Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

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Radically Natural Retirement: Final Words and Thanks

It's time to say good-bye.

Ironically, I spent hours over the last week writing this final post, in which I attempted to cover all the important ground I have yet to cover, to finish all the half-written articles in my draft box.  It was my final attempt to make a positive impact on the health and lives of anyone willing to read my words.  Alas, the Internet ate my post...all that work just disappeared.  I kind of want to cry a little, I definitely want to throw something.  My husband asked, "You didn't write and save it in a Pages doc first?"  Ah, that would have been far too sensible.  Why not trust the blogger edit window and it's little "save" button?  I mean, this is the golden age of technology.  What could go wrong?!  Haha...  So I'm taking this loss as a sign from God that I am not meant to say all the things I wrote.  And I suppose that's a fitting end to this experiment of mine, my relationship with the blogging world and with trying to convince people of health reality as I see it.

It may come as no surprise that I am retiring Radically Natural Living.  My presence here has been spotty at best in the last year.  I started this blog at the encouragement of a friend, with the goal of sharing my experience and background in the healing arts...and I enjoyed attempting to share and work in this medium.  I have learned much, and I hope I have taught something of value.  But in all honesty, the fast-paced modern Internet world of blogging and social media just isn't for me.  I remember and prefer the web world before the blogging boom, when sites were slow-paced research-oriented encyclopedias.  Attempting to create, design and understand the technical aspects of the blogging platform takes its toll on an old-school gal like myself.  While I must admit to myself that I stole time from more needful responsibilities to create RNL, I do not regret all the hours spent in planning and writing articles, if I was able to minister to peoples' wellness.  But I cannot continue to burn my candle at both ends.    

I leave the world of Real food, Real health and Real birth blogging to more capable hands and voices, and I look forward to enjoying their continued works.  While I will not be maintaining this blog any further, it will still exist in this space, so I hope my past offerings might continue to be used as a resource.  I will be canceling the custom URL, so this blog may be found in future at www.radicallynatural.blogspot.com.  I might publish a finalized RNL index sometime following this post.

Time permitting, I will continue to work (slo--w--ly) on my EveryWiseWoman Herbals site, which already contains many articles and white papers I have written, as well as my storefront for HerbalAide Super Salve, Labor Oil, and whatever remedies time allows me to offer in future.

Some of you I know, most of you I do not.  I want to thank you all, truly, for your support in the short life of this blog.  I did not accomplish all I set out to do, but that is part of the learning experience.  At times, I tried too hard to be clever, or I neglected to restrain my frustrations with the "state of things" (I was far too snarky as I raged against the machine).  I experienced valuable illuminations during this process, and I have been forced to examine my priorities and goals.  But this has been an enlightening and challenging experience for me, and I appreciate your participation as readers!  There are so many things I wanted to teach, to share, to reveal, but I leave that to others, including all of you.  For you are your own best teacher, when you truly desire to learn and to pursue truth and personal responsibility for your wellness.  It isn't anyone else's job to figure things out and apply the knowledge...it's your job.

For my final act, I will condense some of my favorite ideas and health advice that I desire to leave with willing readers.  (I will not be supplying info links, as my final challenge is that you do the study.)  I am attempting to be quick, not curt, and I share because I care...not just to hear the sound of my own typing.  :)  These are the topics I hope people will study with fervor, applying the accumulated healing knowledge to their lives.

  • Health begins in the gut.  If yours is leaky or riddled with malevolent pathogens, you are not healthy...your immunity, your brain function, your hormones, your ability to absorb nutrients, your EVERYthing depends on your gut health.  Your children's gut health began with your gut health.  If you have eaten modern food or used pharmaceuticals (including but not limited to antibiotics, vaccines, NSAIDs, birth control pills) in your lifetime, you have a leaky and/or pathogenic-overrun gut.  In other words, we all have some level of gut dysbiosis.  Fix it.  Learn how.  (GAPS is an excellent answer, likely the best answer, but not the only answer.)  
  • After you have healed your gut, live on a Nourishing Traditions diet and shun industrial food.
  • Brain chemistry disorders (depression, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, ADHD, brain fog, OCD, etc.) are not all in your head (and they are never "just because")...they often stem from issues in the "second brain," i.e., your gut, and/or substances you put into your body (which can cause gut dysbiosis), and/or nutrient deficiencies (which can stem from gut dysbiosis).  See point one.  Also, suspect and correct vitamin D deficiency (if using food sources, see point one).  
  • If you choose to do the GAPS healing protocol, please, first read the book!  Study die off and withdrawal.  Understand that a healing crisis will occur (in which you will feel worse before you get better).  Expect die off symptoms (a flare up of any previous allergy or GI symptoms, lethargy, crankiness, sleep disturbances, headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc.), and initial lethargy and hunger from ketogenesis (your body switching from burning carbs to burning fat).  You must do GAPS Intro and then stick with Full GAPS for at least 6 months (two years is optimum) to see real results.  You cannot cheat and expect it to work.  Anything worth doing is difficult...real healing takes time, and being truly well demands real effort.  
  • Doing GAPS Intro for a couple weeks once a year is a wonderful way to detox and rebalance your gut flora and strengthen the integrity of the gut walls.  Doing GAPS Intro during or after a significant illness is very healing.
  • When doing GAPS, understand histamine sensitivity and how it might impact your healing process.  Allergic people are prone to histamine sensitivities, and fermented foods and other foods can increase histamine levels in the body, exacerbating symptoms like eczema.  Work on resealing the gut before introducing fermented foods.  Proceed with ferments slowly and do not be discouraged.  Healing takes time.
  • Healing takes time.  It's worth restating; it's a principle never to be overlooked.  Healing is a process.  Anything worth doing takes hard work and commitment, and healing is no different.  Taking drugs that suppress symptoms is never healing.  If you want to heal for real, you need to accept the time and effort involved.  You need to accept the healing crisis, in which you can feel worse before you feel better.
  • Coffee is a drug.  Of primary concern is coffee's damage to the adrenal glands.  The alert "high" you feel when ingesting coffee comes at a cost, overstimulating adrenal response, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue...coffee is an addictive substance that does not add energy, it creates fatigue.  Coffee also contributes to brain fog, cross-reacts with gluten antibodies (leading to gluten sensitivity symptoms), constricts blood vessels, creates acidity, imbalances blood sugar, and produces gut inflammation.  Coffee consumption will catch up with you someday.  If you use coffee to "wake up" or stay alert, if you are saying, "I love coffee.  There's nothing wrong with coffee.  I drink it everyday and I'm not going to stop..." or, "I might be willing to try other things to get healthy, but I won't give up my coffee..." or you're just plugging your ears, squeezing your eyes shut and saying, "Nah, nah, nah, coffee good, coffee good," or if you feel fatigued or headachy or cranky when you don't get your coffee, you need to consider the reality that you are an addict.  You can get flavanoids and natural stimulation from good foods and herbs that do not contain dangerous addictive substances (try cayenne, maca, and coconut oil...not necessarily mixed together, hahaha).  So do yourself a favor and kick the coffee habit.  Detox baths and extra hydration can help with the withdrawal symptoms.  
  • Sugar can be a nutrient-sucking substance that depresses immune function (by damaging nuetrophil responsiveness), feeds malevolent flora, and makes us fat.  Some forms of sugar are bad, others are worse, some are OK.  (Hint: agave is not OK, neither is dehydrated cane juice, which is just a fancy name for a type of refined sugar.)  Study mono vs. poly saccharides and how they affect gut flora, understand blood sugar reactions, study the glycemic index, study fructose and your liver, study insulin resistance, understand how sugar feeds cancer, study various sugar forms' processing procedures and nutrient profiles.  Consider that raw, unprocessed honey (a monosaccharide) is the only natural sweetener that requires no processing whatsoever before consumption, and contains antimicrobial and probiotic benefits.
  • Real fat is a lifesaver.  Eat more.  Your brain, your hormones, your heart, your joints, your tissues, every cell in your body will thank you.  Good fats nourish and satiate us, and never make us fat.  If you love your kids, feed them real fat...and lots of it.  Fat-free or low-fat diets and fake fats (trans fats, vegetable fats) are making us stupid and killing us.  Study why. 
  • Modern grains are inflammatory and can "rip up" your gut.  Going gluten free won't fix the root cause of your gluten problem.  Modern wheat, hybridized for production, grown in synthetic monoculture environments, manipulated for higher gluten content, is a substance no longer recognized by the human body as a healthy, digestible food.  Study the impact of wheat protein, study the ancient alternatives, understand the conventional wheat harvesting process (Roundup, roundup, everywhere), and know that you must remedy your gut health (see point one).
  • Milk can be deadly poison.  Adulterated commercial industrial milk is not food...it contributes to serious health problems, including autoimmune disorders.  If you are not drinking whole, raw, grassfed milk from cows that spend time outside in healthy pastures, don't drink milk at all.  Understand that if you have leaky gut, you likely cannot tolerate even Real Milk.  Heal your gut first, then try Real Milk.  Goats' milk is naturally more digestible for humans than is cows' milk (it's just a molecular reality).  Study the issue of A1/A2 milk and understand heritage breeds vs. frankencows.  Consider the old adage:  Goat milk for drinking, cow milk for butter, sheep milk for cheese.
  • Toxins are everywhere and we need to be aware, practice avoidance, and build and cleanse our bodies through detoxification and nourishment.  Study EMF pollution, industrial food (especially chemically based agriculture and CAFOs) and the pollution that system causes, air and water pollution sources, sick building syndrome, toxic toiletries, cleaning products, baby and feminine products...understand sources of chemicals in your everyday life...synthetic foods and supplements, wireless devices, VOCs, off-gassing formaldehyde, PDBEs, dioxins, drugs, etc.  Learn how to make or find alternatives, and change your lifestyle to reduce toxic load.
  • The FDA is not your friend.  Read all about it.  Dare I say more?  This unelected, corrupt, collusive, bullying, deceptive, profit-mongering (for its buddies) agency calls evil good and good evil.  While its "approved" drugs harm (and even kill) people, the FDA spreads fear and lies about botanical medicine...the (non-patentable, ergo "non-profitable") plants that actually can and do cure illness and disease (competition for the medical industry's drug system).  The FDA has a history of threatening and persecuting out-of-the box doctors, healers and providers who promote and use such remedies.  I recently parted ways with an essential oil company I previously promoted, after said company scoured my blog and informed me that I was out of "compliance" with its FDA-obeisance policies.  I will not comply with the FDA, and I will not do business with natural medicine suppliers who do not believe in the medicine they sell...who encourage their distributors to remain silent about the curative powers of those botanicals.  Apparently I have strong feelings about this.  I need to take a therapeutic magnesium salt and lavender bath.  
  • Vaccines are dangerous.  It's true.  Google it.  OK, kidding aside...study this prominent and essential issue (books, articles and videos abound on the topic)...be warned, it's not pretty.
  • Herbs are not drugs...they are Real Medicine, safe and effective.  Study and understand the whole herb methodology (it's the antithesis to the pharmaceutically influenced "slice/splice/isolate/synthesize" methodology).  Learn how to use botanical medicine properly and consistently.
  • Pregnancy is not an illness and birth is not an emergency.  (Exception: women in the small minority of high risk pregnancies...study the statistics.)  Midwives are pregnancy and birth experts; understand midwifery education and training.  Technological interventions do not make birth safer; homebirth is the safest place for normal birth (hospitals are for acute emergent traumas).  Understand the cascade of interventions and study the midwife model of care.  Don't dose your baby with cocaine during the birth process, don't traumatize yourself and your baby with a damage-causing, synthetic hormone to unnaturally force the process.  Don't become an industrial birth c-section statistic.  Learn how to birth and choose a midwife who will help you do so successfully.  Learn about VBACs.  Free yourself from birth fear!  
  • Healthy children begin with healthy mamas!  Learn the importance of natural child spacing both for mama's and future children's health.  Understand "second child syndrome"  and how to avoid it.  Embrace traditional wisdom...practice biological breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing. 
  • The pregnant body exhibits wisdom (and heightened protective powers...remember "radar nose?").  Cravings for "pickles and ice cream" may be a long-held cultural joke, but is actually body knowledge brilliance.  Traditionally fermented pickles, a probiotic food, feed our body's beneficial flora, boosting immunity and promoting good flora to pass on to baby...not to mention keeping digestion working well throughout pregnancy.  Natural, old-fashioned, high-fat ice cream made with raw grass-fed whole milk and cream (and preferably honey over refined sugars) is a baby-building superfood, full of necessary fats and minerals.  Such dietary components keep pregnant mamas healthy and comfortable, help to build a healthy baby (bones, brain and gut), and prepare mama for nursing success.  
  • Our hormones are out of whack.  Thyroid and adrenal problems are the "new normal."  Irregular menstrual cycles and infertility are modern dilemmas.  Learn about your endocrine system.  Do a liver cleanse (the liver is an important part of the endocrine system).  Heal your gut.  Dump the drug habits and eat real food, particularly good fats and cholesterol (a "mother" hormone and a basic building block of every cell in your body).  Get more vitamin D (a steroid hormone precursor).  Learn about toxins, how to remove them from your body, and how to avoid them (including electronic pollution and EMF radiation).  During all your childbearing years, eat a nourishing fertility diet (look up the WAPF pregnancy/nursing/fertility diet), including fertility-boosting herbs like red clover.  Study lunaception.  Get more sleep. 
  • Your bowels tell you more about your health than most practitioners can.  Study the Bristol stool chart.  You should be passing a healthy bowel movement daily.  Nausea can be an indication of your need to empty your bowels.  Understand that sluggish and abnormal bowels (stinky, scanty, hard, etc.) contribute to toxicity, inflammation, systemic malfunctions and illness.  Become acquainted with the benefits of water enemas.  Coffee enemas can be used therapeutically; coffee acts differently in the body when used in an enema.  (Please study this first...you use very small amounts of low-roasted coffee for enemas, and sensitive people may not do well with coffee enemas...coffee enemas are serious detox therapy.)  Enemas are a wonderful way to detox.  Don't be squeamish, be a grown up and take care of your health.  Let's raise our kids with comfort and knowledge of natural bodily functions.
  • Body odor and skin condition reveal the status of your body's ecological health...this is gut dysbiosis in play again.  Strong and unpleasant body odor indicates flora imbalances.  Natural hygiene begins with systemic detoxification and gut health.  Skin eruptions (rashes, acne, etc) are also a sign of what is happening in your gut...food sensitivities and gut dysbiosis are the culprits.  Your outside reveals your inside, and the odors emanating from you, as well as the "stuff" erupting on your skin, reveal internal health.  (Bad breath can be microbial overgrowth, but can be exacerbated by dehydration.)
  • Dehydration is deceptively common.  Every cell in your body needs water to survive, let alone thrive.  Your brain will divert water from your other organs to ensure its survival.  The average adult body uses about 64 ounces of water daily just for survival processes.  We must replenish this and more daily.  Constipation, headaches, lethargy, loss of suppleness, blood viscosity, systemic toxic buildups...these and more are common side effects of dehydration.  Read Dr. Batmanghelidj's books and learn about your body's needs and cries for water.  (Always remember to replenish electrolytes, by eating more mineral rich salt.) 
  • Real salt is good for you.  Your body needs mineral-rich real salt.  Study why, and don't deprive yourself!
  • Magnesium is the unsung hero of the mineral world.  Study the effects of magnesium deficiency, and how essential magnesium is to muscles and nerves in your body.
  • Vitamin D!  Sun...pastured lard...oysters...nontoxic cod liver oil.  Vitamin D good, sunscreen bad.  Vitamin D good, synthetic versions bad.  Irradiated sheep lanolin?  Skip it!  Eat D rich foods and bathe in the sun (if you can get any).  Your skin synthesizes vitamin D from sun exposure, which is the best way to get D.  Alas, most of us never get enough D-rich sun.  So be sure to eat good D sources for at least 9 months of the year.
  • Real food matters.  Modern, industrial, chemically produced, synthetic, processed, denatured, neutered frankenfood is destroying our health.  Take responsibility for what you put in your mouth and feed your children.  Cutting corners and cheating will catch up with us.  Pay now or pay later.  Garbage in, garbage out!  
  • Laughter heals!  Among other benefits, laughter releases endorphins, which alleviate pain and speed healing.  (Laboring women should have their husbands tell them jokes...or turn on a Tim Hawkins DVD...especially during transition!)  Studies have shown that a positive outlook has a beneficial impact on illness recovery.  The Bible says that a cheerful heart brings health to the bones!  We all need to lighten up, reduce stress, sleep more, and laugh often (especially at ourselves)!
  • Are we slaves to our genetics?  Are genes immutable?  Seems not...  Study epigenetics and read Pottenger, Price, et al.  Learn how to feed your genes and flip your switches.  Take your future grandchildren's health into your hands now.  We are what we eat.
  • Ailments are never arbitrary.  Everything has a root cause.  Nothing just "happens" for no reason.  Anyone who says otherwise is either uneducated, brainwashed, or lying.  

Well that was a mouthful!  And there is yet so much more I wish I could share...that I wish I had shared.  But I suppose this isn't a bad start for a "consideration and research" list to throw in someone's lap.  For anyone who is still left, I will close with a parting plea...

