Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's that old Autism thing again. Now, the new and improved mindless drivel, with supporting numbers!!!!

There was this old old fifties movie version of Spartacus, where the hero was beaten down time after time, only to fight back again and again, only to eventually beat his tormentors and become top dog roman guy.  Well, that isn't me.  I'm no Spartacus, but I do lick my wounds, and write these little essays about what I want to.  And I do look up all the stuff before hand.  And yes, I do tend to look at scientific studies that have been done that are in agreement with some, (SOME) of my beliefs.  So, last evening I was blasted about my beliefs and how I don't reference my research nor back it up with actual numbers showing that any particular hypothesis has any validity in the REAL world.

I didn't think I had to do that.  I mean, look at the research, they spell it out for you and give lots of graphs and charts and tables with data.  Then they reach conclusions. And I just point it out to my readers.

But none the less, here again is my old list of nineteen PUBLISHED papers in PEER REVIEWED journals that basically all have determined that there is a STATISTICALLY significant probability that vaccines have some sort of role in the onset of autism.  (The Nineteen Papers)  I'm not going to bore anyone with long detailed charts and graphs of data, if you're interested, look them up.  Believe me, they are dry and boring.

So, now we come to what is perceived to be the actual cause of Autism, genetics.  Or so I was told.  As we look at research and just go to one site that summarizes research to date we see what role genetics plays.  (The real experts here on neurological stuff)  This site is from the NIH or the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  I haven't figured out the acronym either, but maybe that's part of it all.  Anyway, these guys tell us that genetics plays a small part in onset of autism.  In studies with twins, when one is diagnosed, there is a 90% chance the second will be as well.  Hmmm, not 100% as we might imagine, but there are those environmental triggers I always talk about.  But when we see siblings, we see that if one is diagnosed, there is a 5% chance that other siblings will be diagnosed as well.  That's 1 in 20.  The national average right now for the general population is 1 in 50.  Here again, we do see that genetics probably has a defining role in onset of autism.  As I have often stated, it is NOT the defining role.  There are NO scientists anywhere that will categorically state that any child diagnosed with autism was predisposed to be autistic from conception. 

Then again, there is that aging eggs and sperm syndrome that has been thrust at me that along with genetics, the two in combination are the only causative factors determining if a child will be diagnosed with autism.  (Real life Examples) Is the link to my search for info on this subject.  Yes, there is a statistically significant increase in autism diagnosis in first born children of older parents of both sexes.  It goes up quite a bit above the age of 35.  Curiously though, we see that the probability of second born and third born children (where the first born has autism) of older parents DO NOT have the higher rates of autism that the first born has.  Where is the link then to specificity of defining genetics and older parental age in determining that these factors are the cause of autism?  It doesn't exist at this time and with the studies done to date.

So, we can sort of go back to my premise, that vaccines might possibly be a trigger and that they, along with a whole host of environmental contaminates along with genetic predisposition (All right, I admit it CAN be a factor) are what brings about onset and diagnosis of autism.  The reasoning here is that vaccines contain things like methyl mercury, MSG, formaldehyde, aluminum salts and some even have sugar and artificial colors added.  These things are all, (well the first four) neurotoxins.  All that stuff is added so the vaccines can be warehoused for long periods of time.  Convenience for the manufacturers.  It's just that simple.  So, I was told that mercury is not toxic in small doses and therefore if vaccine contained them, the small amounts would not harm babies.  Wow, that is some rather convoluted thinking.  The wonderful FDA has told us that mercury is a cumulative neurotoxin and that we should not eat fish species at the top of the food chain for that very simple fact.  Let's repeat that for everyone MERCURY IS A CUMULATIVE NEUROTOXIN.  Not at all hard to believe.  And look at this, the FDA here in America has gone ahead and tested numerous samples of different fish and seafoods and they give us the amounts of Mercury present.  (FDA Mercury)  So, what this chart tells us is that if a person eats a 2 ounce portion of an average can of tuna, that person will in fact receive a dose of 5.9 micrograms of mercury.  That's a tiny amount indeed.  However, the FDA in fact recommends that pregnant women not eat canned tuna more than three times a month.  Why?  We know that methyl mercury as well as organic mercury pass right through the placenta and go right to the developing brains of unborn babies.  So, now let's look at this site, (CDC Excipient and Media Summary) it is a pdf file that shows the ingredients of most, well, many, of the common vaccines.  It was updated in September 2013.  Before that the 2012 edition showed a whole lot more of the common pediatric vaccines as containing Thimersol, the preservative that is 49% mercury by weight.  Public pressure has forced the manufacturers to try to find better alternatives to mercury, and they have (or they claim to have) removed it from many vaccines.  If we look at the amount of mercury that is present in the vaccines that still have mercury in them, (FDA Mercury in Vaccines List) we see that most of the standard dosages of the flu vaccines contained from 12.5 to 25 micrograms per dose.  I admit right now, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE AMOUNT OF MERCURY WAS IN VACCINES three or four years ago.  I can't find that on any legitimate website. (a few whacko ones list very high amounts) So I am at this time just estimating that from CURRENT manufacturers practices, the vaccines that were given to children from the early seventies up until four years ago when most of the mercury was removed; that most of the vaccines probably had similar amounts of mercury in them, or around 12.5 to 25 micrograms.  So, if we look at JUST the first SIX months of vaccines, that would involve direct injection of methyl mercury into a newborn's blood of between 237 and 475 micrograms of mercury.  That's like eating a two ounce piece of tuna twice a day for a month and a half to three months.  Is that a lot?  Remember the US government tells us that Mercury is cumulative, what gets injected into your baby at birth, at two months, at three months, at four, five and six months, remains in their brains.  Is it the cause of autism?  I don't have that answer.  Now that mercury is no longer an ingredient in most vaccines doesn't in any way diminish the fact that they still contain other neurotoxin that new born babies shouldn't have to process.

