How often should you clean your water bottle?

treehugger.com
By MelissaBreyer January 30, 2019

An infectious disease physician dishes the dirt on water bottles.

Here’s a curious thing about modern humans. We went for most of history without needing to carry a bottle of water around with us everywhere we went. But now, many of us find it hard to manage without constant and immediate access to hydration. Since the rise of the now-ubiquitous single-use water bottle in the 1970s, we’ve become unusually attached to portable water. Now that plastic water bottles have become such an untenable source of pollution, at least we’re seeing the light and increasingly moving on to reusable versions.

The only thing is, unlike a water glass at home that gets washed on a somewhat regular basis, the water bottle may get a bit neglected in the washing department. I mean, it’s filled with water, how dirty can it get?

Writer Hana Asbrink at Food52 wondered the same thing and decided to explore the question of how often one should wash their reusable water bottle. She reached out to Dr. Brian Chow, an infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center, who told her:

“Ideally once per day. Or have a few bottles that you rotate through, and clean them all at once.”

Of the bacteria found on bottles, his take is similar to what I discovered when writing about whether or not day old water is safe to drink:

“They are bacteria that live in our mouth and throat that our bodies know, and they don’t make us sick. However, if you share bottles with someone else, they may not be used to your bacteria or viruses. The germs that cause strep throat, mononucleosis, colds and the flu, and even bacterial meningitis can be spread by sharing bottles.”

That said, if you are not washing your bottle daily, don’t fret. “In most cases, people with healthy immune systems will be okay going a day or two between washing bottles,” says Chow … as he goes on to explain that actually, there are germs everywhere that can end up on your bottle that you then drink out of. Thus:

“A quick wash and scrub at the end of the day and letting the bottle dry overnight is an easy step to keep you healthy while you stay hydrated.”

“Water that is hot to the touch is best,” says Chow. “While it may not kill all the germs directly, it does help dissolve the residue that allow germs to live on plastic and metal. Using soapy water and a scrub brush are as important (this removes the dirt and grime), and also dislodges the germs if they are stuck to the bottle.”

At my house we rinse all the water bottles in hot water at the end of the day and let them dry over night, and we seem to have survived, and without too many bouts of illness. That said, I may now start introducing some dish soap and a scrub brush every once in a while.

Importantly, check with the maker of your bottle to see what they advise for washing. Some can take the dishwasher, many can not. I did a little digging on some popular brands, which you can read below.

SIGG
You’re going to want to start by rinsing out the bottle and bottle top with hot water after every use. Leave open to dry and always store with the top off.

Our best tip is to fill your SIGG halfway with hot water. But be sure to be careful because the bottle can heat up quickly. Add one teaspoon of unscented dish soap and shake. Let sit for a few minutes then rinse with lukewarm water until the soapy water runs clear.

Remember to always make sure that the lip of the bottle is thoroughly cleaned in the same way as the bottle as this is the part that comes in the most contact with your mouth.

S’well
S’well products should be cleaned regularly—we recommend washing your bottle with warm water and soap after every use and drying and storing it with the top off. Our S’well Bottle Brush is a great tool to ensure your bottle stays thoroughly clean. Avoid submerging your bottle and cap in water for long periods of time as this will interfere with the vacuum seal. S’well bottles are NOT dishwasher safe! Running a S’well through the dishwasher can cause paint to chip and the vacuum seal to become ineffective. After washing your S’well, we recommend that you dry your beverage container by airing it out upside down and storing it with the lid off. This will help keep your S’well looking and smelling fresh.

Soma
Hand-wash with warm, soapy water or wash on the top-rack of your dishwasher. Do not remove the sleeve. Store with the cap off. Cap: Hand-wash only. Do not place in the dishwasher.

CamelBak
Cleaning Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Vessels: The Chute, eddy and KickBak stainless steel vessels can be easily cleaned with a bottle brush using warm water and mild soap.

Bottle caps, spout caps, tethers and bite valves can all be cleaned in the top rack of the dishwasher or by hand with warm, soapy water. Remove the cap, spout cap, tether or bite valve from the vessel before washing.

For a deeper cleaning, add a drop of mild soap or tablespoon of bleach to a clean glass jar filled with water. Drop the bite valve, straw and cap into the solution, and tightly close the jar’s lid. Shake the mixture around for 30 seconds, and then let the parts soak for about 15 minutes. Rinse and shake dry.

https://www.treehugger.com/health/how-often-should-you-clean-your-water-bottle.html?utm_source=TreeHugger+Newsletters&utm_campaign=fae7d0fd73-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_11_16_2018_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_32de41485d-fae7d0fd73-243719061

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Deadly Heart Disease in Dogs Linked to Trendy Diets, report scientists – FIREPAW, Inc.

Please let your family and friends with dogs know about the findings of a new study: some of the new, trendy boutique diets popular today have been linked to deadly heart disease in dogs.

Continue reading here…

https://firepaw.org/2019/01/29/deadly-heart-disease-in-dogs-linked-to-trendy-diets-report-scientists/#comments

This is How Dairy Affects Your Hormones. Get Ready to #DitchDairy Today!

onegreenplanet.org
By Heather McClees

By now, it’s common knowledge that non-organic cow’s milk is one of the worst choices you can buy at the store due to the excess hormones, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides and who knows what else it all contains. The food industry has tried to mislead us into believing that organic cow’s milk (and its products) comes with pure innocence and is made from cows that graze gracefully and happily in fields all day with the cleanest of air, water, fresh grass and more. Regardless that most none of this is true, cow’s milk is still one of the worst health food choices you can make for many reasons, no matter what kind of cows it comes from. The main reason is for how it affects your hormones.

All cows that produce milk are pregnant, organically raised, fed, etc. or not. It makes no difference that their milk doesn’t have added hormones considering that alone, cow’s milk contains over 60 different hormones without anything being added to it. Now, while all of us have different hormone situations going on, there is no logical research that says we need to take in added hormones from another mammal.

Why Ditching Dairy is Important for Your Hormones:

Cows are pregnant nearly 300 days of the year and Harvard Health shares that the more times a cow has been pregnant during that year, the more hormones she produces through her milk every time. Cows were not made to stay pregnant 300 days of the year and they develop infections due to this high demand for production, not to mention may be subject to further disease and bacteria when antibiotics aren’t used (such as in organic farming practices).

So, what about a cow’s hormones so detrimental to our own health?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Insulin Issues

One of the primary reasons dairy is linked to acne is that it raises insulin in the body. All dairy contains IG1, or insulin-growth factor. It raises our levels of insulin, which causes blood sugar swings that lead to acne. Acne is strongly influenced by hormonal changes, which is one reason so many teenagers struggle during puberty. Why would we put ourselves through that anymore than necessary? No matter what kind of dairy you choose, you’re taking in excess insulin growth like factor. Sadly, it’s promoted as a healthy option for body builders looking to bulk up, but over time, it’s not a healthy choice and will likely cause insulin problems that lead to overeating, sugar cravings, and poor blood sugar control.

2. Mood Swings

Dairy also contains hormones that can lead to mood swings. Estrogen and testosterone are our sex hormones, and when they get out of balance according to our bodies’ needs, we suffer mood swings as a result. Dairy milk promotes excess estrogen in the body due to it containing estrogen from female cows. At the same time, milk naturally contains androgenic properties, so it raises testosterone in the body and can cause bulking quickly. It’s absolutely chock-full of all these hormones we don’t need scurrying throughout bodies. Think about it this way: the dairy you consume contains hormones from the female cow and the male cow that were used during impregnation. That doesn’t sound so healthy or appetizing, now, does it?

Dairy milk accounts for about 80 percent of estrogen consumed through the human diet, along with the fact that milk from pregnant cows (which is how all milk products are produced) contains about 33 times as much estrogen as milk from non-pregnant cows.

Mood swings inarguably happen due to swift hormone fluctuations and women aren’t the only ones to suffer. Men can too, which is one reason dairy isn’t a healthy choice for anyone looking to have a healthier, happy and more stable mood. How about some tastier, much healthier mood foods instead, all hormone-free?

3. Cancer-Causing

The jury is in: milk causes cancer in any form, organic or not. Check this out: Harvard Health studies show that dairy milk and cheese products led to testicular cancer in men ages 20-39 and has been found to affect breast, colon, and prostate cancer heavily as well. And then there’s the casein protein found in milk that has also been linked to cancer. Even without hormones or even lactose, casein is a detrimental protein to our health and should be avoided however possible.

Help Your Hormones: Ditch Dairy

Sadly, the food industry would have you believe you need to consume milk to be healthy, but we know that’s not the case. Quit believing the lies around cow’s milk and have some other calcium-rich options instead, all free of these scary hormones.

If you need a dairy replacement, look to these milk-free alternatives. So Delicious Dairy Free Coconutmilk Creamer is an amazing alternative. This Milkadamia Unsweetened Milk is a great choice. Good Karma Flaxmilk is a new way to enjoy grain-milk. And this Silk Soy Milk Vanilla is a must-have.

Looking for other reasons to ditch dairy? Here are 5 signs to look out for and also see our easy tips for making your own milk without one stitch of dairy!

Ready to #DitchDairy with us? Tweet to us #IMAGREENMONSTER Ready to #DitchDairy!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/how-dairy-affects-your-hormones/

Lead Image Source: Day Donaldson/Flickr

Image

United States is going to be hit with extremely cold and harsh weather!

Get Better Sleep With These 15 Natural, Vegan Friendly Calm-Inducing Natural Products – One Green PlanetOne Green Planet

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Are you struggling with insomnia or just want to be able to wind down smoothly for bed? perhaps prescribed medication isn’t working for you or you would like to try some more natural products first. Well we’ve got you covered. A good night sleep is important for our mental and physical wellness. There are natural plants, herbs, and roots that are blend into teas, essential oils, capsules, and gummies to help you.

Here are 15 natural, vegan calm – inducing products available on Amazon to help you to a better night’s rest.

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/get-better-sleep-with-these-15-natural-calm-inducing-natural-products/

12 Foods to Help You Survive Winter Allergies, Colds and The Flu – One Green PlanetOne Green Planet

Chills, sneezing, achy joints…it’s hard to be all smiles and full of cheer.

The best way to prevent having to deal with a cold, the flu, or allergies during the jolliest time of the year, is to prevent them from coming on in the first place. It’s also a good idea to have an arsenal of natural remedies up your sleeves that you can turn to when signs of any sickness or allergy reaction start to appear. Thankfully, nature has some pretty tasty foods that can help us to do just that. Certain foods contain just the right vitamins, minerals, or micro-nutrients that our bodies need to feel their best. Here are some of the best:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/foods-for-winter-allergies-colds-and-the-flu/

Best Plant-Based Foods to Help You Retain Iron

onegreenplanet.org
By Chelsea Debret

Eating a primarily plant-based diet has many incredible benefits including healthy weight loss and management, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even a reduced risk of cancer. With that said, one of the hurdles that plant-based dieters face, especially strict vegetarian and vegan practices, is a condition called anemia, in which “your blood does not carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body” due to insufficient iron levels.

