63% of Americans Actively Avoid Drinking Soda


Story at-a-glance

  • Sixty-three percent of Americans actively try to avoid soda, compared to 41 percent in 2002
  • Rates of soda consumption have been dropping for decades, and Americans now consume about the same amount they did back in 1986
  • Coca-Cola is engaging in an intensive marketing ploy to “reintroduce” Coke, using smaller serving sizes and personalized cans to target teens
  • While carbonated soda sales fell 2 percent in 2013, Diet Coke sales dropped 7 percent amidst fears of aspartame’s health risks
  • Adolescent rats fed sugary drinks for one month had both impaired memory and trouble learning

Americans are finally starting to realize the dangers of soda, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) saying they actively try to avoid soda in their diet, a new Gallup poll revealed.1

This is a significant increase from 2002, when only 41 percent were trying to avoid soda, and a clear sign that, as TIME reported, “the soda craze is going flat.”2

Soda Consumption Falls to Lowest Level in Decades

The soda industry is a $75-billion market,3 an industry that reached its greatest heights in the US during the 1980s and 1990s, when Coca-Cola began pushing larger drink sizes and “upsizing.” Fountain drink sizes grew more than 50 percent by 1990, and in 1994, the 20-ounce plastic bottle was introduced in the US.

As people drank more and more soda, rates of obesity and diabetes soared, and while the soda industry still denies to this day any connection, research suggests otherwise. The “supersized” mentality seems to have backfired for Coca-Cola and other beverage companies, because as the health risks become clear, sales have been on a steady downward spiral.

As Businessweek reported:4

“For decades, soft-drink companies saw consumption rise. During the 1970s, the average person doubled the amount of soda they drank; by the 1980s it had overtaken tap water. In 1998, Americans were downing 56 gallons of the stuff every year—that’s 1.3 oil barrels’ worth of soda for every person in the country.

And then we weren’t as thirsty for soda anymore, and there were so many new drink options that we could easily swap it out for something else. Soft-drink sales stabilized for a few years…

In 2005 they started dropping, and they haven’t stopped. Americans are now drinking about 450 cans of soda a year, according to Beverage Digest, roughly the same amount they did in 1986.”

Coca-Cola Seeks to ‘Reintroduce’ Coke to Teen Market, and in ‘Guilt-Free’ Sizes

Part of Coca-Cola’s plan to bring soda back is, ironically, introducing smaller sizes, a strategy they believe might reposition Coke so “people stop feeling guilty when they drink it, or, ideally come to see a Coke as a treat.”

Smaller, 7.5-ounce minicans and 8-ounce glass bottles have been selling well. Even Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, says he limits himself to one 8-ounce glass bottle of regular Coke in the morning. Any more would be too many calories, he told Businessweek.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola decided to target the teen market directly this summer. Teens, while notorious for their soft-drink consumption, have been quickly bailing ship and opting for energy drinks instead.

So Coca-Cola printed the 250 most common teen names on Coke bottles, hoping to entice teens with the “personalized” drinks. It worked. Sales increased by 1 percent in North America in the last three months.5

Beverage consultant Mike Weinstein, former president of A&W Brands, even noted that he goes right into high schools to find out whether teens can identify soda company slogans.

Yet, there seems to be a growing realization within the industry that, as American attitudes about diet change, and more people seek to reduce added sugar and sugary drinks in their diets, appealing to the “healthier” side of their image is needed.

And, here, too, Coca-Cola is quick to respond. They’ve invested heavily in small “healthy” beverage companies like Fuze tea, Zico coconut water, and organic Honest Tea. Coca-Cola also owns Odwalla and Simply Orange juices, Glaceau Vitaminwater, and Core Power sports drinks.

Coca-Cola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent has no intention of letting Coca-Cola’s brands, and its namesake product Coke, fall by the wayside.

A $1-billion two-year marketing blitz’s sole goal is to drive its “sparkling” division back to its former glory. And in case you were wondering… its healthy-sounding “sparkling” division includes soda, which is completely delusional.

Your Brain on Soda

When you drink soda, numerous changes happen in your body, including in your brain. A new animal study, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, found that sugary beverages may be particularly damaging to the brains of adolescents, one of the key age groups soda companies are trying to “court.”

Both adult and adolescent rats were fed sugary beverages for one month. They then were tested for cognitive function and memory.

While the adult rats did okay, the adolescent rats fed sugary drinks had both impaired memory and trouble learning.6 Next, the researchers plan to study whether soda leads to inflammation in the brain’s hippocampus, which is crucial for memory and learning.

Diet Coke Sales Plummet Amidst Aspartame Health Concerns

Diet Coke may not contain sugar, but that certainly doesn’t make it a better choice than regular soda. Here, too, Americans are catching on to the risks involved, especially in regard to the artificial sweetener aspartame. Businessweek, reporting on the decline in Coca-Cola’s sales, noted that while carbonated soda sales fell 2 percent in 2013, Diet Coke sales dropped 7 percent.

This, they said, was “almost entirely the result of the growing unpopularity of aspartame amid persistent rumors that it’s a health risk.”7 Rumors? Far from it. Research continues to pour in revealing proven health dangers to aspartame.

Among them, a recent commentary that reviewed the adequacy of the cancer studies submitted by G.D. Searle in the 1970s to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for market approval.8

Their review of the data found that the studies did not prove aspartame’s safety, while other recent research suggests aspartame has potential carcinogenic effects. The researchers noted:

“Taken together, the studies performed by G.D. Searle in the 1970s and other chronic bioassays do not provide adequate scientific support for APM safety.

In contrast, recent results of life-span carcinogenicity bioassays on rats and mice published in peer-reviewed journals, and a prospective epidemiological study, provide consistent evidence of APM’s carcinogenic potential.

On the basis of the evidence of the potential carcinogenic effects of APM herein reported, a re-evaluation of the current position of international regulatory agencies must be considered an urgent matter of public health.”

You may also be surprised to learn that research has repeatedly shown that artificially sweetened no- or low-calorie drinks and other “diet” foods actually tend to stimulate your appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

A report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism highlighted the fact that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.9 For the record, Coca-Cola maintains aspartame is a “safe, high-quality alternative to sugar.” Clearly they’ve not reviewed the hundreds of studies on this artificial sweetener demonstrating its harmful effects…

What Happens When You Drink Soda?

Soda is on my list of the absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume. Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. A 20-ounce bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In addition to contributing to insulin resistance, the rise in blood sugar is quite rapid. Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:

  • Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
  • Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
  • Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.
  • After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.

As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer. Today, while many Americans are cutting back on sugary drinks, soda remains a dietary mainstay for many. Along with energy drinks and sports drinks, soda is among the top 10 sources of calories in the US diet (number four on the list, to be exact),10 and, in 2012, Gallup found that 48 percent of Americans said they drink at least one glass of soda a day,11 with proven detrimental impacts to their health.

Some Advice for Coca-Cola? Get Ready for a Class-Action Suit

Some advice for Coke, plan your budget to include a class-action lawsuit similar to those filed against the tobacco industry. These products are now well linked to the obesity epidemic and chronic disease. Coca-Cola admits to targeting teens (and has previously targeted children through in-school advertising and product placement). Now, they are making attempts to rebrand Coke with a new, healthier image. Their new “Coke Life,” a low-calorie, low-sugar soda in a green can, no less, was designed to “quiet critics,” as it contains less sugar and no aspartame.12 Yet this new green-washed soda is just basically a cigarette with a filter.

