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8 Good News 9 Good Events 10-11 Good News: Schools 12-13 Good People 26-27 Good Eating Eating Healthy on a Budget Food Finds Around the County

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14 The Science and Benefits of Gratitude

Be a Woman of Action

I am a

15 An Attitude of Gratitude Starts at Home

16-17 Show Your Gratitude Attitude Giveaway

18 A Note from Pinellas County Schools Dr. Michael A. Grego


A Note from Juvenile Welfare Board Dr. Marcie Biddleman

22 Breast Cancer: True Prevention Dr. Christopher Hood About the Cover This month’s cover was taken by the children’s father, Nate McKnight on a county outing. Read their adoption story on page 12.

24 Mind-Body-Health with Juli New Insights on Bras for Better Health Juli Steinocher

28-29 10 Things I Wish All Americans Knew About Toxins Ed Brown

30 My Story Melissa Dohme


Fall Issue 2013

Wishing everyone a Thanksgiving full of memories and grateful hearts

Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle

Design and Layout Marcie Kelliher

Contributing Writers Dr. Marcie Biddleman Ed Brown Melissa Dohme Dr. Michael Grego Dr. Christopher Hood Juli Steinocher

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GoodLiving™ Magazine & P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656 GoodLiving™ magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and is available to readers by a paid annual subscription available at tampabaygoodliving. com. Promotional copies are distributed through establishments as a courtesy to their customers and clients. Additional copies are donated to local schools as a community service. To request copies, contact All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC are not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Readers should verify the advertising information of the advertisers and all specials are valid to the expiration date set by the advertiser. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC reserve the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Letter from the Editor Has anyone seen what happened to 2013? This year has flown by in a flash and here we are at the beginning of the holiday season that starts with Halloween and runs as fast as it can to the New Year. It’s like downhill momentum isn’t it? These last three months of the year will be a blur. It is certainly my intention to stop and savor as many of the moments as I can, by saying “no” to some things that aren’t really necessary. “Simple yet meaningful” is my mantra for the next three months. School is in full swing and kids are all a flurry with studies and activities. There are several issues on the minds of parents when it comes to education in Pinellas County and so we started a Facebook Group called GoodLiving ~ Parents in Pinellas. We’re building this to be a page where parents can talk to one another about our local schools and education issues facing our community. All parents who have children from 1 to 18 should join this group. We’ll be actively involved with the Children’s Movement of Florida again this year as the organization continues to educate our state legislators on the importance of early childhood education. We strongly encourage everyone who cares about the development of our children, individually and as a community, to sign up for email alerts so they can stay informed and involved. And finally, on a more timely note, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) has a rare opportunity to pursue building a new aquarium on the site of the current city hall. A vote of YES means the CMA can pursue the funding it needs to make this beautiful project a reality for generations to come. We think that adding a gorgeous new facility to downtown Clearwater will be a GOOD boost to the county’s economy, as well as creating a new destination for our local families to enjoy. Filming is about to begin for Dolphin Tale 2, so we congratulate the CMA for their success and we thank them for their vision. Enjoy this fall issue with a focus on gratitude as we near Thanksgiving. We are thankful for you. Until next time,

Pamela Settle

news Grandparents are Parents Again Cloth Diaper Drive One of the reasons moms choose cloth diapering systems is to reduce the number of disposable diapers that get thrown away. Cloth diapers have a long life span, so why not pass them on when baby outgrows them? The online merchant Cotton Babies has created a program for moms to help other moms who can’t afford them new. To make it easy, the awesome baby boutique, Thank You Mama, in St. Petersburg is a local drop-off location for the Tampa Bay area. Bring in any style of cloth diaper and they will see that it gets to the right place.

Across Florida today, over 150,000 grandparents are raising their grandchildren, and right here in Pinellas County, more than 17,000 grandparents are the primary caretakers for their grandchildren. In honor of National Grandparents Day in September, the Juvenile Welfare Board partnered with The Children’s Home Kinship Services Network to host the First Annual Grandparents Day celebration to honor and pamper Pinellas grandparents raising their grandchildren. The Children’s Home Kinship Services offers several support groups during a month for those who are raising a relative’s child, including grandparents raising their grandchildren. Find more info at under “kinship services” or call Ashley Spring at (727)785-2762 x2128.

Stay at Home Dads Group Forming The owners of Growing Up, a local store that sells healthy and organic baby and kid products and clothing is holding a weekly meet-up for stay at home dads- because they need support and socializing, too! Right now meetings are on Monday afternoons at their location, 689 Martin Luther King St. N, Suite B in St. Petersburg. Learn more about them at

Achieva’s Annual Box Car Rally a HIT The Box Car Rally is a really GOOD time, in a truly old-fashioned, community-comes-together for fun and education kind of way. Young people, and even some adults, build homemade cars and race them down one of the only hills in the county. You hear the starting bells, the board drops and two racers go neck and neck down the hill. Fans are cheering and taking pictures. Schools are competing against one another for bragging rights, as are some local businesses. Some are built from kits and some are well… interesting forms of raw engineering. Kids get the chance to break away from their electronics and use their hands to build their cars. And then they get to sit in that car and feel the exhilaration of their work. Now is the time to make plans for next year’s event. Get a team together, plan a car and get ready for special time.

Fall 2013


Making Music Kip Curtis of the Edible Peace Patch Project is helping 17-year-old Brad Winshop put together a music studio where young people can gather and make music. He believes having a space for creativity to blossom is as a way he can help his friends stay out of trouble. They have the space, but need equipment donated to get the rest of the way. If you can help him see this vision through, he needs mics, headphones, line mixers, blank CDs and a keyboard. Donations can be delivered to The Edible Peace Patch Project, 622 1st Avenue S., #2, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

City of Dunedin Completes Flowering Tree Garden at Trailside Oasis Park When you are out for a stroll on Pinellas Trail, visit the new City of Dunedin Tree Arboretum. There are 33 different flowering trees that were planted by volunteer groups and park employees. Each tree has an individual information plaque. There are also large educational signs that describe tree benefits, how to select a tree, threats to trees, and friendly-Florida landscape principles. Purple Leaf Plums, Scrambled Egg Trees (pictured), White Geiger Trees and Magnolias are just a few of the trees planted at the Arboretum. The Arboretum is located on the northeast corner of Curlew Road and Bayshore Boulevard and parallels the Pinellas Trail. Trees are available for adoption at the park through a partnership with the Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department and Bay Bouquet Garden Club. For more information call Dunedin Parks & Recreation at (727) 812- 4531.


