Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
But in the winter when we're stuck inside, the dry heat tends to make static and positive ions, which are actually bad for you. The Santa Ana and mistral winds are those winds with a reputation for making people crazy or bringing bad vibes. Interestingly, they are also full of positive ions.
Beeswax candles are an awesome and fragrant way to get some cheer-making negative ions into your life. This smiling Buddha from Sunbeam Candles is the best. Not only that, but this company is RUN ON SOLAR POWER. What more could you ask for?
They also have a ton of other styles (e.g., plain votives) in case you have qualms about burning Buddha.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
This comes in via G'OAL, the Global Overseas Adoptees link.
Couple gives up girl, 7, adopted here as a baby
December 10, 2007
HONG KONG ― A high-ranking Dutch diplomat and his wife, who adopted a 4-month-old Korean girl in 2000 when he was posted in Korea, gave up the child last year, officials here said. Now, officials here are looking for someone to take care of the school-age child.
The girl, Jade, is still a Korean citizen because the adoptive parents, whose names were not released, never applied to give her Dutch citizenship, according to an official at the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.
She doesn’t speak any Korean. She speaks only English and Cantonese, according to people close to her. And she doesn’t have Hong Kong residency status, either.
The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, where the Dutch diplomat left Jade in September last year, has had responsibility for her ever since, the official said.
Jade has been in Hong Kong’s foster care system, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. The paper also reported that the diplomat, who has a senior management role at a European consulate in the city, said “the adoption had gone wrong,” without any further explanation.
“It’s just a very terrible trauma that everyone’s experiencing,” he told the paper. “I don’t have anything to say to the public. It is something we have to live with.”
The diplomat’s wife thought she was infertile when the couple adopted the Korean girl in 2000, the official said. After they moved to Hong Kong, the wife got pregnant. They now have two children of their own.
The story has fueled anger among the Korean immigrant community in Hong Kong, which criticized the diplomat couple for “irre-sponsibly renouncing their custody of a child who’d been with them more than six years after delaying the naturalization process in Netherlands for years.”
By Choi Hyung-kyu JoongAng Ilbo/ Lee Yang-kyoung Staff Reporter [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
read more http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2883720
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 01:11 GMT
Medieval diets 'far more healthy'
Their low-fat, vegetable-rich diet - washed down by weak ale - was far better for the heart than today's starchy, processed foods, one GP says.
And while they consumed more they burnt off calories in a workout of 12 hours' labour, Dr Roger Henderson concludes.
But the Shropshire GP accepts that life for even prosperous peasants was tough.
But after examining the available records, Dr Henderson suggests that medieval meals were perhaps even better than the much touted "Mediterranean" diet enjoyed by the Romans.
While this would have involved fish, fruit, whole grains and olive oil - as well as red wine - the rich often overindulged, while the poor may not always have been able to obtain them.
The average medieval peasant however would have eaten nearly two loaves of bread each day, and 8oz of meat or fish, the size of an average steak.
This would have been accompanied by liberal quantities of vegetables, including beans, turnips and parsnips, and washed down by three pints of ale.
Crucially, there was little refined sugar in their food, while modern eating habits are dominated by biscuits, cake and sweets.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Check out this stylin' bag from Envirosax's ORGANIC SERIES. It's 45% bamboo, 55% linen. Witty graphic designs, and it has its own cute little pouch and comes packaged in a recycled cardboard box.
I took this shopping and was the belle of the farmers' market.
And of course, I'm nuts for anything bamboo...
Monday, December 17, 2007
Here's our previous post about lead in lipstick (and candy--yum!)
Minn. to ban mercury in beauty products
By MARTIGA LOHN, Associated Press Thu Dec 13, 5:23 PM ET
The quest for thicker lashes and defined eyes should get safer on Jan. 1, when Minnesota bans mercury from mascara, eye liners and skin-lightening creams.
The state apparently is the first in the nation to ban intentionally-added mercury in cosmetics. When the law takes effect, Minnesota will have a tougher standard than the federal government, which allows small amounts of mercury as a preservative in eye makeup.
