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Glyphosate in Food and Vaccines: Action Alert

New evidence says yes. Action Alert!

report published last week found glyphosate in a number of childhood vaccines. Now more study is needed to learn more about the presence of other weedkiller ingredients in both our vaccines and our food.

Keep in mind that absolutely no studies have been done on the toxicity of weedkiller when injected into children. The US Environmental Protection Agency analyzed Monsanto’s self-serving safety studies on the potential toxicity when glyphosate is ingested, but not when it is injected. EPA documents studying how the body metabolizes glyphosate (that is, how it moves through the body)  found that glyphosate shows up in bone marrow thirty minutes after injection.

We are also starting to understand more about why glyphosate is linked to so many health problems. Glyphosate is chemically very similar to glycine, an essential amino acid. This is important because glyphosate may be displacing glycine when our cells create proteins. This would result in proteins not being formed properly and not being able to perform their usual functions. Researchers think this mechanism may be a factor behind the modern world’s explosion of disease, including obesity, diabetes, autism, mitochondrial disorders, liver disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Glycine is a critical component of bone, cartilage, and collagen, which helps explain why glyphosate shows up so quickly in bone marrow and in gelatin products.

Glyphosate may be changing the biochemistry of our bodies, and this may happen at very low concentrations. One part per billion of glyphosate is 3,561,000,000,000 molecules of weedkiller, and each one of those molecules is capable of altering a protein’s structure.

The report finding glysophate in childhood vaccines was sponsored and released by Moms Across America. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup and other herbicides. The results showed that a DTap vaccine, a flu vaccine, a Hepatitis B vaccine, and a pneumonoccal vaccine all had levels of glyphosate. The MMR II vaccine had levels up to twenty-five times higher than the other vaccines.

These findings were corroborated by Anthony Samsel, a researcher who works with Dr. Stephenie Seneff of MIT. This team has been researching the effects of glyphosate for years. Not only did Samsel find detectable levels of glyphosate in vaccines, he also found it in products containing gelatin, such as gummy vitamins for children, protein powders, and Jell-o.

Top scientists questioning GMO, such as professor of molecular biology Gilles-Eric Séralini, have also pointed out that so-called inert ingredients used with glysophate are anything but inert. The government has ignored them because of the manufacturer’s claim that they are inert, but some of them may be much, much more toxic than even glyphosate. If glyphosate is getting into vaccines and foods, what about these other, barely studied ingredients?

As our own testing of common breakfast foods for glyphosate showed, this weedkiller is increasingly permeating our entire food system. How much more evidence must accrue for regulators to do some credible testing of their own?

Action Alert! Call on the CDC to check vaccines for glyphosate, as well as for other ingredients used with glyphosate noted in the EPA’s study. Please send your message immediately.


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My Fourth Of July Message

Dear Friends,

Here are some fascinating points to ponder as we celebrate our nation’s independence:

And reading these reminded me how easy it is to vilify and judge without adequate info and facts.

May your holiday be safe, fun, and healthy.

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This Is the Eleventh Hour for GMO Labeling!

View This Email On the Web

You know it’s bad when . . .

Dear Friends,

You know things are bad when even the FDA, which so often fails the public when it comes to food safety, sides with consumers.

Yesterday, the FDA pointed out what DARK Act opponents have been saying all along—the Roberts-Stabenow GMO “non-labeling” bill would exclude a host of products from ever having to be labeled, including some of the most common GMO ingredients, like soybean oil and GMO sugar beets.

According to the FDA, the bill also sets a very high bar for even the bill’s “make believe” labels (QR codes and toll-free phone numbers), because it would apply only to those GMO crops “for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature.”

Yet the FDA’s critique has done nothing to slow down the anti-labeling train.

And we have only a few days left to keep that train from taking us over the cliff.

The U.S. Senate yesterday held a “test vote” on whether or not to push forward by limiting debate on the Stabenow-Roberts DARK Act.

The motion passed—68-29.

Our job is to work relentlessly over the next few days so that when the Senate holds an official vote early next week, this outrageous anti-consumer, pro-Monsanto bill fails. For good.

Despite the lies, this bill gives Monsanto and Big Food everything they want—and gives consumers nothing.

The Roberts-Stabenow DARK Act calls for a convoluted, costly, discriminatory scheme of barcodes and phone numbers—but no labels.

