Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Analysis Concludes Organic Food Really Is Healthier


 

 Look For The Label
 
 
 
Look for the USDA Organic & Non-GMO Project Verified labels



New Analysis Concludes Organic Food Really Is Healthier

By Dr. Mercola
Are organic foods healthier, and therefore worth the extra expense? The scientific debate over this issue has raged on for many years now. I believe the answer is clear-cut, at least if you believe that toxic chemicals have the capacity to harm your health...
Two years ago, meta-analysis by Stanford University received widespread media coverage, and with few exceptions, conventional media outlets used it to cast doubt on the value of an organic diet.
This despite the fact that the analysis—which looked at 240 studies comparing organically and conventionally grown food—found that organic foods are less contaminated with agricultural chemicals. In an effort to further clarify the 2012 findings, a group of European scientists evaluated an even greater number of studies, 343 in all, published over the last several decades.

OrganicFestival NonGMO 0910 320x320 Organics Means Non GMO



Organic Foods Have Higher Levels of Important Antioxidants

Just like the Stanford study, the new analysis also found that while conventional and organic vegetables oftentimes offer similar levels of many nutrients, organic foods have fewer pesticide residues. They also have on average 48 percent lower levels of cadmium, a toxic metal and a known carcinogen—a clear bonus, if you ask me.
One key nutritional difference between conventional and organics however, is their antioxidant content. According to the featured findings, organic fruits and vegetables can contain anywhere from 18-69 percent more antioxidants than conventionally-grown varieties. According to the authors:
“Many of these compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies.
Additionally, the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional crops... Significant differences were also detected for some other (e.g. minerals and vitamins) compounds.” [Emphasis mine]
Antioxidants are a very important part of optimal health, as they can control how fast you age by fighting free radicals. So the fact that organic foods contain far higher levels of them vouches for the stance that organic foods are healthier in terms of nutrition, in addition to being lower in pesticides.
Co-author Charles Benbrook notes that one reason you’re advised to eat more fruits and vegetables is in fact to get more antioxidants into your diet. “And if organic produce provides more of them, we think that's a big deal,” he says. I couldn’t agree more.
There are also a number of other studies that support the claim that organically grown produce contain higher levels of nutrients in general. For example, in 2010 PLOS ONE published a study that was partially funded by the USDA, which found that organic strawberries were more nutrient-rich than non-organic strawberries.

Nutrient Content in Food Has Dramatically Declined

Ironically, LA Times noted that It's not entirely clear to scientists whether the human body can absorb the extra antioxidants in organic foods and put them to use.” To me, this line of reasoning shows a remarkable depth of ignorance, if not outright deception.

The nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined across the board since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925. For example, as explained by Dr. August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, in order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples!  
Were people prior to the 1950s eating foods that were “unnecessarily” nutrient-dense? Was most of their diet superfluous, in terms of the amount of nutrients a body can get by on?  
The idea that your body wouldn’t put the extra nutrients to good use is just plain silly! You did not suddenly develop a new set of genetic instructions over the past 60+ years that allow your body to thrive on toxins and “not know what to do” with antioxidants! So please, do not fall for that kind of nonsense. 
One of the primary reasons food doesn’t taste as good as it used to is also related to the deterioration of mineral content. The minerals actually form the compounds that give the fruit or vegetable its flavor. All of these issues go back to the health of the soil in which the food is grown.11
Healthy soils contain a huge diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake, health, and the stability of the entire ecosystem. The wide-scale adoption of industrial agriculture practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants.
In 2009, the American Association for the Advancement of Science featured a presentation on soil health and its impact on food quality, concluding that healthy soil indeed leads to higher levels of nutrients in crops.
Agricultural chemicals destroy the health of the soil by killing off its microbial inhabitants, which is one of the primary problems with modern farming, and the reason why the nutritional quality of conventionally-grown foods is deteriorating. As reported by Scientific American14 back in 2011:
“A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding ‘reliable declines’ in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century.
Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition... The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent.”

Contemporary Industrial Agriculture Decimates Soil Microbes

The photographic adventure of NPR commentator and science writer Craig Childs offers a clear view of the death and destruction brought on by modern agriculture—genetic engineering-based monoculture in particular. Childs decided to replicate a photo project by David Liittschwager, a portrait photographer who spent years traveling the world dropping one-cubic-foot metal frames into gardens, streams, parks, forests, and oceans, photographing anything and everything that entered the frame. Around the world, Liittschwager's camera captured thousands of plants, animals, and insects within the cubes, with entirely different “worlds” of plants and animals living as little as a few feet away from each other.
However, when Childs set up his camera among the genetically engineered corn stalks on a 600-acre farm in Iowa, he found NO signs of life with the exception of an isolated spider, a single red mite, and a couple grasshoppers...  
The fact of the matter is that the "faster, bigger, cheaper" approach to food is slowly draining dry our planet's resources and compromising your health. The earth's soil is depleting at more than 13 percent the rate it can be replaced. We have already lost 75 percent of the world's crop varieties over the last century. Over the past 10 years, we've had 100 million tons of herbicides dumped onto our crops, polluting our soil and streams. And genetically engineered (GE) crops are now speeding up the destructive process by completely altering the composition of soil bacteria in the fields where such crops are grown.