I will say it once again, every other industrialized country on this planet has a lower rate of autism than the US does, and each and every one of those countries mandates fewer vaccines in the first 2 to 4 years of a child's life.  Most of those same countries have far far lower rates of infant mortality.  Even Cuba has lower rates than the US.  Is this a coincidence?  There again, for those wanting to see the figures, (CDC on infant mortalityy)  These facts alone make me tell people that even thought they don't believe the whacko crazy people that preach about vaccines being the definitive cause of autism, that they should at least look at waiting until their baby is at least two years of age before giving them any vaccine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I'm a lot like my ex, when someone tells me I'm WRONG, I just ignore them.

Not such a weird statement if you ever met the woman.  Sigh, my nephew and I were just talking about her the other night, and I could not in any way answer his question about what I ever saw in her.  Oh well, the thing is that now I seem to take on one of her most irritating traits.  I now completely dismiss people when they tell me I am wrong.  Well, at least when they tell me I'm wrong about how man evolved eating lots and lots of meat and therefore we as humans, if we want to pursue a healthy diet plan, need to consume copious amounts of meat, nuts and vegetables.  No grains, no processed foods and few fruits.  I do like the part about not eating processed foods, that is pretty much the ENTIRE basis of my philosophy about food.  But the other stuff, I am just tired of telling people the truth about food only to have them cite writings by self professed experts in the field of nutrition and paleo-foodology and then tell me that because those guys said so, then I am WRONG.


These are the two entries here on my blog that have been the cause of so much grief for me from proponents of the philosophies of people like Dr. William Davis (author of Wheat Belly) and Mark Sisson (web guru at Mark's Daily Apple)  Friends tell me I'm wrong, I get emails from readers telling me I'm wrong, and usually, these people tell me it's because these two gurus tell them my reasoning is wrong.  

Well, let's look closer at the reality of a high meat diet.  I think the link above about evolution tells us that humans did in fact drift away from the other simian branches of the human tree and began to eat meat.  There is a definite correlation in the fossil record of man as he evolves utilizing different dentition and evidence does in fact suggest the evolution of canine like teeth changing from the molar like front teeth of most lower simian species.  Bill and Mark tend to forget those words, canine like.  We don't have canine teeth like a dog, we have some teeth that resemble canines.  Resemble.  If we were true carnivores, we would run at forty miles an hour and have a full set of sharp and pointy teeth.  Humans, split away from the lower apes and became omnivores, eating meat as it was found and easily removed or left over from the kills of actual carnivores.  Who knows why humans left the safety of the trees and went out and started to scavenge meat, perhaps a philosophical difference with the lower apes, I don't pretend to know the answers.  Sheesh, if I knew all the answers I'd be a woman.  A really ugly woman.  But anyway, as early man altered his eating habits and expanded the range of foraging, a wider variety of foods became available for man to consume.  

Long before man had the wherewithal to sharpen a stick and stab any sort of beast in order to eat its flesh, early man looked about them and began to ponder what those other animals out in the jungle were eating.  Sure, apes for generations ate the bananas and whatever other fruit they could find, but man, man was growing, evolving into thinking sentient beings.  And they had the power of thought.  And they looked at the antelope eating everything out there, and those early men in all probability tried to do the same thing.  No one, can ever tell me that any primate ever began to eat anything, and that includes meat, without first looking around and seeing what other animals ate.  That's THE reason early apes went out searching for leftover meat to chow down on.  And why they ate everything else in the jungle, fruits, leaves, roots and tubers and a few seeds.  And let's include nuts in there with the seeds.  Oh, and yeah, grains are in fact, seeds.  

