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October 2007

October 28, 2007


Excitotoxin: a substance added to foods and beverages that literally stimulates neurons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. Con be found in such ingredients as monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (Nutrasweet®), cysteine, hydrolyzed protein and aspartic acid.

An enlightening and frightening book by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

If you're into the “health food” movement, you probably try to avoid MSG. But you may not know that the other excitotoxins are equally as dangerous and damaging or that they are more dangerous and damaging in combination.

Let's start with MSG. It comes from a seaweed, kombu, found in Japan. The seaweed has been used by the Japanese as a flavor enhancer for centuries. Earlier in this century the “taste enhancing” ingredient was isolated. This is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). The chemist who discovered this chemical turned it into a multi-million dollar industry. The center of the MSG empire is the Ajinomoto Company, which produced most of the world's supply of MSG and another taste-enhancing substance, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which also contains MSG.

After World War II, the American food manufacturers discovered MSG's taste enhancing properties. Soon all the food giants, Pillsbury, Oscar Meter Libby's and Campbell's were adding millions of pounds of MSG a year to foods. The amount of MSG added to foods has doubled every decade. By the 1970's, more than 262,000 metric tons of MSG were produced.

Initially researchers assumed glutamate supplied the brain with energy. Tests were done to see if giving MSG to retarded children would improve their IQ. The tests failed. In 1957, tests were done on infant mice to see if it would improve hereditary retinal dystrophy. But when the eye tissue was examined they were surprised to discover that the MSG had destroyed all the receptors of the inner layer of the animal's eye.

This test was repeated 10 years later by Dr. Olney, and it was discovered that MSG is not only toxic to the retina, but also to the brain. When the animals brains were examined they found that the hypothalamus, a specialized area of the brain, had also been destroyed — after a SINGLE dose of MSG.

In spite of this discovery, the food manufacturers continued to add ton of this excitotoxic additive to foods of all kinds, including baby foods. Dr. Olney tried to get the FDA to take action, they refused. So he went public, telling of the dangers of MSG and the increased danger of adding it to baby foods. After his testimony before congress the food industry agreed to remove MSG from baby foods. BUT THEY DIDN'T REALLY. They substituted hydrolyzed vegetable protein that contains THREE known excitotoxins including MSG. They did this for seven more years. There is evidence that excitotoxins are still being added to baby foods in the form of caseinate, beef or chicken broth, vegetable protein, or flavoring.

The food industry knows that an increasing portion of the public is wary of MSG consumption. So, MSG is hidden in other seemingly innocuous ingredients as “natural flavoring”, which may contain 20-60% MSG. Or “hydrolyzed plant protein”, also called “vegetable protein” or “plant protein”. This is a powerful excitotoxin mixture that the manufacturers say is safe and natural. After all it's made from plants!

This substance is actually made from junk vegetables that are unfit for sale. They are selected so as to have a high content of glutamate. The extraction process involves boiling the plants in a vat of acid. This is followed by neutralizing the acid with caustic soda. The resultant brown sludge is collected and allowed to dry. The resulting product is a brown powder that is high in three excitotoxins: glutamate, aspartate and cystoic acid (which the body converts to cysteine). This is added by the food industry to everything from tuna to baby food.

Another common excitotoxin which we are familiar is NutraSweet. 40% of this compound is the excitotoxin aspartate. Another powerful brain toxin which can produce similar neuron damage to glutamate. NutraSweet is commonly used in diet foods and beverages.

It is well known that liquid forms of excitotoxins are much more toxic to the brain and are absorbed faster and produce higher blood levels than do dry forms.

The negative effects of excitotoxins are not limited to children. There is growing evidence that excitotoxins play a major role in the development of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), as well a many other rare disorders of the nervous system. All of these diseases show slow destruction of brain cells that are specifically sensitive to excitotoxin damage.

In all these diseases, neuron's that use glutamate for a transmitter are slowly destroyed. At the same time, neurons that use other types of transmitters are spared.

While there is no definite proof that food borne excitotoxins “cause” these diseases, there is an increasing amount of evidence that they do aggravate a person's existing propensity to manifest one of these neurological conditions.

Other diseases that are being linked to excitotoxin build-up in the brain include strokes, brain injury, seizures, migraine headaches, hypoxic brain damage and AIDS dementia.

Additives that ALWAYS contain MSG:
Monosodium Glutamate
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Hydrolyzed Protein
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
Plant Protein Extract
Sodium Caseinate
Calcium Caseinate
Yeast Extract
Textured Protein
Autolyzed Yeast
Hydrolyzed Oat Flour

Additives that FREQUENTLY contain MSG
Malt Extract
Malt Flavoring
Natural Flavoring
Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring

Additives that MAY contain MSG or excitotoxins:
Soy Protein Concentrate
Say Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Concentrate

Protease enzymes of various sources can release excitotoxin amino acids from food proteins.

The information in this post has been taken from the book, Excitotoxins, by Russell Blaylock, M.D.

October 27, 2007

Organic Milk (and more) That Isn't

This article / interview is from The News Target, by Mike Adams.
It can be found here: http://www.newstarget.com/021763.html

With consumer demand for organic products continuing to grow, more large corporations are entering the organic market. To maximize profits, some of these companies don't follow organic standards but still label products as organic. For example, Horizon Organic and Aurora Organic, sold by Wal-Mart and other retailers, continue to produce “organic“ milk under factory-farm conditions that few reasonable people would consider truly organic.

According to the Organic Consumers Association, half of Horizon's “organic“ milk today comes from what can only be considered “factory“ dairy feedlots -- and much of Aurora's organic milk does as well. Rather than buy organic calves that have been raised from birth on organic farms, these companies seemed to have discovered it's cheaper to buy conventional calves that have been raised on conventional farms, install them in factory feedlots, then milk them and call it organic.

