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Category Archive for: ‘Food Safey’
Trust?

Who do you trust?  Who do you not trust? What is trust?  Who should we trust?

My big question is

“Why do we trust that the food in our stores is healthy for us to eat,  just because it is in a package or is sold by the store?”

Ever seen the words – All Natural, Supports the Immune System, Made with Real Fruit, Added Fiber, Low Sugar – or “only 90 calories per serving, then in small hard to find print 5 servings in this container – miss leading at best-  try added BS – jughandle

These are questions that intrigue and confuse me, but I’m easily confused.

Who do you trust?  

God, your parents, family, wife, dog, a few close friends, yourself?  I, most of the time, trust myself to do the right thing and to toe the line.  Maybe the bank, the government, the police, the insurance company you deal with, your broker, your local grocer? No? Yes?

Who don’t you trust?

Sad as it might seem, if you look into this with a microscope, then you might not trust any of those people listed above from time to time, nor should you. History plays a major roll in trust.  What have they done for, or to, you lately? Blind trust will only break your heart or worse.

What is trust?

Wikipedia defines Trust as follows:

In a social context, trust … a situation characterised by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other’s actions; he can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.

In the social sciences, the subtleties of trust are a subject of ongoing research. In sociology and psychology the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, fairness, or benevolence of another party. The term “confidence” is more appropriate for a belief in the competence of the other party. Based on the most recent research, a failure in trust may be forgiven more easily if it is interpreted as a failure of competence rather than a lack of benevolence or honesty. In economics trust is often conceptualized as reliability in transactions. In all cases trust is a heuristic decision rule, allowing the human to deal with complexities that would require unrealistic effort in rational reasoning.

Who should we trust? and to what “degree”

My late father used to say often, “don’t trust nobody, not even your papa.”  Dad was usually right, so I trusted him to have my best interest at heart. That only left me with a lonely conundrum.  But, and it is a large BUT, is the Santa Claus, Easterbunny, tooth fairy issue.  Weren’t those lies, or were they merely white lies … I digress.

 More to the Point

My point is that we sometimes question those we trust or love the most, but we seem to always trust the local grocer to sell ONLY healthy food for us to eat.  After all, if the stores sell it, it must be good or at least safe for me to eat.  If not, what are all the government regulations about?  Indeed!

NOT SO MUCH

In actuality, the only people that might trust the store are its share holders, and that trust is more about the bottom line than anything else.  The store is obligated to its shareholders (its owners) to make as much profit as possible.  In fact, the whole layout of the store is designed to get you to buy the high margin items. Ever question why the food you actually went there for is in the back of the store?   That means that they might turn a blind eye to anything that might be a high seller, but is still questionable as far as “health” goes.  The government’s rules and guidelines are like any other government “rule”;  a line to cross when ever possible by some, a line to question by others.  At best those rules are minimum standards that don’t fully protect anyone.  Some aren’t even completely researched.  At worse, the government makes rules based on lobbyist’s desires or compromise bills.

 Bottom Line

Follow my father’s simple rule -don’t trust nobody, but lets add – especially the food supply.   Buy organic whenever possible.  Eat less meat, more green vegetables.  Be creative.  Most of all read the freak’n labels and Question EVERYTHING – please, don’t trust me.  Do your own research, it will scare the hell out of you and you might join me running around with your hands in the air yelling, watch out for the bus. *– jughandle

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10 Suspect Causes of Autism

Autism.  Funny, I’ve never thought of myself as an alarmist.  You know, one of those guys that runs around shouting, “look out, look out”.  I still don’t.  I picture myself as someone that sees a population ready to be hit by a bus and I’m shouting, “look out for the bus”.  God, what are we supposed to do? I’m choosing to try and make a few people aware of the problems.

I do know that there has been an 80% increase in Autism and Learning Disabilities in the last few years and it CAN NOT be just genetics.  HELLO, IT HAS TO BE ENVIRONMENTAL! – Picture me running around with my arms in the air shouting, “look out for the bus, look out for the bus”.  For those out there that are a little slow to catch my lame metaphor, the bus is the industrial chemicals being pumped into our systems faster than nature can deal with them.  The result can only be disease, birth defects and species extinction.  Just look at the so called “empty hive” syndrome with the honey bees. -jughandle

The following is a great article from Rodale.com that points out just 10 of the potential causes:

10 Suspect Causes of Autism & Learning Disabilities

Researchers name chemicals suspected of causing autism and other serious disorders in children.
BY LEAH ZERBE

Autism risk: More than just genetics?