Bless yourself and your families by taking time everyday to turn off your cell phone (if I could un-invent them, I would), turn off the wifi, walk away from your computer, and pick up a real book (the kind made of paper).  Read, absorb, learn, apply, grow, practice...do the hard work to nourish yourselves: mind, body, soul.  There are no shortcuts.  All choices have consequences: good, bad or ugly.  But we all have much to learn; the process is never-ending, utterly essential, and wonderfully rewarding.  Study to show yourself approved; research until your eyeballs go numb.  Make a difference in your own life, and your children's lives.

Enjoy good health, eat Real Food, use Real Medicine and pursue Real Birth, and may you be blessed by accepting our Creator's blueprint for life.

Thank you for reading!  God bless you!

Radically Natural POV: Beware Flu Shot Pushers!

A few weeks ago, during a drive home from a visit to the coast, we stopped at a Rite Aid so my kids could use the bathroom (yes, I weary of roadtrip gas station bathroom stops).  The available facilities in this store were the employee bathrooms in the back stocking area...you know, behind the double doors ominously marked "Employees ONLY."  As we passed through the doors and walked toward the bathroom hallway, I noticed the following sign:

Ah, the winter "flu shot" vaccine push begins.  And apparently, pharmacies have a quota to fill.  The vaccine industry is a money-making machine, and the Wall Street Journal claims that "pharmacies could use a sales boost," explaining why the stores are rolling out the shots earlier this year.

Traditionally, influenza-vaccination season started in October. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the timing be moved up by a month. Now, the shots are available before Labor Day, mixing it up with suntan lotion and back-to-school supplies. ... The hope is that customers will stop in for a flu shot and pick up shampoo or a gallon of milk.

Certainly by now you have heard and read about the dangers of the non-evidence-based flu shot: its lack of efficacy (ie the "one shot protects from a cornucopia of viral strains" fallacy, and the immunity conferring fallacy), and its damaging effect upon your natural immune system.  Your best bet during flu season is to stay well nourished with Real Food (particularly traditional healing foods like broths and probiotic foods, as well as foods rich in vitamin D and A, like cod liver oil), and to use real botanical medicine (both prophylactically, like elder and echinacea, as well as a variety of illness remedies).

Or, you could trust the illustrious CDC.  Yes, a new chapter of the vaccine controversy became prominent in late August after CDC scientist William Thompson came forward, admitting that the CDC has suppressed data showing a link between autism and vaccines.  The CDC is one of the medical industry's loudest voices in the virulent decrying of doctors and scientists who have for many years questioned vaccine safety and efficacy.

But you can climb that mountain of research.  The question we all should be asking is why these shots are being pushed so aggressively.

To learn more, check out the links below.  

Why We Refuse Vaccination (My research paper)

Protecting Our Children from Fear-Based Medicine

A Shot Never Worth Taking (Kelly Brogan, MD)

10 Reasons Flu Shots Are Dangerous
Drug Stores Get an Early Start Pushing Flu Shots (WSJ)
Autism Vaccine CoverUp Snowballs (Updates of recent CDC Whistleblower Scandal)
CDC Whistleblower Calls on Congress to Intervene ("I have a boss who is asking me to lie!")
Vaccine-Autism Fraud Revealed

Radically Natural Remedies for Winter Ick

EWW Ailment Treatments List

Radically Natural POV: Avoiding GMOs Isn't Enough

I've noticed a little trend of late, at our local farmer's market and natural food store.  I'm hearing inklings of a new twist on the search for clean food.  "As long as it's non-GMO, you're OK...just avoid the GMOs."  I have been told that customers are less willing to pay for organic...they only care that the choices are non-GMO...a less expensive option.  It seems like in the careful consumer's search for "affordable" food, GMO avoidance has taken the spotlight and the chemical soup that we have been so ardent to avoid for so long has begun to fade from our fears.

Image from Wikipedia...Gives new meaning to "food safety," eh?
The GMO scare has become such a prominent focus in the Real Food realm that I wonder if we have lost sight of the bigger picture.  Of course we should avoid GMOs, of course they are not safe, of course they are not Real Food.  But the dangers of GMOs are only one part of the picture.  We can't let the GMO spectre overshadow the reality of toxic chemicals in our soil and our food supply.  The use of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) and synthetic fertilizers is the cornerstone of industrial farming.  These are the dangerous chemicals that health advocates warned us about so fervently in the past decades (how can we forget Silent Spring?), and we should not lessen our resolve to avoid them now.  Research continues to show that exposure to these chemicals can have serious and lasting health consequences for generations (with an emphasis on negative endocrine effects...ie infertility).

We used to have chickens and ducks.  We currently have goats and pigs.  We know firsthand the costs of organic inputs.  My husband's recent search to find local, less expensive, clean grains to feed the animals we raise for our food has been disheartening.  Most of the growers in our area are using the toxic Agent Orange component, 2,4-D, a carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting herbicide.  One farmer my husband spoke with was quick to claim that his grains were non-GMO, but he admitted he did use 2,4-D...the dangers of which he side-stepped with a bit of spin that sounded like a page out of the county extension agent's handbook.

The move to 2,4-D does not bode well for the future of food.  That herbicide is gaining popularity because it works when Roundup does not.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  We know how toxic Roundup is...but 2,4-D is apparently worse.  (And sold for "home" use as well...let us not forget the toxic lawns that American children play on regularly...2,4-D is one of the most popular lawn herbicides used.)  In fact, Dow and Monsanto have already been seeking governmental approval for their next wave of chemical brews to combat the ever-growing "weed" and pest resistance.  As they all do, this widely used herbicide will contribute to the proliferation of "super weeds," which will herald Big Ag's cry for even stronger poisons.  Where does it end?!

Image from heartlandbeat.com...BigAg food prep.
Perhaps I have an overactive imagination, but I can't help feeling that while the heretofore chemically cautious consumers are being distracted by the evil that is GMOs, the chemical companies are laughing all the way to the bank (as they continue to spread their ever-worsening poisons across America).  Of course, big chem and big biotech go hand in hand, as the increasing use of stronger chemicals is being touted by said industries as necessary for their GM crops.

We need to be wary of losing our original zeal for clean, organic, Real Food.  And because commercial (certified) Organic growers are allowed to use some pesticides (yes, even the synthetic kind), we need to be avid about finding clean food sources or growing our own.  If we become lulled into a false sense of security by focusing solely on GMOs, we will return ourselves to the days of eating poison and paying the piper with our physical demise and our children's compromised health future.  The costs of complacency are too high.  

Yes, truly organic food is more expensive, but what is your health worth?  Your children's health...their brain function, immune function, future fertility?  Why are we fooling ourselves into accepting the industry's chemical brews?  Perhaps we need a reminding nudge about what we are turning a blind eye to...maybe a "light read" of the many legal chemical pesticides available to food producers.  (Lists are published state by state...check out this one for New York).  We need to remind our friends, our families, our neighbors, ourselves that the chemical toxins in the food supply have serious and lasting deleterious health affects.  

Nontoxic food costs more to produce; it costs more to purchase.  But...Pay now or pay later.  Such is the reality of dealing with poisons in our food.

Revival of Highly Toxic Herbicide
Pesticide Action Network: Pesticides on Food
2,4-D Fact Sheet
Farmer Speaks Out Against 2,4-D
Big Ag Doesn't Want You to Care about Pesticides
Pesticide Exposure Linked to Adverse Affects Three Generations Later
Beyond Pesticides (Consumer Safety Organization)

Radically Natural POV: Teach Your Children the Three Rs

I once heard a wise man say that if you have children, you are a parent.  It's more profound than it sounds, isn't it?  Being a parent is your number-one, full-time job...it is your life's calling.  Everything else is secondary to it.  And the beautiful privilege and weighty responsibility of any parent is to raise adults...to make people...intelligent, creative, caring, thinking, balanced, self-sufficient, happy, healthy people.  When our children leave our nests, they take with them the bodies we have made for them, the spirits we have nurtured in them, the perspectives we have imparted, and whatever education and indoctrination they received during their formative years...from us and from others.

We parents desire to see our children master the basics of education...the three Rs of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic...as well as the other subjects that add enrichment to their understanding of life and the world in which we live.  Should we not also desire that they excel in the basics of healthy, nourishing life skills?  If we send our children out into the world without full knowledge of health and wellness, are they truly educated and ready to care for themselves and their future families?  It is essential that we actively teach our children the three Rs of healthy natural living:  Real Food, Real Medicine and Real Birth.

I used to believe that my children would just absorb, as through osmosis, the knowledge and lifestyle my husband and I model for them...that they would seamlessly adopt our nourishing and healing lifestyle.  But if we expect children to grow in wisdom and understanding, we must instruct them.  Anything worth knowing and worth doing is worth studying.  Children need to be actively taught so they will be firmly established in correct knowledge and practices.  Whether it be faith, academics, arts, music and craftsmanship, or nurturing health habits, instruction is key to developing worthwhile skills and lasting principles.

There is a war on for our children's minds and their future consumerist habits.  The industrial models of food and medicine reign supreme as the established default position in our modern culture.  If our children are not firmly entrenched in truth, which path will they choose?  If we don't equip them with the tools of knowledge and skills, they may fall prey to our society's "trust the experts" conventional mindset.  We don't want our children to be intellectually illiterate...neither should we allow them to be "healthily" illiterate.  If we don't actively choose an alternate path...seek ancient and traditional and sensical and natural (and somewhere-buried instinctual) wisdom...we all end up on the Standard American Diet and our culture's standard of health care and birth practices.  It is simply the truth of cultural influence, conventional education, and the prevailing established industries.  [For example: Despite a cornucopia of evidence to the contrary, we still live in a society where most conventionally trained dietitians and medical students are still taught the lipid hypothesis and the S.A.D. basics of macronutrient theory.  They don't distinguish between high fructose corn syrup and honey, hydrogenated soy oil and butter...they play a numbers game.  If the label shows the right percentages of fat, sugar, protein, and a sundry list of vitamins, that's all that matters.  Food source and preparation technique is largely irrelevant.  They remain willfully ignorant of the fact that industrial, synthetic, refined, processed edible goods are not Food.]

Why would we sacrificially and lovingly invest our time and effort for the benefit of our children (from conception)...to protect their health and work to establish a strong physical foundation for their future lives...only to have them leave our home and go on to poison themselves with a conventional industrial life of synthetic food and medicine and fear-based practices?  It is our duty to make sure they fully comprehend the principles of genuine health and nourishment on which we raised them.  If we neglect to actively educate them about the benefits and value of traditional healthy living, can we assume they are invested in pursuing the right choices?  They need to understand...before they are autonomous...the why and the how of nourishing and healing.  If we care about our children, we desire for them good and not ill.  We want to make sure they care and that they are capable and that they desire spouses also "in the know."  Because we will certainly want the same good for our grandchildren that we desired for our children.

Many of us are pioneers in this real food, real health realm.  When I left my parents' home, I was a "dumb cluck."  I knew nothing about being a wife and mother, about food and health.  My husband and I were blessed to grow together in our knowledge as I was mentored by older women who knew better and lived better.  Before I became enlightened to the truth about nourishment and real healing, I continued to perpetrate the damage to my body that was begun in my childhood.  I know firsthand how terribly difficult it is to reverse long-established chronic health problems.  I know firsthand the effects of industrial food and medicine.  I have suffered "garbage in, garbage out."  When I learned what it meant to heal, how to do the hard work to try to reverse ailments, how to create healthy bodies from before conception, I dedicated myself to a new...a better...way of living.  Would I want any less for my children?  I am creating for them a legacy and I desire to see them carry the mantle forward when they are no longer under my direct care.  I want more for my children, so I do the work for them now.  And I expect more from my children in their future choices because they were raised in this healing lifestyle.  They are being reared with a proper perspective on food and healing...much is being invested into creating for them strong and healthy bodies.  They are being given a foundation for their futures.  They are being given the precious gift of good health.  Their quality of life, their abilities to achieve and to conquer and to create and to enjoy life, depends upon maintaining good health (physically, mentally and spiritually).  Our children need to apprehend and adopt the path of nurturing upon which we have set them.  They don't get to play dumb cluck when they graduate into adulthood and leave our homes.  They are leaps ahead of where most of us were in our youth, and they need to understand how good they have it, how well nurtured they have been, and how grateful they should be to have the opportunity to experience life from a platform of health and wellness.

Whether you homeschool or not, you can teach your children the skills and knowledge they need to sustain the healthy lifestyle you are working so hard to establish for them.  Talk to your children about the choices you have made for yourself and for them.  Explain sowing and reaping.  And when they are old enough, assign your children reading materials that teach the principles of Real Food, Real Medicine, Real Birth.   Our children should be prepared to cook traditional nourishing food for themselves.  They should understand holistic physiology and know basic botanical medicine so they can successfully deal with ailments and minor emergencies.  And should they need deeper assistance dealing with disease or extreme acute trauma, they should know how, when, why and from whom to seek help.  They should understand a nourishing fertility diet, and comprehend the truth behind our profit-driven technocratic birth industry.  They should know why homebirth actually is safer for the majority of women and babies.  They should know how to avoid being victimized by industrial medical protocols.

Teach your children well...train them now, and when they grow older they will be prepared to thrive.  Don't leave it up to chance.  Whatever you want your children to know, give them opportunities to explore and acquire foundational knowledge.  Make them active participants in their own healing and nourishing.  Don't just serve them, teach them to minister to themselves and to others.  Make it fun, make it appealing, and make sure they understand why we do what we do.

Young children can begin to learn the basics of how the body works, how it is amazingly self-healing when treated properly... they can begin to learn about healing plants, and good vs. bad foods.  They can be given the default position that women's bodies were made to have babies and that is not a scary or impossible thing.  By the time they are in high school, children should have a basic food and healing curriculum that includes topics on traditional nourishing foods; how diet affects growth and degeneration, wellness or illness; the truth about fat and cholesterol; basic anatomy and physiology from a holistic perspective; botanical medicine; natural birth; and food and medical politics and history.

We work diligently so our babies and children are spared the devastation that the alternatives to nourishing food and botanical medicine can wreak.  We are protecting our children from the S.A.D life that greedy corporations wish they would live.  Let us not take for granted that our children will vicariously adopt our nurturing guiding principles.  Let us actively instruct them so they will not fall prey to the mistaken elitist notion that they need some expert to take care of them or control them.  Let us teach them that they can and should take charge of their own health and make their own nourishing meals and apply their own healing remedies.  Let us be proactive in giving our children the tools and education they need to understand why and how they should do the rewarding work required to pursue and enjoy the naturally nourishing, healing lifestyle.

Some References for Getting Started

Vaccination and the "Scientific Method"

I read this week one of the most succinct, thoroughly researched presentations on the continually raging vaccine controversy.  I wish I had written it!  LOL 

The author highlighted numerous important aspects of this issue, including individual rights, medical efficacy and scientific veracity.  She echoed sentiments and research I have presented, and she emphasized a key component to the controversy: the illegitimate "scientific method" used in vaccine safety trials.  The double-blind placebo controlled trial is the empirical standard of medical science.  But vaccine trials don't use this method.  

You see, vaccines are not research effective because they are not subjected to double-blind placebo controlled studies using a saline solution that is the standard for evidence-based medicine. Vaccinations are tested against other vaccinations, adjuvants, and complex vaccinations – this not only yields inaccurate results but altered and inaccurate safety data. How can you know if something is truly safe if it is not tested against a placebo? -- Megan Heimer, Livingwhole.org
It seems to me that even people who trust that pharma companies are using honest, objective scientific methodology to test their drugs (I am not one of those people) would assent to the falsity of the vaccine safety test methods.  Other drugs are not (supposed to be) tested thus.

Some people might agree with the unscientific vaccine testing protocol, excusing it by saying it would be "unethical" to withhold a "necessary" medicine from a child (I read this in the comments section on Megan's post).  Hmmmm...are vaccines truly necessary?  The jury is certainly out on that one.  Consider that there are thousands of unvaccinated children in this country alone...many of them by parental choice...not to mention the unvaccinated adults.  No child died after a well-check from not receiving a vaccine, but children have died after receiving their vaccines.  I do not believe it is acutely life threatening to withhold a vaccine, so a legitimate study, even a short-term acute reaction study, could certainly be done.  

Kudos to Megan for her Response to Eliminating Vaccine Exemptions!  

Is This a New Era of Normal? Detoxing for Life with Constant Toxic Load

I'm no engineer.  I'm absolutely not brainy with electronics.  Computers and the like regularly set my teeth on edge (as I'm sure is apparent to anyone with any tech sense, LOL).  But every so often, I dream of inventions.  I know I couldn't manage to create them, but I wish someone would!

I have a love-hate relationship with my front loading washer.  I love that I can stuff a king-sized comforter in it, but I hate that it doesn't fill with water.  I long for gushes, not trickles.  What's the point of an "environmentally friendly" washing machine that has to be run three times just to get a load clean?  Water, Whirlpool!  Water would help!  I long for the days of old-fashioned "water wasting," full-to-the-brim, heavy duty, steel-drum top loaders.  The kind my parents had.  These new, shiny, rinky dink, "designed obsolescence" appliances make me want to set my hair afire.  I would love to see someone manufacture an honest-to-goodness, super large capacity, water-gobbling top loader with a removable agitator...so I can take it out when I want to wash a king-sized comforter or sleeping bag.

Or how about a voice-activated shower shut off system?  You program it to the sound of your screaming...  So when your husband decides to bless you by washing some dishes during your "quiet time," stealing ALL the hot water, or your child flushes the toilet while you are in the shower and you get scalded, a quick "AAAIIIIEEEEEEEEE," and the water turns off instantly.