Then there is Coca-Cola’s even more insidious side. Investigative journalist Michael Blanding revealed in his book, The Coke Machine — The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, that Coca-Cola bottling plants in India have dramatically lowered the water supply, drying up wells for local villagers while also dumping cadmium, chromium, and other carcinogens into the local environment. Similar claims have been made in Mexico. In many third-world countries, they already don’t have access to clean water, making soda their only choice for a non-contaminated beverage. As the demand for soda grows, the bottling plants increase, further taxing the water supplies left, in a vicious and dangerous cycle.

Join the Growing Number of People Saying ‘No’ to Soda

In order to break free of your soda habit, first be sure you address the emotional component of your food cravings using tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success. Be sure to check out Turbo Tapping in particular, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short amount of time.

If you still have cravings after trying EFT or Turbo Tapping, you may need to make some changes to your diet. My free nutrition plan can help you do this in a step-by-step fashion. Remember, nothing beats pure water when it comes to serving your body’s needs. If you really feel the urge for a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice, or sweetened with stevia or Luo Han, both of which are safe natural sweeteners. Remember, if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would likely benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.

Sweetened beverages, whether it’s sweetened with sugar, HFCS, naturally occurring fructose, or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, are among the worst culprits in the fight against obesity and related health problems, including diabetes and heart and liver disease, just to name a few. Ditching ALL of these types of beverages can go a long way toward reducing your risk for chronic health problems and weight gain, not to mention your exposure to potentially cancer-causing additives like caramel coloring and aspartame.

Source:mercola.com

Republican aide says Donald Trump ‘didn’t care or particularly know about healthcare’


Claim comes after President admits ‘we learned a lot about loyalty’ in wake of repeal bill defeat

President Donald Trump “didn’t care or particularly know about health care” despite trying to push a major reform bill through Congress, a senior Republican aide has reportedly claimed.

Mr Trump and top House Republican Paul Ryan tasted defeat on Friday when they were forced to pull the bill, designed to replace Barack Obama’s flagship Affordable Care Act, because they could not get enough votes within their own party to pass it.

The President blamed Democrats for failing to support the plan, but the self-professed dealmaker also said: “We learned a lot about loyalty, we learned a lot about the vote-getting process.” He insisted “Obamacare will explode” eventually and that opposition politicians would see the light and work with him on a new plan.

Vice President Mike Pence and budget director Mick Mulvaney joined Mr Trump in aggressive lobbying for votes with members of the dissenting Republican Freedom Caucus faction, and the President had also tried to court moderates.

However, a Republican congressional aide told CNN: “He didn’t care or particularly know about health care. If you are going to be a great negotiator, you have to know about the subject matter.”

CNN also reported that during a meeting with moderate Republicans, when Pennsylvania congressman Charlie Dent said he did not support the repeal-and-replace bill, Mr Trump said: “Why am I even talking to you?”

In his meeting with the Freedom Caucus the President reportedly urged sceptical legislators to ignore the “little s***” of the policy detail and give him the support he needed.

Among the group’s objections was the “essential health benefits” clause of the bill.

It said that requiring insurance companies to cover a list of items—including, but not limited to, access to mental health services, substance abuse counselling, physical therapy, maternal care and paediatric care like vaccinations—would raise premiums.

The American Health Care Act, Mr Trump and Mr Ryan’s proposed plan, would have left 24 million people uninsured by 2026 according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO also said that while it would have saved the government money, people’s insurance premiums would have risen by between 15 and 20 per cent above the expected increase under Obamacare.

Stephen Hawking warned us about contacting aliens, but it may be too late


In 2010, physicist Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the possibility that we might contact extraterrestrial life by transmitting signals into space.

However, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak told us that it’s too late to consider whether we should send such transmissions, because we’ve already been doing it for decades.

Read more:http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-hawking-warning-space-aliens-seti-2016-9?IR=T

More Than A Primitive Practice: How Smudging Kills Bacteria In The Air


 

Smudging is one of the most timeless practices in the world. Believe it or not, it actually dates back to prehistoric times! Obviously, it’s still used to this day to clear negative energy — though many people think this is complete woo-woo. But recent scientific discoveries has revealed that it actually has a powerful anti-bacterial effect.

The scientific paper entitled “Medicinal Smokes” and published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology focuses a scientific lens on the practice, which is becoming more and more widely used, despite skepticism.

The study looked into herbal and non-herbal remedies that were administered by the burning of various plant matter. The research included information from 50 countries and found that, predominantly, smoke administered medicinally is mostly used to aid lung, brain and skin function. It was also said that passive fumes doubled as a sort of air purifier.

The purpose of the study was to see whether or not medicinal smoke deliveries could be explored by western medicine, because “The advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production.”

A follow-up paper found that the research concluded that, in addition to health benefits, smudging was a powerful antiseptic:

“We have observed that 1 hour treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs (havan sámagri=material used in oblation to fire all over India), on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 hour in the closed room.

Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment.

We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.”

Shockingly, burning herbs such as sage cleared bacteria by 94%! That is truly incredible. A day later, the space was still found to be disinfected. A month later, many of the original pathogens were still undetectable.

Think about this. It’s incredible news! Modern air quality is atrocious in many parts of the world. This could be an excellent way to mitigate those effects. Smudging is much better than using a chemical storm to disinfect an area, and even last longer.

Source:sivanaspirit.com

Side Effects of Long-Term Pesticide Exposure



Long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to infertility, birth defects,1,2endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer, so it’s a common-sense conclusion that fewer pesticides in our food supply would result in improved health among the general population.

In fact, one of the strongest selling points for eating organic food is that it can significantly lower your exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in conventional agriculture, and this measure in and of itself may help protect your long-term health and/or improve any health conditions you may have.

Since organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, organic foods are, as a rule, less contaminated, and studies have confirmed that those who eat a primarily organic diet have fewer toxins in their system.

Sadly, the chemical technology industry wields great power — so great that our government has largely turned a blind eye to the obvious, which is that too many toxic chemicals, in too great amounts, are being allowed in the growing of food. As noted in the featured film, “From DDT to Glyphosate:”

“Just as was the case in the 1950s with DDT and tobacco, we are on the brink of disastrous damage to health worldwide. This short film begins to explain why, and what we can do.”

Help Educate Those You Love

“From DDT to Glyphosate” is just half an hour long, yet it’s an excellent introduction to the dangers of pesticides.

Sadly, many are still unaware of just how many pesticides they’re exposed to on a daily basis via their food, so I urge you to help educate those you love by sharing this short film with your social networks.

The ‘Silent Spring’ Continues

In 1962, American biologist Rachel Carson wrote the groundbreaking book “Silent Spring,” in which she warned of the devastating environmental impacts of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane), suggesting the chemical may also have harmful effects on human health.

She rightfully questioned the logic and sanity of using such vast amounts of a chemical without knowing much about its ecological and human health impact.

Her book triggered a revolution in thinking that gave birth to the modern environmental movement, and the public outcry that resulted from her book eventually led to DDT being banned for agricultural use in the U.S. in 1972.

Unfortunately, DDT was simply replaced with other equally unsafe and untested chemicals. Today, we’re also exposed to even vaster amounts of pesticides, and a wider variety of them, which is why it’s so important to share this film with as many people as possible.

Consider this: the very same companies that developed chemical warfare weapons during World War II simply transitioned into agriculture after the war, and many of the same warfare chemicals are now sprayed on our food.

The notion that these chemicals are good for humans, the environment and the business of agriculture is a fabricated one.

