The following article is reposted with permission from the Pesticide Action Network.
Pesticide drift can lead to serious medical consequences, so it's important to take all incidents seriously and immediately seek medical attention. In addition to affecting people, pesticide drift can damage ecosystems, pets and wildlife, and cause economic harm by contaminating crops and poisoning livestock. It is important that all drift incidents are promptly reported, even if no damage is apparent.
If pesticides drift onto you or your neighbors, you should:
- Evacuate the area, warn your neighbors and seek medical attention.
- If you were hit with spray drift (droplets or dust particles) that contacted your skin, shower as soon after exposure as you can.
- If you experience any symptoms of pesticide exposure, immediately see a doctor or call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Call for help. Once you are in a safe location, notify the appropriate authorities of the incident (see below). If you feel your life is in danger, call 911.
Always Report Pesticide Drift
Regardless of whether people were directly exposed to pesticide drift or any ecological damage or economic harm is immediately visible, it’s important to promptly report every drift incident to the agency responsible for pesticide enforcement. The appropriate agency varies by state, but it is typically the office of the County Agricultural Commissioner.
You should report the incident to both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to your state agency:
- The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) will report pesticide incidents to the U.S. EPA. Call 1-800-858-7378 from 8:00AM - 12:00PM PST.
- Each state has an agency for reporting pesticide. Find your state on the NPIC webpage, and call the appropriate agency to have them record a report.
In California, calling 1-877-378-5463 should connect you with the appropriate office. If you seek medical attention, be sure to tell the doctor that pesticides are involved or suspected. In addition to helping the doctor diagnose and treat you, this will ensure that the incident is counted in official tallies, since many states require doctors and veterinarians to report cases of suspected pesticide poisoning incidents to the state.
It’s important to notify authorities as soon as possible, and to ask for a formal investigation and pesticide sampling on affected properties. This is because pesticide residue can degrade quickly, and samples should be taken as soon as possible if they are yield conclusive results. Write down all of the details of the exposure before you forget anything, including the time and date of the incident, what happened that led to the exposure, and the location of the application site and neighboring buildings.
The Drift Catcher
In our work with communities on the ground, PAN leases or sells Drift Catchers to select groups. For advice on alternative ways to detect drift, read Getting the Drift on Chemical Trespass. You can also contact us or check out a list of pesticides the Drift Catcher can detect.
There is a commitment involved in conducting a Drift Catching study as a PAN community partner:
Driftcatching Takes People, Time and Money
While the Drift Catcher is simple to use, there is a time investment involved with taking samples and running the study, so it is best to have a group from your community working together. Anyone participating in Drift Catching studies must attend a training so that they can be certified in using the Drift Catcher. Group members must also be available to take samples when pesticide applications are occurring in the area.
The Drift Catcher is leased on a yearly basis to community groups. PAN selects these groups based on our current campaign goals. Leasing costs for the Drift Catcher are $200 per year. Sample analysis costs are high, typically ranging from $125 to $255 per sample. PAN may be able to help you find funding, or provide some support.
PAN often works with communities in the Midwest and California, but has partnered with groups from other areas in the past. Examples of previous Drift Catching projects include:
- Communities in Illinois
- Communities in Iowa
- Communities in Minnesota
- Hastings, FL
- Hawai'i SEED
- Sisquoc, CA
- Tehama, CA
Photo by Fotolia
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders affect up to 12% of Americans and can cause pain, decreased range of jaw motion, and a clicking noise associated with movement. They can also lead to referred pain—pain that is felt at a location other than where it originates—all over the head and neck, including earaches and headaches.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders can be influenced by multiple factors, including traumatic injuries, hormonal influences, and overuse and/or improper use of the muscles of mastication (chewing). Clenching of the teeth (bruxism) is often a leading cause of TMJ muscle pain, although many people are not aware that they have this habit. Women are more likely than men to suffer from TMJ symptoms, and these disorders are most likely to occur in people 20 to 40 years old.
Natural Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders
There are many natural ways to treat the unpleasant symptoms of TMJ.
