change

This is your time. Break out of your bubble. You are 100% in control of the choices you make. Educate yourself. Read. Be informed, be passionate, and be open to new ideas. Learn from your mistakes. Take control of your health. Take control of your life. If your peers do not support you, surround yourself with those who do. The change must begin somewhere. Let it start with you.

Have a great weekend.

dr. lisa

the unhappy meal

Quick trip to McDonald’s for dinner? I can’t say enough about why this is a bad idea. In a country where nearly every single one of it’s 312 million people will in some way be affected by obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease-McDonald’s delivers chronic disease on the go. As adults, we have indulged in Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and Supersized Fries for over half a century. Besides the ungodly ingredients used to “fill” their meats, McDonald’s also utilizes special techniques to separate the meat. Below is a photo of mechanically separated chicken:

Pink Chicken Goo

If this isn’t enough to discourage you, hold off getting the kiddos a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal until after you read the following excerpt from Michael Pollan’s: The Omnivore’s Dilemna:

“The ingredients listed in the flyer suggest a lot of thought goes into a nugget, that and a lot of corn. Of the thirty-eight ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, I counted thirteen that can be derived from corn: the corn-fed chicken itself; modified cornstarch (to bind the pulverized chicken meat); mono-, tri-, and diglycerides (emulsifiers, which keep the fats and water from separating); dextrose; lecithin (another emulsifier); chicken broth (to restore some of the flavor that processing leeches out); yellow corn flour and more modified cornstarch (for the batter); cornstarch (a filler); vegetable shortening; partially hydrogenated corn oil; and citric acid as a preservative. A couple of other plants take part in the nugget: There’s some wheat in the batter, and on any given day the hydrogenated oil could come from soybeans, canola, or cotton rather than corn, depending on the market price and availability.

According to the handout, McNuggets also contain several completely synthetic ingredients, quasiedible substances that ultimately come not from a corn or soybean field but form a petroleum refinery or chemical plant. These chemicals are what make modern processed food possible, by keeping the organic materials in them from going bad or looking strange after months in the freezer or on the road. Listed first are the “leavening agents”: sodium aluminum phosphate, mono-calcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and calcium lactate. These are antioxidants added to keep the various animal and vegetable fats involved in a nugget from turning rancid. Then there are “anti-foaming agents” like dimethylpolysiloxene, added to the cooking oil to keep the starches from binding to air molecules, so as to produce foam during the fry. The problem is evidently grave enough to warrant adding a toxic chemical to the food: According to the Handbook of Food Additives, dimethylpolysiloxene is a suspected carcinogen and an established mutagen, tumorigen, and reproductive effector; it’s also flammable.

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”

To make matters even worse, you don’t have to go very far to pick up a Happy Meal or a Double Cheeseburger Meal. Below is a map of all the McDonald’s in the USA courtesy of Stephen Von Worley:

enough. said.

dr. lisa

skinnygirl faux pas

Created by ex-Real Housewife of NYC and food and diet guru Bethenny Frankel, the Skinnygirl Margarita is made of “natural” ingredients such as Blue Agave clear tequila and sweetened with agave nectar. Sounds yummy. But what Bethenny fails to mention is that her so-called, “natural” ingredients also contain sodium benzoate, a potentially carcinogenic preservative. The label doesn’t list it either. Oops. Needless to say, Whole Foods decided to pull all of the Skinnygirl products from their shelves. The natural food store, “prides itself in selling the best quality whole products that our high-end consumers expect. Not novelty products that are shaded with secrecy,” says a rep.

Whole Foods issued this statement about Skinnygirl:

This product had been offered in 16 of Whole Foods Market’s 310 stores. After discovering that it contains a preservative that does not meet our quality standards, we have had to stop selling it.”

Bethenny Frankel’s response:

I’m not making wheatgrass here. If I could put an agave plant and some limes on a shelf I would. [The Skinnygirl Margarita] is as close to nature as possible, while still being a shelf stable product.”