When it comes to autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities, genetics is only part of the story. In fact, in trying to figure out what causes autism, researchers are proving that environmental factors—everything from farm chemicals to soda and shampoo ingredients—could be permanently messing with children’s brain development. Today, in an unprecedented move, some of the world’s leading experts published a new list of highly suspect chemicals and heavy metals believed to be behind the surge in cases of autism and other neurodevelopmental diseases. “We have very powerful, very sophisticated tools we can use to measure chemicals at very low levels,” explains Phil Landrigan, MD, coauthor of the list and professor and chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. “It’s now possible to connect early exposure to problems in childhood.”

Dr. Landrigan says the goal of the list, published inEnvironmental Health Perspectives, is to inform more doctors and nurses about the environmental triggers of autism, to increase funding for more studies, and to ultimately change chemical regulation in this country to better protect our children.

1. Lead

This heavy metal has been shown to cause brain damage to developing babies, causing a lifetime of learning and health implications. Lead is also linked to depression in young adults.

Where is it? The powerful neurotoxin is most often found in old paint, but can also leach from older plumbing. (the fat farm recommends that every household have a reverse osmosis water filter for their drinking and cooking water.)

Avoid it! Refrain from removing old paint if you’re trying to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, or if small children are in the house. If you fear your water contains lead, call EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline for help. In the meantime, a diet low in fat and high in calcium and iron, with foods like low-fat dairy and leafy green vegetables, can help block some harmful lead exposure.

 

2. Mercury

The mercury created from coal-fired power plants winds up in rivers, streams, and oceans; the heavy metal is toxic to the brains of developing fetuses and could cause irreversible damage. (If you didn’t know, a large percentage of coal is piped into the plants via pipelines.  The coal is in the form of a slurry and something must be done with the water.  Huge retention ponds are formed to let the water seep back into the ground – yes, ground water and near by streams then carry the chemical containing water into our lakes and oceans for the fish to eat.  The older the fish the more mercury – jughandle)

Where is it? The damaging form of mercury accumulates in species of fatty fish that grow to be large and higher up the food chain; consuming these fish is the No. 1 source of human exposure. Mercury has also been detected in high-fructose corn syrup.

Avoid it! Choose healthier options from the superfish list, including wild-caught Alaskan salmon or Pacific wild sardines.

 

3. PCBs

Once used in electronics, PCBs bear the unfortunate distinction of never breaking down in the environment. And a little of them can do a lot of damage: Small doses can disrupt healthy nerve cell functioning and throw off the body’s natural calcium signaling, which could increase some children’s autism risk.

Where is it? PCBs are found all over the environment—and inside most of us. (it accumulates in the fat of our bodies and the meat we eat)

Avoid it! Eat lower on the food chain; PCBs accumulate in animal fat. Removing fish skin and trimming fatty parts of meat can help cut back on your family’s PCB exposure.

 

4. Organochlorine Pesticides

The now-banned DDT is the most notorious organochlorine pesticide, but others in its class remain in use and are implicated in birth defect and autism clusters.

Where is it? Mostly causing damage in farming communities, this type of bug-killing chemical has been linked to an increased risk in autism among children born to mothers living in high-spray agricultural areas.

Avoid it! Support organic farming to reduce your risk of eating pesticide residues, as well as to protect people who live near or work on chemical farm operations. Children’s greatest organochlorine exposure comes from conventional snap beans, tomatoes, and watermelons, so especially concentrate on sourcing these produce items organically.

5. Automotive Exhaust

Recent studies link air pollution from vehicle exhaust to memory problems, brain damage, and an increased risk of autism. A prior study found that children born to women living within 1,000 feet of major highways are twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism years later.

Where is it? In the air in areas exposed to heavy traffic.

Avoid it! Drive less or carpool to cut back on air pollution, commute during less busy hours, and if you live close to a major roadway, consider investing in a high-quality air purifier that does not produce ozone, such as IQAir models.

6. Brominated Flame Retardants

Created to slow down the rate of burning in the case of a household fire, flame retardants are largely useless and have been shown to actually hasten death from smoke inhalation. Over the long term, children born to mothers with high levels of these chemicals in their bodies have lower IQs and perform more poorly in mental and physical development testing.