1. Occlusal Splint. Most commonly known as night guards, these splints are custom-made dental orthotics that help protect the surfaces of the teeth and prevent clenching. These are one of the most frequently used treatments for TMJ disorders. They are most often worn at night.
2. Physical therapy. Stretching and range-of-motion exercises designed by a physical therapist can help to relieve pain and restore proper movement and function of the jaw.
3. Massage. Massage has been shown to be effective in relieving TMJ pain. Some massage therapists specialize in TMJ and even work on the muscles inside the mouth to release tension surrounding the jaw.
4. Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to provide short-term relief from painful TMJ disorder symptoms.
5. Osteopathic manipulative technique. A study in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies showed that this technique, practiced by a doctor of osteopathy, reduced pain and improved range of motion after six months.
6. Self-management. If you suffer from TMJ pain or discomfort, it is important to be aware of your own habits. Avoid chewing gum or eating hard, chewy foods to put less stress on the TMJ muscles. Keep your teeth apart with the jaw muscles relaxed as much as possible throughout the day. Avoiding stress and learning what situations cause you to clench your teeth are both very important in preventing TMJ symptoms from getting worse or returning.
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My earliest memories of horseradish (Cochlearia Armoracia) include my mother's mother digging it up in late August. She would grind it up and share her plentiful batches with the neighbors, who would add it to everything from sauer krat to meat loaf. Everyone recognizes the pungent taste of this common plant. It can be found in many mayo-based sauces to complement meats heavy in fat content, like pork
The medicinal part of this plant is the root. WebMD.com lists these as other names for the peppery root:
Cran de Bretagne
Moutarde des Allemands
Moutarde des Capucins
Radis de Cheval
No one seems to know the exact origin of the plant, but it became rather popular during the middle ages in the Nordic and Germanic regions. By the 1600's it had spread to England where it garnered its common name Horseradish. Horse meaning coarse, in ordering to distinguish it from the common radish. It is a member of the Cruciferae family as is broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc. It is cold tolerant and can be planted early on in the spring.
Healing Properties of Horseradish
This spicy root has been used for respiratory ailments. The famed Dr. Christopher suggested using Horseradish for sinus ailments. He advised holding a bit of the pungent root in the mouth until the taste was gone. Anyone that has ever eaten it knows the root's ability to make the sinuses instantly drain. Even today, it is in many remedies for respiratory complaints and allergies.
For centuries herbalists have used Horseradish as a remedy for urinary complaints, including stones. By mixing the ground root with vinegar and honey to taste, the diuretic qualities of horseradish can be put to use.
It is said to be able to ensure the gut's ability to produce protective mucus when eating meat that may be slightly questionable. While I do not recommend finding out if this works, it is interesting to know that it helps create protective mucus in the gut lining. This leaves room for experimentation to find out if it can aid in cases of irritated gut. It is said to be a remedy for intestinal worms in children.
Horseradish has also been shown in studies to display anti-bacterial effects.
I've had many clients successfully use horseradish in herbal blends and as a single remedy. Since the taste can be quite pungent, the easiest way to get this herb down is as an encapsulated preparation. I have found that about six capsules, spread throughout the day, can make a world of difference in managing the stuffy, itchy, watery nose and eyes that can make spring a terrible experience for some. The horseradish can also be added to various meals in order to get the mucus flowing. It is better to get the mucus flowing in order to relieve the pain sometimes associated with these ailments.
After the dangers of refined sugar became widely known in the 1980s, the American food industry began replacing it with artificial sweeteners. As an added psychological bonus, these supposedly harmless molecules also reduced the caloric content of foods, making them popular for use in low-fat, light, and diet products. In addition to aspartame, synthetic chemical sweeteners are also known by the following chemical names: acesulfame potassium, neotame, saccharin, sucralose. Brand names include: NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin, Sunett, Sweet One, Sweet & Safe, Splenda.
Foods that May Contain Aspartame
According to NutriSweet, a variety of foods are typically sweetened with aspartame.