This bill is not a mandatory labeling law—because there’s no enforcement mechanism, and no penalties or consequences of any kind for defying the “law.”

This bill, as even the FDA confirmed yesterday, is so full of loopholes and exemptions that only the barest minimum of products would meet the standard.

With your help, we are working 24/7 to prevent this attack on consumer rights, states’ rights and democracy from passing.

Meanwhile, I urge you to call your Senators and remind them that even the FDA doesn’t believe this bill provides consumers with the right to know if their food is GMO.

And finally, because our opposition is so well-funded and our work is not only urgent, but requires funding, I ask that you please help us raise another $30,000 by midnight tonight, in order to take advantage of a generous matching funds offer by our ally in this fight, If you can pitch in, please click here for details on how to donate online, or by phone or mail.

Thank you!

In solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

P.S. We still need to raise about $30,000 to reach our goal by midnight, June 30. Win or lose the labeling battle, we have our work cut out for us if we want a regenerative, not degenerative food and farming system. Please know that every donation, no matter how small, will be matched by Mercola and will help build a better food movement. Donate online here.

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Cornucopia: One of My Favorite Info Sites


Feb 21 at 6:31 AM
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If you’d like to help the Vallecitos workers, read on

August 13th, 2013

Call for investigation into abuse of the Vallecitos 9 by spiritualist bully

WBI is tracking closely experiences of the Vallecitos 9, former employees of a spiritual New Mexico retreat subjected to years of bullying at the hands of co-founder Grove Burnett. One worker, Mary Reed, staged a 7-day hunger strike as protest.

Those displaced employees now call for a neutral investigation of their charges.

Please help by signing their petition.


<– Read the complete WBI Blog

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 at 10:48 am and is filed under Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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A Very Different Post

For those of you who read this blog and don’t know me personally, I’d like to take a moment here and state that my spirituality is my “ground.” I am a non-denominational pagan, which, in the old sense of the word, means I’m from the countryside, and find my solace and deeper meaning in what surrounds me in nature. It is not a glamorous undertaking…and is often full of sadness as I see the loss of so much health and beauty in the world. That doesn’t stop me from being passionate about being an agent of change, in both my own and others’ lives. We really do have so much power to make a difference, and often so little confidence in our selves, or in our path (if we even believe we are on one).


A major reason I moved to northern New Mexico was the deep connection to the land I experienced the first time I looked out the window at the Lama Foundation dome. That was 25 years ago…and I am still learning what it means to “see.” I have been connected to Lama over the years, and have many friendships that originated there via workshops and retreats. A week ago I ran into one of those friends, and heard a story that deeply saddened me, about workplace bullying. She has firsthand experience of what is to follow. I told her I would put this on my blog in honor of all those service workers (and I did my time in this arena) that have put up with  bullying, and now, are speaking out about their experience.

Starving for Love


When the weapons of fear and intimidation used in my spiritual workplace became powerfully wounding, the best defense I could think of was powerful love.  This idea nearly cost me my life, and what’s more, it didn’t work.  Yet.

Grove Burnett, the lawyer and Buddhist dharma teacher who co-founded the spiritual retreat center Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, is known to have trouble consistently practicing the “mindful speech” he teaches.  I and the other eight staff who abruptly left Vallecitos July 13 – that’s nine of ten employees – refer to this trouble as workplace bullying.  In an environment intended to foster peace, the irony of this term cuts deep.

VMR for blog

The professed compassion-based values of Vallecitos belie a cruel history of profane tirades and demoralizing personal attacks that have long been hushed in insider circles.  In 2004, a brave board of directors tried to remove Burnett but failed after mediation by a Council of Elders that included Burnett’s longtime friends and teachers, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, founders of Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society, respectively.  In the ten years since, the path of emotional, psychological and economic injury has been long and tragic.

In November 2012, Vallecitos staff and volunteers voiced their concerns unequivocally through anonymous surveys on workplace quality of life.  Across the board responses were damning.  They included terms like “unsafe workplace” and “hostile work environment” and specifically named Burnett as the reason.

Current board members – eight hand-picked friends of Burnett’s – reacted to these survey results in the same way they reacted to the numerous emails and face-to-face meetings requesting help to stop the abuse: they took no action at all.

