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Organic for Everyone Blog™ ~ Health and Wellness

What Does Organic Mean, Anyway? Part 4 ~ It's All About The Chemicals

What Does Organic Mean, Anyway?  Part 4 ~ It's All About The Chemicals

The other week for our reboot of the What Does Organic Mean, Anyway series we ended with the question - So, what’s left? Why bother with organic food if it’s ok to genetically modify plants and patent the results? This week we get to the fundamental reason why to bother with organic food which is because….

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What Does Organic Mean, Anyway? Part 3 ~ Is Nature Ours to Own?

What Does Organic Mean, Anyway?  Part 3 ~ Is Nature Ours to Own?

We rebooted our discussion about GMOs (genetically modified organisms).  This post we are narrowing our discussion to plants that have had their genetic material (their DNA) altered in a laboratory.  Some of you may really geek out over this discussion and if so, you are going to love this post!

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Unique Ways to Use Your Balms

Unique Ways to Use Your Balms

Most people use balms in a very traditional way. However, there are so many uses for balms that go beyond using it on your lips and body. 

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Full Body Toning Coffee Scrub

Full Body Toning Coffee Scrub

Hey folks we’ve got a super easy quick recipe for you to try out!

While cellulite is a tricky thing to combat, this coffee scrub could possibly help it out! A quick general reason as to why women get cellulite is because of a layer of tissue under the skin that is web-like. While a google search on the internet will give you a plethora of possible reasons; genetics, fat deposits, weak connective tissue, and more, they all seem to link back to this webbing that lies under our skin. For women, this webbing runs up and down our legs. Men have tissue that runs diagonally, this is just one reason why they are less likely to display cellulite.  

Below the recipe, I’ve broken down each ingredient and its purpose in this scrub and why it can help you tone your skin!

10-minute recipe

 

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How Living a Life of Food Awareness Changed Our Lives

As the parent of a child with a food allergy (Alice is allergic to hazelnuts - no Nutella!) we learned to live a life of food awareness without it taking up too much of our mental and emotional space. But when Alice was 8 we received the news that she is (and has more than likely always been) allergic to dairy, gluten, eggs and honey, among others, and her food sensitivities are off the charts. Her previous skin tests gave mostly negatives but we knew something wasn't right so we went to see a Naturopath and had major blood panels run for food allergies and sensitivities.

Here is what we faced over the past five years or so and maybe it might sound familiar to some of you. At age 3 Alice was diagnosed with asthma (who knew a child could turn that blue) and eczema (itchy and painful!). At 5 her doctors thought she had Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder or Anxiety Disorder. Which after a series of tests they settled on Anxiety Disorder. This is also when we found out she is allergic to hazelnuts.

The asthma medications slowed her growth and had other serious side effects. Then we found out she had Acid Reflux which was the primary cause of her asthma and the PPI the doctor gave her caused more serious side effects. Gee, why does she have reflux? That question was never even asked by her doctors. Last spring it was the ADD or ADHD diagnostic train and a Neuro-Psych Evaluation that made me jump off and start really looking at her diet. We observe that she finds significant relief in her symptoms depending on what she is eating so we found that Natropathic practitioner who could help us identify what was going on.

So here's the list of symptoms to consider: asthma, eczema, cough, constant runny nose, frequent colds, sinus infections, ear infections, headaches, reflux, bloating and swelling, constipation, insomnia, inability to sooth, low sensory threshold, crying at seemingly inconsequential moments, inability to focus, inability to follow directions, high anxiety. If your child experiences some of these symptoms perhaps, just perhaps, food and other allergies could be a cause or could be exacerbating your child's experiences.

To find this out your pediatrician more than likely will not be able to provide you with the answers. You have to go to a natropathic, homeopathic or holistic or functional medicine practitioner. Your insurance will more than likely not cover these office visits or the necessary tests but you must get comprehensive IgG and IgE blood panels as a start and perhaps more.

The results to those tests explained a lot to us about Alice’s behavior. High sensitivity, low sensory threshold, digestive issues, focus issues, etc. These are issues that other people saw as purely behavioral problems - but we knew better. We know she is a loving, patient, funny, adaptive, and highly intelligent child and that there was a reason for her behavior that was deeper than typical explanations of selfish or impatient or spoiled.

I would really like to make it clear that ALL CHILDREN are loving, kind, curious, fun, intelligent and beautiful creatures. But when your child displays behavior that does not easily conform to expectations very often it is those "bad" behaviors that people focus on. Sometimes very significant people in your child's life can't get past those behaviors and it is very isolating and sad for families to experience.

We are finding answers for Alice related to her diet because of experimenting we did at home and ultimately the total rejection of what conventional medicine had to offer for her. Other children will not find relief from what they are facing by changing what they eat.  But if there is any possibility that they will find relief, please consider trying.

