Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cloned Food: Need you know more?

Got this picture from Dave at The Good Human Blog.

Unless you've been at the North Pole for the last week, you've heard about the FDA's decree that cloned food seems, well, okay to eat, even in the absence of the most half-assed safety studies (to say nothing of a longitudinal one).

Here's all you need to know, so you can sleep well at night knowing the folks in government care about you and what goes into your bod:

"[Milk and meat from cloned animals is] as safe to eat as the food we eat every day."

-- Stephen Sundlof, FDA Chief of vetinary medicine, via telephone interview with reporters.
p.s. stay tuned: did you know conventional honey has antibiotics in it?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Global Fertility: Polar Bears Declared Endangered

We have had a snowless Christmas here in RI and were watching old home movies of our house in Hibbing--six and seven foot snowdrifts!!!! This was some thirty, forty years ago. Scary, people! My mother reports there's no snow in MN, either. Do you need more proof of global warming?

Via Treehugger: ...Today, we find out that our readers and documentary film makers aren't the only ones taking a close look at the plight of the polar bear: according to the Washington Post, the Department of the Interior planned to submit a proposal today for listing the iconic animal as an endangered species. Such proposals are fairly routine, but this has special significance: it would "...[put] the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of the world's most recognizable animals out of existence..."

The only utterly laughable glitch in this is that the Bush Administration absolutely refuses to discuss this in the context of Global Warming ("Duh....gee, George, where did the icebergs go, Huh? Huh?"):

From the New York Times:

But in a conference call with reporters, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said that although his decision to seek protection for polar bears acknowledged the melting of the Arctic ice, his department was not taking a position on why the ice was melting or what to do about it...

More here.

Again, if you want to use my info for NYTIMES.com:

USERNAME: Greenfertility
PASSWORD: Greenfertility
Answer to secret question: Soylent Green

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Have a nice, safe, holiday

And please try not to eat too much stuff with green frosting, metallic balls, transfats...your present to me!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Triplets for woman with two wombs



To be Filed under: Fertility News of the Weird:

"A UK woman with two wombs is believed to be the first in the world with the condition to give birth to triplets.

Hannah Kersey, 23, from Northam in Devon, had identical twins Ruby and Tilly, who were born from one womb, Grace, who was born from the other."

From the BBC. More here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Parental Wish List grows: China Tightens Adoption Rules for Foreigners

Geez, Louise. So the Republicans and the religious right don't believe singles and gays should be allowed adopt, but the potential parental wish lists seem to just be growing longer. This just in about new restrictons on China adoption (is it cultural hegemony, or independently Chinese, I cannot say). All I can say is Brangelina (who have expressed this desire in at least one supermarket tabloid), better get a move on!

This just in from New York Times:
China plans to tighten rules on foreign adoptions, barring people who are single, obese, older than 50 or who fail to meet certain benchmarks in financial, physical or psychological health from adopting Chinese children, according to adoption agencies in the United States.

Soon it will be NO wearers of corrective lenses, NO lovers of the musical "Cats," NO vegans, NO...what? I'm sure writers will make it onto the list sooner rather than later.

My other question is, if gay marriage becomes legal, will slim homosexual couples get to head the list?

More here.

p.s. I have a funny story about Meg Ryan questioning her adoption of a Chinese child that has not to do with her singleness but of her obtuseness regarding Asian culture. Remind me!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

HOLIDAY GIFT SERIES: Kwytza Craft's Chopstick Goods-- and promo!

Check out Kwytza Craft's amazing recycled chopstick products.

We were going to get this CD rack for our friend who passed away. It was just his thing: stylish, a little offbeat, and wow--recycled (sanitized, of course) chopsticks.

Their best selling goods (two of which grace our dining room table) are their folding baskets. Very attractive while in use (you need something to put those clementine oranges it, right?), and easy to fold away (also, reduced shipping cost), and MAN FERTILITY likes putting one inside the other to make some groovy nesting modern art sculptures.


And, they're offering some super special holiday prices:

Small: $5

Medium: $7.50

Large: $10


(nuts for nuts)


"Unfortunately, we are out of stock of the soap dish size right now," I am informed.


But you can also get 10% off the other items until Christmas. Tell 'em the FertilityBitch sent you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oral Contraceptive Use Increases Risk for Premenopausal Breast Cancer

I think the hormone replacement therapy boondoogle will (or should) go down in history as one of the biggest health scandals ever. I'd been bugging my mom to stop doing HRT ever since I saw the alarming studies that came out in 2002, which warned that taking synthetic estrogen could fuel the growth of estrogen-positive tumors, which carry receptors for estrogen on their cell surfaces (duh!) and fake progesterone is also not well utilized by the body (plus, it's made from pregnant mare's urine--hence, the brand name PreMARin--and the poor pregnant horses are kept in deplorable conditions). Anyway, I'm sure you're reading all about the BIG drop in breast cancer after everyone stopped taking the hormone, which pretty much says everything right there...so no need to go on about it here.

What you may not know about, however, is that oral contraceptives are also a source of fake hormones anad show similar cancer causing abilities.

This is from a medical newsletter I'm subscribed to, NOT an alternative health one. Sad, sad, sad. Even our midwives' office is crammed full of ads for oral contraceptives for such ridiculous conditions as acne! PMS! Well, at least your skin will be nice and clear and you won't be too PMSy when you show up for your chemo!

Oral Contraceptive Use Increases Risk for Premenopausal Breast Cancer: "'The Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial reported that prolonged exposure to exogenous estrogens and progestins in hormone therapy increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, the World Health Organization recently classified both postmenopausal hormone replacement and oral contraceptives (OCs) as group 1 carcinogens.'"

Again, simple rule: It's not nice to fool mother nature!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

HOLIDAY GIFT SERIES: Groovy Mind Gift Baskets

To be filed under: The Fertility Bitch is a lazy bum.

Because I'm not very crafty, I'm all for outsourcing of the presentation aspect of gifts. You should see me at the Brown Bookstore, which offers free wrapping!

