Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

Nearly 600 dogs have died since 2007 who consumed pet jerky treats made in  China, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Another 3,600 dogs have been  reported ill. The pet treats were sold under a wide variety of brand names.

The FDA currently does not know the cause of this outbreak and is reaching  out to veterinary health professionals, as well as the public, for answers to  help solve the mystery. Since the FDA is unable to determine the cause, no  recall has been put in place, meaning pet owners need to make more educated  decisions about what pet treats are safe to use.

I recently spoke with pet nutrition expert Anthony Bennie about the outbreak.  He provided some insight and helpful knowledge on feeding our pets healthy  treats.

LS: How long do you think this has been going on?

AB: It’s been going on since it became evident that it’s possible to sell  really cheap versions of what people want here. It’s one thing to copy  electronics, another to copy pet treats. When you take the theory of cheapest  practices and apply that to what you put in your animals’ mouths, it is a recipe  for disaster.

LS: What do you think caused the recent outbreak, with number of death and illnesses still on the rise?

AB: Irradiation (the process of exposing pet food and treats to  radiation as a means of eliminating foodborne microbes and killing pests) and glycerin (a humectant preservative) in virtually all pet treats from  China in pet treats from China. There have been issues with pet  food ingredients and finished treats from China for quite some time, including  the massive recalls in 2007 that were traced to melamine, a non-edible protein  additive used in China to adulterate and cheapen the products.

LS: Have there been studies done on the dangers of using glycerin and  irradation together?

AB: The use of both glycerin and irradiation in the same product is  troubling to me. No proper studies have been done to determine the possible  synergistic effects. For the health and safety of your pets, as a first step I  strongly encourage pet guardians to buy pet treats and foods made and sourced in  the USA; but even then, be a detailed label reader and avoid products with  chemical preservatives or other ingredients that you can’t pronounce and don’t  recognize as foods.

LS: The FDA made a recent statement that treats aren’t a necessary part of a  fully balanced canine diet. Honestly, I was  appalled by the ignorance of this statement. In addition to the nutritional  value,  my dogs are paid and rewarded well with treats. Nobody wants to work for free, including dogs.

AB: Our pets are  an extension of the family, so news like  we’ve been hearing is very  worrisome for any pet guardian. But to make a  statement like this, which  could damage many ethical American pet treat  manufacturers, is bizarre  and unfair. No one is claiming ANY problems with  American made treats.  It would be absurd to allow these fears to stop you from  offering your  pet ANY treats or between meal snacks. Think of your  own energy  level throughout the day; would you want to eat nothing all  day until your  single nightly meal? It’s the same with your animal  companions, who can lose  vitality and playfulness if these ‘pick me ups’  are simply cut out of the diet.  Emotional bonding is also reinforced  when providing healthy snacks to your  pet, and training often involves  food rewards. Give your pet treats and  snacks  in moderation as you always have.  But stick with USA Made, grain  free, low carb, natural snacks that  are dominated by meat protein but  offer a holistic balance with other whole  food nutrients such as flax  and veggies.

LS: I frequently give my dogs fruit and vegetable treats. They love shredded  carrots and cut up apple pieces. When purchasing  healthy treats, what should we look for?

AB: A healthy pet treat that is 100% USA made and sourced, and features   all-natural and wholesome ingredients like USDA inspected chicken and  beef  along with natural cheddar cheese, organic flaxseed, and air dried  vegetables.  My family-owned company,, provides that in our dog treats. I  am proud to say that we have won six national awards for nutritional excellence.  People tell us that our Sliders® are like doggy crack. Dogs will do anything for  them.

LS: Thanks Anthony. I can’t wait to have Sanchez and Gina try them too! I’m thrilled that all of  your treats are gluten free, as my dogs are gluten intolerant, and I  don’t always have time to make all of their treats myself.

Do you give your dogs treats/ snacks? Do you look at the package to check the  ingredients and where they are made? Thanks for sharing your stories in a  comment below.



Pets & Animals Holiday Gift Guide

Pets & Animals Holiday Gift Guide

Any pets, animals, or the people who love them left on your holiday gift list  this season? Care2 Healthy Living has you covered! Check out our  suggestions for pet and animal holiday gifts.

Custom Pet Portraits Customized portraits are a great  way to show your love for your beloved pooch or kitty. Check out these  fabulously vibrant and quirky portraits from artist Zerrin Koch! Contact artist for price quotes.