The situation has become so alarming that the Organic Consumers Association ultimately called for a boycott, and many knowledgeable consumers are now avoiding the Horizon brand entirely.

The organic milk controversy extends to organic soy milk as well. Horizon Organic's parent company, Dean Foods, also bought out Silk, the leading organic soy milk brand in the United States. Dean Foods has pushed for lower organic standards in the United States and to allow industrial-style production to be called “organic.“

Meanwhile, major grocery chains import cheap, so-called “organic“ soybeans from China, where the workers are treated much like slaves and organic standards are dubious. They are also imported from Brazil where the Amazon rainforest is being bulldozed in order to create more acreage for growing soybeans.

To gain more insight on the details of this emerging battle over organic standards, NewsTarget editor Mike Adams sat down with Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for some straight talk on organic milk. What follows is the full interview.

Mike: I am here today talking with Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association. That is at www.OrganicConsumers.org. What's the overview of the situation on organic milk, Ronnie?

Ronnie: Well, the good news is, there is such a huge demand for organic products across the United States and North America that there is a serious shortage of supply. One of the types of products that are in serious short supply is organic milk. This is already more than a $1-billion-a-year industry in the United States, out of the $15 billion in organic food sales last year.

The problem is that our government - specifically the U. S. Department of Agriculture - takes about $90 billion of our tax money every year, and they give subsidies to all of these factory farms to go organic, but they give no subsidies to help family-scale dairies make the transition to organic. We literally do not have enough family farmers with the wherewithal to achieve organic certification and make the product.

At the same time, we have these giant retail giants like Wal-Mart who have noticed that the public wants organic food and they are willing to pay a premium price for it, so they and the other retail chain stores have moved with a vengeance to dominate the organic market. Wal-Mart is now the number-one seller of organic milk in the country. The problem is that the milk they are selling - Horizon Organic - is not really organic. It is coming from the factory-style dairy farms where the animals are kept in intensive confinement and have been imported from conventional farms as calves. They simply label it organic, and the USDA lets them get away with it.

Mike: Let us get into more detail on that, because I want people to understand how they do an end-run around this organic label. First, do you agree that there is some degree of success in the fact that consumer demand for organic products is now so strong? Is that not a success by itself?

Ronnie: It is a tremendous success. It is attributed to the fact that a lot of us spent the last 30 years building up an alternative food and farming system in the United States. This alternative system has proved to be much better than industrial agriculture, and so now the latest polls show 75 percent of Americans say they are shopping for healthier food. If you look at the statistics, about 12 cents of every grocery store dollar are going for foods that are labeled as either natural or organic.

Mike: Well, that is a substantial sum. That is growing at, what, about 20 percent a year or something?

Ronnie: Growing at 20 percent a year, whereas conventional food sales tend to grow about 2 percent a year. This 20 percent-a-year growth has been steady ever since 1991. It appears that it will continue through the end of this decade, so by then most food sold in grocery stores will have a label that says 'natural' or 'organic'.

The question is: If we let these gigantic corporations like Horizon and Wal-Mart take over the industry, will it really be organic?

How the USDA enables big business to corrupt organic standards for profit

Mike: Let's talk about the definition of organic, then. What should organic really mean in terms of, not only the treatment of the cows, but also what chemicals are not in the milk, for example? What is the real definition?

Ronnie: There are organic farmers all over the world - in about 100 countries - who are certified organic nowadays. Traditionally, organic has always meant that you raise crops without chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers and that you raise animals without drugging them up with hormones or antibiotics. You cannot take sewage sludge and put it on farmlands. You cannot feed animals things like blood, slaughterhouse waste, manure and municipal garbage, and you cannot use untested and hazardous technologies like genetic engineering or fruit irradiation. The animals have to be raised on pasture - which is their natural behavior - where every day of the growing season, weather permitting, they are out on pasture eating grass and foraging as they have evolved to do.

What has happened recently is that Wal-Mart was buying their organic milk from genuine organic dairy farmers that pastured their animals, and then they turned around to that company - Organic Valley - and they said, “Hey, we want a lower price,“ just as Wal-Mart always does. Organic Valley said no, so Wal-Mart then turned to Dean Foods, the largest dairy conglomerate in the world - which had bought out Horizon Organic - and said, “Would you sell to us?“ To which Horizon said, “We will sell you the cheapest organic milk you have ever seen.“

Horizon conveniently took advantage of the fact that Federal Organic Standards say the cows must have access to pasture, and they said, “Oh well, I guess theoretical access to pasture is good enough. We are going to chain up our cows and milk them three times a day, and they will never get out pasturing unless there is a news organization coming to the farm that day. We will still call it organic.“ They have been doing this for four years, and there have been complaints from the Organic Consumers Association and organic farmers all over the country.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has completely ignored these complaints for four years. However, now this controversy has reached such a state, with the mass media covering it and retail stores across the country starting to drop Horizon and Aurora Organic, that the USDA is finally making noises that they will clear up this situation and promulgate federal regulations that actually require the animals to be pastured.

They will make sure that the animals were not imported from some conventional dairy farm where they were weaned on blood, fed antibiotics, slaughterhouse waste and chicken manure and then called “organic.“ The animals must be raised from birth as organic, and they must be pastured every day during t he growing season - a minimum of 120 days a year. This is what organic has always meant in terms of raising cows, and it is what it should mean now.

Mike: Now, these are pretty serious accusations of Horizon Milk or Dean Foods' behavior. How are you able to support this? Do you have an insider taking pictures, or how did you become aware of this behavior on their part?

