Archive for Green Living

Fluoride in the Water – Does it Really Help Prevent Cavities?

Do you use fluoride toothpaste or drink tap water with fluoride in it? Does your dentist recommend fluoride treatments for your children when they have dental checkups? These common practices are what many people do and accept as a method of “preventative” dental care.  Ever since I was a child, the concept of having fluoride in my toothpaste and water to keep cavities away has been hammered into my head. However, fluoride is not only unnecessary, it is not a nutrient; it is in fact, a harmful chemical.

Here’s why:

In November of 2008, the Journal of the American Dental Association made the following statement based on the systematic review of fluoride supplement research: “There is weak and inconsistent evidence that the use of fluoride supplements prevents dental caries [cavities] in primary teeth.” Yet for some reason, dentists persist in trying to convince parents to allow them to apply fluoride treatments to their children (I know, I’m one of those parents!).

According to Midwestern Integrative Dentistry (Dr. Philip P. Sukel) the whole theory of fluoride being necessary to maintain dental health was never founded on hard scientific research. Instead, its push to be used in the prevention of dental caries has primarily been driven by financial interests and efforts to cover up gross errors made on endorsing its use.  Dr. Sukel’s assertion that even if a certain amount of fluoride were useful to the human body, receiving more of the chemical doesn’t make it more beneficial is definitely worth considering.

During the time period between 1990 and 1992, the Journal of the American Medical Association published three separate reports which connected an increase in the rates of hip fractures to the consumption of water containing fluoride. The March 22, 1990 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contained information from the Mayo Clinic stating that patients with osteoporosis who received fluoride treatment experienced an increase of hip fracture and bone weakening.

In a  2007, a statement was issued on the CDC web site (that received no media coverage) to warn the public about the following information:

“It now appears that the amount of the fluoride contained in the water used for mixing infant formula may influence a child’s risk for developing enamel fluorosis, particularly if the child’s sole source of nutrition is from reconstituted formula.”

“If tap water is fluoridated or has substantial natural fluoride (0.7 mg/L or higher), a parent may consider using a low-fluoride alternative water source. Bottled water known to be low in fluoride is labeled as purified deionized, de-mineralized, distilled, or prepared by reverse osmosis.”

“Using only water with low fluoride levels to mix formula will not eliminate the risk of enamel fluorisis…other factors that contribute to developing fluorisis include swallowing of toothpastse and use of dietary supplements that include fluoride (tablets or drops).”

And yet, how many medical or dental professionals are inclined to outwardly admit that fluoride is not only unnecessary but dangerous to your health? I’m betting most people hear just the opposite from their practitioners; that fluoride is still considered a necessary element toward wiping out tooth decay.

From the book titled Fluoride, The Aging Factor by Dr. John Yiamouyiannis, (1993) we learn how the consumption of fluoride destroys enzymes in the body and leads to a variety of diseases. Fluoride levels as low as 1 ppm cause the destruction of 30 percent of collagen – the most abundant protein in the body. It also causes irregular formation of collagen which provides major structural support to body components such as teeth, bone, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, tendons and and skin. Some side effects listed in the The United States Pharmacopoeia of drinking 1 to 2 pints daily of fluoridated tap water are as follows: stomach distress and cramps including nausea, faintness, bloody vomit, constipation, tremors, aching bones, stiffness, skin rash, weight loss, and brown or black discoloration of the teeth. The 1991 Physicians’ Desk Reference lists some of the same side effects from administered doses of fluoride.

Fluoride interferes with bonds responsible for maintenance of normal shape of proteins. When the protein becomes mutated, the immune system attacks it, and therefore, causes damage to the body’s own tissue and cells.

Fluoride (at 1 ppm) in drinking water has been reported to do the following:

  1. Damages the immune system by inhibiting the migration rate of white blood cells to infected areas;
  2. Interferes with phagocytosis (the destruction of bacteria and other foreign agents by white blood cells); and
  3. Induces the release of superoxide free radicals in resting white blood cells.

Because of this fluoride-induced situation, the body is subjected to foreign substances longer and also causes release of free radicals (which cause cancer and other diseases), and further accelerates the aging process.

