Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fortune in Fear

by Sophie Chiche

I remember hearing this idea somewhere that courage was not the absence of fear, but rather, the ability to do something in the presence of it.

I am scared of being on a boat. I always was. When I was 18, I dated a guy who had a boat, and I decided to brave my fear and get on it for a three day voyage across the Mediterranean. I know, I could have started by peddling in a canoe in a pond, but no—three days, no sight of land.

There was a guy on the boat who was all tough and cool, and he kept saying, “Come on get over it.”

He missed the point. I got over it. I was on the boat; that was about as much as I could do. Scared of it, and yet doing it.

I asked the cool, tough guy what he was afraid of, and he said horses. I happened to have a horse and to not be scared of them an ounce. I invited him to join me after the boat debacle. He said never. Aha! I was on the boat, and he would not come to ride a horse. Get my drift?

Well, I am scared of public speaking, and there I was last month doing a TEDx Talk. The fear was so strong some nights that I literally stayed up till dawn. But I did it. I loved it actually.

Maybe there is a direct link between how hard I imagined it would be and how joyful it felt to complete it.

As long as we don’t let it stop us, fear is a friend, believe it or not. It ignites more power inside of us, so we can jump higher. It is the fear, the managed fear that fuels our engines.

I am still scared of boats and speaking in public, and I am still going to do both. I have never spoken to anyone who said they were afraid of doing something and regretted doing it after they overcame their fear.

We feel good when we overcome our fears. We know we are bigger than them.

We know that we are meant to transcend them.

That is why we love watching athletes push beyond the average boundaries. We instinctively know what they had to overcome to get to where we see them. And to witness someone overcome their fear is a sure way to ignite our engines!

Here is a list of our links.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Millions of high blood pressure patients are wrongly diagnosed

By Stephen Adams

Currently, anyone suspected of having high blood pressure is diagnosed by a GP with an inflatable arm cuff. Doctors then call the patient back for additional readings, but these are always taken at their surgery or in hospital.

New draft guidance to be published today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) says as many as one in four people experiences a surging pulse rate on entering a GP’s surgery.

This nervous response, termed “white coat hypertension”, can significantly raise blood pressure readings and many people are being misdiagnosed as a result.

To counter this, Nice is recommending that doctors do not rely solely on readings taken in their own surgeries. After the initial assessment, a patient should be sent home and asked to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device.

This comprises an inflated arm cuff, similar to those used in surgeries, which takes spot readings at intervals over a 24-hour period.

Prof Bryan Williams, from Leicester University, who led the development of the new guidance, said: “This new approach would not only improve diagnosis but would ultimately be cost-saving for the NHS.”

More than 8.5 million people are registered as having high blood pressure. People with the condition are three times more likely to develop heart disease and suffer strokes as people with normal blood pressure and twice as likely to die from these.

Patients are often put on drugs to lower their blood pressure, such as beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. In 2008, the NHS in England spent £83 million on beta-blockers alone.

The drugs can have serious side effects. For example, ACE inhibitors can cause blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels and result in kidney problems.

Nice’s guidance notes: “White coat hypertension is reported to occur in as many as 25 per cent of the population, especially where their blood pressure is close to the threshold for diagnosis. It is more common in pregnancy and with increasing age.”

This suggests that as many as 2 million people may have been wrongly diagnosed simply because they were nervous when they went into the surgery.

Prof Williams added that the new guidance would allow doctors to get the correct diagnosis more often, but warned that surgeries and clinics would not have sufficient stocks of the equipment at the start.

The Blood Pressure Association, which has been campaigning for the change for years, welcomed the move. Prof Gareth Beevers, a trustee of the charity, said the guidance should be backed up with money “to ensure ambulatory monitors are more widely available”.

But Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, questioned whether the new approach would be significantly more accurate.

She said: “If we were looking at lifelong treatment or uncertain diagnosis, then this device might be useful, but for the majority of patients we would take three readings anyway before starting treatment.”

Nice officials said the guidelines, which it has put out for consultation, would “significantly change the way high blood pressure is diagnosed and subsequently treated”.

Here is a list of our links.

Monday, February 27, 2012

5 Ways to Feel Reenergized During the Day

By FitSugar

When you feel like you need an extra jolt of energy during the day, sometimes coffee isn't the answer. Luckily, we've got some ways to wake you up without the caffeine hit. Here are five ways to feel refreshed and reenergized anytime!

1. Drink More Water: Dehydration makes you fatigued and being parched regularly can lead to that foggy-headed feeling that slows you down. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to feel alert and hydrated instead of sluggish and slow. Find out just how much water your body needs here.

2. Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise helps you sleep better at night and have more energy during the day. Stick to a regular workout routine to help avoid that lethargic feeling. And when energy levels are at an all-time low, a few quick moves can get your energy levels back up.

3. Change Your Surroundings: Often we just need a change of pace to help us feel reenergized again. If you're having trouble concentrating or keeping your head off your desk, now's the time to take a walk. You'll give your mind a break by changing your surroundings and you'll also be more energized as you move.

4. Plan Something Fun: The Monday blues can get you down, especially after a weekend full of plans. Don't let that postfun glow go to waste - there's always a fun dinner, vacation, or workout date you can plan for. Take some time to schedule your social engagements or block out time later in the week to work on a hobby - looking forward to something fun may help get you in a better, more productive mood.

5. Stretch Out: Often we get so tense from sitting in the same place or frantically running errands that we don't realize how exhausting it can be. Take time to stretch out your limbs and joints with these five do-anywhere stretches that will get you back into focus.




Here is a list of our links.

8 Natural Methods That Can Help Reduce Estrogen And Minimize Fat Storage

by Bruce Krahn

When it comes to losing body fat men and women are not created equal.

Most trainers and nutritionists will tell you that on average, it is easier for a man to lose body fat than a woman.

There are a number of reasons why this may be true including gender disparities in muscle mass, genetic predispositions and hormonal differences.

It has been my experience that three of the most difficult areas to lose fat from are the hips, buttocks and thighs. Stubborn fat deposits in these areas are almost exclusively a female issue and the reason for this may be related to estrogen.

However, guys are not immune to the effects of increased estrogen either. Men who have an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen will often deposit fat under the nipple area-a condition known as gynocomastia.

