Top 10 Resources for Locally Grown Foods
52 Lifestyle Choices to
help prevent autism >read before vaccinating
Principles of Informed Choice
How Health Insurance Is
Making Us Sick
Organic Foods: Know the Facts Understanding Your Babyâ€™s Cries issue 26 / summer 10 / $6.95
please display until 9.21.2010
executive editor Jeanne Ohm, DC firstname.lastname@example.org associate editor Lisa Reagan copy chief Robert Staeger contributing editors Cynthia Overgard creative director Tina Aitala Engblom advertising / license coordinator Crystal Gloistein subscriptions Victoria Garrett Ohm technology coordinator Derek Kunz circulation director Howard White Hwhite9611@aol.com event coordinator Corinne Pitts advisory board Claudia Anrig, DC • Sarah Buckley, MD Bruce Lipton, PhD • Stephen Marini, PhD, DC Larry Palevsky, MD
on the cover 52 Ways to Help Prevent Autism................... 8 Read Before Vaccinating............................. 52 How Health Insurance Is Making Us Sick.... 58 Organic Foods: Know the Facts....................18 Understanding Your Baby’s Cries................ 32 Top 10 Resources for Locally Grown Foods.... 56
Pathways to Family Wellness is a quarterly publication offering parents articles and resources to make informed healthcare choices for their families. Pathways to Family Wellness provides thought-provoking information from the holistic health perspective and invites parents to explore options for family wellness. The individual articles and links to healthcare information in Pathways to Family Wellness are based on the opinions of their respective authors, who retain copyright as marked. The information provided is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. The publisher of Pathways to Family Wellness encourages you to make informed healthcare decisions based on your researched knowledge and in partnership with a qualified healthcare provider. Pathways to Family Wellness is provided to you by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association in collaboration with the HPA: Alliance for Holistic Family Health and Wellness. Both organizations are 501-C3 nonprofit status organizations and sales of Pathways to Family Wellness support their mission for public education. Images used are for illustrative purposes only.
© 2010 Pathways to Family Wellness Issue 26, Summer 2010. Printed in the USA.
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on the cover Photo by Justin Ohm, D.C.
submissions Want to write for Pathways? We look for articles that challenge and confront, as well as articles that support and nourish. Want to share your photos with us? By sending us your photos, you agree that you have the right to distribute the image, and maintain that all people depicted agree to have their image published. E-mail articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org Photos may be sent to: email@example.com Please visit our website for more details.
in this issue What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now?
Kids are showing signs of autism spectrum disorders in greater numbers than ever. Whether you’re pregnant, have just given birth, or have not yet conceived, there are steps you can take to minimize your child’s risk. By Maureen H. McDonnell, R.N.
4 letter from the editor 6 The Conscious Path
Pathways Connect: Your Educational Outreach and Conscious Community Toolkit
By Lisa Reagan
36 family living
Vitalism in the Family
By Jennifer Maciejewski
By Christiane Northrup, M.D.
16 Wellness Lifestyle
The DNA Overlay
By Monika Buerger, D.C.
Which Organic Label Should You Trust? By Joseph Mercola, D.O.
A Thank You a Day: Gratitude Enhances Health
The Nature of Dis-ease By Steve Bhaerman and Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
43 holistic healthcare
22 Mindfully Growing Salad Greens By Lisa Reagan
24 chiropractic for life
Getting the Inside Out
The Truth About Chiropractic
By Caron Goode, Ph.D.
By Lloyd Fielder, D.C.
Breath Walk for Pregnancy
By Anna Stewart, B.A., C.M.T., C.H.T.
Birth: From Fear to Faith
By Laura Shanley
32 the outer womb
Understanding Your Baby’s Cries
By Pinky McKay, IBCLC
The Science of Father’s Love
By Patrick M. Houser
The Underground Healthcare Revolution By William B. Ferril, M.D.
48 Movement and learning
52 informed choice
Read Before Vaccinating By Barbara Loe Fisher
Top Ten Resources for Locally Grown Foods
58 Current Concerns
How Health Insurance Is Making Us Sick
By Robert Johns Jr., D.C.
60 The Lancet Retraction Changes Nothing By David Kirby
For six years, it has been my privilege to meet and connect with numerous authors, heads of organizations and practitioners through Pathways magazine. Our authors are from all walks of life, each integrating his or her perspective and specialty of the family-wellness lifestyle into their writings. Aspects of parenting, health, holism, nutrition, pregnancy, birth, child care and newedge science, along with countless resources supporting these topics, have been explored and shared to contribute to the shift in consciousness our earth so desperately cries out for. Meeting these writers and learning from them has truly been a growing experience for me, and, I’m sure, for our readers. What I see as a common thread tying our contributors all together has been the willingness to open their perspectives, challenge the status quo, embrace their inner wisdom and stand forward on their inner knowing. Pathways is filled with strong and courageous statements from these leaders whose intent is to challenge our readers to awaken their consciousness. In every issue of Pathways, there is a synchronicity of articles, concepts, visions and goals. Where does this synchronicity come from? Having conversed with every author, I see another common thread: recognition of their source of knowing. Yes, their knowledge has come from years of experience. And the passion with which they share it has been fueled by their connection to a greater knowing, and a willingness to trust this inner wisdom and dedicate their lives to its expression.
pathways | issue 26
© Carmen Martínez Banú / istockphoto.com
letter from the editor, jeanne ohm, d.c.
We can all relate to hearing the voice of knowing from within. Sometimes called intuition or guidance, this voice will speak to us about decisions both trivial and life-changing. I have learned that the more we listen to this voice, the louder it speaks. The more we trust in its guidance, the further we grow and succeed. When my husband and I were first exploring the field of chiropractic, we were exposed to many writings from its founder, D.D. Palmer, and its developer, his son B.J. Palmer. One of my favorite stories exemplifying listening to this voice was printed in B.J. Palmer’s book, the Bigness of the Fellow Within—a story titled, “That Something.” It reflects a time in the writer’s life before he “awakened,” as he terms it. It was a rough time in his life, filled with strife and discord. He was homeless, poverty-stricken, hungry and dissolute. He recounts a moment when he asked a stranger in the street for a meal, and the stranger’s reply. “No,” he answered, a note of pity in his voice. “I cannot help you. No man can.” “But you could feed me,” I said, with some petulance in my voice. “It is not food you need!” “What then?” I asked. “That Something,” was his reply. The author then recounts an experience of falling asleep, having a dream and hearing a voice. “Who are you?” I asked. “I am ‘That Something’,” came the reply. “But where are you?” “I am hidden in your soul.” For some moments I thought over what was said. Then I stammered, “How—how did you get there?” “I was born there.” “Why have I not known you were there before?” “No man knows it,” answered the voice, “until he awakes.” “Are you in other men’s souls, as well?” “There is ‘That Something’ in every man’s soul, which can move the mountains or dry the seas.” “Then you must be Faith!” “Yes,” came the answer, “I am Faith, but I am more—I am that which makes men face the fires of hell, and win.” “Then you must be Confidence, as well.” “Yes, I am more than Confidence—I am that which makes the babbling brooks lift worlds upon their wavelets.” “You are Power,” I cried. “Yes, I am more than Power,” answered the voice. “I am that which makes the wretched failure lift up himself and rule the world.” “You are Ambition—I know you now.” “Yes, I am all you say—Faith, Confidence, Power, Ambition, and more. For greater than all is ‘That Something.’ I am that which every man must find in his soul or else he will be but a clutter of the earth on which he lives.” “But how can man find you?” “Even as you are finding me now. First you must awaken, then seek, and when you have found you must learn to control…” “Control what?” I asked, confused. “‘That Something’…borrow it from your soul and baptize your life with it. Anoint your
eyes, that you may see; anoint your ears, that you may hear; anoint your heart, that you may be!” “But tell me,” I cried frantically, for the voice was trailing off to almost nothing, “how can I do this? How? How?” “This is the secret,” came the voice to me as the whisper of a gentle breeze, “these words—‘I will’.” The story continues with how the author listened to the voice, and followed its moment-to-moment promptings. By doing so, within one year’s time, he not only had a job, but was approaching the highest level of management in the company. Opportunities and shifts in all areas of his life occurred. I know that throughout my life, when I have listened to this voice, it has led me to creation, success and fulfillment on all levels of expression. I know all of our authors are propelled by this voice, and so the synchronicity of our message has become a movement. To honor this movement, and to add to the dynamics of this synergy, we are holding our second Freedom for Family Wellness Summit on October 21–24 in Washington, D.C. Our subtitle is: Celebrating the Shift to Conscious Choice. Many of our favorite authors and leaders in this movement will be there, so we can all connect as vital participants in the momentum that has been created. Truly, this weekend will be a celebration for every attendee of who we are, what we’ve accomplished and where we need to go. I know each presenter is thrilled to participate, and the many registrants we have so far are as excited to attend. When they heard That Something, each one has said, “I will.” I am sure this weekend will exceed all expectations. When hundreds of people of like mind, heart and vision come together, there is a shift in consciousness that ripples the earth.
Many, many blessings, Jeanne Ohm, D.C.
the conscious path
Pathways Connect: Your Educational Outreach and Conscious Community Toolkit By Lisa Reagan
n more than a decade of conscious-living conferences and retreats with parents and practitioners around the country, I’ve witnessed repeatedly that when it is time to put into practice all that we’ve acknowledged is true—to embrace the wisdom we’ve carried in our hearts all along—there’s one burning question on everyone’s mind: In a practical, day to day way, how can we create wellness in our families when our dominant culture conspires at every turn to undermine our efforts? From seminal thinkers like Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, to practicing physicians like Larry Palevsky, M.D., of the Holistic Pediatric Association, the answer, in a nutshell, is always this: Get connected. With the airways over our heads humming with tweets and texting, getting connected today seems simple enough. But the sort of connection required to create a solid foundation of wellness for our families must be envisioned by practitioners and parents who not only trust their own instincts, but courageously reach out to one another to create a supportive and resourceful conscious-living community. Only an intentional, empowered community can provide the clarity and strength required to simultaneously create a foundation of family wellness while defying our dominant culture’s demand for the distracted busyness that keeps us disconnected and dependent upon fear-based, disease models. Throughout the last decade, I worked through the nonprofit Families for Conscious Living to help parents create their own conscious-living communities with turnkey tools like our Gathering Guide. When FCL parents first began to meet in parks in 1996, our precious lending libraries were jammed into the trunks of our cars and photocopied handouts were the norm. Cradling our children in circles under park trees, we wished for access to more information and relationships with holistic practitioners who would support our conscious choices. Fast forward to 2010, and it appears a good fairy granted our hearts’ desires through the World Wide Web, where we can now find limitless information and local referrals from organizations like the Holistic Pediatric Association and the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. And amazingly enough, the necessary tools for creating a supportive “family wellness” community are now available in a potent and evolving outreach program born of the mission-driven magazine you are holding in your hands.
pathways | issue 26
In its initial phase, Pathways Connect works like this. A subscription to the program entitles ICPA and HPA members to: a) A bulk order of magazines for free distribution. b) A Discussion Questions and Resource Guide to accompany each issue of the magazine. c) A Gathering Guide, to help parents in a practice establish independent study and support groups. d) An array of specialized benefits for holistic practitioners, including members-only discussion boards. The discussion questions are rallying points for parents and practitioners to examine issues together, as well as to explore the language and exciting possibilities of the paradigm shift away from the disease model approach, and toward whole family wellness. As Albert Einstein once said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Pathways Connect’s content-driven Discussion Questions and Resource Guide are designed to help shift our thinking out of fear and dependency toward confidence and sustainability because they are grounded in the understanding and truth of the holistic paradigm. The truth is, everything we need to create wellness for families exists, and the practical tools of Pathways Connect lets us connect with those resources and support. If you would like to learn more about the Pathways Connect program, visit us online at pathwaystofamilywellness.org/ PathwaysConnect, or better yet, visit us in person at the upcoming Freedom for Family Wellness Summit: The Conference for Conscious Choice, October 21–24, in Washington, D.C. (see page 7 for more information). This historic summit will showcase many of Pathways’ authors, including new-edge science visionary Bruce Lipton and alternative medicine pioneer Joseph Mercola, D.O. There will be opportunities at the summit to connect with practitioners, network with parents, learn to use Pathways Connect as an educational outreach tool—and together, find our pathways to family wellness.
Lisa Reagan is the cofounder of the educational nonprofit, Families for Conscious Living. Join her for interactive teleconferences on Empowered Parenting in the Paradigm Shift at consciouslyparenting.com
JOIN US FOR OUR SECOND SUMMIT WASHINGTON, DC • OCT 21–24, 2010
CeLeBRaTING THE SHIFT TO CONSCIOUS CHOICe CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE: BRUCE LIPTON, PHD
GUY RIEKEMAN, DC
JOSEPH MERCOLA, DO
CASSANDRA VIETEN, PHD
JOE DISPENZA, DC
JOHN BREEDING, PHD
BARBARA LOE FISHER
CHRIS KENT, DC
LARRY PALEVSKY, MD
LAUREN FEDER, MD
Author of Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution Best-selling author and owner of Mercola.com
Author of Evolve your Brain and presenter in What the Bleep?! Cofounder of National Vaccine Information Center President of the Holistic Pediatric Association
Author, and publisher and editor of Mothering magazine
WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Holistic Practitioners: DCs, NDs, MDs, PhDs, OBs, Midwives, Doulas, Homeopaths, Acupuncturists, Family Wellness Counselors, Consultants and Therapists • New-Edge Science Promoters: Visionaries, Authors, Teachers • Advocates for Informed Choice: Leaders of national groups and their members • Parents and Community Group Leaders who want to make a difference in the lives of their families and communities
President of Life University and author of Make Your Life Extraordinary Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and author Director of Texans For Safe Education, psychologist and author Cofounder of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance Author of The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations Founder of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children
CONNECT, COLLABORATE and EXPAND at this enlightening weekend for leaders in the Vitalistic movement
A MEETING OF THE MINDS AND SOULS IN A SPACE CALLED VITALISM
FOR EARLY REGISTRATION VISIT
ÂŠ Camilo Jimenez / istockphoto.com
Can Be Done to
pathways | issue 26
By Maureen H. McDonnell, R.N.
tâ€™s a fact that more and more kids are showing signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than ever before. Whatâ€™s causing this epidemic is still a mystery, but we now have some strong clues about prevention and treatment, based on emerging science
and parents reporting the specific treatments that have created improvement (and, in some cases, recovery) in their children. There are many theories about why the autism rate has exploded. Some think itâ€™s due to better diagnosis, rather than a real increase. Other people blame maternal age at the time of conception. Still others suggest that a mix of genetic predispositions and environmental factors (including a dramatic increase in the number of vaccines given before the age of 5) is a more likely cause. But while the experts debate these theories, more and more children are being negatively impacted by this condition. In the meantime, moms of affected children who want to have another child, and women who have never conceived, are asking what they can do to increase the chances of a healthy baby. Instead of waiting for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue
new guidelines or policy changes, savvy individuals are examining the published scientific research and listening to parents who have improved their children’s conditions. They’re coming up with new strategies for carrying, birthing and raising healthier children. A Sense of Urgency During the last decade, as the debate about the causes of autism has raged, the Autism Research Institute has been gathering experts from around the world to brainstorm and research the underlying metabolic dysfunctions associated with autism, as well as safe and effective interventions to treat this condition. The founder of the Autism Research Institute (and cofounder of Defeat Autism Now), Dr. Bernie Rimland, instilled a sense of urgency in the group. Its mission is to focus on solutions that will improve the lives of children right now, rather than conduct research that would only have relevance for future generations. As a result of Dr. Rimland’s vision, many children diagnosed on the spectrum have improved and, in some instances, recovered from autism. Research funded by ARI and other organizations revealed abnormal patterns and metabolic dysfunctions in the ASD population. They include: gastrointestinal dysfunctions (constipation, diarrhea, reflux, increased permeability, decreased enzyme production including DPP1V, abnormal microflora); neuro-inflammation (neuro-glial activation, decreased blood flow to certain parts of the brain, abnormal brain size); hormonal disturbances (including increased cortisol production, disorders of serotonin and dopamine); immune dysfunctions (including a shift from Th1 to Th2, and pro-inflammatory cytokine production); oxidative stress (decreased methylation capacity indicated by lowered methionine levels and other markers, increased homocysteine, lower levels of glutathione, increased lipid peroxidation, decreased B-12 levels); and mitochondrial
pathways | issue 26
dysfunction (decreased carnitine level, increased lactate levels). As parents and clinicians work feverishly to address these abnormalities by assessing each child’s individual issues and attempting to normalize or correct their disturbances, children are improving in speech, behavior, cognition, attention and general health. In some instances, they are even recovering. But this is tremendously difficult and expensive work. Since some of these biochemical abnormalities may be preventable, more and more parents are working at optimizing their health prior to conceiving. I’ve been a pediatric registered nurse for 33 years, during which time I’ve worked as a certified natural childbirth instructor, labor and delivery nurse, and had a private practice where I provided nutritional counseling. For ten years I coordinated the Defeat Autism Now! (DAN) conferences, interacting with hundred of parents of autistic children. These parents worked tirelessly to implement the biomedical approach (a combination of detoxification, nutritional supplements and dietary changes) to treating their children’s autism symptoms. Many of them, exhausted (and often broke) from instituting various treatments, said to me, “If only I knew then what I know now. I would have made very different choices.” Autism can not always be prevented, of course, and no one should harbor guilt. We know there are genetic components. But we also now know that environmental toxicity and suboptimal nutrition play a role, as well. As a result of research and from parental reporting, practitioners like me have come to realize that we must build more awareness that autism can be prevented. I believe we now know enough to encourage couples— whether they’re contemplating pregnancy, are currently pregnant or already have an infant—to implement certain precautionary principles to minimize the risk of autism. These strategies involve minimizing exposure to environmental toxins; maximizing the nutrition and general health of the mother at all stages; provid-
© BlueOrange Studio / istockphoto.com
We now have a deep well of wisdom, science and common sense from which to draw safe, effective and practical recommendations for preventing autism, right now.
