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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Organic Lifestyle | What's Wrong with Plastic?

I was recently given a book about toxicity called Detoxify or Die and it changed my life. I started to think about all the ways I am consuming toxins in my mouth as well as on my body. One particular chapter really caught my eye about plastic and plasticizers (technical term: phthalates)

"What are plasticizers or phthalates?"

According to one of my favorite dictionaries, The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, plasticizers are a chemical added especially to rubbers and resins to impart flexibility, workability, or stretchability.

That made me think about how often I used plastic. Everything comes in plastic. When you go to the store the produce bags are plastic. When you buy bread it comes in plastic. Milk comes in plastic. Bottled water comes in plastic. Almost every single thing you buy is sold in a plastic container. Then I thought about my home. All my tupperware was plastic. My measuring cup was plastic. My spoons are plastic. Everything is plastic!!!

"What is plastic made from?"

Plastics are made from oil. Oil is a carbon-rich raw material, and plastics are large carbon-containing compounds. They're large molecules calledpolymers, which are composed of repeating units of shorter carbon-containing compounds called monomers. Chemists combine various types of monomers in many different arrangements to make an almost infinite variety of plastics with different chemical properties. Most plastic is chemically inert and will not react chemically with other substances -- you can store alcohol, soap, water, acid or gasoline in a plastic container without dissolving the container itself. Plastic can be molded into an almost infinite variety of shapes, so you can find it in toys, cups, bottles, utensils, wiring, cars, even in bubble gum. Plastics have revolutionized the world.-From HowStuffWorks

My next question was, "How do plasticizers or phthalates affect my body?"

According to the Body Burden case study, phthalates cause cancer.

DEHP (a type of phthalates) has been classified as a "probable human carcinogen" by the EPA.  The Department of Health and Human Services has also classified DEHP as a potential carcinogen.  That is to say, DEHP may reasonably be considered a cancer causing substance in humans. Rats and mice fed DEHP and DINP also showed an increase in liver cancers over animals that had not been fed the chemicals.  
The offspring of rats separately fed three different phthalates, namely diethyl hexyl-, diisononyl- and butyl benzyl phthalate (DEHP, DINP and BBP, respectively), do not follow normal patterns of sexual development.  In the case of DEHP-fed and BBP-fed rats, the weight of the offspring was also reduced.  Other studies also report subtle effects of DEHP in the testes of young rats at very low levels.  High doses of diethyl phthalate (DEP) given to female rats have been shown to cause the growth of an extra rib in their offspring. Additionally, female animals exposed to DEP throughout their lives experience an elevated number of stillbirths.  According to a 1996 report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “No information is available regarding possible effects caused by diethyl phthalate if you breathe, eat, or drink it, or if it touches your skin.” This is a troubling statement given the diversity of products to which DEP is added.  Furthermore, it highlights the inadequate regulations for widely used commercial chemicals.

My very next question was, "What are the government regulations regarding phthalates?"

In 1999, prompted by the potential of babies to intake dangerous amounts of phthalates and the serious, negative health effects found in animal studies, the European Union placed an emergency ban on the use of certain phthalates in toys made for children under the age of three. This emergency ban was recently renewed.  In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA) agreed upon a voluntary limit of DEHP at 3% in pacifiers and teethers in 1986.  Later in 1998, the CPSC asked toy manufacturers to voluntarily withdraw vinyl teething rings and rattles containing the phthalate DINP from the market.  However, such voluntary agreements do not stop the use of, and children’s exposure to, hazardous or untested additives.  Similarly, adults are also exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals by using any number of phthalate-containing products. 
Regulations are also in place for phthalates in plastics that come into contact with food such as during its processing, transportation and storage.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) “may be safely used” at levels up to 1% and 43%, respectively.  Closer inspection, however, reveals provisions that are very likely to be broken.  For example, the regulation states that the plastics should be used “at temperatures not exceeding room temperature”.  This implies that warming food wrapped in plastic in a microwave may be considered unsafe -- a practice many in this country exercise on a daily basis.-The Body Burden case study.  

That covered a few plasticizers only and it did not cover BPA. I notice that there are a lot of plastic products now that are labeled BPA free. BPA stands for bisphenol A, an industrial product that's been made since the 1960's and put into our plastic resins. It can be found in milk and water jugs and in canned food lining. Studies have been done on the plasticizer and have found the substance to be harmful to humans.

The very day I learned about phthalates I went out and bought widemouth glass mason jars.  

