Milky Goodness?

Milk, photo credit Google Images

Milk, builds strong bones and bright smiles. Our whole lives we’ve been drinking up because it does our body good. We put it in our cereal, in our coffee and on the table in front of our youth, however does anyone really know what they are drinking? Chances are, unless you drink only organic milk or know the dairy cows and their farmer personally you are getting more than calcium in your daily glass of milk.

An alarming number of American dairy farmers are using Bovine Growth Hormone, BGH, to increase the production of milk on their farms. BGH, a proven carcinogen, is a synthetic protein given to cows to lengthen the period of lactation and therefore produce more milk. However, the affects on the cows and the product can be tragic. According to dairy farmers in the documentaries Food Inc. and The Corporation  many of the cows who are treated with BGH suffer from swollen mammary glands resulting in infection. The milk from these sick animals not only contains traces of BGH, but also trace amounts of blood and puss. Often times the cows become lame due to heavy utters and weakened bones, both the result of BGH. America is the only country who allows milk produced with BGH to be sold without a label. Canada and the European Union both fought to ban milk produced with the use of BGH after the original test results emerged. According to a report, that wasn’t aired due to the threat it posed to Monsanto, the parent company of BGH, by Fox News, whose findings were confirmed by many, including Dr. Rife and the Death of Cancer Industry.  These results showed, after a 90 test trial on rats, a direct link to birth defects and cancer, yet the FDA turned a blind eye and continues to allow the milk to be sold on the market. The response from large businesses such as Starbucks, Chipotle, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream has been overwhelmingly supportive of anti-BGH groups. All of these companies declared their products free of BGH and proceeded to label them as such. To prevent the ingestion of BGH in your life you can drink organic milk, or milks labeled as BGH free such as Kroger and Safeway brand milk.  Ask questions of the restaurants you dine in and the coffee shops you frequent for you are responsible for where your money is going and the companies you are supporting. However the most important thing you can do think before you drink.

– Morgan Boaman

How can YOUR eating habits combat climate change?

Everyone always says that being a vegetarian is way too hard and that they could never give up their meat. That’s what I thought, and now I have been a vegetarian for the last six months, and it was one of the easiest transitions I have ever made. I initially made this switch for health reasons, but after about the effects of the meat industry on our climate, I figured out that I was not only doing good for my body, but for the world as a whole. Check out these statistics, and you might just change your mind too!

If every single American went vegetarian for just one day, we would save 100 billion gallons of water, which is enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months. We would also save 1.5 billion pounds of crops that are normally fed to livestock. This is enough food to feed the entire state of New Mexico for more than one year. We would also consume 70 million less gallons of gas that is normally used to transport the meat over 2,000 miles everyday. We could spare 3 million acres of land, which is a land mass equivalent to the twice the size of Delaware. Looking at these statistics alone, think of how we could save our world by going veg.

We could not only save on natural resources, but we could prevent a lot of climate issues that are happening as we speak. By not eating meat for just one day, we would prevent the exertion of 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. We would prevent 3 million tons of soil erosion and save $70 million is the resulting economic damage that comes from the soil. Each day 7 tons of ammonia emissions are let out from the meat industry, and we could prevent this pollutant from contaminating our air by just changing one meal! The most convincing statistic to me is that if every American skipped one meal that contained chicken in it every week, we would be doing the equivalent to taking half a million cars off the roads of the United States.  Researchers at the University of Chicago have proved that switching from a standard American diet to that of a vegetarian one is more effective than buying a hybrid car.

Looking at these affects of just one day going meatless, think of how many changes we could make to our world in a week. Knowing these statistics and seeing how much of a difference you could make on Mother Earth by simply changing your eating habits. It’s not that hard, trust me, you can do it!

Written By: Emily Griffin

What I Learned in McCarthy, Alaska

After spending a summer living on the edge of the Wrangell St. Elias National Park, I’ve learned a couple things about a simpler, less wasteful, more self-sufficient (and therefore more sustainable) way of life.

First of all, have a garden.  It gives you bragging rights as well as food.  Good food that’s not wrapped in multiple layers of plastic, that hasn’t been shipped across the Atlantic ocean in a gas guzzling ship, and that devoid of chemicals/fertilizers/pesticides (unless you chose to use that nasty stuff).