Where is it? They’re found in furniture, electronics, certain sodas and sports drinks, and even household dust.

Avoid it! Avoid furniture that meets California’s TB117 law, a regulation that promotes the use of flame retardant chemicals. Be diligent about wet-mopping in the house and use a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum to reduce flame retardant–laced dust. Opt for natural flooring materials, not carpeting and carpet padding, which could harbor flame retardants. As for the beverage aisle, steer clear of Mountain Dew and certain Gatorade and Powerade flavors that list BVO—brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant—as an ingredient. (just another reason to limit your liquid intake to water)

7. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Carcinogens that are formed when meat is burned, PAHs are also among a category of 10,000 chemicals created from the burning of oil, garbage, coal, or wood. The compounds can damage DNA, hamper normal development, and impair fetal growth.

Where is it? Aside from burned meat, PAHs are abundant in coal-tar-based driveway sealants and anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, and mothballs.

Avoid it! Opt for nontoxic mothball alternatives, shun cigarette smoke, and look for safer driveway sealants that are free of coal-tar ingredients.

8. Organophosphate Pesticides

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide, is still one of the most widely used farm chemicals in the U.S.

Where is it? Banned from residential uses, this pesticide is still legal in agriculture, and residues have turned up on apples, bell peppers, cranberries, kale, grapes, peaches, and dozens of other foods.

Avoid it! Eat organic as often as possible. Studies have proven that pesticide levels in the body plummet when consumers switch to an organic eating regimen.

9. Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

Prenatal exposure to even tiny doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals could irreversibly alter a child’s health.

Where is it? Bisphenol A (BPA) and plasticizing chemicals called phthalates are prime suspects linked to socialization and aggression problems in children, along with stunted growth, learning disabilities, and lower IQ. These chemicals are used in hundreds of everyday products, including soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and air fresheners.

Avoid it! Keep BPA out of your system by avoiding canned foods and beverages, as well as No. 7 plastics. To reduce phthalate exposure, nix scented candles and air fresheners, and avoid personal care products that list “parfum” or “fragrance” as an ingredient.

10. Nonstick Chemicals

More studies cropping up suggest the convenience of nonstick cookware might not be worth the anticipated health costs: ADHD in children and high cholesterol and infertility issues in adults.

Where is it? In nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and certain stain-repelling fabrics used in carpeting and furniture.

Avoid it! When you start seeing scratches and chips in your nonstick cookware, replace it with safer American-made cast iron or untreated stainless steel. Also, pass on furniture and carpet treatments offering stain protection. (and never cook with your non stick pan on high- the coating will break down and become vaporized. – jughandle)

 

We ARE what we EAT – Are your kids red dye #40?

It was brought to my attention last night that I have been remiss in my reporting about food that children eat.  More like, food that parents feed children.

blue dye

I’m not a parent

Keep in mind that I am not a parent.  I am however a uncle and I love my nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, very much.  What is more important to a growing body and mind than what fuels their growth? Nothing!  Far from me to judge what a parent feeds their children.  Look what a young parent is up against.

First of all a young parent is new at everything.  There is no owners manual for a kid, only older family members, friends, self help books and human nature to provide a basis for keeping their child alive and hopefully making them thrive.  Young parents are many times, just getting married and are still learning who takes out the trash and who does the check book and whose mess is on the floor.  Then enters a child.  All bets are out the window.  Nothing matters except what is at hand; the life and well being of that new born.  What are you going to feed your baby?  You are going to go to the store, most likely hauling the child with you, and not being able to bend over, you are going to do exactly what the marketing people what you to do.  Are you going to read the label?  Hell no, not with a kid tugging at you.  You are going to buy the food on the shelf at eye level.  The highest margin products.  The colorful ones that the kids go oh, oh, oh and point at.  Maybe you’ll remember that you saw it on TV.  It must be OK then, right? Not so much.

National Advertising

National advertising from manufactures creates national peer pressure on parents.  While, I’m not a parent, I am an advertising major in school and worked with a graphic design group for several years and so is my wife.  Advertisers know exactly what children and therefore their parents are looking for.  Kids like bright colors, sweet stuff, things they see in bright loud ads but most of all, they want the stuff their friends have.

The manufactures have a responsibility to their board of directors, who have a responsibility to their share holders to make as much profit for the company as possible.  All companies have an ethical obligation to provide a product that won’t do immediate harm to its consumer and that is about as far as it goes.   But what if no studies have ever been done on an the long term effects of a food additive on growing children, but that additive has been used in the food industry for years with out many complaints?  It gets used until proven to be harmful.