Retailers who knowingly sell mercury-containing cosmetics could face fines of as much as $700. Penalties could reach $10,000 for manufacturers who fail to disclose mercury on product labels, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
'Mercury does cause neurological damage to people even in tiny quantities,' said Sen. John Marty, the Democrat from Roseville who sponsored the ban. 'Every source of mercury adds to it. We wanted to make sure it wasn't here.'
The cosmetics provision is part of a larger ban targeting better-known sources of mercury, such as thermostats, barometers, industrial switches and medical devices. The law also covers toiletries, fragrances and over-the-counter drugs such as eye drops, nasal sprays, hemorrhoid treatments and antiseptics."
Read more o fthe ApP story here.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
As Grinchy as this sounds, if anyone in the household has asthma/allergies, it might be a nicer present to now have a tree. And puhleeeeeze don't get one of those artificial ones!
"FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- While bringing home a live Christmas tree marks the beginning of the holiday season for many, the mold that thrives on its branches can trigger weeks of suffering for some, a new study shows. Connecticut researchers have found that the mold count from a live Christmas tree rose to five times the normal level two weeks after the tree was brought indoors, and that can prove problematic for people with mold allergies. Their research was presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting, in Dallas. 'Christmas trees are another possible source of mold exposure during the holiday season,' said study co-author Philip Hemmers, an allergist and immunologist with St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn. 'Mold allergies peak in the fall, and we see a second peak with a lot of our mold-sensitive patients during the holiday season. Our finding correlates with this second peak of mold sensitivity.'"
read more here.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Most pacifiers are made of silicone--we just threw out all our weird silicone baking stuff--so maybe you don't want to be putting it in your baby's mouth either. Zoe-B Organic has made these available in the US:
Natursutten all-natural rubber pacifiers, available online in the U.S. for the first time. These pacifiers are made of pure, natural rubber, with no artificial colors, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC, or phthalates.
Rubber pacifiers are softer than those made from silicone. Plus Natursutten pacifiers are extremely hygienic because they're molded in one piece--which means no joints or cracks where bacteria can accumulate.
Check it our here. This blog/website is also a great resource for organic baby and maternity products. Yay!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If you stay in hotels you MUST watch this hidden-cam video.
Monday, December 10, 2007
CSI Fingerprint Toy (dangerous powder included)Beware if your children put the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kit on their holiday wish lists.
It doesn't take a sleuth to detect danger in these kits -- the fingerprinting dust contains tremolite, one of the most lethal forms of asbestos.
Even worse, children are supposed to blow on the asbestos-contaminated powder after dusting for fingerprints, which means they will likely inhale lung-damaging, cancer-causing asbestos fibers.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Note that the majority of supps the physicans are prescribing are from OBs--probably the prenatal vitamins.
Newswise — The landmark “Life...supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study found that more than three quarters of U.S. physicians (79 percent) and nurses (82 percent) recommend dietary supplements to their patients. The study also shows that an almost equal number—72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses—personally use vitamin, mineral, herbal and other supplements either regularly, occasionally or seasonally, which is a higher percentage than the 68 percent1 of adults who report they take nutritional or dietary supplements.
With mainstream use of dietary supplements in the U.S.—more than 150 million Americans take them each year—the 2007 “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study on dietary supplements was designed to evaluate the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by physicians and nurses and to determine if those factors impact whether they recommend supplements for their patients. The study was sponsored by the “Life…supplemented” consumer wellness campaign, which is managed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
...Should Physicians Recommend More Supplements? The number of physicians recommending dietary supplements to their patients is highest among obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) (91 percent), followed by primary care physicians (84 percent). In addition, the study shows that almost three quarters of physicians (72 percent) and more than three quarters of nurses (88 percent) say it is a good idea for patients to take a multivitamin.
The study found that almost half of physicians and nurses who take supplements most often do so for “overall health/wellness benefits,” while 41 percent of physicians and 62 percent of nurses who recommend supplements most often do so for the same reasons. Primary care physicians, OB/GYNs and nurses recommend supplements as often for “general well-being/prevention” as they do for special conditions, while other specialists recommend supplements more often for special conditions.