Causes of Estrogen Imbalance 

There are a number of reasons why an individual may have estrogen imbalance. Over time, poor food choices, alcohol consumption and other lifestyle factors can lead to an increase in estradiol- the fat storing form of estrogen.

Here are 8 natural methods that can help reduce estrogen and minimize fat storage from those areas.

1. Digest your food properly. You are not what you eat- you are what you eat, digest and assimilate. It is important that the nutrients you ingest are being properly absorbed. Foods that are cooked or processed are often lacking in important enzymes that can impact how nutrients are being used by your body.

2. Eat your veggies. Cruciferous vegetables such as Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and spinach can help your body to eliminate bad estrogens. Broccoli is my personal favorite as it contains indoles which are known to help fight cancer and improve your livers ability to rid your body of estrogen. The best way to eat your broccoli is lightly steamed- not boiled to mush. Your broccoli should be crunchy tender. I also recommend you choose organic whenever possible.

3. Eat more Wasabi. Wasabi root contains Diidolymethane or Dim. Dim is the active form of indole 3 carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables. Dim helps to prevent aromatase which is the conversion of testosterone to fat storing estrogens.

4. Take your supplements. Fish oil, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc can help your body to properly metabolize estrogen.

5. Drink filtered water. A good quality water filtration system can help minimize the amount of estrogen you are being exposed to through the water you drink. Consider a filter for your shower as well.

6. Select alternate forms of birth control. Birth control pills will have an effect on female estrogen levels.

7. Drink less booze. Alcohol consumption will reduce testosterone and increase estrogen.

8. Lift more weights. Swap two (or more) days of cardio for resistance training. Lifting weights has a positive impact on your testosterone, growth hormone and estrogen levels while excessive cardio will have the opposite effect.

Small changes, repeated over time can have a big effect. The items on this list are safe and effective ways for you to kick start your fat loss goals for the coming year and finally lose that stubborn body fat.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Many Names of Monosodium Glutamate

The Many Names of Monosodium Glutamate

Many of us are suffering needlessly because of so-called safe
food additives, namely excitatory neuro-transmitters (nicknamed
excitotoxins). The main ones are monosodium glutamate (MSG),
aspartame, and L-cysteine. You may think that you are actually
avoiding MSG if you avoid Chinese restaurants, but this factory-
created flavor enhancer is in almost every bottled, bagged, frozen,
or canned processed food on supermarket shelves. But since MSG
is often a component of a formulation, it is not labeled as such.
(Editor's Note: Many people would be shocked to know that almost
all restaurants use large amounts of MSG in their food
preparation. Italian food is sometimes much worse than Chinese food.)

You've seen words like autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein,
and whey protein. Each of these substances contain a percentage
of glutamate, the harmful component of MSG.

Are you suffering any of these symptoms? Perhaps you need
to take a better look at the food you are eating.

1. Severe headache
2. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
3. Irregular heartbeat or blood pressure, racing heart
4. Depression or mood change, bipolar, SAD
5. Abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, colitis, IBS
6. Balance problems, dizziness, or seizures, mini-strokes
7. Tenderness in localized areas, neck, back, etc.
8. Sleep disorders
9. Blurred vision or difficulty breathing
10. Chronic fatigue or sleepiness
11. Excessive perspiring or shuddering and chills
12. Shortness of breath, chest pains, asthma
13. Swelling, pain, or numbness of hands, feet, jaw
14. Pain in joints or bones
15. Flushing or tingling in face, chest, pressure behind eyes
16. Gagging reflex or difficulty swallowing
17. Hyperactivity, behavioral problems
18. Chronic post nasal drip
19. Skin rash, itching, hives
20. Bloated face, dark circles under strained eyes
21. Extreme thirst or dry mouth
22. Difficulty concentrating and poor memory
23. Slowed speech
24. Chronic bronchitis-like symptoms, allergy reactions,
dry cough, hoarseness or sore throat
25. Heavy, weak feeling in arms and legs
2 6. Irritable bowel or colitis
27. Attention deficit disorder, anxiety attacks, rage, panic attacks
28. Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, MS,
29. Pressure behind eyes or on head, neck, shoulder
30. ADD, ADHD, Rage Disorder
31. Asthma
32. Weight problems, obesity, hypoglycemia

Foods with these words on the label always
contain MSG:

MSG, monosodium glutamate, monopotassium glutamate,
glutamate, glutamic acid, gelatin, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed
vegetable protein, textured protein, autolyzed plant protein,
hydrolyzed plant protein, yeast extract, glutamate, yeast food
or nutrient, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast

Foods made with the following products
often contain MSG:

malted barley (flavor), barley malt, malt extract of flavoring,
maltodextrin, caramel flavoring (coloring), stock, broth, bouillon,
carrageenan, whey protein or whey, whey protein isolate or
concentrate, pectin, protease, protease enzymes, flavors, flavoring,
natural chicken, beef or pork flavoring, seasonings (Most assume
this means salt, pepper or spices and herbs which sometimes it is.),
soy sauces or extract, soy protein, soy protein isolate or concentrate, cornstarch, flowing agents, white rice or oat protein, protein fortified anything, enzyme modified anything, ultra-pasteurized anything, fermented anything,

And yet more that may contain msg . . . modified food
starch, rice syrup or brown rice syrup, lipolyzed butter fat, low or
no-fat items, corn syrup and corn syrup solids (some companies
use another process to make their product, saying it is MSG-free),
citric acid (when processed with corn), milk powder, dry milk solids,
protein fortified milk, annatto, spice, gums, dough conditioners, yeast nutrients

Here is a list of our links.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is Barefoot Contact With the Earth Necessary For Health?

By Sayer Ji

The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Feeling “grounded” is an increasingly uncommon experience in this day and age, and it should be, considering we no longer regularly touch the groundwith our bare feet, as nature intended.

It is no great mystery that the human foot was designed, over countless millenia, to be in direct contact with the Earth, the literal and symbolic ground of our being. And the Earth is no inert substance, but rather a living and breathing entity (of which we are but a mere part) capable of infusing us with its life, ‘singing the body electric,’ as Walt Whitman once mused.

Indeed, the Earth breathes life into us through a continual stream of free electrons…
It is well established, though not widely known, that the surface of the earth possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons as a consequence of a global atmospheric electron circuit. Wearing shoes with insulating soles and/or sleeping in beds that are isolated from the electrical ground plane of the earth have disconnected most people from the earth’s electrical rhythms and free electro

—James L Oschman, Can electrons act as antioxidants? A review and commentary.