Gift baskets are another very nice idea, and The Groovy Mind fits the bill with their fair trade, eco-conscious, socially responsible and YUMMY baskets. I was even happier to see that they include Comanzo's baked goods, a local, family-run organic baked goods company. Here's the treats contained within the Tealicious gift basket:

--2 oz. organic Fair Trade, seasonally harvested Assam Rembeng Estate tea, classically bold, refreshing with a hint of citrus
--2 oz. organic White Peony grown in the Fujian Province of China. The silvery down of the buds and delicate leaves are hand harvested and brew to an amber liquid, a delicate cup, power packed with polyphenols.
--baked-to-order organic Caramel Apple cookies
--baked-to-order organic Pumpkin Biscottis
--sweet and spicy organic Chipotle savories
--and unbleached disposable t-sacs
Gift wrap and card included.


And, in case I need to remind you, the antioxidants in tea are fertility friendly**, the caffeine may even make sperm swin faster, and white tea, like this White Peony, is less processed and has even more good stuff in it. Have a tea party! (p.s. the baked goods are NOT gluten free) Check out this and other Groovy Gifts at TheGroovyMind.com

**Here's a post on how tea may be protective against ovarian cancer, which can be CAUSED by the fertility drug, Clomid.

Friday, December 15, 2006

BBC NEWS: Epidurals hamper breastfeeding

For the pregnant readers (this means you, Kim!), I offer you this tidbit; I decided to go the no-drugs way because epidurals can cause all sorts of nasty things (headaches, fever, incontinence) and because I heard that it can interfere with breastfeeding. Of course the docs were all, "I've never heard of such a stupid thing, of course epidurals are wonderful." I know the nurses love 'em because it "makes patients easy to manage."

So now the BBC is citing a whole study:
Researchers said those who have the anaesthetic are more likely to have problems in the first week after birth and to stop breastfeeding early.
More here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

HOLIDAY GIFT SERIES: Organic Socks and more by Maggie's Functional Organics

If you have too much time on your hands this holiday season, try this: rub a cut onion on the soles of your feet, wait 15 minutes, and have a loved one (or an enemy) smell your delightful onion breath.

Your feet are like those cut stems of the carnations that you would dye green and blue for science class, absorbing and absorbing all those toxins in the biosphere of your shoes. It made me wonder, why do I wear 100% synthetic athletic socks, i.e., when my feet will be the sweatiest? Partly it was because, like many runers, I am partial to padded socks. Well, luckily, here comes Maggie's to help solve the problem (plus, I'm so glad these come in BLACK, to break the white hegemony). Here's a great stocking stuffer (haha) for the runner in your life.



And for the "this will look so cute on my baby!" types, this li'l dinosaur set is tres adorable. Just visualizing this photo sets the uterus aflutter.

And now a word from Maggie's Functional Organics: "[products] made of cutting scraps from the production of our Camisoles and Criss-Cross Tops (a perfect nursing top!) and help to save useable fabric from our landfills. The design of these adorable sets is another collaboration between Maggie's and the Fair Trade Zone, a worker-owned cooperative in Nicaragua. The sewing of these garments is completed either at the Fair Trade Zone or a sweat-free manufacturer in the U.S.A. "


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Gift Discount


Hey, kids, look! 15% discount.

Read a review of the Eco-Me Cleaning kit here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

HOLIDAY GIFT SERIES: Kiva Microloans

Want to give a gift that COMES BACK? Check out Kiva.org, which helps facilitate microloans, i.e., start-up capital so small entrepreneurs can start a business.

And, not surprisingly, so far the loan repayment has been at 100%! This might be a great no-clutter last minute type gift, one that you know will make someone feel great this holiday season. All sorts of increments are welcome.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Green Girls Global Blog Continues CityHippy

I was really sad to check on CityHippy and see the following, but happy for Al's new opportunities (go, Al!):

"Today sadly CityHippy offers up its last post for various reasons (which you can read about here). CityHippy might make a comeback, you never know. Life is in a constant state of change and much good is coming from this ending. From the ashes of CityHippy comes GreenGirlsGlobal."

Girl power! Check it out! In the future you may see some Local Yokel dispatches from Rhode Island, including
(1) Joining the UrbanGreens buying coop. And
(2) Eating a free range chicken Louella killed for us.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Yeee-Haw! HOLIDAY BOOK ROUNDUP

As a writer, I have a kind of animated relationship with books, which I consider to be more than material goods. I also tend to write in books a lot, so in a sense they do become "mine" I guess. Books are, then, another present that I think becomes more than the physical pages, etc., although as you'll see, these guys also have nice covers.

Try Simply Green Giving by fellow Korean American Danny Seo for some truly offbeat ideas (e.g., using old VHS tapes as pre-curled ribbons) for eco-wrapping ideas. Beats using old Biohazard bags from our kid's expired blood test kits, as I do (the bags are a cheery red--really!)


Inconceivable by Julia Indichova (who is also a really nice person, btw) is a book that's a lot more than about conception, which is why I'm recommending it as a gift book. It's really a book about life philosophy and finding your own path, silencing the negative critics in your life (including in your own head). I found it incredibly powerful, a lot of interesting ideas to take into this new fertility year. If you know anyone who's trying to re-take charge of their life, anyone who's being pulled in a zillion directions, this book would be great.




On a similar note, Awakening Beauty the Dr. Hasuchka Way is a "coffee table book with integrity." Susan West Kurz, an early mentee (is that a word?) of the famous Dr. Hauschka and now president of the company, has put forth a book that is beautiful to look at, and yet provides an important counterweight to the "surfacey" ideal of beauty that seems to be developing (please let me know and forward pictures if you spot any un-Botoxed actresses and/or ivory-billed woodpeckers). I know, I know, you're thinking, but this is another company that sells products! However, to give you an example, the book suggests you NOT glob on stuff on your face at night so that (just as Gramma used to say) your skin can breathe. There's also recipes (including DIY skincare stuff), and I will add that this comapny really does do its homework as far as toxins and chemicals are concerned. Dr. Hasuchka cosmetics are one of the few things the FB will put on her face for those rare TV appearances where they force you to wear makeup, so there.

