50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Factory Farming Is Among Top 8 Killers

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tellin' it like it is, and it ain't purty, but denial is NOT "where it's at." Though I'm a vegetarian, I feel deeply affected by this. And we're not EVEN speaking to the issue of genetic engineering and the Monsanto Monster. Hearing from Will Allen, organic farmer, visionary, activist and author of *The War on Bugs* may help us to better see the severity of the problem and to know why doing nothing isn't an option --

Will Allen grew up on a small farm in southern California and served in the Marine Corps between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He received a PhD in Anthropology (focused on Peruvian tropical forest agriculture) and taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, before being fired and sentenced to a year in jail for civil rights and antiwar activism. He returned to farming and farm labor full time in 1972 and has been farming organically ever since in Oregon, California, and Vermont, where he now co-manages Cedar Circle Farm. He founded the Sustainable Cotton Project in 1991 and served as its executive director for thirteen years. He is currently a co-chair of Farms Not Arms, is a policy advisory board member of the Organic Consumers Association, and serves on the board of Rural Vermont. Allen says"

1. Farming Messes Up the Planet’s Air

In 2007, the US EPA figured that agriculture caused 18% of the US carbon footprint. This doesn’t even include the chemicals, the fuel, the shipping, the power, the heating or even the greenhouse gas emissions. If you count those thing’s it’s 25-30%. A third of the pie ain’t no laughing matter.

2. Fertilizer Runs Into Streams Making Dead Zones

Dumping too much fertilizer to make lots of food really fast means you have some running off into lakes, rivers and oceans. Then it makes lots of other plants in the water grow really fast in huge amounts. Result? When all those algae plants die, they suck the oxygen out of the water (thanks to water bacteria).

What else happens? No oxygen means fish die off and nothing can live in it. In 1995 there were 60 "dead zones" worldwide – now there’s 405 in 2008.

3. Body Poison in Your Water

Pesticides can poison the body and the mind. Along with antibiotics and hormones, you can find pesticides everywhere. They have a nasty habit of sticking around for a very long time (i.e. like 100s of years for DDT)
Other interesting facts to remember:

- over 12,000 wells in the US, giving water to 100 million people have way too much arsenic and lead. Both are bad even if you get a little (it builds up over time).

- nearly 30,000,000 (30 million) people in the US are drinking water contaminated with DDT poison related chemicals.

"All these DDT relatives caused cancer and multiple birth defects in tests on laboratory animals. They continue today to greatly damage bird populations in farm country."

4. We’re Still Using Too Much Poison Everyday

"Factory farmers continue to use enormous quantities of the most toxic poisons. In 2006, four of the six most used farm pesticides in California were among the most dangerous chemicals in the world. Farmers applied more than 35.7 million pounds of four pesticides: Metam sodium, Methyl bromide, Telone II, and Chloropicrin."

5. Is Anyone Watching?

Apparently no one cares to know how much poison we’re spraying out except California. They’re the only guys except maybe New York who are keeping good records.

You know things are bad when you hear that:

"We must begin these reductions because cancer and birth defect clusters are now common in most U.S. farm communities and people are being exposed to multiple pesticide residues on their fresh and processed food and on their clothing."

6. Stick Animals with Steroids, Now Eat ‘Em!

Our animal farms are so filthy with so much antibiotic and hormone use that they’ve become places for super bugs and diseases to grow fast. Think of it like a cut that just won’t close and then gets infected, turning purple and green and … You get the picture.

Frankly a lot of people in our society are eating way, way, way, way too much meat. Take a look at some of the US statistics.

2008: 11 billion animals for food in the US

2008: 95% of 69 million US pigs were raised factory farm style (like crazy filthy and with enough pig waste to drown thousands of people – I joke not)

2008: 300 million (300,000,000) chickens were raised in cages too small for them to move

2008: 10 billion (10,000,000,000) meat chickens (the ones you’d use for KFC, Burger King or McDonald’s) and 500,000,000 (500 million) turkeys were raised in pens so crowded that you likely couldn’t see most of their feet – it would be like a carpet.

Okay if I go any further I’ll go crazy – I think you get the picture and we haven’t even gotten to the cows.