The effects of which James Oschman speaks are not simply theoretical. There are a wide range of measurable changes in the body associated with this “grounding” including changes in pulse rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, perfusion index, and skin conductance which have been clinically studied.

Grounding has also been shown to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, lowers and synchronizes cortisol levels during sleep, reduce inflammation, modulates neurological function, and reduce oxidative stress.

new study published last month in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health covers this topic in greater depth, and is well worth the read.

Here is a list of our links.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

15 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Whether you're trying to shed some lbs or just stay fit, these tricks to increase your metabolism from Heather Bauer, RD,CDN, will help you reach the finish line even faster. 

1. Keep Hydrated I'm sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels. 

2. Ditch the Drinks Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you've got a double disaster. 

3. Destress Yourself Stress raises the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that tells the body to hold onto fat in case of a stressful situation (think more natural disaster-level stress, not a bad day at work-level). Experiment with yoga or meditation as ways to lower stress levels and clear your mind. 

4. Decrease Diet Soda Although it's low in calories and seems like an easy swap for high calorie beverages, diet soda may actually have adverse effects on your metabolism. Water and seltzer are better options.. 

5. Don't Forget Your ZZZ's Getting a least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Anything less can adversely affect your body's ability to burn calories. Surprisingly, excess sleep may do the same thing. It's best to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up close to the same time every morning 

6. Soak Up the Sun Research shows that when a person spends long periods of time in a darkened, dull environment, it stimulates the same physiological functions in the body as gaining weight and sleep. The best daylight hours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so make it a point to get up from your desk and take a brisk walk outside. Aside from soaking up rays, you'll rev up your heart rate and benefit from the fresh air. 

7. Work Out in the Cold Doing any type of cardio exercise in the cold can increase the ability of brown fat in the body to work at maximum capacity. Newly published research indicates that brown fat helps efficiently burn the white fat in your body, which is the considered that "bad fat." 

8. Drink Kombucha Tea This tea, which is made from the Kombucha black mushroom, has racked up accolades in almost every health area-claims range from easing arthritis to detoxifying the liver. The detoxifying nature of this beverage may help your body function at an optimal level, which means a healthy metabolism. 

9. Increase Weight-Bearing Exercises One pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories, while one pound of fat burns a measly 5 to 10 calories. Turning fat into muscle can increase your body's basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 40%. There's no need to hit the weights hard, either, simply using light weights at high repetition has been proven to tone muscle and burn fat 

10. Up Your Vitamin C Vitamin C and calcium are partners in crime when it comes to your metabolic rate. Calcium speeds up metabolism, while vitamin C helps the body absorb this mineral, creating an overall win-win situation. 

11. Vitamin B is Key Getting in all over your vitamin B, which you can do by incorporating small amounts of nuts, seeds, lean chicken, beef, and fish into your diet, helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Legumes are also a great source of B vitamins; plus they're chock-full of fiber. 

12. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup It's one of the most controversial issues in nutrition: Studies show that HFCS can make the body insulin-resistant. Also, when given the choice, the body stores fructose as fat before it does glucose. 

13. Try Interval Training Aside from curing workout boredom, interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time. This is a great way for busy people with less time to get in a maximum workout. 

14. Spicy Peppers Take your pick: Jalapenos, chili, cayenne, habanero, etc.. These fiery little guys contain capsaicin, which is why you get a burning sensation in your mouth when you eat them. This same effect is created internally, causing a calorie burn for about 30 minutes afterward. 

15. Go Ginger The latest craze is to add ginger shots to juice, but if you're not into juicing, it also pairs nicely with veggies in a stir-fry. In addition to aiding digestion, it can speed up the body's digestion process by as much as twenty percent. 

Here is a list of our links.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

6 Reasons to Kick Your Soda Habit

Do you spend most days with a can of soda by your side? You might want to break that habit. Turns out, all soda -- even diet -- is bad you, and new research suggests it's especially harmful to women. Here are six reasons to give up soft drinks for good.

 1. Soda makes you fat. Both regular and diet soft drinks are tied to obesity. In one study, people who drank diet sodas had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference over a few years compared to those who skipped soft drinks.

Diet soft drinks are particularly insidious, says RealAge cofounder Michael F. Roizen, M.D. "Sweet diet soda fuels your desire for other sweets," he explains. It also has a "health halo" effect. "You view choosing a 'diet' drink as virtuous (all those calories saved!). So it feels like you can afford to reward that virtue with a hot fudge sundae."

 2. Soda boosts your risk of serious disease. The extra belly fat that often comes with a soft drink habit is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A recent study in the Journal of Internal Medicine also tied a daily diet soda habit to a higher stroke risk.

 3. Regular soft drinks may cause cancer. New research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health finds drinking two or more regular soft drinks per week may almost double your risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers speculate that the sugar overload from regular soda triggers insulin production that fuels cancer cell growth.

 4. It's bad for your teeth. Yep, your mom was right about this one. And here again, even diet soda is bad news because sugar isn't the worst offender in soft drinks. The big culprit is soda's high acid content: phosphoric, malic, citric, and tartaric acid strip tooth enamel. Citrus-flavored soft drinks are the worst -- they dissolve enamel up to five times more than colas.

 5. It's bad for your bones. The same acids that are bad for your teeth also coax calcium from your bones. That goes for regular and diet caffeinated soda. Can't give up your Diet Coke? Roizen recommends upping your daily calcium tally by an extra 20 mg for every 12 ounces of soda you sip.

6. It's bad, even if you don't gain weight. New research from the American Heart Association finds that women are more vulnerable than men to the harmful effects of drinking two or more sugar-sweetened drinks -- including soda -- per day. Soda-sipping women are likely to have a larger waist size, higher "bad" LDL cholesterol, higher levels of triglycerides (harmful fatty acids that can cause heart disease), higher blood sugar, and lower "good" HDL cholesterol -- even if they don't put on a pound.

Here is a list of our links.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spinbrush Toothbrush May Chip Teeth, Cause Injuries, FDA Warns

By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine

Popular battery-powered "spinning" toothbrushes may do more harm than good, chipping teeth, slashing gums, and causing facial injuries instead of merely keeping cavities at bay.

In a statement issued Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that pieces of the Arm & Hammer brand Spinbrush (known as the Crest Spinbrush until 2009) could detach, causing a choking hazard and injuries to the face and mouth.