Things finally came to a head in July when Burnett was returning from a sabbatical and the executive director (15 years at Vallecitos), the widely adored ranch manager (17 years at Vallecitos) and I said we would resign if Burnett was allowed to return.  We could no longer accept the board continuing to force staff and volunteers to be subjected to bullying.  The board responded by firing all three of us on the spot.  This prompted the immediate resignation of all other staff save for one newly hired cook.

VMR strike for blogThe next day I set up camp outside the gates of the ranch and began a hunger strike; it was the greatest act of love I could think of.  Besides the fact that nothing says “I love all beings” quite like starving to death to end some measure of their suffering, I wanted to bring attention to the severity of the abuse without resorting to the loveless tactics of lawsuits and retaliations.

Every day I sat alone by the side of a muddy mountain road and focused peacefully on love.  I envisioned the unraveling of the thread of destruction and pain now tightly woven through the lives of so many people sincerely dedicated to compassionate awakening.  I envisioned Vallecitos free of the relentless energy of conflict and deception.  I envisioned love replacing all fear, not just for the victims and witnesses of abuse but for Burnett and the entire board of directors.

On day five of my hunger strike, medics were called in and reported I was within hours of certain death.  I have chronic hypoglycemia, so by then my blood sugar was critically low and my vital signs were bleak.  The medics shouted angrily at me insisting I be taken to the hospital.  “There’s no bully in the world worth losing your life over!”  As I signed the form refusing to be taken away, I said, “My death would not be for the bully.  It would be to try to stop the very real suffering he causes others.”  With all my heart, my love for all beings was and still is this committed.

While I was on the hunger strike, other former staff were reaching out for help in the community.  As responses began to come in, no one expected what began to happen next: healing.  Victims as well as witnesses who had silently watched the abuse began to talk of their long-held secrets of shame and trauma.  Former board members, staff and longtime friends of Burnett’s came forward with their difficult personal stories, and in doing so uncovered old wounds of guilt and grief and let the balm of compassionate dialogue begin to soothe their pain.

I had bet my life that love was the best option left to try to end years of suffering, and this opening for healing was a small measure of unexpected validation.  But it was much smaller in scope than I had hoped.  In the call for love to stop a “spiritual” man in a position of power from abusing workers, only one nationally recognized leader engaged victims in dialogue and took action.

eric kolvigEric Kolvig, a long-revered dharma teacher, immediately wrote to the Vallecitos board telling of his years of witness to the chronic conflict centered around Burnett, and the rancor with which Burnett reacts instead of utilizing peaceful dialogue.  “Will you allow such pain and human suffering to cycle into the future, as it has cycled through the past and present?” Kolvig asked.  “How much conflict would be enough?”

The response from other leaders, most notably Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, was decisively neither urgent nor expressive of concern for past or future victims.  Instead, without responding to a single victim or witness, Kornfield, Goldstein and eight fellow teachers wrote a public letter attesting to Burnett’s character and integrity, and dismissed all accusations entirely as hearsay.  This stunning lack of willingness to engage victims is eerily reminiscent of the famous closed-door strategies to keep hushed the abuse within the Catholic Church – strategies that ended in suicides, scandal and widespread mistrust of leaders.

workplace bullyingMust it take headlines of scandal and suicide to raise genuine concern about a spiritual teacher’s bullying and the complicit tolerance of this kind of abuse within the compassion-professing Buddhist community?  Are our leaders, too, so focused on defending one of their own or so shielded by power that they dare not engage “lesser” people than teachers?  Surely I am not alone in believing that actions of love for all are called for in this important matter, not the same denial, indifference and fear that foster and further suffering.

Surely well documented reports of bullying in a spiritual workplace are compelling enough hypocrisy to warrant love.  Surely years of job losses, depression, betrayal of sacred trust and crushed dignity among dedicated peacemakers is enough hardship to warrant love.  Surely courage to tell difficult truths openly is enough risk to warrant love.   Is it not?  I and the other eight people who gave up our livelihoods – jobs we treasured – to stop this abuse say resolutely: yes.

I survived seven days before stopping my hunger strike.  By then my former colleagues were exhausted from stress and worry, and Burnett and the board had begun a smear campaign to discredit accusers, making false claims of harassment, financial mismanagement and rampant mental illness.  In the wake of this added layer of humiliation my death would have made my former colleagues feel far more defeated than rallied.