Sweetie Pie  Treats Dog treats that meet all the standards: healthy, tasty,  and sustainable. Made from anti-oxidant filled sweet potatoes and free-range  chicken, these treats seem to be a favorite of dogs. Feel good about your  purchase — a portion of Bark Stix profits support Greyhound rescue and adoption  groups. $8.95

Hemp Dog  Bones These 100 percent Eco-Friendly Stuffed Hemp Bone Toys  consist of a hemp canvas shell and are stuffed with recycled poly-cotton, making  them an enjoyable chew toy for your pet. Soft, yet firm, these bones are perfect  for tugging, throwing, chewing and snuggling. $8.95

Support  Wildlife Want to honor the animal lover in your life? Give the  gift of preservation and protection of wildlife like polar bearswolves and whales with a gift to the NRDC.

Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, Vol.  1 Have a dog that could use some relaxation? Care2′s very own pet blogger, Lisa Spector, has just the thing for  you. The pieces are “clinically tested to calm dogs, and in many cases, reduce  anxiety.” $14.98

EcoChoices  EcoAnimal also has a variety of toys made out of post-consumer  recycled materials, such as the squeaky turtle posted below.

Zogoflex Dog  Toys Zogoflex differs from other plastics typically used in dog  toys in that it’s engineered to be recyclable and is made from an FDA-approved  material that is safe and non-toxic. Now if Spot gnaws up his Zogoflex frisbee,  his owner can send the broken remainders back to West Paw Design, where they’ll  be ground down, made into a new toy of the owner’s choosing, and returned at no  extra cost. From $8.50

Cool Hemp Dog Collars The cutest dog collars  ever, adjustable and made of hemp. $20.

Green Cat Collars Give the gift of a soft (not  nylon) and eco-friendly collar to your cat–try organic cotton, hemp, recycled  cotton or bamboo. $5-$13.

Listeria fears expand N.C. cantaloupe recall; feds find ‘unsanitary conditions’

Listeria fears expand N.C. cantaloupe recall; feds find ‘unsanitary conditions’

By JoNel Aleccia, NBC News

Federal health inspectors have found unsanitary conditions at a North Carolina cantaloupe packing shed, leading to an expanded recall of melons that may be potentially contaminated with listeria.

Burch Equipment LLC of Faison, N.C., is pulling 188,902 melons from store shelves in 10 states because of possible contamination that can cause illness and death, particularly in the very young, the very old, pregnant women and those with health problems.

The company’s voluntary recall comes nearly a year after one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in U.S. history, in which contaminated Colorado cantaloupes sickened 146 people, including at least 30 who died and one woman who had a miscarriage.

The new recall of 13,888 cases of whole Athena variety cantaloupes follows a recall last week of 580 cases of the summer fruit.

Federal Food and Drug Administration officials and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture are conducting an ongoing inspection at Burch Farms. The FDA warned this week that consumers should not eat the summer melons, which carry a red Burch Farms label and the code PLU #4319.

The melons were shipped between July 15 and July 17 and distributed to retail stores in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

Consumers should discard the melons, the FDA said.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the Burch Farms melons, according to a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Listeria monocytogenes infections can cause symptoms including high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

But the possibility of another bout of contaminated cantaloupe has stunned at least one family affected by the listeria outbreak caused by Jensen Farms of Holly, Colo.

“It’s so frustrating. It’s unbelievable,” said Michelle Wakley-Paciorek, mother of Kendall Paciorek, now 10 months, who suffered a life-threatening listeria infection at birth because of the tainted cantaloupe. “I can’t even tell you. It’s making my eyes tear up, after what everybody’s been through.”

Dirty equipment, faulty sanitation and bad storage practices at Jensen Farms led to the deadly infections, federal officials concluded. The firm has filed for bankruptcy.

That outbreak led to industry-wide changes in and attention to cantaloupe safety protocols, said Kathy Means, vice president of public affairs for the Produce Marketing Association. Members of the Rocky Ford Growers Association in Colorado invested between $800,000 and $1 million in safety upgrades, said spokeswoman Diane Mulligan.

Means said she couldn’t speak to conditions at the Burch Farms site, but she said that produce growers take the problem “very seriously.”

“We’re always disappointed when anything leads to consumer concerns,” she said.

However, she noted that the contamination was detected, the affected melons were recalled and that no illnesses have been reported to date.

