Vaccine Injuries That Are Accepted by the Government

Vaccine Injury Compensation ProgramWhile researching a response to a Facebook comment about vaccination during pregnancy (maybe a later post), I found a very interesting table of adverse events that are accepted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and assumed to be caused by the vaccine.  Payments are authorized through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Purpose of the VICP Table

The Table makes it easier for some people to get compensation. The Table lists and explains injuries/conditions that are presumed to be caused by vaccines. It also lists time periods in which the first symptom of these injuries/conditions must occur after receiving the vaccine. If the first symptom of these injuries/conditions occur within the listed time periods, it is presumed that the vaccine was the cause of the injury or condition unless another cause is found.
. . .
If your injury/condition is not on the Table or if your injury/condition did not occur within the time period on the Table, you must prove that the vaccine caused the injury/condition. Such proof must be based on medical records or opinion, which may include expert witness testimony.

Conditions Accepted As Vaccine-Caused

It is very interesting to note some of the conditions that apparently are common enough after vaccination to be assumed to be caused by the vaccination.  Here are a few them:

    • Encephalopathy (or encephalitis) (brain injury) experienced within 72 hours of a pertussis (whooping-cough) (DTP, DTaP, P, DTP-Hib), vaccination
    • Encephalopathy (or encephalitis) experienced between 5 and 15 days of receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine or any of its components (e.g., MMR, MR, M, R).
    • Chronic arthritis between 7 and 42 days of receiving vaccines containing rubella virus (e.g., MMR, MR, R)
    • Paralytic polio within 30 days in someone who is not immunodeficient and within 6 months in an immunodeficient recipient

The VICP also covers anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock that occurs within a few hours of receiving most of the listed vaccines.  Refer to the table for more conditions that are covered.

Vaccines Covered by the VICP

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP, DTaP, Tdap, DT, Td, or TT)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A (HAV)
  • Hepatitis B (HBV)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Influenza (TIV, LAIV) [given each year]
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR, MR, M, R)
  • Meningococcal (MCV4, MPSV4)
  • Polio (OPV or IPV)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
  • Rotavirus (RV)
  • Varicella (VZV)
  • Any combination of the vaccines above
  • Additional vaccines may be added in the future

Useful information can be found in the inserts that accompany each vaccine (but are rarely given to patients). Here are links to inserts for a few common vaccines:

  • Boostrix (GlaxoSmithKline) – Tetanus toxoid, reduced Diphtheria Toxoid, Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed
  • Daptacel (Aventis Pasteur) – Diphtheria, Tetanus, (acellular) Pertussis
  • M-M-R II (Merck) – Measles, Mumps, Rubella (live)
  • Pentacel (sanofi pasteur) – Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, and Haemophilus influenzae type b

More vaccine inserts may be found in a table published by the Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Be Safe, Be Informed

As always, I believe we all should make our own health care decisions after thorough research of both the benefits and the risks of any medication or medical procedure.

Sources for more information:

Encephalopathy (Wikipedia)
NINDS Encephalopathy Information Page
Anaphylaxis (Wikipedia)
Anaphylaxis (NIH)
Package Inserts and Manufacturers for some US Licensed Vaccines and Immunoglobulins (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)

Photo credit: HRSA Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)

Posted in Health, Health Freedom, Medicine, Vaccines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What happened to Arrowhead Mills and Walnut Acres?

So many family owned organic farms and food producers are being bought out by major food corporations and often the result is not good for us as consumers!  The story of the selling of Arrowhead Mills and Walnut Acres is a long post and one I’ve been working on and rewriting for quite a while, but I think the subject is worth discussing as the organic foods business evolves.

When Annie’s was bought by General Mills last year and more recently Hormel bought Applegate, I am reminded of what happened after similar sales of organic companies in the past. Sometimes the results are just disappointing, but sometimes they are tragic!

Two Buy-outs and the Two Different Results

Do you remember the real Walnut Acres before it was sold in 1999?  Did you buy Arrowhead Mills grains and beans before they were bought by Hain?  Both of these companies were pioneers in the organic food business and were bought out but with very different outcomes.

The saddest of the two stories is what happened to Walnut Acres, and I want to leave its history until last.  First I’ll summarize what happened at Arrowhead Mills, the organic producer of some of the best quality grains, beans, and other products for many years, well before organic became mainstream.

The Arrowhead Mills Story

Back in the early 80’s when my children were small, in order to get the best quality food for my family, I joined multiple food co-ops, some organic, some not, since organic was not widely available then.  One of those co-ops was for large buys of organic foods from Arrowhead Mills, which, at that time, required a 200 pound minimum order for delivery.  Our co-op compiled orders from several families to make up the minimum.  I bought pails of peanut butter, large bags of dried beans, seeds, and grains, storing the extras in a freezer.  I was also a member of a cheese co-op and a vegetable and fruit co-op during this time, but that’s another story.

The Founding of Arrowhead Mills

Arrowhead Mills LogoBack to Arrowhead Mills . . .  The company was founded in 1960 by Jesse Frank Ford, a Texas farmer and advocate for natural foods.  His company was based in Hereford, Deaf Smith County, just west of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.  Here’s a little more information about Ford that will interest Texans–he was a graduate of Texas A&M where he was commander of the TAMU Corps of Cadets.  Ford was interested in maintaining soil nutrition without pesticides and producing large-scale grinding of grains.  He was also an active spokesman for the natural food industry and an activist for labor  He was the author of three books, including The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook, which I bought (and still have) when I was in the co-op. [source] My copy looks pretty much just like this one.

Here’s another interesting fact about Frank Ford–according to the West Texas Historical Association, his salary was never “more than three times that of his lowest-paid employee.” [source]  That seems remarkable today when the pay ratio for CEOs to workers ranges, depending on the source, from more than 200 times to over 500 times! [source]   For the history of Arrowhead Mills according to Hain, read here.