Carbonated soft drinks
Fruit drinks (10% juice)
Why Small Children are Vulnerable
While holistic doctors do not recommend aspartame consumption by anyone, children are especially susceptible. One or two packages of yogurt, gelatin, or fruit drinks can contain enough aspartame to put a baby over the FDA’s recommended intake limit of 50 mg/kg of body weight.
Aspartame Side Effects Can Lead to Brain Impairment
The body immediately breaks aspartame into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Methanol is further broken down into formaldehyde and formate. In adults, these compounds may not reach high enough levels to cause problems. For babies, however, methanol can reach high enough levels to cause oxidative stress to the brain. This is the same effect that is caused by free radicals. Chronic incidents of this stress will cause faster brain aging, and could contribute to the development of anxiety disorders, learning impairment, and depression.[3,6] Considering that babies may be exposed to multiple daily servings of the foods listed above, chronic effects are possible until the child becomes old enough to properly metabolize aspartame. Even then, some may experience long-term health consequences.
Also known as PKU, this is an inherited condition in which babies cannot break down phenylalanine. Aspartame can cause severe problems in children with PKU. This includes seizures, rashes, tremors, delayed mental skills, and impaired intellect. All of these are results of excess phenylalanine in the blood. Considering that 50% of aspartame consists of phenylalanine, the sweetener contributes significantly to this problem. Children with PKU should never be given aspartame, even as they become older.
Blood sugar and insulin resistance
Aspartame side effects are intensified by monosodium glutamate (MSG). Studies demonstrate that aspartame alone increases the blood sugar of newborn mice by 60%, but when combined with MSG, the increase is 130%. The research also concludes that subjects experience reduced insulin tolerance. Cells cannot absorb glucose or produce energy when they fail to respond to insulin. This leads to increased blood sugar, increased appetite, and decreased energy.
How to Avoid Synthetic Sweeteners
Anything that is labeled low sugar, diet, low calorie, light, or low fat is likely to contain an artificial sweetener of some kind. Carbonated beverages, fruit drinks, and yogurt can be especially high in aspartame. The best way to avoid aspartame is to entirely eliminate sweetened foods and drinks from the diet. If sugars are absolutely necessary, healthier choices include coconut sugar, agave nectar, and raw honey.
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In theory, bread should be a healthy, whole-grain food. But the process that transforms healthy whole grains into the white bread found on most grocery store shelves destroys their nutrients and adds a variety of dangerous chemicals.
Most breads are produced from flour; they are not natural forms of whole-grain wheat. They require yeast cells to expand them with gas, gluten to bind them together, and preservatives to slow the inevitable growth of mold. Most common brands also add high fructose corn syrup, molasses, and dextrose to enhance flavor.
The Refinement of White Flour Removes Nutrients
Wheat is a seed like any other. It consists of an outer covering (the bran), an embryo (the germ), and a fuel supply (the endosperm). In the case of white bread, the bran and germ are removed and only the soft endosperm is milled into flour. As the initial food supply for the growing seed, the endosperm contains mostly simple carbohydrates. These simple carbohydrates break down into single units of sugar almost immediately, causing hazardous spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
Wheat’s vitamins, minerals, fiber, tocopherols, antioxidants, and proteins are found predominantly in the germ or bran. The removal of these nutrients is the reason why white breads and pastas must be “enriched” after processing. Unfortunately, these added vitamins typically constitute an extremely small percentage of the recommended daily values.
The Bleaching Process Adds Toxins to the Flour
The flour that is made into white bread is bleached with benzoyl peroxide. The bleaching process does nothing to clean the flour. It has no purpose other than to make the product more visually appealing, so that consumers will be more likely to purchase it. This agent oxidizes the yellow flour to make it appear whiter. In the process, benzoyl peroxide creates free radicals and benzoic acid. Free radical species are well known to contribute to DNA damage and aging, and benzoic acid can cause contact irritation, discomfort, weakness, and malaise. When ingested, the agent can cause headache, nervousness, nausea, and vomiting.