Art Harvest in Dunedin For 50 years, art lovers have strolled through Highlander Park, taking in the wide variety of art showcased at this popular event. It has since become a juried show with more than 200 artists. Bring the kids to enjoy the Children’s Pavilion for an arts and crafts project. This is the largest autumn art show in the Tampa Bay area. Presented by the Junior League of ClearwaterDunedin, Inc. with proceeds benefiting local charitable work. November 2-3rd, from 10 am to 5 pm Highlander Park • 1920 Michigan Blvd. in Dunedin

Dogtoberfest The Suncoast Animal League presents their 6th Annual Dogtoberfest & Super Pet Adopt-a-Thon. All pets are welcome. This is a fun, family oriented event. Saturday, November 9th from 11:30 am to 5 pm Highlander Park • 1920 Michigan Blvd. in Dunedin

Stargazing Atop the Clearwater Main Library The Clearwater Main Library hosts “Stars and Constellations,” an event for young people to create crafts, listen to stories and then take a trip to the library’s rooftop to view the night sky through a telescope. November, 13, starting at 5 pm Clearwater Library • 100 N. Osceola Ave. (727)562-4970 or

Christmas Under the Oaks

Safety Harbor Salutes Veterans On the 11th day of the 11th month at 11am, the City of Safety Harbor, American Legion Post 238 and VFW Post 10093 will salute our heroes that serve and have served our country. Monday, November 11th at 11 am Veterans Park at the Safety Harbor Marina FREE • (727)724-1572

Folkfest Families love Folkfest in St Pete. Art and music all day, plus a family area and great food. Event is a fundraiser for Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center that makes the arts accessible to adults with developmental & physical disabilities. $5 donation requested at the gate. Saturday, November 2 from 10 am to 8pm and Sunday, November 3 from 10 am – 6 pm Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Illuminated Park Displays

This community celebration is a must for getting into the This annual crafts event sponsored by the GFWC North Pinellas St. Petersburg holiday spirit. Woman’s Club has raised $400,000 for local charities and Friday, November 29 from 5 – 7 pm community service organizations. North Straub Park November 10th from 9 am to 4 pm Coachman Park in Clearwater Holiday in the Park $2 entrance donation

Girl Talk You are invited to attend Girl Talk, a free event sponsored by Florida Hospital North Pinellas. The event kicks off at 5 pm with pampering, prizes and free health screenings. Dinner is at 6:30 and hospital staff physicians will take questions starting at 7 pm. Attending are: Effie Pappas Politis, MD, ABPS, plastic and reconstructive surgery; Cynthia P. Roever, MD, internal medicine and geriatrics; Lourdes T. Santiago, MD, colorectal, general surgery; Parveen Vahora, MD, FACOG, gynecological surgery; and David F. Marler, MD, FACOG, obstetrics/gynecology. Space is limited. Call (727)943-3600 for reservations. Innisbrook Golf Resort and Spa in Palm Harbor.

Largo Salutes Veterans The City of Largo will honor all Veterans and active duty personnel in a Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, November 11 at 7pm. This event will be held at the Military Court of Honor in Largo Central Park (101 Central Park Dr, Largo 33771) and will feature special music, a color guard presentation and keynote speaker. All ages are welcome to attend this free honorary event.

Arts and Crafts Show

Largo Central Park is getting in the spirit with a fun weekend of talented crafters and artists offering original and unique items and specialty food vendors for gifts. And for entertainment, Santa Claus will be in the park plus Christmas carolers and the illumination of the spectacular lighting of one million lights in the park. The park illumination is on Saturday from 5 pm until 9 pm. Saturday, November 30 from 10 am to 9 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Snow Fest Bring your mittens and slide down the giant 20’ snow hill or make a snow angel while helping a good cause. The Annual Elena Tresh Foundation Snowfest comes to Safety Harbor City Park with live entertainment, carnival games, food, arts & crafts, and snow activities for all ages. Saturday, December 7 from 4 to 9 pm. $7 Unlimited Ride wristband/$1 no ride entry.


Fall 2013


schools Northeast High School Dedicates Athletic Center

Schools Recognized for Community and Family Involvement The Florida Department of Education has awarded 29 schools with their Five Star School Awards for commitment to family and community engagement. Qualifying schools set the standard for student, community, business and family engagement. This year’s Five Star Schools are Bauder, Bay Point, Belcher, Cross Bayou, Curtis Fundamental, Cypress Woods, Garrison Jones, John Sexton, Leila Davis, Marjorie K. Rawlings, Oldsmar, Orange Grove, San Jose, Starkey, Sunset Hills, and Tarpon Springs Fundamental elementary schools; Madeira Beach Fundamental; Clearwater Fundamental, Joseph Carwise, Osceola, Palm Harbor, Seminole, and Tarpon Springs middle schools; and Clearwater, East Lake, Northeast, Osceola Fundamental, Palm Harbor University, and Seminole high schools.

From left, PCS Superintendent Michael A. Grego, former School Board member and longtime educator Mr. Lee Benjamin, and Northeast High School Principal Kevin Hendrick share a moment at the dedication of the Lee Benjamin Athletic Center. Photo by Sean Clark.

Congratulations to those schools. We agree it takes an involved village to raise healthy, happy and well-educated children!

In the days since Northeast High School dedicated their Athletic Center to former principal Lee Benjamin, he’s driven by to see the sign at least five times according to his daughter, Pinellas County School Board Member Terry Krassner. The dedication ceremony was a big night for Benjamin who began at Northeast as a PE teacher in 1954. Now 86, Benjamin plays tennis six days a week, which is a testament to his commitment to live a clean and active life. “Our whole family came in for the dedication and the opportunity to celebrate his life,” said Krassner. “He is a humble man and we are grateful that we could see him recognized for his decades of service. There were many tears and smiles.” Lee Benjamin started his career at Northeast when it opened in 1954, becoming principal in 1970, just in time to lead the school through desegregation. He retired as an area superintendent in 1986 and then served on the school board for 14 years before officially retiring from education in Pinellas County. Congratulations to Mr. Benjamin and “thank you” for all you’ve done for generations of young people.

Green and Healthy School San Jose Elementary School received the “Green and Healthy School” Certification. They are one of only a handful of schools in Pinellas County that have qualified for this prestigious and rigorous certification.

Fall 2013


Tarpon Springs H.S. Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade The Tarpon Springs High School Band is hard at work, preparing to perform in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band, which has a history of winning awards, is one of 11 bands selected to participate in the 2013 parade, and the only one in Florida to earn the honor. With less than a month to go, the band is still trying to meet its fundraising goal of $450,000, so that all students in the band can participate. To make a tax deductible donation, contact them at


Constitution Hall Tampa Bay Eighth Graders will now get to visit the new Constitution Hall as part of their trip to Finance Park at the Gus A. Stavros Institute in Largo. A partnership of the Stetson University College of Law and the Pinellas Education Foundation, the exhibit will teach eighth grade students about the importance of being civically active and responsible, the three branches of government, and their rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Dating 101 The GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club held its 7th Annual Dating 101 Workshop at Countryside High School for parents and teens. Done in partnership with the school, its PSTA, The Haven of RCS and the Clearwater Police Department, the workshop teaches young people about what is okay when it comes to dating and what constitutes a healthy and positive dating relationship. This year, domestic violence survivor Melissa Dohme was the guest speaker (read her story on page 30). ABC Action News also profiled their program as part of their Taking Action Against Domestic Violence Special that aired on October 16th.