“We wouldn’t want to see anyone stop eating cantaloupe,” she said. “I am confident that the system is working.”

But Wakley-Paciorek said that she no longer buys any melon. To learn that unsanitary conditions were found at another cantaloupe packing shed less than a year after listeria nearly killed her newborn is dismaying beyond words, she said.

Kendall is developmentally delayed and requires the aid of three physical therapists to help repair the deficits caused by the listeria infection.

“It’s shocking that this could happen again,” she said.

Why K-Y Liquibeads Vaginal Moisturizer Was Recalled

Why K-Y Liquibeads Vaginal Moisturizer Was Recalled

by Dr. Mache Seibel

Ten years into menopause, vaginal dryness is the number one complaint. And it affects  millions of younger women as well. Earlier this month, J&J (Johnson and  Johnson) was asked to recall over 69,000 units of its K-Y Liquibeads products  after receiving over 200 complaints from consumers between June 25, 2010  and Dec. 12, 2011. It seems the product is not dissolving and/or has an  uncharacteristic consistency or texture.

A spokeswoman for the company said the recall wasn’t unsafe and does not  affect other types of K-Y vaginal moisturizers. Consumers do not need to  return any of the products.

“K-Y Liquibeads is being recalled from retailers and wholesalers to address  the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s concerns that the product should be  cleared under a separate medical device application,” the company said in a  statement earlier this month. “We are moving forward with the process to obtain  clearance for the product.”

K-Y Liquibeads had been sold as part of an application for an existing K-Y  product. The FDA determined that the Liquibead product needed a separate medical  device application. At the time, McNeil (a subsidiary of JNJ) said it would take  whatever steps were necessary to address FDA’s concerns. This is all part of a  larger manufacturing problem that J&J has been  having.

So if you go to the drugstore looking for Liquibeads and it’s no longer on  the shelves, consider Replens.  It offers women a safe, effective solution to vaginal dryness and has  received the FDA’s 510(k) clearance, a requirement many companies have not met.  Replens  is estrogen-free and long-lasting and has been clinically tested and shown to be  as effective as vaginal estrogen, about which so many health questions have  been raised.

Are Spray Tans Safe?

Are Spray Tans Safe?

by Celeste Yarnall

I came across an article recently called “Spray Tan Dangers” by Beth Levine. This started me thinking  about what we have become accustomed to thinking looks good today, especially in  the summertime.

I personally have the type of skin that just doesn’t tan; I burn, freckle and  peel and long ago I gave up the idea of tanning. But I never dreamed in a  million years that a spray tan might have its drawbacks as well! Trying to fit  in on vacation and not be this white-skinned blob in a bathing suit, I have had  many a spray tan!  OK, they chill you when they are sprayed on, and leave you  with a very odd smell on your skin while drying, but I didn’t think much about  it. But is there more to spray tanning than meets the eye? Why do we want to  look tan, anyway? Some folks think they look thinner, healthier and just plain  better in their summer clothes. But this has not always been the case  historically.

Could this be the time we start rethinking our definition of beauty  and that tanned look in general?

Ms. Levine offered that no one “looks at a 50-year-old with wrinkled,  leathery skin and believes that’s attractive.” Then shouldn’t we all ask  ourselves why we think that tanned skin looks better than pale skin or our  natural skin color, at any age? What ever happened to that peaches and cream  complexion of days gone by or the notion of just being happy all year long with  whatever your skin color is and rejoicing in the way nature created the unique  “you” that you are?

We certainly know that tanning is not required to get our daily dose of vitamin  D. It is far safer to just go out in the sun without sunscreen in the early  morning and late afternoon for a short sun bath of about 10 minutes with as  little on in the way of clothes as possible.

How about just taking a moment to turn back the clock to the Elizabethan  ideal of untanned skin as the goal to strive for. We won’t have to use the lead  white makeup that was popular with the Greeks, Romans, and Elizabethans to  achieve that fair-skinned look. We can just nourish our skin and keep it healthy  from the inside out with healthy food and whole food supplementation such as  omega-3, antioxidants and a healthy daily dose of vitamin D-3.

We  know the risk of skin cancer increases when we sunbathe. And, even though I have  tried these too, tanning beds are an even worse choice. Despite what tanning  centers advertise and some doctors who sell them advocate, the tanner’s close  proximity to the UVA/UVB light source increases the rate of damage.

