Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In addition bottled water contains:
- Antimony– Bottled water contains higher levels of antimony, a trace element with similar characteristics and toxicity to lead, the longer it is stored in plastic bottles. (1)
- Bisphenol A (BPA)– Found in plastic bottles and metal can liners, where it can leach into foods and beverages, bisphenol A is supposedly safe but some say it mimics naturally occurring estrogen and animal studies indicate that BPA may cause infertility, cancers, and hyperactivity. (2)
- Other Endocrine Disruptors– Chemicals that mimic estrogen and other hormones, altering the body's hormone signals, metabolism, and reproductive health.
More recently, it was found that some companies' bottled water isn't "spring" water at all, but tap water that has been sterilized again with chlorine and more, then purified for taste. Despite clever marketing, this is little better than glorified tap water.
Healthy Water Sources
The water resource situation is hardly an easy one to resolve, but there are a few sources of water that may be better than others:
- Filtered water– Charcoal or reverse osmosis filters provide readily available, reliable sources of clean water. Check to ensure that your filter actually removes what you want it to: many of the most popular brand-name filters take out only the most pungent chemicals, leaving the rest of the harmful (but tasteless) tap water additives in your drinking water. It's worth investing in a whole-house filter or, at the least, a kitchen filter for drinking water and a shower filter for the water you bathe in.
- Well water– One of the safest and purest sources of clean water, as long as the well is checked regularly for contaminants like bacteria, metals, and pesticides. Unfortunately not available in most cities.
- Distilled water– Distilled water is evaporated and then condensed, leaving nothing there except pure water. There is some concern about the way distilled water interacts energetically with the body. It also, unfortunately, carries absolutely no minerals.
- Bottled Water in Glass– One of the safer options is spring water that has been bottled in glass. But glass bottles are expensive and difficult to find – especially in large quantities.
• Fill a pitcher and let it stand in the refrigerator overnight. (This is the best way.)
• Fill a glass or jar with water and let it stand in sunlight for 30 minutes.
• Pour water from one container to another about 10 times.
• Heat the water to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Once you remove the chlorine, be sure to refrigerate the water to limit bacterial regrowth.
Despite the importance of a clean water source, a large-scale solution to the water dilemma isn't yet available that combines mass availability, cost effectiveness, and practicality. So, I know your original question was about fluoride, to address that directly, my recommendation is this: limit fluoride in all other sources and do not worry about the drinking water. Use Tom's children's toothpaste, fluorine free. In addition, it is in limited amounts in the water, In accordance with Article 141.08 of the New York City Health Code, DEP's water has a KNOWN concentration of approximately 1.0 part per million (ppm) fluoride. Not as much as you might have thought.
We do know that fish is important for our health. However, this is a complex issue. Logically we'd think farm-raised would be better for our environment and better for us. (by the way, "ocean-raised" fish is the same as "farm-raised" just a new marketing name. Farm-raised fish are fish in pens in the ocean and when this got a bad wrap they changed the name, that's all!) But we have learned that farm raised means that the fish don't get lots of swimming room, are prone to disease (and therefore fed antibiotics) and can get out and infect the fish in the wild. They are also high in mercury.
"Where does this come from?" is the most important question you can ask yourself about anything you are consuming.
Let's look at Farmed Salmon. Since Farmed Salmon are fed pellets instead of what they eat in the wild, three elements are affected:
1. First, the food that they normally eat in the wild converts into powerful omega 3s for us; the farm raised salmon doesn't have as high nutritional value.
2. Second, the food they eat naturally helps them turn that beautiful pink color to which we are accustomed; the farm raised are therefore fed colorings to make them more palatable to our eye.
3. Finally, the food they eat affects how they taste and there is truly no comparison in flavor or texture.
When choosing to eat fish, we must consider:
1. The importance of fish to our health with valuable Omega-3s, protein, low fat.
2. The sustainability of the fish, that it is not overfished and that it is safe for our environment.
3. The health of the fish and the life of the fish (what it eats, how it lives).
4. Cost. We really can't afford to eat farmed salmon.
Fish, particularly cold water oily fish, have valuable Omega 3s. We are just now exploring all the benefits of these EFAs and are finding that they are invaluable to good health. They help reduce risks of heart disease, cancer, age-related blindness and eye problems, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases as well as keep a healthy circulatory system. We should strive for two to three servings (total of 6 - 12 ounces per week as one serving is considered 3 but can be as much as 6 ounces) per week of a fish high in Omega 3s.