It might seem like I am disputing the word of gurus by saying that man didn't just leave the jungle trees and start eating meat for every meal, but I personally just don't see how it was possible.  Early man had a few hundred other scavengers to contend with for the remains of the lion kills.  And yes Ken, the reason early man grew a larger brain size and smaller digestive tract was partly because of the introduction of meat into their diets.  I agree with that stipulation.  However, I also believe that man was able to expand the range in which he scavenged for meats because of the introduction of such things as higher carbohydrate diets from not just nuts, seeds, fruits and tubers, but from grains as well.  These are all powerhouses of stored energy readily available for our early hominid to run like a slow breeze toward the circling buzzards and hopefully get there in time for a quick bite of bone marrow and if lucky, a little tendon or sinew left stuck to a bone.  The ability to distinguish the flight patterns and calls of other scavengers along with a carbohydrate load from non-meat sources allowed man to increase his ability to provide larger amounts of protein.  Human physiology in fact evolved with humans developing the structures to store excess carbohydrate and fat.  There is no such system in the human body to store excess protein.  Too much protein, and it leaves the body, it doesn't get turned into readily accessible sources of energy.  It's turned into waste and excreted one way or another.  

So, somewhere, some guy thought that this would be a good thing.  If humans ate lots and lots of meat, then their bodies would use what they needed and excrete the excess.  Sounds pretty good, look at the Inuit.  That's how they live.  Well they also live in frigid conditions and burn six thousand calories a day just staying alive.  Well, and they also eat some pretty gross stuff, and I'm pretty sure most readers of the internet sites promoting high meat diets won't touch that sort of crap.  The other thing that I can't stress enough is that modern meat is not like the meat our ancestors ate while out on the savanna scavenging for scraps.  Modern meat is jam packed with poisonous pesticide and herbicide residues, antibiotics, arsenic and a whole host of toxins. But hey, it's all about perceptions.  And making money.  These meat diet gurus all sell tons of crap on their websites.  And in the world today, fads come and go, and make millionaires in the process.  Remember the "Pet Rock"?  That was indeed the ultimate fad.  Gary Dahl became a millionaire selling rocks in a box.  Stupid, well, yeah.  But is it any crazier than trying to get humans to forgo a healthy balanced diet and eat a product that is in reality, toxic?

Money is the key.  Think about it.  And as always, think about what you shove down your throat, big business loves it when you spend your hard earned dollars on their crap.  So does the entire pharmaceutical industry, and the AMA, and the cancer industry, and ...............

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sweet Sweet Death. You only live once, so be a good consumer while you're alive, Big Biz is counting on your money


As a youth growing up in the fifties, it seemed as though we were living this carefree existence that was not unlike the lives of those we watched on the old black and white TV every evening.  Uncle Milty dressed up in a dress, (I had a lot of neighbors in Austin that did the same thing) the Cleaver boys got sent to their rooms after doing bad things, and Huntley and Brinkley made moms everywhere sigh dreamily.  Other than those pesky Ruskies causing the incredibly stupid duck and cover drills in every school in America, life was pretty idyllic.  Number one cause of death back then, heart disease.  Not surprising, I, like most everyone else, enjoyed the meat eaters diet along with the best the Western World could provide.  White bread, white rice, minute rice, canned vegetables and a huge artery clogging array of meat products.  Yeah, people got cancer, but just like the crazy uncle that smelled bad and took his clothes off and sat on his porch talking to a tree, nobody talked about it.
Since 1950, the overall cancer rate in the population of the United States has risen 44%.  The incidence of breast cancer and male colon cancer by about 60%; testis, prostate and kidney by 100%; and other cancers, such as malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma and some lymphomas, by over 100%. (1)

America has the highest rate of cancer in the world.  As of today, the estimate is that 1 out of 2 American men and 1 out of 3 American women are expected to develop cancer.  Quite a change from when I was growing up.  Now 1 out of 8 women get breast cancer, and of those women, 1 out of 10 who get breast cancer, it can be linked to genetic causes.  That leaves 9 out of 10 attributed to environmental factors.  (2)

What happened?