"About 33 million beef cows and 9.7 million dairy cows spent their dreary days in disgusting feedlots and dairy barns. These facilities and their meat products are rife with disease that the public is advised to combat by thorough cooking. In December, 2008 Consumer Reports found that 83% of the 525 meat chickens they studied had salmonella or campylobacter. With deadly diseases on all but 17 chickens out of 100, customers are asking: What about the salmonella on my drain board or my hands? No wonder there is so much food borne illness!"

"In December, 2008 Consumer Reports found that 83% of the 525 meat chickens they studied had salmonella or campylobacter. With deadly diseases on all but 17 chickens out of 100, customers are asking: What about the salmonella on my drain board or my hands? No wonder there is so much food borne illness!"

7. Fixing Factory Farming Is Like Trying to Fix a 100 ton Rock With 1 Finger

Two studies by The Pew Charitable Trust, Johns-Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Union of Concerned Scientists have found that factory farming is so much of a loose cannon that it threatens to blow our health away. Kind of like Dirty Harry’s magnum with all of the attitude. Right now, you, the guy paying taxes is forced to pull Dirty Harry’s trigger to wreck your kid’s future. What a way to go!

That’s what happens when we do only cheap food and pay people nearly nothing to be able to buy food. Got to keep making it cheaper and that means farming has to cut corners.

8. Toss Out Factory Farms, Do It Different

People are fighting for local organic food as we speak. The best way to say it is: good, clean, local and fair. Will Allen talks about chemicals and government regulations.

He’s right – we’ve got to cut out the chemicals and the poisons. Government has a big role to play – they’re supposed to protect the people and to date they’ve failed to look out for the little guy.

At the same time however farmers, business and government aren’t the only ones who have to change their thinking. Every person on this world has to realize that all this cheap food, using farming that cuts corners is just part of the picture. It’s about the way we view and value food AND people AND ourselves.

The real reason we started using so much chemicals and so much factory farming is that no one wanted to do hard work, everyone wanted food cheaper and faster. Now we’ve gone too far. Now we don’t even value people who make that food. Our health suffers because we don’t value ourselves (yes, don’t forget exercise or being a couch potato) or our food.

The first step for real change is to change yourself and then the world.

Original Source -- excellent in-depth information from Allen for those who want to know more:

"Taxpayers are demanding that government enforce existing regulations and create more stringent rules to limit the excess and greed in banking, insurance, housing, and on Wall Street. But, in the rush to regulate, we can’t forget to oversee industrial agriculture. It is one of our most polluting and dangerous industries. Like the financial sectors, its practices have not been well regulated for the last thirty years. Let me run down a few of the major problems that have developed because of our poorly regulated U.S. agriculture."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOLAGEEK 10/25/2009 1:05PM

    I think one of the things missing here is that in the US there are more stringent regulations on the toxins used on farms vs. outside of our borders. US companies will make the toxic cocktails illegal in the US for farms outside of here, and the US is a major importer of goods from those farms. The only difference is that the applications are NIMBY (not in my backyard) but the soil/environmental degradation still happen in places manipulated for giant farms and our bodies still absorb chemical groups that would be illegal if produce grew on US soils. It is disturbing to visit these places in travels and just think of the destruction of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 in Central America to see what US giant farms on foreign soil can lead to. Buy seasonal, buy local... see the results of agri practices near your home to keep your integrity in check.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SHEENADEE 10/24/2009 9:39PM

    Sure gives us all some things to think long and hard about. Sad and scary situation.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOKEYOKEY 10/24/2009 9:14PM

    Thank you, Maha, for posting this essential information!

Grow your own! Buy organic! Support local farms!

(I *do* eat some meat, but it is from local, organic, humane, and sustainable sources -- which I know is not easy for many people to come by. Plus -- There is evidence that some meat in one's diet can be healthy -- Check out the Weston Price Foundation:
R>And -- A film I strongly encourage everyone to see is Food, Inc.:

Comment edited on: 10/24/2009 9:18:36 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 10/24/2009 4:38PM

    Maha...this is the sobbering eye opening truth that most of us just don't want to think about. We might get away with that for another few years...that not thinking...but what happens to our children and our grandchildren?