For those that suffer from this condition, how do you continue to uphold your plant-based eating values, while also maintaining overall health? You’re in luck! There is a range of plant-based foods that help the human body retain iron and avoid anemia altogether.

What is Iron?

Hemoglobin, iron-rich proteins moving through the body

qimono/Pixabay

Let’s take a deep dive into what iron is and what it does for your body. In its basic form, iron is simply an essential mineral. Once absorbed, iron-rich proteins called hemoglobin attach to oxygen and are carried throughout the body. Via this transport vessel, iron is carried to tissues throughout the body producing energy (referred to as myoglobin), as well as playing a crucial role in removing carbon dioxide. Iron is also an incredibly important nutrient for brain development and overall growth of babies and children.

One misconception regarding iron is that the only reliable source is found in animal products such as “meat, seafood, and poultry.” The truth is that there are actually two types of iron that can be absorbed from food called heme and non-heme. While heme iron is meat-based, non-heme iron is said to be accountable for 85 to 90 percent of your total iron and can be absorbed via plant-based foods including “spinach and beans, grains that are enriched, like rice and bread, and some fortified cereals.”

The Relationship between Iron and Anemia

jarmoluk/Pixabay

First off, anemia isn’t relegated to plant-based dieters. In fact, anemia is the most common blood disorder in the United States affecting over three million people for a variety of reasons including pregnancy, infections, chronic diseases, and poor diet, to name just a few risk factors.

So, what exactly is anemia?

There are a handful of incredibly serious types of anemia including aplastic anemia, a rare bone marrow failure disorder; hemolytic anemia, when red blood cells are broken up and therefore unable to carry iron-rich protein to the necessary tissues; and sickle cell anemia, when hemoglobin protein is abnormal. The most common type of anemia is iron-deficiency anemia, which occurs “when you don’t have enough iron in your blood.” If you’re given a diagnosis of iron-deficiency anemia it means that you don’t have enough hemoglobin (those iron-rich proteins). Basically, your body lacks oxygen. People with anemia generally experience dizziness, shortness of breath and overall weakness, headaches, chest pain or irregular heartbeat, or less obvious symptoms such as cold hands or feet and pale skin.

Luckily, the human body is designed to self-regulate the appropriate levels of iron via absorption. If you’re looking to give your body a helping hand, the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for iron vary depending on age and gender. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 are recommended an intake of 18 milligrams, while a male over the age of 19 is recommended 8 milligrams.

Plant-Based Foods that Help Absorb and Retain Iron

Sponchia/Pixabay

It’s not just about an iron-rich diet. While you may stock up on those plant-based sources of iron, such as spinach and legumes, it’s also important to account for your body’s ability to absorb and retain the iron you’re consuming. Luckily, there are a few nutrients readily available in plant-based food products that help your body retain that essential iron!

Vitamin C

pasja1000/Pixabay

Vitamin C is an acid, more specifically an L-ascorbic acid, that is not produced by the human body and therefore must be consumed via diet or supplements. While vitamin C is popular for its immune boosting properties, this vitamin is oh so much more! Vitamin C is “required for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters,” is part of protein metabolism, is an “essential component of connective tissue” and wound healing, and is also an antioxidant. It has also been shown to help the body absorb and retain iron by capturing the plant-based iron (non-heme), transforming it into a more absorption friendly form, and stores it for use.

While this may incline you to stock up on oranges, there are a host of vitamin C-rich plant-based foods that are lower in sugar content. These include dark green and leafy veggies such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, chili peppers, melons, strawberries, and other citrus fruits. Try out a few of these vitamin C-rich recipes: Spicy Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Breadcrumb, Strawberry and Raspberry Jam, Dark Chocolate and Orange Pecan Loaf, or Sunflower Seeds and Brussels Sprouts Pesto.

Vitamin A and Beta Carotene

jackmac34/Pixabay

Vitamin A is not just one nutrient, but a “group of fat-soluble retinoids, including retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters.” Yet, when it comes to consumption via diet, there are only two forms of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A (retinol and retinyl ester) and provitamin A carotenoids. Vitamin A begins as beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment found in plants, which is then transformed into vitamin A when consumed. While it’s most widely-known as essential for healthy vision, vitamin A is also involved in immune function, cellular communication and growth, and reproduction, as well as the “formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.” Recent studies have also illuminated a connection between vitamin A and the efficacy of iron. The Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research discovered that vitamin A and beta-carotene actually enhanced the absorption on plant-based iron (non-heme), specifically from wheat (by 80 percent), rice (by 200 percent), and corn (by 140 percent).

When upping your plant-based sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene think orange and red foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, red peppers, apricots, and peaches. Vitamin A-rich recipes are plentiful for plant-based dieters including staples such as these Sriracha Sweet Potato Chips, salads like this Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad With Almond Dijon Vinaigrette, vegan burgers such as Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burger, and fruit-based desserts like Apricot Bars.

Supplements

stevepb/Pixabay

With all that goes on in your daily life, it’s often a challenge to fit all the necessary nutrients into your waking hours. This is where supplements become a great and quick source to get some of those essential vitamins that you may be lacking. If you’ve been diagnosed as anemia or on the verge of anemia, it’s a great idea to take iron supplements. With that said, you can also increase how efficient iron supplements are by integrating absorption and retention supplements such as such as this Garden of Life Non-GMO Vitamin C supplement, or this Bronson Vitamin A 10,000 IU Premium Non-GMO Formula.

With thousands of archived plant-based recipes, the Food Monster App makes it incredibly easy to incorporate those iron-absorbing foods! The app is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/best-plant-based-foods-to-help-you-retain-iron/

Lead Image Source: Shutterstock

Diet Soda May Be Hurting Your Diet

ecowatch.com
The Conversation

By Eunice Zhang

Artificial sweeteners are everywhere, but the jury is still out on whether these chemicals are harmless. Also called non-nutritive sweeteners, these can be synthetic—such as saccharin and aspartame—or naturally derived, such as steviol, which comes from the stevia plant. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved six types of artificial and two types of natural non-nutritive sweeteners for use in food.

That’s been great news for those working hard to curb their sugar consumption. Aspartame, for example, is found in more than 6,000 foods worldwide, and about 5,000-5,500 tons are consumed every year in the U.S. alone.

The American Diabetes Association—the most well-respected professional group focusing on diabetes—officially recommends diet soda as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. To date, seven U.S. municipalities have imposed a sugary beverage tax to discourage consumption.

However, recent medical studies suggest that policymakers eager to implement a soda tax may also want to include diet drinks because these sweeteners may be contributing to chronic diabetes and cardiovascular diseases as well.

Why are These Sweeteners Calorie-Free?

The key to these virtually calorie-free sweeteners is that they are not broken down during digestion into natural sugars like glucose, fructose and galactose, which are then either used for energy or converted into fat.

Non-nutritive sweeteners have different byproducts that are not converted into calories. Aspartame, for example, undergoes a different metabolic process that doesn’t yield simple sugars. Others such as saccharin and sucralose are not broken down at all, but instead are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and excreted in the urine.

Theoretically, these sweeteners should be a “better” choice than sugar for diabetics. Glucose stimulates release of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer responds as well to insulin as it should, leading to higher levels of glucose in the blood that damages the nerves, kidneys, blood vessels and heart. Since non-nutritive sweeteners aren’t actually sugar, they should sidestep this problem.

Artificial Sweeteners, Your Brain and Your Microbiome

However, there is growing evidence over the last decade that these sweeteners can alter healthy metabolic processes in other ways, specifically in the gut.

Long-term use of these sweeteners has been associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. Sweeteners, such as saccharin, have been shown to change the type and function of the gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms that live in the intestine. Aspartame decreases the activity of a gut enzyme that is normally protective against Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, this response may be exacerbated by the “mismatch” between the body perceiving something as tasting sweet and the expected associated calories. The greater the discrepancy between the sweetness and actual caloric content, the greater the metabolic dysregulation.

Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: FDA

Sweeteners have also been shown to change brain activity associated with eating sweet foods. A functional MRI exam, which studies brain activity by measuring blood flow, has shown that sucralose, compared to regular sugar, decreases activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain involved with taste perception and the experience of eating.

Another study revealed that longer-term and higher diet soda consumption are linked to lower activity in the brain’s “caudate head,” a region that mediates the reward pathway and is necessary for generating a feeling of satisfaction. Researchers have hypothesized that this decreased activity could lead a diet soda drinker to compensate for the lack of pleasure they now derive from the food by increasing their consumption of all foods, not just soda.

Together these cellular and brain studies may explain why people who consume sweeteners still have a higher risk of obesity than individuals who don’t consume these products.

As this debate on the pros and cons of these sugar substitutes rages on, we must view these behavioral studies with a grain of salt (or sugar) because many diet soda drinkers—or any health-conscious individual who consumes zero-calorie sweeteners—already has the risk factors for obesity, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. Those who are already overweight or obese may turn toward low-calorie drinks, making it look as though the diet sodas are causing their weight gain.

This same group may also be less likely to moderate their consumption. For example, those people may think that having a diet soda multiple times a week is much healthier than drinking one case of soda with sugar.

Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: CDC

These findings signal that consumers and health practitioners all need to check our assumptions about the health benefits of these products. Sweeteners are everywhere, from beverages to salad dressing, from cookies to yogurt, and we must recognize that there is no guarantee that these chemicals won’t increase the burden of metabolic diseases in the future.

As a physician of internal medicine specializing in general prevention and public health, I would like to be able to tell my patients what the true risks and benefits are if they drink diet soda instead of water.

Legislators considering soda taxes to encourage better dietary habits perhaps should think about including foods with non-nutritive sweeteners. Of course, there is an argument to be made for being realistic and pursuing the lesser of two evils. But even if the negative consequences of sugar substitutes doesn’t sway our tax policy—for now—at least the medical community should be honest with the public about what they stand to lose or gain, consuming these foods.

Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.

https://www.ecowatch.com/diet-soda-health-risks-2624805533.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=c669446345-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-c669446345-86074753

Cutting Out Bacon And Booze Could Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer By 40%

delish.com

By Lindsay Funston

We already know that the best things in life—fatty bacon, crisp beer, greasy cheeseburgers—are also the worst things for us. But we eat them any way; everything in moderation, right? Welp, not exactly. Ditching bacon and booze from our diet could reduce your risk of cancer up to 40 percent, according to major new findings from the World Cancer Research Fund.

The WCRF’s research surveyed more than 50 million people and this year focused more on specific dietary recommendations than ever before. The researchers urged people to eat moderate amounts of red meat, limit consumption of soft drinks and processed foods—especially meats, like bacon—and reduce drinking.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers also recommend ditching fast food and sugars from our diet, so… 2019 is looking bleak.

https://www.delish.com/food/a25706304/cutting-out-bacon-booze-cancer-study/?source=nl&utm_source=nl_del&utm_medium=email&date=123118&src=nl&utm_campaign=15479352

Prevent Disease and Help Deer Populations

Deer and other forest animals are dying from an elusive disease. Urge politicians to contribute funding and resources to the solution to this issue.