And she continues:

“With all due respect to Whole Foods, we were in a dozen of their stores and have decided not to continue in these stores. They represent an infinitesimal fraction of our business. We are, in fact, the fastest growing spirits brand in the US.”

“We were bound to piss someone off and everyone loves to try to tear down a success. This is a non-event. I haven’t lost even a wink of sleep.”

It’s pretty great to know that Bethenny Frankel markets her product as “all natural,” yet could care less to uphold that standard. I mean, why should she care? She’s only worth like a gazillion dollars. Sigh.

Anyhow, she isn’t even the problem. The problem is the preservative, sodium benzoate. It is a widely used and very common preservative in our foods. Besides being in Skinnygirl Margaritas, it’s also used in salad dressings, carbonated drinks, jams, fruit juices, pickles, condiments, medicines, and cosmetics. Read a label and you most likely find it listed.

By itself, sodium benzoate is pretty harmless. You would have to consume a huge amount of it in order to reach toxic levels in your body. The FDA says it’s safe because the amounts used to preserve foods are very low. However, there have been plenty of health concerns regarding the combination of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (or vitamin C). When the two are mixed, they form benzene, a known carcinogen: meaning cancer causing agent. DO NOT mix sodium benzoate and vitamin C! You got that?

From Natural News, regarding avoiding benzene:

This should be easy. Never, ever mix vitamin C with pickles, peppers, salad dressings, jams, most condiments, vinegar, fruit juices, salsas, dips, shredded cheese, ketchup, or diet or regular soda. Don’t forget about mouthwash, toothpaste, cough syrup, NSAIDS, creams, lotions, and hundreds of cosmetic products.”

OK ladies, this shouldn’t be too hard. When eating salsa and chips, do not consume soda. If your child has a Saltine cracker, do not give him juice to wash it down. UGH! Utterly ridiculous.

Obviously, the best bet is to read your labels, educate yourself on whole foods, and buy organic. Oh and…

…make your own margaritas.

1 1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz premium triple sec (preferably Cointreau)
1 oz lime juice

Rum the rim of a cocktail glass with lime juice, and dip in salt. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into the glass, and enjoy.

have. a. great. night.

dr. lisa

Lickety-Lick for Pox


You’ve probably heard about the “chickenpox lollipops” already since it has been all over the internet and in the news. But in cased you missed it I am gonna tell you about it. Have you heard of “pox parties?” You know, where parents bring their kids to the home of a child who has the chickenpox hoping their child contracts the virus and gets it over with? Well apparently, there are a few moms who are buying and sending lollipops infected with the varicella virus (chickenpox), and having their own children suck on them. They are hoping to infect their children and have them gain natural immunity from the virus rather than vaccinate. This is highly unlikely to happen because the virus is normally transmitted by inhalation.

I am in no way condoning sending infected lollipops with chickenpox or any virus-this is utterly ridiculous, irresponsible, and downright disgusting. Although, I will say that when I was young our pediatrician encouraged chickenpox parties so that we didn’t go into adulthood without acquiring immunity. The disease was much milder and had very rare complications associated with it when contracted in childhood. This was before the vaccine was available and before the CDC mandated it for every child in the US.

Historically, chickenpox has not been viewed as a dangerous disease, but rather a rite of passage. So when a vaccine became available in 1995, many parents, and even some doctors, didn’t feel that it was necessary. The UK still does not recommend routine vaccination for chickenpox. As more states required the vaccine for children to go to school, parents desperate to avoid “yet another vaccine” started to seek out the disease for their children, intentionally exposing them to chickenpox.

Many experts believe that by vaccinating against chickenpox, we will be seeing an increase in cases of shingles in individuals. “Shingles” can have many more adverse side effects and complications later in life.

“By trying to prevent all children from experiencing chickenpox naturally, this policy may have actually created a NEW epidemic—not in children but in adults, especially elderly adults.

Vaccinating children for chickenpox may very well be causing a shingles epidemic.”

The Birth of an Epidemic

“Now, 15 years into the mass use of chickenpox vaccine, there are signs a shingles epidemic is underway.