Where does this leave them in the world. It breaks my heart that we just can't see the sickness and the cruelty to animals...ekkks I did have a little beef last night! I just got the new Suzanne Somers book "Breakout" thank goodness she is doing what she can to shed light on the cancer subject and the fact that there are alternative means to dealing with it. The biggest one of course is prevention..and that means feed your body with pure food! It did make me angry the way she was 'discounted' on the Today show during her interview for questioning our medical standards of treatment. And of all people Ann Curry who I have always thought was smart enough to 'get' those kinds of things. Suzanne writes books for profits people will say and that of course is the truth...but on the other hand she has the 'balls' to shake up the population...I just hope she has some impact!

Thank you Maha..I love your blogs!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEE803 10/24/2009 3:27PM

    More scary stuff!!! Yet very eye opening at the same time! Glad I have changed my eating habits!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAFEMMEDELALUNE 10/24/2009 12:46PM

    When I read these articles, I get so upset...
I am calmed somewhat by the knowledge that I can do something about these issues at least 3 times a day!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 10/24/2009 12:42PM

    Necesito usar esta informacion en mi clase de espanol para ensenar a mis alumnos. La informacion es el poder. Gracias por compartirla. Hasta luego, Francescanaz

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 10/24/2009 12:24PM

    Awareness is the first step to change. Let's all share this message with everyone we care about!

emoticon emoticon emoticon Maha!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LYNNANN43 10/24/2009 11:36AM

    I'm proud to say that my daughter is a vegetarian and she has inspired us to be flexatarians.

I'm trying to whittle down the meat that my hubby & son think is mandatory to complete a dinner. Not an easy thing, but I am really trying.

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 10/24/2009 11:17AM

    Sadly, ALL western countries are doing the same.
Have you seen the Austrian documentary "We feed the world"? I think it has English subtitles.
There is also another very good documentary on water for those who are interested:

I'm also very concerned by GMOs and Monsento issues too, and by the fact we now outsource our food in China -not that I have something against Chinese, but why do we have to destroy another area and create more damage to the Earth just to feed us when we have enough space and resources to grow our own food and thanks to our agriculture policies farmers have been forced to destroy their own cultures?

As for the animals, I do think that if persons don't change their way of eating now, and don't switch to at least Flexitarians, they won't have any other choices to be vegetarians in a near future. We're destroying the planet with this extensive animal farms which consume way too much resources -and I don't even point out the ethical aspect as you did because not everyone is sensitive to that, but they might be more sensitive if we tell them their children might experience food riots and might be starving if we/they keep on like it. We are heading for disaster here.

Will Allen "sentenced to a year in jail for civil rights and antiwar activism." *shocking*... And Freedom of speech? I should be in jail myself for my activism...

Comment edited on: 10/24/2009 11:22:40 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/24/2009 9:19AM

    Oooooooooh! Just makes me want to throw up! emoticon
So glad Im changing my eating! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
REBCCA 10/24/2009 8:56AM

    Thank you for posting this, sad as it is.. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Delicious food-for-the-soul!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ok, OK!!! I know my poetry posts are peripheral at best to the expressed purpose of SparkPeople. But, ya' know, if the soul is *fed delicious, nutritious sustenance* will it not contribute to our overall lightness-of-being, and thus to our goal of optimal wellness of body-mind-spirit, I ask?

Consider the swans:


They appeared
over the dunes,
they skimmed the trees
and hurried on

to the sea
or some lonely pond
or wherever it is
that swans go,

urgent, immaculate,
the heat of their eyes
staring down
and then away,

the thick spans
of their wings
as bright as snow,
their shoulder-power

inside my own body.
How could I help but adore them?
How could I help but wish

that one of them might drop
a white feather
that I should have
something in my hand

to tell me
that they were real?
Of course
this was foolish.

What we love, shapely and pure,
is not to be held,
but to be believed in.
And then they vanished, into the unreachable distance.

-- Mary Oliver, Reference

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRAGONFLY7149 10/23/2009 6:57PM

    Keep on keeping on, Valerie...maybe we wouldn't be quite so focused on bodily sustenance (overly so) if we indulged in a little more soul sustenance!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NAMASTE108 10/23/2009 3:28PM

    Thank you for the soul food! It provides more lasting sustanance than food food, and there are no calories!

I hope there is wind benieth your wings all weekend long!


Report Inappropriate Comment
JNEUBS 10/23/2009 2:18PM

    So love the peripheral!