But I honestly wonder if I did the right thing in stopping.  In this situation, starving to death for love seems both an appropriate metaphor and an appropriately strong message.

My only remaining hope is that others realize there has been enough starving for love now.  Past and future victims of a dharma teacher’s bullying need the nourishment of authentic metta, and this is my plea for leaders within the Buddhist community to step up and begin compassionately dishing it out.  I bow respectfully in love to all of you here and beg you: engage with all parties.  Get all the facts.  And together let us finally break this cycle of human suffering.


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The Good News About GMO’s

Dear Reader,
Perspectives on Prop 37 (Plus a New GMO-Free Zone in US)

First of all, let’s celebrate with San Juan County, Washington, for passing its GMO-Free County initiative. Growing GMOs in the San Juan Islands will shortly be illegal. Thanks to all the great volunteers (and the 60% of the voters) who made that possible. I had the great pleasure of doing a speaking tour on three of the islands in September; their campaign was truly an inspiration. Well done San Juan County!

Prop 37 California’s Prop 37 campaign was the latest (and greatest) expression of the rising anti-GMO tide in the US that has swelled over the last 2-3 years. Other expressions have included the popularity of the Non-GMO label in grocery stores, the huge number of activists working on GMO issues, the unprecedented GMO coverage in the media, and the 19 state legislatures that considered GMO labeling bills. These are all early signs of a coming tipping point of consumer rejection. What sets Prop 37 apart, however, was how profoundly it has accelerated anti-GMO sentiment in both quantity and quality.

Huge numbers of people became aware for the first time that they were eating GMOs—we have changed the whole conversation. And numerous actors, chefs, musicians, artists, filmmakers, politicians, comedians, and others chimed in support of our side for the very first time. Being against GMOs or pro-labeling has clearly become cool.

From the quality perspective, I was blown away by the enthusiasm, competence, and utter devotion of the California volunteers. What I witnessed in the more than 50 events I attended throughout the state over the last 90 days was totally unique in my experience. The depth and solidarity of commitment to this issue is profoundly established.Although we narrowly lost on the vote, the campaign has propelled our movement forward onto a whole new platform. I am more confident and optimistic than ever that we will soon achieve the tipping point that we all desire.Please forward this email to other Prop 37 supporters. Please subscribe to our newsletter, Spilling the Beans, as we can’t wait to share some of the plans that are taking shape.Congratulations to all those involved. And remember, this was part of a rising tide that is still rising!

Safe Eating,

Jeffrey M. Smith


The Institute for Responsible Technology Food Policy Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization engaging in advocacy and legislative lobbying activities.

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Staying Cool

Here in Northern New Mexico we had our record-breaking temperatures in June; however, many of my friends and customers in other states are living with near constant scorching temperatures that barely go down by dawn only to pop back up into the high 90’s and above, with little relief. So this blog is a copy of a recent Rodale article that is very timely and chock full of great info. One thing I will add here: many of us eat lots of fruit in the summer, and many are cooling to the body; however, most non-organic fruit contains very high amounts of pesticide residue. So eat your fruit, but make sure it’s organically grown.

The Best All-Natural Ways to Stay Cool

Keep heat waves at bay with these natural, and sometimes surprising, cool-down secrets.

By Isaac Eliaz, MD, integrative health expert

Topics: summer safety

Water is only part of the story when it comes to surviving a heat wave.
Summer can be a very energetic time of year, a time when many of us head to the outdoors for increased activities during the longer, warmer days. But as heat wave records make headlines across the country, it’s critical to protect yourself by staying cool. While extra movement, time in nature and fresh air can do wonders for your health, it’s also vital to pay close attention to your body’s vulnerabilities as 2012 continues to heat up.

Summer and Fire In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), summer relates to the fire element—and on a physical level, TCM emphasizes the health of your heart and circulatory system during this season. As daylight increases, your energy and activity will naturally expand, reaching farther away from your core and calling on strong circulation to keep up with the increased demands. And as temperatures rise, healthy circulation and its anti-inflammatory effects become even more important.

