Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I recently celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary by going out to dinner. After speaking to the concierge desk we settled on a chain steakhouse that I was assured had high quality food. The atmosphere was fabulous. Dimly lit and oozing romance, they sat us at a quiet booth and our server (she was excellent, by the way) greeted us warmly. As I had just begun to settle and peruse the menu, I was floored when I read the description of their high-quality meats at the top of the menu boast about CORN-FED beef!! What?! That immediately eliminated at least half the menu for me...

So, why, you may ask, am I up-in-arms over whether their cows eat corn or grass? "Elementary, my dear Watson," I would reply! Cows are designed to eat grass! Cows are ruminant (multiple-stomached) animals and their bodies are designed to subsist upon the grasses of the prairie. Corn-fed cattle are routinely fed antibiotics because they are not able to digest it and they commonly develop stomach ulcers. So, now we are talking corn-fed and antibiotic laden (at the very least!)The beef industry loves to feed them corn simply because their cows get bigger, faster. Bigger cows + less feeding time = more money!

Personally, I think grass-fed beef even tastes better, but really, that is besides the point. So, the next time someone tells you their cows are corn-fed, tell them to put it out to pasture!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Biotech...Advancing Our Food?

Currently on my nightstand is a book entitled Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food by Daniel Charles. I am about one-third of the way though and already have learned much about the actual history of biotechnology.

I fully understand that there are many well-intentioned scientists who truly believed they were doing the world a service. I just don't believe they were able to see the larger picture at the time and the financial gain was mighty enticing for the corporate world.

The European Union does not allow GMO's (or Genetically Modified Organisms) into their food without the label clearly stating so. The U.S. has no such regulation. This means that everything you eat may be genetically-modified and you would never know. The only way around this is to find a farmer you trust, stop buying anything processed, purchase only organic (we'll talk more about this) or grow your own food as GMO's are found in more than 80% of foods sold in conventional grocery stores.

So, if the FDA and the powers that be have declared GMO's GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe), why did the Europeans demand labelling? A recent study may confirm what the Europeans have already suspected--that there may be health risks with consuming GMO's.

Our health may only last 120 years or so, but the health of our planet is also a factor. By producing things like Bt corn and other Roundup Ready crops, we create a monoculture that is not easily halted. Once one crop becomes dominant, we begin to lose heirloom varieties and with seed patenting in full swing, our options will be limited. This is true regardless of GMO's, however, simply because of our obsession with growing vast fields of corn, soybeans, and canola, but the GMO factor does nothing to help the situation. As an aside, much of this doesn't even go into our food.

Ultimately, we are responsible to nurture the planet we have been given. The intricacies of nature are so beyond our understanding, that, in my opinion, we are not able to improve upon Mother Nature.

I did say I would address GMO's and organic, grocery store food, so here it is...there are only 4 USDA Organic inspectors for the entire country. You do the math and see if you trust that all the companies growing USDA certified organic are using organic practices. I will tell you that I have seen with my own eyes that this is not the case.

I guess I have begun to ramble, but my point is that we should at the very least know if we are consuming GMO's. We deserve a choice!


Friday, July 10, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know It...

I recently posted a video on the effect of the drug Effexor on pregnant mothers on my Facebook page and got a whole slew of comments. I felt it deserved a follow up for those of you with questions, so here goes...

Remember, I am not a medical doctor and I am not in the habit of handing out medical advice. I am merely an advocate of researching for yourself all possibilities.

My commentary is on psychotropic drugs in general and not any one in particular as they are meant to treat the same or very similar cases.

Let's start by saying that there is no such thing as a "chemical imbalance" in medical terms. There are no objective tests being done to prove that someone's brain chemistry is unbalanced. In fact, those of you who have been on psychotropic drugs or have had the recommendation to begin treating with them, you know that any test you may have taken was completely subjective. You may have filled out a questionaire, consulted with a psychiatrist or psychologist, or spoken with your medical doctor.

There was, in fact, a program called "Teen Screen" that tested thousands of high school kids (with a series of questions) to see whether or not they were candidates for psychotropic drugs. (By the way, there is also something called the Mother's Act being legislated right now to do the same thing for new mothers.) When this particular test was taken by normal, healthy adults, approximately 80% of those tested would have been placed on drugs. Questions went through a range of normal, human emotions that were in no way out of the ordinary.

Our society has convinced us that we need to be "shiny, happy people" every day. That is simply unrealistic and completely untrue. I think of myself as a rather optimistic person, however, I have most certainly had times in my life where I have felt "down in the dumps", anxious (to the point of having panic attacks), or overwhelmed. I consider those feelings normal.

The trick was not medicating to cover up the symptoms I was experiencing, but to face what was causing them head on. It wasn't until I addressed the numerous issues that were causing those feelings that I was able to heal.

Certainly, some of these emotions can be caused by circumstances or events (as we all know), however, they can also be caused by nutritional toxicities or deficiencies, stress, lack of exercise, stress, not following one's passion, and did I mention stress?

Find what is causing your particular issue, be it depression, anxiety, or any other diagnosis, and get to the root. This may mean reaching out to a counselor or psychologist for assistance in recognizing the causes, but it does not mean there is necessity to medicate.

For more information and to understand the serious effects of these drugs, see the film "Making a Killing".

With Unconditional Love & Gratitude~