But my current desire is a special pair of glasses with which you could see all the pollution sources around you...EMFs, radiation, petroleum by-products...everything.  The glasses would detect and measure the dangers for you.

This last invention would have come in quite handy last week, when my children received burns after playing in the fresh fallen snow.  It was not a freezing cold day.  I considered the possibility of superficial frostbite (aka frostnip), in which the exposed skin surface freezes, initially feeling red and itchy, but then turns pale and becomes numb.  Frostnip typically affects the cheeks, ears, fingers and toes, but my children's marks were only on skin where snow had come into direct contact.  My children's marks looked like a sunburn, and they were warm, raw and painful to the touch...they never paled and did not numb.  So my instinct urged me to question...  If these were burns, what could be the cause?

I had recently read about continued radiation release from Fukoshima. Certainly it wasn't broadcast on CNN or MSNBC.  But my brief years as a professional journalist firmly entrenched me into a distrust of corporate media.  [Why would we expect that the "official" stories are always true?  Or that we are being given anything more than a "story" at all?  Never forget, my friends, truth is stranger than fiction and the powers that be do not trade in truth.  Ask any classically trained journalist (who still believes in sharing the unvarnished truth with the public) about PR spin doctors, and you'll get more of an earful than you ever desired.]

And perhaps the information is flawed.  But watching a Geiger reading last week at the beach in California indicating radioactivity at 1200% above normal, really raised my hackles.  And seeing a man in Missouri reading radioactivity in the snowfall started me worrying.  Frankly, I do not care the source of the pollution, be it Fukoshima or something else in the air...  When empirical evidence tells us that the problem exists, the source is somewhat irrelevant.

My children, excited for our year's first significant snowfall, did what all exuberant youth should do.  They eagerly plunged into an afternoon of snowfort building and snowball throwing.  But after an hour, they came in the house complaining.  They didn't feel quite well, and their skin itched.  An hour later, upon examination, I noticed that they had red, raw patches on their skin...only in a few places, where they had direct contact with snow.  My eldest son received snowballs down the back of his neck, my middle son had snow on his face and chin, and my young daughter had a small snowball stuffed (by a lovingly goofball brother) down her shirt.  Each child complained that the red marks, which I can describe only as burns, were tender...painful upon touch.

I have never before seen such a reaction to the snow.  I was concerned and wanted some confirmation of my suspicions...pronto.  But I don't own a Geiger counter (yet).  Thankfully, I know someone who knows someones who were likely candidates.

It could just be my imagination (or a bit of wishful thinking), but it seems to me that in our rural northwest location we are surrounded by an above-average demographic of doomsday preppers.  As we are still rather "new" here, I am unsure if this contingent is "life as normal," or if it is a recently rising trend.  But God bless those self-sufficient survivalists, some of them are quite friendly, some of them willing to share their wisdom, and some of them have Geiger counters.

The report I received from my friend was that the gentleman he queried went walking in the snow with his detector, and he reported that we were "hot."  Ten RADS an hour.  He admitted his equipment might not be properly calibrated, but considering the radioactive readings others got last week, I am inclined to believe that all is not clean and clear in the air.  I do not yet fully understand all the nuances of measuring radioactivity and the RADS reading, and I continue to study the issue.  I am desirous of confirmation or contradiction from other people with equipment.  But I am not going to sit around and do nothing, assuming that this is my overactive imagination.  If we are being exposed again (or still) to radioactivity from Fukoshima or something else, I need to be proactive to protect my family.

So my hunt for the daily radiation detox regimen begins.  In a shocking turn of events (gasp), I am not attempting in this post to reveal all the answers, remedy all ailments, firmly direct readers.  I simply want to share this part of my journey so you might begin to question the necessity of your own.  I will tell you what I've discovered and decided so far and urge you to research further and consider what it means to live in a chronically toxic environment.

Protection and Detoxification from Radiation

Treatments for nuclear contamination include familiar nutrients and supplements that protect our organs and detoxify our bodies.  The following include a few essentials that I am giving my family daily.  Most of these items have been part of our routine for years, and most of them overlap with the GAPS detox protocol, but I am increasing regularity and dosage (particularly of clay).  Please research and study beyond my recommendations, as there is much to learn and I am only sharing an overview.

Helpful herbs, foods and vitamins include:
  • Chlorella
  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Ashwagandha
  • Siberian Ginseng
  • Kelp
  • Sea salt
  • Coconut oil
  • Flushing with proper hydration (drink 1 oz. water for every pound you weigh and add 1 tsp. mineral rich real salt to every gallon of water you consume)
We hear a lot about iodine supplementation as a crucial component to radioactivity exposure.  Elemental iodine is important, but it isn't enough.  It won't protect your entire body from all types of radiation.  It is fundamental for thyroid protection, and it should be used daily.  I recommend Lugol's 5%, Iodoral tablets, and Nascent Iodine.  Take selenium with iodine, as it improves thyroid function and iodine absorption.  I recommend 200 mcg. selenium and a minimum of 50 mg. iodine daily (for adults).  To learn more about iodine and to better determine your personal dose, please read:
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is an effective and inexpensive remedy for radiation exposure.  It is especially protective of our kidneys; it binds with uranium.  Drinking a baking soda/water mixture will help flush radiation from kidneys, and a detox bath of baking soda, epsom salts (or magnesium citrate flakes) and clay will flush radiation from our bodies.  I use one to two cups of baking soda in a bath, soaking for at least 20 minutes.  When using the combo, I add 1 cup of salt, and 1/2 to 1 cup clay.

Clay can act as a sponge for absorbing and removing toxins from our bodies.  Consuming and bathing in clay is currently part of our "normal" routine.  Take care when consuming clay that you drink plenty of water, and begin with a small dose.  Some practitioners believe clay is safe for regular consumption in small amounts, others believe it should be used for temporary healing only.  Read more about consuming clay for detoxification and decide for yourself.  Good quality clay is essential, of course.  I use Pascalite, but a high quality bentonite and/or montmorillonite would be good choices as well.  My current internal dose is a teaspoon a day mixed in 24 oz. water.  I add this to my morning tonic of 2 Tb. apple cider vinegar and cellular/hormonal regenerating herbal tonic (more on those someday...maybe).  Each member of my family drinks and bathes in clay (our detox baths often include magnesium citrate, baking soda, and ACV).

I hope you are inspired to find answers and apply remedies to protect the people you love.  I owe special thanks to friends who listened to me rant and vent last week, and who helped channel my research quickly.  If we are living in the new age of normal that includes chronic exposure to toxic pollutions over which we have no control and even no warning, we should daily apply prophylactic detoxification protocols.  If you are doing the GAPS protocol, much of this will be familiar to you.  My focus now is on constant detox rather than temporary or bi-yearly detox.  I wish you all well!

Radically Natural POV: Real Food Matters

[On the heels of attending the regional WAPF conference in Portland last month, I had every intention of summarizing my notes and writing about the highlights.  However, life got in the way, as usual.  So until I can concoct radically new material, I wanted to revitalize some older material, injecting my conference enthusiasm into the message.  This week I've been cogitating on how and why Real Food matters so much, for every aspect of our health...mental and physical.  I hope you consider how these truths can be practiced in your lives, or how you might share the gift of nourishing knowledge with others.]

You are what you eat. Trite? Perhaps. True? Absolutely!

What you put into your bodies determines whether you are well or ill. If you want to know why you and your children are sick, examine what you're ingesting (or breathing, or injecting). To build and preserve real health (and create healthy children), you must eat Real Food...pure, natural, unadulterated, honest-to-goodness FOOD.

What our industrialized food system has created is neither good, nor pure, nor even real food. Food cannot be industrially mass-produced without being corrupted. Modern farming practices, such as monoculture planting, hybridization, genetic engineering, animal concentration camps, unnatural animal dietary practices, synthetic fertilizers and chemical herbicides/fungicides/pesticides, etc. have raped the ground; depleted soil and plant nutrients; produced poison milk, eggs, and meat that cannot nourish; and severely damaged our food supply and our collective health.

Our grocery stores are ripe with industrially produced edible foodstuffs...frankenfoods and dead foods created by profitable and powerful corporations. Food comes out of mineral-rich, poison-free ground and the sea, not from a laboratory. Just because you can chew, swallow, and even enjoy a certain "food" item does not make that item Food. And it certainly does not make it rich with the nutrients your body desperately needs to create and maintain health. Fake foods cause malnutrition and chronic illness.

You must become an informed consumer. You must learn how to cook. Read labels and learn what they mean. Better yet, buy only real food ingredients and make your meals from scratch...like great-grandma did. Understand that Real Food costs real money...and it should. Government subsidies of non-nourishing industrial food has created a false expectation of cheap food and has robbed clean food farmers of fair wages.

Become a student of food politics. Learn why corn and soy are destructive to our land, water, and our health. Accept the horrifying truths about genetically modified foods and the agendas behind them, such as sterilizing corn. Understand why wheat and high gluten grains are not recognized by the body as food (hint: it's not because our bodies were designed wrongly, it's because the grains have been so manipulated that they are no longer digestible...they are certainly not the ancient grains humans were made to consume). Understand gut dysbiosis and how to overcome it, so you can partake of Real Food and be relieved of autoimmune disorders, brain chemistry disorders and chronic illness.

Awaken to the reality that we have been sold a "bill of goods" by the food and medical industries...that the lipid hypothesis is a debunked lie shackling millions of Americans to a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering drug lifestyle that is depriving their brains and hormones of essential nutrients and causing rampant autoimmune disorders. Cholesterol is absolutely essential to good health! Fat is your friend! Learn why a Real Food fertility diet is so essential to your future children's proper development and good health. Study the optimal nourishing diet for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and why mom's nutritional stores must be constantly supported...for her future health and that of future children. Understand the significance of "second child syndrome" and how to avoid it.  Investigate our rising infertility rates.

Study and understand the difference between truly organic Real Food and everything else (like the commercial sellout companies comprising Big Organics...when organic companies married themselves to the USDA, they began the downward slide of compromise). Eschew packaged and processed foods. Eat simply...fall in love with cooking...become familiar with traditional food preparation techniques that magnify nutrient density and improve digestibility. Embrace fat as the essential human nutrient. Buy properly cultivated fruits, vegetables, grains and animal products and learn how to prepare them for optimal nutrition and enjoyment. Eventually, you, too, as you peruse the store aisles, will routinely hear yourself saying, "That's not Real Food!" Hopefully you will learn to avoid those store aisles altogether.

In addition to providing life-giving and health-building nourishment, Real Food tastes so good! You may soon become a food snob of the highest order and be constantly gratified with the gourmet meals you can prepare and savor at home! You may become a connoisseur of ethnic foods and a student of flavor blending. Real Food is more than nourishing fuel...it is gustatory delight.

The Nourishing Traditions lifestyle is the diet we should adopt to be well, to thrive, to ensure proper physical development, and to reverse the malfunctions we suffer from eating the Standard American Diet. The best thing you can do today to begin reversing your health maladies and protecting your future health (and your children) is to never again consume fake fats (trans fats, vegetable oils), and to avoid soy (except for small amounts of traditionally fermented soy) and GMO corn (which is in almost everything if you eat processed foods).

Due in large part to the popularity of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and numerous Real Food bloggers, many people are becoming familiar with the important work of Weston Price. His vastly enlightening tome, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, is a must-read for anyone desiring to understand why and how food creates and affects our health. The results of his research (compiled in the 1920s-1930s) are incredible! In a nutshell, Price travelled and studied native peoples’ diets worldwide. He compared their health, development and vitality on their traditional diets to that of their newly adopted “imported” diets (this was during the advent of U.S-produced processed/industrialized food).

Through years of interviews, research and examinations, Price discovered that when people consume industrialized, processed/refined foods, their health degenerates and their children’s physical development degrades. The generations reared on the traditional nourishing foods (including grass-fed animal meats and fats, including the offal, as well as whole seafoods for coastal peoples) possessed good bone structure, healthy teeth and vigorous immunity.  But the new generations being raised on imported processed foods had improperly developed facial bones, resulting in poor sinus and tooth palate development. The children had sinus malfunctions (stuffy nose syndrome, sinus infections, etc.) and their mouths couldn’t hold all their teeth, nor did the teeth develop properly. (Price was seeing the common modern dental problems we think are “normal” today). Also, the people on the “new” diet suffered from lowered immunity...another new development in their history. The children contracted illnesses they had never known before, such as tuberculosis. This is just the "tip" of the proverbial iceberg. Price's work is invaluable.

To learn more about the WAPF lifestyle, start with the following links:

A Message from Sally Fallon Morell
What's Wrong with Politically Correct Nutrition
Principles of Healthy Diets
Myths and Truths About Nutrition
Characteristics of Traditional Diets
The Weston Price Foundation Home Page

What we eat absolutely makes or breaks our health and our children’s proper development. And the quality of the plant foods, meat, eggs, and milk products that we consume is only as good as the diet given to the animal or the health of the ground. We can’t be properly nourished by animals who aren’t properly nourished or reared. Animals need to eat their natural diets and they need to live in natural environments. You won't get vitamin D from animal foods if the animals are confined inside all their lives. You won't get any vitamins or minerals or nutrients of significance if the animals don't consume them and the ground doesn't supply them. Dead soil and malnourished animals equals dead food. Supporting sustainable eco-agriculture and SOLE food (as much as possible) may seem like a tall order, but it is the only sane option in a world that offers synthetic "foods" that provide only malnourishment and disease.

To learn more about Real Food (what it is, why it is so essential, and how to prepare it), look at the reading recommendations on my Links and Library pages.  (This post is linked at Kelly's Real Food Wednesday carnival and FoodRenegade's Fight Back Friday.)

Radically Natural POV: The Cancer Culture

“Everyone should know that the ‘war on cancer’ is largely a fraud.‘ — Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, biochemist and father of vitamin C therapy

In my experience, one of the most controversial and contentious health topics aside from vaccination is cancer treatment. A growing number of holistically minded doctors, as well as the public, are beginning to question the efficacy and scrupulousness of the cancer industry’s approach to this disease. The cancer industry has collected billions of dollars for decades, yet has offered no cure to cancer. A five year remission rate is not a cure. That’s the best assurance that the cancer industry offers. But it isn’t a cure.

There are doctors and healing practitioners curing cancer...as in eradicating it. They are not the norm and they largely are not practicing within “the system.” Because of medical politics and FDA witch hunt corruption, these practitioners are practicing largely outside the United States. And because of the grand racket that is the health insurance industry, your carrier doesn’t cover these doctors and their clinics or pay for the treatments that cure. The medical industry at large does not acknowledge or promote the truth that cancer can be cured, does not accept or encourage non-industry cures. Corrupt parties within the industry have worked tirelessly to suppress cures, even those offered by medical research scientists.

Courageous doctors, herbalists and natural healers have helped countless people to heal from cancer, without applying poison treatments that damage the body. One of the cancer industry’s most effective spins is its use of the phrase, “died of cancer.” In reality, many people die of chemo rather than cancer. The body expires because of organ failure due to the cancer treatment, not the actual presence of cancer. I have no doubt that conventional cancer treatments have helped some people. I know there are research scientists and caring doctors, honestly attempting to solve the cancer riddle, that have contributed to advances in care.  How frustrated they must be if shut down or hindered in their quests.  Yet despite the efforts of well-meaning doctors, the lead-footed, heavy-handed, profit-minded medical establishment and its cronies are not fostering an honest war on cancer.  Because cancer can be cured...it is being cured, and the cures often are shamefully simple.  Ergo, I share the view that the cancer industry kills more people than it genuinely cures. I also concur with the belief that cancer is a symptom of a far more insidious systemic malfunction. And successful healing requires more than attacking and controlling cancer cells. We all suffer cellular mutation, we are all exposed to environmental toxins. Why do some people develop cancer while others do not? Is this really a genetics game? Is there no link between lifestyle and cancer?  Why do some people have healthy, active antioncogenes, but other people suffer antioncogene mutation?

You must do your own research, be convicted of your own understanding of truth. But I’ll give you a hint. People aren’t a victim of their genetics as much as they are of what they choose to put into their bodies. And one can’t chug soda and chow industrial food without compunction, then turn to conventional doctors solely offering pharmaceutical treatments, and hope to beat this disease that they somehow arbitrarily fell victim to. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) Truth can be stunningly unpopular, not to mention dangerous; of course, verity varies depending upon who is sharing and why. Understanding how we ended up here, a culture riddled with cancer, is key to unlocking the truth of cure.

The cancer industry operates a fear-based paradigm that results in a public willing to accept poisonous treatments that may only extend lifespan for a few years, during which time their bodies are ravaged with secondary illnesses and failures resulting from the treatment regimen. Is this option really better than discovering and pursuing alternatives? Legitimate healing treatment alternatives known to work, and to free even people diagnosed as terminal?  Why is it so terrible that the public be given the truth (with unimpeded research to back it up) that something as simple as vitamin C can ravage cancer cells?

A dear friend of ours found out a few years ago that he had prostate cancer. Rather than follow the lockstep of modern American oncology, he researched other options. He decided to pursue care at a cancer clinic outside the system (and thereby, as a result of FDA witch hunt practices, outside the United States). After his initial exams, the doctor told him (I’m paraphrasing): “It’s not the cancer I’m worried about, we can cure the cancer. It’s your liver I’m worried about.” The doctor told our friend a basic truth: People with healthy livers don’t get cancer.