Poor circulation creates a condition of stagnation throughout the bloodstream. This can be aggravated during the summer due to heat and dehydration, which makes our blood thick and sticky, and without enough fluids to keep circulation flowing smoothly. On a chronic level this is referred to in Western medicine as hyperviscous coagulation, or hyperviscosity. Stagnant blood in turn generates more heat, furthering a vicious cycle of chronic inflammation throughout the body. And as we know, chronic inflammation is the hallmark of a wide variety of illnesses, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Hyperviscosity of the blood is sometimes due to genetic tendency. Approximately 25 percent of the population exhibits one or more inherited “defects” which can be measured through cardiovascular blood screening. People with these genetic markers, such as elevated Lp(a) (Lipoprotein-a); PAI-1(Plasminogen Activation Inhibitor 1); or homocysteine, are more prone to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease as well as aggressive cancer and other chronic illnesses. But hyperviscosity can also be caused by unhealthy lifestyle, dietary habits, and infections or traumas. Together, hyperviscosity and chronic inflammation set the stage for a number of deadly diseases. But regardless of whether you are genetically predisposed to these issues, or whether your lifestyle is to blame, or both, there are a number of ways to prevent the damage, stay healthy and protect against disease.

Heat Waves and Heart Attacks During summer, the combination of hot weather, chronic inflammation, and lack of circulation can turn deadly, increasing the risks of heart attack, stroke, and other serious cardiovascular events. Additional summer health risks, such as heat stroke/heat exhaustion, burns, and dehydration, are all related to excess inflammation, causing our engines to “overheat.”

So the most important step you can take to protect your health during summer is to keep chronic inflammation in check. This degenerative process of continuous “overheating” degrades your body through wear, tear, and oxidative stress, serving as a primary function of the aging process—and of degenerative, life-threatening diseases.

Keeping Your Cool What can you do this season to make sure your heart stays strong and your body cool and hydrated? Here are some steps you can take to protect your health in the heat.

Take advantage of the increase in fresh produce available this time of year. Emphasize leafy greens, and rehydrating fruits and vegetables with high water and mineral content. These not only help replenish fluids, but they are very high in phytonutrients and antioxidants, things we need to combat inflammation and resulting oxidative stress. Oxidative stress in this case is mainly caused by waste from our cells’ mitochondria—the engines that power our cells—working too quickly in the heat. This excess cellular waste accumulates faster in conditions of poor circulation and inflammation. So if you eat a fresh produce diet that is high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and ingredients that support the detox process, you help to get rid of the byproducts of mitochondrial “heat.” In this way, an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits help break the cycle of inflammation, hyperviscosity and heat damage.

Drink LOTS of fresh, filtered water (approximately 64 ounces a day). This will keep fluid levels at a maximum to help circulation stay strong, reduce inflammation and help clear mitochondrial waste products and other toxins.

Replenish electrolytes with a healthy electrolyte and mineral supplement. Potassium is an important electrolyte, as well as magnesium, calcium and trace minerals. Electrolytes support communication between cells and are critical to basic biological functions, but we lose them through sweat and dehydration. High-quality coconut water is a good natural choice.

Take cooling, anti-inflammatory supplements. When we have a lot of heat, we need to cool our systems, and for this we can use different anti-inflammatory supplements. There are three basic categories of supplements that can help reduce inflammation. Botanicals and nutrients directly reduce inflammatory reactions in the body. Other botanicals and nutrients also offer antioxidant support to prevent oxidative heat damage. Botanicals and nutrients that help circulation are also important because through increased circulation, chronic inflammation and “blood stickiness” is reduced. An excellent example is curcumin derived from turmeric root: It is an anti-inflammatory, it’s an antioxidant and it promotes circulation.

Slow down. On the level of physics, if you have more heat, everything moves faster—even our thoughts can move faster. So the natural balance is to slow down, by taking more time for sleep, relaxation and rest. Stress-relieving activities like meditation, art, listening to music and vacations in nature help to calm the system so that heat, inflammation and the resulting congestion is reduced. For this reason, it’s very important to take time off in the summer—something that seems to be lacking in the American culture. People often take only a two or three-day vacation, but it really takes six to seven days for the body to start unwinding from the daily grind.

Get adequate sleep. Regular sleep helps keep our body’s normal functions running smoothly, including repair mechanisms which are essential in hot weather.

