Is it OK to eat that?!

Lately it seems that we keep hearing about produce or meat recalls due to one of the many types of bacterial contamination.  Or that lead, antimony or mercury is found in unsafe quantities in our kid’s juice. Our ocean’s are polluted and the fish aren’t safe to eat. Tap water is not a viable option for the most part due to chlorine, flouride, and numerous other contaminates that leach into the supply. You know, growing your own garden, raising farm animals and digging a well is about your best option these days…unless you live in a populated city like Los Angeles. 

We live is such an area and I’m constantly having to research what foods are not only healthy for our bodies, but which ones to look out for that are not. I recently saw another article on this subject by Prevention Magazine and it summed up some of the most important foods to eat “clean” or avoid altogether. Here is a summary of their article that lists seven foods to avoid:

  1. Canned tomatoes. The lining of the cans they come packaged in contain bisphenol-A (BPA) and the acidity of the tomatoes cause it to leach into the food. BPA is a synthetic hormone that wreaks havoc in the human body. Can’t live without your canned tomatoes? Suggestion: buy them in glass containers or grow your own.
  2. Corn-fed beef. Not sure if you know this or not, but cattle evolved from eating grass, not grains. They don’t graze on corn fields or soybean plants. It’s grass…green, unfertilized, grass. Grass fed beef is richer in the good omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E, A and minerals. Corn-fed beef is high in omega-6 which is pro-inflammatory and proven to increase cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risks. Suggestion: buy grass fed beef and if it’s too costly, eliminate it from your diet. You’ll do just fine without it.
  3. Microwave popcorn. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not for a lot of people. We have really gotten lazy and dependent on instant gratification. At least that’s what packaged food manufacturers think of us. Chemicals line the bag (shocker!) vaporize and migrate into the popcorn as it heats and pops. These chemicals stay in your body and accumulate there. Another factor that contributes to cancer risks. Suggestion: pop your own on the stove top in a pot, the old fashioned way. Or buy an air popper. It’s infinitely less expensive and you can control how much salt and butter to put on it.
  4. Non-organic potatoes. Root vegetables absorb pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are in the soil. Potatoes are treated with fungicides while growing then sprayed with herbicides after harvested. If potato farmers won’t eat conventionally grown potatoes they grow and sell themselves, then you know it’s bad. Suggestion: buy organic. Don’t compromise on this one. Washing the potato does not remove the chemicals that absorb into the flesh.
  5. Farmed salmon. Atlantic salmon is farmed in crammed pens and fed soy, antibiotics, hormones and dye to make it’s sick flesh pink. There are high levels of antibiotics, pesticides and other contaminates in the fish that outweigh the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Suggestion: buy wild, fresh, Alaskan salmon when in season. When it’s not, buy canned salmon that is from wild Alaskan salmon.
  6. Milk produced with artificial hormones. Avoid all dairy, not just milk that is made from cattle treated with the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). These hormones increase milk production in cattle, are passed on into the milk and leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in milk. In humans, high levels of IGF-1 increases risks of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. It’s pro-inflammatory, and cell inflamation feeds cancer growth. Suggestion: buy milk and dairy with the label rBGH/rBST free or organic milk. A lot of dairy farmers produce milk without these hormones, so it’s easy to find.
  7. Conventional apples. Yes, that means any apple that is not organically grown. It’s one of the “dirtiest” fruits grown. The high level of pesticides are sprayed on them due to their inability to develop a resistance to pests. Recent studies have shown that higher level of pesticides in children contributes to ADHD and Parkinson’s disease as adults. Suggestion: buy only organic apples and applesauce. The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was coined long before we grew pesticide laden fruit.

We need to take care of our health by first feeding our bodies good, healthy foods that aren’t artificially produced or poisoned with chemicals. Today’s consumer need to be aware of the dangers in certain food supplies and stay educated in making good food choices. We can’t leave our health and well-being up to the food manufactures and FDA. They are not looking out for our best interest. Only you can do that for you and your family.

To read the extended article referenced above, click on this link:


My Mother Made Me Take Cod Liver Oil And I Lived To Tell About It.

(third in a series of three Old Wives Tales)

“UGH! That’s nasty!”  Children of all generations have probably uttered those remarks after a teaspoon of cod liver oil. My mother made me and my siblings drink it. And it wasn’t flavored way back then. Nowadays you can get it lemon, strawberry or orange flavored. Still smells and tastes sorta bad. But boy oh boy, is it good for you!

I would have never dreamed that I’d be putting my kids through that horrid childhood rite of passage: taking cod liver oil. My mother swears it’s good for you; and as it turns out, it IS really good for you.  Thanks to the recommendation from my wonderful Defeat Autism Now doctor, Eric Sletten, MD., I am passing along this tradition to another generation of children that take cod liver oil. Why?

Oh, let me tell you all the wonderful benefits of cod liver oil. (no, taste is not one of them!)

  • Cod Live Oil is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Our brain’s neurons are comprised of 60-70% fat; so it needs the good fats, like Omega fatty acids, not trans fats.
  • Our bodies cannot produce Omega fatty acids, so we must get them through our diet and supplementation.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are utilized by our eyes, brain, heart, joints, digestive system and many other tissues and systems.
  • Cod liver oil is high in vitamins A and D. Vitamin A assists in bone and tooth formation, as well as nerve and eye functions. Vitamin D boosts our immune system as well as regulating our calcium and phosphorus levels to keep our bones healthy.
  • Omega-3 improves your ability to concentrate as well as your energy level.
  • Through it’s anti-inflammatory effects, cod liver oil is a promising treatment for arthritis sufferers.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils keep platelets in the blood from sticking together, which reduces blood clotting and lowers the risk for heart attacks. They may also provide protection by reducing inflammation in the blood vessels.
  • Omega-3s help with mood disorders, such as depression.
  • When combined with the mineral selenium, cod liver oil may prevent middle ear infections in children. Research has shown that children with middle ear infections are deficient in three things: selenium, vitamin A and EPA, which is an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid.

Now you may not realize that cod liver oil is also available in soft gels. They are easy to swallow and the taste and smell is disguised by the citrus flavor in the gel cap.  There are many varieties of omega-3 supplements on the market today. For my family, we take one high in DHAs and EPAs.

DHA is a major structural component for our nerves and brains. It assists with brain and eye development, which is why it’s recommended during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

I have to admit, my mother is pretty happy that I am heeding her advice. She may not have had the same reasons for giving me cod liver oil as I do for my sons, but the benefit is the same. After all these years, I am going to be passing along my mother’s “old wives tales” to my children and future generations. And happy to say, you too can take cod liver oil, and live to tell about.

Read the first in the series of “Old Wives Tales” here:

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