Second, park your car for several months and see what happens.  Pretend there is a river with no bridge across it between you and your car (it was actually for the most part like that in McCarthy).  A little biking, a little walking (sometimes running if you’re late) and “VIOLA”:  you won’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for those aerobics classes.  You may also get to see the way moonlight illuminates the surface of a swift-moving river, or smell the roses in your neighbor’s garden three doors down…if you would only get out of your damn car.

Third, pretend there isn’t a recycling or trash service FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. Imagine that. Can you?  What if that service existed only hours away (like in McCarthy) and so you had to be a little more careful about your consumption and your waste or else you’d be driving 6 hours in one day to drop off your egg shells and old newspapers.  If the options were either burn it or bury it in your own backyard, I’m pretty sure most people would try to burn it.  Would you buy less plastic wrapped products if you had to stand over a smoking burn barrel once a week? …I bet you would.

Fourth and finally, see the people that are within a 5 mile radius as part of your life…after all what they do probably impacts you.  You are breathing the same air, drinking the same water, using the same roads, etc.

Written By: Andrea Sokolowski

The Yin and Yang of Food

photo credit google images

As human beings, when we are aware of our health, we strive to center and balance our lives. We do meditation and yoga, as well as other equalizing activities. Strict and brutal martial arts teachers demand balance of the body, mind, and spirit. Yet when we go home and crack open our refrigerator, what stares us in the face? There are temptations such as copious amounts of sugar extracted from plants, and an abundance of salt from red meat and fish. For young adults, especially, there are plant derived drug temptations, such as alcohol, stimulants, and hallucinogens, which have strong effects on the nervous system. When you imbibe these plant derived, fast-acting pleasures, you tilt the balance of your diet toward desires of animal products (and vice versa).

These plant by-products are called expansive foods; they are on one end of the spectrum of a human’s diet. These foods include sugars, sugary syrups, tea and coffee, wine, beer, spirits, marijuana and other drugs. They are called “expansive” for two reasons; one is that they are usually made of the most expansive part of the plant (the fruit, juices, blossoms, or leaves). The other is they have the most expansive effect on the nervous system. The products I have listed are the most extreme of expansive foods. Getting more toward a middle ground requires healthy plant foods. The protein to carbohydrate (P/C) ratio is from 1:9 to 1:20 with vegetables being the lowest of carbohydrates.

The opposite end of our spectrum has contractive foods. Contractive foods are called such because they are concentrated vegetable energy. When animals have a diet of grasses and grains, it becomes their flesh.  Five to ten pounds of vegetable protein create one pound of animal flesh. The most contractive food available is red meat, more than poultry (including eggs), and then milk by-products are slowly toward the middle, with milk being the most neutral of these animal derivative foods. High protein can be found in vegetables such as beans, nuts, and protein, with a 10:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio.

So where is the balance in here you might ask? Most experts will tell you that the only food we eat in our lives that is completely healthy, having all of our vitamins and a P/C ratio of 1:7, is human (mother’s) milk (cow’s milk is 1:2). We are only supposed to breast feed an infant until a bit under a year. So what do we do?  Surprisingly, the closets P/C ratio that matches human milk is derived from grain. Grain and starch products are considered, in most cultures and religions, the foundation of a healthy diet. Our American food pyramid calls for more servings a day than any other food.

All this is not to say you should never eat meat, or never have sugar or other such produce (in fact it can be good), but it is important to keep your body, mind, and spirit in an equilibrium, and the easiest way is to consume more neutral foods, because if you keep your foods on an extreme, you will have extreme emotions. When you eat expansive, your behavior will be as such. When you eat contractive, your behavior will be as such. If you eat natural foods, you will be more natural. Alien foods cause alienation. Fatty foods block your energy flow, reduces sensitivity and vitality. Overeating results in reduced sensitivity, vigor, and attractiveness. Remember the proverb, you are what you eat. So be happy, be healthy, and be balanced.

Written By: David Haralson

Cook Your Meat!