Genetic Engineering Fuels the Chemical Agriculture Engine

As noted in the film, 80 percent of genetically engineered (GE) crops are designed to withstand herbicide application; most often glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup. As a result, we’re ingesting far greater quantities of pesticides than ever before.

The question is, where’s the breaking point? There’s reason to believe we may have crossed the threshold already. Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role.

According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,3 founding president of Bastyr University, the first fully accredited multidisciplinary university of natural medicine and the first National Institutes of Health-funded center for alternative medicine research, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”

A recent report4,5 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics6(FIGO), which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction.

Pesticides are also included in a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals by the Endocrine Society Task Force.7,8

This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women and young children.

Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. According to Michael Antoniou, Ph.D., a British geneticist interviewed in the film, “as a cocktail, I believe [pesticides] has converted our food supply into a slow poison.”

Rise in Chronic Disease Parallels Increased Glyphosate Use

The film shows how increases in global glyphosate use closely parallel increases in infertility, thyroid disorders, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, stroke and many other chronic diseases. Alas, the U.S. government does not acknowledge such a connection.

As noted by Claire Robinson, managing editor of GMWatch and author of the excellent book “GMO Myths and Truths,” while we do have a regulatory system, that system is grossly inadequate, as it doesn’t evaluate all the possible health and environmental effects of any given chemical.

The chemical industry also has a very strong lobby, and revolving doors between industry and the regulatory agencies in the U.S. have allowed for industry to largely dictate its own rules. Robinson also correctly notes that it is in fact chemical companies that are producing GE seeds.

This is an important point to remember. They’re not true agricultural firms. They’re chemical companies that have simply found another way to boost sales, and to believe they’re doing it out of altruism would be naïve.

Studies Show Even Ultra-Low Doses of Roundup Cause Harm

Antoniou has conducted tests revealing that ultra-low doses of Roundup administered to rats in drinking water produce liver and kidney damage over the long term. And these doses are thousands of times lower than what regulators say is completely safe for consumption.

Another recent study found Roundup adversely affects the development of female rats’ uteruses, increasing the risk for both infertility and uterine cancer. As reported by The Ecologist:9

“Doctors and scientists have noted high rates of miscarriage — sometimes called ‘spontaneous abortion’ — in women living in regions of Argentina where GM Roundup Ready soy is grown and sprayed with glyphosate herbicides. The new study may shed light on this phenomenon.

The dose of herbicide found to disrupt uterine development in the rats was 2 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day, based on the U.S. ‘reference dose’ of pure glyphosate that regulators deem safe to consume every day of our lives for a lifetime.”

So why is no action taken to protect human health? It really boils down to the fact that without Roundup and other pesticides, the GE seed business would collapse and chemical technology companies, with their vast resources and revolving doors into government regulatory agencies, have managed to deceive everyone into thinking there’s no problem.

Pesticide Use Is Increasing Worldwide

Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds (about 3.5 billion kilograms) of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing as developed nations are steadily transitioning over to chemical-based agriculture in a misguided and misinformed effort to increase yield and lower cost.10

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), Bangladesh and Thailand have quadrupled their pesticide use since the early 1990s. Ghana, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso have increased use by 1,000 percent, and Argentina’s use has risen 815 percent.11,12

The U.S. is still leading the charge when it comes to pesticide use, followed by Brazil, which is a top exporter of soybeans, corn and cotton. More than one-third of the 260 million gallons of pesticides used in Brazil each year is applied to soybeans. Cotton and citrus receive the greatest amounts, however.

But boosting yields with chemicals come at a cost. According to a 2012 analysis of FAO data, each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use.

Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health ramifications associated with pesticide exposure and the environmental effects, which include destruction of soil and non-target plant life, pollution of waterways and the decimation of crucial pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Common Side Effects of Agricultural Chemicals

Depending on the specific chemical being used, agricultural chemicals are typically associated with their own specific side effects:

  • Insecticides primarily produce neurological symptoms, such as headaches
  • Fungicides tend to produce skin-related symptoms
  • Herbicides are associated with digestive and skin problems

Glyphosate, which is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, was reclassified as a Class 2A “probable carcinogen” just last year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO).

While the IARC stopped short of a stronger cancer classification for glyphosate, there’s ample evidence showing it is quite “definitely” carcinogenic.13 A research scientist and consultant who investigates agricultural chemicals in the food supply, Anthony Samsel, Ph.D., even claims to have uncovered evidence showing Monsanto has known glyphosate promotes cancer since 1981.

Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it’s also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including the following:14,15

Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other foodborne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Increased antibiotic resistance Increased cancer risk.16,17,18,19 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia20,21

Buyer Beware: Glyphosate Limits in Food Are Likely Excessive

Some of the studies implicating glyphosate as a serious hazard to animals and humans go back many years, yet in July 2013, right in the midst of mounting questions about glyphosate’s safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) went ahead and raised the allowable limits of glyphosate in both food and feed crops.22,23

Allowable levels in oilseed crops such as flax, soybean and canola were doubled, from 20 parts per million (ppm) to 40 ppm — just 10 ppm below the level at which Roundup may cause cell death, according to research24 published in 2011.

Permissible glyphosate levels in many other foods were raised to 15 to 25 times from previous levels. Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, got one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The level for sweet potatoes was raised to 3 ppm.

It’s important to remember that the allowable levels of glyphosate have been significantly raised, because IF the U.S. government does implement glyphosate testing for food, as indicated by the EPA in April 2015,25 then assurances that levels are “within safe limits” may have little to no real value.

Also, while the dangers of glyphosate are becoming more widely recognized, many fail to realize that the Roundup formulation used on crops is even more toxic than glyphosate in isolation. Research reveals the surfactants in the formula synergistically increase glyphosate’s toxicity, even though these ingredients are considered “inert” and therefore of no major consequence.

Recent follow-up research26,27 by Gilles-Éric Séralini, Ph.D. — whose initial lifetime feeding study revealed massive tumor growth and early death — shows that long-term exposure to even ultra-low amounts of Roundup may cause tumors, along with liver and kidney damage in rats.

Can Food System Survive Without Pesticides?

Many have gotten so used to the idea that pesticides are a necessity they give little credence to the idea that chemicals are notactually needed. As reported by Ensia, a magazine showcasing solutions to the Earth’s biggest environmental challenges:28

“‘How much is too much?’ is a question with which Jules Pretty, a professor at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, is constantly grappling. What’s encouraging is the growing evidence that farmers can lower their dependence on pesticides while maintaining agricultural production, sometimes by employing techniques that date back thousands of years.29

Over the past 25 years, Pretty has been studying sustainable agriculture practices30 around the world. He has shown that there’s growing proof that integrated pest management (IPM) — a strategy that uses alternative, diversified and historic agronomic practices to control pests — can help reduce pesticide use in a variety of farming systems.

In 2015, Pretty and colleagues published a meta-analysis31 of 85 field sites in 24 countries in Asia and Africa that employed IPM techniques and reduced pesticide use while boosting crop yields. Some eliminated pesticides entirely by using techniques such as crop rotation and pheromone traps to capture pests, says Pretty.

‘Thirty percent of the crop systems were able to transition to zero pesticides,’ Pretty says. Not only that, but surprisingly, he says, ‘the innovations around sustainability are happening in the poorer countries: Bangladesh, India and countries in Africa. We really could be holding these up as beacons.'”

According to Pretty, a key strategy to lower dependence on pesticides is “farmer field schools,” which allow farmers to experiment with various techniques and see the results for themselves. This has already proven far more effective than trying to persuade or force farmers to alter their techniques.