Achieva Donates $25,000 Also happening at The Pinellas Education Foundation: Achieva Credit Union donated $25,000 to support the foundation’s teacher classroom grant program. The funds were raised at last year’s Box Car Rally sponsored by Achieva. Eighteen Pinellas County School teachers were awarded up to $2,000 to teach financial literacy in their classrooms.


The McKnight Family ...and Grace Makes Five

Amazing… Amazing… Grace. That’s what Desiree McKnight has titled the blog that chronicles their miracle international adoption story. “We were the most unlikely people to ever do this. We didn’t have the money. We live in a small house. But we believed that God wanted to show us what He could do and who were we to stand in His way?” Drawn initially to the plight of orphans at church, Desiree and her husband Nate planned to help the orphan ministry as volunteers. Desiree was already inspired by The Missional Mom, a book that encourages “regular” moms to find ways in their life to make a global impact. So when her heart moved on “Orphan Sunday” in the direction of adopting a child into their own home, she felt ready.

“None of this would be possible if we didn’t get help from a community of friends,” said Desiree when asked about the costs for the adoption. Without a big savings account or credit cards, the McKnights put their story out on the Internet and began fundraising. Their first step was to contact, a website started by a mom who wanted to help orphans by raising money for worthy parents who lack the $20,000+ for adoption fees. The concept is to donate one dollar per week to the family of the week featured in a video on the website. “Thousands of people give a dollar every week. They are probably people who can’t adopt, but want to share in the miracle of adoptions. We received help from all over the world and it was wonderful to share our joy with them in return through our blog.” One post had 4,000 hits in one day. Every time they needed extra money for another round of fees, their new friends responded quickly. Fundraising paid half the fees. The McKnights worked second jobs to pay the other half. You can follow their new journey as a family of five at and you can let Grace touch your heart in her video. I always want family. It is really hard to wait. I was sad. I was crying. She called me in to talk to me. I was thinking I had family. She told me I had family. I was praying and waiting and praying and waiting. So God hear me. So God gave me family. It was like dream. Because I can’t believe it. All kids want family.

“Once you make the decision to adopt, the long paper chase begins,” she said. It took them six months for the paperwork, one Thank you Amazing Grace. Thank you. step at a time, to get to the point where they could enlist the help of an overseas agency. After much research, they chose A Miracle World for an Ethiopian adoption. At this point, prospective parents are put on a waiting list if they want young, healthy babies. There is another waiting list, though. The list that contains special needs and older children waiting for families to want them, too. “I saw her picture on the waiting list and I just knew that she was meant to be our daughter.” That was December 2012 and the girl was estimated to be ten years old. They started the paperwork immediately and by June 2013, they brought their new daughter home. It took two visits to Ethiopia to handle proceedings, something that changed Nate and Desiree’s perspective on life forever. The extreme poverty shocked their souls. It was a harsh contrast to the abundance and waste in America. For the daughter from Ethiopia, now named Grace, the adjustment to her new, wealthy homeland is an adjustment for her sensibilities. Imagine growing up where children starve and then a week later shopping at Publix. Despite the cultural and language adjustments, Grace is now in a loving home with two little brothers and two parents who give her acceptance and security. And a very different future.

Fall 2013


Editors Note: November is National Adoption Month. Children are waiting locally and around the world for families.


Jennifer Saulpaugh, Melissa Dohme & Jane Hussar

Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

These are the warning signs to look for. Ask yourself if you are dating a person who: • Gets very serious very quickly and pressures for a commitment • Acts jealous and attempts to control my behavior • Isolates me from activities and friends • Is verbally abusive, calls me names and puts me down • Uses threatening behaviors and body language • Threatens to hurt me or his/her self If a teen is trapped in a troubled relationship, there is help available. Every high school has a social worker, a school psychologist and a student resource officer who can be the first contact. The Haven of RCS has counselors, support groups and legal assistance. Their 24-hour HOTLINE is (727)442-4128.

A staggering 1 in 5 teenage girls, who have been in a relationship, said a boyfriend has threatened violence or self harm if presented with a break up. And 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship report repeated verbal abuse. These are statistics that motivate these Women of Action every day. Jane Hussar is the volunteer coordinator at Countryside High School, who along with other women from the GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club created a Dating 101 seminar for teens that is in its seventh year. Jennifer Saulpaugh is the Youth Advocate for The Haven of RCS. She has an educational program for youth groups and schools, so she can speak the truth to young people who often don’t know how to handle violence or potential violence in dating relationships. Melissa Dohme is survivor who believes she was saved in order to save others. Just more than a year after her deadly attack, she is out talking to anyone who will listen about the dangers of dating someone who is controlling and threatening violence. (More on her story is on page 30). What they want parents and youth to understand is that dating violence happens in our community. Young people are often unaware that what they are experiencing is not normal, or they don’t know how to get away. They keep it a secret and if a friend does know about the situation, that friend usually does not know what to do.

We salute these Women of Action for their efforts in educating teens about healthy and unhealthy relationships. To schedule a program for your youth group or school, contact Jennifer Saulpaugh at (727) 441-2029, ext. 208.


Science of




By PAMELA SETTLE At the time of this writing, the nation is caught in another bitter political struggle. The arguments draw attention to what we don’t have, what we need more of and what the other guy has. Anger and frustration are in the air.

His research provides some interesting insight: Well-Being

Combine this with the harsh realities of the recession: foreclosures, job loss, reductions in income and an eroding sense of satisfaction. As I speak to people in the community, I hear them say they are treated with an attitude of “be glad you have a job,” something that only adds insult to injury when one is working longer hours with more responsibility and less pay.

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.

While not everyone has suffered a setback these past five or six years, many have. That discouragement can impact our daily lives and most certainly impacts how we relate to our friends, our children and the community as a whole.


One of the nation’s leading researchers on gratitude, Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California Davis, offers hope, and that comes with a conscious and active choice to be grateful in all circumstances. In his best selling book, Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Emmons found that people who view life as a gift and consciously acquire an “attitude of gratitude” will experience multiple advantages. Gratitude improves emotional and physical health. It can strengthen relationships and communities. Some strategies he recommends are keeping a gratitude journal, learning prayers of gratitude and using visual reminders. “Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” said Emmons. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”

People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks.

Spirituality Those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer and reading religious material are more likely to be grateful.

Materialism Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods. They are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated. They are less envious of wealthy people and are more likely to share their possessions with others.

Thanksgiving came from remembering the bad.

