Dr. Bronner’s No Longer With Organic Trade Assoc. Saying They Betrayed GMO Labeling Movement

Most of our readers are familiar with Dr. Bronner’s, the largest soap and body care products company in the natural and organic sector. The company supports an increased minimum wage, cannabis reform, animal welfare rights, and has a long history of supporting the organic movement.

The Organic Trade Association, aka OTA, is a membership-based business association for the organic business community in North America. OTA claims to promote the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, and the public. The OTA recently disillusioned consumers who are fighting for GMO labeling by supporting the DARK act. In response, Dr. Bronners has cut ties with the organization.

Dr. Bronner’s, North America’s leading natural brand of soap and organic body care products, has resigned from the Organic Trade Association (OTA), citing the association’s betrayal of the consumer-led GMO labeling movement, and general drift away from the core principles that drive the organic movement. The OTA compromised their initial position of opposition to the DARK Act and lent the crucial support that allowed anti-labeling legislators to push that same legislation through the Senate and be signed into law by President Obama this summer.” – Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s has pledged to redirect its organizational resources to organizations that “…more authentically and courageously…” promote organic, sustainable agriculture.

We are particularly thrilled to support the Rodale Institute’s new Organic Farming Association and the expansion of their regional teaching farms across the country, as well as participate in the North American General Assembly of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) at Expo East,” says Dr. Bronner’s Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO), David Bronner. “We encourage all true organic companies, whether they choose to remain a part of the OTA or not, to support and participate in both,” continues Bronner.

This DARK Act was made possible in large part by what I and other movement leaders see clearly as the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) betrayal of the movement to mandate labeling of GMOs in America, forever preempting Vermont and all other states from mandating disclosure of GMOs on packaging.” – David Bronner, Huffington Post

Late July President Obama ignored roughly 250,000 petitioners by signing  Senate Bill 764, otherwise known as The DARK Act, into law. It’s a compromise bill developed by food companies that creates mandatory, standard, national labeling for GMO foods. The problem with the bill is that it does not provide a simple label disclosure on the package. It also eliminated the ability of individual states to force labeling. And to make matters worse, as the bill is written, this law might not even apply to genetically modified ingredients derived from soy and sugar beets. Companies will have the choice of using clear text, a GMO a symbol, or a digital link like the QR code. It’s assumed by consumer advocates that companies will choose to use the QR code, forcing consumers to be both vigilant and technologically savvy, which they say is not likely for people on lower incomes.

Professor Laura Murphy is the director of the Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School. She says,

If Congress were really interested in providing consumers with information, it could have adopted Vermont’s on-package label that companies are already using across the country. Instead, Congress created a mechanism for companies to hide behind QR codes and trample on state efforts to provide their citizens with actual information. As if this weren’t bad enough, the federal law has a confusing definition of ‘bioengineering’ that gives USDA the authority to determine how much of a product needs to be bioengineered before a label is required, and prevents even the food companies from certain types of disclosure.” – ER News

Conclusion

With Bayer merging with  Monsanto, the TPP deal, globalization, and industry monopolization, It’s time to grow your own food! Don’t buy processed food. Stick to the produce and bulk sections. When GMOs can’t be avoided, take high-quality probiotics daily.

Recommended Reading:
Sources:



Menstrual Cups Could Save Your Life – Here’s What You Should Know

At first glance, the use of menstrual cups may appear to be the sort of radical hippie ritual that induces a sense of compromised hygiene and sound logic. Common sense would dictate that only the most dedicated and possibly unhinged earth mother would opt for such an unconventional method of dealing with menstruation. Indeed, the notion may be a deeply foreign and unappealing option when weighed against the familiar glint of modern sanitary products. However, upon closer inspection, and considered with an open mind, the numerous benefits of using of menstrual cups far exceed customary options.

What are They and How do They Work?

Measuring approximately 2 inches long, with a capacity of 30ml, these soft silicone cups collect your flow as opposed to absorbing it. Inserted vaginally, they effectively replace the need for conventional tampons or pads. By forming a gentle seal against the vaginal walls, the cup can be worn comfortably for extended periods without odor proliferation or spillages.

The cups have silicone stems connected to the bottom-most point. You may leave the stem long for effortless removal, or trim it as short as you please, according to what is most comfortable. No one way is incorrect.

Menstrual cups can be easily found and purchased online and are often found in health food shops.

Benefits

It is understandable that this process may be unappealing to the uninitiated, but the far-reaching benefits of using menstrual cups should be considered before dismissing this unconventional practice altogether.

