Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lyme Awareness ~ Raised Beds ~ Triclosan ~ Listeria

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month:
Here are some good websites. Lyme is the "Great Imitator" and shouldn't be treated lightly. If you don't know whether or not you have Lyme in your area don't ask a doctor, ask a vet. Our local drs are taught that there is no Lyme here and yet the vets test for it and treat it all of the time (especially ranch dogs but also city dogs that pick it up at the park or whatever).

This document is so excellent that it's beyond words. It's helpful to both the patient and the doctor. You can take it to your doctor and it gives the treatment guidelines. For the patient it's helpful for the symptoms and the guidelines as well.

(you would need the western blot test for Lyme: IgG and IgM)(This lab does it manually and is thus more sensitive than others)

Please know that Lyme is a clinically diagnosed disease; the best test can only test the antigens, not the bacteria itself, so if your body is not making those you will test negative even if you are positive. That's why the symptoms checklists are so important. Things that you would never guess are related, like urinary tract issues and heart palpitations, can each be separate symptoms of the same bug. Please also know that the CDC standards are for *reporting* purposes, NOT for diagnostic purposes.

Raised Garden Beds:

Here are some more recent photos of the raised beds . You can see that the potatoes are actually growing, yeah! My favorite parts are the trellises and worm tower. The trellises are side rails to a baby crib. They were sitting on a curb (just the rails - weird, eh?). I thought that if they were baby-safe then they would be fine for an organic garden. Saved from the landfill and put to good use :). We "feed the worms" with kitchen scraps even though I haven't gotten the worms yet. These pictures are several weeks old so the beds have filled out more now, the peas are headed up the trellis, and more things are planted.

I REALLY need to spend some time caring for the garden or I'm going to start losing things. I need to: sprinkle DE (diatamaceous earth) around the strawberries; spray neem oil on the sweet peas, tomatoes, and basically everything; remulch in a few places; thin out carrots, etc; take out the bolted lettuce that tastes bitter now; and *finally* plant the cantaloupe that have somehow survived in their little plastic container from the feed store for weeks and weeks.

Did You Know?

Triclosan and Triclocarban are key ingredients in antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, cutting boards, etc. They disrupt hormones. Triclosan has been found in animal studies to disrupt the thyroid hormones and sex hormones (namely testosterone) with identifiable changes in behavior, learning ability, and reproduction. Wow. Triclocarban has been found in animal studies to actually boost sex hormones which is bad news for people with certain cancers. Wow. What's really creepy and frustrating to me is that there are no human studies and yet it is ubiquitous (I learned that word from dh!) in our children's environments. Here is a short video from CNN - it's less than 5 minutes long. Take a look:

Here is a short article about a study at UC Davis regarding triclocarban (if you are interested in more info click on the related stories. Wow):

That said, I do have antibacterial wipes in the car and in my purse (and alcohol-based gel). I need to go see the ingredients...

Too Weird:

Listeria is a problem in lunch meat. I remember the OB/GYN telling me to either not eat lunch meat or to heat it to steaming during one of my pregnancies (and to not eat unwashed lettuce). I'm not quite at the point of not buying lunch meat although I try to incorporate alternatives in our lunches such as cooking a roast just for slicing up for sandwiches or making homemade chicken noodle soup for lunches at home, etc. But... we do still eat lunch meat. On the other hand, I always heat it up to steaming for the dc and myself (but dh likes it uncooked) and I try to get it without any added nitrate/nitrite.

This is the weird part. Instead of finding out and solving why there are such high concentrations of listeria in lunch meat or teaching consumers to heat up the meat to steaming (it takes less than 2 minutes), they are working on an edible packaging that has an added antimicrobial in it that will kill the listeria. Yum??? Hmmm. How will this affect us? Who knows. Edible antibiotics in a constant food source. Aren't we suppose to be *avoiding* unnecessary use of antibiotics (superbugs, anyone?) and avoid routinely antibiotic-injected beef? You treat an infection of listeria with antibiotics, so I'm thinking "antimicrobial" is just a roundabout way of saying antibiotic (and if it's even broader wouldn't that actually be worse?).

Penn State is testing one using "Aureobasidium pulluland" as its main component (plus the antimicrobial) so of course I had to google it. Okay, they are trying to use a plant pathogen that grows pink, then black yeast-like colonies full of spores. And they want us to eat it? What about all of us that are mold-sensitive? I'm just shaking my head. I know wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but... "Chronic human exposure via humidifiers/air conditioners can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis (aka extrinsic allergic alveolitis) or "humidifier lung". This condition is characterized acutely by dyspnea, cough, fever, chest infiltrates, and acute inflammatory reaction. Condition can also be chronic, and lymphocyte mediated. Chronic condition is characterized radiographically by reticulonodular infiltrates in the lung, with apical sparing."

This is from another website ( that I found when I googled it. "Aureobasidium pullulans is a species of fungus which is capable of causing a variety of diseases in humans. The fungus is most often found in damp places either inside the home or in the environment. It is often pinkish or blackish. It is a rare cause of disease and is more likely to occur in immunosuppressed patients. It can cause infection in just about any part of the body depending on the nature of the exposure (inhalation, wound, ingestion etc.) and as such the type and severity of symptoms can vary considerably. "

I can't even eat untreated beans or corn because of the molds/toxins so I could never again eat packaged meat if it is packaged with a plant pathogen that causes fungal disease in cotton, pistachios, pecans, and citrus.

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