"It's important that consumers know how to avoid the risks associated with using the Spinbrush," Shumaya Ali, M.P.H., a consumer safety officer at the Food and Drug Administration, said in the statement. "We've had reports in which parts of the toothbrush broke off during use and were released into the mouth with great speed, causing broken teeth and presenting a choking hazard."

Though the warning specifically involves all versions of the adult and child-size Spinbrush, the FDA says that any electric toothbrushes should be used with extreme care.

"Electric toothbrushes can be very effective in removing dental plaque, and so they can help prevent dental decay and gum disease," said Susan Runner, chief of FDA's dental devices branch. "At the same time, it's important to supervise children when they use these brushes, and to look out for any malfunctions of the toothbrush that might cause an injury." The Spinbrush is made up of a handle (where the batteries and motor are located) and a removable brush head. Spinbrush injuries reported to the FDA include chipped and broken teeth, cuts to the mouth and gums, swallowing broken pieces, choking on broken pieces, and injuries to the face and eyes caused by broken pieces.

"In some cases, the brush head popped off to expose metal pieces underneath that can-and have-poked individuals in the cheek and areas near the eyes, causing injuries," the FDA warned.

The child-size version of the Spinbrush, which have blank handles that children can decorate with stickers and other versions with Spiderman and Thomas the Tank Engine themes, do not have removable brush heads, but incidents of cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles that fall off and get stuck in a child's tonsils have been reported.

According to the FDA report, the manufacturer of the Spinbrush -- Church & Dwight Co., Inc. -- has had several complaints about the product that were not reported to the FDA. In response to the latest warnings, Church & Dwight Co., Inc. issued a safety notice online and in advertisements for the Spinbrush, and asked consumers to change their brush heads every three months or sooner if the brush seems worn.

"There have been a small number of adverse event reports involving minor injury," the company told the Washington Post. "But it is important to consider the relatively low incidence of these adverse event reports." They pointed out that nearly 40 million Spinbrushes have been sold in the past two years, and added that the injuries "were the result of the product being used well beyond its recommended life or [from] consumer misuse."

The FDA also suggests that parents and caregivers inspect their own and their children's spinning toothbrushes before each use, supervise children while they are brushing their teeth, and avoid biting down on the bristles while they're moving.

Here is a list of our links.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Multi-Vitamins Don't Make Up for a Poor Diet!

So many North Americans make a point to pop their daily multivitamin-mineral tablet each morning to help ensure that they're in good health. For many, that tablet acts as a safety blanket, a back up for any nutrients that might have gone by the wayside or might do later that day. The trouble is, according to a new study, people who take vitamins are more likely to indulge in fast food and more unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviours than those who don't take them. Uh oh.

 While vitamins are a good idea from time to time, perhaps even daily, to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients you need, you're probably getting much more of each nutrient than you think. If you follow a pretty healthy, varied diet filled with fruits and vegetables, your chances of getting most of what you need are pretty good. We're not all expected to meet every single DRI every day, few people can actually do this, but by the end of the week, with a pretty sound diet, it is most likely that you're doing just fine. But if you think a tablet can rescue you from the depths of a destructive diet, you're unfortunately incorrect.

 According to Dr. Wen-Bin Chiou of National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, who's work will be published in the journal Psychological Science, ‘After taking dietary supplements in the morning, individuals should diligently monitor whether illusory invulnerability is activated by restored health credentials and subsequently licenses health-risk behaviors.’ That's really a mouthful, but what it actually means is that while that tablet might make up for what you're missing in terms of vitamins and minerals, it can't undo all the harm that you inflict by following other poor dietary practices and certainly don't make you invincible to them. Eat right, and you've got a much better chance of being and remaining healthy.

Here is a list of our links.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in France


According to Reuters, a French court on Monday, February 13, 2012 proclaimed U. S. biotech giant Monsanto is responsible of the chemical poisoning of a French farmer in a judgment that could give weight to additional health claims brought against pesticides in other countries.

In the first such case heard in a legal court in France, grain farmer Paul Francois claims he sustained neurological difficulties such as memory loss, headaches and stammering following inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

His claim encompassed around the fact that Monsanto did not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

The ruling was given by a court in Lyon, southeast France, that ordered an professional opinion of Francois's losses to determine the sum of damages.

This decision is landmark because previous health cases from farmers have lost traction simply because of the difficulties of establishing obvious links between health problems and direct exposure to pesticides.

"I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this, " Francois, 47, told Reuters.

Francois and other farmers enduring from illness established an association in 2011 to help make a case that their health problems must be linked to their use of crop protection products.

The agricultural department of the French social security system says that since 1996, it has accumulated farmers' reports of health issues potentially connected to pesticides, with about two hundred alerts a year.

But only approximately 47 cases have been recognized as due to pesticides in the past 10 years. Francois, who suffers from neurological problems, acquired work invalidity status only after a court appeal.

The Francois case goes back to a period of intense use of crop-protection chemicals in the European Union. The EU and its member countries have long since banned a large number of chemicals considered hazardous.

Monsanto's Lasso was banned in France in 2007 following an EU directive after the product had already been withdrawn in some other countries.

France, the EU's largest agricultural producer, is now targetting a 50 percent reduction in pesticide use between 2008 and 2018, with initial results showing a 4 percent cut in farm and non-farm use in 2008-2010.

The Francois claim may be easier to argue than others because he can identify a particular incident - inhaling the Lasso when maintaining the tank of his crop sprayer - whereas fellow farmers are trying to show accumulated effects from various products.

"It's like lying on a bed of thorns and trying to say which one cut you, " said a farmer, who has recovered from prostate cancer and asked not to be named.

The French association of crop protection companies, UIPP, says pesticides are all subject to screening and that any evidence of a cancer risk in humans leads to withdrawal of products from the market.

"I think if we had a major health problem with pesticides, we would have already known about it, " Jean-Charles Bocquet, UIPP's managing director, said.

The social security's farming branch this year is due to add Parkinson's disease to its list of conditions linked to pesticide use after previously identifying some cases of blood cancers and bladder and respiratory complications.

France's health and environment safety agency (ANSES), in the mean time, is performing a study on farmers' health, with results anticipated in 2013.


