Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parents talk about chemicals: Worry is everywhere, but we
‘begged’ for convenience
By Tim Skillern | The Lookout – 17 hrs ago
Richard Carriero and his wife, Carrie. (Photo
courtesy of Richard Carriero)
“As a child,” Richard Carriero says, “I
was oblivious.”
He did all the “dangerous” things as a
kid: drank from the garden hose, ate
junky processed treats and played
with any plastic toy put in front of
“I didn't know any better and neither
did my parents,” Carriero, 33, says.
But Carriero later learned about
chemicals—especially Bisphenol A,
better known as BPA, a compound used in plastics that some say causes health problems—and horror stories about
Superfund sites like Love Canal in Niagara Falls, N.Y. As an adult, Carriero says he sees the world with increasing suspicion:
“Power lines, tap water, aluminum cans and Styrofoam all became sources of danger.”
Now Carriero and his wife, Carrie, are expecting their first child. Before that, he says, their conversion to a less-chemicalladen and natural lifestyle started when Carrie was diagnosed with a benign tumor last year.
Cancer threatened, so their lives changed. Now organic-food converts, they shop exclusively at Whole Foods and farmers
markets in their hometown of Boulder, Colo. A local dairy delivers their milk.
“As our baby grows, he or she will develop the disagreeable habit of putting everything in his or her mouth,” he says. They
will limit exposure to plastics. Organic fibers will replace synthetics in clothing and bedding. “We're even looking into cloth
diapers, though we're not sure whether or not we have the courage.”
Carriero is one of many parents (or, in his case, an expectant one) who wrote stories today for Yahoo News about their supervigilance in the face of a chemical-saturated life—one shared by billions and brought again to light by a United Nationssponsored report that found that man-made chemicals in everyday objects are likely the cause of some cancers, psychiatric
disorders and birth defects.
Here are excerpts from a few first-person perspectives that parents wrote today:
Prudence, not fear, is key
The U.N. report is no shocker to Marilisa Sachteleben, a Michigan mom with 25 years’ experience raising two girls and two
“Am I paranoid and terrified by the findings? No,” Sachteleben, of Grand Haven, writes. “We live in a chemical-drenched
YAHOO! NEWS2/20/13 Parents talkabout chemicals: Worry is everywhere, but we ‘begged’ for convenience | The Lookout - Yahoo! News 2/3
Vin Zant’s two older children, Torsten, 4, and
Rafe, 3. (Courtesy of Unwirklich Vin Zant)
society. It would be impossible to avoid them all.”
Sachteleben, a special-needs teacher and health writer, has been following news about phthalate and BPA for years. Her
children (now 24, 22, 20 and 14) were breastfed and never given bottles, and she avoided plastic teething rings. They did,
however, use sipper cups, the oft-fingered villain in toddlers’ plastic-filled world.
“I wish I'd realized how dangerous plastic was then,” she says. “If I was parenting little ones now, I'd definitely look for
products made without phthalates or BPA.”
Her avoidance of plastics continues today. She writes: “To prevent ingestion, I've quit serving foods in plastic. I use fewer
plastic disposables and opt for paper over plastic. I look for lunch containers that are BPA-free. I serve fewer foods from
cans. I buy metal water bottles. On the rare occasions when we drink from plastic bottles, I don't refrigerate them. I
microwave less and don't heat on Styrofoam or plastic. This helps prevent plastic chemicals from leaching into food or
Chemicals are a concern, but convenience is still king
As a parent, Emily Harmon takes the good with the bad. Balancing chemicals and kids is no different.
The 34-year-old suburban Cincinnati mom of two—a boy, 6, and a girl, 2—says she worries about their social and intellectual
development and their overall safety and well-being.
But she says she wants them “to experience bumps and bruises, disappointment, failure, and the occasional cold. I'm a pretty
laid-back mom when it comes to the health of my children.”
The U.N. report does make her more concerned, again flaming fears she and her husband have talked about for years:
cancers, birth defects, fertility problems, autism and more.
“There must be a reason, in this modern era of medical science, for the marked increase [in problems],” she writes. Her
family already avoids plastics, uses stainless steel water bottles and eats from non-plastic containers. Still, her daughter uses
a sippy cup, her son plays with plastic toys and they eat on plastic plates.
“Will I change further with these new findings? Yes, when convenient,” Harmon says. “I will look for food products packaged
in glass containers and will avoid drinking from plastic, when convenient. I will look for an alternative to my daughter's
plastic sippy cups and start utilizing ceramic plates for the kids. Will I do a total lifestyle change to avoid [everyday
chemicals]? No. Do I hope the government investigates regulations to help everyone better avoid these toxins? Absolutely.”
Can’t always bet on organic
Chemicals are everywhere—even in remote Sterling, Alaska, with its population of
“We found it impossible to avoid man-made chemicals,” Unwirklich Vin Zant, a
27-year-old mother of three boys, writes. “Modern living just does not allow
parents to [do] so. It's on and in our walls. It's in our food. It's in our clothes and
mattresses. It's in our soap and shampoo. Heck, it's in our dirt.”
Vin Zant says she can’t imagine the toll chemicals have taken on her body. And
she’s worried her sons—4, 2 and 4 months—will undoubtedly see more exposure.
So, even when she and her husband were childless, they started unburdening
themselves of man-made compounds as much as possible. They grow their own
food in greenhouses and in a heated in-house grow room. They read labels for
concerns, eschewing products and food with additives and synthetics. They even
researched the soil near potential houses, deciding to buy “way out in the boonies
where the footprint of humanity was smaller.”2/20/13 Parents talkabout chemicals: Worry is everywhere, but we ‘begged’ for convenience | The Lookout - Yahoo! News 3/3
“It's scary,” Vin Zant says. “It really is scary to think that against one of the largest threats to our children outside of global
warming and war, we have no adequate defense.”
She says her family doesn’t always bet on organic products really being free of chemicals, “thanks to the trendiness of
organics,” she says. So, even though it’s often expensive, they try to make as much of their own food and wares.
The worst thing?
“We begged for it,” she says. “We begged for it with every new, shiny, and more convenient lifestyle we sought.”
Read more stories from parents concerned about chemicals in their lives:
Choosing natural products, giving my kids a healthier future
Easy access to hazardous chemicals leads to natural solutions
Availability of green products not an issue; price is
Parents must shop smarter to avoid chemicals
Asthma, allergies, eczema and the link to my daughter’s health
UN report simply confirms my concerns
Study must be considered, but paranoia should be avoided
From toothpaste to makeup to foods, avoiding chemicals in our home
How we fought Asperger's by changing diet and environment
Wary of chemicals since first pregnant