Ronnie: It was called to our attention by a watchdog organization called The Cornucopia Institute, which actually visited some of these factory-style dairy farms that Horizon and Aurora call organic. They witnessed first-hand things like a farm where there are 4,000 animals, but only a few hundred acres of pasture. You cannot possibly pasture animals on that little pasture, especially when they are in semi-arid parts of Idaho, Colorado and West Texas.

Then beyond that, workers on these farms started coming forth as whistleblowers. There was a story in the Chicago Tribune about one of these whistleblowers who pointed out that these cows are not put out to pasture. The only time they are put out to pasture is when there is a media organization or an important person coming out.

Yes, it is first-hand information. It is a look at the terrain that these factory-style dairy feedlots are set on. Look at the size of their pasture, and then the fact that there was a national survey of organic dairy farms that came out March 22 - which the unethical dairies did not respond to or they got really low ranks - whereas, the ethical producers were happy to be transparent about their practices.

The good news is, almost all the organic farmers in the country are actually practicing real organic standards. The bad news is that the market leader, Horizon Organic, and their junior partner, Aurora Organic, are flagrantly violating organic standards to the point where we, the Organic Consumers Association, had to call for a boycott. We have never called for a boycott against an organic product before. This was going too far, so starting in early April, we called on consumers across the country to start boycotting the products of Horizon Organic and Aurora Organic, and to boycott the brand names that the leading retailers are selling from Horizon and Aurora at Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Giant, Publix and Wild Oats.

Mike: Well, this seems like a clear case in which big business is now seeing dollar signs whenever the word “organic“ appears, so they are doing the minimum necessary or even just blatantly violating the rules in order to put that word on their products, regardless of the spirit of the law or the original intent of organics. Is this just corporate greed?

Ronnie: This is, and the sad thing is, how easy it would be to help 5,000 or 10,000 conventional family farmers make the transition in their dairies to organic. It would not be that hard. It would not cost that much money, and this way we could still have organic standards that were real, animals treated humanely and not damage the environment.

Of course, we have not even mentioned that one of the reasons you want organic animals to be outdoors and pastured is because the quality of the meat and milk is much higher if the animals are raised naturally on grass. The other organic requirements mean that the end product is going to be healthier as well. They are not going to have antibiotic residues or genetically engineered hormones. They are not going to be spreading mad cow disease and so on. We, right now in the United States, have an excess of milk being produced by family-scale dairy farmers who are not yet organic. It would be very simple to help those who want to make the transition do so if we were to force the government to give us a fair share of our subsidies to help these farmers do that.

Lax standards of corporate manufacturers and retailers affect both organic milk and soymilk products
Mike: Now, you mentioned that pasture-fed cows are healthier cows. This gets back to something you mentioned earlier that needs to be emphasized, because most people simply do not believe this is happening. Conventional cows, in fact, are being fed chicken litter and other animals.

Ronnie: Yes, they take it from birth. Cows were traditionally weaned on their mother's milk, but industrial agriculture figured out that it's pretty expensive to wean the calves on milk, so they decided to wean them on blood. That is common practice nowadays on a conventional dairy farm. Then, you feed them primarily grains that are genetically engineered, but mixed in with those grains are things that make the animals grow faster and put on weight, like slaughterhouse waste - basically ground up pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and everything else are fed to them.

They found out all these factory poultry farms around the country were producing billions of pounds of manure that pollute the environment. What can we do with all this manure? Presto, they feed it back to cows. They sweep up the manure, the feathers and the dropped bits of cattle that are fed to chickens in their feed. They sweep that all up, turn around and feed it back to cows.

Most people in the United States are shocked when they hear that 80 percent of the drugs and antibiotics made in this country are not fed to humans to cure them of some illness, but fed to animals in their feed every day to make them grow faster. Scientists do not totally understand why, but they do know that if you cram thousands of animals together in unsanitary or unhygienic - not to mention inhumane - conditions, they all get sick and die.

The only way to keep them alive is to constantly feed them antibiotics. Of course, what that means is you turn around and drink a glass of dairy milk from a conventional farm, and you are getting residues of antibiotics in every drink. They also figured out, “We could use our genetically engineered hormone to shoot up these cows with this hormone produced by Monsanto, even though it is banned in just about every industrialized country in the world except for the United States.“ If you shoot up dairy cows with this hormone, you can force them to give more milk, and you can keep milking them even past their lactation period. You can actually milk a cow not for a year, but for up to a thousand days. Of course, the cow will drop dead after that, but they do not care.

For all these reasons, there is a huge movement on the part of American consumers and especially concerned parents and concerned grandparents - if they drink milk and if their kids and grandparents drink - to switch to organic.

Mike: Is it fair to say, Ronnie, that the organic-labeled Horizon Milk on the shelves in Wal-Mart right now comes, at least in part, from cows that were at one point in their lives fed blood, manure, chicken litter and some other things you mentioned? Is that accurate?

Ronnie: Yes, half of Horizon Organic's milk today comes from these factory dairy feedlots. One hundred percent of Aurora Organic's milk comes from these factory dairy feedlots. It is cheaper to not buy organic calves that have been raised from birth on an organic farm, but to buy conventional calves that have been raised as cheaply as possible on a conventional farm. The routine practice today on a conventional farm is feeding the animals blood plasma as a milk replacer. You feed them genetically engineered grains, slaughterhouse waste and chicken manure. That is industry standard. Why? You can make more money doing it that way.

Mike: Okay, so for those reading this, take a closer look at that bowl of cereal next time. If you are pouring cow's milk in there, you might want to buy genuine organic and not the cheap stuff.