Um, I don't want ANY of that near my food at all and I certainly don't want that in my body! I threw away most of my plastic cups and vowed to replace them soon with stainless steel cups. I started using more glass containers. Instead of toting around a plastic cup, I now use one of my mason jars and put a flexible coozy over it. I took my produce out of the plastic bags when I got home from the grocery store and put them in my crisper. I noticed that taking them out of plastic made the produce last longer anyway!

I no longer eat anything out of a can. I don't care if the label says BPA free on it or not. I do not regulate the plastic myself. I do not do the studies myself. I just know that if plastic is made from ANY chemical then I don't want it in or near my body. Period!

Until next time, keep watch on what you eat and what you put next to your body!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Journal | One Voice

May 24, 2013 at 9:19am
Prelude: My story is not unusual, but here it is. 

Over the last decade I have been consistently ill. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes twice, diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver disease and kidney stones. This year I had a hysterectomy because of an illness. Recently, I have been diagnosed with a brain disorder that causes unexplained movement in my left hand.
I believe that our toxic food has contaminated my body. Lately I've been diligent about looking at the labels and making sure that NO GMOs enter my system. That's a hard thing to do if you're not educated, so I became educated and I'm telling everyone I know. I'm looking into detoxification by natural herbs.

I will win this war against Monsanto. It's down to you either get rid of GMOs or you die. Period.

I was just waiting to die. I went to see all my doctors like a good little patient. I took the medicines that they prescribed dutifully. I listened to their advice...

Hope had left me like my last breath had already been breathed.

And then Obama and my world crashed together like a mighty thunderstorm. I woke up screaming. I lay dormant no longer.

As an atheist I have no god to fall back on. My faith is in those I love. My faith is in the blue or gray sky above me and the smell of the earth. My faith is in the eyes of my children. I no longer saw my inner faith shining.

But that day...that day that I learned that the president, that I did have faith in, had betrayed my trust...that was the day that I woke up screaming and I lay dormant no longer.

The good, dutiful and obedient victim that I once was--was replaced with a need to scream, a need to do something--ANYTHING--that would set my soul on fire.

I have been living with pain for so long that I struggled to put one foot in front of the other, but my heart burned with the desire to make some sort of change.

Once the fountain of knowledge flooded my senses I couldn't stop my inner voice. It was screaming for something...I didn't yet know what it was, but I knew that my destiny was calling me like no other passion had sizzled through my bones and my brain better than electric shock therapy.

I felt a need to seek solace in a community of like minded individuals. I sought a group where I could make my voice boom.

My resolve began to quake and my voice started cracking and faltering. I shared my heartbreak with friends unlike any other time in my life. I found a quiet voice in my ear reminding me that I had one voice and that was all I needed. One voice carries even if its not screaming...

The light was back and it filled my soul until it was bursting. What I had been seeking this entire time was not medication in pill form, but the kind that heals from within. My heart began to sing a joyful song that I had long since feared was dead.

I was awake, no longer screaming. Tears stroked my cheeks like my grandmother did when I was little. The world, this wondrous world, was now blazing open. It was open for me and it opened just by the sound of my own voice.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Editorial | WWIII Over MONSANTO?

Read this article about the possibility of war over the US corporation Monsanto.

The article that you just read is about the possibility of Russia declaring war on the US over the Monsanto corporation. 

War over Monsanto is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while now. 

I've seen a couple of articles about it, but nothing quite like the one I suggested you read. Something just clicked in me this morning. Millions of people around the world protested against Monsanto this past May, thereby showing how the world is not taking Monsanto's thread to our food supply lightly. Many millions more are set to protest at this next one in October. Hundreds of thousands of farmers are committing suicide in India over bT cotton.  People all over the world are dying or are becoming sterile due to the toxic chemicals that the US has introduced into the food supply. I do not hold Monsanto responsible for these catastrophes. I hold the US government in contempt for turning their backs on the common people of this nation. It's obvious that the US government's allies are corporations that put the needs of elitists above the needs of the common man. The US government has had a revolving door with Monsanto. It is policies like these that the world is noticing. 

I do feel like all animals and insects are in danger due to these pesticides and neonicotinoids (Neos), but I am especially concerned over the birds and the bees. 

