Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kids' Drinks Cause Cancer?

This weekend I ended up with the extra "Kool-Aid Jammers" that were given as snacks after my daughter's ball game. There are no ingredients listed on the individual pouch (similar to "Capri Sun," so I had to look them up since both of my kids can't have aspartame. Boy, did I step into a mine field!!

It turns out, the Jammers, among many other drinks, contain chemicals that form benzene (a carcinogen) when mixed together. You can read more here:

Benzene in Soft Drinks

If you think this story doesn't apply to you, see this list of other offenders before you click away:

Partial List of Soft Drinks Containing Ascorbic Acid and Potassium or Sodium Benzoate (Make sure you check current ingredients, as the makers may have changed them since this article was written)
Country Time Lemonade
Crystal Light Sunrise Classic Orange
Diet Pepsi Twist
Diet Pepsi Vanilla
Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry
Diet RockStar Energy Drink
Fanta - Orange
Fanta - Pineapple
Fruit20 Plus 10 Natural Apple
Giant Fruity Punch Cooler
Hawaiian Punch - Fruit Juicy Red
Hawaiian Punch - Lemonade
HiC Blast - Berry Blue
HiC Blast - Fruit Pow
HiC Blast - Orange Super Nova
Koolaid Jammers - Blue Raspberry
Koolaid Jammers - Cherry
Koolaid Jammers - Grape
Koolaid Jammers - Orange
Koolaid Jammers 10 - Cherry
Koolaid Jammers 10 - Kiwi Strawberry
Koolaid Jammers 10 - Tropical Punch
Lo-Carb Monster Energy
Minute Maid – Tropical Citrus
Monster Energy
Mug Root Beer
Pepsi Twist Lemon
Pepsi Vanilla
RockStar Energy Drink
Sierra Mist
Sierra Mist Free
Sunkist
Sunny D
Sunny D Baja
Sunny D Intense Sport Cool Punch
Sunny D Orange-Fused Strawberry
Sunny D Smooth
Sunny D Smooth + Calcium
Talking Rain sparkling water - Black Raspberry
Talking Rain sparkling water - Harvest Peach
Talking Rain sparkling water - Orange Mango
Talking Rain sparkling water - Pink Grapefruit
Tampico Citrus Punch
Tampico Grape Punch
Tampico Tropical Punch
Tropicana Lemonade
Tropicana Orangeade
Tropicana Pink Lemonade
Tropicana Strawberry Melon
Tropicana Twister Diet Soda (Diet Orange)
Tropicana Twister Soda – Grape
Tropicana Twister Soda – Orange
Tropicana Twister Soda – Strawberry

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cancer and the REAL Leading Cause of Death

In less than an hour, I went from reading a purely innocent article entitled, "How Your Endocrine System is Being Harmed by the Top 5 Home Toxins," to re-discovering a truth I forgot I knew about the real leading cause of death to Americans. First, regarding the article, it is very informative regarding the toxins we bring into our home. For approximately 3-4 years I've kept air purifiers in my home for allergies as well as keeping other toxins and contaminants out of the air. Most people don't realize that lung cancer is actually the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. (But not the leading cause of death...)
I then ended up at another article, "What Caused a Dramatic Drop in Breast Cancer … Plus Top 11 Things You Can do to Lower Your Risk Even More …" It is a great article reminding us all that we do have some control over whether or not we get breast cancer, and if we do, the best way to help fight it.
The "C Word" is something we all fear. We participate in Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the Avon 3 Day walk. In the world of public relations, breast cancer especially has gotten a pretty good name for itself, don't you think? But has it earned that right? Looking at projected statistics for 2010, 19% of breast cancer patients will die. But 71% of lung cancer patients will die. Hmmmm. All that hype going toward "breast cancer" and what's really getting us is lung cancer. Perhaps you can say that all the hype has led to better success rates for breast cancer, but I don't think so. And if that were so, why not do the same now for lung cancer?
I watched a new Christiane Northrup lecture on PBS last weekend called, "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom." She clarified something for me about self breast exams and why studies recently showed that women should stop doing them. Women who did self-exams found more tumors, including malignant ones, and detected some cancers earlier, but there was no significant difference in death rates. According to Dr. Northrup, "early detection" leads to finding cancers that would often go away on their own. She suggested that we take care of our bodies properly, and listen to them because we often get that gut feeling when something is really wrong. If you count all these "baby tumors" as breast cancer, you can see why the survival rate would be good...because the women having them wouldn't have died from the cancer at all. As a matter of fact, I just read somewhere and can't find the source, that cancers are often found during autopsies, where the cause of death was natural. So it's not uncommon to have cancer in our bodies that doesn't affect us at all. But if we start cutting out and attacking every lump or bump, I'm sure the "treatment" will eventually kill us. I highly suggest finding Dr. Northrup's lecture on your local PBS channel!
Now to the real reason I sat down to write. I still haven't shared the leading cause of death. If you have paid attention at all during the last 10 years or so, you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death.
Studies show that few women identify heart disease as their top cause of death. Significantly more women fear breast cancer over heart disease. Yet more women die from heart disease each year than from all cancers combined.
Whether you are a man or a woman, your chance of having cardiovascular disease (and dying from it) are greater than ALL cancers combined. So why is it that we fear the "C Word" so often and then get sneaked up on by a heart attack?! It all comes down to public relations (PR). Whether more money has gone into cancer campaigns, or their campaigns have been more effective, I don't know. But somehow we have grown this massive misconception in our country that cancer is what's going to get us. Perhaps believing that, and then believing that it is something out of our control is the reason so many people live like they do. I don't know.... Perhaps because the treatment for cancer is more dramatic and prolonged, it has garnered the sympathy donations, leading to more PR. It really has a life of it's own, and well, heart disease is something "old" people get and they just die and go away. Sorry to be blunt, but isn't that what's happening here?
If you look at the numbers, it is sad. The American Cancer Society only puts 15% of its funds toward research, but I would bet that most people think otherwise when they donate. The American Heart Association puts 20.8% toward research, but an impressive 40% toward public education. I also just read that the American Heart Association does not receive federal funding (although they do help other organizations receive funding for programs), and one of the goals for the American Cancer Society is to get MORE federal funding!
The point to all this is...we are each responsible for our own bodies. Our doctors, researchers, parents, or kids are not responsible for what we put in our mouths daily, whether we smoke, the air that we breathe or the toxins we invite into our homes. Giving money is not going to keep you alive, but spending that money on your own health WILL. And KNOW THE REAL DANGER FOR YOU. If you have hypertension, cholesterol problems, chest pains, or other little known heart symptoms, you should probably be more concerned about heart health than fearing cancer!
P.S. Eat your veggies!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Problem with "Health Care"