Ronnie: Here is another point that you might think about: for those people who do not drink dairy milk, but who buy organic soy milk, the leading organic soy milk brand in the United States is Silk. Many consumers have no idea that Silk - just like Horizon Organic Milk - was bought out by this giant conglomerate, Dean Foods.

Silk used to buy their organic soybeans from U.S. and Canadian organic soybean farmers, and they paid them a decent price - $16 to $21 a bushel - for these organic soybeans. Well, now that Dean Foods has bought out Silk, they are starting to import cheap, so-called organic soybeans from China, where the workers are treated like slaves and organic standards are dubious. Or, they are importing soybeans from Brazil where there is a huge uproar over the fact that people are whacking down the Amazon - the lungs of the planet - in order to plant export crops, specifically soybeans, to export.

Even if we think this does not affect us, because we do not eat meat or we do not eat dairy, we have to see the effect of these big corporations like Dean Foods coming into organic. Wal-Mart wants to sell you stuff that is cheaper than their competitors, and the only way they can do that is to outsource it from overseas - places like China and Brazil - where worker rights and environmental standards are routinely violated, or else lower standards in the United States and allow industrial-style production to call itself organic.

Mike: Now, this is obviously a very important story for consumers to follow. How can they continue to get updates from you on this story?

Ronnie: Every day on our news site, www.OrganicConsumers.org you will find updates. We have a whole section of our website called “Safeguard Organic Standards,“ where you can take action … send a message to what we are calling the “Shameless Seven.“ These are the large corporations trying to defraud consumers and put ethical organic farmers out of business by labeling factory farm production - and slave labor production, in the case of China - as organic.

Mike: I want to thank you, Ronnie, for taking the time to give us all of this shocking information today.

Ronnie: Thank you.

Related Resources

• Organic Consumers Association – (www.organicconsumers.org)

• The Cornucopia Institute – (www.cornucopia.org)

• USDA's National Organic Program (http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOP)


About the author: Mike Adams is a holistic nutritionist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guies, and books on topics like health and the environment, reaching millions of readers with information that is saving lives and improving personal health around the world. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a maker of energy efficient LED lights that greatly reduce CO2 emissions. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NewsTarget subscription database. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, Pilates and organic gardening. Known as the 'Health Ranger,' Adams' personal health statistics and mission statements are located at www.HealthRanger.org

October 25, 2007


*Comments closed due to Spam*

A client called me a few weeks ago looking for advice about what I call a Cleanse-In-
A-Box. These “Intestinal Cleanse” formulas are found all over the internet, on late night TV, at “health food stores” and increasingly at the local drug store. They promise great rewards through little effort. I have huge concerns about the efficacy and safety of these products.

Before you decide to purchase or take a cleansing product, please consider the following factors carefully. I know that many alternative health care practitioners advocate these products. I do not feel that they are safe or valuable for you and I want you to understand why.

Check the ingredient lists. Look for Senna, Cascara Sagrada and Psyllium.
Psyllium is a dietary fiber commonly used to improve bowel regularity. It serves this function well, although I prefer flax fiber which I feel is less likely to cause gas. However, psyllium is very inexpensive. Don’t pay a high price for a “cleanse” that is mostly inexpensive psyllium.

Senna and Cascara Sagrada are potent herbal laxatives. All the medical studies I’ve read say that it is unsafe to take either for more than seven days in a row. They can be habit-forming even in a very short time. These products work by irritating the intestinal lining. Cleansing by irritating? I don’t think that is a good idea.

These “cleanses” promise dramatic results. We see all kinds of sensational, tabloid-style advertising about the weight we can lose by eliminating pounds of waste we are carrying around and the miles of “black snakes” or “mucosal plaque” you can eliminate. Recognize that these are advertising ploys. Senna and Cascara Sagrada are laxatives that can cause you to have a runny stool – much of the weight you are losing may be water your body shouldn’t be losing. Taking some pills and tinctures may lead to some weight loss, but that you are likely to gain most of it back when you return to normal eating and stop taking the product.

Here’s the technical bit that makes me wonder about the black snakes: medical studies show that use of senna or cascara sagrada can stain the internal lining of the large intestine black. Use of senna and cascara sagrada can cause over-production of mucus, which is protective of the delicate internal tissue. Put the two together. Sounds like black, tarry mucus to me. I have not found a single medical study verifying the existence of mucoid plaque in normal individuals. Is it possible that these expensive “cleanses” actually create the “snakes” they claim to eliminate from the body?

So what to do? I suggest a dietary solution, a dietary cleanse that continues to nourish your body without irritation. You can cut back on calories, take in large quantities of fiber, have a few colonics, replenish your good bacteria with Probiotics and feel as fantastic as all these glossy, well-marketed “cleanses” say you’ll feel. Safely.

October 23, 2007

Breastfeeding Basics - Get a Great Start!

Saturday, October 27 1:30 - 4 pm, at the Mothers Guild in Ventura. $30couple/$20 person.
RSVP 667-2115 or 640-1417

Learn the skills you'll need to get breastfeeding off to a great start. Perfect for both parents -Dad's make the difference!. You'll learn how and when breast milk is made, how much your baby needs, the basics of latch and positioning, typical nursing patterns, when to get help, and recommendations for supplies and equipment.

Taught by Renee Mandala, M.A.,Certified Lactation Counselor, UCLA-trained Lactation Educator, DONA-certified doula,who runs a private practice in Ventura specializing in breastfeeding, birth & postpartum support.

Next class: Saturday, November 17 or December 15th.