Once they’ve seen the results with their own eyes, most are more than willing to implement pesticide-free methods, and to share their experience with others. He’s convinced that “if enough farmers in enough developing countries can become convinced of the benefits of sustainable farming practices like IPM, the world’s reliance on pesticides can be lowered,” Ensia writes.

Which Foods Are the Most Important to Buy Organic?

I encourage you to share “From DDT to Glyphosate” with everyone you know. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or share it via e-mail. It’s really crucial for everyone to understand that a large portion of our poor health is due to toxic exposures via food.

Everyone can be harmed by pesticides, but if you’re a woman of childbearing age or have young children, taking steps to reduce your exposure is especially important. Ideally, all of the food you and your family eat would be organic. That said, not everyone has access to a wide variety of organic produce, and it can sometimes be costlier than buying conventional.

One way to save some money while still lowering your pesticide exposure is to purchase certain organic items, and “settling” for others that are conventionally grown, based on how heavily each given crop is typically treated with pesticides.

Animal products, like meat, butter, milk and eggs are the most important to buy organic, since animal products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically present in vegetables.

Please bear this in mind, because if the new Roberts-Stabenow bill (S. 2609) for a national GMO labeling standard gets passed, meat, poultry and egg products will be exempt from any GMO disclosure requirements, even if the animals were fed GE feed and/or the product contains other GE ingredients, such as GE high-fructose corn syrup.

So you simply have to remember that in order to avoid GE ingredients and pesticides, you need to purchase organic, 100 percent grass-fed animal products.

Beyond animal foods, the pesticide load of different fruits and vegetables can vary greatly. Last year, Consumer Reports analyzed 12 years of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Pesticide Data Program to determine the risk categories (from very low to very high) for different types of produce.32

Because children are especially vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, including pesticides, they based the risk assessment on a 3.5-year-old child. They recommend buying organic for any produce that came back in the medium or higher risk categories, which left the following foods as examples of those you should always try to buy organic, due to their elevated pesticide load.

Peaches Carrots
Strawberries Green beans
Sweet bell peppers Hot peppers
Tangerines Nectarines
Cranberries Sweet potatoes

Help Support Organics and the Battle Against GMOs

GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs, or genetically “engineered” (GE) foods, help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

The FDA cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. Thanks to added language in the federal spending bill, the product will require special labeling so at least consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores. However, it’s imperative ALL GE foods be labeled, which is currently still being denied.

The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity. Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these corporate giants. So please, fight for your right to know what’s in your food and help support the GMO labeling movement by making a donation today.

Source:mercola.com

 

A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution.


http://www.nature.com/articles/nature21700.epdf?shared_access_token=wWbPp9i0ayNUOMDM3guieNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0M90DUzIj8q5jPeCtoSdpixH6OYZOIXl8EqiIH6Dw4foZQUO3VABRKeiusHHJIqMuhLCkQcU95Md7NH4gnaOiyGG6YN5kR7Po9DYGrMTaTXbQyfz_cmsLwRU3J_n0DHbmc%3D

Source:http://www.nature.com

Report: 47 CIA Hard Drives and 600 Million Pages of Info Among Whistleblower Contents


March 23, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC — Alarming reports have surfaced alleging that a leak containing information from 47 hard drives and 600 million pages has been passed along to US officials.

The leak is said to indicate systemic criminal spying on 156 judges and even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

In addition to this, as many as four other whistleblowers may have come forward or are in the process of coming forward, and more are expected to follow suit. The additional leaks could potentially contain information involving human trafficking, drug running, and organ harvesting.

cra

Yesterday’s leak to House Intel Committee Chair Nunes, which is the latest leak we know of, pertains to systemic spying of a criminal nature.

According to reports summarizing the content of the leak, spying was performed illegally by functionaries within the apparatus of the State that is not subject to the formal political process expressed by the consent of the governed.

(What many call the “deep state.”)

According to a letter drafted by former federal prosecutor Larry Klayman, the leak was first attempted nearly two years ago, but it was buried and the public never found out.

Thus the whistleblower decided to deliver it directly to US officials involved in the current hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael S. Rogers, which resumes Tuesday (March 28th).

Now, pausing for a moment and thinking critically about this, it’s always possible that this whistleblower is pulling an elaborate hoax and lying about the information he has with the intention to make those who believe it appear unreliable.

Larry Klayman and House Intel Committee Chair Nunes apparently have grounds for believing the whistleblower is telling the truth, however, and they are thought to have passed along the data to President Trump himself.

Klayman released an alert summarizing the nature of the content. (He has added separately that this is just “the tip of the iceberg.”)

One of the highlights is as follows:

“[Whistleblower] left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and 600 million pages of information, much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional committees, to expose that the agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, again including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump…”

Here is the document drafted by Larry Klaman in its entirety:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/342864516/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-JYjY69QjzWIbQdIo7wmz&show_recommendations=true

Aside from the leak Klayman describes, more whistleblowers are thought to be coming forward with potentially incriminating information involving drug running, organ harvesting, and human trafficking.

As many as four whistleblowers may have mobilized since yesterday’s leak to Nunes, by some estimates.

George Webb, a seasoned investigator and analyst with well placed sources, states that actions and events in connection with the Awan brothers are “accumulating like a tidal wave.”

In coordination with yesterday’s events and others he has called upon all remaining whistleblowers to now come forward.

In the video below he explains that the traditional legal channels for whistleblowers have been compromised and all leaks should be made directly to the White House hereafter. (Start around the 7:00 mark if you want to cut to the part about whistleblowers.)

Watch the vido. URL:https://youtu.be/uGfHPyiBaMQ

Source:http://livingresistance.com/

Mary Neal: Abortion decriminalisation and statutory rights of conscience.


On 13 March 2017, the House of Commons voted by 172 to 142 in favour of a second reading for the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill. The bill, introduced by Diana Johnson MP, would decriminalise abortion until the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, meaning that abortion could be performed until the end of the 24th week of pregnancy without the need to satisfy any statutory grounds, or to obtain two doctors’ authorisation. Many campaigners see this bill as a first step toward the longer-term goal of fully decriminalising abortion. [1]

The prospect of decriminalisation raises a number of interesting and important issues, including an issue which has been neglected in the debates over decriminalisation so far, namely what any change in the law might mean for the right of health professionals to withdraw from participation in abortion on grounds of conscience, under section 4 of the Abortion Act 1967.

In the case of Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan, [2] the UK Supreme Court decided that section 4 only covered “direct” participation in the course of action which “begins with the administration of the drugs designed to induce labour and normally ends with the ending of the pregnancy by delivery of the foetus, placenta and membrane.” [3] Speculating about what “must” have been in Parliament’s contemplation at the time of the passing of the Act, the court held that there is no right to opt out of “indirect” participation (such as “delegation, supervision and support” in relation to abortion) on grounds of conscience. It also confirmed that the statutory conscience right offers no protection to general practitioners; what legal protection they have, they have under the terms of the GP contract with the NHS. Although this means that GPs conscience rights will be unaffected by any decriminalisation process, it also means that they have no statutory conscience rights at all and could be left without any protection were the terms of the GP contract to change.

There is ongoing academic debate about whether individual conscience should be accommodated at all in the healthcare context. [4] When the law does decide to provide for it, however (as it does in the case of abortion), the provision should be interpreted in a manner consistent with its purpose. The purpose of a conscience clause is to protect individuals from sharing in moral responsibility for an outcome that they regard as seriously immoral. Those who help to arrange for something to happen, or who support and facilitate it in necessary but “indirect” ways, share in the responsibility (credit or blame, depending on one’s view) for the outcome. Thus, a fit-for-purpose conscience clause must protect those who regard abortion as serious wrongdoing from participating in it indirectly (so it must cover senior midwives and GPs); restricting protection to those immediately involved defeats the purpose.