Economical

The numbers speak for themselves. Because this amazing apparatus lasts up to ten years, the economy of a single purchase quickly, and in some cases, immediately, offsets the initial outlay.

  • The average woman spends between $5 and $15 a month on sanitary products, which is somewhere between $60 and $180 per year (that’s a potential $600 to $1800 over a decade)!
  • Reputable menstrual cup brands can be purchased for $15 to $30.

Ecological

Throughout an average lifetime, tampon users are estimated to go through more than 10,000 of the brightly colored, floral scented, individually wrapped contraptions. Whether it’s treated cardboard or pearlescent plastic, the cumulative contribution to landfill from applicators alone is staggering – not to mention all the additional packaging that accompanies these highly marketable products.

Due to the synthetic nature of most modern tampons, they are responsible for an increasing percentage of the world’s waste crisis – and remain a long-term burden by not degrading efficiently.

With genetically modified organism use on the rise, tampons are no exception to the expansion of this controversial science. Increasingly, manufacturers are choosing to use GM cotton (in addition to swathes of other dubiously artificial ingredients such as polyurethane and rayon).

…even if you do use an all-cotton tampon, it is as well to be aware of the increasing proliferation of GM cotton in the marketplace. Dr Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, author of The Uterine Crisis (1st Books, 2003), believes that more and more tampon manufacturers are using genetically modified cotton, which resists the effects of antibiotics. This is important since the rate of sexually transmitted diseases is on the rise. Bacteria exposed to GM cotton may inherit that resistance to antibiotics, making STDs increasingly difficult to treat.” – Pat Thomas

Comfortable and Convenient

Monthly menses enjoy the distinction of being inconvenient, uncomfortable, and downright annoying. However, menstrual cups offer unparalleled comfort and convenience at a time when a little respite is greatly needed. Irritation need not feature at the top of your list during your bleed week:

  • Not only can the cup be used for 6-12 hours at a time, but once in, it melds with your body for a blissfully unobtrusive experience.
  • You can engage in vigorous and dynamic movement with the cup in, without concern for leakage or the need for readjustment.
  • Used correctly, you won’t feel it.
  • Additionally, the cup can be worn safely and effectively through the night.

Personal Safety

The safety considerations to make while using contemporary menstrual management methods are many and varied.

Tampons are associated with the following:

  • Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a serious, potentially fatal condition associated with tampon use. High absorption products create the ideal environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. These organisms could ultimately convert into the toxin that induces TSS.
  • Excessive absorption causes and exacerbates dehydration, fissures, and areas of acute irritation.
  • Tampons leave behind fibers that interfere with the normal function and homeostasis of the vagina.
  • Tampons are frequently filled with many synthetic compounds, additives, parabens, perfumes, chemical deodorizers, and bleaching agents. These are singularly capable of disturbing normal function and healthy vaginal flora – used in concert, they are highly disruptive.

On the other hand, menstrual cups provide many promising perks:

  • There is no risk of developing TSS.
  • They do not compromise vaginal health by intruding upon the delicate balance of beneficial microbes.
  • Because that they catch the flow, rather than absorb it, cups do not dry out the mucosal membrane of the vaginal wall or leave behind any residue of any kind. This ensures the womb’s continued efficiency at cleansing, detoxifying, and protecting.
  • Conscientious brands such as Mooncup state that their product is: “Made from soft medical grade silicone, the Mooncup is latex-free and contains no dyes, BPA, toxins or bleaches. It’s also great for women with sensitive skin.” They also go on to state that: “The Mooncup menstrual cup contains no bleaches, deodorisers, or absorbency gels.”

How to Use

Getting used to the idea of using a menstrual cup can be a little challenging. It does require a bit of a pioneering mindset and a confident approach, but by being informed and taking your time, you will quickly overcome the daunting uncertainty.

To insert:

  • Positioning is important, and it may take some time to figure out what angle works best for you. Sometimes sitting, squatting, or standing with a leg on a raised surface can help.
  • Pinch the lip of the cup together, making a “U” shape. Alternatively, you may choose to make more of a small “O” shape by collapsing one side of the cup down into the cavity and holding the top together with thumb and forefinger.
  • Allow your anatomy to guide the process of insertion.
  • You may find that wetting the cup with water beforehand eases the entry.
  • Once in, you can allow the cup to expand. It is at this point that the seal naturally forms, but adjustments can be made by shifting the cup to best suit you.
  • It is important to ensure the cup is fully inside and not interfering with the opening of the vagina. This would prove both uncomfortable and less effective.
  • Should the stem be visible, trimming might be appropriate.

