why I’m choosing antibiotic-free meats

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Why Organic? | 0 comments

Antibiotic-Free Hormone-Free Grass-Fed CattleIn my quest for concrete, scientific answers regarding some ongoing symptoms, I recently embarked on a pretty intense food testing protocol.  There are many food testing options available, and this is what the functional medicine practice I’m working with recommended as “top-of-the-line.”

I won’t bore you with the complete test results, although don’t be surprised if I continue to share the things I’ve learned. However, I do think you’d be interested in one particular part of my results and what I’ve learned because of it.

Turns out my body is making a LOT of antibodies to an antibiotic called streptomycin. In simpler terms, I’m allergic to this drug. When I saw this on the list of severe reactions, I also realized that I’ve NEVER taken this antibiotic for medical treatment.

So how is it that I’d be making antibodies for something that’s never been prescribed for me? Thank goodness for Google and the documents available online! Here’s what I found:

Streptomycin is a commonly used antibiotic for large animals including cattle, sheep, and pigs. It’s used all the time in the process of producing the meat and dairy we buy at the grocery store.

Streptomycin is also used to control disease in vegetable and fruit crops, INCLUDING organic apples and pears.  On the upside, the exemption that allowed organic growers to use streptomycin expired in October of 2014. Just be aware that those chemically treated organic apples will probably still be on shelves for most of 2015 as well.

You probably realize by now that I’m not vegetarian, but we’ve been eating with mindfulness (within our budget) for decades. So this was a big blow to my sense of comfort with our choices! And let me tell you, our budget just shifted around so that I can get some relief from this allergic reaction.

I know the changes we’ve made are really the important part of this learning experience for us – and for you! So here’s what we decided to do.

First, I’m going to give organic apples a break. It’s been my go-to fruit for the last few years because it’s inexpensive, easy to find and travels well. I’ll just choose different organic options for the next several months or more.

We are completely switching our beef and poultry buying habits to only antibiotic-free, hormone-free producers. This is NOT easy on our budget, since the costs are about twice what we’ve paid in the past. It really comes down to the “pay me now or pay me later” philosophy. Since the antibiotics are likely playing a part in my health challenges, then continuing to eat food containing them will only make me sicker later. Investing in better quality products now will hopefully lead to better health in the long run for our whole family.

I’m grateful to live in a part of the U.S. (central Pennsylvania) where we can source these products direct from the farm. The web site Local Harvest has been a big help in identifying these folks. Plus, Cris already shops regularly at a local farmer’s market where he’s been able to find a few more sources.

A few Saturdays ago we decided to go straight to a farm store near us. I’m not sure if this would happen everywhere, but after a quick check in to see if we had questions, the family left us on the honor system. We literally picked out our foods, listed them on a steno pad, and left a check in the cash box. And there were two other families right behind us in line. You can’t get much closer to the producers than that!

Taste and texture of these meats is definitely different, especially their leaner and less fatty nature. But it’s not unpleasant at all. And once we decide on the meat we prefer, we’re expecting to buy in quantity to reduce our overall cost per pound.

It’s too soon to tell you whether these changes will make a difference in my health, but I believe they will be positive in the long term. I hope you’ll take the information I’ve shared and consider how it might relate to your own health. I’d love to hear what you find!

Amish Farm Store Sign


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think you can get away with eating wheat?

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in Gluten Free, Holistic Pain Relief, Why Organic? | 1 comment

I’m back from a wonderful vacation and I am PISSED. Not at you, dear readers. I am angry at Monsanto, Roundup, and all the farmers using it. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way and it’s probably not the last.

Wheat 300 pxRoundup is so noxious that it changes our produce INSIDE, not just on the surface. That’s the reason why I encourage you and everyone to eat organic produce. But there’s more to it than our produce choices!

As I talk with clients, friends, and you about how holistic pain relief relates to gluten people ask me WHY? Why has wheat and gluten become a problem in the last 10-15 years? Just like these folks, don’t you also wonder why wheat-based foods didn’t bother you as a kid, but now you’re sensitive to gluten and wheat?

I’ve always answered that it’s because today’s wheat isn’t the same as the wheat from 30-50 years ago. That’s not wrong, but now I see it’s incomplete.