Monday, February 18, 2013

Best daily diet for working out people
Best daily diet for working out people
When comes to fitness, you all think about exercises and daily workout routines. I know you also give some attention to the diet but it is not adequate for you to achieve the desired results. Even though you work hard or less, nutrition is the key to your fitness level.
For best results you must follow a pre and post workout diet plan. Never ever skip your breakfast. It is very important and that energy will drive you through the whole day.
Include less calorie food like whole grains, fruits, dairy products and low fat protein rich foods. Eat early in the morning, that will help you to stay away from bloating in the belly. You can have a small snack after 2 or 3 hours.
Taking small meals so often boosts metabolism and that helps to burn more fat while working out. You can have sandwiches for your lunch with whole grain breads and lean meat of turkey or chicken. Include vegetable salads and yogurts.
After 3 hours take a small meal with less calories. After a few hours you can have your dinner. Include protein rich food like fish, lean meat, yogurts, banana, and never forget to include vegetables. You can take baked chicken breast which is rich in protein with a salad.
Drink a lot of water! Never wait till you feel thirsty. Never workout with an empty stomach. Eat at least 2 hours before the workout. Also take some protein rich food after the workouts for better results.
If you follow this routine daily with exercises on alternate days, you will reach the required level of fitness quickly and in a safe way.
Proper nutrition helps to lead a healthy lifestyle and helps to get quick results during workouts. If you follow clean diet, even less intensity exercise can make the difference.
A good nutrition plan is essential if you need to burn belly fat and lose weight and get an attractive figure. Stay healthy and happy with healthy diet.