In addition to the health effects mentioned above, benzoic acid also contributes to the destruction of beneficial intestinal bacteria. In fact, this antibiotic action is what makes benzoic acid useful as a preservative. Any disturbance to the body’s natural balance of intestinal flora can lead to an overgrowth of parasites or pathogenic bacteria.
Further hazards can occur if any of the benzoyl peroxide makes it into the final product. Exposure to this agent has been found to cause a significant decrease in the liver’s production of superoxide dismutase (SOD). This enzyme is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants and its destruction can lead to rapid aging and DNA damage.
White Flour Products Contribute to High Levels of Blood Sugar
The glycemic index (GI) for white bread is 70.3. Technically, this means that it raises blood sugar 70.3 percent as much as pure glucose sugar, which is extremely high. To compare this to a few nutritious foods, the GI for broccoli is about 10; cherries, 22; and tomatoes, 38. Even extremely low-quality foods such as milk chocolate and potato chips only reach a GI of about 43. This makes white bread very dangerous, especially to diabetics. It is also a poor source of energy, as the high level of blood sugar that it causes will plummet nearly as quickly as that caused by a soft drink or candy bar.
If You Eat Bread
Pumpernickel, whole rye, and whole wheat breads are much healthier alternatives to white. But you still need to be careful. Bread manufacturers use a variety of tricks to make their products appear to be healthy. For example, a bread can be called “whole wheat” even if it only contains a small fraction of whole-wheat flour. Make sure that the label instead reads “100 percent whole wheat.” If the word “enriched” is anywhere in the list of ingredients, the product is not 100 percent whole wheat.
Stay away from high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, molasses, other refined sugars, and preservatives such as benzoate. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the potential dangers of gluten. The best bread to eat is known as Ezekiel or Genesis bread. These breads are made from sprouted grains and usually do not contain milled flour or preservatives.
Remember: Always ignore the promises on bread labels and instead read the list of ingredients to know what you’re putting in your body.
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There was a time when I would not make a trip to the health food store without picking up a bottle of Kombucha. It was my treat. Some kids like the free cookie at the grocery store bakery. I looked forward to the Mango Kombucha in that pretty glass bottle with the mandala on it.
There was a girl in my last yoga teacher training that made the best homemade Kombucha. She gave me a SCOBY so that I could make my own. I put it in the fridge and promptly forgot about it. There went that.
My husband recently went on a fermentation kick, and so we came round again to the prospect of making our own Kombucha. We acquired a SCOBY from a good friend and this time put it to work. We have since grown and shared our own to many the delighted Kombucha lover.
First thing's first: What on earth is a SCOBY?
It is a starter culture or “mother” that stands for Symbiotic Culture of friendly Bacteria and Yeast. Most of us are familiar with the Friendly Bacteria craze. We want those hard working bugs in massive quantities to keep us on the healthy track to better life. I’m a fan. A SCOBY looks a bit like a thick rubbery pancake and is your key to making great Kombucha. These days there is usually a friend of a friend of a friend that makes their own and has plenty to share. Put your feelers out.
From that starter culture, you can turn your basic sweet tea into a tasty vitamin and mineral delivery system. A Kombucha mother is filled with enzymes that aid detoxification, glucosamines that help to prevent arthritis, and packs a probiotic punch that helps control harmful yeasts and promotes a happy bacterial situation in your digestive tract.
The immune boosting qualities as well as mood enhancing benefits of this wonder drink are enough to make anyone jump on the Kombucha bandwagon. I mean, who doesn’t like a 2000 year old elixir that has been linked to preventing cancer and other degenerative diseases?
According to the Food Renegade, a popular website and blog on the healing properties of food, the health benefits of Kombucha include: detoxification, joint care, digestion aid and gut health, and numerous immune boosting antioxidants. Visit the link above to learn more from the Food Renegade.
You’ve acquired a SCOBY. Now what?