To remove:

  • Pull on the stem, and slightly squeeze the base of the cup.
  • Carefully ease down one side of the cup, then the other.
  • Empty the cup.
  • Either rinse or wipe it with a tissue before reinserting.

Additional Considerations

Size

There are two sizes of cup on the market:

  • Size one is appropriate for women under 30 who have not given birth vaginally.
  • Size two is more suitable for women over 30 and those who have given birth vaginally.

Normal Variations

Every body is different, and due to the intimate nature of this method, it is important to make adjustments that are right for you, based on your own experience.

  • Depth of insertion may vary. This is okay, and, moreover, normal. Listening to your anatomy will allow you will ensure the best outcome.
  • Trim the stem to a length that suits your comfort level; this may mean leaving it completely uncut, or entirely removing it.

Sanitation

Good hygiene is a crucial component of safe and successful menstrual cup use.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after insertion.
  • Though it is not recommended, if you do use soap to clean the cup between uses while on your period, make sure the soap is completely removed before re-use to avoid irritation to the delicate tissue.
  • It is necessary to sanitize your menstrual cups after your period is over, and it is easy to do in an eco-friendly way by boiling it with vinegar for 5-7 minutes.

Staining

Over time, the cup may take on a darkened, stained appearance. The color change may range from brown to orange to yellow. This is perfectly normal and consistent with correct usage. Staining is not an indication of fault or uncleanliness. An eco-friendly option for removing the discoloration is to scrub it with a paste of baking soda and water.

Storage

To preserve the longevity and hygiene of your cup between uses, proper storage must be observed.

  • Let the cup thoroughly dry after sterilization.
  • Store in a breathable cotton bag. (Extra points for organic cotton!)
  • Do not use a plastic bag, Tupperware, or sealed container.

Cons

It is important to bear in mind that adjusting to using menstrual cups may take some time and practice. Furthermore, they may not be appropriate for everyone.

  • The use of cups may interfere with women who have an IUD or Nuva Ring fitted, as these devices may become displaced. Consent from an OB/GYN is strongly advised under these circumstances.
  • This method may prove difficult to insert for some, particularly young girls who have never been sexually active. Additionally, some bodies are less suited to cups and will have less success with them due to conditions such as a dropped uterus, a prolapsed uterus, or fibroids.
  • Removal may also pose problems for new users. Though not uncomfortable, the process can be a little tricky to master and will take some practice.
  • Especially compared to popular sanitary products, cups can involve more mess. Direct contact with the process of flow collection can be off-putting. In particular, use in public restrooms may prove less convenient.
  • Long term maintenance requires proper sterilization and storage.

Final Thoughts

Doubtless, many will shy away from this alternative practice in favor of more contemporary methods that receive widespread support and media coverage. However, when all the facts are taken into consideration, it is increasingly difficult to justify the risks and compromises associated with those habits. This small change can change your health, well-being, and may even save your life.

Recommended Reading:
Sources:



Are You Taking a Drug That May Cause Alzheimer’s?

A study was published in 2015 that clearly linked anticholinergic drugs with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Many of these drugs are taken by countless Americans on a daily basis. Are you taking one or more of these drugs? Do you realize the risk? If you take one of these drugs on a daily basis for 3 or more years, your risk of dementia will increase by more than 50%!

We should only have to listen to the litany of side effects and contraindications to know that most, if not all, of today’s pharmaceuticals are dangerous. Yet somehow, most of us have been brainwashed into ignoring these warnings, always believing in the overarching promise that the FDA will not allow drugs on the market that can hurt us – even when the pharmaceutical ads say otherwise. When that overconfidence is not the reason we ignore the warnings, perhaps it is the lure of playing Russian roulette. Surely we won’t be among the ones who die, suffer a stroke, or experience some other heinous side-effect.

Since we have been conditioned to ignore warnings, both verbal and in print, will we also ignore a study that reveals a horrific outcome for a large collection of drugs? Will we ignore the findings that link these drugs to irreversible dementia? Or will we listen?

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is a set of symptoms – cognitive impairments involving memory, reasoning and judgment, focus and attention, communication and language, and/or visual perception. Dementia is present when at lease two of these symptoms are severe enough to cause significant impairment in activities of daily living.

Alzheimer’s, an irreversible and progressive disease, accounts for the vast majority of dementia patients. Many studies have suggested a link between anticholinergic drugs and dementia. A recent longitudinal study showed a significant link between these drugs and dementia with the vast majority (79%) of dementia patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

What Are Anticholinergic Drugs?