Weekly challenge: cut calories, not high-fructose sweeteners to lose weight.






Vaginal Grooming: How Safe Are Down-There Beautification Trends?

It's not just waxing and trimming anymore. We got into the weeds on the latest vaginal-beautification trends.

Credit: Getty Images

Brazilian Waxing

What it is: Using wax to take off most or all of your pubic hair.

Is it safe? Most everyone’s vulva is better off with the extra protection and padding of pubic hair, Dr. Gunter says. Waxing can also irritate or tear delicate skin, as well as lead to ingrown hairs, rashes, and infections. Unhygienic salons can increase the potential for problems, says Reny Ryan, author of Confessions of a Brazilian Bikini Waxer. Post-waxing, Dr. Taubel warns, “If you notice anything funky going on, call your doctor immediately, since an abscess can quickly travel up your genital tract.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hot, Hot, Hot! Neuroscientists Turn off Ability to Feel Cold

By Makini Brice
Here's some hot news to warm you up while the snow thaws: neuroscientists at the University of Southern California have developed a way to turn off the ability to feel cold in mice.
According to USC News, the neuroscientists targeted a particular neuron channel, called TRPM8. Previous research had found a link between cold and the neuron, which contributes to neurons' response to cold temperatures and is a receptor for menthol, the cooling portion of mint.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the researchers were able to turn off the protein. By doing so, the mice were unable to feel the difference between warm and cold temperatures. They were able to test this by placing control mice and mice without the neuron on a surface with many temperatures, ranging from 32 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 50 degrees Celsius).
The control mice stuck to an area that was around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, or 30 degrees Celsius, avoiding both the extremely hot or cold areas. However, the genetically engineered mice avoided extremely hot areas, but were comfortable navigating extremely cold areas - even when it could have been extremely painful or dangerous.
Researchers eliminated the TRPM8 neurons by targeting them with a form of the bacteria that causes diphtheria, an infection that causes upper respiratory issues in humans. The bacteria was engineered to specifically attack the TRPM8 neurons.
Without these neurons, the mice were still able to respond to touch and perform coordinated movements.
However, don't get too excited: the applications of this development will not be used so that you can leave the house without a coat in the dead of winter - and it shouldn't. As researchers point out, feeling pain in the cold is a sign from your body that you should remove yourself from that environment. Instead, the science behind this ability will likely be used for pain treatments. Currently, pain treatments target inflammation, which is only behind certain pain, or numbs all sensation altogether, which is not always desired. The technology may also be used to help people with an extreme sensitivity to cold.
The study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience

Sunday, February 10, 2013


May 1, 2011 | By Owen Pearson
Coffee Enema Side Effects
Photo Credit cup of coffee in coffee beans image by Maria Brzostowska from
As the name suggests, a coffee enema is a treatment that involves filling the bowel with black, room-temperature coffee. It is thought to enhance the removal of toxic bile from the liver through efficient caffeine stimulation, according to the I Need Coffee website. Because the veins of the anus are close to the surface of the tissue, they absorb caffeine quickly and in high concentrations. Consult your doctor before considering a coffee enema; it can produce several side effects.


Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may result from using a coffee enema, according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson. If you have diabetes, this can be especially dangerous--tell your doctor before you administer a coffee enema. For most non-diabetics, this side effect can be avoided by having a small meal or a snack within 30 minutes of your enema.


According to the I Need Coffee website, the repeated use of any procedure designed to stimulate the nerves of the colon, such as colonics, enemas or suppository use, may limit bowel function over time. This can lead to the inability to have regular bowel movements or the inability to control them.


Coffee enemas may damage the tissues of the colon walls, notes Dr. Ralph W. Moss, contributor to the Cancer Chronicles. This damage may be caused by potassium loss, the absorption of chloride and sodium, and the excess retention of water.