The FDA happened, that's what.  The FDA was created to shepherd the food supply of Americans and to prevent contamination and adulteration of fresh and processed foods.  I think that most Americans truly believe that the FDA exists to protect us from dangerous additives, farming practices and poorly processed food products.  Well, it isn't true.  That may have been the original directive, but today, the FDA is overworked, understaffed, and concerned more with taking payoffs and positioning themselves with future jobs in private industry than they are with the concerns of the people whose livelihood they are mandated to protect.  I know that sounds harsh, but their track record speaks for itself.  The numbers of questionable additives to our foods, and into livestock is the highest in the world.  The FDA has taken the philosophy that differs from the rest of the world.  Most other countries look at additives and do not approve them unless they are proven completely safe.  The FDA instead approves new additives on the basis that at that time they have applied for approval, the manufacturer hasn't filed any testing that proves them dangerous.   And even then, if the additive makes tons of money for the manufacturer, then forget about getting rid of it.  Case in point--

Aspartame.  " Dr. Woodrow Monte, who authored the journal article “Aspartame, Methanol and the Public Health” wrote: "...think twice about taking it with your breakfast cereal. Aspartame or Equal, the controversial sweetener virtually forced down the throats of the American FDA by the notorious former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (the president of the company that produced it), turns into Formaldehyde inside your children's bodies. It is well known aspartame or Equal (E951/951) turns into wood alcohol when it is consumed, however, few people realize this wood alcohol morphs into formaldehyde in the cells of the human body. Formaldehyde is a Class 1 causing agent (the world class of carcinogens) and is responsible for everything from sick house syndrome to birth defects."  And   " toxicologist Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress at least one of Searle's studies "has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals and that this predisposition of it is of extremely high significance."  (3)

I could go on and on about how the FDA is making people sick, and in truth, I have.  (see most of my entries on this blog)  But what good will it do.  It won't change the FDA.  What I hope will happen is that you will begin to look at the ingredient list on everything you buy.  Then look up those additives on the internet.  Bread doesn't need potassium bromate in it!  The stuff is poisonous.  the US is the only country in the world to allow it to be consumed.  Look at everything you buy.  And then tell your friends.  If we, as informed consumers stop purchasing the crap that is presented to us as healthy foods, then perhaps they will stop making it and start making the foods that they are capable of making.  Ones that truly are nutritious, promoting health and vitality.  It is possible, the rest of the world does it.  The Ruskies no longer are a threat, we ourselves are our biggest threat to our health and livelihoods.  Shopping at your local farmers market is something that we all can do and it will not only benefit the economy, scare the crap out of Wall Street do-nothings and corporate big wigs, but it will lead to an improved health and vitality for you and your family.  We all need to be locavores, promoting healthy sustainable agriculture and an improved economic situation with economic growth of small businesses as opposed to the rich getting richer from the multitudes that don't know any better and just shop at the local megamart that sends hundreds of millions in profits to a small family in Arkansas.  Sadly, Arizona, (and Texas) don't have the locavore attitude.  That's something we can all change, here, you can see how we really need to get out of the black.

1. source 
2. source
3. source

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lies in advertising are the norm

This is a repeat from a year ago, still just as poignant today.

Should big businesses be allowed to advertise their products as healthful and being able to promote joint and bone health, enhance the musculoskeletal system, prohibit age related eye diseases, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and supports optimum immune function.  If those big businesses are selling apples, or maybe carrots, whole and unadulterated, then yes, they should be allowed to advertise all those claims and proudly print that stuff on the labels.  But if you are making VitaminWater, and putting all of these very same health claims into your advertising and printing the same unproven lies right on the bottles; well, no. The marketing and business model for this product is incredible.  The good wholesome folks at CocaCola, are once again making literally hundreds of millions of dollars on this product with their ads and labels that promise health and vitality and in fact give you crap.

I don't want to be deceptive about their stuff, so I went to Vitaminwater.com and went to try to download the nutritional info on one of the flavors.  Oh, the nutritionals are only available to those people in the US.  (says so right on the website)  I started to download the pdf file that is only 3.7 MB.  These guys have it set up so that it takes 24 minutes to download the file over a high speed connection.  They don't want anyone looking at it.  I could have gotten into the van and driven to the QT and bought a bottle in the time it took to download.  The file is two pages.  It lists the nutrient content of each product, and in the tiniest print imaginable, they show the ingredients.  At 200% magnification I was able to read the ingredients.  Water, Crystalline Fructose, Cane Sugar,  and then less than .5% of a few vitamins.

In 2010 the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the CSPI, a wholly independent group funded by consumer support, filed a lawsuit against Coke stating that they used deceptive advertising and marketing practices to sell this sugar water to the public.  In their lawsuit CSPI nutritionists state that the SUGAR content of the stuff more than offsets ANY purported health benefits.  They state that this is part of what is called the "Jellybean Rule" wherein because a jellybean has no cholesterol, therefore it is good for your heart.  CSPI states that Coke cannot deceptively state that a product, in this case Vitaminwater, on the label and then on the back of the label list the ingredients that show that the health claims are indeed false.  And that just because Coke lists the ingredients does not indemnify them of responsible advertising and marketing.  The judge that heard Coke's motion to dismiss the lawsuit in an INCREDIBLY fantastic decision stated that he saw evidence to proceed with the lawsuit.  He also stated that although the FDA frowns on advertising that promotes one ingredient to the exclusion of more prominent ingredients, in this case sugar.  The judge also stated that there was enough evidence that Coke violated FDA regulations by making health claims about Vitaminwater even though it does not meet required minimum nutritional thresholds, by using the word ‘healthy’ in implied nutrient content claims even though Vitaminwater’s fortification does not comply with FDA policy, and by using a product name that references only two of Vitaminwater’s ingredients, omitting the fact that there is a key, unnamed ingredient [sugar] in the product,”