We know that wild Salmon has great benefits; however, most grocery stores and restauants that offer "salmon" are offering a genetically engineered (farmed) salmon that is taking over the environment. Or, we find out, that because of the way the fish is caught, it's habitats are being damaged and it's becoming endangered. We have to carefully look at where the fish is caught and whether or not the fishery is sustainable. It is important that we make sure our fish is Sustainable and safe for the environment.
It is also important that we make sure THE FISH is healthy and therefore truly healthful. Farm-raised fish are raised in small pens in the ocean secured by nets or in ponds, depending upon the fish species. As with most industries, maximizing revenues is key so they will stock a pond with as many fish as they can leaving very little room for the fish to move about freely and they are fed pellets of food instead of their natural food (sounds like the chicken and cattle scenarios all over again). This, in turn, doesn't allow them to use their muscles naturally nor convert their natural food into powerful Omega 3s for us. Therefore, farm-raised fish doesn't have the health benefits of Wild fish. Therefore, farm-raised salmon doesn't have the color of natural salmon and they are fed colorings to help make the salmon palatable for our plates.
"Wild salmon become pink by eating sea creatures like krill, which contain a carotenoid called astaxanthin. Farmed salmon are naturally grayish but turn pink when they are fed various sources of astaxanthin, including one that is chemically synthesized and others that originate from yeast or microalgae." NY Times, Marian Burros
And since they are crammed in next to one another, disease can spread quickly so they are fed antibiotics. And they are infested with sea lice, 30,000 times more than normal! Then they get out of their pens and wreak havoc on our delicate ecosystem. These farmed fish consume more of our natural resources and infest other salmon with sea lice and other diseases.
We've heard this story all too often. Farm-Raised fish is bad for our planet, our bodies and our future. Make a powerful statement and refuse to eat or purchase farm-raised fish.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org), over 68% of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and most of it is industrially produced. Many of these commodities are farm-raised and often involve little oversight regarding antibiotic drug use. While the U.S. government has standards that should ban imports with high levels of antibiotics in seafood, there is essentially no enforcement. Farmed salmon have more antibiotics administered by weight than any other form of livestock. Farmed salmon have significantly higher levels of PCBs, dioxin, and other cancer causing agents over wild salmon.
We eat fish for the omega 3s and to lower your risk of a heart attack. Farm-raised salmon is high in mercury. Mercury can actually increase our risk of heart attack. Our waters, and therefore our fish, have become contaminated with mercury because of all the industrial pollution. When it enters the water, it is converted into toxic methylmercury and it is consumed by the smaller fish and then the smaller fish are consumed by the larger fish. Larger predatory fish are higher in mercury than smaller fish because it accumulates in their bodies over time. The older and larger the fish, the higher it's levels of mercury. Mercury is of particular concern to growing children and babies in utero. Therefore, women hoping to one day become pregnant (mercury stores in your fat, remember), nursing and pregnant moms, as well as growing children need to be even more cautious. It's important that we choose wild fish that is lowest in levels of mercury. As a guideline, adults should not exceed 0.5ppm of mercury and the women/nursing/pregnant /children group should not exceed 0.2ppm per week.
Many fish, including farmed salmon, are also contaminated with PCBs. Farmed salmon has far higher (7 times!) levels of PCBs in their system than wild salmon.
Unlike farmed salmon, wild Alaskan salmon species grow free of antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic coloring agents, growth hormones and GMOs, and Wild Alaskan Salmon has the least amount of mercury of almost any fish.
Cost...Can We Afford It?
It may seem that farmed salmon are cheaper than the real thing. The price per pound may indeed be less. However, we can't really afford farmed salmon. There is actually a Net Loss with Farmed salmon. How so? Salmon is carnivorous and need to eat fish. The fish farms instead feed them pellets of fish meal and fish oil (and added coloring agents to give their flesh that orange glow that we are accustomed to seeing on salmon) and this fish meal food is made up of, you guessed it, wild fish. Instead of making the fish venture off to find their food naturally, we are giving them free processed man-made fish meal. It takes about 8 tons of wild fish to make up only 1 ton of fish oil for their feed. That 8 tons of wild fish would have fed a lot many more fish in it's natural state. Therefore it takes almost 3 tons of fish to make 1 ton of farmed salmon. This is diminishing our resources of wild fish. There is a real problem that there may not be enough fish to create the fish meal. They are now looking into alternative sources of protein and colorings to make them seem "real" to the consumers. Plans are in the works to force this carnivorous fish into becoming vegetarian. Of course, there are no studies on the effects this will have on the fish or on the value of the fish as food for us.