Arrowhead Mills is Sold to Hain – Quality Changes

Ford sold Arrowhead Mills to the Hain Celestial Group in 1999.  While the appearance of the products sold under the Arrowhead Mills brand looks about the same as before 1999, at least one of my former favorites is not made the same way at all.  I have always preferred crunchy peanut butter to smooth, and Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter used to be the best.  Ideally crunchy peanut butter is made by not grinding the peanuts as long as the smooth so that there are pieces of peanut left in the mix.  That is exactly how Arrowhead Mills used to make their crunchy version, but not any longer.

Today’s Arrowhead Mills peanut butter is apparently made just like all the other major brands.  They all make a lot of smooth peanut butter and, when finished, they add some chopped peanuts into the batch that is to be labeled crunchy.  Although I still prefer to have some peanut pieces in my peanut butter, I preferred the way that Arrowhead Mills used to make it.  Grinding for a shorter time tasted much better and had a more satisfying mouth feel.  If you use Arrowhead Mills products, you may know of other changes in their finished products.

Special Nutrition in Deaf Smith County Soil

While the quality of some Arrowhead Mills products is not as good as before Hain ownership, at least most of their products are still organic, and they still market many of the same types of foods, although now most come from areas other than the fertile soil of Deaf Smith County.  People who lived in Deaf Smith County were known to have far less tooth decay than those who lived in other parts of the country.  Activator X, identified by Dr. Weston A. Price, probably what we now as Vitamin K, was found to be highest in Deaf Smith County. [source]  Read more about the soil quality in Deaf Smith County here here and here.

I will continue to buy Arrowhead Mills products because they do have a wide variety of organic foods that I can use; however, I still miss their delicious original peanut butter!

The Story of Walnut Acres

The story of the degradation of Walnut Acres is a much sadder one. If you see Walnut Acres labels on store shelves today, be assured that the label/name is ALL that is left of the original Walnut Acres.  Although Walnut Acres products are organic, beyond the label, there is no similarity to the wonderful, nutritious Walnut Acres foods I remember.  George DeVault summarizes the fate of Walnut Acres concisely in What Became of Walnut Acres, “Once a Mecca for the organic faithful, it existed in name only [after its sale in 2000].”

History of the Original Walnut Acres

Walnut Acres LogoWalnut Acres was founded in 1946 by Paul and Betty Keene in central Pennsylvania.  Walnut Acres was an organic farm and mail order food company.  They grew, cooked, and sold a wide variety of organic foods from seeds and grains to canned soups and meats, all organic and made with the best available ingredients.  I subscribed to their catalog and ordered occasionally, although the shipping costs were high from Pennsylvania to Texas.  Thirty years ago, when organic foods were not as widely available, Walnut Acres was sometimes the only available source.  Everything I ordered was delicious and of excellent quality.  For 50 years Walnut Acres was a leader in the organic food movement and was very successful.  By 1994 it had sales close to $8 million.  (source)

An interesting story illustrating the excellent quality of Walnut Acres food is related by George DeVault in What Became of Walnut Acres? Walnut Acres peanut butter was so good that it changed food standards for the whole country! [Another peanut butter story!]

Federal standards stipulated that blanched peanuts must be used to make peanut butter. The contrary Keenes used whole, unblanched peanuts, complete with the vitamin-rich red skin and the nutritious heart or germ of the peanut. Federal regulations allowed up to 15 percent of non-peanut products such as sugar and saturated fats in peanut butter. The Keenes used only their unblanched peanuts, no added fat and just a pinch of salt. The result was that, in the beginning, Walnut Acres had to label its peanut product “imitation peanut butter.” Why? Because it did not meet FDA’s minimum standards. Simply put, Walnut Acres’ peanut butter was too good. The Keenes urged their thousands of loyal customers throughout the country to bombard Washington with letters of protest. They did and, in time, FDA changed its regulations. The Keenes fought — and won — similar battles over organic beef and pastas made with whole wheat flour. [emphasis added] (source)

Walnut Acres grew, cooked, and sold many organic foods and pastured meats, including granolas, soups and canned vegetables, peanut butter, apple butter, as well as basic staples such as grains, nuts, and seeds. (source)

Walnut Acres Sold

When Paul Keene’s wife Betty died in 1987, it became apparent that she had been a mainstay in managing the farm.  The Keene’s daughter and son-in-law took over day-to-day operations, but the Walnut Acres was not growing as fast as other organic companies.  It seemed that new capital was needed to stay in business.  In March 1999, David C. Cole, a former executive at America Online (AOL) and venture capitalist, who had become interested in organic foods, bought controlling interest and invested $4 million in Walnut Acres. Cole’s stated purpose was to increase its “online presence.”  (source)

Although internet sales grew, the business as a whole did not prosper as hoped.  In June 2000, a new CEO was announced and the farm and store location was declared too remote and the plant not modern enough to continue operations there. In August 2000, the farm and store were shut down and 100 employees were laid off.  Everything was sold at auction and processing facilities were set up elsewhere.  It was said that crops remaining in the fields were harvested, packaged and given to food shelter.  And that was the end of the original Walnut Acres. (source)

Walnut Acres Today

Walnut Acres (name only) was reborn and announced in a press release January 2001.  The current company website never mentions the founders, Paul and Betty Keene, although they do say “We’ve been producing delicious organic foods since 1946” and claim to be true to their beginnings. (source)

The exact details of what happened to Walnut Acres are not public, but the company probably did need some reorganization.  Its methods and purpose may not have kept up with the growing demands of the organic foods industry.  In any case, Walnut Acres today is NOT the original in any way.  None of the current products are the same, only the name and the logo remain.  In other words, only the surface is Walnut Acres, the content is not at all Walnut Acres.  Maybe Walnut Acres couldn’t stay in business as they were.  Maybe they could have been saved with a different management.  We will never know!  However, the original Walnut Acres produced superb, quality foods, and those who remember almost certainly miss them.