OK, isn’t it a good thing that there are natural-looking options such as  spray tanning to give us a safer alternative when we want to have that  just-been-on-vacation in the tropics look?  Could there be some dangers to spray  tanning? Levine writes, “Research that reveals new tanning facts now show that  spray tanning may be just as dangerous as every other form of tanning, but for  different reasons.

Ms. Levine sited an ABC News report which “compiled 10 of the most recent  studies conducted on the chemicals used in tanning sprays which asked a panel of  medical specialists in fields such as dermatology, pulmonary medicine, and  toxicology to provide an analysis” of some spray tan products. And the news was  not good for those of us who like to use spray-on tanning products. The problems  come from the active ingredient in tanning products, which is a chemical called  dihydroxyacetone (also known as DHA — but please do not confuse this with  docosahexaenoic acid, the beneficial DHA essential fatty acid found in  marine lipids, such fish, krill, cod liver oil or my favorite, MOXXOR, which comes from the 100 percent sustainable, cold  extracted, organic New Zealand greenlip mussel, grapeseed husk extract and  kiwifruit seed oil. I find the omega-3s and antioxidants in this product really  helps my skin be healthy from the inside out.)

Several studies show that this dihydroxyacetone chemical in the spray tan  solutions:

“was shown to affect the genes within the animals tested” (I know — I don’t  like animal testing either but I am only reporting the facts that were covered  here) “once it was absorbed through the skin or breathed into the lungs and  internalized. DHA received FDA approval in 1977, back in the days when it was  used primarily for tanning lotions. It was not believed to be absorbed below the  outer layers of skin, so it was thought to pose no danger. Plus, tanning lotions  were never a very popular item, as they tended to turn the skin a blotchy and  ugly shade of yellow or orange. However, now that the formulations have been  improved to provide more of  the golden tan most consumers are seeking, along  with the updated spray  method of application that offers more even coverage”(  and allows the technician to even use their own artistic skills in order  to  create a sculpted look to the body, especially to enhance breast  cleavage or  the look of a “six-pack” on the abdomen) “the use of this  chemical is much more  widespread. Unfortunately, it is now known that DHA can be absorbed beyond the  outermost layers of skin, and the fact that it has been aerosolized ups the  danger of spray tanning exponentially.”

“As the tanning product is being sprayed onto your body, you are  breathing  it in. Once the DHA is in your lungs, it is easily  distributed throughout the  body via the bloodstream. This grants this  potentially cancer-causing agent  access to billions of cells throughout  your body. In various experiments at  different university-based laboratories, DHA has been tested on a multitude of  bacteria and the skin cells of mice. The chemical caused mutations within the  DNA of the cells, which can lead to cancer. In fact, an FDA report from 1999  found that, even when not inhaled, DHA was reaching deeper skin levels and being  absorbed into the body.”

Yes, I know the argument well — mice are not people — but I think this should  give us all pause before we sign up for our next series of spray tans!

“Now, think about all of the people who consider this to be the “safe”   method of getting a tan.  There are many who are regular customers   interested in keeping their skin tanned and glowing all year round.  And   pregnant women go spray tanning, which is bad news for the fetus!  Some   people even have their children get spray tans as a treat before a big   occasion.  Every one of these scenarios presents an even higher risk of   doing serious damage at a cellular level.”

And don’t forget some people may actually think that because they now look  tan, that they can’t get a sun burn so out they go unprotected and get seriously  burned in the process. Many customers of spray tan salons are even told that  certain sun tan lotions and creams will remove their tan and so go out in the  sun and use absolutely no sun protection before or a defense afterwards.

I find it troubling, as did Ms. Levine, “that no long-term studies have been  undertaken to examine the health effects of regular use of DHA-based tanning  products on people.” It might be a good idea to take into account that there is  enough evidence to cause concern from nonhuman research.

Perhaps it doesn’t cause much damage to get a spray tan or two a couple of  times a year, but it might be advisable to wear a little paper mask over your  nose and mouth during the process and cover your face and head. We can always  wear a little bronze blush on our faces and necks to get a bit of color. You can  also ask your spray tan salon for some protection or even bring your own, such  as “eyewear, nose plugs, and a mouth covering, like a little mask that painters  wear, to ensure that you are not giving the chemical a direct entryway into your  mucus membranes and lungs.”