You can read the whole article (with links and sources at the bottom of her page) here:

Let me summarize briefly for you:

During the 1990s, conventional (non-organic) wheat farmers started drenching their crops with Roundup (a common pesticide called glyphosate) just before harvest. This practice increases yield (makes them more money) and makes the harvesting process easier.

Roundup and glyphosate are banned in quite a few countries in Europe. Not just on wheat but on all crops.

In 2013 a study was done connecting glyphosate and the incidence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. The increase in use of glyphosate is followed exactly by the incidence of these two health conditions. (And remember they are connected strongly to chronic pain!)

If that doesn’t make you mad enough. Here’s the next consequence:

“Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune disease symptoms,” says The Healthy Home Economist.

When your gut bacteria is out of balance, you’re more likely to have a variety of medical issues including those related to chronic pain. (Here’s just one study as an example: http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/8/1223.short)

Again quoting The Healthy Home Economist, “The effects of deadly glyphosate on your biology are so insidious that lack of symptoms today means literally nothing. If you don’t have problems with wheat now, you will in the future if you keep eating conventionally produced, toxic wheat!”

Are you pissed now too? Please visit the entire article and read the details, as well as her suggestions on how to avoid glyphosate in your food choices. And definitely share this information with family, friends, and in social media.


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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five tips for eating clean

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Why Organic? | 0 comments

Recently, a friend and Twitter follower mentioned that she’s beginning to “eat clean.” And that she was really nervous because it’s such a big departure from her previous eating habits. Perfect inspiration for some blogging … ;->

So what does “eating clean” mean? And why do I keep putting it in quotes? Clean eating is about eliminating the majority of chemical-laden, heavily processed foods from our diets. It’s about focusing on whole foods and knowing what’s in the foods we eat. It’s the idea that if your grandmother or great-grandmother wouldn’t have been able to identify a food, it’s not a clean choice.

Clean eating also means cooking at home more than eating out, which can be a real challenge for folks who haven’t done a lot of cooking lately. I know because in my adult life I haven’t been the primary cook in my home – and it takes practice to cook yummy stuff!

1. Practice cooking at home. Almost anything you make mostly from scratch is a whole lot cleaner than restaurant or fast-food meals! I’d recommend starting with a good old-fashioned soup – especially since we’re heading from fall into winter and soups just feel so good right now.

  • Here’s a Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Stew that sounds quick and yummy.
  • This Easy Breezy Soup recipe offers you a lot of options. It’s a great way to be sure not to waste any of your vegetables too. I’d add some canned (and rinsed) beans to it as well.

2. Add lots and lots more vegetables to your meals. You can steam, saute, roast a whole bundle of veggies on Sundays and then use them during the week for lunches and dinners.

3. Get comfortable with whole grains. An easy place to start is quinoa (say “keen-wah”). It’s versatile, quick and delicious. You definitely want to toast it before boiling to get that nuttier flavor – don’t worry all the directions will be on the package!

  • Follow KeenOnQuinoa on Twitter and read her blog for ideas
  • I often take my latest veggies (see number 2!) and add some quinoa to them before re-heating.
  • Quinoa is also great to make a green salad more hearty. Just put some cooked and cooled quinoa on top of whatever salad greens and veggies you’re planning!

4. Every clean eater needs a reward sometimes. My choice is dark chocolate treats because they are generally low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants. It’s important to long-term change to ensure you never feel deprived! Try Gnosis Chocolate if you want to really taste some amazing stuff!

5. Water – water – water. Hydration is so important for our bodies. And most people are way more dehydrated that we imagine. In fact, thirst is one of the last signals of dehydration … not one of the first. So if you are thirsty, you already have a lot of hydration catching up to do.

Buy a filtering pitcher and use water from your tap. Get some reusable non-plastic bottles and keep them full. Never leave home without them. Sometimes drinking from a bottle (whatever size and shape work for you) is easier than pouring glasses. It’s really a personal preference, so experiment and see what makes it easy for you to hydrate.

At first, drinking a lot of water means you spend a little (or a lot) of extra time in the bathroom. Persist and your body will begin to manage the process more efficiently. Just focus on the benefits your body is receiving!

In conclusion:
Every change is made up of a series of small steps. You’ll succeed every day that you move forward even a little. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.



Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free audio teleclass to learn YOUR MOST IMPORTANT STEP TO MINIMIZE PAIN!

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