Whew.  Two things about all of this scare me.  And also make me happy.  First, that Judge Gleeson points out that the FDA frowns on deceptive advertising.  FROWNS?.  The second, all of those products on the shelves of supermarkets that market themselves as having "Fruit" and have labels depicting fruit with their crap like waffles, yogurt, cereals and all kinds of other crap, in fact do not contain actual fruit, but "FRUIT BITS" .  Tiny bits of artificially created sugar, coloring, artificial flavoring, and in a few cases, tiny bits of dried fruit.  WHY?
The FDA is once again showing how well they are protecting consumers here in America.  Big business, big money.  It isn't as though the FDA has done anything to protect the interests of American consumers in the past.  Well, they have done a few things, like close down a peanut butter production facility that was so rampantly deteriorating as to have huge amounts of contaminants in their products as to sicken the inspectors.  But other than that, the real health hazards in our food system, GM food, toxic additives, grossly huge amounts of pesticide and herbicide residues, the proliferation of the use of antibiotics in mega farms and other SERIOUS health concerns are overlooked because big businesses are ready and waiting with HUGE amounts of CASH to spread out to governmental entities and elected officials.  Hmm. where do most of the directors and department heads of the FDA and USDA work once leaving government jobs?  Monsanto.  Which of the unbiased Supreme Court judges used to be lawyers for Monsanto?  Who used to be a lawyer for Monsanto and was specifically picked by Obama (in a GROSSLY confliction of interest) to be the nations food safety czar? 

The FDA has proven time and time again that their focus is not on the HEALTH of the Americans that they are entrusted to protect, but the WEALTH of the big agribusinesses that funnel MONEY into the pockets of anyone with the power to make decisions.  It is never going to change.  EVER.  Money talks louder than the needs of citizens.  What can change is that you, me, everyone out there, begins to recognize what is going on in the world and stands up against big business.  Shop at farmers markets, don't buy crap anymore.  ASK the grocery managers if the zucchini they have on sale is GMO or non-GMO.  If they don't know, tell them you won't shop there until they know what they carry.  And do it loudly in public.  Alert your friends to the threat to their lives and their very health and well being if they continue to spend their food dollars on toxins and poisons.  We have to care enough about our own health to take action, our government does not give a rat's ass about you at all.  Think about it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Food, good, bad, scary and otherwise. Today, just recipes.

Some fun stuff to start eating healthy this week.  And all in larger text size to please some friends that can't see as well as I, the old guy with cataracts.
Recipes
Meatless Meatballs
In your food processor, chop up about 6 oz. pecans, or enough to make about a cup that is rather finely chopped.  In a bowl mix with 1 cup finely chopped Ritz crackers.  Or, alternatively use a cup of good whole wheat bread crumbs that you toasted until dark brown.  Then mix in two cups grated Mozzarella Cheese.  Stir in 1 teaspoon oregano,  1 teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon sage and ½ teaspoon thyme.  Crush in a mortar, 1 teaspoon fennel seed and about 1 teaspoon black pepper.  In a separate bowl beat two eggs together and mix it all together and form small balls with the mixture.  Bake on a tray in the oven at high, 400 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes.  Take the balls out and allow to cool slightly. 
WOW  20 minute Marinara
Take 6 cloves garlic and slice them thinly.  Finely dice a small onion and place both in a large sauce pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Heat slowly over medium low heat and cook the garlic until just beginning to brown, about 8 or 9 minutes.  Add a quarter cup of Italian Spice Mix, recipe below, and allow spices to cook a minute to release oils and become fragrant.  Pour a cup of good red wine on the mix and bring to a boil and reduce by half.  Add a 26 oz can petite diced tomatoes and a 26 oz can crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer and cook for about 4 or 5 minutes to marry the flavors.  Add some meatballs or meatless meatballs and heat through.  Serve over pasta. 
  
Italian seasoning - in a glass jar mix together 1 oz basil, 1 oz oregano, 1 oz parsley, 1/2 oz crushed red pepper, 1/2 oz lemon pepper, 1/2 oz fennel seeds(crushed), 1 tblspn savory, 1 tblspn marjoram, 1 tblspn sage, 1 tblspn thyme, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp crushed rosemary, 1/2 tsp onion powder.  Close tightly and store in freezer.  Way better than any mixes from the store, and great to use as a base for italian dressing, just mix with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  If you want, (and I always do, grind it fine in a clean coffee grinder)  Mix with tomato sauce for a pizza topping, with canned diced tomatoes for a spaghetti sauce, add some to some olive oil and allow to sit for an hour and use as a bread dipping oil.