But what can we do if we give up spray tans but have “spent time at the  beach, pool, or backyard lounge chair trying to get that perfect tan.” I know I  had my share of nasty sunburns during my lifetime. And I also tried using  tanning beds before they were known to be harmful. Ms. Levine recommends that to  combat some of the free radical damage already inflicted, you might want to  consider a good antioxidant supplement and I totally agree with that advice.   You can do your own research online or at your health food store’s supplement  department and see what you’d like to try. My choice is an antioxidant  supplement called Protandim which I learned about from watching this very  interesting ABC News presentation.  You can get more information on  this patented all herbal formulation here and see if it resonates with you as it does for me.  It’s just one caplet per day, but always check with your own health  practitioners before trying any new products.


Be Cautious of Gluten-Free Labels

Be Cautious of Gluten-Free Labels

by Molly, selected from Experience Life

Think you can have your gluten-free cake and eat it, too? Not so  fast.  Despite the hundreds of products that sport gluten-free labels,  the FDA has no  official standards to regulate the claim. For those  striving to limit their  gluten intake, that lack of regulation can be  frustrating. But for those with  celiac disease, hypersensitivities to  cereal grains, or certain autoimmune  diseases like Hashimoto’s  thyroiditis (in which the body mistakenly attacks the  thyroid), a  “gluten-free” food with traces of gluten can pose a serious health   threat. Fortunately, new rules likely to be unveiled later this year  should  clear up the confusion.

As it stands now, the FDA only requires companies to state whether  common  allergens, such as wheat or nuts, are ingredients in a product.  Labeling  regulations are lax for products potentially cross-contaminated  with allergens  during the manufacturing process — something that  happens frequently in  facilities that process a wide variety of foods.  That means small quantities of  gluten can easily sneak into products  labeled “gluten-free.”

The FDA is currently evaluating the issue. Many experts anticipate  that if  the FDA does adopt new regulations, they will mirror those  governing product  labeling in several European countries, which allow  companies to label  their products gluten-free if they contain fewer than  20 parts per million  (ppm) of gluten. Many researchers assert that  those levels are tolerable even  for people with celiac disease, says  Danna Korn, founder of Raising Our Celiac  Kids and author of Living Gluten-Free for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

In the meantime, you can eliminate the guesswork by avoiding  processed foods  whenever possible. “The best way to avoid gluten is to  eat products that aren’t  manufactured,” says Korn. “Most natural, non-grain whole foods, such as  vegetables, fruits, meats, legumes and fish,  are  inherently gluten-free.”


FDA Bans BPA in Baby Bottles

FDA Bans BPA in Baby Bottles

by Becky Striepe

Yesterday was a huge win for  families who have been lobbying for years to get toxic BPA out of baby bottles  and sippy cups.

The FDA announced yesterday that it’s going to ban BPA in children’s drinking  cups or bottles. Surprisingly, the American Chemistry Council – an industry  advocacy group – asked for the FDA ban, because consumer confidence in plastic  children’s products was dropping. Most manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy  cups were phasing out BPA before the ban came down today.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor and possibly linked to a wide range of health concerns from intestinal  inflammation to breast cancer. What’s important to remember about the FDA ban is  that it only affects baby bottles and children’s sippy cups, and you can find  BPA in a wide range of other products like:

  • Some types of plastic food storage containers
  • Soda cans
  • Cans that hold food like beans and veggies
  • Receipts
  • Some canning jar lids

The FDA ban does not address any of the health issues associated with BPA.  Instead, the ruling states that it is banning BPA in sippy cups and  baby bottles “because these uses have been abandoned.”

While some are applauding the ban on BPA in baby bottles and children’s sippy  cups, many consumer advocacy groups are saying that this ban does not go far  enough. What do you think about the FDA ban on BPA?

Source: New York Times

Quirky Law Could Kill Thousands Of Animals For New Cigarette

by Sharon Seltzer

More than 8 million of the 47 million U.S. adult cigarette smokers have a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco also costs the economy $96 billion a year for medical care. To counter the bad press, the tobacco industry has created new “light” tobacco products they claim are less harmful. In order to make that claim, a quirk in the law requires the products to be tested on thousands of animals.

Two years ago, Congress passed a law that requires tobacco companies to prove that any of its products labeled “light” or “mild” significantly reduce the risk of tobacco-related disease to smokers and benefit the health of the population. The Food and Drug Administration was placed in charge of regulating the law. They drafted guidelines that required animal testing to be part of the process.

