Are You Being Duped Or Just Not Thinking For Yourself?

Pesticides toxic fruit

How often do you overhear a conversation in public you’d love to jump in? For me, it always seems to be in the grocery store. Just the other day I overheard a young kid explaining the benefits of probiotics to his girlfriend- it was awesome to hear his vast knowledge on the topic. As I was waiting in line, I overheard a conversation I couldn’t possibly resist becoming a part of. A young man, who had just self-disclosed to the person ahead of him in line,told the customer that pesticides were probably not as bad as people think they are and there’s very little data to prove they’re harmful. It was so completely false, that I immediately began talking as soon as he stopped,”excuse me- you think pesticides aren’t harmful to you or you just don’t care if they are? Who exactly told you they were good for you? Who told you they weren’t bad for you? Have you researched countless hours to know that they aren’t harmful? You’re a physician and you operate under the un-informed guise that what you’re purporting is true? I’d call you a liar right now, but it sounds like you actually have no idea what you’re talking about.”

It’s really not like me to talk to people like this. In the past it was like me to talk to everyone that I overheard saying something ludicrous. But, let’s face it, we get a little older and we just “don’t go there” every time. The fact that this man strung together that he was 1. a physician, that 2. pesticides weren’t that bad for health and 3. that there’s very little data that exists to prove they’re harmful sent me over the edge. I looked at the consumer and said, “hey, didn’t mean to drop a bomb on your conversation, but I’m also a professional health care provider and I have an ethical, professional standard to uphold- to protect, advocate, liberate, heal and help deliver the truth to people at-large.” The 30-something year old customer smiled at me, thanked me and said to the physician- “dude, don’t be douchey, go learn what the hell you’re telling people if you’re going to call yourself a doctor.” It was a pretty intense five minutes in the grocery store line!

There is nothing worse than a person who is in a position to be a thought leader to cheat people out of a fair chance at understanding the way something really is.

Check out the photos below- this is the way it really is…

P H O T O  O N E- this person is covered from head to toe in protective gear. Notice how his nose and throat are covered and he’s wearing protective goggles? Do you know why? He’s spraying a chemical intended to kill live insects and their larvae. What makes you think that what he’s spraying won’t kill you and your eggs or your ability to fertilize eggs?

Pesticides Spraying

P H O T O  T W O- this is a diagram of the anatomical sites where pesticides have been shown to most readily enter the human body. In medical speak, we call it tissue affinity or tissue permeability. Notice the lit up area of the genitals? Did you know that Dole and Chiquita Banana employ banana farmers who have gone sterile due to their everyday, occupational use of pesticides?

Pesticide Danger Anatomy

P H O T O  T H R E E- know what an endocrine disruptor is? It’s the primary and partial cause of 99.9 % of the health concerns that I treat people for in private practice. Endocrine disruptors aka environmental toxins that we absorb because we possess tissue permeability, are one of the leading causes of today’s modern diseases, including cancer, auto-immune diseases thyroid disease, infertility… All pesticides are known endocrine disruptors. If you think there’s a dispute about whether they cause cancer or not, then lay the debate to rest now- they DO cause cancer. Remember, fetus, babies and small children are sponges- they absorb everything and their cells rapidly divide- would you want pesticides that have been absorbed through permeable tissues to cause your child’s cells to divide atypically? I doubt it. The Environmental Working Group lists pesticides as known carcinogens and helps you learn how to avoid them.

Stop Endocrine Disruptors

Are you still not convinced you’re being duped? Think it’s no big deal that compounds delivered to eradicate a life form have no affect on your personal viability? Think that guy above spraying would be wearing all that gear if pesticides weren’t harmful? If after reading this you think it’s okay to eat foods with pesticides, well, then you’ve essentially handed over your freedom to choose for yourself. You’ve said, “hey, instead of growing me life-giving, nutrient dense food, I’d like food that will cause me diseases, which will lead to me incurring tons of medical bills as I get older, which can rob my children of having a fair chance at thriving free from chemicals…”

Think I’m being extreme? Good, I am. I hope you’re inspired to go organic and tell other people how they can too!