Source: Prevent Disease and Help Deer Populations

Processed meats linked to increased cancer risk

Chemical Free Life

This is not new information from us, of course; we have been reporting on the scientific research on this topic for many years now.  It is more like a shot in the arm or important reminder as you make your rounds to all those holiday parties with trays and trays of processed meats–and other highly processed foods, for that matter. Here are some takeaways from a new piece in the mainstream media:

.

  • Eating red meat and processed meat has been linked to higher cancer rates.
  • Research is increasingly finding that processed meats are much worse for you than other kinds.
  • The average consumer may be eating more processed meat than is healthy.

The reason processed meats and highly processed foods in general are risky* to eat on a regular basis is thought by a growing number of researchers to be a function of myriad of synthetic and industrialized…

View original post 257 more words

Sign Petition: Your Drinking Water Could Soon Come From Unregulated Rivers and Streams

by: Kevin Mathews
recipient: EPA Director Andrew Wheeler

27,822 SUPPORTERS – 30,000 GOAL

Clean drinking water is critical to all Americans, yet Trump’s EPA has decided to mess with existing regulations to pull thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands from some commonsense protections.

It’s not only important to safeguard the bodies of water we pull our water from and ensure they are free of pollution, but we also must ensure the bodies of water that pour into those other bodies are also safe and clean.

Nevertheless, this EPA has proposed removing all sources of water that aren’t permanent. In other words, the streams and wetlands that pop up seasonally (usually due to rain) and flow into our main water sources would no longer need to be regulated.

Just because they’re not feeding into water sources year round doesn’t mean they can’t do damage. Roughly one-third of Americans will drink water that can be traced back from these soon-to-be unregulated sources. How is that a good idea?

Before the proposal can go into action, the White House must take comments from the public for two months. Let’s use this petition to make sure the EPA is well aware we want our regulations kept intact so that we can ensure access to clean water to all Americans. Do not tinker with the Clean Water Act!
https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/324/273/166/

 

Copyright © 2018 Care2.com, inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved

Sign Petition: Johnson and Johnson Knew Their Baby Powder Had Toxic Asbestos and Did Nothing

thepetitionsite.com
by: Care2 Team
recipient: Johnson and Johnson

13,339 SUPPORTERS -14,000 GOAL

It turns out the ubiquitous talcom powder that Johnson and Johnson has been selling for decades is deadly. It can cause cancer and respiratory problems because it has asbestos in it. Worse yet, the company knew about this since the 1970s and continued to sell the product that is used largely on children.

Sign now if you think Johnson and Johnson should do more to make up for the way this product harmed people.Parents used their baby powder on children for diaper rash and other ailments. No one would knowingly put something potentially toxic on their child. Johnson and Johnson spent 40 years misleading the public and hiding the results of internal testing on their product.

They could start a fund to help people suffering from afflictions caused by the product, or any number of other actions to try to atone for this horrible thing.

One way or another, they must be held accountable. There are thousands of lawsuits in the works but doing the right thing because you have to and because you should are two different things.

If Johnson and Johnson ever wants to be trusted by the public again, they must do more.

Please sign on to tell them to take responsibility, apologize and take action to help people they harmed before a court tells them to.
https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/726/338/801/

 

How to Make Living with a Cat More Enjoyable When One Family Member is Allergic to Them – Katzenworld

For a cat lover, there is nothing better than having a furry feline as your companion in your home, but for those who have a cat allergy in the household, it may not be such a fabulous match. For them, the mere sight of a cat can be enough to make them sneeze, itch, and […]

Source: How to Make Living with a Cat More Enjoyable When One Family Member is Allergic to Them – Katzenworld

Bloated on a Vegan Diet? Here’s Why and How to Improve Your Digestion

onegreenplanet.org
By Heather McClees
8-10 minutes

Adopting a plant-based diet full of healthy foods is one of the most well-researched ways to improve and support your long-term health. But what do you do when you switch to a vegan diet and your digestion takes a huge plummet south?

Our first suggestion is to stop worrying — there are some simple reasons this can happen, and you don’t need to let these reactions deter you from eating a plant-based diet. Digestion is a complex process that is different for every single person out there, and there is a list of great tips you can keep in mind when eating vegan that might help your digestion more than you might think.

Take a look at our top five tips that you can use to improve your digestion, reduce bloating, and help you feel fabulous while eating the plant-based foods you love!

1. Eat Light to HeavyBloated on a Vegan Diet – Here’s Why and How to Improve Your Digestion

Eating a large breakfast and a smaller evening meal is recommended by some health professionals, but the truth is, that method simply doesn’t work for everyone. Our digestive process requires a great deal of energy when we eat heavy meals, so if we start our day off with a large meal — or even just a complex meal — our bodies have to work hard to break them down. This can lead to fatigue, bloating, sluggishness, and even stomach pain during the day.

If you experience these side effects, then rethink the order of your meals, and even try waiting an hour or two to eat anything in the morning after you get up. This tip will also allow your body to become hungry naturally, which is a great way to get in touch with your natural hunger levels. Start out with a light meal and eat a slightly larger lunch, and then have sizeable dinner while listening to your body’s natural hunger levels. Eating light to heavy will not hurt your health, but it may very well improve your digestion fairly quickly.

So, what should you eat first? Try having a bowl of some fruit!fruitsalad793099364.jpg

 

Fruit is very easy to digest on an empty stomach and gives our body prime nutrition for our first meal during the day. Fruit is also high in natural enzymes that can help with digestion first thing during the day. So experiment with having a small bowl of fruit first, and then later move onto something more filling such as oatmeal or breakfast quinoa with a smoothie. Then you can have a more complex meal such as a veggie bowl for lunch or dinner.

2. Take a Quality Probiotic Supplement and Digestive EnzymesBloated on a Vegan Diet – Here’s Why and How to Improve Your Digestionprobiotic-rich-foods

When you first begin eating more plant-based foods, your body is going through many beneficial changes, but it will also be getting rid of old wastes from animal products. This process can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish when you first begin.

The foods you eat can also make a big difference in how your body responds to adopting a new dietary course, so first and foremost, eat whole plant-based foods instead of processed vegan foods. Additionally, take a daily probiotic supplement that contains acidophilus and Bifidus strains of bacteria. These two strains of probiotic cultures can both help combat gas, bloating, and irregularity. Make sure the product is dairy-free and vegan, since many probiotics are made with dairy during the culturing process. See What to Look for in a Probiotic for more tips! You can also eat probiotic-rich foods for even more support, such as plant-based probiotic-rich options.

Also, consider taking a vegan digestive enzyme supplement after consulting your health care provider. Digestive enzymes are different than probiotics. Probiotics are strains of beneficial bacteria that help digestion, reduce gas and bloating by balancing gut bacteria, and can help your body fight off unhealthy strains of bacteria. But digestive enzymes actually help you digest your food more easily and break them down more quickly so you’re less likely to be bloated. Look for digestive enzymes with a wide range of enzymes, such as advanced enzymes or multi-spectrum enzymes for the most benefits.

How to take them: Take a probiotic daily on an empty stomach when you first get up and take a digestive enzyme or two with each meal. You should notice a huge difference, but be sure to buy a quality, plant-based brand so you get the best results.

3. Be Aware of Healthy, But Difficult-to-Digest FoodsBloated on a Vegan Diet – Here’s Why and How to Improve Your Digestionorzochili

Whole plant-based foods are full of nutrition, but some of the healthiest foods on the planet can be difficult for those new to plant-based eating to digest, and even for people who have been eating healthy for years. Some people’s bodies are just more sensitive to certain types of foods than others.

Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbage, garlic, onion, and beans tend to cause digestive upset in some people. They contain certain carbohydrates that break down and ferment in the gut, which is beneficial for health but can be very uncomfortable for you! So don’t rush into these foods at first, and eat more of your vegetables steamed, rather than raw, at first.

Garlic and onions add a lot of flavor to meals and are full of nutrients, but they’re also two common foods that lead to digestive distress and can wreak havoc on a sensitive tummy. If you have a history of digestive upsets such as gastritis or ulcers, garlic and onions may also aggravate it. Instead of spicy foods including garlic and onions, opt for herbs such as oregano, thyme, and rosemary, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to see if this helps you out.

When it comes to beans, try to eat smaller servings of small legumes like red split lentils or split peas over large types of beans, and be sure to cook them really well. In fact, try to eat smaller meals that are simple throughout the day for better digestion. A good example of a simple meal is roasted sweet potatoes, steamed zucchini, and a red lentil soup seasoned with herbs and spices. You can also experiment with eating fewer nuts which can be difficult to digest for many people since they are richer in fat than fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

4. Eat Lighter and Take it Easy With FatsBloated on a Vegan Diet – Here’s Why and How to Improve Your Digestionsaladdressing

There’s no need to fear healthy plant fats, but the truth is, fat takes longer to digest than any other macronutrient. When you eat fat with a meal, it slows down the digestion and breaking down of nutrients of all other foods you eat with that meal, which can cause a lot of gas and cause you to be bloated. So experiment with eating lower-fat meals made from fruits, veggies, healthy starches like sweet potatoes and squash, and whole grains instead of higher-fat meals.

You can also experiment with eating an oil-free diet for better digestion. Oil is a dense, processed form of fat that can strain an already sensitive system, so check labels on products you buy and choose those without added oil. Try these 5 Oil-Free Dairy-Free Salad Dressings instead of one with oil, for example!

5. Prioritize Whole Foods Over Processed FoodBloated on a Vegan Diet – Here’s Why and How to Improve Your Digestionbanoffee_nicecream

Whole foods are always going to be healthier for your body than processed food, and this is especially true when it comes to digestion. While you don’t need to obsess about every single thing you eat on a vegan diet, you will greatly benefit by skipping the processed vegan foods whenever possible and eating real, simple foods.

For instance, instead of tubs of processed vegan ice cream, enjoy ice cream made at home from frozen fruits like banana and berries that you can make in your blender or food processor. Instead of boxed cereal or granola, make a bowl of oatmeal with berries, flaxseed, cinnamon, and chia seeds. Or, instead of a pre-made vegan burger with all kinds of added oil and processed protein, make your own veggie burgers at home.

When you eat real food, you skip a lot of problematic ingredients that are often found in products and make things much easier on your system. Not only will you feel more energized and lighter as a result of better digestion from eating real foods, but you’ll also naturally take in more nutrients.

All in all, don’t give up if you have digestive struggles on a plant-based diet because there are multiple tips you can use to improve things quickly. Want more tips on digestion? Check out this article on How to Deal With Digestive Difficulties on a Plant-Based Diet.