For the next chapter in Walnut Acres, Hain Celestial bought Acira, Inc., Walnut Acres parent company, in 2003.  (source)

I for one have never and will never buy the products of the current Walnut Acres.


Arrowhead Mills, Wikipedia
What Became of Walnut Acres? by George DeVault
Disclosed: The Pay Gap Between CEOs and Employees, Bloomberg Business Week
Frank Ford (farmer), Wikipedia
Deaf Smith’s Secret: An Explanation of the Deaf Smith Country, by A. W. Erickson
Our History,
West Texas Historical Association, Wikipedia
The important vitamin K2: Dr Weston A. Price’s powerful dental caries healer “Activator X”, Healing Teeth Naturally
Minerals and trace elements: Vital tooth and body builders, Healing Teeth Naturally

Posted in Access to Good Food, Environment, Nutrition, Organic Food, Real Food, Sustainable Farming, Traditional Food | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Why Have Decades of Low-Fat Advice Failed Americans?

Ignore US Dietary GuidelinesJoin Houston Real Food Nutrition on June 28th to learn why The Oiling of America is a significant factor in our deteriorating health.

The Lipid Hypothesis

In the 1950’s Ancel Keys and other researchers “presented the lipid hypothesis as the cause of the heart disease epidemic and launched the Prudent Diet, one in which corn oil, margarine, chicken and cold cereal replaced butter, lard, beef and eggs.”

A growing body of evidence has discovered the fallacies of a low-fat diet.  Not only did a national shift to lower fat diets based on vegetable oils fail to reverse heart disease, but increasing millions of Americans are now burdened with obesity and chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and dementia.  Most of these were rare before this major fundamental change in dietary recommendations.

June 28th Meeting

PyramidHouston Real Food Nutrition is sponsoring a showing of Sally Fallon Morell’s video The Oiling of America on June 28, 2015, at 3 pm.  There will be a discussion of the importance of healthy fats after the presentation. If you want to learn more about healthy and unhealthy fats, come join us!

Houston Real Food Nutrition is the Meetup group for the Houston chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

RSVP Today!

Three strikes and we throw the advice outFor more information and signup, click here.  Attendance is limited, so sign up early.

The Weston A. Price Foundation has issued an alert about the new and still deficient  advice issued by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for American Committee (DGAC).  Click here to read the release.

Posted in Dr. Weston A. Price, Health, Healthy Fats, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Research, Science | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) is Applied to Oats, Not Just Wheat!

Tropical Traditions Rolled OatsDo you love a bowl of warm soaked oats with lots of butter, raisins, and maybe some raw honey or maple syrup?  I like mine with cinnamon too and raw milk or cream.

Unfortunately when you eat your bowl of creamy oats you may be getting an extra ingredient you didn’t expect!

The use of glyphosate, an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) is not limited to genetically engineered (GMO) crops!  When you eat oats you may also be getting a dose of glyphosate!

(The oats in the photo are uncooked Tropical Traditions rolled oats.)

Late last year the use of glyphosate on wheat got a lot of internet attention.  [See my post  Is Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) Used On Wheat?]  Some people denied that farmers used it on crops, but, even though wheat is not a genetically engineered (GMO) crop, others agreed that the evidence indicates large farms probably do use it on wheat to facilitate harvesting.

Sadly, wheat is not the only non-GMO crop where glyphosate is applied!  Some farmers spray glyphosate on oats as a pre-harvest treatment or to kill weeds.

For example, one farmer in the UK asks on The Farming Forum:

How soon can I spray glyphosate on oats to ripen them?

I’ve got a field of oats that is starting to change colour (ripen). I’d like to get it off the field so I can get another crop in. . . I wondered if there would be any further grain fill now that it’s going yellow. If not I assume I can spray it off without affecting yield too much. I will be applying glyphosate anyway to kill the grass that’s growing in the oats so thought I might be able to bring harvest forward a bit too.”  (source)

Notice that he was planning to use glyphosate on the oats anyway to kill weeds.

There was a lot of hoopla about the January 2014 announcement that General Mills was taking GMOs out of original Cheerios. (source) However, as we are learning, just removing GMOs from a food doesn’t always take the poisons like glyphosate out.

Original Cheerios will still be contaminated with glyphosate.  GreenMedInfo reports:

While General Mills decision to switch Cheerios to non-GMO sugarcane sugar could be considered a positive step forward, it effectively distracts from the fact that General Mills’ oat products are contaminated with glyphosate due to the use of raw material that underwent post-harvest desiccation. How do we know this? Because North America’s largest oat supplier, known to supply General Mills, Kraft, Kellogg, On Agra [sic] Foods, and others, just announced it will continue to buy oats that are sprayed with glyphosate. [emphasis added] (source) [photo source: GreenMedInfo]

“Canada-based oat supplier Richardson Milling – North America’s largest supplier of oats – says glyphosate desiccation is acceptable for its oats and that it has no intention of changing its policies.” (source)

There are many problems with glyphosate-treated oats, in addition to the harm from the herbicide itself. Problems found by farmers include that oat groats are “brittle and chalky and didn’t meet specifications. . . .similar to frost damage.” Also, glyphosate reduces beta glucan levels in oats. “Beta glucan is a soluble fibre linked to improvements in cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. Food manufacturers can place a “Heart Healthy” claim on oat-based cereals because they contain beta glucan.” (source)

Tropical Traditions, a supplier of organic foods and pastured meats, decided to test its grains and found that all of its commercial wheat samples were contaminated with glyphosate.  Glyphosate was also found in samples of organic grains, including barley, oats, spelt, and einkorn.  No glyphosate was found in its organic rye and millet.  Samples of organic wheat from small farms in Wisconsin were also free of glyphosate.  (source)

Isn’t it sad when even our organic farms are contaminated with glyphosate?  Likely methods of contamination include spray drifting from neighboring conventional farms, rainwater, and irrigation.