Weakened as it is by the Supreme Court’s decision, section 4 remains a vital lifeline for those whose roles it doescover. Moves to decriminalise abortion have the potential to restrict conscience rights much more severely, however. Section 4 provides that “no person shall be under any duty…to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection” (my emphasis). In Doogan, the court held that “treatment authorised by this Act” means treatment “made lawful by” the Act. [5] If abortion were decriminalised, the 1967 Act would no longer be “making abortion lawful” (either at all, or until the end of the 24th week, depending on the scale of the decriminalisation), and it could be argued, following the reasoning in Doogan, that the section 4 conscience right no longer applied to recently-decriminalised abortion. If that argument succeeded, individual professionals could no longer rely on the protection of section 4 in the overwhelming majority of abortions (and perhaps even all abortions).

Influential supporters of decriminalisation, like Ann Furedi (CEO of Bpas) and Professor Sally Sheldon, have indicated their support for accommodating conscientious objection. [6,7] To ensure that any liberalisation of abortion law does not have the unintended side effect of depriving professionals of their conscience rights, it is imperative that a meaningful conscience provision be added to Johnson’s Bill if it progresses beyond the second reading, and to any subsequent bill seeking to decriminalise abortion. In my view, such a clause ought also to put GPs’ protection on a statutory footing.

Mary Neal is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, researching and teaching medical law and ethics with a particular focus on beginning and end of life issues and rights of conscientious objection. She is a current member of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee.

References:

[1] For example, the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign, which supports this Bill, seeks full decriminalisation: http://www.wetrustwomen.org.uk/about-the-campaign/ accessed on 20/03/2017

[2] [2014] UKSC 68

[3] [2014] UKSC 68, paragraph 34

[4] For a range of views, see the following special issues: Bioethics (Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2014); Medical Law Review (Volume 23 Issue 2, May 2015); Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics (Volume 26 Issue 1, January 2017); and Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 43 Issue 4, April 2017).

[5] Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan [2014] UKSC 68, paragraph 38

[6] A Furedi, ‘We support a woman’s choice of abortion: but should doctors have the right to choose too?Lawyers For Choice Blog, 25 July 2016, https://lawyersforchoice.wordpress.com/ accessed on 20/03/2017

[7] S Sheldon, ‘The Decriminalisation of Abortion: An Argument for Modernisation’, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (2016) 36 (2): 334-365, 361  https://academic.oup.com/ojls/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ojls/gqv026accessed on 20/03/2017

Source:http://blogs.bmj.com

 

Popular Brands Sued for Using Non-Organic Ingredients



Story at-a-glance

  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is suing Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, claiming 11 of the listed 40 ingredients in its organic infant formula are synthetic substances that are not permitted in organic products
  • OCA is also suing Hain Celestial Group over false labeling and violating the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The products specified include Earth’s Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula
  • Commercial infant formulas have many drawbacks and potentially hazardous ingredients. If you’re unable to breastfeed and cannot find a safe source of breast milk, your next best bet is to make your own formula

Whom can you trust when it comes to feeding your baby right? Beyond breast milk, making the right choice can be more than a little tricky. Even some organic brands of infant formula have been found to peddle less than ideal products.

Most recently, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) sued The Honest Company, co-founded by popular actress Jessica Alba in 2012, claiming 11 of the listed 40 ingredients in its organic infant formula are synthetic substances that are not permitted in organic products.”1,2,3,4,5

Other unapproved ingredients are ascorbyl palmitate, choline bitartrate, synthetic beta-carotene, biotin, dl-alpha tocopherol, inositol and phytonadione.

Honest Company Not So Honest?

According to the OCA’s lawsuit, these 11 ingredients are not included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National List of Allowed Substances for organics,6 and violate the California Organic Products Act of 2003.

The organization also notes that while several of these ingredients have never been assessed for safety in human foods or infant formula, some are even “federally regulated as hazardous compounds.”

According to The Honest Company, the allegations are “without merit,” noting its formula has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meets all safety and nutritional standards, and has been certified USDA Organic by an independent third party in accordance with the National Organic Program.

It’s worth noting though that while infant formulas must meet federal nutrient requirements, the FDA does not actually approve infant formulas before they’re marketed.7 In fact, no agency is tasked with this responsibility. The assurance of safety comes from the manufacturer alone.

The FDA does conduct yearly inspections of infant formula manufacturers, and conducts sample testing, but only if the FDA decides a formula poses a risk to health will they step in to demand a product recall. So the whole “FDA approved” notion doesn’t really amount to much.

Two Other Lawsuits Pending Against The Honest Company

The Honest Company has become a $1.7 billion success, selling a variety of “green” products. Alas, this is not the first time the company’s all natural and organic wares have come under fire for being less than honest.

Two other lawsuits have been filed over the past year, accusing the company of using synthetic and toxic ingredients in its all natural cleaning products, soaps, and diapers, and selling a 30 SPF sunscreen that doesn’t work.8,9

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation10 also revealed that one of Honest Co’s laundry detergents contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) — a chemical the company has pledged to avoid.

Other Organic Formulas That Aren’t

The OCA has also filed suit against Hain Celestial Group over false labeling and violating the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The products specified in the lawsuit include Earth’s Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula.

In addition to sodium selenite, many of Earth’s Best organic products also contain nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine, ascorbyl palmitate, synthetic beta-carotene, and lutein.

According to the complaint, all of these ingredients were rejected for use in organic infant formula by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). In an OCA press release, international director Ronnie Cummins states:

“As consumers, these mothers must rely on truthful labeling in order to make the best choices for feeding their infants and toddlers.

Our job as a consumer advocacy group is to call out and hold accountable companies like The Honest Co. and Hain Celestial when they knowingly and intentionally mislead consumers.

OCA has long been a defender of organic standards, which means also defending the organic label. Our goal with this lawsuit is to force these companies to either comply with USDA organic standards or stop calling their products ‘organic.'”

Infant Formulas Are Poor Substitutes for Breast Milk

Make no mistake: the best baby food is breast milk from a healthy mother. However, there are babies in situations where a good substitute is called for: adopted and orphaned babies, babies born to mothers with serious health problems, and babies whose mothers do not produce enough milk (a rare but real problem).

Contrary to popular belief (which has been created through decades of advertising), commercial infant formulas leave a lot to be desired, and is by no means an ideal substitute to breast milk. As noted by the Weston A. Price Foundation, infant formula:11

Lacks many key substances for healthy growth and development, such as cholesterol and lipase (enzymes that break down and digest fats).

As noted in the article: “Breast milk is not just food but ‘represents a most sophisticated signaling system of mammalian evolution promoting a regulatory network for species-specific, postnatal growth and metabolic programming.’

Scientists studying the ‘message’ in mother’s milk see it as nothing less than a program for life.”

Primarily consists of sugar (typically corn syrup) or lactose, dried skim milk, and refined vegetable oils (which may be genetically engineered unless labeled 100 percent USDA organic).  According to GMOinside.org, Similac, Enfamil, and Nestle all use GMO ingredients in their infant formulas.12

Is very calorie-dense, and contains twice as much protein as breast milk, which may promote insulin resistance and obesity. In fact, many infant formulas have as much sugar as a can of soda.