The National Cancer Institute, Institute for Medicine, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and PETA have all called for an end to the animal testing clause.

The National Cancer Institute doesn’t believe the light cigarettes are less harmful to a person’s health. In a recent report they stated, “There is no convincing evidence that changes in cigarette design… have resulted in an important decrease in the disease burden caused by cigarette use.”

Bingxuan Wang, a toxicology researcher with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is very concerned about the number of animals that will needlessly die during these tests.

“The bottom line is, tobacco – light or not – poses serious risks to the user’s health and to the health of others. Wasting countless more animal lives to prove the safety of an inherently harmful product, especially when such tests in the past have been misleading, would be grossly counterproductive for human health,” said Wang.

The Institute of Medicine said, “It is not possible to make laboratory animals use tobacco products the way humans do, and there are inherent interspecies differences that prevent meaningful extrapolation of human effects.” Experiments conducted on animals 50 years ago found that tobacco did not cause lung cancer, but that information was obviously incorrect in humans.

PETA said, “In some of the horrendous tobacco tests that could be conducted, rats would be forced to breathe tobacco smoke for as long as six hours a day for months at a time by jamming the animals into tiny canisters and pumping concentrated cigarette smoke directly into their noses. The animals would then be killed and their bodies dissected.”

Belgium, Germany and the U.K. have banned animal testing for tobacco products and Canada uses non-animal methods.

Take Action: Stop Testing Nicotine On Animals


Organic Baby Spinach Recalled Due to Salmonella Concerns

by Ann Pietrangelo

Organic baby spinach, potentially contaminated with Salmonella, is being recalled after a random test conducted by the USDA.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and people who have a weakened immune system. In healthy people, it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and abdominal pain. In rare cases the organism can get into the bloodstream and cause more serious complications. 

The recall includes:

Private Selections Organic Baby Spinach, 5 oz

UPC Number: 0-11110-91128-5 / 0-11110-91128-5

Package Code: TFRS 130B 1503 KT34 / TFRS 130B 1803 KT34

Best By Date: 5-25-12

Sold In: AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MT, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY

Marketside Baby Spinach Organic, 10 oz

UPC Numer: 6-8113132900-2

Package Code: TFRS130B16

Best By Date: 5-25-12

Sold In: AR, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, MT, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WY

The recalled spinach was distributed from Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. on May 9 and 10.

No illnesses involving the recalled spinach have been reported and no other products or code dates are affected by this recall. The company is cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Consumers may contact Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. for further information at 866-508-7048 Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm PST.

Is There Plastic In My Food?

Is There Plastic In My Food?

  • Katie Waldeck

Plastics are everywhere. They’re in our homes, clothes, cars, toys, and, alarmingly, they’re on our dinner plates. Researchers have confirmed that potentially harmful chemicals from plastics are in the nation’s food supply, which make their way into the human body.

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives named plastic food packaging as a major source for these chemicals. Families were given food that was certifiably plastic-free for three days, and researchers compared the levels of chemicals found in plastic in their bodies.

The results were astounding: participants saw an average 2/3 drop in the levels of bisphenol A (BPA) present in their bodies. The controversial chemical has been linked in higher rates of cancer, heart disease, and a variety of reproductive health issues. Though BPA is banned in Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently rejected a ban on the chemical.

The FDA’s system of measuring the concentration of chemicals is a major cause for concern here — in short, it doesn’t stack up with the decades of scientific research that shows even the lowest amounts of BPA can affect the human body.

Moreover, the FDA relies on manufacturers to self-report their initial data about their products, many components of which aren’t manufactured by the manufacturers themselves. These results aren’t made public.

As Janet Nudelman of the Breast Cancer Fund told the Washington Post, “It doesn’t make sense to regulate the safety of food and then put the food in an unsafe package.”

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 12

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 12

“Dissimilar things were fitted together to make something beautiful and whole.”

–Nippawanock, ARAPAHOE

Sometimes we look at something close up and it appears to be ugly; but then we drop back and look at it as a whole and it is beautiful. If we look at an insect close up, it may be ugly, but if we drop back and look at the whole insect it becomes beautiful. We can drop back even more and observe what its role and purpose is, and the insect becomes even more beautiful and whole. How are we looking at ourselves? Are we focused on something ugly about ourselves, or are we dropping back and looking at ourselves as a whole? We all have purpose, and we are all beautiful.

