a witch can switch

Tonight, the streets will be filled with little lady bugs, witches, ghosts, and goblins. Buzz and Woody are sure to make an appearance; along with Strawberry Shortcake and one of those weird looking things from Yo Gabba Gabba. A mad rush of trick or treaters take center stage on your front porch, including your own My Little Pony or Lightning McQueen. Making their way through the neighborhood, gathering oodles and oodles of treats. Only to return home at night’s end with overflowing bags of Snickers, Skittles, Starbursts, and more.

Now, what to do with all that candy? I just recently came across the story of the Switch Witch.

The Switch Witch promotes a healthier Halloween by trading in the bag of treats for a special gift. I really liked the idea and decided to make up a little poem about the Switch Witch to read to my kiddos:

Do you know the witch of Halloween night?

The Switch Witch is coming; she’s coming all right.

She flies by the moon and down with a swoop,

She’s in with a blast and out with a whoop.

It’s candy she wants, and candy she’ll get.

Stuffing it into her black little net.

She wants your treats for her sugary face,

Leaving a special toy in its place.

So pick out 5 pieces you want for yourself,

Eat 1 right now and stash 4 on a shelf.

Bundle the rest in a trick or treat bag,

Tie it all up with a zig and a zag.

Leave the bag on the table and jump into bed.

The Switch Witch is coming, just like I said.

have. a. happy. healthy. halloween.

BOO! Wake UP!

Ahh Halloween is upon us again. What a nostalgic time for parents. Pumpkins, hayrides, and apple picking. Memories of dressing up in costume, trick-or-treating, haunted houses, and oodles and oodles of goodies and treats. Halloween parties galore! At school, at home, and at the neighbors! Wonderful memories and experiences that we eagerly and excitedly want to pass on to our children. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Our kids should be able to go door-to-door and stuff their faces with candy and chocolate and cookies just like we did when we were young. Halloween is a tradition, people. One day out of the year spent supporting and encouraging poor dietary habits amongst our children can’t harm them, right?

The problem is that for most children in the US it’s not just one day, it’s every day. Every day our children are bombarded with ads for crap food and sugary drinks. Fundraisers at school for cookie dough, frozen pizzas, potato chips, and chocolate candy. Sponge Bob and Dora spewed all over every fruit gummy treat in the store. Colored food products targeted to children around every corner. From popsicles and colored goldfish crackers to Fruit Loops cereal, yogurt, and M&M’s. The brighter the better, right? For marketing, yes. For our kids’ health, not so much.

Recent studies linking food coloring to hyperactivity and ADHD in kids is causing some experts to call on the FDA to ban foods containing them – or at least require a warning label. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) says the dyes are a “Rainbow of Risks” for children and can cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and even cancer. I must point out that 1 in 17 children have allergies in the US, 1 in 10 have ADHD, and 1 in 5 are obese. Despite those concerns, manufacturers put about 15 million pounds of eight synthetic dyes into our foods each year, according to the group. Per capita consumption of dyes has risen five-fold since 1955, thanks in part to the proliferation of brightly colored cereals, fruit drinks, and candies pitched to children.

Paralleling these findings, between 2001 and 2007, the number of 2-to-5-year-olds on anti-psychotic medications for behavioral problems doubled. A 2007 study found about 1 in 70 preschoolers was taking a psychotropic drug such as a stimulant, an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, an anti-psychotic, or an anti-anxiety drug. According to the  National Institutes of Health (NIH): About 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 has some sort of mental disorder, be it anxiety, mood, or disruptive behavior disorder. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

Honestly, I think our children deserve better. Countries in the European Union (EU) have banned most dyes and require labeling of foods containing particular synthetic dyes linked to behavioral problems in children. The Mars Company has removed all artificial dyes from Starburst Chews and Skittles, and has begun removing all dyes from M&M’s in the UK, but not in the US. Requests for a UK ban followed more than three decades of growing science associating exposure to food additives with a heap of potentially serious problems in children including not only hyperactivity, but also cognitive disturbances and compulsive aggression; asthma, hives, and allergies; and irritability and poor sleeping habits. Many usable alternatives clearly exist, but the US hasn’t decided to take action just yet. I wonder how many more chronically ill children it will take before the FDA steps up in this country?

Not just on Halloween this year, but every day ask yourself how you can contribute to creating a healthier environment for our children. Start with avoiding synthetic dyes by reading labels and choosing organic products. Organic standards prohibit the use of these dyes in products bearing the USDA Organic label and use natural food colorings from beets, carrots, seaweed, spinach, grapes, turmeric, and blueberries. Oh and…

BOO! WAKE UP! The kids are counting on you!

to. happy. healthy. days. ahead.