Damage to the environment and health

One of the many examples of fluoride harming life is the incidence on August 25, 1961 where W.S. Meader and his wife May (near Pocatello, Idaho) took judgment through the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, against Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation for the amount of $57, 295.80 and against J.R. Simplot Corporation for $4,246.41. These corporations’ factories produced fluoride as a by-product in the form of both gaseous and solid compounds. The Meader trout farm and fish hatchery sustained serious damage from these substances. The fish eggs were described by court record as “worthless” and did not hatch normally. Furthermore, the fish that did successfully hatch were reported to have mutations. The owners of the hatchery removed about a ton of dead fish daily for a period of time. Levels of fluoride taken from water samples in the hatchery were between 0.5 and 4.7 ppm, which is the same as concentrations existing in food and beverages consumed by humans all over the country. In the end, the hatchery experienced a loss of business and livelihood.

The only fluoride naturally occurring in water is calcium fluoride, yet that type of fluoride is not used in fluoridation. The majority of what is used in municipal water systems is silicofluorides – these contain 85 times more toxins than calcium fluoride. These substances are pollution by-products of large corporations, do not biodegrade, and are considered hazardous waste products.

Cost of neutralizing these toxic substances to corporation? Per gallon, $1.40 – possibly higher if other toxic substances are present such as  uranium, lead, arsenic, and cadmium – at the highest-rated hazardous waste facility. These substances are purchased by cities and are then dumped into the water supply.  Silicofluorides contain toxic levels of those substances that are nearly as high as arsenic, and are more toxic than lead.

Recent reports from the EPA have stated that lowering levels of lead and arsenic within the water system are at a critical all-time high, and they would ideally like to see levels at zero parts per million. Given the toxic nature of silicofluorides (which contain arsenic and lead), it is absolutely inconceivable that anyone would pass recommendations to add them to our water supply.

The 2007 CDC information release caused some controversy within thinking health communities, and Paul Beeber, attorney and President of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation asked an important question, “Where’s the media alert so that the parents, caregivers, healthcare workers and legislators know about this?” Beeber has been one of the most vocal opponents of water and supplement fluoridation.

“Americans are unaware that their arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome or other symptoms may be fluoride-related,” he said. “This information should be heeded by physicians and members of the medical and scientific communities.

“So there is no good reason to swallow fluoride via supplements or the water supply. Further, fluoride is neither a nutrient nor required for healthy teeth. Poor diets decay teeth and fluoride won’t stop that, ” Beeber said.

Various European countries have already eliminated fluoride from municipal water supplies: France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Italy.

What’s the solution?

Write to your state representatives and legislature and oppose fluoride in drinking water. Find out which politicians support non-fluoridation measures and those who are in favor of fluoridation, and keep sending correspondence. Don’t sign petitions in your local area advocating the adding of fluoride to your water system. Tell all your friends, family, and neighbors about the dangers of fluoridation in water.

At the dentist, decline to have fluoride treatments for your children. Although your dentist will surely try to talk you into it, resist anyway.

Use non-fluoridated toothpaste (read lables) or make your own.

Educate yourself on the ways to keep good dental health by following a diet that supports teeth and bone health. Research states that good nutrition prevents dental decay and bone problems.  In fact, studies of the diets of indigenous peoples around the world who eat traditional diets (research of Dr. Weston A. Price) have proven that dental and many other health issues are virtually non-existent when eating nutrionally-dense foods such as fish, eggs, butter, shellfish and organ meats.

Purchase a good quality filtration system for your home and don’t drink tap water. Some good quality brands include GE SmartWater filtration systems, Kangen Water, and visit Heart Spring for good general information about water filtration products.

After analyzing foods consumed by isolated primitive peoples, Dr. Price discovered that they provided at least four times the calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods originating from animals raised naturally. This was in contrast with the processed, additive-filled diet of Western citizens in developed countries who experienced heightened levels of dental issues including decay, malformation, and bone malstructure and loss. His record of detailing the extreme deterioration both physical and dental health of people who went from nutritionally-dense foods to processed foods is both startling and eye-opening.