Just a few weeks ago thousands of bees were found dead in Oregon. Last week the beekeeping industry brought a lawsuit against the EPA. Without bees our food supply will dwindle. I'm concerned that Neos can alter the gender of amphibians and what that could mean after more long term studies of GE foods are completed.  I'm also concerned about what potential affects these biochemicals are doing to our environment. I've been thinking about this since I viewed this video (see our collection of videos) about how the biochemicals are affecting the environment in Kauai.  As you may or may not know, all the Hawaiian islands are the Ground Zero of Biotech chemicals. The coral reefs are starting to become diseased and are dying.  Another good film to watch is Prophets of Doom. It discusses the imminent fall of America. In the movie they discuss water and energy as being possible downfalls, but I thoroughly believe that wars over food and water will be America's downfall.

While lots of people will be incredulous, I believe that war is a real danger. 

Russia has a lot of allies, the Middle East will find any excuse it can to fight us, and Europe is rationalizing the need to ban more and more biotech companies. These countries all have their fair share of nuclear bombs (<-- Click link to see what countries have bombs and how many they have) and they will not want to use bio warfare due to the very reason they will attack, but the US will not consider that a hinderance. In WWII the US used nerve gas, in Vietnam they used Agent Orange and in the Iraq war they used bio warfare. Because Monsanto will be backing the US, you know there will be something bigger and nastier that will be used for this war. That will mean the death of many more people around the world.

Don't get mad, GET ACTIVE!

*HOW YOU CAN HELP* in Austin

I invite you ALL to join us in the screening of "More Than Honey" that is showing on Aug. 18th. It will further enlighten us about how the extinction of bees will lead to a world wide food extinction. Tickets are $10 and it will be shown at Alamo Drafthouse Village that Sunday evening. MAMAustin plans on setting up a film festival to educate others about the importance and  immediacy of the dangers of Monsanto and other biotech companies. The highlight of our film festival will be "The World According to Monsanto" movie viewing and forum with an expert panel. We also invite you to be involved and join us at our next activist meeting on Friday, July 18th at 6:30pm at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin (Click to view all events).

How you can help elsewhere

Research all you can on these topics. Watch documentaries (start with our YouTube channel where you'll find many playlists). Share all the Monsanto material you can get your hands on! Tell everyone you know about what you know. 

I hope that MAMAustin can count on your support to help us fight the US government on this important issue.

In the meantime, remember to eat organic, local, grow your own and vote with your dollar!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

News | Bill Gates Saving Seeds and The Supreme Court Ruled Generic Pharmaceutical Companies Above Being Sued

This is just the picture that goes with #5. No donation required to read! :)

Every week I'll try and provide you some relevant GMO news in case you missed it.

  1. District of Columbia Council Members David Grosso (I-At Large) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-5 Ward) have proposed a bill that would end corporate run elections, in exchange for publicly financed elections. The bill, Fair Elections D.C., would seek to curb a culture of corruption by taking out corporate interest and lobbyists money. Click here for the article.
  2. Bill Gates and biotech companies are saving GMO seed for future generations. See article here.
  3. Roseanne Barr testified in a hearing in Hawaii, Ground Zero for GMOs, this past week.
  4. The Supreme Court ruled that 80% of generic pharmaceutical companies can't be sued for wrongdoing. 
  5. Exactly one week after Americans celebrated Independence Day and the 4th of July, Monsanto and their pesticide and junk food allies at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) are once again declaring war on the GMO labeling movement in the U.S. Today, lobbyists from the same corporations that helped defeat Prop 37 last year in California are meeting behind closed doors in Washington DC to try to kill efforts to win GMO labeling in the U.S. for good. Last week, The Hill reported that the GMA is calling for the secret meeting because the growing success of the GMO labeling movement has created an “unprecedented period of turmoil” for the chemical, biotech and junk food companies that the GMA represents. The good news is that despite considerable efforts to stop GMO labeling this year in more than 20 state capitals, Monsanto and the GMA are reeling after the passage of back-to-back GMO labeling bills in Connecticut and Maine. Now, however, they’ve set their sights on killing Washington State’s ballot initiative Yes on I-522. We’ve come too far and we can’t let up now. The GMA represents 300 of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies – trusted brands like Coke, Pepsi, Kellogg’s, Kraft and General Mills, the same companies that killed labeling efforts in the past. Right now, they’re in a panic because in the past month grassroots efforts have succeeded in passing GMO labeling bills and we’re making real progress in other states across the country. Last year, the GMA claimed that defeating Prop 37, the ballot initiative in California, to label GMOs, was their “single-highest priority”. Monsanto and the GMA spent more than $46 million to run one of the most deceptive and dishonest political campaigns in recent history to defeat Prop 37 and succeeded. With a major ballot initiative fight looming this fall in Washington State, the chemical and junk food giants are once again meeting behind closed doors today to craft a plan to silence us for good. We're so close to victory - and they know it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Organic Lifestyle | Frozen Produce = Toxicity You Can Avoid & What 'Organic' Means in Packaged Foods

My in-laws have decided to eat healthier, and, boy, am I excited! I had a million things to share with them! I started sharing some things about GMOs and my mother-in-law responded with what her idea of healthy food was...uh-oh...Houston, we have a problem!