Have you ever taken your child shopping with you (not really the best idea, but mostly unavoidable) and while you are picking out the product you intended to purchase, your child says, “no mommy, I want this one”?  That one is the bright colorful one right at their eye level.  Welcome to the world of consumer advertising.

You Are Responsible

You and only you are responsible for what YOU AND YOUR FAMILY eats.  Not the government.  They WILL NOT hold your hand.  I repeat.  This is on YOU!  You make the decision of what to put in your families bodies.  Contrary to many people’s belief’s, not everything for sale is good for you or even SAFE.  In this day and age of easy information, there is no excuse.  None!  I’m here to help.  Ask me a question.  please.  – jughandle

Too Much to Touch on

This topic is way too broad to even touch on all the important aspects.  What we’ll have to do is to delve into one of the most important HOT topics and move on later. Food coloring additives are a pet peeve of the Fat Farm and many of it’s Farmers.  That too is way to broad a topic to hit on so I’ll narrow it to one color at a time.

Red Dye

Red dye #40

 

Red Dye #40

Just to get your attention, I’m going to list just a few of the known side effects of this nasty color additive.

  • Impaired brain function
  • hyperactive behavior
  • difficulty focusing
  • lack of impulse control

Those are just the starters.  Don’t believe me?  Go to Healthy Living and read for yourself

These problems have been blamed on newly named syndromes and diseases like ADHD, ADD and others.  What came first the chicken or the egg?

If your child gets hyperactive after eating a sweet food.  Don’t blame it on the sugar any more, check out what color the food was.

Where are these dyes used?

EVERYWHERE!  Read the labels.  If you don’t have time to do the research, let me.  Send me a quick email or note on this blog telling me the name and brand of food you want me to research and I’ll do the math for all of us.  Better even than that – if you find a “good” food let me know and I’ll tell the world.  Shoot, I’ll write the president of the company and tell them we endorse their product.

What to look for

Look for labels that say things like – ALL NATURAL; NO BINDERS, NO ARTIFICIAL COLORS, DYES OR PRESERVATIVES

What are your kids eating for breakfast?

Breakfast, as we’ve always heard, is the most important meal of the day.  More so for children.  Research shows that children’s brain function improves up to 80% when they consume protein first thing in the morning. What are your kids eating for breakfast? A fruity bowl of sugar and Red 40?

List of Dyes and their health effects

 

Sources:

 

 

DYE
HEALTH EFFECTS
Amaranth
FD&C Red No.2
not allowed in U.S.
E 123 Europe
Angioedema
Pruritus
Urticaria
Unspecified subjective symptoms
Bronchoconstriction (combined with Ponceau, Sunset Yellow)
Erythrosine
FD&C Red No.3
E 127 Europe
Bronchoconstriction (combined with Brilliant Blue, Indigo Carmine)
Sequential vascular response
Elevation of protein-bound iodide
Thyroid tumors
Chromosomal damage
Unspecified symptoms
Ponceau
FD&C Red No.4
not allowed in U.S.
E 124 Europe
Bronchoconstriction (combined with Amaranth, Sunset Yellow)
Anaphylactoid reaction (combined with Sunset Yellow)
Chest heaviness
Neutral Red Contact dermatitis
Carmoisine
E 122 Europe
not in U.S.; information not available yet;
Red #2G
_128 Europe
not in U.S.; information not available yet
Citrus Red No.2 Cancer in animals
Used for dying skins of oranges
Allura Red AC
FD&C Red No.40
Tumors / lymphomas
Tartrazine
FD&C Yellow No.5
E 102 Europe
Allergies
Thyroid tumors
Lymphocytic lymphomas
Chromosomal Damage
Trigger for asthma
Urticaria (hives)
Hyperactivity (Rowe & Rowe, Egger, 1985)
Sunset Yellow
FD&C Yellow No.6
Urticaria (hives)
Rhinitis (runny nose)
Nasal congestion
Bronchoconstriction (combined with Amaranth, Ponceau)
Anaphylactoid reaction (combined with Ponceau)
Eosinophilotactic response
Purpura (bruising)
Allergies
Kidney tumors
Chromosomal damage
Abdominal pain
Vomiting
Indigestion
Distaste for food
Yellow #2G
_107 Europe
not in U.S.; information not available yet
D&C Yellow No.11 Contact dermatitis
Quinoline Yellow
D&C Yellow No.10
E 104 Europe
Contact dermatitis
Used in several different Ritalin tablets
Fast Green
FD&C Green No.3
Bladder tumors
Brilliant Blue
FD&C Blue No.1
Bronchoconstriction (combined with Erythrosine, Indigo Carmine)
Eosinophilotactic response
Chromosomal damage
Indigo Carmine
FD&C Blue No.2
E 132 Europe
Brain tumors
Bronchoconstriction (combined with Brilliant Blue, Erythrosine)
Evans Blue
CI Direct Blue 53
Dermatitis
Patent Blue Purpura (bruising)
Dermatitis
Unspecified subjective symptoms
Gentian Violet
CI Basic Violet No.3
Contact dermatitis
Brown FK
_154 Europe
not in U.S.; information not available yet
Brown HT
_155 Europe
not in U.S.; information not available yet
Black PN
E 151 Europe
not in U.S.; information not available yet
E 320 Europe BHA
E 321 Europe BHT
E 211 Europe Sodium Benzoate
E 250 Europe Sodium Nitrite
E 251 Europe Sodium Nitrate
_621 MSG Monosodium Glutamate