Some doctors and researchers believe that the large amount of caffeine absorbed by the veins in the anal tissue can quickly lead to caffeine addiction. However, Dr. Moss and other medical professionals question the validity of this position, stating that there is insufficient data to establish a connection between coffee enemas and caffeine addiction.

Read more:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Secret to Super Sperm? Less TV


Daniel Schneider / Getty Images / Flickr RF
Even healthy men could improve their sperm quality by spending less time in front of the tube.
Studies show that the quality of sperm, measured in concentration of sperm and sperm count, is declining in Western countries, with some suggesting a drop of up to 38% in concentration. Numerous factors could explain the trend, from lower levels of physical activity to exposure to environmental chemicals. But the downward dip in sperm quality matches up with increased TV viewing, so researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) decided to investigate the relationship between TV viewing, physical activity and semen quality.
The scientists analyzed the semen quality of 189 relatively healthy New York men aged 18 to 22, who were asked about how often and how intensely they exercised, as well as the amount of time they spent watching TV, videos or DVDs. The men were all normal weight and height, and the majority did not smoke.
(MORE: Does Your Sperm Need a Diet? Fatty Foods Linked to Poor Sperm Quality)
Reporting in the British Journal of Sports Medicine the researchers found that on average, the men spent from five to 14 hours exercising and four to 20 hours a week in front of the TV.
Men who spent 20 or more hours a week in front of the TV had a sperm count that was on average 44% lower than that of men who spent less time watching TV. And those who were the most physically active also enjoyed a 73% higher sperm count than those who were more sedentary. Being more active and watching less TV were associated with a higher sperm count and sperm concentration for the young men overall.
The connection between TV viewing and sperm count could be a marker for other factors that distinguish those who spend more time in front of the screen than those who don’t. For example, the TV watchers are likely to be more sedentary, and therefore have less healthy diets than those who spend less time in front of the TV. Those who don’t watch hours of television are also more likely to be physically active, and regular exercise has been linked to healthy sperm counts in previous studies.
And then there is the physical explanation for why spending too much time on the couch can lower sperm counts: it’s possible that increased scrotal temperatures from remaining in the sitting position too long can contribute to poorer-quality sperm.
(MORE: Could a Healthy Diet Boost Sperm?)
Lower sperm counts don’t necessarily mean a man is less fertile, but staying active may help to keep sperm healthy. “We know very little about how lifestyle may impact semen quality and male fertility in general, so identifying two potentially modifiable factors that appear to have such a big impact on sperm counts is truly exciting,” says study author Audrey Gaskins of HSPH Department of Nutrition.

Read more:

Stem Cell Differentiation Is Triggered By A Key Protein

07 Feb 2013

Scientists have discovered a key protein that kicks off the natural process that differentiates stem cells into any cell of the body. They hope the discovery will help development of therapies for degenerative diseases.

The team, from the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, describe their findinds in the 7 February issue of Cell Reports.

Senior author Sally Lowell, who leads the Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation group at the Centre, says in a statement that their finding "gives us better insight into the crucially important first step stem cells take to differentiate into other cell types."

"Understanding how and when this happens could help to improve the way in which we are able to control this process," she adds.

In degenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease, liver disease, multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease, specialized cells become useless or die off.

Stem cells are cells that have not yet become specialized, they have the potential to become any cell of the body. One goal of stem cell research is to find ways of using stem cells to create new cells to replace those wasted in degenerative diseases.

However, one area that is not well understood is the events surrounding the point when the stem cells begin to differentiate into specialized cells.

The knowledge gained in this new study could help scientists improve techniques for causing stem cells to differentiate into target cells in the lab. Such a process would be useful for drug testing and developing new therapies.

For their study, the team worked with embryonic stem cells in mice.

They discovered the role of Tcf15 by examining how some stem cells are naturally prevented from differentiating into specialized cells.

They found two sets of protein were involved in the differentiation process: one set binds to the other set, and when this happens, the process is blocked.

They then screened the blocked proteins to discover which ones would enable stem cells to differentiate.