This fructose has none of the benefits of the natural sugars found in breast milk (see below). Rather it comes with a long list of adverse metabolic effects, raising your child’s risk for obesity, diabetes,13 and related health problems, both in the short and long term.14

Has been found to be contaminated with a number of hazardous components, including but not limited to perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel), phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA, a known endocrine disrupter), melamine, dioxin, heavy metals, and arsenic. One 2012 study15  found that 2 of 17 infant formulas tested that listed organic brown rice syrup on the label contained elevated levels of arsenic.

One had an arsenic concentration six times higher than the U.S. federal limit of 10 parts per billion for drinking water. Over 20 infant formula recalls have occurred since 1980 involving unsafe ingredients, pathogenic contaminations, foreign substances such as glass, insufficient nutrient content, and more.

Can contain a number of problematic additives, including iron, synthetic omega-3/omega-6 oils DHA/ARA, carrageenan, and synthetic folic acid.

Other Drawbacks of Infant Formula

When using infant formula you also have to be especially concerned about the quality of the water you use to mix with the formula. Many if not most areas across the U.S. has some level of water contamination, and the contaminants can range from pesticides and flame retardants to drugs and heavy metals, just to name a few. Installing a high quality water filter is a prudent investment, especially if you have young children.

Also be sure to avoid using fluoridated water in the formula. And NEVER feed your baby soy based formula, as it can contain dangerously high concentrations of manganese and estrogenic compounds. As noted by Weston A. Price:16

“‘Formula-fed babies are sicker, sick more often, and are more likely to die in infancy or childhood… [B]ottle-fed infants were fourteen times more likely to be hospitalized than breast-fed infants. Compared to breastfed babies, formula-fed babies have a doubled overall infant death risk, and four-fold risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Bottle-fed infants and children have more frequent and more severe upper respiratory infections…They have more diarrhea, more gastrointestinal infections and constipation. Formula-fed babies suffer more jaw misalignment and are more likely to need orthodontic work as they get older.

Speech problems are more likely to develop because of weak facial muscles and tongue thrust problems which develop among bottle-fed babies. Formula-fed babies tend to become mouth breathers who snore and develop sleep apnea. Formula-fed infants also tend to have more dental decay — so-called “baby bottle caries” when habitually put to bed with a bottle — along with periodontal disease and TMJ problems.”

The article goes into great depth on the many problems associated with commercial infant formula, and the broad gulf of difference between formula and breast milk. So what’s the answer if you cannot breastfeed? While some may be anxious about the prospect of making homemade infant formula, it may actually be your safest option, as you’ll know exactly what you put in there. Here’s one recipe for homemade formula created by the Weston Price Foundation, which I believe is sound.

Breast Milk Is a Complete Food

Breast milk from a healthy mother contains hundreds of substances, some that cannot be imitated, and over 100 different types of fats alone. A woman’s breast milk also goes through a number of changes over time, providing the child with highly personalized nutrition. Colostrum, a highly nutritious special milk which is expressed for the first couple of days after giving birth, is quickly and easily digestible, whereas more mature breast milk contains a long list of vitamins and minerals, and higher amounts of fat.

And, while breast milk does contain sugars, they bear no resemblance to processed corn syrup! For example, breast milk contains about 150 different oligosaccharides; complex chains of sugars that are completely unique to human milk.

These sugars are not actually digested; rather, they feed healthy microbes in the baby’s digestive system. We now know that gut health plays an enormous role in overall health, and breast milk really “primes” your baby’s gut and promotes the colonization of a healthy microbiome.

Breast milk also contains a variety of nutrient growth factors17 and antibodies (immune molecules), which provide the baby with natural immunity to illnesses to which  the mother is immune. This is why breastfed babies tend to have far fewer colds than formula fed babies.

Moreover, when a newborn is exposed to a pathogen, he or she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. The mother will then make antibodies to that particular germ and transfer them back to the baby at the next feeding, thereby speeding up the recovery process and promoting future immunity toward the organism, should it be encountered again.

Breastfeeding Benefits Mom Too

In the short-term, nursing helps a woman shed that extra “baby weight” she put on during pregnancy. That alone is reason enough to breastfeed for many women, but the benefits go far beyond that. For example, recent research18,19 suggests breastfeeding may reduce a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Of the women who lactated for one month or less, 17 percent had atherosclerotic plaques two decades later. Among those who breastfed for 10 months or longer, less than 11 percent were found to have such plaques 20 years later. One reason for this is because pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s cardiovascular system, raising the risk for cardiovascular disease, but lactation helps restore a mother’s biological systems to a pre-pregnancy state. Other studies20 have also shown breastfeeding benefits the mother by:

Enhancing maternal behavior through increased release of oxytocin, a hormone referred to as the “love hormone,” or “bonding hormone” Acting as a natural birth control, as it suppresses ovulation, making pregnancy less likely Reducing diabetic mothers’ need for insulin, as lactation lowers glucose levels naturally
Reducing the risk of women with gestational diabetes from becoming lifelong diabetics.

In one recent study,21 a woman’s risk of progressing from gestational diabetes to type-2 diabetes was inversely associated with length and intensity of breastfeeding

Reducing your risk of endometrial-, ovarian- and breast cancers, including hormone receptor negative tumors,22which are a very aggressive form of breast cancer Reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome

Infant Nutrition Sets the Stage for Long-Term Health

The food you feed your baby during those first years can have a tremendous impact on your child’s development and long-term health, and I strongly encourage all mothers to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months or longer. The shaming of breastfeeding mothers is an absolute travesty, as we’re talking about crucial nutrition here. It’s a bizarre and unnatural mindset, and I hope women everywhere will stand up for their rights to breastfeed.

Begin nursing as soon after birth as possible, as your baby’s sucking instinct will be very strong at that time, giving you the best chance of success. Nursing moms also need to drink plenty of water and seek optimal nutrition while nursing. Newborns need to nurse at least once every two hours, for about 15 minutes or so on each side, but most do not adhere to any kind of strict schedule and feedings can vary in length.

It is this frequent nursing that stimulates your breasts to produce increasing amounts of milk to keep up with demand. (This is also why supplementing with formula can be detrimental to your milk supply.)

It can be a good idea to begin planning for successful breastfeeding before your baby is even born. La Leche League23 is a fantastic resource to contact for help whether you want to prepare beforehand or find you’re having trouble breastfeeding once your baby is born. Also find out whether your hospital of choice offers breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants who can help you. If it doesn’t, you may want to select a hospital that offers greater support.

If for whatever reason you’re unable to breastfeed, or you have adopted your newborn, you may want to consider using donated breast milk. Like the Weston A. Price Foundation, I do not recommend using human milk banks though, as the milk has to undergo pasteurization. An alternative may be to work with a physician or pediatrician who is willing to help you find a safe milk donor, and who will be involved in a screening process to ensure the milk is safe.

If you’re unable to breastfeed or find a safe source of breast milk, your next best bet is to make your own infant formula. I recommend avoiding commercial infant formulas as much as possible, including organic brands. Most are simply too high in refined sugar for optimal health, and lack many vital immune-boosting nutrients.

Source:mercola.com

The Dirty Underbelly of the US Dairy Industry


eating ice cream

Story at-a-glance

  • Last year, ice cream from Blue Bell Creamery sickened 10 people with listeria; three died as a result. The price for causing three deaths? A mere $175,000 fine
  • Use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers on corn for cow feed on Vermont dairy farms nearly doubled between 2002 and 2012. These chemicals pose a threat to the environment, water supplies and human health
  • Up to 80 percent of herbicides used on Vermont dairy farms are atrazine-based — a chemical associated with estrogen overproduction, the feminizing of males, reproductive problems, several cancers and birth defects

By Dr. Mercola

I’ve written extensively about the differences between raw grass-fed milk and dairy from cows raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), explaining the many health and environmental benefits of the former and the risks associated with the latter.