Here is a list of our links.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tips to Prevent Stomach Bloating

We all know that the best way to a flat belly is by burning calories and fat through cardio, especially interval training. Bloating, on the other hand, is its own beast, and nothing kills a day at the beach than feeling super bloated.

Luckily, there are easy ways to reduce bloating so that you can show off that tummy you've been working so hard to get. Check out these easy ways reduce bloating for bikini season:

  • Stay away from salt. Too much sodium is not only bad for your heart, it will cause you to retain water and feel bloated.

  • Drink water. Being dehydrated is a sure way to cause you to retain water, so be sure you drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.

  • Limit gassy foods. Some foods (such as lentils, artichokes, wheat bran, carbonated drinks, and more) create more gases in your body than others, so you may want to limit them if you're about to suit up.

There are three more, so read more.

  • Eat fiber. Fiber helps everything move through the intestines more quickly, which prevents constipation and bloating. If you're not accustomed to eating enough fiber, then slowly add more and more fiber to your diet; go too fast, and you'll feel even more bloated than before. Also make sure to drink plenty of water with all the fiber.

  • Eat more slowly. One small cause of bloating could be that you're swallowing too much air when you're scarfing down your meals; this is why some of us get the hiccups when eating too quickly. Slow down when you eat and really chew your food. Remember what mom said: close your mouth when you chew.

  • Get tropical. Eating pineapple can ease bloating too.This tropical fruit is high in the enzyme bromelain, which helps break down protein and eases digestion, helping to banish the bloat. Skip dessert and nosh on some pineapple instead.

Remember, good posture will help you rock your bikini, too. Have a great tip to prevent bloating? Share it in the comments section below.


Here is a list of our links.

Friday, February 10, 2012

8 Reasons to Smile More Every Day

By Dr. Drew's Lifechangers

How often do you smile in a day? Do you smile when you meet new people? When you see your friends? While you're at work? Your face has 44 muscles that allow you to make more than 5,000 different types of expressions, and now's the time to start using them -- to smile!

Smiling is not only a way to share your happiness with others, but it is also good for your health and love life! Read on to find out why we need to smile at least ten times every single day!

1. Smiling Makes Us More Attractive
We are drawn to people who smile. Smiling keeps us from looking worn-down, stressed or tired. By simply smiling more often, you can improve your facial appearanceĊ  for free!

2. Smiling Is Contagious
No only does smiling make you happy, but it can also change the moods of others around you. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile, and you will draw people to you.

2. Smiling Makes You Happy
Try feeling sad and smiling at the same time. It simply doesn't work. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.

4. Smiling Releases Stress
Stress can really show up in our faces. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. You'll be surprised how difficult it is to continue feeling stressed while smiling and looking happy.

5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
Every time you smile you are boosting your immune system. When you smile, immune function improves because you are more relaxed -- helping to prevent the flu and common colds!

6. Smiling Makes You Look Younger
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Forget the face lift, and start smiling (often) in your daily Conversations!

7. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?

8. Smiling is a Natural Drug
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin, helping to keep us sane and in a good mood!

Here is a list of our links.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can Inflammation in this Organ be at the Root of Depression?

 By Dr. Mercola

Depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammation in your gut

Treating gastrointestinal inflammation may help improve depression and related diseases

By optimizing your gut health and levels of inflammation with probiotics, fermented foods, vitamin D and omega-3 fats, you may be able to relieve symptoms of depression and other neurological diseases
An increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammation with probiotics, vitamin B, vitamin D and omega-3 fats may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life by attenuating proinflammatory stimuli to your brain

Recent studies have shown that inflammation may be involved in the pathogenesis of depression. In fact, some research has demonstrated that depression is frequently associated with gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with other ailments in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a significant contributing factor.

It is possible that depression could be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome. And the primary cause of inflammation may be the dysfunction of the “gut-brain axis”.

According to a study reprinted on the website Green Med Info:

“… [A]n increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammations with probiotics, vitamin B, D and omega 3 fatty acids, through attenuating proinflammatory stimuli to brain, may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life. All these findings justify an assumption that treating gastrointestinal inflammations may improve the efficacy of the currently used treatment modalities of depression and related diseases.”

The notion that inflammation in your gut could be linked to your symptoms of depression may sound far-fetched, but it actually makes perfect sense when you understand the intricate connection between your brain and your digestive tract.

Perhaps the simplest example to use is getting butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, thus your thoughts, i.e. brain, are manifesting symptoms in your gut. But another route of connection is via low-grade inflammation, which is a significant contributing factor to numerous diseases that often occur alongside depression, and may, in fact, be manifesting your depressive symptoms.

Is Depression the Result of Chronic Inflammation?

A recent review has pointed out several mechanisms by which gastrointestinal inflammation may play a critical role in the development of depression.

Among them:

Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammations and autoimmune diseases as well as with cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2-diabetes and also cancer, in which chronic low-grade inflammation is a significant contributing factor. Thus researchers suggested “depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome.”

Research suggests the primary cause of inflammation may be dysfunction of the “gut-brain axis.” Your gut is literally your second brain — created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation — and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control.

It’s important to understand that your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and as such are heavily dependent on your diet and vulnerable to your lifestyle. If you consume a lot of processed foods and sweetened drinks, for instance, your gut bacteria are likely going to be severely compromised because processed foods in general will destroy healthy microflora and sugars of all kinds feed bad bacteria and yeast, as well as promote systemic inflammation.

An increasing number of clinical studies have shown that treating gastrointestinal inflammation with probiotics, vitamin B, vitamin D and omega-3 fats may also improve depression symptoms and quality of life by attenuating proinflammatory stimuli to your brain.

What this all boils down to is that chronic inflammation in your body disrupts the normal functioning of many bodily systems, and can wreak havoc on your brain. But it appears inflammation may be more than just another risk factor for depression; it may in fact be THE risk factor that underlies all others. Although this refers to postpartum depression, the inflammatory response is the same in its impact on all forms of depression.

Published in the International Breastfeeding Journal, researchers stated:

“The old paradigm described inflammation as simply one of many risk factors for depression. The new paradigm is based on more recent research that has indicated that physical and psychological stressors increase inflammation. These recent studies constitute an important shift in the depression paradigm: inflammation is not simply a risk factor; it is the risk factor that underlies all the others.

Moreover, inflammation explains why psychosocial, behavioral and physical risk factors increase the risk of depression. This is true for depression in general and for postpartum depression in particular.