This is not surprising when you consider that the mechanism keeping shingles largely at bay has been drastically reduced, if not eliminated because older children and adults are no longer coming into contact with younger children experiencing chickenpox and there is less and less natural “boosting” of immunity occurring in our population.

The natural “herd” immunity to chickenpox among Americans is being lost and we are becoming vaccine dependent. PLUS a shingles epidemic is taking shape.

Research done by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D. who served for eight years as a Research Analyst with the Varicella Active Surveillance Project in Los Angeles County with funding from the CDC, revealed higher rates of shingles in Americans since the government’s 1995 recommendation that all children receive chickenpox vaccine.

According to an article describing his work:

“Dr. Goldman’s findings have corroborated other independent researchers who estimate that if chickenpox were to be nearly eradicated by vaccination, the higher number of shingles cases could continue in the U.S. for up to 50 years; and that while death rates from chickenpox are already very low, any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease. 

Goldman was so concerned about an epidemic of shingles that he has co-written a book on the matter, entitled The Chickenpox Vaccine: A New Epidemic of Disease and Corruption.

Dr. Goldman isn’t the only one who is concerned about a potential shingles epidemic.

A team at Britain’s Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) found that adults living with children enjoy higher levels of protection from shingles. They stated that, although chickenpox can be life threatening for the immune compromised, thousands of elderly people could also die from the complications of shingles. PHLS called for a re-evaluation of the policy of mass chickenpox vaccination in the U.S., as well as other countries implementing this practice.

For decades, shingles was thought to increase with age as older individuals’ immune systems weakened. However, research suggests this phenomenon is more a result of the fact that older people receive fewer natural boosts to immunity as their contacts with young children decline.

In fact, the effectiveness of the chickenpox vaccine itself depends on natural boosting, so as chickenpox disease rates decline, so will the effectiveness of the vaccine.”

Are These Predictions Coming True?

“Absolutely.

The incidence of adult shingles has increased by 90 percent from 1998 to 2003, following the release of the chickenpox vaccine for mass use. Shingles results in three times as many deaths and five times as many hospitalizations as chickenpox, and accounts for 75 percent of all medical costs associated with the varicella zoster virus.

Even children are beginning to come down with shingles, as evidenced by school nurse reports since 2000, which was one of the concerns prompting Dr. Goldman to warn the CDC that it may be bringing about a shingles epidemic.

Prior to chickenpox vaccination, shingles was seen only in adults.

All evidence points to the fact that we have traded a relatively mild illness (chickenpox), which does NOT involve complications for 99.9 percent of healthy children, for a more serious illness in our elderly (shingles) that has the potential for compromising the health of an entire population.

Another peer-reviewed article by Dr. Goldman presents a cost-benefit analysis of the chickenpox vaccination program, with disturbing findings. Chickenpox vaccine would have to be universally used for at least 50 years to demonstrate a cost benefit, due to the substantial additional medical cost of a shingles epidemic. This is CLEARLY not worth it, when chickenpox disease presented such minimal risk to society in the first place!

What do you think was the CDC’s answer to a potential shingles epidemic, when presented with Goldman’s findings?

Another vaccine—of course.

Merck – the pharmaceutical giant that makes the chickenpox vaccine – rides in on their white horse with the very answer the CDC was hoping for: A shingles vaccine! Yes, shingles vaccine was developed by the same manufacturer who markets and is the sole source of chickenpox vaccine in America.

What an incredible profit-making scheme – the same drug company that profits from mass, mandatory use of the chicken pox vaccine also profits from sales of a shingles vaccine in a market created by the chickenpox vaccine!”

The bottom line-

Do not intentionally send viruses in the mail. Do not lick your envelope or stamp if you are sick.

dr. lisa

pill poppin’ before kindergarten

Kindergarten. 1983. Remember? Table 1, table 2, table 3, table 4? Name tags made from paper bees hanging around your neck. Circle time, snack time, rest time, and lunch time. Singing songs, painting, and duck, duck, goose. You catch my drift. All your little friends sharing and playing puppet show with you. Listening attentively to the teacher and obeying the rules. Gold stars for good behavior. Learning how to tie your shoes.