Cheney's Gay Daughter Pregnant, Dick Cheney Proud Grampa

CBS News: Mary Cheney, 37, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, 45, are expecting a baby...

'The vice president and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth granddaughter.'
That's just peachy, hypocrites! Believe me, I'm happy for the couple, too. However, for readers who've been with me from the first wee posting six months ago, you know I quit my (ahem, paid) job as the "fertility blogger" at Adoption.com (the experience which, like the gamma rays or whatever that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk turned me into the FertilityBitch) for the single and damning reason that they bar gays and singles from adopting because, they say, like Grampa Cheney, they believe gays and singles are unfit to be parents (we can make exceptions, right?).

Speaking of making exceptions, in the state of Virginia, where Mary Cheney's partner is from, gay partners are denied many rights, including family visitation rights at a hospital. Is Grampa gonna pull strings for that, too?

Now we just have to have the Bush twins getting preggo (or getting abortions, for that matter) and the hypocrisy circle will be complete.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

HOLIDAY GIFT SERIES: Lydia's Organics

I'm a in love with Lydia's Organics!

Just look at the ingredients in these organic, raw, vegan, sprouted DELICIOUS crackers:
Sprouted almonds*, sprouted sunflower seeds*, nori*, carrots*, parsley*, flax*, ginger*, Original Himalayan Crystal Salt™ & LOVE.

*Organic
These are handcrafted crackers that don't stint at all in their preparation or in their ingredients. Wasn't I just telling you how soaked/sprouted foods are extra good for you? And there's also seaweed, which also packs a nutritional punch, and basically everything in these guys is sooo good for you.

I do believe you can taste the loooooove in these delightful crackers. These would be an awesome present for the pregnant lady in your life (forget Saltines!) or anyone on the go--keep 'em away from fast food or chips, your favorite vegan friend or relative. My son (okay, he eats raw kale and kimchi so he might not be the best example) also loves these.

Or try them for yourself, see what real living food tastes like (and, speaking from my own cracker making experience, soaking, sprouting, Vitamixing, dehydrating, and cursing when you forget to put the top on the mixer all take a long time and trouble!). Lydia herself is all committed to sustainability and environmental justice and her company and its products certainly reflect that.

PLUS: no gluten, no dairy, no soy, free of all common allergen, plus a bunch of ingredients great for fertility. I guess you know what's on MY Christmas list. Hello, MAN FERTILITY?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"End of Drug Trial Is a Big Loss for Pfizer"--oh yeah, and a big loss to the people who died

The news came to Pfizer’s chief scientist, Dr. John L. LaMattina...the company’s most promising experimental drug, intended to treat heart disease, actually caused an increase in deaths and heart problems. Eighty-two people had died so far in a clinical trial, versus 51 people in the same trial who had not taken it...

And the commentary to the Times:
I’m terribly disappointed...” said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and lead investigator of an earlier torcetrapib clinical trial.
And, why, do you think? "Terribly disappointed" because the drug killed people? Terribly disappointed for the deceaseds' families right before the holidays? Read on...
"...This drug, if it worked, would probably have been the largest-selling pharmaceutical in history.”

I'm tearing up for this poor man as I write this (sob!). I say to you, condolences on your loss of....equity value! On your second (third?) home. Dang!

Monday, December 04, 2006

p.s. What kinda type are you?

Folks,

I'm such an eejit about techie stuff, I just realized I can play with the font on this site. The "normal" itty bitty font crams in more

But is anyone going blind and prefers the larger size? Or maybe larger size just for important news about killer drugs? Comments, please

Super Soaker

Why soak stuff before cooking?

My aunt used to always tell me to soak rice for at least 24 hours, even better if little green things appear--sprouting rice?--as it was much healthier that way.

Anyway, health foodists know by and large that sprouting food makes it even more nutritious. From The Good Sprout News:
Medicinally and nutritionally, sprouts have a long history. It has been written that the Ancient Chinese physicians recognized and prescribed sprouts for curing many disorders over 5,000 years ago. Sprouts have continued to be a main staple in the diets of Americans of Oriental descent. Although accounts of sprouting appear in the Bible in the Book of Daniel, it took centuries for the West to fully realize its nutrition merits....

...During World War II considerable interest in sprouts was sparked in the United States by an article written by Dr. Clive M. McKay, Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University...

...He and a team of nutritionists had spent years researching the amazing properties of sprouted soybeans. They and other researchers at the universities of Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Yale and McGill have found that sprouts retain the B-complex vitamins present in the original seed, and show a big jump in Vitamin A and an almost unbelievable amount of Vitamin C over that present in unsprouted seeds. While some nutritionists point out that this high vitamin content is gained at the expense of some protein loss, the figures are impressive: an average 300 percent increase in Vitamin A and a 500 to 600 percent increase in Vitamin C. In addition, in the sprouting process starches are converted to simple sugars, thus making sprouts easily digested.

24-hour soaking of brown rice, beans, flax, nuts etc. produces many of the same benefits without turning the stuff into sprouts. It takes some advance planning, but why not pack some more power into your meals? Nuts can be soaked (pecans taste even sweeter) and then eaten, or fling them into the dehydrator to get them crispy (but more nutritious) again. Try soaking brown rice--the texture and stickiness will almost resemble white rice--yum!

Extra: here are results of a European soaking experiment on lentil flour that resulted in lower galactosides (flatulence producing substance) and higher levels of available B vitamins. Guess the Bible has some healthy cooking tips...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Paxil and Birth Defects

Okey dokey, I don't normally post on Saturdays, but this is kinda important since almost everyone I know (okay, writers are a unique category) is on some kind of SSRIs.

The cover story in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the flagship journal for the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) has published the following alert:

Unpublished data regarding the use of Paxil® during the first trimester of pregnancy have raised concerns about an increased risk of congenital heart malformations. Thus, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory regarding the use of Paxil® during pregnancy and the manufacturer changed its pregnancy category from C to D...

...A Category D classification means a drug has been found to be harmful to human fetuses.


more here.