October 20, 2007

The 100 Year Health Experiment

Even though this experiment has been going on for about 100 years, you may not have heard it. It doesn’t have an official name. It is certainly the longest and largest study ever conducted on the connection between diet, chemicals and health.

The subjects in this study don’t even realize that they are the unwitting participants in a ongoing experiment on the effects of specific foods and chemicals on living organisms.

Here are some of the amazing results of the experiment:

• 8% develop diabetic — an estimated 50% are pre-diabetic
• 15% of children develop chronic obesity — another 15% exhibit being overfat
• 35% of adults develop chronic obesity — another 35% exhibit being overfat
• 1 of 9 males develop prostate cancer
• 1 of 9 females develop breast cancer
• 40% will die of heart disease
• 10% develop osteoporosis
• 1% develop autoimmune disease annually
• 50% develop addictions to stimulants

And the sad part is - WE ARE THE TEST ANIMALS!

Over the last 100 years this has developed so slowly, that we didn’t notice. When the rate of diabetes increases 1/2 % a year, it seems insignificant, but over 100 years you arrive at half the population living with a weakened pancreas. (The rate increased by 33% in the 90’s.) Same with cancer, heart disease, etc. Slow year over year rates of growth seem insignificant and may not be a trend. But over 50 - 100 years, they are staggering.

What’s the question, or assumption, behind the experiment?

I’d say it’s “Can the original design of nature be improved upon by human invention, ingenuity and intervention?”

The question each of us has to ask, is what results of this experiment am I manifesting? Look at the list. What are you manifesting? It’s not an accident. It’s the result of the experiment.

There are a few people who are removing themselves from the experiment. It’s not an easy task. The experiment has permeated all areas of life.

To extract oneself, one has to stop having any relationship with the experimental protocols.

Here is a partial list:

• Meat products from factory farms
• Dairy products from factory farms
• Egg products from factory farms
• All packaged and processed foods with additives
• All soft drinks and sports drinks
• All caffeine drinks and other stimulant drinks
• All prophylactic supplements taken out of fear
• All pharmaceuticals taken to manage symptoms
• Don't believe any corporate advertising about what's good for you - be skeptical
• Don't believe your doctor's advice about what's good for you - be skeptical

For most people this is a daunting task. It means relearning just about everything they do. Learning to live in a whole new paradigm.
Most people can't seriously entertain the thought that they live in a world of such deception. So they just reject the idea.

Seriously, take a look around you. Look at your family, friends, co-workers and their family and friends. How many are overweight? How many are obese? How many are diabetic? How many have some form of cancer? How many have heart problems? How many have had a stroke? How many live on some kind of medication to attempt to manage some set of symptoms? How many have chronic fatigue? How many struggle with candida? How many have osteoporosis?

This is not normal! In societies who don't yet live on this Standard American Diet (SAD) these diseases are not epidemic. They occur at low percent of population rates. Unfortunately for them, as they are brought into the experiment, the rates of these western style diet diseases increase.

We ARE the lab rats! We've turned our world into a huge laboratory. The experiment and it's funding is not going to be over any time soon.

The good news is that the doors to the lab are not locked. You can leave anytime you want.

A Very Inconvenient Truth

by Capt Paul Watson
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The meat industry is one of the most destructive ecological industries on the planet. The raising and slaughtering of pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys and chickens not only utilizes vast areas of land and vast quantities of water, but it is a greater contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than the automobile industry.

The seafood industry is literally plundering the ocean of life and some fifty percent of fish caught from the oceans is fed to cows, pigs, sheep, chickens etc in the form of fish meal. It also takes about fifty fish caught from the sea to raise one farm raised salmon.

We have turned the domestic cow into the largest marine predator on the planet. The hundreds of millions of cows grazing the land and farting methane consume more tonnage of fish than all the world's sharks, dolphins and seals combined. Domestic house cats consume more fish, especially tuna, than all the world's seals.

So why is it that all the world's large environmental and conservation groups are not campaigning against the meat industry? Why did Al Gore's film Inconvenient Truth not mention the inconvenient truth that the slaughter industry creates more greenhouse gases than the automobile industry?

The Greenpeace ships serve meat and fish to their crews everyday. The World Wildlife Fund does not say a word about the threat that meat eating poses for the survival of wildlife, the habitat destroyed, the wild competitors for land eliminated, or the predators destroyed to save their precious livestock.

When I was a Sierra Club director for three years, everyone looked amused when I brought up the issue of vegetarianism. At each of our Board meeting dinners, the Directors were served meat and only after much prodding and complaining did the couple of vegetarian directors manage to get a vegetarian option. At our meeting in Montana we were served Buffalo and antelope, lobsters in Boston, crabs in Charleston, steak in Albuquerque etc. But what else can we expect from a “conservation“ group that endorses trophy hunting.

As far as I know and I may be wrong, but my organization, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the only conservation organization in the world that endorses and practices vegetarianism. My ships do not serve meat or fish ever, nor do we serve dairy products. We've had a strictly vegan menu for years and no one has died of scurvy or malnutrition.

The price we pay for this is to be accused by other conservation organizations of being “animal rights”. Like it's a bad word. They say it with the same disdain that Americans used to utter the word communist in the Fifties.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not an animal rights organization. We are exclusively involved in interventions against illegal activities that threaten and exploit marine wildlife and habitat. We are involved in ocean wildlife conservation activities.

Yet because we operate our ships as vegan vessels, other groups, and now the media dismiss us as an animal rights organization.

Now, first of all, I don't see being accused of as an animal rights organization to be an insult. PETA was co-founded by one of my crew-members and many of my volunteers come from the animal rights movement. But it is not accurate to refer to Sea Shepherd as animal rights when our organization pushes a strict conservation enforcement policy.