Consider the amount of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar consumed by the average citizen living in a developed country in the modern age. As technology continues to advance, more products are invented and the availability of products becomes more prevalent and widespread, we are exposed to more and more sugar than ever before in history.

Although overall sugar consumption has increased, the consumption of  real sugar has steadily declined over the years due to the advent of artificial sweeteners – and subsequently, we consume more of those – high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, fructose, aspartame, and saccharin has gone up. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, consumption of available calories from all forms of added sugars increased 17 percent from 1970 to 2006. When you consider just how much we consume, it is no wonder we have such high rates of tooth decay. The presence of fluoride does not affect this number.

Take the challenge to improve your diet which will have a profound effect on your health and your teeth. Read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price and learn about how you can take charge of your future and live a healthier life.

You may believe you have a healthy diet, and perhaps you do, but ask yourself the following questions about your diet and then go from there. Do you consume:

  • Processed foods
  • Sugary beverages
  • Foods with artificial sweeteners
  • Foods with refined sugars

If you are in the habit of consuming these types of foods regularly, ask yourself if you can replace them with the following:

  • Grass-fed meats from healthy animals raised without chemicals and additives, antibiotics and hormones
  • Pasture-raised poultry and eggs
  • Real milk and other dairy from pasture-raised cows (raw is a plus!)
  • Organic produce (fruits and vegetables)
  • Sprouted, organic whole grains from non-GMO sources
  • Real, whole fats like butter, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, lard, tallow, fish oil, and cod liver oil
  • Fermented foods such as real yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, natto, kombucha, or lacto-fermented vegetables

When you include real, nutrient dense foods in your diet, you will experience a decline in tooth decay and better health.

For more information about this topic, visit the Fluoride Alert web site and read the 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation.

Recommended reading on the subject of eliminating tooth decay naturally: (Rami Nagel) Cure Tooth Decay; Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition

This article is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival. Please visit the other great real food posts there.

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Being a Food Activist in a World Driven by Tradition, Control, & Profit

Do you wonder about where your food comes from? Are you frustrated by the current system managing our food supply? Do you find that obtaining food from a reputable, healthy source seems difficult and you desire to make a change? Do you believe everyone has a right to safe food from clean sources? If you answered yes to these questions, you might be a food activist.

Lately, food has become very political and having an opinion on food can actually lead to a great deal of dissension in relationships with other people, groups, and organizations. But through activism, persistence, and education, we really can make a difference and change the way our food is produced for the common good. Being a food activist is not easy, but it’s worth the effort. Here’s why:

What is a food activist?

A food activist is someone who cares about where our food comes from and who makes a conscientious effort to support local and sustainable agriculture whether it be to become an actual sustainable farmer or food producer, or to be a consumer of sustainable products. A food activist also becomes involved in some way with education and dissemination of information about sustainable living and food to the public and wider communities.

Why should we care where our food comes from, and what difference does it make being a food activist?

The loss of local food production has been devastating.  Diminished food production causes the necessity for our food to travel lengthy distances over many days or weeks to reach your dinner table. The result of this travel and toxin exposure is the loss of nutritional density and flavor. Distance traveled by our food also contributes to wastes of energy that can only be maintained by government subsidies and the acquisition of cheaper oil which is dictated by foreign policy. The Worldwatch Institute reports “in the United States, refrigerating, transporting, and storing food uses eight times as much energy as is provided by the food itself.”

Indeed, industrial farming has had widespread implications:

  • The presence of this type of toxic farming has not only led to the destruction of our soil, but also our water, and air.
  • Pesticides sprayed on commercial crops are then fed to animals. This causes health problems for the animals and you when you eat the meat and other products from these animals.
  • The use of medications and antibiotics in animal production is heavy and has contributed to resistant-strain bacteria. We are also finding that increasing amounts of our foods contain chemicals, preservatives, stabilizers, and toxins which cause further damage to our health and the environment.
  • Factory farms also contribute greatly to the overall human-caused component of climate change occurring.
  • The economic impact of industrial farming is also substantial, and it should be noted that the far-reaching implications of all factors mentioned here only add to the weighty economic burden in which our nation now finds itself.