It’s clear to me that a non-GMO label is not enough to avoid poisons like glyphosate in our food.  Although even some organic samples were contaminated with glyphosate, the amount is less than in conventional foods. (source)  I buy organically or biodynamically grown food whenever possible, primarily at my local farmers market, and we can now buy tested gmo-free and glyphosate-free grains from Tropical Traditions. [I get no compensation for mention of Tropical Traditions or from clicking any links in this post.]

Sources for more information:

ALERT: Certified Organic Food Grown in U.S. Found Contaminated with Glyphosate Herbicide
Are We Sacrificing Our Children to Profits From Glyphosate (Roundup) and Roundup-Ready GE Crops?
Desiccation or Pre-Harvest Glyphosate Application – Frequently Asked Questions (Canada)
Do You Have a Chronic Disease–Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer, Autism, and more? Glyphosate (in Monsanto’s Roundup) just might be the cause!
Glyphosate is already in our food, air, and water: What is it and why should we care?
Herbicides as Ripeners for Sugarcane
Information on Glyphosate (Roundup)
Sugarcane Ripener Recommendations – Glyphosate
Tips for Pre-harvest Glyphosate and Desiccation
Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs

Posted in Food Safety, GMOs, Organic Food, Poisons, Real Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Avoid Disease-Prone GMO AquAdvantage Salmon from AquaBounty!

AquaAdvantage-salmonA new Canadian risk assessment of the GMO salmon AquAdvantage finds that the genetically engineered fish is more susceptible to disease than its natural counterpart.   (Click on the photo to see an enlarged comparison of the GMO and standard salmon.) The report by Friends of the Earth says that the assessment found that GMO salmon

— are more susceptible to Aeromonas salmonicida, a type of disease-causing bacteria, than non-GE domesticated salmon, which indicates unique animal health problems and raises environmental and public health concerns that the FDA has never considered.

— are exhibiting dramatically diminished growth rates in AquaBounty’s commercial facilities, casting more doubt on the widely disputed claims about the accelerated growth rates of GE salmon.

— are displaying widely varied performance, including inconsistent growth rates, suggesting that the growth-hormone gene construct inserted in the fish is not operating in a predictable manner, raising questions about the durability, safety and commercial viability of GE salmon. (source)

The report “reveals that Canadian government scientists disagree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on key questions related to the safety and performance of what may be the first GE animal approved for human consumption. In light of these findings, Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Consumers Union today called on the FDA to terminate its ongoing review of GE salmon.”

The Genetic Literacy Project provides some background on the GMO salmon program.  The fish was first developed in 1989 “using an antifreeze protein-based technology under license from the University of California at Berkeley.”  The AquAdvantage and standard salmon are about the same size when fully grown, but the GMO salmon grows at about twice the rate of the natural salmon. The advantage of the GMO salmon’s faster growth is the increased profit from reaching market sooner.   (source)

Concerned organizations have been studying potential dangers from the GMO salmon.  In addition to the problems with all farmed fish, AquAdvantage salmon have been genetically modified in ways that have not been tested in humans.  There is the additional danger of escaped genetically engineered fish interfering with wild salmon.  Although the GMO fish have supposedly been rendered sterile, AquaBounty has admitted that up to 5% of the eggs could be fertile. (source)   The Canadian report indicates that the claims for increased growth rate may not be valid.  Read more about concerns of Federal scientists here.

Sources for more information about the potential dangers of AquAdvantage salmon:

Genetically Engineered Salmon: Deficient, Deformed, and Dangerous to You and the Environment
GE Salmon Will Not Feed the World
FrankenFish: How Genetically Engineered Salmon Could Hurt our Health and Environment
California Salmon: A Public Resource in Decline

Photo source: Genetic Literacy Project from AquaBounty Technologies.

Posted in Environment, Food Safety, GMOs, Health, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Dirty Secret Behind Organic Strawberries: Starter Plants Are Fumigated With Pesticides!

Strawberry FieldsUpdate June 25, 2015:  Driscoll’s has announced “a broad expansion of organic nursery plant production and a commitment to providing all of Driscoll’s USDA certified organic growers with organic nursery plants.”  They do not say when they will reach 100%.  Only about 10% of their organic strawberry plants currently come from organic nurseries.


Have you been buying organic strawberries, like I have, to avoid the pesticides used on conventional strawberries?

I was surprised when I read reports about a recent study proposing a better solution to the problem of strawberry diseases because they mentioned that even organic strawberry “starts” were fumigated with pesticides.  What?  How could that be?

Yes, if you thought organic strawberries were never treated with conventional chemicals, think again!  Most of our mass-produced organic strawberries (California produces 90% of US strawberries) are grown from “starts” that were fumigated with many toxic pesticides.

Apparently all large California strawberry growers, including organic ones, use starter plants from commercial-scale conventional nurseries in northern California.

Due to an exception to the regulations for organic farming, these strawberry growers are allowed to buy “starts” from conventional nurseries if organic stock is not “commercially available.” With this loophole in place since 2002, large growers would not buy from the only organic nursery, and it finally went out of business in 2009.  Unless organic growers are required to buy organic starts, there will be no organic nurseries for strawberries.

For several years, I have bought only organic strawberries to avoid the pesticides used heavily on them, partly because The Environmental Working Group lists conventional strawberries among the dirtiest produce in its Shopper’s Guide (2014 Guide).  The EWG tests vegetables and fruits to determine those that are most and least contaminated.  Apples and strawberries top this year’s list of the “Dirty Dozen Plus” as having the most pesticide residues.  The 2014 report says that conventional strawberry samples were contaminated with 13 different pesticides.