Contrary to popular belief, pasteurized CAFO milk is NOT safer than raw milk from a healthy, grass-fed cow raised according to organic standards. Data shows that illnesses linked to raw milk are minimal, and far lower than those from pasteurized CAFO milk.

The reason for this has to do with the abnormal diet fed to CAFO cows. Grass is a cow’s natural food. Corn (nearly always GMO) and other grains, which are routinely fed to CAFO livestock, are not.

When cows eat grains, their body composition is altered and so is their milk, resulting in an inferior nutritional profile. Pasteurization also destroys many valuable nutrients — many of which have notable benefits for your digestion and immune function.1

Interestingly, cows, like humans, fed a high-grain diet will die prematurely. Many times a grain-fed cow’s life expectancy will be decreased by more than 50 percent. This is not typically an issue however, as the animals are sacrificed long before that time.

Pasteurized CAFO Dairy Far More Likely to Cause Disease Than Raw Milk

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) frequently cites raw milk as a leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks and deaths. However, if you look at the actual data, you will not find ANY deaths linked to raw milk in the U.S.

You can get the whole story in my previous article, “How the CDC Transformed 21 Raw Milk Illnesses Into 20,000.” In the U.K., not a single case of illness from drinking raw milk has been reported since 2002.2

Meanwhile, just last year, ice cream from Blue Bell Creamery — the third-largest ice cream maker in the U.S. — sickened 10 people with listeria; three died as a result. The price for causing three deaths? A mere $175,000 fine.3

Raw dairy farmers have been put out of business for mere suspicion of contamination. Even in the absence of a complaint of contamination, farmers and consumers are often harassed over the buying and selling of raw milk.

Such is the case in Harris County, Texas, where the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and raw milk consumers claim they’re being threatened by public health officials even though they’re not doing anything illegal. As reported by YourHoustonNews.com:4

“Raids have taken place at raw milk drop points to stop consumers from picking up raw milk. The raw milk consumers and producers are in fear of being shut down or fined by authorities.

‘Generally, when the health department has a concern about a business, they will talk to that business and they will go through the concerns.

What’s been happening is that they have been showing up in Katy with the sheriff’s deputies and in Austin they showed up with the police,’ said Judith McGeary, executive director of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. ‘This isn’t how food inspections are handled typically. It is very out of line.'”

Clearly, the attack on raw milk is aimed at controlling the dairy industry, NOT to save you from yourself, should you be convinced that raw milk is a healthy food and choose to go out of your way to obtain and drink it!

Ongoing Listeria Contamination Found at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

In 2013, Chobani Greek yogurt was recalled following reports of gastrointestinal illness.5 The yogurt, which is pasteurized and not raw, was found to be contaminated with a fungus called Murcor circinelloides.

Listeria bacteria was also recently found in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ Columbus, Ohio, facility, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning letter to the company.

The same strain of listeria was found in samples collected in April 2015, suggesting the company is struggling with an ongoing contamination problem.6

As a rule, CAFOs are hotbeds for disease-causing bacteria that can easily end up in the final product, be it milk, cheese, yogurt or ice cream. Pasteurization is thought to kill off all of these bacteria, but reality tells a different story. Part of the problem is the sheer volume of food being processed.

All you need is for one portion of the processing plant to be contaminated in order for massive amounts of food to be contaminated — and it doesn’t matter if it’s been pasteurized or not. In the case of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, the source of the 2015 contamination was traced to a contaminated spout on one of its machines.

CAFOs also promote antibiotic-resistant disease that kills an estimated 23,000 Americans each year, courtesy of the routine use of antibiotics to keep livestock healthy enough while crammed together in unsanitary conditions.

But there’s yet another major difference between organic grass-fed dairy farming and CAFOs, and it has to do with the amount of pesticides used on cattle feed. Not only does it contribute to environmental devastation, but the end product may also contain herbicide residues that could affect your health.

Use of Agricultural Chemicals Has Skyrocketed

Pesticide-producing giants like Monsanto, Dow and Syngenta promised their genetically engineered (GE) seeds (also referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMO) would allow farmers to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used on their crops, leading to a greener, more environmentally-friendly agriculture.

The idea that chemical technology companies would act against their own self-interests by selling seeds requiring less of the chemicals that are the backbone of their profit centers should have been identified as a lie from the start, but many bought the sales pitch hook, line and sinker.

Today, with data showing the truth in black and white, it is high time everyone realizes that GE crops DRIVE the ever-increasing use of toxic chemicals on our food supply, making not only our food but also our soil and water more toxic — a fact that, ultimately, has serious ramifications for human health and all other life on Earth.

According to a recent report by the organic advocacy group Regeneration Vermont, use of herbicides and synthetic fertilizers on Vermont dairy farms nearly DOUBLED between 2002 and 2012.7

In 2002, Vermont farmers used 1.54 pounds of herbicide per acre. In 2012, they used an average of 3.01 pounds per acre.

pesticide-use
Pounds of pesticide used per year in Vermont. Data from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. 

Atrazine Dominates on Vermont Dairy Farms

One of the most commonly used weed killers on Vermont dairy farms is Syngenta’s Lumax, the active ingredients of which are atrazine and metolachlor.

According to the report, as much as 80 percent of all the herbicides used in the state are atrazine-based. I recently wrote about the serious health hazards associated with atrazine, which include:

  • Estrogen overproduction, which can contribute to the feminizing of males, reproductive problems and estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and thyroid cancer
  • Birth defects, including abdominal defects such as gastroschisis, in which the baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body

Atrazine also causes serious reproductive harm to amphibians, fish, birds and mammals, and has been shown to depress immune function in wildlife and laboratory rodents.

Herbicides May Pose Serious Threat to Our Children

While atrazine is the most commonly found herbicide contaminant in the U.S. water supply, many other weed killers are also associated with water contamination and pose very similar health risks. As reported by VTdigger.org:8

“Seven of the active ingredients in use — atrazine, simazine, acetachlor, alachlor, metolachlor, pendimethalin and glyphsate — have been linked to birth defects, developmental defects and contaminated drinking water … Five of the chemicals have been banned by the European Union.”

On June 6, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new risk assessment for atrazine,9 concluding the herbicide cannot be used safely even at lower concentrations.10 It is currently up for public comment and is not expected to be finalized until 2017, but it may well lead to tighter regulatory limits and possibly even an eventual ban, based on the level of concern found.

The report, “Vermont’s GMO Legacy: Pesticides, Polluted Water and Climate Destruction,”11,12 notes that the use of nitrogen fertilizer in Vermont has nearly doubled as well, rising from 8.9 million pounds in 2002 to 16.5 million pounds in 2012, applied to a total of about 92,000 acres of farmland.

Impact of GE-Fed Dairy Cows

While there are many problems with CAFOs, the use of GE feed makes everything worse. As noted by Will Allen, one of the founders of Regeneration Vermont and author of the report, “There is no reason to use GMO corn.” Indeed, dairy farmers could opt for conventional corn or, even better, organic.

The cows would still suffer health problems since corn is not a natural food for them, but at least this would reduce (or eliminate in the case of organic corn) the amount of toxic herbicides contaminating the environment and ending up in the milk supply. Allen points out that the dramatic increase in herbicides, combined with GE seeds that are pre-treated with pesticides against pests that aren’t even a problem, is really irresponsible.