Got milk? Got rBGH?

Pink, pink, pink! Pink everywhere. I was watching NFL football yesterday and most (if not all the players) were wearing some kind of pink article of clothing. Bandanas, sneakers, armbands, wristbands, and ribbons all worn in support of breast cancer awareness. Apparently the money from purchasing these products goes to breast cancer research, which sounds wonderful if it were true. It seems to me that October’s pink proliferation is more about marketing than women’s health. From perfumes (Promise me) that contain harmful chemicals to soup cans laced with BPA (bisphenol A-which has been associated with increasing the risk of breast cancer). National pink campaigns focus too much on buying stuff instead of examining the possible causes of breast cancer —including the food you eat and drink (milk being one of them).

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. About 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer throughout their lifetime. Reducing the risk of breast cancer requires understanding and eliminating its causes, and prevention through education. Breast Cancer Action, an organization dedicated to promoting the truth in the breast cancer epidemic launched a project known as think before you pink and a campaign called Milking Cancer.

The Milking Cancer Campaign is focused on getting Eli Lilly (a pharmaceutical company) to stop making and marketing rBGH. For those of you who do not know, rBGH is a synthetic, genetically engineered growth hormone that is injected in cows to boost their milk production.  rBGH is the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. It was developed by Monsanto and marketed as “Posilac.”  It has been linked to breast cancer and other health problems such as prostate, colon, and other cancers. The use of rBGH also increases the need for antibiotics in cows, which can lead to increased antibiotic resistance in humans. rBGH has been used, without labeling, in the United States since its approval in 1993, making it difficult for consumers to make informed purchases.  The US is the only developed nation to permit humans to drink milk from cows given artificial growth hormone. Posilac was banned from use in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all European Union countries (currently numbering 27), by 2000 or earlier.

IGF-1(Insulin-like Growth Factor) in rBGH is common in non-organic milk and increases your risk for breast cancer by promoting conversion of normal breast tissue cells into cancerous ones. Non-organic dairy farms frequently have rBGH-injected cows that suffer at least 16 different adverse health conditions, including very high rates of mastitis that contaminate milk with pus and antibiotics. Read more about milk and breast cancer here.

Are you drinking rBGH milk? Are your kids? You very well may be drinking rBGH milk, or eating rBGH cheese or yogurt, as no labeling is required. This is despite the fact that surveys show that more than 80 percent of Americans want it labeled.

Want to avoid rBGH? Buy organic.

Moo and thank you.   dr. lisa.

I am spinach.

You know those days when you eat like a complete slob? Chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup and a coffee for breakfast. Slice of pizza on the run for lunch with a tall sugary beverage to wash it down. Fast forward to a big juicy cheeseburger with fries for dinner. And of course, a 100 calorie snack pack for the wind down during Grey’s Anatomy (don’t want to fill up too much before bed). If the old adage, “You are what you eat” is true then on those days you are a sugar filled, g.m.o. flowin’, gluten-overloaded mess, with a side of caffeine. Maybe you should make it up to yourself by going vegetarian for a week.

Tonight, I am proud to say I am spinach. I made a gigantic spinach salad for dinner and it was delicioso. In essence, I am “organic” spinach.

If I were conventional spinach, I would be Permethrin, Imidacloprid, DDE, Spinosad A, Spinosad D, Cypermethrin, Flonicamid, Boscalid, Methoxyfenozide, Pyraclostrobin,

Cyfluthrin, DDT and much more. In fact, a total of 48 pesticide residues were found on spinach as reported in the 2009 USDA Pesticide Data Program. Human health effects known from these pesticides include: 8 known or probable carcinogens, 25 suspected hormone disrupters, 8 neurotoxins, and 6 developmental or reproductive toxins. Environmental effects include 23 honeybee toxins. Pretty crazy stuff, right? Believe me, it gets crazier.

A new study out of Harvard shows that even small amounts of a common pesticide class can have dramatic effects on brain chemistry. Organophosphate insecticides (OP’s) are among the most widely used pesticides in the U.S. & have long been known to be particularly toxic for children. This is the first study to examine their effects across a representative population with average levels of exposure. Finding :: Kids with above-average pesticide exposures are 2x as likely to have ADHD.

So think of this post the next time you are at the grocery store buying your fruits and veggies. Below is a shoppers guide to help you on your journey to becoming an organic freak like me. You can also find out what’s on your food? at Pesticide Action Network .  What’s On My Food? is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable.
Hope you all have a happy. healthy. weekend.
yours in health.  dr. lisa. 

you say tomato, i say, is that tomato organic?

