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Let the good food movement roll on!

This last week, I came across a couple of good articles at Rodale Institute that I wanted to share with you.


Lupus, other autoimmune diseases linked to insecticide exposure

A recent study shows that women who use insecticides are at elevated risk for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The results of the yet unpublished study were presented October 2009 at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA.

The study of 75,000 women shows that those who spray insecticides at least six times per year have almost two and a half times the risk of developing lupus and rheumatoid arthritis versus those who do not use insecticides. The risk doubles if insecticides were used in the home for 20 years or more.

“Our new results provide support for the idea that environmental factors may increase susceptibility or trigger the development of autoimmune diseases in some individuals,” said Dr. Christine G. Parks, PhD. She is an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., one of the lead researchers who analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational

“The findings are fairly compelling” because they show the greater and longer the exposure, the greater the risk,” said Darcy Majka, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University, who also analyzed the WHI data. Full story: Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog


Herbicide-resistant pigweeds stop combines, make national TV

Cotton and soybean farmers in eastern Arkansas are interviewed in an ABC News story highlighting the potential harvest disruption caused by weeds that chemicals cannot kill. The reporter says that more than 1 million acres may be affected by the problem, long predicted by farmers and weed scientists who advocate for non-chemical weed management.

One farmer interviewed said he had spent $500,000 spraying chemicals this year, and lost the battle against pigweed. The resistant, persistent plant pest forms a hard, fibrous stalk that can be as thick as a baseball bat. A veteran extension agent says he has never seen such a weed threat.

While the coverage focuses on the current-year crisis—and highlights the fallacy of depending on herbicides for  long-term sustainability—glyphosate (the active ingredient in many widely used herbicides) has been losing its impact for years, as our background story illustrates. Full story: ABC News


Science initially came to the rescue to help farmers control  insects and weeds and now that their chemicals are no longer effective or are even causing autoimmune diseases, America is going to go running back to these companies to solve the problem they helped to create.  It sure looks like the fox (aka chemical companies) has the keys to the hen house (aka USDA).  This kind of information speaks loudly for the importance of Organic Agriculture.

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Enjoying the Holiday Meals

Enjoying the Holiday Meals

Are you rushing around yet? It’s the season for holiday plans, schedules, trying to find and give that perfect gift, and entertaining friends and family. It’s also a time of dietary excess, increased stress, and let’s not forget colds and flu. Statistics show that December is the most stressful month of the year. That and the cold weather alone can wreak havoc on a person. Rest assured! There are things you can do to prepare yourself for the holidays, and prevent certain discomforts that can accompany this season.

Growing up, in my family, it was considered impolite to not sample food being offered, especially if Grandma made it. We would eat and eat, sometimes having three to four holiday meals in one day! Some of you can no doubt identify with this situation. To help you avoid overeating during the holidays, here are some tips. First, avoid starving yourself early in the day to “save room” for the holiday meal. The easiest way to overeat is to create maximum hunger this way. Small frequent meals are always better. Second, remember to drink plenty of water. This will prevent you from serving and eating a huge portion which you will “have to finish,” since you “don’t want it to go to waste.” Third, decide on a maximum and reasonable portion size for the meal and stick to it. After eating, drink some hot herbal tea to promote relaxation.

With too much good food comes heartburn. To decrease your chance of getting the discomfort and pain of heartburn, start the meal with apple cider vinegar. This helps increase digestive enzymes and break down foods faster. Another way to avoid stomach upset is to use deglycyrrhized licorice (abbreviated DGL). Licorice is an herb that stimulates the cells lining your digestive tract to produce mucus. The mucus, in turn, protects the stomach and esophagus from digestive acid. DGL can help tremendously with heartburn, or excess stomach acid, when it’s food related or if you have esophageal reflux (backflow of stomach acid). A typical prescription is to chew and swallow two 400mg tablets 10 minutes before each meal to help keep your digestive tract in order. Talk to your ND to find out what’s best for you.

by Rebecca Dirks, N.D.

Associate Physician, NW Center for Optimal Health

Marysville, 360-651-9355

Producer & Co-Host, Healthy Living, KSER FM 90.7