Plus the fish aren't eating their natural food. They are being "forced" to eat ground up fish that are highly contaminated. Farmed salmon also has "significantly hither concentrations of PCBs, Dioxin, and other cancer-causing contaminants that salmon caught in the wild" according to a new study.
We also know that farmed fish don't have the same valuable omega 3 as wild salmon. How much more do we need to consume (and purchase) in order to get those Essential Fatty Acids? That alone should cause us to pause over the cost. At the very basics, we eat for nutrition. That is being washed down. Farmed fish are not nearly as healthful for us.
At present, farmed salmon presents a tremendous stress on our delicate aquatic ecosystem. This means less fish for us as consumers and less fish for our oceans, which in turn affects other fish as well as plant, algae, and other living creatures of the ocean. How much more will we spend to try and correct this problem in tax dollars and consumer dollars? It's more expensive to harvest farmed salmon.
Furthermore, farmed fish are in overcrowded pens in the ocean who live in feces infested waters. They are ridden with sea lice. This spoils the surrounding marine life and fish migrating (like wild salmon) past the pen. Since they live in such close proximity, farmed fish are fed antibiotics to ward off infection which could wipe out the entire lot. They are given other drugs also. This takes a toll on the surrounding aquatic life as well as on us consumers. Farmed salmon have more antibiotics administered by weight than any other form of livestock.
Atlantic salmon is being farmed in the Pacific. Atlantic salmon is actually not a natural species of salmon to the Pacific Ocean. They are escaping from their nets (or being let free, especially when there is a sickness in the pen so that the "fishermen" can avoid a fine and avoid a costly clean up - they are fined if they let them free officially but they are not if they "escape" and that way any additional costs to clear up a disease are also eliminated) and are wreaking havoc on the delicate ecosystem. They can spread disease. Many are genetically modified to grow quickly so they eat more. The farmed salmon that escape are causing the demise of the Wild Pacific Salmon. Millions "escape" every year.
Farmed fishing is not sustainable fishing. Farmed fishing is damaging to our environment and our future.
And who do we trust to get wild salmon? To add another layer to our frustration, now we must know our source is reputable.
According to recent testing done for the New York Times in March 2005, most supermarkets that offer "wild" salmon are really selling farmed salmon with a heftier price tag! (Farmed goes for $5 - $12/lb while Wild can go for $29/lb.) The NY Times tested for artificial color in the salmon! And it's not necessarily the fault of the store, people have seen truckloads of fish get remarked as wild and sent out across the stores. Information gathered from www.deliciousorganics.com
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It is true. Kosher slaughtering at these large food processing plants are unethical and do not follow the spirit of Jewish law at all. Cattle are lead one behind the other, are allowed to see other cows being cut, blood is all over the floor, and by no means is it painless or instant. Now I know my audience and many of you probably think that I am just too out there and thus you may feel able to negate what I have to say. Don't be foolish. Have you ever asked yourself, "where does my meat come from?" It is not from that beautiful little farm pictured so idyllically on your package. To keep your attention I will just let you know there are alternatives to hormone laden, antibiotic ridden, cruel kosher meat. See these sites, sign up, and VOTE with your money. The more money that goes to farmers to grass feed, and take time to raise animals, the less money will go to the others. We can change things.
KOL Foods and KOL Foods West: Putting kosher and ethical back on the same plate by making grass-fed, organic-raised and local meat available to kosher (and non-kosher) consumers.
Providing: Lamb and Beef
KOL Foods is available in:
- Washington, DC
- Philadelphia, PA
- Baltimore, MD
- South Orange, NJ
- White Plains, NY
- Forest Hills, NY
- Durham, NC
- Manhattan, NY
- Cherry Hill, NJ
- Providence, RI
- Coming soon – Northern VA, Chicago, Minneapolis and other Midwest cities – see the Kol Foods website for additional updates.
Contact: Devora Kimelman-Block 917-864-7965
Hekhsher: Star-K Hashgacha or Vaa’d Harabanim of Greater Washington (glatt kosher)
KOL Foods West is available in:
- California and Western States
Contact: Roger Studley 510-604-2607
Mitzvah Meat/Mindful Meat: Providing grass-fed and finished, naturally-raised, humanely-slaughtered meat to kosher (and halal/unkosher) consumers from local Hudson Valley farmers.
Provides: Beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, cheese (seasonal), honey (seasonal)
- New York
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
Contact: Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein
Hekhsher: Rabbi Boruch Lesches (Lubavitch) (glatt kosher)
Kosher Conscience: The founding philosophy of Kosher Conscience is the humane treatment of the animal at every stage of life (free- or pasture-raised and grass fed; safely transported; slaughtered humanely and painlessly) and providing Kosher, ethical meat.