Kindergarten. 2011. Repeat all of the above, circa 1983 Kindergarten. Additions include: Dramatic increases in learning disabilities, behavior disorders, restlessness, moodiness, ADD, ODD, depression, anxiety, and even bipolar disorder.

In fact more and more preschoolers and kindergarteners are being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and are being put on prescription medication. It seems like more kids today are learning how to swallow pills before they learn their ABC’s. A 2007 study found about one preschooler in 70 was taking a psychiatric drug, such as a stimulant, an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, an anti-psychotic, or an anti-anxiety drug. More than 1 in 4 children in the US now take regular prescription drugs, according to Medco Health Solutions, Inc.

Medco’s chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Epstein explains:

“Children are receiving anti-psychotics with greater frequency and that may be because they are viewed as less dangerous than the older medications and can be helpful for conditions that were previously treated with other medications. However, these drugs are not without their risks. There is evidence that the risk of diabetes and metabolic disorders from using atypical antipsychotics could be much more severe for pediatric patients than adults, and there is a need for more studies to understand the long-term effects of these drugs on children.”

A recent Parenting Magazine article states:

In spite of the growing number of young kids taking psychiatric drugs, these medications (with a few exceptions) are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children under age 6. Why? Because little is known about how they affect the tiny brains and bodies of young children.

“We have very little research to show how psychiatric medications affect the developing nervous system, for instance,” says Dr. Olfson, a Columbia University psychiatrist and researcher. “This is a concern.”

Anti-psychotics are linked to rapid weight gain and metabolic and endocrine abnormalities. In one study, kids ages 2 to 6 gained an average of 19 pounds in less than 12 weeks on one anti-psychotic drug regimen.

The article also tells the heart wrenching and disturbing story of four-year-old Shelby:

 As the sun rises over Phoenix, 4-year-old Shelby wakes. She sleepily uses the potty, dutifully washes her hands, and then accepts a white capsule from her mother.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed little girl swallows the medicine easily. “And then she’s off—to take care of the pets, play with play dough, and just be Shelby,” says her mother.

The capsule contains 20 milligrams (mg) of Ritalin (methylphenidate), the prescription stimulant used to calm and focus children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). After dinner, Shelby takes more meds — 2.5 mg of Abilify and .05 mg of clonidine. The preschooler has been on daily medication since she was 2.

This is what its come down to in the US today. Problem. Medicate. Problem. Medicate. Side effect. Medicate. Side effect. Medicate. What are the repercussions? How can we possibly see drugs as a solution? Pretty soon we will have a nation filled with over-weight, doped up toddlers mindlessly drooling while singing Row Row Row Your Boat. Oh wait, we already do.

~let’s support the health of our children, together.~

dr. lisa

Faking it with Blueberries

My kids love blueberries. It’s great because blueberries are wonderful snacks for kids since they are packed with powerful nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamin C. We use them in smoothies, in cereals, and on pancakes. I can set out a bowl of blueberries and their little fingers can’t get in there fast enough to eat them up. We mostly buy them fresh when in season or frozen for our fruit and vegetable shakes, but what to do when blueberries are not readily available? If you haven’t noticed, there are an array of products on supermarket shelves depicting and claiming that they contain blueberries. From cereals, muffins, and Poptarts, to fruit roll-ups, fruit juices, and candies. Blueberries are easily marketed because almost everyone understands how good they are for you. Oh, and they are mighty tasty.

Pictures of blueberries are prominently displayed on the front of many food packages leading the consumer to believe that the product is actually made of blueberries. The blueberries found in blueberry bagels, cereals, breads and muffins are REAL blueberries, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, many of the so-called blueberry ingredients in these products contain sugar, oils, and artificial colorings such as Blue#1 and Red #40. The following video is a mini-documentary (only 7 minutes) conducted by award-winning investigative journalist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as part of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center, which provides nutrition grants for children’s education programs around the world. The non-profit “blueberry deception” video can be viewed below.