Who stands to gain from all of this?

None other than agribusiness giants, food manufacturers, processors, and related corporations, lobbyists, special interest groups, and the government. All are pushing and making legal unethical ideals, practices, regulations, and laws in exchange for power and profit.

Who loses in the conventional, industrial food system?

The environment due to the input of massive toxic chemicals, mismanagement of resources, and the accumulation of concentrated animal wastes. Since 1960, half of our topsoil has disappeared. We are currently experiencing the loss of topsoil 17 times faster than it can be replaced.

Farmers industrial farming only pays the farmer 7 cents per food dollar. The majority is paid to marketers, processors, and input suppliers. The result is a dramatic concentration of factory and industrial farmland as well as the loss of smaller, family farms. The region of western North Carolina alone has experienced a loss of 70% of farmland in the last 50 years.

The consumer because the food we consume is now developed and grown for transportation and shelf life rather than for nutrition or taste, we lose control of how food is produced because we no longer have a relationship with the farmers who produce our food. We have experienced a loss of countryside, forests, and of farms. Most significant of all, our health is profoundly impacted by the mechanism of factory, for-profit, and industrial farming. Our life spans are longer, but we are now experiencing degenerative and chronic diseases at a larger and more frequent rate than ever before in history. Our children are also now developing these disorders at younger ages than the previous generation.

The animals in industrial farming, animals are treated in the most inhumane manner and live in ghastly conditions. They are not allowed to behave normally, are exposed to filthy environments, are often subjected to gross abuse and neglect, and by these standards are unable to live happy lives (and sometimes they don’t even get exposed to sunlight). There’s only one question to ask here – Do you really want to support business that makes money in this manner and consume meat coming from animals in these conditions?

What can YOU do to help our food system?

Eat local food! The biggest criticism people have about sustainable and organic food is that there is no feasible way to feed organic, healthy food to everyone. But if each community started supporting their own local agriculture, food growers, and merchants, we’d find that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. The whole point of supporting local efforts to grow and produce food is just that – when you support it, it thrives and feeds its community.

It’s really quite simple,  but has become complicated by arcane laws and regulations that were originally put into place to feed massive amounts of people for the cheapest price – and allowing the almighty dollar to be the prevailing factor – which has now completely overtaken our health care and food systems like never before in history. When you place profit over health and well-being, there will always be consequences.

Do research online to locate local, sustainable farmers and food producers. EVERY community has them. Many communities now have weekly farmer’s markets where farmers and merchants come together in one convenient location to offer the best of your community.

Don’t be discouraged by the mantra you may hear from some people who say that eating healthier is more expensive. Eating healthy can cost more up front, but it doesn’t always have to be incredibly expensive. You can also find economical buys and deals within your local community because the food doesn’t have to travel (remember, food costs more if it has to travel from somewhere else).

Learn to do everything from scratch at home soak or sprout your own grains, sprout, ferment, make yogurt, make lacto-fermented vegetables with whey from your raw milk or home made yogurt, etc. If you don’t know how, do a search online – there is a wealth of information available at your fingertips for free.

Don’t forget the hidden costs of eating industrial food environment, economic impact, taxes, the health care system, your own health, etc. These are all costs that must be accounted for – and even if it’s not now, a day will come , whether it is in the near or distant future, when the cost must be paid by YOU.

Join organizations and spread the word! Learn about local and national that place an emphasis on fighting for safe, sustainable food:

Start a garden or join a community garden group. Try the American Community Garden web site. Visit the Backyard Gardener site for a wealth of information about getting started and maintaining your own garden.

Start a blog, write articles, or write a book. There is always more room in the world for good writers who can convey their thoughts to others and motivate people through the written word.

Read books, watch films, and educate yourself on the issues. Some great places to start are The Ominvore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Also look for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and Edible Action: Food Activism and Alternative Economics by Sally Miller and The End of Food by Paul Roberts. Great films include Food, Inc., King Corn, SuperSize Me, Fresh, Fast Food Nation, Fat Head, and The Oiling of America.