If you enjoy articles like this and want more, plus thousands of plant-based recipes, then we highly suggest downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/how-to-improve-digestion/

Lead Image Source: Hippie Macro Glow Bowl With Turmeric Tahini Dressing

Two more blood pressure drugs recalled for potential cancer risk

usatoday.com
Two more blood pressure drugs recalled for potential cancer risk
Brett Molina
5-6 minutes
| USA TODAY Updated 5:56 p.m. EST Nov. 30, 2018

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2018/11/30/blood-pressure-drugs-two-more-medications-recalled-cancer-risk/2159850002/

More blood pressure pills recalled for cancer concerns

Teva Pharmaceuticals has launched a voluntary recall into two drugs used to treat high blood pressure as more medications face concerns over a possible cancer risk.

Teva Pharmaceuticals has launched a voluntary recall into two drugs used to treat high blood pressure as yet more medications face concerns over a possible cancer risk.

In a statement from Teva posted by the Food and Drug Administration, the recall affects all lots of combination tablets featuring the drugs amlodipine and valsartan and another combo drug featuring amlodipine, valsartan, and hydrochlorothiazide.

The drugs could contain an impurity called N-nitroso-diethylamine (NDEA), which has been classified as a possible human carcinogen, the FDA said.

Patients taking either drugs should contact their doctor or pharmacist for advice or alternative treatments. Stopping the drugs immediately with no comparable alternative could pose a greater risk to patients’ health, said Teva.

More: Doctors: Blood pressure drug substitutes are available for patients affected by recalls

More: FDA chief: Blood pressure medicine recalls reflect increased scrutiny on drug safety

More: Want more news like this? Subscribe to get the Daily Briefing in your inbox.

Customers and patients with questions can contact Teva by phone at 888-838-2872, or email at druginfo@tevapharm.com.

In August, the FDA announced an expanded recall of valsartan because products may contain the impurity. Last month, two more recalls were announced: one for the drug irbesartan and a second recall for losartan potassium hydrochlorothiazide tablets.

During an interview in November with USA TODAY, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the blood pressure drug recalls reflect an increased focus on drug quality to ensure no impurities are present.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
Originally Published 6:07 a.m. EST Nov. 30, 2018

Updated 5:56 p.m. EST Nov. 30, 2018

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2018/11/30/blood-pressure-drugs-two-more-medications-recalled-cancer-risk/2159850002/

Caring for Pets With Arthritis – Katzenworld

Caring for Pets With Arthritis Arthritis in dogs and cats is one of the most common problems our pets can face as they get older and, as with humans, it can flare up in cold weather. Natural wear and tear, caused by aging, reduces the amount of cartilage that cushions the joints. This causes swelling […]

Source: Caring for Pets With Arthritis – Katzenworld

Kidney Disease in Cats – Katzenworld

Kidney Disease in Cats PDSA advice on spotting the warning signs Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a common illness seen in older cats that can sometimes be mistaken for old age.  This is because symptoms don’t display until an advanced stage, meaning it can go undetected and unmanaged. One of the reasons to take your […]

Source: Kidney Disease in Cats – Katzenworld

The problem with paper receipts

treehugger.com
The problem with paper receipts
Katherine Martinko feistyredhair November 7, 2018
4-5 minutes

They seem so innocuous, but they’re becoming an environmental nightmare.

In recent months, the one statement I always make at checkout counters – “I don’t need a bag” – has been joined by another – “No receipt, please.” I began doing this after learning about the harmful effects of thermal paper, the shiny smooth paper that most retailers now use to print receipts.

Thermal paper uses heat rather than ink to form letters and numbers, and it relies on bisphenol A to do so. (If you scratch a receipt and see a dark line, then you know it contains BPA or its common substitute BPS.) BPA is a hormone disruptor and is absorbed through the skin, which means that even reaching for a receipt poses a risk of contamination.

Turning down receipts at the time of purchase also saves me having to deal with all those annoying slips of paper that fill up my wallet. I used to be amazed at how many I’d unearth every few months, but when you think about it on a global scale, the amount of receipt waste is staggering. In the UK an estimated 11.2 billion receipts are handed out annually, costing around £32 million to make and generating 1.5 billion pounds of waste.

To make matters worse, thermal paper cannot be recycled. Its only ‘safe’ destination is the landfill, because the recycling process would only release more BPA into the environment and cause further damage. Stop and chew on that for a minute. All that contaminated trash, just so you can remember six months down the road that you paid $3.50 for a crappy muffin and weak coffee at a truck stop somewhere.

Now, I understand that not all purchases are an unmemorable as that muffin-coffee combo. Many others, particularly more expensive ones, do require proof of purchase, so what are the alternatives?

  • Digital receipts, emailed from retailer to customer, are becoming more common. But this can also mean handing over your email address, which enables a company to inundate you with promotional material. Whenever I feel I have to do this, I make sure to say I don’t want to receive any other communication.
  • Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay can be used on your smartphone to make small purchases. As Sanjana Varghese writes for Wired, some retailers are moving to plug-ins such as Flux, which “creates an itemized record of a user’s transactions.” Similar apps include Transaction Tree and Yreceipts.

  • Be selective about the receipts you accept. Only take receipts for items that you know may have a higher chance of needing to be returned, or that you can claim as a business expense, or that come from cash transactions that can’t be tracked online. For example, I’d take a receipt for a pair of shoes, but not for a meal eaten out or even groceries.

  • Track your expenses elsewhere. Don’t use receipts to keep track of your expenses. Make a habit of writing down that information in a special place that you can reference any time. For me, that’s in my phone, but a small notebook could do the job too. As soon as I leave a store, I add the amount to my monthly expense tally with a brief description.

  • Ask stores to reconsider their system. If you’re a regular shopper at a store that uses thermal paper, bring it up in conversation. It doesn’t hurt to ask and educate. After all, if every store finds that customers are rejecting their receipts, they will be more inclined to come up with an alternative.

Veronique Barbossa, the co-founder of Flux, is absolutely right when she tells Varghese, “Paper receipts are non-recyclable, consume oil, trees, and water, and they don’t fit into the digital lifestyle that we currently have.” They seem nearly as outdated as paper cheques, which I haven’t owned in several years because e-transfers make life so much easier.

It’s not a problem that’s going to be solved overnight, but it is something I suspect we’re all going to start hearing more about.

They seem so innocuous, but they’re becoming an environmental nightmare.

https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/problem-paper-receipts.html

5 Reasons Cat Parents Should Have Pet Insurance – Katzenworld

As a pet parent, you do a lot to care for your pet- feeding, bathing and providing shelter. Have you considered signing up for a pet insurance plan? There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea for cat parents, and we want to share with you the top five: 1) You […]

Source: 5 Reasons Cat Parents Should Have Pet Insurance – Katzenworld

Pets OK for Kids with Asthma, say researchers – FIREPAW, Inc.

firepaw.org
Published by firepawinc View all posts by firepawinc
3 minutes

The findings of a recent scientific study are good news for families who have pets and a child with asthma. The takeaway: Having a pet or not was insignificant in determining whether the child’s asthma improved. What did matter was the child and family closely following the asthma guidelines. This was true even for families with pets. In other words: According to the research findings, if you have a child with asthma, as long as you carefully follow the guidelines, there may be no need to get rid of the family cat or dog.
Have asthma and a pet? Re-homing your cat or dog may not be necessary

A study analyzed environmental exposures, like pet and secondhand smoke, to determine if they have a role in asthma control among children whose asthma is managed per NAEPP (EPR-3) guidelines. Researchers found that once asthma guidelines are followed, environmental exposures to pets or secondhand smoke were not significant factors in overall asthma improvement over time.

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Study overview

Three hundred and ninety-five children, ages 2 to 17 years, were included in this study; 25 percent were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, and 55 percent were exposed to a cat or dog at home.

Children with the diagnosis of uncontrolled asthma and were followed at a pediatric asthma center were provided asthma care as per NAEPP guidelines. At each visit (3-6 months), families completed asthma questionnaires including acute care needs, symptom control and asthma control test (ACT). Asthma control in patients was evaluated at each visit. Results were compared between patients with or without exposure to secondhand smoking and between patients with or without exposure to pets (cats or dogs) at home at baseline and over time.

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Findings

Environmental exposure to pets and secondhand smoke were not significant co-variants in asthma improvement over time. When closely following the asthma guidelines, both groups of asthma patients improved over a three-year period–regardless of whether there was a pet in the house.

Journal Reference: Shahid Sheikh, Judy Pitts, Ann Salvator, Christopher Nemastil, Swaroop Pinto. IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURES (SECOND HAND SMOKING AND/OR PETS) ON LONG-TERM ASTHMA CONTROL IN CHILDREN. Chest, 2018; 154 (4): 738A

Study abstract: DOI: 10.1016/j.chest.2018.08.666

Overview of findings

https://firepaw.org/2018/10/05/pets-ok-for-kids-with-asthma-say-researchers/

Man nearing death makes miraculous recovery after 3 unwanted dogs come into his life

positiveoutlooksblog.com
Man nearing death makes miraculous recovery after 3 unwanted dogs come into his life
4-5 minutes

When Zach Skow crossed path with Tug, Marley, and Buddy from a dog rescue center, he took them home thinking how much of a difference he’s making in their life. Unbeknownst to the young man, it was the other way around…

Zach was only 16 years old when he started drinking heavily. With all of the problems he faced, he always tried to resolve with alcohol. With every great things happening in his life, he always celebrated with alcohol. Working at an Arizona comedy club only escalated his drinking problems. Thus years later, at the young age of 28 years old, his alcohol and drug abuse had consumed his liver. It was so damaged that his doctors only gave him three months to live if he would not be able to get a transplant.

There was another problem though, Zach could not get a transplant unless he could do away with alcohol for at least 6 months. It was during at his darkest days that he met the three dogs who inspired him to be a better man. Zach met Tug, Marley, and Buddy in a rescue shelter and decided to take them home. Little did he know that his decision would give his life a new purpose.

Every animal lovers know that getting a pet is a big responsibility. Thus, no matter how Zach felt like giving up on life, Tug, Marley, and Buddy would remind him that they need him. His life is important because they depend on him. These thoughts gave Zach the motivation he needed back then to continue living.

“My dogs were all looking at me like I was the sexiest man alive,” Zach recalled with fondness. “They didn’t see the desperation, they just saw the person that they love. They were looking forward to a future.”

Zach took his fur-parent role by heart. He did not only nourished the three adorable dogs with food and water. He also spent time with them. He often took the dogs out for their exercising needs as well.

Months later, Zach found himself eating healthier food as well. He took regular blood tests and noticed how the doctors kept looking at him with confusion and amazement in their eyes.

As unbelievable as it sounds, because of Tug, Marley, and Buddy, Zach was able to become a better and healthier version of himself. He was able to turn his life around to the point that he no longer needed a liver transplant to live!