Pesticides In Your Water Source


Pesticides tips-avoid-pesticide-consumption

Clean Up Your Act- Your Kids Will Thank You

Hundreds of studies come across my desk each month. Some good, some bad, some theories in progress. While I pay attention to each one with a careful critical eye, I can’t help but to scrutinize the ones involving the global nature of environmental chemical exposure and children.

At my house, Ellen Sandbeck’s bible, Organic Housekeeping sits on my counter (and is well-read). Under the sink resides eco-friendly cleaners. In our refrigerator exists living, organic whole foods. In my yard? More of the same. We don’t invite chemicals into our home.

I T I S S O E A S Y to lead a sustainable lifestyle. I don’t even have to tell you how to do it. You already know how. It’s whether you’ll choose to or not. The Environmental Working Group formed to help you achieve a chemical free lifestyle to stave off all of the diseases we cry over and say, “I wish I had lived my life differently so I didn’t get x, y or z.” The search possibilities are infinite. Bookmark and visit them often.

Decided to have kids? Read the abstract below and let me know what changes you end up making in your home. Your kids will thank you later. You just might save some money too.

Children’s Cognitive Health: The Influence of Environmental Chemical Exposures
David C. Bellinger, PhD, MSc


Over the past forty years, concern has grown that some of the 80,000 chemicals used commercially could be exerting adverse effects on children’s health. Many of these chemicals were synthesized for the first time within recent decades, suggesting that the body’s detoxification mechanisms, the results of thousands of years of evolution, might not be effective in limiting their impact. The potential for exposure is substantial, as the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) estimates that 2.5 billion pounds of chemicals are emitted yearly by large industrial facilities. At the same time, it is remarkable how limited are the data on the toxicities associated with most of these chemicals. The US EPA maintains the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), which serves as the repository of the consensus scientific opinions on chemical toxicity. Yet IRIS lists only 550 chemicals (, indicating significant lacunae in the knowledge needed to estimate and manage the risks associated with current exposures.

For many chemicals, most of the available data pertains to occupational exposures. The amount of data available regarding the potential effects of chemicals on children’s brain development is much more limited. It was not until the 1990s that the US EPA published guidelines for registrants with regard to testing in animal models of the developmental neurotoxicity of certain chemicals, primarily organophosphate pesticides, for application in human risk assessments (US EPA OPPTS Health Effects Test Guideline 870.6300; At present, for many of the chemical exposures of current…

To view the original full-text article, please continue here.

Thanks to Modern Healthcare Professional and James Joyce’s chemical cabinet.

Hey Modern Parents- Join Me At Pure Mamas

Please join me over at Pure Mamas where I’ve just become an official contributor. I’ll be there answering health and wellness questions from readers about food therapy, nutriceuticals, ethical food choices and the socio-cultural relationships we have with food. If you’re a modern parent and you have healthy eating in mind for your kids, this is the mecca of food blogs for tots and parents. Packed with loads of amazing recipes, family bonding and modern living, Juli Novotny, the lovely curator of Pure Mamas (and creator of the delicious Kookie Karma) shows you how she’s keeping it real-food in the kitchen with her two little boys.

Have a question? Ask away here!

Growing Food: Soil-Less Agriculture

Dr. Mori’s Soil-Less Gardening System

Based on a medical-membrane technology Dr. Mori calls “hydromembrane”, the seeds planted within contain a culture medium with all necessary nutrition and hydration the plant requires for development. Unlike the huge reserves of water land grown agriculture depends on, Dr. Mori’s system uses 1/5 of what is required to do so.

How Do They Taste?

Because the system helps plants to regulate sugar and amino acids, the results have not only been sweeter, but even more nutrient dense than your average crop!

Why This Is So Cool?

  • Membrane blocks harmful viruses and germs making pesticides in growing unnecessary.
  • Allows cultivation on sand, concrete and ice.
  • Eliminates soil contamination.

Dr. Mori hopes this technology can help restore agriculture along Tohoku’s poisoned coast, where sludge, oil and environmental waste left behind from the March 2011 tsunami have been deposited in the soil. Watch Dr. Mori putting the growing system into action in his TEDx presentation.