[Our friend was cured by the treatments he received, which did not include chemo, radiation, or surgery.]

Somehow, despite living in the information age, our culture suffers massive misunderstandings regarding what is scientific, what is needful, what is appropriate, what is helpful. (Propaganda is a powerful tool.) We must redefine our vernacular. The public has fallen prey to a grave misconception that pharmaceutical medicine is “scientific” and everything else is wacko. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even truth-seeking, free-thinking MDs will tell you so. Our scientific vernacular needs to be reformed to comply with evidence-based veracity...science may have been hijacked by moneyed interests, but empirical science is owned by no corporation, nor government entity, and can be pursued independently and honestly by concerned people anywhere...wearing white coats or tie dyed skirts.

 Medical politics has resulted in suppression of cures, and oppression of scientists and healers working for genuine cure, wherever it is found.   The story of Stanislaw Burzynski is disturbing, to say the least.  The FDA has spent millions of dollars attempting to shut down the research and work of this pioneering doctor who is actually curing people.  But this is not the only tale of FDA corruption out of control.  The late Dr. Emanuel Revici, a dedicated and tireless doctor whose methods reversed cancer in numerous patients, a man considered a genius by his contemporaries (reportedly by even Albert Einstein), a scientist who published his finding in medical journals, was routinely ignored, harassed, reviled, smeared and sued by various arms of the cancer industry, including the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.  Let's not even get into Gerson and suppression of his cures and nontoxic, non-deadly approach to healing cancer.  The cancer industry routinely “discredits” cures known to work, perhaps because they are not profitable, perhaps because they threaten the status quo. But how many genuine cures does the industry offer? When the emperor has no clothes, yet keeps attacking so-called “errors” in other designs, perhaps the public should question the emperor.

The following is a transcript excerpt from a 1994 broadcast of the Laura Lee radio show in which she interviewed Ralph Moss, PhD, a leading voice exposing the dark side of the cancer industry, and a prolific author and consultant for integrative oncology. Moss evidenced cancer research corruption while working in the PR department of Sloane Kettering in the late 1970s. His attempt to expose the truth cost him his job.

“Twenty years ago I was hired at Memorial Sloane Kettering (MSK) cancer centre in New York as the science writer, later promoted to assistant director of public affairs. Shortly after I went to work there I went to visit an elderly Japanese scientist, Kanematsu Sugiura, who astonished me when he told me he was working on Laetrile (B17). At the time it was the most controversial thing in cancer...reputed to be a cure for cancer. We in public affairs were giving out statements that Laetrile was worthless, it was quackery, and people should not abandon proven therapies. I was astonished that our most distinguished scientist would be bothering with something like this, and I said why are you doing this if it does not work. He took down lab books and showed me that in fact Laetrile is dramatically effective in stopping the spread of cancer. The animals were genetically programmed to get breast cancer and about 80 - 90% of them normally get spread of the cancer from the breast to the lungs, which is a common route in humans, also for how people die of breast cancer, and instead when they gave the animals Laetrile by injection only 10-20% of them got lung metastases. And these facts were verified by many people, including the pathology department.

We were finding this and yet we in public affairs were told to issue statements to the exact opposite of what we were finding scientifically, and as the years went by I got more wrapped up in this thing and three years later I said all this in my own press conference, and was fired the next day, ‘for failing to carry out his most basic job responsibility:’ i.e. to lie to the public what goes on in cancer research.”

A scared public, not armed with well-rounded information and confidence in legitimate alternative treatments, is easily led by corrupt government agencies and medical industry parties more interested in profit than in cure. A common misconception, promoted by members within the cancer industry and its PR campaigns, is that natural/alternative treatments for cancer are dangerous and only for fools. Misinformation campaigns coming out of events like the self-mutilation of Angelina Jolie and the death of Steve Jobs help to perpetuate such myths. The Jobs story in particular has received much attention and suffered speculation and spin.

I don’t know exactly why Steve Jobs died. I don’t know what treatment regimens he underwent in his pursuit to achieve health. In light of how private the man was, none of us is likely to know the entirety of his actions and his motivations. But considering the pieces of the puzzle that we do have, it is inaccurate to blame his death on the pursuit of “natural” cancer treatments. In fact, Jobs underwent typical cure regimens: surgery and radiation. His treatments may have been “unorthodox” in that they took him outside the conventional American medical system, but they were not unorthodox in the sense of conventional cancer treatment offerings...they still included surgery and radiation (and reportedly chemo).

Notoriously private about his health and his life, Jobs admitted to a 2004 surgery during a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. In 2009, Jobs reportedly had a liver transplant. While Jobs did not speak publicly about receiving chemo, he was seen at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, which may indicate he was receiving treatment there. Jerry York, a reporter for Fortune magazine, revealed after Jobs’ death that Jobs received radiation treatments in Switzerland. (See CNN articles referenced below for more information.) Surgeries, chemo, radiation and organ transplants are certainly not “natural” cancer treatments; blaming unconventional cancer treatments for Jobs’ death is simply unfounded and irresponsible.

For individuals willing to step “outside the box;” willing to research unconventional options; willing to use practitioners, treatments and clinics not dubbed acceptable by the establishment, answers abound. Those cures (like laetrile, which can stop cancer’s spread) that the establishment claims are rubbish are actually helping to heal people of cancer. Well-meaning doctors and researchers are working within the industry, but change is outrageously slow in coming. Overturning corruption and profit- and control-based stinking thinking could take decades. We must demand change by questioning and pursuing options not offered by the system. We must be the change we desire.

I am troubled when people make health care decisions based solely upon financial reasons. If their health insurance carrier won’t pay for a particular practitioner or treatment, they don’t pursue it. They stay within the system, and many times they suffer for it. How much is your health worth? Perhaps it would behoove us to drop insurance altogether rather than be victimized by its limited (by design) choices. Sadly, this is a perfect example of “you get what you pay for.” The best care is usually not the commonly provided conventional care.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion and has the right to make his own decisions. You must be comfortable with your health practices and pursuits. You deserve genuine care, not false offers of limited healing. Please, before you jump on the bandwagon driven by the cancer industry and criticize practices not endorsed by the powers that be, research the alternatives. At the very least, read Ralph Moss's The Cancer Industry before making any decisions. Read the accounts revealing the underbelly of this powerful, profitable industry, and look honestly at the other options and research available within and without the conventional medical realm. I truly hope you don’t personally need this information, but it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Check back soon for a related book giveaway!

For More Information

The Politics of Cancer by Samuel Epstein

A Holistic Approach to Cancer  Dr. Tom Cowan

The Gerson Institute

When to Be Thankful for Medical Intervention

[The following will be the most personal and emotional post I have ever shared, and may contain some cathartic rambling. I need to work things out in my head and it helps me to write...in a sense, this is my personal “de-briefing” brain dump. I apologize in advance for its length, scope and potential circumlocutions. Thank you for being my “sounding board.”]

It is no secret that I am concerned about the broken modern medical system that can create problems rather than heal disorders/malfunctions/ailments and promote lifelong wellness. Yes, there are doctors who break out of the mold of their conventional training; they question the establishment’s paradigm and pursue holistic education, learn Real Medicine, and adopt skills and a knowledge base that can be of genuine value to ailing people.

But these practitioners seem to be the exception, not the rule. The medical industry is dominated by drug companies and “little gods in white coats.” Corruption, ego, profit-seeking, as well as protocols and treatments driven by limited paradigms and legal pressures conspire to create a bloated system that is impotent to effectively treat ailing health, systemic malfunctions, chronic illness, autoimmune disorders, and more. Truly, the system needs more groundbreaking doctors like the late Dr. Mendelsohn, a self-confessed medical heretic who upheld holistic principles of wellness and healing, and who encouraged parents to eject from the system, taking direct control of their children’s health.

[Here is the cliff notes version of a planned post that will likely not see the light of day: In my opinion, well child checks are a waste of your time and money. You can and should learn to be your child’s own pediatrician, you just need some study and basic tools (books, otoscope, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, basic herbal and homeopathic kits, etc). Maternal instincts are divine...hone them, trust them. Save yourself the headaches of fighting the fear-based, drug-driven system and protect your child from unnecessary treatments and vaccines. Learn to follow your gut; should you feel you need to do so, seek help for your child if he is seriously ill/suffering beyond what you can diagnose and remedy at home. This line will vary for people depending on knowledge base, acquired skills and confidence. But keep learning and practicing and you’ll feel the need to seek help less and less.]

I have long vocalized my vexation with the modern medical system’s limited paradigm of the human body’s functions, responses and healing powers; its approach to wellness and illness; its eagerness to categorize as “idiopathic” whatever malfunctions do not fit into its paradigm or cannot be solved by its limited tools (“WE don’t know what causes X, ergo there IS no cause…”). I am concerned with harms caused by an overblown, malpractice-driven, sometimes fraudulent system. Some elements of the system are downright dishonorable, others simply misguided. There exists a tendency to apply extreme unnecessary interventions or “one-size-fits-all” protocols to every situation. The error of the allopathic technocratic approach is to apply toxic bandaids of drugs and surgeries rather than to achieve healing through effective cures, such as botanical and homeopathic medicines, nutritional healing, and noninvasive physical therapy modalities (acupuncture, reflexology, chiropractic, hydrotherapy, craniosacral and massage, etc.). For as much as the “system” thinks it corners the market on medical knowledge, there are vast mysteries still to be uncovered. The more we know about the workings of the human body, the more we realize we have so much more to learn.

Rather than taking personal responsibility for wellness, people rush to obtain treatments and procedures they don’t really need that won’t truly help. This is not healing, it is not establishing wellness. Unfortunately, such behavior contributes to the perpetuation of a faulty system. People should eject from the regular use of the medical establishment and should studiously take their health into their own hands, establishing and maintaining wellness through a non-toxic lifestyle, genuine nutrition, and botanical medicine.

But within the afflicted conventional medical system exists caring individuals, well-meaning practitioners, and certain emergency procedures and technologies for which we can be thankful. It has always been my opinion that emergency medicine is a necessary and legitimate arm of the modern medical system. While I don’t agree with all its practices and treatments, I find lifesaving medical technologies overall to occupy worthwhile space on the spectrum of healing arts.

The specialized skills and modern technology involved in lifesaving procedures and trauma treatment are often quite advantageous. They can mean the difference between life and premature death. It would be wonderful to see our system enlightened to incorporating nontoxic, natural medicine and modalities into its emergency care system. A multitude of potent, fast-acting herbal and homeopathic medicines exist. Herbal antibiotics can be just as effective, and are certainly safer, than their synthetic pharmaceutical counterparts (which contribute to toxic load and flora disruption); bugs don't easily develop antibiotic resistance to botanical medicines as they do to drugs. But conventionally trained doctors don’t know how to use these herbal medicines. And as long as the medical industry is deeply profit driven (i.e: pharmaceutical companies), these beneficial botanical medicines will not be employed as they should be.

Not all traumas require conventional medical care. Herbal first aid is incredibly potent. When you become intimate with botanical medicine, build a knowledge base of anatomy and physiology, and become confident with healing and triage skills, you can treat most accidents and illnesses at home without suffering the negative side effects of conventional medical treatments. We can often successfully remedy minor breaks and dislocations, wounds and poisonings, infections, even cardiovascular and respiratory malfunctions and much more.

But sometimes the nature of accidents and ailments require emergency medical treatment, the legitimate protocols and technologies of the modern medical system. This is when modern medicine can serve a valuable purpose. I have long said that if my husband were to cut off his arm in a chainsaw accident, I would take him to the ER and pray for a competent surgeon. But I would perform post-op wound and infection care at home (you would be astounded to see the power of certain plants, like plantain, comfrey, shepherd’s purse, cayenne, garlic and usnea).

A particular pet peeve of mine is the fear-based birth industry, whose standard protocols...driven both by a flawed technocratic paradigm and inflated legal concerns...suppress and subvert the normal physiological processes of labor and birth. The perpetual medicalization and technological intervention of normal birth violates women and babies. The system treats all births as potential traumas and subjects laboring mothers to practices and interventions that hinder the natural physiological process of birth, which can lead to negative birth outcomes. But within this system are valuable skills and technologies that are appropriate for the minority (approx. 5%) of at-risk women and unforeseen pregnancy and birth complications.

The current system is backwards and needs an overhaul so that our medical culture expects, upholds and encourages the power and beauty of normal birth. As in some European models, our birth system should be one where midwives are the primary caregivers and women are expected to birth normally and naturally, supported by midwife (“with woman”) attendants. But OBs, as complication, trauma and surgical specialists, play an important role in serious emergent conditions of both pregnancy and birth. The OB would be an assisting member of the midwife-led team, prepared to attend to the minority of women who require more invasive medical care. This would be a valuable system that provides appropriate care for all unique women; when the rare occurs, and what is ordinarily a natural, risk-free physiological event becomes a life-threatening trauma, a solution exists.

Professional midwives are pregnancy and “birth as a natural physiological process” experts. While we embrace a holistic paradigm of natural physiological birth that requires little interference and often only support and assistance, well-educated and well-trained midwives can competently manage and treat many difficulties that arise during pregnancy and birth, even traumas to mother or baby (such as hemorrhage or neonatal resuscitation). Typically a holistic midwife sees herself as an assistant to the birthing mother, an emotional encourager and physical attendant responding to the mother’s needs, and as a lifeguard sitting by and carefully observing. But a well-trained midwife has tremendous technical abilities and instincts, with her hands, her observational skills, and her intimate knowledge of her client serving as her most important tools.

Rather than relying on sometimes unreliable and potentially harmful diagnostic devices, a midwife uses her hands to assess a woman’s pelvic capacity to birth, the size and position of baby during the stages of pregnancy, and more. A homebirth midwife can manually perform procedures for birth complications that in a hospital setting would often result in a surgical delivery, such as assisting a woman to birth her breech baby, or resolving a shoulder dystocia during birth. Midwives have the skills to assist prolonged and difficult labors, helping to shift malpositioned babies and encouraging the laboring woman to choose a position that facilitates the birth process and preserves the perineum (hint: the typical hospital position for pushing, semi-reclined with knees drawn to chest, feet to buttocks, is detrimental to the perineum and can slow baby’s birth progress). As opposed to the industrial protocol episiotomy, a violation of a woman’s body and natural birth processes, the midwife performs perineal support when needed to allow those resilient tissues to stretch and accommodate baby’s descent. And when a perineal/vaginal tissue tear occurs (which is far less common with proper birth position and perineal support), the midwife has the tools and skills to repair it. If faced with a difficult birth, a skilled and knowledgable midwife can stop hemorrhages, perform bimanual uterine compressions if necessary, treat shock, and even resuscitate a nonresponsive newborn. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. If unanticipated complications occur, the midwife is prepared. And this preparation includes the wisdom to know when to seek outside assistance.

For a healthy woman assisted by a skilled midwife who has provided intimate, continuous, hands-on prenatal care, the home is the optimal birthplace: safe, comfortable, risk-free (from both foreign pathogens and the cascade of unnecessary interventions). The majority of women can pursue birth as as the beautiful, natural, empowering event for which our bodies were designed.

But there are times when complications can occur beyond a midwife’s toolbox of skills and equipment. There will be potential clients who should be screened out as homebirth candidates because of health risk factors. There may arise complications during a pregnancy that require medical treatment, such as pre-eclampsia. As disappointing as it is, there are times when a technocratic setting may be the safest birth route for the at-risk woman and baby. There will be times when nothing but an emergency technology will do. OBs are trauma and surgical experts. If you are a member of the 5%, the technical obstetrical approach can be helpful, even necessary.

I have a “passionate” personality. I become easily indignant at injustice. In large part, portions of the modern medical system and the modern birth system are unjust, even harmful. But despite my frustration with this system, I have given intellectual assent and neutral respect to the careful use of lifesaving emergency medical procedures. But now, I am personally thankful for the appropriate use of medical technology because on February 12-13, 2013, it saved my life.

On February 12, I suffered my third miscarriage. This one was shockingly fast. I had no major impending signs, only a few spots of brown (which means “old”) and pink-brown blood throughout the day...nothing more, no cramping, no increase in bleeding. So, I was devastated when my water unexpectedly broke early Tuesday evening and I instantly birthed my lifeless 14-week-old baby boy. Immediately, I began bleeding like a slow faucet and soon after started slipping into shock.

This was unlike my other miscarriages. It was violent and traumatic. I felt myself losing consciousness as I bled and passed clots...this was all within five minutes. If I had been treating “the client,” I would have immediately dosed with aconite, cayenne and shepherd’s purse (anti-shock and anti-hemorrhagic remedies). Maybe it would have worked...it has done before, in other situations. But I was not in a position to treat myself. And I knew that I was hemorrhaging too quickly beyond what I could control...that I needed help. As someone who does not use the medical system, I do not take this lightly. But I know enough from my midwifery studies to know that losing consciousness while hemorrhaging is highly undesirable and potentially fatal. This was the only reason I would consent to a transport to the hospital...I felt my life was seriously at risk. My husband got me down on the bathroom floor and called an ambulance. The rest of the event is a bit of a blur.