"We're going to eat more frozen vegetables," my mother-in-law said.

My first thought was how great it was that she was opening up her mind to the possibility that a lot of foods were harmful, but, like myself when I remember when I started going the healthy route so I don't think that she has quite as much information as she needs to make an informed decision. I decided to research exactly why her comment had given me such pause.

Are frozen fruits and vegetables healthy?

Frozen produce is usually cheaper than buying it fresh at the grocery store. You can find varieties of produce that are out of season this way. Vegetables and fruits are generally frozen right after they're picked, so the produce is supposed to be good for you. Frozen foods have a longer shelf life than fresh.

The FDA says frozen produce is good for you.

According to the US FDA, "Frozen produce has the same benefits and nutrients as fresh." When I found the above statement I knew that I had to dig further. It's hard to trust the FDA since they have approved GMOs for the last twenty years.

Frozen produce is frozen at it's prime, but many non-organic companies, such as Green Giant, include additives like trans fat and non-organic vegetable oil. What about additives? How can we guarantee that all additives are organic?

My next thought was that frozen produce shouldn't be too bad as long as you buy organic..., but then I thought about all the warnings about buying organic items and that made me research the differences between 100% organic and ones that are only so-so organic.

What does 'Organic' mean in packaged foods?

According to the FDA, organic can be 100-75% organic.
Section 205.301 establishes the organic content requirements for different labeling provisions specified under this program. The type of labeling and market information that can be used and its placement on different panels of consumer packages and in market information is based on the percentage of organic ingredients in the product. The percentage must reflect the actual weight or fluid volume (excluding water and salt) of the organic ingredients in the product. Four categories of organic content are established: 100 percent organic; 95 percent or more organic; 70 to 95 percent organic; and less than 70 percent organic. (Organic Labeling Preamble)
If it's 100% organic, then all the contents of the packaged food are organic including the additives and the processing. If 95%, then it contains organic ingredients. In 90-75% organic, then everything else that is not organic could be ANYTHING else. 70% organic can contain GMOs, sewage, and pesticides. Those are the ones you have to watch out for!

Then I started thinking about what else do I need to be aware of to make an informed decision on frozen produce? If the bag says 100% organic, then is there anything else to think about? 

All frozen items come in plastic. 

They have to or the box would deteriorate. However, that plastic that wraps up that organic produce is not necessarily toxic free.
Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the law that regulates industrial chemicals in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required safety testing on only 200 of these chemicals, and of those, only five have been banned from manufacturing (including asbestos and dioxin).
BPA is only one toxic, synthetic plastic that can be found in canned food linings, beverage can linings, and other plastics. This toxic plastic interferes with human hormones including the endocrine system. BPA and other plasticizers leach into food when it comes into contact with oils or fatty food, when heated, or if the plastic is old.

Commercial frozen produce comes from the freezer section in the supermarket

A study by Environmental Investigation Agency – an international campaigning organization – claims that greenhouse gases used in large freezers and fridges by supermarkets are as harmful to the environment as plastic bags. 
In the 1990′s HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) were introduced to replace ozone depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and HCFCs hydrochlorofluorocarbons). However this switch to refrigerants that do not damage the ozone layer brought in a generation of chemicals with a greenhouse effect thousands of times stronger than CO2 (Guardian). 
The Guardian states that chemicals released by fridges account for 30 percent of supermarkets’ direct emissions, yet only 0.5 percent of stores have been fitted with greener equipment, according to the EIA’s report, called Chilling Facts.

If these items are causing environmental problems, then I cannot be assured that they will not do the same to the human body. According to the EPA, greenhouse gases are mainly carbon dioxide gases that are pollutants from fossil fuels.


After much thoughtful consideration, I cannot recommend eating anything that will be harmful to the human body and that includes commercially frozen food.  If I want to save my fresh produce, then I will personally freeze it myself in glass containers using this method by Eating Well. I also will remember that frozen food cannot be kept too long or it will lose it's nutritional value. When reheating frozen vegetables it is recommended to steam them when you cook so that you will retain all the nutritional value.