Emmons says that trials and suffering can actually deepen gratefulness. Our national holiday of gratitude, Thanksgiving, was born of hard times. The first Thanksgiving took place after nearly half the Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is tough. It is, according to pilgrims died from a rough winter and year. It became a national Emmons, a “chosen attitude.” We must be willing to recognize and holiday in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War and was moved acknowledge that we are the recipients of an unearned benefit. to its current date in the 1930s following the Depression. Emmons’ research indicates that gratitude is not merely a positive Why? Well, when times are good, people take prosperity for emotion; it also improves your health if cultivated. People must granted and begin to believe that they are invulnerable. In times give up a “victim mentality” and overcome a sense of entitlement of uncertainty though, people realize how powerless they are to and deservedness. control their own destiny. If you begin to see that everything you As a result, he says, they will experience significant improvements have and everything you count on may be taken away, it becomes in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy much harder to take it for granted. level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis. Emmons offers another book to help people find practical ways to develop their Gratitude Attitude. Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity is available at

Fall 2013


An Attitude of Gratitude Starts at Home! Before children can begin to live a grateful life, they will first need parents who choose to make this a priority through their teaching and through how they model this behavior themselves in their everyday life. Being thankful shouldn’t happen on just one day of the year in November. This year, use the Thanksgiving holiday as a spring board to start your family on a journey to grateful living all year long. Turning gratitude into the personality of a family can create a legacy of happiness, joy and peace for generations to come.

Create a daily routine that becomes a way of life by instituting these gratitude-building actions: • Demonstrate words and attitudes you want your kids to emulate. • Praise your children every time you catch them in the act of doing something kind and let them hear the words, “I appreciate you for…” • Every day, find a time to reflect on the best part of the day. The ride home from school, dinner and bedtime are good times to have this conversation. • Use art and writing to develop the habit of identifying the positive. Younger children can draw pictures and older children can maintain their own gratitude journals or photo books. Have siblings combine their work into a Family Gratitude Book at the end of the year. • Make thank-you notes a requirement. They can be hand-made and smaller children can draw pictures. The action recognizes that someone did something special and that we shouldn’t take those things for granted. • Make cleaning their rooms a lesson about sharing with others. Together, go through books and toys and teach them to pass their blessings on to siblings, friends, relatives or charity organizations. • Celebrate big and small everyday! Share news with grandparents, friends or other family members. • Teach children that life is an ongoing journey of learning and to be kind to themselves as they begin new challenges. Shift focus on the progress rather than the end goal.

• Make a Gratitude Jar for small pieces of paper that tell of a variety of GOOD things that have happened. Include accomplishments, positive outcomes, happy memories, service projects and answered prayers. Kids can use this to refer back to and see a visual representation of the GOOD in your family. • Be an aware family. Know what is happening in the community and use real events and fundraisers to regularly teach why others need your help. • Move awareness into ACTION. Choose issues of concern to your family and find ways to give money, items and/or time to local organizations. • Find ways to show kindness in every day life. Open a door. Help an elderly neighbor. Write an encouraging note to a teacher.

Pinellas County. Being Grateful for our Home. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful county. From the sparkling sands of St. Pete Beach to the woods of the Brooker Creek Preserve, we are surrounded by some breathtakingly beautiful nature. Add in our recreation centers, city centers, libraries and venues, parents have much to be grateful for when it comes to our home county. We asked parents what they are grateful for in Pinellas County and here are some of the top responses: Great programs at the libraries Largo Central Park Honeymoon Island Dunedin Spray Park SUNSETS! Walking the Pinellas Trail Winter the Dolphin Ruth Eckerd Hall John Chesnut Park The Rays! Clearwater Beach Downtown Dunedin Fort DeSoto Kids can play outside all year Largo Rec Centers & programs Lots of beautiful beaches Sunken Gardens


Fall 2013

® magazine’s

In the space below, have your child draw a picture or write a paragraph that shares something or someone he or she is grateful for.


Show Your Gratitude Attitude GIVEAWAY

Parent’s Name Child’s first name Child’s age Child’s school Parent’s Mailing Address Parent’s Email Address

Winners will be selected in a drawing to win the prizes on page 17 and notified by email. Entries must be received by November 20, 2013. Open only to Pinellas County residents. Children must be under the age of 18.

Mail entries by November 20th to: Signature I certify that I am this child’s parent, have given permission to enter this contest and agree that GoodLiving magazine can use the words or image submitted in promotions. (Last names will not be used.)

Fall 2013


GoodLiving magazine Show Your Gratitude Attitude PO Box 1795 Oldsmar, FL 34677

GoodLiving’s 2013 Show Your Gratitude Attitude Giveaway

Mail in Your Entry to Win One of These Holiday Prizes Family Four-Packs to Lowry Park Zoo’s Wild Wonderland Get your family ready for the season by planning the date you’ll take the kids to Lowry Park Zoo for their annual Wild Wonderland celebration. Be spellbound by their millions of lights and elaborate holiday displays. See live reindeer. Meet Santa. Take on the 100-foot Artic Blast Ice Slide. Enjoy traditional holiday treats and free unlimited zoo rides. It’s a magic evening for all ages. Wild Wonderland starts December 7th and runs select evenings.

Santa’s Magic Key and Book We learned from the North Pole that Mr. and Mrs. Claus have developed beautiful, magic keys made out of pewter to help Santa get into houses or apartments that don’t have fireplaces on Christmas Eve. Children hang Santa’s Magic Key on the front doorknob on Christmas Eve for Santa to use, and then he leaves the key on the tree to use again the next year. The key comes Santa’s Elf Magic with a book, The Magic Christmas Key, that can be Shhhh! This is a secret for moms and dads. But Santa himself shared for generations. asked GoodLiving to find some new children for his visiting Santa has asked his friends at to help elves. Each year Santa sends his specially-assigned Magic Elves to spend the weeks before Christmas hanging out and having parents get these magic keys, but he has given one to fun with their human families. The elves also make sure that GoodLiving magazine for one lucky boy or girl! kids are not being naughty because they can send in reports. During the day, they are plush toys to play with and love on, but at night, when everyone is asleep, they come alive and create all sorts of Christmas mischief in the house. There’s even a website for parents to post their funniest pictures. Children adore their magic elves and they look forward to their visits year after year. They create a warm memory to carry out of childhood. Santa has boy elves and girls elves, and even some Hanukkah Helpers that he sends out. Grown-ups only can learn more at

Laurie Berkner Christmas

Family Holiday Portrait Session

Popular children’s artist, Laurie Berkner, has brought her lyrical style to Christmas favorites like Jingle Bells, Jolly Old St. Nicholas and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Win a private one-hour photo session with local photographer Brandi Morris for your special holiday family photo. In addition to the session, winner will get a CD with five digital images from their session. Use those images on your own to create Christmas cards or make prints for holiday gifts. Photo session must take place within Pinellas County before December 31, 2013.

With 15 songs in all, the kids will love rocking around your Christmas tree while singing along to these happy tunes. Laurie wanted to share some of her new CDs with our friends here in Pinellas County, so we will have more than one winner!