“My kidney function had improved,” Zach recalled happily. “The doctor told me I didn’t have cirrhosis any more.”

Since that fateful day, Zach now calls himself as a professional dog rescuer and people saver. In addition, he founded Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit organization aiming to rescue, rehabilitate, train, and find homes for dogs saved from a high-kill shelter in California’s Central Valley. Since the day it has been established, Marley’s Mutts saved more than 5,000 dogs from being euthanized.

Marley’s Mutts also educates people about the health benefits we can enjoy from owning pets. In line with this, the people behind Marley’s Mutts bring their rescued dogs to visit veterans, hospital patients, and people with disability to let them experience the therapeutic magic of owning a dog or a pet.

The rescued dogs also get to be paired with inmates. This way, their likelihood of finding a new home increases and at the same time, they also help inmates feel a sense of belonging.

Robinson, for example, has been incarcerated since he was a kid. He spent almost 10 years in prison though he is just 27 years old. Thanks to Tyson, the adorable and loving Yorkshire, Robinson was able to transform into a young man with a promising future.

Truly, the best therapist in the world has a fur and four legs! Thanks to Tug, Marley, and Buddy, Zach was able to turn his life around and rebuild himself. Not only that, but he has also inspired numerous people to realize that, in saving a dog’s life, one saves his own as well! In reality we need our loving pets more, if not as much, than they need us.

https://positiveoutlooksblog.com/2018/10/02/man-makes-miraculous-recovery-after-3-unwanted-dogs-come-into-his-life/

Instagram l Zach Skow

Petition · Get harmful chemicals out of sunscreen · Change.org

Get harmful chemicals out of sunscreen
Arabella Hubbauer started this petition to Coppertone and 1 other

Summer means the beach, roofdecks, backyard barbecues and for many, being outside as much as humanly possible. It also means sunscreen! But what if the chemicals in sunscreen products were potentially harmful — not just to humans, but also do precious wildlife and coral reefs in the ocean?

You might not know the name Oxybenzone, but it’s a common chemical in many brand name sunscreens. But in many places around the globe — most recently Hawaii — lawmakers have been working to ban sunscreens with the chemical because of its potentially harmful side effects to human health (including possible effects on the endocrine system), and devastating impact on coral reefs and ocean life.

Coppertone and its parent company, Bayer, have a real moment to be industry leaders and remove Oxybenzone from products. Tell the makers of Coppertone to get potentially harmful chemicals out of sunscreen.

The Environmental Working Group has long considered Oxybenzone toxic, and regularly warns that using sunscreen with this chemical is problematic for health and for the environment. There are also countless sunscreens that don’t use this chemical — some even produced by Bayer! — that allow for people to continue to use sunscreen while also not dousing themselves with a chemical that could cause serious side effects, as well as bleach coral reefs that are already under terrible duress.

As one scientist who co-authored a study on coral reefs and the impact of sunscreen on them stated, “any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers.”

With so many potential Oxybenzone-free sunscreens available, let’s make it the industry standard that the sunscreens we’re putting on our body remove this chemical that could harm human beings, and looks like it’s harming precious coral reefs.

https://www.change.org/p/get-harmful-chemicals-out-of-sunscreen?signed=true

138,106 have signed. Let’s get to 150,000!

Get harmful chemicals…

https://www.change.org/p/get-harmful-chemicals-out-of-sunscreen?recruiter=44240641&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=396231

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

An army of deer ticks carrying Lyme disease is advancing. It will only get worse.

grist.org
By Kristen Lombardi and Fatima Bhojani on Aug 11, 2018
23-29 minutes

This story was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity and was co-published with Mother Jones. It is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Maine’s invasion came early this year. In recent hotbeds of tick activity — from Scarborough to Belfast and Brewer — people say they spotted the eight-legged arachnid before spring. They noticed the ticks — which look like moving poppy seeds — encroaching on roads, beaches, playgrounds, cemeteries, and library floors. They saw them clinging to dogs, birds, and squirrels.

By May, people were finding the ticks crawling on their legs, backs, and necks. Now, in midsummer, daily encounters seem almost impossible to avoid.

Maine is home to 15 tick species but only one public health menace: the blacklegged tick — called the “deer” tick — a carrier of Lyme and other debilitating diseases. For 30 years, an army of deer ticks has advanced from the state’s southwest corner some 350 miles to the Canadian border, infesting towns such as Houlton, Limestone, and Presque Isle.

“It’s horrifying,” says Dora Mills, director of the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation at the University of New England in Portland. Mills, 58, says she never saw deer ticks in her native state until 2000.

The ticks have brought a surge of Lyme disease in Maine over two decades, boosting reported cases from 71 in 2000 to 1,487 in 2016 — a 20-fold increase, the latest federal data show. Today, Maine leads the nation in Lyme incidence, topping hot spots like Connecticut, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Deer-tick illnesses such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis — a bacterial infection and a parasitic disease similar to malaria, respectively — are following a similar trajectory.

The explosion of disease correlates with a warming climate in Maine where, over the past three decades, summers generally have grown hotter and longer and winters milder and shorter.

Today, Maine leads the nation in Lyme incidence, topping hot spots like Connecticut, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

It’s one strand in an ominous tapestry: Across the United States, tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, some potentially lethal, are emerging in places and volumes not previously seen. Climate change almost certainly is to blame, according to a 2016 report by 13 federal agencies that warned of intensifying heat, storms, air pollution, and infectious diseases. Last year, a coalition of 24 academic and government groups tried to track climate-related health hazards worldwide. It found them “far worse than previously understood,” jeopardizing half a century of public health gains.

Yet in Maine, Governor Paul LePage — a conservative Republican who has questioned the science of global warming — won’t acknowledge the phenomenon. His administration has suppressed state plans and vetoed legislation aimed at limiting the damage, former government officials say. They say state employees, including at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been told not to discuss climate change.

“It appears the problem has been swept under the rug,” says Mills, who headed the Maine CDC from 1996 to 2011. In the 2000s, she sat on a government task force charged with developing plans to respond to climate change; those efforts evidently went for naught. “We all know this response of ignoring it and hoping it goes away,” she says. “But it never goes away.”

In an emailed statement, LePage’s office denied that the governor has ignored climate change. It cited his creation of a voluntary, interagency work group on climate adaptation in 2013, which includes the Maine CDC. “To assume … that the governor has issued a blanket ban on doing anything related to climate change is erroneous,” the statement said. A recent inventory of state climate activities performed by the group, however, shows that most of the health department’s work originated with the previous administration.
Tripling of vector disease cases

Climate’s role in intensifying diseases carried by “vectors” — organisms transmitting pathogens and parasites — isn’t as obvious as in heat-related conditions or pollen allergies. But it poses a grave threat. Of all infectious diseases, those caused by bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other cold-blooded insects are most climate-sensitive, scientists say. Even slight shifts in temperatures can alter their distribution patterns.

In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a tripling of the number of disease cases resulting from mosquito, tick, and flea bites nationally over 13 years — from 27,388 cases in 2004 to 96,075 in 2016. Cases of tick-related illnesses doubled in this period, accounting for 77 percent of all vector-borne diseases. CDC officials, not mentioning the words “climate change,” attributed this spike partly to rising temperatures.

Heedless officials like LePage are one reason the government response to the human impacts of climate change has been so sluggish. But discord within the health community has stymied action, too, according to interviews with more than 50 public health experts and advocates, and a review of dozens of scientific studies and government reports. State and local health department employees may believe climate change is happening but don’t necessarily see it as a public health crisis, surveys show. Many find it too taxing or nebulous a problem to tackle.

“Like most health departments, we are underfunded and our list of responsibilities grows each year,” wrote one investigator from Arizona, echoing the 23 professionals who responded to a Center for Public Integrity online questionnaire.

The fraught politics of climate change also loom large. Chelsea Gridley-Smith, of the National Association of City and County Health Officials, says many local health departments face political pressures. Some encounter official or perceived bans on the term “climate change.” Others struggle to convey the urgency of threats when their peers don’t recognize a crisis.

“It’s disheartening for folks who work in climate and health,” says Gridley-Smith, whose group represents nearly 3,000 departments. “When politics come into play they feel beat down a little.”

This reality is striking in Maine, among 16 states and two cities receiving a federal grant meant to bolster health departments’ responses to climate-related risks. Under the program — known as Building Resilience Against Climate Effects, or BRACE — federal CDC employees help their state and local counterparts use climate data and modeling research to identify health hazards and create prevention strategies. National leaders have praised the Maine CDC’s BRACE work, which includes Lyme disease.

But the Maine CDC employees declined requests to interview key employees and didn’t respond to written questions. Instead, in a brief email, a spokesperson sent a description of initiatives meant to help people avoid tick bites and Lyme disease. Sources close to the agency say the LePage administration is concerned about tick-related illnesses but not their connection to climate. In its statement the governor’s office said this relationship “is of secondary concern to the immediate health needs of the people of Maine.”

The ticks, meanwhile, continue their northerly creep. In Penobscot County — where the Lyme incidence rate is eight times what it was in 2010 — the surge has unnerved residents. Regina Leonard, 39, a lifelong Mainer who lives seven miles north of Bangor, doesn’t know what to believe about climate change. But she says the deer tick seems “rampant.”

In 2016, her son Cooper, then 7, tested positive for Lyme disease after developing what she now identifies as an expanding or “disseminated” rash, a classic symptom. Red blotches appeared on his cheeks, as if he were sunburned. The blotches coincided with other ailments — malaise, nausea. Weeks later, they circled his eyes. The ring-shaped rash spread from his face to his back, stomach, and wrists.

Leonard says Cooper could barely walk during his 21-day regimen of antibiotics. His fingers curled under his hands. He stuttered. The thought of being bitten by another tick terrifies him to this day.

“At this rate,” Leonard says, “we’re all going to end up with Lyme.”
‘A huge epidemic’

The spread of Lyme disease has followed that of deer ticks. The incidence of Lyme has more than doubled over the past two decades. In 2016, federal health officials reported 36,429 new cases, and the illness has reached far beyond endemic areas in the Northeast to points west, south, and north.

The official count, driven by laboratory tests, underplays the public health problem, experts say. In some states, Lyme has become so prevalent that health departments no longer require blood tests to confirm early diagnosis. The testing process — which measures an immune response against the Lyme-causing bacteria — has limitations as well. It misses patients who don’t have such a reaction. Those who show symptoms associated with a later stage — neurological issues, arthritis — can face inaccurate results. The CDC estimates the actual caseload could be 10 times higher than reported.

Dr. Saul Hymes heads a pediatric tick-borne disease center at Stony Brook University on Long Island, a Lyme epicenter since the disease’s discovery in 1975. He’s noticed a change: Patients file into his office as early as March and as late as November. Often, they appear in winter. Deer-tick samples collected from 2006 to 2011 at the university’s Lyme lab show a jump in tick activity in December and January.