Large Strawberry Fields in California

Photo: Sam Hodgson for CIR

Even with a conventional start, I do know that organic strawberries will be far less contaminated than conventional strawberries because at least after the final planting, those pesticides are not allowed.

The Pesticide Action Network lists 50 pesticides used on California strawberries, so, yes, I will continue to buy only organic strawberries, although maybe not as often as before.  Our best hope is that better methods of disease control can be found, as in the study which prompted my interest.

Wouldn’t it be better for all of us, especially our children, if we could buy real, truly organic strawberries?  I haven’t been able to find local, organic strawberries, but if you’re lucky enough to have access to them, they would be the best choice.  Fresh ripe strawberries are super delicious!


Even organic strawberries are grown with dangerous pesticides
Berry toxic: Decoding the organic strawberry debacle
Organic Strawberries? Not So Much
Even Organic Strawberries Are Grown With Toxic Fumigants
EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides In Produce
California poised to approve deadly pesticide for strawberry crop
California’s strawberry industry is hooked on dangerous pesticides
Pesticide Use on Strawberries in 2012
Study: Integrated soil-borne disease and weed management for organic strawberries using anaerobic soil disinfestation, broccoli residue incorporation and mustard cake application

Update August 6, 2015: Additional Information

Strawberry Fields Don’t Have to Be Pesticide-Laden Forever

Strawberry photo credit: Shutterstock

Posted in Health, Organic Food, Real Food, Research | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Have a Chronic Disease–Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer, Autism, and more? Glyphosate (in Monsanto’s Roundup) just might be the cause!

Farmer spraying crops
Do you (or a family member or friend) have one or more of these chronic diseases?

Hypertension, stroke, diabetes, obesity, senile dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal infections, end stage renal disease, acute kidney failure, or cancer of the thyroid, liver, bladder, pancreas kidney, and myeloid leukemia.

A new study has uncovered a very strong correlation between the increased use of the herbicide glyphosate (in Monsanto’s Roundup) and the growing incidence of all of these diseases.  The correlation indicators or p-values (Pearson’s correlation coefficients) for all of the correlations of these diseases with glyphosate use are between .875 and .978.

What is a p-value?

The p-values calculated in this study are very significant!  I looked up the explanation of p-values because I wanted to be sure I understood what the correlation p-values mean in this study..

Here is how Wikipedia defines p-value:

“The correlation coefficient [p-value] ranges from −1 to 1. A value of 1 implies that a linear equation describes the relationship between X and Y perfectly, with all data points lying on a line for which Y increases as X increases. A value of −1 implies that all data points lie on a line for which Y decreases as X increases. A value of 0 implies that there is no linear correlation between the variables.” [source]

Since all of the p-values for these correlations are .875 and up (approaching the perfect correlation value of 1) the likelihood of correlation between glyphosate use and the incidence of the disease is very high.

Correlation of Diabetes and Use of Glyphosate

I’ve chosen just one of the many charts in the study to show you how phenomenal the correlations are.  This chart illustrates the strong correlation between the prevalence of diabetes in the US and the amount of glyphosate (in tons) applied to corn and soy.  I find two trends in the chart to be fascinating.  First, notice the slow but steady increase in incidence of diabetes between 1980 and 1994.  Then take a look at the dramatic and steep rise in the incidence of diabetes and the equally steep increase in percentage of GE (also called GMO) crops and application of glyphosate beginning in the mid 1990’s after GE crops were introduced.

Graph showing correlation between glyphosate use and incidence of diabetes

Figure 15. correlation between age-adjusted diabetes prevalence and glyphosate applications and percentage of US corn and soy crops that are GE. [chart source, Journal of Organic Systems, p. 22]

The study gathered GE crop data, glyphosate application data and disease epidemiological data from US government databases and performed correlation analyses.

These data show very strong and highly significant correlations between the increasing use of glyphosate, GE crop growth and the increase in a multitude of diseases. Many of the graphs show sudden increases in the rates of diseases in the mid-1990s that coincide with the commercial production of GE crops. The large increase in glyphosate use in the US is mostly due to the increase in glyphosate-resistant GE crops.

Although glyphosate (in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) was introduced in 1974, its use began increasing dramatically when genetically engineered (GMO) crops were approved and planted, since many GMO crops are Roundup-Ready (engineered to be resistant to glyphosate-containing Roundup). [source]

As the researchers concluded, “Although correlation does not necessarily mean causation, when correlation coefficients of over 0.95 (with p-value significance levels less than 0.00001) are calculated for a list of diseases that can be directly linked to glyphosate, via its known biological effects, it would be imprudent not to consider causation as a plausible explanation.” [source] [emphasis added]

The authors allow that these diseases probably do not have a single cause “as there are many toxic substances and pathogens that can contribute to chronic disease.  However, no toxic substance has increased in ubiquity in the last 20 years as glyphosate has. The disruption by glyphosate of the detoxification pathways in the human body can intensify the effect of other toxic chemicals. . . . Another critical issue is that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor and it has been argued that there are no safe levels of endocrine disruptors (Vandenberg et al., 2012; Bergman et al., 2013). This would imply that the current permitted residue levels in food could be causing multiple health problems that have been documented in the scientific literature to be caused by endocrine disrupting chemicals” [source] [emphasis added]

The number of studies that show the dangers of glyphosate is growing.  How long will it take before we say NO to glyphosate, Roundup, and the GE crops they are sprayed on?

What can we do?

Our options are more limited in the US than in Europe and other parts of the world because we don’t label our foods so that we can know what poisons are in them.  We can avoid much of the glyphosate, and other toxins and poisons, by always buying organic foods or, even better, by knowing the sources of our food, by knowing our farmers, and through learning how the crops are grown.