Pesticide Exposure May Be Greater Than Reported, Thanks to GMOs

It’s worth noting that certain types of pesticides are not even counted when researchers assess pesticide contamination on food. The soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), produces Bt toxin—a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. This pesticide is actually permitted in organic farming, where it’s applied topically. It’s known to photodegrade over time, making it fairly harmless by the time the food reaches your plate.  
However, genetically engineered “Bt” crops, such as Bt corn, are equipped with a gene from the Bt soil bacteria. These plants actually produce the Bt toxin internally, in every cell of the plant, from root to tip. This plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the topical spray. It cannot be washed off, and it does not photodegrade. This internal Bt toxin is not counted in pesticide counts, yet it’s present in every single kernel!

The Health Hazards of These Pesticide-Producing Plants

Monsanto and the EPA consistently claimed that the genetically engineered Bt corn would only harm insects. The Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers, they claimed. These claims have since turned out to be false. In 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:15
  • 93 percent of pregnant women tested
  • 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies
  • 67 percent of non-pregnant women
The study authors speculated that the Bt toxin was likely ingested via the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that genetically engineered (GE) corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, and other corn products. They also suggested that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are. Other research16 has revealed that the Bt toxin produced in GE plants is toxic to humans and mammals, and triggers immune system responses, including:
  • Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
  • An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to MS and cancer
  • Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases

Why Spraying Antibiotics on Fields Is a BAD Idea

As suggested earlier, some pesticides have antibiotic properties, and very effectively and aggressively kill off the microorganisms in the soil. Glyphosate is a perfect example, and is one of the primary pesticides used on other types of GE crops, particularly those known as “Roundup Ready.” These crops are engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of the chemical. The idea is that by being “immune” to the chemical, only weeds will be killed off, allowing farmers to liberally spray their fields.  
But when farmers spray glyphosate on their fields, not only are they destroying the fertility of the soil, they’re also promoting chemical resistance in the field AND antibiotic resistance in the human food chain... Indeed, weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, making the weed problem an ever-worsening one. But that’s not all. Livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are routinely fed GE feed—typically GE corn and soy—which destroys the animal’s gut bacteria and promotes disease.
And, feces from animals raised in CAFOs are used as fertilizer on crop fields, which scientists now admit is yet another way antibiotic-resistant disease appears to be promulgated! Modern agriculture is truly stuck in a vicious circle where the “garbage in-garbage out” motto rules supreme...


 
 
 
 
So What Do We Do:
 
 

Not all local farmers are pesticide or GMO free.  Make sure you ask before you buy.  We live in Cabot and have a very popular roadside fruit and veggie vendor Holland Bottom Farms.  If you stopped by their location or visited their website you might assume they are free of pesticides but that is very far from the truth.  I asked repeated if they used ANYTHING on their crops and they were very hesitant to answer and avoided the questions.  I asked point blank and they did admit that they do.  They stated that their food has not, "killed anyone yet".  Know what you are buying and who you are buying from.   Make sure they are from trustworthy farmers.

Know the difference

Organic Vs. Natural




        

Certified organic products cannot intentionally include any GMO ingredients. Buy products labeled “100% organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic ingredients.” You can be doubly sure if the product also has a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal.

         
Made with Non-GMO Ingredients logo icon
Look for Non-GMO Project Seals
Products that carry the Non-GMO Project Seal are independently verified to be in compliance with North America’s only third party standard for GMO avoidance, including testing of at-risk ingredients. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to providing consumers with clearly labeled and independently verified non-GMO choices. Look for dairy products labeled "No rBGH or rBST,” or “artificial hormone-free.”


Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Sara Lee, and More Processed Food Products may contain GMOs

Avoid at-risk ingredients

If it’s not labeled organic or verified non-GMO: Avoid products made with ingredients that might be derived from GMOs (see list). The eight GM food crops are Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed, Sugar Beets, Hawaiian Papaya (most) and a small amount of Zucchini and Yellow Squash.


Sugar If a non-organic product made in North American lists “sugar” as an ingredient (and NOT pure cane sugar), then it is almost certainly a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GM sugar beets.


Dairy Products may be from cows injected with GM bovine growth hormone. Look for labels stating No rBGH, rBST, or artificial hormones.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

2nd Annual Night At The Rep



It is that wonderful time of year again. 


Each year we host our annual Night at The Rep fundraiser which includes a play, heavy hors d'oeuvres by Flavour's, and a silent auction.  This years event with take place on October 21st at 6 PM.  Proceeds will allow us to provide scholarships for families who have children with Down syndrome.  These scholarships will help pay for a special neurodevelopemental program.

This years play will be Wait Until DarkJust in time for Halloween, a masterfully constructed thrill will take Rep audiences from one moment of suspense to another toward an electrifying, breath-stopping finale in Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott.