States where Lyme hardly existed 20 years ago are experiencing dramatic changes. In Minnesota, deer ticks and the illnesses they cause appeared in a few southeastern counties in the 1990s. But the tick has spread northward, bringing disease-causing bacteria with it. Now, in newly infested areas, says David Neitzel, of the Minnesota Department of Health’s vector-borne disease unit, “We haven’t been able to find any clean ticks. They’re all infected.” Minnesota ranks among the nation’s top five states for Lyme cases; it places even higher in incidence of anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

A similar transformation is under way in Maine, where the 2017 count of 1,769 Lyme cases represented a 19-percent increase over the previous year. Anaplasmosis cases soared 78 percent during that period, babesiosis 42 percent.

“It’s quite a remarkable change in a relatively short period,” says Dr. Robert Smith, director of infectious diseases at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Researchers at the hospital’s vector-borne disease laboratory have tracked the deer tick’s march across all 16 of Maine’s counties since 1988. Through testing, they’ve identified five of the seven pathogens carried by deer ticks. That’s five new maladies, some life-threatening.

Betsy Garrold, 63, lives on 50 acres amid dairy farms in Knox, a rustic town of 900 in Waldo County, where the Lyme incidence rate is three times the state average. A retired nurse midwife, Garrold says she long viewed the disease as many in the health profession would: mostly benign when treated with antibiotics. In 2013, she tested positive for Lyme after a red, brick-shaped rash covered her stomach and legs. She lost her ability to read and write and struggled to form a simple sentence.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” says Garrold, who previously had weathered bouts of tropical intestinal diseases.

Lisa Jordan, a patient advocate who lives in Brewer, just southeast of Bangor, says she’s already inundated with phone calls from people stricken by Lyme. On her cul-de-sac, she counts 15 out of 20 households touched by the disease. Three of her family members, herself included, are among them. “It’s a huge epidemic,” she says.
A vector-borne ecologist collects ticks at a site in Maine. John Ewing / Portland Press Herald / Getty Images
‘Disease emergency’ in Canada

The link between Lyme disease and climate change isn’t as direct as with other vector-borne diseases. Unlike mosquitoes, which live for a season and fly everywhere, deer ticks have a two-year life cycle and rely on animals for transport. That makes their hosts key drivers of disease. Young ticks feed on mice, squirrels, and birds, yet adults need deer — some suggest 12 per square mile — to sustain a population.

Rebecca Eisen, a federal CDC biologist who has studied climate’s influence on Lyme, notes that deer ticks dominated the East Coast until the 1800s, when forests gave way to fields. The transition nearly wiped out the tick, which thrives in the leaf litter of oaks and maples. The spread of the deer tick since federal Lyme data collection began in the 1990s can be traced in part to a decline in agriculture that has brought back forests while suburbia has sprawled to the woods’ edges, creating the perfect habitat for tick hosts.

Eisen suspects this changing land-use pattern is behind Lyme’s spread in mid-Atlantic states like Pennsylvania, where the incidence rate has more than tripled since 2010. “It hasn’t gotten much warmer there,” she says.

But climate is playing a role. Ben Beard, deputy director of the federal CDC’s climate and health program, says warming is the prime culprit in Lyme’s movement north. The CDC’s research suggests the deer tick, sensitive to temperature and humidity, is moving farther into arctic latitudes as warm months grow hotter and longer. Rising temperatures affect tick activity, pushing the Lyme season beyond its summer onset.

Canada epitomizes these changes. Over the past 20 years, Nicholas Ogden, a senior scientist at the country’s Public Health Agency, has watched the tick population in Canada spread from two isolated pockets near the north shore of Lake Erie into Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, the front lines of what he calls “a vector-borne disease emergency.”

Scientists say ticks can use snow as a blanket to survive cold temperatures, but long winters will limit the deer tick, preventing it from feeding on hosts and developing into adults. In the 2000s, Ogden and colleagues calculated a threshold temperature at which it could withstand Canada’s winter. They surmised that every day above freezing — measured in “degree days,” a tally of cumulative heat — would speed up its life cycle, allowing it to reproduce and survive. They mapped their theory: As temperatures rose, deer ticks moved in.

By 2014, the researchers had published a study examining projected climate change and tick reproduction. It shows higher temperatures correlating with higher tick breeding as much as five times in Canada and two times in the northern United States; in both places, the study shows, a Lyme invasion has followed.

The Canadian health agency reports a seven-fold spike in Lyme cases since 2009. “We know it’s associated with a warming climate,” Ogden says.

The U.S. EPA concluded as much in 2014, when it named Lyme disease an official “indicator” of climate change — one of two vector infections to receive the distinction. In its description, the EPA singles out the caseloads of four northern states, including Maine, where Lyme has become most common.

Maine researchers have found a strong correlation between tick activity and milder winters. According to their projections, warming in Maine’s six northernmost counties — which collectively could gain up to 650 more days above freezing each year by 2050 — will make them just as hospitable to deer ticks as the rest of the state.
Maine’s governor nixes climate change research

Research like this is crucial, experts say. Yet the federal government has failed to prioritize it. From 2012 to 2016, the National Institutes of Health spent a combined $32 million on its principal program on climate change — 0.1 percent of its $128 billion budget, says Kristie Ebi, a University of Washington public health professor. NIH spending has gone up in the past two fiscal years, to an average of $193 million annually. But that’s still less than the $200 million Ebi says health officials need annually to create programs that will protect Americans. And NIH spent 38 times as much on cancer research during the two-year period.

Congress has done little to fix the problem. Last year, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, sponsored legislation calling for an increase in federal funding for climate and health research and mandating the development of a national plan that would help state and local health departments. The bill, sponsored by 39 House Democrats, is languishing in committee. Sources on Capitol Hill say it has no chance of advancing as long as climate-denying Republicans hold a majority.

The only federal support for state and city health officials on climate change is the CDC’s BRACE grant program. George Luber, chief of the CDC’s climate and health program, considers it “cutting-edge thinking for public health.” He intends to expand it to all 50 states, but funding constraints have kept him from doing so.

Republicans in Congress have tried repeatedly to excise BRACE’s $10 million budget, to no avail. Its average annual award for health departments has remained around $200,000 for nearly a decade.

The modest federal response has shifted the burden to state and local health departments, most of which have “limited awareness of climate change as a public health issue,” according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office report. Of the two dozen responding to the Center’s questionnaire, only one said her agency had trained staff on climate-related risks and drafted an adaptation plan.

By contrast, BRACE states are hailed as national models for climate health adaptation. In Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont — where deer ticks and their diseases are moving north — health officials have modeled future climate change and begun education campaigns in areas where Lyme is expected to rise.

Dora Mills, the former Maine CDC chief, oversaw the department’s bid for a BRACE grant in 2010. State epidemiologists already were surveying tick-related illnesses, but no one was asking why deer ticks were spreading or which areas were in jeopardy.

One year later, the department launched a program prioritizing vector-borne disease and extreme heat. Some employees worked with experts to model high-heat days and analyze their relationship with heat-induced hospital visits, among other activities. Much of the funding went to climate scientists and vector ecologists, who looked at the relationship between deer ticks and warming temperatures and did a similar study involving mosquitoes. They planned to develop a broader tick model that would examine the climate and ecological processes underlying the spread of Lyme disease in Maine and project its future burden.

By 2013, the administration of Governor LePage, elected in 2010 as a denier of what he called “the Al Gore science” on climate change, was clamping down. Norman Anderson worked at the Maine CDC for five years and managed its climate and health program. He recalls department public relations officials warning him not to talk about his work and refusing to green-light his appearances.

Eventually the governor eliminated the department’s climate change research. Scientists say they had to replace their ambitious modeling plan with rudimentary activities and spend their remaining BRACE funds on “tick kits” — complete with beakers of deer ticks in nymph and adult stages — to distribute to school children.

“Governor LePage said, ‘No one is doing climate change research,’” says Susan Elias, a vector ecologist at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute who worked on the tick-climate research and is developing the broader model for her Ph.D. dissertation. “That message came down from on high through official state channels.”

LePage’s office defended the governor’s decision, arguing that scientists studying the relationship between climate and disease “are best funded in research settings such as large universities,” not the Maine CDC.

LePage did approve a proposal by the Maine CDC to renew its BRACE grant, but only after narrowing the scope. Employees had to abandon planned climate research related to the health impacts of extreme weather and worsening pollen, records show. Their heat research yielded results — indeed, the threshold at which officials issue dangerous heat advisories was lowered from 105 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit after their analysis had found it didn’t protect Mainers’ health. But employees had to scrap their heat-response plans nonetheless. The only BRACE work that LePage approved involved Lyme prevention.

In 2014, Anderson, frustrated by what he calls the “repressive” environment, quit the Maine CDC. The department’s larger “strategy around climate and health had just been whittled away,” he says.
‘Trying to plug holes in the dam’

Today, the Maine CDC’s climate and health program amounts to little more than a half dozen initiatives on ticks and tick-borne diseases. Health officials have developed voluntary school curricula and online campaigns targeting the elderly, for instance. They’ve launched training videos for school nurses and librarians.

The department’s “main prevention message is encouraging Maine residents and visitors to use personal protective measures to prevent tick exposures,” it said in a 2018 report.

That report, filed by the Maine CDC with state legislators, hints at the department’s myopic focus on the accelerating public health problem. Its vector-borne disease work group, consisting of scientists, pest-control operators, and patient advocates, has extensive knowledge on ticks and tick-borne diseases, yet has no mandate to draft a statewide response plan, members say. Its published materials make no mention of Lyme’s connection to climate change.

Sources close to the Maine CDC say the prevention work is the best it can do with limited resources. At $215,000 a year, the BRACE grant — which totals $1.1 million over five years — isn’t enough to cover a 38,385-square-mile state with 1.3 million residents, they say. No state money is directed toward the surge in tick-related illnesses.

LePage’s office cites the governor’s leadership in building an $8 million research facility at the University of Maine, which opened last month. The laboratory — the product of a ballot initiative in 2014 — houses the university’s tick-identification program. Director Griffin Dill considers it a major upgrade from the converted office in which he logged tick samples for five years. It will enable him to expand tick surveillance and test ticks for pathogens. Still, he’s candid about the bigger picture.

“We’re still so inundated with tick-borne disease,” Dill says. “We’re trying to plug holes in the dam.”

Already, another threat is looming. Scientists consider the Lone Star tick a better signal of climate change than its blacklegged counterpart — it has long thrived in southern states like Texas and Florida but is advancing northward. In Maine, tick ecologists have logged samples of the Lone Star species since 2013. Dill has surveyed fields and yards in search of settled populations, dragging what looks like a white flag on a stick over brush. He says the tick isn’t surviving Maine’s winters — yet.