ing superior sources of nutrition for the infant and child; and careful, strategic and individualized consideration and use of vaccines. Of course, there are no guarantees. However, countless parents, physicians and researchers are pooling their experience to learn what is contributing to autism, and those strategies are bringing about improvements in affected children. We now have a deep well of wisdom, science and common sense from which to draw the following safe, effective and practical recommendations for preventing autism, right now. Prior to conception: 1. If you are considering becoming pregnant, one of the best things you can do is to spend six months to a year improving your diet and making better lifestyle choices. You should consume organically grown grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean sources of protein. Laying the foundation for a healthy pregnancy by putting yourself in optimal shape prior to conceiving will do much to minimize the chance of miscarriage, or developing other complications of pregnancy and delivery. 2. Many intended mothers reduce or eliminate the “white foods” (sugar, white bread, pasta, pizza and bagels), along with chemical preservatives and other processed foods, before conceiving. But because gastrointestinal problems are so common in children with autism, some women I’ve been working with are choosing to address their own GI related conditions prior to conceiving. Women with a history of candida (yeast) overgrowth, for instance—or digestive problems, gluten intolerance, food allergies, bloating, constipation or parasites—are treating these conditions before becoming pregnant. Reducing sugar consumption, minimizing the use of antibiotics, taking probiotics and using specific diets and herbs for intestinal pathogens can all be helpful in optimizing your health. These steps increase the likelihood that your child won’t be prone to GI problems. 3. Reduce or eliminate your alcohol and caffeine intake, and eliminate tobacco.
were also found in human milk, placental tissue, umbilical cord blood, and the blood and body fat of newborns. The average American home contains 3 to 10 gallons of hazardous materials, and 85 percent of the chemicals that are registered have never been tested for their impact on the human body. (For more information on this, see the Green This! series of books by Deirdre Imus.) 6. If your toxic load has been high (for example, if you’ve taken many prescription or over-the-counter drugs, or you work or live in a chemical-laden environment), you might want to consider a detoxification or cleansing program, such as those found at BlessedHerbs.com. 7. If a detox program alone does not relieve fatigue, migraines or other symptoms associated with being toxic, you might want to consult a chiropractor or medical doctor familiar with nutritional and chelation protocols for a more advanced detoxification process. Contact a local M.D., N.D., D.C. or D.O. affiliated with the American Academy of Advancement in Medicine. (For a list of physicians in your area, visit ACAM.com.) 8. If you have several mercury-based amalgam dental fillings, consider having them removed by a dentist familiar with safe procedure for the removal of dental mercury. A dentist associated with the American Holistic Dental Association (holisticdental.org) can safely remove mercury-based amalgam fillings at least 6 months before you becoming pregnant. Do not have them removed while breastfeeding. 9. Begin taking a comprehensive multivitamin mineral supplement. One of the most comprehensive and easily absorbed prenatal supplements is OptiNatal. Start by taking one, and work up to taking six per day. 10. Adding a source of animal-based omega-3s is also essential for optimal health. Krill oil is a popular option, as are mercury-free sources of fish oil, such as supplements like Nordic Natural or OmegaBrite.
4. Begin (or continue) an exercise routine.
11. Find a “green” dry cleaner. The chemical used in most drycleaning facilities, perchlorethylene, is a known carcinogen.
5. Prior to conceiving, switch to using green cleaning and personal care products (e.g., shampoo, toothpaste, body lotion and facial cream). A 2006 report from the CDC found that Americans, on average, tested positively for 116 of 148 synthetic compounds, including dioxin, polycyclic hydrocarbons and organochlorine pesticides. These same substances
13. Drink filtered water. For more information about water filters, call NSF International at 800-673-8010, or see their website at nsf.org/Certified/DWTU. Also, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council’s website at nrdc.org/water/drinking/ gfilters.asp. issue 26 | pathways
Select providers who will support your philosophical core beliefs. Decisions made about “necessary treatment” vary drastically between home birth midwives, birth center midwives and obstetricians. Define your values and beliefs, and then seek a provider accordingly. 12. Use a stainless-steel water bottle to carry and consume filtered water. Whether they’re heated or not, soft plastic bottles will release phthalates. Antimony can also be released from polyethylene terephthalate.
and immune system function and balancing your pelvic muscles and ligaments. During Pregnancy:
14. Limit your mercury intake by minimizing the consumption of large fish. For mercury levels of fish, visit gotmercury.org.
1. Continue a high-quality organic diet that eliminates, or greatly reduces, sugar and other processed foods.
15. To build beneficial microflora, consume more fermented foods and take high quality probiotics. In addition to improving levels of beneficial intestinal flora, these have been shown to decrease intestinal absorption of certain chemicals by facilitating their excretion. See BodyEcologyDiet.com.
2. Continue to take a comprehensive, natural and easily absorbed multivitamin with at least 1,800 milligrams of calcium and 800 mg of folic acid. You might want to consider adding 2,000 IU or more of Vitamin D. Continue (or begin) taking a mercury-free source of omega-3, fish oil and probiotics.
16. Improve indoor air quality in your home or office by opening the windows and creating cross ventilation. 17. Test your vitamin D levels, and add additional vitamin D3 if necessary. Many studies support higher levels of Vitamin D than what was previously recommended. This boosts your immune system, cardio and neurological function. 18. Eat a diet rich in colorful, organically grown vegetables. This will provide an adequate intake of antioxidants to fight off the damaging effects of free radicals. Juicing organic vegetables is a great alternative if you find it daunting to consume the daily recommended 41/2 cups of veggies and fruit. 19. If anticipating pregnancy, I would also suggest you avoid the flu shot and any other vaccine for a year prior to conception. 20. Minimize your exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Computers, TVs and cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation, so do not sleep with these in your bedroom. Use cell phones only when necessary, and keep your phone in your pocketbook, rather than in your pocket. 21. Do what is reasonable to green your home and minimize exposure to EMFs and toxins in your food, water and cleaning products. If you’re planning to remodel your house, or are building a new home, try to select no-VOC paints and sustainable wood instead of composites or resin-based products. Minimize your exposure to building materials, and allow outgasing of new materials. 22. Begin regular chiropractic care with a family wellness practitioner. The specific adjustments will begin optimizing your nerve
pathways | issue 26
3. If possible, avoid dental work while pregnant—especially the removal or insertion of amalgam fillings. 4. If possible, avoid antibiotics and other over-the-counter and prescription medication. There is no pharmaceutical drug on the market that has been proven safe for pregnancy. A new study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, shows that antidepressants are especially dangerous to take during pregnancy. 5. Continue an exercise program to improve circulation and stimulate peristalsis. Intestinal motility slows as a result of pregnancy hormones, so, in order to continue having good bowel movements, daily exercise is essential. In addition, take good sources of fiber, such as ground flaxseed, psyllium husks, bran, nuts, whole grains and seeds. 6. Eat a diet that contains at least 80 grams of protein per day. High-quality, organic, lean sources of protein include turkey, chicken, nuts, meat, eggs and whey protein powder for smoothies. Divide them up into four or five 2-ounce servings. 7. Always have a protein-rich snack on hand for any dips in blood sugar. 8. Avoid the flu vaccine or any other immunizations. If you’re RH negative and require Rhogam, ask to see the package insert to make sure there is no thimerosal in the vaccine. 9. If you get sick, rest. Drink lots of hot water with lemon; take extra vitamin C, and possibly use echinacea drops. (Do not use goldenseal during pregnancy.)
10. Interview midwives and or obstetricians until you find one who makes you feel comfortable and empowered. Home birth is an option that is not right for everyone. However, a 2005 study published in the British Medical Journal found that natural birth, at home, with certified practicing midwives is safe for low-risk mothers and their babies. The study followed 5,000 mothers in the U.S. and Canada, and found that these home births with low-risk mothers had much lower rates of medical interventions when compared to the intervention rates for low-risk mothers giving birth in hospitals.
© Mary Gascho / istockphoto.com
11. Avoid unnecessary ultrasounds—which may include all ultrasounds. There are no conclusive studies showing that ultrasounds are safe in pregnancy. Of greater concern are the studies showing how prenatal ultrasound affects brain development. Even standard, routine ultrasounds are not medically necessary and have not been shown to improve birth outcomes. Issue No. 22 of Pathways has an informative article on the potential relationship between ultrasound and autism. 13. Minimize intrusive procedures during labor (such as induction with Pitocin, pain meds, epidurals, forceps, C-sections and early cord clamping) by researching them and discussing with your midwife or doctor which procedures you wish to avoid, if possible, and which ones you wish to have be part of your labor and birth experience. Pathways No. 21 has an article that relates many of these often unnecessary procedures to an increased risk of autism. 14. Choose your birth care providers wisely. Rather than selecting a provider or place of birth because of insurance coverage, select providers who will support your philosophical core beliefs about birth. Decisions made about “necessary
treatment” vary drastically between home birth midwives, birth center midwives and obstetricians. Define your values and beliefs, and then seek a provider accordingly. 15. Start childbirth classes early. Seek classes outside of the hospital, with independent groups that offer support and knowledge about natural birthing. Additionally, finding a birth-support doula is essential for a better birth outcome. The perceived need for medication can be eliminated with proper breathing and relaxation techniques and adequate support during birth. Additional information on natural labor and birth procedures is available in Pathways No. 24. 16. There is a higher risk of autism in cesarean-delivered babies. So, although it’s tempting to think of skipping labor, labor is actually mother nature’s way of preparing the child for life outside the womb. The baby’s neurological function is enhanced by naturally passing through the birth canal and through cranial molding. 17. Walk during labor, and stay in an upright position or on all fours for pushing and delivery. This will greatly maximize your pelvis’ ability to easily open and birth, minimizing the need for doctor assisted pulling, the forceful use of forceps, and vacuum extraction. Any form of pulling and rotation to the baby’s delicate spine in labor may have a lasting affect on her future nerve system function. 18. Interview several pediatricians during your pregnancy to find one who accepts your views on health and is open to discussing and giving careful consideration to invasive care with drugs and vaccines. Today, many parents are seeking providers outside of the typical allopathic model, choosing instead issue 26 | pathways
19. Continue regular chiropractic care on a weekly basis with a doctor who caters to pregnant women. This will optimize both your nerve system function and your pelvic biomechanics in preparation for an easier, safer birth. During the newborn and infant stages: 1. Bond with your baby as much as possible. You will need your sleep, so rest when you can. But be sure to hold and talk to your infant as often as possible. Co-sleeping is an option many parents are adopting to ensure continued contact with their babies. 2. Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to not only provide optimal nutrition, but to ensure there is a good amount of bonding time between mother and child. While breastfeeding, keep up your excellent dietary habits of 6 to 9 servings of colorful, antioxidant-rich veggies and fruit, 80 to 100 grams of high-quality protein sources (divided into four or five 2-ounce servings) and plenty (6 to 8 glasses) of filtered water per day. 3. Wear your baby as often as possible, utilizing various baby carriers. Having you baby held close allows them comfort, emotional ease and, very importantly, constant motion. These factors all strengthen and enhance neurological development in your baby. 4. Because birth is strenuous on both the mother and baby, you should both be checked by a qualified chiropractor shortly after birth. Spinal alignment is essential for your healthy recovery
pathways | issue 26
and continued stamina. Your baby’s cranial and spinal development will affect her nerve system function for the rest of her life. Early care supports strong nerve and immune system function. 5. Consume extra fiber to ensure a good bowel movement each day. 6. Purchase an organic crib and or bed mattress. Be aware of bedding and clothing treated with flame retardants, as they contain high levels of antimony and other toxic substances. 7. Continue taking multivitamin and fish-oil supplements with extra vitamin D if your blood work shows a deficiency. 8. Unless you are positive for hepatitis B, there is no need for your newborn to receive the hep B vaccine in the nursery or within the first few months of life. 9. I would suggest you avoid all vaccines until the child is older, and then make an informed decision about each one based on its potential affects to your child’s immune, digestive and neurological systems. This issue of Pathways has an outstanding article on informed choice by Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder of National Vaccine Information Center. [See page 52.] 10. To minimize the possibility that your child will develop food allergies, postpone the introduction of solids until at least 6 months. When it is time to introduce solids, only use organic vegetables. Steam them and purée them in a blender. You can make batches of these and freeze them in ice cube trays. Introduce each new food no sooner than 4 days apart to make sure there is no reaction. After a few weeks, you can begin
© Aurimas Mikalauskas
holistic practices that offer safer, more natural options to achieve health and well-being.
I have heard several respected pediatricians say that a child’s immune system can handle hundreds of vaccines in one day. Honestly, what are these people thinking?
introducing fruits. Grains should not be introduced until the baby has teeth. Before teeth appear, babies do not have the digestive enzyme to assimilate grains. If you have a history of eczema, food allergies, celiac or autism, avoid dairy, soy and gluten grains (such as wheat, barley, oats, rye and Kamut). 11. Continue breastfeeding for at least one year (preferably two). A child’s own immune system does not kick in until they are about 18 months of age, and your breastmilk offers the best immune system support available. Contact your local La Leche League for support and knowledge before and during the breastfeeding period.
Regarding Vaccines Almost every article about autism and vaccines printed in the mainstream media states that all studies have shown there is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism. This is simply not true. There is good science pointing to a connection, including studies published in Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry and The New England Journal of Medicine. More important, there are thousands of parents of sick children who can tell you they had a normal child until he or she received several vaccines in one day, or that their child was vaccinated despite being ill. More research needs to be done, but these accounts by intelligent, observant parents cannot be discounted. To me, these reports are of equal or greater importance to any scientific study. Parents are choosing which vaccines to give after careful consideration of their child’s history and genetic background. If a child was born prematurely, for instance, or has had recurrent ear infections, or if the parents have a history of autoimmune disorders or allergies—these are all indicators that the infant or toddler may not respond well to a vaccine (and certainly not when several are given at one time). I’d like to suggest discussing all of this with your pediatrician, but, unfortunately, most would not agree to postpone, spread out, or avoid vaccines based on a family history or current illness. As a matter of fact, I have heard several respected pediatricians say that a child’s immune system
can handle hundreds of vaccines in one day. Honestly, what are these people thinking? And where are the studies proving their theory? They don’t exist! If you do decide to give a vaccine, make sure your child has not been ill recently, or is not coming down with something. You also shouldn’t give a vaccine if the child is (or recently was) taking antibiotics. Ask for single-dose vials of the vaccines, and give them one at a time. There are no long-term studies showing that giving multiple vaccines at once is a safe practice. I also suggest, prior to vaccinating, that you prime your child’s immune system with immune-protective nutrients. Give 250 mg of vitamin C, 2 or 3 echinacea drops and 1/2 teaspoon cod-liver oil each day for a few days, before and after the vaccine. For more information, please download the pdf “A Safer Way to Vaccinate,” at sokhop.com/pdf/a_safer_way_to_vaccinate.pdf. If you decide not to vaccinate, know you are among a growing group of parents who are shifting their paradigm of health from a fear-based, disease model to a vitalistic, trust-based wellness model. Although you may sometimes feel isolated, there are many parents making this shift, and support and updated information are available. On the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (icpa4kids.org) and Holistic Pediatric Association (hpakids.org) websites, you can find listings of providers who have have committed their practices to be a resource for vitalistic family wellness options. There you can find information, support and holistic care congruent with your choices. We don’t have all the answers. No one does. But we should consider the research that has already be done, and the stories of improvement and recovery told by parents who have already traveled this difficult path. Let’s apply common-sense precautionary principles as we prepare for and enter motherhood. If we wait for all of the research to be conclusive, or for public health policy makers to issue new edicts and catch up to what many smart and observant parents, researchers and physicians already know, how many more children will be unnecessarily affected by autism? The time to prevent autism is now.