And secondly, we do not promote veganism on our ships because of animal rights. We promote veganism as a means of practicing what we preach which is ocean conservation.

There is not enough fish in the world's oceans to feed 6.6 billion human beings and another 10 billion domestic animals. That is why all the world's commercial fisheries are collapsing. That is why whales, seals, dolphins and seabirds are starving. The sand eel for example, the primary source of food for the comical and beautiful puffin is being wiped out by Danish fishermen solely to provide fish meal to Danish factory farmed chickens.

This is a solid conservation connection between eating meat and the destruction of life in our oceans.

In a world fast losing resources of fresh water, it is sheer lunacy to have hundreds of millions of cows consuming over 1,000 gallons of water for every pound of beef produced.

And the pig farms in North Carolina produce so much waste that it has contaminated the entire ground water reserves of the entire state. North Carolinians drink pig shit with their water but its okay they say, they just neutralize it with chemicals like chlorine.

Most people don't want to see where their meat comes from. They also don't want to know what the impact of their meat has on the ecology. They would rather just deny the whole thing and pretend that meat is something that comes in packages from the store.

But, because there is this underlying guilt always present, it manifests itself as anger and ridicule towards people who live the most environmentally positive life styles on the planet -- the vegans and the vegetarians.

This is demonstrated through constant marginalization especially in the media. Any organization, like Sea Shepherd for example, that points out the ecological contradictions of eating meat is immediately dismissed as some wacko animal rights organization.

I did not set the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society up as an animal rights organization and we have never promoted animal rights in the organization. What we have promoted and what we do is oceanic wildlife and habitat conservation work.

And the truth is that you can't practice solid and constructive conservation work without promoting veganism and/or vegetarianism as something that promotes the conservation of resources.

A few years ago I attended a dinner meeting of the American Oceans Campaign hosted by Ted Danson. He opened the dinner by saying that the choice he had to make was between fish and chicken for the dinner, and what was the point of saving fish if you can't eat them?

Guest speaker, Oceanographer Sylvia Earle put Ted in his place by saying she did not think that he was being very funny. She said that she considered fish to be her friends and she did not believe in eating her friends. So neither Sylvia nor I ate dinner that night.

I met Sylvia again at another meeting, this time of Conservation International held at some ritzy resort in the Dominican Republic. Harrison Ford was there and the buzz was what could be done to save the oceans. I was invited as an advisor. I sat on a barstool in an open beach-front dining plaza as the conservationists approached tables literally bending from the weight of fish and exotic seafood including caviar. I looked at Sylvia Earle and she just shook her head and rolled her eyes.

The problem is that people like Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, or the heads of Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and many other big groups just refuse to accept that their eating habits may be just as much a part of the problem as all those things they are trying to oppose.

I remember one Greenpeacer defending his meat eating by saying that he was a carnivore and that predators have their place and he was proud to be one.

Now the word predator in relationship to human beings has a rather scary connotation having nothing to do with eating habits, but for any human being to describe themselves as a carnivore is just plain ridiculous.

Humans are not and have never been carnivores. A lion is a carnivore as is a wolf, as is a tiger, or a shark. Carnivores eat live animals. They stalk them, they run them down, they pounce, they kill, and they eat, blood dripping, meat at body temperature. Nature, brutal red in tooth and claw.

I've never met a human that can do that. Yes we found ways to run down animals and kill them. In fact, we've come to be rather efficient at the killing part. But we can't eat the prey until we cut it up and cook it and that usually involves some time between kill and eating. It could be an hour or it could be years.

You see our meat eating habits are more closely related to the vulture, the jackal or other carrion eaters. This means that we can't be described as carnivores. We are better described as necrovores or eaters of rotting flesh.

Consider that some of the beef that people eat has been dead for months and in some cases for years. Dead and hanging in freezers, full of uritic acid and bacteria. It's a corpse in a state of decomposition. Not much that can be said to be noble about eating a cadaver.

But, a little dose of denial allows us to bite into that Big Mac or cut into that prime rib.

But, that one 16 ounce cut of prime rib is equal to a thousand gallons of fresh water, a few acres of grass, a few fish, a quarter acre of corn etc. What's the point of taking a shorter shower to conserve water as Greenpeace is preaching if you can sit down and consume a 1000 gallons of water at a single meal?

And, that single cut of meat would have cost as much in vegetable resources equivalent to what could be fed to an entire African village for a week.

The problem is that we choose to see our contradictions when it is convenient for us to see them and when it is not we simply go into a state of suspended disbelief and we eat that steak anyway because, hey we like the taste of rotting flesh in the evening.

Have you ever thought why it is that with a person, it's an abortion but when it comes to a chicken, it's an omelette?

Does anyone really know what's in a hot dog? We do know that the government health department allows for an acceptable percentage of bug parts, rodent droppings and other assorted filth to go into the mix.

And now tuna fish comes with a health warning saying it should not be eaten by pregnant women or small children because of high levels of mercury. Does that mean mercury is good for adults and non-pregnant women? What are they telling us here?

Eating meat and fish is not only bad for the environment it's also unhealthy. Yet even when it comes to our own health we slip into denial mode and order the whopper.

The bottom-line is that to be a conservationist and an environmentalist, you must practice and promote vegetarianism or better yet veganism.

It is the lifestyle that leaves the shallowest ecological footprint, uses fewer resources and produces less greenhouse gas emissions, it's healthier and it means you're not a hypocrite.

In fact, a vegan driving a hummer would be contributing less greenhouse gas carbon emissions than a meat eater riding a bicycle.