According to Dr. Moore, “It makes sense to me that OB/GYNs are the group most likely to recommend supplements, although I am concerned that not all OB/GYNs reported they recommend them for their prenatal patients, given that women’s health—especially prenatal—is one arena where the data supporting supplement use is overwhelmingly positive.”
Among the physicians surveyed, 51 percent use dietary supplements regularly, 19 percent use them occasionally and two percent use them seasonally. Among nurses, 59 percent use them regularly, 27 percent use them occasionally and 3 percent use them seasonally.
Initiating the Discussion. "Given the current state of the science, it is not surprising that increasing numbers of healthcare professionals are incorporating dietary supplements into their personal health routines. However, the fact that only 25 percent of physicians actively counsel patients regarding their dietary supplement use demonstrates an on-going and concerning problem that requires more outreach and education,” said Tieraona Low Dog, M.D, director of education, Program in Integrative Medicine, and clinical assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona Health Sciences.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Remember: to prevent neural tube defects, you need the folate BEFORE you get pregant. Taking a good prenatal vitamin or a supplement like Fertility Blend isn't a bad idea, in my humble opinion.
From the NY Times:
A Growing Debate Over Folic Acid in Flour
By DARSHAK M. SANGHAVI, M.D.
Every year, an estimated 200,000 children around the world are born with crippling defects of the spinal column. Many are paralyzed or permanently impaired by spina bifida; some, with a condition called anencephaly (literally, “no brain”), survive in a vegetative state.
It is a stubborn and terrible problem, in the developed and developing worlds alike. But many experts believe it could be greatly eased by a simple government measure: requiring that flour be fortified with the dietary supplement folic acid, which has been shown to prevent these neural tube defects if taken by expectant mothers from before conception through the first trimester.
The debate over folic acid is a familiar one, and Americans could be excused for thinking it was over. Since 1998, the federal government has required that almost all flour be fortified with the supplement.
But in fact, the requirement has meant women receive an average extra dose of just 100 micrograms of folic acid a day — far below the levels that have been shown in studies to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects. For more than a decade, the Food and Drug Administration has resisted calls to require that the amount be doubled...Folic acid’s promise emerged 40 years ago, when British obstetricians realized that spina bifida often occurred when mothers had a form of anemia caused by folic acid deficiency. Then, in a 1991 British study of mothers of children with spina bifida, Dr. Nicholas Wald, the lead investigator, found such extraordinary results that he stopped the trial prematurely. When the women took folic acid daily before their next conception and through the first trimester of pregnancy, spina bifida recurrences fell 72 percent...
And there is good reason to think that requiring more fortification may prevent more birth defects. Blood levels of folate among women have been declining, according to a C.D.C. study released last January, perhaps because of worsening obesity and the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.
Read more here.
According to Susan Weeds Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, here are some foods that are rich in folate:
- whole grains
- organ meats such as liver
- leafy greens
• 1/2 cup cooked lentils: 179 mcg
• 1 cup boiled collard greens: 177 mcg
• 1/2 cup canned chickpeas: 141 mcg
• 1 medium papaya: 115 mcg
• 1 cup cooked frozen peas: 94 mcg
• 4 spears steamed or boiled asparagus: 88 mcg
• 1/2 cup steamed broccoli: 52 mcg
• 1 cup strawberries: 40 mcg
• 1 medium orange: 39 mcg
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
What's sad is that it's not the government that did these tests, but an independent, non government organization. The government probably doesn't want to piss off the cosmetics lobby. Don't forget, there are NO regulations governing what's in cosmetics, they don't even have to tell you what's in it (note, you will not see "lead" in the list of ingredients--although it's probably there to add color and act as a fixative). And $$$ brands are just as likely to have it as cheapo brands.
Here's the report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (p.s. why is there LEAD in CANDY????):
Lipstick manufactured in the United States contains “surprisingly high” levels of lead, according to a new study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
More than half (61 percent) of 33 name-brand lipsticks tested in September 2007 contained lead levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). One-third of the lipsticks had more lead than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy.