Anticholinergic drugs block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These drugs are used to treat many diseases and disorders including sleep disorders, depression, muscle cramps, insomnia, allergies, asthma, incontinence, gastrointestinal cramps, motion sickness, vertigo, hypertension, Parkinson’s, psychosis, and COPD.

Some of these drugs are commonly sold over the counter like Benedryl, Advil PM, Tylenol PM, and Motrin PM. And many people take these drugs on a daily basis. The study not only showed a significant link between these drugs and Alzheimer’s, it showed a dose response – meaning that the longer you take these drugs, the more likely Alzheimer’s will be the result. The following statistics reveal the effects of these drugs taken daily compared to those who did not use these drugs:

  • 3-12 months – 19% increased risk for Alzheimer’s
  • 1-3 years – 23% increased risk for Alzheimer’s
  • 3-7 years – 54% increased risk for Alzheimer’s

A Comprehensive List of Anticholinergic Drugs

Aging Brain Care has created a detailed list of anticholinergic drugs, with both generic and brand names. In the notes, it says, “Each definite anticholinergic may increase the risk of cognitive impairment by 46% over 6 years.” So before you take that daily dose of medication, check to be sure the drug you are taking is not one of the 99 medications listed on the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale. Or better yet, reclaim your health and get off medications altogether. It’s easier than you think.

Recommended Reading:
Sources:



7 Days of Meatless Meals the Whole Family Can Agree On

I get asked often why I chose to switch to an ovo-vegetarian diet. The ever present questions,“What do you eat?” and “Where do you get your protein?” typically come in a condescending tone paired with a scrunched face of disapproval or disgust. This took me by surprise at first, but after years of the same questions, I have come to laugh at the common misconceptions and use them as a chance to explain the morality of the decision for me, the reality of proteins available, and the array of health benefits.

After the initial seemingly startling news that my home is meatless, the second round of statements are something like, “Oh I could never do that. I love meat too much,” or “I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

I can’t argue with anyone’s choice to eat as they please, but I can help to refute some common misconceptions about a vegetarian diet lacking in both protein and the essential micro-nutrients we all need.  I’ll do that below by giving 7 examples of vegetarian meals that will feed the whole family and are jam packed with the essentials for a healthy, happy, hearty meal.

Before addressing meals, though, I find it necessary to address the common misconception that a vegetarian diet is lacking in protein. A huge contributor to the idea that meat is the primary source of protein is the food pyramid. We are exposed to the food pyramid at a very young age and it continues to be pressed from grade school through high school. It is also pushed heavily by the dairy and meat industries by way of media, television, radio, etc. While watching your evening television show, try counting how many times you see a commercial talking about the food pyramid, meat, or dairy. It will surprise you.

The reality is that through these ideals, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and childhood obesity has grown exponentially in the last 30 years. Not only have the obesity rates risen, so have diseases like osteoporosis. This is due to the hydrochloric acids needed to digest meat. To neutralize these acids, our bodies use our internal source of calcium. In fact, a study published in the Medical Tribune by Michigan State (found in the book, Diet For New America), showed that female vegetarians averaged 18% bone loss while their meat-eating counterparts averaged 35% bone loss leading to osteoporosis.

What many people don’t realize is that there is protein in many of our other food groups. Foods in the legume family are a great example. Green peas contain 7.9 grams of protein per cup, taste great, and can be used in a variety of different meals. Quinoa is a grain that contains 8 grams of protein per cup. Beans are another huge protein source. Just two cups of kidney beans contain about 30 grams of protein — more than a Big Mac at McDonald’s, which has about 25 grams. Even a cup of chopped broccoli contains 8.1 grams of protein.

These are just a few examples of protein-rich foods that are healthy and taste great. Outside of those factors, our bodies digest a vegetarian/vegan diet faster than one with fat, heavy meats. With a vegetarian/vegan diet, we feel fuller faster, and overeating is less likely to occur.

The USDA nutrition database states that the average vegan male needs 63 grams of protein a day, and the average female, 53 grams per day, a quota easily met when nearly all vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, and nuts contain protein. Now that we have a better understanding of some of the key misconceptions let’s get cooking! Here are 7 meals that are protein heavy, delicious and sure to be a hit with the family.

broccoli slaw stir fry

  1. Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry – 24 grams of protein

Great for a busy night when there isn’t much time to prep dinner. Takes about 15 minutes to prepare and is high in protein, fiber, and vitamin C.

  1. Squash and Quinoa ChiliSquash and Quinoa Chili – 23 grams of protein

Not only is it a great source of protein, but this meal provides a whopping 60% of your fiber intake as well. A base of butternut squash, quinoa, and kidney beans that can be prepared in just an hour! Great for those winter evenings in or to freeze for lunches.