The average woman has eight to ten pints of blood in her body. A blood loss of 40% can cause death. A massive hemorrhage is defined as a loss of total EBV (estimated blood volume) in 24 hours, or a loss of half of EBV in three hours. Blood transfusion is necessary to avoid death. “Obstetrical hemorrhage is often acute, dramatic, and underestimated. Postpartum hemorrhage is a significant cause of maternal death.” (Society of OB/GYNs of Canada, Hemorrhagic Shock document)

Medical professionals agree that blood loss, something difficult to visually assess, is regularly underestimated. We estimate that I lost two pints of blood before the ambulance arrived. At the hospital, between the time I arrived hooked up to the saline IV and the time I quickly began crashing, the blood loss was approximately another two pints. Between those events, sensing my husband's concern at the possibility of inappropriate interventions (such as hysterectomy), the OB did not push us into immediate surgery. However, the ER team erred initially by not administering what should be standard protocol for a woman who arrives in a state of hemorrhage...anti-hemorrhagic uterine clamping drugs, such as methergine, pitocin, cytotec.  Most medical professionals would agree that this error did contribute to the crash that followed.  (Such is the risk of living in a small town with a small hospital.)

Our bad situation turned worse quickly as my bleeding increased and I went from mild to moderate hemorrhagic shock; my husband knew that despite the “vitals” looking semi-reasonable (BP, pulse, etc), I was slipping away. Diagnostics are limited. Machines and tests can tell us only so much about what is going on inside the body. In diagnosing any ailment, labs can look “normal,” stats can appear acceptable, and you can still be very ill. These tools are imperfect, limited indicators of what is going on physiologically; they are not flawless representations of reality, they have neither God-like knowledge nor x-ray vision. My body rapidly degraded from a Class 3 to a Class 4 hemorrhage, but because my husband’s instincts made him insistent, I was not lost.

The man who knows me best observed me and knew I was dying. I knew it, but was not lucid enough to participate, and I believe that the OB saw it as well. (They told me later that my pallor was alarming...that I was “whiter than a sheet,” that I looked like a body in a casket. The OB told me she was instantly concerned when she observed my blanched lips.) The OB seemed relieved that my husband insisted upon whatever emergency lifesaving measures were necessary (of course wanting to avoid hysterectomy), and that he did not bat an eye at the course of blood transfusion.

The Bible says that the “life is in the blood.” I have never before understood that fact so intimately. As I lay in the ER, my body suffering the shock of a major hemorrhage, I felt myself dying. It was a physically painful and emotionally horrific experience. In addition to the physical experience (extreme coldness, shaking, loss of sight and sound, gushing blood), I felt my life leaving my body with all that blood. It is an experience I am unable to adequately express with words, the feeling of my life force ebbing away.

I remember at one point that my husband was leaning over me, speaking urgently to me, telling me to stay awake. I was losing consciousness, and I knew that if I closed my eyes, I would never again open them. I have never been so scared, despite my trust in God. I was not ready to die. I struggled to remain...and then I was taken to surgery, of which I gratefully remember nothing due to the anesthesia. My body continued to bleed aggressively.  The OB worked with difficulty for two hours to stop my uterine hemorrhage while they began my blood transfusion (my husband says the young OB seemed shaken but relieved after the surgery; she later expressed how intense the situation had been). In addition to the difficulty in halting the hemorrhage, during the surgery, my heart suffered arrhythmias. No doubt!

The OB told me later that despite making multiple passes through my uterus and removing all its contents, despite giving me every drug she could to stop the hemorrhage and get the uterus to contract; despite performing bimanual compressions...the bleeding simply would not stop.  She had the ER doctor come in to do ultrasound while she went through the uterus again, hoping to find something she had missed, to no avail.  She said she was mentally preparing to begin a hysterectomy (which she knew we did not want) to save my life when the bleeding finally just slowed and stopped.  What an answer to the prayers of my husband, pacing alone in a waiting room!  It was a miracle that saved us from the limitations of "rural medicine," as our local hospital does not have the expertise or the equipment to perform procedures that can arrest uterine hemorrhaging far less detrimental, invasive and permanent than hysterectomy, such as B-Lynch suturing, uterine arterial ligation, or uterine arterial embolization. 

Before being released from the ICU two days later, I had received six pints of blood along with additional platelets and plasma; even after that, my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were lower than normal and I still feel weak. Under normal circumstances, it takes 90 days for the human body to replenish its red blood cell levels. After traumatic blood loss, it takes the body longer to return to "normal."  I should be “renewed” in four to six months. The life is absolutely in the blood.

The medical technology of a blood transfusion restored my life. Risks? Side effects? Sure...of course...risk of allergy to the blood during transfusion. Fatal risks of overuse of the fluid resuscitation (saline IV). Risk of future infection from the blood transfusion (yes, blood products can be dangerous...at this point, I cannot read anymore articles about the risks I endured on that front; it was our only choice to avoid death). Risks of iatrogenic death simply due to my being subject to all those procedures. Risk of contracting an illness or infection from spending time in the hospital. Side effects of having my body subject to numerous chemicals and drugs. But I was dying. And now I’m alive. I survived the risks thus far and cannot allow myself to fear any others.

Yes, I’m radical about natural living. But I wasn’t ready to die, so compromises were made. Lifesaving emergency procedures were taken and then I awoke and spent observation and acute recovery time in the hospital. The situation demanded that I be subject to particular protocols. Would I have chosen therapeutic doses of usnea and garlic, vitamins D and C, rather than the pharmaceutical antibiotic insisted upon to “ward off” potential infection after the procedure? You bet your bottom dollar. But that wasn’t a protocol fight I could fight at that time. (I immediately began dosing myself upon returning home.) Acceptable compromise. At least no one tried to give me a vaccination. That would have been a fight I would refuse to lose.

Sure, now I need to add an intense couple weeks of GAPS Intro into my recovery scheme, to combat the pathogenic overgrowth I’m already feeling. But I know the drill. The anesthesia drugs that were given to me to put me out for the two to three hour desperate, multiple pass D&C procedure? I’m not going to regret that; I’m glad to some degree that I wasn’t awake and aware (though I do feel the need to understand everything that happened to me while I was “out”). I’ll happily add some extra liver detox boosts and juicing during my GAPS Intro recovery boot camp. I need to consider it a small price to pay for defying death. I will take time now to heal, to detox my body, to re-establish flora and gut health, to use nutrients and anti-infectious herbs to support my immunity. I would prefer to see the emergency medical system rely less on pharmaceuticals and more on healing botanical medicines for certain aspects of treatment, but that is not their way. With the good (but not without its risks) lifesaving technology comes some bad… But I’m here to talk about it, and that’s what matters to me today. The appropriate use of medical skill and technology can save lives.

I will continue my studies and training to become a knowledgeable, skilled, professional midwife, acquiring the techniques and instincts to assist and empower women to birth their babies naturally at home, and to attend to any complications and traumas that I can. But I have a renewed understanding about the importance of carefully screening homebirth candidates and providing intimate continuity of care during the prenatal year (watching diligently for anemia, malnutrition, and other underlying health complications). I understand in a very personal way that some women might suffer complications that cannot be treated without medical intervention.

In future, when I encounter a genuinely high-risk client or acute life-threatening trauma that only specialized technology can treat, I will be thankful to have a working relationship with a respectful and skilled (and hopefully holistically minded) OB. Words cannot express how saddened I am to think that I may never become pregnant again.  Of course, this is not something that I or anyone can know with certainty.  The unusually aggressive D&C procedure likely scarred the interior of my uterus, which can make it extremely difficult for the embryo to implant.  This is the devastating reality of my survival.

Life has a way of educating us, and I pray that my experiences will become valuable to others; my pattern of hyperemesis (extreme nausea and vomiting) during pregnancy no doubt lead to anemia, increasing risk of hemorrhage. I experienced this with my third birth, but we were able to control the hemorrhage at home and all was well after my recovery. My miscarriage this September left me weak, likely anemic, and the hyperemesis of this (quite unexpected) pregnancy undoubtedly contributed to further anemia, spurring the hemorrhage, which seemed out of my control. Might I have stopped the hemorrhage with aggressive use of herbs and manual compression? Possibly, if I had been in a state of mind and body to tend to my own care. But that didn't happen, and without the blood transfusion, I would have died. 

Can I safely become pregnant again? Possibly.  Will my uterus be able to accept and support another baby?  I don't know...  Will this traumatic event throw my hormones into havoc and possibly bring on early menopause?  Quite possible, even probably.  But I still hope to have another child.  If my body can get past the hurdles and conceive again, the greatest risk is of another miscarriage while anemic.  As opposed to a full term pregnancy, the body's blood volume is not great enough in the midst of a pregnancy to compensate for traumatic blood loss during a second term miscarriage.  The uterus is fuller and the placenta does not birth directly after the baby; the process is much more drawn out, which means significant and constant bleeding from the uterus.  The uterus cannot clamp down/contract closed while products of pregnancy are yet retained.  The extreme bleeding, coupled with anemia, set the scenario for deadly hemorrhage.

I don’t know if I can heal the underlying malfunctions causing my pregnancy difficulties. I am hopeful but not prognosticating.  I am praying for wisdom and healing.  But I am so thankful that I have three live children, my miracles, whom I love beyond telling.

Now, I recover. It’s strange, but I’m feeling like I’ll never be normal again. I’m sure that will pass in time. I can’t quite put it into words, though, but I feel like I’m not all here...that some part of me didn’t come back with the rest of me. I have no doubt that the emotional and physical losses will take time to heal. I just feel...different. I don’t think I ever before fully comprehended how fragile life can be. Things look and feel different to me now. Perhaps I have a new lease on life, as they say...a renewed sense of purpose. It is time for me to seriously assess how I should live the remainder of this life. In the last six months, I turned 40, lost two babies to miscarriage, and almost died. Needless to say, I’m entering an intense life re-evaluation mode. I believe that means more undistracted time with my children and husband, and a simplification of my pursuits. I don’t know when I might write again, but I thank you all for your support and I pray that God blesses you!

If You Still Need a Visual to Understand the Factory Farm System...

I love this creative portrayal of life in a factory farm.  The video was produced for Animals Australia, a project hoping to end the factory farm system.  Maybe it's a bit "over-emotional," maybe it feeds into the vegan agenda (I absolutely agree animal cruelty is outrageous.  I believe farmers should practice honorable animal husbandry, treating animals with respect and giving them nourishing, happy lives.  But I'm convinced we need to eat animals to be fully healthy...sorry vegans, we part ways there).  

But the message is compelling and the truth is undeniable:  factory farms are NOT the place from where your food should come.  Choose SOLE food instead!  (Sustainable, organic, local, ETHICAL.)  Bravo to FSM and Animals Australia!

And if you need more convincing, consider the ugly example that most industrial pork is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.  Don't eat it if you care about your health.  Don't eat any industrial foods... animal or otherwise...if you care about your health.  Remember, Americans have access to and eat more "edible foodstuffs" than people anywhere else in the world, yet we suffer from more malnourishment, obesity and chronic illness than any other culture.  You are what you eat.  Garbage in, garbage out.  You don't have to suffer, and neither do the animals you eat.  Support small farms that produce Real Food...sustainably, healthily, humanely.

Animals Australia - Pigs fly. And sing. With chickens. from FSM on Vimeo.

Check Out Your "Organic" Milk Production...

The pictures say it all.  For anyone still convinced that Organic commercial milk is the way to go, take a look at the photo story of one of Horizon Farm's milk facilities.

The Cornucopia Institute Visits Horizon Family Farms in Idaho

The milk is coming from primarily confined, grain-fed cows living in less-than-pristine conditions.  It's no wonder the dairy industry and the CDC is so adamant that milk be uber-pasteurized and denatured...covering up the dirty dairy industry takes a lot of manipulations.  But the Organic dairy industry is far superior, right?  I'm not convinced...and I hope you aren't either.

Check out these dairy CAFO photos and then google some more.  As others have pointed out before me, USDA Organic dairy usually comes from "big dairy" factory farms.  

As shared in a blog post from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company:

In her wonderful book, "Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages," Anne Mendelson makes four points about organic milk: 
  1. The vast majority of organic milk comes from 3 or 4 large producers owned by vast agribusiness conglomerates.  Each one has several thousand cows.  The milk travels thousands of miles from these places to your supermarket.
  2. Most of these farms depend on the same breeding and feeding methods as their conventional counterparts- the cows are fed high energy rations to increase production, they are milked 3 times/day, and they are given as little grazing time as they can get away with.  
(Until now, the regulations referred vaguely to  "access to pasture" without spelling out how much or how little.  Recently, this regulation was clarified to require that the cows spend a minimum of 120 days outside during the growing season.  There is some question about if and how it will be enforced.)

  1. The milk is separated and homogenized the same way it is done in the other large companies-traveling through miles of pipes to have its fat molecules broken up into tiny pieces.
  2. Worst of all, most organic milk is ultra-pasteurized so it can be transported long distances without spoiling.  By the time it arrives at the store, it may be a week old.  (Of course, this hardly matters because there is virtually no good bacteria left in it to cause it to spoil.)
[Don't forget that ultra-pastuerized means ultra-dead (no enzymes), ultra-deficient (in nutrients) and ultra-indigestible.] 
The above post was written two years ago.  Do you think the dairy industry, including USDA Organic dairy has gotten cleaner since then?  Do the cows below look like grass-fed, clean, well-cared-for cows from which you will receive nutrient-rich Real Milk?

The government tells us that raw milk isn't safe.  Well, in part, that's true.  Raw milk from the conventional dairy industry is NOT safe.  They know it, regulators know it, and we should know it, too.  No one should drink raw milk coming from unnaturally raised, grain-fed cows confined in their own feces.  But the kind of family farm raw milk we Real Foodies recommend is not dairy industry milk.  When the CDC, FDA, USDA, et al. tell the public that raw milk is dangerous and should be illegal, they are lumping together all the known dirty milk from the dairy industry with the good, Real Food grass-fed raw milk from small, responsible producers.  And that, my friends, is cheating.  Isn't it interesting that the only farm crop more legislated than raw milk is marijuana?  Milk...marijuana...milk...marijuana.  Really?!  

The only safe, nourishing, Real Milk available is raw, grass-fed whole milk (yes, drink it with the cream) from small family farms.  If you can't get it, you really shouldn't be drinking milk.  The alternative is not going to do your body good.

Photo Courtesy of CARE, Washington State.
Photo by High Country News

Photo Courtesy of CARE, Washington State.

Bad Guys Don't Obey Gun Laws

My heart goes out to the mourning families of the Sandy Hook school shooting.  I am a mother.  I feel outrage and despair at the thought of my children being victimized in such a way.  I cannot imagine the pain the Sandy Hook families are suffering at this moment.  

But I am troubled as I read and hear the cultural dialogue taking place on how to solve the problem of shooting spree violence that has become an all-too-well-known fixture in our society.  In the devastating aftermath of another tragic shooting,  President Obama and gun control advocates seek to ban more guns and tighten restriction regulations.  This move may appeal to the fear and anguish Americans feel on the heels of such a senseless and preventable event, but more regulation and restrictions will not create safety.

Let's just take a moment, take a deep breath, and think clearly about a very real truth:  Criminals don't obey gun laws.  The gun restrictions placed upon all of us will not be adhered to by any person bent on committing evil acts of violence.  They will continue to pursue their evil exploits and will continue to be unimpeded.

Outlawing guns will not protect your children, it will further victimize them.  Guns are banned on government school property.  Did that save the lives of those precious children at Sandy Hook?  What would have saved the lives of many, if not most of the Sandy Hook children?  A trained and armed school principal and teachers willing to conceal carry would have saved those children.  Having competent armed adults in every school would greatly reduce, if not eliminate shooting sprees. 

Deterrents work.  Why do crazed shooters attack in schools, stores, government buildings, places of worship?  Because those buildings ban firearms.  The attackers know they will meet with little resistance, that the place is full of sitting ducks.  Resistance stops deadly force...a defensive attack by a good citizen with a concealed handgun can end the victimization of innocents.  

Outlawing guns will abolish our inalienable and Constitutional right to self defense and our responsibility to protect the innocent in our society.  Anti-gun advocates want you to believe that the existence of guns makes us all potential victims and that armed citizens cannot and will not deter or stop shooters from taking innocent lives.  That is simply not factual.  Study the cultures who have disarmed their populaces...look at the crime statistics.  Study history, study deterrents.  The anti-gun mainstream media neglects to report the stories of heroic good citizens standing against attackers.  The media spins shooting stories to create an emotional frenzy and secure further public anti-gun sentiment.  

The mainstream media is not publicizing the fact that most of these school shooters are on psychotropic drugs (that's right...the drugs, like ritalin, that teachers insist upon for students).  The mainstream media neglects to remind the public that disarming populations has resulted in horrific historic massacres:
  • 1911 – Turkey disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1915 – 1917 they murdered 1.5 million Armenians.
  • 1929 – Russia disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1929 – 1953 they murdered 20 million Russians.
  • 1935 – China disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1948 – 1952 they murdered 20 million Chinese.
  • 1938 – Germany disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1939 – 1945 they murdered 16 million Jews.
  • 1956 – Cambodia disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1975 – 1977 they murdered 1 million Educated people.
  • 1964 – Guatamala disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1964 – 1981 they murdered 100,000 Mayan Indians.
  • 1970 – Uganda disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1971 – 1979 they murdered 300,000 Christians.
Additionally, "Australia has disarmed it’s citizens, and a year later the homicide rate in the largest province is up 300%. The burglaries of seniors is dramatically up."