Brandi schedules portrait sessions throughout the year for all special occasions including holidays, new babies, graduations and weddings. Learn more at


Fall 2013

a note from

Pinellas County Schools Dear Parents, Pinellas County Schools is committed to increased achievement for all students. In that spirit, our district offers a wide variety of high-quality programs designed to inspire students and provide them with the skills they need to achieve success in college, career and life. Our magnet, fundamental and career academy programs give students opportunities to customize their education and choose programs that cater to their specific interests and talents. The district has scheduled events throughout November to help parents understand the annual application process and learn about District Application Programs. Here are the dates and location for information sessions on the overall application process and timeline:

The following are ways to make a difference in your child’s education. Try one or all of them! • Make education a priority in your home. • Discuss the importance of education with your child. • Have your child attend school every day. If they are not in school, they will miss information. • Talk with your child daily about his/her school day, homework, and activities. • Assist with homework, when needed. Check homework to see if it is complete and correct. • Attend your child’s performances and other school events.

Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Boca Ciega High School, 924 58th St S, Gulfport

• Celebrate their accomplishments!

Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pinellas Park High School, 6305 118th Ave. N, Largo

• Let the teacher know the best way to communicate with you – email, phone, etc.

Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Countryside High School, 3000 State Road 580, Clearwater

• Let the teacher know the best time to contact you.

District Application Program Information Fairs give parents and prospective students a chance to talk with school representatives about specific aspects of various application programs. There will be two of these fairs: 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 16 Pinellas Park High School, 6305 118th Ave. N, Largo 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 19 Gibbs High School, 850 34th St S Schools that offer application programs will host open house events called Discovery Nights between Nov. 18 and Jan. 9. Discovery Night dates are posted on the district website at The district’s application period for these programs will be Jan. 8-17, 2014. For more information about District Application Programs, contact individual schools or the office of Advanced Studies at (727)588-6466. For information about the application process, contact the Student Assignment Office at (727)588-6210. Our objective is to provide the best possible learning experience for your child. Thank you for your involvement in your child’s education and for working with us to achieve our vision of 100 percent student success.

Sincerely, Michael A. Grego, Ed.D.

Fall 2013


• Communicate with your child’s teacher.

• Find out the best way and time to communicate with your child’s teacher. • Attend Parent/Teacher conference and Open Houses. • Address issues early. • Join a Parent-Teacher Organization such as PTA or PTO or SAC (School Advisory Committee). • To have your voice heard about issues at your school, attend PTA/PTO/SAC meetings. • To learn more about what is going on in your child’s school and to be a part of the decision making process that impact the school, participate in your school’s PTA/PTO or SAC. • Volunteer at your child’s school, inside or outside the classroom. • Provide classroom assistance. It could be as easy as cutting out shapes or alphabetizing. • Coach a program or event. • Mentor or tutor a student. • Chaperone a field trip. • Listen to your child. • You will learn as much from them as they learn from you.

a note from

Juvenile Welfare Board The Children’s Services Council of Pinellas County

Bullying: What Parents Can Do

Dear GoodLiving Readers, I’d like to tackle a topic you’ve heard about before, but definitely one worth bringing to your attention again: BULLYING. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, however bullying is an issue that should be on the forefront all year. Bullying is bad for the kids who are bullied, and it’s bad for kids who do the bullying. The numbers are alarming:

Kids who are bullied… Nearly one third of all school-aged children, or 13 million students, are bullied each year About 64% of kids who are bullied do not report it (mostly for fear of retaliation from the bully)

Be Available and Aware Talking and listening to children about bullying is a crucial step in preventing and protecting them from it. Be empathic and stay informed. Monitor the media and know that the amount of violence in the media is increasing, not decreasing. A great resource is available at

Get Details Ask specific questions (who, where, what, and how long) and write everything down. The “how long” is very important, because it defines whether the behavior is bullying or teasing. Know your children’s friends – and their parents.

Limit Computer Access

About 35% of kids have experienced threats online (cyberbullying)

Cyberbullying can happen at any age, but is more prevalent during high school years. Place guidelines on cell phones and computers, as you would the television or car. Understand that with a smart phone or computer your child has access to the world…literally. If your child is threatened or bullied online, teach them to report it, and save messages- don’t delete. Don’t be afraid to monitor your child’s social media sites and be “friends” on their sites. It doesn’t show lack of trust; it shows you care.

Kids who bully other kids…

Role Model Empathy and Acceptance

More than half of all instances of bullying stops when a peer intervenes for the victim Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers

About 15% of youth ages 10 to 17 bully others with some frequency; of these, 6%-7% were bullied themselves Kids who bully are more likely to quit school earlier, use alcohol and other illicit drugs, and commit crimes compared to youth who aren’t involved in bullying What is JWB doing to turn the tide and address bullying in our schools and communities? JWB partners with Pinellas County Schools to promote Violence Prevention Programs in targeted middle schools. JWB also supports a violence prevention curriculum for young children called Peacemakers. Through our Neighborhood Family Centers, efforts are in place to inform and empower kids, parents and professionals to speak up, get involved, step in, intervene, and seek assistance. And JWB staff members are dedicated to stopping bullying through planning, research, training and technical assistance throughout the community. The following are some practical tips for parents, but by far the best thing parents can do to prevent bullying is TALK to their children and LISTEN empathetically when they share information or seek help.

Parents, teachers, coaches and mentors play a major role in preventing bullying behavior. Teach children to value their community and give back. Whenever possible, role model empathy and acceptance of others. Celebrate differences and practice inclusion. Look for teachable moments. Children are always watching the adults in their lives, so if you’re a bully – they’re watching and taking notes.

Act. Act. Act. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Teach your kids appropriate ways to intervene when they see bullying behavior. As a parent when you see warning signs, take action. Ignoring the signs won’t make them go away. Seek professional help through your child’s school, pediatrician or family counselor. Or call 2-1-1 to find a professional who can help. The Juvenile Welfare Board is committed to strengthening all children and families in Pinellas County. Thank you for following us in GoodLiving, as well as on our website and social media sites, as we continue to be a resource. Because all kids matter! Sincerely, Dr. Marcie Biddleman Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board

Fall 2013


Learning Express

Breast Cancer:

True Preventon


The most promising approach to the control ntroll of cancer is a national commitment to prevention. New England Journal of Medicine, 1997 October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This topic begs for a considerable discussion of the many approaches for prevention. I say this because every time I read an article on Breast Cancer, it seems to swing toward “Early Detection.” Let me assure you Early Detection is not PREVENTION! Recent studies have shown that cancers, such as breast, can begin to develop anywhere between 10-40 years before they are diagnosed. (Blaylock, M.D., 2005). One thing is for certain: more fast food and chocolate candies won’t lead you down the road to cancer prevention. And although this is contrary to everything you’ve been taught and may even be difficult to believe, more testing has also been found not to be the answer. So what’s a girl to do? Not that I’m a girl, but my years in private practice have taught me several things women can start doing right now to create true prevention for themselves. Stop using topical (skin) products that contain Sodium Laurel Sulfate. This is a common “frothing or foaming” agent that has been shown to cause cancer. Please be aware, the skin, or integument system, is your largest defense organ (second to the gut or G.I. system) and absorbs water and other nutrients. Therefore anything you put on your skin can be absorbed into the body. In my opinion, if it has been shown to cause cancer, it DOES NOT GO ON my skin. Stop using artificial sweeteners, especially saccharine (pink packet). Artificial sweeteners are chemicals in all forms. Blue, pink or yellow- they are all ARTIFICIAL. Saccharine by itself has been shown to cause cancer. In my opinion, if it has been shown to cause cancer, it DOES NOT GO IN my body. Purchase a Chlorine filter for your shower and home. Chlorine competes with iodine for uptake and usage by your thyroid gland. In other words, your thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. When your skin is exposed to and absorbs Chlorine (from drinking water, showers or pools) the thyroid gland doesn’t get enough iodine because the Chlorine inhibits it. Therefore, you can’t make the necessary thyroid hormones (problem#1) and your hormone system is thrown out of balance (problem #2). This endocrine disruption increases your risk of all cancers. You can purchase a Chlorine filter for your shower and home online fairly easily.

Fall 2013


Limit exposure to environmental toxins such as Biphenol A (BPA). BPA is an environmental toxin found in carbonate plastics and epoxy resins that cause cancer through endocrine disruption. It can be commonly found in many consumer products from eyeglasses to recycled plastic bags to cans that hold food. If at all possible, limit exposure to household cleaning agents and plastics. BPA can be released into food if you are storing food and/or heating it up within plastic containers that contain BPA. Look for BPA free containers and water bottles and reduce exposure as necessary. Get adjusted, it’s not just for neck and back pain. Dr. Rod Perue from NYU’s medical research team has shown that patients under chiropractic care have immune system function 300% above normal. Since cancer is a disease of the immune system, it stands to reason that you want to do everything you can to boost immune response. Regular chiropractic adjustments have been shown time and time again to “turbo charge” you immune system. Get adjusted! As a doctor, as a patient, I understand that it is easier to stay well than to get well. As our knowledge in understanding the function of the body advances, we as health care professionals realize that the body is self-healing and self regulating and that the true cure comes from doing everything you can to prevent it in the first place. That, instead of waiting until you are diagnosed with a problem, makes you live a proactive life. Please learn to be proactive with your family’s health instead of reactive. This is the key to “reset” your body’s ability to heal function and operate. My goal for all patients and family members that I am blessed to serve on a daily basis is to transform their concept of health in an effort to transform their lives. Blessings to all. Dr. Christopher Hood is the author of three books. His most recent book, True Wellness is available at and on Kindle. He speaks locally and nationally to audiences on the subject of health, including pastors who are looking to create a wellness program for their congregations. Dr. Hood can also be heard on his weekly radio show “Original Health” every Tuesday at 11:30am on WTIS, AM 1110.

Mind - Body - Health with Juli

New Insights on Bras

for Better Health

Now that you’ve done all you can by selecting the right bra when it’s on, it’s time to take care of your body once you take it off. I’m always teaching others the power of self-massage and self-touch acupressure. Our body is a well-documented map with many key places that benefit greatly from a few seconds of self massage. If you are among the 90% of Western women who wear a bra, you likely take it off as soon as you get home and then breathe a sigh of relief! Without the bra, we instantly feel less constricted as our energies begin to flow more freely through our body… energy that is critical to our mental and physical health. The bra acts as a constrictor in what happens to be a very complex part of a women’s body. Our chest area acts as a multimodal intersection where energy meridians, lymph glands, and vital organs (heart, lungs) come together. For example, key lymph glands under the arm-pits assist in the elimination of toxins in our bodies. The sides of our bras restrict many of these areas and over time – deadly toxins build up to create havoc on our entire body – and not just in our breasts! To make matter worse, most women select bras with wires (and plastics) that act as an antenna - subjecting our bodies to attract additional emfs (electromagnetic frequencies) – long suspected to negatively affect the natural flow of our body’s energies. The long enduring bra wearing body can only take so much before these artificial restrictions block the natural flow of energies – and we find ourselves tired, confused, lethargic, irritable and just unhappy. But rarely do we connect back these everyday feelings to our old friend - the bra.

Try this series of 3 quick self massage techniques focused on getting and keeping vital pathways open for a happier healthier you. The three locations identified in the diagram should be deeply massaged on a regular basis. Get in the habit of massaging these areas once in the morning and once again in the evening. It only takes a few times before you find it easily becoming part of your daily routine. And you won’t need to massage for very long – a quick 10 seconds on each is all it takes.

Don’t worry if some areas are more tender than others – it usually indicates a congested intersection needing some extra TLC. As an added bonus, massaging along the side of each Since most of us will wear one regardless of comfort and health breast (#2) helps improve metabolism. Women have lost weight – there’s new insights for choosing the right one and simple ways doing this after each meal with no change to diet or exercise. to take care of your body to compensate for a day’s wear. Mindbodylab strongly recommends wearing bras free from wires or plastics. Yes, it’s hard to find ones today that don’t have an underwire component of some type – but they simply must be avoided. If you’re in the market for a new one – there’s a few popular wireless styles including Ahh Bra (Rhonda Shear), Spanx Bra-llelujah (Sara Blakely), and even Victoria Secret has a wireless bra! Whatever you choose, be sure to get a professional fitting – it ensures proper flow and support. Good news for those with a drawer full of their favorites. If you’re wanting to change the ones you have - simply cut the side seams of your bras and pull out the wires/plastic and side stays. This little trick will instantly restart the flow of energy to your breasts and throughout your body!

Fall 2013


Deeply Massage Three Key Locations:

With breast cancer now accounting for one third of cancer diagnosis and 15% of cancer deaths in US women, let’s make a conscious intention to improve the health of our breasts and ourselves. Do away with those underwires, massage these 3 key areas regularly and go “au natural” when you can. You’ll quickly find new energy and feel better mentally and physically. Go to to download a list of more companies offering wire-free bras. Juli Steinocher is founder of, a counseling center dedicated to treating the whole self. Educated, licensed and certified in a rare blend of approaches and techniques, Juli created the mindbodylab as a unique place connecting traditional therapy with modern and ancient approaches.




With the holidays approaching and food prices rising, people are looking to save money wherever they can. That however, doesn’t mean one has to sacrifice a healthy, quality diet consisting of whole foods, clean meats and organic products. In her book, A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes advises moms to be sure they are paying attention to the food their children are eating. “Their developing brains, organs, and nervous systems are being built cell by cell during infancy and early childhood. Specifically, babies’ brains grow faster from birth to three years than at any other time of life—and that growth is fueled by the food they eat,” she says. She points to a recent study from the University of Bristol in the UK that suggests early childhood eating habits, especially up to the age of three, “may play a role in shaping the development of the brain, and thus affect behavior, learning performance, and IQ in later life.” We also know that older students do much better in school with nutritious food and not Doritos and Red Bull. With all that in mind, doesn’t it make good sense to find ways to put healthier food on the table and in lunch boxes, even if you’re on a budget? It may seem overwhelming or down right impossible at first, but good meal planning, smart shopping and an open mind to eating new foods will get you on your way!