My first choice is to know the people who grow or provide my food, and, in many cases I do.  I buy milk from Healthyway Dairy.  I buy grassfed beef from Law Ranch Cattle Company.  I buy vegetables, fruits, and yard eggs at my local farmers market.  What I can’t buy locally, I buy organic whenever possible, even if I have to order online, and I can find organic choices most of the time. See my resource page for online sources of healthy food, and, for Houston area sources, go to the Local Food & Milk page of the Houston-Galveston chapter of the WAPF.

There isn’t really any such thing as cheap food!  If you think there is, read We Simply Can’t Avoid the True Cost of Cheap Food!  We all will pay one way or the other–we can pay the price of good quality food now or we will pay the health care cost later (along with the pain and debilitation of poor health).


Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America, Swanson, Leu, Abrahamson & Wallet, Journal of Organic Systems, 9(2), 2014
Values of the Pearson Correlation

You might also want to read:

Glyphosate is already in our food, air, and water: What is it and why should we care?
Is Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) Used On Wheat?
What Does Genetically Engineered (or GMO) Mean?
Are We Sacrificing Our Children to Profits From Glyphosate (Roundup) and Roundup-Ready GE Crops?

Posted in Cancer, Diabetes, Food Rights, Food Safety, GMOs, Health, Organic Food, Pesticides, Poisons, Research | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why Women Find It Harder to Lose Weight Than Men! What We Can Do About It!

Man-sized steak and veggiesWomen always seem to have more trouble losing weight than men!  I certainly find that to be true!  Several years ago, when I switched to a Real Food diet following the dietary guidelines of the Weston A. Price Foundation, I became much healthier.  I had more energy, didn’t get sick as often, and I just generally felt better!

However, I wasn’t so happy that, along with that better health, I also saw a slow weight gain.  I avoided junk food but I had gained almost 10 pounds.  That may not seem like much to some of you, but all those pounds were gained while eating a Real Food diet.  I thought that couldn’t happen!

The good news for me is that I have found a way that works to keep my weight where I want it and without harming my health.  What motivated me to write about it right now was a presentation I attended at the recent Wise Traditions Conference in Indianapolis.  It completely validated what I have done and helps me understand why it works.

Konstantin MonastyrskyKonstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace and of the website Gut Sense, presented “The Art of Eating without Harm”  at the conference, and a part of that topic was a superb discussion of “Why One Calorie For Her May be Half a Calorie for Him.”  For me, it answered the question of why women find it easier than men to gain weight and find it harder to lose it.

Why was this important to me?

Well, earlier this year, I got really tired of the amount of weight I had gained, ans was still gaining.  Even my larger size clothes were becoming uncomfortable, so I decided to try some new methods.  Notice that I didn’t say new diets!  I totally believe in my traditional, Real Food diet.  I eat the right foods.  They are healthy and nutritious and keep me well.  However, I had heard so many times that when eating only real foods, I didn’t need to count calories, or even count carbs!  But that wasn’t working for me.

At first, I tried reducing the period of daily eating to eight hours or less, similar to the intermittent fasting recommended by Dr. Mercola and Paul Jaminet of The Perfect Health Diet.  I didn’t make any other changes to my diet; I was eating about the same amount of food, real food, just during a reduced time window.

After a few weeks, I could tell it wasn’t working–I wasn’t losing weight.  By October, I decided I needed to do something else.  It occurred to me (why did it take so long since it’s just common sense?) that if I was eating a healthy diet and still gaining weight (or at least not losing weight) that I must be eating too much food!  So, although I didn’t start counting calories or eliminating types of foods, I did begin to watch my portion size.  I also continued with eating a minimal breakfast of bone broth and maybe herbal tea or decaf coffee with cream.

Specifically, I decided that I needed to eat only about half as much food as my husband does.  He is about 6 inches taller than I and much more active, where I am a postmenopausal woman who exercises daily but not strenuously and spends a lot of time at my computer writing posts like this one. I can’t need as much food as he does!

Have you noticed that restaurants never have different sizes of meals?  I always get served just as much food as my husband!  And that’s probably twice as much as I need. [See that man-sized steak and veggies, plus a big pile of mashed potatoes, in the photo!  It’s twice what I need at one meal.] Not just at restaurants, but at home too, I would use the same size plate as my husband.  Clearly, that wasn’t working.  I started using a smaller plate (or bowl), usually a salad size plate, to help define my meal portions.

It worked!  I began to lose the weight I had gradually gained over the years.  It’s common sense after all.  I don’t need as much food as my husband to maintain my proper body weight!  I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose.  I hadn’t been overweight before changing my diet and had gained weight slowly.  I have now lost the amount I had gained, about 8 to 10 pounds, and that is enough.  I don’t want to be too thin.  A little extra fat at my age provides a source of some additional female hormones.  For maintenance, I won’t return to eating as much as I did before, and I will monitor my weight occasionally to be sure I don’t continue to lose or begin to gain again.

The number of pounds I lost may not seem important compared to what many people experience with our obesity epidemic today, but the majority (not all) of truly obese people gain weight from eating the wrong foods not from eating too much food.  There are also other environmental causes for weight gain, such as BPA and hormone-laden meat and milk, but that’s too big a topic to include here.

I don’t think that eating less of the wrong foods would have worked at all!  What worked for me is eating a nutritious, Real Food diet with plenty of fat and protein to keep me from getting hungry before time for the next meal.  Hunger is one of our bodies’ warning systems.  It’s trying to tell us that our bodies need nutrients!  We shouldn’t ignore hunger.  We should try to figure out what we’re missing from our food.  It may not be amount of food, it may be specific nutrients.

WAPF Conference FoodIn early November, while I was looking forward to the conference in Indianapolis, I was somewhat worried that my new-found success would be sabotaged by the delicious food that is always served at a Wise Traditions conference.  However, my new guideline of watching portion size worked there just as well as at home.  Since most of the conference meals are buffet style, I stuck to filling only about half of my too-large plate so that I would not waste food.  I got some of almost everything, just not too much.  As I said earlier, I didn’t cut out any “types” of food, I just ate less Real Food.  I was glad I could enjoy the food without gaining any weight at the conference.  [The photo at right was taken at the Atlanta conference in 2013–it’s the way I used to fill my plate.]