I search for the peripheral!

Maha, you are the beauty of the peripheral!

Peace, Love, Compassion & Laughter!
ChiTown Jeff
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/23/2009 2:19:48 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 10/23/2009 1:45PM

    Did somebody say something about your poetry posts? I'll bash 'em, I will ... you keep on keepin' on and blog whatever you want to, hon'! I LOVE poetry, and right you are ... always thinkin' 'bout all dem body issues kin make yo head and body reeeeeeellee heavy an' do a numba on yo' scale, not ta menchun keepin yew fwom beein abul ta fly!!!
Da flyin bat,
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 10/23/2009 1:07PM

    One must feed and exercise the soul as well as the body, it's a matter of wholeness, (w)holiness. Thanks for the soul snack and flight!
Diving into the divine,

Report Inappropriate Comment
STILLPOINT 10/23/2009 10:27AM

    MAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEAUTIFUL....and please, yes, your peripheral SP blogs are INSPIRING!!!!!!!!! When I joined this site in July, you were one of the first people I discovered - and I was completely hooked knowing that in addition to a healthy living group - I had found a spiritual community as well. Who would have thought.

Blessings to you on this fall day - may you be showered with beauty and love.

Mer emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Setting the tone for the day....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:


Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

~ Marge Piercy ~

(In Praise of Fertile Land, edited by Claudia Mauro)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNNANN43 10/23/2009 7:42AM

    How beautiful! Thank you, MAHA!


Report Inappropriate Comment
GBOOMER 10/23/2009 6:38AM

    I had a good day yesterday? You?

Report Inappropriate Comment
ABQUEST 10/22/2009 11:12PM

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 10/22/2009 3:09PM

    Wonderful, sublime ... love it! To quote ComEd's theme song ... 'you light up my life,' Maha! emoticon
Light & peace to you also,

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/22/2009 1:52PM

    Living persistently on purpose! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEE803 10/22/2009 1:22PM

    Love your words of inspiration! They DO inspire me!!! Thanks Maha! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GBOOMER 10/22/2009 9:23AM

    May we both have a beautiful, life-loving, self-loving, just-general-overall-loving day!


Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 10/22/2009 8:34AM

    Love is so mindful and resonates deeply with me. I love you Maha for the wisdom that you share...for the beautiful friend that you are! Have a beautiful day...and beyond that...a beautiful life!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

7 foods that should never cross your lips!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WOW! That's ominous, eh, using the article's caption as the blog title.

I know I posted "Top 10 Riskiest Foods" but this is totally different information AND I'm really surprised at the first one. I thought that, for instance, Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes in cans would be OK, but it sounds like they're not. I'm going to contact them about this, that's for sure.

I knew about the others, but appreciate the in-depth information. I got this from Prevention Magazine and thought it was so good that I looked for the article online to copy-and-paste.

"Clean" eating means choosing fruits, vegetables, and meats that are raised, grown, and sold with minimal processing. Often they're organic, and rarely (if ever) should they contain additives. But in some cases, the methods of today's food producers are neither clean nor sustainable. The result is damage to our health, the environment, or both.

So we decided to take a fresh look at food through the eyes of the people who spend their lives uncovering what's safe—or not—to eat. We asked them a simple question: "What foods do you avoid?" Their answers don't necessarily make up a "banned foods" list. But reaching for the suggested alternatives might bring you better health—and peace of mind.

1. Canned Tomatoes
Fredrick Vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A, gives us the scoop:

The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people's body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe's and Pomi.

Budget tip: If your recipe allows, substitute bottled pasta sauce for canned tomatoes. Look for pasta sauces with low sodium and few added ingredients, or you may have to adjust the recipe.

2. Corn-Fed Beef
Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. "We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure," says Salatin.

The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers' markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It's usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don't see it, ask your butcher.

Budget tip: Cuts on the bone are cheaper because processors charge extra for deboning. You can also buy direct from a local farmer, which can be as cheap as $5 per pound. To find a farmer near you, search

3. Microwave Popcorn
Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. "They stay in your body for years and accumulate there," says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.

Budget tip: Popping your own popcorn is dirt cheap.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes
Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation's most popular vegetable—they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. "Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won't," says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). "I've talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals."

The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn't good enough if you're trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.