Capt Paul Watson

October 15, 2007

Referred Pain Can Be A Pain In The Neck

Guest Editorial by Chandler Collins, DC
*comments closed due to spam*

How many times have you woken up some morning in the not-too-distant past to find that you have a new ache or pain? Trouble turning your neck. Pain around your shoulder blade. An uncomfortable lower back.

Where does this pain come from? Did you "sleep wrong"? Was the bed too hard? Too soft? Why, of all mornings, is it bothering you on this one?

The sensations we have in our bodies are not random. The perhaps unimaginable complexity of the human system can make what we experience seem random. But just because the pattern is too difficult for us to figure out doesn't mean that there isn't one.

So when we wake up with pain in a muscle, a common assumption is that the problem is right there with that muscle. This may seem self-evident, but it's not quite so easy. Let me explain.

If your phone keeps ringing over and over from an annoying prank caller, the "symptom" you experience is your discomfort from the phone constantly ringing, disturbing your peace. The problem doesn't start with the phone, though. It started with the prank caller on the other end of the line.

Bodies have a similar mechanism, where a problem in one area can send a signal that shows up elsewhere.

Take heart attacks, for example. You might have heard that a common symptom experienced during a heart attack is pain in your chest that can spread into your left arm and shoulder.

What does your arm and shoulder have to do with your heart? Not much, except that they share part of their nerve supply from similar levels in your spinal cord.

A common explanation for the shoulder and arm pain experienced by heart attack sufferers is that your brain misinterprets the flood of information it receives from an organ in trouble.

Instead of having us perceive this influx of information as a problem with the organ itself, our brains interpret the signals as pain and discomfort in a part of our bodies that are much more accustomed to those sensations. This kind of discomfort is called referred pain, since the pain is originating one place, but showing up in another.

What makes things interesting is that just about every organ we have seems to have a referred pain pattern.

You might have gotten up one morning, for example, with a "crick in your neck". Pain into one side of the neck -- typically, but not always, the right side -- that might radiate down around your shoulder blade.

Patients come in from time to time with this kind of pain. The usual explanation goes something like, "Well, I must have slept wrong or something." In many cases they're surprised to find out that the source of their pain has little to do with how they slept, and a lot to do with their gall bladder!

The gall bladder has a referred pain area that usually covers the right side of the neck and shoulder, down around the shoulder blade. As such we have to rule out gall bladder trouble as a source of their pain anytime a patient presents with this kind of pattern.

It's likely that the crick in your neck is more highly correlated with what you ate the night before than the position in which you happened to fall asleep. Fatty foods, spicy foods, or foods to which you may be allergic can frequently irritate the gall bladder.

After a good physical exam, if gall bladder irritation turns out to be the source of the problem, I have to advise the patient to avoid re-irritating the area with the foods mentioned above. Bile salts and pancreatic enzymes can also be helpful to reduce the load on the gall bladder while it recovers from the episode.

In short, if pain around the shoulder and neck turns out to be referred from the gall bladder, no amount of soft-tissue work will resolve the problem alone.

Since most organs appear to have a referred pain pattern, the gall bladder example used above is just one scenario where a visceral, or organ-related, source must be considered for what might appear to be a structural problem.

Seemingly structural problems can have visceral components. Likewise, a structural problem can have a very direct impact on our organ function.

The job of a truly holistic practitioner is to evaluate all facets of your well-being to help you improve your complete health.

Dr. Collins practices Chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology in Austin, TX. He is one of my best friends in the world.

October 06, 2007

Grand Opening of the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center

When: Saturday October 13, 11:30 - 2:30

Where: Oak View Recreation and Resource Center, 555 Mahoney Drive in Oak View

What: Grand Opening Celebration of the Nan Tolbert
Nurturing Center and Ojai Valley Birth Resource and Family Support.
Join us for a day of celebration, live music by the Oak View Old Time
Fiddlers, food hot off the grill, tasty treats, children's play
activities, and a tour of this exciting new center.

Ojai Valley Birth Resource and Family Support is dedicated to the nurture of children pre-birth to three, through inspiring partnerships and community resources that address perinatal wellbeing,
infant/ toddler development, and parent education and support. The
Nurturing Center is designed as a responsive environment where parents
can be present with their babies or toddlers who initiate and extend
their own self-mastered exploration and discovery through play. OVBRFS is passionately committed to instilling in our valley communities a profound and sincere understanding of babies and very young children
during these critically important and formative years, for that is where
our deepest patterns are set.

The celebration takes place Saturday, October 13th from 11:30am-2:30pm at
the Oak View Recreation and Resource Center on Mahoney Drive, Oak View.

Cross-posted at The Ojai Post and OjaiEvents.com

October 03, 2007

Chocolate and Slavery

*Comments closed due to spam*
This letter from Robert Cohen was forwarded to me by a friend...

Treat or Trick?

On August 28, 2001, I wrote a Notmilk letter describing a horrible injustice in which tens of thousands of children have been kidnapped and/or sold into slavery to support America's love for milk chocolate and chocolate milk.

Six years ago, I asked the readers of this column to write letters of protest to their own members of congress and to local newspapers to urge them to publicize this cruel and unjust system. You responded magnificently, or so I had thought. Your letters made a difference, or so I believed. The bad guys promised to change. They lied to us. We've been tricked. What appropriate behavior for those who profit most by selling Halloween candy. Treat or trick, anyone?

We did everything in our power to expose the support of slavery by Hershey, Nestle, and Mars, and also accused the phonies who owned the Chocolate SILK soymilk line of supporting slavery as well. SILK has subsequently been sold to America's largest dairy producer, Dean Foods.