“Allen also criticizes what he describes as the state’s hypocritical stance on GMO labeling,” VTdigger.org writes.13 “While state politicians have defended Vermont’s GMO food labeling law against attacks … they have done little to effect policy that would help dairy farmers shift to organic methods …14

Vermont’s GMO labeling law has left a false impression that it ‘solved’ the GMO problem in the state. ‘Nothing could be further from the truth,’ Allen writes. ‘While we are forcing the labeling of Cheetos and Spaghettios, the state turns a blind eye to GMO corn used to feed cows that produce milk for Agri-Mark and Ben & Jerry’s. GMOs are about more than a (consumer’s) right to know. It’s also about the GMO impact on the environment and the monopolization of the food supply.”

Dairy Advertising Versus Reality

A recent commentary written by Allen and Regeneration Vermont co-founders Michael Colby and Kate Duesterberg focuses on the false front the CAFO dairy industry presents to the public:15

“The great divide between the well-marketed image of Vermont dairy farming and its stark and toxic realities is becoming harder and harder to ignore. The marketing shows healthy cows grazing on lush pastures. But the reality is cows on concrete, being fed a diet of GMO-corn and the toxic residues from the hundreds of thousands of pounds of herbicides sprayed annually on the corn and hay fields …

Regeneration Vermont is in the process of trying to wake up consumers, the corporate dairy suppliers and the regulators that these dangerous toxins are probably in our milk, ice cream, cheese, butter and yogurt, and are definitely in our drinking and recreational waters. We believe that, in order to truly protect the Vermont brand by putting some reality behind it, an immediate transition to regenerative organic dairying needs to be fast-tracked.”

More than 200 (about 20 percent) of the dairy farms in Vermont have already made the transition to organic farming. This is a good start, but hundreds more need to follow suit. Also, these problems are hardly restricted to Vermont. Dairy farms across the U.S. are contributing to the destruction of our environment and human health.

Organic Farming Pays

Nationwide there are about 2,200 organic dairy farms, most of which have fewer than 200 cows. The “get big or get out” mentality has reduced the number of dairy farms in the U.S. by 60 percent over the past two decades.16 Despite that decline, the total milk production has increased by one-third — a feat attributed to CAFOs, which often house more than 15,000 cows and often use drugs to promote abnormal increases in milk production.

At that scale, you simply cannot raise cows according to organic, grass-fed standards. However, family dairy farms that decide to go organic often end up profiting. As reported by Epoch Times:17

“The pricing of organic milk is separate from the conventional milk market … [O]rganic prices have so far offered much greater stability … Organic Valley is the largest organic dairy cooperative in the country by far, with 1,800 family farm members. The price Organic Valley farmers earn includes a good profit …

The Buck family [in Goodhue, Minnesota] used to farm conventionally, but made the transition to organic in order to avoid spraying chemicals on the farm … [Ruth Buck] explained that the farm has the right number of cows (120) for the land (100 acres). ‘Everything balances out, and you don’t need to push the cows,’ she said.”

According to Darin Von Ruden, an organic dairy farmer and president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, organic dairy farmers typically have a profit margin of 5 to 10 percent when first starting out. Once established, they can make anywhere from 15 to 20 percent profit.

This is in stark contrast to conventional farms, which typically have a profit margin of 1 or 2 percent; a particularly good year might yield a 7 to 8 percent profit margin. The reason CAFOs are still so profitable is their sheer scale. But as just discussed, all this cheap milk comes at a terrible price.

Organic Watchdog Group Calls for Organic Merger Block

Many well-known organic brands are actually owned by multinational junk food purveyors — many of which have lobbied to prevent GMO labeling and otherwise fought against cleaner, safer food systems. Most recently, the French dairy company Groupe Danone announced it may acquire WhiteWave Foods at a price tag of about $10 billion.

If this deal goes through, Danone-owned Stonyfield would merge with the Wallaby yogurt brand. Danone would also end up controlling Horizon, the largest organic milk brand in the U.S. As noted by The Cornucopia Institute,18 this merger is a cause for great concern — so much so, Cornucopia is calling for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block the merger.

There’s already little competition in the organic dairy market, and this merger could easily result in price fixing and other problems associated with monopolization. As noted by Cornucopia:19

“Horizon already procures a large percentage of their milk from industrial-scale dairies managing thousands of cows each. The Stonyfield brand has always depended on family-scale farmers. That could all change after the merger.

You need to let the DOJ and the FTC know that they must scrutinize the Danone-WhiteWave acquisition closely for anti-competitive concerns in the organic dairy market and act to protect consumers, independent businesses and farmers alike from monopoly control of the market.”

Can Raw Milk Help Prevent Asthma?

As a result of the animals’ diet and standard of living (being outdoors, exposed to natural sunlight, free to roam at will without the stressors of confinement and crowding etc.), high-quality raw milk has many health benefits that pasteurized milk lacks. For example, grass-fed raw milk contains:

  • Healthy bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • More than 60 digestive enzymes, growth factors and immunoglobulins (antibodies)
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • Beneficial raw fats, amino acids and proteins in a highly bioavailable form, all 100 percent digestible
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K in highly bioavailable forms, and a very balanced blend of minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron), the absorption of which is enhanced by live lactobacilli

Research has shown raw milk exposure in early childhood increases the number of regulatory T-cells (Treg cells; immunosuppressive cells that modulate your immune system), resulting in a lower risk for asthma and allergies. According to the authors:20

“Farm milk exposure was associated with increased Treg cell numbers on stimulation in 4.5-year-old children and might induce a regulatory phenotype early in life, potentially contributing to a protective effect for the development of childhood allergic diseases.”

In another study,21 published last year, nearly 1,000 infants from rural areas in Austria, Finland, France, Germany and Switzerland were followed for the first year of life. Their consumption of different types of cow’s milk was analyzed, along with rates of common respiratory infections. Children who drank raw milk had a 30 percent lower risk of respiratory infections and fever compared to those who did not drink raw milk.

Milk that was boiled at the farm had a diminished protective effect, and milk that was ultra-pasteurized, which is heated to about 135 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few seconds, showed no protective effect, likely because the protective compounds are killed or otherwise damaged by the heat.

Kids who drank fresh, raw milk also had significantly lower incidence of head colds and middle-ear inflammation compared to those who drank ultra-pasteurized milk. The researchers concluded that the public health impact of minimally processed raw milk might be “enormous, given the high prevalence of respiratory infections in the first year of life and the associated direct and indirect costs.”

Where to Find Raw Milk and Healthy Yogurt

Getting your raw milk from a local organic farm is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting high-quality milk. If you’re still unsure of where to find raw milk, check out Raw-Milk-Facts.com and RealMilk.com. They can tell you what the status is for legality in your state, and provide a listing of raw dairy farms in your area.

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund22 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.23 California residents can find raw milk retailers using the store locator available at www.OrganicPastures.com.

Yogurt is another dairy product that can do more harm than good if you stray from raw grass-fed dairy as the base. To identify the best commercial yogurts available, refer to The Cornucopia Institute’s Yogurt Report and score card. Their investigation found many products being sold as yogurt do not even meet the standards for real yogurt!

Top-rated yogurts are generally VAT pasteurized at relatively low temperatures and are made from raw milk rather than previously pasteurized milk. While not as advantageous as making yogurt from raw milk in your own home, it’s certainly better than most commercial yogurt. As a general rule, you’ll want to seek out organic yogurt made from 100 percent grass-fed milk. Also make sure it’s made from whole (full fat) milk, not low-fat or skim.

source:mercola.com