I guess a YEAR AGO (oops!) GlaxoSmithKline, in its OWN study (i.e., likely run as favorable to itself as possible) came out with data so worrisome it caused the FDA to issue warnings about an increased risk of birth defects.

Now, why did it take a YEAR to trickle down to ACOG (which is the governing body for your friendly OBs, the ones who answer your questions like, "Is it okay to continue to take Paxil while I'm pregnant?" and "Should I get a mammogram?") Looking at the numbers in the study, it seemed they didn't have too much trouble finding women who were taking Paxil while pregnant (eeek!) and then counting how many birth defects (particularly heart problems) their kids had.

What's even more frightening is the endless ads touting SSRIs for PMS (see your acupuncturist first, People!), which makes it more likely that if you --oops!-- get pregnant, you've already been taking Paxil/Zoloft/Prozac for weeks if not months into your pregnancy.

Always think twice when asked to take drugs. It's always in Big Pharma's interests to have us on SSRIs (or statins, or birth control pills, etc.) our whole lives (can you say "revenue stream?), who care what it does to our brain, hormones, immune system, OUR UNBORN CHILDREN...Remember, those "free" pens ain't free!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Your Fertility: Don't Forget, It's Yours

This came in from a women's issues list I'm on. This is almost on par with the rumblings that we now need to re-invade Iraq:

Late last week, after pledging to bring the country together after his electoral losses, President Bush appointed Eric Keroack to lead the Department of Health and Human Services' family-planning program – which supports 4,600 clinics and more than five million people annually.

Putting a doctor who opposes birth control in charge of a federal family-planning program is just plain irresponsible. Sign the petition and say NO to Keroack now.

Keroack has dedicated his career to telling women that birth control and abortion are wrong. He most recently was the medical director for A Woman's Concern, which oversees six anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" in Massachusetts and maintains a policy stating "that the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness."
And those Viagra ads (no crass commercialization of sex here!)? Easy to overlook that when men don't have to worry about becoming pregnant...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A pause for OJ publishing gossip

This tidbit is from a publishing newsletter I get, and has nothing to do with sustainability or human fertility (in fact, quite the opposite), but needs to be categorized somewhere around that Wal-Mart Black Friday video, i.e., some category like Is Our Society Going to Hell in a Handbasket? Many of us in the writing world have been looking on in horror at the whole OJ/Judith Regan/Fox News/HarperCollins (one of my publishers---eeek!) debacle. The depths people are willing to go...

(from Publishers Lunch)

More Juice
On Thursday, the AP reported that OJ Simpson did receive money directly for his participation in the aborted HarperCollins book and promptly spent it...

News Corp. has at least admitted how much they paid for the project--$880,000--but still won't identify the third party to which the money went. And the company persists in asserting that Simpson wasn't supposed to get any funds. But in a radio interview on Wednesday, Simpson laughed at the company's front: "Would everybody stop being so naive? Of course I got paid."

Not to mention that Judith Regan, the editor in question, was the one trysting with Bernie Kerik in an apartment near Ground Zero that was supposed to be for rescue workers. Eeeek!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

HOLIDAY GIFT SERIES: Eco-Me


While I'm against zombie consumerism, please let it be known I'm unequivocably PRO-gift. And so for this holiday season, I am going to present you with some gifts that keep on giving.

This Eco-Me cleaning kit fits my Platonic ideal of a gift. It's cute, somewhat fancy-schmancy and indulgent, and what better gift than the gift of cleanliness and health.

Basically, you (or the giftee) fill up these cool looking sprayers with your own vinegar and water (or olive oil, for the wood polish), add some antimicrobial essential oil, and you're off to the races, with the brush and the fancy-schmancy micofiber towel.

This is pretty much my own recipe, too (tea tree oil is my antimicrobial), but this kit makes it easier and nicer, a perfect way to get a loved one who feels like stuff HAS to come in some neatly branded package (complete with vivid colors and synthetic scents). There's even "FILL TO" marks on this, so it should take two seconds. Don't forget that white vinegar is dirt cheap (and kills 98+ percent of surface bacteria!) and you can take all that money you saved and buy some organic kale.

It also comes nicely packed in a stylin' jute bag PLUS they support one of my favorite groups, the Breast Cancer Fund. Not to bring up the specter of cancer during the holidays, but put it this way, cancer and toxins don't take a holiday, as much as we wish they would. Here's Eco-me's mission statement (emphasis mine):
In March of 2005 my 36-year-old sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. How does a healthy, athletic, spiritual and nutritionally organic young woman face the challenges of breast cancer? With no family history of this disease nor a lifestyle to promote it, could my sister’s breast cancer be linked to the pollutants in our environment or toxic chemicals in our homes?

Is it possible that by simply cleaning your home you are creating a toxic environment? Could the chemicals in products that line our shelves lead to life threatening health risks?

Why are we taking such risks in our homes and with our well-being?
The need to remove unnecessary chemicals from our homes led our search for completely natural and chemical-free products.

The only problem was finding the products. Most natural cleaners still use synthetic chemicals for colorants and add trace amounts of ammonia and harsh additives to their products. So we decided that if we wanted a truly natural product we would have to make it ourselves and a few months later Eco-Me was born.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The True Cost of Things Part II


Organic-local vs. mass produced?

Thanks for the intriguing comments, and one point (as I was reminded by MAN FERTILITY) that I think is important enough to have its very own post is that most mass produced food is highly subsidized by the government. And subsidies encourage all sorts of bad farming practices: crops that deplete the soil, then you need more fertilizer/pesticides (corn), crops that are very energy inefficient to grow (again, corn), crops that are GMO (corn!) when we already have too much of it thanks to those $_)(@##$ subsidies. And last but not least, farms are now run by your usual faceless corporations and not by your friendly farmer.

So, to your friends and acquaintances who call you elitist, just point out that we are already (through our taxes) paying for the GMO corn crap being forcefed to the beakless chickens (while the organic small farmers get zip) andyou just want to be smart enough and NOT PAY DOUBLE.

