Natural Living Des Moines

Soda Pop Tax? by sarahtar
May 12, 2009, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Food, Health, Legislation

Congress is considering taxing soda pop to pay for the health care “overhaul” proposed by President Obama. This is being recommended by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. While this might at first glance seem like an OK thing, I want to talk for a minute about my grave concerns with this idea, and what those have to do with natural living.

This quote from the Wall Street Journal article quoted above. (Pause for a moment while I consider how much I miss my daily WSJ read that I endulged in when I was working. It was, in fact, a part of my job. Getting paid to read the paper, doesn’t get much better than that.)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages. Excise taxes are levied on goods and manufacturers typically pass them on to consumers.

They are going to tax drinks with sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Not those with artificial sweetener.

Thus, should the Federal Government decide to go along with this proposal, they will essentially be saying that the official US Government position is that artificial sweeteners (man-made chemicals) are healthier than and preferred over natural sweeteners (sugar, honey, etc.).

In fact, since diet pops will be a bit cheaper (assuming the beverage industry doesn’t raise the price of diet at the same time, just because they can), Congress might actually push consumers into choosing artificial sweeteners over natural sweeteners.

If you need a refresher course on why artificial sweetener is not exactly health food, check this article at Wikipedia, information from Mercola, this list of articles, and this from Dr Sears (scroll down a bit).

From the Dr Sears website:

Artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, saccharine) were originally developed as a sugar substitute for diabetics, but then the manufacturer discovered a huge market in a calorie-conscious society, one that has also been misfed a lot of hype about the hazardous effects of sugar. Artificial sweeteners do not usually satisfy a body that is craving sweets or carbohydrates. In fact, they may so accustom the taste buds to sweet flavors that sweetener-users want more sugar rather than less. (snip)

Also, some scientists are concerned about biochemical quirks of artificial sweeteners. The sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet) is basically a combination of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids have different effects on the brain than sugars do. In natural foods these amino acids enter the brain in company with other naturally- occurring nutrients. The amino acids on their own may have an unnatural effect, particularly on neurotransmitters.

When we let the Federal Government start deciding which foods are healthy and which are not, where does it end? I’m all in favor of Americans making healthier choices, but when the government starts sticking their noses into the issue, I get concerned. Because what if their definition of what’s healthy is different from my definition? Or your definition?

Will butter be taxed in favor of margarine? Whole milk be taxed in favor of skim milk? Whole foods advocates know that natural foods are better than created foods, and that whole foods are better than parts of foods. But society in general believes that margarine and skim milk, being lower in fat, are the healthier choices. What if Congress started taxing real butter (or even real milk) and whole milk? Real yogurt, but not “lite” yogurt? I don’t think these questions are so far-fetched if Congress decides to take this recommendation seriously (which, note, they have not yet indicated their intentions to do so).

This is definitely an issue to keep an eye on for everyone in the Natural Living community. And, um, stop drinking pop. Even with real sugar, it’s not doing you any favors, health-wise.

*I’m studiously avoiding getting into details about High Fructose Corn Syrup here. No, I don’t believe it’s a good choice just because it was once corn.


Seen those corn syrup commercials? by sarahtar
January 28, 2009, 8:38 am
Filed under: Food, Health

The ones that imply that anyone who doesn’t consume corn syrup is an idiot just doing it because “people” say it’s bad?

Well, apparently, mercury is found in corn syrup. That’s hardly harmless! (not to mention all the other problems with corn syrup.)

Reiki by sarahtar
October 14, 2008, 7:36 am
Filed under: Health

So, how many of you have wondered what a Reiki session is like? I know I did. And I really never considered myself to be the “type” of person who would go to a Reiki session.

But when my baby turned breech at 35 weeks, and remained breech at 36.5 weeks despite acupuncture, moxibustion, chiropractic care, inversion, music, hot and cold, and everything else we tried, I decided to give Reiki a shot. We decided to go see Gail Hardinger McCarthy (964-9842), who practices at Firehouse Yoga on Mondays.

The session started with a health history, including my assessment of my stress levels and my relative worry about various things like relationships, money, etc. Gail then explained to me the basics of how Reiki works, and what she’d be doing for the remainder of our session. (for an explanation of what Reiki is, click here.)

Gail had me lay down and get comfortable on a table, then she checked my chakras to see how open they were (they were not), and she checked my energy field to see how it was looking. (It was at this point, I had to stifle a few giggles, because it seemed at first that she could not find my energy field. Turns out, it was soooo off center as to be nearly nonexistant on the right side and pushed way off to my left side. Since she started on the right, it appeared to me that there just simply wasn’t one. I was contemplating what that might mean when she explained to me where it was.)

After pushing my energy field back to its proper place, Gail started working up and down my body, holding her hands or her pendulum just above my clothes. Every once in a while, she’d stop and jot down a few notes. She worked in silence for a while, then she shared some of what she had sensed. She had a few messages from my baby as to why it had turned head-up, and encouraged me to interact with the baby for a few quiet minutes. She then shared some of the other things she had sensed, some of which made sense to me immediately, and some of which didn’t make sense until I talked them over with a few friends.