The problem with health care is plain and simple...it is...PEOPLE. Yes, PEOPLE, and I'll back that up with examples...
People want to eat crap all day long, wash it down with something like pop, alcohol, or even toxin-laden water, and as long as their bellies are full, they are happy as can be. They want to drink to drunkeness, smoke cigarettes, sit on their butts watching television all evening, and wake up the next day and do it all over. People LOVE feeding junk food to their kids and wouldn't dare make them eat healthy food...because they don't eat it themselves. They are fed candy, soda, cookies, and french fries, and if they are lucky, they might get a veggie- corn- once a week. Almost everything kids drink has "sugar" or "high fructose corn syrup" in the first two ingredients, and when they DO drink milk, it's pasteurized and homogenized, making it practically useless. Kids then are given life-altering vaccinations that "people" trust are good for them, not really ever looking at the consequences, because they are sure someone has already done that, and our government SURELY wouldn't do anything harmful to our kids.
When people are sick, they just go to the doctor to get a pill, and if God forbid the doctor says ANYTHING about their weight, they will complain to anyone who will listen for at least two weeks. The problem is, SO many people are sick these days, because of diet, bad habits, and laziness, that it has tipped our health care system upside down. These sick, lazy people expect healthy people who eat right and exercise to pick up their tab. Which is essentially what "insurance" is doing; taking money from everyone to help pay for the sick. And unfortunately, the economically disadvantaged are usually the ones out of work, who smoke, drink, and feed their families crap.
Don't get me wrong. My mother told me a long time ago, "Just because you have no money doesn't mean you don't take care of what you've got." And we didn't have much growing up. But times have changed. Parents have gotten lazy, people have been handed too much, and nobody wants to work for anything anymore. It is much easier to sit on your front porch missing teeth, smoking a Marlboro, and swigging on that 40.
The people who are really getting jacked are the children who are born with diseases or birth defects, who can't get coverage because the insurance companies are panicking over all the other crap they have to pay out for. When our kid gets an ear infection we want to pay a $10 copay to the doctor, and pay $5 for the antibiotic. When our kid has the sniffles, we rush him to the doctor. I can't believe all the times I've heard parents say they were taking their kids to the doctor! You have to be bloody or blue in my house to warrant a doctor visit, and there'd BETTER be something seriously wrong with you!
We have been spoiled with employer-paid coverage and expect it to keep going. We blame corporations for not dishing out. Granted there are some companies that can pay and don't. There are others that can't, or they'd go out of business. You have the freedom in this country to get a job that provides good insurance, or start your own business and make enough money to afford your own coverage. And you'd better sit down for this. You know all that money you raise for your favorite health organizations like the American Cancer Society? Their employees have AWESOME insurance! So while you are barely scraping by paying premiums and still trying to keep enough in your pocket to actually go to the doctor if you need to, you are helping others have it better than you!
So before you blame the insurance companies, the government, the corporations and illegal immigrants (don't get me started on THAT!) take a look around at all the sick people you know who can afford their crappy lifestyle, and then think about people like me who make every effort to eat healthy, drink pure water, breathe clean air, exercise, and avoid toxins, who are paying insurance premiums "just in case" and getting pretty much nothing in return.
Health care begins at home. It starts with what you put in your grocery cart and stock in your fridge. Until people get that right, we will ALWAYS be in dire straits when it comes to health care. People need to wake up and be held accountable for their futures. Instead of saying, "help me," help yourself and make a change...because the alternative is no longer an option.