Savory Cheesecakes
Savory Cheesecakes are succulent bits of heaven, creamy, rich yet low cal and herby with the bounty of summer.  Try these and concoct your own innovations.
Take two cups low fat Ricotta cheese and put into food processor.  Whiz briefly to break it up.  Add two eggs and a ½ cup sour cream.  Season generously with fresh ground pepper and a ½ teaspoon sea salt.  Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, a few sprigs of thyme, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1 teaspoon fresh oregano.  Whiz it all together and then pour into ramekins. Cover each with foil and place on trivet in pressure cooker.  Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.  Place pressure lid on and bring to pressure.  Reduce heat to low and cook at pressure for 12 minutes for small ½ cup ramekins.  Increase time for larger ones.  Remove from heat and cool edge of cooker under running water.  Remove and allow to cool.  Serve with a great salad for a quick and cool summer lunch.  Try adding different combinations of herbs and other ingredients.  Dill and smoked salmon.  Chopped and seeded fire roasted jalapenos with cumin and fresh oregano.  Basil and tomato concasse with Parmesan. Use your imagination, this is just the basics.

Fab salads 
Who says salad is lettuce and a few other garden veggies?  Boring, and you are served the same stuff everywhere.  Break out of the mold and make something unique and TASTY!
Get a firm blemish free Jicama and cut it in half longitudinally.  Lay on the cut side and with sharp knife cut off the skin.  Slice into thick slices, stack them up and then cut into sticks.  Peel and cut into thick sticks a nice Rutabaga.  Cut in half some yellow and red grape tomatoes.  Add some slivered almonds and dress the salad with a mix of good olive oil, a bit of mustard, balsamic, fresh lime juice and some good Italian seasoning.  Some hot sauce is also good.  Top it all off with chopped cilantro. 
Cook some Canollini beans in your pressure cooker, use 1 teaspoon chopped crystallized ginger per cup of beans.  Pressure them for 15 minutes and allow to cool and release pressure naturally.  Take 4 strips of bacon and cook in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and chop.  Remove all but about 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat.  Cook a half of a red onion that you sliced in half and then into ¼ inch strips until translucent.  Add about 10 cloves garlic sliced thin.  Cook an additional two minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons good balsamic and then throw in the stalks from 8 big Swiss chard leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.  Chop the leaves coarsely and throw in the pan, and cover.  Remove from heat and let sit for 8 minutes.  Remove lid and toss with 2 cups of the cooked Canollini beans and the chopped bacon.  Serve warm
Carefully cut the core out of a head of cauliflower.  Steam it right side up for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Cut the florets off and then cut each floret in half.  In large skillet, cook on low heat ¼ cup olive oil and six cloves of garlic sliced thin.  Cook until the garlic is light brown.  Remove from the oil and set aside.  Place the florets in the oil cut side down. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until well browned, about 7 or 8 minutes.  Toss with 2 cups cooked Canollini beans, the juice of a lemon, some fresh basil or other herb and the garlic.   
 
Healthy Version of Arroz con Pollo
This classic dish is enhanced with the addition of black beans to make it more Cuban than Spanish.  Or, leave them out.  Either way making it all in the pressure cooker makes for a time saving nutritious dish.  To add black beans to the dish start with one pound of black beans, sort them and rinse them well.  Soak overnight to help break down the lectins.  Rinse again then add them to a pressure cooker and then add 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons crystallized ginger that you cut into small pieces.  (Ginger virtually removes the gassiness of all beans when they are cooked with it)  Bring to a boil and cover with the lid and when at 15 pounds pressure, reduce heat and cook 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  When cool, remove lid and take out 1 and ½ cups of the cooked beans.  Save the rest for other uses like refried beans, salads, pasta dishes etc.
Take 8 chicken thighs and wash and pat them dry.  Season well with a mixture of paprika, cumin, ground oregano, and chili powder.  Coat the chicken with the spices and then pour 4 tablespoons of good red wine vinegar (or balsamic) over the chicken, coat well and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. 
Cut up a large bell pepper, a big onion, dice 3 big carrots into 3/8 inch dice.  In large pressure cooker heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Cook the chicken thighs in the oil and brown well on each side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  If there is a lot of chicken fat in the pan, spoon out all but about 4 tablespoons.  Add and saute the vegetables over medium high heat about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add 2 cups organic long grain brown rice.  Saute and coat the grains with the oil.  Add 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons paprika and then add 4 cups water, or better, chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and add the pressure lid to pan.  Bring to pressure, reduce heat and cook 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow cool water to run over edges of pan to reduce pressure.  When released, remove lid.  Add the reserved black beans, about 8 ounces frozen peas, and the chicken pieces.  Replace the pressure lid, bring back to pressure and cook for another 8 minutes.  Remove from heat, allow pressure to reduce by itself.  Remove lid and stir in a cup of pimento stuffed olives and garnish with a ¼ cup chopped parsley.   

