Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Local

In anticipation of spring, here are some great reasons to buy local. It's also fun to take your children to farmer's markets, farms, apple picking etc. I have found kids are more apt to eat vegatables or fruits when they've been involved in the process. This is a great time to start thinking about what you can grow at home.

To Your Health,

Top Ten Reasons to Buy Local

1. Locally grown food tastes better - Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It's crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.

2. Local produce is better for you - A recent study showed that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some "fresh" produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity - In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment; for a tough skin that can survive packing and shipping; and for an ability to have a long shelf life in the store. Only a handful of hybrid varieties of each fruit and vegetable meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavors. Many varieties are heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation, because they taste good. These old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds or even thousands of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate.

4. Local food is GMO-free - Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don't have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn't use it even if they could. A June 2001 survey by ABC News showed that 93% of Americans want labels on genetically modified food - most so that they can avoid it. If you are opposed to eating bioengineered food, you can rest assured that locally grown produce was bred as nature intended.

5. Local food supports local farm families - With fewer than 1 million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. And no wonder - commodity prices are at historic lows, often below the cost of production. The farmer now gets less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food - which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.

6. Local food builds community - When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection. Knowing the farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. In many cases, it gives you access to a farm where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.

7. Local food preserves open space - As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. You have probably enjoyed driving out into the country and appreciated the lush fields of crops, the meadows full of wildflowers, the picturesque red barns. That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape.

8. Local food keeps your taxes in check - Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes, according to several studies. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.

9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife - A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming. According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage could sequester 12-14% of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry. In addition, the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings - is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife.

10. Local food is about the future - By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food. Adapted from ©2001 Growing for Market

From the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tips From The Professor: Who's Testing Your Supplements?

It's so tempting...

You've been getting your supplements from a company
that you know and trust - a company that does clinical
studies on their products and performs rigorous quality

You know their products are pure, safe and effective...


You're shopping in your favorite drug store or discount
store and you see the same supplements for just a
couple of dollars!

You can't help thinking...

"Wow! Here's the same stuff I've been taking for a lot
less money"..."Why not save my money?"..."They must
have run some quality control tests on their

"After all, how bad can they be?"

The answer is - pretty bad!

The events of last week illustrate just how bad.

On March 2nd, 2010 the makers and sellers of fish oil
supplements were sued by the Mateel Environmental
Justice Foundation in California for not telling
consumers that their products contained toxic levels of

I find it amusing and somewhat scary that the FDA did
not initiate this action and force the manufacturers to
take their contaminated products off the shelves.

Instead an environmental consumers group had to sue
them for not including PCBs on the label! They sued
them under California proposition 65 which requires a
warning label whenever a product contains toxic

The defendants in this lawsuit were Omega Protein, a
Houston-based company that is the world's largest
producer of omega-3 fish oil, and the many companies
that they produced fish oil for - companies like Rite
Aid, CVS, GNC, Now Health Group, Pharmavite, Solgar and

And those aren't the only ones. The Mateel
Environmental Justice Foundation only tested 10 omega-3
supplements manufactured by Omega Protein to date and
have found PCBs in all of them. They plan to continue
testing and to add other companies to the lawsuit if
their products are also contaminated.

Even scarier is that many of labels on these products
said that the omega-3 supplement was treated to reduce
or remove PCBs. As a consumer you were lead to believe
that they were safe!

The bottom line is that the manufacturer probably
didn't test for PCBs and neither did the companies
selling their omega-3 supplements to the consumer

The alternative - that they tested the products, knew
that they were contaminated with PCBs and sold them to
the public anyway - is even worse.

As if that weren't scary enough the FDA announced a
massive recall of products containing textured
vegetable protein manufactured by a company called
Basic Food Flavors because of salmonella contamination.

The problem is that there are at least 56 different
kinds of consumer products containing this company's
textured vegetable protein - including salad dressings,
dips, packaged snacks, potato chips and soup mixes (Who
knew that salad dressings contained textured vegetable

That means that this recall will be huge. It will
affect many foods that most people buy and use every

Once again, the problem is that neither the
manufacturer or the companies using the textured
vegetable protein had run the basic quality control
assays that would have detected salmonella

So what can you do as a consumer? Here are my

1) Get your supplements from an established company
with a reputation for quality and integrity. I would
recommend choosing a company that has been around for a
number of years so that you know that their reputation
is based on their track record over the years rather
than just on hype.

2) Make sure that they run rigorous quality controls on
their products. I would choose a company that requires
pharmaceutical grade quality controls on their

3) Make sure that they have published clinical studies
on their products that prove both safety and
effectiveness. Again I would recommend choosing a
company that has many published clinical studies on
their products rather than just one or two.

To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney

P.S. Shaklee supplements are my personal recommendation
because Shaklee insists on rigorous quality control
tests on every one of their ingredients and on their
finished products. For example, they import ultra pure,
triple distilled fish oil from England and test it for
PCB contamination after they receive it. They also have
published over 70 clinical studies on their products in
peer-reviewed scientific journals. They are unique in
the industry.

Wasn't that an eye opener? It's the reason for the supplement decisions we've made in our family for the past 14 years.

If you are confused by all of the product
choices that Shaklee offers...

If you are unsure of which supplements you should use
to dramatically improve your health and vitality... Contact Me.

To Your Health,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fish oil PCB levels subject of lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO, March 2, 2010 (UPI) -- Makers and sellers of fish oil supplements were sued in California for not including labeling about PCB contamination, a plaintiff's attorney said Tuesday.

"Consumers who want the health benefits of fish oil shouldn't also have to take the health risks of an extremely toxic man-made chemical," attorney David Roe said in a release. "And they don't have to, since preliminary test results show that some fish oil brands have only 1/70th as much PCB contamination in them as others."

The lawsuit contends the eight makers and sellers of fish oil, shark oil, fish liver oil and shark liver oil peddled as supplements have polychlorinated biphenyl contamination above the "safe-harbor" limits set for human PCB consumption under California's Proposition 65, which requires a warning label for consumers.

"The industry knows very well about the PCB problem in fish oils and widely markets its supplements as already treated for PCB contamination," said Benson Chiles, a plaintiff in the case. "They have no excuse for what we've been finding."

The defendants are CVS Pharmacy Inc., General Nutrition Corp., Now Health Group Inc., Omega Protein Inc.. Pharmavite LLC, Rite Aid Corp., Solgar Inc. and TwinLab Corp.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Can you imagine? You decide to make your health a priorty and you are unkowingly ingesting toxins!

This is why I made the decision years ago to use only Shaklee supplements in our family. They do over 80,000 quality & purity tests a year! When you are making your health a priority - doesn't it make sense to use a company that makes your health a priority - and has for the past 53 years.

See for yourself and watch this video.

The bottom line shouldn't be a companies profits - it should be doing what's right!

To Your Health,