 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Oh God, I could go on and on about this and I will another time, but I don’t want to lose you.  Please start by simply eliminating Red dye from your family’s diet.  What the hell, remove yellow dye too!  See if you can tell a difference.  More to come – jughandle

 

 

 

Cross Shrimp Off Your Party List

I just read a disturbing report titled “5 Reasons To Never Eat Shrimp Again” From Prevention Mag’s blog.

Shrimping has changed

Mostly gone are the days of Bubba Gump’s shimp boats with nets.  Now, picture huge nets in the ocean supported by colorful plastic boxes, or even more commonly, dozens of rice paddy like ponds filled with shrimp.  Easy catch, easily processed by hundreds of underpaid, government subsidized workers.

shrimp-farm  Shrimp farm aerial original.jpg  shrimpfarms608

This process is known as shrimp farming.  Farming shrimp began in the 1970 and has grown rapidly mostly in Asian countries such as Thailand.  Here in lies the problem.  The majority of shrimp purchased in the US has been imported from these overseas farms.  Because the shrimp are “farmed” in foreign countries, the US has little or no control over the conditions the shrimp are raised in and ultimately the quality and safety of the shrimp.

Chemicals

In order to increase the profitability of the farms, shrimp are packed into shallow ponds while ingesting their own waste materials.  Complete “crops” of shrimp can be lost to disease or parasites.  To prevent these expensive loses farmers dose the ponds with high levels of antibiotics and pesticides.  These chemicals, many times, are ones currently banned for use in the United States.  If you are counting on the FDA to protect you, think again.  According to a 2011 report, only 1% of imported seafood is tested for these chemicals.

Feed Lots

Do these methods of growing protein sound familiar?  They do to me.  It is exactly like cattle fed lots and fowl houses.  Animals are packed into small areas where they graze, walk and even feed on their own waste.  When conditions cause disease, no problem, just dose them with antibiotics and when the feces attract flies, tics, fleas, lice, mites and other disease carrying pests, again, no problem, just spray them all with pesticides.

cattle-feedlot-002 cattle-feedlot-spray Chicken-farm-11-29-111 Chicken spraying

Global Warming

You may wonder, as I did, how shrimp farming can contribute to global warming.  It seems that since the 1970’s shrimp farming has proven so profitable that the major farming countries, Thailand, Ecuador, Indonesia, China, Mexico and Vietnam have been cutting down their mangrove forests to make room for more ponds.  Mangrove forests absorb more carbon dioxide than any other ecosystem in the world, including the rain forests.  Not only that, but mangroves are breeding grounds for all types of sea creatures and their extensive root system prevents erosion during storms.

The Wild-caught Alternative

So, I will just eat wild-caught shrimp, just as I only eat wild-caught salmon.  Not so fast.  Wild-caught shrimping is extremely wasteful.  For every pound of shrimp caught, there can be as much as 5 pounds of by-catch, which are other species caught in the nets.  Much is written about the endangered turtles being killed by these nets so I won’t go on.  Looks like I will be giving up shrimp all together.  Crayfish are almost the same thing and can be farmed in the US.  Crayfish are bottom feeders and live in fresh water.