Engage in gentle, regular exercise. Walking is especially beneficial (without overheating in the midday sun). Gentle exercise promotes healthy circulation and helps us to relax. Regular, rhythmic exercise is particularly valuable in helping to keep you calm yet energized, while boosting circulation and reducing inflammation. That’s the value of practices like yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong, which have a calming, rhythmic breathing element to them.

Slowing down and making sure that you allow your body to cool down, regulate internal temperatures, and regenerate fluids are necessary preventative measures for a long and healthy life. These simple steps are even more important for your health and vitality during periods of prolonged heat.

Botanicals and Nutrients Cardiovascular and circulatory health is a big focus in my clinical practice—and for my patients. Circulation-boosting botanicals and enzymes include: • Hawthorn berry • Ginger • Turmeric • Chinese salvia • L-carnitine • Omega-3 oils • Enzymes like nattokinase, lumbrokinase, and others.

Repairing Chronic Heat Damage We know from basic physics that heat is a manifestation of an increase in kinetic movement—and when you live a high-paced lifestyle with no time to relax, “cool,” rehydrate, and lubricate your body, your “engine” is going to heat up. Sometimes, this damage from chronic excess heat can be more serious, requiring replenishment not just in the form of extra fluids and electrolytes, but also “fluid-generating” herbs and botanicals that can help hydrate and maintain moisture in tissues and organs.

This type of heat damage can be addressed by a group of botanicals called “body fluid regenerators” (or yin regeneration herbs, as they are classified in TCM) that work on different parts of the body:

• Tian men dong (asparagus tuber) and mai men dong (Ophipogon tuber) work to promote blood and fluids in the heart, the lungs, and the stomach • Shu hu (dendrobium stem) helps maintain moisture in the lungs, the stomach, and the eyes • Zhi mu (Anemarrhena root) is another herb that’s very important for the stomach when you have severe dryness • Sheng di huang (Rehmmania) is also very important for nourishing the blood, which moisturizes all the organs.

So sometimes, you have to balance between clearing the heat and nourishing the body fluids.

A whole-foods diet rich in fruits, vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, and essential fatty acids (found in nuts and fish) is also a crucial part of a strong, healthy circulatory system. The antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3s this type of diet provides serve to minimize the effects of free radicals, promote healthy arteries, and soothe excessive heat.

Summer can be an exciting and rewarding time of year, offering more time in nature, opportunities for new adventure, an abundance of healthy fresh produce, summer celebrations, and more. If we take the right steps to promote our health in the midst of this season’s warmth and activity, we can reap the benefits of increased vitality and energy, rather than wilting away under the scorching heat.

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Snack Manufacturers Know What They Are Doing

Here is some great insider info compliments of my intern Brittany DeNoon.

My introduction to the practice of reading labels began as an employee at Frito Lay/Pepsico headquarters in Plano, Texas. For over two years I worked alongside food scientists, engineers and marketing staff in the Research and Development (R &D) division. It was there I learned how ingredients are required to be listed on product labels (starting with the main ingredient, by weight, and continuing in descending order). So I learned how to change the first ingredients of a label list with a simple recipe reformulation. But perhaps the most important thing I learned was how corporate interests can insinuate themselves into their employees’ consciousness and ethical systems. In other words, the scientists I worked with put Frito Lay’s bottom line ahead of their knowledge of nutrition.

During my time with Frito I worked mostly with Quaker on a granola bar redesign.  As a strategy to keep sugars or sweeteners from the being the “first” on the ingredients list, our formulas used a variety of sweeteners like fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup solids. By using an array of processed sugars, “granola” could then be legally listed as the product’s main ingredient (even though “granola“ itself was a combination of oats and sugars). We did this often and with many other products. Label altering was/is a conscious and common practice in the food industry, often exchanged as brilliant information by those responsible for it’s discovery.

In addition to my lab lessons, all of the R& D employees I interacted with were active and conscious about their decisions and schemes to hoodwink the consumer. Intelligent scientists (many with degrees in nutrition), engineers and business people (almost all Ivy Leaguers) were pursuing the corporate climb. They knowingly worked in a place where innovations like the ingredient list loophole provided advancement and pay increase opportunities. I listened to the marketing department pitch how to make products seem more wholesome and healthy. I recall a particular strategizing session on how to hook “stay at home moms” to buy cookies as a healthy snack. Marketing was aware that many consumers were starting to read food labels. This also came just before the phase out of hydrogenated oils in snack foods. Frito’s marketers were psyched that they were ahead of the curve here; however, they had no compunction of putting in more sugar as they removed hydrogenated oils.