As well as discovering how Tcf15 plays a key role in triggering stem cell differentiation, the team also developed a way to show its presence in the cells.

Funds from the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council financed the study.

Earlier this year, researchers in Japan revealed for the first time how it may be possible to make cancer-specific immune system cells from stem cells.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

"Tcf15 Primes Pluripotent Cells for Differentiation"; Owen R. Davies, Chia-Yi Lin, Aliaksandra Radzisheuskaya, Xinzhi Zhou, Jessica Taube, Guillaume Blin, Anna Waterhouse, Andrew J.H. Smith, Sally Lowell; Cell Reports 7 February 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.01.017; Link to Abstract.
Additional source: University of Edinburgh.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quinoa: good, evil, or just really complicated?

Quinoa's rise from local food to global commodity has carried a high environmental and social cost, but that doesn't mean you should stop eating it
Quinoa harvest in Bolivia
The quinoa harvest in Bolivia. The crop can withstand night frosts, 40C days, high altitudes and saline soil, and is one of the world's most nutritious foods. Photograph: Laurent Giraudou/ Laurent Giraudou/Corbis
"Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?," thunders the headline of a recent piece. Hard to say, but reality check: It isn't just vegans who enjoy quinoa. Like many occasional meat eaters I know, I've been eating it for years. Quinoa is also big among gluten-intolerant omnivores. So quinoa's truth—unpalatable or not—isn't just for its vegan fans to bear.
So what is going on with this long-time staple of the Andes and newly emerged favorite of health-minded US eaters?
First, the good. Quinoa is the grain-like seed of a plant in the goosefoot family (other members include spinach, chard, and the wonderful edible weed lambs quarters), and its appeal is immense. Twenty years ago, NASA researchers sung its praises as potential astronaut chow, mainly for its superior nutrient density. No less an authority than theUN's Food and Agriculture Organization hails it as "the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins and contains no gluten." The FAO is almost breathlessly enthusiastic about quinoa—it has declared 2013 theInternational Year of Quinoa and even runs a Facebook fan page for it.
And quinoa has generally been a success for the people who grow it. Unlike other southern-hemisphere commodities prized in the global north, like coffee and cocoa, quinoa, for the most part, isn't grown on big plantations owned by a powerful elite. A 2003 Rodale article describes its cultural place in the Andean highlands, an area that encompasses parts of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador:
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wá), a seed grain, has been cultivated in the Andean region for over 7,000 years and was considered sacred by the Inca Empire. The crop was relegated to status of animal feed by Spanish colonists, perhaps because of its religious significance and, later, shouldered almost completely out of production by cereals such as barley and wheat and other crops such as potatoes and corn.
Colonial agriculture never really worked very well in the highlands, despite the introduction of agrichemicals. "Pesticide and fertilizer use in Ecuador ... increased dramatically over the years," Rodale reports, "leading to depleted soil and a rise in associated health problems." But the new technologies failed to bring prosperity—"the farmers' yields were low, their return was almost nonexistent, and their children were suffering from malnutrition."
But then, in the 1990s, a variety of projects linking Andean smallholder farmers to do-gooder US importers began to crop up to re-establish traditional quinoa production for export markets. Today, by all accounts, the crop remains a financial success for Andean smallholders. In another recent piece—not the vegan-baiting one—The reported the price farmers get for their quinoa crop has tripled since 2006. "The crop has become a lifeline for the people of Bolivia's Oruro and Potosi regions, among the poorest in what is one of South America's poorest nations," the newspaper reported.
So what's the "unpalatable truth" that's causing all the handwringing? Escalating prices, while boosting farmers' incomes, are also helping drive down quinoa consumption in the Andes—including among the very farmers who grow it. Quinoa growers have "westernized their diets because they have more profits and more income," a Bolivian agronomist involved in the quinoa trade told The Guardian. "Ten years ago they had only an Andean diet in front of them. They had no choice. But now they do and they want rice, noodles, candies, Coke, they want everything!"
