Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wellness Wednesday

Since we grow (and forage for) mushrooms on our farm, I did a little research to see what health benefits are provided by these fungi. Depending on the variety, studies have shown that mushrooms give a boost to your immune system, help regulate blood pressure (due to the potassium content), lower cholesterol, fight cancer and diabetes, and assist in weight loss. The cholesterol and cancer facts caught my attention since I recently read about a study that found statin medication more than doubles your risk for cancer. (Disclosure:  as is always the case with studies that show problems with popular pharmaceuticals, there were also counter-claims, saying other studies prove that statins lower your risk of cancer. Claims of "scare mongering were made.)

Here's an interesting video that shows how mushrooms are cultivated and processed commercially:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quote for the Day

"Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf is a flower."
~Albert Camus

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Is Breast Cancer Industry Month

It seems to get worse every year. October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just a way for corporations to separate well-meaning people from their money. Breast Cancer Action calls this whole culture "empty awareness." Who on this planet is not "aware" of breast cancer - or been touched by it in some way? Awareness is not a cure. Pink appliances, pink shirts, pink football players, pink yogurt lids, pink buckets of fried chicken, and - now, wait for it - pink oil drilling bits do not cure cancer. Neither do the expensive treatments - cutting, burning, and poisoning. Um, I mean surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. These are not cures, they are barbaric treatments that may or may not save lives. What is guaranteed is that the medical community will continue to make money. 

The elephant in the room during this month is prevention. While prevention doesn't make anyone any money - and that is the legal purpose of corporations, to make money - it will save lives and misery. Scientists and health care professionals know that some substances and lifestyle choices increase the risk of cancer. Phthalates in cosmetics? BPAs in water bottles? Chemicals (benzene, etc.) from fracking in ground water? Pesticides and herbicides on produce? Unpronounceable ingredients in processed food ? Tobacco products? Avoid them! 

Shame on the Susan B. Komen Foundation for taking money from Baker Hughes, a company that fracks. At least Baker Hughes has had the decency to take down the pages about its pink partnership. Go to Breast Cancer Action or Ms. Magazine and then try the link (and to read more about pinkwashing). The link gone from the Baker Hughes web site. (You can also read more at Salon.)

As a side note, the New England Journal of Medicine published a Swiss study that found that mammograms do not prevent or reduce the risk of cancer (detection is not prevention), nor do they prolong life. The study concluded:
It is easy to promote mammography screening if the majority of women believe that it prevents or reduces the risk of getting breast cancer and saves many lives through early detection of aggressive tumors.4 We would be in favor of mammography screening if these beliefs were valid. Unfortunately, they are not, and we believe that women need to be told so. From an ethical perspective, a public health program that does not clearly produce more benefits than harms is hard to justify. Providing clear, unbiased information, promoting appropriate care, and preventing overdiagnosis and overtreatment would be a better choice.
If you want to learn more about the pink ribbon culture, I highly recommend watching Pink Ribbons, Inc. Here's a link to the trailer for this documentary.

Want to really help? Stop buying the overpriced, unnecessary, often carcinogenic products that sport the pink ribbon. As Breast Cancer Action points out, these campaigns are a distraction to the real work that needs to be done. And they make a pile of money for the corporation, as evidenced by Kohls' campaign that required customers to spend at least $5 million for the company to "donate" $1 million.

Instead, begin a campaign to educate your family,friends, and neighbors about choices they make that can cause cancer. If you really want to put money towards the cause, take what you would spend on that cute pink product (that you don't really need) and donate it all to Breast Cancer Action, an organization that is all about prevention and cure rather than medicate and accumulate (dollars that is).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Amusement

Better late than never. :) I can sooo relate to this article from BuzzFeed. (FYI, I'm not very techie so not sure if the way I added it was the best way.)

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands

1. When everyone with you at a restaurant is trying to help you figure out what to order.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
“You could get the Caesar salad, but without anchovies!” “Eggs, can you eat eggs?” “Or the chicken parm sandwich, but with no chicken!” “Oooh, look, steamed kale!”

2. Whipping out your box of Morningstar at the barbecue.

Whipping out your box of Morningstar at the barbecue.
Not to mention silently freaking out about your veg patty being grilled in the same spot where a juicy hamburger was just chilling out.

3. Telling someone you’re veg.

Telling someone you're veg.
Pretty much sums it up.

4. When your friends want to share small plates at restaurants.

Brace yourself for paying $50 to eat one small plate of olives and some too-tough ciabatta.

5. People who crack jokes about vegetarians because they think it makes them edgy and hilarious.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
Haha. “What about the feelings of plants?” So clever!

6. Family members who don’t get it.


7. “So, what DO you eat? Salad?”

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
Yes. Just dry arugula. Nothing but dry arugula.

8. Going to French restaurants.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
*looks at menu* “Oh… I guess i’ll just have the French onion soup? Oh, beef broth? I guess just bring me some asparagus.”

9. When someone invites you over to their house for dinner.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
Your options:
1. Let them know you don’t eat meat, which makes them feel obligated to cook them something special and/or makes you sound presumptuous.
2. Don’t tell them, and so make them feel bad when you can only eat the side dishes.

10. Going on road trips with non-vegetarians.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
You’re constantly torn between not wanting to derail everyone’s fast-food desires and knowing you’re just not going to be able to eat anything.

11. When the waiter is hovering by your table listing off the (all meat) specials.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
*smiles and nods*
Nope, not gonna order those.

12. The prix fixe menu.

The prix fixe menu.
Hmm, which should I choose, the chicken or the steak? *cries*

13. Two words: holiday dinners.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands

14. When the token vegetarian entree is just a pile of roasted veggies, and you have to pay $18 for it anyway.

15. Lectures.

16. Having to ask for the ingredients of EVERYTHING.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands

17. Stores with in-house butchers.

18. Toting your own snacks everywhere.

Toting your own snacks everywhere.

19. People who talk constantly about how they’re obsessed with bacon.

19 Awkward Moments Every Vegetarian Understands
Wow, you’re so original! Cool.