Let’s make some Kombucha. This recipe comes from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
1 quart pure water
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp loose/2 teabags black tea
½ cup acidic kombucha (when you receive your SCOBY it will be stored in this liquid)
a Kombucha mother/SCOBY
In a small pot, mix water and sugar and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add tea. Cover and steep about 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a glass container. (I use a wide mouth Mason jar.) Add the acidic kombucha liquid. Place the SCOBY in the liquid, with the firm, opaque side up. Cover with a cloth and store in a warm spot, ideally 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
In about a week or less you’ll see a thin skin forming on the surface of your Kombucha (this is a new SCOBY forming). Depending on your tastes, you can drink it now or let it sit a bit longer. The longer it sits, the more acidic it becomes. Once it arrives at a desirable taste for you, start a new batch and put the current one in the refrigerator. You now have 2 SCOBYs. Pass one on to a grateful friend.
You are now on your way to a more healthy and vibrant life. The health benefits of Kombucha are plenty and there are lots of folks out there that have experimented with different flavorings for their mixes if that’s your thing. Give it a google search and you’ll see!
Have fun, and if you find a yummy recipe to flavor your Kombucha, please share it here. I’m always happy to try new ways of enjoying this awesome drink!
Fasting is a great way to energize the body and mind and to tune it in for the changing seasons. With spring’s longer days and longer to-do lists around the corner, I could use a push-and-a-shove and would happily fall face first into a pile of motivation. Fasting is that push-and-a-shove and what follows is a period of increased motivation.
Before getting into the core and science of what fasting is, let’s talk about what it’s not. Although it has become popularized through celebrities and marketed by corporations, it is not primarily a weight-loss diet. It is also not a one-way dead end street to God’s house. Yes, it may assist some people in losing weight or in walking a spiritual path, but by no means is fasting going to keep that weight gone for long or the mind fixed on God forever. Even a skinny atheist will benefit from a fast.
Defining a Fast
Fasting is a cleansing for the physical body. Just like an automobile needs a tune-up, so does the body. To get the best gas mileage, a vehicle’s tires must be properly inflated, the air filter must be cleaned, and the oil needs changed every so many miles. Although the vehicle may still run with low air pressure, dirty filters, and old oil, it will not operate at peak performance. After a less-than optimal life, it will soon enough die. But if that same vehicle receives regular tune-ups, its life expectancy will be increased, along with the quality of each ride. Same with the body.
I know the human body does not have tires, air filters, or engine oil, but it does have tissues, blood, and organs. Everything from the air humans breathe to the food humans eat contains different levels of contaminants that continue to build up. Although the body naturally relieves itself of many toxins, it can never be fully relieved unless the amount of contaminants entering the body are dramatically decreased. By not chewing or eating any food for a chosen number of days, the digestive tract goes on vacation and all organs get time off. Extra energy becomes available within the body and that energy is re-directed towards removing toxins and healing organs.
Fasting is not eating, but the body is still getting vitamins and minerals through fluids. And water. According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch, they recommend to fast for three days a month and to follow a 10-day fast, at least twice a year. For me, that sounds extreme. (I’m not an atheist, but I sure am skinny.)
Science of Fasting
In today’s world, toxins are impossible to avoid, but with a little fasting know-how, toxins built up in the body can be removed and no one needs to be a nutritionist, a doctor, or plastic surgeon to do it. It can be done in the comfort of a home while following a daily routine. Once the digestive system begins to experience a rest from food, many natural processes take effect. According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, the following happens:
The natural process of toxin excretion continues, while the influx of new toxins is reduced. This results in a reduction of total body toxicity.
The energy usually used for digestion is redirected to immune function, cell growth, and eliminatory processes.
The immune system’s workload is greatly reduced, and the digestive tract is spared any inflammation due to allergic reactions to food.
Due to a lowering of serum fats that thins the blood, tissue oxygenation is increased and white blood cells are moved more efficiently.
Fat-stored chemicals, such as pesticides and drugs, are released.
Physical awareness and sensitivity to diet and surroundings are increased.