Until next time, remember to eat organic, local or make/grow your own!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Recipe | Homemade GMO Free Bread

The smell of this bread is AMAZEballs!!! Every single time I bake it my entire family goes crazy including my kitten, Charlie. ❤
The smell is so intoxicating we can't wait until it cools for a slice!

Homemade GMO Free Bread
Makes 2 Loaves

As always...buy local, organic, or grow your own!

7 c. Unbleached organic whole wheat bread flour (see below for other kinds of flour)
4 tsp Fine sea salt
2 c. Almond milk, warmed
2/3 c. Purified water, warmed
4 TB Butter, melted
3 TB Raw honey
2.5 tsp ActiveDry yeast
1 TB Olive oil
1 c. Boiling Water


Place the racks in the bottom portion of your oven. Place a small cake pan on the bottom rack. Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Warm milk, purified water and melt butter. Pour into a small mixing bowl over honey and whisk. Sprinkle yeast on the top. Place a towel over bowl and set aside for five minutes.

Mix the flour and salt with a whisk.

Turn the oven off after it's been on for ten minutes.

Sprinkle .5 c. Flour on a big, flat surface.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together with a spatula. Once they're together dump the dough onto the floured surface. Knead the dough by flattening it, folding it, and repeating until the dough does not feel sticky. Tuck the sides and then the ends under.

Pour oil into a large mixing bowl. Place dough into the oil. Turn over and lightly coat oil onto all the dough. Set the dough with tucked ends in the bottom of the bowl. Place into the oven and let the dough rise until it doubles, 40-50 min.

Take the dough out. Separate down the middle with a chef's knife. Fold the dough into thirds, flip upside down, and tuck the ends. Place into the loaf pans. Place the loaf pans into the oven for 30 minutes to rise.

Five minutes before the thirty minutes has ended, boil some water. When the water is boiling, turn on your oven to 350. Pour water to the top of the cake pan that you placed in the bottom rack of your oven (don't skip this part! It keeps your bread moist while baking!). 

Bake for 30 minutes. Let your bread cool completely for a couple of hours (if your family lets you!) before you cut it with a serrated knife. I like to use an electric knife to slice thinner, straighter slices.

NOTE: I recommend King Arthur's Organic Unbleached Bread Flour. This bread contains gluten. If you'd like a gluten free version, you could try using King Arthur's Glutenfree Bread Flour!


Recipe | Homemade Organic Almond Milk

Unsweetened Almond Milk 
for Recipes and Cereal

As always...buy local, organic, or grow your own!

4 c. Purified water
1 c. Raw almonds
1 tsp. Raw honey
1 tsp. Vanilla


Soak almonds for 48 hours in the refrigerator.

Put all ingredients in a blender and chop nuts, then blend until frothy. Strain through a cheesecloth to prevent gritty milk!!

Store in the refrigerator in glass mason jars. Makes 3 cups.

Sweet Almond Milk
for Drinking


2 tsp. Raw honey
.5 tsp. Vanilla


Add to the Unsweetened Almond Milk ingredients and follow the same instructions.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Organic Lifestyle | How To Save Ur Seeds!

Did you know that Bill Gates is storing GMO seed so future generations can enjoy GMOs? How can you stop such an atrocity and fight back? Save your seeds! Plant some NOW. Save your seeds every single time. A great way to get free seeds is to save the seeds from the organic produce that you are purchasing now. You can save your seeds for next year. It's super easy!


Cut up your lemons. Notice seeds on your cutting block? Save them by putting them on a paper napkin in the shade for a week. They'll be dried out. 

Don't peel them off the paper, just save it and plant it!

Activist Notes | Dormant No Longer!!

The world is awakening. The world is beginning to view government as a tool of the people, not the people as tools. I, for one, am glad that Texas is gaining speed on this worldwide phenomenon. We need more voices to speak out against injustices!!

My cause is the food movement. We are demanding the right to know what's in our food without having to look it up in a dictionary. Food should be one right, whether you're conservative or liberal, that is universal.

As a March Against Monsanto organizer, my aim is to ban all biotech companies from taking over our food system. I'd rather my food be in the hands of the farmer, than a corporation who's only goal is to increase profits. All these corporations are banding together. The Food and Drug Administration is acting like the puppet master. They are moving around the puppets like Monsanto and Big Pharma. Their common goal is to make the American people sick so they can cure them. Let me repeat that again...their goal is to make the American people SICK...and that's sick!!

It costs a lot to eat organic, but it costs even more not to!

As always, keep watch on what you eat and vote with your dollar!