Puerperal women are especially vulnerable to these effects because their levels of proinflammatory cytokines significantly increase during the last trimester of pregnancy — a time when they are also at high risk for depression.Moreover, common experiences of new motherhood, such as sleep disturbance, postpartum pain, and past or current psychological trauma, act as stressors that cause proinflammatory cytokine levels to rise.”

This is Why Sugar is Also a Major Factor in Depression

There’s a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues, written by William Duffy more than 35 years ago, that delves into the sugar-depression link in great detail. The central argument Duffy makes in the book is that sugar is an extremely health-harming addictive drug, and that simply making that one dietary change — eliminating as much sugar as possible — can have a profoundly beneficial impact on your mental health. He even advocated eliminating sugar from the diet of the mentally ill, stating it could be an effective treatment in and of itself for some people.

It’s become increasingly clear that one route by which sugar is so detrimental to your mental health is because sugar consumption triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. Further, excess sugar and fructose will distort the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut, which also plays an integral role in your mental health. Sugar does this by serving as a fertilizer/fuel for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi that negatively inhibit the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

For instance, recent research showed the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to have a marked effect on GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior. But if you consume a lot of processed foods and sweetened drinks (which are typically fructose-heavy), your gut bacteria are likely going to be severely compromised and so is your mental health! So the dietary answer for treating depression is to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains.

It’s worth noting that sugar can also lead to excessive insulin release that can lead to hypoglycemia, which, in turn, causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk.

So radically reducing your sugar intake, especially fructose, to less than 25 grams per day will be one of the most powerful interventions for dealing with depression, as well as fighting chronic inflammation and supporting healthy gut bacteria. Consuming more than 25 grams of fructose a day will clearly push your brain biochemistry, and your overall health, in the wrong direction.

Relieving Gastrointestinal Inflammation May Ease Your Depressive Symptoms

We discussed the importance of limiting sugar and fructose, which is one of the primary ways to treat gastrointestinal inflammation, above. You will also want to be sure your gut is regularly “reseeded” with good bacteria, or probiotics, which are the foundation of a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

My recommendations for optimizing your gut bacteria are as follows:

Fermented foods are still the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented raw (unpasteurrized) grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).

If you regularly eat fermented foods such as these that, again, have not been pasteurized (pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), your healthy gut bacteria will thrive.

Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are definitely an exception. I have used many different brands over the past 15 years and there are many good ones out there.
If you do not eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement certainly makes a lot of sense considering how important they are to optimizing your mental health.

Probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve, which is yet another reason why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. Two other important factors to treat gastrointestinal inflammation and also help relieve depression are:

Omega-3 fats: These not only regulate inflammatory processes and responses, but also positively influence outcome in depressive disorders. So if you are currently struggling with depression, taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat supplement like krill oil daily is a simple and smart choice.

Vitamin D: Most people are not aware that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation and depression. One previous study found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels, so you will want to be sure your levels are in the healthy range by getting proper sun exposure or using a safe tanning bed. As a last resort, you can also take a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement, but make sure you have your levels monitored if you choose this route.

There’s a wealth of evidence showing gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurological disease. With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora with good bacteria is extremely important, from cradle to old age, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment.

Here is a list of our links.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to live to 100, Starting Today

Dan Buettner

Why You Should Read It: Who wouldn’t mind having a few more enjoyable years on this earth?? These are useful, simple tips.

I wonder if I can live to be 100, and enjoy every year of it? I think it might be possible. Very possible. What about you? With all the guidance regarding longevity, diet and simple living, I have a strong feeling that some of us will live a lot longer than people give us credit for – If we stop following the crowd that is.

A few years ago Dan Buttner teamed up with National Geographic to go around the world and visit the populations with the greatest number of centenarians (people 100+ years old) who still live an enjoyable life, to see if there might be any lifestyle habits they all have in common. The results were encouraging. While these “Blue Zones” spanned from little villages in Costa Rica, Japan, Sardinia, and even California, the lifestyles of these people all had a lot in common.

So what can we do to live to be 100 (or at least give ourselves the best shot at it)?

1. Laugh: You think this one’s funny? I hope so. That means you’re on the right track. Don’t take life so seriously. There are few better remedies in life than a good belly laugh. Try to incorporate this 15-20 times a day.

2. Have close friends: The quality of our lives comes down to the people with whom we spend our days. Prioritize time with friends. Open up to them and allow them to do the same. Build genuine connections. Be there when people need you. Have a 2-3 hour weekly meal with those you care most about.

3. Stay close to your family: Don’t ever forget where you came from. Your family will be there when no one else will, as long as you nurture them. Most centenarians lived with or close to their family, where they experience daily love and connection. Sadly, the life expectancy living alone was not quite as rosy.

4. Eat mostly plants: While most of these people eat some meat here and there, the majority of their diets are meat free, consisting of mainly fruits and veggies.

5. Don't retire: "Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement," says Luigi Ferrucci, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. The Chianti region of Italy, which has a high percentage of centenarians, has a different take on leisure time. "After people retire from their jobs, they spend most of the day working on their little farm, cultivating grapes or vegetables," he says. "They're never really inactive." Farming isn't for you? Volunteer as a docent at your local art museum or join the Experience Corps, a program offered in 19 cities that places senior volunteers in urban public elementary schools for about 15 hours a week.

6. Slow down and show up early: Being rushed everywhere you go is a fools game. Take some time to enjoy the slow dance of life. What is the real rush anyway? Simply being in a hurry causes stress. Try showing up 15 minutes early to things. That alone can do wonders. Something I’m especially working on.

7. Move and breathe: I shouldn’t even mention this one. It gets pounded over our head daily. Get off your ass and move and breathe a bit. Some of these centenarians walked or hiked miles in a day. Workout your heart. Feel what it’s like to breathe hard and get your blood pumping. How many of you feel better and more energized as soon as you finish a workout? Moving and breathing is one of the best stress relievers out there. The health benefits can’t be avoided but forget about those for a minute and notice how much more you enjoy your day when it starts with a workout. Twenty minutes is all you need…as a starter.

8. Have a purpose: Do you have any idea what the average life span is of men once they retire? 3 years. No joke. I am sure there are varying statistics on this but it’s pretty powerful. Our life, health and vitality is directly linked to the value we add to society and our compelling reasons for getting up each morning. Life begins and ends with purpose. Perhaps it’s running your business or maybe it’s just making your fiancee smile. Your purpose is yours to define. The important thing is to define it.