Light Of My Life

Konstanz Municipal Utility’s new customer center, designed by Germany’s Lindner Group generates more energy than it consumes. The utility company plans to offer this to all of its customers in the near-upcoming future.

Eco-Friendly Personal Care Design

Chewable Toothbrush Via Inhabit

Anyone know how it tastes?

National Nutrition Month at Garden Eats!

Photo by Ron Dressel

March marks National Nutrition Month here in the US. With nutrition finally having turned into a cool thing people want to be involved in, we’re going to be blogging all month long about how to make nutrition a lifestyle at Garden Eats!

Garden Eats will be highlighting a collective consciousness of chefs, specialty nutritionists and foodists, easy ways to incorporate a kitchen garden into your home or yard, a very tasty foodie give-away featuring local businesses, our new community fruit pick-n-share initiative, yum-tastic ways to get kids involved in the kitchen and we’re even going to show you microwave lovers out there that the stove is in fact, a much cooler invention!

What’s Planned for this Week?

Think you need acres and acres to raise your own food? Farm-fresh eggs made simple right here in So-Cal at the Puffer household!

How-to obtain the right seeds to keep local varietals from extinction and growing in your back yard

Visualizing nutrition: stressed out by weighing your food, dividing it into perfect portions and counting calories? Top foodists chime in on how-to get exactly what you need without all that stress!
Drop us a line here at Reaching Beyond Now or pop by Garden Eats to get-in on the give-away!

DESIGNhealth: Let There Be Light

Photo via DVice

Photo via Inhabit

One of my clients (thanks Lauren) passed this on because she knew I would love it… And, I do! To replace energy in-efficient street lights, Taiwanese researchers have embedded gold nano-particles into the leaves of trees causing them to give-off a reddish-yellow glow. The glowing installation is expected to cut carbon emissions and energy cost while safely illuminating the pathways for pedestrians and autos.

Photo via PopSci: Luminescence will cause leaves' chloroplasts to photosynthesize; further reducing carbon in the air

For other wonders in bio-luminescence, see my post about Curb’s sustainable design.


Grassin' N Relaxin'

Eco-advertising and media has gone onto an entirely cool level at UK based firm, Curb! Last year at WellWire I wrote about “disco-fungi,” a glow in the dark non-harmful, bio-luminescent bacteria engineered by their savvy biologists to be used in leave-no-trace community advertising. The sustainable design firm is up to it again with their latest, DesignGrass. This super cool grass, intended for indoor use, is 100 % hand grown. Curb says it will last indefinitely indoors with no watering or maintenance required.

DesignGrass by Curb

FlexiGrass, grown into an up-cycled textile waste base layer, is a completely soil-less living carpet. This translates into a natural green space that can be created and removed instantly without leaving any real waste.

Grow, Glow, Snow, Grassy Knoll…

Curb is cost effective, making them oh so ideal for green advertising campaigns! Their products are designed to keep on giving well after the purchase date. If you want to send a message you’ll be remembered for, Curb seems to exceed the expectations beyond what you’ve already imagined!

Check out Curb’s gallery here!

Putting Grub on Everyone’s Table

Photo by Austin 360

Traveling to upstate New York for business once a month allows for unique opportunities I don’t get to experience in San Diego. As many of you upstaters are aware, hunting season is about to kick off! Like I said… Some things are just not possible by the beach!

Why do I mention hunting season? I recently got thinking about all of you avid hunters and your ambitious excitement. Some of you are so precise at what you do, I learned that you’re often left with too much game during the season!

Along with it being hunting time, it’s also the beginning of cooler weather, bigger electric bills and a fun, yet expensive fall and winter holiday season. Folks are looking for ways to reduce cost and save a little money this time of year to account for the extras ahead.

You all know me; I’m a serial connector of people and retain a waste not want not attitude…
I want to put the right people in touch this season so everyone stays warm and everyone stays fed.

If you’re a super savvy, top notch hunter who plans on having a little extra this year I want to put you in touch with people that would be grateful to have that little extra. I’ve been told that a decent sized deer can provide meat for an entire family for several months.

Venicin (deer meat) is a low fat, healthy alternative to other meat that comes from grazing animals. It’s local, won’t have undergone tons of processing and is an ecologically sound source of food.

Are you a hunter? Are you married to one? Do you know one? Get in touch or put me in touch with now to get the plans rolling.

If you’re interested in receiving a donation this season from a local hunter shoot (no pun intended) me a message soon!

Want to help? Have more ideas similar to this one? Reach out now.

Look forward to hearing from everyone soon and putting you all in touch!

Cool Stuff Abounds

Photos by Garden Eats Contributor Ali Lansing

This time of year offers a colorful variety of lush veggies and fruit. The way this produce arrives in our kitchens is shifting! As I travel around the US from month to month, I’m happy to see CSAs popping up all over, even here in Rochester where I practice! Originally conceived in Germany and Japan, the three letters stand for community supported agriculture.

Growing up in a family of gardeners, sharing our home-raised crops with friends and neighbors was the norm. It saved our families money and kept us connected with the people who lived around us. Community supported agriculture offers a pro-socio-economic emphasis on locally grown, harvested and distributed produce. It’s a very basic concept that is changing the way we choose our food demographically. This return to seasonal, locally grown food could potentially enhance the entire eco-system by reducing dependence on fossil-fuels regularly allocated to the importation of produce!

Mark my words, this is a trend that will last far beyond a cool fad. It’s already being re-interpreted by folks who reside in more densely populated urban areas. Urban-dwellers have turned to container, window and even rooftop gardening to emphasize crop sharing in their neighborhoods.

Looking for a better way to get your goods and support local farmers? Here’s the top reasons to seek a CSA!

  • Get to know the people who grow your food and extend a pro-economic affect by directly paying farmers for your produce
  • Reduce waste and production of plastics by forgoing the packaging commercial foods are wrapped in
  • Enjoy nutrient dense food that has just come from the ground
  • Variety is the spice of life and the key to wellness. Seasonal eating offers improved health by providing a wider range of nutrients
  • Reduce mono-cropping and nutrient-lacking soil
  • Create a relationship with your community. We all have the same basic needs and wants don’t we? It just might be time to admit that rugged individualism is a thing of the past.

Ready to Join?

Can’t wait to see what will arrive in your first garden box? Find a CSA in your locale now by visiting the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association here.

Gone Bananas?

Usually, I leave the hardcore watch-dogging to other folks, but with recent health headlines making my head shake, I invited my traveling cousin and bff to share what she’s seeing before her very eyes down in Central America. If you’re a person that likes big brand names or likes to stay close to home, this story is for you!

Give her story a read and tell us what you think. And yes, some of you will read and roll your eyes, maybe say, “it’s just the way it is” and move on. Some of you just might take time to consider what’s really going on around us throughout the world and re-consider buying, growing and eating locally!

Gone Bananas

…While traveling thru Central America, it’s common to pass by banana plantations along the way. The first ones that I really remember are early on in our travels, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, traveling from Puerto Viejo to the Panamanian border at Sixoala. These plantations are Chiquita owned & operated.

Chiquita – a name known & “trusted” by millions… Chiquita, a company run by some suits in corner offices in Cincinnati, Ohio who go home every night to houses that cost more than some will ever see in their lifetime. The people that work on these banana plantations, doing the hardest work of all, live in structures that are basic wood frames with windows & doors only covered by fabric, if anything at all. Most, if not all, sit on stilts & don’t have electricity or proper plumbing systems.

And their housing situation is the least of problems. Most men that work in the unrelenting heat all day are sterile from over-exposure to these poisons. Woman that work in the packing plants complain of rashes while processing the harvested bananas. It’s enough to make one never want to spend another penny on anything with the Chiquita brand seal on it. And enough to make one think that if they did stop doing that, then how would these people on the plantations make any money at all? As it is, they barely make any money to begin with.

To put it into even greater perspective, Chiquita pulls in around $3.5 billion a year, give or take, employing 23,000 people & operating in over 80 countries.

All of that without even mentioning the dangers presented to the consumers paying for these bananas from far off places.

These bananas that have been saturated with various poisons. I can assure you that the water that “washes off” these pesticides before packing & shipping is not much better than the poisons themselves, contaminating not only people, but the air & the soil as well. All of that without even mentioning the blue plastic bags used to cover the bananas that litter the countryside. Waste management & the excessive amount of single use plastic is a conversation for a different time though.

Here’s a couple of links with some more detailed info not provided above.

Looking at Chiquita’s site after seeing what I’ve seen is nauseating. It may be time to reconsider what makes us “trust” in one company over another.

I wish that I had taken photos of that particular experience because what you see on Google is not a clear picture of reality, but I was too caught up in all of it as we drove thru to be concerned with where my camera was.

What can I leave you with?.. I would say the next time you’re thinking of slicing a banana on top of your Cheerios, make sure that you know where it came from.

Shannon left New York City and the corporate life to get out in the world, live a little and relax. She’s been traveling through Central America since January this year having the time of her life. Soon Shan will be returning to the states and wonders how well she’ll re-adjust to American life.

Functional Objects of My Desire

My new friend Brit, the founder of Tendliving creates living art through sustainable native plant gardening. If it was possible to “I Dream of Jeanie” myself into any location, the first place I’d visit would be these modular garden pods! Dream on here with more photos from Tend.

Photo by Brit

Grow to Love

Photo by Wollombi


Dilemna: You dream of planting sprawling organic gardens, but live in a 400 square foot studio apartment. Once you tried hanging a container garden from your window to save space, but the squirrels ate it for their afternoon snack. You want to turn your thumb a more fruitful shade of green, but don’t know where to start with the limited living quarters… If you’re already doubling your dryer for a kitchen table (like some other urban dwellers I know) then I’ve got the perfect negotiation for you!

Solution: I consulted Dr. Orna Izakson, director of Celilo Natural Health Center and my favorite permaculturalist to share her seasoned insight on this dilemna. Dr. Orna, once an urbanite herself knows the tricks of negotiating small spaces. When I asked Dr. O. what we could make flourish in tight quarters she replied, “I tell people to plant something they will literally grow to love.” If you’re pressed for space and new to gardening, choose a plant you will connect with. As you learn to care for your new indoor friend, you will truly come to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

So, what to plant then? “An olive tree is beautiful and will reward you as it grows,” offers Dr. O. An olive tree! Why didn’t I think of that? Cool!

Olive trees can be grown relatively easily from their seed state.

What you’ll Need:

  • Olive pits (olive tree seeds)
  • Large pot
  • Sandy, fast-draining organic potting soil
  • Organic compost
  • Spray bottle

Do It:

  • In a shallow container place a thin layer of compost and drop seeds on top of the compost. Moisten entirely with a spray bottle.
  • Next you’ll want to find a sunny spot to place your seed mix. Be sure to keep the mixture continuously moist. Patience is a virtue… Seed germination may take several weeks.
  • Once your seeds have begun to sprout it’s time to transplant them. Fill a large pot with sandy, quick-draining soil. This sandy soil can be achieved by mixing 1 part normal potting soil with 3 parts cactus mix.
  • Now it’s time to look at your space and pick a semi-permanent sunny home for your new friend. Be sure to love your tree by watering it well!
  • Encourage your olive tree to grow tall by pruning the lower leaves as it begins to grow.
  • Be sure your olive tree likes the spot you’ve chosen. Water only after the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch.

Want to learn about harvesting the fruit of your labor? Check out Glenda Minty at The Olive Press to determine when your fruit is ripe for the picking!

Dr. Orna is a naturopathic physician and permaculturalist living and practicing near Portland, Oregon. When not seeing patients you can find her in the garden or speaking around town. Want to drop by her garden, but not in Portland, no problem! See it blooming now at Garden Medicine.

Bold Brazen Truth

Environmental Working Group

Telling the truth isn’t always met with kindness;  but don’t shoot the messenger, because you know, they might just have something important to say…

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group has a difficult job. He doesn’t lie. Ken isn’t sharing his opinions, but facts that offer up unsettling information about the foods that line our store shelves to the sunscreens we smear on our kids. Ken wants to help protect you, your family, and the right to the truth about your health and the environment.

To behold the truth, consider showing your gratitude by donating to the EWG. Your generous contribution will be matched by another donor; helping this in-dispensable non-profit continue empowering the public sector. Visit their website to learn about the accomplishments that are already supporting and protecting your rights!

A message to us from Ken

Dear Supporter,I often tell people that at EWG we are driven by facts, not emotion. And the facts really tick us off.

In 2009 alone, we discovered that dozens of top baby products contain formaldehyde, that three out of five brand-name sunscreens either don’t protect skin from sun damage or contain hazardous chemicals — or both — and that some cell phones emit eight times more radiation than others.

What do these facts have in common? We wouldn’t know them without EWG’s one-of-a-kind research and consumer tools. Neither government nor industry will empower you to make healthy choices for yourself and your family on so many important issues like these.

EWG is ready to do more in 2010. Whether we have funding for this research is up to you. A donation today — even just $5 — gives us the resources we need so that you and your family can reduce your exposure to toxins and the associated risk.

Donate today, and not only will a generous donor match your donation, but you’ll also receive a free “Dirty Dozen” magnet telling you which produce contains the most pesticides.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation of $5 or more now so we can keep telling you how to limit your exposure to the harmful toxins found in the products you use every day. Remember, if you donate today, a generous donor will match your gift, doubling your impact!

Millions read our reports and access our databases. Hundreds of news outlets cover our research.

Why? Because this research is one-of-a-kind. EWG — not industry and not the government — is the only organization giving you the information you need to reduce your family’s exposure to toxins and exposure to risk.

Cell phones are a virtual necessity, but why not choose the safest one on the market? And why would I put sunscreen on my son if it’s not even going to protect him? We research a whole host of products — from shampoos to pesticides to canned tuna — so your family can make informed, healthy choices.

With the end of the year approaching, we’re making critical decisions about what types of research to fund in 2010. That’s why it’s so important for you to give now, so that we have the resources to produce the information you need.

And if you donate today, your gift will be matched, effectively doubling your donation, AND you will receive a free “Dirty Dozen” magnet.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation of $5 or more now so we can keep telling you how to limit your exposure to the harmful toxins found in the products you use every day. Remember, if you donate today, a generous donor will match your gift, doubling your impact!

We look out for consumers like you every day. Now, I’m asking you to be there for us.

I know I can count on your support because this research is so vital to keeping your family safe. Please take action right away.


Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group

Does the Grass Always Need to Be Greener?


Anybody know how much water Californians use each year to water their lawns?

Down here in sunny San Diego county, it’s the largest use for H2O at a whopping 60%!

Why It Doesn’t Add Up

Dear California, in case you haven’t noticed, our state is a desert! So, when our most precious resource is becoming increasingly scarce, why are we maintaining behavior that is continuously wasting it?  Growing grass not only drains endless amounts of water, but it also deepens the harmful effects fertilizers and weed killers pose to the local ecology and municipal drinking sources.

Let’s look at the numbers.  Remember the last time it rained?  I do, in fact, it was today.  To give you an idea of how much rain fell, consider the last time you splashed water on your face to wake up.  Yep, that’s about it.  Annual rainfall in San Diego averages at only 9 inches!  Add in the 3 million folks living here, temperatures climbing past 100 degrees F, and it simply doesn’t add up to grow that grass!

What to do?

  • Concentrate your sprawl with native plants and drought tolerant foliage.  Visit Green Eco Service’s handy list of California nurseries offering native foliage.  Try some phlox, juniper, or sedum!
  • Your favorite color is green?  Rip up the lawn and install a carpet that will never need watering.  Turf is the new green.  Unlike others that gas off harmful polycyclic hydro-carbons, check out Ecoalliance’s toxin free waterless sod.
  • Take the 20 gallon challenge proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders.  Think you can only use 20 gallons of water per day?  Give it a shot!

Anybody have experience with a waterless lawn?  Post your pictures here for other readers to see!

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