Although lipstick is ingested directly into your body, the FDA has not set a lead limit for the cosmetic. Among the brands with the highest lead levels were:
- L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” -- 0.65 ppm
- L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine” - 0.58 ppm
- Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” -- 0.56 ppm
- Dior Addict “Positive Red” -- 0.21 ppm
- Cause learning, language, and behavioral problems
- Cross the placenta and interfere with normal fetal development
- Possibly cause infertility and miscarriage
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling for cosmetics makers to remove lead from their products, and for the FDA to more strictly regulate personal care products.
Lipsticks can be manufactured without lead, the Campaign pointed out, as 39 percent of lipsticks tested had no detectable levels of lead.
What should you do for the holiday season (besides not wear lipstick?) Well, our wacky friends in the EU won't allow any chemical that is 1. mutagenic 2. carcinogenic or 3. toxic to the reproductive system into their products, so you might want to opt for brands that meet EU standards.
Fun fact: did you know that when inspectors nab lead-filled and etc. products that don't meet EU standards what happens to them? Bingo! They are sent for resale in the US! Perfectly legal.
For cosmetics, I always like Dr. Hauschka products because they work well and are non toxic. Here's their statement on lead:
Ensuring the health and well-being of our customers is a foundational
mandate for Dr.Hauschka and manufacturer WALA Heilmittel. Our stringent
quality specifications for ingredients and formulations ensure that all
finished products, including Dr.Hauschka Lipsticks, test well below
maximum levels established by the U.S. and European Union for lead and
other metal contaminants in cosmetics. Though exposure to excessive
amounts of lead carries significant health risks, lead is a naturally
occurring element and exposure to it cannot be completely avoided. Dr.
Hauschka cosmetics, however, are not a significant source of lead
Monday, December 03, 2007
Here's Part II of Meeting the Meat. Last time, we were going to our friendly farmer to procure some of his beefalo.
For Thanksgiving, we had black-skinned chickens (very medicinal), grown by Chang, our friendly farmer. She grow veggies organically and sells them at the Brown Farmers' Market, and the chickens also run around her farm and get to eat old and expired veggies as well as whatever bugs and grubs they find. Apparently, it's the bugs and worms that give the chicken a nice Omega-3 profile, a huge advantage over non free range chickens (even if fed organic feed). Her chickens also make a broth that yields a lot of gelatin, which contains a lot of micronutrients that we often miss in our diets. Koreans love bone broths, even add hooves and things for extra gelatin. But when's that last time you saw someone (your grandma, maybe?) make chicken broth that didn't come out of a can or an aseptic-pack? You need your gel. (n.b. if you cook up a cheapo factory-farm chicken for stew and you won't get too much gel, either.)
Her chickens are very happy (until she starts chasing them with a net) at least as much as my anthropomorphizing mind thinks they are. I couldn't help her kill them (former vegetarian) but I did help her clean them (see photographic evidence). Watching the bird die also makes one so much more grateful. I made sure not to waste a thing. She even cleaned out the stomach so we could throw it in the soup, along with feet, head, etc.
Some of my inlaws complained that my participating in the killing of the chicken was mean, while they were okay with the prophylactic ingestion of an industrially raised turkey they'd cooked the night before. I think if we all participated in more in where our food comes from, meet our meat, we'd demand better treatment for the animals, and we'd get better, safer, more nutritious food. While we were there, we also got a dozen unwashed eggs gfresh from the chicken's butts--they look poopy and smeary and horrify people when they see them. But they are actually cleaner than the bleached and salmonella-y eggs you get at the supermarket (you just don't see the debeaked chickens sitting in s*** and so sick they need tons of antibiotics), and the yolks are an unbelievable color--the pathogens grow when you have dirty factorylike cages. Chang's chickens get plenty of light and air and they get to run around in the daytime like chickens are meant to. We can leave these eggs out unrefrigerated for week and they stay fresh, and we eat them raw, all the time. Of course, it took me a while to get here; I used to be a "sanitation" nut before...
Hm, maybe that's why my inlaws came into the house bearing McDonald's bags. We each have distinctly different ideas on which food is "safer" and "clean." Comments?
Here's an article from the WashPost on how while we subsidize the hell out of industrial farms for icky crops like GMO corn, the government makes regulations so onerous that organic farmers are having a hard time: Bitter Harvest for Small Farms