Maureen McDonnell has been a registered nurse for 33 years in the fields of childbirth education, clinical nutrition, labor and delivery, newborn nursery and more. Since the late 1970s, she has been a vocal advocate and promoter of whole foods, green living and preventative health measures as the most logical and cost-effective methods for minimizing complications associated with pregnancy and birth and reducing chronic illnesses in children. From 1998 to 2008, Maureen coordinated the Defeat Autism Now! conferences. In 2008, she cofounded Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet (sokhop.com), and established the blog Raising Healthy Kids Naturally. Visit her online at RaisingHealthyKidsNaturally.blogspot.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
wellness l i f e st y l e
Scientists are looking into epigenetics, a promising new way to break free of our genetic heritage
The DNA Overlay
What Are Epigenetics? The root epi means “on top of.” Epigenetics are the biological mechanisms that lie overtop of our genomes. They are responsible for activating or deactivating different characteristics or expressions of our genes, without changing the actual DNA structure. In other words, they determine which genetic characteristics will—or won’t—develop, and to what degree. Take, for example, a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly. It is still the same species, with the same DNA. The outward expression of that DNA, however, changes over time, undergoing a metamorphosis into a beautiful expression of life. Epigenetics are known to be affected by exposure to toxins and synthetic compounds, environment, nutrients, behavior, and physical, chemical and emotional stress. The exposure triggers a chemical change in the body or brain, which leads to a release of a group of molecules, called methyl groups. The addition (or a loss) of a methyl group changes the direction of gene expression. It is thought that most of these changes, which set the stage for an adult’s susceptibility to diseases and behavioral attitudes, occur either during embryonic and fetal development, or shortly after birth. These early epigenetic changes can lie dormant for years, and result in cancer or various other diseases later in life. Or, they can express themselves early in life as neurodevelopmental disorders.
pathways | issue 26
Good News, Bad News Bad news first: Epigenetic changes can be passed from generation to generation. This could explain the ever-increasing rates of many disorders and diseases in the United States today. It is thought that in the U.S., one out of six children has some form of neurodevelopmental disorder or delay, such as a learning disorder, hyperactivity or spectrum autism. Diabetes rates are said to be climbing to 11.3 percent of American adults, or about 26 million Americans. If current trends continue, 15 percent of American adults will be living with diabetes by the end of 2015. Cancer, leukemia and other such diseases are also on the rise. Now the good news: Scientists believe that the methylation process responsible for these epigenetic changes is reversible. Unlike a permanent defect in the gene itself, these epigenetic changes can be undone through various means, changing our gene expression—at least to a degree that will benefit our mental, physical and emotional health. Not only can we change our own gene expression, but we can start to turn the tide for future generations by not handing down our negative epigenetic changes. The science of epigenetics is helping to bring together the beliefs of Western and holistic medicine. It is helping many to understand the mind, body and spirit of healing. In order to slow the increase in diseases and disorders, we must each look at different factors in our own lives. By taking responsibility for our own health and well-being, we can protect future generations, as well. Key Factors 1. Environmental exposures to toxins, chemicals, and pesticides are known agents of epigenetic changes leading to neurological disorders and chronic illnesses. In 2004, researchers analyzed umbilical cord blood samples from 10 neonates, all born in U.S. hospitals in August and September of that year. Of the more than 400 chemicals tested for, 287 were detected in umbilical cord blood. Of these chemicals, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain or nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animals. The researchers believed that had they been able to
© Anja Hild / istockphoto.com
t is often said that you are what you eat. That’s true, to a point, but you are so much more than that! You are also what your mother ate, and possibly what your grandparents ate. You are your environment. You are how you were nurtured and loved, and you are where you live. You are the way you think. The you that you become is regulated by your epigenetics. Science now tells us that epigenetics play a key role in everything about us, from the way that we handle stress, to the chronic illnesses we get, including diabetes and neurodevelopmental disorders. No longer can we conclude that we’re trapped within the confines of our genetics. Through epigenetics, we have the ability to control or regulate how our genes express themselves.
By Monika Buerger, D.C.
test for a broader array of chemicals, they would almost certainly have detected far more than 287. Scientists now refer to the presence of such toxins in the newborn as “body burden.” What to do? Start by identifying and minimizing any potential exposures. This may be easier said than done, but do your best. Secondly, consult with a reputable healthcare practitioner, such as a naturopath, homeopath, chiropractor or medical doctor who understands and works with safe detoxification methods for you and your family. For those considering becoming pregnant, this is an important step to take prior to conception. However, never undergo a detoxification process during pregnancy. 2. Diet and nutrition are also big factors when it comes to epigenetics. In today’s world, this is one of the easiest factors to identify, yet one of the most difficult factors to change. Because of our fast-paced society, many of us rely on fast food, boxed food or canned foods as our primary source of fuel. Unfortunately, these foods are empty of the good nutrients that our bodies and cells need, and they often contain harmful additives or toxins. What to do? Start by eating as many fresh or “live” organic foods as possible. (Live organic food is organic food in its natural state, without undergoing cooking, which can destroy some of the vitality of food.) Challenge yourself to take one day a week and eat nothing but live organic food for the entire day. Of course, if you have a family, the same rule applies. Then slowly start to introduce more fresh organic foods and meals throughout the week. If you are able, start growing your own fruits and vegetables, or join a local organic co-op. Supplement your diet with a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and phytonutrients, and consult a healthcare practitioner who can help you and your family with other proper nutritional supplements. To understand what is in some of your food, go to whatsonmyfood .org or foodnews.org. 3. Stress to the body can either be chemical, physical or emotional. Chemical stress is the result of environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. All can occur during fetal development. Physical stress is generally the result of injury or trauma. These can either be macro injuries (such as a broken leg or sprained ankle) or micro/repetitive injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome). The physical stress a developing fetus is exposed to in utero and during the birthing process is often overlooked. The stress on a developing child’s spine and nervous system must always be taken into consideration. It is imperative that a mother’s pelvis be in optimal alignment to allow for proper fetal movement and positioning and to prevent the possible need for a cesarean
section delivery. Emotional stress can arise from many factors. For example, maternal care has long been known to affect behavioral outcomes of children. In one study using rats, it was found that rats not properly licked by their mother (a form of nurturing) produced more stress hormones as adults. As humans, we also all need emotional nurturing and healing. What to do? Avoid chemical stressors to the body, especially prior to and during pregnancy. Exercise and avoid physical stressors within your control, and consult a family-wellness chiropractor to ensure proper spine and nervous system function. For those considering becoming pregnant, seek chiropractic care prior to and during pregnancy for optimal fetal development and have your newborn checked by a family wellness chiropractor. Finally, learn ways to deal with the “emotional backpack” we all carry around. When we carry our emotional wounds with us, it only weighs us down on our journey. Some suggestions to handle life’s stressors include yoga, meditation, Reiki and massage therapy. Outlook Affects Outcome A positive mental attitude goes a long way in changing the tide of epigenetic insults. The body and mind are twins, and should not be separated in regard to healing. To paraphrase Napoleon Hill, “What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.” From a spiritual perspective, epigenetics supports the belief that disorders and diseases caused by the mind can be fixed by the mind. In other words, most of our thoughts and beliefs are stored in our subconscious mind. We come preprogrammed into this world, with thoughts and beliefs of our parents, and their parents, and so on. From there, we are granted various societal thoughts and beliefs, many of which are negative and harmful to our body. However, if we can become conscious about our subconscious, we can feed our mind positive thoughts and images, and change our epigenetic destiny. No more can we use the excuse that our genetics determine our fate in life. It is all in our mind…and in our epigenetics! Monika Buerger, D.C., has been in full-time chiropractic practice since 1992, and has developed a highly successful and comprehensive treatment program for working with individuals diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders. She teaches about neurodevelopmental disorders and functional neurology and is a contributing author to the textbook Pediatric Chiropractic. Her office is located in Ammon, Idaho; visit her online at eaglecanyonwellness.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
Which Organic Label Should You Trust? Many “health” experts continue to argue that there is little difference between organic and conventionally raised produce, but the scientific evidence—and common sense—says otherwise. By Joseph Mercola, D.O.
ood grown in healthier soil, with natural fertilizers and no chemicals, is, quite simply, more nutritious. As an added boon, it won’t load you up with dangerous toxins that can destroy your health. A 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, for example, found that organic foods are better for fighting cancer. And in 2005, scientists found that, compared to rats that ate conventional diets, organically fed rats experienced various health benefits. Rats that ate organic or minimally fertilized diets had: • Improved immune systems • Better sleeping habits • Less weight and were slimmer than rats fed other diets • Higher vitamin E content in their blood (for organically fed rats) But some of the most compelling evidence favoring organic food comes from a $25 million study funded by the European Union—the largest study of its kind to date. The researchers obtained their results after growing fruit and vegetables, and
Wal-Mart, for instance, is now the largest organic retailer in the United States. According to the Organic Consumers Association, the mega-store is: • Selling organic milk that comes from intensive confinement, factory-farm dairies • Importing cheap organic foods and ingredients from China and Brazil, and • Posting signs in its stores that mislead people into believing that non-organic items are actually organic. Organic food now represents a $16-billion business, with sales growing by as much as 20 percent each year. Unfortunately, the quality and meaning of the organic label is undergoing an equally fast and exponential decline. The sad fact is, you are being ripped off by much of the organic food you are buying. One of the biggest rip-offs, in my opinion, is organic milk. Milk is not something I recommend that anyone drink unless it is in raw form. Organic milk is not raw milk; it is still pasteurized,
Organic food now represents a $16-billion business, with sales growing by as much as 20 percent each year. Unfortunately, the quality and meaning of the organic label is undergoing an equally fast and exponential decline. raising cattle, on adjacent organic and non-organic sites. This four-year study, called the Quality Low Input Food project, found that organic food is far more nutritious than ordinary produce, and can help improve your health and longevity. The researchers found that: • Organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants. • Organic produce has higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc. • Milk from organic herds contains up to 90 percent more antioxidants.
© Angela Santiago
The study showed that eating organic foods can help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This study may have considerable impact once it’s officially published, as its findings could overturn government advice—at least in the U.K., where the current official position is that eating organic food is no more than a lifestyle choice. Reading Organic Labels Although the organic label has really only become widely popular in the last several years, it has already been greatly compromised. Consumers need to adopt a “Buyer Beware” approach to shopping, as not all organic labels are truthful or even pertinent. Whereas organic foods were once truly raised naturally, on small farms with great integrity, big business has now stepped in and tainted many of the principles upon which the organic label was founded.
and is associated with all of the same health problems as regular pasteurized milk, regardless of its organic certification. Another major deception is “organic” junk food, such as ice cream, crackers, cookies, pizzas and potato chips. A potato chip is one of the worst foods you can eat, regardless of whether or not the potato is organic. Yet big business is cashing in on people’s desire to “have their cake and eat it too,” so to speak, and deceiving them into believing that they can eat cookies, ice cream and potato chips without feeling guilty because they’re “organic.” Food for Thought With all of the above in mind, here is what you need to know about organic labeling. Of the many different organic labels out there, only one relates directly to foods—the USDA Organic seal. This seal is your best assurance of organic quality. Growers and manufacturers of organic products bearing the USDA seal have to meet the strictest standards of any of the currently available organic labels. The USDA’s National Organic Program, NOP, took effect on October 21, 2002, and regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop harvesting, or handling operation that wants to sell an agricultural product as organically produced. The labeling requirements of the NOP apply to raw, fresh products and processed products that contain organic agricultural ingredients. In order to qualify as organic, a product must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity. Crops must be grown without synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock must have issue 26 | pathways
12 low-pesticide produce items asparagus
• Products labeled simply “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. • The label “made with organic ingredients” can contain anywhere between 70 to 95 percent organic ingredients. • Organic products cannot be irradiated, and are not allowed to contain preservatives or flavor-enhancing chemicals. • Additionally, organic products cannot contain traces of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by the FDA. • The pesticide residue levels in organic foods cannot be higher than five percent of the maximum EPA pesticide tolerance. (For a free downloadable iPhone app on pesticides and produce, visit the Environmental Working Group at ewg.org. For the complete National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances under the USDA organic label, visit ams.usda. gov/AMSv1.0/NOP.) Should everything you buy be organic? Aside from the fact that organic food contains higher levels of vital nutrients, and is naturally lower in residues and compounds that are seriously
Growers and manufacturers of organic products bearing the USDA seal have to meet the strictest standards of any of the currently available organic labels.
detrimental to your health, such as herbicide and pesticide residues. Organic fruits and vegetables are, by definition, grown without the use of harmful chemicals. Aside from that, the use of pesticides and herbicides in conventional farming practices contaminates groundwater, ruins the soil structure and promotes erosion. They’ve also been linked to the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” that threatens pollinating honeybees populations around the world. Eye on Pesticides It is apparent that buying or growing as much organic food as possible is not only best for your health, but for the health of the entire planet. However, certain fruits and vegetables are subjected to far heavier pesticide use than others. With food prices rising, many are looking for ways to buy the healthiest foods possible at the lowest cost. One such way would be to focus on purchasing certain organic items, while settling for others that are conventionally grown. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health, produces the Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce. It is based on the results of nearly 43,000 pesticide tests. Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories in the EWG’s Guide to Pesticides, the following 12 foods had the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown: asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kiwis, mangos, onions, pineapples, sweet corn and sweet peas. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume. Meanwhile, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic: apples, celery, cherries, imported grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. Conventionally grown strawberries, in particular, were found by a 2007 European Union study to be highly toxic due to a poisonous blend of pesticides. But be aware that
© tina aitala / corn: istockphoto.com
access to the outdoors and cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones. The NOP labeling standards are as follows. • Products labeled “100 percent organic” must contain only organically produced materials.
12 high-pesticide produce items apples
sweet bell peppers
© tina aitala / cherries: istockphoto.com
these lists cover fruits and vegetables only. Non-organic meats actually have far higher concentrations of pesticides than all of the fruits and vegetables. And the highest concentration of pesticides is actually in non-organic butter. So, if you can only buy one organic food item, it should be butter. Your next priority should be meats, and once those are addressed, focus on the fruits and vegetables listed above. Bear in mind, also, that locally grown organics are your absolute best bet. Oftentimes, buying locally grown food is your best choice even if it’s grown conventionally, as the environmental impact of shipping organic produce across the globe can cancel out many of its benefits. Organic farming standards are also questionable in many parts of the world. Watch for Genetic Engineering What about genetically-modified (GM) foods? While you may have heard about the most common GM food sources, such as corn, many people are clueless about just how much of your produce is now available in GM varieties. Perhaps even more alarming, how many deliberate GM field trials of new crops are actually going on across the world? A perfect example of the repercussions of this practice can be seen in Hawaii, where non-GM papaya seed supplies are now so seriously contaminated by GM seeds that at least 50 percent of organic seeds test positive for genetic modification! That means you have a greater than 50/50 chance of buying a genetically modified fruit even when buying organic Hawaiian papaya. Although the U.S. does not require GM foods to be labeled, you can still find out whether or not your produce has been genetically engineered by visiting the Institute for Responsible Technology’s site at NonGMOShoppingGuide.com and perusing the long lists of non-GM and GM brands by category. Download a two-page version, order the pocket guide, or even equip your iPhone with the new app ShopNoGMO. Unfortunately, the urban legend that you can differentiate GM produce from conventional
or organic by looking at the PLU codes on the little stickers on fruit or vegetables is just not true. Here are a few other fruits that are low in pesticide residue, and therefore good candidates to purchase as conventionally grown. Double-check, however, to make sure you’re not buying a GM variety. • Avocados. A new GM avocado variety was introduced in 2009 that is immune to “stress” and pests. • Bananas. The first GM banana, with extra genes that increase its levels of provitamin A and iron, was unleashed in Australian field trials last year. At Cornell University, researchers are also working to develop a banana that carries the hepatitis B vaccine. • Pineapples. GM pineapples, designed to produce greater levels of proteins, vitamins and sugars, may already be on the market. An Australian GM pineapple called “Smooth Cayenne” has delayed flowering and herbicide resistance. It also contains the tobacco acetolactate synthase gene (SurB) from Nicotiana tabacum. • Kiwis. The transgenic variety of kiwi fruit is the Actinidia deliciosa from Italy. Remember, if you can’t afford to purchase all organic food, at least aim to buy produce that has a lower toxic load and has not been genetically modified.
Dr. Mercola has the most visited natural health site in the world, Mercola.com, with more than 1.5 million subscribers. He has published seven books, two of which were NY Times bestsellers. He has been featured in national news media health reports, including CNN, NBC’s The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, and on hundreds of national and local TV and radio stations. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
M ndfully Growing Greens from Sprout to Leaf to Smoothie! By Lisa Reagan The sprouts, micro-greens and mature leaves we reverently harvested were proudly presented at our family dinner table, where the prayerful hands that grew them, and the people who knew them, encircled and blessed them. It turns out, mindful growing also leads to mindful eating! of this well-intentioned busyness. Curious, and probably a little burned-out, I decided to cull this sacrosanct and grand process down to the simplest form I could find. I shifted my focus to one type of crop, the ubiquitous one offered on menus around the country as a panacea to our shared epidemic of chronic health ailments: greens. Specifically, Red Russian kale. The idea became to cultivate a “relationship” with this nutrient-dense, raw food favorite that was edible at all nine stages of its life cycle, from sprouts and micro-greens to baby greens and mature plants. Working with just one crop to discover all its possibilities, and to witness those transformations up close, was a fascinating process. It inspired me, my family and my gardening students to slow down and consider the revelations springing forth from a mason jar, seed tray, homemade salad box and outdoor salad patch. In retrospect, I had decided to mindfully grow food. The versatile Red Russian kale is the perfect food to teach us mindful growing. Spoonfuls of its seeds can be scooped into a mason jar, converted into a mini-greenhouse on a kitchen counter with cheesecloth and a rubber band, where they grow the most enzymatically perfect food ever: sprouts. Children will enjoy spying on tiny leaves and shoots bursting from their shells, and can help with daily rinsing. Spouts can be grown from an amazing variety of leafy greens, as well as other vegetables. Most sprout seed today is screened for E. coli, but check your source to be sure. Always purchase organic seed. A handful of seeds sprinkled into compost-rich soil in reclaimed buckets, pots, seed trays or “salad boxes” (made from untreated timber) will grow quickly into the sought-after and expensive “micro-greens” seen in upscale restaurants and farmers markets. A large tray of micro-greens can be selectively thinned
© Lisa Reagan
o, the White House is growing their own organic First Family garden, and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is inspiring a national run on home gardening supplies. Just before following this welcome trend and jumping with abandon onto the family gardening bandwagon, what if we paused long enough to shift the impetus for polishing our hoes from fear of fast food to appreciation for life? Would a mindful approach to growing food ensure our investments weren’t based on fads, but our commitment to sustainable living? Could an intentional, simpler approach to growing our own food reveal insights that would allow us to see the world in our backyards? During the years that I ran a Community Supported Agriculture program, CSA, on my small farm in Virginia, I taught numerous newbies how to plan a family garden to grow a portion of their own food. Many of these “highly motivated” souls were recovering from a first glance at the industrial agriculture origins of the Standard American Diet (SAD) through documentaries like The Future of Food, and were wondering where to begin to grow their own food, as their grandparents did. Again and again, I witnessed the same obstacles to success. The cultural conditioning and industrial paradigm values we all share—production, performance and constant evaluation—consciously or unconsciously imposed the idea of perfection on garden plans and crop yields, ultimately diminishing the joy and wisdom readily found in connecting with the earth. Watching myself and others approach a whole, complex garden plan in a frantic frenzy, with multiple crops and planning times, preparation and storing needs, it became apparent that something was missing, a crucial piece that might be the main point of all
to allow the remaining greens to develop into another expensive delicacy—baby greens! Allowed to grow to its full glory, Red Russian kale in a large salad box or outdoor patch can offer “cut and come again” abundance. Because of its hardiness, kale is an excellent year-round crop that has been known to over-winter well in many parts of the country. We’ve had kale patches last for two and three seasons. Their stalks get woody, but their leaves are still delish (a tip for the lazy farmer or permaculture enthusiast!). Raw food activists know the satisfaction of stuffing handfuls of raw kale into blenders for nutrient-dense smoothies, but as this daily health routine requires a steady supply of kale, don’t hold back when planting your kale crop! If unused plants “go to seed,” you have your next planting on the way. As experienced farmers know, you only need to allow three percent of your entire crop to form seeds to have enough for the next planting of the same size. And finally, spent plants can retire to the compost pile where they form new soil for new plants and help to complete the cycle of life. Well, not really finally. Most of the sprouts, micro-greens and mature leaves we reverently harvested from their various growing mediums were proudly presented at our family dinner table, where the prayerful hands that grew them, and the people who knew them, encircled and blessed them. It turns out, mindful growing also leads to mindful eating! The process of mindfully growing Red Russian kale, in a very practical way, helped to reaffirm our reasons for growing a family garden in the first place: not fear of something outside ourselves, but because we are grateful for our connection to the earth and awed by the natural life cycles that nourish us. Integrating these mindful growing exercises also helped to till up some of the old industrial beliefs like “bigger and complicated is better,” replacing it with “simpler and slower yields wisdom and insight not otherwise obtainable.” We still grow our family garden, but our mindful growing exercises enable us to embody a deeper appreciation and awareness of the life processes taking place all around us, below and above ground, and more importantly, within ourselves. Lisa Reagan is the associate editor for Pathways to Family Wellness. She lives with her family on their small farm in Toano, Virginia. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/ references.html.