Budget tip: Organic potatoes are only $1 to $2 a pound, slightly more expensive than conventional.

5. Farmed Salmon
David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. "You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer," says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. "It's that bad." Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it's farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

Budget tip: Canned salmon, almost exclusively from wild catch, can be found for as little as $3 a can.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones
Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. "When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract," says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. "There's not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans," admits North. "However, it's banned in most industrialized countries."

The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.

Budget tip: Try Wal-Mart's Great Value label, which does not use rBGH.

7. Conventional Apples
Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods, gives us the scoop:

The problem: If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don't develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it's just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. "Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers," he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson's disease.

The solution: Buy organic apples.

Budget tip: If you can't afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them. But Kastel personally refuses to compromise. "I would rather see the trade-off being that I don't buy that expensive electronic gadget," he says. "Just a few of these decisions will accommodate an organic diet for a family."

1) My note 2) MG answer 3) my response to their note.

1) This is from an article in the current issue of Prevention Magazine. May I ask you to comment. I've been buying Muir Glen CANS for years. I need to be reassured!

"I copied-and-pasted the text here."

Thanks so much, Maha

2) (Gadzooks, another corporate buy-out!)

Dear Ms. Christensen:

Thank you for contacting Muir Glen regarding bisphenol-A in food packaging. Bisphenol-A is a critical component of protective coatings used with metal food packaging and provides important quality and safety features to canned foods.

Scientific and government bodies worldwide have examined the scientific evidence and consistently have reached the conclusion that BPA is not a risk to human health. Recent examples include comprehensive risk assessments in Japan and Europe and a review by an independent panel of experts organized by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. The can coatings used in Muir Glen packaging comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for use in food contact applications. These coatings have long played an essential part in food preservation, helping to maintain wholesomeness, nutritional value, and product quality.

We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that all of the food ingredients and packaging materials we use are fully in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements and meet our high quality standards.

We will continue to monitor this situation. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. Your questions and comments are always welcome. For more information on the safety of metal food containers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration press office may be contacted at (301) 436-2335.


Kathy Smith
Consumer Services

3) Hi Kathy,

I'm afraid my faith in the FDA is tentative at best. Saying you comply with THEIR standards does not elicit confidence. Your form letter doesn't specifically speak to the concerns ennumerated by Fredrick Vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A. Perhaps an appropriate staff person in your organization would contact him to engage in dialogue about this important matter. In the meantime I'll look for other sources for packaged organic tomatoes.

Om Shanthi,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEE803 10/22/2009 1:25PM

    YIKES!!! That's scary stuff! Funny because if you watch CSI Miami the whole show on Monday night kind of revolved around the corn fed cows! And I love my microwave pop corn! Ah! It's so easy and convenient! This has been an eye opener! Thanks Maha!


Report Inappropriate Comment
DOTSLADY 10/22/2009 2:33AM

    Hello again :). Though, not tomatoes, Eden Foods DOES have bpa-free canned beans - fyi. It 'CAN' be done! recent Huffington Post article: or

Thanks for the Muir Glen update. Your response was well said: for every written response it speaks for so many more.

I'm in OKC - we're practically neighbors. yoo hoo. "I can see you from my house!"
(Can you find ORGANIC pink ladies in AR? I've never seen 'em here, but will look harder.)

Comment edited on: 10/22/2009 2:35:04 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
MAZZYR 10/22/2009 1:02AM

    Thank you for sharing this information.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOOKINGTOBEFIT 10/21/2009 9:49PM

    It's pretty scary what's out there that we don't know about!! Thanks for the aricle.

Report Inappropriate Comment
IMAGINE_IT 10/21/2009 8:10PM

    I read the same article a few days ago..and i was shocked to find out about all this...i am frankly at a Loss to what to eat seems as if everything is Bad....all those foods are on my shopping list..and just today for example i have noticed that there are no tomatoes in glass available at my store... emoticon so now what?? I guess we need to start going back to the basics!!

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 8:11:34 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIVNFITNHAPPY 10/21/2009 7:10PM

    Thank you so much for sharing! It seems to be a full time job (and then some) trying to take proper care of our bodies. I am really sad about the apples. It is apple season and my husband and I went to nearby groves to pick some interesting varieties of fresh apples. They were extremely yummy having not been picked too early. They were not organic but I hope sprayed with fewer chemicals than those grown out of the country. I guess it's back to the so-so tasting organic ones at the store.

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIENEAL 10/21/2009 7:00PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I bookmarked the eatwild site. I have been trying to gradually change our eating habits around here, and slowly but surely it is working. I have not had a soda, and have been looking for grazed beef since the day before Mother's Day, that is the day I watched King Corn, which is free to watch instantly on Netflix..... Thanks again.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CHOCMOM 10/21/2009 6:20PM

  Thanks. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JERSEYGIRL24 10/21/2009 5:21PM

    Wow, it seems like nothing is safe to eat anymore. I will have to delve into this. However, I eat canned tomatoes so infrequently that the risk of damage is probably miniscule.

Report Inappropriate Comment
HAPPY-DESTINY 10/21/2009 4:37PM

    Great blog..I bookmarked it!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 10/21/2009 3:59PM

    Good grief. Sometimes I wonder if anything is safe anymore. I see the "certified organic" sections in the stores around here, and sometimes find myself thinking "but how do we really know?????" ... given, as you rightly point out, how inadequate FDA inspections are, not to mention food industry PAC's and lobbyist influence. Kind of makes you grateful that each bodily life is, after all, a terminal state ... until you return in another one, anyway.

I've never had a microwave, and don't nuke anything ... I've thought of getting one, but every time I do, I think "ah, one more thing on the counter to keep clean" & think about all those small kitchen appliances that are stored at the back of a cabinet or in my basement and never used!
Don't like salmon, except for one time I had it made in a particular way on an outdoor grill, and forgot to write down how they did it.....

A couple of helpful sites related to fish are


and (lost the link) Oceans Alive something ...

Good luck on the tomatoes ... I haven't found any glass packaged ones that aren't loaded with extra salt (why, when tomatoes are naturally high in sodium anyway?); while the canned varieties do have "no added salt" options. Best best, but labor intensive, would be to grow and preserve your own in Mason or Ball Jars, which aren't so cheap anymore, and require you to buy replacement seals for each re-use.


Meanwhile, I guess I'll continue my ritual of cooking with love and peace, and blessing everything before I eat it emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LYNNANN43 10/21/2009 3:21PM

    I had no idea about the canned tomatoes! I just used one last night:(

emoticon for the article!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BABYFACE26 10/21/2009 2:45PM

    Well, thanks to Peaceful One, I checked out this blog. I knew much of this, but didn't know the science behind it. Knowing the science, really makes it worse! Good to have info. on canned tomatoes...even though it ALL is depressing as hell...all the families with children - I think about - are totally ignorant of any of this...and I agree with you, about the FDA. Have confidence in Them??!! I don't think so. ..and farmed salmon are fed..WHAT!? "Poultry litter and chicken feathers?" what the?!
I am dumbfounded.

Thank you so much, hon. emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 2:48:58 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/21/2009 2:34PM

    appalling, absolutely

Report Inappropriate Comment
BARNABABY1 10/21/2009 2:29PM

    Wow...thanks for the info. It really makes you wonder what we have all been putting into our bodies over the last couple of decades.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 10/21/2009 2:03PM

    Thanks for the info...I too was sad to see the warnings about canned tomatoes, one of my standby pantry items. Not sure whether I'll stop using them, or not. probably won't stop.

I think another issue in all of this is that we all just need to do the best that we can, given time constraints, financial considerations and family preference constraints.

What it comes down to is: make the best ingredient choices that you can, prepare the food with love, bless it and then enjoy it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOTSLADY 10/21/2009 1:30PM

    emoticonThanks Peacefulone for sharing this post with your friends.

I knew 'bout BPA, but have been stubborn giving up my canned tomatoes. Sometimes you just need to hear things over and over to GET IT! Will check back for Muir Glenn update.

I haven't given up Pink Lady apples either (so juicy!) ... dang. It's always somepin.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DRAGONFLY7149 10/21/2009 12:20PM

    Thanks, Maha -- I knew about most of these, but was surprised that the BPA piece focused only on tomatoes. I understand research indicates BPA has the most significant effect on children, but it's not good for any of us and does leach into foods even when those foods are not acidic. As a general rule, if a tin can is lined with anything it's likely to be BPA.