Are we surprised that we don't always get all the facts and complete veracity in our news?  Subject to the same flaws and foibles as all humans, members of the media lie, as do government officials.  

Disarming citizens will not make us safer.  But disarming the populace will ensure that good people cannot protect the innocent.  We have a human responsibility to be good neighbors...good citizens...and to protect one another from harm.  It is not just the job of an elite few...it is OUR job.  It isn't even possible for armed officers to protect all of us all the time.  Do you ever hear stories of shootings where the police arrived before the evil was able to ensue?  If they aren't on the scene when the gunman shows up, they are impotent to protect you and your children.  Isn't it right that responsible citizens be armed and ready to do the job?

When evil comes after you and your family with guns blazing or knives slashing, how will you defend yourself, or other innocent lives, if you have not the means to do so?  Will you hide well enough?  Will you run fast enough?  How well will that work?  Disarming law-abiding, willing-to-fight citizens just creates more victims.  It is not someone else's job to protect my children...it is mine.  I believe in...and will stand up for...my fundamental right to do so.

As much as I hate to accept it, the truth is that a world without violence is simply impossible...and a world without guns is simply unrealistic.  What we'll end up with is a world where only the bad guys and the government (sometimes they are the same) have guns.  Is that really a safe outcome for the rest of us?

School Shooters on Psychotropic Drugs

Majority of School Shootings Linked to Psych Meds
The Drugging of Our Children (DVD documentary)
Media Covers Up News of Second Shooter
Twists and Turns in the Sandy Hook "Story"
The Problem is the Troubled People, Not the Guns
The Madness of Disarming Good Citizens
25 Facts the Mainstream Media Doesn't Want to Talk About...

ACOG Continues to Wage War Against Birth Freedoms

My ire was kindled this week by information shared in a news email I received from the Citizens for Midwifery:

ACOG Rejects the Ethic That Autonomy Is a Fundamental Human Right

The newsletter describes yet another attack by the ACOG (American College of Gynecology) on homebirth and patient-centered pregnancy care in the United States.  An October 2012 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology outlines the faulty ACOG position.  The article actually coaches OBs on how to counteract the "resurgence" of homebirths, and on how to deal with mothers who express a desire to birth at home.

CFM summarizes the issue well:
The attack is based on poor research and runs roughshod over established rights to bodily integrity. 
This article was “Presented at European Congress of Perinatal Medicine, Paris, France, June 13, 2012.”  So not only does the article attack home birth, it also represents an attempt to “export” to the rest of the world a position that the obstetric profession, not mothers, should have the final decision on birth, at a time when that isn’t even legally defensible here in the United States.   
The primary author, a Fellow of ACOG, faculty member at Cornell University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, should be aware of American jurisprudence supporting patient autonomy and right to informed consent.  We can also assume that he is aware that systems of midwife attended homebirth are well established and integrated into the health delivery systems of many European countries.  And yet, it is the decision of the 2010 European Court of Human Rights case that seems to have prompted this "critical evaluation."  This was a case where obstetrician, Agnes Gereb, was imprisoned for attending home births in Hungary.  Her story is told in the movie “Freedom for Birth,” produced by One World Birth.
The authors’ conclusions are the height of hubris: “We urge obstetricians, other concerned physicians, midwives and other obstetric providers, and their professional associations to eschew rights-based reductionism in the ethics of planned home birth and replace rights-based reductionism with an ethics based on professional responsibility.”  In other words, reject the ethic that autonomy is a fundamental human right.  
Fiduciary responsibility is, by definition, putting the needs of the patient first.  If fiduciary responsibility was the same as professional responsibility, this would not be an either/or proposition.  The author defines professional responsibility as a model of decision making where “the patient has the right to select from medically reasonable alternatives.”  Who gets to decide what is reasonable?  Why, the obstetrician, of course.  And if the patient opts for an alternative the obstetrician has not deemed reasonable, then the obstetrician is justified in placing the “rights of the fetus” ahead of the rights of the first patient (the mother), although what is actually being asserted is the obstetrician’s own agenda over the rights of his/her patient. 
Buried in this article, and lost in the conclusion, is one very true statement: “The first professional responsibility of obstetricians is to ensure that hospital delivery is safe, respectful, and compassionate.” The author goes on to describe what that needs to look like, and in an easily overlooked fashion concedes that hospitals aren’t always safe places either.  In fact, both infant and maternal mortality are on the rise in the United States, at a time when hospitals have a near monopoly on birth.  
This failing falls squarely at the feet of ACOG and the collective actions of its Fellows, which calls to mind this quote:
“ACOG no longer has the moral authority to set standards in maternity care…. It has made too many self-aggrandizing and self-protective recommendations (e.g. against home birth, videotaping birth, and VBAC) that limit the freedom of American women and families.” (M. Wagner, Born In The USA, 2006, University of California Press, p. 32)
Overlooking this reality completely, the author also overlooks the most reliable research on the safety of home birth, while noting that ACOG “accepts the findings of Wax et al,” a thoroughly discredited piece of published research that does not stand as prima fascia evidence against the safety of home birth.  Even Amy Tuteur (no friend to home birth) says this AJOG article is “poorly researched, relies on bad studies and is woefully paternalistic.” 
One contradiction stands out as the authors call for “safe, respectful, and compassionate” hospital delivery.  No hospital birth can be truly respectful if the birth is happening in the hospital because the physician disrespects the woman’s right to an alternative and has rigged the system to eliminate access to all legal alternatives.

This is quintessential ACOG behavior, displayed regularly in the war on Real Birth.  The ACOG's desire to eradicate homebirth is not only fear-based, bad "medicine," it is an assault on our fundamental human rights to make our own life and health decisions.  Pregnancy is not an ailment and birth is not an emergency medical condition.  Anything less than autonomy in this realm (just as in the ream of food choices) is nanny state tyranny.  We are not wards of the government or the food and medical industries.  

We are free, thinking beings; our health and well-being choices belong to us alone. Contrary to ACOG propaganda, homebirths are not the bogey man OBs would have you believe.  Hospital births routinely end undesirably to some degree for mother and/or baby; such is the cost of unnatural, profit- and policy-driven interventions.  The majority of homebirths are beautiful, natural, empowering, spiritually enriching, safe experiences.  (Can we say the same for the industrial birth system?)  Whether at home or in hospital, even in the most blessed of circumstances, unhappy twists can occur.  Such is reality.  But the rare instance of undesirable outcomes certainly does not justify the vilification and outlawing of mankind's successful historical, traditional birthplace: the home.  If that is to be the case, the same measuring stick must be applied to the birth industry itself and hospital births must come under fire.

The fact is that we do not need (nor should we desire) to be protected from ourselves, especially not by the medical industry.  Doctors, of any persuasion, are to be our consultants IF we desire their input...they are not our dictators.  It is neither logical, nor reasonable, to allow the exception (women who suffer pregnancy complications) to define the rule (normal birth).  

Yet, the non-evidentiary technocratic model of birth rules the day.  And the "little gods" in white coats are not content to wield their power over the women who volunteer for their regime.  These practitioners of overplayed intervention seek to exert political power over us all, working to ban the practice of traditional midwifery and homebirth.  Just like Monsanto, the power-hungry conventional birth industry OBs are not content with their market share...they desire to annihilate the competition.

We can fight to stem this tide.  Check out the Citizens for Midwifery website to learn more and see what you can do to help.

Are We Losing the Food Fight?!

Lately, my stomach has begun to sink when I hear my husband reading the Acres USA magazine.  "Uh-oh," he'll say.  "That's not good."  Or, "You've GOT to be kidding me!"

"What is it now?"  I ask...wondering if I should query.  Do I really want more bad news?  (I'm still recovering from the assault on heritage hogs in Michigan.)

He replies with a scowl.  "You won't believe what's happening in Bellingham."

He's reading the November issue...the dilemma is described thus:
Traditional Rural Lifestyles Under Assault:  Despite the growing back-to-the-land movement, many legal and planning challenges continue to stymie smaller farms while favoring industrial-scale agriculture.
As I cringe at yet another attempted murder of Real Food, hubby gives me a glimpse of the latest onerous move against food freedom in a locale that is known for its clean food cravings.  This time it's Whatcom County regulations making it more difficult for small farms to raise and sell food.

A happy, pastured pig
And I can't help but wonder...what's happening?  We live in a day when the message of clean food, real health, and consumer rights is louder than ever (who hasn't seen Food, Inc.? who hasn't heard of Joel Salatin?  how many Real Food blogs does it take?  ...Ron Paul, anyone?).  Yet, it feels like we're losing the fight.

Just look at the recent stinging loss of Prop 37.  I feel like I have the credibility as a former Californian to say this...What happened people?  Prop 37 fails?  You can't be serious!  You don't want to know if you are eating GMOs?  Well, I don't believe it for a moment.  It is more likely that we are seeing the twisted system at work.  Can you say foul play?

Of course I expect Monsanto and cronies to use their deep pockets (and powerful friends in high places) to fight consumer rights and food freedoms, but I don't expect the voters to play into their hands.  Big frankenAg loves it when consumers are swayed by "studies" that organic food is no healthier than the alternative.  In its fight of Prop 37, Monsanto falsely quoted the FDA to mislead voters.  But none of that should matter, right?  Why would concerned and knowledgeable voters fall prey to false advertising and phony studies ("We're Stanford...if we say it it must be true")?  We're living in the information age.  Are we still trusting the FDA and robodocs? (good one, Sarah.)  Aren't we smarter than that?  We know that power corrupts.  We know how people will say anything for money...for control.  We know better...we care more...don't we?

That's right, I'm a grazing goat...and I give great milk!
California has traditionally led the nation in the food fight.  But the failure of Prop 37 plays right into the hands of Big Ag.  Any win for them is a deleterious loss for us, the people...for our future food and health choice freedoms.  

I recall some anti-Prop 37 rhetoric from the Libertarian camp in the months before the vote.  To my understanding, the Libertarians took umbrage at further government regulation in this arena.  They would prefer that consumers somehow induce companies to voluntarily label their foods.  I could be mistaken, but that's my take on the argument.  Without waxing too politically philosophical, I would like to share my (radical and perhaps contradictory?) view on that message.

I think it's a little bit of rubbish.

Don't get me wrong...I consider myself a Libertarian of sorts (if I allow myself to enter any classification at all politically).  Of course I agree that all levels of our government have metastasized, like a cancerous growth, far beyond the boundaries of their acceptable purposes.  I despise big government and over-regulation of our lives.  I would love to see government out of our business, and out of the marketplace (for the most part...hang on, I'll get there).  

But let's get real.  It isn't happening.  Legislators and government agents are not looking out for your best interests...they are held sway by corporate interests.  (Case in point, the on-going raw milk war.)  And at this crucial time in our nation's food fight, I do not believe the GMO labeling issue is the ground in which to stake the flag of "no more government regulation."  The government is already protecting the bad guys...is it too much to desire that our government (for the people, by the people, right?) requires Truth in Labeling?

At its core, I see Prop 37 as a truth in labeling law.  It would have required "food" corporations to enact full disclosure to consumers about what they are eating.  It seems to me that truth in labeling fits seamlessly with a Libertarian view of government's purpose.  Based on the simple yet wise historical tradition of common law, the role of government should be to protect citizens from encroachment, and to enforce contracts.  Common law says: Do all that you have promised to do, and Do not encroach on persons and their property.  Period.  If any peoples anywhere at any time desire to enact a government, those alone are the principles that should be upheld.  I see these principles at work in labeling laws.  Fair and just regulations would be those that disallow force and fraud in the market place.  Truth in labeling reduces fraud.

In addition to eliminating (or lessening) the perpetuation of fraud in the food market, labeling laws would reduce encroachment upon persons, in the form of protecting consumers from being physically harmed by Big Ag's offerings.  This is vitally important when we understand the truth that we are what we eat...that what we eat can damage our DNA.  You are made well or ill by what you put in your body.  (Fake) food corporations would no longer be able to hide behind their lack of disclosure.  People would be empowered to make educated choices about what substances they are feeding themselves and their children.  Ignorance is certainly not bliss when one is being poisoned against one's will.  

Unless you are an informed consumer, you can fall prey to poison.  Big Ag's lack of disclosure makes you a potential victim.  You have a fundamental, inalienable right to know what is in your food.  In my view, enacting truth in labeling laws fits within the Libertarian framework of dismantling fraud and enforcing the anti-encroachment rule.  I could be way off base here, I allow room for that possibility, LOL.  I'm all for dismantling government's hold on our food system altogether.  No fingers in the pot whatsoever.  Government's only role would be to punish companies for encroachment and contract violation (lying, cheating, stealing, polluting, poisoning...).  If that were to happen, the GMO monster might be significantly diminished.  Without shelter and enablement from Big Brother, maybe the frankenfood producers would skulk away.  One can dream...

Well, coming on the heels of the GMO labeling defeat, it seems California will no longer be a bastion of enlightenment in the Real Food fight...we'll need to begin looking elsewhere for our inspiration and national clean food leadership.  Perhaps we can follow the lead of San Juan County...at least, until Monsanto sues them and buys itself a win.

Now that's Real Food
So, what's the answer?  Can we trust that the "free market" will prevail and we will always be assured the choices we desire?  I'm not putting my eggs in that basket, considering that Monsanto and cronies desire not just part of market share, but to control the entire market.  They already have "good friends" in government positions and regulatory agencies.  I think our real hope lies in boycott and community self-sufficiency.  Corporate food avoidance is the best medicine.  If you want to be certain you are not ingesting GMOs, do not eat any processed foods, nor any crops/produce known to have GMO in production.  Purchase raw ingredients from farmers you trust; ask them about their seed sources.  Don't patronize farmers who buy seed from Monsanto et al. 

Currently, you may be able to avoid GMOs by purchasing Organic foods, but I have no hope that this will continue to be the safeguard we need.  The USDA certified Organic standards are already full of compromises...where is that bus headed?  With Big Ag at the wheel, I certainly do not trust the future integrity and purity of the Organic label.  Right now, you can still vote with your fork.  Consider any company unwilling to fully display the components of their ingredients not to be trusted.  Do not buy from such companies.

Freely ranging members of the egg brigade

My family just spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with dear friends.  We enjoyed organic pastured heritage breed turkey purchased from a farmer with whom we have developed a relationship.  We ate an organic pastured ham from one of the heritage breed pigs that my husband raised and butchered himself.  Among other lovely foods, we were blessed with an abundance of organic gourmet potatoes (multiple varieties) from a local farmer friend.  (For the nonGAPS eaters in the group.)  The meal was fabulous.  During our dinner, we shared with each other blessings for which we were thankful.  More than one person mentioned good food and good health.  My prayer for all of you...for all of us...is that we may continue to pursue our fundamental, inalienable food and health freedoms.  To do so may require a food fight of increased vigor.  Let's rise to the challenge.

USDA Organic...The Label Doesn't Guarantee Clean Food

The term organic means something specific to consumers...purity, safety, absence of chemicals, pesticides, frankenfoods, adulteration.  But is your supermarket Organic food as clean as you'd like?  [In the following article, Organic with a capital "O" represents the corporate, government approved and regulated standard.]

In truth, the USDA Organic label is not a pure standard ensuring that consumers are purchasing and eating Real Clean Food.  The moment that government regulators became involved in the world of organic food production, the standards became adulterated, the lines blurred.  Years ago, clean food farmers warned their peers to avoid signing a deal with the USDA, but the warning was unheeded and (official) Organic food quality has been and will continue to be subject to regulation whims and corporate adulteration.

Rather than protecting consumers from conventionally grown food's harm, the USDA Organic standards provide lawfully tainted foods.  As Mercola reports:
There are currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organic farming or food production.  ...  In November, 2011, the USDA's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) held a meeting in Savannah, Georgia. During that meeting, two 12-billion-dollar corporations--Martek Biosciences (a division of the Dutch biotechnology giant DSM), and WhiteWave (a division of the dairy behemoth Dean Foods)—received approval for synthetic, genetically mutated DHA and ARA oils derived from algae and soil fungus, which are then grown in a medium of genetically engineered corn products and organics.
The allowed chemicals and substances in Organic production include chlorine (a potent toxin), chlorine dioxide (a dangerous endocrine disruptor and carcinogen), tetracycline and streptomycin (antibiotics), processed carrageenan (an inflammatory and potentially carcinogenic "stabilizer" derived from seaweed), and other questionable substances.  Additionally, corporations have been found sneaking synthetic preservatives into their Organic offerings.