Tapeworm Photo Credit Google Images

When thinking of the word food, the average person often imagines a home-cooked meal made with mama’s own recipe, a slab of wet-rubbed barbeque ribs smothered in Sweet Baby Ray’s, or perhaps a decadent slice of German chocolate cake, maybe the cake in its entirety if you please.  The imagery that comes to mind is usually positive and mouth-watering.  This article about food, however, will focus on the not-so-pleasant imagery that relates to food and what you need to do in order to avoid these undesirables from turning your intestine into their impenetrable fortress.

Meet Taenia, the pork tapeworm.  Taenia is a type of parasitic worm that, thanks to evolution, has multiple different stages of larvae and a self-fertilizing adult stage that loves to live in various hosts, an example of selective advantage at its best.  Humans are accustomed to housing the adult tapeworm in their intestine.  Because tapeworms don’t attack in packs, they contain both male and female reproductive parts and can self-fertilize in order to reproduce.  The worms create proglottids, which are segments of the worm that contain both sperm and eggs and these are passed through fecal matter to the unguarded world.  These proglottids shed coverings freeing the eggs and eventually creating an embryo, embryophore larval stage, held in an oncosphere (an embryo that has six hooks… you’ll see) which is then ingested by pigs.  After finding its new host, the oncosphere is liberated in the intestine of the pig and bores into the blood vessels of the animals where it is in turn carried to the muscles of the pig and develops into a cysticercus (larval form of the tapeworm with a retracted head).  Sometimes when people go camping, they decide to drink a lot of booze.  Then they decide to make a fire and cook some food, now and again that food isn’t cooked all the way.  After ingesting the raw meat, the cysticercus thrusts its head outward and attaches itself to the intestinal wall of a person.  The creature is resilient as its head, or scolex, is comprised of numerous hooks and suckers to withstand all forces in order to cling to the intestinal wall where it camps out and steals your nutrients.

Taenia is ferocious and unless paralyzing a scolex and ingesting an extreme laxative sounds like your kind of party, cook your chicken, pork, and beef.

Written By: Ellen Keaveny

Buffalo vs. Cattle

Bison, photo credit google images

Before cows ever came to the Americas, 60 million buffalo roamed freely on the Great Plains, but were almost extinct in the late 1800’s by Euro-Americans. Today, there are 200,000 buffalo that are mainly raised in ranches and in National Parks such as Yellowstone and the Custer State Park in South Dakota. This is a result of the realization of how important the buffalo is to the Great Plains ecology, Native American diet and their former way of life.

Buffalo have been roaming the Great Plains for 10,000 years and have evolved and adapted to the Climate. Their thick hair ensures they have no problem surviving the winter. They have quick reflexes; they are fast, muscular and are very difficult to kill. According to Ernest Callenbach in his book “Bringing back the Buffalo!”, they have no problem finding grass whether in dry years or blizzards.

Cattle, on the other hand, have very weak immune systems and do not have the adequate covering for the cold winters that the plains experience. Cattle ranchers’ loose profit when they lose cattle due to harsh winters and infections. To ensure that their cattle survive, cows need antibiotics. When the cow is processed, then sold on the market, consumers not only ingest unhealthy, fatty, red meat but also the antibiotics. Too much antibiotics consumed by a human being weakens their bodies ability to fight infectious diseases. The immune system is like a muscle and needs to be exercised in order to get stronger. When antibiotics are involved, the immune system doesn’t get the chance to build up because the drug is doing all the work. In other words, the human body becomes dependant on the antibiotics.

Many different Native American tribes depended on the buffalo. Their diet was built on it for thousands of years. The reason for the high diabetes rate among Native Americans today is due to the lack of buffalo in their diet and consumption of “American” food that is non-native to their digestive system. However, not only is buffalo essential to the Native Americans diet, it is healthier for everyone in general, compared to cow.

Even organic local cow meet is fatty and too much consumption of it can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Buffalo is very low in fat and high in protein but the downturn is that its cost is almost 50% more than cow. (Callenback, Ernest 1996)

Before food was capitalized, the plains natives had no problem feeding themselves because they were skilled buffalo hunters even before horses ever came to America. They also never wasted any part of the buffalo after the meat was eaten. The skulls were used for ceremonial purposes, the bones for utensils and the hide for clothing and shelter.

The Buffalo council is an RSO at Fort Lewis College and demonstrates the role of the buffalo to Native American way of life by hosting a buffalo feast annually. You can contact Clarence Smith at for further information.

Written By: Caryna Pourier