How to Grow Sprouts To sprout seeds, use mason jars that have been sterilized in boiling water, but are cool. No fancy sprouting equipment is required. Your seeds will come with instructions that you will need to follow, as each variety of seed will have a different amount to put into the mason jar and a time for completion of sprouting, just a few days. Put seeds in the jar with warm water and allow them to soak overnight. The next day, pour the seeds and water into a strainer. Put rinsed seed back into the jar and cover with cheesecloth, securing it to the jar with a rubber band. Place the jar on its side, and cover with a cloth. Rinse seeds at least three times daily, until the sprouts fill the jar! These days, you can order seeds for sprouting that have been tested for E. Coli. Check to make sure your source is organic, and that the seeds are approved for sprouting.
issue 26 | pathways
chiropractic for life
Truth About Chiropractic
A closer look at a misunderstood philosophy
By Lloyd Fielder, D.C.
am a chiropractor. When I tell people what I do for a living, the most frequent response is that the person I’m speaking to grabs his back and says, “Oh, Doc, I need ya!” As a society, we misunderstand chiropractic. But with your permission, I would like to tell you the truth about it, and what a true gift it is. A great philosopher named Hippocrates once stated, “We are either growing or dying.” Not to be outdone, Confucius stated, “Our lives are like that of an egg, we are either growing or decaying.” Every day, our environment bombards us with chemical, physical and mental stressors. It is the job of our nerve system to detect these stressors, interpret them, and either adapt to them and continue our growth, or shrink from them and stop growing while in a survival or protective mode. As the philosophers said, we are both growing and dying each day—but one process will predominate over the other. One is an upward spiral of growth, leading to fulfillment and ease; the other is a downward spiral of decay, leading to death.
We are both growing and dying each day—but one process will predominate over the other. One is an upward spiral of growth, leading to fulfillment and ease; the other is a downward spiral of decay, leading to death.
Our Bodies’ Innate Intelligence Our bodies have an inborn intelligence, often called innate intelligence. This intelligence runs, regulates, heals and grows the body to its fullest potential, allowing us to reach our God-given purpose in life. There are many things you have to accept in order to understand the full breadth of chiropractic: Either we are on this earth due to the grace of a higher consciousness, or we are simply a random assimilation of organic substance that has evolved over many years, making us nothing more than a higher order of mud. If you have a live person and a dead person side by side, what is the difference? They both have all the same stuff, the same potential for life. In chiropractic understanding, the difference is that the live one possesses an innate intelligence, or life force. Most people think the body is run and regulated by the brain, but let me ask you: What runs the brain? There are those who think genes dictate life, but we know that they turn off and on regularly, even mutating and adapting. So I ask: What turns genes on or off? For a hundred years, chiropractors have been saying that there is a perfect, inborn intelligence inside us that continually gives 100 percent of the information we need to run, regulate, grow, heal and flourish. Ill health, disease and lack of potential arise only from a lack of expression of this intelligence. The Expression of Light or Darkness This lack of expression leads to dis-coordination of the body, or a lack of a body’s ability to comprehend itself in its own environment. That leads to an inability of the body to adapt to outside stressors, which causes a loss of function and a breakdown of tissue—a downward spiral of decay and, ultimately, death.
collaged with images from istockphoto.com © Greg Epperson (climber) / yewkeo (spiral)
If we look at the full expression of this innate intelligence as being the fullest expression of life as light, we can look at the lack of this expression—decay or disease—as darkness. How do you remedy darkness? You can study darkness, examine it, qualify it, be aware of it and focus on it. But there’s only one way to remove darkness: Add light. Chiropractic understands this premise. It doesn’t look to cure disease, address disease or diagnose disease. We understand disease for what it truly is—a lack state, one that arises only in the absence of the fullest expression of life. The Subluxation Process Chiropractic detects and corrects interference with the expression of this intelligence in relation to the spine. Our nerve system is what conducts the expression of this innate intelligence. Since our spinal cords are surrounded and protected by vertebrae, chiropractors became synonymous with backs. In truth, chiropractic deals with the innate intelligence and the nerve system. A chiropractor is not a doctor of the spine, especially not spinal disorders, decay or disease. As a chiropractor, the only conclusion that I can make with any degree of certainty is that your body is better off with a clear nerve system than one with interference. Chiropractors are the only practitioners with the philosophy and the technique to find that interference—called subluxation—and to assist in correcting it. Allopathic practitioners (i.e. mainstream medical doctors) usually regard us as “not whole,” and needing something outside ourselves to heal or grow. They assume that it takes an outside intelligence to look at us and tell us what we need, be it ultrasound, electrical stimulation, pharmaceuticals, supplements or something else. We need to go back to our original thought process and ask: If a practitioner directs the energy where he thinks it needs to go, how does that honor an individual’s innate intelligence? Doesn’t innate intelligence know what is needed where, and how much? How does applying ultrasound to the mid-back honor that process? In our society, sitting for five minutes in a drive-through can seem like an eternity. Commercials bombard us five to seven times in three minutes, and we can see problems get resolved in three eight-minute segments on TV. It can be challenging to shift our consciousness from that fast-paced lifestyle to comprehend that all of life, including healing, is a process, and that being under care is also a lifetime process. Ask yourself: If you start to exercise because it’s good for you, when do you get to a point when you can stop? What about brushing your teeth, or eating vegetables and other healthy foods? You can always choose to stop doing those things, but that’s not congruent with the fullest expression of your life’s potential. The Effects of Interference So chiropractic care is a process that gives its greatest rewards over a lifetime. It starts with your getting checked to see how much the subluxation process is interfering with your nerve system and your life. We usually think we feel fine, but symptoms are the last thing to show up in a process, and therefore the worst
possible way to judge your life’s expression. We all know someone, or have heard of someone, who has dropped dead from a heart attack without warning. Or perhaps you know someone who got a routine check-up and discovered they had a 99 percent blockage in their coronary arteries and needed immediate open-heart surgery. There might have been no outward signs, yet we know that cardiovascular disease is a process that occurs over decades. Similarly, diabetes is said to be at epidemic proportions, mostly due to there being no obvious signs until the process has gone rampant for years. Even a smaller systemic problem, such as tooth decay, occurs for years before you feel any pain or sensitivity. These things are all just examples of processes that are a function of our fundamental disconnect with the understanding of life and health. We are out of touch with ourselves. To live, it is not enough just not to die, or to be alive with no symptoms and never need surgery. I don’t believe that’s why God put us here on this planet. Flourish and Grow I believe we all have a purpose. We are all meant to flourish, grow and reach our optimum potential. You see, you cannot be in fear and love at the same time; you cannot be in survival mode and grow at the same time. I know we are meant to live in love and growth, and honor the gift of grace, always. To me, it is impossible to accomplish this with a nerve system that is compromised—one that disconnects the creator from the creation and allows a little less life in us each and every day. So, from a person who has searched as a chiropractor for the meaning of our profession for the last 10 years—a person who has seen thousands of patients, read hundreds of books and listened to dozens of tapes and lecturers—please get checked. Get checked for the subluxation process. Get your families checked, and your friends, your loved ones and anyone you care about. Even mention it to the people you don’t care about, as maybe it’s the subluxation process that’s preventing them from their fullest expression of love and happiness. You never know: With a clear nerve system, anything becomes possible.
Lloyd Fielder, D.C., completed his undergraduate studies at the State University of New York at Albany and received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree at the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois. He also has bachelor of science degrees in biology and human biology. He has owned and operated the Schaumburg Chiropractic Wellness Center in Schaumburg, Illinois, for the last seven years, transforming the practice into one that is focused on the innate ability of each person to achieve and express his or her full health potential. Visit him online at schaumburg chiropractor.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
for Pregnancy By Anna Stewart, B.A., C.M.T., C.H.T.
pathways | issue 26
regnant women all over the world walk throughout their pregnancies. Most of the time it’s to get from one place to another, but occasionally, a woman slows her pace and slows her mind. She walks with her breath, which she shares with her baby. A breath walk is a walking meditation, much like those that monks practice. It can be done anywhere, but a quiet place with minimal distraction is best. Do not carry anything in your hands—they need to swing freely. Wear a backpack over both shoulders if you need to carry water or a sweater. To begin, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Let your weight spread evenly across the heels and balls of your feet. Relax your jaw and shoulders. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, in a four-part rhythm: 1. Inhale slowly for a count of four. 2. Hold your breath for a count of four. 3. Slowly release your breath for a count of eight. 4. Pause again for a count of four. Repeat this four times. Then, on your fifth inhalation, open your eyes while stepping forward. Pause, then take your next step as you exhale. Then, pause again. Now repeat this four times. You might find it difficult to exhale to the count of eight, particularly late in pregnancy, when lung capacity is inhibited. If so, start by exhaling to a count of four, and slowly work your way up. You’ll be surprised at how much your deep breathing will improve with some practice. If you enjoy the slow pace, keep walking that way. Otherwise, increase your speed by breathing normally and walking in rhythm to your breath. Try both of these paces:
Play with the length of your step. Let your arms hang and swing in response to your body’s movements. Moving meditations require a different way of being in your body. By practicing how to keep your upper body and jaw relaxed while maintaining awareness of your breath and walking in rhythm, you are practicing for labor and beyond. Most women can talk and move comfortably through their early contractions. When in labor, do a breath walk with your partner around the block. You could also use your breath to move to music (either your own inner choir, or a piece you’ve practiced moving to already). By learning how to stay present to your breath while doing something else, you are learning to mindfully multitask, a skill that will serve you well as you care for a newborn. Enjoy the walk.
© travis manley / istockphoto.com
swirls: © dra_schwartz
1. Take one step for each inhale, and one step for each exhale. 2. Take four steps (two per foot) with each inhale, then four steps with each exhale.
Anna Stewart, B.A., C.M.T., C.H.T., is mother to three young children, one with special needs. In her classes, workshops and services, she weaves her expertise as a professional writer, creative artist and student of rhythm dance. Her intention is to provide a safe environment for women to explore their personal experiences and feelings as mothers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
image created with original photos by Tina Aitala and Shannon Long
Birth from fear to faith Giving birth in a culture that continually depicts labor as painful and dangerous is a feat in itself these days. Everywhere we look, we’re shown images of women screaming while giving birth, and masked doctors heroically saving the day. TV medical dramas abound with women being rushed into operating rooms for emergency C-sections, and sitcoms are notorious for showing laboring women bitching at their guilt-ridden husbands for making them endure the “trials of labor.” Rarely is birth depicted as a pleasurable experience. No wonder most women fear it. By Laura Shanley
issue 26 | pathways
ome women, in fact, are so afraid of birth that they literally can’t conceive. I spoke with a doctor recently who told me that she was infertile. “My husband and I have had numerous tests and there is absolutely nothing wrong with us physically,” she said, “but I’ve always been terrified of giving birth. I’ve known since I was a child that I was never going to give birth. Do you think my fear has actually kept me from conceiving?” I’ve spoken with other women who have been able to conceive but unable to give birth vaginally. They, too, have wondered what role fear played in their experiences. Still others have given birth vaginally, but endured a great deal of pain. One woman said to me, “My sisters and I were all C-section babies. For me, it was a triumph just to give birth vaginally. Maybe next time I’ll be able to eliminate the pain.” So, as much as some women may criticize me for saying that one way of giving birth is more desirable than another, or that there are goals to strive for in birth, I truly believe there are. And the goal I’ve chosen to strive for is a painless, drug-free, medically unassisted home birth. Red flags go up—even among unassisted birthers—when I talk about painless birth. Most women have pain in labor and they’re defensive if I say that birth doesn’t have to hurt. Some women feel that I’m “blaming” them for their pain, but that certainly isn’t my intention. Given the culture that most of us have been raised in, pain, unfortunately, is actually to be expected in most cases. However, I don’t see birth as inherently painful, and I know there will come a time when labor will be enjoyed rather than endured. But before that can occur, there must be a change in the consciousness of humanity, and ultimately that change has to start with the individual. If we truly wish to experience a painless birth, it helps to know a little about the nature of pain, including its function and cause. Pain is a sign telling us that something is wrong. It doesn’t happen
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Fear is the source of pain in labor. No other natural bodily function is painful, and childbirth should not be the exception. indiscriminately. It only occurs when we’re doing something we shouldn’t be doing. The pain is a message telling us to stop. In the case of a laboring woman, it is obviously not a message to stop labor. What then, could the pain be telling us? According to Grantly Dick-Read, author of Childbirth Without Fear, fear is the source of pain in labor. No other natural bodily function is painful, he writes, and childbirth should not be the exception. When a person is afraid, messages are sent to the body telling it there is a danger out there that must either be fought or avoided. Blood and oxygen are instantly sent into the muscle structure, enabling the frightened person to strike out or run. But the extra blood and oxygen must come from somewhere, so the body drains it from organs it considers nonessential for “flight or fight.” This is why people turn white when they’re afraid. The body knows that the arms and legs need that blood and oxygen more than the face does. Unfortunately, the body considers the uterus a nonessential organ when it comes to flight or fight. According to Dick-Read, the uterus of a frightened woman in labor is literally white. It doesn’t have the fuel it needs to function the way it was designed to, nor can waste products be properly carried away. Consequently, there is pain. To eliminate the pain, we must eliminate the fear. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Fear runs deep in our culture, and many of us could spend a lifetime (or two) purging ourselves of the fear we’ve developed. Even the most “enlightened” people have had childhoods that weren’t perfect. And even a child raised by fearless parents still has to live in a culture that is
“Women have the inner power and the inner knowledge of giving birth. There is a parallel of constantly emphasizing the “dangers” of being alive. I’m reminded of a statement made by Eric Sevareid. “The biggest big business in America,” he said “is not steel, automobiles or television. It is the manufacture, refinement and distribution of anxiety.”
sexuality and giving birth. Women who are giving birth, trust yourselves. Trust your inner power. Trust your ability to give life. This is something absolutely sacred that is inside all women in the world.”