There is nothing "wrong" with our children. Some kids don't have any of these issues and some parents never have to go through this process. But for those of us who do, we aren't manufacturing their problems. We aren't too lenient on our children. Our children are not lacking in discipline or moral character. The world they experience overstimulates them or their systems are overwhelmed by inflammation and they don't feel good and they can't explain what they feel.

The point is if food or environmental allergies or food sensitivities are the root or part of the problem and you can reduce the inflammatory response by getting to its cause then you don't have to fill your kid with dangerous pharmaceuticals! And they will be understood. Change your diet and change your life.

As parents we are our children's best defense. We have to believe in them. We have to push until we find causes. We have no solid answers for why she has these allergies. Part genetics, perhaps, but a major part is our environment and food supply.  That’s what we have been talking about in our “What Does Organic Mean, Anyway?” series. 

Alice right now is healthier than ever.  We have learned what her real food triggers are and know which foods to monitor and which foods to eliminate entirely.  Sometimes she is still upset that she can’t eat what the other kids are eating.  But she now recognizes the cause and effect between having that bowl of mac-n-cheese and having an upset stomach and then uncontrollable hyperactivity.  I am relieved and excited that we have this new food era in our family that will nourish us and give us health and allow Alice to be who she really is. If you are out there and you have gone through this process, I would love to hear from you. It takes a village.

They are all amazing and wonderful little people and in the end we will find some gifts out of the struggles that we face to help them.

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Understanding Meat Production

As you know, GMO crops aren’t purchased in produce departments (although some 100,000 acres of GMO sweet corn were harvested in 2014, that is a very small number).  GMOs go into biofuels and into processed foods and drinks.  We aren’t talking about feeding people with corn and soy directly, but cattle, hogs and chickens do eat those crops directly.  So the other rival outlet for the sale of cheap corn, mostly corn, and soy are meat producers. 

Here is another place where people put up their defenses because eating beef in the US is almost a patriotic act.  We eat burgers and hot dogs at football games and baseball games.  Burgers are fast food and cheap for families and it can be offensive to people to try to mess with that.  In addition, when you start talking about factory farms and feed lots people can feel like we are accusing the very fabric of the American way of life.  Big, successful, profitable companies are all about the American dream.  More so is the successful farm.  We want to support farmers.  We feel passionately defensive for farmers and it can get contentious to challenge farming practices. 

But when we talk about high density cattle farming or hog farming, I believe we need to separate the romantic imagery of the family farm from the stark reality of modern corporate farm practices.  The farms where modern day corn and soy crops are grown for the food industry are owned by corporations who receive government subsidies to grow the cheap crops to supply meat producers and food producers.

Today cheap corn is feeding animals that were never designed to eat corn in conditions they were never designed to live in.  I wonder if you know that when a cow is transferred to a feed lot to fatten up for slaughter, it will die naturally within 6 months because of the lack of nutrients in the corn and the strain on the cow’s digestive system?  Prematurely fat and with deteriorating health, cows are now slaughtered at 18 months instead of 4 or 5 years.  Cows raised in feed lots never graze on open pastures, they are confined to small spaces and eat exclusively what is fed to them in troughs.  The lots are unsanitary as the animals live in their own feces.  Does that seem right to you?  Are you aware that in order to stave off life threatening diseases from the acidosis that develops in the animals stomachs and the unsanitary conditions, the animals are given doses of antibiotics that are then present in the meat when we put it on our tables?

Does that seem right to you?  Did you know that in the State of Colorado it is now illegal to take photographs of these feed lots where up to 100,000 animals are living? Receiving jail time for free speech and journalism; does that seem right to you? Take a step back and think about it.  Put out of your mind the advertisement images of a gritty man in a cowboy hat with his pick-up truck leading a life of self-determination at his family farm. 

Is this really how we are meant to be living out our God-given mandate to rule, reign, have dominion or be masters over the living things of the Earth?  We do not need research studies, or academics, or experts, or political leaders, or corporate CEOs to tell us what is right or wrong about these practices.  We know with our common sense and in our hearts that this is not the way of a natural life.  Nor is it a responsible means of stewardship of animals, the earth and our health.

 

Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
Genesis 1:26

 

Think about this too.  Did you know that the consumption of red meat (which includes beef, pork, and lamb) is cancer causing and the American Cancer Society recommends eating no more than 18 oz of red meat per week but we are actually consuming more like 30 oz? It is a fact that Americans are eating more calories per day than at any other time in history and our health is paying the price.  Does it seem like common sense to you that we are engaging in these factory farm practices for the sake of producing cheap meat so that we can eat more? 

Are we feeding people who would otherwise be hungry or are we indulging in a contemporary cultural phenomenon of over-eating?  No, when agrochemical companies talk about feeding the world, I think what they are really talking about is feeding the world with cheap beef, corn chips and soda.  What else could they be talking about?  Seriously, what else could they possibly be talking about? 

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