Well, finally we get to the real nitty-gritty of this post.  Why is it so much harder for women to lose weight than men?

These are some of the reasons Konstantin Monastyrsky gave to answer why women have more problems with weight than men.  I can surely relate to many of them!  It’s both easier to gain weight and harder to lose it for women.

  • Women naturally have a higher fat mass than men.  It’s necessary for supporting them during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Women gain weight faster on similar amounts of food.
  • Women usually have less muscle mass than men and need less glucose; however, low carb diets may not be appropriate for women, especially older women, because they can accelerate muscle wasting.
  • Then there’s the thermos effect.  Fat is insulation from cold.  Women often feel cold more than men do.
  • Women are usually shorter than men.  Smaller people don’t need as much fuel; therefore, they need to eat smaller portions.
  • There’s an innate response to reduced calorie input that can make eating less ineffective.  Especially, as I mentioned above, if the diet is nutrient-empty.
  • Monastyrsky said that low-carb diets are counter productive for women and can cause almost instant rebound and obesity.
  • Women and men often have widely differing energy requirements.  Lifestyle dictates requirements.
  • Older women (that’s me) tend to gain more weight to produce more female hormones after menopausal.  The tendency to gain weight can be hard to overcome.
  • There is one time when reducing carb intake can help women lost weight–when they are ovulating and menstruating.
  • Overeating junk food stimulates hunger and cravings more than eating real food. [Probably because they are empty of nutrients.]
  • Weight gain during pregnancy and breastfeeding is normal to prevent slowdown of the metabolic rate and to conserve energy.
  • There are also anthropological reasons why women gain weight. Women living in temperate climates tend to gain weight during warm periods to prepare for expected winter scarcity.  He said that our modern lifestyle of cool, air-conditioned homes and offices sends the signal to our bodies to gain weight as if preparing for winter.  Don’t overdo air conditioning.
  • When eating out, portions for women are the same size as for men. Ask the waiter to cut the serving in half or do it yourself and take the rest home. Monastyrsky said that asking for a smaller portion “isn’t embarrassing but rather a sign of class and wealth.”
  • Women tend to try many more diets than men which can lead to “Chronic Dieter Syndrome.” Each dieting cycle reduces the metabolic rate and increases fat stores. Incorrect dieting is counter productive. He also compared a diet to a course of antibiotics–we need the full course, the complete diet, otherwise we create diet-resistance.
  • Food preparation stimulates the appetite, and women are more likely to prepare the family’s food.

His reasons why women tend to gain weight more easily than men make a lot of sense to me, and they also give us clues about what we can do about it.

I think I’ve found my solution (time will tell)–eating smaller, more reasonable portions of nutritious, Real Foods.  If you have found a solution that works for you, let us know in the comments.  Your method might help someone else.

I certainly hope you find what works for you and without harming your health and well-being!

You might also want to read:

How to get started with a Traditional, Real Food diet
Why eating fat doesn’t make you fat!
Why I do what I do!

NOTE:  I am not a health professional.  Read my Disclaimer.

Photo credit: cobraphotography/Shutterstock

Posted in Diet, Health, Low Carbohydrate, Nutrition, Real Food, Traditional Food | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) Used On Wheat?

ripe wheat stalks
Yesterday [November 13, 2014] I posted an article on Facebook that said many people’s issues with wheat digestion may be due to the poison sprayed on the crop rather than to true gluten intolerance.

The post got quite a few views very quickly.  It seems that many people are concerned about gluten intolerance and poisoned food crops.  The article’s claim is that glyphosate (an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) is used on wheat crops and may be a cause of digestive issues mistakenly attributed to gluten intolerance.  Two of the comments to my Facebook post caught my attention and prompted me to take a more careful look at the article’s claims.  Is glyphosate actually used on wheat crops in the U.S. and could it be causing digestive problems?

One reader said: “Not sure where this info comes from, but I know of no farmers who do this and selling to farmers is our business..”

Another reader re-posted a longer comment (from the original article), of which I will quote only part: “Yes, we are finding this article to be very *interesting* as our family has been wheat/cattle ranchers for…generations. And we’ve never heard of anyone doing this and we ourselves sure don’t. . . .

These comments and others to the original article seem to imply that using glyphosate on wheat is an uncommon or nonexistent practice.  I thought the comments deserved to be investigated.  If I had posted an article that was incorrect, I wanted to know!

As usual, I did a Google search on the topic of glyphosate application to wheat crops.  I found lots of support for the fact that applying glyphosate to wheat is common and has been widely used for the last 15 to 20 years.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a professor at MIT, says in a quotation from the  [this is a long quotation, but it has useful information that explains how glyphosate used on wheat could cause digestive–and immune system–issues]:

The use of glyphosate on wheat crops has risen in tandem with the rise in celiac disease. In fact, it correlates to a greater degree than glyphosate usage on corn and soy.

According to Dr. Seneff, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came in vogue about 15 years ago. Interestingly enough, when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds. “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies,” Dr. Seneff explains. “At its last gasp, it releases the seed.”

This results in slightly greater yield, and the glyphosate also kills rye grass, a major weed problem for wheat growers that is resistant to many other herbicides. What they’re not taking into consideration is the fact that rye grass helps rebalance the soil, and from that perspective is a beneficial plant.

So, most of the non-organic wheat supply is now contaminated with glyphosate. A large percentage of processed foods are made from wheat, and this helps explain the explosion of celiac disease and other gut dysfunction.

What happens is that the villi in your gut get destroyed by the glyphosate, which reduces your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Also, wheat contains gliadin, which is difficult to break down. Normally, a reaction takes place that builds connections between different proteins in the wheat.