Add better taste, better health, supporting a real live person and not a corporation to this equation. I hate when people make such a big deal about the so-called "free market", snarking about welfare, and then they let this subsidy thing run out of control.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The True Cost of Things

"OMG, you paid FIVE DOLLARS for those eggs?"

I, too, am affected by the Wal-mart must-get-everything-as-cheaply-as-possible-to-hell-with-everyone-else, and for a second I did think, "Oooh, I'm crazy to spend so much on eggs."

However, these are fresh, unwashed eggs I get from Xiong, one of the organic farmers at the Brown weekly farmer's market. Now, when I picture her raising all her cool veggies (flowering Asian broccoli a huge favorite of ours) and the work that must go into raising these chickens, I think, would *I* do that just for five bucks for a carton of all that hard work?

These eggs are so fresh from the chicken's butt we do not refrigerate them. The yolks stand up at attention. And yes, I eat them the Korean way, semi-raw, and do not worry about salmonella. Oh, and did I mention they are delicious, probably because the chickens run around eating bugs and grubs and things they are supposed to? Five bucks for a dozen actually seems unconscionably cheap to me. I'm going to tell my friend to think about it, next time she gets a dozen pale, tasteless, dead eggs for two bucks at theh Stop N Shop.

Who has the better deal?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Regular Column: Ask Green Fertility

Some recent questions:

Miranda asked, where do you get those wood-based cellophane bags?

GF answers: Needs.com

Anonymous (1) and (2) asked, (1) what's your recipe for your bars and (2) how can I get my kids to eat spirulina?
GREEN FERTILITY ENERGY BAR RECIPE
(and the way I cook, all measurements are approximate!!!)

7 oz container (or thereabouts) organic dried dates (uh, pitted, please, but also watch out for pit fragments--I split them myself)

4 Tblsp flax in 8 Tblsp water--preferably soaked overnight, or at least an hour (it should turn into a satifyingly gooey mess)

1-2 HEAPING Tblsp organic spirulina powder (health food store)

1/2 cu raw cashews (soaked cashews are nice)

1/4 cu agave syrup or other sweetener

pinch good sea salt

You can also add hemp protein flour, other nuts, whatever your heart desires--even a carrot or two.

Grind it all up in a high-speed blender like the Vitamix (food processor will do, but it doesn't get the texture as nice). Texture should be that of drippy peanut butter--it should ooze off the spoon.

Then, the optimal way to dry: drop into bar shapes (or horsie shapes or whatever the $)(#*$$#* you want!) onto a Teflex dehydrator sheet (you could also use parchment paper on a cookie sheet), then dehydrate at 105 F until desired texture is achieved (24 hours), and then store in aforementioned cello bags.
The bright GREEN color is quite attractive. I love these bars for mindless eating, and daily spirulina is very alkalinizing to the body.

Info on the dehydrator I use (I'm not totally crazy about my Vitamix, btw, esp. the $500 price tag).

Another Reason to Stay Far Far Away from Wal-Mart!

Shopping at Wal-Mart is not only bad for the workers, for the global economy, for small businesses, you can also get shot.
"PUTNAM, Conn. - Two armed thugs tried to rob a line of people waiting to buy the new Playstation 3 gaming console early Friday and shot one who refused to give up the money, authorities said.

...In Palmdale, Calif., authorities shut down a Super Wal-Mart after some shoppers got rowdy late Wednesday. In West Bend, Wis., a 19-year-old man was injured when he ran into a pole...

...Andrew Templeton, 20, and David Wiggins, 28, of Sullivan, Ind., were assaulted by two teens after waiting for 36 hours at a Super Wal-Mart, police said.

...A fight broke out. Wiggins' nose was broken, and he stabbed one of the attackers, Dylan Moss, 19, police said. Moss was in critical condition after surgery, officials said.

And this wasn't even Black Friday, sheesh. Here's Black Friday:
Holiday jeer at Wal-Mart: Tempers flare as limited supplies of sweet advertised deals sell out within minutes ( CNNMoney.com)

Video
: the confluence of greed, corporate scamming, and the holidays and probably our faltering economy that's making people more desperate to save (?) their dwindling share of America's wealth. Disturbing!
Okay, this post is not directly related to fertility, but after watching the video, one has to think: do you want your kids, or anyone else's, to grow up in the world presaged by this video???

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

MAN FERTILITY Review: Matisse & Jack's Energy Bars

I received the following email:

I recently came across your site and thought it would be worthwhile to write. I work with a San Francisco-based natural foods startup and we've developed a new product which might interest your readers-- a homemade, all-natural nutrition bar that you bake from a mix like brownies. We came up with these baked bars after we grew tired of hard and tasteless packaged bars. We liked the convenient nutrition of the ubiquitous bar, but we also wanted something unprocessed that tasted like *real food*. And we've had a great response... this month the Denver Post ranked our bars the #1 best-tasting in a blind test of 10 popular energy bars.

Unfortunately these bars are made with oats, gluten, and soy protein, but I really really like the idea of cutting out the wasteful wasteful foil wrapper things (I actually do make my own bars--anyone want recipe?--and carry them in woodpulp cello bags or waxed paper), and so I enlisted MAN FERTILITY, a big energy bar fan (there's also that male thing about being able to eat something w/o utencils). He said:

“It seems like the intersecting male desires for efficiency and to get ‘fit’ (usually defined, alas, in terms of sheer muscle mass) has generated a booming market in various energy/protein bars. If you like the convenience of bars, but are less than enthused about their cost (and indeed sometimes wonder if they should really be considered food at all), you might be interested in my recent discovery, Matisse & Jack’s “bake-at-home” bars. They come as a vaguely Pillsburyesque boxed mix to which you add yogurt and/or apple sauce and bake at home. I like the fact that in place of the sometimes highly processed ingredients in other bars, they are made of healthy ingredients like organic oats and flax and even aluminum-free baking soda, to which one can add whatever other ingredients strikes your fancy (I like to throw in some extra oats, coconut, and berries).