Faith is understanding that the consciousness
– Ricardo Jones, M.D.
that created us does not want us to suffer in birth or in life. Faith is trusting that our bodies were
“Can we create a world where all needs are met with dignity and individual culture is retained; where
designed to give birth safely and painlessly.
a baby anywhere in the world is born nonviolently
And yet, eliminating fear is not impossible, for there is something much more powerful than the most all-consuming fear: faith. Faith is believing that all is well. Faith is knowing that we’re not alone in the universe. Faith is understanding that the consciousness that created us does not want us to suffer in birth or in life. Faith is trusting that our bodies were designed to give birth safely and painlessly. Faith is accepting the fact that we are the creators of our lives and our births. Faith is not the opposite of reason. Having faith does not mean that we sit back and do nothing during our pregnancy. When we have faith, we understand the psychological origins of the majority of pain and problems most women encounter in labor, and we do our best to face and conquer our fears. We don’t run to specialists for blood work or urine tests or vitamins, for we know that with good food (neither too much, nor too little), fresh air, exercise and the proper beliefs, our babies will thrive. Having faith is the first step toward eliminating the cycle of fear, tension and pain that most women experience in labor. Faith leads to relaxation, and relaxation leads to pleasure. There is no doubt that the energy of birth is powerful. But its power can be like the wind that scatters the seeds of the willow tree, or a sunrise that bathes the sky in a beautiful yellow light. This is my vision of birth. Someday, I know the rest of the world will share it with me.
and according to the instincts of its mother; where people progress in directions of full potential and spirit is not sacrificed; where women no longer obey, submit and apologize for who they are?” – Sister MorningStar
“Let us initiate our daughters into the beauty and mystery of being strong and confident women who claim their right to give birth and raise their children with dignity, power, love, and joy.” – Barbara Harper
“The knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions lies deep within each woman. Successful childbirth depends on the acceptance of the process.” – Suzanne Arms
“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that Laura Shanley is a writer, speaker, birth consultant and author of the book, Unassisted Childbirth. She lives with her daughter, Joy, and dog, Molly, in Boulder, Colorado, where she maintains the website unassistedchildbirth.com. Laura also writes periodically about the joys, trials and tribulations of being an unassisted birth activist on her blog, laurashanley.blogspot.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.
birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm
“Birth is as safe as life gets.” – Harriette Hartigan
issue 26 | pathways
the outer womb
Understanding Your Baby’s Cries By Pinky McKay, IBCLC
ne of the inevitable realizations experienced by new parents is that there are times when your baby will cry, and be seemingly inconsolable. This often leaves you, the parent, feeling inadequate, frustrated or as though you’ve done something wrong. But the first rule of the crying game is “don’t blame yourself.” It’s not your fault, or anybody’s, that your baby cries—and cries! According to a University of London study, there is no correlation between persistent crying and a stressful environment, inadequate parenting, obstetric complications, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, birth order or sex. Crying is your baby’s first language. It’s pretty much the only way an infant can express feelings like discomfort, hunger, exhaustion and loneliness. By understanding your baby’s cries, you will find that you can comfort your baby more often, and more easily, than you might have initially thought. Crying is also the only way your baby can release pent-up stress. He might be saying, “I don’t feel right; please help me.” As your baby grows, he will learn other ways to communicate—through facial expressions, body language and, eventually, by telling you how he feels and what he needs. For now, though, here are some tips to help you soothe the sobs.
Offer Womb Service Ease the transition from womb to room by snuggling your baby against your bare skin, letting him feel your heartbeat. In the early weeks, protect your little one’s senses by avoiding sudden movements, changes in temperature, loud noises, bright lights and excessive handling by “strangers.” Feed Him Well Tiny tummies don’t hold enough food to go for long between feedings—day or night. If you are breastfeeding, remember, the more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce. He needs to suck long enough to get the more satisfying hind-
© Marina Dyakonova / istockphoto.com
Learn Your Baby’s Language By learning your baby’s pre-cry signals—wriggling, anxious facial expressions, little grimaces, flailing arms, “rooting” at the breast, changes in breathing and little noises that say, “I am working up to a cry,” you will be able to see when he is bored, frightened, hungry, tired or overwhelmed. By responding accordingly, you may be able to avert full-blown crying.
milk, which is thicker, richer and higher in calories. The best way to do this is to watch your baby, not the clock. Allow him to decide when he is finished at the first breast before you switch sides. Respond Quickly If you leave your baby to cry, she will become more upset as her crying picks up momentum. Soon she won’t even know why she was crying in the first place, and she will be much harder to soothe. If you are breastfeeding, it is particularly important to respond quickly to hunger cues. A baby who has worked up to a full-blown cry will have a less efficient latch, or she may only nurse for a short time before she falls asleep from exhaustion. Wear Your Baby Studies have shown that carrying your baby may minimize crying. Having her in a sling against your own warm body will reduce your baby’s stress levels and help relieve symptoms of colic and reflux. Baby-wearing is also reputed to help babies adapt more quickly to a day/night sleep cycle. As an added bonus, you’ll have both hands free!
Kick Butt Studies show that the risk of colic is increased whenever a parent smokes. Not only does smoking increase the risk of SIDS in the short term (and countless other diseases in the long term), it also inhibits prolactin, the hormone that aids relaxation and milk flow. So be sure to quit. If you (or anyone in your house) must smoke, smoke outside, far away from your baby. Consider Food Intolerance If you are breastfeeding, don’t discount the possibility that crying spells can be related to your diet. Keep note of your baby’s crying episodes and what you have eaten. If there appears to be a link, eliminate the suspected food for at least a week. Common culprits are caffeine, dairy, citrus, chocolate and peanuts. Offer a Gentle Touch With warm hands and warm oil, massage your baby when she is calm, so she associates your gentle touch with relaxation. Tummy massage can aid in digestion and help ease constipation. Massage in a clockwise direction—the direction that food travels. If your baby has some gassy discomfort, alternate massaging her tummy with bending her knees.
Try the “Colic Carry” If your baby is restless, don’t hold her in a cradle (feeding) position. There are various other positions for holding and carrying your baby which she might find soothing: • Lay your baby face-down across your arm, her cheek at your elbow.
Beat the Blues If your baby has a regular fussy time or suffers from colic, try to preempt the wails with a combination of massage and a relaxation bath about an hour before her usual crying time.
• Carry her with her backbone against you, with her knees pulled up toward her stomach.
Sing Soothing Sounds Sing a lullaby, incorporating your baby’s name, or play calming classical music.
• Lay your baby tummy-down across your knees, perhaps with a warm water bottle on your lap. • Hold your baby up against your shoulder and walk around, or gently rock her back and forth. Offer Your Finger Sucking is comforting to babies and helps them relax. However, the different sucking action between breast and a pacifier could cause “nipple confusion” in the early weeks, so offer a clean finger to suck on if it is inconvenient to offer a breast, or if your baby isn’t hungry. Wrap Her Up Primitive survival reflexes—such as the startle reflex, which produces spontaneous, jerky movements, even in sleep—can be upsetting to your baby. Provide a sense of security by swaddling your baby—wrapping her firmly in a blanket. Soak Away the Sobs A bath will often soothe a tense, crying baby. Try a deep, warm relaxation bath. If your baby is over three months, you can add a few drops of lavender or chamomile oil for their added calming effects.
Take Care of Yourself Eat well, especially at breakfast, to maintain your energy level. Take a high-quality multivitamin, exercise to stimulate your endorphins, and snuggle up with your baby during the afternoon. A little siesta can have a marked effect on your milk supply as well as your stamina, and may help ease your baby’s (and your own) stress levels.
Pinky McKay is an international board certified lactation consultant, infant massage instructor, mother of five and the author of Parenting by Heart, 100 Ways to Calm the Crying, Sleeping Like a Baby, Toddler Tactics and her baby massage DVD, Gentle Beginnings. Based in Melbourne, Pinky regularly holds workshops and is available for mothers groups and conferences. Her website is pinkymckay.com.au. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness .org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
THE SCIENCE OF
By Patrick M. Houser
© ©Pascal istockphoto.com Genest / istockphoto.com / xxxx
The transition to fatherhood is one of the most significant and challenging experiences a man will ever face. In order to have a satisfying and successful experience, fathers must feel safe, supported and confident. To optimize the possibilities for our families, we need to provide appropriate educational, physical and emotional support for father love.
ong gone are the days when a father paced back and forth in a smoky hospital waiting room while his wife gave birth elsewhere, in a room full of strangers. This was the archetype during the mid-twentieth century. Fathers are now more in alliance with the creative process of pregnancy and birth, and therefore, mothers and babies. They have also taken up the mantle of being nurturers over the last several decades, and have increased their participation in the family. This trend is producing astonishing results. Today, nearly 90 percent of fathers are present at the birth of their children. They are also caretaking their children with increasing frequency. In one-third of households with preschool children at home, if a parent is the caretaker, it is the father.
Fathers are beginning to discover, and put into action, additional facets of their instinctive nature—paternal love. In 1975, fathers spent an average of 15 minutes per day with their children. By 1995, it was two hours. Can it be a coincidence that this timing correlates perfectly with fathers entering the birthing room and becoming lovingly involved in their children’s arrival? Fathers are beginning to discover, and put into action, additional facets of their instinctive nature—paternal love. Science can shed some light on this phenomenon. Research shows that a father’s hormonal activity is altered during his mate’s pregnancy, even more so if he is present at the birth. Hormones are chemicals secreted by endocrine glands that regulate the function of specific tissues and organs. They’re essentially chemical messengers that transport signals from one cell to another. In a way, they tell us what to do and how to act.
Prolactin, vasopressin and oxytocin are among the hormones found at higher levels in men around the time of their child’s birth. Increased production of prolactin is known to promote bonding, attachment and caring. Raised vasopressin levels cause a man to want to protect his family and be at home rather than on the prowl in search of a mate. Vasopressin is also known as the monogamy hormone; it fosters commitment. Also, if a father is intimate with his child, especially through skin-to-skin contact, his oxytocin production increases. Elevated oxytocin in a father is recognized as a key component in jump-starting and maintaining his nurturing instincts. Oxytocin is also produced in men and women during loving contact, and because of this has been named “the hormone of love” by experts in the field, including Dr. Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger and Dr. Sarah Buckley. It is also a necessary hormone for a mother’s body to produce in order to ensure a successful pregnancy, labor and birth. Since couples are already in the habit of producing oxytocin during intimacy, they can contribute this dimension of their relationship to the mother’s labor. Consequently, father love, added as an ingredient in the scientific recipe of mother’s labor, can be a useful enhancement for birth. This increased hormonal activity enhances that bonding, promoting attachment, protection, love, loyalty, commitment and caring in a new father. Science shows us that a father with close, strong, intimate contact with mother and child during pregnancy, birth and early infancy will be supported by Mother Nature during his early engagement in the family. Fathers are acquiring tenderness and a sense of belonging, which establishes a more durable foundation for a lifelong loving relationship between father and child. Our society as a whole is benefiting as a result of this transformation. An added bonus of this new father/child relationship is that the life expectancy of the family is enhanced. A father who is attached and committed to his children (remember the science) is more likely to stay with the family. Science is on our side, and nature and nurture are working in harmony. When men’s nurturing instincts and hormones are awakened, we are destined for a future that is different from our past. As a culture, we have the responsibility to see to it that our fathers and children have the opportunity to fulfil their potential together. Children have led fathers through the doorway of tenderness, and we have all entered a new era.
Patrick M. Houser is the author of the Fathers-To-Be Handbook, a road map for the transition to fatherhood. He is a freelance writer, a keynote speaker and a parenting and childbirth professional educator. Visit him online at FathersToBe.org. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.
in the Family
t its core, chiropractic—which emphasizes the body’s innate ability to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery—is steeped in vitalism. But although spinal adjustments make up part of the wellness equation, a vitalistic approach to healthcare means that individuals must make conscious choices to support their body’s ability to function at its best. This includes avoiding physical, emotional and chemical stressors that affect nerve system function and impede optimal health. Although adults can understand and follow a vitalistic lifestyle with ease, things get much more complicated once they give birth to their first child. Life as a vitalistic family presents its own challenges, from how to explain the philosophy to a pint-size person to how to respond to a teenager’s rebellion to the lifestyle. Teaching the Basics When talking to young children about living vitalistically, it’s important to keep it simple. “Talk to them about the fact that they heal, and the body heals itself,” explains Dr. David Koch,
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professor of philosophy at Life University and father of one. For example, when they get a cut, does the bandage heal the wound, or would the body heal itself even if Mom or Dad doesn’t cover the scrape? Once they understand that they themselves are doing the healing and not an outside source, you can take it to the next level. Ask them: When you eat an apple, do you just have an apple inside of you, or does it become a part of you? “You have to make real the body’s own conscious power,” Koch says. “A person talking to a child vitalistically is describing the sickness in terms of how the body is striving to heal itself rather than a mechanist, who is describing the sickness as something that is attacking the child’s body. Then children can start to understand that they have the power within them to build themselves out of apples and peanut butter, and heal themselves when they are hurt or cut.” Another principle of vitalism is recognizing that common childhood ailments, such as vomiting or fever, are signs of proper function, not illness. Instead of telling the child that he or she
© Andrey Artyko / istockphoto.com
By Jennifer Maciejewski
on fruits and vegetables, affects the body. “The information that we put in creates a physiological response in the body,” says Dr. Lisa Rubin, director of the Student Success Center at Life University and mother of one. “When you see a negative image, the body will release chemicals based upon a negative viewpoint, and the body then has to figure out how to adapt to that.” In order to fight back against the constant bombardment of negative images from society, many vitalists limit their family’s exposure to media, especially when their children are too young to fully understand and talk about what they’re viewing. For instance, children’s books and toys are carefully selected to ensure that they contain positive messages and images. Kids in vitalistic families often don’t watch television or play video games until they’ve reached middle-school age, and even then the content is scrutinized to make sure that it is age-appropriate. For Rubin’s son, Palmer, video games started becoming a sticking point in their house when he turned 9. “Video games have become such a huge part of kids’ everydayness, and it was emotionally upsetting [for him] that he couldn’t dialogue with other kids and didn’t know who the characters were,” Rubin notes. “That is the biggest challenge: How do you allow your child to be a kid, enjoy themselves and just have fun, and also try to do the best of what you believe is in your philosophy.” Because Rubin believed that keeping the games out of the house was causing her son greater emotional harm than letting
© Andrey Artyko / istockphoto.com
is sick, the vitalistic parent explains that the body is doing exactly what it needs to do in order to make itself well: the vomiting helps the body clean something out of the digestive tract that doesn’t belong, and a fever brings the body’s temperature up high enough to kill off a virus or bacteria. “If our kids had a ‘sick day’ and missed school because of it, we would write their note to the school saying our child was absent ‘because of health reasons,’ not because they were sick,” says Dr. Jeanne Ohm, mother of six. “If the school questioned, it gave us the opportunity to explain this vitalistic perspective.” “There were days we would allow our children to stay home because we could sense high stress in their lives,” Ohm continues. “Recognizing that emotional stress directly affects physical well-being, we would encourage some R&R time, something our Western society does not always support.” A day off from the hectic school-year routine may give their mind, body and spirit the opportunity to strengthen and prevent a symptomatic response from the immune system. Living Vitalistically Vitalism isn’t just a philosophy; it’s a way of life. Living vitalistically means that you must consciously consider everything that you ingest, whether it’s a food or a thought. Everything you put into your mind and body, from the negative messages that inundate television shows and video games to the pesticide residue
In order for children to use their innate sense to get all of the nutrients that they need to continually heal and grow their bodies, it’s important to expose them to a wide variety of natural foods as soon as they’re old enough to begin eating them. issue 26 | pathways
Dealing with Teenage Rebellion Whether they’re raised in a vitalistic home or not, one thing is certain: Children will question their family’s values when they reach the teen years, if not before. During the grammar school years, parents need only send their kids to school with a healthy lunch to ensure that they eat right. By the time children reach middle-school age, it’s more complicated. Kids are exposed to new-to-them foods in other homes and in school, and they will taste-test the boundaries. Sometimes, teens are just curious about what the “forbidden” foods taste like. But often, children give in to temptation because of peer pressure—if they don’t eat what everyone else is eating, it can affect their social status.
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A Lifelong Lesson For vitalists, raising their children doesn’t end when they leave the nest. Rather, they continue to provide each child with the support and resources necessary in order for his or her true self to emerge, which will happen naturally if given the opportunity. “I am a teacher, and I have lots of children in that sense,” Koch says. “Students come to me and say, ‘Help me become who I can become.’ I say, ‘I will do that, but I will do that vitalistically, because I can’t tell you who you are becoming, and I can’t give you that becoming; you can only create that for yourself.’ With a lot of other child-rearing, people believe that children will fail to raise themselves properly if you don’t do something about them; they need to be directed and molded and shaped. I don’t believe that at all. I believe that they need to be provided resources, but that children have the perfect capacity to direct and mold and shape themselves.”
Jennifer Maciejewski is a writer and the mother of two (mostly) well-fed girls, Katie, 8, and Liz, 5. She can be reached via her website at JenniferMaciejewski.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.
istockphoto: © Andrey Artykov / Sean Locke
him play them, she allows Palmer, now 12, to play them for an hour each on Saturday and Sunday, unless he has friends over and they choose to spend their time together playing video games. Since Rubin monitors the content and ratings and keeps some games out of the house, Palmer has found creative ways to educate himself about edgier games, such as by reading video game guides. To give the body the nutrients it needs to do the healing, vitalists eat whole, natural foods, opting for whole grains over refined white flour; organic instead of conventionally grown produce; and natural sugars, like oranges and honey, in lieu of a candy bar. While some vitalists prefer to adopt a vegan lifestyle, others choose to remain omnivores. Those who do consume meats and dairy products take a vitalist approach, opting for growth hormone- and antibiotic-free products from grass-fed animals whenever possible. In order for children to use their innate sense to get all of the nutrients that they need to continually heal and grow their bodies, it’s important to expose them to a wide variety of natural foods as soon as they’re old enough to begin eating them, including ones that their parents don’t particularly like. “There is no right diet for my daughter that I can determine by a prior formula,” says Koch, who notes that yogurt didn’t taste like “food” to him until he turned 30. “There is only the diet that works for her, and only her body knows that diet.”
“We keep our food selections at home healthy,” Ohm says. “Most of our kids choose to select the best foods they can when not on the home front, but one of our sons had a voracious sweet/carb tooth. Eventually he discovered he preferred good foods, but it wasn’t until he was old enough to really grasp the need for healthy nourishment and was able to recognize he felt better when eating the better foods. I believe if we give kids the room to discover on their own and we stay consistent, they will eventually come around to what is best for their individual selves.” One interesting perspective is that rebellion in a vitalistic home isn’t viewed as a rebellion against either the rules established by the parents or the parents themselves. Rather, it’s the children rebelling against their own responsibility to listen to their innate, vital intelligence and do what is healthy for their body, whether it’s wanting to experiment with alcohol or binge on candy bars. “We were ready to give our daughter that power as soon as she was ready to take it,” Koch says. “When you have raised someone with an attitude that says, ‘Your body knows what it is doing,’ then it is easy to help them learn the lesson the first time they try all those things that they think that they want to try, even though they may be bad for them.” Whether it’s harmful or healthful, he says, “your body is going to tell you.”
energetic. He also showed that people who practiced gratitude daily, such as by writing in a gratitude journal, reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy than those who didn’t. If all of this happens when you focus for just 15 to 20 seconds on something that brings you pleasure, joy or a feeling of gratitude, imagine what would happen to your health if you were able to cultivate thoughts of appreciation on a consistent and regular basis.
