. (This is why a crock pot is advantageous; it's safer.)

4) Let it cool, to room temperature.  

5) Skim the fat and any light brown colored scum off the top.

 6) Store in glass containers and freeze. Use to make soups, cook rice or quinoa, or stews.

This is easy and one of the healthiest and most nourishing foods.  If you buy the best quality organic chicken, you don't want to waste one speck of it!   Making bone broth is a simple solution to utilizing the chicken for all it's worth :)

EPA Considering Ban On Monsanto’s Glyphosate Herbicide Following Sombering Meeting With Moms Activist Groups

Two activist groups, Moms Across America and Thinking Moms Revolution, are taking great effort to convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recall Monsanto’s Roundup, the most widely used herbicide on the planet.
When the EPA ignored them, the troops were rallied. 10,000 moms from all over the nation bombarded the EPA with phone calls demanding attention to the topic.
One week later, five Moms Across America leaders along with lawyers, scientists and advocates from Organic Consumers Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, Beyond Pesticides and the Truth-in-Labeling Coalition were granted a meeting with nine EPA employees who have the authority to recall Roundup.
The EPA staff listened intently as one mother after another shared heart-wrenching stories of their experiences parenting children with life-threatening allergies, severe gastrointestinal problems, mysterious autism-spectrum disorders, and major nutritional deficiencies.
After a string of gut-wrenching testimonials, Zen Honeycutt, founder ofMoms Across America, hit the EPA with some hard science. Honeycutt delivered a 20-minute presentation on glyphosate’s role as an environmental cause of so many of the diseases impacting children today. Zen’s presentation and the materials she presented to the EPA is sombering:
-Exposure to glyphosate correlates with chronic illness. Chronically ill people have significantly higher levels of glyphosate in their systems than healthy people.
-Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor which is toxic to placental cells. This means it may impact our ability to conceive and carry healthy babies to term. It may also cause breast cancer.
-Glyphosate destroys the gut bacteria we need for good health. Scientists have observed that in chickens and cattle, glyphosate kills the good gut bacteria while leaving behind bacteria that cause food poisoning. Glyphosate’s negative impact on our microbiome may be the reason for increasing rates of allergies, celiac sprue and gluten intolerance, and colitis and Crohn’s disease.
-Glyphosate makes vaccines far more toxic than they would otherwise be. When children are overexposed to glyphosate, they are more likely to react badly to vaccination. There’s an intricate connection between the gut and the brain, such that an unhealthy digestive system translates into pathologies in the brain. Aluminum, mercury and glyphosate work synergistically to create severe deficiency in sulfate supplies to the brain. This may be what’s causing the epidemic levels of autism and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
-Glyphosate is a chelator that deprives living things of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This is how glyphosate kills plants. It may also be how it’s killing people. Glyphosate-induced vitamin deficiency may be a factor in the growing cancer rates.
-Glyphosate has been directly linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A recent meta-analysis found that exposure to glyphosate doubled the likelihood of contracting B-cell lymphoma.
Will the EPA do what is right, consider this evidence and move to protect our children from Monsanto’s poison?
For five years the EPA has been collecting and analyzing data. This year the agency will publish a risk assessment and open a 60-day public comment period. Then it will publish a proposed registration and provide another opportunity for public comments. Finally, the EPA will make a registration decision to either continue business as usual, place new restrictions on the use of glyphosate or take it off the market.
Moms want it off the market, and they need your help.
Please join the Recall Roundup Campaign by visiting Moms Across America or Thinking Moms Revolution.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

We will be back next year!!! A plea to ban GMO Kentucky Bluegrass from CT

If GMO grass takes over the state and country, those of us who choose to eat organic grass fed beef and drink grass fed milk will not be able to! 

Eating grass fed animal products is extremely healthy for us. It increases the amount of CLA in our diets, and CLA is a cancer-fighter. (Conjugated linoleic acid.)

Since grass is a perennial, the GMO grass will spread like wildfire, and our local farmers will not be able to keep it off of their farms. 

GMO grass is made to withstand being drowned in Round Up. There are scores of peer reviewed studies indicating how toxic Round Up is. 

I don't want any more of this awful chemical in my water or on my food. I don't want my dog to track it into our house and contaminate our furniture with it. Yesterday, I watched as a chemical truck pulled up near my house and sprayed petroleum all over my neighbor's bushes. I can't begin to describe how helpless I felt. We need to start to control the chemical exposure that is surrounding us without our consent, and oftentimes without our knowledge.

This bill must pass. It will ban GMO grass from coming to CT, and also increase the ban on pesticides to high schools and other public places. It will protect us, our children's futures, and generations that we will never know.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Your Veterinarian Will Tell You Why; Your Pediatrician Probably Won’t

Recently, there was a rally hosted by the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT,  at the State Capitol in Hartford. Among the participants was a couple who were handing out a flyer. The flyer said:

 Google: “Beware of the little flags on the lawn.”  Murphy, our therapy dog, died last year on his 6th birthday due to second-hand pesticides and herbicides used by our neighbor.

The couple described how their beloved dog was exposed to an herbicide which their neighbor had sprayed along their fence line, to kill weeds, and how that herbicide had traveled through the air, and into their yard.  When they asked their vet why their dog had gotten cancer at such a young age, the veterinarian replied, “Was your dog exposed to lawn pesticides?”  This was the same question Senator Ed Meyer, co-chair of the CT Legislature’s Environment Committee was asked, by his veterinarian, when his dog died from cancer.

Would a pediatrician ask a grieving parent, who’s child was diagnosed with leukemia or non-Hodgkin' s lymphoma: “Did your child play sports on chemically treated fields?” or “Have you used toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, on your lawn to make it beautiful?” Probably not. But, numerous studies have linked the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides with serious health effects.

19 studies link these pesticides with cancer, 13 with birth defects, 21 with reproductive
problems, and 15 with neurotoxicity or abnormal brain development, 26 with liver and kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormones) system.  Additional studies have linked these pesticides with hyperactivity, developmental delays, behavioral disorders and motor dysfunction. Children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are developing so quickly, their close proximity to the ground, and their smaller size and lower body weight in relation to the amount of chemicals they are exposed to. When children play hard, running fast, they are breathing deeply and more quickly, increasing the amount of toxic chemicals inhaled.  When they fall on the field, their exposed skin absorbs the pesticides. These toxins go directly into the bloodstream.  These toxins have been found in the blood of pregnant women, fetal cord blood, and in urine tests done on young children as well as adults.
When you walk or drive around this spring, observe all the little yellow signs displayed on the pristine lawns, and perhaps for the first time, you will ask yourself: “is it really worth it?”