  1. simple black bean burgersSimple Black Bean Burgers – 22 grams of protein

With just canned beans, eggs, and some bread crumbs, you can create a summer favorite. Add some sweet potato fries and the kids won’t be the wiser.

  1. vegetarian tacosTacos – 18g and up

This is a simple switch from the typical tacos you would make at home. Substitute black beans  or a soy substitute (my favorite is soyrizo) for the meat.

  1. sweet-potato-pizzaSweet Potato Pizza – 22.2 grams of protein

A great twist on a traditional pie that the kids can have fun helping decorate. A great way to make eating their vegetables more fun.

  1. stuffed bell peppersStuffed Bell Peppers – 18 grams of protein

A colorful addition to any dinner table. Prep for this dish takes some time, but if you are having family over and want to impress, this is one of the dishes I would go for. Always a hit with my family.

  1. Vegetarian EnchiladasVegetarian Enchiladas – 34.9 grams of protein

Another example of a great, well-known dish that can be slightly tweaked using beans. Jackfruit is a great alternative as well, which makes for a fantastic vegetarian dish that everyone can enjoy.

There you have it! The recipes vary with portions, size, and desired additions as far as protein and other nutritional content, but you get the idea. There are so many possibilities! A week’s worth of meatless meals to get you started on your journey to a new lifestyle if you so choose. And the next time you discover someone you know is a vegetarian, you will have a better idea behind the health reasons and the simplicity of the choice!

Further Reading:

 

Sources:



Drinking Alcohol with Health and Sustainability in Mind

Discussions about organic foods are rarely followed with discussions about organic drinks. Since alcohol is generally considered to be bad, few are trying to make it healthier and safer for the planet.

Liquor production and distribution can contribute to air, water, and soil pollution and add to climate change. Lately, there has been talk about sustainable alcohol production, and some of the major players have turned to organic manufacturing, packing, and distribution.

Organic liquors have health benefits that were not attributed to their non-organic counterparts. If you want to choose organic drinks over ones burdened with chemicals and poor production practices, here are a few whys and hows.

Know What You Are Getting

It is important to know all the benefits of organic drinks, as well as their advantages over the conventionally produced ones. Really, the simplest way to cross over to the “green” side is to find out all the dreadful ingredients in non-organic production.

Potassium metasulfite and sodium metasulfite are artificially added to beer and wine. They  cause allergic reactions in 4 percent of the people who drink them, and for people with asthma, inhaling them can actually be deadly.

BHA, a preservative added to conventionally produced beers, is not only an endocrine disruptor, it is also a possible carcinogen. Other scary ingredients that can be found in alcoholic beverages are genetically engineered corn, fish bladder, and gelatin.

On the opposite side of the “battlefield,” organic drinks contain only natural ingredients and carry significant health benefits. Organic beer, for instance, enables better digestion because of the lack of toxic ingredients. For the same reason, it allows your body to absorb more nutrients. It is a great source of vitamin B6, flavanoids, and citrin.

“Green” wine allows you to soak in even more health perks, such as lowering bad cholesterol and raising the good one, regulating blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of blood clotting, reducing cancer risk, fighting infections, boosting brain power, and aiding in weight loss efforts.

Be Sure You Have Chosen Organic

There is no way to determine whether or not alcohol is organic without carefully checking the label for artificial ingredients. However, know that some brands in the alcohol industry do not disclose all of their ingredients, excusing this omission with proprietary claims. Try to find additional information online, and if you see any added flavors or dyes, look further.

Shop Locally

Although some large alcohol manufacturers have switched to organic produce, earn some extra environmental points by finding a local winery or brewery. You will not only be going green by eliminating transport and its negative effects on the environment,  you will be doing your community a favor by supporting local industry and commerce.

Look for Sustainable Packaging

Did you know that a large portion of domestic waste (between a quarter and a third) consists of packaging? This is why it is important to choose your drinks responsibly, not only based on their ingredients, but also on their packaging. Aluminum containers and glass bottles are mostly recyclable, with the exception of some beer cans with potentially dangerous BPA lining. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, opt for boxed wines and tetra packs, and avoid plastic and mixed-material bottles. Remember that aluminum and BPA are not good for your health.

Conclusion

As you see, there is an enormous difference between non-organic and organic red wine, beer, and liquor in general. Being aware of all of these benefits gives the term “drinking responsibly” an additional meaning – choosing drinks made exclusively of natural ingredients and produced and transported in a way that minimizes environmental impact.

Related Reading:
Sources: