Pregnancy Projects: Heartburn

Whew, life got busy again. At the urging of DaMan and others I finally started on some pregnancy themed video projects to help share some of the pregnancy related information I’ve learned over the past couple of years. Will be sharing the videos as they are edited! Doing video work is a constant work in progress for me. At least I don’t start shaking and get queasy before video time anymore. If any of you have any pregnancy or post partum specific questions or topics you’d like to see me blabber about on video sometime please let me know!

 

Without further ado here is the first of the series. Heartburn! This topic out of all pregnancy related subjects the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth several lbs. of cure holds especially true so I spent a majority of my time discussing *preventatives* vs. treatments.

The “Something isn’t Right” Syndrome

If I had a dollar for every time a woman has said to me “Something isn’t right…I shouldn’t have such a hard time living life” or some rendition of that refrain I would have some pretty serious spending money in my purse right now. Exhaustion and all the resulting myriad of side effects and physical complications brought on by fatigue seem to be the constant companions of many women. Most have forgotten what a life full of energy and “feel good” is like to experience. Having been one of these women most of my life, and having had the opportunity to talk to literally dozens of other struggling women I want to share some of the opinions and perspectives I’ve gained along the way.

The ironic thing I’ve noticed about women who are struggling on some level or another whether it be from sleep deprivation, underlying chronic health issues that may or may not be diagnosed yet is that some of the most productive, motivated and hard working women I know are the ones struggling to stay off the couch during the day. The more driven and motivated in life they are it seems the more prone they can be to experiencing this “Something isn’t right” syndrome. There is an actual explanation for why this might be…Very motivated, driven, type A individuals tend to be very hard on their adrenal system and the end result can be Adrenal Fatigue after years of abuse. Since the adrenal system and thyroid systems work so closely together and rely upon each others functionality in order to keep things working well a few years of flogging the adrenal system can result in a thyroid problem even if there wasn’t one to start out with.

Physical issues aside I believe just as big of a toll can be taken on the emotional health of a woman struggling with this syndrome. There are a slew of experts out there trying to answer the question of “Why are women so hard on themselves?” and probably a dozen books on Amazon touting the latest answers to that question. I don’t have the answer, or even part of the answer but I have accepted the truth that many women are incapable of complete personal satisfaction. We seem driven to find something, anything to torment ourselves with, usually based in some comparison to other women. A lot of it is self created but in many cases there is an innate knowledge within us that we could be, and should be accomplishing so much more in life than we are. When it’s a struggle just to get out of bed, get the kids fed and keep everybody alive and cared for without the house tumbling down around our ears it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize there is something wrong with that picture. The occasional “Super Woman” who manages to get 6 hours of sleep per night, have well maintained operating systems within her home, cooks from scratch and grows that gigantic organic garden, births 8 children, homeschool them all and do it all with a joy and life satisfaction and never seems to suffer once from brain fog or depression much less need naps…well, it’s just further evidence for what we are already telling ourselves. We are failures and therefore we must push harder, and try harder even though we feel worse and the mental toll increases.

Depression very often goes hand in hand with this “Something isn’t Right” syndrome. Feeling like a perpetual failure, often struggling to get adequate sleep even when there is opportunity to in addition to whatever underlying physical things might be going on…little wonder depression begins to set in. Unfortunately in our society it is a whole lot easier to get treatment from the average Dr. for Depression than it is for a vague “Dr. Something isn’t right…” While I firmly believe there is a time and a place for prescription medications for depression I also recognize the fact that Depression is a symptom of a bigger problem 9 times out of 10 and not the problem itself. Putting the mute button on Depression as a symptom (and perhaps a few more symptoms as well) via anti-depression medications often times does nothing but allow the underlying problems to go even longer without detection. antidepressants should only be used as a band-aid, a temporary way to get reprieve from symptoms (and even then I would go so far as to say should only be used when the mental imbalance is severe enough to cause harm to oneself or impedes the ability to safely care for ones children), not the cure or solution for depression or sleep problems. Many of them are highly addictive and come with their own host of potential side effects and potential long term negative health impact.

Find a Dr. who is willing to at least check for Adrenal and Thyroid problems via blood-work and a saliva test. Don’t be bullied into believing that what you know in your heart of hearts to be a physical struggle as being “just in your head”  The second phrase that I hear a whole lot (and said myself for several years) is “I don’t have a Thyroid problem. My Dr. did the test and there is nothing wrong with my thyroid” This may be true, your thyroid may be fine or it may be that your Dr. did not know enough to interpret the test results, or might not have even ordered the right tests to show your particular thyroid problem in the first place. It is important to keep in mind as well that the adrenal system may be completely taxed and messed up for some time before it is bad enough that it begins to affect the thyroid. It is important to have BOTH systems thoroughly tested before scratching them off of the list of potential issues. The reason I am so passionate about this is because I had my thyroid tested by a Dr. 3 times. The tests came back normal each time so although every few months I seemed to acquire more thyroid based symptoms I kept insisting it couldn’t be part of what was wrong with me. Turns out my Dr. was not ordering the right tests for my particular problem to even show up.

If you happen to be one of these women struggling with the “Something isn’t Right” syndrome please do not give up. It may take years to figure out what is going on, and you may get answers one piece at a time but please do not give up seeking answers and solutions. Don’t write off what you are feeling and experiencing as “mental” either. And please, for goodness sakes, don’t use the fact that you are actively struggling as an additional tool to beat yourself up with. Life is hard enough without the extra mental self-flagellation we are prone to giving ourselves at every turn.  A womans body is an incredibly complex creation with dozens of operating systems and functions that rely upon each other to stay in balance and operate at full capacity. There are so many things in our society that can cause these fine tuned systems to be thrown out of whack it is the unusual woman who is completely and truly unaffected by external health and functionality disruptors. It is not a spiritual problem, not an attitude problem and definitely not a mental problem to be struggling physically although all of those elements may come into play the longer a struggle goes on.

Although I only touched on two commonly “hidden” things that can severely compromise the health of a woman there are many others out there. The second most common is undiagnosed gut problems and food sensitivities. Out of time and space in this post to address those but they are actually the easier problems to fix with diet modifications, food enzymes and gut healing protocols.

If you happen to be a “Something isn’t Right” woman out there right now I wish I could give you a huge hug.

Sometimes a hug makes everything feel better

Sometimes a hug makes everything feel better

Regardless of what factors you have going on, or what level your life struggle is at, or even if it is caused by a physical problem or maybe even a life circumstance or stress you have no control over I know just enough to know that it is emotionally exhausting to keep on keeping on through it all.

The light at the end of my personal tunnel of physical struggle is brighter than it’s ever been. My first pregnancy that followed right on the heels of multiple miscarriages was fraught with physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. The first year of our precious girls life was spent with me even more exhausted and sunk deeper in mental and emotional depression.  Another miscarriage and then a hospitalization preceded some drastic dietary changes that began to improve my physical and mental state and finally a diagnosis and answer to help explain what was going on with my body. Although I am now in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, traditionally the most miserable stage of pregnancy my mental, emotional and physical well-being are better than they have been in years. Although by no means completely healed, or even operating at what I would consider to be “optimal” it is still so much improved I thank God on a daily basis for how wonderful it is to experience so many positive things this pregnancy.

Here’s to every woman’s “Something isn’t Right” struggle ending in hope, triumph and complete healing. In the meantime it is my hope and prayer that the “Something isn’t Right” struggle so many are facing can help to bring us to a place of more grace, compassion and willingness to help each other as we struggle and muddle through life together.

Mom praying for daughter

Mom praying for daughter

 

Acne Q&A

Acne

Acne

I received an e-mail today from a customer on behalf of her 16 year old daughter. I know many out there are struggling with acne and the frustration of trying one guaranteed thing after another only to have it not work. Thought my response might help somewhat in understanding the complex problem that Acne can be.

Hello,
I do have a question about dealing with acne. My 16 year old daughter battles severe acne.  We have tried so many things and yet it continues.  It is all over her face, her neck, her chest, and back.  We have tried over the counter treatments; we have tried natural products from the health food store; we have even tried a medical program set up by her pediatrician.  Always it gets better at first, and then comes back just as bad or worse.  The doctor kept prescribing more and more antibiotics to the point that she started breaking out in “ringworms”.  We were not comfortable with his program, and he was never pleased with the results, so we pulled her off of everything.  She is my best eater and consumes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and drinks lots of water and herbal teas.  I am at my wit’s end!   Can you recommend a course of treatment that we could follow either using your products or other resources or a combination.

Concerned Mama (Name changed to protect identity of Customer)

Hello,

So sorry to hear about the struggle your daughter is having with acne. It can be difficult to address because like several chronic on-going things it can have multiple underlying causes and or triggers.

1) Hormones: can seriously affect skin. Typically if it is hormonally related it shows up around the time menses begins in girls or puberty sets in with boys. Some have theorized that the flood of hormones going through their bodies is more than their livers can keep up with and some have noticed with this type of Acne that doing extra Liver support and detox can be very helpful.

2) External Triggers: Some people manifest sensitivities to all sorts of things in acne and severe skin out-breaks. This could be sensitivity to detergents and or SLS found in commercial laundry soaps or chemicals in cleaning products or even things in her shampoos or body soaps.

3) Internal Triggers: It could be sensitivities to certain foods. It is important to realize that the skin is the bodies primary means of detoxing. For many people they discover that either when they remove a known toxin from their environment or cut a food that the body percieves as a toxin due to a pre-existing sensitivity to it. A lot of peoples bodies perceive High Fructose Corn Syrup and MSG as toxins. There are other common food preservatives that the body can perceive as a toxin and try to use every means at it’s disposal to “dump” and get rid of it which means pushing it out through the pores of the skin causing out-breaks, knots and infections under the skin. For some people Chocolate and Coffee are common “out-break” triggers or cause extra inflammation to out-breaks that are already there. Artificial sweeteners of all types are also common “toxin” out-break offenders. There are also a handful of people who have very specific food allergy/skin connection issues.

4) Chronic underlying Bacterial Infection or Virus: For some individuals they have found that the cause of their skin problems is some sort of underlying virus or bacterial infection. Something that is systemic and the body ends up waging the obvious and noticeable war with it on the surface of the skin causing the skin to look something like a war-zone. These individuals have found that taking anti-viral immune boosting supplements (and the same goes for anti-bacterial infection supplements, some of these supplements do both things at once) makes a HUGE difference in their skin problems.

A friend recently came up with a really amazing and effective “drawing” and healing protocol for her skin. She wrote up this AMAZING healing mask she invented and described why she thinks it has helped her skin so much. If you have problem skin please take the time to read about it and give it a try!

The Great Chicken Cook-Off

Ok so it wasn’t so great. But it was certainly a lot of fun! A friend of mine, Liz is an aspiring Chef and a wonderful inspiration and encouragement to my kitchen adventures. I also have the priviledge of working with her almost every day of the week. A couple of days ago, as we counted down the last hours of our work day we both realized that we had whole chickens in our respective refrigerators that needed to be cooked soon. And suddenly, just like that the idea of a chicken cook-off was born.  The minute the clock struck five we took off to our kitchens and the baking commenced. Neither divulged to the other the seasoning scheme, the plan being that it would be a total surprise.

I started with an Organic Birdie purchased from the Mainstream Costco. No, I don’t want to hear about how it’s still industrialized farming and that the bird was probably fed a steady diet of pure soy. Nope, just don’t wanna hear it or think about it right now thank-you-very-much.

Fresh Organic Chicken

Fresh Organic Chicken

I rinsed it off really good, patted it down and sprinkled sea salt on the interior then laid it to rest with it’s companion internal parts in the pan to prepare for the “Seasoning”

chicken prepared for it's seasoning

chicken prepared for it's seasoning

I use garlic for everything. In the case of this particular chicken I took garlic cloves (a whole heads worth) and peeled the skin off of each one. Toddlers are great for these sorts of projects. The Doodlebug loves helping me and this is one of her favorite jobs.

Fresh head of garlic

Fresh head of garlic

Once I had the garlic gloves ready the insertion stage began. I slide garlic cloves under the skin of the chicken alternating with pats of butter. It makes the skin kinda look weird but assures that the meat is niiiiiice juicy and tender. And the garlic adds a nice roasted flavor as well. Some fresh ground pepper on top and a few drizzles of lemon juice (normally I use fresh, only had the refrigerated kind this time, it gives a bit more concentrated flavor)

Butter and Garlic under the chicken skin

Butter and Garlic under the chicken skin

Next we slather seasonings alllll over the top and inside cavity.

MSG Free Chicken Seasoning

MSG Free Chicken Seasoning

My own personal mix of Cayenne and Indian Spices in the Cayenne container

My own personal mix of Cayenne and Indian Spices in the Cayenne container

Sea salt and black pepper

Sea salt and black pepper

Now that the chicken is thoroughly covered….

Seasoned Chicken

Seasoned Chicken

Next the “Trussing” in which you can have fun tying up the chicken.

Trussed Bird

Trussed Bird

Once the bird was tied I stuck a head of garlic into the cavity and piled a few more seasonings over the top for good measure. Foil was used to seal the bird in and the whole thing slid into a 400 degree oven. After it baked for about 40 min. I removed the foil and let it bake uncovered the rest of the time until it was done. While the chicken baked I made a cabbage based stir fry with roasted red peppers and oh yes, more fresh garlic. I also reheated some cheese gluten free biscuits leftover from the previous nights meal.

Cabbage Stir Fry

Cabbage Stir Fry

Finally the hour of truth! Both our birds were ready for the standoff. I was pleased with the nice crisp skin mine ended up with!

My bird

My bird

Liz my worthy opponent tried a totally different technique from mine. She baked her bird breast down which is a trick many recommend to ensure that the breast meat stays juicy since it is facing down. She also did not truss her bird and it ensured even crispy skin all over. Her bird had a wonderful Southwestern Smokey flavor that was divine! ALSO she made the most AMAAAAAAZING potatoes ever. Seriously. She says her secret was sprinkling them with steak seasoning. I don’t know if that is true or not but I DO know they were truly incredible. Good thing our side dishes were not cooking off against each other because no matter how good a stir-fry there is no way it can stack up against potatoes like those.

Liz's Chicken

Liz's chicken

All in all I liked Liz’s bird much better than mine. It was smokey, full of flavor, slightly spicy and yet moist and tender. With both of us casting votes for each others chicken we ended up with a tie. It was a LOT of fun and I recommend cook-off’s to any of my friends who like fooling around in the kitchen! I suspect Liz and I have a few more cookoffs in our future. Stay tuned.

The two Chickens about to be eaten.

The two Chickens about to be eaten.

Politics of Food: Shameless Share

 

Hey everybody. I’m in the middle of working on an UTI post that is taking an inordinate amount of time/research. Today however I received my copy of Wise Traditions from the Weston A. Price Foundation. There is an article in it by one of my favorite food activists Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Whether you love him, hate him, laugh at him or nod your head in agreement, I am going to type it up word for word to share with you here and hope the WAPF doesn’t mind that I’m sharing this with my readers. This is actually the text of the keynote address he gave at the WAPF Conference that we attended in PA. It seems like too important of a message to keep to myself! For the typos you have my advance apologies.

This is long, very long but please set aside some time to read it. I can guarantee it’ll stretch your perspectives on at least one angle or aspect of the battle for food here in the US.

–Steph

The Politics of Food: Standing Toe to Toe with the Apologists for Industrial Farming

By Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin

Tonight I am going to talk in a broad way about the politics of food and to examine the assumption made by the apologists for the industrial agriculture. I think it’s important when we come to the table and begin negotiations with the other side that we realize what a sales opportunity this represents. Those of us who support small-scale, pasture-based farming and a return to the real food are selling an idea to our culture, an idea that is now so foreign to most people that it’s hard for us to conceive just how foreign it is.

Sometimes it’s good to step back and look in a realistic way at their assumptions and how they acquired them. I don’t like to use the word conspiracy; what’s happened to our agricultural and food systems is not a conspiracy but the logical result of a fraternity of ideas. These guys have all been to the same schools, and they all play on the same golf course. Or, as Jerry Brunetti says, they all licked the same golf balls that have rolled through the chemicalized turf. It’s important for us to understand where they’re coming from in a mutually respectful way. I admit that from my perspective as a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic, it’s actually hard for me to understand how these people can go down to the Presbyterian or the Lutheran church, sit in the pew and take the sacraments all the while dumping toxic chemicals on God’s earth. How can they sit there and not wrestle with the moral question of whether it matters that we encourage the pigness of the pig? The great questions of life, they don’t even wrestle with. How did this happen?

And so in my years of going to hearings and rubbing shoulders with people, including my own neighbors, who think I’m a bio terrorist, I’ve come to appreciate the essence of what they think.

I’ve made a list of twelve assumptions that we need to understand if we are going to appreciate how they think and if we are going to formulate an appropriate response – because it’s important for us in our daily life with friends, at the Little League game, at the elders’ meeting, at public gatherings, to be able to stand toe to toe and articulate our position in the politics of food.

ONE: YOUR SYSTEM CAN’T FEED THE WORLD

This is the number one assumption from the greater culture out there: your system can’t feed the world. If our system can’t feed the world, then we’re all just living in a pipe dream. How can we take a moral road advocating a system that can’t feed the world?

One day I sat down at a banquet in Washington state, and the guy next to me sits down and just looks at me and says: “Why do you want a half a million Orientals to be blind?” Turns out he was a great advocate of genetically engineered “golden rice” to provide vitamin A to Asians, because otherwise they would go blind. Of course the reason lots of Asians are short of Vitamin A is because they are using chemicals from the West that have nuked all the bokchoy and arugula and Chinese cabbage that were native around the rice paddies, along with the tilapia that ate the snails and along with the ducks that laid eggs and made meat and ate the algae. Truth be told, you have to eat ten pounds of golden rice in order to get the same amount of carotenes that you would get out of one serving of a vibrant green bokchoy or arugula.

So non-toxic, small-scale agriculture can’t feed the world? Let me paint a picture for you. In the early 1800’s, a famous Austrian chemist named Justus von Liebig began vacuum tube isolations to find out what things are made of. In 1837 he introduced his findings to the world when he declared that everything in life-people, plants, animals, everything – is just a rearrangement of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. N-P-K- that’s all we’re made of. That notion gradually developed into what we know today as chemical agriculture.

Now fast forward to about 1900 and we have a great panic in the world because Laura Ingalls Wilder finished going West, and there was no more West. Australia and the United States had both run out of virgin prairies for Europeans to exploit, and so there was a worldwide panic about how we are going to feed the world. With the Dust Bowl and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, everyone was asking how we were going to maintain soil fertility. This question absolutely occupied the world’s mind between the years of 1900 and 1930. This coincided with the height of the industrial revolution, so it was easy to embrace an industrial solution to the problem of declining soil fertility – just apply N-P-K fertilizer, that’s all we had to do.

In contrast to Justus von Liebig’s mechanical view of life, others proposed the radical idea that food, farming and biology are fundamentally non-mechanical systems. If the wheel bearing goes bad in your car, you can’t just leave the car parked on the side of the road, let it rest and come back ten years later to find that the bearings have healed. The difference with, and the beauty of, biological systems is that they are dynamic, they can heal, and aren’t we glad for that? A number of thinkers at the time, such as Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and John James Audubon, recognized a biological mystique embedded in the physical world. They noted that we differentiate between mechanisms and biology. And so we have these two radically different schools of thought, each pursuing a separate line of research.

Now it’s important to understand that with any innovation, it takes a while for the infrastructure, policy and knowledge that follows the innovation to metabolize so that it reaches the entire culture. For example, with the e-commerce boom, all the state governments are going into apoplectic seizures trying to figure out how to collect retail sales taxes when people don’t go to box stores and instead buy online and shelter their purchases from sales tax vendors. The innovation is in place, but it takes time for the metabolic cultural policy to catch up. Well, the same thing happened with these two very different proposals for solving the soil fertility problem.

One was chemical or mechanical, and one was biological. The biological effort was led by a British botanist named Sir Albert Howard. He had dedicated his life to studying the problem of soil fertility and in 1943 he announced his solution to the problem: aerobic composing.

Unfortunately, in 1943 the world was pre-occupied with a little disturbance called World War II, and that disturbance was funneled billions of dollars and the best and brightest of the world into the mechanistic path. It turns out that nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus-N-P-K-is what we need to make bombs. And so the Pentagon essentially financed the metabolic infrastructure knowledge to handle what Justus von Liebig proposed in 1837. Thus the war effort financed to an unfair advantage the chemical approach to agriculture.

We need to understand that in 1943, when Sir Albert Howard brought composting to the world, we did not even have rural electrification in Augusta County, my county. Augusta County did not get rural electrification until 1957 and Georgia did not get rural electrification until 1965. Not only did most farms lack electricity in 1942, they did not have chippers. They did not even have tractors, they were still using mules in our county in the mid 1950s. There were no PTO-powered manure spreaders. Goodness, some farms were just starting to use metal instead of wooden pitchforks. The point is that when you’re composting, when you’re running fertility off real time solar biomass for decomposition, it involves a lot of materials handling, and materials handling was very difficult back then. Not only that, but I would suggest that it just goes with the masculine psyche to think that composting isn’t as cool as bombs. Bombs are way more sexy than compost.

Imagine you are a farmer in the 1950’s, when we are ramping up industrial production again after the war. We needed to industrialize the farm because most of the workers had left the farm for jobs in the cities. And the starting gun goes off to solve the soil fertility issue. As a farmer, you can either buy a small amount of material in a bag very cheaply because it already has production and distribution infrastructure, or you can find all your neighbors to go out with a pitchfork and try to machete up some biomass and tote manure around and spread it without a PTO-powered manure spreader- or a tractor or chipper or conveyor belt or any of those kinds of things that farmers have today. If you were a farmer in 1950 what would you do?

The point is there was no Manhattan Project for compost. Had we had a Manhattan Project for compost, not only would we have fed the world, but we would have done it without making any three-legged salamanders, infertile frogs and a dead zone the size of Rhode Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

Today we have all sorts of high-tech infra-structure to leverage the scientific composting and pasture management that Andre Voisin, Sir Albert Howard, J. I. Rodale and other pioneers in the biological food movement brought to the table. We have solar-powered electric fences, electro-netting, front-end loaders, chippers, four-wheel drive tractors, PTO-manure spreaders, hoop structures, canvas coverings, band-saw mills and electro-magnified sprays. We have all sorts of stuff to make composting and manure-spreading feasible, but it took over fifty years for our side without any government help to create the infrastructure to metabolize, leverage and capitalize on Sir Albert Howard’s 1943 gift to the world. And now we have come to this point, we’re spinning circles around the other side.

Other points about feeding the world: remember, folks, the United States has thirty-five million acres of lawn. Let that sink in a little bit, thirty-five million acres. And we have thirty-six million acres for housing and feeding recreational horses, that’s seventy-one million acres, enough to feed the entire country without any farms or ranches. What do you mean biological farming can’t feed the world? We’ve got plenty of land, plenty of ability to do just that.

What we need to do is attach chicken houses to every kitchen. Every kitchen should have an attached number of chickens to eat the kitchen scraps and keep them out of the landfill, and provide us with fresh eggs. If you can keep parakeets in your condominium, throw out the parakeets, they’re just nasty noise makers and put in two chickens.

There’s a new book coming out called America Wasteland and it documents how America wastes 50% of all its human edible food. A lot of that waste happens through spoilage and long distance transportation. When the tomatoes come across fifteen hundred miles of jiggling, they get mushy unless you genetically breed them into cardboard so they don’t bruise. So spoilage from warehousing, storage and transport is a big source of waste. So don’t be shy about defending the fact that small-scale, local, pasture based agriculture can feed the world.

TWO: YOU REJECT TECHNOLOGY

The next big political argument: You want us to go back to loin cloths, wash boards, hog cholera and tuberculosis, right? They absolutely think we’re just a bunch of Neanderthals, wanting to turn the clock back on technological evolution and everything modern. Here again, the scene is set for this attitude in the early 1900’s. If you could go back and pick up all of the leading metropolitan newspapers in the land, you would find a recurring theme in every editorial page, from about 1908 to 1912, namely that cities in America were going to be consumed and implode under a mountain of horse manure because the country was urbanizing way faster then the infrastructure in cities could handle it. Remember we were still using gas lights in most places because electrification hadn’t arrived yet, we were just beginning to get plumbing, were just starting to clean up our water with sewage systems, we were just starting to replace the polluting horse with the car. The point is that the tip of innovation at that time was urbanization, yet we did not have refrigerators or sewers, and people were still taking one bath a winter. We did not have electric lights to see whether the floor was dirty, and you had to take the bed outside to look for bed bugs. We only washed utensils in surgeries between arm amputations.

It’s important to understand the context. Urbanization was crowding people in the cities and vacating the countryside, before farmers had electric fences, canvas covers, concrete, pharmaceuticals, sanitizer soap, stainless steel, refrigeration or electrification. Farmers were beginning to industrialize their farms, people were beginning to crowd into the cities, and the combination of the two without the metabolic leveraging of these new technological innovations created rapid infectious diseases both people and on farms due to the overcrowding and industrialization of each before the infrastructure was able to metabolize the new dynamics.

There’s a huge lag between innovation and metabolization-in business it’s called the “slinky effect.” Today we have a host of things that didn’t exist back then, which have enabled us to solve the kinds of problems that accompanied industrialization, starting in 1915 to about 1950. Unfortunately, a lot of the perceptions about food safety are still based on that two-to three-decade anomaly crowding of people in the cities and crowding of animals on the farm- before industry gave us the rest and completed the picture.

When epidemiologists today tell us that raw milk is a bad thing, the first thing they’ll do is bring up 1940’s data, all derived from that specific anomalous time period.

When our opponents say that we want to go back to the Neanderthal Age, they are assuming that we want to engage in biological farming without electricity, stainless steel and hot water. But this is not correct. What we want to do is go back to the wise traditions of heritage based system along with all of the appropriate metabolic capacity to solve all the problems that occurred during the infantile stage, during the diaper phase of the industrial revolution.

NUMBER THREE: FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION SHOULD MEASURE PERFORMANCE

The assumption is that the food safety inspection service should measure performance in pounds of product per person hours of inspection. This concept might be new to you. The last time I testified at a congressional hearing was when Congressman Dennis Kucinich convened a meat-safety hearing following that California operation where the downer cows were being picked up with a fork lift and taken into the abattoir. The first guy to testify in the hearing was the head of US Food, Safety, and Inspection Service. It actually shocked me to listen to him pat himself on the back and describe how much more efficient the department had become since there were no longer many neighborhood abattoirs and the inspectors could see so many more thousands of pounds of product per hour going past their noses. This was an unprecedented economy of scale, of productivity and efficiency, the likes of which we had never seen before! And it struck me–my goodness, why didn’t I think of this before–that if these people measure performance in pounds of product going by their noses. That’s the industrial mindset.

This mindset really became apparent to me when a friend of mine started a little neighborhood abattoir. Now remember, the law says if you get the stamp of approval from the USDA, then they will provide you an inspector for your abattoir. So he got all the stamps and cleared all the hurdles and then opened his door to start processing. They shut him down two weeks later because they said he was not fast enough. Now that’s not how the law reads. The law doesn’t say anything about speed.

So it’s hard for us to believe that in the mindset of the inspection service, they actually think they’ve arrived when they’re seeing a lot more things going by them, which means there is this massive prejudice in the entire system against anything small. A massive prejudice against us. They don’t like to stand there in a small plant, because they think they’re wasting their time. “Why should I waste my time?” I mean that’s a nice noble thing, isn’t it to not want to waste time and the taxpayers’ money. And so they can feel very good about themselves because they’re against small plants, and they value their time and their co-workers’ time. That makes the inspector a very noble person.

The problem with this prejudice against smallness is that it discriminates against embryonic innovation. All innovation, the things that we are bringing to our culture, all have to start somewhere as a prototype. If they have to start big and fast, the embryo is too big to be birthed and that’s the problem with non-scalable regulations.

NUMBER FOUR: FOOD SAFETY IS ALL ABOUT THE LETHAL DOSE

Lethal dose is the standard of toxicology, the standard in the industry. I’m reminded of Bill Wolf, who started importing Icelandic kelp into the US and selling it because of the high return he was getting. He branded it as a plant growth stimulant and, of course, to fill out a box on the paperwork to the EPA, he had to provide the lethal dose. Well, they were feeding those rats kelp and they just got healthier and slicker. So he’s scratching his head, “How do I check off the lethal dose box on this plant food?” So he finally got a five gallon bucket of water, put a little bit of his seaweed in there, dropped the rat in, drowned him, and put his check on the box. The problem is that when we go with the lethal dose idea, it often can’t be measured in any meaningful way.

What the industrial food system give us is not a lethal dose but a long, slow death. As long as the food doesn’t make you drop dead right now then it’s safe. And so our culture measures safety as the absence of a toxic reaction, and as a result we worship at the altar of sterility and antiseptic standards. This creates a food system that’s actually deadly for our three trillion-member internal community. Living food is full of bacteria. Cheese, sauerkraut, yeast, mold and living material: real food is biological.

Let me describe the results of a food safety research project of the USDA Agricultural Research Service at College Station, Texas. The hygiene hypothesis was first publicized in the early 1990’s and has slowly gained currency among medical doctors, researchers and public health officials. This hypothesis states that the lack of exposure of children, as well as adults, to dirt, bacteria, and low levels of pathogens results in an immune system that does not function normally. The lack of antibodies to true pathogens has resulted in the dramatic increase in allergies and asthma in developed countries over the past twenty years. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that the number of people with some form of allergy has more than doubled over the last two decades. This trend has been largely attributed to the lack of true immunity. Because we are too sanitary, the humane immune system becomes bored or over sensitized to any perceived threat and hyper-responds to non-threats like dust and pollen. We have run into the law of unintended consequences. We have never questioned whether the removal of all bacteria from all foods is actually beneficial to the consumer.

The crux of the hygiene hypothesis is that the immune system needs a low level of challenge stimulation to prevent immune system over-sensitization. So we need to be very aggressive about saying that some bacteria are good for you, because bacteria exercise the immune system. Every child should eat a pound of dirt before he’s twelve. We should not be embarrassed to assert that our food should not be sterile. The only place we want sterile is in a surgery.

NUMBER FIVE: FOOD GETS SAFER THE FARTHER IT GETS REMOVED FROM THE FARM

“Farms are dirty.” We encountered this attitude when we started selling pork to Chipotle Mexican Grill, and their quality assurance people found out that we were going to take the pigs to the slaughterhouse, bring the meat back in vacuum baggies, put it in the refrigerator overnight, put it on the bus the next morning and send it to Chipotle. Their quality assurance people went nuts because “Farms are dirty.” We couldn’t have that meat going back to our walk in cooler because, you know, a farm is dirty. I guess they’ve never had a picnic on a farm. It’s as though the farther away that food gets from the farm, the cleaner it’ll get. If it’s dirty on the farm, so the thinking goes, the cleaner it gets. Cities are much cleaner than farms. This notion has been created by industrial farming.

We’ve all heard of Louis Pasteur and his germ theory. Well, we should all know about Michel Bernard, his French nemesis, who looked at Louis Pasteur and said: au contraire. Sure, there are germs out there, but when it comes to disease, what we should be looking at is the terrain. One of the greatest recants in history was Pasteur who, on his death bed, rose up on his elbow in a moment of awareness and was able to audibly say “Bernard was right, it is all about the terrain,” and then he fell back and died.

But we still in this culture worship the germ theory. I know we do because if we didn’t we’d be far more concerned with getting the corn syrup vending machines out of our schools than giving our children a heavy metalized H1N1 flu vaccine. So entrenched is the germ theory in our culture that we go all out for eradication of diseases instead of assuming it is management’s fault.

The fundamental veterinary perspective today is that disease is caused by either germs or genetics. There’s nothing about the terrain in this science-based perspective. Let me asked you this: if we wanted to create a pathogen-friendly kind of farm, what would we do? Well, first thing we would do is go to just one species, eliminate all diversity, and then we would take those animals and crowd them together and eliminate fresh air and sunshine- make them breathe fecal particulate so they get nice lesions in their mucous membranes, allowing the fecal particulate to go right into their blood-stream and poison their livers and kidneys. Of course, we would eliminate exercise, make sure they’re all couch potatoes. We’d put them on slabs of concrete and we’d feed them artificially fertilized junk food. What have I just described? Modern American farming, science-based farming.

The assumption is that factories are much cleaner than farms; that’s why I’m called a bio-terrorist in our community- because our pastured chickens are going to commingle with red-winged birds who will take our diseases the science -based environmentally controlled Tyson chicken houses and destroy the planet. We laugh, but trust me, my neighbors really believe that.

Last fall, I needed some sawdust so I called the sawmill where we’ve always gotten it before. The guy told me they didn’t have a truck anymore; they’d subleased it to a guy up the road. So I called the guy, who said he’d be there around nine o’ clock, no problem, with the truck loaded. Then he called back. He said, “you know, your name sounded familiar to me.” This guy lives just a few miles from us. “I found out you’re that guy. I wouldn’t bring you sawdust for anything, not for a million dollars. I wouldn’t bring it because you abuse your cows, you don’t vaccinate and medicate them, you abuse your chickens because you don’t give them hormones so they grow faster, you expose your pigs to the outdoors where they can get viruses.” The phone was melting in my hands. I didn’t ask him to come to a picnic with me or anything, I just wanted some sawdust. These people can feel extremely good about their moral high road in protecting the world from folks like me because, after all, they don’t want the world to starve.

So there’s a real societal prejudice against dirt. You know what, no other society has ever had the luxury of putting so little effort into acquiring, preserving, distributing, and preparing food. This has led to completely aberrant thinking, namely, that a farm is a negative place to be.

NUMBER SIX: GOVERNMENT AGENTS ARE MORE TRUSTWORTHY THAN ANY BUSINESS PERSON

That’s definitely a cultural perception right now. We have our government schools to make sure everybody grows up worshipping government agents, so prejudice against business is a big deal. In fact, I would say this is even happening in the local food movement because many of our farmers are afraid to make a profit lest their businesses grow, and they’d be seen as evil business persons. We have seen the result in the decline of our imbedded businesses – the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker have been run out of town.

We have to understand that just because a person has alphabet soup behind his name and draws a government paycheck does not make him honest. The idea that college degrees make a government employee honest is just as ludicrous as the assumption that a divinity degree keeps a cleric from chasing his secretary.

Now, in all fairness, I’ve been to dirty farms. The first thing that comes up when you start impugning government agents is the fact that some farms are dirty. “everybody is not as clean as you are,” they always say. I’ve visited some dirty farms, and I wouldn’t eat their stuff. There’s nothing about being small that necessarily makes you clean. But that’s the risk of life. And a local transparent food system creates integrity, just because it’s transparent.

So I concocted this idea of a one-to-ten scale, one being a McDonald’s Happy Meal and ten being the meal that Aunt Matilda-with her backyard chickens, garden, root cellar, and pantry full of home-canned goodies-serves when she invites us over for Sunday lunch. Here’s the question: does the one need government oversight? Most people say yes. Does the ten? You’d be surprised how many people say yes, including Senator Jim Webb’s agricultural legislative aide. He says even the number ten needs oversight.

When Governor Tim Kane visited our farm, he came about a month before his term was up. I guess he thought it was safe then. Wonderful guy, he really got it. We got on the hay wagon and went around. Toward the end he said, “I want to ask you, how do you interface with agribusiness, with Monsanto and those people?” I said, “Governor, they don’t scare me at all because they don’t have guns and badges.” I said, “Governor, it’s your responsibility and the responsibility of every single other elected official to protect me from the agenda of those people.”

The New Testament, Romans 13, gives us the reason for government. The reason for government is twofold: number one, to be a terror to evil and number two, to be an encourager of righteousness. And when you see the movie Farmaggedon, or when you see the kind of cases that the Farm-to-Consumer-Consumer Legal Defense Fund takes on, you begin to realize that in many cases, our government has become a terror of righteousness and an encourager of evil. When government agents become the lackeys for evil corporate agendas, they abdicate their responsibility. And we need to be very clear about articulating this important fact: there’s nothing about a government paycheck that makes a man honest.

NUMBER SEVEN: CONSUMERS ARE IGNORANT AND NEED TO BE PROTECTED FROM THEMSELVES

“We can’t give you a choice; you might make a bad choice. People don’t know what’s correct or incorrect about food.” That’s their thinking. Let me ask you a question: how do you stimulate information, how do you stop ignorance? One of the best ways to encourage the curiosity to find information is to ensure the ability to make a bad choice and then to put responsibility on the person to find the answer. That’s how you stimulate informational curiosity. If we’re ever going to have an informed consumer, we have to allow responsibility for their food choice. If we eliminate food choice responsibility, then we’re always going to have an ignorant consuming populace. If someone makes all the choices for us, we quit learning about that topic because someone else has taken the responsibility….and if something turns out wrong, then it’s their fault.

The magazine Science News had a fascinating article, which said that with the penetration of the federal government into the state and local levels, there’s no way to prototype new political ideas. What if my county or your county or your city declared they were going to be a local-food-commerce, government-intrusion-free-zone. So if you wanted to make pot pies in your kitchen and chicken broth from your backyard chickens and sell these at a farmers market, or you wanted to milk a cow in your yard and sell the milk to a neighbor, you’d be allowed to do all this. The problem is that if your city council or board of supervisors passed such a rule, your city or county would immediately be cut off from educational funding. You’d have your highway funds cut, the federal inspector at your local slaughter house would be terminated, and none of the farmers could sell their meat out of the area.

The point of this Science News article was, if we would allow political prototyping on a small scale, we could be extremely innovative in the political sector. Then to the people who say consumers are ignorant and have to be protected from themselves, we could point to this city or county and say, “Look the hospital is empty, the IQ scores went up. We didn’t need a development transfer program to save farmlands because farms are all profitable. Unemployment dropped to 3 percent because everybody is busy in this local food system, canning, preserving and pickling. Graphic artists have work, entrepreneurs are distributing and selling.” We all know the potential of freeing up local farm economies. We need to join together to advocate that kind of thing.

NUMBER EIGHT: RAMPANT ANTHROPOMORPHISM

That’s a big word- the kind you learn when you’re an English major, like me. Rampant anthropomorphism, the attribution of human characteristics to animals or non-living things.

One reason we see so much of this today is because the only connection most people have to animals is with their pet cat or pet dog. There’s a complete lack of understanding about animals on the farm. Recently Polyface was reported to animal control officers for animal abuse because a neighbor driving by saw our mob of cows standing there ready to move into their new pasture. They looked like a crowd, and since people don’t like crowds, she reasoned, these animals must be very uncomfortable. So we had to go out and spend days with letters and visits and talking to officers and state veterinarians to get certified letters explaining that herbivores actually like to be in crowds.

Free range chicks. It’s abusive to control them with shelters, they want to run free say our critics. But as soon as one gets out, all it does is spend the rest of the day running around the fence trying to get back in because it’s scared to death.

Shipping chicks should be outlawed, they say. “I wouldn’t like to be shipped three days in the mail. How would you like to be shipped three days in the mail?”

The reason chicks can be shipped three days in the mail is because when a hen lays a clutch of eggs, she doesn’t lay all those eggs at one time, she lays those ten eggs over ten days. And as she’s laying those eggs, she’s out eating and trying to build up body reserves for her incubation period. Since she’s off the nest, the first laid eggs get cool and that slows the embryo down enough so that by the time she lays her seventh or tenth egg and starts to actually set, the first egg is only about three days ahead of the tenth egg. And when it hatches three days before the last one, the chick sits quietly and waits until the last egg is hatched. If it hatched and took off running around, the mother hen would leave the nest at it’s most vulnerable time – when the eggs are almost ready to hatch and when they need warmth and the most careful environment possible to go running after this wayward chick that’s running around. The other chicks wouldn’t hatch, or if they did hatch, they would die. And so the chicks don’t come out from under the hen until all the eggs have hatched. So chicks can take three days shipping, that’s a natural thing. They’re chicks, not people.

But see, we have this projected anthropomorphism on the animals. Electric fence, oh, it might hurt them. You’re talking to a guy who still believes in spanking. Castration. Oh my! Castration came along with domestication. What do you want to do, have all our animals fighting all the time?

My favorite is the insistence that we as humans have developed to the point where we don’t need to eat animals. Such a notion indicates not an evolution to a new state of cosmic Nirvana, heightened awareness and spirituality, but a devolution into a new state of ignorance and disconnectedness. The fact is, everything is eating and being eaten. If you don’t believe me, go lie naked in your flower bed for three days and see what gets eaten. You see, death is necessary for life. Decomposition precedes regeneration, and this cycle has profound meaning on the spiritual level. Without sacrifice there can be no life. And when your teeth chomp down on the chicken breast or the baby carrot or the salad greens, that mastication, that decomposition, that death gives life to us.

NUMBER NINE: COWS CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING

A fact: there were almost three times as many pounds of herbivore in North America six hundred years ago than there are today. If herbivores cause global warming, we’d be very hot by now. What the herbivore does is eat the herbage that’s created by solar energy in real times and serves as a biomass growth re-starter. Its’ the herbivore that restarts the biomass accumulation engine. Without the herbivore to eat it, herbage just desiccates. It gives off the same methane as it would inside the cow but without the redeeming capacity to restart and regenerate in moving the methane the other way into the ground. That’s why we practice the bio-mimicry of mob stocking on our farm; it’s the best way to get soil fertilization. This is an earth-healing system based on perennials instead of annuals, herbivores instead of omnivores.

If you really want to eat close to nature, eat grass-finished beef, and not so much chicken and pork, Pigs and chickens were always salvage animals, not the main driver of the biomass cycle.  Herbivores represent portable instead of stationary infrastructure, multi-speciation instead of mono-speciation, biomass regeneration and decomposition instead of petroleum use, pasture-based instead of housing-based, local instead of global, in-sourced instead of out-sourced, holistic instead of compartmentalized.

NUMBER TEN: YOU ARE ELITISTS

“You are elitists, and I don’t like elitist,” say the critics. “If everyone can’t afford this food, then it’s not fair that anyone should have this food.” Ever hear that? I think it’s pretty amazing to call me an elitist for wanting to eat the food that my Grandmother ate.

“But food should be cheap; if food isn’t cheap, then it’s not fair,” they say. Let me ask you something. Does anyone out there in the greater culture spend their money on things that are not necessary? I mean, I think about the biggest food companies in the world, none of them is necessary: Taco Bell, McDonalds, Coca Cola, tobacco, hundred dollar designer jeans with holes already in the knees. We spend a lot of money on things that are not necessary.

How do we get the price of this food down? The primary reasons for the high price of our food is non-scalable regulations. If we could let people grow food and make food to sell without interference, this healthy food wouldn’t be expensive.

Of course, the best way to save money is to buy raw and process it yourself. Potatoes for ninety cents a pound instead of potato chips for ten dollars a pound. We’re a culture that has gadgetized and remodeled our kitchens so that we’re capable of preparing food efficiently and expertly, yet we’ve never been so lost as to where the kitchen is. Today we’ve got bread-makers, ice cream makers, slow cookers, time-bakers, all of this wonderful stuff that lets us prepare food in-house. We don’t have to buy DiGornio’s frozen pizza. Remember that one pound of Polyface grass-finished ground beef costs less than a McDonald’s Happy Meal. And I’ll back our nutrition up to that any time of the day.

Second, healthy food is worth more, it’s more nutritious and better tasting.

Third, grass-based farmers charge a fair price, they’re not externalizing any of the cost. Actually, local pasture-based food is the cheapest food on the planet because it’s not sending anyone to the hospital with diarrhea-five hundred thousand cases of diarrhea caused by food-born pathogens. What’s one case of diarrhea worth? I don’t know but I’ll bet if you paid for it, out of your own pocket, it would have made chicken worth more than a dollar twenty a pound.

NUMBER ELEVEN: AMERICANS HAVE NO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF FOOD CHOICE

This is the real kicker. Here’s the question folks: who owns me? If I can’t make choices that can hurt me, then I can’t make choices that can help me. A life without risk is no life at all. We can live a risk-free life in a bubble and a straight jacket. The idea that we can protect everyone with zero tolerance is ludicrous. Food safety, in fact, is subjective. It’s determined by people prejudiced against heritage-based food. You can feed your kids Twinkies, Coco Puffs and Mountain Dew but that raw milk, those compost-grown tomatoes and Aunt Matilda’s pickles might kill you. You can go hunting on a seventy-degree day and gut shoot a deer, drag it a mile through the squirrel dung, put it on the front of your blazer and parade it around town in the heat of the afternoon sun, string it up in the tree in the backyard when you get home, let it hang for a week under a tree where the birds roost, and then skin it out, cut it up and feed it to your children. And that’s patriotic, that’s being a great American…but I can’t sell any home butchered pork to my neighbor.

Who owns me? What good is the freedom to own guns, worship, assemble and speak if we don’t have the freedom to choose how to feed our internal community of friendly bacteria – that’s a big community – to give us the energy to shoot, pray assemble and preach.

With apologies to Martin Niemoller who’s inscription adorns the US Holocaust Museum let me give a WAPF rendition of that famous quotation. “First, they came for the moonshiners, and I did not speak out because I was not a moonshiner. Then they came for the drug dealers, and I did not speak out because I was not a drug dealer, Then they came for alternative health therapists and I did not speak out because I was not an alternative health therapist. Then they came for me, an imbiber of raw milk, and there was no one left to speak for me.” Fortunately, there are more and more of us willing to speak out. These industrial ag folks had better get ready for a tsunami because we are coming.

NUMBER TWELVE: FARMERS ARE DOLTS

Our cultural perception is that farmers are dolts. And that’s why I promote the idea of the Jeffersonian intellectual agrarian.

Just three weeks ago, I was coming back into the country after giving a talk at the University of British Columbia in Canada. When I showed the INS officer my passport he asked what I had been doing, and I told him I had given a speech at the UBC. Then he asked in a nonchalant way, “What do you do?”

“I’m a farmer,” I said. He pulled up smartly and gave me a dirty look. I thought he was going to lock me up.

“Don’t you be funny with me, man,” he said.

But I AM a farmer,” I said.

He put the passport down and he looked at me with the most sarcastic look. “Now since when do farmers go around making speeches?”

I felt like asking him whether he had ever heard of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. The stereotypical redneck hillbilly D-student, they’re the only ones who can be in charge of our food supply. But we are going to have a much better food supply when we take our best and brightest and put them in charge of our food supply.

So you farmers, get prepared, man. Read eclectically, go to speech class, join Toastmasters. When we go to town and stand toe to toe with people who believe the things that I have just laid out for you, we have to be erudite, we have to be articulate, and we have to have the self-confidence to articulate our tsunami. We need engaged and articulate farmers, thousands more of them.

MAY YOUR CHILDREN LEARN GARDENING

These are the twelve most common attitudes that I encounter in my travels. If we’re going to have a good food system, we’ll need to articulate our arguments with confidence. We’ll need to show that anthropomorphism is a devolution to disconnectedness; we’ll need to defend the herbivorous biomass regeneration method of soil building. We’ll need to be involved, we’ll need to read Wise Traditions, we’ll need to go to conferences and we’ll need to know our farmers.

And we’ll also need to get our kids involved in gardening, because it’s so valuable for children to play in the dirt, get some splinters and calluses, and get their immune systems encouraged. We’ve got children growing up today doing nothing but exercising their thumbs in front of that video screen. When your car crashes on that video game, you wait ten seconds and you get a new car. When your guy is attacking the bad guy and gets killed, you wait ten seconds and the game gives you a new guy.

Life isn’t that way. Kids need to realize that the world is bigger than just what they have in their fingertips with this fantasy play thing. They need to know that when frost or drought happens and the plant dies, you don’t wait ten seconds and get a new plant. When the rabbit dies because you didn’t feed it, it doesn’t just resurrect the next day. It’s real pain, it is real life and death it’s not just gamesmanship.

Gardening and farming prepare our young people for life with humility and awe rather than hubris. We can bring that to them, that’s what we’re supposed to be about. That is the politics of food.

And now, may all your carrots grow long and straight, may your vibrancy draw your friends and family into your fold, may your kombucha taste really good, may your children glow with round faces and broad arches, may the wind be always at your back, the rain fall softly on your garden, your children rise up and call you blessed, and may we give our culture a political agenda that is righteous, sacred and true, leaving the world better than we found it.

Joel Salatin, BA is a fulltime farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm fulltime in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The family’s farm, Polyface Inc. (“The farm of many faces”) has been featued in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Gourmet, and countless other radio, television and print media. Profiled on the “Lives of the World News” his after broadcast chat room felded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivores Dilemma by food writer guru Michael Pollan and the Grammy-nominated documentary, ” Food Inc.” Salatin is the author of six books, his latest entitled The Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.

Why no Gluten with a Thyroid Problem?

Thyroid

Thyroid

In the last newsletter I wrote for www.beeyoutiful.com I made a reference to being gluten free in deference to my thyroid problem. I’ve received several communications from individuals who also struggle with thyroid problems asking what gluten has to do with the thyroid and if they should consider also going off of gluten.  This post is my attempt at explaining the connection between gluten and the thyroid and to offer some basic resources for you to read.

First of all the type of Thyroid problem I have is officially known as Hashimoto’s. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, where antibodies produced by the body mistakenly attack the thyroid, leading to its damage and eventual destruction. Studies show that autoimmune causes are responsible for 90% of adult hypothyroidism.

In his book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS he addresses a couple of primary bits of information that are crucial for anybody suffering from a thyroid problem. In the first part of the book, Kharrazian explains the relationship between Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system, the thyroid gland, and gluten. He asserts that for people with Hashimoto’s, gluten must be avoided for life. The gliadin portion of the gluten that escapes into the blood stream due to leaky gut then triggers the immune system to flare up and attack. This attack does not affect only the gluten in the blood stream but also the thyroid gland, due to the similarity in structure between gliadin and peptide fragments associated with the thyroid gland.  Once the gluten-sensitive genes are turned on, they cannot be turned off which is why it is crucial that gluten be avoided for life.  Kharrazian says “the immune response to gluten can last up to six months each time it is ingested.” This means for a person with Hashimoto’s each time they ingest gluten the reaction and resulting attack on the thyroid can last up to 6 months.

Using emulsified vitamin D, glutathione cream and S.O.D. (superoxide dismutase), Kharrazian has had much success in the first step of bringing balance to the immune system. Not only is vitamin D a powerful immune modulator, but he says “90 percent of people with an autoimmune thyroid disease have a genetic defect that affects their ability to process vitamin D.”  Kharrazian likes to see his patients on the high end of Vit. D levels, knowing they need those levels in order to help moderate the immune system responses. When I had my Vit. D levels tested it came back 14.6 with 100 being “normal” And this is with me eating a diet much higher in Vit. D than most. I obviously fall into the category of individuals that have a genetic difficulty processing Vit. D. Since I got my results back I have been supplementing heavily with Vit. D3 on a daily basis and have noticed an improvement in more stable health and energy with fewer crashes.

Vitamin D also supports the T-regulatory cells, which begin to malfunction in an autoimmune attack. As their name suggests, when T-regulatory cells malfunction, the regulation of the immune attack goes awry. Tissue damage occurs when the incorrect amounts of T-helper and T-suppressor cells are called for by the weary T-regulatory cells. Using vitamin D, Kharrazian reestablishes proper function of the T-regulatory cells.

I have also had questions about how I found out about my problem. Since TheMan and I are self employed-small business owners we do not have health insurance. We use instead a Health Savings Account (HSA) I really did not want to go to a Dr. and pay for the Dr.’s visits in addition to all of the tests a Dr. would order out of pocket.  A dear friend told me about this website www.mymedlab.com This site allows you to order bloodwork and go to the nearest Lab/processing facility that they contract with to have the blood drawn. You can check their lab locations on the website to make sure one is close enough to you before ordering the tests. The results of the tests are uploaded to the site under your personal account. They flag test results that are abnormally high or low with suggestions to go to a Dr. to discuss the results.

The package of tests I ordered are called Shomon Thyroid Autoimmune and available under “package” tests on the website.  Along with the very low Vit. D that came out of these tests the other numbers that were very bad was the Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Ab. Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, are also known as Antithyroid Peroxidase Antibodies. (In the past, these antibodies were referred to as Antithyroid Microsomal Antibodies or Antimicrosomal Antibodies). These antibodies work against thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme that plays a part in the T4-to-T3 conversion and synthesis process. Normal range of TPO antibodies in a healthy person is 0-34. Mine came back at 411. It was very nice to finally have documentation and an explanation for how bad I’d been feeling! =) Also having very specific things to work on has been helpful too.

So, just to summarize: What explains the connection between Gluten and the Thyroid? It is, quite simply, a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, very very closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue, thinking it is the evil gluten sneaking into parts of the body where it doesn’t belong. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid. Simple as that.

Hope all of this was at least as  clear as mud. Feel free to hit me with questions. I love Google and I have a couple of guru friends that are willing to bail me out when I get in over my head.

Hair and Face

It is Wedding Week in my life. A dear friend and honorary sister is getting married this week and I am delighted to be a Bridesmaid. My friend is blessed with hair I used to pray to God to get as a little girl. Super curly. Perfect, tight ringlets curly.

Being the not-so-proud owner of limp, flat, body-less hair myself I haven’t had much compassion for the occasional whining about frizz or the inability to run a brush through her hair my friend would indulge in every so often. Still, her gorgeous hair fascinated me and I began hounding her a few months ago to let me experiment with a Hot (Warm actually) Oil Soak for it. After quite a bit of reading I became convinced this would be the cure for her frizz problem and result in those tight, kinky curls loosening a bit into softer, gentler versions of their former selves.

Understandably a bit skeptical it took her a few months to give into my wheedlings that bordered on out right bribery on occasion. Tonight was the night! Some might say I was taking unfair advantage of a stressed out Bride-to-Be who has too much on her plate. (ahem) I neither deny nor confirm any such rumor. Upon getting her long awaited for yes I delightedly scampered off to blend the concoction that has been burbling around my head for months. While I was at it I decided to try a facial that my wonderful Cousin Anna told me about.

Into the Hair Bowl went:

1/3 Cup Coconut Oil

1/4 Cup Sunflower Oil

Splish/splash of Extra Virgin, Organic Olive Oil (Nope, I didn’t measure on the others, just guessed. Not really sure how to translate a splish splash into measurement so you are going to be stuck with what I know. Splish Splash is it.)

1/4 Cup Jojoba Oil

15-20 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil

6-8 Drops Geranium Essential Oil

Was supposed to have some Rosemary Essential Oil, about 8 drops worth but I couldn’t find mine in the oils cabinet (Probably still packed with the camping stuff from this last weekend) and did not want to take the time to dig it out.

The oils gently warmed together in the bowl in the toaster oven while I mixed up the facial.

1/4 Cup Raw, un-refined Honey (the kind that has been exposed to cold and is as a result is thick and grainy)

1 Tablespoon Local Bee Pollen. This Bee Pollen is in large round chunks/blobs that looked like “Boogers” according to one slightly queasy and grossed out looking on-looker. Don’t let the looks intimidate you. This stuff is magic. Seriously.

15 Drops Jojoba Oil

Stir together vigorously. The Jojoba Oil should be well emulsified into the honey and the biggest crystals broken up.

Scuttling over to my friend clutching both bowls before she changed her mind I quickly set to work.  Towel around her shoulders I began gently massaging the oil into her hair. Most resources I read recommended first dampening the hair before adding Oil.  I chose to put this oil mixture straight onto her hair dry. If her hair were any less coarse/damaged than it was I would have dampened it with water first but in her case I wanted the maximum amount of oil possible absorbing in for the moisturizing-healing effects.  Once her entire scalp and last bit of hair was thoroughly saturated (take the opportunity to give a nice scalp massage while you are at this. Feels amazing, or so I’m told) I wrapped her head in Plastic Wrap to control any drippies and moved onto the facial.

The texture of the honey mixture was stiff but became easier to work with. I gently massaged it into her face and neck for ten to fifteen minutes while her hair soaked. The large kernels of Bee Pollen acted like gentle exfoliators while the honey conditioned, toned and moisturized with all the live enzymes restoring and rejuvenating. Fearing the subject of my experiement was going to fall asleep on me I sent her off to the bathroom for a shower in an oily sticky state that was somewhat startling to look at and anxiously awaited her return.

She came out with the most gorgeous dewy glow to her skin I have ever seen. “You have GOT to feel my face” she said. I did. UnbeLIEVably soft. The hair was also a pleasant surprise. The tight kinky curls, usually tighter than ever after being wet lay in soft, relaxed ringlets. She said she had shampooed her hair twice to get the bulk of the oil out. We watched until some strands dried to see if it would boing back up but it didn’t! The true test will come in the morning, to see if it makes it through the night in it’s current state of relaxed, healthy, glowing vibrant and oh so soft state.

Seeing these impressive results I had to try the left-over facial myself. I am sitting here writing this with a goofy grin of delight on my face. This post is taking about five times longer than it should because I keep stopping to rub my cheek and feel how awesomely soft it is.

It’s late and there is a big day of Birthday Celebrations and last minute Wedding Shopping Things to be done tomorrow starting early AM (I pick up my Bridesmaids dress from being altered, hurrah!) but I wanted to share these things before life shoved it down the chain of priorities. Let me know if you try either of these recipes! =D I owe my Cousin Anna a big “Thank you” Hug the next time I see her. If you should happen to get soft glowing skin from this experiment I’ll accept a hug of thanks for it too. =D

Wise Traditions: Excerpts/Notes/Comments from Acid Reflux Article

Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux

All disease begins in the gut.

Hippocrates

I am reading through the latest edition of Wise Traditions, Published by the Weston A. Price Foundation. One article in particular is quite fascinating to me. It’s by Kathryne Pirtle and entitled Acid Reflux: A Red Flag with the sub title A Precursor to Chronic Illness.

The following are excerpts from this amazing article. If you wish to read the full length version (what I share here barely scratches the surface!) you can write and request it directly from the Weston A Price Foundation. I also highly recommend anybody who is able to subscribe and become a member so that articles like these are delivered straight to your door! =)

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In the United States, sixty million people have acid reflux, or one in five. Acid reflux and related digestive disorders now constitute an epidemic, and no age group has been spared. In fact, 50% of infants suffer from acid reflux in the first months of life, and during the last few years, there has been a 56% increase in sales of medicine for acid reflux and digestive disorders in infants and children from birth to four years old!”

“The medications for acid reflux have a  poor track record. In 33% of the people taking them they don’t work at all. Sixty percent of those taking these medications continue to have problems three times a week, and 75% are double up on over-the-counter drugs.”

“According to Hippocrates, ‘All disease begins in the gut.’ An underlying principle in Chinese medicine is that good digestion is the key to good health. As a corollary Dr. Weston A. Price noted that the principle cause of disease is malnourishment.”

Acid Reflux and Asthma

“Interestingly, 41.1 percent of non-smokers who have a chronic cough and 60% of those who have asthma also have acid reflux. Asthma in children and adults is increasing at exponential rates. In 1995, almost fourteen million people were diagnosed with asthma while today that number has jumped to over thirty-four million.

How does acid reflux lead to asthma? First, acid reflux may cause people to breath tiny drops of hydrochloric acid into their lungs, which can irritates the delicate pulmonary lining and cause spasms in the airways, triggering an asthma attack. Second, frequent episodes of acid reflux may cause digestive acid to damage the esophageal lining and expose some of the nerves that are connected to the lungs. Irritation of the nerve endings may initiate a constrictions of airways, thereby causing an asthma attack. Additionally, the acid can cause inflammation of the throat and larynx.

Surprisingly, asthma medications that dilate the bronchial tubes can trigger acid reflux symptoms, as they may cause the cardiac sphincter to relax, allowing acid to escape up through the esophagus. Regrettably, the conventional treatments for asthma merely address the symptom of narrowed breathing passages. While this is a very necessary step, such treatment does not address the underlying causes.

Seven Million people suffer from ear infections every year. Acid Reflux may cause persistent ear infections as refluxed liquid enters the upper throat and inflames the adenoids causing them to swell. The swollen adenoids can block the passages from the sinuses and Eustachian tubes, and fluid can build in the sinuses and middle ear.”

Program for Recovery from Acid Reflux

STEP ONE: The first step to recovery is eating foods that are easy to digest, end the candida cycle, heal the digestive tract, and offer superior nutrition. Start with bone broth soups exclusively for the first week. Make soups with homemade broth containing a variety of vegetables and a little chopped meat or liver.

STEP TWO: The second step to recovery is inoculating the gut with foods that will build a healthy intestinal flora. This is the time to add full-fat cow or goat milk kefir or yogurt – kefir has beneficial yeasts that literally “eat” candida, and contains other probiotic bacteria that will colonize in your intestinal tracts. Ideally, you should make your own kefir or yogurt out of whole raw milk, but if you cannot find raw milk you can purchase a high-quality, organic plain whole milk yogurt such as Traderspoint, Brown Cow, Seven Stars or Stoneyfield. If dairy is not tolerated, try other fermented foods and beverages such as homemade sauerkraut or pickles, coconut kefir, beet kvass, lacto fermented sodas and kombucha.

STEP THREE: The third step to recovery is to consume a diet consisting solely of nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods that continue to heal the intestinal tracts and support a healthy flora. Your diet should include:

– High quality fats – for nutrient absorption and healing the gut lining- including raw butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and lard, goose fat, duck fat, and tallow from pastured animals. Take cod liver oil for Vitamins A and D.

– High quality animal foods including liver and other organ meats, eggs (especially the yolks) from pastured hens, wild caught seafood including fish eggs and shellfish and dairy foods like raw whole milk and cheese.

– Bone Broths in soups, stews and sauces.

– Cultured vegetables and beverages-saurerkraut, pickled beets, beet kvass, kombucha.

– Vegetables- limit vegetables, at first to those you consume in bone broth soups or saute or steam- always add butter or coonut oil.

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These are just the highlights that I found easiest to pass on. Do you or someone close to you suffer from acid reflux? Have you found any products that have offered long term relief?  Do you know of anybody who has tried an acid reflux healing diet like this?  Please share in the comments section! =)

Tired, Weary and Bleary: An Experience in Vulnerability

I have an autoimmune disease. My adrenals are shot. My Vit. D levels are in the basement and way below the bare minimum required to support good health. There are about a lot more tests I need to have done to get a bigger and more accurate picture of what is going on with my messed up, screwed up, crazy body.  It’s going to cost a lot of money but it has to be done at this point.  Over the years I’ve spent a lot of money on this ol’ fleshly house without many solutions or answers to show for the sundry problems my body has presented me with. Do I sound frustrated? That is probably because I am sometimes. Tonight happens to be one of those times and you my unsuspecting blog reader shall subsequently have to endure some verbal spewing on the subject.

Most women struggle with body image. Body self esteem. Accepting the understanding that they are inherently valuable and beautiful just because they are women and as such something special and to be treasured. We all have our memories and those pivotal moments in our childhood or youth when we first became self conscious. First felt inferior. First became aware of the sinister reality that the world was geared to respond well to beauty and and not so much to plainness or even flat out homeliness. Then there is the other side of the coin. The side where there is a realization of a certain amount of beauty, a certain awareness that one or two or five aspects of your looks are pretty exceptional attributes. Especially for those raised with the concepts of modesty, decency and a fear factor when it came to creating problems or temptations with men there can be a whole host of insecurities and fears tied up in those ideals. For these women instead of asking “Do I look good in this?” or “Does this make my already pronounced rear look even bigger??” their self doubt questions are more along the lines of “Does this draw too much attention to my already attention getting bust?” “Does this reach long enough? Are people going to think I’m being indecent because of this?” It is as though womankind, regardless of which end of the spectrum they are coming from or even if they are some jumbled up mess of both ends  is destined to be over aware and struggle to have an emotionally healthy and positive view of themselves.

Image aside there are certain undefined, unspoken expectations most women have of their bodies. Some are rather futile feeling hopes (accompanied with the knowledge that there are those women in the world that are blessed with this as a reality) that a monthly visitor won’t include any pain, discomfort or bloating. We expect our bodies to have the capacity to support reproduction. We expect our bodies, when treated with respect and care to function in daily life without excess pain or discomfort. We expect to be able to set reasonable weight and fitness goals, work hard and attain them.

Or maybe that was just me that had those expectations.

In hindsight my poor ol’ bod wasn’t treated very well. My life has had a lot of stress. I internalize most negative emotions and tend to have delayed emotional processing of bad or stressful situations. Until the past couple of years my diet has been pretty horrible. Although a life long fan of sleep in my late teens and early twenties I often went a couple of days at a time with no sleep at all until crashing to sleep sometimes 24 hours straight in a sleep-catch-up marathon. There were months long periods where I averaged about 3 hours of sleep per night. I discovered caffeine and coffee became my weapon of choice. Back then I didn’t know a good brew of smooth coffee even existed and drank some of the most bitter, burnt and acidic gallons of coffee you can imagine as a means to the end of requiring less sleep. (The above routine is, for those of you who don’t know it, the prescribed method for rapidly burning out even a healthy adrenal system. Not good. Pass the word along. )

Despite the physical appearance of being a very healthy child I had some semi chronic health issues that required the use of pharmaceuticals all through my life. First two years of life were punctuated by antibiotics and surgeries for tubes due to chronic ear infections. Later came the asthma and lung complications that at least once or twice a winter resulted in me being on steroids or antibiotics or both a couple of times per winter. The inhalers and allergy medications were also par for the course. In my early teens after months of the rather dangerous problem of randomly losing consciousness at various times I was finally given the hard earned (after dozens of tests by various medical experts) title of having Neurally Mediated Syncopy. Which was simply a fancy way of saying my brain randomly decided to tell my heart to stop supplying blood to the brain. Rather suicidal of my brain but it wouldn’t listen to reason. =P This resulted in being put on yet another slew of pharmaceuticals designed to help me manage the array of symptoms that went with this syndrome. Fast forward a few years after that and add a year of chemical birth control in early marriage to the mix. Just reading through the list of documented/potential side effects of all the medications I’ve been on in my life is enough to make my eyes cross and vow to never swallow another pill ever again.

All that to say. My body has not had good nutritional support and it’s actually had a lot of help in the opposite direction, actual support in developing some of it’s chronic issues. As a result my body has not cooperated with those undefined reproductive expectations. I have had numerous miscarriages. That we have a daughter with us here on earth is nothing short of a miracle and was called such by my Dr. at the time.  My body does not perform well on a daily basis. There is fatigue, at times debilitating, extreme, mind numbing fatigue. Muscle and joint aches. Lethargy so thick you can cut it with a knife. Muscle weakness. I remember being so surprised to learn that running, as in, just running across the yard to pick up a ball was not uncomfortable or painful for most people. Running at all for me has = pain and discomfort even in my childhood. I just thought everybody had that and that most were better at pushing through discomfort than I was. In my adulthood I read about physically active people having to develop mental discipline and push through the pain and discomfort. Of throwing up after a good workout. At various points in time I decided to suck it up, and do what I needed to do to attain physical fitness. I pushed myself hard and was usually rewarded by heat exhaustion, asthma attack/coughing fit or losing consciousness. Needless to say I did not try this all too often and have led, by and large a sedentary life.

To sum up this long, sad tale of depressing self pity…I haven’t just had insecurities about my looks. About my chubbiness, or weight that was always higher than that of my peers. About my nose that was too big and my bushy eye brows that looked like they were constantly brooding and trying to hatch a plot to take over the rest of my face. About my clumsiness and lack of coordination.  About my super squinty eyes that are puffy 99% of the time. I have been disappointed in every other functionality of my body as well. Those hips that I always comforted myself as being good for child-bearing turned out to be a big chubby dud. That regular as clock-work indicators of my genetically pre-disposed rabbit like fertility was nothing but a false assurance. In almost every way imaginable I have felt like a failure as a woman. I have experienced deep seated self frustration and self hate. Asked all the deeply emotional and illogical questions of God. Looked at the image in the mirror with loathing. I have wondered and questioned if only I had done or had not done xyz would some of our children be alive.

And I have been frustrated. Managing and owning a health supplement company and the roller coaster educational ride that has completely redefined my world. My body is now getting the nutritional support it needed for so long. Many of the underlying issues that are causing my body the plethora of miserable symptoms are being addressed via supplements and alternative resources. But, although there is always hope, in some ways it feels like very little that might possibly be too late. Autoimmune diseases cannot be cured. One cannot deactivate a gene that has been activated. However, it can be neutralized and I know of quite a few people with various autoimmune diseases who have lived symptom free for years. The body is constantly seeking to normalize and optimize it’s performance so the key to that thing we call a magic cure is to find what tools the body needs to obtain optimal functionality with your particular body and make sure that there are lot’s and lot’s of those raw materials around for the body to use. First to heal, repair, do damage control, build up some reserves and then get to work actually making you FEEL better. All of this is very good news on the physical side of things. I do have hope that one day my body won’t feel the need to stockpile weight like it’s going out of style and that I will actually regain a waistline again.

And yet, I still feel frustrated. Still sometimes feel betrayed. But you know what? Those are just feelings. And feelings I CAN deal with. Right here and right now. I don’t have to wait for my body to normalize to healthy and fully functional first. I don’t have to wait for those workouts to start paying off. This can be combated with truth in the here and now.

The truth is I am blessed.

I have two feet that carry me where I need to go.

I have the ability to play with my precious little girl and take her for walks.

I am able to jump up and down, to bumble through dance steps with my man and to sing at the top of my lungs.

I am able to cook, draw, play the piano, write and anything else I want to do in the creative realm.

I am able to eat healthy and delicious foods.

I can smile with the confidence and radiance that only a woman who knows she is loved unconditionally by her man can have.

I can hold, cuddle, kiss and care for the Doodlebug.

I can have joy. I can have peace. I can be content. I can trust. I can believe.

That I am beautiful. From the inside out. I am who I am supposed to be. The past is the past and I cannot undo what is done. Our babies cannot be brought back. I believe somehow, somewhere it is all for our good and theirs although I cannot understand the why or how behind that concept.

Contentment is something I used to think was a gift. That some people were born having and others were not. I believe now it’s a skill. As much of a mental and emotional discipline as it is anything else. This is a skill I am committing to actively learning and practicing. Contentment. It is an amazing thing to obtain. I theorize that the feeling a person get’s at the end of a marathon…After all the hours of training, blood, sweat and tears. The mental discipline and the day in and day out follow through required to condition their bodies…That feeling at the end though has got to be similar to a person who has conquered the emotional marathon that is contentment.

I challenge every woman who has made it this far into reading this (and by the way you totally deserve an endurance metal just for that!) to seek truth. Specific, exact, freedom based truth for every fear, insecurity, self doubt and disappointment that you have about yourself. Whether it be personality, body, looks or whatever. Specific truth for specific emotional bonds that we find ourselves in can be earth shatteringly freeing. Once a truth is found that combats a particular problem or self-struggle please take the time to write it down.

Make a list. Memorize the list. Speak truth to yourselve when you are going through one of those life workouts that tend to obliterate any vestige of emotional contentment that you have been able to summon. Practice the mental skill of speaking truth to yourself and then believing it and then acting upon it emotionally. Find an accountability partner, someone who will speak truth to you when you are too tired, weary or bleary to see anything but mountains of negativity. Learn to love the person God has created you to be. Skinny or chubby, long or short, average or exceptional…Learn the “good” side to whatever coin you have been given and find contentment there. Contentment does not come from obtaining some particle of perfection, contentment comes when we accept and find joy and happiness in the imperfections. When we can recognize the good and the beauty that is more clearly shown and reflected back in our woefully imperfect selves and lives.

I wish you grace, peace and freedom! =) And a Good-Night, Good-Afternoon or Good-Morning!

Food on the Road

So I just got back from a week long business trip to Chicago. Allow me to say that doing a road trip with a potty trained 3 year old is fantastically easier than traveling with a colicky baby. Just throwing that out there. One of my biggest hurdles when traveling is the food. It tends to throw my attempts at an ideal diet back into the realms of the SAD diet we gave up a while back. (SAD = Standard American Diet) I give this trip a 5 star rating out of 10 since I had two totally “fail” experiences in resisting gluten foods.  Completely a flaw of my self control and not of available choices that a little bit of patience would have afforded me.  Traveling poses even more food problems for me now than it used to with the addition of gluten on my list of foods that it would be ideal to avoid. Previously on the list was high fructose corn syrup, highly refined/bleached white flour, MSG, Soy products/bi-products. And now, gluten.

Since eating out almost anywhere except whacky alternative places which are few, farbetween and often expensive (not to mention are often haven’s for all-things-made from soy) includes two or more of my “avoid” items it means I have to get creative. Creative for me in the past has included packing easy to prepare without a kitchen food stuff’s in a cooler to go along with us for a road trip. This is great when I can pull it off because I can get such items as raw milk and homemade cultured butter (both all but impossible finds in stores). However sometimes due to time constraints or lack of space in our car the cooler has to stay home. When choosing our lodgings a refrigerator is on my “must have” list, tied up there with Free high speed internet. Hey, we own an internet based business so the internet part really isn’t optional. Besides (cough cough) how else am I supposed to chat with all my friends that live in my laptop without internet? Or keep up with Facebook?? Or stalk great deals on craigslist??? (All said with tongue firmly planted in cheek of course)

This past trip we were fortunate enough to stay in a place that comes with a fully stocked tiny little kitchen. Huzzah! With no room for a cooler (our poor car was so loaded down it was laughable) we went shopping as soon as we arrived. Mostly for food stuff’s for the Doodlebug since she and caretakers would be operating out of the hotel while TheMan and I attended meetings and ate some meals out with the group. All natural cheese, frozen blueberries, Organic yogurt (low-fat, wasn’t able to find the full fat versions, darn those low fat dairy diet campaigns), Kefir in little individual containers (also low fat), Whole Grain Pasta, Organic Butter, all Natural/Kosher beef hot-dogs, advocadoes, Nuts and last but not least Bananas. Simple, fast and easy and customized to what the Doodlebugs likes.

In spite of having healthy-ish food at the hotel TheMan and I ended up eating less than ideal foods several of the days. After eating mostly organic, all natural, whole foods prepared at home it’s amazing the difference we feel eating “mainstream” food. Side effects may or may not include grogginess, fatigue, sluggish digestion, gas, indigestion and acid reflux. Where traveling food creativity leaves off for me personally appropriate supplementation takes over. I’ve learned the hard way by trial and error that there are certain supplements that can keep the body in balance even when eating less than ideal foods.

1) Digestive Enzymes with every meal. Bromelain can double up as an emergency anti-inflammatory/pain reliever and digestive aid all in one.

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/enzyme-digestive.html

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/bromelain.html

2) Probiotics. My personal favorites being Tummy Tune Up and Colostrum

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/tummy-tuneup.html

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/colostrum-transfer-factor.html

3) Whatever your favorite General Immune boosting supplement is. Traveling just messes with immune systems for whatever reason. Either by constant exposure to germs and viruses that you haven’t built up an immunity to, being out of a normal routine, not drinking enough water or any other unknown factor.  My personal choices are Vit. D3 (mostly because I am personally horribly horribly deficient) Vit. C and BerryWell. Berrywell also incidentally takes care of any misc. travel related allergies that might pop up.

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/liquid-d3.html

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/rosehip-c-500mg.html

http://www.beeyoutiful.com/berry-well.html

This poor blog has been SO neglected lately. I promise to try to post a lot more frequently although they might not all be directly food related. My life has taken a super busy turn and traditional foods don’t have the center stage they had for a while. Might be quite a bit about gardening and overall nutritional stuff though. I’m off to go have some sweet mango tea over ice. It finally warmed up enough here to enjoy a big glass of iced tea!