A Thank You a Day:
By Christiane Northrup, M.D.
he health benefits of gratitude are an amazing example of just how sturdy the bridge is between the mind, body and emotions. Research shows that heart-centered feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation and caring—essentially, love—enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for, and you hold that feeling for as little as 15 to 20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiologic changes take place in your body. For instance: • Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine decrease, creating a cascade of beneficial metabolic changes, such as an enhanced immune system. • Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. • Heart rhythm becomes more harmonious, which positively affects other bodily organs, and lifts your mood.
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• Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues. Other scientific evidence that gratitude improves health comes from research accumulated by Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. Emmons found that gratitude makes people healthier, smarter and more
Practice Makes Perfect Cultivating gratitude, like maintaining strong muscles and bones, takes discipline and will. That’s right: It takes practice to feel gratitude and reap its physical and emotional benefits. There are valid physiologic reasons why focusing on gratitude isn’t easy. Physically, we humans evolved along with a nervous system wired to ensure our survival by alerting us to possible danger from the occasional wild animal or violent storm—events that were relatively infrequent within a life span. Now fast-forward that same nervous system to our current era of mass media, when all of the possible dangerous events from the entire planet are beamed into our living rooms, day and night. You can see why holding thoughts of appreciation is hard. Here’s a good way to start. Get a piece of paper and list your blessings. Pay special attention to those people who enhance your life on every level: the checkout person at your favorite grocery store; the FedEx driver; a sunny, optimistic coworker. Thanking the people who bestow these blessings on you will uplift them, and enrich your life in ways you never thought possible. The more you notice the people and things you’re grateful for, the more of them you’ll attract. In my book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, I wrote, “Thinking with your heart takes practice, but if you faithfully learn to start thinking with your heart and pay attention to areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, over time you will evoke biochemical changes in your body that will recharge your batteries.” Not only does it enhance your energy levels and reduce stress, but recognizing and appreciating life’s many blessings is one of the most powerful ways I know of to enhance the immune system, balance your hormones and promote heart health. This exercise can literally change your life.
A board-certified ob/gyn, Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer, and the author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. Her latest books, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause and The Secret Pleasures of Menopause Playbook, teach how to experience joy, pleasure, prosperity, fulfillment and vibrant health. Following a 25-year career in both academic medicine and private practice, Dr. Northrup now devotes her time to helping women truly flourish on all levels through tapping into their inner wisdom. Through her exclusive Women’s Wisdom Circle, Dr. Northrup shares cutting-edge medical and lifestyle advice at drnorthrup.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
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D i s- E a se By Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., and Steve Bhaerman
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ometimes, the body’s natural harmony breaks down, and we experience dis-ease, which is a reflection of the body’s inability to maintain normal control of its function-providing systems. Because behavior is created through the interaction of proteins with their complementary signals, there are really only two sources of dis-ease: Either the proteins are defective or the signals are distorted. About 5 percent of the world’s population is born with birth defects, which means they have mutated genes that code for dysfunctional proteins. Structurally deformed or defective proteins can “jam the machine,” disturb normal pathway functions, and impair the character and quality of lives. However, 95 percent of the human population arrives on this planet with a perfectly functional set of gene blueprints. Because the majority of us have a perfectly healthy genome and produce functional proteins, illness in this group can likely be attributed to the nature of the signal. There are three primary situations in which signals contribute to dysfunction and dis-ease. The first is trauma. If you twist or misalign your spine and physically impede the transmission of the nervous system’s signals, it may result in a distortion of the information being exchanged between the brain and the body’s cells, tissues and organs. The second is toxicity. Toxins and poisons in our system represent inappropriate chemistry that can distort the signal’s information on its path between the nervous system and the targeted cells and tissues. Altered signals, derived from either of these causes, can inhibit or modify normal behaviors and lead to the expression of dis-ease. The third, and most important, influence of signals on the dis-
ease process is thought, the action of the mind. Mind-related illnesses do not require that there be anything physically wrong with the body at the outset of the dis-ease. Health is predicated upon the nervous system’s ability to accurately perceive environmental information and selectively engage appropriate, life-sustaining behaviors. If a mind misinterprets environmental signals and generates an inappropriate response, survival is threatened, because the body’s behaviors become out of synch with the environment. We may not think that a thought could be enough to undermine an entire system, but, in fact, misperceptions can be lethal. Consider the situation of a person with anorexia. While relatives and friends clearly perceive that this skin-and-bones individual is near death, the anorexic looks in a mirror and sees a fat person. Using this distorted view, that resembles an image in a funhouse mirror, the anorexic’s brain attempts to control a misperceived runaway weight gain, by—oops!—inhibiting the system’s metabolic functions. The brain, like any governing entity, seeks harmony. Neural harmony is expressed as a measure of congruency between the mind’s perceptions and the life we experience. An interesting insight into how the mind creates harmony between its perceptions and the real world is frequently illustrated in stage hypnosis shows. A volunteer from the audience is invited onstage, hypnotized, and asked to pick up a glass of water, which the volunteer is told weighs one thousand pounds. With that misinformation, the volunteer struggles unsuccessfully with straining muscles, bulging veins, and perspiration. How can that be? Obviously the glass doesn’t weigh one thousand pounds, even though the mind of the subject firmly believes that it does. issue 26 | pathways
Cells, tissues and organs do not question information sent by the nervous system. Rather, they respond with equal fervor to accurate, life-affirming perceptions and to self-destructive misperceptions. To manifest the perceived reality of a thousand-pound glass of water, something that cannot be lifted, the hypnotized subject’s mind fires a signal to the muscles used to lift the glass at the same time it fires contradictory signals to the muscles used to set the glass down! This results in an isometric exercise wherein two groups of muscles work to oppose each other, which results in no net movement—but a lot of strain and sweat. Cells, tissues and organs do not question information sent by the nervous system. Rather, they respond with equal fervor to accurate, life-affirming perceptions and to self-destructive misperceptions. Consequently, the nature of our perceptions greatly influences the fate of our lives. While most of us are aware of the healing influences of the placebo effect, few are aware of its evil twin, the nocebo effect. Just as surely as positive thoughts can heal, negative ones— including the belief we are susceptible to an illness or have been exposed to a toxic condition—can actually manifest the undesired realities of those thoughts. Japanese children allergic to a poison ivy-like plant took part in an experiment where a leaf of the poisonous plant was rubbed onto one forearm. As a control, a nonpoisonous leaf resembling the toxic plant was rubbed on the other forearm. As expected, almost all of the children broke out in a rash on the arm rubbed with the toxic leaf and had no response to the impostor leaf. What the children did not know was that the leaves were purposefully mislabeled. The negative thought of being touched by the poisonous plant led to the rash produced by the nontoxic leaf! In the majority of cases, no rash resulted from contact with the toxic leaf that was thought to be the harmless control. The conclusion is simple: Positive perceptions enhance health, and negative perceptions precipitate dis-ease. This mind-bending example of the power of belief was one of the founding experiments that led to the science of psychoneuroimmunology. Considering that a minimum of one third of all medical healings are attributed to the placebo effect, what percentage of illness and disease might be the result of negative thought in the nocebo effect? Perhaps more than we think, especially since psychologists estimate that 70 percent of our thoughts are negative and redundant. Perceptions have a tremendous influence in shaping the character and experiences of our lives. They’re the reason why those faith-filled folks can swig poison, joyously play with deadly snakes and lift a car to free a loved one. Perceptions shape the
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placebo and nocebo effects. They are more influential than positive thinking because they are more than mere thoughts in your mind. Perceptions are beliefs that permeate every cell. Simply, the expression of the body is a complement to the mind’s perceptions, or, in simpler terms, believing is seeing! This leads is to the inescapable conclusion: Accurate perceptions encourage success; misperceptions threaten survival. Almost all of us have unknowingly acquired limiting, self-sabotaging misperceptions that undermine our strength, health, and desires. Our most influential perceptual programs have mainly been acquired from others and do not necessarily support our own personal goals and aspirations. In fact, many of our strengths and weaknesses, the parts of ourselves we own as who we are, are directly attributable to familial and cultural perceptions downloaded into our minds before we were six years old. Programmed perceptions acquired in these developmental years are primarily responsible for health and behavioral issues experienced in our adult lives. Consider how many children never realize their full potential or dreams because of limiting programming. Not surprisingly, these self-sabotaging programs also thwart us as we try to change conditions in the world. This insight tells us that before we go out to change the world, we must first look inward to change ourselves. Then, by changing our beliefs, we do change the world.
Steve Bhaerman is an internationally known author, humorist and workshop leader. For the past 20 years, he has written and performed as Swami Beyondananda, the “Cosmic Comic.” Swami’s comedy has been called “irreverently uplifting” and has been described both as “comedy disguised as wisdom” and “wisdom disguised as comedy.” Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. He has been a guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, as well as keynote presenter for national and international conferences. Dr. Lipton began his scientific career as a cell biologist. He is regarded as one of the leading voices of the new biology, summarizing his findings in his book, The Biology of Belief. His new book with Steve Bhaerman, Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here, is available now. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org references.html Excerpted with permission from Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here.
Healthcare Revolution By William B. Ferril, M.D. Historically, power complexes begin to falter long before the ruling elite realizes that the oppressed are organizing. Czarist Russian elitists did not fully appreciate the formidable force of organized peasants. The French revolutionaries similarly surprised their oppressors by the magnitude of underground support for a new way of doing things.
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he uprising against the dominant medical-industrial complex is no different, as it meets the same old slumbering elitist criteria. While the elitists smugly continue pandering their symptomcontrol methods, which always have side effects, a better way of health continues to gather momentum. Slowly but surely, the downplayed art of healing is being rediscovered and is increasingly practiced within the alternative medicine community. More Western humans leave the dominant medical treatment model with each passing day. Often their departure centers on a sense that something very important is missing from mainstream medicine’s approach to health versus disease. The Medical-Industrial Complex Some of us argue that mainstream medicine has lost its soul. In place of the soul—from which all healing effects emerge—mainstream medicine has instituted symptom-control treatment strategies. But symptom control always comes with a price, and that price is paid within its patients’ bodies, manifesting as side effects and toxicities. A vicious cycle follows, when these side effects are treated with yet more symptom-control modalities. True healing has but one side effect—its impact on the medical-industrial complex’s bottom line. The medical-industrial complex is a profit-oriented system. The multi-conglomerates that make up this system exist to make money. The system works quite simply: The industry develops products (pharmaceutical drugs, for instance), which are sensa-
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You are what you supply and absorb
The hormones giveth and the hormones taketh away
Prevent hardening processes within the blood vessels
Prevent rust formation within the tissues
tionalized through the media and sold to the public. Of course, the pursuit of maximum profit provides a disincentive to share more effective healing strategies. Meanwhile, the downsides of these products—side effects and toxicities—are minimized. To protect its profits, the medical-industrial complex conducts various disinformation campaigns. The media, with its own advertising revenue goals to consider, is generally all too happy to promote these half-truths, which engender fear in those who seek alternative counsel. Common methods of disinformation include: the results of poorly run studies trashing various alternative modalities; the professional opinions of “certified” experts; and the mantra about a “lack of scientific data,” when they know very well that it is they who control which data are collected in the first place. If you’re in the system but rock the boat, consequences can be quick and severe. In the introduction to his book, Some Things Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, Dr. John Lee relates that his reputation initially suffered at the hands of the complex. He adds, however, that the complex underestimated the power of the international women’s network regarding what works. Garbage In, Garbage Out A medical system run by the profit interests of the medicalindustrial complex is analogous to a diet of junk food. Although junk food tastes like real food, it will harm the body if it is continuously ingested. So it is with modern medicine.
My Medical History Part of the success of the dominant medicine paradigm arises from the incomplete education of physicians on a) what science has revealed, and b) the verifiable results of other healing modalities. I, too, was a victim of my complex-funded education. Without realizing it, I became a believer in the corrupted mainstream view of the medical universe. As a consequence, I have been unintentionally guilty of prescribing treatments that were not in my patients’ best interest. I believed in a system of healthcare where side effects and toxicities were treated with more medications and procedures. I regretfully remember discouraging patients from seeking or continuing alternative treatment modalities. However,
Maximize the ratio between the energies that heal body tissues and the energies that maim them
Avoid low-voltage cell syndrome
Take out your cellular trash water
Americans are bombarded by clever advertising schemes that encourage the consumption of injurious ingredients, whether they’re fast foods or mainstream medicine’s latest drugs and procedures. In the case of junk food, until recently almost everyone seemed to eat it. But slowly, more people are catching on to the fact that these processed foods are harmful. We’ve become aware that processed foods—altered by chemicals, hormone mimics and nutrient depletions—will injure our bodies. The food industry’s media campaigns still tout the latest clever come-on, but fewer people are vulnerable to these tactics with each passing year. Similarly, the underground healthcare revolution cultivates an awareness of the consequences of our obedience to the profit-generating dictums of mainstream medicine.
I thank several of my doggedly stubborn patients who continually pointed out to me the inconsistencies of my educational paradigm. To my credit, I kept mulling over the unexplainable healing outcomes when patients adhered to what I considered fringe advice. As the years ticked by, I continued to collect inconsistencies that the mainstream view of health versus disease could not explain. A major breakthrough occurred when I married my wife, Brenda, about ten years ago. Brenda is a chiropractor. Initially, I humored myself by offering her space in my office. I still remember with humility witnessing what two hands could accomplish for a variety of afflictions, compared to my medical training. My wife also began to instruct me in the importance of medicinal herbs, nutritional supplements and colon health. The Native American Way As often happens, I found part of the solution to my brainwashing right in the place where I had set up my medical practice: the Flathead Indian Reservation. I practiced for many years among those wonderful people before they asked me to begin praying in their lodges with them. Once the initiation began, I came to view things differently. It was a gradual process, like so many other important steps in life. So gradual, in fact, that my favorite medicine man nicknamed me “slow learner.” This medicine man began to patiently teach me about the matters of the heart. To protect his privacy and ways, he shall remain anonymous. He comes from a long line of medicine people and is of full blood. He has taken no short cuts. He knows issue 26 | pathways
the songs, the prayers, the language and the medicines. He was a traditional Indian before it was trendy, living a lifestyle that respects all of creation. In one of his first lessons for me, he told me that I was a typical white person who didn’t know how to pray for myself. He showed me that life was a prayer, and taught me songs to sing with my prayers. Slowly I began to change. Part of the change inspired a renewed interest in how we heal from chronic degenerative disease. About four years ago my inner voice began to say, “Walk off into the abyss.” Initially, I clung to my comfy life and possessions, but my discontent grew stronger, and that inner voice cried out more often. About the time I had decided to take the leap— to walk off into the unknown—an Amish family approached me about buying my farm. Somehow, I was able to part with a piece of land that I loved dearly. I sold my practice, along with my other encumbering possessions. Three months later, I was running on a beach in Oregon, when it came to me that I should write a book about how the body heals itself. The writing was really slow going at first. Looking back on it, I’m grateful that I was so naïve about the long and difficult task I was undertaking. During the past three and a half years, I have realized that I am a warrior in the transforming revolution for the empowerment of people in regard to their healing choices. When I say that I am a warrior for healthcare change, I do not mean to imply I have great importance by myself. Rather, I am one of many channels through which love’s light travels and expresses itself. I am more accurately described as Pooh Bear, in The Tao of Pooh. For some reason the angels are working through me to deliver an important message about how we heal. How we heal has little to do with the dominant medical system and its treatment strategies for the diseases of middle age. Seven Principles of Healing The middle-aged body wants to heal itself. Around middle age, seven interrelated principles of health generally start to falter. Unless all are attended to, chronic degenerative diseases begin to insidiously propagate, deteriorating the body. Common examples of these imbalances, which arise from one or more faltering principles of health, include obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, hormone imbalance and diabetes. Each of these common diseases can be healed without side effects when all seven principles of health are rebalanced. The achievement of balance requires the afflicted person’s active participation. Without participation, the only treatment possibility is symptom control. However, for those willing to take an active role in their own disease solution, there are many cases where the above diseases heal, or at least stabilize.
The seven interrelated principles are: 1) Prevent rust formation within the tissues 2) Prevent hardening processes within the blood vessels 3) The hormones giveth and the hormones taketh away 4) You are what you supply and absorb 5) Take out your cellular trash water 6) Avoid low-voltage cell syndrome 7) Maximize the ratio between the energies that heal body tissues and the energies that maim them The underground revolution in healthcare choices is particularly affected by principle seven. This principle concerns the quality and integrity of life energies, an important consideration almost completely ignored by mainstream medicine because of its overwhelming preoccupation with disease and symptoms. This mainstream approach likens the human body to a slab of meat—all that is left when the mysterious life energies are removed from consideration. As a person and a healer, I take exception to this inhumane approach. There is more to people than their symptoms—and besides, no one wants to be treated like a slab of meat during a medical exam. Fortunately, these important life energies are a common denominator between many alternative healing modalities. Chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditative prayer and chakra energy work all reinvigorate the life-energy field. The life-energy field improves because these modalities have something important in common—they release the chaotic energies while facilitating the rhythmical energies. I recently attended a course in Denver offered by the American Board of Holistic Medicine, and sat for the exam. Unlike other medical conferences I’ve attended, this group was committed to seeking the truth. Part of the course emphasized the healing power of love itself. Other parts of the course taught us about how to properly refer patients to chiropractors, acupuncturists, homeopaths, massage therapists, energy workers and herbalists. Sometimes the messenger of truth does not possess an official title. For example, there was a medical intuitive there who could see the life energies within. She counseled numerous conference attendees, and the physicians in attendance believed her. The underground healthcare revolution bears the burden of educating those who are unaware. As in other times of exponential change, the dominant power elitists are largely unaware of the strength and conviction within the alternative healthcare movement. Let them slumber into oblivion. A new day is not far off.