After a while, Gail asked if there was anything in particular that I’d wanted to learn that I hadn’t learned yet, and since there was not, she brought our session to a close. She suggested I return in 4 weeks, and that I drink plenty of water that evening.

My husband was particularly curious if the things Gail had “found” or “sensed” were super generic (as in your typical fortune teller). I’ll admit, that we both tend to be huge skeptics. However, I was greatly reassured by the fact that many of the things Gail mentioned were NOT generic, and contained information that she couldn’t have known without some serious internet research. (For example, she sensed that I had a fear of loss that started when I was 26 and that had something to do with this pregnancy. What we had not previously discussed was that I was 26 when I became pregnant with Wally and experienced heavy bleeding in my first trimester and we were terribly afraid we were going to lose him.)

Generally speaking, I found the session to be relaxing, interesting, and not as freaky as I was afraid. I mean, it was a little strange – I’ve never really thought I’d find myself laying on a table with someone holding a necklace over my body and telling me things about myself. But once I got past that, it was fairly insightful, and I am still mulling over some of the things Gail mentioned during my session, which was two weeks ago.

The session lasted about 90 minutes, and cost $100. Subsequent visits would be more like an hour and would cost less.

I also found more technical descriptions of what Reiki is like here and here. You can, of course, find a listing of Reiki practicioners on our Resource Directory, as well as at the Iowa Holistic Resources website.

Flouride Debate by sarahtar
May 6, 2008, 7:35 am
Filed under: Health

I don’t personally foresee this coming up for discussion in Iowa any time soon, as much as we want to be all progressive here, but it’s interesting to see that Flouride is once again becoming an issue in communities around the world.

I can guess how some of you feel about WND, but my husband sent me this story this AM about flouride and how we should NOT be drinking it.

Contained this line, which is something I’ve suspected but never heard stated by anyone authoritative – then again, I didn’t exactly research how one should give formula, I just had no reason to. “And, despite the CDC’s conclusion that fluoridation is one of the greatest medical achievements of the 20th century, it recommends infant formulas should never be mixed with fluoridated water.” Almost everyone I know who uses formula mixes it with tap water, since they started saying that you don’t need to buy sterile water for babies any more. Yikes.

And this gem:

The fluoride added to public drinking water is actually fluorosilic acid. It is described by critics as an industrial waste product. Supporters prefer to call it an industry byproduct. Most of it has come from Florida’s phosphate fertilizer industry.


However, one of the little-known effects of Hurricane Katrina was to cripple the production of fluoride. Since then, more of America’s supply of the controversial chemical is coming from China – a country not always known for the highest safety standards on exports.

And this:

Just because you live in a municipality that does not fluoridate doesn’t mean you are safe from the effects of fluoridation, say critics. For instance, children in non-fluoridated communities consume sodas and beverages bottled in fluoridated localities using fluoridated water. This is known in fluoridation debate circles as “the halo effect.” Grapes and grape products, teas and processed chicken can be high in fluoride because of water used in processing and preparation.

Which is something I never thought about.

And we’ll conclude with this:

In 1965, a landmark year in the fluoridation debate, the federal government determined fluoride was safe in drinking water at levels as high as 4 ppm. Officially, that is still the government’s threshold of safety on the high side. Yet, in 2006, the National Research Council determined 4 ppm was unsafe and couldn’t assert with certitude that even half that level was safe.

a new book on vaccines by naturaldsm
October 18, 2007, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Books, Health

Dr. Bob Sears has a new book out called The Vaccine Book. I haven’t seen or read it – and I likely won’t, at least not until a copy appears at Half Price Books – but those still in the midst of deciding what to do about vaccines might want to check it out.

Dr. William Sears and his son, Dr. Bob, are – I believe – in favor of routine childhood vaccinations. I recall reading somewhere, though, that Dr. Bob at least in the past advocated the use of an altered schedule, and using single vaccines instead of combined ones.

I am a big fan of the Sears family, and all of their books, but I have not seen this one so I can’t comment specifically about it.

Natural Living Podcasting by naturaldsm
November 27, 2006, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Community, Health, Neat Web Pages

Dr. Chad Rohlfsen gives talks every month about vaccinations at his office in Johnston – they’re the second Monday of every month at 7:00. I haven’t been to one myself, but several friends have.

Today I visited Dr. Rohlfsen’s webpage and found his podcasts. For those of you into podcasting, check these out, add them to your podcasting aggregator (I use I-Tunes), and take a listen!

No Poo by naturaldsm
May 3, 2006, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Health

I have not shampooed my hair for about 3 years. Yep, it’s true.

Sound gross? It’s not! I actually have a very clean scalp and very clean, healthy hair. How? I wash my scalp and hair with baking soda.

I first ditched the shampoo when I was newly pregnant. I’m not even sure why I did it, to be honest. It seemed like it would be interesting, I guess. And I was out of shampoo. 


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