Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Desperate Food Industry Tries to Tar Michael Pollan and Organic Produce

Desperate Food Industry Tries to Tar Michael Pollan and Organic Produce

By Vanessa Barrington, EcoSalon
Posted on August 24, 2009, Printed on August 25, 2009

What do you get when you cross a grassroots movement with a food industry fearful of losing its influence? Bogus studies, campaigns of misinformation and opinion pieces filled with myth and vitriol.

You may have noticed an uptick this year in news reporting that organic food isn’t really better for you, opinion pieces by conventional farmers saying that they are tired of being demonized by “agri-intellectuals”, and guilt-inducing ads by Monsanto in highbrow publications like the New Yorker touting the company’s ability to feed the world through technology.

Though all of this could be disturbing to those of us committed to sustainable agriculture and food that is fair to eaters, animals, workers and farmers, I’m choosing to see this as a good sign. I think it means we might be winning.

The turning point was when First Lady Michelle Obama planted an organic garden on the White House lawn only to receive a letter from The American CropLife Association telling her that they hoped she recognized the value of conventional agriculture in American life. The letter can be read here. Then, there were false allegations that the garden was contaminated with lead. In the face of all this, the first lady stuck with her commitment to keeping the garden organic.

Why is this happening now? For many years, organic food was a marginal market and the big players were content to let it either exist on the sidelines or hedge their bets and buy into it themselves.

But due to the excellent work by many writers and activists like Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Marion Nestle, Robert Kenner and others too numerous to mention, more of us are starting to pay attention to where our food comes from and how it is produced. This market is now a force for change. And individuals and companies that benefit from the status quo don’t want change.

Let’s take a closer look at the people and ideology behind some of the more recent high profile examples of the attacks against sustainable food......................................................

For the rest of the story please read it online as below

© 2009 EcoSalon All rights reserved

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/142145/

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Increasing Energy, Strengthening Adrenals Part 1

My energy, 2 years off 50, is better now than in my teens and my 20s. I wake every morning rearing to go, I'm flooded with creative ideas, I'm wide awake. Friends and family find this a little annoying! This is the time when I do my blog, check my emails, write, create my ideas etc. Sometimes I am up 3 hours before I even have to leave for work. Then my energy is stable all day long. I don't get depressed any longer. If I am tired it will be for real reasons, like I have been up all night dancing, I am going through a stressful time or I have been working long hours with no days off.

But it hasn't always been like this. I used to wake up sluggish, irritable, moody and with no energy. I used to have mood swings all day, my energy would slump and I would get stomach 'migraines' if I didn't eat. My kidneys hurt, I had thrush, cystitis, I was deeply depressed for years - unable to get out of bed for weeks. I had rashes, spots, black circles under my eyes, restless legs, pains in my back and legs, PMT etc etc!

So one of the things I had to do to get to where I am now - energy wise - was to balance my blood sugar and strengthen my adrenals. And this is the subject which has sprung from the article about fat bellied monkeys, (hopefully treated well during their research), in my last post.

Health is constant state of being and one has to approach it from many sides. There will be many reasons why an individual is being troubled by a particular health problem. One has to look at many different areas e.g. hormones, diet, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, parasites, stress levels, emotional blocks etc etc and slowly work things through. Of course one can speed this process up by visiting a nutritionist who often will have diagnostic tests and dietary assessments available.

Back on the subject! Two areas which help improve energy are making sure blood sugar is balanced and strengthening adrenals.

Healthy life!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

How to Increase Energy and Rid yourself of Fat Around Your Middle

This is a very interesting article from today's Times. I often work with clients who have high stress levels which can lead to symptoms of adrenal imbalance. One of the signs of this is, as the article below suggests, fat around the middle.Other symptoms can be:
  • Tendency to gain weight and unable to loose it, especially around the middle
  • Tendency to tremble when stressed
  • Palms have a lot of fine lines
  • Chronic Fatigue or ME
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon between 3 & 5 pm
  • Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning
  • Crave for salty, fatty, and high protein food such as meat and cheese
  • PMT - period are heavy and then stop, or nearly stop on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day
  • Low progesterone levels leading to signs of high oestrogen like bloating, irritability, weight gain during the cycle etc
  • Feel better when stress is relieved
  • Find it hard to get up in the morning - sluggish
  • Lightheaded especially on standing

I often run adrenal tests in my clinic - not too expensive. Email me if you want info - it can all be done via the post. Here follows the article:

Fat-Bellied Monkeys Suggest Why Stress Sucks

A Cynomolgus monkey in Lopburi, Thailand.
A Cynomolgus monkey in Lopburi, Thailand.
Chris huh

It's no secret that stress isn't good for you. But what's less clear is how social stressors like a high-pressure job or a failing marriage affect your physical well-being.

Researchers at Wake Forest University who study stress in monkeys think they may have discovered a clue: fat. More specifically, the particular form of fat called visceral fat that tends to build up in the abdomen (those dreaded beer bellies and love handles). Researchers believe this abdominal fat lodges deep within visceral organs, such as the heart, liver and blood vessels, and may be an indicator of increased heart attack risk. In a study of 42 female monkeys, the scientists found that those with the most social stress — in the monkeys' case, that meant being at the bottom of the social hierarchy — packed away the most fat around the middle.