They also taste much fresher than your usual bar, and by baking them at home you avoid adding to the waste-stream all the foil wrapping that usually accompanies energy bars. I don’t know if Matisse and Jack are real people (or just outdoorsy male versions of Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima), but if they are and they see this post, my only suggestion would be to switch the soy protein in the bars to a healthier source, such as hemp protein. Otherwise, these are definitely a cheaper and tastier alternative to most commercial energy bars.”


With envy, I watched MAN FERTILITY eat these. Boy I miss cheese, pasta, baked goods, toothpaste with sparkly things, etc. If you are doing the wheat and dairy, definitely check these bars out: http://www.matisseandjacks.com. And Matisse, Jack, think about a gluten-free dairy-free soy-free bar, mebbe?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

News: Male Birth Control Pill

To be filed under: Laughter is Good for the Immune System

Monday, November 20, 2006

ADA admits I'm not so weird after all


Okay, as you know I've been a nut about decrying flouride...but looky here, the ADA (American Dental Assn) has reversed its position...actually agreeing with the FertilityBitch who definitely thinks the pregnant ladies and the little ones need to stay away from flouride like THE PLAGUE.

ADA.org: Interim Guidance on Fluoride Intake for Infants and Young Children: "Recent studies cited in the report of the National Research Council (NRC), “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards,” have raised the possibility that infants could receive a greater than optimal amount of fluoride through liquid concentrate or powdered baby formula that has been mixed with water containing fluoride during a time that their developing teeth may be susceptible to enamel fluorosis."

Flourosis is not only unsightly (this happened in our town when they--oops!--overflouridated the water and people got huge brown splotches, or like me, a few teeny white ones), flouride can displace calcium in the enamel, and, guess what, weaken the tooth! A little counter productive?

Plus, flouride is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Yes, we've all been trained to think it's okay if not healthy (like the ads with the doctors claiming smoking is good for you, as long as you smoke their brand) because it's in everything--water, bottled water, toothpaste, dentists' offices, fertilizer. But just because it's around and takes on what Rachel Carson calls "the safe aspect of the familiar" doesn't mean it's safe. Anyone who grew up in the 1950s probably remembers how it was a neighborhood amusement to run after the DDT truck while it was spraying.

If you want to learn more about how this surplus chemical left over from WWII became part of our water supply and our bodies, check out these previous posts:

Flouride, a Bummer

Flouride, a Bummer Part II


Friday, November 17, 2006

Pixie Mate for Mate Latte

Pixie Mate is delightful.

There's the Mate concentrate, which comes in an aseptic pack, like Oregon Chai, that you can just add your rice milk to, or whatever, and it makes a nice fancy coffee-like drink.

And MAN FERTILITY, who is not crazy about the ‘smoky’ flavor of mate is nuts for the Pixie Mate Limon in a bag (but, he says, it is hurting his manliness to have to be drinking something called "Pixie" and I request that they come up with a "Spike" mate for him with the exact same ingredients, or, I could just use Wite-out). However, he deeply enjoys the antioxidants and the nice, let-down-free lift, and so has gone through an entire box of Limon already.

I've noticed that mate is an ingredient in some fertility supplements like Ovulex.

Why Yerba Mate is so good for you: Clean Energy for Your Bod

Have a Green weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Regular Exercise Prior to IVF Treatment Lowers Success Rate

From the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
"While it may seem counterintuitive, women who regularly exercised for four or more hours per week in the previous nine years or less were 40% less likely to have a live birth after their first cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) than women who didn't exercise, according to a new study published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Regular exercisers were also twice as likely to have an implantation failure or pregnancy loss after undergoing IVF than women who did not exercise. Cardiovascular exercise, in particular, was associated with a 30% lower likelihood of successful live birth compared with nonexercisers.

...With a grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers analyzed prospective data on 2,232 women who underwent IVF treatments at one of three clinics in the Boston area from 1994 to 2003. Of these women, 61.3% reported that they exercised regularly, and 38.5% reported that they didn't exercise. Women exercisers were broken down into three different groups based on their primary type of exercise: walking, cardiovascular (eg, jogging, aerobics, treadmill), and other (eg, swimming, yoga, team sports). These three groups were further broken down into four basic categories based on the number of hours per week and the number of years that they had been exercising.

The study found that, in general, women who reported walking for exercise had essentially the same likelihood of successful live births after their first IVF treatment when compared to nonexercisers. However, the subgroup of women who walked for four or more hours per week for the previous nine years or less were 50% less likely to have a successful live birth after IVF compared with nonexercisers.
More here.

The good Chinese medicine docs all say that at the very least, menstruation is a time to rest, and don't even do much yoga (especially inversion poses) that will interfere with the downward flow.

But pregnancy is even more of a time when you need rest, and less stress. When I had my first miscarriage, at 12 weeks, I was a stress bucket and was jogging all the time. And what did I do the day before I actually miscarried? Went on a bike ride. Heavy cardiovascular exercise IS a stress on your body. I also think in general I don't need to be such a crazy goal-oriented exerciser. That in itself is stressful. Geez.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Monitor Children on Flu Drug, F.D.A. Urges

Need I say more, People?

Roche, the the big pharma company that has the dubious distinction of being the first to come up with the idea of the prescription-drug tie-in for a kiddie movie (see previous post), has, in this movie promotion, been pushing a drug, Tamiflu, through www.flufacts.com (the site listed on all the "Happy Feet" advertisements) that it knows is evil and kills kids:


MONITOR CHILDREN ON FLU DRUG, F.D.A. Urges

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (AP) — Doctors and parents should watch for signs of bizarre behavior in children treated with the flu drug Tamiflu, federal health officials suggested on Monday in citing an increasing number of such cases from overseas.

Food and Drug Administration officials do not know whether 103 cases recently reported, including three deaths from falls, are linked to the drug or to the flu virus, or to a combination. Most of the cases involved children.

Still, F.D.A. staff members suggested updating the Tamiflu label to recommend that all patients, especially children, be closely monitored while using the drug. They also acknowledged that stopping treatment with Tamiflu could harm influenza patients if the virus were the cause of delirium, hallucinations and other abnormal behavior like aggression and suicidal thoughts.