Drinking Water Quality in Schools

My children were schooled for the first time this spring, after being homeschooled for 3-4 years. About 6 weeks after starting school, they both began to complain about stomach aches. Before they ate, after they ate, and any time in between, I heard the complaints often. At first I blamed the poor quality food they received at lunch. About a week after summer vacation started, I noticed that the complaints stopped. Now I'm not sure what caused the problem, but I'm growing suspicious of the water at the school. At home, we drink distilled water. Our community is known for high nitrate water, and with old pipes at the school we could be talking about lead or copper levels beyond what children should be drinking.
So I started wondering. I was told at some point that restaurants are required to filter their drinking water. I don't know if this is true or not, but from my research I have discovered no such protection for children in schools. As a matter of fact, I found scary stuff that makes me look into this matter further. Here are some links I found if you would like to read more. Keep in mind as you read that the EPA allows a certain level of contaminants in municipal drinking water. As a parent of young kids with developing minds and bodies, I do not agree that they should be drinking ANY level of contaminants.
Also, I do not believe that we should demand that the government spend millions of dollars to fix OUR children's drinking water. My point is that I want to know how bad the water is and if there is anything in place to clean it. If not, the community needs to come up with a solution. I will be writing more on this in the future!

Drinking Water Unsafe at Thousands of Schools

Senate Hearing on Safer School Water Quality Standards with EPA

EPA announces new policies on water quality at schools

Drinking Water Testing and InformationFor Water Well Homeowners, Private Water Well Owners, Realtors, Plumbing Contractors, Water Well Drillers

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Raw Cow's Milk is the Cat's Meeeeeooooww

A few weeks ago we took in a kitten that I have now decided was weaned too early. The poor thing is suckling on my fingers, knuckles, toes, and even elbows! I discovered that he really loved licking the bowl of my morning breakfast- raw cow's milk yogurt- so I gave him that luxury. Then I decided to feed him some milk from a dropper to see what he would do. Meeeeoooowwwww!
Now whenever he even sees the milk carton he meows like crazy and demands MORE! We don't give him much, but it really seems to help calm him down. This is not the milk you get at the grocery store. It is raw milk from grass fed cows. And despite what you will read all over the internet about "milk," it has not given him diarrhea at all! I was actually doing some research on it when I realized that it's been a long time since I've hollered out to the internet world, "HEY YOU! Raw cow's milk is good for you and you should drink it everyday!"
We've been consuming raw dairy in our house for about 4 years. I have never been healthier. My cholesterol is low, and with my adrenal gland issues, I've actually read that red meat, salt, and raw dairy is perfect for me. (Good thing I don't listen to conventional wisdom because I would probably be dead by now!)
If you have never tried raw milk, do not write off "milk" because of lactose intolerance. And definitely don't write it off just because some goon on the internet says, "cow's milk is for cows, not humans." Some of us need it very much, and there are many life affirming properties that you can get from real, raw, unprocessed milk. Here is a starter article I have found that might help your research, because really, don't just listen to me either...
Raw Milk
by Tom Cowan, MD

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shower Filters

When I was younger I thought of shower filters as more of a luxury item. They were for people who wanted softer skin and softer hair, without having to lather on lotions or conditioners. As I got older, and the internet came into my life, I learned a lot more about the dangers of chlorine in shower water and its implications to human health.
When I was younger, we also all thought that toxins or chemicals could only enter the body if we swallowed them. We now know that the skin allows what we put on it to enter the body. With that discovery, we should realize that there are some changes to our daily lives that need to happen if we want to protect our DNA and keep our cells from mutating into things like cancer.
The best way to protect yourself from known carcinogens (like chloroform) is to use a good shower filter on your daily shower. For short term effects, your skin and hair will be softer. Even better, those with asthma or COPD will be protected from the harmful affects of chloramines in regular municipal tap water. When water is heated and we breathe in the steam, that steam contains chlorine by-products and any other contaminant that might be in the water. We breathe it in, where it goes into our lungs and directly into our blood stream.
"I have well water" is no excuse to not filter your shower. All water coming into your house will have something in it that your body doesn't need. Showerwise shower filters reduce iron, lead, arsenic, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, several types of bacteria, algae, fungi and mold.
If you know someone who is battling cancer, the Showerwise is an excellent "get well" gift. And if you want to do your best to prevent it in your family, a Showerwise is a definite necessity.