When it comes to food additives, Frito’s scientists were much more secretive….For example, when I asked about soy lecithin, I was given the explanation of it’s emulsifying properties needed to make the product “work” better. But when I asked about a particular chemical that I couldn’t even pronounce, they became evasive, and I was made to feel as though I asked too many questions.

It’s been almost 10 years since my time at Frito, and I am wondering what else they are now adding to their snack foods, and what effect it is having in people’s bodies.

This blog was written by Brittany DeNoon, who is currently interning with me here at Iris Herbal the week of Sept. 6th. She has a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies, and wants to be an organic farmer. Go  HERE to see Brittany’s blog about her travels (she just got back from a stint in Korea teaching English to primary school children).

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Gentle Daily Detoxification

Guest blog post by Lisa Goodstein, DOM

Last week I wrote that Oriental Medicine does not recommend specific spring detoxification however; there are some gentle detoxification methods that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. One is drinking warm water with the juice from half an organic lemon squeezed into it first thing in the morning.  (Lemon is sour and supports your Liver).  If the lemon irritates your stomach, just drink the warm water without it. If you are constipated, or your stools are hard or your evacuation feels sluggish this will help, especially if you also have a glass of warm water before bed. Warm water does not mean room temperature. The water must be heated, not to a point of hot, but definitely warmed. Another method is dry skin brushing.

Dry brushing removes surface dead skin cells and stimulates the lymph system which removes a lot of our body’s waste.  Poor lymphatic drainage contributes to arthritis, cellulite and high blood pressure. This technique can be done year round.  If you are not currently doing it, this is a great time to start.

All you need is a bristle brush with a long detachable handle.  Most health food stores carry these brushes.  The brush must be used when it, and your skin is dry.  (It is advisable to wash the bristles in warm soapy water every 2 weeks).  Brush your body once daily prior to a shower or bath. The whole process only takes 5 minutes.  If you do this daily, it is also good to take a few days break every month so your body does not become lazy, similar to the pulsing method while taking supplements. The technique is rather simple: always brush toward your lymphatic glands.  There are several throughout our bodies but the two main areas are near the groin and underneath the clavicles.

Be gentle with your skin.  If you brush too strongly, you could scratch or irritate your skin and not engage your lymphatic system, which is just shallow to your skin’s surface. First, start at the soles of your feet, then the tops and the ankles, move up your legs. Use long strokes on your legs toward the upper inner thigh.  Brush your fingers, hands and arms towards your shoulders. On your buttocks and back, stroke towards the front to follow the lymph system. For your abdomen, use circular strokes from right to left – following the direction of your colon.  Be gentle on your chest, the skin is thinner here – again, you are stroking towards your clavicles.

Areas to avoid include genitals, nipples particularly if you are a female; areas of skin which are infected or broken, eczema, psoriasis, and areas of bulging painful varicose veins. This method is not to be used on the neck or face because the skin is too fragile.

After your shower or bath, you can massage into your skin essential oils diluted in a carrier oil such as sweet almond, sunflower or sesame oil.  You can use a single essential oil such as cypress, which is wonderful for detoxification or blend it with juniper and lemon or grapefruit in a very small concentration. Both of these citrus oils can be skin irritants and make you more sensitive to sunlight. Do not use them if you will be in the sun.

Examples of possible essential oil blends which assist the lymphatic system with 1 ounce of carrier oil: 6 drops cypress, 3 drops juniper, 1 drop lemon or grapefruit.  Use this blend daily for not more than 3 days consecutively. To make a gentler blend you could try 3-4 drops of cypress and 5-6 drops of lavender, not to exceed 10 drops total.  Experiment with the oils and discover what suits you.  Cathy has pre-blended oils for the bath and individual essential oils on her Iris Herbal website.

I admit I do get out of the habit of dry skin brushing at times.  When I remember to start again, I feel better and my skin looks healthier.  Having a human body can be a lot to take care of!  I hope you are enjoying Spring, this wonderful season of rebirth, and use some gentle detoxification if you feel it is appropriate.  Always remember to check in with yourself. You are usually your best authority.

Lisa Goodstein, DOM