But glyphosate gets right in the middle of that process too, resulting in wheat that is highly indigestible. Dr. Seneff and her co-researcher Dr. Anthony Samsel believe the glyphosate may attach to the gliadin as a consequence of a chemical reaction. The end result is that your body develops an immune reaction. [source] [study]

A long-time wheat farmer had this to say about glyphosate use:

Keith Lewis, a wheat farmer, left this insightful comment about modern wheat growing practices:

. . .

I have been a wheat farmer for 50 yrs and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyposate) [sic] just prior to harvest. Roundup is licensed for preharvest weed control. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture result in roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels. Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant allowing an earlier harvest.

A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup preharvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature. The result is on the less mature areas Roundup is translocated into the kernels and eventually harvested as such.

This practice is not licensed. Farmers mistakenly call it “dessication.” Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. [source]

The article “Glyphosate: A Trajectory of Human Misery,” says that “Glyphosate is used not only on Roundup Ready crops, but also on glyphosate-sensitive sugar cane and wheat shortly before harvest, when it acts as a dessicant. It’s also used as a dessicant on Roundup Ready sugar beets, canola, and cottonseed for oils, among others.”  That same article also reminds us that “Glyphosate is systemic in plants, so it cannot be washed off. If it’s used on a crop, it will be in the food produced from it. All the soy, sugar, cotton, and corn that ends up in packaged foods is carrying glyphosate into our bodies.”

The manufacturer of Roundup, Monsanto, recommends its use on wheat crops to reduce weeds and provides detailed guidelines on when and how to apply it.  Page 32 of the guide has a chart for application of Roundup to crops, including wheat.  Although Monsanto says that Roundup is not a “dessicant,” it does give instructions on how to gain “significant harvest management benefits” from the use of it.

This is the page (36) from Monsanto’s guidelines that defines the benefits of using Roundup on wheat as a harvest management technique: [source]  (click on the picture for a larger image)

Monsanto's Guide to Roundup Use on Wheat

You can do your own Google search and find much more information about using Roundup on wheat crops, but my research supports the claim that Roundup (glyphosate) is commonly used on wheat crops and not just on GMO Roundup Ready crops and that there is evidence that it adversely affects our digestive system.

I see two ways we can avoid glyphosate in wheat–eat only organic wheat and/or know the farmer (and his farming practices) that supplies your wheat.

Update May 17, 2015: I found this very interesting map depicting the distribution of glyphosate use in the US. Although it is not limited to wheat, the map does indicate where glyphosate is heavily used. [source: Source: USGS, Pesticide National Synthesis Project]

Glyphosate use in the US

Update, June 15, 2015:  Glyphosate use is not limited to wheat, it is also used on oats and other grains pre-harvest to kill weeds.  Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) is Applied to Oats, Not Just Wheat!

You might also want to read these related posts.  Also, read the comments for additional information about glyphosate:

Glyphosate is already in our food, air, and water: What is it and why should we care?
Are We Sacrificing Our Children to Profits From Glyphosate (Roundup) and Roundup-Ready GE Crops?
Study finds significant new evidence that GMOs can cause harm
What Does Genetically Engineered (or GMO) Mean?

Posted in Digestion, Food Safety, Gluten-free, GMOs, Health, Organic Food, Sustainable Farming | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Back on Track–Recharged and Ready to Go After the 2014 Wise Traditions Conference

Sally Fallon Morell at the 2014 Wise Traditions ConferenceI just got back yesterday from the 2014 Wise Traditions Conference in Indianapolis, and I can’t begin to describe how encouraged and recharged I am.

Do your co-workers treat you as if you’re crazy because you want to eat healthy food?  Does your family pressure you to eat junk food by saying “one piece of cake won’t kill you?” It can be very difficult to ignore the pressure and stick to your healthy diet. My husband completely supports my choice of the nourishing food I want to prepare and eat, but many, maybe most people are not so lucky.

One of the qualities I enjoy most about a WAPF conference is that I know I’m among friends, family, and, as my husband says, it’s my tribe!  For the few days of the conference, we listen to talks; eat delicious, nutrient-dense meals; and meet new and old friends, I have the wonderful feeling of being completely accepted.  Almost everyone agrees with my health and nutrition principles.  I don’t have to apologize for (or explain) my weird diet!  And I never have to make excuses for refusing foods that are unhealthy!  In fact, those kinds of junk foods aren’t served at conference meals! They serve fermented veggies, pastured meats, sourdough bread, fresh veggies and fruits, and lots and lots of butter!

You know it’s a great conference when you can buy a cup of bone broth or kombucha from several vendors!  I didn’t miss a day having both!

Everyone at WAPF conferences understands!  Wow, what a comfort!  What a joy!

And, of course, I got my batteries recharged.  I’m now ready to get back to writing the stories I want to post and reach more people with the good news that many health problems can be overcome, or at least significantly improved, by adopting sensible, traditional dietary principles.

I learned so much that I will probably be writing for several weeks about the topics that I found so fascinating.

Chis Masterjohn Talks About the MaasaiSome of the subjects I will write about are why it is so important to Go Organic, the need for sulfur in the diet, the prevalent magnesium deficiency, why we need to do our own health research, do we need to drink a gallon or two of water a day, the importance of fiber to health, the glyphosate plague, unnatural GMOs, vegetarianism, sustainable farming, what the Maasai really ate, and much, more.

Keep watching for new posts.  Did you go to the conference?  What did you like (or not) about it?

Posts about the 2014 Wise Traditions Conference:

Why Women Find It Harder to Lose Weight Than Men!

You might also want to read my post about how I came to join the WAPF, start a chapter, and begin my blog, Real Food Houston, Why I do what I do!

Posted in Access to Real Food, Conferences, Diet, Dr. Weston A. Price, Events, Health, Healthy Fats, Nutrition, Real Food, Traditional Food, WAPF Conference | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment