Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The One and Only Way You Can Tell if a Food is GMO-Free

Story at-a-glance

  • Vermont has recently introduced bill H.722, requiring labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. Such products would also be prohibited from using advertising or promotional material that states or implies that the food is “natural”. If passed, the bill will take effect in 2014
  • Other US states pushing for mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods include California, Michigan and Washington
  • Mandatory labeling of GM foods is becoming even more important to counteract laws that prevent anti-GMO efforts. So far, 14 US states have passed laws to protect the unabated expansion of GM seed use. Pending legislation in Michigan now also seeks to prohibit local governments from passing ordinances that impede or prohibit the use of GM seeds of all kinds         Message from Dr. Mercola:

  • A bill has recently been introduced in the Vermont state legislature that would require food to be labeled as genetically engineered if it is entirely or partially produced with genetically engineered ingredients.
    If passed, the bill, H.722, also known as the 'VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act' i, will take effect in 2014.
    The bill also forbids any such food from using advertising or promotional material that states or implies that the food is:
    • "natural"
    • "naturally made"
    • "naturally grown"
    • "all natural," or
    • Any words of similar meaning
    According to the language of the bill, it would require:
    "... in the case of a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for retail sale ... the clear and conspicuous words, 'genetically engineered' on the front of the package ... [or] on a label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which such commodity is displayed for sale.
    ... in the case of any processed food, in clear and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package ... the words, 'partially produced with genetic engineering' or 'may be partially produced with genetic engineering'". ii

    More U.S. States Starting to Demand Labeling of GM Foods

    Finally we're starting to see some real opposition against genetically engineered foods in general, and unlabeled GMO's (genetically modified organisms) in particular, in the U.S.! Aside from this Vermont bill, California, Michigan and Washington are also working on ballot initiatives to get mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods in their states. Vermont takes it a step further though, as the legislation would effectively also end phony "all natural" claims for products that in actuality contain wholly unnatural, GMOs.
    Personally, I believe GM foods must be banned entirely, but labeling is the most efficient way to achieve this. Since 85 percent of the public will refuse to buy foods they know to be genetically modified, this will effectively eliminate them from the market just the way it was done in Europe.
    Sheer ignorance on the part of American consumers has allowed Monsanto and other biotech companies to saturate the market with their genetically altered wares. And misuse of the "all natural" label has only made matters worse. According to a 2010 Hartman Group poll, more than 60 percent of consumers erroneously believe that the "natural" label implies or suggests the absence of GM ingredients, but that is sadly NOT the case... In fact, at the current time, the ONLY label that can protect you against GM ingredients is the USDA 100% Organic label.
    After reading the Cornucopia Institutes' 2011 report Cereal Crimesiii, many, including myself, were shocked to discover some of their favorite natural and even some organic brands were using GM ingredients! For example, natural products that contained 100 percent genetically modified grains included:
    Kashi® Mother's® Nutritious Living® General Mills Kix®
    GoLean® Bumpers® Hi-Lo®

    Two breakfast cereal products that are currently enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, Barbara's Bakery's Puffins and Whole Foods' 365® Corn Flakes, contained more than 50 percent GM corn. Meanwhile, the control, Nature's Path® USDA certified organic corn flakes, contained only trace amounts of GM contamination (less than 0.5 percent). Another sign that American consumers are getting fed up with being stonewalled on the GMO labeling issue is the fact that lawsuits are starting to crop up, accusing food manufacturers of deceptive and misleading practices over their "all natural" claims. Here are just a couple of recent examples:
    • Frito-Lay is being sued by a New York consumer over their 'all natural' snacks that are actually made using GM ingredients, such as Tostitos and SunChipsiv
    • On August 31, 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed against Kellogg/Kashi® for allegedly misleading consumers with its "natural" claims. One Kashi® product in particular, GoLean® Shakes, is composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients, according to the plaintiff

    Why We MUST Insist on Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods

    As I said earlier, mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of GM foods in the U.S. because while GM seeds are banned in several European countries such as Hungary, Germany and Ireland, in the United States, certain states are passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion! At present, no less than 14 states have passed such legislation. Michigan's Senate Bill 777v, if passed, would make that 15. The Michigan bill would prevent anti-GMO laws, and would remove "any authority local governments may have to adopt and enforce ordinances that prohibit or regulate the labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, use, or planting of agricultural, vegetable, flower or forest tree seeds."
    While this type of legislation sounds like crazy nonsense to normal people, such bills are essentially bought and paid for through the millions of dollars Monsanto and other biotech companies spend lobbying the U.S. government each year. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government -- a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.
    Their efforts of persuasion are also made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government.

    Learn More about Genetically Modified (GM) Foods

    Due to lack of labeling, many Americans are still unfamiliar with what GM foods are. We have a plan to change that, and I urge you to participate and to continue learning more about GM foods and helping your friends and family do the same.
    To start, please print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. You can also download a free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
    Your BEST strategy, however, is to simply buy USDA 100% Organic products whenever possible, (as these do not permit GM ingredients) or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers. The majority of the GMO's you're exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you're not inadvertently consuming something laced with GM ingredients. When you do purchase processed food, avoid products containing anything related to corn or soy that are not 100 percent organic, as any foods containing these two non-organic ingredients are virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, as well as toxic herbicide residues.
    To learn more about GM foods, I highly recommend the following films and lectures:

    Your Opportunity to Eliminate Genetically Engineered Foods from the U.S.

    In 2007, then-Presidential candidate Obama promised to "immediately" require GM labeling if elected. So far, nothing of the sort has transpired.

    Labeling of genetically engineered food is way overdue... Here's how you can get involved to rectify the situation:
    • Whether you live in California or not, please donate money to this historic effort
    • Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the California Ballot. It may be the only chance we have to label genetically engineered foods.
    • Distribute WIDELY the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
    • For timely updates, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
    • Look for in-depth coverage of the issue at the Institute for Responsible Technology, subscribe to Spilling the Beans, and check out their Facebook or Twitter.
    In the meantime, the simplest way to avoid genetically engineered foods is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must never intentionally use genetically engineered organisms, must be produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and come from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed genetically engineered corn feed, although now that genetically engineered alfalfa is approved, grass-fed will not always mean they animals have not consumed genetically engineered
    Be assured that what happens in California will affect the remainder of the U.S., so please support this important state initiative, even if you do not live there!
    Donate Today!
  •   Source:

Chaotic Art Museum Created by...Kids

Images via Web Urbanist

How much fun is this?!

Entitled "The Obliteration Room," it is actually an art installation by Yayoi Kusama at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. The concept was to start with a stark, modern, sparkling white living space; every single surface including the smallest of accessories was painted white...upon which point the room was offered up as an enormous blank canvas to 1000 children. 

They intervened with tens of thousands of round colored stickers, and were instructed to go wild with them over a period of two weeks, which resulted in brightly colored {and I think beautiful!} chaos.

Landslides and mud-slides: NOT covered by a standard homeowners policy

The New York Times has an interesting story today about a significant hazard here in the rainy Pacific Northwest: mudslides.

Mudslides and landslides, the article notes, are "a topographical drama less spectacular but far more common than the potentially deadly earthquakes, avalanches and tsunamis that loom in anxious minds across the Pacific Northwest."

And here's what many homeowners don't know: mudslides and landslides aren't covered by a standard homeowners policy. So it can be very difficult to collect for losses caused by any form of land movement unless you bought specific additional riders or policies, like these:

Landslide coverage: You may be able to buy a special rider for your homeowners policy that includes coverage for contents for all perils, including earth movement. But this type of rider only covers contents, not the structure, and some insurers don't offer this option at all. For the structure, you may be able to buy separate earth-movement coverage from what's known as the "surplus lines" market, meaning insurers who specialize in risks that the traditional insurance industry doesn't cover. But if your home is on a hillside, it may be difficult to get this kind of coverage.

Flood insurance: Flood insurance may apply to some kinds of earth movement, such as water-related erosion, mudflows or flash floods. Most homeowners seeking flood coverage start with the National Flood Insurance Program, which is federally run but sold by local agents and brokers.

Earthquakes: Quake damage is another category of risk not covered in a standard homeowners policy, but you can buy this coverage to protect against losses from an earthquake -- or quake-triggered landslides.


What are super foods? Packages, powders, potions gathered by hand for hours from the Himalayas? No!

Super foods are common everyday foods found right in your market, health food store, co-op, farmers market! These are the foods that you and I can truly feed our body with to create amazing health!

Do we need those other "Superfoods" that are marketed online? Truth is, NO we do not. Can they enhance or add to our health? Possibly. Give them a try and see if you like them and if you feel better.

There is one key to all this: Let your body be the judge!  There is no other health "guru" for you, better than your own body, the house you live in! See how it works for you and either continue to eat them or not, simple as that!

Be sure to check out our superfoods on itunes for download on your iphone!!!

Superfood iTunes

Superfood Twitter:

Superfood FB
and our brand new app!!!

JuiceIt Hd


Love from my super food loving heART to yours! Muah! Bette Bliss

Video Chatting….with your Therapist? The Rise of Clinical Video Telehealth

By: Kari Traver
They're heeere!  It's no longer extraterrestrial or Jetsonesque.  We can video chat in full color on large screen displays.  Skype, FaceTime, WebEx and GoToMeeting all allow us to see and hear our far away friends, family and co-workers.  From his Marine base in California, my nephew was able to "share" Thanksgiving dinner with the East Coast family.  He even gave us a "tour" of his apartment.  I thought this was quite cool, but is it effective in a clinical environment?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs believes the answer is "yes".  They are leaders in this new area of health care.  The VA uses clinical video telehealth to make diagnoses, manage care, perform check-ups, and actually provide care.  Since September, Colonial Behavioral Health has been using WebEx to conduct clinical assessments of children, so I thought I'd ask our therapists, "How's it going?"
First I spoke with Lee Phillips, a licensed therapist at CBH.  “It’s been beneficial.  I’m able to see facial expressions, affect and type of mood.  A big part of the assessment is the mental status exam.  I can get a clear mental status.  I’m able to tell if the child is depressed, sad, angry, guarded or withdrawn.”  Phillips added, “I’m also able to talk to the parent.  If I’m assessing for the possibility of ADHD I can look for symptoms.  I can see if the child is fidgeting, looking all over the room, inattentive or fixated on an object.”  Phillips feels that it’s a time saver for both the family and the clinical practice because the check in and check out process is minimal as compared to a regular office visit.
Next I asked Philip Mitchell, who provides intensive in-home services to families by teaching problem solving skills and assisting parents in becoming their own advocates.  Mitchell said, “For the most part it has been successful.  Initially I was worried because we hadn’t used this technology before.  The audio was fine, the picture was clear.  I was able to have a person-to-person interaction.”  Mitchell did feel that there is a need for the technology to improve.  He said, “It is a little difficult because the body language is a little muted.”
I also heard from Lisa Perez, who conducts clinical assessments to determine a child’s level of need for services. She can then recommend the most appropriate service.  Perez used the novelty of the remote camera to her advantage.  “I would ask, ‘Have you ever used a web cam?’  Then I would make funny faces to put the child at ease.  Kids actually thought it was fun.  Since it was very new to them I felt they needed to get any silliness out of their system,” she explained.  It turned out that the children were more comfortable with the technology than the parents.  Perez said, “It was interesting to watch the kids help the parents.  Both the parents and the children found it empowering.”  At the end of each session Perez thanked the family for helping CBH try something new.
Until recently, videoconferencing solutions had been expensive and inflexible.  Now faster, cheaper internet access and a prevalence of secure, affordable solutions make it feasible for therapists to provide professional assessments to individuals in remote locations.  For Colonial Behavioral Health, clinical video telehealth is proving to be effective, convenient and empowering for our therapists and the families they serve.
Kari is the Chief Information Officer at Colonial Behavioral Health. She has over 26 years of experience in the field of Information Technology and 21 years within the Virginia behavioral health system. For 17 years, Kari has been responsible for Colonial's LAN, WAN, system development, database design, software and hardware implementation, project management and security.


I don't know about you, but doesn't it seem like there is a gap between us and them? As in, the raw foody ones and the people who eat the other stuff? With eyes of compassion, I see it all the time, more and more so as time goes on.

I guess to coin an ol phrase,"the have and the have nots". Although I never believed in that phrase, as I see riches as a deep inner value that money just cannot touch.
However, in applying that to health, this phrase most certainly applies!

How? Well, many good health and many  HAVE NOT got good health. I hear it all the time around me. I ask you, what kind of world have we come to where we have two funerals in one week week. Being asked to not hug quite a few people (I do squeeze a little tight) so as to not hurt them, because they are in such pain?

ALL of these, I can say hands down, have bodies created by the very food they eat! Death by food is a sad one for sure. needless death, needless illness. The sad part is, they don't know it!

The GAP is evident in so many other ways. The idea of kill this and kill that. Bugs and "pests" immedietly squashed out of existence because they are a nuisance? Sorry my bees here do look a little scary but they are only out for pollen I promise!)
    In most cases, they just showed up, not being any cause for concern, and got squished. People randomly kill things, not realizing these have a place on earth too and many are essential for our own eco-system,our own life!Imagine if dinosaurs still walked the earth and saw us as pests! YIKES!

The other is ALIVENESS! Does it seem to to you there is a GAP between the ALIVE and the dead (as in people who appear to be sleepwalking through their life)?
Repeatedly, thos ewho are energetic, happy, talkitive, excited, have been asked to tone down, to shhh, to squash what they feel, to stop dancing in times square (ok ok I have to admit, it was me,  wearing a clown suit and it was distracting drivers and I did just about got hit by a yellow taxi cab and also almost caused an accident!)...just kidding on the getting hit part...heehee

To LIVE fully expressed in life in a cemetary with mourners all around, is a challenge I say! To want to yell from the rooftops and exclaim how life is so very good and give people tickets to go ride the carousel of happiness! Telling them about good health and loving life and having no pain or sickness (yes even now we can feel great, while waiting until "afterlife" eternal promises)!!

Some, like Pooh once said "Have a lil bit of fluff in their ears". They don't want to change their diet!!!! Many see no relationship at all between poor health and what goes in their mouth! Little do they realize, how wonderfully easy and delicious it is to do so!

So I tell those who will hear. I lovingly and supportively, teach those who are ready for change, who want to do what it takes and learn how to totally transform their body and their life!! It is one incredible ride! Are you ready? will take you there!

I see the Gap but I also see the bridge, do you? Ah! The bridge!

Love from my LIVING heart to yours! Muah! Bette B

Love from my LIVE heART to yours! Muah! BLove forette Bliss

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monsanto Poisoning the Population

Dr. Andreas Carrasco remained in the locked car and watched with fear as the crowd beat the vehicle and shouted at him — for two hours. His friends who didn’t make it into the vehicle were not so lucky. One ended up paralyzed. Another unconscious. The angry crowd of about 100 were likely organized by a local rice grower who was furious at Carrasco for what he was trying to do that day. Carrasco’s crime? Telling people that Roundup herbicide from Monsanto causes birth defects in animals, and probably humans.

Carrasco is a leading embryologist at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and the Argentinean national research council. He had heard the horrific stories of peasant farmers working near the vast fields of Roundup Ready soybeans — plants genetically engineered to withstand generous doses of Monsanto’s poisonous weed killer. The short-term impact of getting sprayed was obvious: skin rashes, headaches, loss of appetite, and for one 11 year old Paraguayan boy named Silvino Talavera, who biked through a fog of herbicides in 2003, death. But Carrasco also heard about the rise of birth defects, cancer, and other disorders that now plagued the peasants who were sprayed by plane. He decided to conduct a study.

Exposing Roundup’s 30 year cover-up of birth defects

Carrasco injected minute amounts of Roundup into chicken and frog embryos, and sure enough, the offspring exhibited the same type of birth deformities that the peasant communities were seeing in their newborns. A report by the provincial government of Chaco soon followed, confirming that those living near soy and rice fields sprayed with Roundup and other chemicals did in fact have higher rates of birth defects — nearly a fourfold increase between 2000-2009. (Child cancer rates tripled during the same period.)

Regulatory agencies had given Roundup a green light years before, claiming that it was free of such problems. However after Carrasco’s findings were published, European authorities quietly pushed their official re-assessment of Roundup, due in 2012, back to 2015. And the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, charged with responding to Carrasco’s findings, issued a statement claiming that the Argentine scientist must be mistaken; earlier studies conducted by manufacturers of Roundup (including Monsanto) had already demonstrated that Roundup does not cause birth defects.

But in June 2011, a group of international scientists released a report detailing a massive cover-up that went back to the 1980s. The very industry studies cited by the German Consumer Protection office in fact showed just the opposite. Roundup did increase birth defects. Using scientific sleight of hand, Europe’s regulators had ignored statistically significant increases in birth defects, and so did every other regulatory agency worldwide. Monsanto has relied on these misleading statements of safety by regulators ever since, using them to deny that Roundup causes birth defects.

Monsanto secretly poisoning the population, again and again.

Covering up toxic effects of their products was not new for Monsanto. They’re experts at it. In 2003 the company paid $700 million in settlements for secretly poisoning the population living next to their PCB factory in Anniston, Alabama. Court documents showed the arrogance of Monsanto executives made aware of the product’s effects: “We can’t afford to lose $1 of business,” was the written response in a secret company memo.

Leaked documents also revealed that EPA scientists had charged Monsanto with fraudulently hiding the toxic effects of Agent Orange — effectively preventing Vietnam veterans from collecting compensation for cancer, birth defects, and other symptoms of exposure.
When Carrasco first reported his findings, he got the usual treatment. His results were vehemently denied, and he was attacked in the press by biotech advocates. Four highly aggressive men showed up at his office and tried to interrogate him, but he wasn’t physically attacked. Not until he tried to give a speech on his results in the small Argentine farm town of La Leonesa on August 7, 2010. That was unusual.

Punishing messengers worldwide

When Dr. Irina Ermakova came to her office, the meaning of the charred remains of papers on her desk was unambiguous — it was yet another attempt to intimidate or punish her. So was the theft of samples from her laboratory, and the continuous verbal attacks by biotech advocates. Her crime? She fed rats genetically modified Roundup Ready soy, and reported the results.
Those results were clearly not what the sellers of GM soy wanted us to hear. After female rats were fed GM soy, more than half their babies died within three weeks. The rat pups were also considerably smaller, and in a later experiment, were unable to reproduce. Offspring from mothers fed non-GM soybeans, on the other hand, died at only a 10% rate, and were able to mate successfully.

Journal ambushes scientist

After Ermakova presented the results as “preliminary” at an October 2005 conference, the biotech industry’s damage control teams kicked into high gear. At the center of the coordinated attack was the editor of the journalNature Biotechnologyand four biotech advocates. According to Ermakova, the editor contacted her and told her he was going to include a description of her study as a sort of essay in the journal. She was then asked to summarize her research over the phone, or if she preferred, in writing. Ermakova, a senior scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences, was surprised by the request and asked instead to properly submit the findings for peer review and publication. Oh no, the editor insisted, he just wanted a summary. She sent it in, and the journal sent Ermakova back a proof of the article, with her named as the author.

But that was just a “dummy proof.” What was actually published was quite different. Instead of an essay, the journal had inserted scathing criticisms from the four biotech advocates after nearly every paragraph. Many of Ermakova’s citations were also stripped off and replaced with those chosen by the biotech detractors — to weaken her case. It was an academic lynch mob, conducted by four biotech apologists: Bruce Chassy, Vivian Moses, Val Giddings, and Alan McHughen. All acknowledged that they had no personal experience in the type of research they were condemning, but that didn’t stop them from throwing every type of challenge they could think of at Ermakova.
The purpose of the attack was transparent. It allowed the biotech industry to claim from that point forward that the study showing high death rates was officially refuted and discredited. It also served as a warning: if anyone wanted to defend Ermakova (or do similar research) they too would be mercilessly attacked.

The problem was that nearly all their criticisms were utterly baseless. About 75 % of their arguments, for example, were simply complaints that she didn’t provide sufficient detail. Now remember — she was told toonly provide a summary. Her request to the editor to submit complete details was denied. It was quite a setup. When the details of this ambush were made public, independent scientists chargedNature Biotechnologywith an unethical “premeditated attack.” At least one letter called on the editor to resign.

It didn’t happen. Instead, international pressure against Ermakova got so intense, her boss told her not to do any more studies on GMOs. One of her colleagues even tried to comfort her by suggesting that perhaps the GM soy could solve the human overpopulation problem. (She wasn’t comforted.)

Real life confirms research: 

GM soy = High Infant Mortality for rats

The main valid criticism against Ermakova’s research was that she failed to conduct a biochemical analysis of the feed. Without that, we don’t know if some rogue toxin present in the bag of soy flour might have been responsible for the astonishing death rate and stunted growth in her experiment. But subsequent events at her laboratory suggest otherwise.
After Ermakova repeated the test three times with similar results, the supplier of rat food used at the facility began using GM soy in the formulation. With all the rats now eating GM soy, Ermakova couldn’t conduct any more experiments (she had no controls). After two months, however, she asked her colleagues at the lab about the mortality rate in their rat experiments. It turned out that 99 of 179 (55.3%) rat pups whose parents were fed GM soy-based rat chow had died within the first 20 days. Thus, whatever caused the high death rate does not appear to be confined to the one batch of GM flour used in her experiment. Both the study, and the subsequent laboratory-wide mortality rate, are published in the Russian peer-reviewed journal Ecosinform.

Horrific reproductive disorders

Other studies on Roundup Ready soy also show scary reproductive problems. Ermakova showed that the testicles of rats fed GM soy changed from the normal pink to blue (not published). Peer-reviewed research from Italy also showed changes in mice testicles, including alterations in young sperm cells. A Brazilian team found changes in the uterus and ovaries of female rats. The DNA of mice embryos functioned differently, compared to those whose parents were fed non-GM soy. And when hamsters were fed GM soy for two years, by the third generation, most lost the ability to have babies. The offspring grew at a slower rate and the infant mortality rate was 4-5 times that of the non-GM soy group. Many also had hair growing in their mouths.

When the Austrian government tested Roundup Ready corn (which was also engineered to produce an insecticide), mice had fewer – and smaller – babies.

It’s not possible to know if the reproductive damage was due to the genetic changes in the GM crops, the high residues of Roundup in the GM soybeans and corn, or some other reason. But the American Academy of Environmental Science is among the medical organizations that don’t need more animal studies before issuing a warning. They urge all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone.

Omnipresent Roundup literally falls from the sky

Although eliminating Roundup Ready soy and corn from our diet will certainly reduce our intake of Roundup, a recent study suggests that getting our exposure down to zero is not possible. In the Midwest during the growing season, Roundup is found in 60–100% of air and rain samples, as well as in streams.

The omnipresence of Roundup in the US is due in large part to the more than 100 million acres of Roundup Ready crops. As farmers pour on Monsanto’s weed killer, weeds are learning to adapt and withstand the poison — so farmers pour on more. In the first 13 years since GM crops were introduced, the use of herbicide-tolerant crops resulted in an additional 383 million pounds more herbicide. And due to the emergence of superweeds (now found in 11 million acres), the increased use of Roundup is accelerating dramatically.

USDA solution? Even more Roundup

The USDA has a unique response to this mounting threat:Add more Roundup. In January 2011 they deregulated yet another Roundup Ready crop, alfalfa — which is widely used for animal feed. Only 7% of the more than 20 million acres of this crop typically gets any herbicide applied to it. But that’s about to change, since Roundup Ready alfalfa will soon be drinking Roundup in a hay field near you.
Not content with just the alfalfa, on July 1 the USDA told Scotts Miracle-Gro that it could introduce Roundup Ready Kentucky Bluegrass to lawns, golf courses, and soccer fields around the nation, without any government oversight.

So now we have Roundup in our food, animal feed, air, rain, and streams, and soon it will be sprayed in high doses where our children play on the grass. It’s not just birth defects that may soon plague America as a result. Roundup is also linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, lower sperm counts, abnormal sperm, human cell death, miscarriages, and other disorders. But it’s also linked to billions in profits for Monsanto. No wonder they are working overtime to silence the scientists and cover-up the findings. .......What if people knew the truth?
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Palatability, Satiety and Calorie Intake

WHS reader Paul Hagerty recently sent me a very interesting paper titled "A Satiety Index of Common Foods", by Dr. SHA Holt and colleagues (1).  This paper quantified how full we feel after eating specific foods.  I've been aware of it for a while, but hadn't read it until recently.  They fed volunteers a variety of commonly eaten foods, each in a 240 calorie portion, and measured how full each food made them feel, and how much they ate at a subsequent meal.  Using the results, they calculated a "satiety index", which represents the fullness per calorie of each food, normalized to white bread (white bread arbitrarily set to SI = 100).  So for example, popcorn has a satiety index of 154, meaning it's more filling than white bread per calorie. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the paper is that the investigators measured a variety of food properties (energy density, fat, starch, sugar, fiber, water content, palatability), and then determined which of them explained the SI values most completely.

Read more »

Proof That Cancer Industry Doesn’t Want a Cure

A safe and effective cure for cancer has been discovered with a drug that was once used for unusual metabolic problems. Yet, the cancer industry shows no interest with following up on dichloroacetate (DCA) research from University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, reported in 2007. That’s because DCA is no longer patented.

(1) That research also confirmed cancer as a metabolic malfunction, not a weird mutation of cells often explained away as a genetic issue. But the medical mafia doesn’t want you to hear about it. But it confirms what most alternative cancer therapists already know.

Since Nixon declared the “war on cancer” in the 1970s, the cancer industry has succeeded with raising money for researching very expensive chemo substances at $50,000 to $100,000 per round or more for toxic therapies that rarely work.

(2) Chemo drugs usually lead to demanding more business with drugs to ease terrible side effects ( Meanwhile, more are getting cancer and more are dying from it, mostly because of the toxic treatments.

Explaining DCA research results

Evangelos Michelakis and the Alberta University research team tested DCA on human cancer cells outside the body and in cancerous mice with profound success. DCA was once used for unusual metabolic disorders. The worst side effects, which rarely occur, include some numbness and an affected gait.

The mice were fed DCA in water, and in weeks they had remarkable tumor shrinkage. This indicates DCA can be taken orally. DCA works by restoring the cells’ mitochondria. Michelakis and his team had discovered that the mitochondria in cancer cells are not permanently damaged and irreparable. This is what mainstream medicine thinks.

With mitochondria malfunctioning, cancer cells use glucose fermentation for survival energy. This fermentation occurs when glycolysis (glucose conversion) occurs in an anaerobic cellular environment, which can be created by benign tumor masses, toxins, and low pH levels.

DCA restores mitochondria in cells to make them function properly. Another function of normal mitochondria is signaling apoptosis, or cellular self destruction. Normal cells die and become replaced constantly. But with cancer cells, the apoptosis signal is nullified, making cancer cells “immortal.”

(3) The Alberta University researchers also realized that glycolysis fermentation in cancer cells produces lactic acid. The lactic acid breaks down the collagen holding those cells together in a tumor. This allows cancer cells to easily break away from a tumor shrinking with mainstream therapies.

The researchers reasoned this is why cancer metastasizes or spreads to different parts of the body or reappears after remission from chemo.

Tragic hypocrisy

Alternative cancer therapies have little or no problem with metastatic cancer or even cancer reoccurring after remission. Most alternative therapies simply cure cancers completely.

DCA offers the cancer industry an opportunity to come up with a pharmaceutical cure that is much cheaper and safer than their current standard of care. Yet the cancer industry is ignoring this opportunity. Instead, DCA is a homeless orphan begging for research funds to avoid legal issues with off label use on cancer.

(4) Alternative cancer practitioners have always simply tried out and when they succeeded shared them with others who cared more about healing than money and power.

The medical mafia has created a matrix that demands big bucks to make big bucks for sick care instead of curing. Everyone in on the scam makes out financially. The cancer industry accuses alternative cancer therapists of quackery and taking advantage of the desperately ill for financial gain. Accusing others of your motives and crimes is called projection.

The medical/pharmaceutical complex is crony capitalism that doesn’t want a cure for cancer from anywhere.

Sources for this article include:







This article was originally published on Natural News.

Job opening: Actuary

We have a job opening for a full-time, permanent actuary at our main office in Tumwater.

The person will be reviewing health and disablity insurance rate filings, as well as helping our company supervision divisions financial analysis work. For a full description of the job, salary range, benefits, etc., please see the job listing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Soda-Free Sunday

Last Thursday, I received a message from a gentleman named Dorsol Plants about a public health campaign here in King County called Soda Free Sunday.  They're asking people to visit and make a pledge to go soda-free for one day per week. 

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), including soda, is one of the worst things you can do for your health.  SSB consumption is probably one of the major contributors to the modern epidemics of obesity and metabolic dysfunction.

I imagine that most WHS readers don't drink SSBs very often if at all, but I'm sure some do.  Whether you want to try drinking fewer SSBs, or just re-affirm an ongoing commitment to avoid them, I encourage you to visit and make the pledge.  You can do so even if you're not a resident of King county.

Oscars 2012

Did you guys watch?? We were regrouping from a weekend away in New Mexico so I missed the arrivals, but finally had time to catch up on the fashion just a moment ago and overall I was thrilled with everyone's choices! I love seeing everyone's personalities come out in their gowns, and particularly enjoy the change of dresses from Oscars to after parties. I loved Emma's Stone's Oscar dress, but loved her after party look at Vanity Fair even more. Same goes for J.Lo and Cameron Diaz - LOVE Cameron's orange dress! I also loved seeing Gwenyth's dress without her cape that she wore on the red carpet. She has minimalist chic down pat. My favorite look of the entire night was Michelle Williams, quickly followed by Lily Collins {soon to be playing Snow White opposite Julia Roberts as the Evil Stepmother}. 

Such a fan of nude dresses and super dark nails. 

Always love me some Steven Tyler. Heartsies. 

The ABCs of ACOs

So much has been written about ACOs, but it doesn't hurt to break it down.

ACO is the hottest three-letter word in health care

Kaiser Health News, evolved from one of the HMOs that first grabbed hold of the coordination of care concept, is one of the leaders in the ACO  information flow. Here is a link to a column from one of its staffers that is an excellent primer for the student of ACOs. We share it here in the interest of improved patient care for the future.

Gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time: If I can do it, anyone can

The idea of gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time seems impossible because of three widely held misconceptions: (a) to gain muscle you need a calorie surplus; (b) to lose fat you need a calorie deficit; and (c) you cannot achieve a calorie surplus and deficit at the same time.

Not too long ago, unfortunately I was in the right position to do some self-experiments in order to try to gain muscle and concurrently lose fat, without steroids, keeping my weight essentially constant (within a range of a few lbs). This was because I was obese, and then reached a point in the fat loss stage where I could stop losing weight while attempting to lose fat. This is indeed difficult and slow, as muscle gain itself is slow, and it apparently becomes slower as one tries to restrict fat gain. Compounding that is the fact that self-experimentation invariably leads to some mistakes.

The photos below show how I looked toward the end of my transformation from obese to relatively lean (right), and then about 1.5 years after that (left). During this time I gained muscle and lost fat, in equal amounts. How do I know that? It is because my weight is the same in both photos, even though on the left my body fat percentage is approximately 5 points lower. I estimate it to be slightly over 12 percent (on the left). This translates into a difference of about 7.5 lbs, of “fat turning into muscle”, so to speak.

A previous post on my transformation from obese to relatively lean has more measurement details (). Interestingly, I am very close to being overweight, technically speaking, in both photos above! That is, in both photos I have a body mass index that is close to 25. In fact, after putting on even a small amount of muscle, like I did, it is very easy for someone to reach a body mass index of 25. See the table below, from the body mass index article on Wikipedia ().

As someone gains more muscle and remains lean, approaching his or her maximum natural muscular potential, that person will approach the limit between the overweight and obese areas on the figure above. This will happen even though the person may be fairly lean, say with a body fat percentage in the single digits for men and around 14-18 percent for women. This applies primarily to the 5’7’’ – 5’11’’ range; things get somewhat distorted toward the extremes.

Contrast this with true obesity, as in the photo below. This photo was taken when I was obese, at the beach. If I recall it properly, it was taken on the Atlantic City seashore, or a beach nearby. I was holding a bottle of regular soda, which is emblematic of the situation in which many people find themselves in today’s urban societies. It reminds me of a passage in Gary Taubes’s book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (), where someone who had recently discovered the deliciousness of water sweetened with sugar wondered why anyone “of means” would drink plain water ever again.

Now, you may rightfully say that a body composition change of about 7.5 lbs in 1.5 years is pitiful. Indeed, there are some people, typically young men, who will achieve this in a few months without steroids. But they are relatively rare; Scooby has a good summary of muscle gain expectations (). As for me, I am almost 50 years old, an age where muscle gain is not supposed to happen at all. I tend to gain fat very easily, but not muscle. And I was obese not too long ago. My results should be at the very low end of the scale of accomplishment for most people doing the right things.

By the way, the idea that muscle gain cannot happen after 40 years of age or so is another misconception; even though aging seems to promote muscle loss and fat gain, in part due to natural hormonal changes. There is evidence that many men may experience of low point (i.e., a trough) in their growth hormone and testosterone levels in their mid-40s, possibly due to a combination of modern diet and lifestyle factors. Still, many men in their 50s and 60s have higher levels ().

And what are the right things to do if one wants to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? In my next post I will discuss the misconceptions mentioned at the beginning of this post, and a simple approach for concurrently gaining muscle and losing fat. The discussion will be based on my own experience and that of several HCE () users. The approach relies heavily on individual customization; so it will probably be easier to understand than to implement. Strength training is part of this simple strategy.

One puzzling aspect of strength training, from an evolutionary perspective, is that people tend to be able to do a lot more of it than is optimal for them. And, when they do even a bit more than they should, muscle gain stalls or even regresses. The minimalists frequently have the best results.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Losing sight of invisible women: Behind the maternal mortality statistic

Transport for women with obstetric complications
in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Observers of global public health are rightly encouraged by new figures on the extent of maternal mortality in the world.  Both the data of the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation and new data from the United Nations show that the stubborn figure of over 500,000 maternal deaths per year that had been cited for so long may finally be replaced by the still alarming but encouraging figure of about 350,000 annual deaths.  The new data arrived in time to generate encouragement at the September 2011 session on the Millennium Development Goals.

While the new data represent an achievement that should be both celebrated and studied in more detail, optimism around these figures must continue to be tempered by the reality that women in most of sub-Saharan Africa and probably the poorest women in most countries did not enjoy the gains represented by the new data.  As an obstetrician from Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world, I see these new figures with a mixture of optimism and continued concern about how the world understands the phenomenon of maternal death and injury.

I have been privileged to observe maternal health services in a number of African countries for over three decades.  When I graduated from secondary school in 1970, there were two Chadian medical doctors in the country, neither of them focused on maternal health.  The common saying “a pregnant women is a woman who has one foot in the tomb” was illustrated only too graphically for all Chadians, including myself, as I watched relatives and other women of my acquaintance die from complications of childbirth.

I wish that I could say the situation has greatly improved in Chad and many African countries.  As the new data show, maternal death is entrenched at high levels in a number of countries.  As WHO has noted, in some countries HIV is a barrier to reducing maternal death, but in other countries the intransigence of maternal mortality reflects the difficulty of women’s struggles against many kinds of subordination.

I wonder whether the global policy-makers who will be poring over the new statistics understand the circumstances that add up to maternal death in my country and too many others.  When I worked briefly in Ethiopia, for example, I was struck to find there what we also see in Chad – that there are remote areas where it is well known to everyone that rural women die waiting alongside roads, hoping to find a car that can bring them to a maternity hospital.  Too often, their active labor does not come on the market days that may be the only time when a vehicle may come by.  Naturally, it is not the better-off women who have this problem.  Somehow the many women, especially rural women, who do have it, are practically invisible.

But women are so subjugated that in some places, even the better-off ones are constrained by gender-based subordination as they struggle to save their own lives.  As a practicing obstetrician in one of Chad’s main hospitals, I remember dealing with a woman who was related to a high-level official, so not among the most marginalized of my patients in social terms.  She was suffering in obstructed labor from a breech presentation of the fetus, indicating the urgent need for delivery by caesarean section.

But in her ethnic group, it was a strongly held view that “real women” should not deliver babies by caesarean section.  She feared that a caesarean would cause her husband to reject her and take other women as wives.  In the hours that I had to spend talking to her and her husband, we came close to seeing her add to the mortality statistics.  This is the situation of even the better connected women in my country.

In my current position in RAISE, a program affiliated with Columbia University that works to bring reproductive health services to war zones and other emergency settings, I have seen how women are once again the most vulnerable to the worst effects of political instability and insecurity.  Though I had witnessed the subordination of women in so many communities in Africa, it has been deeply shocking to me to see the health effects of the use of rape as a weapon of war in Congo.

When communities are threatened by violent soldiers or rebels, somehow society tolerates a situation where men stay at home to avoid insecurity, but women are sent to work on the crops or fetch water or fuel.  I have met so many women in that situation – women who were raped and gang-raped with horrible life-long injuries simply because only women do the chores that sustain the household.

I was honored to be invited to observe the activities of the health system in Honduras that have led to improvements in maternal health outcomes in that small country.  Honduras is better off than Chad in per-capita income, but it still faces very severe resource constraints for health services.  With the limited resources at their disposal, health officials and service-providers in Honduras assessed the maternal death situation and realized that the risk of death was highest among low-income rural women, including those in remote mountain areas.

Making it a political priority to solve this problem led officials and communities to work together to ensure that women could find transportation to get to health facilities and that those facilities would have the basic services needed to prevent the vast majority of maternal deaths.  This experience for me was both moving and maddening.  Making a difference in the statistics should not be so hard for Africa, but women just don’t count for much.

A lifetime of advocacy for government attention to the relatively simple measures that need to be taken to reduce needless deaths and disability linked to childbirth among Chadian women makes me concerned that the message of the new maternal mortality data will be that the victory is won and we can rest on our laurels.  Rather, in my country and many of its neighbors, we must urgently seek ways to re-energize a focus on maternal death that is based on women’s right not to die as well as the right of all women to comprehensive reproductive health services.

In the aftermath of the Millennium Development Goals discussions, every leader who praises the countries that have reduced maternal mortality must also be concerned about places where the lack of progress is link to the continued atrocity of treating women as less than human.  Maternal mortality should always be spoken of as a symptom of the more pernicious pathology of failing to give political priority to women’s rights, humanity and dignity.  

- Grace Kodindo, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Population and Family Health

Mental Health Leadership Collaborative Begins at Yale

Sang Hee Park, Yale MPH,
Class of 2013

At the beginning of this year, Yale began a new endeavor to further collaborations with universities around the globe. The GHLI led these efforts with the newly created Yale GHLI-Fudan Mental Health Program. Faculty from Yale’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health and a cohort of physicians and professors from several universities in China, accompanied by student ambassadors from Yale colleges and graduate schools gathered on the Yale campus as part of the initiative to improve the Chinese mental health care system.

Despite the long travel time and the time difference, the Chinese participants were engaged and active starting from day one. It’s easy to assume that considering the participant’s careers as lecturers rather than students and the achievements they have already made, that they would have less willingness to be “trained” by other people – but not so. Their aspirations to learn ways to better their system were evident during lectures, site visits and individual work sessions, engaging in endless thought-provoking questions and proactive discussions. Throughout the program, the director and staff of the program continuously brainstormed on how to make the remaining days even more effective.

By the end of the third week, the participants had formed professional and lasting relationships among themselves as well as with the professors at Yale and directors of the healthcare settings visited. A director from one site visit even drove over an hour to attend the farewell dinner in New Haven and give each participant a CD with photos from the visit as a gift.

Because this was the program’s first year, there was much excitement and a bit of nervousness during the preparations, and I was not too sure what to expect. But now, after a successful three weeks, I am excited to see how the participants will be able to utilize what they have learned to improve leadership and management skills and challenges they face in the Chinese mental health care system would unfold in the next years!

*Site Visits included: Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, Program for Recovery and Community Health, VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven Campus, Institute of Living, Connecticut Mental Health Center, and Connecticut Valley Hospital.

To read more about GHLI's partnerships in china, click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Criticism and Bullying

As you know, I post about topics that are important to me in between all of the pretty pictures of decorating and fashion on here. From breastfeeding to Christmas card etiquette to nutrition and wellness, I enjoy sharing knowledge with others, and I enjoy learning. Enjoy. As Sir Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power." Or Benjamin Franklin, An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

One important topic that I have wanted to post about - or more ASK about - for quite some time is criticism and bullying. This is a huge problem in our society today, as I am sure any of you with children in school know. I bet mothers in the carpool line feel it. Now, I know that there are many out there that view my posts on touchy subjects as judgmental, and I am sure there are some sentences that step on some toes, however I do my best to base the core reasoning behind my discussions on facts - not emotion. Not opinion. Facts gained through research. Once I present the information, truthfully I do not care even 1% if you listen to me or not. That is YOUR choice. I am an advocate for breastfeeding, but I don't care if you give formula to your kid until he's 14 years old. It's your child. I like following Miss Manner's etiquette rules, but if you want to list your names upside down and backwards on your Christmas cards and then smear poop on them - go for it. It's your card. If you are morally against eating meat, don't. If you want to eat sugar cubes and Doritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the rest of your life, more power to you. It's your body. I present a topic based on facts, follow with a logical discussion, and exit stage left. 

That said, let's get back to bullying. When I put any of that information out here in the blogosphere with good intent - to simply educate and bring awareness to a subject - it is puzzling when I receive a comment like the one below. One that is not based on ANY facts, but rather emotionally fueled. Unfortunately {for her} an emotionally-fueled position is one that will never hold any water....