1. Plan meals through circulars. Shop around and hit the sales. And look to local food shopping expert Liza Ford who can help you with her wildly popular blog at She gives details on what is on sale and where the coupons are for different stores.

2. Break the one store habit. These days you can add variety and save money by shopping at a variety of sources. Did you know that local Big Lots carry products like whole wheat flour, organic snacks, dried beans and oatmeal? Aldi stores also carry their own line of healthy products, plus affordable produce, Almond Milk, baked potato chips and many other products at lower prices (just bring your own sacks). Target stores are carrying a more diverse line of healthy products like real fruit snacks, healthy grain bars and sustainable frozen fish.

Fall 2013


3. Buy Local This is a wonderful time of year for the produce stands, the corner grower’s stand and farmer’s markets, and Pinellas County is full of them! Check out Steve’s Produce in Palm Harbor, Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete, Odessa Organic Market and the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market. They are just some of the many GOOD options where you can find affordable produce.

4. Use whole ingredients. While it’s tempting to buy ready-made products, cooking with whole foods can be cheaper in the long run. Fall and winter are terrific months for making soups, which can be made on Sunday for the week ahead. Chopping the squash and soaking the dried beans may take a little more time, but if you are cutting corners on money, a little labor can ensure the vitamins get on the table.

5. Opt for frozen foods. Frozen is not a bad option. For yogurt, smoothies and oatmeal, berries are low in calories, high in fiber and contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For soups and casseroles, use frozen vegetables and beans, especially when you can buy them on sale. Same goes for fish. Stock up at sale time to make sure you are getting omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Go in on a side of meat. Find some friends and go in on a side of grass-fed beef. You’ll need an extra freezer, but they can be found for under $200 and can go in the garage.

7. Buy select items in bulk. Find ways to buy certain healthy staples in bulk quantities from online sources, specialty vendors or even at the warehouse stores. This takes knowing which products you use most frequently and planning ahead.

8. Follow the healthy food bloggers. “Meatless Mondays” is one of the movements started by mom bloggers who wanted to cut monthly grocery bills. Be inspired by their collective wisdom, experience and recipe experimentation by following them in social media or subscribing their emails. It’s their job to create delicious but healthy mac-n-cheese, so don’t feel you are in it alone.

9. Seek out healthy food coupons. Many health food stores and health food brands publish coupons in sale circulars or online. Sure this takes time, but once you get the hang of it, it will be easier, especially for products you use frequently.

10. Don’t miss an issue of GoodLiving® magazine and follow us on Facebook for tips, recipes, restaurant reviews and product recommendations. We are committed to helping families find the best local resources for Good Eating!


Farm to Plate in St. Petersburg The Edible Peace Patch Project (EPPP) is doing an amazing job bringing urban gardening to St. Petersburg. It’s all part of the vision to increase the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce in St. Petersburg, a vision that lives deep inside founder, Kip Curtis. “It’s become my calling,” he says. The EPPP now has gardens at four elementary schools, and up to five more are planned. Volunteers of all ages meet every Saturday to work the gardens, including help from the Junior League of St. Petersburg. “Art Dunham of Food Services for the school district has agreed to purchase our food and the goal is to eventually sell them 15,000 side dishes a day,” says Curtis. Their work also includes teaching students how to prepare the food they grow on campus. The Fit 4 All Kids program uses their portable kitchens to hold cooking classes for students, and Dunham agreed to let them brand their recipes as Peace Patch Food. This certainly brings it all full circle for the kids when they see their vegetables in the school lunch line, something researchers know works when it comes to changing eating habits. The EPPP has plans to purchase land to start a farm in St. Petersburg to expand their farm-to-plate operations. Their first major fundraiser, Farmraiser 2013, is October 27th. Funds raised locally will help them attract large foundation grants to the project, and so community support is greatly needed. Learn more at

Grow Your Own We didn’t mention gardening in the story on the previous page, but certainly growing one’s own food can save money on the grocery bill. So we asked Kip Curtis of the Edible Peace Patch Project what he recommended. “Leafy Greens,” he says! “Kale and collards can be grown year round in this part of Florida,” he said, adding that collards are by far the heartiest crop for local yards, because they will grow in our sandy soil. He says to take the leaves from store-bought collards and stick them in the wet soil. “Water them and they keep growing.” Starter plants for kale varieties, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce can be planted through the end of October. Kale will do well in amended soil, but the lettuces should be in beds or planters so they don’t dry out. For a daily dose of nutrients, use greens in smoothies and juices, or add to eggs, sauces, soups and salads.

FOOD FINDS In our travels around the county looking for Good Eating options, we came across these establishments that are worth your business.

Squeeze Juice Works

A small St. Petersburg business that does the juicing for you, either as a daily supplement or for a cleansing juice fast. Delivery is available.

Southern Steer

A new butcher shop in Clearwater reminiscent of the specialty corner markets found in big cities. They sell clean, high quality and flavorful meats including Black Angus Beef, pork, chicken, fresh seafood and fresh ground sausage. The store is beautiful and is a welcome addition for those looking for good meat.

Sweet Peas Café

A darling spot in beautiful downtown Dunedin for parents and children with outdoor tables and play dates on Tuesdays. Sit under the trees and chat with friends while the kiddies play. Eat some healthy food. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

Sweet Caroline’s Bakery

Nestled in the corner of a strip mall on Tampa Road in Palm Harbor is this gem of a bakery and café. It is a rare madefrom-scratch bakery that offers whole grain breads, gluten-free desserts, custom cakes and a variety of pastries, breads and baked goods. Pick up their homemade chicken pot pie turnovers and bake them at home for a hot dinner. Also find Jacqui’s Smart Foods (vegan and sugar free), baked fresh on site by Jacqui herself.


Fall 2013

10 Things I Wish All Americans Knew About


There are currently 82,000 synthetic chemicals in the foods we eat, the toys our children touch, the products we use to clean our homes, the air we breathe, and the cosmetics we apply to our skin—and only a fraction have ever been tested for safety. What do we really know about how they affect our health? If so few have actually been tested, how can any company claim that their chemical-laden products are actually safe? If some chemical levels are considered “acceptable,” what happens when these chemicals react to each other inside of us? Finding answers can be overwhelming. (That’s why I created the documentary called Unacceptable Levels, chemicals in our bodies, how they got there, and what we can do about it.)