Dr. Bill Ferril lives in Montana. He explains each of these seven principles of health in his book, The Body Heals. To contact Dr. Ferril or to find out more about his book and teachings, visit his website at thebodyheals.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org references.html.
movement and learning
OUT Ninety percent of a childâ€™s success in life depends
upon emotional responsiveness. Can a child respond to life without hesitance and fear? You have a wonderful opportunity to help your child develop and use strong inner resources.
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ÂŠ adrian brockwell / istockphoto.com
By Caron Goode, Ph.D.
hen we hear a negative thought repeatedly, we start to believe it. It plays on and on in our heads. We give it the power to determine how we interact with the world. All of our thoughts and emotions, good and bad, become imprinted within us over the years. Like the grooves on an old record, the more we hear a negative thought, believe it, and let it run us, the more it becomes deeply imbedded within our consciousness. The same is true with emotional reactions. We strengthen emotional patterns by repeating them and giving them more power over us. Our emotions become automatic and habitual. Like a repeating program, they run again and again, as long as
this will be a photo of child’s art
we let them. The good news is, we can turn the reactions off and change those patterns any time we choose! Teaching our children to access and use their inner resources defeats negative thinking and erases emotional patterning. Let’s teach them to become aware of their emotions, and to pull new ideas from inside. Here are some simple methods to show them how to achieve an inner focus so they think before they respond. Take a Breather We’ve all heard the phrase “take a breather,” meaning to relax and refocus. A few deep breaths relax the body, quiet the emotions and clear the mind. “My daughter was having problems in school with a little girl who was picking on her,” says Dyan Stein, a transformational breath trainer from Durango, Colorado. “She would come home upset, day after day, until finally we breathed with the intention of sending the other little girl some love.” “The breathing session helped my daughter shift the way she responded to the little girl, and she didn’t get upset anymore. Now they are the best of friends.” Stein says that she regularly uses breathing to help her daughter shift her focus when she comes home from school. They spend time together in a positive and loving way, with no distractions. Teaching children appropriate breathing shows them how to safely integrate their feelings, increase skill levels and stay mentally focused on their schoolwork. Discover the Point of View To give a 9-year old asthma patient a participatory role in his healing, I asked him how he saw things in his world. He chose to draw his viewpoint. He took the crayons and newsprint and went to his corner with pillows. With great intensity, he grabbed the black and brown crayons, held both in his hands, and drew puffy looking clouds across the top of the page. Next he drew a stick figure in the bottom center page in a bright blue. Then he surrounded the little person in a yellow, egg-shaped circle. Finally, he added some tentacles of the brown-black clouds dripping over the figure’s head. In less than five minutes, he popped up like a jack-in-the-box to explain his viewpoint of the asthma. He explained, “This stuff on top of the page hangs around me all the time. It’s like my mom, always watching over me. Sometimes it drips on me like this here [he points to the tentacles]. But I feel good [he indicates the bright, blue stick figure]. And I’ve got a lot of energy
Children who grow up with the freedom to express in a creative and enjoyable way become emotionally balanced adults and willing listeners to others’ feelings. [he shows me the light around his stick figure] around me so that stuff doesn’t get me.” Could we have said it so eloquently? The picture hangs in his bedroom to remind him that he has his health and energy. Mom still hovers, but he understands she does it with a caring intention. Even Mom has learned to respect his point of view. When Words Don’t Come, Move Twelve-year-old Alaina stormed into the house after several hours at the beach with her friends. Their ages ranged from 11 to 15. It wasn’t unusual for Alaina and her friends to hang out together in the small beach town on the coast of Maine. However, it was highly odd for Alaina to slam the door and sigh loudly in disgust. When I looked at her, I saw a red face ready to explode in anger. Her chesty, fast-paced breathing indicated anxiety. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She couldn’t speak. She held her hands up as if to say, “Give me a few moments,” while she paced around the kitchen. Wanting to ease her pain, I blurted out, “Move. Just keep moving.” What she showed me in the next few moments with her actions could never have been so beautifully demonstrated with words. At first she walked briskly in circles, alternating her hands between resting on her hips and throwing them up in the air with a disgusted look on her face. Her facial expressions were marvelous. She walked up to me with hazy eyes and protruded lips and took a long, slow drag from an imaginary thing in her lips. She slurped the air in and held her breath while smiling dreamily. “You want one?” she gesticulated. Then she turned to answer herself with adamant hand waving in front of her face. “NO!” That was clear! So far I’d determined that the older kids were smoking marijuana and were offering it to her. She got angry and told them no. But the worst was yet to come for this 12-year-old. She imitated beautifully the charades of being pushed around, laughed at and made to feel as though she were a very uncool kid. She ended the movement by flopping on the kitchen issue 26 | pathways
movement and learning
Follow the Inner Rhythm Researchers continue to find that children are affected by music in unexpected ways. Preschoolers given piano and voice lessons, for example, were found in one study to improve dramatically in their ability to put together picture puzzles of animals. When you coach your children, rely on your instincts and experiences in terms of what they need at a given time. Children need quiet music, just as adults do, when they need to relax, sleep or be mentally alert. But if a child needs energizing to engage in tasks or games, lively, upbeat music, such as syncopated Latin dances, will provide the necessary stimulation for movement. You can coach your child through moments of intense feelings with some musical processes that will make you both feel better. Anger, for example, can be pounded out on a drum; sadness can sing on resonator bells. Talking after the musical expression is much easier and your child will be better able to think of solutions for his situations and answers to his problems. When you see the warning signs of anger or sibling conflict stirring, reach for the drums! Hand one to your child, along with the drumstick or soft mallet designed for playing it, and pick one up for yourself. Ask your child to use the drum to tell you how she feels. As she strikes the drum, support her playing with a simple basic beat, like 1-2-3-4. Reflect her mood by singing, “You sound very angry. Is that true?” If you get an affirmative response, ask for more: “Let me hear on the drum just how angry you are.” Keep playing your beat as your child lets her emotions out. Depending on your child’s age, drumming, rather than words, may be all you hear for awhile. You don’t have to do this exercise with a drum. Other musical instruments that are easy and fun to play and to express with include maracas, clavas, jingle bells, spoon bells, resonator bells, sticks, woodblocks, castanets, whistles, kazoos or small horns. If you play an instrument such as piano or guitar, you may want to accompany your child on it while she plays the drum, or you might play a recording that features accented rhythm. West African and
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Native American drumming tapes are ideally suited for this purpose and are widely available. Encouraging your child to express with musical instruments teaches him an appropriate way to show intense feelings instead of repressing them. Children who grow up with the freedom to express in a creative and enjoyable way become emotionally balanced adults and willing listeners to others’ feelings. Music, movement, drawing and breathing are all ways to help relieve your child’s stress by directing their focus inside. As you join in the activities as teacher and coach, you’ll find your own stress will ease, as well. Learning inner focus enables your child to have more productive relationships with their friends, family and life situations. Since a successful life is so dependent upon keeping our minds and emotions clear, developing these skills in our children will strengthen their foundation for life success. All we have to do is be aware, and care. This will lead us to the right action.
Dr. Goode is a licensed counselor, author, speaker and parent coach. She is the founder, and serves on the faculty, of the Academy for Coaching Parents International. She has recently co-authored the award-winning books, Raising Intuitive Children and Nurture Your Child’s Gift. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.
© Oksana Belodarova / istockphoto.com
chair and crying. I didn’t say anything. I just put my arms around her and silently thanked her for being so “uncool.”
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informed c h o i c e
There are three basic facts you should remember when you are exercising your right to make an informed, voluntary vaccination choice for yourself or your child in America: 1. Informed consent is a human right. The right to voluntary, informed consent to any medical intervention, including use of pharmaceutical products such as vaccines, is a human right. While the government may have the legal authority to mandate use of vaccines, nobody has the moral authority to force you to get vaccinated or vaccinate your child without your voluntary, informed consent. 2. Vaccine laws have exemptions. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the legal authority of state governments to pass laws requiring citizens residing in the state to use certain vaccines. Today, all 50 states have enacted vaccine laws that require proof of vaccination for children to attend day care, elementary, junior and high school, and college. Vaccine requirements vary from state to state, and all 50 states allow a medical exemption to vaccination. Forty-eight states allow a religious exemption to vaccination, and 18 states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination. The National Vaccine Information Center website (nvic.org) has information on the vaccine laws in every state, and which exemptions you may take and how to take them.
READ BEFORE VACCINATING
The 6 Principles of informed Choice
By Barbara Loe Fisher
istockphoto.com ÂŠ manley099 / Nicole K Cioe
3. Freedom is not free. Many state governments now require nearly three dozen doses of more than a dozen vaccines to attend school. Medical and religious exemptions are becoming harder to get, and exemptions for reasons of conscience are under attack by proponents of forced vaccination. The NVIC is working with citizens in states to expand or protect legal exemptions to vaccination. By becoming an advocate for vaccine choice, you can help ensure those rights.
Principles for Protecting Vaccine Choices
First Principle: It’s Your Choice When exercising your right to voluntary, informed consent to vaccination for yourself or your child, remember that state vaccine laws contain: • Legal requirements that school and health officials are responsible for enforcing.
Third Principle: Be Informed and Prepared Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with accurate information about vaccination and health. Do your own research and talk to one or more trusted healthcare professionals before you make any healthcare decision. Become an educated consumer and you will be empowered to defend your right to freely make voluntary choices about health, including vaccination, for yourself and your children.
• Legal exemptions that you have the legal right to choose to exercise. (Public schools must allow vaccine exemptions outlined in state vaccine laws, but private, religious or other non-state operated schools may reject vaccine exemptions.) Most state vaccine laws do not allow unvaccinated students with vaccine exemptions to attend school during confirmed outbreaks of certain infectious diseases for defined periods of time. Remember > Nobody has the moral authority to force you or your child to be injected with a vaccine without your voluntary, informed consent. You have the legal right to exercise exemptions to vaccination according to the laws in your state.
Second Principle: You Have the Right to Know You have the legal right to know the risks and complications of vaccines before you make the choice of whether or not to allow your child to be vaccinated. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan in 1986, directed all doctors and other vaccine providers to give parents written information about vaccines before children are vaccinated.
Remember > If you arm yourself with accurate information about vaccines and health, you will be prepared to intelligently and rationally discuss your vaccine choices with your family, friends, colleagues, doctors, elected officials and others in your community.
Remember > All vaccines and other pharmaceutical products carry a risk of injury or death, and those risks can be greater for some than others. Never agree to use a vaccine, drug or other product without fully informing yourself about all risks. The product information insert, which drug companies by law must include with every vial of vaccine provided to public health clinics and private doctors’ offices, includes a description of the vaccine’s reported reactions and precautions. You can ask for a copy of that vaccine information insert from your doctor or state health department.
Fourth Principle: Take Responsibility for Your Words and Actions When you are standing up for your right to know, and freedom to choose, whether or not to vaccinate yourself or your child, how you go about exercising your rights will determine whether or not you will succeed. In your contact with doctors, school or government health officials, remain calm but politely firm when explaining and defending the vaccine choice you have made. If you are treated with disrespect or are harassed in any way by a doctor or government official, do not engage in an unproductive argument. You may want to contact an attorney, your elected state representatives or local media if you or your child is threatened. The NVIC also devotes a section of its website, the Cry For Vaccine Freedom Wall, for the public to post reports of harassment for because of vaccine choice. Remember > Treat others as you want to be treated, even if you are being attacked or harassed for the vaccine choice you have made. Serve as an example for others in your community whenever you defend your right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination, including the right to decline one or more vaccines for yourself or your child. Protect yourself and your family by seeking legal or other expert counsel, if necessary.
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• Write in a child’s permanent medical record any serious health problems that occur after vaccination.
• Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given, including the manufacturer’s name and lot number. • Report serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that occur after vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). (If your doctor won’t report a reaction for you, you have the right to make a vaccine reaction report to VAERS). Remember > It is wise to keep written records of your interactions with doctors, school and health officials that involve the vaccine choices you make, as well as copies of any vaccine exemptions you file with the state. You may have to hire an attorney to defend your informed-consent rights when it comes to vaccination, and it is important to have written records.
Sixth Principle: Be Courageous It is not easy to stand up for the right to make informed, voluntary choices about vaccination when public health officials, the pharmaceutical industry and many medical doctors are putting pressure on all Americans, especially parents, to use every government recommended vaccine. The fact that the numbers of doses of government mandated vaccines have tripled in the past quarter century, while the numbers of chronically ill and disabled children have also tripled, offers an opportunity to have a long overdue public conversation about the effects of vaccination on individual and public health.
Remember > Freedom of thought and the exercise of free speech is protected under the U.S. Constitution. You have the right to talk privately and publicly about any concerns you have about vaccine necessity, safety and effectiveness, and to work with your elected officials to modify the vaccine laws in your state. Become an engaged, courageous citizen activist and protect your right to make vaccine choices.
Vaccination and U.S. Law Types of Exemptions Medical Exemptions: All 50 states allow medical exemption to vaccinations. Medical exemptions to vaccination must be written by a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), and are usually reviewed annually by school or state health officials. Since 1986, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have eliminated most officially recognized medical reasons for withholding vaccination (contraindications), so that almost no medical conditions qualify for a medical exemption to vaccination. In most states, school or state public health officials can question or even deny a medical exemption to vaccination written by a doctor if it does not strictly conform to CDC and AAP contraindication guidelines. The NVIC is working with citizens who want to change vaccine laws to prevent state school or health officials from questioning or denying a medical exemption to vaccination written by a doctor. Religious Exemptions: All but two states (West Virginia and Mississippi) allow religious exemption to vaccination. These exemptions are worded differently in different states, and require different forms of written documentation to support a sincerely held religious belief opposing vaccination. Some states require a notarized affidavit or letter from a spiritual advisor attesting to the sincerity of a person’s religious beliefs about vaccination. The religious exemption is under attack and, in some states (like New York), parents are being grilled about the sincerity of their religious beliefs by state officials and denied religious exemptions to vaccination so their partially or completely unvaccinated children cannot attend public schools. The NVIC is working with citizens who want to protect their rights to religious exemptions by working to add or strengthen religious exemptions in state vaccine laws. Conscientious Belief Exemptions: Eighteen states allow conscientious, personal or philosophical belief exemptions to vaccination. These states come the closest to protecting a citizen’s right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination in America. They are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Like the religious exemption, the conscientious objection is under attack by forced-vaccination proponents who want to eliminate nonmedical exemptions to vaccination in America. The NVIC is working with citizens who want to protect or add conscientious belief exemption in state vaccine laws. Vaccine Exemptions for Military Personnel: All branches of
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© ziggymaj / istockphoto.com
Fifth Principle: Keep Written Records Be sure to ask your doctor for copies of your medical records or your child’s medical records, including recorded information about vaccinations and illnesses. Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, doctors and other vaccine providers are required by federal law to:
the U.S. Armed Services provide medical and religious exemptions to vaccination, but those exemptions must be declared before enlistment in the military. If a military recruit does not clearly state a medical or religious objection to vaccination before joining the military, he or she gives up the right to object to vaccination during active military service. Failure to obey an order to vaccinate while on active duty can result in demotion, imprisonment and involuntary discharge from the military, including dishonorable discharge. After enlistment, legal assistance is often required to successfully object to vaccination without being subjected to sanctions. Family dependents of active military personnel often must obtain approval from military officials to exempt children from vaccination for medical reasons or religious objections, especially if the children are attending military-operated day care or schools, are deployed to foreign countries or are reentering the U.S. after living abroad. Vaccine Exemptions for International Travel: Different countries have different laws requiring vaccines to enter or leave the country. Most developed countries, including those in Europe, currently do not require visitors to show proof of vaccination. However, some countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere may require certain vaccines to enter or exit. Visit the CDC website at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel to check for travel vaccine requirements. Other Vaccine Exemption Issues: Vaccine choices also can affect adoption, immigration, child custody arrangements during divorce proceedings, eligibility for health insurance and government entitlement programs, and medical care. Children adopted from foreign countries, as well as in the U.S., may be required by U.S. law and adoption agencies to receive certain government-mandated vaccines. Immigration laws also contain vaccine requirement provisions. In cases of divorce, one parent may attempt to gain full custody of a minor child by using the vaccine choice issue as leverage. Some families have been dropped from medical insurance plans or barred from eligibility for government-funded medical care and food supplement programs if children are not given all recommended vaccines. Increasingly, pediatricians are refusing to treat children who are not fully vaccinated and, in some instances, medical personnel in hospital emergency rooms and physicians’ offices have reported parents to state child social services agencies for child medical neglect for refusing to vaccinate their children. In these circumstances, you may need to consult an attorney to protect your right to informed consent. Legal Options The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed by Congress to protect vaccine manufacturers and providers from liability for vaccine injuries and deaths in civil court. If a child is injured by a government recommended or mandated vaccine, the child must sue the Secretary of Health for damages under the act in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C. If the vaccine-injured child is turned down for federal compensation or offered too little to provide for the child’s lifetime care, a lawsuit may be filed in civil court against a vaccine manufacturer or
negligent doctor, with certain restrictions. Two out of three children whose families apply for federal vaccine injury compensation are turned away. Even so, by 2009, about $2 billion had been awarded to vaccine victims for brain inflammation and immune system damage that led to permanent injury or death. The Bottom Line • If you or your child is injured by a vaccine, you will be left to deal with the consequences. Those who make and give vaccines are protected from liability in civil court, and federal vaccine injury compensation is very difficult to get. • There is no guarantee that a vaccine will, in fact, protect against an infectious disease, or that exposure to an infectious disease will cause a complication, injury or death. Good health is about so much more than vaccination and preventing experience with infectious disease. • Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry a risk of injury or death that is greater for some than for others. The right to informed consent to medical risk-taking is a human right. Empowering ourselves with information and taking responsible action to protect the right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination in America is one of the most important actions we can take as citizens to protect our freedom. • Don’t let anyone force you or your child to take a vaccine without your voluntary, informed consent. • If a doctor denies you or your child medical care because you want to make vaccine choices, find another doctor. • If a doctor threatens you, or if a government official denies a medical or religious exemption that you have legally filed, find an attorney to help you. • If you don’t like the vaccine laws in your state, contact your elected officials and work to change them. Together, we can educate the public and reform vaccine laws in America to protect the right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions for ourselves and our children.