Arya Elizabeth Delevigne has left a new comment on your post "Nutrition in 100 Words":
you won't eat a bean but you'll devour cattle that has been slaughtered in the most unholiest and inhumane of ways? how christian and republican of you.

you went on an african safari to hunt wild animals and then turn their skins into rugs for your non-grain eating babies to crawl on. you don't see that as twisted at all? you have the chance to travel to a beautiful country on a severely impoverished continent and watch animals in their natural habitat and you kill them?*

look, i'm all for eating healthy and providing the best for myself, my family, friends, all loved ones, but you are OFF YOUR ROCKER. and it is just getting worse.
if you treat food this way, your children are going to suffer, you're basically paving the path for eating disorders. And Paleo guru diet program BS. you bought the book, right?

your blog is becoming this neurotic hypocritical regurgitation of southern digest and whatever you google that is on the runways of Paris. There are other housewives and mothers who believe what you say and just want you to pat them on the back through the internet.

i don't come at you with anger, it is frustration. you advertise yourself as something you're not.
you are southern, as much of my family is. river oaks houston to be exact. so i suppose what is "eclectic" about your blog is that you try to be anything but a stuck in the middle of texas woman through liking neon and gaudy things your husband buys. the icing on your cake being your belief in eating Paleo is the one thing that makes you feel separate from the fatties driving in the SUV next to yours, kids in the backseat eating sesame rice crackers. keep preaching.

i don't expect you to publish this comment. i don't mind either way. when you create a blog you are communicating with the rest of the world and people you do not know and who do not know you. i'm just telling you that this is how you appear to people who are not in your demographic (housewife, middle american, white, republican, anglo saxon protestant). your blog was much more accessible and palatable when it was you and your take on fashion and decorating. but if you want to preach then preach. i won't bother you with a negative comment again.
sincerely, arya

*through simply googling your name the photos of you and your husband show he supported those horrible OBAMA socialist as the joker images, is an avid proponent of world violence through support for continued Army presence and for a war in Iran. no wonder you're so focused on your diet. that and the fact that you used to be overweight. there's photos of you at St. Andrew's, you were barely recognizable.

Sweet thing.

It is difficult for me to even know how to respond, primarily for the reason I gave above: emotionally based arguments won't get you anywhere, and really don't allow room for intelligent and logical responses. The quote that first came to mind when I read her words was this:

"The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about." - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

She seems fairly certain she knows everything about me to say the silly things she did {and is definitely very confused about Paleo}, but nonetheless took it upon herself to spend the time writing a letter with this nature, with the intent of...?? What is achieved by attempting to bully, criticize and belittle another? To try to cause hurt? To make herself feel better about her lifestyle choices by attempting to meanly knock holes in mine? I honestly don't know the point, which is the purpose of this post - enlighten me if you have an answer as to why people behave like this!

Which brings me back to the problem of criticism and bullying in our world today. This is a serious issue, and the saddest thing is that it is happening at such a young age. Our children are dealing with this - often daily. Criticism of body types, the wrong shoes, a unique outfit, a hair color someone might deem unacceptable, or perhaps {and as I believe is most usually the case} it is just based on their own insecurities. Thankfully, my skin is pretty much as thick as it gets. I can let stuff like this roll off me. Not everyone can though, and no one should have to be faced with hateful remarks. It breaks my heart - sickens me. angers me. - to read of young children taking their own lives because they simply did not know how to handle being bullied. So I have to ask: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO MEAN?!

I could tell Arya that Squish and Munch had donuts this weekend at a birthday party, and, gasp!, so did I. I could tell her that the majority of the meat we eat at our house has been killed by Biz - in the most humane way possible. I could tell Arya that we eat every animal we kill, and that it confuses me she would not advocate using the entire part of the animal, but throwing away the hide rather than having it in our home. I could tell Arya that she needs to research preservation versus conservation, and educate herself on the differences, successes, failures and benefits of each. I could tell her that allowing hunting licenses for endangered animals in Africa has moved species from endangered to thriving, once money is there from hunters and conservationists. I could tell Arya that the people I have met that care most about the land and have the most respect for and appreciation of animals are, in fact, hunters. I could tell Arya that I am certain my children will not suffer as a result of my husband shooting a deer. I could tell her that she should consider reading a Paleo book, as then she would not mention anything about feed lots in an argument against the lifestyle. I could tell her that it might be beneficial for her to talk to someone about her anger and frustration, but I don't know of any good therapists in River Oaks. {Anyone??} I could tell her that I am proud of myself from going to very unhealthy in college to very healthy now - weight loss was a happy side effect. I could suggest to her that she might find it more beneficial to spend time Googling anger management, rather than searching through old photos of me and my husband. I could tell Arya that I don't eat Paleo because it "is the one thing that makes me feel separate from the fatties in the SUV next to mine," but rather I focus on my diet because I want to be around for a long, long time to see my great-great grand babies. I could ask Arya if she means my blog was more accessible and palatable only when she wasn't aware we had different views on certain subject areas. I could tell her that I don't really consider myself a Republican - they're not politically conservative enough for me - but that might make her mad. Ok ok, I'll say it ;) I could tell her that the way I present myself is nothing but 110% authentic, neon shoes, gaudy jewelry and all {thanks Miuccia Prada! Those rhinestone Miu Miu earrings are still my favorites!} and even when faced with ugly criticism like hers, I will never stay silent on a topic I feel strongly about. I could tell her that the most wonderful, special, touching and appreciative comments I receive are on these so-called preachy posts, and that I get more requests for these than anything I ever post about. Why would I say any of that though? It seems she already knows everything about me.

Enough of the I could. I WILL tell Arya that if she doesn't like who she thinks I am, or what this blog is about, then she is more than welcome to unsubscribe. There are plenty of other blogs that focus solely on pretty pictures. 

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight
and never stop fighting.
-e.e. cummings

I had to memorize that in 7th grade. Fifteen years later - it still applies. I once heard this: to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. Think about that! Don't be afraid of criticism. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway." Think of criticism and you as oil and water - just tell yourself the two don't mix, and let it roll off your back. Stay true to yourself. Act with integrity so that you may always hold your head high. You are good because you're YOU. There are 7 billion people in this world - don't let one get you down!