Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kermit was right, it is not easy being green...I am a couple of days late, but, Happy Earth Day.

Let Food be your medicine ~ Hippocrates

I heard that quote on NPR this morning (I am an NPR junkie) and it I fully believe in it. I believe the better the things you put into your body the better your body will be. We get to live in this body once, might as well make it a pleasant stay. 

I have no medical training, these are my experiences keep that in mind while reading. Thanks. Oh, and this post is LONG.
Last year under the advice and a physician I began to take 12 ibuprofen pills a day for a week. (Due to hip pain...hip pain was due to running a half marathon five months after having a baby...this is not recommended for the novice runner or someone that pretends to be a Something felt off  in me for a while after that and I just couldn't put my finger on it, eventually I was in so much pain I went to the ER and was diagnosed with an ulcer due to all the ibuprofen I had taken. I took it with food too, it was just way too much for me. I remember this "off feeling" before and never realized it was stomach irritation.  Ibuprofen is a drug that is widely used and used frequently by many and yet it causes a lot problems for a lot of people...such as ones with sensitive stomachs, intestinal problems, or  problems with kidneys. In fact one should not use ibuprofen before running marathons because it is so hard on kidneys and you need your kidneys working top notch on marathon day. After this little experience of mine I was told not to use ibuprofen and haven't for over a year and rarely due I get reflux anymore (which was becoming a real problem...only if I ingest WAY too much coffee, chocolate, or tomato sauce). I generally don't get headaches and when I get a really bad one, I go easy and simply take Tylenol. Either way, this drug that is touted as being pretty benign, can be rather hard on the system. Everything in moderation, folks.

Other things that are really rather good for you can, in fact, trigger unpleasant side effects. Salmon and other fish have this effect on me. I always knew that shell fish created not so pleasant occurrences on my skin to appear. But until this year I had never really though about other marine food causing, um, blemishes to appear. After reading some articles about iodine and acne it struck me that the three main foods that I had been eating: Salmon, spinach, and yogurt were causing my teenage-like appearance due to their high iodine content. I had been trying everything and I do mean everything to clear up my skin. But, it was the iodine in the food and since cutting salmon out and cutting back on the others my skin has vastly improved. I do not buy the conventional wisdom that food has no affect on acne. 

So I am only supposing that chemicals and hormones are also affecting people's health. This, and lifestyle. Do hormones added to milk cause early onset of puberty or is it that girls are more sedentary and thus have more fat (estrogen and fat go hand in hand) that is causing three year olds to start to show the early signs of puberty? I am not sure, scientists aren't sure what the exact cause is either. But, I am not one for saying "Oh sure add some more hormones to cows and then I will take them...hopefully they won't bother my OWN (at times out of whack) hormones."

 Here is another example of chemicals in things bothering hormones: bisphenol-A. This is a chemical in plastic containers that mimics estrogen and there is an on going debate about long term health problems associated with it's widespread use (prostate, breast cancer, and once again early onset of puberty). BPA is in  Nalgene bottles (Nalgene just recently said they were going to stop using BPA) and baby bottles (Walmart just announced they would not sell baby bottles containing BPA.) Our good friends to the North (Canada) have been discussing an all out ban on BPA. This is where I am bad, however. I still use a Nalgene bottle (hey no plastic water bottles here thanks) and the kids use sippy cups that have BPA in them. There are non-BPA water bottles and sippy cups on the market, but goodness gracious they are pricey, and we lose sippy cups like none other. So my one of my Earth Day resolutions is to buy them and try like hell not to lose them.  The other is to be white trash (thanks for the idea C) and dry my clothes outside. 

This year we have also made a real commitment to eating a mostly organic diet and in the summer months we try to buy local. (If you need inspiration read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)  Once again this year we will have a garden, in fact I already have some garlic coming up, big planting weekend will be in two weeks. I. can't. wait. I really try hard to eat a lot of vegetables and whole grains and very rarely drink soda. I am an active person by nature and living in Colorado we are always finding ways to get out.
We are spoiled with awesome summers and mountains to play in in the winter. Plus, we have lots of sun! Living her really does make it easy to be GREEN, we've got lots of farms just to the east of us, lots of earth friendly cattle and buffalo ranches, plus chicken farms where the chickens are not alien bird life. Most of the stores around here carry an ok selection of organic food, with more and more natural grocers moving in. We recycle, changed the light bulbs, and even got an eco-friendly sliding back door when the other one's seal broke. The new appliances are supposedly efficient as well.  I have areas to work on too, like my SUV has a drinking problem and is right at this moment hiding in the garage afraid to show it's face to the Prius living next door. (I am trying to cut down on useless trips.) Like I mentioned before I am going to upgrade the sippy cups. I should shop more at thrift stores, but have an aversion due to past childhood experiences...I am not going there, don't worry. I have decided that my quality of life doesn't depend on having lots of gadgets (we have plenty already) or lots of pricey vacations (although I do love them), but it instead depends on being able to give my children (and yes spouse too) QUALITY food and not just junk. And while global warming and too many chemicals in the environment may not give me cancer  it may bother others people's bodies and you can believe that my grandchildren WILL be affected by global warming and extra chemicals. I am trying to be the change. But it is tricky, and pricey. I encourage people to try and grow a vegetable....its not that hard. Try to buy organics when possible, bring those re-useable bags to the store, change light bulbs. One thing I am curious about is organics grown in China...I mean with all the bad press lately on China is this even possible to do?...and this is what I found out. According to The New York Sun and Business Week, many large organic food companies (Whole Foods, Stonyfield Farms, even Costco) send people to China to inspect, but that it is not 100% fool proof. While organic food grown in the US is more regularly inspected there is always a problem with pesticide drift from other farms. Our drift is not quite as toxic as China's potential drift because they still use DDT. An interesting thing was noted that foreign growers seem to have an all or nothing theory when it comes to pesticide use:  food testers find either insanely high levels of pesticides or none whatsoever. So I think for now, I am going to check my labels, try to support Colorado farmers, and love my own garden. Oh, and I just yesterday got all new Eco-friendly cleaning supplies, they smell nicer and aren't quite as harmful to pets and to the water system. I will be keeping the big guns around for sick season though. 

One last thing, take your green test by clicking here:  
I got a 68, I could do better. 


pappy said...

63 - and I am very glad you "did not go there"

love2cook said...

It is so wonderful to see more people getting environmentally conscious. We do a lot of the things you mentioned as well, but I always have to think what about the rest of the world? Especially China, they are the leading country over the US that emits the most carbon dioxide. I wish they'd get on the green bandwagon too.

love2cook said...

Oops! Not carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide!

Cathy said...

I'm so glad you're going to use your clothesline--I'm not alone! :) I'm really excited about gardening, too. I may try canning if we get enough produce--I'm becoming so Martha Stewart.