"For years now there has been a recognition that the pattern in which people lay down fat is associated more with health than the absolute amount of fat," says study co-author Carol Shively, a pathologist at Wake Forest. "Fat cells that live in the visceral depot behave differently than cells that live in other areas of the body."

Recent evidence suggests that visceral fat cells are active, unlike the fat cells found elsewhere in the body just under the skin, known as subcutaneous fat. Those fat cells are essentially just storage sinks for calories. But visceral fat cells actively secrete hormones and other agents that affect the metabolism of sugar and the way the body burns calories. In people, visceral fat has been linked to metabolic changes, such as higher blood pressure and blood sugar levels, that increase risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Shively and her colleagues also knew that people who produce excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol tend to have bulky waistlines; they have apple-shaped bodies, rather than pear-shaped. So the researchers wanted to examine all these factors — stress, abdominal fat and health risk — in one study. The problem, of course, is that measuring the relationship between stress and visceral fat in people in a controlled fashion isn't easy. So, the team turned to monkeys. For nearly two and a half years, she and her team fed the animals a typical Western diet, with 40% of calories coming from fat, measured their cortisol levels and used CT scans to calculate the amount of visceral fat each monkey carried.

The monkeys were housed in groups of four, automatically prompting them to establish a linear hierarchy of dominance. The dominant monkey in each group experienced the least stress, according to researchers. "They were groomed more than the subordinates, and they would get relaxed. Their eyes would roll up, sort of like they were getting a massage," says Shively. Monkeys further down the power chain, however, appeared more stressed-out. They were more vigilant, constantly scanning their environment for potentially aggressive threats from the leader. They also spent more time alone, out of contact with the other monkeys.

CT scans showed that group leaders and the second most dominant monkeys showed lower amounts of visceral fat than their subordinates, who carried the bulk of their body fat in their guts. In human populations, something similar happens: Studies have linked lower social status to a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome — the condition whose symptoms include being overweight and having high blood pressure and high glucose levels — which promotes heart disease.

Together with Shively's findings, says Dr. David Katz, director and co-founder of the Yale Prevention Research Center, the human data suggests a possible cause-and-effect link: Stress may promote accumulation of visceral fat, which in turn causes metabolic changes in the body that contribute to heart disease and other health problems.

"This study shows that psychological stress, which we know can affect stress hormone levels, can have a fairly rapid influence on where extra calories go," he says. "I'm generally quite cautious about animal research but here I think we're seeing something that has direct relevance to human health as well."

Thursday, 6 August 2009

How to Make Vitamin D

Greetings on this rainy summers day. We did finally get some sunshine here in England. Remember that we need sunshine - it helps create Vitamin D in our skins and this helps to make our bones strong and even can keep cancer at bay. If you do manage to get some rays don't wash it all off with a shower and soap - this destroys the oils needed to make the Vitamin D. Wait a little while so it can do the conversion!

Monday, 3 August 2009

How to Sustain Energy All Day Long

Do start the morning with raw fruit (or even a salad). Starting the day with raw food especially fruit and veg can do several things:
  • makes sure you get your quota of raw food ensuring that natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals - untouched by cooking - are a part of your every day diet
  • raw food before every meal switches off your immune system which means your immune system is less likely to go onto alert and create symptoms such as allergies
  • raw food cleans you out - try and make it 50% of your diet as a whole - making sure your colon is cleansed and that your bowel is regular and happy
If you suffer from energy slumps, or low blood sugar swings, then you may then need to eat some kind of protein - a smoothie, eggs, yogurt, nuts, tofu, soya cheese, cottage cheese, fish (try and make this organic and humanely sourced), after your raw food. This will really set you up for the day and keep your energy going at an even keel.

If you tend to have energy slumps or mood swings often during the day then also have protein snacks around 11, include protein with lunch and have something around 3. You dont always want to keep up this amount of protein - only until your energy improves. Remember to decrease your other meals to compensate for eating more during the day. Do also decrease all caffeine, sugar and alcohol as these will greatly influence mood and energy.

Do see a nutritionist for a taylored programme for your individual case. If you want a diet sheet for stabalising energy and blood sugar swings then please do email me food4health@live.co.uk

All the best to you!

Spring Detox @ Spiral Sanctuary

Its exciting the Spring Detox at the Spiral Sanctuary nearly has a date - end of April or May. It will be a time to recharge regenerate regroup find direction detox cleanse. And as a bonus to some get into the bikini for the summer! (Of course these things should not matter and we are much too spiritual or too feminist to ever think along those lines).

The Spiral Sanctuary is a very special place - I will be posting photos and a link very soon. It is gentle healing place yet strongly connected to the Earth and has a way of showing you what you really need to look at and to find focus and direction in one's life. The Detox Project will be doing a very interesting exciting retreat there in Spring. We will be combining a yummy detox diet with lymphatic drainage, a total nutritional, dietary and physical check up - an MOT if you like - with an emotional check up all with a spiritual focus. There will be Universal dancing (very gentle) yoga meditation and even some creative opportunities. All at a gorgous site Spiral Sanctuary, which has its own pure Spring for drinking, mountains behind, a gorgeous beach. What more can one ask for! Photos to follow. Best of all to you