We Need To Stop Eating Sea Food

My job is to point out to you the problems I find.  Your job is to prove me right or wrong or ask me enough questions to more deeply explore the problem.  I have pointed out that the problem is little or no regulation on imported sea food of all kinds to this country.  I’m telling you to stop eating all imported and wild caught sea food.  Your turn. – jughandle

Do your own research, prove me wrong, please prove me wrong, because I’m seeing this as a serious problem!

 

 

The Elephant In The Room
Big boy in the room

The elephant in the room

The elephant.  Ever been in a room full of people and everyone there knows they have a “big” something to talk about but no one wants to be “that guy” who first mentions “the Elephant in the Room”?

I have come to the point where I am both “that guy” and I am also “the Elephant in the Room”, quite literally.

Recent Past

I have been posting this blog for over 3 years.  My posts have been health and quality of life related for the most part.  I have tried not to be preachy, choosing to take the high road and “suggest” that we as a group or generation, or even society, are slowly killing ourselves with our food choices and dietary habits.  I’ve tried to locate alternative choices and explore diets ranging from vegan to the South Beach diet.  I have never asked you to do anything that I haven’t tried first.  I have dug deeply into any possible side effects or physical changes that might result from maintaining any type of diet.  I have shed light on food additives such as HFCS, flavor enhancers and color additives.  I told you that if you avoid these things you could not only live a healthier life but enjoy your remaining time on earth more.   Now it is time for me to pay the piper.

hospital photo

Condition

I am not going to labor on my various physical factors that may or may not have gotten me to the point of being the Elephant.  Doesn’t matter.  I am the result of what I have eaten and have not burned off over a period of years.  Yes I, as most people in the world, have challenges that make my path to a leaner me more difficult, but that only makes my choices more interesting.

human with head in sand ostrich with head in sand

Ostrich Inflicted People Stop Here

If you have the ostrich syndrome and have your head buried in the sand or even live on the Egyptian river De-Nile, Stop reading now.  BUT before you do, take off your clothes and stand in front of a mirror and ask your self  “self, is this the way I want to look for the rest of my life?

Elephant-Friend-1920x1080

Note To Friends and Family

If you are still reading then there might be hope for us yet.

I have to say that as I have been getting larger not a single person has given me grief about my weight.  Honestly, I don’t remember a single negative remark, which tells me three things.

  1.  Either I am such a mean SOB that people are afraid to make suggestions to me of that nature
  2. My friends and family don’t care about me.  (I know for a fact this one is not true, in fact I feel that they love me very much)
  3. My friends and family see a broken, fat, old, once at the top of his game, man and feel sorry for him.

Personally I’m pretty sure it is a combination of #1 and 3.

Not a single person in the world (correct me if I am wrong) looks in the mirror and can see the real image being projected.  I’m not sure why that is, but we all tend to see ourselves as we would like us to be, with a little fudge factor thrown in.

Please don’t read into this that I am blaming my friends and family for not telling me I was getting fat.  I don’t.  In fact I totally believe in taking full responsibility for, not only our own actions, but the results of our inaction.

The Piper To Pay

My piper weighed 308 lbs as of December 11, 2013.  Yep, that is one hell of a piper and he now has his hand out and wants to be paid!

elephand eating

Method

As a result of my 3 years of blogging about diets ranging from no meat, no carbs, no protein, no soda, no starches to all soup, all protein, all carbs, all water, and many variations in between, I have become completely convinced  that the diet that will work best for all of us is a balanced diet, mostly vegetables, avoiding additives, processed food and drinking lots of water.  Ever heard that before?  One thing I feel is very important to our digestive tract is to vary our diet.  This is important because our system can adjust to almost anything and in order to flush the toxins we take in we need to surprise our system with different food on a regular basis, lol.

poop

Keeping Track

So, all of that said, I will be eating any food I would like but in balanced amounts.  I will regulate and lose weight by limiting my intake to between 1890 and 2240 calories per day.  Of those calories, 50-60 percent will be carbohydrates, mostly complex carbs.  12-20 percent will be protein and 30 percent will be fat, mostly unsaturated fats.

I will use a free on line program to track my food, water and exercises called www.sparkpeople.com

elephant-painting-itself1

Goal – Stage 1

Sparkpeople has calculated, that for me to lose down to 250 lbs, my stage 1 goal by July 1, 2014, I need an in-take of between 1890 and 2240 calories per day.  That shouldn’t be hard.  If I crave things, I will eat them, but only under my limits.