Providing: Beef and Poultry
- New York Metropolitan area
Contact: Simon Feil
Hekhsher: private Hashkacha from the shochet
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Are the ingredients in your kids' lather-uppers fooling you?
- Faking out nasty chems. Conventional kids' shampoos often contain cancer-linked petrochems and the toxic foaming agents such as SLES or SLS. Our picks use essential oils and herbal extracts to gently clean hair.
- No clean-water fraud. Synthetic chems in regular shampoos, such as parabens and phthalates, can get through water purification filters and into drinking water.
- Jurlique Baby's Gentle Shampoo & Body Wash - hypoallergenic, lightweight multipurpose cleanser scented with biodynamically grown lavender ($21/6.7 ounces).
- Erbaviva Baby Shampoo - ultramild with olive oil and wheat protein to cleanse; lightly scented with lavender and chamomile ($17/6 ounces).
- Sparklehearts Shine Shampoo - organic ingredients; rosemary extract brings hair shine and body; pansy flower extract protects locks from sun damage ($13/10 ounces).
- Erbaorganics Baby Shampoo - made with 77% certified-organic ingredients; oats and olive oil clean hair, and lavender, chamomile, and mandarin leaves soothe scalp ($12/6 ounces).
- California Baby Shampoo (I use this one!) -
- Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
- No fragrance, scent masking agents, clear formula chemicals, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or DEA
- Safe and gentle, no tears; no numbing agents.
- Non-irritating and non-chemical formula
- For people with allergies and those who cannot tolerate fragrance
- May be used by those following a homeopathic regimen
- Two products in one; use head-to-toe
- Great for babies, kids or adults with super sensitive skin
- Non-stripping of natural oils
- Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Want the right stuff to ward off summer sunburns?
- Taking a safe step (by step). Conventional UV blocker chemoxybenzone allows other toxins found in standard 'screens to seep into your bloodstream through your skin. These picks block rays using nontoxic minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
- No false(tto) fragrances. Conventional sunscreens often contain perfumes, a source of VOCs and hormone-disrupting phthalates. Eco-'screens use essential oils for scent.
- Oh, oh, ohhhh so much better for marine life. Common chems in regular sunscreens wash off swimmers and destroy our coral reefs. These steer clear of the stuff.
- Vivesana Solar to Polar Baby SPF 42 - lightweight block that spreads easily without whitish residue; botanical oils and extracts protect skin from dryness ($32/2.25 ounces.)
- Soléo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 - 'screen with grape-seed oil base; no additives means that it separates, so mix it in your palm a bit before applying ($27/2.6 ounces).
- California Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 - creamy lotion that rubs in well; with antioxidant green tea and lemongrass scent ($18/2.9 ounces).
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30 - developed to weather Aussie sun (but made in the United States); cap changes color in UV light ($9/3 ounces).
- Avalon Organics Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 18 - sweet-smelling, inexpensive option made with chamomile, great for sensitive skin; leaves a bit of a white sheen ($6/3.5 ounces).
Head in the Sand-als - Beach Week
- Burying less in landfills. Americans generate almost 300 million scrap tires a year, but recycle fewer than 7%. Some of these sandals divert a few from the dump.
- Not hiding behind synthetics. Many conventional flip-flops are made with petroleum-based synthetic rubber. Sustainable finds often use natural rubber (yup, from a tree), hemp, and organic cotton.
- Acknowledging good business. These shoes are walking the talk, since the companies that make them sponsor beach cleanup projects and take back old pairs to recycle 'em.
- Patagonia Kids' Cygnet - recycled rubber outsole, inner, and midsole and eco-tanned (according to ISO 14001 standards) suede upper; in green, pink, and blue; sizes toddler 10-3 and kid 4-6 ($35).
- Planet Flops - made with sustainably tapped natural rubber from a managed Brazilian rain forest; in five colors; send old Planet Flops back for recycling and receive a 10% discount on the next pair; sizes toddler 10-13 and kid 1-4 ($24).
- Bakura Hemp Sandals - uppers and footbed made from 100% organic hemp canvas; sole made from a 100% recycled bicycle tires; in five colors; sizes toddler 6-10 ($23).
- Ocean Minded - fun striped and solid flip-flops made from recycled plastic bottles and car tires for boys and girls; OM organizes beach cleanups all over the world; sizes kid 4-13, junior 1-5 ($22).