As you noticed, only a couple of the items on this very condensed list have to do with what you put into your body. It’s crucial and we hear it all the time. But I listed these other things because they almost seem too basic for anyone to consider. I assure you they are not. These are the daily habits that lead to a lifetime of enjoyment. Happiness not spent today does not equal more happiness tomorrow.

Let me repeat that:
Happiness not spent today does not equal more happiness tomorrow.

Wake up with a purpose, enjoy your friends, cherish your family, and of, course the laughing will come naturally.

It should not be a surprise that financial success isn’t anywhere on the list. In fact I would not be surprised if there was a negative correlation between longevity and wealth. Money is important to a point, but it comes after the things listed above; don’t make it your sole focus. Remember happiness postponed is happiness lost.

As with most guidance for treating your body and your life the way it deserves: simplify, simplify, simplify. A lot of the answers can be found by getting back to basics. If you are ever in doubt, ask yourself this question: How would someone have done it 200 years ago?

Give it a shot and who knows, maybe I’ll see you at your 101st birthday party.

Here is a list of our links.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How To Tell If You're An Emotional Eater,

Overeating is emotional by nature. We simply aren’t programmed to eat more than our bodies require for no reason.  And we don’t keep doing the same thing over and over unless it’s serving us in some way.

Emotional eaters eat to soothe negative feelings like stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, anxiety, and/or sadness.  Researchers estimate that 75% of “emotional eating” leads to overeating.  How do you know if you are an emotional eater?  Most people just *know* – but if you aren’t sure, here are 11 surefire signs.

#1 – You eat without realizing you are even putting food into your mouth. This can happen almost unconsciously, especially after you have committed to swearing off a particular food.

#2 – You feel stressed about an important project or emotionally-charged issue, but instead of dealing with it directly, you dive into a package of cookies.

#3 – You feel guilty or ashamed after overeating and blowing your plan *again*.

#4 – When you do something good, you feel like you *deserve* a treat. You eat to celebrate . . . anything.

#5 – You don’t stick to a plan, and feel like your eating or your weight is spiraling “out of control.”

#6 – You eat to procrastinate. You don’t want to do something that seems difficult or time consuming, so you eat before attempting it (if you get to it at all).

#7 – Feeling full isn’t enough. You need to feel stuffed to feel satisfied.

#8 – You tend to overeat when you are fatigued. It’s quick and easy, and feels like the only thing you have the energy to do.

#9 – You tend to overeat when you are alone, bored and lonely to entertain yourself. It can even feel exciting at first, because you get to do exactly what you want with nobody watching.

#10 – You crave certain foods and feel like you *have to* have them. While there are many factors that create food cravings, emotions are at the top of the list.

#11 – You feel like you can’t get what you REALLY want, so you *settle* for food.”

If you fit the description of an emotional eater, remember that you can totally and permanently stop this problem when you eliminate the beliefs and conditionings that cause it. If you need professional help please feel free to contact me for a private consultation

8 Tips to Stop Emotional Eating:

  1. Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger, which is the difference between eating to fill a physical need and eating emotionally.

  2. Eat slowly and listen to your body for clues that you're physically satisfied.

  3. Don't eat mindlessly in front of the tv.

  4. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love – just don't overdo it.

  5. Don't eat in bed or on the sofa. Eat at the kitchen table. Stop emotional eating by eating in the same place all the time.

  6. Treat your body with respect: nourish it, move it around, listen to it, and pamper it. Tune in to your body to stop emotional eating.

  7. Look for connections between the events in your day and your cravings for food. Identify the triggers that push you over the line and make you want to eat mindlessly (eg, fights with your partner or child).

  8. Deal with your triggers. If you can't cut them from your life entirely, find better ways to cope with your feelings. Eating mindlessly makes things worse.

Though these tips to stop emotional eating may seem difficult at first, they will become habit after a few weeks! With practice and time, you can overcome your cravings.

If you're really struggling with emotional eating, consider joining a group such as Food Addicts Anonymous.




Here is a list of our links.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Whole Foods Now Accepts Monsanto's Frankenstein Food

by Drew Canole -

“The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must.”   -  Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and “seed purity,” gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the “conditional deregulation” of Monsanto’s genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa.  Beyond the regulatory euphemism of “conditional deregulation,” this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.

In exchange for allowing Monsanto’s premeditated pollution of the alfalfa gene pool, WFM wants “compensation.” In exchange for a new assault on farmworkers and rural communities (a recent large-scale Swedish study found that spraying Roundup doubles farm workers’ and rural residents’ risk of getting cancer), WFM expects the pro-biotech USDA to begin to regulate rather than cheerlead for Monsanto. In payment for a new broad spectrum attack on the soil’s crucial ability to provide nutrition for food crops and to sequester dangerous greenhouse gases (recent studies show that Roundup devastates essential soil microorganisms that provide plant nutrition and sequester climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases), WFM wants the Biotech Bully of St. Louis to agree to pay “compensation” (i.e. hush money) to farmers “for any losses related to the contamination of his crop.”

In its email of Jan. 21, 2011 WFM calls for “public oversight by the USDA rather than reliance on the biotechnology industry,” even though WFM knows full well that federal regulations on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) do not require pre-market safety testing, nor labeling; and that even federal judges have repeatedly ruled that so-called government “oversight” of Frankencrops such as Monsanto’s sugar beets and alfalfa is basically a farce. At the end of its email, WFM admits that its surrender to Monsanto is permanent: “The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well  True coexistence is a must.”

Why Is Organic Inc. Surrendering?

According to informed sources, the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield are personal friends of former Iowa governor, now USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and in fact made financial contributions to Vilsack’s previous electoral campaigns. Vilsack was hailed as “Governor of the Year” in 2001 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and traveled in a Monsanto corporate jet on the campaign trail. Perhaps even more fundamental to Organic Inc.’s abject surrender is the fact that the organic elite has become more and more isolated from the concerns and passions of organic consumers and locavores.

The Organic Inc. CEOs are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it’s time to reach for the consolation prize.  The consolation prize they seek is a so-called “coexistence” between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto’s unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.