Barbara Loe Fisher is the cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, and the author of The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines and Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic. Her 1991 book with Harris Coulter, DPT: A Shot in the Dark, was the first major, well-documented critique of America’s mass vaccination system. Barbara has served as a consumer representative for more than 15 years on vaccine advisory committees and has testified for vaccine safety and informed consent issues before state legislatures and the United States Congress. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
Top Ten Local Food Resources Have you taken time to explore your local foodshed? Have you taken the locavore’s pledge, below? If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic. If not ORGANIC, then Family Farm. If not FAMILY FARM, then Local Business. If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade. The term “foodshed” was coined almost 80 years ago in a 1929 book entitled How Great Cities Are Fed, to describe the flow of food from producer to consumer. Eight decades later, the term is now used to describe a food system that connects local producers with local consumers. This summer, explore and support your local foodshed with the help of these Top Ten Local Food Resources. In this list you will find ways to connect, reasons to connect, methods to preserve the bounty, tools for making sustainable food choices on the spot with iPhone apps, and tips for how your local foodshed can begin in your own backyard!
Local Harvest Local Harvest helps consumers learn about the various ways farmers get their food to market, whether through CSAs, farmers markets, pick-your-own farms, or co-ops—and then provides a national listing of these local food outlets. Just enter your zip code to find local food outlets near you. Local Harvest also lists produce protected by the Ark of Taste, a Slow Food project that documents endangered varieties, like Amish deer tongue lettuces! localharvest.org
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Sustainable Table The Sustainable Table is home to the Eat Well Guide and the award-winning Meatrix movies. The Eat Well Guide is a free, online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and other outlets in the United States and Canada. Consumers enter their zip or postal code to find wholesome products available locally or when traveling. sustainabletable.org
Eat Local Challenge The Eat Local Challenge is a place to find inspiration and resources when the intention to eat local foods feels like an overwhelming commitment to conscious living. Its group blog, EatLocalChallenge.com, is written by authors who are interested in the benefits of eating food grown and produced in their local foodsheds. Spanning the United States, the group is committed to challenging themselves to eat mainly local food, which means mastering the art of seasonal eating. Read their stories and recipes, and share your own. eatlocalchallenge.com
Weston A. Price Foundation The Weston A. Price Foundation is led by its president, Sally Fallon Morell, author of the seminal work, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition. This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains, but instead vital factors in a diet. They’re necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, maintaining optimum energy levels and protection from disease. Find a local Weston Price chapter (or start your own) for support and resources for local grass-fed meats. westonaprice.org
Slow Food USA Slow Food is an international movement founded in Italy in 1986 to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and promote farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. Slow Food USA is a nonprofit organization working to create a just and sustainable food system. Slow Food USA has 225 volunteer-led chapters across the country, representing more than 150,000 members and advocates. The organization creates youth programs to bring the values of eating local, sustainable and just food to schools and campuses; preserves and promotes vanishing foods and food traditions; and advocates for food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet. Start or find a chapter at slowfoodusa.org.
Eatwild Eatwild is your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles. Here you will find comprehensive information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture as well as a directory of pasture-based farms in the U.S. and Canada. Eatwild is also the home of the book, Pasture Perfect: The Far-Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-Fed Animals, by Jo Robinson. Eatwild.com
garden photos courtesy of Lisa Reagan and Tina Aitala
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides Use this iPhone app, from the Environmental Working Group, when scouring farmer’s markets. This handy guide will let you know which produce to buy organic, and which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are okay if organic isn’t available. You can also receive EWG’s e-mail updates, action alerts and environmental tips. Download the app for free at foodnews.org.
Seafood Watch Do you want seafood to be a part of your sustainable food choices? At a time when the world’s oceans are severely overfished, your seafood choices make a big difference. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s iPhone application brings the latest Seafood Watch recommendations directly to your iPhone or iPod touch. This app lets you search for seafood by region. montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/ sfw_iPhone.aspx
Food Not Lawns Think you need acres and acres to grow your own food? Think again! You local foodshed can begin in your own backyard with the wisdom and practical guidance from books like Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community and The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping: Home Landscaping with Edible Plants and Resource-Saving Techniques. Both are available online at Amazon.com. To start a local chapter of Food Not Lawns, visit them at foodnotlawns.net.
National Center for Home Food Preservation Now that you have discovered the treasures of your local foodshed, how will you preserve it for winter months? Learn the lost arts of storing the harvest from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Learn to keep nutrient-dense, whole food for your family year-round with information on canning and freezing vegetables and fruits, which dehydrators are best for making fruit leathers, sun drying and vine drying, and specialty crafts, such as making meat jerkies and leathers. uga.edu/nchfp
For direct links to these and other food resources, please visit pathwaystofamilywellness.org/localfood.
issue 26 | pathways
How Health Insurance Is Making Us Sick By Robert Johns Jr., D.C.
Insurance is easy to hate. On the one hand, the best-case scenario is you pay for a service you will never use, making insurance seem like a rip-off. On the other hand, when insurance is needed, it means something bad has happened, which can leave a bad taste in your mouth. This goes for all kinds of insurance. Homeowners, renters, business, car, life and health insurance—they all share this
But health insurance has done something that no other insurance has. When it’s time for an oil change, your car insurance doesn’t pay for it. When your washing machine breaks, your homeowners insurance won’t buy you a new one. But when you need your teeth cleaned, your blood pressure checked or your eyes examined, you expect your policy to cover these routine events. We’ve begun to think of health insurance as a savings account from which we can draw regularly, rather than a product to turn to when an unexpected disaster strikes. Insurance companies have recognized this, and responded accordingly, offering health savings accounts tied to our policies. Conceptually, that is at least in line with how we use insurance. The bad news is that in-
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collage by tina aitala with istockphoto.com imagery
We’ve begun to think of health insurance as a savings account from which we can draw regularly, rather than a product to turn to when an unexpected disaster strikes. surance companies have become the primary payers of medical expenses—not just big ones, but little ones, too. We have, in fact, given insurance companies tremendous control over our healthcare choices. Have you ever checked to make sure a doctor accepted your insurance plan before seeing him? Do you assume that the doctors in the plan are somehow more qualified? If you’ve ever checked your insurance coverage before choosing a provider to make sure the provider was covered by your plan, you’ve already given some of your choice—your freedom—to the insurance company. The expectation that health insurance should cover routine expenses has led to increased healthcare costs. Insurance coverage costs for consumers and higher overhead for providers are just some of the effects. Healthcare options decrease as consumers let their insurance policies guide their choices. Rapid increases in premiums and deductibles, and rapid decreases in coverage, have created a huge gulf between what people expect their insurance to cover and what it actually does. Companies are forced to make hard choices in giving employees health insurance options. Higher consumer costs for insurance coverage are not the only way that health costs have increased. Doctors and other providers who file with your insurance often have to wait months for payment, and must wade through ever more convoluted and timeconsuming processes to get paid. In many offices, a dedicated insurance liaison or service must be employed to handle the intricacies of the insurance landscape. This increases payroll and overhead, and those increases are passed on to patients. Insurance companies audit each procedure and product billed to them, to find ways to increase profits by denying payment. Other items are simply paid out at lower and lower rates, until the cost to providers outpaces the compensation. This pattern has now erupted into the debate that has raged on Capitol Hill and in living rooms across America. The big question— Who will pay for the healthcare we need?—is the wrong question. A much better question is, how can we improve our health, increase healthcare choice, drive down costs to make those choices affordable, and still have affordable insurance coverage when disaster strikes? Isn’t that what people really want? I have an answer to that question. And it’s simple. Painfully simple. It doesn’t even require Congress, just us chickens. All it takes is a little proactive effort from each of us and the healthcare debate will all but dry up. The first part is to note every drive-thru equipped restaurant in your area. Then… avoid them. Plan a few wholesome meals at home. Home cookin’ ain’t home cookin’ unless it’s cooked at home, get it?
The second part is to get up and exercise a few more minutes per day this week than you did last week—even if it’s only two or three minutes. Do a little more every week, and soon you’ll have carved out a time to exercise, and will have established the habit. Do something fun! The third part: Be inspired. Allow your thoughts to lift you above the tiny defeats in a day. Use them as stepping stones to your success. The less someone dwells on the negative, the more likely he or she will be successful. The fourth is to get your beauty sleep. Your body needs to recharge, but so does your mind. Find time to unplug from your day-to-day and pursue creative interests. The mental break will allow you to be more productive overall, even considering the time spent away from your primary tasks. Renew your soul, find your center or connect with your source. Refill your spirit. Lastly, build your house on a solid foundation. Nothing happens in the body without the involvement of the nerve system. A compromised nerve system can and will compromise any other system in the body. Chiropractors strengthen this foundation as the fundamental focus of their profession. Neither massages, nor therapy, nor any other skilled professional can do for you what a caring and expertly trained chiropractor can do. The great thing is, chiropractic works whether you use it with insurance or not! These actions address the lifestyle concerns so common to Americans and their health. These steps will make a difference in the short term and in the long term. They have the power to silence the healthcare debate and open the conversation about ways to maximize our new healthy habits. “But,” you say, “I don’t have time for all this!” How about we both use the time we’ve been spending to gripe about the situation, and instead do something about it? We’re asking soldiers and patriots to give up their lives to protect our freedom. All I’m asking you to do is engage—live your life to enjoy, and perpetuate, your freedom.
Robert Johns Jr., B.B.A., D.C., has been in family practice for over 5 years near Atlanta, Georgia, caring for families up to 4 generations deep. His passion for the message of chiropractic isn’t limited to the adjusting room, but also shows up in his blog (triuneoflife.wordpress.com) which has accumulated more than 20 original pieces and a growing readership since its inception in 2009. Robert is a 2004 Life University graduate, an Eagle Scout, a husband, a father and a chiro-kid himself. His grandfather practiced chiropractic in southern Georgia for more than 30 years after graduating from Palmer Chiropractic College in 1947; he gave Robert his first adjustment at 6 days old. A 13-year veteran of marriage, Robert will soon be welcoming a third child to his growing family. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 26 | pathways
The Lancet Retraction Changes Nothing cal practitioners of recent times, and now he carries the extremely rare dishonor of a retraction in The Lancet, on the paper he coauthored in 1998 suggesting a potential link between autism, bowel disease and Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.
believe that the public lynching and shaming of Dr. Wakefield is unwarranted and overwrought, and that history will ultimately judge who was right and who was wrong about proposing a possible association between vaccination and regressive autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Wakefield’s critics can condemn, retract, decry and de-license all they want, but that does nothing to stop or alter the march of science, which has come a long way over the past 12 years, and especially in the last year or two. The evidence that autism is increasing at alarming rates, and that some thing (or things) in our environment is wreaking havoc on a vulnerable 1 percent of all U.S. children is now so irrefutable that, finally, the federal government is climbing aboard the environmental research bandwagon—way late, but better than never. This long-overdue paradigm shift will leave many in the scientific community with some proverbial but nonetheless uncomfortable egg on their increasingly irrelevant faces: Those who have protested with shrill certainty that autism is almost purely genetic and not environmental in nature, and therefore not really increasing at all, will hopefully recede from the debate. And that begs a nagging question: If those people were dead wrong about environmental factors in autism, could they also be mistaken in their equally heated denials about a possible vaccineautism link? More bluntly, why should we heed them any longer? We need to examine a host of environmental factors (air, water, food, medicine, household products and social factors) and how they might interact with vulnerable genes to create the varying collection of symptoms we call “autism.” But these
pathways | issue 26
triggers almost have to be found in every town of every county of every state in the land—from Maine to Maui. Are vaccines the only contributing factors to autism? Of course not. Other pharmaceutical products like thalidomide and valproic acid, as well as live mumps virus, have been associated with increased autism risk in prenatal exposures, so we already know that a variety of drugs and bugs can likely make a child autistic. But, there are now at least six published legal or scientific cases of children regressing into ASD following vaccination— and many more will be revealed in due time. There was the case of Hannah Poling, in federal vaccine court, in which the government conceded that Hannah’s autism was caused by vaccine-induced fever and overstimulation of the immune system that aggravated an asymptomatic and previously undetected dysfunction of her mitochondria. Hannah received nine vaccines in one day, including MMR. Then there was the Bailey Banks case, in which the court ruled that the petitioners had proven that MMR had directly caused a brain inflammation illness called “acute disseminated encephalomyelitis” (ADEM) which, in turn, had caused PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder, in Bailey.
nd last September, a chart review of children with autism and mitochondrial disease, published in the Journal of Child Neurology, looked at 28 children with ASD and mitochondrial disease and found that 17 of them (60.7 percent) had gone through autistic regression, and 12 of the regressive cases had followed a fever. Among the 12 children who regressed after fever, one-third (4) had fever associated with vaccination, just like Hannah Poling.
Another fact that gets little attention in this never-ending debate is that more than 1,300 cases of vaccine injuries have been paid out in vaccine court.
© Andrew Helwich / istockphoto.com
Dr. Andrew Wakefield is one of the most vilified medi-
By David Kirby
The authors reported that “recommended vaccination schedules are appropriate in mitochondrial disease,” although “fever management appears important for decreasing regression risk.” That conclusion, however, is not supported by some of the world’s leading experts on mitochondrial disease, including Dr. Douglas Wallace, a professor of pediatrics and biological chemistry at UC Irvine, and director of its Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics. Dr. Wallace was recently named to the National Academies of Science. “We have always advocated spreading the immunizations out as much as possible because every time you vaccinate, you are creating a challenge for the system” in people with mito disorders, Dr. Wallace testified at a federal vaccine safety meeting. The possibility that vaccines and mitochondrial disease might be related to autism was also supported in another chart review published in PLoS [Public Library of Science] Online. The authors wrote that mitochondrial autism is not at all rare, and said that, “there might be no difference between the inflammatory or catabolic stress of vaccinations and that of common childhood diseases, which are known precipitants of mitochondrial regression.” In fact, they added, “Large population-based studies will be needed to identify a possible relationship of vaccination with autistic regression in persons with mitochondrial cytopathies.” Another fact that gets little attention in this never-ending debate is that more than 1,300 cases of vaccine injuries have been paid out in vaccine court, in which the court ruled that childhood immunizations caused encephalopathy (brain disease), encephalitis (brain swelling) and/or seizure disorders. Encephalopathy/encephalitis is found in most if not all ASD cases, and seizure disorders in about a third of them. If we know that vaccines can cause these injuries, is it not reasonable to ask if they can cause similar injuries that lead to autism? (Stay tuned as those 1,300 cases come under closer scrutiny). Fortunately, the federal government seems to be getting serious about identifying all potential environmental factors that could contribute to autism, including a few studies that take in vaccines and the mercury-containing preservative thimero-
sal. And President Obama’s brand-new budget includes increased spending for autism research at NIH, including money to help identify environmental factors that contribute to ASD.
eanwhile, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee has unanimously endorsed a CDC proposal to study autism as a possible “clinical outcome” of vaccination, and has recommended several more studies pertaining to vaccines and autism, including a feasibility study on analyzing vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations.
Dr. Thomas Insel recently told me that better diagnosis and reporting could not “explain away this huge increase” in ASD cases. And over at the government’s leading autism research panel, the Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), the chairman, National Institute of Mental Health director Dr. Thomas Insel, recently told me that better diagnosis and reporting could not “explain away this huge increase” in ASD cases. “There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here,” Insel said. I asked him if the IACC would ever support direct research into vaccines and autism, now that CDC has raised the estimated ASD rate from 1-in-150 to 1-in-110, in just two years. “I think what you are going to see with this update is that there is a recognition that we need to look at subgroups who might be particularly responsive to environmental factors,” he answered. So what might those factors include? Well, it turns out that the IACC has unanimously recommend research to determine if certain sub-populations are more susceptible to environmental exposures such as “immune challenges related to naturally occurring infections, vaccines or underlying immune problems.” Nobody seriously thinks that the retraction of The Lancet article, and the international flogging of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, will do anything to make this debate go away. And they are right.
David Kirby is the author of the book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy, a New York Times bestseller. This article first appeared in the Huffington Post. His newest book, Animal Factory, is a dramatic exposé of factory farms. Article reprinted with permission. Please see the original at huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/theemlancetem-retraction_b_446749.html. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/ references.html. issue 26 | pathways
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Treat the Earth well: It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
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â€” Native American Proverb
Pathways Magazine provides vital resources for family wellness. Our articles give parents the necessary information to actively participate...
Published on Jun 15, 2010
Pathways Magazine provides vital resources for family wellness. Our articles give parents the necessary information to actively participate...