Learn about the laws and regulations governing our food, sign petitions (Just Food: Food & Farm Issues and Food Democracy Now ) and contact your congressmen, local legislature, and the President. Visit the USDA and FDA web sites and contact these agencies with questions and concerns.

This article is featured on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival. Please go visit Kristen’s site and have a look at all the other great real food posts there.

Do you have experiences with food activism that you’d like to share? How have your efforts made a difference? We want to hear from you!

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Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) and Help Save the Earth

As we start the year anew, take a few moments to pledge some good things for yourself and your planet. We all share the same space, even though many of us are miles from one another. We owe it to ourselves, our children, and the future to do a few things that will make a difference. Pollution, toxins, and too much garbage are a big problem. Just by making some small changes, you can reduce the amount of plastic and garbage in the world and decrease the use of limited resources.

The following is a request I received to help the earth in my e-mail box this morning from my dear friend Jordan. Please read and take heed, and Happy New Year to you all!

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Hey everybody! Just writing to ask you ladies to check out the new BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) campaign from the New American Dream. Sign the pledge and bust out your re-usable totes! Use them everywhere from the grocery store to Target. Together, we really can make a difference.

Did you know you can reduce your carbon footprint, help eliminate waste and pollution, and give yourself a chance at some great prizes in one simple step? It’s a win-win situation for you, the community and the ecosystem…and you can even win a $5000 prize package from Brighter Planet.

What do you have to do? Just fill out the pledge form at c3.newdream.org and then start using reusable bags when you go shopping. It’s that easy. Just by doing that you’ll start making a dent in the waste of the 12 million barrels of oil and the 14 million trees used to produce plastic and paper bags each year. Plus you’ll curb your carbon footprint by almost 4 pounds each month.

Visit the C3 site to sign up and then tell your friends: you could win a $5000 prize package from Brighter Planet or one of several other terrific prizes.

New American Dream has also made it easier for you to join the new BYOB, when you pledge you get a coupon for 20% off from ReusableBags.com. Worldwide, an estimated 4 billion plastic bags end up as litter each year. Tied end to end that’s enough to circle the earth 63 times. Isn’t it time to start making a difference?

Pledge Now to Bring Your Own Bag!

Visit New Dream to join the campaign and learn more about becoming a Carbon Conscious Consumer.

Thank You for Making a Difference,
Jordan

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Rethink Your Recycling

There are many, many theories about how to go about recycling and save the earth. One of the best ways you can do this is by eliminating plastic from your home and daily activities. Plastic is one of the most ubiquitous products to be found, and it has certainly made many of the things we do more convenient. The problem with plastic is although it is has made many things we do easier, it is also toxic to our health. The best solution involves reducing plastic as much as possible and changing to other substances such as wood, metal, ceramic, and glass. Here are some statistics on plastic. As you read these, consider just how big of an impact plastic has on our health and environment:

  • According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion.)
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade-breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
  • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.
  • Four out of five grocery bags in the US are now plastic.
  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
  • Plastic bags are light and hard to contain. Because of their light weight, plastic bags fly easily in wind, float along readily in the currents of rivers and oceans, get tangled up in trees, fences, poles, and so forth, and block the drainage.
  • Plastic bags are made from a non-renewable natural resource: petroleum. Consequently, the manufacturing of plastic bags contributes to the diminishing availability of our natural resources and the damage to the environment from the extraction of petroleum.

Although people intend to recycle plastic containers, the reality is that more of these containers are not recycled and end up in land fills to leach into the soil, or harm our ecosystem in many other ways. The reverse is true for wood, metal, and glass. Paper bags, glass, and metal can all be reused and if not, they do not harm our environment the way that plastic does.

There is a new product on the market produced from corn that could be the potential for replacing plastic altogether. This substance can be used for many items including cups, bags, clothing, and food containers just to name a few. The product is called PLA or polylactides. Visit The Christian Science Monitor to learn more about this clean product that degrades in just 47 days.

For more information on how to clean up the environment intelligently, visit the following web sites:

Bring Your Own

Environmentally Speaking

Read about how one food store in Seattle, Washington has changed their bags from plastic to paper (and fabric):

PCC Natural Markets

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