Grandfather, today, let me see the beauty of the whole


Herb of the Day for February 3rd – Stevia

Herb of the Day for February 3rd


Stevia – Sweet Herb

The Herbal Sugar Substitute

Stevia Sweet Herb Plant – Source: Reader’s Digest, Magic and Medicine of Plants

  • 30 times sweeter than sugar
  • Helps to keep the body’s blood sugar in balance
  • Placed directly in cuts and wounds, more rapid healing, without scarring, is observed
  • Low caloric, aids weight management
  • Improved digestion
  • Effective results applied to acne, seborrhea, dermatitis, eczema, etc.
  • Beneficial for hypoglycemics
  • Increases energy levels and mental activity
  • Reduces desire for tobacco and alcoholic beverages

FDA’s Position on Stevia

In December 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Stevia product rebaudioside A (rebiana) as a general purpose sweetener. Rebiana is an ingredient derived from the leaf of the stevia plant.

Stevia Zero-Calorie Products

Companies are marketing products featuring zero-calorie sweetener made from rebiana. Trademarked stevia sweetners are Truvia™ (Coca Cola and Cargill) PureVia™ (Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC and PepsiCo).

Previous FDA Reports

In 1995, the FDA revised an earlier 1991 import alert to allow Stevia and its extracts to be imported as a food supplement but not as a sweetener. Yet, it defines Stevia as an unapproved food additive, not affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) in the United States. The following is a portion of this revised alert:

If stevia is to be used in a dietary supplement for a technical effect, such as use as a sweetener or flavoring agent, and is labeled as such, it is considered an unsafe food additive. However, in the absence of labeling specifying that stevia is being or will be used for technical effect, use of stevia as a dietary ingredient in a dietary supplement is not subject to the food additive provisions of FD & C ACT.

Wiccan Book of Days for January 26th – Efficacions Eucalyptus

Winter Images, Pictures, Comments
Efficacions Eucalyptus

This day’s element is Air, which promotes clear thinking. But it is difficult to breathe, let alone think straight, if your sinuses are painful and your chest is congested with catarrh. So if you are suffering from a cold, turn to eucallyptus for help:  many commercial inhalanats and chest rubs contain this natural decongestant, but a home-made steam inhalation usually provides longer-lasting relief. Simply add 2 to 4 drops of the essential oil to a bowl of hot water, then lean over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and start breathing in and out slowly and deeply; do this for up to five minutes.

“A Mystical Message”

Air is an agent of communication, for sounds are carried on the airwaves. Practice chanting a mantra, such as the Sanskrit Om, the mystical sound of creation in hindu belief, and you may find that this resonant repetition aids your meditation or trance-work.

The Wicca Book of Days

Daily Feng Shui Tip for Jan. 11

These next tips are smoking hot and entirely apropos for ‘Cigarettes Are Hazardous To Your Health Day.’ Some holistic smoking remedies recommend drinking a concoction of a half-teaspoon of cream of tartar and eight ounces of orange juice before bed. The cream of tarter offers invaluable assistance in cleansing the nicotine out of your system. The orange juice replaces the vitamin C that cigarettes rob from your body. Be dedicated and persistent in your quitting efforts, as consistently taking this drink every night will soon see you having less and less cravings. Here are some other tried and true remedies to help you kick the habit. Switch to a brand of cigarettes you don’t like. Doing so will reduce the pleasure of smoking, making it easier to break the habit. Lastly, cut the urge to light up by pressing the acupressure point located in the center of your breastbone, directly between your nipples. Tap it gently seven to twelve times in a row for nine consecutive times. Each time you tap affirm that you are now a non-smoker and before long that prediction will come true!

By Ellen Whitehurst for


The most familiar bee is the bumblebee which has a large hairy body, and a long reddish hairy tongue to soak up nectar. On their hind legs, pollen sticks to the combs and brushes located on their body which is then stored in a pollen basket otherwise known as a honeystomach. To fill this sack a bee must suck nectar from 60 flowers.

The males are known as drones and play no part in the organization of the colony. It is the queen and workers (their daughters) which create the complex social structures they live in.

These bees may have highly specialized functions such as defense, food collection, food storage, or reproduction.

Bee shows us we can accomplish what seems impossible by having dedication and working hard. It asks us to pursue our dreams with incredible focus and fertilize our aspirations. Bee teaches us to cooperate with others who have similar goals so we can learn how to help each other.