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roundup boys and girls, is here to stay!

I know this is going to sound sooooo, stupid, and sooooo, staged; but, "back when I was a kid in school", we learned a lot about the half life of radioactive fallout.  We were all scared that Fat Nikita would bomb us with his nuclear arsenal and then we would wipe out he and his people with our nukes.  And of course there would be nuclear winter, and the length of time we would have to spend in our prefab bomb shelters was dependent on the half life of the radioactive elements in the fallout.  The upside was no more Red threat, the down side was nuclear winter would last several thousand years.  That would entail storing a lot of freeze-dried food and beans.  Not to mention what to do with all that solid waste.  That idea alone might be what made those bomb designers go in and create cleaner nuclear devices, ones that produced nice big booms, but gave off far less nasty long term, long half life radioactive isotopes.  Ones that had the nuclear winter potential in under a hundred years instead of thousands.  Still a lot of shit to deal with though. 

I think that people from my generation know and understand the concept of half life much more so than younger ones.  We lived it, we feared it.  Today, half life is still a big concept in our daily lives, and it commands our fear even more now than in my youth.  So just a bit of information first, half life means, for our purposes today, when a substance, in this case, Roundup, is sprayed onto the ground in a field, then the half life of the chemicals is the time frame it takes for one half of the chemical to degrade.  That doesn't mean that in two half lives the chemical is gone, it means that it progressively degrades by half, leaving measurable amounts in the substrate six, eight, even twelve or more half life time frames down the road.  The problem is compounded when more of the substance is added to the substrate in more and more regular applications.  There are other circumstances that need to be considered as well, such as the ability of the chemical itself to leave the substrate through the process of simple runoff.  When it rains, heavily, excess chemical is simply washed away.  This happens because we see it, it is measurable.  The waterways of industrialized nations all contain extensive amounts of glyphosate pollution. 

Now comes the hard and tricky part.  The half life of glyphosate as defined by Monsanto, the company that developed the chemical, is between one and eight days. (Monsanto Half Life)  Now, let's remember that the Monsanto study is for the active ingredient glyphosate only and does not have any studies listed for the complete chemical application for Roundup itself.  Roundup contains glyphosate and a series of surfactant chemicals playing an adjuvant role for the action of the active ingredient.  The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has published a study that tells a very different story.  Their claim is that in warm moist acidic soils with normal aerobic and anaerobic bacterial populations the half life can be as short as 4 weeks.  That is a little different from the Monsanto claim now isn't it?  Now of course the fun begins.  Roundup is readily dissolved in water.  Degradation in aqueous form is a whole lot different than when exposed to soil microbes.  Half life in water is greater than 35 days and in fact the eventual removal of glyphosate from water is a result of sedimentation and not degradation.  (Cali's best info)  This info also states that the EPA tests show that the half life of most glyphosate residues that sank to the bottoms of ponds was up to 63 days.  What this means is that it takes a while to leave water systems.  A long while.

Now comes the stuff I couldn't find.  The half life of Roundup in arid soils.  Most of the information available is for application in areas where there is a lot of rainfall.  That of course leads to a lot different microbial systems in those areas than what we have here in the desert.  Those farmers still spray the stuff everywhere, they just don't know what happens to it once it leaves the spray gun.  It means that no one knows what is happening here in Arizona and other arid areas where irrigation is the main source of water for agriculture.  The fact is, we don't know what happens to all the Roundup that is sprayed in the Southwest.  We don't know how deep it goes toward the groundwater, nor how much is sitting there within the water table that provides much of the existence for life here in the desert.  

However we are watched over by the forthright efforts and timeless diligence of the agency that is the guardian of the American environment, the EPA. (Man but this one is scary, EPA allowable contaminants) It's true, the EPA did in fact raise the allowable residue amounts on feed crops for animals as well as on fruits and vegetables for human consumption last year to levels as high as 200 parts per billion.  (EPA and Roundup) And it is true that studies on rats show that exposure of as little as .00005 part per billion in the feed of pregnant rats affected brain development.  And by looking at the EPA link above, we see that those guys have decided that it is okay to drink municipal water that has .7 parts per billion in it.  The EPA also states that the main problem with glyphosate exposure is kidney failure.  And, the main cause of exposure in drinking water is, agricultural runoff. 