Today, most of the world's cocoa beans are grown on the more than 600,000 cocoa farms located in the nation of Ivory Coast.

Tens of thousands of children have been kidnapped from their homes and sold into slavery. These children plant, pick, bag, and carry the beans for plantation owners.

After the 2001 Notmilk articles, word of these outrages spread and the members of the chocolate industry were shamed into signing a pact to end their support of chocolate slavery by 2005.

Unfortunately, we were naive enough to take them at their word. These scum of industry have done nothing but lie about the problem and make it worse. They should be held accountable. The dairy industry is an active co-conspirator, as four pounds of milk are required to manufacture one pound of milk chocolate.

During the summer of 2007, the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that 284,000 child laborers now work and live in slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms.

Chocolate consumers must be made aware that the purchase of each candy bar continues to support the world's most horrifying secret.

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

Is America a nation made up of moral people? If so, I ask you not to write any more letters. I ask you only to spread the word by attaching today's column to every person you know. Ask them to join you in a nation-wide boycott of chocolate this October 31st (Halloween), November 22nd (Thanksgiving), December 25th (Christmas), and January 1st (New Year's Day).

Slavery exists, and its victims are children. Please search your heart and turn your passion and compassion into action.

Please remember that with each bite of chocolate you will receive enormous pleasure while causing pain for the innocent. Together, we can end this injustice by sending a message to chocolate companies that they have created the problem and continue to support this morally corrupt system.

Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth went insane with the guilt of imagining bloodstains on her hands, and continuously was heard saying, "Out, damned spot!" For those of your with chocolate-stained hands, the guilt is yours and can only be relieved by washing your hands of this injustice. Please become part of the solution to this horror story. Out damned spot!

Boycott all chocolate products and let as many people know why you are doing so. Let manufacturers know why you will no longer eat chocolate chip cookies or Brownies or drink hot cocoa.

Do this for the kidnapped and abused boys and girls.

Robert Cohen

The China Study #1: Protein and Cancer

I'd heard about this book for a year before I read it. Since reading it, it has become one of my must read books for every person concerned with how diet effects health. This is the beginning of a series on key items discussed in the book.

T. Colin Campbell, the author, is a leading researcher in the field of nutrition.

Around 1970 he worked on a project in the Philippines with children that were malnourished. The belief at the time was that the primary nutrient that malnourished people needed was protein. So they looked for a good local source of protein. It turned out to be peanuts.

To use peanuts as a source of protein they had to solve another problem. Peanuts are frequently contaminated by a mold called aflatoxin, one of the most carcinogenic compounds known. It’s also common on corn.

In testing peanut butter they found that it contained 300 times the US acceptable level. Whole peanuts were within US safe levels. Peanut butter was much higher because the “best” peanuts go into whole peanut products and the “worst” peanuts go into the butter. (Makes me wonder about US peanut butter.)

There were two areas of the country with high liver cancer levels in children. One was an area of high peanut butter consumption and the other one high corn consumption.

This didn’t make sense. World statistics seemed to say that liver cancer was highest where protein levels were the lowest. But, here they were with two populations with high liver cancer who consumed high levels of protein. The high corn consumption group was also a wealthy group of children whose diets were similar to high meat western diets.

While trying to find the common link, Campbell heard of a study done in India where aflatoxin induced tumor growth was compared to the amount of protein fed to rats. The rats fed a diet with 5% protein didn’t die from the tumors and rats fed a diet with 20% protein died from the tumors. The most common reaction was that something was wrong with the study, since it didn’t conform with the prevailing research. It was suggested that they must have somehow switched the groups, or some other major error.

Campbell however thought this might be linked to the cancer results of two groups in the Philippines. So they gave rats tumors created with aflatoxin. When the protein was at 20% ALL of the rats DIED. When the protein in their diet was at 5% ALL of the rats LIVED. In fact, they could turn the tumor growth on and off by adjusting the level of protein in the diet. Just like turning a light switch on and off.

What he says totally blew his mind, was that the results were 100% to 0%.
All the rats died or all the rats lived. No grey area.

They also discovered that with the low protein diet, the rats could eliminate the aflatoxin with no apparent negative effects.

And in subsequent studies they found they couldn’t cause tumor growth with 20% plant based protein. ONLY with ANIMAL protein.

This experience was the beginning of his questioning the assumptions, research results and the conclusions of prevailing nutritional studies and conclusions. It was the beginning of his career studying the connections between protein, diet and cancer.

October 01, 2007

Healthy Challenge #3 - Get Your Greens!

Remember high school chemistry? Acids and bases (or alkalis)? Our bodies work hard to maintain a constant pH - not too acidic, not too alkaline. The real challenge we face, given the foods most of us eat and the constant low-grade stress most of us experience, is to keep our bodies from getting too acidic. An acid body can be an achy body and is a great environment for germs to grow - everything from the common cold to candida to yeast infections and athlete's foot.

One way to balance our pH is to focus on alkaline foods - veggies, veggies, veggies. A shortcut I use is to include Green supplements: things like blue-green algae, chlorella, spirulina or blends of freeze-dried green goodness like Vita-Mineral Greens or Pure Synergy. These products are a concentrated wealth of vitamins and minerals. They can boost energy in the moment and contribute to balancing your pH.

The best products are powdered and can be mixed with water, juice or smoothies. Start with small amounts (1/4 to ½ tsp at a time) and build up as you get used to the taste. Shoot for at least one tablespoon a day. It may take a few weeks but you will learn to appreciate the benefits of these superfoods. If you really can't stand the taste, I carry a quality product in capsules. Just remember you need to take about 12 capsules to equal one tablespoon of powdered product.