The pediatric advisory committee of the drug agency is to discuss the recommendation on Thursday. The agency is not required to follow the advice of its outside panels but usually does. A spokeswoman for the agency did not immediately return a call for comment.

A year ago, the same panel rejected linking Tamiflu to reports of 12 deaths in Japanese children since 2000 and voted against changing the drug label to suggest such a concern. At that time, however, the committee recommended that the drug agency continue to monitor the drug’s safety and return a year later with an update.

The panel decision after reviewing the update is likely to be closely watched because Tamiflu could have an important role in an outbreak of avian flu. The drug does not prevent flu but can reduce the length and severity of its symptoms.

Most of the 103 recent cases of bizarre behavior are from Japan, where the number of Tamiflu prescriptions is about 10 times that in the United States, with more than twice the population. The cases occurred from Aug. 29, 2005, to July 6, 2006.

The Japanese Tamiflu label now warns that disturbances in consciousness, abnormal behavior, delirium, hallucinations, delusions and convulsions may occur. It also recommends patients be carefully monitored and the drug be stopped if any abnormality is observed.

Even though severe flu cases of the flu can set off those conditions, the number and nature of the cases — along with comments from doctors who believed that the abnormal behavior was associated with the drug — have kept the drug agency from ruling out Tamiflu as the cause, according to agency documents.

The agency staff called the proposed changes prudent, because American use of Tamiflu could jump to Japan’s levels. The current American label mentions only “seizure and confusion” seen in some patients.

Tamiflu is made by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding. A spokesman for Roche did not immediately return messages for comment...


In any event, even as they try to turn the blame back to the flu virus, when's the last time you ever saw someone fall and kill themselves because of a bout of influenza? Sounds like something else to me...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ideal Bite: Great Tips for Eco Living



Changing the world all at once can seem like such a daunting task that it might drive you not outward be inward into the sofa with a comforting but non-biodegradeable bag of Doritos. That's why I look forward to my daily Ideal Bite tip in my in-box every morning (as so 90,000 other readers, including environmentalist extraordinaire, Laurie David). These are easy, interesting, fun tips (plus a "cocktail factoid" with which to impress people at parties) that if just some people follow them some of the time, can add up to a huge eco impact.

Plus, I loooove what I call their "Sex In the City meets Treehugger" style. Nice going, Ideal Biter Writers!

But wait! There's more! If you subscribe now you'll have the extra eyeful of a "guest bite" by the FertilityBitch. The many hours I spent on my single tip to get it to the quality of their daily posts was quite eye-opening as to how much work and research goes into these easy-to-read tips.

My own cocktail factoid about IdealBite: I saw some banner ad for them, and misread "Humane Veal" as "HUMAN VEAL,"' and of course thought, "Geez, I gotta check this out!" Check it out (and subscribe) yourself here.

Or, if you just gotta press da button:



Monday, November 13, 2006

10 Things You Can Do to Prevent A Thyroid Condition

MAN FERTILITY was asking me the other day, "How come we know so many young people with thyroid cancer? How does one get thyroid cancer?"

FertilityBitch said, "I dunno, I thought you had to live by Chernobyl or something."

Then, faster than a speeding bullet, comes the most excellent thyroid newletter from the thyroid goddess, Mary Shomon into my in-box:

Ask for a Thyroid Collar When X-Rayed

When you get dental x-rays, or x-rays of the head, neck, or collarbone area, does the x-ray technician use a lead collar on your thyroid?

Most likely, your answer is no.

And that means, your thyroid is being needlessly exposed to radiation.
Good Lord, I have never HEARD of this thyroid collar, no less been offered one! My dentist in NYC used to get a full set of Xrays every year...eeeeek! Add that to your yearly mammogram, and all I can say, is, You GLOW, girl! Read Mary's 9 other excellent tips and subscribe to her newsletter here.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Fertility Acupuncture Basics

I have been getting a lot of questions about using acupuncture/herbs/traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for fertility, so I thought I'd pull together a basic for-your-information-only post (i.e., I'm not a health professional and these are my suggestions but I always exhort you to check with your own healthcare providers...)

What is fertility acupuncture/TCM?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has conducted clinical studies on acupuncture and determined that infertility/fertility is one condition (among others) that acupuncture appears to effectively treat. The mechanisms are not entirely clear, but their studies have shown that acupuncture can increase bloodflow to the uterus as well as help balance the hormonal system.

Fertility is actually a subspecialty of general acupuncture, so someone (like my late father, for example) who mainly treats pain may not be well versed in fertility issues.

Fertility acupuncture strives to balance menstrual cycle, and therefore, the treatments (and/or herbs) should differ during different parts of your cycle. If the practioner just does the "same-old same-old" each time, it may be a sign he or she may be less knowledgeable in this area.

How long does it take?

TCM aims for balance and not quick fixes. The practioner should be able to tell you when he or she thinks your body is ready. It will take at least one cycle to observe the menses, and it's possible you might need two, four, six, even nine months of treatment depending on your underlying issues. It is also possible the practioner may feel your partner needs to be treated as well.

NOTE: there are some problems, like blocked fallopian tubes, that acupuncture cannot treat, and therefore it's always good to explore all therapies in conjunction with your healthcare provider.

Does acupuncture help ART/IVF?

Yes, it is not an either/or choice with Artificial Reproductive Technology. Acupuncture can help you reduce stress and help you body prepare for a favorable implantation scenario. You'll need to coordinate things with your practioner.

How do I find a good acupuncturist?

Word of mouth is one. You can inquire at the OB/GYN department of a local hospital.

Another good place to start is the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), a nonprofit informational clearinghouse and licensing organization.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lasik and the Death of Pat Tillman

'Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!' he shouted, again and again.
This is from the AP:

The latest inquiry into Tillman's death by friendly fire should end next month; authorities have said they intend to release to the public only a synopsis of their report. But The Associated Press has combed through the results of 2 1/4 years of investigations — reviewed thousands of pages of internal Army documents, interviewed dozens of people familiar with the case — and uncovered some startling findings.