Elephant-with ball

Join Me – or Not

This is for me.  Join me, I’d love it.  Tell me your problems, challenges, successes.  Or Not.  You can blow this off as another lame jughandle blog.  (then why are you reading this)

If you see me, make fun of me, congratulate me or ignore me.  Your choice.  A ride is always more fun with a companion.

I will post pictures and stories about things I discover.  It will be another adventure!

herd of elephants

Day 1 Results

Calories – 1097

Carbs – 146 g

Fat – 38 g

Protein – 41 g

8 oz glasses of water – 5

Weight gain or loss – Lost 3 #

Current weight of Piper – 305#

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kidney Stones

Some of you are aware that I have been suffering from kidney stones for the last 2 years.  I also have a birth defect where I only have one functioning kidney.  When I get a stone that achieves sufficient size to become lodged in my ureter, or urethra, I am in serious trouble.  Different pain for each location, but the result is always the same – 4 to 12 hours of intense back and stomach pain followed by a rush to the hospital ER almost always at night and/or on the weekend.  Then CT scan (I’ve had 38 in my life) followed by a visit by the attending only to tell me the stone size and location and that a nurse will give me pain meds until my doctor can perform a scope procedure in the morning some time.  By the time I get to the OR the next day I’m willing to do anything.  The pain meds don’t do crap.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Even morphine only lasts minutes at best.  Really the only relief I get is to induce vomiting, I don’t know why.  This has happened 6 times in the last 2 years.  4 times this year alone.  Oh yeah, I’m self insured, which is another story for another day.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Oh by the way.  If you do happen to have two functioning kidneys, chances are the ER will just send you home until you pass the stone if it isn’t too big to pass.

hospital photo   scope

The Procedure


My urology group has 12 doctors practicing, all of which I would trust with my life (I’ve used 6 of them).  They range in age from just out of school, I’m guessing 30-32 to about to retire, 60-65.  I mention their age because interestingly enough the younger doctors are usually better at this video game like procedure than the older ones.  They have to be able to remotely search for  any problem and grab the stone(s) with the tong and either remove the stone or use a laser to break the stone up into more manageable sizes.  All of this has to be done quickly, because the activity causes the ureter to swell around the tool.  Finally, prior to exit, because of the swelling, a stint, roughly 20 inch long is placed in the kidney to extend down the ureter into the bladder to keep the ureter open while it heals.

Now if you are following me and are quick, you might be thinking how the heck are they going to get that stint out?  Ah yes, turns out there are two ways.  One way which I have experienced 5 times, is to have a string attached to the stint that continues from the bladder out the urethra and is taped to my privates.  After 3 or 4 days I go back to the doctors office and the PA (physicians assistant), un-tapes the string and pulls like crazy to remove it.  Believe me it is a rush and not in a good way.  The second way, which I recently experienced, is to have no string but to be scoped again with another device in an outpatient procedure, while NOT under sedation, to grab and remove by pulling everything out.  I had the stint in my kidney for 5 months.  I couldn’t do anything but lay flat on my back and stare at the ceiling.  The pain of the removal was short comparably.

I usually awaken to the smiling face of the recovery nurse telling me to take deep breaths.  The anesthesia doesn’t make me as sick as it used to.  I’m close with a first rate anesthetist.

I am writing this blog not to complain about my pitiful plight, but to tell you about the cure that my doctor and I discovered, at least for me.

The Cause

There are at least 5 different types of kidney stones that form in different sizes and shapes.  No one really can put a finger on what happens to the body to trigger this situation other than the body chemistry changes.  In my case, we have found that I had been screwing around with my diet to try and improve my health and did just the opposite.  I made my blood and urine pH (potential hydrogen), which is the measure of acid or alkalinity, to become very acidic (pH of 5)to the point of acidosis .  This condition caused the balance of oxilate, calcium and uric acid to be completely thrown off in my blood and urine.  Instead of combining with the calcium in my body to be removed in my stool, the extra uric acid, in my case, formed stones in my joints and kidney.  In extreme cases stones can also form in your brain.  In the joints its called Gout.  In the kidney it causes back pain (that’s were the kidneys are) and radiating stomach pain.  It’s when the stones break loose that the real trouble starts.

phtestigenstripsph - ion

The Solution

During my last procedure 5 months ago, the doctor broke up 2 large stones which he couldn’t remove because of their size and location.  He thought the stones looked like uric acid stones.  That was the good news.  Uric acid stones can some times be dissolved if the urine pH can be consistently maintained at 7 pH or above.  I took potassium citrate pills for 5 months and eventually a CT showed that the stones had indeed dissolved.

water from the tap

Long Term and Prevention

I know much of what I post falls on deaf ears.  This will never happen to you, will it?  I continue to post for the same reason that I would yell a warning at some one who was in the path of an approaching bus.