It may be bringing new and unusual diseases here nevertheless. Patty O’Brien Carrier suffered what she describes as a bizarre reaction — itchy hives, a reddened face, a swollen throat — twice before learning that she has Alpha Gal Syndrome, a rare allergy to meat. In February, lab tests identified its source: a Lone Star tick bite. A “ferocious gardener” from Harpswell, 37 miles northeast of Portland, O’Brien, 71, believes she was bitten in her yard. She spends her time in the dirt surrounded by roses, daisies and other perennials. She notices more ticks in her garden, she says, much like she notices the ground thawing earlier each spring.

In November, O’Brien pulled a bloated tick from her neck. It was as large as a sesame seed, concave-shaped and bore a white dot on its back — just like the Lone Star. “Its face was right in my neck and its legs were squirming,” she says. “It was quite disgusting.”

Now O’Brien performs the same ritual every time she goes outside: She applies tick repellant on her clothes and skin. She fashions elastic around her pants, and pulls her knee socks up. She adds boots, gloves and a hat.

“It’s like a war zone out there,” O’Brien says, “and I cannot be bitten by another tick.”

https://grist.org/science/an-army-of-deer-ticks-carrying-lyme-disease-is-advancing-it-will-only-get-worse/

Deaf Singer Gets Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer

Identifying Poison Ivy and Poison Oak (and Natural Remedies for When It’s Too Late)

onegreenplanet.org
Jonathon Engels
The green of summer feels great. All the plants are in full go, and fresh veggies are coming out of the garden. Berries are stocked at the you-pick-‘em farms, and butterflies and bees are flittering. It might be a little hot, but it seems like all the world is right. Then, on a hike like any other, a leg brushes up against some poison ivy, and things go askew.

Poison oak, poison ivy or poison sumac can quickly dampen a flying spirit and cause a month of the summer to be mixed up in skin irritations and lotions. Getting a rash from any of these plants, which have a common offending component called urushiol, leads to itching so intensely that it feels painful. Urushiol can even reach our skin via airborne specks.

The best way to avoid getting the itch is to give the plants a wide berth, and the only way for us to do that is knowing what they look like.
Poison Ivy

Poison ivy can sometimes be a nightmare to identify because it is a bit of a shapeshifter. It can be a vine, or it can be a bush. It can have green leaves, or reddish and yellowish leaves. The leaves can have widely varying edges as well, sometimes smooth and other times jagged.

However, what all poison ivy plants have in common is that their leaves come in groups of three, and those three leaves will all come to a point at the end, as opposed to being rounded or lobed. Additionally, the changes in leaf color tend to be seasonal, with reds and oranges being in springtime, green being in summer, and back to reds and oranges in the fall.

Because many plants have leaves of three, other characteristics to help identify poison ivy is that mature vines appear hairy due to aerial roots (Note: While the leaves drop in winter, the vines can still give us a rash) and, in the fall, distinct white berries form on the plants. As far as the leaves, the middle leaf of the trio has a noticeably longer stem as well.
Poison Oak

Like poison ivy, poison oak has leaves of three, though it has been known to have groups of up to seven, and it can grow as either a vine or shrub. It gets its name because poison oak leaves resemble the leaves of young oak saplings sprouting up. In the case of poison oak, the three leaves connect to a single stem with the side leaves alternating up it rather than being directly across from one another.

Luckily, poison oak is less common than poison ivy, which grows everywhere in the US except California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Poison oak is more or less relegated the Pacific Coast or the Southeast. It, too, gets clusters of white berries (or greenish-yellowish) in the fall.
Poison Sumac

Even less common than poison oak, poison sumac is prone to boggy areas in the Southeast and occasionally the Northeast. It grows as a shrub or small tree and has between seven and thirteen leaves per stem. The stems can have a reddish appearance, and the leaves are green in the summer and turn yellow to red in the fall. Sumac, too, has clusters of green berries that turn white in autumn.
Common (and Harmless) Lookalikes

Some plants are commonly mistaken for poison ivy or oak, so it’s good to be familiar with them as well. Virginia creeper looks just like poison ivy and is often in the same location, but it has leaf groups of five. Wild raspberry and blackberry vines can look almost identical to poison ivy, but they’ll have thorns to distinguish them. Neither poison ivy nor poison oak have thorns. Hog peanuts have leaves of three but are lighter in appearance than poison ivy, have ubiquitously smooth leaves, and are notably daintier. Box elder is another lookalike, and it has a much shrubbier look about it than does poison ivy. As well, box elders have opposite leaves rather than alternate.
Dealing with the Rash

Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are, sometimes accidents happen, and the urushiol gets the better of us. When that day comes, it’s nice to know that there are some natural remedies (or soothers) available to us.

A baking soda paste (three-to-one with water) relieves itching and helps to dry out the rash.
Apple cider vinegar also relieves itching and helps to pull toxins out of the skin’s pores.
An oatmeal paste (cook the oatmeal very thick and apply it while warm but not hot) can help dry the rash out.
Jewelweed, often growing near poison ivy, is a natural remedy as well. Just crush the stalk and get the juices from it, applying the juice to suspect areas of infection.

As a last comforting word, a good thing to know for those infected (or the loved ones of those infected) is that the rash is not contagious. Once the initial urushiol has been washed away, the resulting rashes can’t spread to others. The blisters do not have the chemical in them. So, in the case of having poison ivy, at least getting some hugs and comforting is still an option.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/identifying-poison-ivy-poison-oak-natural-remedies/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=c4574fe86e-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-c4574fe86e-106049477

Lead Image Source: Pixabay

7 Really Gross Reasons To Never Eat Meat Again

care2.com
Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on September 26, 2013.

You know the statistics that eating red meat will take years off your life, and you’ve probably heard of pink slime. If, for some reason, you’re still hesitating, here are seven reasons why you might want to think twice before eating your next steak.
1. Superbugs

Thinking about turkey burgers for dinner tonight? You may want to think again.

A report from the Food and Drug Administration found that, of all the raw ground turkey tested, 81 percent was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But ground turkey wasn’t the only problem. These bacteria were found in some 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are known as superbugs. The use of antibiotics on factory farms, in order to bring animals to slaughter faster or to make up for crowded conditions on feed lots, is one of the reasons why antibiotic resistance is on the rise.

Government data has revealed that one antibiotic-resistant strain of a germ called Enterococcus faecalis, normally found in human and animal intestines, was prevalent in a wide variety of meats. This means that the meat likely came into contact with fecal matter — and that there’s a high likelihood that other antibiotic-resistant bacteria is present too.

How’s that burger looking now?
2. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used in livestock to make animals grow faster and to prevent disease. Some 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in 2011 for meat and poultry production — compared with the 7.7 million sold for human use, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. And that number has been on the rise.

Dr. Gail Hansen, a veterinarian and senior officer for the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, believes the use of antibiotics in animals is out of hand:

We feed antibiotics to sick animals, which is completely appropriate, but we also put antibiotics in their feed and in their water to help them grow faster and to compensate for unhygienic conditions. If you have to keep the animals healthy with drugs, I would argue you need to re-examine the system. You don’t take antibiotics preventively when you go out into the world.
3. Cleaning products

School districts and parents had not been aware that some 7 million pounds of meat served up in school cafeterias was coming from scraps swept up from the floor. These meat parts were then sent through a series of machines, which grind them into a paste, separatesout the fat and lace the substance with ammonia to kill bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli.

The end product, known as pink slime, looked disgusting. And the puffs of ammonia used to kill the bacterium E. coli really grossed everyone out.

It turns out there’s also another cleaning product used in meat production. According to the website MeatPoultry.com, “99 percent of American poultry processors” cool their “birds by immersion in chlorinated water-chiller baths.”

Yum.
4. Meat glue

What you think is a slab of meat, perhaps a filet mignon, often turns out to be comprised of meat scraps held together with something commonly referred to as “meat glue.” Officially known as “transglutaminase,” the product has its origins in the farming industry, when the natural enzyme was harvested from animal blood. Nowadays, it is produced through the fermentation of bacteria.

The FDA has ruled that meat glue is “generally recognized as safe,” and it is required to be listed as one of the ingredients. However, it’s unlikely that any restaurant or banquet hall would list the ingredients of its meat on the menu.

Ever thought of going vegetarian?
5. Chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals

In 2010 the Department of Agriculture’s inspector general condemned the U.S. for allowing meat containing pesticides, heavy metals, veterinary drugs and other chemicals to reach supermarket shelves. That’s because the country’s standards for testing meat for pesticides and chemicals were so lax that, in 2008, Mexico turned back a shipment of American beef because it didn’t meet its standards for copper traces.

How about a veggie burger instead?
6. Hormones

American beef is so heavy in hormones that the European Union has said it doesn’t want the product. The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures claims that hormone-heavy beef production poses “increased risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer,” citing cancer rates in countries that do and don’t eat U.S. beef. Perhaps you didn’t know that the synthetic hormones zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate are a routine part of the recipe for production of U.S. beef.
7. Carbon monoxide

Have you ever wondered why those steaks on the supermarket shelf are so red? That’s because as much as 70 percent of meat packages in stores are treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat’s red color — oxymyoglobin — from turning brown or gray — metmyoglobin — through exposure to oxygen.

According to Ann Boeckman, a lawyer with a firm representing major meat companies, consumers do not need to worry about being deceived. “When a product reaches the point of spoilage, there will be other signs that will be evidenced—for example odor, slime formation and a bulging package—so the product will not smell or look right.”

https://www.care2.com/causes/7-really-gross-reasons-to-never-eat-meat-again.html

Good to know.

Photo Credit: USDA/Flickr

Confusing New GMO Labels Help Big Ag, Not Consumers – Chemical Free Life

chemical-free-life.org
Confusing New GMO Labels Help Big Ag, Not Consumers – Chemical Free Life
Published by Chemical-Free-Life.org
3-4 minutes

If there was ever a way to assist Big Ag in selling GMO food products, this is it…
USDA Unveils Prototypes For GMO Food Labels, And They’re … Confusing

Foods that contains genetically modified ingredients will soon have a special label.

We recently got the first glimpse of what that label might look like, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed guidelines.

This is the product of a decades-long fight between anti-GMO campaigners and Big Agriculture companies, which left neither side completely satisfied…

After Congress passed a bill in 2016 requiring labels on foods containing GMO ingredients, the USDA launched a long process to figure out the specifics.

The result?

Confusion for Consumers

“…they look like a little smiley face. They’re very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting information but instead are essentially propaganda for the industry.”

-George Kimbrell, legal director for the Center for Food Safety

The letters B-E stand for bioengineered — a term critics say is unfamiliar to the U.S. consumer, compared to more commonly used phrases like genetically engineered or GMO.

“It’s misleading and confusing to consumers to now switch that up and use a totally different term, bioengineered, that has not been the standard commonplace nomenclature for all of this time.”

-George Kimbrell, legal director for the Center for Food Safety

Big Ag Loves the New Labels

…industry representatives such as Nathan Fields, the director of biotechnology and crop inputs at the National Corn Growers Association, say the new “Bioengineered” term provides a clean slate.