We should be concerned about the USDA Organic label and its integrity, considering that the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, caved to Monsanto and approved GMO alfalfa and defends pink slime, and that the National Organics Standards Board is highly influenced by big business.  (Vilsack went so far as to say that the USDA wouldn't approve pink slime if it weren't safe.  Oh, I feel so much better now.  Another government agency known for cronyism says everything it approves is all A.O.K.  Whew!  We can all sleep better knowing the USDA is planning our meals for us.)  The NOSB has been appointing voting representatives from big food industry players, like General Mills, since the mid-1990s.  This should not sit well with organic consumers, and it doesn't sit well with certain organic producers, including Eden Foods' president, Michael Potter:
Chairman and President of Eden Foods, Inc., Michael Potter ... has witnessed, first-hand, the deteriorating standards of the NOSB. A deterioration so disturbing that despite the millions of dollars he stands to pocket by selling Eden Foods to one of the many large corporations who have offered to buy it, Mr. Potter stands strong in his refusal to compromise the values of a company he worked hard to build. In fact, he’s even trending carefully with regards to his children, making sure they understand values of Eden Foods. Each one of his four children “must earn any control of the family company” according to the New York Times.
As the NYTimes article reveals, even voters from Certified Organic companies make sell-out moves while acting on the NOSB:
During her tenure, Ms. Fulwider, Organic Valley’s animal-husbandry specialist, has voted almost in lock step with its corporate members, even though her vote may be supporting something Organic Valley does not allow its own members to do.  ...  Ms. Fulwider surprised many observers at a board meeting in May by voting in favor of keeping carrageenan on the organic list. Before that meeting, Organic Valley was saying that it planned to find an alternative to the additive, and there is a long and active list of consumer complaints on its web site about the cooperative’s use of it in things like heavy cream and chocolate milk.  Ms. Fuldwider has also voted to let organic egg producers give their chickens just two square feet of living space, when Cropp requires its own farmers to provide five.
The chart below demonstrates the food industry's corporate ownership of "Organic" brands:

The danger of these strange food bedfellows is already becoming apparent.  In addition to the concerns I mentioned above, organics watchdog group Cornucopia Institute regularly reports on the drawbacks associated with allowing big government and big business to influence organic food production.  For example, as the Institute recently reported, "Corporations Stab Organic Consumers in Back:"
Corporations owning some of the nation's most popular organic brands (Horizon, Silk, Kashi, Cascadian Farms, R.W. Knudsen's, etc.) have joined Monsanto and the biotechnology industry in fighting California citizen initiative, Proposition 37, that will mandate GMO labeling. And if we win in California, companies will then likely be forced to label GMOs nationwide.
In reality, this conundrum was inevitable.  When you allow the government to control and regulate food production (or anything, for that matter), you are asking for trouble.  The government took over, companies betrayed organic ideals, and Organic food offerings are now and will continue to be subject to whatever adulterations the NOSB, USDA and corporations deem appropriate.  Will we see an Organic future including factory farms and GMOs?  Really...what did we expect?  That a partnership with a government regulatory agency and its buddies wouldn't mean swallowing a bucket of compromises?  (Cautionary tale 101:  Beware making deals with the devil.)

The best way to guarantee you are feeding your family clean food, truly organic food, is to purchase food grown from farmers with whom you can build relationships...whose farms you can see...whose methods and practices you can question.  Their food need not be Certified Organic (approved by the infamous USDA) to be truly organic food.  In my experience, most food from local organic producers is cleaner than anything I can purchase in a store.  And the farmers care about their local reputation.  Often, to differentiate themselves from the Certified Organic crowd, farmers will call their offerings "beyond organic."  When they are genuine, the quality of their food exceeds what the USDA allows to pass as Organic.  To avoid the pitfalls of corporate Organics, buy from smaller producers who are accountable to you, their patrons.  

Sometimes we have no choice.  We all still must eat.  In that case, I recommend the supermarket USDA Organic foods over their conventionally produced cousins.  Certified Organic may not be perfect, may not be pure, may not be playing fair, but as far as we know now, it is less toxic than the non-Organic counterparts and is the healthier choice.

Certain problems associated with the "allowable" Organics standards affect processed food offerings.  If you are relying heavily on Organic processed and packaged foods, you should consider learning to prepare your own meals and snacks from scratch with Real Food components.  Blogs abound with recipes and instructions.  A steady diet of processed foods, even Organic, will not properly nourish you or your family.  The further you get from the genuine food article as it appears in nature, the less nutritious it is...and the more likely to be subject to additives, preservatives and ingredients that you cannot understand nor recognize, because they are not Real Food.  Nothing that is produced in a lab is Real Food...not even if the label says "natural."  Real Food grows out of the ground and from the animals that eat what grows out of the ground.  When we support the farmers who believe in and produce Real Food, we are supporting our health and our future well-being.

The USDA's Organic Deception

Discover What They're Hiding In Your Organic Food

Why One Organic Brand Is Refusing to Sell Out

Has Organic Been Oversized?

The Truth Behind Certified Organic

National List of Allowed Substances 

Pesticides and Chemicals Allowed in Organic Production

The Cornucopia Institute

Chlorine, Pollution and the Environment

Pandora's Poison:  Chlorine, Health and a New Environmental Strategy

Laboring Under Delusions: How Fear Facilitates Our Broken Birth Culture

I am glowing this week, as I just discovered I am pregnant with whom we hope will be child number four. I have a history of infertility and miscarriages, along with debilitating nausea and vomiting that lasts the entire gestation, so each pregnancy is met with prayerful anticipation. My births, however, have been wonderful, natural, empowering events...that necessitated commitment, preparation and hard work on my part. And I can promise you, Ladies, home waterbirths are every bit as wonderful as you’ve heard. I’ve had a land birth and I’ve had waterbirths...and you couldn’t pay me to give birth out of the water. They don’t call it the “aqua”dural for nothing! (Check out the myriad advantages of waterbirths for Mom and baby at the Waterbirth International website.)

So, on the heels of my positive pregnancy test, I wanted to resurrect and consolidate some essays I’ve penned previously on my passionate concern for our broken birth culture. I’d like to take some time to share my heartfelt conviction regarding the damage being perpetrated upon women and their babies as a result of our technocratic, fear-based, factory birth system.

We’ve all seen the quintessential cinematic or television portrayal of birth: Surrounded by monitors and equipment in a brightly lit room, a screaming woman lies in a hospital bed, begging for drugs. The room bustles with nurses and an OB or two, the scene is rife with panic. Someone yells, “PUSH!” or “I see a head!” in a voice edged with terror that should be reserved only for a devastating catastrophe like an impending Tsunami wave about to engulf an entire village. What drama! What trauma! What rubbish! But this is the typical version of birth we serve to society. The message is that birth is damaging, dangerous and an event to be feared.

The fear of birth is the beginning of intervention disaster. Our culture (the industrialized world, primarily the United States) teaches women to fear birth. Fear is paralyzing...it is powerful...it is profitable. Fearful parents are more easily led down the lockstep of “standard procedure” interventions. A fearful woman in pain has trouble making wise decisions. So much of birth is a mental exercise. Just like an athlete, you must “get your head in the game.” Attitude has a significant impact on outcomes. An attitude of fear debilitates. An attitude of peace, understanding, acceptance and a sound mind empowers. Fear-based decisions are faulty decisions. When you fear or fight the pain of birth, the laborious activity of birth, you impair your body’s natural ability to work with the baby and the process to achieve a positive outcome. Women who do not fear birth, who have not been indoctrinated to do so, who do not fight or interfere with the process, have much higher likelihoods of positive, natural results. What you believe about your body and your ability to birth has a tremendous impact on your birth outcome. Attitude is one of the most crucial elements to a successful birth.

Our modern birth system is a technocratic system. A technocracy is a society controlled by an elite of technical experts. Much of our society, including the entire medical industry, is technocratic. In the pregnancy/birth realm, the technocratic model defines the female body as broken...a compilation of defective parts that creates a dysfunctional reproductive process necessitating medical and technological intervention. This could not be further from the truth! Our bodies were designed for birth. The female body is not inferior and every human body is a wonderful, incredible organism of holistically integrated members.

“Anybody in obstetrics who shows a human interest in patients is not respected. What is respected is interest in machines.”
— Rick Walters MD, February 1986
We exist within a broken birth culture. We are told we cannot birth on our own. We are told that pregnancy is an illness and birth is dangerous. We are told that we are broken and we believe the lie. We are told that we need to be saved from ourselves when neither evidence nor experience supports that claim. Even women who desire and pursue “natural birth” often operate with ingrained presuppositions fed to us by the industry. The majority of women (and men, too) labor under a (sometimes subconscious) fear of the process, “giving ear to the voices of doctors, tests and technology that assert birth is dangerous and needs highly skilled assistance ‘just in case something goes wrong.’" (quote from Anne Frye, CPM, prominent midwifery educator)  That fear is unnatural...it is something in which our society has been indoctrinated over many decades. The assertion that hospital births are the safe option and that homebirths are risky is simply fallacious. An honest assessment of the evidence-based data refutes that claim. We must stop the hypermedicalization of birth (to borrow a phrase from the great birth liberator Ina May Gaskin).  There is no such thing as a safe drug, nor a risk-free surgery.  Both carry side effects and complications that corrupt our bodies.

“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for those women who choose home birth. The reason for this is that these women trust themselves more than doctors and hospitals.”
— Christiane Northrup MD, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
If you are one of the five percent of women who has a legitimate physiological/anatomical difficulty/malfunction that precludes you from normal birth, that necessitates medicalized birth, you have my genuine sympathies and my respect for battling your impediment and bringing your baby into the world. You are the minority...the rare exception...for whom the protocol of emergency/technological birth measures are prescribed. But for the industry to apply that paradigm to the rest of us...to seek the medicalization and enforced technological protocol for all normal birth...is criminal. Normal birth is NOT a medical event.

OBs who desire to normalize “abdominal” birth have completely lost touch with the reality of the human form and its natural function. There is no such thing as abdominal birth (aka cesarean section) without the risk-bearing tools of the factory birth system. A c-section is not a birth process at all...its “intent” is to be an emergency, last ditch effort. To elevate the c-section to a place of normalization along with natural vaginal birth borders on insanity. A c-section is an invasive surgery, not a birth. A woman is restrained to a table, she (and consequently her baby) is drugged, and her abdomen is sliced open, her internal tissues, musculature and an organ cut into, and her baby forcefully removed. As a genuine lifesaving, RARE procedure, we can accept such a violation. But let us never accept or promote it as an elective, normal birth option. Christiane Northrup, in her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, describes OBs that believe the c-section model to be the preferred baby delivery system. These doctors, at best, are deluded. According to their paradigm, it’s nothing short of miraculous that the human race made it to the 20th century.

“We do not see childbirth in many obstetric units now. What we see resembles childbirth as much as artificial insemination resembles sexual intercourse.”
— Ronald Laing, Psychiatrist
The industry seems blind to the fact that women have been populating the earth into the billions for millennia before the medicalization of birth. To claim that birth can only be safe and successful as a result of our modern, technocratic system is both arrogant and ignorant. The United States boasts the most technological birth system in the world, yet suffers one of the worst infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world.  In California alone, the maternal death rate tripled between 1996 and 2006.  Nationally, cesarean sections are a significant factor in maternal death.  And rather than doing some serious self-reflection, the ACOG spends its time and resources vilifying homebirth. Even the CNM paradigm has shifted through the years to become aligned with the ACOG version of reality. So many CNMs now are just mini-OBs. Some know very little about botanical and nutritional therapies and do not advocate the complete pursuit of the instinctive, unfettered birth process.  I recently heard a student CNM rail against homebirths, saying she would never support a woman’s desire to birth outside the hospital system. “Babies die at home!” she said. Well, it is rare, yet sadly, it can happen. I grant you, life can be harsh. We despair to see a baby die in any environment. Bad things can happen, sometimes out of our control. But let us not be ignorant of the facts. Babies die in hospital births. Moms die in hospital births. Why does mainstream media neglect to seriously report the plight of maternal deaths as a result of the hospital birth system?

Hospital L&D protocols and procedures create a cascade of interventions that routinely results in harm (from mild to severe) to mothers and babies. The typical crisis outcome is the c-section, which accounts for 33% of births nationally (some states are at 40% and some hospitals are at 50%).  Too often, the hospital instigates the cascade of events and policies (epidurals, pitocin, fetal monitoring, mom in bed, etc.) that leads to birth complications, ends in a risky surgical delivery, and later the OBs thump their chests, claiming to have "saved" you and your baby. Well, it's partly true...they did save you...they saved you from the harm they caused you, significantly adding complications to you and your baby's birth and postpartum recovery. Yet the birth industry "experts" profess that they are providing the best, safest care...that they are protecting you. From what is the ACOG so desirous to protect women and babies? Peaceful, empowering, health-promoting, drug-free vaginal births? The fear-based, “broken body” paradigm causes industry practitioners and protocol makers to see every pregnancy as an illness and every birth as a disaster waiting to happen. They foolishly apply a (profitable) “one-size-fits-all” approach and work to convince all of us that it is sound practice. The industry needs to take a step back and begin to accept and practice what I believe is an essential, needful mantra: “Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD!”

The birth industry applies the emergency procedure approach necessary for only five percent of women to all pregnant women. They treat all infants at birth like the endangered babies of drug-using, disease-riddled mothers. These presuppositions determine hospital birth policy. When was the last time you knew a pregnant mom who had gonorrhea? Not common. Yet the industry has made it standard treatment to fill ALL newborn’s eyes with chemical gunk to "protect" from that disease. How many moms do you know who are prostitutes or IV drug addicts?  Not too many?  Yet industry policy is to vaccinate ALL newborns for Hepatitis B.  The industry’s policies are not evidence-based necessities. The ACOG-driven policy of punishing midwives...of vilifying, outlawing and delegitimizing homebirth...does not stand on evidence-based science; it can only be compelled by profit and/or a desire for control and conformity. The ACOG stands ready with PR pitbulls and regulatory buddies to attack the moment they perceive (or design stories of) anything going awry in the homebirth realm. But where is that fire in the belly for publicizing and prosecuting those responsible in the hospital system when babies and mothers are harmed...even killed...by their interventions and procedures?!

“Birth matters. It matters because it is the way we all begin our lives outside of our source, our mothers’ bodies. It’s the means through which we enter and feel our first impression of the wider world. For each mother, it is an event that shakes and shapes her to her innermost core. Women’s perceptions about their bodies and their babies’ capabilities will be deeply influenced by the care they receive around the time of birth.”
— Ina May Gaskin, CPM, Birth Matters
The birth industry operates with a factory widget approach. Because of this flawed technocratic paradigm, the OB system sorely lacks good prenatal care. Good prenatal care involves a genuine relationship (including quality and quantity time spent) between the pregnant mother and her chosen support practitioner...it is more than tests and technological monitoring. It is not common for OBs...or even many CNMs, sadly...to educate women about how to be truly healthy during their pregnancy and to prepare for their best possible birth outcome (nutrition, exercise, herbs, lifestyle, etc). Birth industry practitioners don't tell women about the wonderful red raspberry leaf that strengthens, tones, then repairs the uterus, and helps to alleviate postpartum depression. They don't teach women about how to avoid posterior baby positioning that leads to labor complications (even c-sections), and what you can do to rotate a posterior baby before/during birth. They don't teach women about the optimum exercises and practices for birth preparation, nor do they encourage women to move into and explore the best birthing positions during labor/birth. In general, typical OB care includes vast unnecessary (and problematic) technological interventions, viewing all women the same, giving them all the standard protocol...it is the factory approach to childbearing, and it doesn't work. This birth culture disempowers women, keeps them disconnected from their bodies, babies and the birth process...it keeps women steeped in fear and self-doubt...and it perpetuates the lies to the next generations.

“The gap between actual obstetric practices in the Unites States and what scientific evidence indicates obstetric practices should be continues and will be slow to change until there is sufficient pressure—from women, scientists, politicians, and the media—to force more evidence-based practices.”
— Marsden Wagner MD, Born in the USA

Any perspective, finding or practice outside the established accepted industry norm is routinely vilified, slandered, mocked, or suppressed. If you don't walk to their beat, you're out of line. The minute someone questions "conventional wisdom" and it gets big enough to make ripples, the hounds are released. It's so typical and common that it's humorous. Someone comes close to rocking the boat and the PR dogs bark out their mantra..."that cannot be proven," "that is unsafe," "that is not approved." And when the establishment gets caught with dirty hands, caught in deceptions, caught altering results, caught with egg on their faces, the response is first silence, then more mud-slinging at those who are outside the box...the hounds just shout their mantras louder: "Unproven, dangerous, unproven, dangerous! We are the only truth, we are your only hope." As if saying it will guarantee their continued stranglehold on society. 

In 2007/8, there sprang forth a handful of exposes on the birth industry, including Ricki Lake's documentary The Business of Being Born, Jennifer Block's book Pushed and Marsden Wagner's book Born in the U.S.A.  Their message was neither new nor revolutionary (the flawed technocratic, medicalized, for-profit American birth model is rife with problems), but perhaps it was the frequency or consolidation of the voices that created ripples in the sea of public consciousness. As a result, growing numbers of women began to question the "party line" and sought alternatives. My friend, a licenced midwife in California, told me that she had never busier. As the seedlings of this rogue enlightenment nudged their way to the light of day, the threatened status quo responded in typical form to squash any growing opposition. The ACOG came out with its bald-faced lie...um, I mean statement...that homebirths are dangerous. This was followed by a bout of propaganda in which news outlets ran stories about the horrors of out-of-hospital births. My then-pregnant, homebirthing friend told me, with infuriated passion, "It makes me so angry that I want to go outside, squat in my front yard and just push this baby out!" My sentiments exactly! 

After a significant study was published in 2009 that showed planned homebirths with professional midwives were "just as safe as hospital births," the ACOG released more negative press, decrying homebirth. This kind of defensive fear-mongering flies in the face of the historical facts regarding the safety and desirability of the age-old natural birthplace...the home. As the interest in homebirth and empowered choice has grown, so has the establishment's mud-slinging. The message is clear...you cannot birth without us. The birth industry chants this disinformation as loudly as it can, using various mediums to do so (including popular television series, corporate media "news reporting," advertising, control of the medical journals, etc.).