One of the four shooters, Staff Sgt. Trevor Alders, had recently had PRK laser eye surgery. Although he could see two sets of hands 'straight up,' his vision was 'hazy,' he said
. In the absence of 'friendly identifying signals,' he assumed Tillman and an allied Afghan who also was killed were enemy."
More here.

Besides free dangerous anthrax vaccines, I guess free elective surgery is another perk of being the the U.S. military (see: Military Now Offers Eye Surgery), as they are fixing people up with Lasik (also known as PRK) to make 'em more combat-ready.

I was thinking of this recently because I was discussing how I hate going to the eye doctor because once they see my prescription, they start cackling, "Wouldn't you like to be able to see your toes in the shower?" and start pushin' the Lasik. I know better than to mess with my otherwis healthy eyes, and my friend, also beyond four-eyes (I'd say we're at least eight eyes, maybe sixteen) works in healthcare and she cackled back to me, saying, "You know why *I* won't get it? Look at the doctors performing it--they all still wear glasses. Interestingly, when I peered into one of those cheesy Lasik places in the mall, indeed, the guy was bespectacled. Not scientific...but...

In sum: I still can't believe this is the end of such a patriotic, altruistic, idealistic, intelligent and amazing human being...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Drug Company Joins the "Happy Feet" Movie Tie-Ins

Okay, Halloween has passed, but this is truly scary: a kiddie movie with a DRUG COMPANY tie-in! Eeeek!

According to the New York Times: "A new animated movie about a tap-dancing penguin is venturing beyond the Antarctic into uncharted territory — a promotional tie-in to pharmaceuticals. Characters from “Happy Feet” appear in an extensive advertising campaign, including network and cable commercials, full-page magazine ads and online banner ads, for Roche, promoting its Web site www.flufacts.com...

...As far as I know, this is the first time a pharmaceutical company has partnered with the entertainment industry,” said Rob Donnell, the president and founder of Brand Arc, the company that helped bring together Roche and Warner Brothers, the film’s distributor.
"

I'm surprised they're not pushing that drug for restless leg "syndrome." Or maybe they haven't thought of it, yet!

More. here

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A pause...



A very dear friend of ours passed away unexpectedly this week. Will return.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More on the mind-body connection

That skull I'm holding in the picture below actually opens up into a deconstructable brain model like the one pictured here.

But what I want to talk about is not the brain but the mind. There's been some nice discussions here about the mind's role--positive and not-so--in conception, and I really do believe that a refrain of "I'll never get pregnant," "I'm too old," etc., is not too very helpful.

The flip side of it is enlisting your mind to work for you. Like most things in life, it's not as easy as it sounds. Nadia MacLeod's Fertility site is such a treasure trove of info. She was nice enough to let me reprint a proproprietary lesson on "affirmations." Again, something to be filed under can't hurt might help. I remember hearing somewhere that we only use 10% of our brain's capacity or something like that.

The body mind connection is a powerful tool that you can use to help
you conceive more quickly.

The first step to harnessing its power is to understand how the mind
works. The mind is comprised of two sections, the conscious and the
subconscious mind.

The conscious mind takes up about 12% of the
resources available and controls such things as rational and logical thought.

The subconscious mind makes up 88% and stores beliefs and habit,
memory, personality, and self-image.

Whilst it is easy to be aware of what is happening in the conscious
mind is, it takes a lot more effort to become aware of what is
driving us from the subconscious.

In the context of trying to conceive, especially if you have been
trying for a little while. It's important to become aware of some of
the belief systems, memories or self image that you may hold in your
subconscious that could be holding you back.

Keeping a journal can be a good way to keep track of what's going on
internally. In times of stress it's important to have a release
valve to keep track of emotions, thoughts, and the little voices in your head that
might be hindering your progress.

By keeping a journal and allowing yourself to have some free
flow. You can write down all the things that are bugging you. And if
you find that you have recurring themes going on, for example, "
this is taking too long" or "I'm never going to get pregnant" or "My
body is not doing what it I want it to" then you can take steps to
put a stop to them. As sure as eggs, if you have any type of negative
thought constantly running in the background it will be hindering
your progress to some degree.

When you find a specific negative thought running in your head
through your journal writing. Then you can create an antidote to
this thought to add to your affirmations list. For example, for the
thought "I'm never going to get pregnant." You could replace it with
something like "my body is healthy and fertile and receptive to pregnancy."

You would then add this specific affirmation to your list, and repeat
it to yourself every day. You might write it out and place it in
prominent spots around your house and car so your subconscious really
gets the message.

And if throughout the day, you find yourself
falling back into the habit of affirming that you're never going to
get pregnant, then you would picture a big red X going through that
thought in your head and you would replace it immediately with your
selected affirmation antidote - in this case "my body is healthy and
fertile and receptive to pregnancy".

For your affirmations to be most effective. It is essential that you
state them in the present tense, and that they be meaningful and
relevant to you.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Review: Deborah Lindquist Clothes -- Awesome!!

Deborah Lindquist is a fucking design genius! Her clothes are wonderfully witty, totally wearable, AND made of eco friendly fibers, or, in the case of my skull sweater-vest, "reincarnated" vintage cashmere, which due to its age and the fact you don't use pesticides in cashmere, gives it a very fertility friendly profile.

Also, my two current motifs are skull and peace sign (she makes a rockin' peace sign scarf), and her stuff just seems so karmically imbued with happy hopeful goodness. I was ever more impressed when I queried her about her last name (half the people in the small hometown Bob Dylan and I share are xxx-Quist something), and indeed she, too, is a small-town Minnesota original. Whadaya know.

Every time I wear this on campus (here I am supposedly working on my novel, which does have to do with skulls) or even on a trip to the KGB Bar, in the middle of the East Village, where many people struggle so painfully to look hip and original, people comment on my Lindquist works of art (indeed, they are all handcrafted and unique).

This kind of quality does not come cheap, but for me (more usually a skulking habitue of Providence's most excellent Salvation Army), so rarely is an item of clothing so artistically inspirational AND sustainable and non toxic at the same time. Guess you know what's on the FertilityBitch's Christmas wish list...