Archive for the 'Health' Category

The story of a dog, a dead rabbit and a plastic bag

We did a little science experiment in our yard, unexpectedly, thanks to the laws of nature and survival of the fittest a while back that we came across last week.

A little background:

About a year ago, our aging dog managed to kill a rabbit and eat about half of it before my husband called her off it.

He brought her in the house, where she promptly threw up, right in front of the fridge and my daughter.

As she stood over the steaming pile of blood, bone and guts exclaiming “eeeww” repeatedly, my husband swore, then cleaned up the mess and buried the remains (including the part the dog didn’t eat that was still in the back yard) in a plastic grocery bag behind our shed. He marked the spot so we would know where it was.

Fast-forward a year.

While digging a new compost area last week, he dug up the bag that had contained the remains of the rabbit. Guess what?

The rabbit was gone, completely decomposed and turned to dust.

And the bag?

Completely intact. And I mean completely intact. It had decayed not one little bit.

So please, ponder that the next time you’re in the grocery store or anywhere else they are likely to give you a plastic bag. That bag, which took chemicals to create, will be around for a very, very long time.

— Linda J.


My take on the new federal school lunch rules


I’ll give President Barack Obama’s team credit for trying to make school lunches healthier, but that’s about as far as I can go.

By the time all the rules are in place schools will be using whole grain breads and pastas , reducing sodium and fat content considerably, and upping the servings of fruits and veggies.

Great so far, until you hear this: these things are being “phased in” so parents don’t have to worry about tensions over food with their kids.

Seriously? You’re the parent, they are the kids. Act accordingly and it won’t be an issue.

And worse still, they caved because of Congress being beholden to lobbyists for the starch and pizza industries.

Yes, pizza is still considered a vegetable and there are no rules limiting french fries.

I’ll say that again, pizza is considered a vegetable.

So, do any of you wonder why we pack our daughter’s lunch every day and have since the first week of kindergarten?

— Linda J.

There’s a reason nail polish stays on so long, and it’s not good

Still using nail polish? I am, but I’ve made sure the brands I use don’t contain toluene. Now I need to add formaldeyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), the other two that make up the “toxic three”.

Many brands still use those chemicals. That’s why they are so shiny and stay put so well.

You’ve no doubt heard of formaldehyde,  the chemical that preserves dead animals, but what about the other two?

According to an article on HuffPost Green, “DBP is a known reproductive and developmental toxin, while toluene is a possible reproductive and developmental toxin and can also cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue.

While reading this article, I started thinking about my daughter, who always comes home from a weekend at Grandma’s house with newly painted toes and fingers.

I think I’m going to have to start furnishing as safe a polish as I can find for them to use, because I don’t want to stop their fun.

And here’s where I’m going to find it: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a searchable database where you can look up all sorts of things about the products you use.

— Linda  J.


Twinkees for breakfast anyone?

Have you ever read the ingredients on a cereal box label?

You do know that ingredients are listed in order by most to least amount, right?

Pull out a box of cereal that you let you kids eat. What’s the first ingredient? I bet it’s sugar.

A new study by the Environmental Working Group details the amount of sugar in many kid cereals and it’s astounding, even to someone like me who now routinely reads labels before buying anything.

They titled it “Twinkees for breakfast” for a reason.

Here’s what they said: A serving of Twinkees has 18 grams of sugar and a serving of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks has two grams more, at 20 grams of sugar. By weight, Honey Smacks are more than 55% sugar.

And what about Honey Nut Cheerios, which I used to buy until my husband pointed out the sugar content: It’s got 12 grams of sugar, one more than three Chips Ahoy! cookies. (We switched to the multi-grain version, which I’m going to double-check tonight.)

Think about what all that sugar does to kids at the start of the school day. They get a sugar buzz, which then crashes in what, an hour maybe? Right smack (pardon the pun) in the middle of math.

Fortunately, EWG’s study contains a downloadable document (.pdf) that lists some of the healthiest cereals in addition to bashing the worst. You can find it here.
— Linda J.

Garlic: It does more than just keep vampires away

Yesterday, posted an article suggesting 20 different ways to use garlic.

Now, I’m a big fan of garlic and any time a recipe calls for two cloves, I usually double if not triple it.

And because my husband is part Italian, we cook with a lot of garlic.

Consequently, if their story is right, I should never have a mosquito bite.

But clearly injesting it doesn’t work, so maybe I’ll try the spray option.

The other garlic remedies sound somewhat plausible at least:

  • Splinter removal
  • Acne
  • Pesticide
  • Fish bait
  • Cough syrup

And many more. I may try a few with the garlic we have from the summer’s harvest (we planted 75 cloves last fall).

And if you have some garlic and want to try a few yourself, let me know how they work (or don’t work).

— Linda J.



Sen. Rand Paul’s attempt to block money for trails fails

Three strikes and you are out, at least in baseball.

But in the U.S. Senate, who know if the latest attempt to stop federal funding for bike and walking trails — among other things — will be the final try?

In the latest attempt, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul filed an amendment to “eliminate federal money for bike paths, walking trails and other transportation enhancement projects,” according to an Associated Press article.

Paul’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 60 to 38. It would have forbidden the government from spending any money on enhancement projects and re-directed funds to bridge repairs, the story said.

Paul on Tuesday told senators “this amendment simply takes funds from beautification and puts them into bridges.”

But that’s not true, according to reporting by AP.

While landscaping and beautification are part of the funding, there are 12 different categories states can use the money on.

Two others, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, tried similar measures earlier this fall and failed.