Knott's play inspired the 1967 Hollywood film of the same name, with both the play and film garnering multiple Tony, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for many of the actors involved-including film's star, Audrey Hepburn.  The film also ranked tenth on Bravo's "100 Scariest Moments."

A sinister con man and two ex-convicts are about to meet their match.  They have traced the location of a mysterious doll to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his wife, Susy.  With murder afoot, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, as Susy discovers the only way to play fair is to play by her rules.







This year we have an honorary scholarship in the name of Arabella Mash.  Arabella earned her angel wings in early January of this year.  Her short life touched so many people and her spirit stays strong in our community.





Tickets are now available online or by mail.  You may mail payment to ADSA c/o Tricia Ambeau 2814 Hwy 321 E Austin AR 72007 or pay online by clicking the donate button under Night at The Rep in the upper right hand corner of this page.  Please include your address if you prefer tickets mailed to you prior to play.  If not specified, tickets will be held at our Will Call desk and available for pickup the night of the play.  Ticket price in $40.00 and must be purchased in advance.

Thank you very much for you support.







Sunday, September 21, 2014

America The Beautiful-The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

Grand Teton national park in Wyoming




What is the America the Beautiful - the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass or "Interagency" Pass Program?

 
A suite of annual and lifetime passes that provides U.S. citizens and visitors an affordable and convenient way to access Federal recreation lands. Up to 100% of the Pass program's proceeds are used to improve and enhance visitor recreation services.

What passes and materials are included in the program?

Annual Pass ($80.00 - anyone 16 years and older can purchase)

Senior Pass ($10.00 - valid for the lifetime of the pass owner; must be 62+ older, U.S. citizen, and a permanent resident)

Access Pass (Free for lifetime with documentation of permanent disability, U.S. citizens and permanent residents)

Volunteer Pass (earned with 250+ hours of volunteer service in public lands)

Hangtags (used as way to display passes at areas without entrance booth staff)

Annual Decals (for open-top vehicles to display at areas without entrance booth staff).

What are the passes good for? 
The passes provide entrance or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites.

Where can I use my pass?
The passes are valid at more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged by the following agencies:
Where can I get a pass?
  • Passes may be obtained at hundreds of locations throughout the country, including many Federal sites where they are accepted. See Site Locations that issue the Interagency Passes. PLEASE be sure to call a site and verify they are still issuing the passes BEFORE you make a special trip to obtain a pass.
  • Annual Passes may also be obtained through USGS (888-275-8747, option 3), or http://store.usgs.gov/pass
  • Senior and Access Passes may also be obtained via mail order from USGS. Mail-order applicants for the Senior Pass must submit a completed application, proof of residency and age, the $20.00 fee ($10.00 for the Senior Pass, and an additional document processing fee of $10) to obtain a pass through the mail.

    Mail-order applicants for the
    Access Pass must submit a completed application, proof of residency and documentation of permanent disability, and pay the document processing fee of $10 to obtain a pass through the mail.

    Once the application package is received, whether for Senior or Access Pass, the documentation will be verified and a pass, with the pass owner's name pre-printed on it, will be issued to the applicant.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WrightsLaw From Emotions To Advocacy



 
Lending Library Item
 
 
 
 
 
How the Book is Organized

Section One: Getting Started 

In "Getting Started," you will learn:
• Basic advocacy skills
• Supplies you need to get started
• How to develop a master plan for your child’s education
Section Two: Advocacy 101

In "Advocacy 101," you will learn about:
• Schools as bureaucracies and the rules of the game
• Obstacles to success – school culture, myths, gatekeepers, and emotions
• Common causes of conflict
• Steps you can take to prevent or resolve problems
• Events that trigger parent-school crises


 
Section Three: The Parent as Expert

In "The Parent as Expert," you will learn:
• Why you must become an expert about your child’s disability and educational needs
• How to organize your child’s file, step by step
• How to use information from evaluations to understand your child’s disability
• How to use test scores to monitor and measure your child’s progress
• How to write SMART IEP goals and objectives
 
 
Section Four: Special Education Law
In "Special Education Law," you will learn about:
• The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004)
• Findings and purposes of the IDEA
• Definitions in the IDEA
• Extended school year (ESY), child find, least restrictive environment (LRE), private placements, statewide assessments
• Requirements for identifying children with specific learning disabilities - Discrepancy Formulas and Response to Intervention (RTI)
Evaluations, eligibility, IEPs, and placement
• Prior written notice, procedural safeguards, mediation, due process hearings, appeals, discipline, and age of majority
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
• The No Child Left Behind Act and implications for children with disabilities
 
 
Section Five: Tactics and Strategies
In "Tactics and Strategies," you will learn about:
• “The Rules of Adverse Assumptions;” first impressions; image and presentation
• How to use logs, calendars, and journals to create paper trails
• How to write effective letters (includes sample letters)
• How to write a persuasive “Letter to the Stranger” (includes sample letters)
• How to use IEP worksheets, parent agendas, visual aids & graphs of progress or lack of progress (includes sample worksheets and agendas)
• Roles of experts; how to use an expert to help develop an appropriate educational program
• Pros and cons of recording meetings; strategies
 
 
Current Status
 
Available