WFM and most of the largest organic companies have deliberately separated themselves from anti-GMO efforts and cut off all funding to campaigns working to label or ban GMOs. The so-called Non-GMO Project, funded by Whole Foods and giant wholesaler United Natural Foods (UNFI) is basically a greenwashing effort (although the 100% organic companies involved in this project seem to be operating in good faith) to show that certified organic foods are basically free from GMOs (we already know this since GMOs are banned in organic production), while failing to focus on so-called “natural” foods, which constitute most of WFM and UNFI’s sales and are routinely contaminated with GMOs.

From their “business as usual” perspective, successful lawsuits against GMOs filed by public interest groups such as the Center for Food Safety; or noisy attacks on Monsanto by groups like the Organic Consumers Association, create bad publicity, rattle their big customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Costco, Supervalu, Publix and Safeway; and remind consumers that organic crops and foods such as corn, soybeans, and canola are slowly but surely becoming contaminated by Monsanto’s GMOs.

Whole Foods’ Dirty Little Secret: Most of the So-Called “Natural” Processed Foods and Animal Products They Sell Are Contaminated with GMOs

The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away. Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM’s $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs. We and our allies have tested their so-called “natural” products (no doubt WFM’s lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they’re all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.

Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as “natural.”

Unprecedented wholesale and retail control of the organic marketplace by UNFI and Whole Foods, employing a business model of selling twice as much so-called “natural” food as certified organic food, coupled with the takeover of many organic companies by multinational food corporations such as Dean Foods, threatens the growth of the organic movement.

Covering Up GMO Contamination: Perpetrating “Natural” Fraud

Many well-meaning consumers are confused about the difference between conventional products marketed as “natural,” and those nutritionally/ environmentally superior and climate-friendly products that are “certified organic.”

Retail stores like WFM and wholesale distributors like UNFI have failed to educate their customers about the qualitative difference between natural and certified organic, conveniently glossing over the fact that nearly all of the processed “natural” foods and products they sell contain GMOs, or else come from a “natural” supply chain where animals are force-fed GMO grains in factory farms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

A troubling trend in organics today is the calculated shift on the part of certain large formerly organic brands from certified organic ingredients and products to so-called “natural” ingredients. With the exception of the “grass-fed and grass-finished” meat sector, most “natural” meat, dairy, and eggs are coming from animals reared on GMO grains and drugs, and confined, entirely, or for a good portion of their lives, in CAFOs.

Whole Foods and UNFI are maximizing their profits by selling quasi-natural products at premium organic prices. Organic consumers are increasingly left without certified organic choices while genuine organic farmers and ranchers continue to lose market share to “natural” imposters. It’s no wonder that less than 1% of American farmland is certified organic, while well-intentioned but misled consumers have boosted organic and “natural” purchases to $80 billion annually-approximately 12% of all grocery store sales.

The Solution: Truth-in-Labeling Will Enable Consumers to Drive So-Called “Natural” GMO and CAFO-Tainted Foods Off the Market

There can be no such thing as “coexistence” with a reckless industry that undermines public health, destroys biodiversity, damages the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically devastates the world’s 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers.

There is no such thing as coexistence between GMOs and organics in the European Union. Why? Because in the EU there are almost no GMO crops under cultivation, nor GM consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Because under EU law, all foods containing GMOs or GMO ingredients must be labeled. Consumers have the freedom to choose or not to choose GMOs; while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as they are safety-tested and labeled.

Of course the EU food industry understands that consumers, for the most part, do not want to purchase or consume GE foods. European farmers and food companies, even junk food purveyors like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, understand quite well the concept expressed by a Monsanto executive when GMOs first came on the market: “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”

The biotech industry and Organic Inc. are supremely conscious of the fact that North American consumers, like their European counterparts, are wary and suspicious of GMO foods. Even without a PhD, consumers understand you don’t want your food safety or environmental sustainability decisions to be made by out-of-control chemical companies like Monsanto, Dow, or Dupont – the same people who brought you toxic pesticides, Agent Orange, PCBs, and now global warming.

Industry leaders are acutely aware of the fact that every single industry or government poll over the last 16 years has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on GMO foods. Why? So that we can avoid buying them. GMO foods have absolutely no benefits for consumers or the environment, only hazards. This is why Monsanto and their friends in the Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations have prevented consumer GMO truth-in-labeling laws from getting a public discussion in Congress.

Although Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Ohio) recently introduced a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs, don’t hold your breath for Congress to take a stand for truth-in-labeling and consumers’ right to know what’s in their food. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the so-called Citizens United case gave big corporations and billionaires the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) to buy media coverage and elections, our chances of passing federal GMO labeling laws against the wishes of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent.

Perfectly dramatizing the “Revolving Door” between Monsanto and the Federal Government, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, formerly chief counsel for Monsanto, delivered one of the decisive votes in the Citizens United case, in effect giving Monsanto and other biotech bullies the right to buy the votes it needs in the U.S. Congress.

With big money controlling Congress and the media, we have little choice but to shift our focus and go local. We’ve got to concentrate our forces where our leverage and power lie, in the marketplace, at the retail level; pressuring retail food stores to voluntarily label their products; while on the legislative front we must organize a broad coalition to pass mandatory GMO (and CAFO) labeling laws, at the city, county, and state levels.

The Organic Consumers Association, joined by our consumer, farmer, environmental, and labor allies, has just launched a nationwide Truth-in-Labeling campaign to stop Monsanto and the Biotech Bullies from force-feeding unlabeled GMOs to animals and humans.

Utilizing scientific data, legal precedent, and consumer power the OCA and our local coalitions will educate and mobilize at the grassroots level to pressure giant supermarket chains (Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, Safeway, Supervalu, and Publix) and natural food retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to voluntarily implement “truth-in-labeling” practices for GMOs and CAFO products; while simultaneously organizing a critical mass to pass mandatory local and state truth-in-labeling ordinances – similar to labeling laws already in effect for country of origin, irradiated food, allergens, and carcinogens.

If local and state government bodies refuse to take action, wherever possible we must attempt to gather sufficient petition signatures and place these truth-in-labeling initiatives directly on the ballot in 2011 or 2012.  If you’re interested in helping organize or coordinate a Millions Against Monsanto and Factory Farms Truth-in-Labeling campaign in your local community, sign up here:

To pressure Whole Foods Market and the nation’s largest supermarket chains to voluntarily adopt truth-in-labeling practices sign here, and circulate this petition widely:




Power to the People! Not the Corporations!

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