So, where does that leave us?  For those that can't, and don't want to put two and two together, it leaves us with an ever increasing concentration of a chemical that in and of itself, the manufacturer told us was harmless.  But more recent research is proving they lied to us.  And that the complete compound, Roundup, contains dangerous chemicals that are toxic and of which we are just recently beginning to research just how bad they are for us.  It means that Roundup is here to stay.  Even if we outlawed Roundup usage tomorrow, that the stuff will persist in our environment for years.  It means that researchers in Germany found glyphosate in the urine of EVERY SINGLE person they tested.  It means that last week a study showed glyphosate was measured in breast milk in American women. (it was a small sample)  However, the EPA tells us that the stuff is NOT bioaccumulative and CANNOT do that.  It tells us that maybe, just maybe, countries like Sri Lanka, South Africa and El Salvador have banned Roundup usage because they have the welfare of their people at the forefront of their actions, and not the welfare of corporations.  Here is some more reading about glyphosate, and the EPA.  (EPA bought and paid for) (Humans and Roundup) (Roundup Reality) (GMO, Roundup and You)

But it's not a conspiracy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Business of Religion versus the Science of Evolution.

Let's first define the word theory.  Theory, a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.  

The Theory of Evolution, is a conjectural explanation of the origins of life on earth that grows and changes as evidence is found and scientific methods expand to determine the proper sequence of the totality of evolution.

The Theory of Creation, is a widely believed postulate that has no basis in fact and is believed exclusively on faith and is the basis of the Business of Religion.

The truth is that evolution is a theory, expanding and defining points as learning progresses.  Detractors tell us that it is incomplete and wrong.  And the truth is, it is wrong.  There are multitudes of tiny details that don't mesh and it may take centuries to determine an accurate and viable timeline of evolution.  It is a daunting task, trying to find fossil remains of living things that existed beginning 3 billion years ago right up to the beginning of civilization.  That part is kind of hard, they aren't that easy to find, there aren't all that many of them.  It would be easy certainly if every living creature had gone to a specific place and cast its dying body into a heap for future scientists to pick up and have a timeline of evolution that was easy to follow and orderly.  Sort of a Moses thing with the creator directing it, that would have helped.  However, it didn't happen that way and so those that find that sort of work interesting make it their lives' passion to try and find ever more bone fragments and fossils and piece them together into a cohesive and believable timeline.  I don't like to get dirty, and it all sounds kind of messy and uninteresting to me.  I do like to look at the made up skeletons in the museums though.  The thing is, it's a work in progress and has been growing, changing and defining our existence here for a little over a hundred years or so.  It isn't perfect, it isn't even believable in its entirety, and it changes and grows all the time. 

But then the business of religion has had centuries to fine tune their theory.  Religion started a long time ago, the first guy that looked up at the stars and determined that the same shapes returned with the changes in the seasons and predicted such, were the first holy men.  The more accurate the predictions of natural phenomena, the greater was their place in primitive societies.  And the less those guys had to do back breaking work in the fields and wherever.  The true Business of Religion was born.  Learn, predict, preach, come up with stories explaining it all and poof, the masses provide for you.  It worked then, it works now.  As society grew, the stories had to keep pace and the explanations of the natural world along with the nature of society itself grew as well.  Thus we were given such stories as Pandora's box, the ferryman on the river Styx, and of course, the Creation Theory.  That, was a great one.  It has lasted a good two thousand years with only moderate changes to it and revisions as needed.  And even though supporters state it is the same as was passed down by word of mouth for years and written on papyrus, there were changes.  People like my brother, a real born again christian likes to point out that scholars spend their whole lives pouring over texts and scraps of papyrus to determine the meaning of words written centuries before and how those words have changed in the translations from Aramaic to Greek to Hebrew to Latin to English.  Religious scholars won't admit it has all changed, yet they work on clarifying those changes all the time.  There again, not my cup of tea, sitting around all day staring at a text and discussing with other people of similar ilk how the loop on a letter might be construed as meaning something different in a specific context.  Sheesh, not my cup of tea at all.  But then whereas I like to look at dinosaurs, the work and lives' labors of these guys doesn't hold any interest at all for me.  The end result though of all this speculation is a workable and profitable Theory of Creation.  And it is indeed the basis of the Business of Religion.  A very profitable business that is not for profit and for the masses, tax deductible.

The point here for all this drivel is that science isn't perfect, religion wants desperately to be, yet isn't.  Most people do in fact ask the questions, why are we here and what happens when we die.  Science doesn't have viable definitive answers for the first and nothing for the second.  Religion answers both, but solely on the basis of faith.  Faith isn't a bad thing at all.  I have faith in my beliefs, and they answer both questions in a viable believable concept.  Hmmmm, maybe I should start my own religion.  I hear it pays well.