The economics are simple: "As the price has risen quinoa is consumed less and less in Bolivia. It's worth more to them [the producers] to sell it or trade it for pasta and rice. As a result, they're not eating it any more." In other words, farmers are starting to see quinoa as a product that's too valuable to eat—they can use the proceeds from selling to buy cheaper, but less nutrient-dense, staples like white rice. There's also a status issue—quinoa was once a subsistence product, and when people pull out of subsistence mode, there's a tendency to switch to higher-status foods, even if they're less healthy.
In urban areas, the situation is varied—The  found quinoa to be ubiquitous in the Bolivia's largest city, La Paz, "where quinoa-based products from pizza crusts and hamburgers to canapes and breakfast cereals are displayed, Bolivia's growing middle class appear to be the principal consumers." But in the Peruvian capital, Lima, quinoa is emerging as a luxury product—it sells at a higher per-pound price than chicken, and for four times as much as rice, the paper reports.
Then there are land and environmental issues. As demand for quinoa surges, farmers are scrambling for new land to cultivate to take advantage of higher prices. The push is squeezing out older forms of sustainable agriculture, and putting serious pressure on soil fertility, as Time reported in this 2012 piece:
Traditionally, quinoa fields covered 10% of this fragile ecosystem, llamas grazed on the rest. Now, llamas are being sold to make room for crops, provoking a soil crisis since the cameloid's guano is the undisputed best fertilizer for maintaining and restoring quinoa fields. (Other options like sheep poop appear to encourage pests.)
So can people like me, who prefer to avoid foods that are environmentally and socially destructive, eat it with a clear conscience? Not entirely. In a short period of time, quinoa has gone from a local staple to a global commodity. "When you transform a food into a commodity, there's inevitable breakdown in social relations and high environmental cost," as Tanya Kerssen, an analyst for Oakland-based Food First toldTime last year.
But that doesn't mean we should stop eating quinoa; it just means we shouldn't eat quinoa without thinking it through. The Andean region is now governed by progressive, equality-minded politicians like Bolivian president Evo Morales—himself a former quinoa grower now serving as Special Ambassador to the FAO for the International Year of Quinoa. In Bolivia, the government is buying quinoa and "incorporating the plant into a packet of foods supplied to thousands of pregnant and nursing women each month," The New York Times reports. And in Peru, the government is placing it in public-school breakfasts, The adds. Such programs can help ensure that non-wealthy Andeans aren't priced out of the market for this nutrient-dense regional foodstuff. (Of course, another option would be for the region's governments to just accept quinoa as a luxury good for the rich and focus on cheaper staples like rice and beans for the poor—but no one seems ready to embrace this option.)
While the Andes region will always be known as the birthplace of quinoa production, it needn't be the only place that produces quinoa. The FAO points out that it's an extraordinarily diverse crop, with 3,000 varieties that thrive in a variety of climates. The organization calls it "crop with high potential to contribute to food security in various Regions worldwide."
In other words, Andean farmers could focus on growing it for themselves and for the region's teeming cities, and farmers in other regions could begin growing it for their surrounding markets. Already, quinoa is being grown successfully in the Colorado Rockies, and farmers in the Pacific Northwest are testing it out, too, NPR reports. According to the FAO, it's also "currently being cultivated in several countries in Europe and Asia with good yields." By adding supply, these initiatives could push the price of quinoa down to a level that's still profitable to Andean farmers but affordable to regional consumers. Globally, it's not hard to imagine a future in which quinoa pays farmers in multiple growing areas a decent return on their labor while remaining affordable for consumers of all income levels.
On the other hand, a global expansion of quinoa production could also cause its price to crash—as happened to coffee in the late 1990s after Vietnam charged into coffee farming, causing a global glut. If a quinoa glut drove prices low enough, Andean farmers' investments in land and processing infrastructure would be wiped out.
Ugh. Like every other globally traded commodity foodstuff, quinoa is devilishly complicated and prone to tragedy. For now, I'll keep eating it in moderation, but I won't take it for granted. Or stop trying to learn more about it—and neither should any of it eaters, vegan or not. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what unpalatable truths might be lurking within chia seeds.