On the milk side of things, fortunately -- following persistent consumer protests -- the Canadian government banned BGH in milk (they've also banned the use of BPA, but only in products specifically intended to be used by children).

I also understand that ALL root vegetables, unless organically grown, absorb pesticides. I try to find organic but when I can't make sure that I wash well and remove peel (kind of sacrifices some of the nutritional value but pesticide values are supposedly highest in the outer layers).

You know what irks me most -- governments that know all of this but don't more vigorously regulate in the public interest!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOKEYOKEY 10/21/2009 12:07PM

    Thanks for sharing this more broadly. I buy organic only and have for many years.

And I just found out about the problem with tomato products in cans (even organic) -- rats!

I have stopped buying canned tomatoes -- I don't have a good substitute yet, since I haven't figured out how to grow enough to put in bottles myself!

And -- I'm worried! -- if the lining of the tomato cans is bad, doesn't this mean that the canned salmon is also problematic (even if from Pacific sources)? Do you have any information about this, too?

Thanks again!

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 12:07:53 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SIRIRADHA 10/21/2009 11:55AM

    Oh no! We eat lots and lots of canned tomatoes even with all the tomatoes we grow.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 10/21/2009 11:31AM

    Excellent!!!! Outstanding advice that needs to be shared with everyone you care about. Thank you so very much MAHA!!! You are a treasure!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 11:32:39 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
WILDFLOWER- 10/21/2009 11:05AM

    Really great info! Thank you for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOLAGEEK 10/21/2009 10:29AM

    I get sad about potatoes and apples with toxic accumulation. I mean what have we done to our environment??? So sad.

The canned tomatoes is one we have sadly been eliminating from our diet for a while. I dried a bunch of tomatoes this past summer to see how well they will reconsititute this winter.

Report Inappropriate Comment
RMACBURN 10/21/2009 10:02AM

    I didn't know that about microwave popcorn. Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DIHEALTHYHAPPY 10/21/2009 9:06AM

    I sure didn't know about any of the above 'ceptin' the apples.

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 10/21/2009 9:05AM

    Great eye-opening.
The only food I have/had to worry about is 4#... but I just joined the equivalent of your CSA, and we should produce our own ones by next year.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLOWINGWATER 10/21/2009 8:55AM

    Thanks Maha! Like you, I knew about all of these except the canned tomatoes. That was a shocker. I use Muir Glen, too. Let me know what you find out from them.

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEWME0519 10/21/2009 8:50AM

    Wow, thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment

When the Shoe Fits....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the Shoe Fits

Ch'ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.

His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
"For" and "against" are forgotten.

No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are free.

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.

~ Chuang Tzu ~

(In the Dark Before Dawn, trans. Thomas Merton)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENVOSE 10/21/2009 11:09PM

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 10/21/2009 2:05PM

    This post set the tone for my whole day yesterday. Profound. Thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MAZZYR 10/21/2009 12:40AM

    Thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 10/20/2009 10:06PM

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece.
It gives me wonderful thoughts at days end.

Love and peace

Report Inappropriate Comment
TEE803 10/20/2009 8:02PM

    Thanks for sharing that MAHA! You are a WONDERFUL person wise in her ways!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 10/20/2009 6:13PM

    Muchisimas gracias mi amiga profunda. Me gusta!
Paz, Francesca emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARLI_MAE 10/20/2009 3:01PM

    Oh ... oh! I soooooooo know this feeling! There is a "zone" that, once we get into it, all becomes easy, free-flowing, natural, and it seems as though one's focus is so keen errors are impossible. As a "jock" I experienced this a number of times in tennis tournaments and running (the application of the discipline I learned through meditation and yoga definitely fed into it).

And of all people to have found this gem and provided the translation ... Thomas Merton -- one of my fav's. Thank you, Maha!
Peace, blessings,

Report Inappropriate Comment
_VALEO_ 10/20/2009 11:39AM

    Thanks for sharing it. A lesson of wisdom here.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIVNFITNHAPPY 10/20/2009 8:54AM

    Very beautiful and profound!
Thank you for sharing! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GRFXGIRL 10/20/2009 8:37AM

    Thanks for sharing emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BREN4376 10/20/2009 8:34AM

    I hope you have a great day! Thank you for sharing that.

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 Last Page