“Women were...telling me they’d felt tremendous pressure from their medical providers to go against instinct and research—to induce labor, to schedule a cesarean, to lie back during labor when every cell in their body felt like moving. Women are supposed to push their babies out; instead, they felt they were being pushed around.”
— Jennifer Block, Pushed
One of the most irksome segments for me in The Business of Being Born was the OB interviewee who likened homebirth to driving without wearing a seatbelt. Not quite! Driving without a seatbelt in the birth realm is a couple who refuses to become informed consumers. It is a mama-to-be who doesn’t take advantage of the essential therapeutic modalities (like botanical medicine, chiropractic care, acupuncture, exercise and nourishing diet) that create a healthy baby and positive birth outcome. I’m turning the tables on the OB’s statement. Homebirth is akin to driving without a seatbelt? Nonsense.  Let's use an analogy to describe the risks women take when they enter the hospital birth industry. That scenario is akin to a woman being tranquilized, strapped into a straight jacket, shoved into a giant hamster ball and pushed toward a cliff.

The system says, “You can’t do it.” The system says, “Our way is the only way. Our drugs are safe...this procedure is necessary...you have no alternatives...those other options are dangerous, unproven, ineffective, blah, blah, blah. Trust us. Believe us. Obey us.” We listen to the voices and we make ourselves victims.  Why do we listen to the lies?  Truly, there is no substitute for the care of a well-trained, knowledgeable midwife (literally "with woman").  The birth industry cannot offer you anything that comes close.  The birth industry's drugs carry significant risks to mother and baby. Epidurals are anesthetics derived from the Caine family of drugs, such as bupivicaine (a relative of cocaine), and are often combined with opioids and narcotics.  These drugs are certainly not benign; neither is pitocin (which is not even approved for elective inductions). The birth industry's standard protocols (such as constant electronic fetal monitoring
) do not facilitate the birth process, have not been proven to improve outcomes, and often lead to unnecessary and undesirable complications. Babies are negatively impacted by drugs and procedures used during hospital births...a possibility that is avoided with homebirth.  The placenta is not an impenetrable fortress through which no toxins pass.  Women understand this instinctively and work during pregnancy to protect their babies from drugs and toxins.  So why would we expose our babies to a dose of extraordinarily potent and toxic drugs during birth?

Fundamentally, it is a distrust of our bodies that makes us vulnerable to the factory system. Why do we listen? Our bodies DO work...it is a rare event that they need medical help.  We need to understand that good midwives can alleviate many undesirable acute situations that could emerge during birth at home (such as shoulder dystocia or neonatal resuscitation).  Midwives also know to recognize the signs of impending complications (both prenatally and during labor) and seek help if necessary.  But above all, midwives RESPECT and support a woman's choices in pursuing her best birth.  We need to redesign our paradigm.  We need NOT be led by fear and expect undesirable outcomes.  Expect success, work for it, and you will be amazed at the results.

As a society, we choose how young women view birth...either with fear, or with awe and confidence. The tragic irony is that for all our modern female liberation and empowerment, American women allow themselves to fall prey to the patriarchal technocratic baby delivery system that is founded on the erroneous belief that our bodies are flawed and broken and that we need to be saved from ourselves. We allow ourselves to be abused by a misuse of technology. As a culture, how far will we stray from the natural processes of life? How long will we continue to disempower women in this most natural feminine realm? Why are we allowing them to destroy our right to choose how to birth our babies? How many of you know a woman (perhaps yourself) who regrets her industrial birth outcome? How many of you know someone, mama or baby, altered or harmed by the standard procedures? Ladies, if you want to be empowered, start by taking back birth! Our daughters need not be victims of this system. We have the power to change the factory birth model and our cultural attitude...one birth at a time.

For citations, statistics and information:

The Technocratic Model of Birth

Differences Between Technocratic and Holistic Models of Care
Birth "attacks" against women
BMJ Study:  Outcomes of Planned Homebirths with CPMs
Canadian Study: Planned Homebirths Safe
The Rituals of American Hospital Birth
Midwifery Today Responds to ACOG Homebirth "Study"
Technology in Birth: First Do No Harm
The Truth About Epidurals
Risks of Epidurals
Epidural Epidemic
The Truth About Pitocin
Cesarean Rates and Information
Benefits of Waterbirth
Medication During Pregnancy Causes Fetal Damage
US Infant Mortality Rates
Deadly Delivery: Amnesty International Report
The Safe Motherhood Project
Maternal Death Rates Linked to C-Sections
Risks of High-Tech Births
Wombecology by Michael Odent
Ina May Gaskin
Midwifery Today

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
Birth as an American Rite of Passage: Second Edition by Robbie Davis Floyd
Birth Models That Work by Robbie Davis Floyd
Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature by Henci Goer
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta by Ina May Gaskin
Birth without Violence by Frederick LeBoyer
Childbirth without Fear by Grantly Dick Read
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
Birthing Normally by Gayle Peterson
Expecting Trouble: What Expectant Parents Should Know About Prenatal Care in America by Thomas Strong

My Desire for America: Stop Eating SAD and Embrace SOLE Food

I was waxing reflective today as I prepared patties for our family meal of grilled burgers and veggies.  I thought of all the American families celebrating Independence Day, which brought to my mind images of the ubiquitous July 4th meal: hamburgers and hot dogs.  And I wondered how many of those revelers would be conscious of what they were ingesting.  How much pink slime, ammonia, steroids, antibiotics, trash bits, GMOs, malevolent pathogens, feces, and chemical stew would appear on picnic plates today?  

Keely, one of our free-range, browsing milk goats
And I began to cogitate on the significance of this day in history.  Freedom.  That most essential and honorable state of existence we claim to hold dear...Freedom!  Bit by bit, year over year, so many of our fundamental freedoms have been slipping away.  Such a reality is an abomination to cravers of freedom.  As a 21st century citizen of the "most free country in the world," I wonder which battles are worth fighting?  Is victory possible?  I would like to believe that if everyone were educated on "the issues," everyone would care and most of us would be willing to act.  What that looks like, I don't know.  Individually, I can't fight every battle, nor can I give each one equal prominence.  But I believe in the strength of a united people.  So the more people who can and will join the Food Fight, the better.  And the first step to winning our freedom is freedom.  "Free your mind and the rest will follow..." 

Our free-range, pastured laying flock
A freed mind is a knowledgeable mind.  And knowledge is power.  (Wow, first I quote 1990s pop band En Vogue, now I'm quoting lines from cheesy 90s after-school cartoons...)  It really is...that's why the powerful and elite throughout history feared the education of the masses.  It's why fear-mongering is a favorite tool of regulators and industry spin doctors (promoting panic and emotion, subverting critical thinking and research).  And it's why the government, influenced by Big Ag, doesn't want consumers to have access to the truth about how food is produced in this country.  The more you know, the more likely you are to vote with your fork and abandon Big Ag.

Wilbur, our happily rooting Gloucestershire Old Spot
And that's one thing I desire for Americans...that our culture would drop its SAD (Standard American Diet) food and embrace SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical) food!  CAFO-raised, sludge-fed, drug-filled meat is a cornerstone of the Standard American Diet.  Just look at the beef industry.  Oh, wait...maybe we can't.  If the industry has its way, it will be illegal for anyone to take a photo or make a video of a CAFO or industrial farm.  And honestly, this makes complete sense when considered from the perspective of Big Ag.  Because we all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words.  When we peel back the veil and observe the horrid situation that becomes the meat on American tables, we arm the public with a tool in the fight against an industry that desires continued ignorance about food quality and safety.  Showing consumers the disgusting reality of cows standing knee-deep in feces, eating unnatural substances (including recycled grease from restaurants) and being forklifted into a slaughterhouse should mobilize the public to enter the fray, fight this food fight and financially cripple the CAFO industrial model.  Oh, how I wish we would send the American food industry into the annals of history!

Would you rather eat him.....  (c. OrganicNation)
.....or him?  (c. herbalistmama)
My family no longer eats industrial food.  But there was a day when hubby and I did, because we lacked knowledge and understanding.  Now, when I drive through the midwest (as we did during our spring travels) or through central California (as we did many times when we lived in CA), when I see and smell the reality of the CAFO model, I cannot fathom eating industrial meat.  When I watch videos showing the lives and slaughterhouse deaths of CAFO animals, when I consider the unethical and unnatural treatment and feeding of those animals and the resulting ravages on our ecosystem...the toxic effects on our air, soil and water, I cannot fathom eating industrial meat.  The modern industrial agricultural model is unnatural, unhealthy, and unnecessary.  Thankfully, documentaries like Food, Inc. and Fresh, and scores of books, articles and blogs are filling the void and slowly enlightening engaged consumers.

Small-scale, organic, local farming...community clean food...is not an impossible dream.  It was life as we knew it before the Industrial Age, and it could be life again.  Industrialization brought convenience, speed, "efficiencies," division of labor...but it didn't bring health and wellness, sanity and sustainability, humane husbandry.  Pundits of the glorious industrial model have long heralded its ability to provide MORE...more food, more goods spread about to more people.  Yet, we are seeing a decline in food crop and animal breed diversity.  We have fewer kinds of food plants and animals than ever in history, with the genetic erosion occurring at alarming rates.  Our cornucopia is shrinking, not growing.  

The more conscious consumers have become, the more furiously the food fight has raged.  Consumer demand for Real Food threatens the industrial model.  That's why the dirty dairy industry puts so much pressure on regulators to vilify and outlaw raw milk, or why the confinement pork industry wants pastured producers put out of business.  This is NOT about food safety...never has been and never will be.  Food safety is the straw man offered up by an industry afraid of profit losses.  It doesn't take a Mensa member to see that the real culprit behind food-borne illness is the unsustainable, unhealthy, unnatural massive scale industrial food model (the model whose architects must cheat and lie, employing collusion and cronyism, to maintain their reign).  Look at the data from any multi-state outbreak, such as a seven-state outbreak of salmonella in late 2011, and note the commercial corporate sources.  Clean food farmers cannot even supply on that scale.  Regulators would like the public to believe that Real Food can be and is just as dangerous (or more so) than its industrial counterpart.  But examination of the facts and statistics reveal the ruse...weigh the data in the balance and the industrial food tips the scale every time.

It is time that these musings come to a close.  I neglected to fully cover the SAD topic, but that stone has been unturned numerous times in numerous forums.  I certainly would not be the first to point out the fact that Americans are sadly malnourished, while being the fattest and most-fed people on the planet.  Just because it's edible, doesn't make it food.  But rather than discoursing comprehensively about U.S. diet deficiencies, I had meat on my mind.  So before I go, I'd like to share my current formula for grain-free burgers (cannot fill with oats while on GAPS).

Tonight's burgers consisted of organic grass-fed beef, pastured ground pork, ground elk, a pastured egg, some Celtic grey sea salt, minced garlic and onion, and turmeric.  [Turmeric is a healing herb and superfood with potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.]  The burgers were grilled medium-rare, wrapped in fresh mustard greens and served with grilled onions, red bell peppers and zucchini.  Delicious!

I hope you enjoyed your Independence Day, and I leave you with my wish that all Americans would desire to become independent from the system of fake food, declining health and regulatory tyranny.  Hey, a girl can dream!

Well, I Guess We're All Just a Bunch of Jerks

I'm sorry, I wasn't going to spend one minute on this, but I just couldn't help myself.  My kiddos are occupied with their Dad, so here goes...

Have you seen the ridiculous new "scientific research" that says eating organic food makes you a jerk?  REALLY?!  We have time for that kind of research now?  I'm sorry, but it seems to me that even pursuing such a hypothesis is a royal waste of time.  And, seriously, Who Cares?!  Are there not so many vastly more important issues to be pursued by researchers, scientists and John Q. Public?

The "study," conducted by a Loyola U. prof, querying 62 undergraduates, concluded that Organic food consumers are less altruistic and more judgmental.  (Wow...judgmental, stingy people...I think we just described vast members of the multitudes.)  And how did said professor determine this verdict?  By showing three student participant groups pictures of Organic and non-Organic food (no food was purchased or eaten by the participants), and then asking them to make judgments about certain activities (like shoplifting, bribery and incest).  

Because 20% of the students who viewed the pictures of Organic foods were "harsher" in their judgments of the immoral behaviour, and because they were not quick to volunteer for another study, we are served up the conclusion that eating Organic makes you judgmental and selfish.  Hence the headline: "Organic Food Might Make You a Jerk."  Wow!  What a compelling and airtight piece of scientific investigation and interpretation!  (Pardon me for my jerkish moment of sarcasm.)

I'm not sure what's worse...the fact that the professor made his "judgments" without actually investigating the everyday lives of actual Organic consumers, or that he is attempting to suggest that it is wrong to correctly judge immoral behaviour?  I'm not sure who to chide for this study...was it sponsored by an Industrial Food Corporation or by some Socialist thought police group (aka: certain government leaders and wealthy megalomaniacs who believe we should live in a world with no absolute truth; who would allow no differences in lifestyles, belief systems and opinions; that there is no right or wrong)?

So, if we play along for just a moment with the silly study's premises and conclusions, we find that people who buy Organic have a superiority complex...they are condescending, perhaps?  Hmmm...seems to me I've heard this tune before.  Let's see...(again, just pretending that this "scientific" premise and conclusion were accurate) are Organic food eaters unique in their jerkiness?  Not quite!  Profusions of people from the beginning of time have had superiority complexes...people look down on others for myriad reasons:  ethnicity, religion, social status, personality, you name it.  Methinks this problem is nothing new.

I can think of loads of people who act condescendingly and judgmental to others...who believe we "little people" need to be put in our place.  How about some of the persons with the initials MD behind their names?  How about aggressive government agents toting guns and cuffs?  (That's right, I'm talking about you, power-hungry-arrest-happy-no-warrant-needed-going-after-citizens-who-defy-us-and-sell-Real-Food, FDA!)

OK, now that I've got that off my chest, allow me to say this:  I don't believe anyone should act like a jerk to anyone else.  It's simply bad human conduct.  I have been on the receiving end of jerks...we all have.  Most of my experiences have not been with people who eat Real Food and I truly hope yours are not.  And, as for myself, I know I tend to rail...I get passionate...I try to direct my anger (righteous, I'd like to believe) at the correct villains.  Yes, I'm a food snob.  But that means I'm quite picky about my food choices...it doesn't mean I pick on others for theirs.  Rather, I'm concerned for people who live with unhealthy food choices.  I'm concerned for their children.  That's why I try to teach good nutrition...the truth about Real Food...to spur anyone not already "in the know" toward nourishing choices.  It's because I care.  If that makes me a jerk, well, I'll wear that badge.  I'll be the nicest jerk in town.  And I'll encourage any "scientists" I meet to spend their time (and grant givers' money) on more appropriate, worthy, positive life-changing venues.

Protecting Our Children from Fear-Based Medicine and Vaccine Damage

I have long been a skeptic of the modern medical establishment's paradigm and practices.  Because I am wired to question and contradict the status quo, it was natural for me to eject from a broken medical system.  I believe the modern allopathic system is irrevocably flawed; I do not trust drug companies or the institutions and doctors over whom they hold sway.

Before my children were born, I determined I would never vaccinate any of them.  I had studied and queried enough to know that the fear-based vaccination agenda would not be a part of our lives.  At that time, my position was somewhat unusual...much more so than now.  Because of the wealth of information being quickly disseminated in our society today, growing numbers of concerned parents have begun to question the sanity of the vaccine program. 

The vaccine debate is certainly heated, with powerful, collusive interests propagating the tale that there is nothing to fear, nothing to question, nothing to reject.  Despite continued loss of support by parents and doctors alike, despite continuing evidence that tells a different story, the vaccine industry uses its clout to proliferate the myth that vaccines are safe, efficacious and necessary.  Saying something loudly over and over and over does not make the thing true.  Forcing a paradigm and a procedure upon the public because you have the power to do so does not make that paradigm and procedure legitimate.  The popular answer is not by default the correct answer.  And making health decisions based solely upon the advice of drug manufacturers and the doctors who trust them is not informed consumerism.

I am encouraged as I see parents rightly questioning fear-based medicine...as they adopt a willingness to take personal responsibility for their children's health, to educate themselves outside the established box, to stand against medical bullying...so they can make informed decisions based on knowledge and conviction.  Freedom of choice is a key aspect to creating and preserving health and wellness.  People seem to have forgotten that the modern medical industry is a service provider offering one approach.  Too many MDs perceive and present themselves as little gods in white coats offering the best and the most appropriate treatment for all that ails us.  This premise is fundamentally false, based on faulty education and cultivated by an extraordinarily powerful and profitable technocratic, drug-based industry.

The medical industry, in collaboration with governmental regulatory agencies, has time and again exhibited its inclination to control our health choices.  Whether someone desires to participate in the modern medical system should be an act of will, not the result of coercion.  And when persons determine to seek assistance from any medical practitioner, they should remember that the power lies with the consumer.  We write the checks, they work for us!

When I exercised my freedom of choice all those years ago, determining to direct the health and development of my children outside the established medical system, I wrote a paper summarizing my decision.  Since that time, the vaccination issue has continued to expand, with new information regularly appearing on the scene.  What follows is the link to my treatise on vaccine refusal (with a bibliography of links and resources), as well as links to recently appearing vaccine news and some of my favorite vaccine information sources.  

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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