In my own experience, once I begin a fast I feel like I can feel how each part of my body works on an independent level. I do get irritable, lazy, and weak once the toxins jump out of my tissues into my bloodstream and begin the removal process. The removal process alone is quite a process. Since the body is not digesting food it is not removing stuff the same way and will require extra attention. Some common things to aid in the removal process are enemas and herbal teas during the fast or taking fiber supplements before and after the fast. Salt water flushes also work great and have become my chosen method of removal while fasting.
Types of Fasts
In Gandhi’s day, it was common for people to fast on water alone. I have no desire to experience how that may feel. This type of fast is not recommended, according to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, because toxins will be released too quickly and fresh vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will be lacking, causing headaches and worse.
I have followed a 3-day juice fast and a 3-day master cleanse and the master cleanse gave me much more energy. This fast permits the body to drink water mixed with grade B maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Each ingredient aids the body to remove toxins and heal, in combination with a salt water flush first thing each morning.
The 3-day juice fast was a bit more demanding. I lost count of how many times I had to clean produce, juice the produce, break down the juicer, clean the juicer … I felt like there was less time to rest which added to the feelings of weakness and irritability. It was also more expensive than the master cleanse; however, I would love to try this fast in the summer when produce is available both in season and local.
The most important thing about fasting are the days before and after the fast. Don’t expect to eat a steak, cheese fries, and a big bowl of ice cream as a last meal before a fast, whether it’s for 5-days or one. According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, eating raw fruits and vegetables two days before the fast will cause less of a shock to the body. Also, if cooked foods are eaten right after the fast, the beneficial results may not be so beneficial in the end.
My Own Experience
For me, two days before the fast I’ll limit myself to one cup of coffee in the morning. I’ll also cut out junk food and sugar and I’ll eat a big salad for dinner. The next day, the day before the fast, is when I get strict. No caffeine, lots of green smoothies, and a 100 percent raw food salad. If I need a snack, I eat an apple, which helps me with caffeine and sugar withdrawal, or some almonds and dried cranberries.
Then the fast is on. (Sometimes near the end I get the urge to create elaborate grocery lists in preparation for when I can eat again. I do not recommend feeding these thoughts.)
I always break the fast with fresh made orange juice, except this juice has all the pulp still in it. Feeling the digestive system go back to work is mind-blowing, like going to one of those museums where human veins, tissues, and organs are all on display for the still-alive humans to observe, except it’s like observing it from the seat of the dead, as if I could consciously observe the inside of my body to not only know what it looks like, but to know what it feels like, functioning, at the same moment. It’s definitely a little out there in comparison to normal, everyday sense-awareness. Even fun.
After orange juice, I’ll eat small pieces of fruit. The stomach shrinks and the amount of digestive fluid the body needs to digest food decreases during the fast. Working back up to large portions and cooked foods is a slow process, yet another great benefit of fasting. The body gets used to raw vegetables and fruits, and it starts to tell the mind that this is the food it wants. Of course the mind always wins and in a few days, coffee and bakery treats are re-introduced. But the urges for healthier food choices at least tends to linger.
I once did a 5-day fast but I looked Gandhi-skinny and it mentally scared me a bit. Physically, it felt great. The weight and muscle came back in less than 2 weeks. According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, fasting for more than three days should only be done under qualified supervision. I agree. Most recently, I followed a one day fast and that, too, was a well-worth experience.
According to the Prescription for Nutritional Healing, the length of the fast will accomplish different things. A three-day fast helps the body rid itself of toxins and cleanses the blood. A five-day fast begins the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system. A ten-day fast can take care of many problems before they arise and help to fight off illness, including common degenerative diseases.
And according to me, even a one day fast will energize the body and mind and tune it in for spring. I’ll physically and mentally be buzzing with energy along with the bees and blossoming flowers.
Please do much research on fasting before attempting it alone. I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or plastic surgeon and I only intend to share my experience. For more information on fasting, check out Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Also check out this website for more information on how to prepare for the master cleanse, along with the salt water flush recipe.
To check out what’s happening in the garden, visit my blog. Thank you.