The National Corn Growers Association was supportive when Congress passed the mandatory disclosure standards, in part because states such as Vermont were creating their own rules about labeling genetically engineered foods…

More than 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered. Soy, like corn, is also more than 90 percent genetically engineered. That means that the majority of processed foods containing ingredients such as soy, canola oil or corn starch, also contain modified genetic material.

More Obstacles for Consumers to Know What is In Their Food

Polls show that a majority of Americans want to know whether their food is genetically engineered.

…but it is not certain that the USDA will require the label to actually say “bioengineered”…companies could simply use a QR code, a kind of barcode that a phone can scan, to disclose info about the product. Industry professionals say they are clear and easy to use.

But critics say scanning a code would be one more obstacle for people who want to know how their food is made.

“People who aren’t in a place where there’s good wi-fi won’t know if it’s a GMO, and people who don’t use smartphones won’t know if it’s a GMO and also people who are in a hurry won’t know if it’s a GMO.”

-Dr. Glenn Stone, a Washington University in St. Louis anthropology professor who focuses on genetically modified crops

https://chemical-free-life.org/2018/05/21/confusing-new-gmo-labels-help-big-ag-not-consumers/

Hospital exposure to BPA may put babies at risk for serious heart conditions – Chemical Free Life

chemical-free-life.org
Hospital exposure to BPA may put babies at risk for serious heart conditions – Chemical Free Life
Published by Chemical-Free-Life.org
4-5 minutes

Despite scientific evidence that it disrupts the human endocrine system, BPA continues to be a widely used chemical in the U.S.–one that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to maintain is safe for consumers and therefore has not banned. While it is at least now prohibited in the manufacturing of baby bottles, it has been detected in baby teething rings and other items babies and children may put inside their mouths. Additionally, as we have reported earlier, it can still be found in some dental products and inside food containers such as canned goods and plastic beverage bottles–as well as in plastic tubing and equipment used in food production (including organic milk) and in hospital equipment and medical products.

If the FDA says it is safe, what is the problem? As we have reported for a number of years now, there have been many hundreds of original scientific studies and replication studies linking BPA to a variety of serious health outcomes. (See a few of some recent ones here: a, b, c, d)

Now a new animal study has demonstrated that short-term, early exposure to the endocrine disrupting chemical BPA–such as from hospital and medical equipment used during the birthing process and in newborn care settings–may pose a risk for babies to cardiac problems.

At-a-Glance:

This new study documents the elevated risk short-term BPA exposure, for a period of 15 minutes, may have in pediatric intensive care settings.*

*The potential impact from even a short-term, 15-minute exposure is relevant given that many medical devices and hospital equipment contain BPA.

Overview:

“Epidemiological studies find BPA exposure in adults correlate with adverse cardiovascular events, ranging from abnormal heart beats, or arrhythmias, and angina, chest pain, to coronary artery disease, the narrowing of the arteries, commonly referred to atherosclerosis — the leading cause of death in the United Sates. Now, based on a study using neonatal rat heart cells, researchers find that the immature heart may respond to BPA in a similar fashion — with slower heart rates, irregular heart rhythms and calcium instabilities.”

Importance of this study:

“Current research explores the impact endocrine disruptors, specifically BPA, have on adults and their cardiovascular and kidney function. We know that once this chemical enters the body, it can be bioactive and therefore can influence how heart cells function. This is the first study to look at the impact BPA exposure can have on heart cells that are still developing.”

-Nikki Gillum Posnack, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor at Children’s National Heart Institute and the George Washington University*

Real-world implications of the findings:

As stated earlier, BPA can commonly be found in medical devices and hospital equipment. Babies who are exposed to BPA in the hospital setting may be at increased risk for cardiac problems.

“We’re investigating whether these hospital-based exposures may cause unintended effects on cardiac function and looking at ways to mitigate chemical exposure. We hope this preliminary research incentivizes the development of alternative products by medical device manufacturers and encourages the research community to study the impact of plastics on sensitive patient populations.”

–Nikki Gillum Posnack, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor at Children’s National Heart Institute and the George Washington University*

*Dr. Posnack’s ongoing research examines the impact environmental influences — including BPA and other endocrine disruptors — have on cardiac function

https://chemical-free-life.org/2018/05/15/hospital-exposure-to-bpa-may-put-babies-at-risk-for-serious-heart-conditions/

source

Journal Reference: Manelle Ramadan, Meredith Sherman, Rafael Jaimes, Ashika Chaluvadi, Luther Swift, Nikki Gillum Posnack. Disruption of neonatal cardiomyocyte physiology following exposure to bisphenol-a. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25719-8

Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Chronic Yeast Overgrowth (Candida)

onegreenplanet.org
Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Chronic Yeast Overgrowth (Candida)
Heather McClees
8-10 minutes

Chronic yeast overgrowth is something that’s often referred to as candida. If you’re not familiar with it, then basically, all you need to know is that we have all types of yeasts and bacteria in our bodies. Some are good and some are bad, and most live within our digestive tracts. The good “bugs” keep us healthy, energized, and protect us from the harmful toxins and everyday contaminants we encounter. They also help keep us regular and keep our skin, weight, and immune system in check.

Bad yeasts and bacteria do the opposite, and sadly, things that we eat in our diets can often fuel these bad “bugs” to become predominant in our systems, outnumbering the good bacteria.
What is Candida?chickpea flour omelet

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Everyone has a type of yeast known as candida albicans in the gut. It’s one of the most well-known because it’s easy to get out of hand since it’s fed through sugar, or anything that converts to sugar in the digestive tract (like refined carbs, breads, pastries, cookies, very high starch foods eaten in abundance, candies, sweets, most processed foods, and some moldy foods like cheese, beer and wine). Candida thrives on these foods and can grow at rapid speeds. When this happens, chronic yeast overgrowth occurs and is seen through symptoms such as: constant fatigue and headaches, depression, jock itch, possibly skin yeast infections like ringworm and psoriasis, multiple types of food reactions or allergies, brain fog, and a sensitivity to certain types of moldy, fermented foods (cheese, dairy, wine, beer). Some natural health experts also believe that sugar addictions stem from yeast overgrowth because the yeast needs “food” to survive, leading one to eat more and more.
How Natural Remedies May Helpkale-tomato-salad

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Many natural remedies are available and you’ve likely seen all kinds of anti-fungal pills at health food stores that promise to help get rid of candida. While some of these may in fact fight the symptoms of candida and even cure mild cases, it’s best to treat the root of the problem first: removing the harmful foods and replenishing the good gut bacteria. One natural remedy that can help you restore good gut bacteria is an old time classic treatment known as ACV, or apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is fermented with a beneficial yeast that acts as a prebiotic for healthy bacteria in your gut, so essentially it helps your good bacteria grow as you eliminate harmful foods that feed the harmful yeasts like candida. Apple cider vinegar is even applied topically to the skin to treat skin fungal infections, acne, and even used as an alternative treatment to chemical-filled creams for jock-itch.
The Most Important Part About Fighting CandidaGolden Hummus With Curried Chickpeas b

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First, it’s important to remove all the processed, refined, and even naturally sugary foods on your diet. Stick to lots of greens, low-starch root vegetables like turnips, green vegetables and other low-starch vegetables, raw nuts and seeds that are fresh (to prevent mold encounter), as many fresh foods as possible, and low sugar fruits like berries, green apples, cucumber, limes, tomatoes, lemons, and some people handle citrus fine. You can also eat naturally sweet, healthy foods instead, and emphasize healthy fats from coconut, which contains anti-fungal properties naturally.

 

Some recipes you could enjoy might be: Jazzy-licious Kale, Mesquite Avocado Kale Salad, Escarole and White Bean Soup, Low-Carb Sugar-Free Vegan Protein Bars, Kale and Grilled Tomato Salad or a Chickpea omelet for something hearty. You can also learn to make lower sugar smoothie recipes without so much fruit, with a few of these natural, healthy tips.

After a while, once the yeast is under control, many people can add back low-starch grains like oats and quinoa, and some can even keep them in the beginning. Lentils, chickpeas, avocados, and even winter squash are also usually tolerated just fine on a yeast-free diet. The lower the sugar content of a food, the better. Once you’ve replaced the harmful ‘food’ that candida thrives on, it’s important to add other items to your menu that can possibly help fight bad bacteria.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar as Part of a Candida Treatment Regim

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Apple cider vinegar is a stellar choice to help your body heal naturally because it’s known for so many healing benefits, including acting as an antifungal and antibacterial food. You’ll need to take it internally as it can help flush out toxins, mucus, and all types of harmful bacteria that can cause a back up during digestion and cause yeast to fester even more. Take a tablespoon diluted in some room temperature or warm water in the morning, in the afternoon and at night after or before your meals. You can add some lemon and stevia if you need it to taste better. You can even add it to herbal teas over ice if you want (it’s actually pretty refreshing!). Try adding ginger to fight bacteria further, and whatever you do- buy the right kind of apple cider vinegar.

You need to purchase raw, organic apple cider vinegar so you know that the ‘mother’ is still in tact, which is the good bacteria the vinegar grows on. (This is the cloudy appearance you see in the bottom of the jar.) A good brand is Bragg’s, though some others are available too. Be sure it’s also non-GMO and organic, whatever you do, to avoid pesticides and harmful chemicals that only feed bad bacteria.
How Apple Cider Vinegar HelpsEasy Green Casserole 1

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Since apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic (which feeds the good bacteria), you need to be sure you’re taking in plenty of good bacteria so they can thrive. You can eat fermented foods that are helpful, such as sauerkraut, raw kimchi, and miso. You’ll want to avoid dairy, gluten and most wheat products, and other allergenic foods that can sometimes aggravate yeast overgrowth as well. Also, eat plenty of prebiotic-rich foods that can also help your good gut bacteria and take a plant-based probiotic as well.

You may find in the beginning of healing and battling yeast that you suffer a detox reaction where you feel worse before you feel better, but after several days or weeks, you’ll probably feel much better. You might also see some changes during digestion at this time, but keep in mind that your body is healing and getting rid of bad bacteria. Use warm baths, take magnesium or eat magnesium-rich foods if you find you have a hard time sleeping or with regularity, and be sure to get some fresh sunlight daily if you can. If you’re tired, allow your body to rest, and overall, just focus on eating healthier foods while your body adjusts.
What to Remember About Candida and Yeast OvergrowthRaw Turnip Ravioli 1

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Keep in mind that chronic yeast overgrowth can lead to larger health problems later on, so do your best to take care of your body. Though apple cider vinegar may not cure it completely, it can be used as a helpful tool in fighting candida. For professional advice on treating yeast overgrowth, see Body Ecology, a world-wide leading organization known for treating candida, The Candida Diet, and Ricki Heller, a renowned candida expert with recipes and tips for plant-based eaters.

Also see how to eat a healthy lower carb diet as a plant-based eater from one of our health experts, Registered Dietitian, Ginny Messina.
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