Here are 10 things I wish every American knew about toxic chemicals… and what we can do about it:

impacting our health? What’s the impact on those who work or live near the chemical plants? 6. About $2.6 trillion of the GDP is spent on treating disease every year. One can’t help but wonder if there’s a direct correlation between our skyrocketing healthcare costs and the onslaught of chemicals in our daily lives. What would happen if we spent that much on prevention? 7. Many of us eat and drink chemicals every day. Artificial sweeteners, preservatives, nitrates, artificial colors, MSG... if it’s processed, chances are it contains one or more of these ingredients. Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate are preservatives that are sometimes added to sodas to prevent mold growth, but benzene is a known carcinogen. Butylated Hydroxynaisole (BHA) is another preservative that’s potentially cancer-causing. Reading labels is an easy solution—if you don’t recognize an ingredient, don’t buy the food product.

1. Today, you’ve already been exposed to at least 127 unique synthetic chemicals. And that was before you walked out the 8. Organic food can be affordable. Factor in the potential health door. Personal care products carry or may carry numerous highly costs of processed and conventionally grown (read: pesticide rich) toxic chemicals, including cadmium, mercury, aluminum and lead. foods and organic food doesn’t break the bank. Unfortunately, it’s not always available. The good news: organic food is the fastest 2. “Acceptable levels” of toxic chemicals is an oxymoron. The growing sector in agriculture. Would we spray a piece of fruit levels are “acceptable” by industry and regulatory standards, but with Raid, then rinse it off and eat it? If we continue to vote with our exposure to other “acceptable levels” of toxic chemicals that then interact with each other and dance with our cells within our our dollars, organic can become the norm. bodies is never taken into consideration. 3. We have over 200 synthetic chemicals in our bodies right now. Our exposure to toxins is that pervasive. Most of us do not detect their presence every moment of every day, but we have to wonder—how are they affecting us? What does this mean for future generations? 4. Childhood disease is increasing exponentially. Cancer is the leading cause of death (after accidents) in children younger than 15 in the United States. Autism now affects one in 50 children. In the last 20 years, there’s been a 300% increase in allergies; 300% increase in asthma; 400% increase in ADHD. We have to ask ourselves, why? 5. Chemicals are big business. Chemicals account for an annual $3.7 trillion in sales across the globe—the United States makes up almost 19 percent. Many jobs rely on this industry, yet 85 percent of the chemicals in commerce today have not been tested. How are the products containing those chemicals

Fall 2013


9. Your body is the biggest investment that you will ever have in your life. We all know people who spend more time and more money on their cars than they do their own bodies. The fuel we put into our bodies will determine how well it performs and fights against the burden of chemicals. 10. Toxic chemicals are everywhere, but you can do something about it. Start with just one thing: change your personal care products; overhaul your diet by buying only organic fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed “foods” as much as possible; throw away your old household cleaning products and replace them with non-toxic ones.

What can we do? We are all in this together. Around the world—in every single culture, every religion, every race, every age, every gender and every species, rich or poor—we’re all being affected by toxic chemicals. There are also many companies already making organic or nontoxic products. By switching to these products—one step at a time—you’re casting a vote for the greater GOOD!

About the Film, Unacceptable Levels Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children. To create this debut documentary, one man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law. Weaving their testimonies into a compelling narrative, Brown presents us with the story of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us. Over 80,000 chemicals flow through our system of commerce, and many are going straight into our bodies. Even our unborn children are affected. Due to this constant exposure, we have approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interacting with our cells every single day. Until recently, modern science really didn’t understand what that could mean for all of us in the long run, but that is changing. Globally, disease rates are on the rise. Theories about the causes abound, yet the issues are complex and often muddied by the maneuvering of political and corporate interests. To explore different facets of common chemical exposure, Unacceptable Levels was made in consultation with experts in multiple fields and is guided by a father on a personal journey as he attempts to bring these issues to light for everyone. Its primary goal? To determine whether we can prevent disease before it strikes us. Unacceptable Levels opens the door to conversations about the chemical burden our bodies carry so that we can make informed decisions now and in the future. The film poses challenges to our companies, our government, and our society to do something about a nearly-unseen threat with the inspired knowledge that small changes can generate a massive impact. Read more at Ed Brown recommends these organizations that are working every day to help us in this challenge: Environmental Working Group Healthy Child Healthy World Moms Clear Air Force Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families The Center for Environmental Health


They say hindsight is 20/20, and when I look back I realize many things I didn’t before. During my senior year at Clearwater High I began dating my ex. We quickly became inseparable friends and fell in love. Over the next year, I graduated and started college, but he didn’t. He became controlling and jealous, easily angered, lied a lot, and called me names. I confused this sort of emotional and verbal abuse with his being a jerk. When I tried to break it off with him, he threatened me. He said he was nothing without me; I was all he had and meant everything to him. If I left him, he would kill himself. I felt guilty and stayed, but the threats escalated targeting me. He said, “I know where you work. I know where you go to school. I know where you live and who you hang with. If you break up with me, I fill find you and either kill you or make your life a living hell.” I was terrified, walking on eggshells to keep him happy. The emotional and verbal abuse then turned physical. On three occasions he put his hands on me. After each incident, he threatened to kill me if I told. He blamed me, and said if I didn’t act that way, I wouldn’t be hurt. I began to wonder how a smart, determined and independent girl like me fell into the deadly trap of domestic violence. On October 25, 2011 I broke the silence. The hitting and abuse continued but this time I broke free, ran away, and called 911. He chased me until the police arrived and arrested him. I was finally free. Over the next three months I learned what it was like to live a happy and healthy life again. On January 24, 2012 my life was forever changed. On the morning of the 23rd he went to court for the October battery charge. Around 1 AM the morning of the 24th I was awakened by calls and texts. He said he went to court, wanted to see me and have closure from our two year relationship. He was crying and was in my area. He said to me, “After everything we have been through over the last two years, you can’t just give me a hug? It will only

take a second, and I will never bother you again.” I ignored my gut yelling NO, only wanting to hurry and get this hug over so I could return to sleep and get up for my chemistry exam. I took my phone and pepper spray… just in case. When I walked outside, he wrapped his arms around me for his hug. He was hiding a switchblade in his hand. He immediately began stabbing me repeatedly. He stabbed me in the back of my shoulder and neck, then my face. Thirty-two stab wounds total. My face, head, arms and hands were all cut through. My skull, nose and jaw were fractured, teeth were missing, and nerves were severed. I was airlifted to the hospital where I flat-lined four times. I was saved despite the trauma, blood loss, and stroke. The doctors say my survival is a true miracle. When I woke up I realized I had survived, and he could never hurt me again...I felt a massive weight lifted. I knew at that moment I would never be bitter but strive to be better. I was not a victim, but forever a survivor. With God’s love, a community’s support, and a mother always by my side, I was able to persevere and come out on top. Prayer and forgiveness healed my heart, mind, and soul. I’m now a domestic violence advocate and speaker. I share my story in hope to save a life. I know what it’s like to be scared into silence. I want everyone to realize silence is deadly!

Fall 2013


Please call the hotline, create a safety plan, and take every threat seriously. There is life after abuse. A life full of love and happiness… a life I have been blessed to have. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it, I promise.

2013 Fall Issue  
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