I have always been interested in health, nutrition, the human body, and wellness. But that’s pretty much all it was: an interest. Before I entered chiropractic school and long before I had my two yogi babies, I didn’t think too much about good health and definitely didn’t take any conscious action to improve and maintain it on a daily basis.

Growing up, I wasn’t aware of organic farming or genetically-modified organisms. I thought a tomato was a tomato and that was that. I was taught to eat my fruits and vegetables, my chicken and steak, and drink my milk. I never asked where our food came from (I just assumed the supermarket) and never read food labels. Just give me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, m&m’s and send me on my merry way. But it wasn’t just cookies and candy. My mother did prepare home-cooked meals for dinner with the occasional Friday night pizza party. Pop was a staple in our home as well as white bread and potato chips. If my mother worked on the weekend, my father would get us Happy Meals from MacDonald’s or cheeseburgers from Burger King. It was easy. It was cheap. I guess you could say that besides the actual process of eating the food, we were pretty disconnected from everything else involved.

Exercise and health weren’t a huge part of the picture either. I mean, I was a pretty active kid and so were my siblings, friends, and cousins. On any given day you could find all of us pedaling fiercely on our bikes and jumping from pool to pool. There were endless nights of ghost in the graveyard, water fights, dance recitals, and gymnastics on the front lawn. But this was just part of being a kid back then. My parents were well-educated and held fine jobs, but they never emphasized how important it was to stay fit and exercise.  I suppose they didn’t understand what it meant to actually be healthy. I never saw them working out or going for runs. In fact, I never saw any of the adults around me taking control of their health. Most just complained about getting old and having this or that ailment.  I can hear it now:

“Now honey, don’t get old. You get achy and tired and have to take prescription drugs and have no energy and osteoporosis and heart disease and arthritis and (fill in the blank) and (fill in the blank) and (fill in the blank).”

See what I mean?

This is a stark contrast from my adult life. Everyday I live and breathe health and wellness. I find it of the utmost importance to maintain health and stay connected to it. Understand that every decision you make has the potential to keep you healthy or cause disease. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Every decision? Seriously? Is this woman nuts?” And you’re right. I am nuts. No, just kidding. When I say every decision, I mean being present (the yogi in me) and conscious of the choices you make for you and your family. Pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, diet, nutrition, exercise, and meditation are no exception.

So without further ado, what kind of mother am I?

I am a natural birth advocate.

I am a lactivist (pro-breastfeeding) and intactivist.

I am an organic freak.

I support local farms and sustainable agriculture.

I read food labels.

I avoid synthetic fillers and preservatives in food.

I avoid food dyes such as Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1.

I rally against gmo’s and pesticides.

I despise Monsanto.

I practice yoga (even with my kiddos).

I do not litter, not even a flitter of litter.

I recycle everything.

I am green conscious.

I am a chiropractor.

I am a mother.

Are your eyes rolling yet?? I know, I know.  Yes, I am that mom.  I guess you could call me a “granola,” or “crunchy,” or a “crunchy granola,” or a “crunchy mama.” (Anyone order their free-range, grass-fed, organic turkey from their local farm for Thanksgiving yet?) Honestly though, I think these labels are silly. You can be an “informed mom” and not have to be labeled as the “hippie crunchy mommy.” It’s ok though, I’ll own it. I find it’s very important to be informed on such topics like the need to choose organic food for our families and the need to understand why and how Monsanto is destroying our earth. Monsanto who? We will tackle that in future posts. But for now, here are a few stats on kids health in the US today:

1 in 10 have asthma.  1 in 17 have allergies.  1 in 5 are obese.  1 in 110 are autistic (1 in 60 boys).  1 in 10 have ADHD.   1 in 4 is on prescription drugs.

More and more children with diabetes, high cholesterol, food allergies, asthma, reflux, ear infections, dairy and gluten intolerance, etc etc. The list goes on and on and on.

Why is this happening and what can we do about it?  I really believe we can change what is happening to our kids and our families by taking the following steps:

  1. Take Responsibility: Is sickness something that happens to us or do we create it?  Be responsible for your family and their health as well as your own.
  2. Make Healthy Educated Choices: All food is not created equal. Choose whole, organic foods for your family. These are free from pesticides & gmo’s, artificial dyes & synthetic fillers.  Know what you are feeding your family by reading food labels. If you do not know what a particular ingredient is, look it up. Get moving! Exercise gives our bodies oxygen and energy.  Manage your stress with meditation and an evening out with friends (woot! woot!). Include the kids with a mommy and me yoga class. Get adjusted. Maintain a healthy spine.
  3. Be the Oddball: Know that it is perfectly all right to step “outside the box” when it comes to health.  Choose a proactive, preventative, wellness lifestyle.  Demand quality foods and care for your family.
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Yours in health,