  • Drink lots of neutral clean water (I drink a gallon a day)
  • Eat mostly green vegetables or other alkaline foods (limes and lemons are surprisingly processed in the body as alkaline)
  • When you eat protein eat a little dairy with it, but limit proteins to 3 or 4 meals per week.
  • Test your urine with pH test strips weekly to avoid problems.
  • Learn about how to maintain a body and diet that is above 6.5 pH
  • Don’t eat sugar, sugar and anything else results in an acidic pH
  • most of all don’t believe me – do the research yourself

 

Bee Deaths Affect Our Crops

Our Bees are dying at an alarming rate.  Actually dying is the wrong word to use.  The Bees are vanishing, like something out of a science fiction movie.  If you haven’t heard about this problem yet, please let me bring you up to date.

Colony Collapse Disorder

DEAD_BEES_0930_rdax_676x456

The phenomena is known as “Colony Collapse Disorder”.  Bees have vanished in huge numbers to the point that crops such as almonds, avocados, blueberries, pears, plums and apple crops may fail THIS YEAR, as a result of nothing more than not being pollinated.  That’s right, no blight, pests or weather problems, just a lack of Bees.  The photo above is an unusual occurrence of a colony of dead bees.  Most of the time the colony just disappears.  It seems that bees are so smart that if they know or sense something is wrong with them they will basically commit suicide so not to infect the colony.

 

Experts Don’t Have A Clue

Oh sure, there are people who have good educated guesses at what might be causing the problem, but nobody knows for sure.  Could be pesticides, GMOs, a bacteria or a virus or a combination of all of those things.

 

Bee Keepers

truck of bees

bee trucks

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you think of bee keepers, most people envision a person in a funny white outfit harvesting honey from hives.  Bee keeping has made it to the “big business” scale.  There are bee keepers who travel the country in multiple tractor trailer rigs full of bees.  They hire out to large farmers for specific periods of time to let their bees loose on the farm to pollinate the crops at just the right time.

Crops

avocado tree

Hass avocados ripening

Almond tree in bloom

Almond Tree in Bloom

blueberry2 (1)

Blueberry Bush

 

Imagine no more blueberries, almonds or avocados this year

 

So, how can we save the bees?

The following is from an article in the Food Renegad written by KristenM

1. We should err on the side of the environment, rather than on the side of economic profits for the pesticide industry, and immediately ban neonicotinoids.

2. We should encourage and support local beekeepers feeding their bees honey rather than HFCS. Heck, why not start keeping your own bees?

3. We should plant bee-friendly flowers and allow the pollinators free reign in our lawns and gardens instead of immediately trying to kill any nearby hives.

4. We can encourage and support the work of researchers trying to breed sturdier bees.

The report recommends stepping up efforts to identify genetic traits in particular bees that make them resistant to suspected causes of CCD. Some honey bees, it turns out, take “suicidal risks” when infected with disease to prevent spreading the contagion to the colony.

The report also suggests importing Russian honey bees and other “Old World” bees to diversify bee breeding stock and build up CCD resistance. Scientists already have begun to stockpile bee semen and germplasm in case the worst comes to pass.
(source)

All of this together may not be enough. There are still too many unknown variables — like GMO crops where the plant itself is registered as an insecticide with the EPA.

Who can say what the long-term effect of these crops is on the honey bee population? Perhaps they are like neonicotinoids — initially appearing safe, but ultimately weakening the bees across generations.

Conclusion

As always let logic be your guide.  If you’ve never gotten behind a “cause” before, this might just bee the one to start with.  Call your local and state representatives and tell them you are worried.  They all have phone numbers with answering machines to record your concerns.  Heck, sometimes a real person will answer.  Call your extension service and ask what you can do to help.  Write me and tell me you are concerned and I’ll pass it along – jughandle